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Trouble reconciling that humans can do this to other humans


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On 4/6/2022 at 11:37 AM, itsallgrand said:

First off, I would give you such big hugs. I'm so sorry you are struggling. You've been such a steady, strong force for so many and have added so much good to this forum. 

What you are describing sounds like a form of trauma. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but witnessing terrible things can cause trauma reactions in some people. I truly believe many, many people are experiencing various degrees of trauma during this time, just like you. You are not alone. I can say personally, I've been struggling with some difficulties with my mental health triggered by this war. I worked many years to try and come to terms with previous trauma, and I know I'm more susceptible to it. The question you gave of "how do I come back to myself after viewing these atrocities?" is one that I grappled with a lot! There's no easy answer. And I will say as well that same as you, I am not anchored in any beliefs about transitioning to a greater reward after this life school, as you put it. 

So with all that in mind, what bits of knowledge can I pass on, things that have helped? 

Assess where you are at. If you can, keep your doctor in the loop. It's important to have a doctor who understands how mental health and physical health are linked. Get a check up, see if your blood pressure etc is high. My cholesterol changes when I'm very stressed! Check to make sure you are getting all your body needs. Because you will need to go through some healing. Trauma disrupts the body, and it can even change our brains. It's not light stuff. 

Other things to access, are you experiencing any memory loss? Depression? Anxiety? Are you having intrusive thoughts? Nightmares? Can you sleep? 

As far as what you can do, I'm going to start rattling off some things that have helped me. It's not everything, but maybe you can apply something and see some shift or bit of peace... 

*strict sleep schedule, make it your safe space, build a place you can escape to when overwhelmed

*limit exposure to the news and social media

*basics of good health, eating well, exercise, relaxation, sleep

*may sound cheesy but have a few "happy places" you can go to mentally very quickly. Some of mine are thinking of the dogs running free at a dog park I go to sometimes, calm winter morning where I'm getting up lazily to the smell of coffee and maple syrup and bacon, etc. 

*creative outlets, especially if it uses both your hands, really good for your brain. Music, painting, baking, crafting etc. 

*grounding. I use various methods. Anything that helps bring you in your body and now. My cat, I joke she's a therapy animal, but she kinda really is. I use making tea, holding ice cubes, yoga. 

*connecting to a larger power. Don't have to be religious nor believe in heavenly rewards. You own personal connection to bigger than human. For me, it's nature. I watch the northern lights. I gaze at the moon. I love nature walks. It reminds me humans aren't the be all end all. 

*laughter. Gotta find humour when you can. Can be the silliest thing, but it's not frivolous, it's really good if you can find a laugh

*your people. Make time to be around them, hug them, connect on that basic level. Don't be afraid to ask for extra love..

*giving. Give and help where you can. It not just nice it's healing. It helps forge those new pathways in processing this new jarring information. 

It was hard for me to accept that I couldn't go back from knowing and witnessing certain things. But acceptance is sort of key. Trauma changes you. But we keep changing. I just try to do my best to change in a direction that will bring me forward. With more to add to this world. 

I see the world and humans as being capable of great good and great evil. Evil isn't a popular word anymore, there's this desire to see everything as relative. But I do think it's a constant battle of good and evil. The bad snuffs out the light with fear and hopelessness. So I hold on to hope, it's at my core, it may be stubbornness even but it's there. I believe you have it too. 

I did a lot of reading. Are you familiar with Romeo Dellaire? He experienced witnessing such horrific things, felt the most incredible depths of helplessness to stop bad things. And the apathy of people, the lack of action. He still works so damn hard to change things.. I absolutely admire him, and it inspires me. Is there someone who you see doing work like this who can inspire when things are looking the worst? 

I want to say too.. There's people on this forum who are inspirations for how they have lived and evolved through traumas and some of them helped change my life, just to get through some really bad times and as support. 

So I hope you find all the support, help, love, catfeeder... Your post really got to me. 

I can't thank you enough, IAG. I have so loved and benefited from your thoughtful and  constructive voice over the years.

