Collective black PTSD escalates perceived conflict.

Dallas, TX

As a teenager, I was a victim of an assault. For many years thereafter, I carried weapons. Whenever I spoke to anyone about the event, they’d suggest that I seek counseling — which I resented — because I was wanting their support against the aggressor. But no amount of “justice” heals the victim. When I finally sought counseling, I was told to “bless” my defensive tendencies, which counterintuitively allowed me to stop anticipating assault from every direction. I have finally learned that the most effective way to disarm a stranger is with a smile and a friendly word.

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