Sunday, April 05, 2009

How Loaded Language Changes Perceptions

By Patricia Lefave ex mental patient

Let me use myself as the example. I will be the ‘subject’ of an imaginary news bulletin. “Mental Patient at Large”

(remember though, this is ‘confidential’)

The police service and the local psychiatric hospital are trying to locate a female patient who is without her medication. Krystal Klarity has been diagnosed with a serious and incurable mental illness. She is believed to be somewhere in the community. She has refused to take her medication and has been without it for quite a long time. She denies that she is sick and has a history of non compliance. She has refused to co-operate with her team of psychiatrists, believes they are watching her, and that people are following her around and talking about her. Although she can appear to be friendly and outgoing at times, she often withdraws from people and can seem angry, resentful, sad or really frustrated. As she tends to wander and does not drive a car, she often uses public transit. At times, because of her paranoia about people she believes are watching her, she has been known to mutter curse words to herself and seems quite aloof. She blames others for causing her problems and doesn’t even visit her OWN family who now want nothing to do with her. The family says she claims she is treated badly by these ‘others’ for the purpose of seeking attention, when ‘really’ nothing happened at all. If you see her, do not approach her or attempt to communicate with her directly. She may be armed and perhaps dangerous even though up until now, she has never been known to carry a weapon and has never had so much as a ticket. But as we all know, ‘these’ people can be very adept at hiding their disease. She has stated that she feels like she has been backed up against a wall, (as so many of them do) and also claims that she is being watched and harassed by the public. If spotted, please call Constable Dipstick at the local police service. He has been specially trained to remove his hat in a non threatening manner if he sees her.

OK. Now, let’s hunt for the truth in that, but expressed from MY point of view, which you very rarely get to hear since the psychiatrized person’s point of view is routinely silenced.

The Mental Patient at Large Speaks for Herself (Wow, what a concept!) and Assesses the Assessors

I am the mental patient and have proof of that as supplied to me by bona fide psychiatrists. I am also ‘at large’ since I am not locked up or physically controlled by drugs or other means and I do go out every day in public. So I am going to show you how this is all TRUE in some way, no matter which point of view is used to hear it. But that ‘hearing’ can make a very profound difference in how the same words, relationships or events are understood. It is this difference in understanding that is the problem so try to LISTEN with your ears to another point of view and stop projecting your beliefs into what someone else is saying.

I am in the community so that belief is correct. I don’t take drugs ‘recreational or otherwise’ and I have not taken any psychiatric drugs for over ten years as of this writing. I have refused them and so I DO have a history on ‘non compliance.’ I do not ‘comply’ willingly with what other people tell me I need when I know I do not need it. I DO believe that there are a lot of people watching and observing me here and that they have been doing that for years. I believe that because it is true, not because I have a need to ‘’seek fame” as I was told. There is no ‘hidden meaning’ in what I say. I also believe that people are talking about me and that they do THAT every day too. Why does that bother anyone else so much when I say I believe that?

Also, I CAN be pretty friendly and have been known to be just that at times, but frankly, I am sick of putting up with most of these people and their acting out all day while keeping themselves convinced they are ‘hidden’ in plain sight. Most of it is juvenile and seems to me to be a throwback to their unresolved sibling rivalries. I also have a full range of emotions, just LIKE them, and I get so tired of this endless nonsense that I prefer to stay at home a lot and enjoy the peace and quiet of my own company and that of others I often can only find in books, letters, and a few other places; away from them all. Getting away from all of these boundary violating, endlessly commenting, idiots making sarcastic remarks all day becomes a real necessity if I am to manage to maintain my anger and not haul off and slug a few of them right in the kisser. They are emotionally and psychologically exhausting. After all, you don’t want dangerous ME to act out do you?

