Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Psychiatrists: You Taught Me How to Treat You

By Patricia Lefave, Labeled, D.D.(P)

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
Leo Tolstoy

This would appear to me to remain so, even if the ultimate outcome caused by the failure to admit the truth, and change their own minds, is the destruction of everything and everyone, themselves included.
Paranoid Patty

Psychiatrists like to tell patients things like the title of this essay. Well, not psychiatrists so much anymore, since that would be like talking to the patient, and that is now considered to be pretty much a waste of their time. I know that because I am one of those time wasters myself. I have not been able to get a response of any kind out of anyone for many years. In fact, no response at all is the favoured response.

Still, a lot of other mental health professionals like to say things like this expressed in the title of this essay as they are all part of the mental illness system’s platitudes used to correct the perceptions and reactions of the identified patient such as myself. Can one argue with such expertise after all? Not usually, no. For if one does, it will most likely be declared to be another ‘sign.’
Still, many like Dr. ‘Phil’, for instance, like to use this one quite a bit. “You teach people how to treat you.”

While going through this endless experience, one of the things I have learned is that trying to disagree with the system is pretty much pointless. So now, I always agree with everything they say. Like this now. I agree with you psychiatry. You DO teach people how to treat you. Now I will demonstrate for you what you have taught me about how to treat you. I will adopt this platitude for myself and make it the basis for letting psychiatrists in general know how it is from my point of view and just exactly what it is which I have been taught.

In my own case, when I first attempted to talk to you abut what was happening to me at the hands of a group of others (led by one person) I made a grave error. My error was caused by my then, naïve belief, that you were really listening, and that I was involved in a two way communication between equal human beings. (I can almost hear the guffaws of laughter as I write this. Wasn’t that uppity of ME? This is one of those ‘switched’ meaning type statements) Of course I was not communicating on that level but I didn’t know that then. What I was ‘in’ was an assessment ‘box.’

You were only listening for ‘noises’ like auto mechanics listening for a ‘ping’ of paranoia, unrelated to external reality. To keep the simile going, it was like being hit by a psychic Mack truck and then just sitting there listening to the auto mechanics telling each other that there was no Mack truck, and that they should all hunt together for another reason for my resultant smash up, preferably something exploding inside the 'vehicle', ( so to speak) so that no outside source would have to end up paying for any of the repair bill.
Right from the start it became the invalidation game; the never ending attempt to sidestep responsibility and hand it all to the victim. (Who of course, is not a victim)

There were a lot of interesting twists and turns to it though. Psychiatry has perfected a certain subtlety for itself that gives the whole system a patina of caring concern. Western society, I think, seems exceptionally good at putting on shows; at being actors with nice manners, ready smiles and acceptable sound bites. In fact, this talent is part of what gives the whole experience such a surreal aura. You all smile sweetly and talk in gentle tones (well, most of you anyway) while you invalidate the crap out of almost everything I say and feel. It is often just plain creepy from the patient point of view.

It is part of your teaching me how to treat you though. I also responded to stimulus like the behaviorist’s rats, caught in a trap, though maybe not in quite the expected way. However, I did learn, evemtually, how to stop trying to tell you the truth in any genuine, direct way as I recognized that you could not accept it, or handle it. Instead, I learned to approach you in a non direct, ever so gentle, and non threatening way, so as not to trigger your self defined ‘offensive’ and pre-emptive response system too quickly. I marvel that you believe ‘going on the offensive’ as you happily claim you are doing, is not heard by you for what it is.

Since you have decided that being seen as ‘offensive’ is good, I am here to tell you that you have been very successful in presenting yourselves in just that way. You are very offensive to me. You are much like countries which invade other countries, justifying it by claiming they do so, in case that OTHER country may decide, sometime in the future, to do the same to them. Of course THAT would be just awful if THEY did it! Since it would be wrong of THEM if they were to do it, they must be stopped before they do it.

I learned that psychiatry was filled to overflowing with circular arguments and anti logic, to the point that I literally could not tell the difference between my protagonist’s game with his intent to do me harm and those who did the same thing in the name of ‘help.’ You see from MY point of view (the one you don’t want to waste your time hearing about) there IS no difference. The little smiles look the same on all faces, even if the intentions and beliefs that produce those little smiles are very, very different.

