Hostage Negotiator or Hostage Taker?

This week my twin girls participated in the local Sheriff’s Youth Week. It’s a program for middle school students that want to learn more about how the sheriff’s department operates and all the different jobs within the department. They learn about detective work, physical fitness, tools of the trade, and a host of other things. The week culminated Friday with a field day style event with all the parts of the sheriff’s department, the fire department, and EMS team, a helicopter, horses, and military representation from the local Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard bases. It was quite a show, a very impressive set up. My girls visited all the displays with their friends while I watched from the tables in the shaded area, occasionally talking to a fellow parent about the heat or the annoying noise of the sirens from the different police and military vehicles at the event.

On the drive home my girls told me how much fun they had. One of the twins was very excited about the hostage negotiation set up. They took turns being the negotiator and being the hostage taker. She went into detail about both parts and finished up by saying, “Dad, I was a lot better at being the hostage taker than the negotiator.” I don’t know if I should be pleased that she’s a badass or scared. Haha. She’s youngest of six (technically only by one minute to her twin, but still the youngest). At the bottom of that totem pole, I would imagine that negotiating doesn’t come near as easy as taking hostages would. My twins are some of the sweetest, kindest girls you could meet, but they are both competitive and into athletics. And apparently, they can flip the switch when needed.

The last couple of years I have felt like a hostage to my mind. I used to be more of a negotiator in life, being able to handle things and finding resolutions to conflicts. Now I negotiate with my mind by going to therapy, taking my medications, and writing. It’s a slow negotiation with some days making good progress, some days going in reverse, and some days not wanting to negotiate at all. But it’s a negotiation I have to stay in actively. It’s a negotiation I have to win. But I am both the hostage and the negotiator. I am on both sides, trying to figure out how win.

Part of my issue lately is the things I need to do well at, I’m getting better at. The things I need to change, I’m doing worse at. It’s like I’m going in opposite directions from myself. I’m doing better with taking care of myself and my kids. I’m doing worse with dealing with society, stupid people, and my anger. I’m trying to negotiate with myself to be better when I go out in the world, to be able to be better sociably. I’m not there yet. I’m still trying to figure out how to negotiate that. I want to be better, but I want to protect myself. If I negotiate with myself to something out of my comfort zone, I leave myself vulnerable. If I stay in my own little world, I won’t get better.

I am the negotiator and the hostage, stuck in my own mind. But unlike my daughter, I don’t much care for being either one right now. But I will continue to figure it out. A couple steps forward, a couple steps back. One day at a time.

Thanks for reading. Good day, God bless.


15 thoughts on “Hostage Negotiator or Hostage Taker?

  1. What a wonderful analogy! Don’t be so hard on yourself ~ you ARE making progress even though it might not seem that way. PTSD is so complex and fluid, emotions constantly changing so that it’s often impossible to come up with a guaranteed fix. You’ve made great strides in just the short time I’ve been reading your blog. We are always our worst critics but in reality we need to be more accepting of who we are, how far we’ve come and where we’re going.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I had more to say but was a bit sick last night (allergy season). The program the girls participated in is excellent. When I read it I almost fell off the chair because one of my daughters attended a similar event while in high school in NJ. It left such an indelible impression that after graduation she worked surveillance in an AC casino while attending college for criminal justice. Fast forward, she’s been with the county SO for almost 7 years and loves it.
        You have so much to be proud of; service to our country, wonderful kids, and probably one of your most difficult battles ~ clawing your way out of the black abyss after a suicide attempt. The very fact that you can write about your feelings and emotions both good and bad, speaks volumes as to your progress for many people simply can’t talk about their PTSD. And may I add you write with conviction and power that is quite captivating.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What an awesome program for kids. I get the two steps forward three steps back. I wrestle still with not being thin skin. Turning a good situation into negative by stinking thinking. I am much better at it than I used to be. Still a work in progress. Hang in their Dave you must be doing something right those girls sound well balanced and happy.

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  3. Wonderfully written how you went from the scene with your girls to the part about yourself! And honestly, I bet most people struggle on how to deal with society, stupid people, and their anger–I know I sure do. I just keep breathing, reading, blogging, meditating, talking with friends, learning, growing, making mistakes and moving forward. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello,
    I would really like you to read my blog and give me your thoughts. My blog is about a returning soldier with PTSD and the struggles of everyday life. I have a passion for soldiers with PTSD and helping them overcome it. Thank you for your service and God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your lead in to the whole hostage/negotiator scenario is awesome. I definitely call that progression in healing. When you can see the similarities in vastly different situations, you are going forward. Keep writing, I truly enjoy your thoughts on paper.

    Liked by 1 person

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