Saturday, October 06, 2007

Some Missing Information That is No Longer Missing

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

In my own allegedly ‘fascinating’ case, there have been a number of pieces of information, both concrete and conceptual, formerly ‘missing’ in my personal puzzle which I have since ‘found.’ Finding those pieces allowed me to solve the puzzle, re-integrate my fragmented mind and get out of the ‘maze’ of psychosis. Here is one of those pieces and I will probably add to this post at another time or else create some more posts on this same theme of ‘missing’ information.
When I was in my ‘recovery’ therapy (‘recovery from a break that need not have happened) My therapist at the time made a remark one day that got me thinking about one of the common aspects of this group phenomenon.

I had been telling her about how my relationship with the mind of my current protagonist paralleled my relationship with my parents in many ways and also how the group involved seemed like the rest of the family’s behaviour too. I was telling her how much TIME I had spent trying to ‘explain’ who I really was to them and what my thinking was on things, including my own experience. These were things that seemed perfectly obvious to me yet I felt like I was speaking a foreign language and they would never accept what I said as ‘real’ or legitimate.
The remark she made was, “It is probably over their heads.’

A light came on.
I related to them as equals. They related to me as superiors to an inferior. If what I was ‘explaining’ was, in fact, ‘over their heads,’ then there was no ‘communication’ happening at all. What there was though was a mutually delusional REVERSAL. Things started to click into place about psychiatry too after this. I saw all three experiences; my protagonist’s ‘game’, my family relationships, and my relationship to psychiatry and the mental illness system as running parallel to each other. It was about the same CONCEPTS but with slightly different concrete details. It was the concepts which mattered the most in solving the puzzle.

Added to that in my personal story was a father who seemed to need to be right all the time, no matter what evidence was presented to him to indicate otherwise. Plus, he also operated with a hidden agenda of domination making our family relationships a recipe for chaos.
Though others in the family were often also confused by what was going on, they accepted his alternate explanations of things, which I never could as explaining the reasons for the ‘confusion.’ A lot of the things that happened just ‘made no sense.’ Instead of looking for reasons in relationship or information in that though, we were taught to look for the ‘confusion ‘ in certain people; usually my mother, or myself. It was never the situation that was really confusing but some people who were suffering from ‘confusion.’ If it is something in a person, then we don’t look any further to sort out anything do we? But you see, I did. I questioned so I became the growing problem and the threat to someone else’s control. The shift in looking for the cause of the problems in the family moved towards me. I was the only one who really saw this much of the reality of the situation so I was also the one my father worked at silencing. He let me know at various times and in various ways that he was in control and that if I wanted to connect to the rest of them, who believed him and not me, that I was going to have to co-operate with him on his terms. He has now left this world letting me know that I would find that to be true too. The rest of the family will never believe this. They did not relate to him in the same way as I and that is the absolute truth. It is a truth though that has become absolutely pointless to keep telling which is why I have given up trying with them.

The family controller did not like having his ‘authority’ challenged on even the simplest and most obvious and meaningless points. I would bet if this was happening today, in my childhood, I might just get me one of those new labels like O.D.D. to explain it all away. I (I keep waiting for the system to come up with an acronym for W.E.I.R.D. since this is a popular term of dysfunction too) He wanted his word on things accepted without question, even when they made no sense. Often we rationalized going along with that and not mentioning it by telling ourselves we were protecting the parents’ feelings for them. ‘Others’ (who can’t ever be blamed) became too emotionally ‘fragile’ to be told simple truths. How co-dependent is that?
The battle lines of power and control were drawn early but I did not recognize them until much later in life as they ‘made no sense’ to me, in logical terms: A True Statement. That psychological truth is one of the ‘fission’ points. If you are listening to the words on the conceptual level, you can begin to get some hints as to where this is heading and why. There is a metaphysical ‘play’ or framework to this that repeats everywhere in one group after another. It is like a template for dysfunction.

Back to Reality:
Emotionally I was relating to my parents as equals because I believe that if people don’t relate as equal humans (no ‘identical’ but equal) the failure to do so creates all of our problems.
However, I was doing that with people who relate as ‘superiors’ to an ‘inferior’ so they spent their lives defending their position since they only thing such people can relate to is what they believe. If they were not superior then to THEM, the only other choice is to be ‘inferior.’ In order then to maintain their psycho-social position, they had to defend it against loss and do so by using their ‘authoritative ‘ position to ‘correct’ my perception of life in general and my own experience in particular. All attempts to communicate with them as equals hit the same brick wall. Like with psychiatry that support the same paradigm, and all other dysfunctional groups (including the one by whom my protagonist was trained) I felt like I was talking to the wall.

My father in particular could never be wrong about this in his own mind, sot the more I tried to penetrate his resistance by asserting, however gently and passively, my own views on life and my own experience, the more he went into his covert act in an attempt to gain control. His ‘covert operations’ which involved everyone else, were not as ‘covert’ to me, as he always believed them to be. Other people acted them out for me, at least partially, based on what he was telling them about me, while pretending he wasn’t. These covert operations just added more chaos to the mix. Most of the time his ‘covert’ opinion centred on telling others how ‘stupid’ I was and how I had ‘no personality.’ This was despite the fact that the school system had told him I was very bright and they wanted to push me forward faster. He would not ‘allow’ that I learned some years later. I was not ‘allowed’ to confront anyone on any of this as that would be considered to be ‘disrespectful’ to ‘authority.’

