WHO’S MINING YOUR UNCONSCIOUS?

And Who’s Mining Your Children’s Unconscious?

Recently it was revealed that President Trump’s campaign data firm has been mining the unconscious of millions of people in the U.S. (and elsewhere) through data on Facebook (and perhaps other places, too) to impact election results. People at the top of this company, Cambridge Analytica, have been exposed on film in Great Britain as having the purposeful intention to find and exploit people’s inner demons, their deep fears and hopes – both the ones that are merely unspoken and the ones that are unconscious. The top people at the company actually talked about psychological profiling of people deeper into the unconscious than anyone else.  “There is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion,” said one of the executives of the company. This company – or any other – can say that about elections, or about anything else that is truly based not on facts, but on emotions.

Mining people’s unconscious is not new in our world. Scam artists, snake oil salesmen, false prophets and more have existed since the beginning of time. Many years ago, ironically in 1984, there was a movie, “Dreamscape,” in which a government project tasked with training psychics to enter people’s dreams, purportedly to help them, ends up with a goal of assassination through dreams.

Although others mining our unconscious is frightening in any age and any form – and of course, it is frightening – more frightening still today is the part we ourselves have played in others mining our unconscious selves. Some may think our part is the outer participation in our use of the internet, and particularly Facebook.  But that isn’t the part that is of the greatest concern … for all of us.

The crucial part we have played is by our neglecting to mine our own unconscious selves. As time has gone on and we have been seduced into reaching for band-aids, trying to get rid of symptoms, looking outside ourselves, rising above ourselves, and ignoring the real deep roots of our problems, our pains, our unfulfilled hopes, our fears, our distress … we have become more and more disconnected from our own deep selves alive within our very own unconscious. As a result, we have cut ourselves off from the possibility of healing this disconnection.  And from the true help, the art, the skill, and the journey that exists to help us reconnect.

If we, the adults – the parents, the teachers, the leaders – don’t mine our own unconscious …
how are we going to teach our children to mine theirs?

If we, the adults don’t discover, face, and use for healing and growth our deepest demons, our deepest fears, and our deepest hopes …
how are we going to teach our children to do the same?

And what a setup it is for our children’s unconscious selves to be mined by others,
if we don’t help them learn to mine their own.

Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work with ourselves and our work with our children.
Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work in our families, our communities, our countries, our world.

This is core to what I help people do with themselves – for themselves, for the sake of their children, and for the sake of our world.

© 2018 Judith Barr

 

Heartfelt Memories That Can Help Us Today – The Cuban Missile Crisis

As things have gotten scary in our country and our world in the recent past, and as the state of our safety has evermore become a conscious concern … a lot has come up for all of us.  As a person, I work to be in tune with my thoughts, feelings, and memories.  As a psychotherapist, I help others do the same.   And as both, I have, since I first heard it, been in tune with George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I see the truth of that in our individual lives.  It’s at the heart of the healing depth psychotherapy I do with people.  And I see the truth of Santayana’s wisdom in our communal lives.  It’s at the heart of the possibilities of healing in our country and our world.

So as things have heated up with terrorism, mass shootings, and more … I have worked even harder, and even deeper for myself, with my clients, and with those who read my blog and my website … to remember the past that is calling us to heal.

With the threats from North Korea, memories have surfaced for me from my senior year in high school.  Memories that I never really forgot. They just weren’t foreground.  I remember being sent home from school in the heat of the Cuban Missile Crisis – don’t know if that was during or at the end of the school day.  I know we were supposed to go right home, where it was supposedly going to be safe.  That was like ducking under our desks for an air raid drill.

But a few of my closest friends and I went to a nearby playground, sat on the ground, and talked.

I don’t remember our saying we were scared.  I don’t remember our saying we were scared because we lived right outside Washington, D.C., and were afraid we would be killed by a missile.  I know we were both … because I knew myself and I knew my friends.  And because of what we spoke about.  We talked about what we meant to each other.  We talked about what we loved about life.  We talked about what we didn’t want to lose.  We may have even spoken about what we wanted to do in the future – meaning if we were still okay after the crisis.

And then we went home.  I went home with my heart full.  I went home deeply thankful for my dear friends.

This memory keeps coming back as things continue developing in our country and our world today.  And each time it returns, my heart opens ever wider … I share with people I’m close to what they mean to me … I share with people what I love about life … I share with people what I want to do in the future to help us be okay. And by doing so, I invite them to share back with me.

I originally wrote a version of this post for my high school class newsletter.  One of my classmates shared back:  she “has been surprised to learn that her friends who grew up in other parts of the country have almost no memory of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It was a news item to them, not a threat to their lives.”  For us, it was a definite threat to our lives.

I hope you will take this to heart …

When something is a threat to your life.
When something is a news item to you, but a threat to someone else’s life.
When something is not remembered, and as a result gets repeated in your personal history and your family, national, and global histories.
When it is time to do your part in the healing.
When you search for a way to do that healing in the deepest way possible.

I hope you will take this to heart and will feel my sharing this with you to be an invitation to you to share back with me.  It could help in the healing, and it could bring us closer in these challenging times.

© Judith Barr, 2018

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 2

PART TWO

So how does this connect to our living the medicine?
I’ll show you . . .
but before you read on …
Be sure you’ve read  How Did We Get Here? We’re Living the Medicine – Part 1

We are living the medicine of our not having used the poison we’ve created communally as the medicine to heal ourselves – both individually and communally.

You can see in Part One, that people wounded as children will re-enact the wounding again and again in their adult lives, escalating the re-enactment as time continues. Of course, this will impact others in their lives. And the ripples of the impact will spread out in wider and wider ripples as they continue:  the ripples will spread out into their schools, their workplaces, their places of worship, their families. Once they have children, the ripples will spread out to their children and then on to another generation. If they become leaders in any way, their wounding will impact communities, states, countries, and the world.
If they are citizens and voters, their wounding will impact as widely as the leaders’ impact, since the citizens vote for the leaders. The citizens can support the leaders or take actions to intervene. And what the citizens do will depend upon their wounding and their re-enactments.

In turn, not only do individuals wound each other,
but also the culture in the communities, states, countries, and the world wound the individuals.
This is part of the vicious cycle.

At the very beginning of Part One, I said,
“People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.”

Let’s look at a few of these.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s financial.”

The major re-enactment is that people are trying to take care of their finances (individually) or their economies (communally) in the outer world. Budgeting or not budgeting. Saving or not saving. Investing or not investing. Working harder and harder or not working harder. Paying taxes or not paying taxes. And so on.

But most people have absolutely no idea what is at the root of their relationships with money. And most people aren’t investing in discovering those roots. The people who have worked with me individually or in workshops to find this root have been amazed. Amazed at the depth of the real roots. Amazed at how young, even primal the roots are. Amazed at the possibility of healing their relationship with money if they do the work – if they use the poison as the medicine. And fascinated by the truth and power of what they’ve found … both for themselves, and also for our world, as others discover what they have discovered.

