Thursday, February 10, 2022


I heard something on TV the other night that rang true. I was watching a documentary and one of the participants mentioned that “Hurt people, hurt people”. To put that in context, he was talking about growing up in a family with abusive relations, and he was referring to the fact that most abusers were abused themselves. People who have been hurt tend to hurt others. I'm not going to cover victims of abuse; that's a topic for a professional and would take years to cover properly. If you are one of those victims, please seek help and do what you can to break the cycle.

I know some out there are thinking “What's this got to do with prepping?”, but unless you're stranded on an island with nobody else around, you're going to be dealing with people. In times of crisis, you'll be dealing with people more than most of us do on a daily level, and it will be face-to-face rather than on a phone or computer. Interpersonal communications is one of the casualties of our modern society; the growth of electronic devices has made it easier to communicate, but has taken the “personal” out of the equation. Any of the scenarios that shut down electronic communications (EMP, CME, large-scale disaster, war, etc.) will put the “personal” back, so you need to be ready for it.

I'm old enough to have grown up before the internet. I was in high school when personal computers became available; I've watched the evolution of how people communicate, and it hasn't always been for the better. The anonymity of typing on a keyboard, saying whatever you want to whoever you want, is a recent development. For most of history and in times where those electronic devices aren't available, saying most of the things I see online would and will result in a very personal response. Spout off to the wrong person without a computer screen between you and someone is going to get their ass kicked.

The people that you meet are more than just the face and body that you can see: they have a history that is unknown to you until you start to interact with them. Watch for the “coping mechanisms” like drug/alcohol abuse that many use to dull the pains they've accumulated. Our bodies produce some potent drugs of their own, so the adrenaline junkies and sex addicts are in the same category as the town drunk and the local meth heads.

Humans are animals with a touch of the ability to reason. We can rise above our basic nature, but it takes effort, training, or a belief system that teaches us that we're “above” the animals. Wounded animals are dangerous -- they will lash out at anything near them in their pain -- and wounded humans aren't much different, because pain of any sort can strip away the desire or ability to rise above our basic animal nature. The source of that pain can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combination of those, and all of those are common in times of crisis. Some people can recover from injuries, but others can't. Sometimes the injury and the pain is just too deep and they carry it for the rest of their lives. This will affect how they deal with others and is something you need to watch for.

None of this is written as an excuse for bad behavior. I'm not making excuses for assholes; just be aware that some people are the way they are because of things that you're unaware of and probably can't affect. You need to find ways to deal with people of all types in order to get things done after TSHTF, and they're not all going to be easy to deal with.

Start practicing now by getting some experience dealing with people on a personal level. My current job has me interacting with customers 10-20 times a day. I'm in a rural area where everybody knows everybody, so it's easier for me to relate to people on a personal level. Some of my customers are pleasant and courteous, while others are assholes; I deal with them as best I can and try to learn a bit from each of them. Remember that even an asshole is useful; if nothing else, they're a good example of how not to act. 

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