What I didn't realize is how grounding it can be when someone is willing to invest their time and empathy to address you directly and map out practical steps for a focus. This is far different from reading an impersonal article, especially during times when I, myself, am not suffering from a given experience.

While each point is helpful, these stood out for me:

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*may sound cheesy but have a few "happy places" you can go to mentally very quickly. Some of mine are thinking of the dogs running free at a dog park I go to sometimes, calm winter morning where I'm getting up lazily to the smell of coffee and maple syrup and bacon, etc. 

Great examples. I can go there with you on these immediately, and I can come up with some of my own. 

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*creative outlets, especially if it uses both your hands, really good for your brain. Music, painting, baking, crafting etc. 

*grounding. I use various methods. Anything that helps bring you in your body and now. My cat, I joke she's a therapy animal, but she kinda really is. I use making tea, holding ice cubes, yoga. 

*laughter. Gotta find humour when you can. Can be the silliest thing, but it's not frivolous, it's really good if you can find a laugh

*your people. Make time to be around them, hug them, connect on that basic level. Don't be afraid to ask for extra love..

*giving. Give and help where you can. It not just nice it's healing. It helps forge those new pathways in processing this new jarring information. 

Pursuing each of these and finding them helpful to pull me back into myself.

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*connecting to a larger power. Don't have to be religious nor believe in heavenly rewards. You own personal connection to bigger than human. For me, it's nature. I watch the northern lights. I gaze at the moon. I love nature walks. It reminds me humans aren't the be all end all. 

This is especially helpful, as the 'larger power' term has become so hackneyed. I like the 'larger context' of moving my mind beyond humans.

I will pursue your recommended reading, and there is so much else in your post that is so helpful. I will revisit as needed. Thank you again, IAG, and (((Big HUG))).

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On 4/6/2022 at 11:45 AM, boltnrun said:

Thankfully you cannot fathom doing those things to other living creatures. It shows you are a human with empathy, kindness and love towards other living things.

Oh, yes, and thank you, Bolt. It's not always romantic love or private losses that can be so painful.

Sometimes it's a stunning inability to recognize a trace of humanity in cases of so-called human behavior.

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What I've chosen to do is donate money and things to humanitarian efforts. ...

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It's not saving lives but it helps just a bit. It makes me feel like I'm fighting against those who perpetuate atrocities and help in a small way to defeat them. I can't physically fight but I can put my dollars and extra items towards helping.

Perfect way to see generosity as our best revenge. Thank you for this, Bolt!

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13 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

Perfect way to see generosity as our best revenge. Thank you for this, Bolt!

They're trying to tear us apart and make us enemies of one another. If we do what they want, they win. So I'm determined to love my neighbors near and far and see them as humans. Their differences don't make them evil. 

I will not, however, provide aid and/or comfort to those perpetuating these atrocities. They can starve, for all I care. Sorry, but that's how I feel. Some orders should not be followed. I actually quit a well paying job because the owners wanted me to do things that go against my moral code. To me that would have been blood money. No, thanks.

I'm glad you're finding comfort in this community. There's some good folks here, no?

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On 4/6/2022 at 12:32 PM, Kwothe28 said:

It takes a special kind of psyche to do stuff like that. Soldiers in war, for example. You are literally living from today to tomorrow. You killing somebody, even kids, as much as it seems out of anything normal to us, to them, its just Tuesday. Its literally like M Bison said in "Street Fighter"

Thank you, Kwothe. Good example of the brainwashing that can turn a human into a sociopathic machine.

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Also, I would kindly recommend to just not watch the news. Not only just because it affects you dearly, but because but because they are precisely using it in order for you to be affected and distracted. As my brother said: "Just turn off the news and go talk to your neighbour, world would be a better place if we do that."

Question about what you meant here. Who are 'they,' and 'distracted' away from what, exactly?

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On 4/6/2022 at 1:03 PM, Blue_Skirt said:

You may want to read the book “Humankind – A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman.

I received it as a Christmas gift from a friend last year. I found it a fascinating book, it gives a new view on humankind, even though the images from Ukraine make me doubt seeing the good in people.