If we don’t do the deep work of finding the roots of our relationships with money, we will keep re-enacting the wounding that is at the root. We will keep impacting our own relationships with money, and we will keep impacting the communal economy. We will not be using the poison as the medicine for healing.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s political.”

The television, radio, and internet are filled with people discussing, explaining, teaching, entertaining, and pontificating about how what’s going on, for example, in the United States is political.  They are only seeing the political aspect of what’s going on. Many of them specialize in politics. Often they are addicted to politics. You can experience the adrenaline rush they get when they are discussing politics.  It is their lens and they’re sticking to it.

But while they’ve been sticking to the political viewpoint, what’s going on in the US has been escalating in repeated vicious cycles.  If only they would understand that there is something beneath the political that is driving the politics. If only they would understand that the politics are driven by the wounding and the re-enacting:  of citizens – all citizens in one way or another – of candidates for leadership, and of leaders, again all leaders one way or another.  Then they could help teach and advocate for utilizing the poison we’ve created together as the medicine to heal.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s sexual abuse.”

In the recent past, sexual abuse and domestic violence have come more into the light of day in the US. It started before the 2016 presidential campaign, but the campaign brought them more into public view.  The sexual abuse tape on the bus, with Donald Trump and Billy Bush laughing at Trump’s admissions. Followed by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women. And then all the men after that … dominoes falling one by one.

What the men named have done to women (and men) is horrifying, painful, destructive, and more. The revelations that have followed are important, even vital, to bringing the reality of sexual abuse out into the open for everybody to see.  It is clear there is an attempt to utilize the poison as the medicine as the brave people who were sexually abused come out to tell about it, as others believe them, as movements like #MeToo and #Times Up emerge.  But this is only the beginning.

People are talking about the sexual harassment or abuse in industries – the entertainment industry, the sports industry, the corporate world, the media, religious institutions, and more.  Things got closer to the root when it was exposed that Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who ran for Senator from Alabama, had “dated” children, and been sexual with them. The movement closer to the root came in the exposure of Dr. Larry Nasser and his sexually abusing hundreds, possibly even thousands of young girls, gymnasts, in his care. Finally people were talking about children being sexually abused.

But I have not heard anyone talking about how much sexual abuse of children occurs in their homes … by the people they should be able to trust.  And I have not heard anyone talking about how the laws of our country don’t really protect these children. I have not heard anyone talking about the devastating effect on children of sexual abuse in their lives. And I have not heard anyone talking about the need to help in the healing of those who were victimized by sexual abusers, and to help in the healing of those who are sexual abusers who likely were sexually abused themselves.

Until we are going to that root …
Until we are working to heal that root …
Until we are all looking into our hearts and souls to see if and how we have experienced any part of that root …

We will not have utilized the poison of the epidemic of sexual abuse exposures in the country today,
as the medicine to heal the epidemic of sexual abuse in our country … and our world.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s abuse in the form of domestic violence.”

Rob Porter, Donald Trump’s White House Staff Secretary, and his exposure as someone who was violent with his wives has brought into clear view in the light of day … domestic violence in the US and in the world. We can look at it through many lenses, but … they all fall short of the deepest root:

The amount and degree of abuse of partners, men and women alike, and children in their homes is greater than anyone knows. Greater than most people want to know. Greater than most people can imagine. Greater than there is any way to prove. Most people ignore or deny the amount and degree of abuse that goes on in homes all over the country and world … even those who are abused and believe they are all alone.

I have written about this again and again. The statistics are heartbreaking. The details are heartbreaking. For me personally, one of the most heartbreaking, painful moments was when I discovered that the United States has loopholes in its laws in every state … loopholes that allow partners to be abused and unprotected, loopholes that allow children to be abused, even physically abused, by their parents.  And not only that … I discovered at that same time that there is a list of countries that has legally banned the abuse of children completely, and that the US is not among them. I felt sickened.

Just as Rob Porter, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and others have worn a mask of civility for years … so also the US has worn a mask of civility for years, decades, centuries.  And now it has been exposed. The poison is coming out into view – the poison of domestic violence and sexual abuse right in the nation’s homes.

Once again, we have a chance to use the poison as the medicine to heal this scourge.  Will we do it this time?  Will we not only talk about it, bemoan it … and not only work to change our laws, but will we also heal at the root the places each of us has been exposed in some way to abuse and violence in our homes, our schools, our culture?  It’s all spilling out into view now, with Donald Trump as President.  Will we use it for healing?  Or will we sit passively by allowing it to go around the vicious cycle again and escalate more?

Will we use it for healing?  Or will we become active in the outer world, believing that will stop the cycle, while going around the vicious cycle again, letting it escalate further?

The poison is the medicine.
Will we use the poison of our finances and economy as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our politics as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our sexual abuse as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our domestic violence as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use it for healing? From the inside out?
Will we use it for healing? To the root of our being?
It is a choice. It is our choice. It is your choice.
What will you choose?

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 To read How Did We Get Here? Part One, go to www.JudithBarr.com  then to PoliPsych Blog on top navbar, and click on “Latest Post.”

Note: Although the examples in this article are from and about the US, the themes, the meaning, and the truth of the examples apply all over our world.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 1

PART ONE

People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.
Each viewpoint can be discussed and seem to explain the cause from a valid standpoint.
Yet … they all are accounts at or near the surface. No matter how longstanding they seem to apply … no matter how deep they appear to go … none of them reaches the roots of the way in which we got here. And none of them even alludes to the reality that the roots underlie each explanation.

So … how did we get here?
The poison is the medicine.
“What?” you ask.
The poison is the medicine and we’ve neglected to use the poison as medicine.
“What in the world are you talking about?” you question and exclaim at the same time … probably in a more colloquial manner, and understandably.

I’m glad you want to know.

There is a knowledge in many healing traditions – both spiritual and otherwise –
that “the poison is the medicine.” 1
It is the heartbeat of homeopathy.
It is the transformation in numerous natural healing traditions.
It is the healing crisis that brings us into and through a healing passageway,
with the potential of our coming out the other side.
It’s inherent in the depth psychotherapy I practice.
It’s the essence of why, in addition to calling myself a depth psychotherapist,
I identify myself as a midwife to the soul.

“The poison is the medicine” reaches to the root of the difficulty.
It works from the root.
It works from the inside out.

Stay with me as we go deeper.

