Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does witnessing violence leave you all shaky?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26920 points ) June 15th, 2012

Just saw an altercation developing in a convenience store parking lot between two men and a woman. The woman seemed the most upset, screaming and she kept shoving the men apart, even though it didn’t really look to me like either of them was out for the other guy’s blood. I got out of there and called the convenience store and said, “You have a situation developing in your parking lot.” I’ll ask them later what it was all about.
It’s been a half hour since I witnessed it, and I’m still a little shaky. Is that some sort of instinctive reaction, or am I just a pansy?

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32 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

No, that’s a totally instinctive reaction to a traumatic event. That’s not being a pansy, that’s having human biology.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t like it. :(

Aethelflaed's avatar

Neither do most people.

bkcunningham's avatar

Unless it is football or boxing, I don’t like violence. It makes me feel sick at my stomach to witness “ordinary” people coming to blows.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why is that? Does the adrenalin start pumping in case you’re going to wind up in the middle of it?

SuperMouse's avatar

We were driving down the street a couple of days ago and saw and man and a woman walking, the woman was carrying a child. The man was obviously very upset and agitated and before we knew it he had hauled off and punched the woman in the side of the head. We pulled over and called the police. It was horrifying and it took me quite a while to stop shaking and calm completely down. Even at the end of the day I was thinking about that poor woman and her child and hoping the man was arrested. Yes, it makes me shaky.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How horrible, @SuperMouse. Sick, sick people.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, although I would most likely risk harm to myself if I witnessed a violent situation unfolding that involved women or children and as long as there were no weapons involved. I’d pick up a stick and nail the perpetrator to defend the innocent victim if there was a good chance of making a difference. Violence brings out our fight or flight reaction with all the self preservation of adrenaline rushing into our system to give us the best chance of survival or the speed to flee.

I intervened in a situation a few years ago and took a child from his psycho drugged out mom who was driving erratically down the highway. The woman almost ran me down with her vehicle but took off and left her 8 yr. old son with me after I refused to allow him back in the car with her. Crazy!

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s unreal @Coloma!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III It was, but it is also amazing how well we can respond from pure instinct. Yes, this woman then went home, passed out and woke up and couldn’t remember what happened to her son! The police picked her up later that day based on my description of her vehicle while she was aimlessly driving around looking for her son! Sad and crazy as it gets!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can NOT imagine getting drunk or druggied while I had my kids. Can’t imagine doing it now, and they’re grown.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. Getting shot in the head left me shaky for a few seconds but not as shaky as the person who shot me was after I finished with them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How did you manage to beat someone up when you were shot in the head @Lightlyseared?

Aethelflaed's avatar

It’s basically a fight, flight, or freeze response. (Yes, it’s actually fight, flight, or freeze, not just fight or flight.) Your body switches from using your parasympathic nervous system, where you can chill out, read a book, digest some food, pick some flowers, etc, to your sympathetic nervous system, floods your body with adrenaline, and sends you into FFF mode. It can take awhile to come down to your baseline again, though you can help it with things like deep breathing (no, this isn’t some New Age crap, it actually triggers the parasympathetic nervous system back into play), bubble baths, a glass of wine, watching comedy movies, and other relaxing activities.

Coloma's avatar

@Aethelflaed True. I forgot the time I came face to face with a mountain lion behind my barn one summer night.
Yep, it was the big freeze, we both froze and then, after a few tense moments it just turned and walked away. I then backed sloooowly down the hill towards my house and turned and RAN like a freakin’ Gazelle! Freeze and flee, no fight with that cat! lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

Kind of like the end of my video here! (This is the one that I’m editing. At the end of this I’m shooting the sky and the grass while I’m trying to shut the camera off. I cut that part out of the new one, which is uploading now. :)

linguaphile's avatar

It definitely shakes me up to see any violence. I can’t even watch violent movies or read about it. I’m sorry you all had to witness what you did!

