Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Does Society Need Victims ? 2

In order to address the question of whether society needs victims, I want to look at what having victims/scapegoats, or whatever we want to call them, does for the group that creates them. In simple terms, what would be the gain?
Interpersonally,for example, if we look at why someone would want to victimise their marital partner, or something such, we find that they are enacting acquired behaviour towards the other person and that this, even in a perverse way, makes some gain for them. The gain is the transfer of guilt. We all feel a lot better if we either don`t have much guilt or we get rid of it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We saw previously that compartmentalising enables someone to single out another person into a separate mental box so that abuse can occur. This very "guiltification" is a "symptom" of abuse, the very act of guilt transfer is evidence of a compartmentalising of conscience taking place. So, I think that when we look for the mechanisms of witch hunting in our wider society, we have to be vigilant for guilt transfer. For this reason I see the growing phenomenon of the "presumption of guilt" in this society as being both a marker for the mechanism of witch hunting taking place, and as a signal that the larger group is finding it`s burden of guilt too big to handle.

A while back I was talking about home education and there being a big drive to have home educating families inspected. Originally ...before government needed to disguise their motivation.... home education was deemed to need to be inspected incase there should be child abuse in families where children didn`t go to school. Ostensibly, the concerns about children were paramount ahead of the almost sacred territory of "presumption of innocence". The imperative of whichever case we examine seems to render the presumption of innocence a mere barrier to the prevention of some possible or imagined crime. Whenever presumption of innocence is devalued in this way, we need to be deeply concerned because we know that an enthroned presumption of guilt tells us that a compartmentalising of conscience is taking place in order to justify actions that are really unjust, and, as we have seen before in compartmentalising, "justification" is the loophole that liberates guilt.

In order to convince a large number of people to persecute certain others, any group has to demonise them. Demonising them makes them "other than like us" and makes it possible to exert cruelty, discrimination, etc, without remorse.

If we look at history where there are mass drives to "guiltify", or down the slippery slope, demonise, certain sections of society, we find that the presumption of guilt enables demonisation and persecution to occur. It is a state of mind that takes hold in a group and feeds upon it`s own spiralling guilt-shift. That is, the more people who believe the particular attributions aimed at these certain people, the more they have to believe it in order to avoid their guilt: with this trap tightening in a large social group, demonisation will become more organised and greater justifications will be sought.
I think that is why there is always a serious danger of any demonisation getting out of hand. I am mindful of political moves in recent years to have people with certain mental illnesses categorised as "guilty of violence" before an act of violence has ever taken place: for example, where it was postured that people should be locked up based upon, what was in affect, a demonisation manoeuvre.... In Nazi Germany demonisation of Jews grew from one man`s personal paranoia about Jews, into a group intoxication where no one questioned the "guilt" of Jews.

Personal standards of rightfulness and established judicial practice, become the enemy of those who seek to do injustice to others. Indeed, frighteningly, those that subordinate such central tenets of a civilised state, convince themselves that it is the place of the new rightfulness to overthrow the very civil liberties that prevent their demonisation crusade from it`s mission ( example present day demonisation of muslims). I use the oxymoron "demonisation crusade " with particular attention because it must be emphasised that the fervour that propels a mass drive to hurt others by defaming them, is pursued with the same blind, self-righteous impulse as a religious crusade. Both are delusional.

A demonisation drive can though, as we were saying, grow out of societies need to get rid of guilt that it collectively holds. Over zealous crusades in the name of right can lead to innocent people being swept up with the guilty, as is already happening in the case of child abuse. The fact that innocent parents can have their children removed forever from them, is something that is the true cost of a group drive that demonises people before it considers whether people are innocent or not. Much of this.... in it`s essence a group intoxication to get rid of societies guilt onto anyone they can attach it to..... has much to do with group survival. Those in any group who are getting brownie points for seeking out the "witches", so to speak, in this case child abusers, have a feel-good factor themselves and this state of well being bonds and enhances their group.

