Stepping into the shoes of others

So recently I have been sleep deprived, experiencing some major life changes, and of course, the usual post-partum hormones and I started to have some rage towards my innocent daughters. Of course, I know it is not their fault. For example, it is not my 3-week old daughter’s fault she needs fat to sustain early life and so she gets up every 2 hours to my great dismay. My other daughter gets up all the time and is not a self soother because we never trained her for sleeping and now almost 2 years old, she needs assistance and cries a lot when her needs are not met. Add that crying onto the every 2 hour wakings from the infant, and you have a lethal combination of frustration – mix in lack of sleep and sheer exhaustion, add daily annoyances like dealing with bills, errors in billing, health care costs, reduced income due to maternity leave, and house guests, and that makes for a lethal formula.

So during those late night feedings, I try to think of fun things like movies. I could not remember the name of this one movie I loved – they did a Bollywood remake of it called “Mann”. Yes, while “An Affair to Remember” is not how my life is, at least I still have my legs, during late night feedings, I also contemplate how people cope with daily life. Especially since I hear about people committing heinous crimes like going on a killing spree or killing their own children, I start to wonder and start to imagine what their lives are like. I used to be a criminal defense attorney but I represented relatively sane, average people and no one who committed murder. But I started to think to myself, what is going on in their lives that produced a lethal formula for them? Did a chemical or hormonal imbalance add to that already weakened state? Moreover, I think to myself, if even the strongest person could break from the pressure, what’s to say that the already predisposed couldn’t be pushed over the edge even easier? So, I know they are predisposed and then a combination of items can push them over the top. It is interesting because in law school I studied the insanity defense at length and learned it even better representing those accused of crimes but, M’Naughten’s Rule applies narrowly and it seems to require the person to not be able to distinguish right from wrong. So, I wonder what the reasonable person standard is when applied to a person who has completely lost rationale thought – what goes through a mom’s head as she drowns her own three children? Does anything go through her head or is she just nuts?

I mean, I got mad at my 2 year old last night and within seconds, cried, hugged her and said momma was sorry. It was 2am. But, what would it take for a person predisposed to crime and insanity to just snap? I hope I never have to step into the shoes of someone who has committed such heinous crimes to offer a defense because it is tough but I have to say, after 3 weeks of not sleeping well, and going through some changes, experiencing other stressors, and two crying kids at home, I can somehow understand the factors that may contribute to a person snapping. Granted, I have it great compared to the people who may go through this but I still can’t help but wonder what makes people just go … well, nuts.

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