“The poison is the medicine” means …
If we are wounded as children –
and we all are in one way or another –
we create ways to defend ourselves against the pain of that wound,
ways that take hold within us and in our lives way into and through adulthood.
Perhaps we shut down our feelings.
Perhaps we numb ourselves physically and emotionally.
Perhaps we are paralyzed by the trauma of the wound.
Maybe we build walls to keep others from getting close and hurting us again.
Maybe we hide from others and even from ourselves.
Maybe we go through life waiting to be hurt … in the same way we once were.
Or perhaps we do the hurting of others as a means of defense.
Possibly, the wounding was before we had words.
Even so, it is likely that once we’re old enough to have words, we attach an early decision to the wounding experience.
Decisions like:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
“If anyone’s gonna do the hurting, it will be me.”
“I will always be hurt.”
“No matter how much I try to protect myself, they always get me.”
“When I grow up, I’ll be the one with all the power …
to do what I want …
to make people do what I want …”

Most often, people aren’t aware of these defenses, including the early decisions.
And if they’re aware, for example, of an early decision …
They don’t realize that the early decision drives their life beneath their consciousness.
So if someone has decided “No one will ever hurt me again,”
that person will very likely draw into his/her life experience
people who will be hurtful, people who will, perhaps,
re-enact the same wound s/he experienced as a child.

Here’s the vicious circle, or as I call it “The Maze”:
When the wound is re-enacted, the person proves to him/herself
that people are trying to hurt him/her …
and uses that proof to decide once again:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
This becomes the justification to use the same defenses all over again,
maybe even doubling or tripling them in number and size.

If this person doesn’t utilize the re-enactment of the wounding as the poison …
and if this person doesn’t utilize the poison as the medicine to heal the original wound –
at its root …
the re-enactments will keep occurring,
over and over again,
at some point beginning to escalate.

The longer the person goes without utilizing the poison as the medicine to heal …
the more the re-enactment and cycle escalates,
until possibly the wounding  becomes really harmful, even dangerous.
Then the person is “living the medicine,”
instead of using the poison as the medicine for healing.

This is not a criticism.
This is not a punishment.
It is simply the consequence of not using the poison as the medicine.
It happens to all of us.
Even without our being conscious of it.

So how does this connect with our living the medicine communally,
in our country, in our world?
Stay tuned for Part Two coming very soon ………………

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 I explained “the poison is the medicine” over 2 years ago, November 19, 2015. This article can be found on my website on the carousel, by clicking “Read More” under “Reflections on How Healing Ourselves Helps to Heal Our World” and then clicking on “Grief, Shock, Another Tragedy and … the Poison is the Medicine …” or by going to “PoliPsych Blog” at the top navbar, and then clicking on “Blog Spotlight: The Paris Trilogy.” It can also be accessed through this link: http://judithbarr.com/2015/11/19/grief-shock-another-tragedy-and-the-poison-is-the-medicine/

IT’S TIME FOR MIRACLES

In this time when the light shines through on the darkest day …
In this time when we celebrate miracles from times gone by …
It is time for miracles.
It is time for our consciousness to grow.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that sexual abuse doesn’t begin in the workplace;
it begins in the home.
It is time for us to be aware that sexual abuse doesn’t begin with
the abuse of adolescents and young women and men;
It begins with the abuse of children.

It is time for us to know that the supportive reactions to men like Roy Moore –
here in the United States and all over the world –
are the same kinds of reactions that families have to the men in incestuous families …
frank denial, support no matter what, lies by the mouthful, guises by the dozens;
not believing the one who has been sexually abused, blaming the victimized,
bullying, buying off or exiling anyone who dares to speak the truth;
staying aligned with the family’s sexual abuser in an attempt to accomplish one’s own agenda – to protect one’s own interests, the consequences be damned.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that what is occurring in our government –
here in the United States and in many other governments the world over –
is not political,
is not partisan,
is not about purported causes and agendas,
is not adult,
is not conscious.
It is time for us to know …
what is occurring in our government
is not the work of grown-ups;
It is the acting out of little children –
wounded in childhood.
Little children wounded in childhood –
who either don’t yet know they are wounded and acting out,
or who don’t know the child they once were is still alive inside them and acting out today,
or who don’t choose to know,
or who don’t choose to heal their childhood wounds.

Little children wounded in childhood –
who, in not choosing to heal …
are acting out their childhood wounds
in the halls of government,
on the stage of our country,
on the stage of our world and our earth.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on millions of innocent people
all over our country,
all over our world.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on Mother Earth.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to wake up and see that each of us plays a part,
even if we didn’t realize it before now.
It’s time to wake ourselves up and acknowledge
that even “the best” of us plays a part.
Even “the best” of us is somehow re-enacting our painful childhood
experiences …
in the family of the country, in the human family.
Even those in the media who seem to be trying to offer the truth –
the real truth, not the fake truth –
are playing a part.
Their fascination with politics somehow mirrors the politics
in their family of origin.
Their roles in the media somehow reveal their roles in their
childhood families.
This is true of us all.

It isn’t obvious; we’ll have to dig.
It will take time; we’ll have to sustain.
It doesn’t just happen; we can’t just be passive.
It will be hard work; we’ll have to commit.
We’ll need to feel … safely and for healing.
We’ll need to let our defenses dissolve and open our hearts.
We’ll need to change; we’ll need to grow.
But we all need to wake up and become conscious
of our part in what is happening in our country and our world today.
Conscious of the escalated, painful, re-enactments
the unhealed children within us are together acting out on our world stage.

Conscious of the suffering we are causing
by “forgetting,” ignoring, trying to hold at bay
the suffering we experienced once upon a time long ago
in our childhoods.
And we all need to wake ourselves up and be accountable
for doing the healing we’re called to do.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is not political. This is not economic.
This is not religious. This is not racial.
This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It’s a time for miracles …
leaps in the growth of our consciousness …
leaps in the growth of our willingness …
leaps in the growth of our holding ourselves accountable …
leaps in the growth of our healing our childhood wounds …
leaps in the growth of taking responsibility for the personal
so we don’t contaminate the political, the religious, the business,
the cultural with the roots of our own wounding.

It’s a time for miracles …
I pray for these miracles …
I work every day for these miracles.

© Judith Barr, 2017

SEXUAL ABUSE: OUR COUNTRIES MIRROR OUR FAMILIES

Although it is starting to come out in the open in the U.S. …
This occurs not only in the U.S. but all over our world.

There is a growing list of men who are being exposed for having sexually abused women, men, and children … not only in the recent past but in years long ago. This ugly and painful aspect of the patriarchy has been known, yet kept secret, for far too long.  For too long there have been:  the one who perpetrated the sexual abuse, the one who was victimized by him, and those who colluded with the perpetrator – each for his or her own reasons. We recently got a very public glimpse into this dynamic when the accusations against Harvey Weinstein in the U.S. (and abroad) started coming out into the open in the public realm. An even more public view of the perpetrator-victim-colluder dynamic is being seen as Roy Moore, candidate for Senate from Alabama and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, denies his sexual abuse of young women and even worse … of children. Those in collusion with him, support his denials with all sorts of guises – from his “godliness,” to the guise of his “innocence,” to claims of dirty politics by the other side, to the insistence on voting for him even if he did these things … just to keep the other side from winning.