The images are unbelievable and difficult to watch and yet personally, I can’t not watch. I have to watch, even though I am crying while doing so. But I feel if I don’t watch, I turn a blind eye. Living in Western Europe, it is so difficult to accept that these atrocities are happening so close to home.

If seeing these images impacts you so much, it is better to not watch. You need to look out for yourself. Only you know how much you can tolerate, because you can’t unsee them.

What helps me to distract myself is cooking. I have cooked so much food recently and I am freezing and canning it. It helps me to calm down. Also, since Europe gets a lot of its oil and natural gas from Russia, I have switched my heating a few degrees lower, I have heard from more people who are doing the same. Already since COVID, I don’t go places where I don’t necessarily need to be, so I use less gas for my car and I will continue doing that. Less demand for oil and gas, less money available for war. I donated money to Unicef, because children are always the hardest hit by wars and children are our future.

Please take good care of yourself!

Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Blue_Skirt, here as well as in your overall contributions.

I appreciate your perspective living so much closer than me to this war.

Also, I'm glad to see your recommended book available as audio, because I'm a morning walker. I can certainly use early doses of hope that are based on historical study.

Well wishes to you, and thank you again for your care and generosity.

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23 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

I'm sorry, catfeeder.  Grisly photographs and news of murdered civilians while standing in bread lines, killing civilians as they fall to the ground with spilled potatoes out of a bag,  raping women and girls in front of their families and executing them, knowing they're without heat, food, water and desperate refugees fleeing for their lives is extremely disturbing for me, too.  😡 ☹️  This is what war is. 

I have several newspapers subscription deliveries to my house.  Viewing horrific war scenes is depressing and scary indeed.  It's reminiscent of all wars for centuries.  Times haven't really changed at all.  It's the same torture, rapes, executions, suffering, death, starvation and fear.  War is war. 

It's universal that most people are consumed with their own troubles, survival and daily lives.  It's easy to grow numb to other people's harrowing and dire plights which is human nature. 

I too have difficulty with the reality of some beasts in this world.  Creatures who inflict this level of indescribable cruelty defies comprehension. 

Cherylyn, it's generous of you to put yourself through the discomfort of noting exactly what you've been absorbing and experiencing along with all of us.

I can't thank you enough for that, and for expressing your understanding of why these acts can't simply be ignored as hyperbole rather than recognized as actual crimes of deliberate cruelty.

This is not some naive statement behind an unawareness of history, but rather, clarity about contemporary laws, rules and norms designed to prevent the civilized world from tolerating such acts.

These human beings were not unintended casualties, they were tortured. On purpose.

That's not a yawner for me, and thank you so much for letting me know that I am not alone, and that it is certainly not one for you, either.

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On 4/6/2022 at 2:58 PM, Lambert said:

It is very hard to witness and impossible to understand. It is overwhelming. You're not alone Cat.

I try to limit my access to the news.  I wish there were more I could do.  It's very hard to cope with those feelings of helplessness and even knowing what should be done. Other than it shouldn't happen.

We talk so much on here about how we can't know what another person thinks or does. How to stop a madman?

Hang in there best you can.  Endure and save yourself for better days. ❤

Thank you so much, Lambert. Yes, the word 'impossible' coupled with 'understand' is the perfect  explanation for WHY this is so overwhelming.

It's not that humans haven't done this before, but rather, NO amount of historic perspective can somehow translate these acts into 'old news' or unworthy of careful examination and responsible address by all who consider ourselves members of civilized societies.

The valid and beautiful human beings being deliberately snuffed out at will are NOT 'collateral damage'.

Thanks again for your helpful kindness, Lambert.

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21 hours ago, mylolita said:

Hey Cat,

All I can say is I’m so sorry, so sorry for what is happening and how it is affecting everyone, especially those there living it.

I completely get where you’re coming from. I think anyone with half a heart is feeling sick to their stomach, worried and losing sleep at the moment. 