So the essential thing that creating victims does for the larger group is that it divests collectively the dominant group of guilt and thereby helps it to thrive: Guilt is known to damage the immune system so a group guilt-shift makes for better health for group members. I also think that just as the compartmental conscience enables the individual to function, so does the group compartmental conscience, there is little difference really. I suppose that the group compartmental conscience creates a large-scale guilt-box for the ones impugned. The main difference is that the scale of the operation exculpates everybody, regardless of whether they are guilty or not, and bestows upon all those who conform to the group-need, approval and position and well being. It`s something that groups do for their members by instinct and, of course, conversely, the folks oppressed with the imposition of guilt would be "expected" (this is an unconscious intention) to do less well.

I want to come back to this topic soon.There are many examples of sections of society that are being demonised as part of a deliberate campaign.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Does Society Need Victims?

We have talked about victimisation of individuals and now I want to meander a little into the bigger picture. I want to see if society as an animal group needs victims in order to advance it`s group needs and, if it does, whether there can be any wider explanations found for mass persecutory uptake.

We know that societies have hierarchies, underclasses, bullies and victims, successful people and failures. This may well be unavoidable even as a society, in the name of human rights or civilised behaviour, strives to drive out inequality. In my view, humanity doesn`t ever advance in terms of how we treat each other, it just applies itself to better conduct in some societies around the world at different times, whilst brutal behaviour dominates other societies. Things change only in as far as which nations are committing atrocities, or not, at certain points in history. But why does it happen? Is there something else at work here that we don`t see?

It is hard enough to take a look at our less honorable, half concealed and misunderstood impulses, and the mechanics of relationship in this regard that are all around us, let alone to try to fathom how we humans are motivated in terms of our animal selves in relation to the animal-pack. I find it easier to look at these phenomena interpersonally and within small groups, then to check out the psychology macrocosmically. The psychology invariably checks out!!!!!

Let`s look at how an element of interpersonal psychology transfers easily to the wider scheme of things: We have just examined why and how a compartmental conscience aids in disavailing someone of guilt and that within the compartmental conscience various strategies may be used to achieve this..the guilt-shift being one primary example. We know that the guilt-shift functions to demonise someone else in order to, firstly, disencumber the guilty party of responsibly and, secondly, to shift guilt overtly,publicly, from the guilty to the innocent so as to protect the guilt-laden.

So now, how does this microcosmic psychology transfer to society as a whole? We have seen how a group, such as our examples, protect their members and how they deflect the guilt of one of their fellows onto others. Of course, there is both a need and an advantage in doing so: If priests or doctors allow outsiders to know of their culpability the whole group becomes tarnished..and this affects everybody. For a professional group to be publicly discredited is a very big deal for all the players, they all potentially look guilty (as priests do to many people).

From our understanding of small-scale psychology and it`s relation to group psychology, we see that guilt-shifting is a very necessary off-load and certainly essential to group survival. In society in general though, I think that this need still fulfils, even, as in group psychology, if some, or many, or most people aren`t guilty at all.I believe that there is an unconscious drive in us as pack-animals to off-load guilt even if we personally have no guilt whatsoever.For example, it is our instinctive dislike of, or nervousness about, our societies weaker members that betrays our group guilt even if we don't personally victimise or abuse....

And what does this result in ultimately? This manifests in the demonisation and persecution we see emanating from the big cogs in our societies. An example from history would be the 17th century witch hunts, but societal guilt-shifting is alive and kicking today!

In my next blog I want to look at examples of this phenomenon. Hope you can tune in...

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Who will be a Victim?

Who is more likely to become a victim?

Well, there are many examples of people in particular categories who are more likely to become victims.. Let`s just look at those first: Children, of course, the mentally ill, old people, the sick, and of course anyone with diminished faculties, for whatever reason. Why? The answer is that it is easier to abuse, in any way, someone who is weaker in some way, who has less awareness, principally because they may not understand, may not be able to represent themselves adequately, or may not be believed when they tell someone else.

