Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dysfunctional Group Catharsis

A Release of Contempt and Disdain
By Patricia Lefave,
Labeled, Delusional Disorder (Paranoid)

The supposedly ‘normal’ people are frequently a very sick group; more so whenever they bond and then focus together on someone else as ‘the sick or abnormal one.’

The feeling I have had most often is that of being ‘psycho spiritual prey for pack animals.’ (This is a metaphor for the uninitiated) if any of my own personal stalking pack members hear of this, I can be sure I will be, once again, on the receiving end of eye rolling contempt and disdain.

Invalidating the target’s perceptions and reactions is built into dysfunction. It is a major part of what sustains it so well. You don’t have to think about it for long to know why that is so. The same group phenomenon occurs in cults as well. It is part of the same excuses all abusers of all kinds use to justify themselves. Basically it’s:
“I wouldn’t be doing this to you if you weren’t making me do it.”

The abuser sidesteps responsibility for his own behaviour by blaming his victim for causing it. How far any aggressor will take this excuse making and self justification depends upon the individual. For some, there is such a thing as going too far. For others, there is not.
In any case, when a group of people get involved, and an emotional catharsis is triggered by being justified in some way, it can be a very disturbing scene and if you are on the receiving end of it, as I and many others have been, it is also a very terrifying experience.

It is like watching normally self restrained human beings regress to generally unseen levels or states. It has caused me to wonder what is lying just below the surface in almost anyone. The truly scary part though is that few people ever notice anything wrong with it and those who DO, just stand around watching and doing nothing to interrupt it. This seems to be part of the endless groupthink and endless circle of anti logic designed by a dysfunction of which we are all too familiar, which makes it all seem ‘normal’’ (common) and therefore, acceptable.

I have been on the receiving end of a community wide contempt and disdain for almost fifteen years now. Friends, relatives and even my employer have all joined in. Psychiatry has labeled me for committing the thought crime of seeing it , for having emotional reactions to it and for having the unmitigated gall to say so right out loud. Virtually no one likes this as it indicates that something is terrible wrong here. Emotional reactions to abuse are accusatory after all and those who do not like what they do to be called ‘abuse’ do not like to be accused by reactions. That is how those reactions got to be ‘inappropriate affects.’

So, generally, they deny their own thinking and behaviour problem and flip around one hundred and eighty degrees. Now, it’s MY thinking and reaction problem.

Those who started this attack at the direction of one person, and those who chose to involve themselves in it, continue to find all the faults in me they possibly can as part of their excuse making and the contempt and disdain continues to be acted out for me on a daily basis by the less ‘shy’ among them, though some, suddenly aware they are visible and audible from four feet away, have now backed off.

In fact, many of the verbal abusers like to pretend they don’t know me at all. They are studiously disinterested. The damage is still done though, despite looking away from it, it is enormous now and ongoing, yet to this day, not one person involved in it has admitted to anything, nor stepped up to help stop it, or make amends. Many though have stepped forward to mock and ridicule me and to share their ongoing opinions of me with others.
I am told by people working in the mental illness system, who are the same people who supported the guy who decided to attack me, that my perception of this whole event is delusional and paranoid. This, I was assured, was the result of my bad brain chemistry.

I have concrete evidence that my protagonist did this but that has not mattered at all. I once told these people that I was not expendable. They have shown me by their actions that they believe that I am. Many of them smile sweetly at me while they allow me to pay the price with my destroyed work, mind, finances, reputation and safety for what they did, and then decided to cover up in order to take care of their own interests. A psychiatrist even told me it was unrealistic of me to expect otherwise as it would not be in THEIR interests to admit to anything. I had already entered into the Twilight Zone of the switched reality then but still kept thinking they must be ‘joking’ since what mental health professional could fail to hear such a LACK of mental health in such ideas?

