You read about people with hard, brittle flaws, imperfections that wreck lives. You empathize with those people and feel pity for their friends and family, the real victims. Yet you’re secretly paralyzed with fear those flawed people have idiosyncrasies in common with you, characteristics of some heinous twin. You share with them an ugly familiarity so awful that you dare not discuss it with anyone. Not even yourself. Not consciously.

That recognition, though, resides below the surface, just far enough beneath a superficial layer of control that you know it will explode with an incomparable fury one day. The people you love most will be its victims as they helplessly watch you self-destruct in front of them.

The thing is, our stories—and yours for that matter—mean nothing if we have nobody with whom to share.  So we weigh the consequences of revealing our flaws versus the risks they might burst forth in a violent, uncontrollable eruption.

[Possible resources: newspaper articles/news stories about recent mass shootings, etc. Also, psychology texts re: deviance.]

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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