Me and my husband know a solider who was quite high up who did three tours in Afghanistan for the British Army. I’m going to spare the details but this is a terrible side fact of war. Two Taliban members, they knew they had done something atrocious, so when him and another comrade got their hands on them, he told me and my husband “We didn’t make it quick”. If it makes you feel any better these two guys were pure evil and probably deserved whatever they got. But! It goes in circles. Some soldiers will be total psychopaths. Most are just ordinary people doing their job. Some get caught up in the high intensity of being in the middle of a war zone and it gets t*t for tat. 

As others have said, try not to watch the news. Try to distract yourself, as selfish as that may seem, but you have to preserve your own mood and well being through all this.

I am normally a person who leans over to the pessimistic side of things, but, y’know, this might be wishful thinking on my part Cat but I just have a feeling things might be starting to change and we can get over this and the end of this year and next year might be much brighter once we come out the other end. Russia has lost all credibility, they have threatened and now it’s costing them far too much; they can’t afford it, they don’t have the military technology, the rest of the world has stuck together, Ukraine never rolled over. I believe we can come out of this another lesson learnt, appreciating our democracy, safety and freedoms like never before. I think good will win, I really do.

Like yourself and others maybe here, I am unfortunately not religious, I have no other comfort to look up to the sky for, but I do think, in humanity, the good outweighs the bad. 

We’re all gonna pull through this. I think Russia is doomed now. It’s getting knocked down a few pegs. We thankfully might not hear from them again! I don’t know, I’m just suddenly feeling more optimistic about the future. 

Think of all the people who got away, think of all the lives that have been saved, think about the surge of help and warmth most people have addressed this with. Not all hope is lost.

Treat yourself if you can. Even if it’s a lovely cup of coffee, a cat nap, a hot bath, a good book, a daft comedy film, a meal out, a new something you fancied, a walk somewhere outside that is peaceful, listen too your favourite album, cook or bake, re-vamp your garden, re-decorate! Hobby, craft! Anything to keep yourself in good spirits and to take your very humanitarian, kind and lovely mind off things. It is helping no one there and especially not you to think of such things. I can’t stress this enough again but: it helped me massively, turn off the news. Don’t talk of it all the time to friends and your partner unless you really feel like it will therapeutically help you.

I got into a bad habit of every night, after putting all our babies to bed, I would off load all my worries and frets onto my husband about, what will happen now and how bad can this get and I would work myself up into an even bigger mental frenzy. In the end my husband said, what can we do? Please Lo; let’s not talk about it unless you really feel it will help you. Let’s put an upbeat movie on. And he was right, it gradually has helped.

All the best Cat, we are all in the same boat going through the same feelings. So much support and well wishes your way. There will be an end to this, let us hope it is soon, we can look forward to the day this is a memory we can let fade into the distance.

x

Big 'x' back at you, my-lovely-Lolita, and thank you. I really appreciate that you would characterize yourself as normally pessimistic, and yet stretch yourself here for all of us to identify the most optimistic ideas you can share.

That means so much to me, as does your (and your husband's) personal perspective on using careful discretion about the therapeutic value of our discussions at this time.

I agree. I'm not interested in the small stuff of debates or positioning during such a monumental period of urgent need for unity and support and healing.

Thank you again, so much, Lo.

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13 hours ago, mylolita said:

Enjoy your trip with your friend! The best idea! What are you gonna wear? 🤣

Sorry, my clothes obsession slipped out! 
 

Hah! Very funny. I'm wearing whatever fits these days.

Let's just say it's been a cruel winter.

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1 hour ago, catfeeder said:

Question about what you meant here. Who are 'they,' and 'distracted' away from what, exactly?

I am not a big conspiratorial guy, but this is not a big one to believe. Every country has their own sets of issues. When you put war and everything else like "The Oscars Slap" aside, you would have to deal with high gas prices(would probably still happen without war), housing market going insane, lots of people losing jobs either due to Covid or other factors, inflation where some stuff like vegetable oil have gone double even though your salary hasnt been raised too much etc. So "shocking news" serves to occupy you not to think about other stuff going on. It sells good and serves for you not to think about other aspects of your life that are far more important for you in general and that would probably cause you unrest otherwise.

