Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Group Arrogance That is Its Own Reward

By Patricia Lefave
previously posted under the pen name Krystal Klarity

I made several errors of judgement and understanding in my own experience.

I don’t mean only while being psychiatrized or even POST psychiatrization. I mean long before that in dealing with the same sort of people in similar situations.
Of course I have had great difficulty in identifying the truth in order to sort out the psycho-spiritual mess made by the massive effort to suppress the truth and promote the lie. The group of people involving themselves has worked very hard to prevent the truth about THEM being revealed. Of course that manoeuvre in itself is not at all uncommon but it does make for great difficulty for anyone trying to resolve anything. As more of the facts are revealed though, it is not so hard to understand why they do it. It is a very shameful truth.

Like all dysfunctional groups, their concern for appearances, for creating a façade of respectability and good character, had taken precedence over taking responsibility for their own behaviour. So they show disdain for me as their victim instead. Part of the disdain comes in denying I AM their victim and proclaiming my ‘victim stance’ as an attempt to ''seek attention'' and therefore it is my own fault and I have brought my victimization upon myself. In simple terms this is called victim-blaming which the mental illness business tends to reframe as ‘the victim/blaming’ thing which they want to get everyone away from as soon as possible. Notice how the same ''word sounds'' are expressed in different terms. Realism is not the current system’s long suit. The structure is very dependent on denial.

It has been a very powerful group manoeuvre that has cost me a great deal and almost cost me my life. Though they know that, they have continued with their mocking ridiculing and degrading of me in very much the same way I have experienced this sort of thing before though not on quite so large a scale as this. They do this sort of thing to misdirect anyone watching or listening and to keep the illusion of their own ''unblemished'' characters alive and well. It is the image that matters most to them, not the reality of the situation. They make a show of solidarity which they present to the public in defence of their own actions. It is the same ''game'' all over again. The public not only bought it, they jumped on board the same band wagon. Arrogance, it seems, is quite contagious and seems to have reached epidemic proportions.

Group arrogance is, in fact, a big part of the real problem for the psychiatrized. It looms large in the process of objectifying people. Nothing is more effective or blatantly dismissive than ‘third personing’ someone, especially if it done right in the person’s presence. Yet the arrogant that do this, make no connection between their own behaviour and the emotional reactions TO their behaviour, by those they objectify, and towards whom they display such open and self-righteous contempt. Let me put this in a simpler form for them.

“If you don’t want to get punched in the nose, by one of every hundred thousand or so of ‘us’ who break under pressure and do that, then stop behaving in ways that provoke such reactions.”

If you are one of those who are behaves this way and you are reading this, your first, and automatic reaction, may well be to deny culpability. You will then likely groan arrogantly, invalidate the statement, and perform the usual ‘switch.’ Your best and most frequent act is to engage in ‘splitting’ and to claim the victim’s reactions are NOT reactions to you and your open disdain but merely reactions to his/her ‘incorrect’ perception of you. This is how you defend your own error and your own lousy boundary violating behaviour, and you have been doing it in groups, and getting away with it most of the time, for one hell of a long time.

For the psychiatrized reading this though, let me tell you about some of my own errors in judgement in this. Recognizing them did a whole lot for me in sorting out the chaos created for me and re-integrating as a whole person again. It is my hope here that I can perhaps offer you something out of my own experiences that will allow you to do the same for yourselves.

When people were (and still are) behaving this way towards me, I did one of two things. I either tried to ignore them (psychiatry’s dysfunctional choice = don’t react at ALL) or, I tried to reason with them about it.

Neither works.

Some of ‘us’ try a third choice when under pressure: screaming in their faces.I don’t have to tell those of you who have tried that one how much THAT doesn’t work do I?