They have assessed that one of my biggest problems is my lack of ‘friendliness’ towards them and all the relatives and neighbours they involved in getting me lots of ‘help.’ I don’t smile enough I am told. They smile. They smile when it is the most inappropriate affect you could ever imagine. It reminds me often of the old opening to “ Fantasy Island ” with Ricardo Monatalban instructing the staff as the plane came in for a landing, “Smiles everyone, smiles.” (How could so many grinning idiots be out of touch with reality after all?) Smiling you see, is part of the training of staff in psychiatric hospitals. It is part of the training in many cults too coincidentally. Is it because as long as we are all smiling, we can pretend that everything is really all right? It must be as I notice that while many people in the community are displaying their contempt and disdain for me (especially if no one is looking) they are ALSO smiling.

The feeling of having stepped through the doorway into the Twilight Zone persists in many ways, and I expect it will persist for as long as this particular group fails to wake up to the truth about itself. Let me give you some examples of what is considered to be ‘normal’ and acceptable thinking and behaviour as displayed for me by my judges.

Dysfunctional City Zen
There was a group at an outdoor downtown café, in the city square, observing me from a few feet away as always, claiming they were just sick of hearing about all of this. Since I don’t talk to any of them abut this at all, and since according to my assessors there IS nothing to be hearing about, (it is all my hallucinated conversations and delusions) WHAT exactly is ‘it’ of which they are so sick of hearing? (A few of these people have been mouthing off to everyone the entire time about how I ‘think’ people are talking about me!)
My diagnosis was based on the belief that this public display and behaviour is, and was, non existent. It is only something that my mind is producing for attention.

This is the ‘infinite loop of destruction’ of my psychotic imagery, and the group stupidity that traps all of the psychiatrized in this flawed paradigm. It keeps us all permanently in position as objects of groupthink assessment and control.
This is a well constructed illusion. It is a supremely elegant con.

These groups start this when someone suggests to them that someone is ‘crazy’ which they accept. They then work to fulfill their own prophecy.
The individual who gets the group going on this in the first place is sometimes, *but not always) fully conscious of what he is doing. That is not to suggest that many people don’t really have any problems. Of course we do. It is the way these problems are framed that creates all of this mess. The individual who is aware of what he does though makes himself feel better though the domination of others and by doing this, he dominates both the individual who he feels threatens his life stance, as well as dominating the group he manipulates against the individual target. Often, no one, including the victim, becomes aware of what he did or HOW he did it. So, they supply the unsettling results with their own meaning as a means of explaining it to themselves.
ALL people need a concrete framework with which to make sense of our lives and experiences of reality. ALL people. Without it, all humans would go mad. I believe that is why psychiatry invented a framework in the first place that APPEARS to make some sense of something which they really don’t understand themselves.

In my case, the system reinvented my reality so those who followed my own personal domination freak into the ‘game’ could deny the reality of what they had done, cover it up, and avoid responsibility for it. It is my contention that this is exactly what he intended and even expected they would do.
It is quite a simple metaphysical trick really.
The group as a whole deludes itself that it is the higher mind and therefore ‘hidden’ and that the individual being objectified is the lower mind. Using this as the premise of groupthink ‘reasoning’ it concludes that the lower mind ‘does not understand what is going on.’ That is an accurate abstract statement. The group and the individual would both say it was a true statement BUT, not for the same reasons. This is where e the ‘you admit you are having trouble making sense of things’ bit comes into play. As the patient I would most certainly ‘admit’ to that but that is where the agreement with psychiatry begins and ends.

I can’t ‘make sense of things’ because the things I was trying to make sense of, don’t MAKE sense so my perception of that was accurate; more accurate than that of my assessors. The assessors though, believe that my inability to ‘make senses of things’ comes from my inherently, supposedly defective, brain and this is but one of the many supposed ‘symptoms’ I must have which proves how right they supposedly are, for seeing me as defective.