As I once told my protagonist’s group of supporters, “if I were to confront everyone who is lying to me, or who thinks they are ‘fooling’ me, I wouldn’t have time to be doing anything else all day long!’ Taking the bus everywhere I go sure does help with my ‘wandering’ symptoms that’s for sure. Notice how the WORD suggests my travels are purposeless. It interests me that psychiatry chooses to use this kind of language to paint a picture of people as aimless and without direction, often after they have forced that person out of his/her job and onto a ‘disability’ pension because they have told his employer that the person is hopelessly insane and really can’t be trusted or even function. After all, who could possibly question or doubt the grand pronouncements of ‘bona fide’ psychiatrists? Of course, they see no connection between this and the life the person now leads, largely as a direct result of all the reductionism and labelling process which often now takes a very cost effective ten minutes to do. Seeing a connection there would involve some basic logic and this is not about logic after all.

Still THIS mental patient likes to use the bus when I go a-wandering so I don’t get sore feet from all that aimless slack jawed travelling I like to do.

As far as muttering curse words and being aloof towards you goes, I am ignoring you, you tiresome judgmental people and frankly, if this is your biggest problem with me, after over a dozen years of this endless self serving crap, you should be thanking god for your extreme good fortune. Had you chosen to have all of this ‘fun’ with a different victim or one just a tiny bit less self restrained, you may have been counting the bodies here as well, just as it happens in other places, “for no reason.”

It is also true that I ‘blame others’ for causing me problems; very specific ‘others’ for doing very specific, very arrogant, very boundary violating things, yes. I can’t argue with that either. (I can just hear the gasp coming out of the constricted throat of Professor and victim blamer G.W. as I say this!) These would be many of the same ‘others’ who attack me and then preach to the world that blaming ‘others’ is a generalized character flaw in absolute terms. Guess why they came up with that one. Go ahead, guess. You don’t suppose it is so THEY cannot be blamed do you? Wouldn’t that be juvenile though? Of course, who would know that particular ‘flaw’ better than they who blame ME for perceiving them and their actions as abusive, when they are trying so hard to convince everyone that they aren’t?
Those who insist most often and most loudly that ‘no one can be blamed’, do so because they know that THEY are the ‘no one’ who is to blame and they use their rule against ‘blaming’ as a nice neat little defence mechanism which has been working pretty well for a whole lot of people so far. They always seem to manage to cast themselves in the role of the ‘others’; have you noticed?

When you, or I, are the ‘others’ being blamed by them, then the rule against ‘blaming others’ no longer applies. It is quite magical really. I also don’t want to, or can’t visit my relatives, for a number of reasons, none of which frankly are any of your damned business. Nevertheless, I believe I will let you pushy judges who don’t judge, in on one of them. My (now late) father, who talked his way into my ex- psychiatrists office, despite the fact that neither he, or my ex psychiatrist, had my permission to discuss me, at any time, claimed, he did not do any such thing, and has convinced the rest of my relatives (and anyone else he could I’m sure) that I am only SAYING he did to ‘seek attention.’ This is a lifelong manipulative ploy about which he routinely lied and if he was confronted with lying, he then lied about lying too. As with psychiatry, I am not supposed to say anything about it, or him, as it will not go well with me if I do. Secrecy around the ‘authority’ figures thinking and behaviour is a dysfunctional imperative; especially if we intend to maintain any hope of resolution, which is always a promise of the distant future if only we will agree to forget about what is happening right now. This hope is the carrot on a stick that keeps the dysfunctional status quo going, uninterrupted, generation after generation. He and I (and in this case my ex–psychiatrist/saviour) both knew that he did this and we also both knew that he lied about it.

My ex-psychiatrist knows that he was lying about it too and also knows, that I know, he knows. But dysfunction dictates that if we want to ‘belong’ we must all remain silent about what we know, and pretend that we don’t know, what we DO know. It may seem confusing to people but these are the rules by which we must abide. Is there denial in this group dynamic? My Gawd yes there is denial; in massive amounts. But those who hold onto most of it don’t suspect themselves for a second. They are great projectors including, and sometimes especially, the mental illness professionals. Perhaps you will learn to pardon me if I don’t ‘respect’ that and dare to insult these people by saying so, right out loud. As far as I am concerned, being ‘insulted’ or ‘righteously indignant’ about being told the truth they already know IS true, is just another manipulative ploy added on to their routine to make them APPEAR innocent and mystified to ‘others’. With them, it is always the façade that matters and apparently the reality of the situation is only secondary, or else completely irrelevant. If I appear ‘aloof’ to you perhaps you should think about all the gossip and shit you’ve helped to spread while telling yourself I don’t know about any of it. If by some miracle, I happened to know you as you really are, and not as you pretend to my face that you are, do you think that may explain the reason I am less than all warm and fuzzy towards you? Tell you what, give some thought to all things you have had to say to others about me and the emotional attitude that went with all your judgments and comments, and then ask yourself, “If I was her, would what would I feel in relation to knowing that?”