Perhaps my own institutional psychiatrist will remember me telling him something about that? I said, “I can no longer tell what the little smiles on everyones' faces mean.” (Of course they denied all the smiles and that became another one of my many ‘symptoms’)For if there ARE no smiles, then my perception of that MUST be bubbling up from within my loopy head and "really' represent my feelings about myself, right? Whew! That got all the smirkers off the hook, declared non existent. .

I learned from you that I was basically invisible to you as the human being I actually am. It is a lesson I have learned before though from other autocrats who promote their own beliefs without questioning them and feel justified in doing so. I have learned that my invisibility has much more to do with you protecting YOURSELVES, your position and the system, than it has to do with deliberately attempting to harm me. Still, I AM harmed by your extreme defensiveness and your group arrogance, so from my ‘fascinating’ perspective, the results are pretty much the same aren’t they? In fact, your defensiveness BECOMES my problem by force, when you unload it onto me, using your ‘authority’ to do so, and redefining your own character trait as mine. It seems just a little tricky to me. Still, it is true isn’t it? We ARE BOTH ‘defensive.’

It is what we are each defending that makes the difference and that really matters, and not the abstract notion itself. You have taught me that you are not interested in examining your own errors. Maybe you would be more interested if you did not have the concrete power to deny them; to hide them, and to threaten anyone who threatens to expose them, or disagree with you. So, you have also taught me to fear all your unquestioned power and control. It is an important part of my ‘lesson.’

For your power, like my protagonist’s individual power, is all too real and far too complete. That is one of my problems with you and your ‘control’ system. One cannot reason with a machine, and like my protagonist, the system itself has become the machine which is swallowing people whole. You may remember the Jews who survived the Holocaust saying much the same thing; “You cannot reason with a machine.” There is a reason we who ‘think’ we are victims, compare our experience to the things that we do, including the Nazis and the Holocaust. Most of those supporting that system didn’t think there was anything wrong with what they were doing either. The system overcame them before they recognized what was happening. We are like those crying in the wilderness trying to warn you not to make the same mistakes over and over again, simply because you do not want to see what lies right in front of you.

I kept looking for reason or logic or the meaning of the ‘joke’ in what you did, because I had to find some way to make sense of your treating me like an object of entertainment. I had to find the sense somehow in your verbal abuses, your wild judgments, your group laughter and your open contempt. I felt compelled to give both my protagonist and the group supporting him (and very obviously enjoying themselves) the benefit of my doubts about their behavior and motivation for it. Of course, I know now, that reason had nothing to do with it right from the start. I didn’t know then, of course, everything which I know now.
What it is really about is power, control, groupthink, big egos, and the them and us mentality. So now, I understand you. You considered yourselves to be hidden from me while you acted out in front of me like hateful, arrogant, amused jackasses. I get that. I really do get it.

Of course, that is what the aggressor in my case actually expected you to do, and you didn’t disappoint him. He got the satisfaction of watching his victim break down under all that pressure and chaos (or being ‘torn down’ if you prefer the jargon of his so called training) while I remained bewildered by the reason for the attack in the first place. Of course HE knew there was 'no reason in what he did' since the point of his training if heard as an instruction, is to get one’s own way be being ‘unreasonable.’ (if you don’t believe me then by all means, look elsewhere for information on his game. Look to someone you CAN trust to be in touch with reality) He also got the satisfaction of watching all of you act out against his victim on his behalf, unaware that he had manipulated you to do just that. He also knew that if you realized what you had done and that you had been seen doing it, that the majority of you would deny it and try to blame the victim. Just as I have seen this group phenomenon before as a victim, so has my protagonist seen it, from inside his ‘secret’ training with it’s hidden agenda of domination.

Psychiatry of course, does not understand this. We as the victims of it are frequently asked by psychiatrists to explain WHY someone would want to do this and most of us don’t have a good answer to that question at the time. Why though should we be expected to be able to understand something that psychiatrists don’t really understand themselves? Of course, they only ask us this question as if they would ‘prove’ to us that it could NOT have happened since there would be no reason for someone to do it.