This plague of sexual abuse – isn’t only limited to male abusers. It also includes women.  But still it is part of the patriarchy – which includes men and women. And the women who stand by their abuser husbands are definitely part of the patriarchy.  Just like the women who stood by Clarence Thomas were part of the patriarchy, when Anita Hill was exposing to the world his sexual abuse.

The sexual abuse aspect of the patriarchy – and the destructive patriarchy itself – must end. How? Through healing to the root. When? Now.

***************************

When the sexual abuse is over…
The end has only just begun.
The end of sexual abuse in the church.
The end of sexual abuse on the couch – in the therapy room.
The end of sexual abuse in entertainment, by producer, director, agent, actor.
The end of sexual abuse in business – the board room, the CEO’s office, the supply room.
The end of sexual abuse in the doctor’s office, the hospital, the ambulance.
The end of sexual abuse in sports, by coaches.
The end of sexual abuse by national and world leaders, by government officials, and
candidates running for office.
These brave women and even men … they’re exposing the abusers, one by one by one.
The numbers grow and flood the news.
The exposure gives hope to millions of women and also to men.
Hope for the end of sexual abuse.

But alas, that will not come
until …
the exposure of sexual abuse in families
all across our nation,
all across our world,
has taken us closer to the roots of the painful experience …
closer to the source of the wound that causes the wound of sexual abuse.

Though committed by men and women alike,
sexual abuse is a scourge in our world.
In too many places, an accepted scourge,
a normalized scourge,
a way of life.
A wound that’s passed down,
generation to generation,
mostly by men.
Acted out upon women, and other men,
and innocent children.

Innocent children …
needing, trusting, loving freely,
hopeful, growing, expressing, being.
Innocent children
stopped in their tracks.
Frightened, frozen, running away,
frightened, angry, fighting against …
Stopped on the path to becoming their selves.

Innocent children …
Powerless in the face of the sexual abuse.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted sexuality.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted use of power over them.
By someone who …
once was an innocent child sexually abused himself.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted sexuality.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted use of power.
Once was an innocent child who so deeply wounded,
turned into someone else.

Those who have been sexually abused in their families,
alone in a patriarchal family culture,
are terrified of telling their experiences of being sexually abused.
They’re frightened of not being believed.
They’re frightened of being blamed and scape-goated.
They’re afraid of being humiliated, threatened, abused.
They’re terrified at the possibility of being cast out, abandoned.
If all those possible consequences of talking
are intolerable to an adult in the entertainment industry,
how can they be at all bearable to a child?

When the sexual abuse is over …
The end has only just begun.
The end won’t be completed until
we want to know.
But we don’t want to know.
Too few of us want to know.
Too few of us want to know the truth.
Too few of us are willing to go through the fear
and through the painful feelings
the truth will bring.
Too many of us want to defend ourselves against
the truth and all those feelings …
the consequences be damned.

And they are …
the consequences are damned by the willful defense
and denial of the painful truth.

So when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
somebody else’s or your own …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots.
And when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
the abuse you, yourself have committed …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots
in your family and in families all over our world.

But should you dare to end your denial …
you have begun to contribute to the end of this horrible wound.
And should you dare to dissolve your defenses against this painful wound …
you have begun to feed the end of this terrible wound.
You have begun to feed the end of the wound of sexual abuse
not only out in the world in public arenas,
but even more importantly …
right at its source …
right in the homes of families all over our world.

© Judith Barr, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

“WE’RE NOT AFRAID!” – That’s Not The Truth!

“Don’t be afraid.”  “Don’t live in fear.”  “Don’t feel terror.”
This isn’t just the American way. It isn’t just the way of the West.
It’s likely the way of the world.
And contrary to the perhaps well-meaning intent of those who say it,
teach it, encourage it … rather than helping us,
that philosophy and way of life cripples us, individually and communally.

After the attack …

After the recent terrorist attack in New York City, many people responded by saying things like Mayor Bill DeBlasio said on the “Morning Joe” television program:1

“And I talked to a lot of them Joe, I talked to a lot of them. I’ve got to tell you their attitude was one of resilience, strength, persistence. They’re not going to let terrorists change our way of life. It made me very proud of New York City.”

What if their attitude wasn’t one of resilience, strength, and persistence? What if it was one of defending against the fear they felt?  What if it was a coping mechanism to cope with their fear without feeling it, working with it, utilizing it to move toward real resilience and strength?

And what if our way of life does need to change? What if the very occurrence of a terrorist attack is a mirror to us of something we need to examine within ourselves, something within that we need to heal or resolve, something in our lives – inside or out – that does need to change? Perhaps even our attitudes about feeling our fear?

Mayor DeBlasio continued with:2

“But to the point you made – we made a decision last night to keep those schools open, to keep people on their everyday lives because, look, it’s so important to not give in, to not blink when we are affronted. And I got to tell you – I’m sorry those kids have to go by that site but I also think it says to them, we can overcome this, we are stronger than this, we’re better than this.”

What is so important about not giving in to feeling our feelings? What’s so important about not blinking when we are affronted? Why are we so afraid of feeling our feelings? That’s the important question to ask ourselves: How and why have we created a world in which we are more afraid of our feelings than anything else?

How and why does this fear of our feelings get passed on generation after generation after generation …
in families … and from there, into societies?
3

How has it become a part of the fabric of our culture?  Here’s a nutshell description of something that has a deep, destructive effect on all of us:

     As babies and small children, pain and even more, trauma, are unbearable.  When we’re that young, we will feel and express our feelings for a time, but our reflex is to shut them down, cut them off, bury them … even moreso if our parents don’t respond to our feelings and our expression of pain in a healthy, soothing, way. Even moreso if our parents don’t take our feelings seriously. Even moreso if our parents caused our painful feelings. Even moreso if our parents are triggered by our feelings. Even moreso if our parents can’t tolerate our feelings because they can’t tolerate their own. Even moreso if our parents’ parents were the same way with them when they were babies and young children. 

     This can take place without a word spoken. Just putting a crying baby in the crib and walking out, closing or perhaps slamming the door behind you. Standing over the child in a threatening way. Refusing to respond at all, and just going on about your business.

     Of course it can take place with words, too. Telling the baby to ‘shut up.’ Telling the child, “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Calling a little one a “scaredy cat” or a “big baby” when the child is crying to express feelings.  Telling a crying child “you’re too sensitive.” Insisting, “boys don’t cry,” or “big girls don’t cry.”  Or even imposing, “People in our family don’t cry.”  All of these interfere with a child’s natural way of feeling and expressing feelings.  All of these rupture the connection to self and to knowing self, within a little person – and then the big person that child becomes.

