It Matters How You Think

I knew a person once we said to me “I know that if someone wanted to harm me, I could not protect my self or my children and I am fine with that.”  “If it is my time to go, it is my time to go.”  Of course she said that, but she didn’t really believe it, otherwise she wouldn’t take her child to the doctor or wear her seat belt or turn on the alarm in her house, but it’s what she tells herself because thinking about being mugged, raped or murdered is scary.  Thinking about your children being harmed is unimaginable and it is easier not to, until of course you have no other choice. Often what appears to be easy, turns out to be the hardest thing of all. I understand that mindset.  I was pretty much the poster child for that mindset.  When I get a comment like I did yesterday from anonymous I am not angry with him or her because I was him or her.  I told someone last night that this person who keeps posting anonymously, it feels personal to me.  I keep thinking it is someone who knows me. Someone who is close to me, but maybe it is just that I can so intimately identify with the thinking that I feel a connection to him or her.  I don’t know.

While, I understand the thinking, I also know how dangerous it is.  I can promise you sticking your head in the sand and crossing your fingers that the bad guy won’t kill you is not a good strategy.   Even if one is prepared to die, most are not prepared to live with the aftermath of survival.  Death sucks, but living comes with it’s own set of issues and in my case, not dying was when the real fight for my life began.

When you survive an attack, for most people there are all the usual feelings of fear, shame, embarrassment, and anger,  but for me I also felt completely demoralized and an enormous amount of guilt.

On that day I did not fight. I did not protect myself or my daughter. I know, I know, we have been through this a number of times and I am not feeling guilty today. This is not about that. This is about the cold hard facts that someone who isn’t willing to think about the consequences of not fighting needs to know.  It has been said  “You did everything you needed to because you are here and you are alive”, but that isn’t true.  I did nothing.  One of the things that the bad guy said to me when he was on top of me was, “We are going to get up from here and you are going to leave with me.” and I would have.  I know it without a doubt.  He knew we couldn’t stay in that parking lot, eventually someone would come along.  There is no way to know for sure what his intentions were when he first spotted me, but I have done a lot of reading on instinct and have learned that people do actually know more about a person and their intentions then we give ourselves credit for.  As I have replayed that day in my mind, I have come to believe that he was a bad guy and probably had committed many crimes before, but I also believe he just wanted a few bucks.  The way he approached me and the way things played out, I believe he became bolder and bolder the more compliant I was.  He went to take a little, I gave it without issue, so he went for a little more and a little more.  I don’t think his plan was to knock me on the ground and drag me out of there, but as I lied there with fear in my eyes, I think he thought, “She is weak”. “She will leave with me.” and he was right, I would have.  That is something to think about the next time you tell someone it might be easier to just give them what they want. I did nothing.  I did not fight because I thought it was the best way for me to survive. It wasn’t a choice.  I didn’t assess the situation and decide that not resisting was my best option for survival. I did nothing because not fighting had been so ingrained into the fibers of who I was that I did not even have the natural instinct to protect myself or my child. The cold hard truth is that, had those 2 cars not pulled up, this story would have more ugliness, that I am sure of. Not having the courage to face the possibility of an attack nearly cost my everything. It’s not about having a gun or not having a gun, it is about mindset.  My mind is what almost got me in bigger trouble that day.

After something tragic happens there are really only 2 choices: give into it or get over it.  Let it beat you with depression, alcohol, withdrawing, anger whatever, or move on.  Moving on might seem like the easier choice, but it is a hard and painful road.  Death is hard, but surviving is no cake walk.

In my determination to change my mindset and to find joy and happiness again, I lost much. I lost myself.  I lost parts of me that I had identified with for so long and parts I loved.  I lost several close friends that I had before the mugging.  The new me was not to their liking and even though they said they would always be there for me, when things got tough, they rather coldly and brutally walked out.  My children suffered and so did my marriage.  My family and friends needed to protect me and I needed them not to.