Do you get the ‘joke’ there? If it is not ‘reasonable’ it will be denied as reality. (Ho ho ho) When it is denied, the unreasonable get themselves off the accountability hook, destroy the life of their victims, and the only people who really know the truth about the situation are the original pair. The truly unreasonable ones, those who are trained to be unreasonable, plan their game so they can win first, then play the game; dysfunctional (or destructive) Pi. My protagonist allegedly tells people his training was the best investment he ever made. Why do you suppose he thinks that? Why don’t you ask him? Does this have a familiar sound and feel to you psychiatrists? Does it sound like the experience a lot of the people you label tell you they had and which you don’t believe or accept at face value? Do you think maybe that is because you have been trained NOT to hear it as truth?

We, don’t you feel too bad because the groups who get involved in this don’t understand it either. Usually the victims don’t fully understand it either and, as difficult as it may be to accept, even the aggressor don’t completely understand themselves. They stop looking for answers as soon as they get the limited ones they are looking for that allows them to feel powerful and superior. They don’t consider the fact that they are ultimately creating their own end as the result. They are too narcissistic to look that far ahead.

In this case though, this victim DOES understand it, and so does my attacker who planned it. He likely does not understand how it all works right to the end, or how he has caught himself in his own destructive Pi. However, my attacker at least understands it to a certain point; of that I am sure. I will cover that more thoroughly on The Guelph Mirror. ( link on the right side of this blog) But for the purpose stated for this essay, let me go back to focusing on how psychiatry has taught me how to treat it.

I will just give you a point by point list here for the sake of brevity which I may expand upon at a later time.
As far as who you REALLY are goes, you have taught me that:

1. You listen without really hearing.
2. You look for hidden meaning everywhere while proclaiming that doing so is in fact, a sing of mental illness.
3. You seem to believe that emotions are a disease. (unless they belong to you of course)
4. You believe that you understand the experiences of others, (even if you played no part in their lives at all ) and that you understand them BETTER than the individual who lived it.
5. You believe there is such a thing as abstract truth for all (except you of course) and that you can make people fit quite nicely into you abstractions.
6. If anyone disagrees with you or expresses a dissenting opinion, the fault can only be found in them, and not you.
7. You like lots of power and want even more of it so you convince yourselves that you only want it for the sake of helping others.
8. You don’t really understand what genuine, direct communication actually is.
9. You can’t be trusted. You will claim to be honest while simultaneously operating ‘covertly’ in an attempt to define reality for others.
10. You are quite willing to lie and cover up for others doing the same, excusing it by telling yourselves that the end justifies your means. It's 'for their own good.'
11. You believe that a ‘covert’ assessment arrived at by a combination of authority and group consensus, is a legitimate means of defining reality for someone else, (a ‘subject’) who is often completely excluded from the process.
12. You’re not interested in my point of view except as a way of entertaining yourselves or perhaps, looking for ways to invalidate it.
13. Validating your own point of view on other people’s experience of reality is a top priority.
14. You think that humoring, patronizing, threatening, coercing and abusing power is acceptable behavior depending upon WHO is doing it.
15. You think talking directly to me is basically a waste of your precious time.
16. You are unaware that ‘normal’ people often like to get their own way by devious means, or often conceal abuse, since it would not be ‘reasonable’ if they did. You like to see most people as ‘reasonable” especially if they have certain status, titles, money or positions.
17. You believe the lives of individuals can be evaluated as abstractions expressed in absolute terms.
18. You believe most often it is the perception of abuse that is the problem and not the abuse itself.