     This happens to too many children in our world.  More than we know. More than we can even imagine … but need to imagine.

     And once a child’s natural flow of feelings and expression is cut off, that child will then impose the same on others. Peers, partners, and children in his/her life.  

     This gets passed onto others and also taken out into society.  And then all the children, now adults, in society make this the societal norm.  Just as our leaders have done in the face of terrorist attacks. And then the leaders are re-enacting what they experienced in their own childhoods … but this time with their citizens. And then the leaders are also re-enacting what the children-now-adults experienced in their young lives – not responding to the real feelings their citizens are having. And the citizenry responds in the re-enactment like automatons, not feeling, just functioning to please the authority figures in their lives. 

So what’s so good about not giving in? What’s so good about not blinking? What’s so good about not feeling?  It makes it possible for the authority figures to control us. It makes it possible for the authority figures to not be confronted with their own feelings, fears, and re-enactments from their childhoods. And it makes it possible for us not to be confronted with our own feelings, fears, and re-enactments from our childhoods.

Leaders saying “Don’t Be Afraid!”

Again after the recent New York City attack, Stephen Colbert said on his show:  “New Yorkers will never live in fear.” How many millions of people watch Stephen’s show? How many millions of people are affected by him every day?  How many millions of people take what he says to heart? And for how many of those millions is his statement a repeat of what they grew up with?

Our leaders can be people in every arena of life who impact us. Comedians, media people, spiritual leaders, doctors, business leaders, and more. And this isn’t only occurring in America … UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on “Morning Joe” after the terrorist attack in London:4

 “The city is now getting on with its business.
All our transportation systems are running.
Parliament is continuing its work.
It is business as normal.
That is the way to defy these people.
The worst way to lose the war on terror is to be terrified for a second.
We are not terrified and we will go on.”

When I heard him speak, I could hear his parents teaching him this. I could hear him being told “don’t be terrified for a second.” I could hear him being told “You are not terrified and you will go on.”  I could hear him making decisions to not be terrified so he would win, not lose. I could hear him making childhood decisions to defy those who terrify him … and imposing those things from his childhood on his followers.

What is so good about defying?

In my experience as a depth psychotherapist, I have witnessed the damage caused by defiance. I have seen people who have used defiance as a defense in childhood when they needed it, but when they carried it into adulthood, it has undermined them, sabotaged their possibilities, and caused harm to them and others. Maybe it saved their lives as children. Maybe it helped them feel powerful to be able to be defiant – although in truth, it was pseudo-power. But as adults, there is a more truthful, integritous way to take care of ourselves than to defy.

A related example: Many years ago I worked with someone. I’ll call her Sharon. She was in a group of therapists I was leading. Over time, she shared that she had a successful practice, was close to her family of origin, had a family of her own, and numerous friends. She didn’t reveal many wounds from childhood. She seemed to the group members to be, as people would say, ‘together,’ and was respected by all of them. I saw all of this, but I was uncomfortable. Something wasn’t revealed yet that reflected itself in the angry set of Sharon’s jaw, the way she was in her body, and the invisible wall she put between herself and others, including me.

One day in group, a very long time after the group was formed, following another member’s deep feeling anger work, Sharon said to him, meaning to support him: “The best revenge is living a good life.”  There it was. The clue I needed to what wasn’t in alignment for Sharon. The clue for what was distorted and unhealed.  The “good life” she was living was her way of carrying out revenge. On whom?

Now I could offer her help I wasn’t able to offer before … so she could heal to the root the revenge she was taking and the wound(s) from which it originated.  As we worked deeply, her jaw softened over time. She held herself differently in her body – not like she was fighting all the time. The invisible wall thinned and thinned allowing people to be truly close with her, not just the guise of closeness. And the good life she was living was real, an act of truth and love, not a guise for revenge.

The impact of revenge and the impact of defiance are very similar… both often hidden under a guise of goodness and both harmful and destructive, each in its own way.

More Leaders And Citizens Saying, “Don’t Be Afraid!”

After the attacks in London, Theresa May said:5  “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism.”

After the terror attacks in Brussels, the Archbishop of Wales counseled, “Don’t be afraid.”6

Following the Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher shootings in France, citizens of Paris were heard repeating,  “Meme pas peur,” the meaning of which is roughly, “Who, me, scared?”7

Michelle Obama, in her final speech as first lady insisted:  “So don’t be afraid —- you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid.” 8

To top it all off … we have accepted Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous quote, from his first inaugural address, as almost an American motto:9

“This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

And my response, from decades of helping people do inner healing, from a lifetime of seeing the impact of an individual’s wounds on society …What if the only thing we have to fear is not fear itself, but our fear of our fear?  What if our fear of our fear keeps us disconnected from ourselves, from our feelings, from the life that flows within us, from the truth of who we are? And from the possibility of the healing that can help us move on in truth and integrity?

It is not fear that cripples us …

And what if Roosevelt’s fear of fear was his own personal fear, from his own young wounds? And what if he thought it was his fear that paralyzed him? What if he transferred his own experience onto our country and added his own personal injunction not to feel to the cultural injunction against feeling that already existed?

It is not fear that cripples us. It is the fear of our fear, our burying it beneath our awareness, and from that buried fear, our creating frightening things in our lives and our world – without even realizing it. It is not fear that cripples us. It is the fear of our fear and the resulting inability to safely feel it, process it, utilize it for healing, and to let that help us move on openly, naturally and organically, rather than hardened, defensively and forcibly.

We can utilize these times we are in to weave a new underlying fabric of our societies:

From one that cuts us off from our feelings and therefore from ourselves
to one that supports us to feel our feelings safely –
name them, know which are for just feeling and expressing safely,
which are to use as healing,
and which are to act on in safe and healthy ways.

From one that cuts us off from our feelings and therefore from ourselves
to one that helps us, through our feelings,
reconnect to ourselves, each other,
and the Earth we live on.

I can imagine our world with that new fabric of feeling.
Can you?
Will you create it with me?

© Judith Barr, 2017

NOTE:  If you are from the Middle East or the Far East and know examples of leaders who have told their people not to be afraid, please send the examples to me. It will help me to help people see that this occurs all over our world, and the effect it has on us.