Let`s take sexual abuse of a child: Someone with greater power can use threats and manipulation to prevent a child from disclosing the truth and also a child is less believable than adults in anycase. Children are also suggestible, they will likely take on guilt that is ascribed to them and not be able to reason through the justifications fed to them.
Someone mentally ill may realise they are being abused, in whatever form that may take, yet if they tell someone what is happening, they are less likely to be believed because they are deemed to be lacking capacity.
A person who is ill, perhaps elderly, may not have awareness to know what is happening and may not have the wherewithal or stamina to tell someone in a position of authority.
For all of these vulnerable people, the main reason for the perpetrator bullying or abusing them in particular, is that their lack of social power tends to make them invalid as witnesses to their own situation. In short....and this is not just a little like Darwin`s survival of the fittest, the stronger amongst us human animals can victimise the weaker and those that feed off victims tend to abuse where they wont get caught.

So what of children who get bullied in school, or women who fall victim to men, or the employee who gets bullied at work? Are they identifiable as being weak? Well, they don`t necessarily have a weakness that renders them vulnerable, but folks who become prey to ongoing bullying often have a vulnerability. Take a child who is a little shy, perhaps under-confident, perhaps unhappy, as soon as they walk into a school their body-language gives off a signal to children who have learned to want to hurt other children that this child can be their victim.

As we examined before, a bully may have been bullied, or he/she may have learned how to bully by watching it done to others. Some children copy the bullying mode of relationship and inflict it upon other children. Some children who are bullied discharge their own pain by hurting other kids. But some children bullied or undermined or unloved at home become burdened with low self-esteem, and, without an adequate core-self, they become easy targets for victim seekers in school and beyond. And victim seekers have a major talent for sniffing-out vulnerability.

We can apply this to adults also: If an adult has low confidence, maybe has some life problems, feels inadequate, they can become targets for abuse. Some people just find it difficult to stand up for themselves and end up being made fun of by the people around them. Referring back to medical misogyny: A strong woman with lots of confidence would be less likely to become victim to a doctor, as indeed anyone with strong family support will be safer in these terms. Confidence and being part of a group is always a protecting factor. The bully will always sense that someone is under-confident or that they wont have support from the people around them. It`s all part of the animal instinct that is able to assess, almost instantly, any person encountered.

This is a sad state of affairs indeed...Some people just like to have a victim, it is second nature to them, and although, of course, there are many good people who wouldn`t take part in such insidious behaviour, we should not forget that our social world functions around the survival of the fittest.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Covert Misogyny 2.

Right, now back to this huge subject.... Let`s see if we can shed some more light on it:

We have looked at some reasons why some doctors practice covert misogyny and now I want to think about why such a profession permits this to happen. You might say "permits it by default", since the profession as a whole would be loath to admit that it occurs at all. I think that this denial has parallels with any individual or group that pretends that abuse isn`t really happening. For example, where there was abuse of children in the Catholic Church, denial was the biggest factor in the whole saga.

When we talk about an individual denying their guilt we see that they do so to protect themselves from punishment. Somehow "denial", they hope, protects their innocence. But why do members of a group protect each other? After all, why protect someone who might be guilty? The person protecting someone else isn`t guilty, so why trouble to shelter someone who is? How do they square this with their conscience?

Well, part of this may be to do with feeling that they cannot be sure that the person is guilty, maybe they want to believe that they are not guilty, and part of it this has to do with the connection and loyalty they feel for their colleagues.
Let`s look at this in regard to a priest: The priest may be a nice man, long serving in the church, he has many close friends...he may have done kindnesses for other clergy... This creates a loyalty and a feeling in others that they do not want to believe that he is guilty. In anycase, if they report him for suspected abuse, they may be impugning him by mistake and turn his life into a nightmare, not forgetting that to report him to the police will bring trouble for themselves: they may not be believed, their colleagues may turn against them, etc. In short, keeping shtum is the preferable option. The most important dynamic here though, is reciprocal loyalty within the group: If you protect a colleague, they will certainly protect you! Because of this,cases are rare where someone is brave enough to betray a colleague in the name of right.