19. You basically cannot see or hear any difference between those who complain of abuse from others and those who perform acts of abuse upon others. In your self proclaimed omnipotence, you have denied both as psycho spiritual problems and proclaimed both sides to be the results (‘effects’ in the jargon of my protagonists) of 'brain disease ’comparable to ‘ diabetes.' (The poor pedophile can’t help it. He was just born that way and the raped, tortured and murdered child just doesn’t understand that) You people should be ashamed of yourselves; AGAIN!
20. You believe therefore in treating effects, or affects, not causes.
21. You want everyone everywhere to be ‘blameless’ as your ultimate goal. (Ok not really. You DO blame the victims for ‘whining’ about their abuse don’t you? But I guess we are not supposed to notice that are we? )
22. Though you vocalize your objections to the ‘victim stance’ you rarely vocalize your objections to the aggressor stance, as long as the aggressor keeps it ‘hidden’ and doesn’t talk about it. (How often do you hear psychiatrists 'whining' about aggressors, or harping away at families, and other groups for their lack of contrition, or for how long they will go on, and on, refusing to admit to anything or apologize for what they do? )
23. Hiding the truth you don’t like behind a façade of manners and smiles is very important to you. (Cults also direct everyone within them to smile inanely as a means of manipulation of others. People tend to smile back and assume good intentions. )
24. You don’t want your beliefs debated, especially by anyone you consider to be ‘less’ than you in either understanding or worth.
25. You want me to go along with your duplicity and your domination agenda or I will suffer more losses if I am not willing to do so.
26. You consider your own life and needs to be more ‘real’ and valuable than mine.
27. You are unwilling to confront your colleagues or employers with any truth they might not like, or which may upset them. You want to belong to the group more than you really want to deal with reality.
28. You take care of your own interests as your top priority. If forced to choose, personal politics always comes before the truth.

Of course you have taught me much more than this but I will stop here for now, so that by using the above list, I can show you what you have taught me about how to treat YOU in a non violent way, in return for you treatment of me. I will do this by the numbers people so that you won’t get ‘confused.’

My thoughts, responses and reactions to YOU on these points are as follows:

