So, who among us doesn’t remember exactly what we were doing on the fateful morning of September 11, 2001? I know what I was doing, exactly. In fact, that day is one of the few days in my life that I can remember almost every moment, from the time I woke up until the time I finally cried myself to sleep.
The company I worked for at the time was in the process of a merger, and that morning, the new HR department had come to the office to explain our new benefits packages and to have us complete all of the paperwork. As we sat around, munching on donuts, bagels, and other fattening delights, we casually filled out our paperwork at the instruction of our new HR rep.
“Can I get your attention, please?” he almost whispered. “There is something very serious happening in the United States right now.”
At that point, I almost laughed, thinking he was making a bad joke. You have to remember, at that point in my life, I had never experienced any real serious threats to national security, at least not one that would hit so close to home. Up until that day, any terrorist activity, war, or other threats to our society had always seemed so far away.
Anyway, the big boss continued, “An airplane has hit the World Trade Center.” At that point, we turned on the TV in the conference room, and shortly afterward witnessed the second plane hitting the second tower.
In that instant, all I could think about was getting to my son. He was in daycare, and I wanted to drop everything and leave. Instead, I stayed and watched the security I’d always taken for granted as an American slip away.
I worried about my parents, both of whom were supposed to be on airplanes that day. (My father ended up driving, and my mother ended up stranded in Ohio.) I worried about my brother, who was currently in a Navy submarine. (That night, he called me and told me that he was going to be gone for a long time and that he was scared. This, of course, scared the living shit out of me since I’d never seen or heard my brother being afraid of…well, anything.)
I worried about the exchange student at my mom’s house, who I later picked up from school and stayed the night with since Mom was stranded in Ohio. I worried about myself, and my world. It truly felt like it was all slipping away.
As the days passed by during those first two or three weeks, I could do nothing but work and watch the news. I cried all the time, especially any time I heard the National Anthem, or any other patriotic song, but also each time I learned of yet another death or heard a new heartbreaking detail of the horror we’d just experienced as a country.
One day, while we were eating dinner, my son heard music (a completely unrelated song) coming from the TV in the other room. His eyes got big, and he put his hand on mine and said, “Are you gonna cry now, Mommy?”
Well, folks, let me tell you…he might as well have knocked me upside the head, because it was a HUGE wake up call. I realized then that I better get it together, for his sake. So I did, or at least pretended to, and eventually I managed to get my head back on the right track.
That horrible day will be forever etched into the heart of this nation, each of us remembering in our own way, but all of us remembering collectively too. I know that I, for one, will never, ever forget.
One effect of this act that I don’t believe the terrorist bastards counted on is this: we, as a nation, as a people, are stronger for it. I believe that our patriotism has been strengthened, and I know that I, for one, feel even more proud and more blessed to be an American.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.