They have been taught that what I say when I complain about the way I am being treated, is all signs that the ‘treatment’ they want to give me is necessary, and is for a ‘brain disease’ they believe that I have that causes me to ‘believe’ I am being set up for an attack and that a group of others who I don’t even know have joined in. These are some of the supposed symptoms of a presumed ‘disease’ called ‘schizophrenia (or sometimes bi-polar, or delusional disorder , or borderline personality disorder, depending mostly , it would seem, upon who you happen to get in the psychiatric crap shoot that day. .
This confusion in speech and meaning is the reason the identified patient is ‘confused’ and cannot make sense of things. As in my protagonist’s so called ‘game’ all the words used are the same but the meanings of them are not. Often what is meant is the opposite of what is being heard and judged to be understood by those who don’t understand it at ALL.
When I state outright to such a group acting out; “I can see you and hear you,’ they don’t know what that means so they ‘interpret’ everything to match their beliefs about what is going on which they then impose upon me as ‘reality.’
The group is so deluded and so busy reinforcing that in each other, they don’t know what the obvious means. This is why many of the psychiatrized tend to believe that these groups are ‘pretending’ to be stupid. The fact is, most of the group members are not ‘pretending’ anything. THEY are often the ones who are not consciously aware of what they are doing; not the identified patient. This is also why so many of the psychiatrized express this in terms like ‘upside down’ or backwards’ or sometimes ‘inside out.’ These are accurate metaphors for the metaphysical play in this. It is just that it is pretty hard to define something for which there seem to be no words to define it without getting invalidated for using them. Psychosis is like a collective metaphor for the whole thing and seems to be a collective experience on a certain level as well.

It is psychiatry’s creation of an alternate reality (‘disease process’ indicated by the individual’s perception of this and emotional reactions to it) that has kept this group process alive and well, unchanged and virtually unseen by the masses who have been encouraged to promote the denial of the whole thing, and also it’s ‘recreation’ as some other more socially acceptable reality. This also promotes and maintains scapegoating as a human necessity. Of course that is not see for what it is either.
If reality is ‘not’ reality, then an alternate reality MUST be created and maintained in order to also maintain the group DENIAL. Under these circumstances, it is the victim or the person who insists on speaking the truth about it that is bound to be the scapegoat, since it is from that one that the threat to the group delusion is coming.

When I was an inpatient, I found myself surrounded by all of the same people who had helped my protagonist ‘set me up’ for the attack in the first place. I had indeed come ‘full circle’ right back to the same people who had driven me into a psychosis and who were now observing me with either smirking or wary faces, pretending not to know anything so that I would not ‘find out’ about them. It made no sense whatsoever. I remember thinking at the time, “they all look crazy.’” That recognition was one of the keys to my escape from their imposed madness. Don’t get me wrong. I really WAS in psychosis. I had even predicted to many that if I did not get this stopped and get people to talk directly to me abut what they believed was going on there, this could very well be the result. It was however, a madness handed to me by those who wanted to disown it themselves. I knew that too. I also knew this group was going to deny it and they would deny me and what I said too. I predicted THAT also.

Group dysfunction is a lot like the game of passing a hot potato. No one thinks to just drop the damned thing and leave it behind in the dirt out of which it grew. Instead, that ‘hot potato’ gets handed to someone else in the groups whose hands are then tied, so that he or she can’t ever let it go. That way everyone else can keep right on playing the same game and no one else’s hands get burned. (How’s this for a metaphor? I call it the potato metaphor. Psychiatry may name it the Potato Delusion. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it showed up I the DSM-V)

Psychiatry has become all too willing to slap handcuffs on the group’s scapegoat. It might be a lot more realistic though if they changed their attitude a bit to reflect the honest truth; “we are doing this OUR own good.”


Sabine Faustin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabine Faustin said...

I have been very interested in group dynamics for a long time, as it resembles the dysfunctional family systems many of us have grown up in. It is for this reason, I believe, bystanders stand around as one person is vilified and scapegoated, some joining in, others pretending not to notice - all those who stand aside play the very familiar role they played growing up in their own dysfunctional environment -- each one plays the role to protect himself/herself AT THE EXPENSE of the scapegoated person. And that is the horrifying, terrifying, unjust, dehumanizing aspect of this behavior that sends those of us who can see it oh so clearly and who have been victimized by it over and over again screaming in outrage. You describe those feelings so well .