The biggest most pervasive threat of all is HELL. I am not a Christian, but I am pretty sure that some version of hell shows up in most organized religions in that umbrella and basically nudges you in the “right” direction by painting a gruesome picture of burning hot eternal death.

Then there is Santa, watching you all year to determine whether or not you deserve presents. I’m not sure how effective that tale is, but I have heard parents, servers, and bell hops remind kids of their need to be .

We all have the end of our lives to look forward too, and even though it is absolutely inevitable the threat of a hastened death, or death caused directly by our choices, is a factor in lots of decision making.

In a way these universal, or broadly communal threats are less frightening than they might be. The collective fear, and dealing with fear makes it tolerable.

This week I read about a girl whose mother consistently threatened suicide. Imagining her as a small child, then an adolescent and then a mother herself I think how lonely it must have been to navigate a threat cloud alone. How much more effective it must have been to control her behavior, and instill guilt and fear than a song about Santa Claus’ list.

I’m glad to know that they both made it through.

Probably visited by Santa regularly.

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On a totally separate note I would like to trademark Storm Brewing if 280 people have not already started that business.

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.