This is broadly what happens in groups, it is all about group cohesion and group function and group survival. This very same mechanism will be in play in the medical profession when a doctor medically abuses a patient. Doctors simply don`t want to believe that some of their colleagues are misogynists and if they half see it, they turn a blind eye.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, where someone is guilty in regard to someone else, the compartmental conscience kicks in and there is activated a demonisation of the wounded party.(In cases of sexual abuse, this would involve making the child look guilty). The function of demonisation is to shift guilt from the abuser/ perpetrator onto the victim. This facilitates a concealment of guilt. When we observe this in regard to one-to -one relationships, the power of the guilt-shift is played out depending upon the power of the individuals concerned. That is, which one is weak, which one is strong; which one has endurance and which one doesn`t; which one is more forgiving,etc. The game-play ratchets up when one uses their own social or family group as an endorsement of their demonisation strategy. The person in this one-to-one battle, who has greater social skills, greater prowess at manipulating, will doubtless win the war when they recruit a group around them to support their position. It`s simple:a group has more power.

The same is true of doctors who medically abuse women: The surest way to hide what has happened is to demonise the woman, find concrete ways of showing that she is "mad" or "bad" and that therefore the doctor hasn`t done anything wrong at all!!! The simplest way to do this is with psychiatric diagnosis. When there is a psychiatric diagnosis attached to a female patient it becomes almost impossible for the medical abuse to be revealed. Of course, this is gross misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, but who would ever find out?

You might wonder how doctors manage their consciences, both to themselves and in regard to their colleagues.. Well, it`s our old friend the compartmental conscience !!! When a woman is medically abused and she is then demonised in order to hide what has occurred, the demonisation is the salve to the conscience. The doctor thinks, "well, this woman is an attention-seeker, or at least neurotic, and my colleague certainly has, therefore, done nothing wrong. It`s the woman`s fault." This way he shuts out the truth and carries on ethically with his other patients, with this woman-victim safely shut away in a bad box in his mind.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Covert Misogyny.

Now let`s go back to less conspicuous abuse of women, one instance of which I relayed to you in my blog entitled "Misogyny in the Medical Profession".

We learn how to hurt people when we are small children, just as we learn every mode of behaviour, as we watch the adults around us in their relationships. Some children exposed to these kinds of interaction will copy them in later life, some will not. The knowledge is there, the behaviour assimilated, however, and we can see, even in the most stable and equitable of people, the mechanisms of hurt that manifest when they are stressed or angry. For vast numbers of people who slip into hurt mode for a while and come out of it, it does not become a pervasive trait, just a transitory one. Some people, with this acquired behaviour ready to jump into action, hurt some people and not others (this is something I thought about when I discussed "Compartmental Conscience" in an earlier blog).Others keep a very tight rein on this assimilated ability to hurt others, not wishing to vent it and only letting go when they are under extreme stress.

We are talking here, though, specifically about women, but the basis for needing or wanting to hurt is the same.
I think, firstly, that hostility to or resentment of women in particular, can be caused by adverse experience of a woman, the pain of which becomes ingrained and later is discharged against someone who has nothing to do with these earlier experiences. Somehow, the pain of past experience does not allow analysis of where and when upset first occurred, it just is triggered generally by women, or women with particular characteristics, and just finds outlet. Indeed, any woman can be a trigger for reflexed hatred just because something about her hooks into something in the past for the man concerned.

Another cause, as I discussed in my last blog, is that a man can have witnessed someone close to him with a bad attitude to a woman/women. Some men learn the idea that women are out to cheat them, or are after their money, or women try to get attention for disingenuous reasons,feign illness when they are not really ill, or whatever the case may be, from someone else, a father maybe, who projects these ideas onto a boy`s mother. A boy will see his mother accused of such falsehood on a day to day basis and he will believe what she is accused of, even though his father`s notions are in themselves untrue, based as they are upon his own psychopathology.