NOTE 2: Feel the difference between what the leaders above have said to us and what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after a terrorist attack in Berlin:  “”We do not want to allow ourselves to be paralysed by terror. It might be difficult in these hours, but we will find a strength to continue living life as we want to live it in Germany, in freedom and openness and together.”  She didn’t say, “Don’t be afraid.”  Instead she said, “Don’t be paralysed by terror.”  What a difference to have a leader who doesn’t banish our feeling our fear, who encourages us not to be paralyzed by our fear, who acknowledges it might be difficult, and who offers to us a way to accomplish this – find our strength.
(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/angela-merkel-berlin-attack-terrorism-response-statement-germany-lorry-christmas-market-a7486246.html)

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/710-11/transcript-mayor-de-blasio-appears-live-msnbc

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/710-11/transcript-mayor-de-blasio-appears-live-msnbc

3 You can read more about this dynamic in other blog posts on Polipsych. And you can hear more about it on the mp3 or audio cassette, Feeling: A Form of Prayer, part of the series: The Spoken Word on Behalf of the Feminine, for men and women alike.  http://judithbarr.com/audio-tapes/feeling-a-form-of-prayer/

http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/boris-johnson-attacker-s-values-will-not-prevail-904638531896

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0rJrIcKvvg

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/its-hard-not-afraid-leaders-11097237

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/11/paris-france-scared-reason-151116055018370.html

8 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/06/michelle-obama-dont-be-afraid-you-hear-me-young-people-dont-be-afraid-text-of-her-final-speech/?utm_term=.d1b6874be106

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057

IT’S A YEAR LATER AND …

It’s anniversary time!
Anniversaries are deeper, more complex, and more profound than we know …
including the anniversary of the 2016 election in the U.S.

Almost a year has passed since the 2016 election. The anniversary will be on November 8th. Anniversaries are intriguing times. On some of them we celebrate. On some, we mourn … or continue to mourn. Some we acknowledge and honor the occasion. And others we may not even consciously remember. But somewhere inside us, there is an awareness or memory of the anniversary … and it is experienced by us in different ways, no matter how deep it is buried, no matter how aware or unaware we are of the experience.

Let’s say a parent or a sibling died when you were very young … too young to know dates. Every year on the anniversary of that loved one’s death – leading up to it and following it, too – you might feel lost and alone, and not even realize why. You might feel heavy-hearted, or you might cry easily and frequently without any obvious here and now cause. Maybe your chest will ache, right where your heart is.

Or perhaps you were in a car accident when you were a teenager. Whether or not you even remember the actual date or the event itself, when the anniversary comes ‘round, you may have physical symptoms that are your body’s reactions to the accident and its aftermath … perhaps back spasms, headaches, or even an illness that is your body’s way of remembering the accident.

Maybe you needed surgery at some point in your life. On the anniversary of the discovery that you were ill, on the anniversary of the surgery itself, or even through the time and space between the two, you might find yourself ill again … once more, without any awareness at all of the anniversary or the events that originally occurred.

On the anniversary of a painful event in your life, both childhood and beyond, it’s also possible that you might create something in your life that could show the anniversary memory is in the process of trying to come into consciousness. You might act out in some way. You might find yourself drinking, binge eating, being short-tempered, driving less safely than you usually do, picking a fight with someone close, or not wanting to get out of bed.

To help resolve the “anniversary syndrome” (my phrase), it takes bringing the anniversary and the original event into awareness. It takes working with and through the experience that occurred the first time. It takes feeling the feelings and expressing them in a safe and healthy way, with someone who can support and help you with all that’s inside, and for the purpose of healing.

In the United States, we are right now in the immediate lead-up to the first anniversary of the 2016 election. It is affecting all of us … not just in the U.S., but all over the world. Not just in our awareness, but also beneath our awareness. Not just the adults of our country and world, but also our precious children. The impact is from the here and now – the current year since November 8, 2016. And the impact is from long ago – anything from our past that has been triggered by all that has occurred in the outer world since last year’s election.

It is impacting us in ways we need to explore. It is impacting us in ways we need to work with. It is impacting us in ways we need to heal … first within ourselves and then in the world outside us.

It’s the anniversary of 11/8/2016 – the election in the United States.

How are you reacting … on the surface, a little beneath the surface, and way deep within yourself? For your sake, for your children’s sake, for the sake of us all … I urge you to do your healing work with this anniversary.

© Judith Barr, 2017

CATHOLIC PRIESTS, COSBY, WEINSTEIN AND MORE

CAN YOU SEE IT?

This occurs all over the world, not solely in the U.S.
But recent events in the U.S. are instructive to us all.

Sexual abuse of the young and vulnerable by the rich and powerful has been brought out of the halls of secrecy into the light of day. The part of the Catholic Church in childhood sexual abuse came out in the open many years ago – brought out by the Boston Globe in 2002. More recently we’ve seen this in the cases of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. And after Harvey, men in entertainment and other arenas of our world, as well … James Toback (screenwriter/director,) Ben Affleck (actor,) Chris Savino (animator,) Roy Price (entertainment executive,) Lockhart Steele (Vox media editorial director,) John Besh (celebrity chef,) Mark Halperin (author and political analyst.)

It is a healthy step for our society that journalists are finding and documenting the stories of sexual abusers. It is also a healthy step that those who have been abused by them are coming forth and speaking out. Each step taken helps us get closer to the root. But we’re not there yet.

A number of things from this past week give us glimpses that can lead us to the root.

  • Corey Feldman, of the movie “Stand by Me,” has spoken about Hollywood’s secret of childhood sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry, expanding the view past young adults and adults.
  • Ashley Judd’s statement in her interview with Diane Sawyer, that “we act like we’re between 3 and 6 years old in those moments,” meaning the moments when someone is starting to or in the act of sexually abusing us. We usually do regress to a young age within ourselves when traumatized. And sometimes it’s to the age we were first traumatized when we were children.
  • Ashley, responding to Diane’s question, what would she say to Harvey if she saw him today, responded: “What I would say to Harvey is, ‘I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too. And it’s entirely up to you to get that help.’”
  • Ashley also described her response to her getting out of harm’s way and away from Harvey by making a deal with him to do what he was pressuring her to do after she won an Oscar in a movie he produced. “Am I proud of that? I’m of two minds: The part that shames myself says ‘no.’ The part of me that understands the way shame works says, ‘That was absolutely brilliant. Good job kid, you got out of there. Well done.’”
  • Alternet published an article recently, whose title is, “How on Earth Is Corporal Punishment Still Legal at School in 19 States?”1
  • “Law & Order: True Crime” is airing a television series about the story of the Menendez brothers’ murder of their parents and the real cause of that murder. Whether the brothers are in jail or not, whether or not you believe the series’ portrayal of the real cause as the brothers’ having been sexually abused and threatened by their parents, the series is clearly showing us all some of the deadly consequences of childhood sexual abuse.

All of these point to the root – the part that hasn’t yet been brought out into the light of day. What is coming out into the open is not just about powerful men out in the world today sexually abusing women, men, and even children in the arenas in which they work – entertainment, media, politics, business, spiritual, and more. It is showing us the outpicturing into our world of what occurs every day in families all over our country – and the world.

