With a contribution by ''Kartik''
The Cure of Folly:
a Psychiatrist’s Cautionary Tale
By Gordon Warme M.D.
“It was a historical inevitability, one of countless holocausts that afflict mankind forever; a Jewish victim stance called it down on their own heads.
My struggle for an explanation was no different for the struggles for understanding I faced when I listened to my patients.”
“The stories of patients who portray themselves as victims are taken
at face value…” “Psychiatrists, when they are thinking like psychiatrists, never take words at face value.”
I would like to help Gordon understand this better by sharing what I think and feel about what he has to say here. Of course, this is something I would never get to say to a psychiatrist if I was speaking to one of them (with extremely
rare exceptions) from my assigned role as the ‘patient’ but I can do it here since this is my own space. So here I will treat THEM like equals, even though at times, I also agree they are not, though I don’t necessarily mean that the same way one of them might mean it. First though, I want to offer you something word for word, which is written by a friend of mine.
The following explanation in the form of a metaphorical tale, is from a psychiatrized friend of mine who is considered to be ‘intractable’ and has been in the control of the American mental illness system for over thirty years.
As stated word for word:
“I thought of this:
The Holocaust happened, it’s true. A rabbi is sitting in a train car with a whole bunch of white boys, secret neo-Nazis. He hears them denying the Holocaust happened. This one, lone Rabbi speaks up and says it did happen, it is real. The white boys all say no. Next train station the Rabbi is hauled off to the local loony bin for treatment for his obvious delusional disorder. The initial interview, the psych asks the white boys what’s the problem and the white boys all say the Rabbi is wrong, thinks something happened which all the white boys says never happened. The psych may have read about the Holocaust but since he wasn’t there believes the white boys.
Psychiatrists are group followers; believe what the group says about someone, especially if that someone is alone and just one against the group. So the psych since he never saw any of the concentration camps, only read about them in books and listened and watched TV shows about the camps believes what the white boys say ‘cause as a group how can a group be wrong?”
I consider this to be an excellent analogy of what happens with dysfunctional groups, reality being determined by groupthink sessions, and the experience and the reactions of the individual being ‘assessed’ treated as irrelevant nonsense of the results of something they caused to happen or that is said to have not ‘really’ happened at all.
I want to remind you again that this is the evaluation of how groups think including psychiatrists as given by an ‘intractable’ psychiatrized person. Do you think this person’s understanding is pretty amazing for someone defined as ‘mad?’ If you do, perhaps you should examine your OWN assumptions instead of trying to make the person fit into YOUR beliefs.
I also want to add here some analysis of Gordon’s remarks and thought processes and offer it as my own brief ‘cautionary tale.’
First, I don’t think ‘holocausts’ are ‘historical inevitabilities’ that need afflict us ‘forever.’ However, I think that may be the case if we don’t get some change of attitude here including (or perhaps especially) from people like YOU, Gordon. Notice that I am treating you like an equal because I do that with people including those who have been reduced to the level of objects by folks like yourself.
Now in person I know that I would never get to say even this much because when ewe attempt to tell you folks anything you usually just refuse to listen and even those of you who listen for awhile seem to be hearing what is going on in your own minds a whole lot more than you ever hear what is actually being said to you. We become aware of that, (most of us) in pretty short order. We are also aware that because of the way you hear, the more we try to tell you the truth, the more likely you will hear the truth reframed as the symptoms you believe you should be hearing as a result of your training so this is a pretty scary experience for most of us, more especially so because of the concrete and unquestioned POWER you hold over us if we dare to say the ‘wrong’ thing or show some emotion you decide is not valid. The experience of conversation with most of you is nothing short of surreal which of course has also been invalidated as a legitimate response by those who cannot hear anything but their own beliefs. So, most of us know this. I won’t go into it at length here. For this post, I will just respond to these few quotes of yours.
What really scares the hell out of me is that people who think like you are in charge of determining for others, not only what is ‘reality’ but who should be pulled out of his or her life, locked up and forcibly ‘treated’ for having an understanding of his/her own reality, which you played no part in but with which you DISAGREE. You are a man who is stating in print, that your ideas about the Holocaust are running parallel to your ideas about the people assigned the role of ‘patient’ which you control and ‘treat’ according to your own beliefs. THIS is why patients are frightened, angry, resentful, frustrated and sometimes suicidal or homicidal. If I met someone who thought like this and made such stupid remarks in my regular life, I might tell him he was an idiot of the highest order, or, if I didn’t feel like wasting my breath debating with him, I might just walk away and leave him to his blaming the victims ‘delusions. But when you are in power over me, I can’t do that can I? Instead, I have to either try to escape from a perverted thinker like you or else if trapped, I have to humour you and allow you to believe that you are ‘helping’ me so that I don’t get even worse ‘treatment’ for standing up to your bloody stupid nonsense.