There is a fourth choice. This choice can be very effective too. First though, you need to understand the psychology operating in most groups. (And mobs) It is not the same as one to one relationships. You need to understand this so that you know this is not about reason or logic, no matter how calm and secure the group members façades may appear to be. The individual members are bolstered in their attitudes by the whole group. In this case, many individuals will say or do things they would NEVER do if they were alone. A kind of group ‘approval’ allows them to do such things. This group behaviour is actually emotional; not logical. It is limbic brain stuff wearing a disguise: a supposedly ‘civilized’ mask. It is territorial in nature.

Groups frequently operate like pack animals marking their territory, and when they do, even in some of those supposedly ‘loving’ families, reason (or logic) takes an extended vacation.

So first, know that you cannot reason, or use logic, with what is not logical in the first place.
Also groups tend to become delusional whenever they close ranks (again like pack animals) in order to protect themselves from perceived threats from ‘outside.’ It does not really matter if the ‘threat’ is real of not. If it is BELIEVED to be a threat, the group will think and behave ‘as if’ that were reality.
So, if someone suggests that you are a threat, the group will react, ‘as if.’ This is why you often can’t make any sense of the group behaviour. You and the group are not operating from the SAME reality base. If psychiatry then jumps into the mix and supports the group delusion, invalidating your true experience and reactions to that experience, the chaos and confusion just increases rather than clearing itself up.The problem often is that the chaos and confusion of your all too real experience is not considered to be either intellectually, or emotionally, valid by the majority of psychiatrists since they deny that this group experience even exists. Therefore they ‘treat you’ (both medically and psychologically) as if the problem were something contained strictly within you and without relationship to the external world.

In many cases, including my own, it is why you feel like you are being pushed out of concrete reality. In a sense, of course, you ARE being pushed out of your own experience, and being forced into someone else’s’ version of it. Of course our judges and assessors ‘interpret’ that too as something we do ''to ourselves'' rather than something being done ''to us'' by others. Right here of course, the ‘no one must be blamed’ dysfunctional commandment kicks in as automatically as the revolving door of the mental illness system operating to drag us back into itself.

Professionals can get that first commandment out of their mouths faster than their own names. They have a thought-stopper in place for anything, anyone can ever think up, in an attempt to get out of the tautological arguments of the system’s design. It is all covered in advance of your entry into it.

We are not being pushed out from THEIR point of view. They believe they are trying to pull us INTO a more ‘correct’ version of reality as it is being defined FOR us. Therefore, if we won’t go, according them, then we are ‘withdrawing’ and resistant which once again (and as usual) makes it our perception/emotion/reaction/attitude/character problem and not any one else’s anytime, or anyplace. I learned this circular argument relatively early on but I kept looking for a logical way to explain it to those who were handing it to me; until I learned that logic really had nothing to do with it.

I believe the way out is only to expose it; to reveal the whole circular thing in its entirety, from start to finish. You have to be outside a system to be able to really see it, even if ‘outside’, is only psychologically ‘outside’ it. The system may still try to control you and may even manage to do that, BUT at least it won’t fool you while it’s doing it, or drive you crazy again trying to figure it out.

So, recognize that what is happening is true, in some way, but also recognize that if you are driven into psychosis while it is happening, it will take on a more surreal quality than normal consciousness, and much of what you experience will be symbolic rather than literal. That can get VERY confusing and extremely hard to sort out when altered but don’t panic. If it worked out to make sense for me, it can for you too, as on one level we are all having the same experience, (conceptually) even if the concrete details of it are quite different. So don’t panic. Panic increase your (epinephrine) adrenaline level and I believe it is this load of adrenaline that is actually causing and maintaining the altered state of consciousness known as psychosis.

The idea of it being an alternate universe is correct but not quite as literal as it may seem at the time. Just like the idea of ‘aliens.’ The life they are telling us we are experiencing is indeed very ‘alien’ to us and very ‘alienating’ as well. Psychosis is like dreams or nightmares. They also tell us something very real, about our real lives, but in a more symbolic form.