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6 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

inflation where some stuff like vegetable oil have gone double

The rising price of vegetable oil is a direct result of the war. Ukraine is the worlds’ largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil. Ukraine has a very rich soil. Ukraine (and Russia) are also large wheat producers. Both countries have exported 25% of the worlds’ wheat in 2020, so I expect prices of bread are going up as well in best case scenario. Worst case scenario is hunger in the poorest countries of the world.

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3 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Being disagreed with is the last thing we need to be upset about. In fact, people not being able to tolerate one another's opinions and needing to have the last word is a huge part of why the world is the way it is.

Yep. Certain dire subjects constitute a ''...Sooo not the point...' zone.

Like showing up at a funeral to heckle the family about who published the obituary.

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Tolerance, acceptance and even celebration of our differences of opinion is a much better way to go. How boring the world would be if we all liked all the same things and had the same opinions!

I agree that there is a huge difference between opinion versus a certain inalienable premise, such as torture and mutilation being 'wrong'.

There are certain levels of gravity where no debate can exist without, at very least, a key starting point.

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One positive I've taken from these awful crimes against humanity is I'm learning more about the world around me.  For example, I thought Azerbaijan was a city in Iran, not a country. Learning more every day so I can try to be a better person.

Thank you for this, and yes. I recall at the start of Covid where none of us knew at shutdown whether we would emerge as one of the already-exposed cases.

I vowed that if 'not,' I would strive to become a better person.

Of course, that's a worthy goal regardless of circumstances, but I look back on it as a quaint way of saying, "I can't focus on possible death right now, I still have so much improvement to do!"

You always help to lift me, Bolt.

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4 hours ago, Seraphim said:

It is so so difficult I understand. We can’t unsee what we have seen and the brain runs with it. 

I have gone so far as to have bags packed in case the world gets worse. 

If you have chance take  long walks which are really good for keeping us rooted in the present moment . ❤️

We are here for you. 

Thank you, luv. Not long ago we might have viewed packing bags as an extreme, yet we witness people needing to do this so often.

I'm not being trite with this question: given that you are in Canada (correct?) where would you go?

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1 hour ago, Kwothe28 said:

I am not a big conspiratorial guy, but this is not a big one to believe. Every country has their own sets of issues. When you put war and everything else like "The Oscars Slap" aside, you would have to deal with high gas prices(would probably still happen without war), housing market going insane, lots of people losing jobs either due to Covid or other factors, inflation where some stuff like vegetable oil have gone double even though your salary hasnt been raised too much etc. So "shocking news" serves to occupy you not to think about other stuff going on. It sells good and serves for you not to think about other aspects of your life that are far more important for you in general and that would probably cause you unrest otherwise.

Thanks, Kwothe, but can we not trivialize genocide as a media stunt?

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8 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

Thanks, Kwothe, but can we not trivialize genocide as a media stunt?

I don't think that's fair. He's not trivializing genocide. I don't think anyone here is. He's elaborating on the point he made earlier. His point doesn't invalidate the importance of yours.

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3 hours ago, boltnrun said:

They're trying to tear us apart and make us enemies of one another. If we do what they want, they win. So I'm determined to love my neighbors near and far and see them as humans. Their differences don't make them evil. 

I will not, however, provide aid and/or comfort to those perpetuating these atrocities. They can starve, for all I care. Sorry, but that's how I feel. Some orders should not be followed. I actually quit a well paying job because the owners wanted me to do things that go against my moral code. To me that would have been blood money. No, thanks.

I'm glad you're finding comfort in this community. There's some good folks here, no?

Yes, you and this community are a wonderful comfort and a huge help. I can so appreciate your laser focus on what is important in this instance, and your example is admirable, too.

Thank you!

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58 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

Thank you, luv. Not long ago we might have viewed packing bags as an extreme, yet we witness people needing to do this so often.

I'm not being trite with this question: given that you are in Canada (correct?) where would you go?

I have a secret word with my husband in case he tells us to leave ( we are a military family). The word comes from a Cold War movie that was popular. 
 

My husband’s aunt has 200 acres 6 hours north of me I would head up there. 
 