The last violent situation I witnessed was one of my son’s girlfriend’s friends pulling a knife on someone in my own house last September. It took me several months to get over that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen. Just the most recent.
@linguaphile. Damn. What did you do when she pulled the knife??

linguaphile's avatar

@Dutchess_III I was asleep when most of the craziness happened—she threatened to stab herself, threatened to stab someone in the stomach and took swipes at others with a scissor. One of my son’s friends ran in to wake me up. I came out of my bedroom completely ice-cold calm. I was pissed. I glared at her crying with my biggest knife in her hand, looked around to make sure everyone was safe, but when she saw me, she dropped the knife and ran outside screaming.

Apparently, she was running wild, screaming and wasn’t paying attention and crashed her own psycho ass straight into the side of a police car. The kid who woke me up watched from behind a bush- she was restrained by 4 cops and taken to the hospital.

Poetic justice. Now she wants me to talk to her so she can apologize. Not gonna happen.

stardust's avatar

I hate witnessing aggressive beahviour/violence. It definitely leaves me feeling shaky.

ucme's avatar

I’d be shaking my dick in my hand if I witnessed the public lashing of rapists/paedophiles.
Yeah, I hate confrontation of any kind, leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.
That’s not to say i’d fucking lay you out if you threaten my family or steal my teddy bear Billy.

Blackberry's avatar

Nope, it’s more of a general sadness.

tinyfaery's avatar

Unfortunately, violence isn’t that out of the ordinary for me. I witnessed and experienced a lot of violence while I was growing up. Now it’s just saddening.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery. I’m sorry that that you had to experience that. My heart breaks for the children. :( They may be 28 years old, and in jail, and in my classroom, but I still see the children they once were, with no control over their world and I just want to kick something. Well. I do.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I was spanked a lot as a child. However, in my adult life I have only seen one fight between two men in a public place, and I, myself, was assaulted and beaten once. These are the only times I’ve witnessed violence.

I never spanked my children.

augustlan's avatar

I get very calm and efficient in traumatic situations. It’s only after they’re over that I fall completely apart. Then I’ll shake for hours.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Dutchess_III the round (from point blank) only grazed the side of my head, there was lot of blood but it didn’t even really leave a scar. And I didn’t beat him up… I lit a cigarette and told him very calmly with a smile that if he was going to have another go he’d better fucking kill me. He literally wet him self. Then decided to sit down and wait for the police.

augustlan's avatar

Wow, @Lightlyseared. You are lucky. And badass!

Lightlyseared's avatar

@augustlan then I got a lecture from the police and my manager on the proper way to respond during an armed robbery

Leanne1986's avatar

If the violence is between two grown men or two grown women then it doesn’t leave me shaky I don’t think (I haven’t witnessed alight in a long time though so I can’t be completely sure). However, recently I witnessed a woman hit her dog after she had tied the lead to her child’s buggy, taken her eye off both for a few minutes and the dog, trying to get closer to the woman, pulled the buggy (with child in it) over. The child screamed and the woman wolloped the dog. Whilst I understand that it was probably due to fear for the baby, seeing her hit the dog so hard made me feel sick and angry (I really wanted to hit the woman). So, consensual violence doesn’t bother me too much but violence towards someone/thing that can’t defend itself or hasn’t chosen to get into a fight (children, old people, animals, women etc) makes me feel sick.

Paradox25's avatar

No I don’t think you’re a pansy, especially with the way people are these days. I was never a big fan of violence, and this has caused me to do poorly in a few situations during the course of my life. After being around drunken people my entire life, and seeing the violence that usually breaks out in what should have been standard/happy scenerios such as wedding receptions, parties, bars, clubs, etc it is at the point now where I just avoid situations where alcohol is served. I don’t even like UFC, boxing or anything similar. I’m also extremely picky about whom I associate with these days as well, thanks to the violence/drama gene that so many people seem to have inherited.

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