Powerful parents – fathers and sometimes mothers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – who are kings and queens of their domains, sexually abuse children in their homes, where it can be done in secret. Or if others know – like the extended family – they collude in keeping the secret. The children are vulnerable and innocent and terrified. The very people they are supposed to be able to trust are the people sexually abusing them. And others who could protect them are not protecting them … at all. Even the law in the US, which should be protecting, ends up colluding in the abuse by protecting the abuser.1

People are afraid of looking at what their part is in the perpetuation of this family dynamic. People are afraid of seeing how their part of the family dynamic outpictures into our world outside the home – whether they have sexually abused others, whether they have been sexually abused, or whether they have colluded in the sexual abuse in the home.

It is urgent that we look. It is urgent that we see. And it is urgent that we each heal our part in what is showing itself out in the world, but starts in our childhood homes.

We can see the huge, damaging impact it has on ourselves and on others when we don’t. We can see and feel the destructive consequences for ourselves, our families, and our societies, when we don’t.

This is the root of what we’re seeing in the exposure of sexual abuse in our world today. Healing it necessitates going to the root.

All of us, those who have been sexually abused, those who have colluded with sexual abuse, and those who have sexually abused others …
All of us who are part of this are sick or wounded … and our society is, as well.
All of us who are part of this are suffering … and our society is, as well.
There is help for all of us … and our society, as well.
The help for our society depends on all of us, each one of us individually.

And it is entirely up to each of us to get that help.

Will you do your part?

© Judith Barr, 2017

1 To learn more about how the law can be used to dehumanize and allow abuse in our country and world, see my article What Is Beneath the Willfulness in Our World? at http://judithbarr.com/2017/10/01/beneath-willfulness-world/

 

WHAT IS BENEATH THE WILLFULNESS IN OUR WORLD?

My last article – What Is Happening with Healthcare in America?1 – revealed the undercurrent of what is really going on with healthcare in America:  Willfulness. Attempting to do or doing something, the consequences be damned.  I explained about willfulness and its roots and its occurring beneath many guises.

Now we need to go deeper. To the deeper current beneath the willfulness we’re experiencing in our country and in our world. The current of dehumanization. Layers and layers of dehumanization that have not really been dealt with … because we blame others for dehumanization and try to punish them, while neglecting to find the layers of dehumanization within ourselves, and while refusing to focus on the healing of dehumanization – both within ourselves and others.

Come explore with me …

Decades ago, in the first book I read as part of my training to become a psychotherapist, the author spoke about the fascist within us, within every one of us.  I had never heard anyone acknowledge this before. I was so glad to know that somebody else knew this truth and was teaching this truth to everyone who read his book.

The “Little Fascist” Dehumanizes

Eric Berne, in his book, What Do You Say After You Say Hello?2 wrote about the “little fascist” in all of us. The part of us that is “a little torturer who probes for and enjoys the weakness of his victims.” The part of us that is vulnerable to those who call it into action – like a Hitler, an Osama bin Laden, a Putin, or even a president of the US, or many of the current leaders in our societies today. Some of us are so vulnerable to being called out into action, that we will respond in kind. Then there is not just a leader dehumanizing, but also many of the lower level leaders and many of the citizens. And some of us are vulnerable to the calling out in a different way. We hide our “little fascist,” our dehumanizer, from others and often even from ourselves. This also feeds the dehumanization – actually just as much as the acting out version –  because the “little fascist” unclaimed, unacknowledged, unhealed, colludes in secret with the “little fascist” being acted out.

There is a lot of goodness in people. But there is destructiveness, too. And if we try to claim our goodness but hide our destructiveness, we leave a clear pathway for our destructiveness to play itself out in the world … directly by our own hands or seemingly indirectly through the hands of others.  Both are happening in our world today. And both are happening in the US today.

Dehumanization Under Sanctuary of the Law

In her book, How Do Hurricane Katrina’s Winds Blow?,3 Liza Lugo writes:

“What we are now witnessing in the 21st century is the fracture
or complete breakdown of families, societies, and governments
as a result of centuries of dehumanization that have taken a toll.
More natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc.)
merely uncover the reality
of the national disasters we have created
by granting sanctuary to dehumanization via the law.”

Ms. Lugo understands and speaks what I am saying here … that the dehumanization we are seeing now is longstanding. It is not just occurring for the first time now. The reality of dehumanization is being uncovered from a long-time existence under the protection of normalizing cultures, leaders and citizens in denial, and under the “sanctuary,” as she puts it, of the law.

It’s one thing to have a “little fascist” within yourself. It’s one thing to have a “little fascist” within acting out in our world. It is yet another step deeper to have that dehumanizing part of ourselves exist and acting out under “sanctuary” of the law. This, of course, has occurred limitless times in the life of our world. To name a few …

Examples of Dehumanization Under Sanctuary of the Law

Racism and slavery all over our world, including in two supposedly civilized countries, Great Britain and the United States, where it has definitely existed under the sanctuary of law. And where the after-effects of that sanctuary include the repeated transmission of dehumanization from generation to generation, whether the law remains as sanctuary or not.

According to Berne,4 the prejudice against darker people is one of the ‘genocidal’ “aspects of human nature that have remained unchanged during the past five thousand years regardless of any genetic evolution which has taken place during this period; they also remain immune to environmental and social influences.”

Berne is acknowledging that we cannot change the aspects within us that dehumanize people … from the outside. If you read him closely and take in what he is saying, you realize: We cannot “teach” the end of dehumanization. We cannot legislate the end of it either. And we cannot pray away dehumanization. It is clear, as you read, that the changes need to come from ending the transmission of dehumanization from generation to generation in action, thought, and feeling through inner healing, from the inside out.

Another example of dehumanization under the sanctuary of the law: Once Adolph Hitler was elected in Germany, he had free reign to dehumanize people in a holocaust he created, under cover of the laws he put into place, with the aid of those he gave license to act out their “little fascists,” and with the collusion of those who denied their own “little fascists.” It was horrifying. It was agonizing for those who experienced it and for those who witnessed it from nearby and from afar.

And yet another example still – completely blatant in the US today:  In contrast to the immediate help sent to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, and to Florida after Hurricane Irma, witness the lack of immediate help after Hurricane Maria had devastated Puerto Rico. Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, has pleaded for help. She has told us they are dying. She has told the government “You are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.” She has reminded us Puerto Ricans are Americans. She has appealed to our humanity. And from our President, she has received dehumanizing responses:

*”such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in
Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

*”they want everything to be done for them when it should be a
community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic
job.”5

A final example for today: The laws in the United States related to child abuse have loopholes in them, loopholes supposedly included to provide freedom to parents. Freedom to what? Use force against a minor child in their care, if:

*it is reasonable?
*it is reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor, including the prevention or punishment of the minor’s misconduct?
* it neither causes not creates a substantial risk of causing, physical harm (beyond fleeting pain or minor, transient marks,) gross degradation, or severe mental distress?6

This is dehumanization of children under the law.
Force against a minor child is not reasonable!
Force against a minor child does not  reasonably relate to safeguarding or promoting their welfare!
Force against a minor child causes physical harm!
Even force that causes fleeting pain.
Even force that leaves transient marks.
Any force against a minor child causes gross degradation!
And severe mental distress!