1. I stop trying to tell you what you can’t (or won’t) hear.
Because I know I am not speaking in ‘hidden’ meaning and that you are looking for alternate meanings in what I say, I find your assessment of the meaning of ‘looking for hidden meaning,’ absurd to say the least.
2. Your denial of similar feelings evoked by similar causes just screams ‘double standard’ at me. I am also aware that you are NOT aware of your obvious duplicity.
3. I hear and observe in you grandiosity in abundance, even while many of you claim that you are all over that now.
4. I am aware that you are subjectively projecting an abstract belief system onto me in an attempt to make my concrete experience ‘fit’ your beliefs. I am also aware that to do so, you MUST find a way to invalidate all of my protests and any evidence that is contrary to your own beliefs.
5. I recognize that to openly express disagreement is likely to result in more oppression, since in order to fulfill your need to be ‘the sane ones’ you will also need to define my disagreement with your presumed ‘sanity’ as insanity. After all, we are cast in adversarial roles aren’t we?
6. When I talk to you I am talking to your power addiction just as surely as when I am talking to the alcoholic, I am talking to the alcohol. Addicts of all kinds protect the source of their ‘fix’ as the top priority in their lives. All other relationships pale into insignificance compared to that.
7. There is no real two way communication (which is a necessity for real understanding) with people who already believe they know everything there is to know. There is only an illusion of communication. In reality all communication stops after the psychiatrist decides who I am by listening for the ‘noises’ of victimization being made by me.
8. Because I can no longer correctly differentiate between any truths you are telling me, and the manipulations, coercions and patronizing responses you employ in the name of ‘help’, you have taught me that I can’t trust you, period. You identify yourselves as among the last people I would be interested in willingly sharing my most intimate experiences and feelings. You will only use them, often publicly to shame me for revealing them to you. So, you have taught me to ‘humour’ you right back.
9. I know that you lie. It is not ‘hidden’ but if I show anger about that, I also know that my anger will also likely be invalidated as yet another ‘symptom.’
10. Any idiot knows what gossips do. Who expects to be able to work out a relationship problem by refusing to communicate directly? Well, apparently psychiatrists expect to be able to do that since the other side of the relationship is forbidden to speak or complain and the psychiatrist decides who I am FOR me.
11. I feel like I am invisible to you (and most of the people you involve) as a human being, because you have made it that way. You do not know what “I am a person’ means if I am the one saying it.
12. I see your resistance to the truth about yourself, your denial, your defensiveness, your arrogant certainty that you understand what you, in fact, DO NOT understand at all.
13. I believe that humouring, patronizing, threatening and coercing people over whom you have unquestioned power and absolute control is WRONG. No matter who is doing that, it is wrong, and wrong on principle. It has a mutually negative effect, whether the one CURRENTLY in the position of power recognizes it immediately or not. So when you do that to me, you push me AWAY from mutuality and TOWARDS the adversarial position.
14. I learn that talking to you is a waste of MY time too, since you are not interested in hearing what I have to say.
15. You have taught me that you are blind to the true nature of life as it is now; something a child could see is no longer seen by you.
16. Life is not an abstraction but is that which we live as individuals with other people involved. I know that if you believe you can reduce it like this, that I will have an extraordinarily difficult time trying to penetrate your bizarre belief. For when evidence does not move you, what will?
17. You are so turned around in your need to deny all of this that you blame the victim and excuse the aggressor as a ‘norm.’ The scary part of this is that YOU have been given the power to judge the reality of others. Others you do not even know. Very scary indeed.
18. You want to deny inequality as a huge part of societal problems and you tend to see the aggressor and the victim as equally ‘defective.’
19. You don’t recognize the causes of things as outside the ‘perceptions and reactions’ of the brains of individuals. It is as if you did not recognize the existence of external reality at all.
20. I know that I can’t relate to you if I dare ‘blame’ anyone for anything. That does a lot to silence me as far as talking to you goes. You don’t seem to know that blame means; ‘to hold accountable’ and that if we NEVER hold ANYONE accountable for ANYTHING, the effect can only be to keep the victim/aggressor relationship static. WHY don’t you know that? Why don’t you see the infinite loop that creates?
21. You have shown me that you focus on the perceptions and reactions of the victims as the problem and that you have little interest in focusing on stopping the aggressors. Is that because it is easier to deal with the passive ones than the aggressive ones? It would seem so. That leaves me handling the aggressors alone as well as being told I cannot even talk about it without being attacked for it.
22. You taught me that if I plaster a smile on my face and don’t show any negative emotions (or even ‘too much’ positive emotion) I may be able to get you to leave me alone and not ‘treat’ me anymore. So you taught me that I am obliged to suppress my emotion and that I will be considered to a ‘good’ genetic defective if I co-operate. You want me to ‘comply’ with your definition of me and my life, or at least pretend to so as not to offend you. You have taught me that you have the power to make me be who you need me to be to please you. 23. You have encouraged co-dependence and seriously disturbing imbalances of power as the ‘norm.’
24. You have taught me that I can’t ‘talk back’ to you or I will be corrected like a naughty child. You've shown me that I can be watched, followed, and reported on, and that I should be too intimidated to talk to anyone else about my experience also, as it will get back to you. You like your authority and want me to like it too or at least bow down to it without making a fuss.
25. You taught me to pretend that I do not know the real you as it displeases you to know that I know.
26. You taught me that I cannot count on you to reveal the truth, even if you know it, because not upsetting your colleagues means more to you than anything I may have been put through. You taught me that I AM expendable to you. You yourselves want to feel you belong to your group more than you want to know the truth that would set us all free of this metaphysical horror.
27. You have taught me that taking care of your own interests at my expense is acceptable to you and that your personal politics will come before the truth, most of the time.

Now if you were me, what would you do, how would you feel, and do you think you would have a problem with an ‘authority’ who thought and behaved like this?

What’s’ your honest answer? Are you still capable of giving such an answer, or will you just automatically employ your robot-like response system in which you have been so thoroughly, and totally, trained?

It’s about domination. It’s NOT about truth, or mental health, or healing anything, or anyone. It’s about power. It's all wrong. It's backwards.
Change your minds.


Anonymous said...

Been here, they will just tell you this is all your own paranioa. Once a victim always a victim, till you take your turn at aggressor. Which you wont if you're at all sane, catch 22.

Aurora said...

I do like your very personal, informative writing. Great Blog.

Patricia, L. said...

Yes, 'anonymous' it IS a catch -22, which is something I told psychiatrists at the time. Since I am in fact, sane, I reject the aggressor role also. Now I take the third role. I work at exposing this 'game' from start to finish. My next post wil be more on this topic. I believe we will beat this together by making it a topic of conversation, everywhere we go, talking amongst ourselves, in public.