By Patricia Lefave, Labelled, D.D.(P)
First posted Jan. 2006
Once upon a time in a city, there were a large number of people being "helped" by almost everyone, everywhere they went. I met one of them some years ago. At the time, she was very confused and in psychosis but came out of it and had quite a good mind; interested in learning more about life and also concerned with the well being of others around her.
Today, she has been successfully treated and responds to commands like a well trained lab rat.
If she does not follow every instruction given to her by others, group pressure is skillfully applied to get her back under control.
I was once also acquainted with her father. Her mother left many years ago, quite suddenly and her father has had sole "custody" ever since.
Her father "corrects" everyone for everything, feeling his is the only one who really understands what is right and how everyone should be. If others do not agree with him, in even the simplest and most meaningless matters, (he once told me the "correct" way to tie the shoes I had on) he gets quite angry and is not shy about showing you the contempt in which he holds you for your failure to co-operate with his judgements.
I once remarked to him lightly, that I had the same towel set as one he had in the bathroom but that I had not bothered to get all the rest of the accessories that went with them. He "corrected" that comment for me by telling me, while frowning disapprovingly, that he NEVER compared himself to other people. (as though he had NOT just done exactly that, and for a reason that I personally found quite ludicrous. )There had been no emotion in my casual commentary on towel sets, but there was plenty of emotion in his correction of it. I had not seen myself as engaged in a towel contest at all. It had about as much meaning to me as chatting about the weather or how the garden was growing.
I have previously noted though, that to such people life seems to be a contest they must "win" by invalidating anyone who says something, does something, feels something or is different from them in any way, often no matter how trivial.
Such people see this as a strength but I see it as a serious weakness. When someone feels that how I tie my shoes impacts on the comfort of his or her foot, he or she is the one who is out of touch with reality.
Now, back to his well loved but "crazy" daughter...
She is now in her late twenties. Her father must know where she is every minute. She is instructed to avoid talking to other people, especially anyone who suggests it is possible for her to be independent, healthy, or happy. She has been permanently psychiatrized for her "confusion" you see.
He has alerted the community at large to watch her movements and to call him if she talks to anyone or goes anywhere he doesn't know about or approve of.
She may go to the Library where the staff has been briefed to watch everything she reads. She has also been instructed by her father to ask staff if it's OK to read each choice, or if they think it is on the taboo list, which is apparently very long. (psychiatrists have a belief that there are certain things which are so concrete that the "patient" will not see any abstract ideas within. One day soon I will write out some passages from a child's book demonstrating this is not the case and is, in fact, impossible.)
She tells staff when she has to use the bathroom so that no one will "panic" if they don't see her there. She must call home from wherever she is at certain times to tell her father she is STILL all right. She tells her when to go home and she then informs her watchers of his decision.
The psychiatrist and the public all support this intense control, down to the most suffocating detail. The daughter is totally dependent on her father and all others involved and no longer even attempts to make her own choices about anything. She is very co-operative and compliant.
When she leaves places like the Library, the staff sometimes breathes a collective sigh of relief, sometimes remarking to each other, "She is Sooo..dependent. It is just exhausting to have to go through that with her for even a couple of hours. I don't know HOW her father does it all the time. He MUST be a saint!"
This is another "reality" show brought to you by the Psychiatric Faith, specializing in the self fulfilling prophecy, in the Theatre of the Absurd. As usual, the outcome is defined first, and eventually, if enough people work at it hard enough, for long enough, they will succeed in proving how right they were to "correct" anyone who did not share their "vision," of the poor incurable daughter, even if their vision is born out of group delusion.
Just for one day, put yourself in the daughter's place and feel it, remembering all the while, that if you show any negative emotions, it will most likely be considered to be signs of "disease process."