I am not the only one to whom he related in this way. I know he did it to my mother too then ‘covertly’ blamed her psychological/emotional weakness for her distress which was not understood by others; including me for a long time. Her distress had not made sense to me either in relation to what we were being TOLD by him was the problem to which she was supposedly reacting. Suddenly, the alternate versions of reality he had created to protect himself and his sense of entitlement in controlling others, at their expense, came sharply into focus.
I knew then that if I had ‘humoured’ him and pretended to be the ‘inferior’ he needed me to be to keep his own world in order, to support his own needs, I would not have had the struggle I had with him throughout my life. What had he once said? “A REALLY smart woman would be smart enough not to show her brains to a man.”
(He had told my mother once to tell me that, I had thought it was her idea at the time.) All I had to do to gain his ‘respect’ as a daughter was to deny my own reality, deny who I am as a person, and co-operate with his agenda. That’s all.

This truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I stopped looking for the ‘hidden meaning’ and ‘reason’ behind our relationship troubles. Finally, I gave up my delusional beliefs that I could relate to my parents as equals. They couldn’t have that and feel all right about it. They wouldn’t ‘allow’ it; especially my father. They were going to relate to me from their current position, no matter what the result. They had already gotten to the point where they flatly refused to listen to anything I had to say about it, or anything that was emotional/psychological in nature.
I could talk to them about the mundane and nothing more. Any attempt to do so was either invalidated or just ignored completely that is what our relationship had been reduced to over the years; it was what was left of it. “Just seeking attention’ had been the excuse used for decades to any suggestion that there was anything wrong with our style of relating. The problem. I was told, was only in me and in my perception of a problem existing beyond the confines of my own mind. That excuse had been invented by my father in early childhood and the way prescribed for ‘dealing’ with me and my ‘attention seeking behaviours’ was to ignore me when I spoke, This had also been defined by him for my mother and my sisters as the way to go.

Dysfunctional families which are operated by leaders with hidden agendas, are masters at ‘behaviourist tactics’ and could teach psychiatrist a thing or tow about pressure, manipulations, and isolation as means for CONTROL.
The analogy to C.I.A. agents is a damned good one and we who have experienced the ‘covert operations’ and disinformation campaigns performed by such families can relate well to others who have had similar experience. It is often, at first, shocking to us to find that out as we are usually people who have spent a great deal of time in our lives alone with our truth. Sometimes, we even feel panicky as though others had somehow been made privileged to our family history without our knowing abut it.

In psychosis I told the other ‘Voices’ which I heard briefly, believing them to be other people like myself altered in consciousness for various reasons, “We have to help each other, and not fight against each other, because we who understand the same thing are our own best support group. We need to accept our ‘accidental’ psycho-spiritual ‘connection’ and use it to our mutual benefit. Maybe together we can change the world for the better, in a way we could never do it as individuals in isolation.’ (Our collective ‘Messiah complex’ put to good use)

I still believe in this spiritual principle over a dozen years later and it is the reason I still write and fight for our collective truth. I also fight for my Own truth. This is not an either/or choice to me.
I still can’t connect to my relatives emotionally/psychologically. That takes a TWO way dialogue between equals and like with psychiatry, I can’t get that from them. They do not respond to what is still perceived as my ‘attention seeking’ attempts at two way dialogue and I don’t imagine at this point in life that they ever will. I am still dealing with people who want to believe they are ‘objective observers’ of me. I still disagree. I am sure I will continue to disagree all the way to my own death. It is too late now to resolve any of this with my father but I was pretty sure that would be the outcome and I was prepared to accept that. I had to accept it.

Before he died I had tried as hard as I could to get them to resolve this just once and I told him that if he admitted the truth about just this one last incident, and admitted he was wrong to do what he did, I would forgive him. He wouldn’t. The result of that offer was to discover that he had told another ‘interpretive story’ about me before he left this world. I am OK with it now.

What is different for me now is that I have stopped trying to resolve with people who just refuse to do that, stopped trying to ‘get through’ to people who don’t want to be ‘gotten through to’ and I have been re-directing my efforts towards those who actually get something out of what I am saying and who really do WANT to hear it. I think this need to resolve with people who weren’t interested is also what caused me to connect to men who were similar and to spend so much time as a rescuer trying to ‘help’ alcoholics who weren’t really interested in anything but their next ‘fix’ either. I have spent a pile of time in life talking to the person’s ‘fix’ (whether alcohol, drugs or power) rather than the person behind the ‘fix.’ I felt the rescue of myself was directly connected to the ability to rescue the ‘other.’ I was well trained too not to EVER blame the ‘other’ for anything. This is the stuff of which co-dependent relationships are made. Now though, there is a whole new connection. Sharing is healing for both self and others.
I find doing this to create a mutually beneficial relationship with people to whom I CAN relate as equals. It is what I always wanted and could never get. I feel more my true self than I ever have in my life.

Isn’t it ironic that this sense of self has become so solid in relationship to many of those the world perceives as ‘mad’ and ‘intractable.’ As one of new ‘intractable,’ frequently and long institutionalized friends has said to me, “At last, I have been HEARD.”

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