There are people who read this blog that have known me a long time and they can tell you that our family was the perfect white picket fence, annoyingly happy family that no one thinks exists.  Of course, we had ups and downs and hard times, but our foundation was solid.  Our kids are good caring people and my marriage had been the kind people dream of.  Twenty years with a man I have always adored and who has always cared for me and put me first.  I have my faults and he has his, but somehow we just fit.  I have always been able to be me and to get through life’s obstacles because my husband was by my side.  When my brother died, he was the rock.  He took care of everything as my father and I tried to get through the day.  When our daughter A came home from China and our family was reeling from the realities of what life had tossed her way, he made sure everything was taken care of, so I could focus solely on her.  He is kind and generous and strong and he has always been who I turned to, but this time I couldn’t.

There was no conscious thought process.  I did not decide I could not depend on him or others, I just did what I could to get through the days, move forward and not go crazy.  As I began to depend more on myself, my family and friends didn’t know where they fit in.  We are all protectors of each other, not really talkers.  We are all ‘suck-it” uppers.  If something bothers me for the most part I don’t say anything and that is the kind of people I surrounded myself with.  They knew I was hurting, so they didn’t say anything when their needs were not being met and I was too focused on myself and E to pay attention.  A huge chasm began to develop and those relationships suffered. By the time I was healthy enough to notice, most had already been destroyed.

My story has a happy ending.  My children are happy, healthy and carefree.  My marriage is more solid,  more connected and more pervy than every before.  The friendships I have been able to maintain are deeper and closer and the new ones I have made have added a richness to my life that I never experienced.  I meant it when I said I am the happiest I have ever been, but I would have preferred to have thought about these things prior to that day.  I would have preferred to have been prepared.  I would have preferred to have not lost so much.

Fighting for my life, for my family, for my marriage, was a painful, gut wrenching process and when I look back on the mindset that got me into the fight, it hardly seems worth the price I paid.

31 thoughts on “It Matters How You Think

  1. So moving and so powerful a message this is. I cannot say strongly enough how grateful I am that you did not have to experience what could have happened to you had you gone with him. Your messages are so positive and so uplifting. Might I also say that they’re riviting? What can I say, except Thank You, thank you again, my Friend for such incredibly piercing and meaningful posts!

  2. My daughter calls me a pessimist. I am always looking for the bad so that I can avoid it or fix it before that spark turns in flames. She doesn’t like that part of me, but I feel that my life and my family is happier because of it. I have progressed from being caught up in everyday “stuff” to a more worldly view. Part of the worldly view is realizing that some people are bad & prey on the weak.
    Your posts convince me that I am correct, and no matter how many of my friendships are lost or changed, I need to prepare, look for the problems & be ready to fight for me & my family.
    Thanks for your posts.

    • Of course I don’t know who you are, but I do admire your dedication to safety. Life is a balance and there is so much it has to offer, but your right, the bad is very real.

      For me the more I train, the less pessimistic I am. I am the calmest, most optimistic I have ever been. I sleep so well and I wake up full of joy, but, always, always very well armed.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful posts. Those words are hard to say, let alone realize about yourself. As a husband I want to be needed but also want to see my wife safe, strong, and independent. It is definitely a double edges sword do us guys.

    It’s the same for friends, but your ‘friends’ that bailed on you were not likely true friends.

    It is true you did what you could… At that time. Your mindset was one of passiveness. But you’ve been awoken to a new life with new choices. And you have made it a good life with more love, life, and caring because you CHOOSE to live life despite people’s attempts to take that from you.

    Your posts may be therapeutic for you, but thy are that and so much more for the rest of us.- 1911Jeeps

  4. Loss of innocence is never an easy thing, yours was a traumatic loss with quite a lot of ripple effects. In mediation we help guide the parties involved from their focus on the past and into the present. You are now and will always be in the present, nothing in the past can be changed but you can be at peace with the now. A significant part of the present is self-preparation for what we will do from moment to moment and hour by hour. We also prepare for the future day or days ahead but are not yet in that moment so it should be kept apart from our being as it can prove distracting to spend our time thinking always of what has not happened or what we wish to have happen. You’ve found the pathway to peach and have your feet firmly planted, your peace is in facing the world as an unkind and dangerous place. Yet still, your continue forward, the past is where lessons were learned, keep in the now.

    • Always, always, always get so much for your comments. I am living those word of advice. This post really is about the past, the struggles that were, but I left them behind and I have been and continue to look forward. Thank you!!