 

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16 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I don't think that's fair. He's not trivializing genocide. I don't think anyone here is. He's elaborating on the point he made earlier. His point doesn't invalidate the importance of yours.

I'm not up for debating news coverage over the gravity of human torture.

It's off topic. All are welcome to take that to a more appropriate thread, and thank you.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

I have a secret word with my husband in case he tells us to leave ( we are a military family). The word comes from a Cold War movie that was popular. 

My husband’s aunt has 200 acres 6 hours north of me I would head up there. 

Very smart, and unfortunately, not outside the realm of possible need.

I hope that such a Plan B has brought you a degree of comfort during your high anxiety times.

Edited by catfeeder
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I can’t express my sadness because of the war through words. Help is really needed for everyone. This topic in my opinion not only helped you but all of us. Thank you for opening up to us and I wish us all better and warless days.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, wealthydior said:

I can’t express my sadness because of the war through words. Help is really needed for everyone. This topic in my opinion not only helped you but all of us. Thank you for opening up to us and I wish us all better and warless days.

Big thank you, WD. You're right, we all need to find our way in processing this. Supporting one another is a start, and I'm with you in envisioning better days ahead.

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52 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

Very smart, and unfortunately, not outside the realm of possible need.

I hope that such a Plan B has brought you a degree of comfort during your high anxiety times.

Every day that goes by it gets worse and the opportunity for further extended conflict grows. It isn’t looking good, one mistake or over step and well..

 

I think a serious think and planning for a plan B is prudent . If we never need it great , if we do I will be one step ahead. 

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My son has a vacation planned for a country in Eastern Europe this summer. He's an adult so I certainly can't ask him not to go. Fortunately he's already got a Destination B in mind that is further from the war.

It might seem selfish to worry about my own child at this time, but I will always worry about him. I want him to be safe and loved. I honestly don't care about my own safety (which may sound ironic given my extreme fear of Covid) but I would die a thousand times before I would want a hair on his head harmed. That's just how it is.

I'll never be able to just dismiss innocent people being harmed, particularly children and older folks. There's never a need to hurt any of them. Especially when it's just to further an insane dictator's greedy desire for power.

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Catfeeder, I appreciate your compassion for others.  Thank you.

Even though a lot of people are shocked and feel helpless regarding other people's perils, it's also human nature to be apathetic if it's not one's fight to fight meaning as long as your life is not in danger and you have basic necessities such as peace, jobs, food, water, shelter and a decent standard of living, many people do what is naturally expected which is continue living a daily, normal life.  It's a sobering side of human nature.  People feel sorry.  However, even though no one wants to admit it, we're usually only concerned about individual or household survival.  It feels as if another country's war or danger is so far away and many people feel removed from it.  In other words, it always happens "over there."  As much as we feel very sorry, no one (or very few) people are willing to risk their lives for someone else unless they've been invaded and we need to defend our territory.  No one wants to send their son, husband, father, friend, relative or loved one off to war and let's not forget that some countries have nukes so it's a delicate line to navigate.  Sanctions and aid?  Yes.  Are you willing to sacrifice your life or your loved one's life for another country's desperate situation?  NO.  This is the harsh reality check of human nature and our concern for our own survival. 

Hopefully, your mind will calm down if you do what I do which is practice gratitude and count your blessings.  As soon as I become very thankful, atrocities are not a constant forefront in my mind.  It's beyond my control.  War and suffering happens.  All I can do is help in my own way.  My community requests supplies for Ukraine so various organizations have stepped up and we do our part in this capacity. 

 

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I don't dismiss anyone's perspective. I just choose not to be apathetic and to not feel that I am not going to be concerned just because something's not directly affecting me. I have to do something, even though I can't actually join the military and fight because I'm too old. Same with other causes I've marched for. I'm not directly affected but I choose to not remain silent to do whatever I can to make my voice heard.

I would never say everyone HAS to be affected and HAS to get actively involved because they don't. This is just what I choose to do. I feel that even though I'm not wealthy I am still fortunate, and I would like to pay it forward.

I do hope everyone hugs their families and cherishes them because as we've seen, we could lose those we love far too easily.

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