I would like to touch on another trigger for misogyny related to the phenomenon of learned behaviour: When someone learns to view someone else, anyone else, negatively, based upon false perceptions, there are factors within that interaction that are part of the package. It`s like this: a person cannot deal out a negative regard for someone without incurring some guilt, even if it is guilt on an unconscious level. I tend to think of this as like expending energy always having a consequence, we go jogging and we get tired, we get angry and we get more and more upset, nothing happens without consequence. So, when we put upon others our negative attributions, we pay a price....unless we counteract this in some way. This is why in situations where we incur guilt, our compartmental conscience kicks in to try to lift the guilt we might otherwise feel.

Finally, when someone reflexes negative regard for women, they can simply be reacting against their own sense of guilt, acquired by them when a young child, as if their father`s guilt were their own..The woman`s behaviour, or triggers, can, point-blank, make the man feel very guilty and he reacts to that with agression.

So now we come to why some doctors see women as disingenuous: I believe that in their early childhood they have acquired negative ideas about women, from whom or for what reason they have no conscious knowledge, and they simply issue this negativity upon hapless women as if it were real. It is one big delusion. Believing badly of someone without due cause expresses itself in other situations too,for example racism.

The doctor who destroyed my mother`s life would not realise that he was acting out of deep-rooted irrational motivations and probably was convinced that this was indeed a neurotic woman in need of psychiatric medication. What is a crime though, is that a doctor should be able to come to this "professional diagnosis", subjectively, and based upon his own paranoia, without any tests to make sure that his opinion is correct. The fact that this abuse of women is covert makes this phenomenon all the more difficult to prevent.

In my next blog I hope to get onto why it is that this type of misogyny is tolerated within professional groups and why the group itself has responsibility in allowing it to happen.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Overt abuse of women.

We see abuse of women in all sorts of ways in society, often violent or sexual in nature. We also see repression and disrespect of women associated with some religions and cultures. Women are sometimes trapped by domestic violence, both physically and psychologically. These cases are in the public consciousness so as examples of typical, overt abuse, let`s try to think about why this happens..

I think that it`s worth having a look at some of the factors that enable domestic violence. Of course not all causes apply and there will be a variety of factors involved, but the obvious one to look at first is the difference in physical size and strength between a man and a woman. Some men actually look for someone they can bully because of their own acquired behaviour: The bullied will often bully simply because that is how they have learned to behave from those around them.It is not always the case, though, that a man who bullies has been bullied in his earlier life, it can be that he has witnessed bullying, maybe his father bullied his mother, or even vice versa, and that this can become the mode of relationship that he knows best. It is also often the case that women can be drawn to men who are bullies, either having been bullied themselves, or they too having witnessed bullying at close hand. Many women, unwittingly, assume the role of the bullied one in a relationship.

Why should this happen? Well, just as children learn love or cooperation or compromise from the people around them in their early years, so, if they are exposed to hatred or disrespect or bullying, they can learn these instead. These traits can become the only expression of "love" that they know and children can confuse them as such. A man who assimilates the role of bully can still feel this role as an expression of "love", just as a woman who mistakes the pain and violence of abuse as part of the environment for a "loving" relationship, can experience a lovelessness without the presence of abuse. It is simply a matter of what we learn and what we experience in our adult lives. Some people, though, have exposure to bullying in their early life and adopt the passive persons role, rejecting the bullies position. Women too often have low self esteem, learned sometimes from their mother, a role-model victim, and reinforced through life.

Now of course, women are not "asking for it" when this scenario occurs, they just often get into abusive relationships because they mistake what is on offer for love. They are not conscious of what they are doing, neither, often, are the men who bully them. It is all hidden in their pasts and enacted without so very much control.