  5. You made a conscious decision to step up and be responsible. THAT in and of itself is probably the biggest change, and the family stepped up with you. Those two things DID change your lives and is probably what ran some folks off, because they were not/are not willing to do the same. Self reliance and the behavior associated with it does make significant changes in one’s lifestyle and perception of the world around you.

    • The support I received from people like you most certaintly expedited my journey. Thank you for always leaving me a comment and for always offering me kindness.

  6. “Even if one is prepared to die, most are not prepared to live with the aftermath of survival.” — You got that right. I’ve known people who chant that they’re not afraid of death, but I’m certain they haven’t considered what happens to them or their family if they do.

    Also, in regards to the scumbag attacker suggesting to take you someplace else, I’ve read and talked to cops who say that going to the “second crime scene” almost always results in death. I’m glad you didn’t go there.

  7. I’ll say this dramatically . . . YOU ARE MY HERO! Not because of what you went through. Nope. Because you share your thoughts and viewpoints openly for us to read and learn from. I can’t relate you what happened to you and therefore I don’t learn from that (others though will!). What I do learn though is how to continually change my mindset that will keep me safer. That I’m not a fool for carrying a weapon. That I DO need to carry my weapon whenever possible and always be alert of my surroundings. I believe that what I have learned in the last year since we started to shoot could help me from becoming a victim in the future – at least not one who didn’t fight back.

    I have a lot to learn and am envious of what you are doing. Living in Ohio doesn’t seem to offer much opportunities. We don’t seem to have the ‘community’ like you have around you. I need to look further though. I want to be safer. I want my friends and family to be safer. I need to learn so that I can educate.

    Keep up your blogging! Regardless of what the few say, you are making a difference here and we appreciate it!



    • Kim, you brought tears to my eyes. Your words are why I continue to share things that might not be so pleasant. I want to help people see the error of my ways. When my husband read the post he said he was proud of how I had the courage to share and be honest and I thought, I am blessed and then you posted…thank you!

      P.S. my husband and I discussed this before I shared:)

  8. Hang in there. If you are getting resentment or negative response from a coward, it is because you have touched a nerve and shown a light on thier fear that they can’t handle.

    I know you a little, I hope to meet your family some day.

    You are tough as nails, forged by a fire of fear, and stonger for it.

    Thank you!

  9. I am so sorry you had to go through that, but I’m so greatful that you are sharing with others so they don’t have to go through the same thing. I sent this post to my wife to read.

    Thank You,

  10. Cognitive dissonance is a hard thing for each human to get around. We all do it. We all rationalize away the things we know we must do. Any healthy human claiming to be ok with death is kidding themselves. They are rationalizing away their life because undertaking self-defense measures can be hard and, worse of all, it can be revealing of just how vulnerable we really are. It is the very reason some people hate going to the doctor.

    And then there’s the problem we have in America with our political leaders and their law enforcement executive management. They’ve convinced people not to fight back but instead to call the police. It’s the rare rural sheriff that tells his constituents to “fight, fight, fight.”

  11. Great post as usual! Keep up the good work and continue the training, both for developing defensive skills and mindset, and for your situational awareness.

    Recalling yesterday’s excellent comment quoting Ayn Rand regarding “Goals for Life”, we are depending on you and all like you of like mind to keep us from becoming a true nation of sheep, blind to the everpresent evil in this world.

    • I loved that quote!! I am embarrasses to say I was not aware of her before yesterday, but I did goggle her. I don’t agree with everything I have read, but much of her writing is powerful.

      Thank you!!!!!!!

  12. Dang. Excellent post! There’s absolutely nothing intelligent I can add to this or the comments above…nor, for once, anything sarcastic. Again, AGirl…YOU ROCK!

    • You made me smile…nothing sarcastic…lol.

      Thank you for always coming here and being so nice, supportive, funny…I have enjoyed getting to know you and your lovely wife.


  13. You are an amazing woman, I look up to you and aspire to be like you. Your children must be proud and your husband must be amazed. Anyone would be lucky to have someone like you in their life. Reading this brought tears to my eyes and hope in my heart. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to.

  14. This is why I’m glad you’re out there, Agirl. Someone reading this could be snapped out of their fog. If you save just one person from going through what you did (or worse) then it is all a success.

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