Alienation and Aliens

When something senseless and horrific happens, people seek answers and understanding. They wonder, “How could this happen?” and “Why did this happen?”

Everyone struggles to make sense of the vile and heinous crime that has been committed. The evil involved is difficult to digest and impossible to accept.

One possible explanation is alienation. The English word incorporates the Spanish alienado and the French aliene which means insane. The evildoers become and feel separated, disconnected and estranged from others.They do not experience themselves as a part of their own universe, or as a part of the world. They feel like an alien and they are unable to assimilate to the world.

They become detached from themselves and out of touch. They no longer feel that they are connected to others or that they are part of the human race. They turn away and detach themselves from their family, friends and society.

Sensing a rejection by others they put them at a distance. They isolate themselves and separate themselves mentally and emotionally. In reality, they are the ones who feel lost and rejected. They become hostile and hateful. They are unprincipled and do not have a moral compass. They feel that they can break the moral law by a conscious act of deadly, malevolent treachery.

Once the crime and catastrophe has occurred, there can be a sense of unconscious guilt that you are not aware of, a sense that you failed them in some way. No matter how you might have cared for them or befriended them you could not have prevented them from committing their atrocious, depraved act of destruction.

Their abominable act can also generate feelings of anger and resentment. It is frightening to confront the degree of evil in their nature. It is difficult to fathom the depths of their depravity. You probably feel very vulnerable and unprotected. You will need to strengthen and enhance your own philosophy and create a way to cope with the unacceptable and repugnant aspects of life.

Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychtherapist. She can be reached at

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