When you come up with an answer to that question, ask yourself if ‘aloof’ is all you think you would feel towards someone like YOU. Why are most of you so frightened of the word ‘blame’? It means according to dictionary definition: “To hold accountable.” Is that a scary concept to you all? There is nothing in that which suggests vengeance. It is about holding the aggressor psycho spiritually responsible for their OWN behaviour; not mine, just their own.
Why is that so hard to handle?

Why is this part of a dysfunctional standard response as a reaction to blaming ANYONE for ANYTHING?
When we hold the aggressor accountable, we detach from emotional enmeshment. If we don’t hold the aggressor accountable, we will be obliged to keep on trying to change them or else offer ourselves us as a sacrifice to someone who keeps right on abusing people because he can get away with it thanks to our enabling and the generalized attack on the victims who are often accused of causing their own abuse!
(Sorry “Gordon” but that is often because the abuser and/or his blind supporters don’t want to think they might be monsters. Some of them aren’t monsters; they are just mindless flowers. So what? Is the victim any less victimized because the supporters didn’t intend to do so much harm? Deal with reality for a change and get your head of the intellectualizing clouds. ) Why don’t all you professionally trained people know any of that? Why do you ‘wonder’ why abused women keep trying to save the abuser and stay with him? It is because they are trained by society and by families to ‘forgive’ their abusers even though the abuser is totally without any sign of contrition (except for when they are SO sorry right after each round of abuse) and then keeps right on behaving the same way. Big surprise.

For heaven’s sake don’t communicate with any of us directly as equals as you may accidentally be forced to learn something you would really rather not know. We may ask you some question that makes you uncomfortable and you certainly aren’t equipped to cope with that are you?

As far as being ‘armed’ goes; I actually own quite a number of knives and you should see the one I use to peel potatoes. It is a humdinger. However, Should I have them all removed in case I may have an angry thought some day. Believe me, I have had a whole pile of them and so far, I have managed to leave my potato peeling knife at home. Maybe we should get psychiatry to ban potato peeling. That should make us all feel an illusion of safety. Better still turn it into yet another Disorder or Syndrome so you can totally control those you label in such a way. How about Spuds Syndrome?

A little question for a bit of thought here: If you believe that some of us are NOT hiding a ‘disease’ and others of us are only SAYING we don’t have a disease and are just ‘hiding’ it successfully from everyone, the how can you be sure the world is not filled to the brim with maniacs like me ‘successfully’’ hiding our raging madness? Should we just drug everyone into submission and feel even safer? Or should we maybe start looking at society as a whole and find the madness to be so pervasive now that we are going to have to identify it that way and then deal with it? Just a mad thought from the mad woman.

The reason I, and many others feel backed up against a wall is because once labelled, no matter WHAT we say think, feel or do, psychiatrists and the ‘normal’ public finds some way to see it as symptomatic and I think we can thank psychiatry in general and the creators of the Dark Secrets of Metaphysics in particular for this very predictable and warped view of reality.

As hard as this may be to accept, there is a large portion of the public that actually gets a lot of enjoyable mileage (or ‘kilometridge’, if you prefer) out of mocking and harassing people for no other ‘reason’ than the opportunity to do so has been presented to them. When someone is said to be ‘mad’ or ‘stupid’ those people are right in the element so maybe you should focus on THEM for awhile and get the focus OFF of those who ‘complain’ about them and who are told that no such phenomenon exists because “it would not make any sense ‘ for it to exist. So, by all means, if you see me out there in your ‘reality’, do call Constable Dipstick at the local police service and warn him that I am unmedicated, non compliant, denying I am ‘sick’ and still at large. He may welcome the opportunity to get out of his car and practice taking his hat off, especially if he is having a particularly slow day fighting crime.

First posted October 2008 on UNOB

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