A “Jewish victim stance called it down on their own heads”?
Let me explain this mystery to you Gordon. A Nazi power, control and hidden agenda of domination stance, created by people who disguised themselves as ‘saviours’ or messiahs and proclaimed their murderous impulses to be ‘good’, is what actually brought it all down. It is of course, very convenient to blame the victims for a couple or reasons. It allows the group members who supported this hidden agenda, and all those like it, to sidestep responsibility for their own actions, and it allows those to whom this did not happen to console themselves, quite falsely of course, that it cannot happen to THEM because they would never ‘bring it down on their own heads.” This seems pretty obvious to me and I wonder why it doesn’t to you and to all those who think like you and promote this twisted belief?
I am glad though that you ‘admitted’ you view it the same way as you do your patients because I think your admission of that will help the patients of psychiatrists really understand where YOU are coming from and if they do, a whole lot of that ‘confusion’ from which we all suffer when being assessed by you, and those like you will begin to clear up pretty quickly.
I find your use of language quite interesting too. When you say things like patients who ‘portray themselves’ as victims, (Like those Jews right Gordon?)you of course are letting us know (and letting others who don’t understand us ‘nuts’ know too) that we are not ‘really victims’ of anyone, (or any group) who might be an aggressor with a hidden agenda, just like those Jews, weren’t really victims right? Do I have it right there or am I just ‘confused’?
I think the patients would have to disagree that our ‘stories’ portraying ourselves as victims are taken at ‘face value.’ Rarely does such a thing happen even with evidence. That fact is one of our major problems when trying to communicate the nature of our reality to you people. It is simply to HEARD or taken at ‘face value’ though it is being given that way. Psychiatrists are in fact, almost always looking for ‘hidden’ meaning where there is none. So please be clear on this that up until we get where YOU are coming from, we are all as much, if not MORE confused by what you are thinking as you ever could be abut what WE are thinking. At least most of us try to communicate directly and genuinely which is certainly not the case from the other direction.
Your last line above there though I do agree with; when psychiatrists are thinking like psychiatrist, they never take our words at face value and that Gordon is a huge problem we have with you. For once we tell you the truth you refuse to accept at face value, what can we possibly say AFTER that that will cause you to hear what you are determined to ‘never’ hear.
I think if you think about it for just a few minutes Gordon, you will be able to see the patients’ paradoxical dilemma. Then again, perhaps not. If not, then maybe you could ask one of your Jewish psychiatrist friends to explain it to you using you own parallel analogy. Who knows, maybe THIS is the way to get through the psychiatric resistance to understanding. Nothing works quite as well as personal experience does it?
So you see Gordon, your comparison here is actually one we ‘nuts’ often use ourselves. Of course, I know I really don’t have to tell you that. Your way is known to us as victim-blaming and I think it happens a lot because most of the victims the aggressors choose as targets, (and yes, we are ‘chosen’ Gordon) are either pacifists who tend to relate as equals or else helpless to stop our protagonists for some reason. (Such as in the case of domineering parents for example) it is only the point of view on the same relationship that makes it seem to be a ‘different’ reality.
You don’t believe that there are victims or that we are ‘chosen’?
Do you think that might perhaps be why rapists blame their victims for the rape? Do you suppose that rapists may be more in tune with psychiatric reasoning than perhaps their victims might be? I think that might be true. I have often heard it stated, even by some really intelligent people, that the rape victims ‘bring it on themselves by seducing the rapist.
This is something many of us get to hear in one version or another but it is still pretty much the same thing, conceptually speaking isn’t it?
It means usually one of a couple of similar things like the aggressor saying:
“I am only trying to ‘help’ you by making you strong or getting you to accept reality as I define it for you. Or sometimes it is some version of, “I wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t making me do it.”
Psychiatrists ''wonder'' why we compare most of our relationships with them to that of those with Nazis or fascists...even while the compare it the same way themselves....