I work with people who experienced some or all of these as children.  The impact on the child is severe, moreso if the adults in his or her life believe it is not.

Rulings like these mean that as of 2017, the US is not on the list of countries that have completely prohibited corporal punishment of children.7 Quite the contrary, according to the same document, “Corporal punishment of children by parents or other legal guardians is legal in the United States and social acceptance is generally high, through allowances made for ‘moderate physical discipline.’”8

The US is supposedly one of the most civilized countries in the world, according to Americans, the most. Yet look at us! This is dehumanization of children under the sanctuary of law! This is the “little fascist” in secret if you are in denial, yet right out in the open if you see and acknowledge the truth. This is the “little fascist” in leaders – governmental, business, and spiritual – in parents, and in everyday citizens.

The Roots of Dehumanization
and It’s Transmission to the Next Generation

And this is a perfect place to show the generation-to-generation transmission of dehumanization.  If you experienced the “little fascist” in your parent(s) under some form of the guise of “for your own good,” then they dehumanized you. For a young child, dehumanization is even more unbearable than for an adult. A child doesn’t even yet know she exists. A child doesn’t even yet know he’s a person.

A child doesn’t even yet know she has dignity simply in her being. A child doesn’t even yet have words to express what is happening to him, and perhaps no one at all who will lovingly receive his expression – in words or even beneath words, in sounds, cries, movements. The child can only repress the experience and the feelings, while building defenses against it. One of those defenses inevitably will be “the little fascist” who dehumanizes … others and themselves.

He will dehumanize a younger sibling, a weaker classmate, sometimes a pet (not strict de-“humanizing,” but so close it fits). Later she may dehumanize children she babysits for, her parents, other adults like teachers. And still later, she may dehumanize her students, and he may dehumanize his employees, his spouse and his own children.

When he dehumanizes those younger than he, himself, they will respond as he did … repressing the experience, repressing the feelings, and building their own dehumanizing defense against the pain of the experience. When he dehumanizes those older than he, it is inevitable in most cases that they will be triggered by him, and respond either as they did when dehumanized as children, or by responding to him in kind … dehumanizing him in whatever form they took on as their means of expressing the “little fascist” in themselves.

In other words, the ‘little fascist” is a defense. A defense passed on and on and on through generations within families and outside families, too. In other words, if your parent(s) dehumanized you, that created the birth in you of your “little fascist” who will dehumanize others, and perhaps you, yourself.

Until you heal the early wound of dehumanization and until you heal the “little fascist” within yourself, you will continue to be part of the dehumanization that is still taking place all over our country, and all over our world. You will continue to be part of the dehumanization that is becoming more and more audible, visible, palpable all over our country, and all over our world.

Glimpses of Humanizing

There are signs of humanizing … touching ones I’ve seen in person and via media over the past few days.

Recently, on the television show, Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland as President Kirkman, said to his staff:

“You have all dedicated yourselves to public service,
and you serve approximately 326 million Americans,
most of whom you’ll never meet or ever know.
It is imperative that we not become numb.
The people that we serve, they …
they have faces, families, hopes, and dreams and stories.
And they are our fellow Americans.
And by virtue of that bond alone,
they are worthy of our sacrifice our commitment and our service.”

And in the movie Nise: The Heart of Madness, in 1940’s Brazil, Dr. Nise da Silveira works in a psychiatric hospital in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. She refuses to use the electroshock treatments that have come into use for schizophrenia. Against the violence and dehumanization, she confronts the room filled with psychiatrists after a cold, heartless demonstration of the treatments:

“He just needs to be treated like a human.”

And later she confronts a psychiatrist:

“You use your patients for your sadistic experiments.
Brute force is the only advantage you have over them.”

Bravo to Tom Kirkman and the writer who created him. Brava to Dr. Nise da Silveira and what she co-created with the people she helped.

The question is … are these signs of the humanizing sides of these people, with the dehumanizing sides still buried deep and ignored, and still at play in our world? Are these signs of the humanizing of these people, after the healing within themselves? Or are these glimpses for us of the possibility of real humanizing … after the healing takes place?

How Do We Heal Dehumanization?

Again … until you go beneath the guise …
until you go beneath the part of you who looks like the two examples above …
until you heal the early wound of dehumanization …
and until you heal the “little fascist” within yourself …
you will continue to be part of the dehumanization that is still taking place all over
our country, and all over our world. You will continue to be part of the
dehumanization that is becoming more and more audible, visible, palpable
all over our country, and all over our world.

You can’t put this on other people. They are just magnets for your own dehumanization and your own dehumanizing. They are just mirrors of your own “little fascist.”  If, in truth, you do love your children … you need to heal the “little fascist” within you. If, in truth, you do love your country … you need to heal the dehumanizer that lives within you.

There is no way around this. There is no way over this.
Until we heal our own experiences of being dehumanized …
and until we heal the part in us that dehumanizes …
we will continue to be part of the escalating dehumanizing in our world.

“…Whoever is not aware of this force [the “little fascist”] in his personality has lost control of it …
He who pretends that these forces do not exist becomes their victim …
The solution is not to say, as many do, ‘It’s frightening,’ [which it is] but rather ‘What can I do about it and what can I do with it?’9

© Judith Barr, 2017

1 What Is Happening with Healthcare in America? I recommend your going back to read this article.

2 Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? pp 302 – 305 “The Little Fascist”, Copyright 1972, Andre Deutsch edition published 1974 in Great Britain; Corgi edition published 1975.

3 Liza Lugo, How Do Hurricane Katrina’s Winds Blow? Racism in 21st-Century New Orleans, ABC-CLIO Praeger Publishing, March 31, 2014.

4 Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? p 305 “The Little Fascist”, Andre Deutsch edition published 1974 in Great Britain; Corgi edition published 1975.

5 https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/914089003745468417 and https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/914089888596754434

6 http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/progress/country-reports/usa.html The wording I’ve used, though somewhat paraphrased, is from the link above, under the section on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 2015 ruling.

7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_punishment_in_the_home#Laws_by_country

8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_punishment_in_the_home#Laws_by_country

9 Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? pp 302 – 305 “The Little Fascist”, Copyright 1972, Andre Deutsch edition published 1974 in Great Britain; Corgi edition published 1975.