I really wonder whether women would ever get into an abusive relationship if it weren`t for one or other of the above reasons. Having witnessed, though, a friend being verbally disrespected and systematically undermined over a long period of time, maybe with no background of inflicted abuse and no witness of it, I still noted that this woman had low self esteem, and this coupled with a desire to exculpate her husband at every turn, prevented her from taking action to reclaim herself and her self-respect. The trouble is, where there is weakness anywhere in society there are people who want to take advantage.

Why should it serve men to undermine women? Well, a woman who is weakened will comply with sex or do what they are told to do. The psychology is simple, weaken her and you can dominate her. In this sense we can see that the inadequacies of the man will diminish in his own eyes if he can dominate his woman...but also, I think, that abusing someone kicks into gear the compartmental conscience (please see my previous blog about this devise) as the man struggles to off-load his guilt at treating a woman so badly. The compartmental conscience here will get him off the hook because it will see blameworthy characteristics in the woman that CAUSE him to HAVE to be abusive. The more he abuses her, the more the compartmentalising has to work ever harder to escape guilt and the more violent the man becomes. Because of this, the situation is almost beyond repair for the bully because the compartment in his mind that says the bullying is justifiable, because the woman is guilty/bad/unloving or whatever, is dependant upon the violence and abuse to justify itself. The compartmental tool isn`t without needs itself and wants a return for helping the man do his dirty work.(This happens in any such similar situation, of course.)The more the guilt incurred, the higher the stakes.)

I will need to think aloud about this some more in the near future as well as talking about covert abuse of women, so please tune into me next time.

Misogyny in the Medical Profession.

Through the course of my blogs I want to look at why, where and how, different people and different groups become victim to others. It is important for me to understand the reasons for this victimisation as well as drawing the eye to instances of abuse that are concealed from our day to day knowledge. Today I am going to go straight into a case of out-and-out misogyny, many instances of which can be found in medical practice today and where the affects of medical malpractice are largely concealed.

My mother went to her G.P. in the mid 1970s, when she was in her middle forties, with abdominal symptoms. The doctor prescribed something for it and she came away and started taking the drug as prescribed. She did not question what the drug was, nor did she seek a diagnosis.In those days you just trusted your doctor and did what you were told to do. My mum was a happy, active person with a nice job,she had had no previous history of psychological problems at all, not even a squeak, but the drug that this doctor gave her was Valium. She went to him with physical health symptoms, no anxiety, no depression, and yet she was given a psychiatric drug without her knowledge. Well, of course, some doctors are misogynists, it`s a fact of life: They see a middle aged women complaining of abdominal problems and they think, "this is just a neurotic female", but as to why they do this and how they are able to pursue these beliefs within their profession as doctors, we shall come back to examine in a subsequent blog.

This abuse of my mother by this G.P. caused a catastrophe of desperate and tragic proportions. My mother began to suffer a devastating reaction to valium ..and remember she did not even know that she was taking a psychiatric drug.....and she became a terrified, almost catatonic wreck. When it was obvious that valium had made her very ill, the G.P became nasty, the only way that he could off-load his guilt was to be nasty to us. My mother`s life, now destroyed, was horrendous. My sister and I had no mother, in fact, and the medics really didn`t know what to do. The best that they could come up with was ECT. So a lovely, happy mum, duped into taking a psychiatric drug by an abusive doctor, ended up having repeated ECT. She came out of this a virtual zombie with huge areas of memory loss and really hardly a person at all. The suffering caused to her and to us was fantastic. Days of endless agony with no hope and a sort of grief for a mother that had gone away somewhere into mental illness, never wholly to return. And the pain of knowing that she had been the victim of a male doctor in this way was unbearable.

There was never an apology. Years later when she developed heart failure, it even came to light that she probably had a heart attack when having the ECT, but nobody noticed. They didn`t even notice.

So we have to understand WHY this kind of thing happens....Let`s think of it as our mission to find out, so that we can know why some people hurt others and how they come to square it with their own conscience and with the people around them. In my next blog I want to try to examine why women become victims and why there can be professional abuse of women that is largely unchecked.