A while ago I watched a horror movie called The Babadook. I have always enjoyed a good horror movie but always left wondering about the intelligence of those afflicted by the evil entities that are usually the mainstay of such entertainment. The Babadook, the evil demon, is risen from the pages of a children’s book by the mere mention of its name. It proceeds to unleash terror by inhabiting the body of a widow with a young son hellbent on destroying monsters. In one scene, the monster opens the bedroom door with intent to take over. Instead of jumping out of bed and giving all to getting out of the bedroom, the haunted woman puts her head under the covers in hopes the Babadook will leave. Helplessness seems to be a big part of the horror film genre. In the movie The Amityville Horror, a family inhabits a dream house in Amityville, New York that of course is haunted. Although the stairs are dripping blood and a voice repeatedly warns “get out” the family remains, hoping all will be well if they ignore or not read any serious meaning to the events. How one ignores bleeding stairs and warning voices in the night escapes logic.
Unfortunately, it is not only scary movies that bring red flags of need for action. Every day we are given red flags that its time to move on or make a change. Be it in a relationship, job or any other life event. We often tell ourselves it will get better, the symptom will go away or others will change. We live in our own fantasy land of delusion. As humans, we may often feel the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t. It takes guts to make a change as often we are leaping into the unknown and have no idea where we will land.
As a health care professional, I have had the fortune and the misfortune of working with and knowing victims of domestic abuse. I have heard one excuse after another of why they could not leave. I have witnesseed women return to their abusers telling themselves it will all get better. Fortunately, I have never had the experience of being a victim of domestic violence and I would hope I would have the determination and courage to leave a dangerous environment. However, unless one has lived it, no one can say with certainty the outcome of behavior. When we do not feel good or worthwhile within our own skins, it may be easy to allow others to hurt us as we do not feel our own worth. Red flags are warnings meant to save our lives. They are our signs along our road we must learn to heed. If they are seen early and taken seriously they can not only save our lives but help us to help others. When something feels uncomfortable or “off” it deserves further awareness. Look, listen and pay attention. When the boogie man knocks, get out.