“…you witnessed attempted murder.”
This is how my psychologist ended the sentence. I had described several childhood experiences and he was offering his opinion on how he felt they impacted me, or more specifically, how they shaped my perspectives and approach to the world.
In all my years I never once considered I had witnessed attempted murder. When he said it, I felt somehow like what had happened was worse than I initially thought. In that moment, the word ‘murder’ was more upsetting to me than the experiences.
- There was a shotgun pointed within one foot of our faces but I don’t recall him ever saying he would kill us. I do recall being upset at my mother’s screaming.
- There was a shotgun held to her head and he did threaten to kill her but she remained silent so I didn’t find it as upsetting.
- I witnessed him slam her head repeatedly into a wall until bright red was spattered everywhere and she fell limp to the floor. He stopped at my screaming to come after me next. The juxtaposition was that he was gentle in his approach. He treated me the complete opposite of her.
- I witnessed him dangle my baby brother by his arms outside of a third story window threatening to let him fall to the ground if she left him.
But attempted murder? Intent to cause death? What an interesting perspective he had given me.
To encourage the momentum of my healing process my mind desired to make sense of his assertion. So, I left the counseling session and went home to begin studying about murder.
In the end, I disagreed with my psychologists use of the words but understood and did agree with what he wanted to impart. I simply delayed accepting it until I mulled things over at semantic-land.
In my heart I know the man did not have true intent to kill any of us. If his crimes would have resulted in death he likely would have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter. His main goal was to instill fear and compliance and in that he did succeed.
What I witnessed was unrelenting evil expressed in unrestrained rage, wrapped with black ribbons of psychosis and clothed in a white dhoti.
What I learned is that emotions which cannot be released or allowed to ebb and flow in a natural state by its owner will morph, cause physical sickness, mental imprisonment and spiritual self-execution.
At some point we are all both murderer and victim of Self, as such is the comorbid condition of life.
Our burden then is to do the work required to serve and protect our eternal souls.