Our Psychopathic Society
I have led the life of Job. Writing this sentence is enough to make most readers to turn away on Medium.
I mean it has been hardship after hardship starting from a young age.
Trauma after trauma coming at me like a barrage of bullets.
I know a huge percentage of people reading right now are thinking, so what?
That, right there, is highly disturbing.
Having a lack of empathy is how I can have someone respond to a comment I wrote like this,
Should I ask you to feel my pain about me loosing [sic] my mother when I was 8? Should I ask you to feel my pain when my father was beating me up with a rubber stick when I was 14? No, I don’t because I don’t need you to feel my pain or to be sorry for me simply because I can heal my wounds, take responsibility for my own life and create a better future.
How many different ways I can find to say, hell, yes! I do fully expect you to ask me to feel your pain. As a matter of fact, the way you have processed your pain is now causing you to respond with indifference and apathy to mine.
Indifference and apathy to:
Everything from molestation from the teen son of a self -proclaimed prophet to decades’s-long bullies.
Everything from starving for food to kicking and screaming off the witness stand at the misguided child abuse hearing against my parents.
Everything from three rapes to years of a monster eating my leg from the inside out or so the nerve pain feels like.
Everything from my brother taking his life to my seven-year old stepson dying of brain cancer.
Everything from daily stomach-turning migraine headaches to a suicidal sister I was raising.
Everything from sexual harassment that prevented me from learning any real skills during my internship to be a therapist to losing my career after coming forward as a whistleblower.
On Medium, the cult-like expectation of what I am supposed to do with this trauma is this:
Take responsibility for my life
Yes, the answer to healing, which can be done all by oneself, is to take responsibility for your life.
George Lakoff says our society is governed by two models of political thinking: the strict father (conservatives) and the nurturing mother (liberals). In reality, white conservatives, influenced by a Christian moral hierarchy of God over man, man over woman, adult over child, white over black, unborn over born, etc., has taken a different turn.
They now operate under the psychopathic father model. This parent shows no empathy or concern for others. This parent meets their own needs at the costs of their children, even if that means sexual. This parent has a persecution complex. This parent has no guilt over wrongdoing.
This happens under the psychopathic father:
Politics derived from this model will elect a pedophile to get a tax cut. Politics derived from this model will pour dollars into the coffers of people who have more money than God only to take ventilators away from people with ALS. White Alabamans would have elected Roy Moore if it were not for black Alabamans.
Writing on Medium has been especially frustrating, because the indifference to people who suffer the bulk of the suffering in society is immense. Suffering is NOT distributed equally. There is such a thing as victims. For example, when white people believe that they cannot victimize others, we cannot change white supremacy.
The constant barrage of attacks on “the victim mentality” is another way of silencing people about their pain. The woman who wrote those words to me above was indifferent to the rape violence and sexual harassment women have experienced. Instead she is full of concern right now for how men are feeling about whether to open a door for a woman or not. Really? Really?
I have empathy for men who live in an environment of toxic masculinity. My husband tells me it can be quite a burden. I also know he is telling me the truth when he tells he never attacked a woman. I had to make the first moves with him because he was so reluctant to misread my cues. If guys are really struggling with whether to make sexual moves, show interest and sit back and wait. A woman who is interested will get frustrated with your slow approach and get things started. Does that help?
Medium Staff feature articles that attack any semblance of the nurturing parent by attacking the so-called victim mentality but I see the psychopathic parent and strict father articles all the time.
“Just Because Poverty is Becoming Baked-in to Certain Classes of American Society, I Am Not From Those Classes and I Escaped It So You Can.”
“Stop Thinking Like a Victim and Change Your Life.”
“Just Work Hard, Harder Than Anyone Else, and You Too Can Be Rich.”
The content of these articles is the same over and over. People who are struggling with their problems are weak. Only the strong survive. Be strong.
I tried my damndest to think of a metaphor that would explain what is happening. People who have seen scary fireworks keep telling people who have been in a nuclear explosions how to cope. A significant theme in these coping articles is to tell people the very things diagnosable as symptoms of a mental disability are actually human flaws.
These are not flaws. They are the aftermath of trauma. Rumination is now considered an evolutionary response to trauma. Yes, it is actually considered positive for humanity that people dwell on the violent, dangerous, and threatening things that happen to them. It started with the near-miss off the cliff of our ancestors. They were supposed to ruminate on that near-disaster to prevent it from happening again. It kept them alive by keeping the person from getting into similar circumstances.
Therefore, if you have a percentage of the population who experiences consistently more trauma, they are going to be ruminating on that trauma. The people statistically more likely to be experiencing trauma are veterans, people of color, poor people, and people with disabilities. The more concentrated the trauma becomes in these groups, the more likely they are to replicate social problems of crime, violence, physical and mental illness, poverty, and substance abuse.
No, it is not good to dwell on your trauma. But you do not have the training or skill to tell people who actually have experienced physical changes to their body from trauma how to deal with it. Leave it to the professionals. Telling people to just get over it or buck up camper is not healthy. It is also inappropriate for all but the most lightweight of problems.
We cannot keep having a psychopathic father model of society. We cannot keep demonstrating a lack of empathy for other people. People almost never heal their own wounds. And when they do, they usually heal wrong like a bone that was never set. We are social beings meant to heal through connection and belonging. Shunning people’s trauma by shaming them for reacting to it in evolutionarily appropriate ways is just so anti-science. But it is the kind of thinking that elected us Donald Trump and almost got us Roy Moore.
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