What is an adjective to describe the duality of a first responder (such as an EMT responding to a terrorist attack) who is terrified for the wounded, yet simultaneously calm, detached, and capable enough to give aid?
The following don't explicitly satisfy the terrified criteria; they are instead words that represent calmness under pressure. Terror could be construed to be a form of pressure.
Equanimity is defined as:
evenness of mind especially under stress
Its adjective would be equanimous.
Its synonym, sangfroid, is defined as:
self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain
While the dictionary does not note its adjectival properties, you can probably use it as one. A sangfroid calm is a reasonably common phrase.
Unflappable is similarly defined:
having or showing calmness in a crisis
They can be described as mechanical, stoic, businesslike, calm under pressure, or having icewater in their veins.
In French, this term is "sang-froid".
The adjectives calm, composed and equanimous already have the connotation of one being possibly in a terrible situation.
I like stoic for the given situation:
A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.
I like resolute. Definition from Google:
Admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering
Someone commented on the OP's question with steely and I think that best fits the situation and usage that you describe.
steel·y adjective /ˈstēlē/ steelier, comparative; steeliest, superlative Resembling steel in color, brightness, or strength - a steely blue Coldly determined; hard - there was a steely edge to his questions
Scared yet still willing and capable to do the right thing is pretty much the definition of bravery.
"Duality" of first reponder seems a bit nebulous. It's almost as if the word you seek is something akin to bedside manner: perhaps, gerney-side-fortitudinous; or trauma-scene-innured; perhaps even reassuring or self-assured; or just composed.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Nov 16 '12 at 19:19
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