No one else can understand that as well as the one having the experience so take a deep breath and try to go with the flow as best you can and (let me say it again) don’t panic. The adrenalin rush caused by sustained panic and unrelieved stress (or strain) will keep the altered state going strong and may even make it much worse. Panic creates a greater surge of the hormones causing the state to be triggered in the first place so the key is to relax and roll with it. Try to detach from the psychosis and become the observer of it. If you can manage that, the adrenaline level will start to drop and as it drops, the altered state at the nighmare level starts to fade. Many of you have experienced that fade to something like a background noise right? Mine did that too and then disappeared but you have to find ways to sustain the calm. That also means you have to talk it out with at least ONE person who can manage to listen without all the psychiatrized judgements coming into play. Often, only a close friend or a peer listener is going to be able to do that. Someone who has been there, done that, and got all the way through it is often the easiest one to talk to, as you don't have to go into so much ''explaining'' with him/her.

It is a very surreal experience because from our point of view (and usually we are alone with it and in isolation) nothing at all makes sense about it. Our sense, of the senseless, is actually very accurate but of course, no one helps us with that either since everyone else involved is promoting his/her own belief system and they are all sure they understand we are just out of our minds. Therefore there IS nothing that needs to be made sense of, as far as they are concerned. We know better; and we are right. This is why we all use metaphors like ‘Oz’, “Wonderland’ and the ‘Twilight Zone.’ They all describe the experience of the group phenomenon very well and we can all relate.

So connect to others who have been through this, and who have come out the other side of it intact again, and under their own power and we who have can help by showing the way out, making it easier for others to follow, and helping to lift the burden from off of their backs. Get on line and share your hope, help and encouragement.

I once said to Dan Fisher, M.D. that I believed we were ''going to have to help each other'' as no one else is willing to listen. On that we both agreed fully as well as a lot of other points.Don’t give up. The group experience does NOT make sense and that is the first thing you need to know which you are right about. We get better from there though it is most common for everyone else to fight against that. This idea that it does make sense and it is we who don’t make any sense is first presented to us by others who are sure they understand our experience better than we do. They don’t. They believe they do. Their beliefs are incorrect.

This problem compounds when you understand that this type of group arrogance has its own rewards.The rewards for it are pretty standard and not so unusual but they play a powerful role in controlling people who are operating in groups. So what are these ‘rewards’?The usual ones: A sense of ''superiority'', understanding, stability, belonging, normality, socializing, acceptance, often employment, financial etc. It also helps to keep those members of the group who ‘belong’ from becoming the people who don’t belong and who may then get targeted as ''abnormal.''

It is also true that if people think they already understand something they don’t have to look any further for answers, so if you challenge that, you are not going to be enormously popular with the lazy, the secretly frightened, the randomly angry or the smug and self satisfied. The majority of people tend to be followers and there are actually psychological statistics that support this. Followers don’t like their leaders challenged as that means they too will be lost if their leader is lost. Most people like to maintain the status quo. It is the ‘devil they know.’

To change this, all of us have our work cut out for us and there is nothing easy about it because logic has nothing to do with it. Still, don’t give up as there is more and more of us connecting together all the time with whom to connect and to feel connected.

I believe that in the end, reality is going to show its true face and the good guys are all going to win together. The idea many of us in psychosis perceive as our destiny, that we must somehow ''save the world'', has a lot of truth in it. If we see better than most than there is an obligation to act on what we know and at least try to accomplish what is needed. No one however is destined to do this all alone but rather as a part of the whole and that is who we all are together. There is no need to carry the weight of the world alone anymore and you were not intended to have to do that in the first place.

So join with others and learn a new way to belong: one that values the unique individual as well as the group as a whole, and does not force you to choose between self alone, or pleasing others, who would force you into their idea of who you. are in order to just tolerate you. Now we can have both as intended; both complete separation (individuality) as well as belonging. We need to focus on gaining, and keeping, individual boundaries while acknowledging, and truly believing, that others have the same rights and needs. Mutual respect going in BOTH directions at the same time is essential to accomplishing a new order that works for one and all. For truly all life is connected.

Isn’t this what so many of us always really wanted?

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