April 8, 2012 § 8 Comments
How is it with those quite moralizing saying that you should support yourself and not live – on the state? How many of those are really, and genuinely, supporting themselves? How many of those have been and still are living on for instance a spouse I started to wonder on a walk in the woods today?
Physical exercise makes you start to ponder over things, be creative and solve problems – also.
How is it actually? Are people supporting themselves their whole lives? Can they? Are they capable? Despite all kinds of conditions, circumstances and life events?
And how many are actually wanting to live on somebody else? It’s okay if it’s a spouse even a whole life, but not if it should be “on the state” or on welfare? Not even if it was for a short time? Not even if that person didn’t have anyone that could support her or him, doesn’t even have a spouse to live on?
And this talk about “freedom”? Do those “swearing allegiance” to freedom really allow other the people the freedom they are talking so loudly about and praising? Are they really allowing other people (for instance those standing closest) the freedom to think for themselves and believe what they believe in?
Are the people that are talking far and wide about freedom really as broad-minded or “liberal” as they directly or indirectly are asking other people to be?
What would actual freedom be?
And what about respect? True, genuine? To listen and be listened to?
Only certain people are worth it? Preferably those with a position in the society? And only certain women?
Because of the many things that Adverse Childhood Experiences lead to, the problem of adverse childhood experience is the most important public health problem ever seen…
July 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
“The [ACE-] study is a wake-up call for the medical and public health communities that previously thought that high levels of child trauma, including sexual and physical abuse, were seen only in disadvantaged populations.
The 17,000 people who comprise the ACE study are typically American middle-class – 80 percent white, 10 percent Asian, 10 percent Latino. Seventy-four percent attended college; 46 percent graduated from college. Their average age: 57./…/
‘The study is disquieting in its description of the frequency of abuse against children and how often families appear to be dysfunctional,’ wrote epidemiologist Dr. William Foege, former director of the CDC, a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a legend in the field of public health, in an editorial in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
‘It is not what we want to believe about our culture, our neighborhoods, or ourselves. And yet as troubling as the data seem to be, we need to confront the problems described and find an appropriate public health response.’/…/
…fixing the obesity problem with diets or advice about eating won’t have any effect. ‘Nutrition is a nice subject and has nothing to do with obesity,’ he explains. ‘Teaching people about nutrition is essentially predicated on the assumption that people get fat because they don’t know any better./…/
Regarding the larger issue – the effect of behavior on chronic disease – one thing is very clear to Felitti and Anda. If physicians don’t address how childhood trauma affects people’s health, it’s not likely that patients will change their behavior. They won’t lose the weight, stop the smoking or dig out of the depression that contributes to their diseases.”
April 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
The American neurologist Jonathan J. Pincus on Frank McCourt from the chapter “Hitler and Hatred” in his book “Base Instinct – What Makes Killers Kill” ISBN 0-393-32323-4 page 179- 180:
“Frank McCourt’s book Angela’s Ashes offer insight into how abuse might lead to bigotry.
The author movingly portrays the poverty into which his father’s alcoholism and his mother’s depression had thrust the family. His father would return home late at night, intoxicated, his paycheck gone.
He would awaken his starving children and have them stand in the kitchen and recite noble poems and sing patriotic songs that celebrate the Irish and condemn the English as the cause of the misery of the Irish and, in extension, of his family.
As a reward, the father gave each child a penny with which to purchase candy the following day.
Their father successfully displaced his own responsibility for the family’s poverty to the English. Fortunately for the author, his father and mother were not violent and abusive [physically!?], but what if they had been? Could deprivation and abuse be the origin of IRA terrorism in lower middle-class Belfast?
The dreadful sense of helplessness and humiliation that is engendered by child abuse, the victim’s sense of powerlessness and fear, and the rage which spring from it are crucially important motivators toward violence.
Depression in an abused person intensifies this dynamic. The brain damage and/or intoxication that can be superimposed interfere with the capacity of the abused individual to control the expression of his rage and hatred.
The paranoia and delusional thinking of individuals who have additionally inherited mental instability and mental illness exacerbate these dark feelings and abolish the capacity to love, to trust, and to enjoy life.
So fundamentally do these factors harm the psyche that the life’s work with such victims can be seen as an attempt to escape from their victimhood and sometimes ‘rise’ to the level of perpetrators.”
But from where comes brain damage and psychiatric problems?
McCourt also writes about severe abuse by teachers at school. Not least physical. But this kind of abuse is also combined with other sorts of disrespect for the child. The realization that you have a living human being in front of you, with own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reactions.
Violence is more than “just” physical.
Alice Miller on Frank McCourt in her book “The Truth Will Set You Free – Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Self” ISBN 0-465-04585-5 pages 100-103:
“Protection and respect for the needs of a child – this is surely something we ought to be able to take for granted. But we live in a world full of people who have grown up deprived of their rights, deprived of respect /…/
Also, there is less of a tendency today to idealize and romanticize childhood; the misery frequently comes across in all its starkness.
But in most autobiographies I have read the authors still maintain an emotional distance from the suffering they went through as children. Little empathy and an astounding absence of rebellion are the rule.
There is no inquiry into the whys and wherefores behind the injustice, the emotional blindness and the resulting cruelty displayed by the adults, whether teachers or parents. Description is all.
On every page of the brilliant book Angela’s Ashes, for example, Frank McCourt describes such cruelties in gruesome detail.
But even as he recalls his childhood, he never rises up against his tormentors, attempting instead to remain living and tolerance and seeking salvation in humor. And it is for this humor that he has been celebrated by millions of readers the world over.
But how are we to stand up for children in our society and improve their situation if we laugh at and tolerate cruelty, arrogance, and dangerous stupidity? /…/
Humor saved Frank McCourt’s life and enabled him to write his book. His readers are grateful to him for it. Many of them have shared the same fate and they want nothing more dearly than to be able to laugh it off.
Laughter is good for you, so they say, and it certainly helps you survive. But laughter can also entice you to be blind. You may be able to laugh at the fact that someone has forbidden you to eat of the tree of knowledge, but that laughter will not really wake you up from the sleep.
You must learn to understand the difference between good and evil if you want to understand yourself and change anything in the world as it is.
Laughter is good for you, but only when there is reason to laugh. Laughing away one’s own suffering is a form of fending off, a response that can prevent us from seeing and tapping the sources of understanding around.
If biographers were better informed about the details and consequences of what some indifferently call as a normal strict upbringing, they could provide us with precious material for better understanding our world.
But there are not many who try to figure out how such upbringing was experienced by their subject as child.”
I discovered that McCourt died almost one year ago, just before he turned 79 in the after-effects of malign melanoma. Something that felt so sad when I now finally have started to read his book and in curiosity started to read more about him, and listen to him.
April 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
In a short paragraph in a paper distributed to all the residents in the municipality where I live I read something interesting about two male counselors/therapists helping men at a centre in the neighbor city.
I have tried to translate the notice to English:
Aggression and violence destroy many people’s relations. In most cases it is men that exercise the violence (not women) and up to now there have not been any offers concerning help to changes to these men.
And violent behavior is not only physical but also emotional/psychological and of course also sexual (in form of impropriate touching too). In disrespect for the other person (child).
A man using violence against his partner (kids and other people) needs help to get in contact with the emotions and experiences that make him use violence. I think all this can be dated back to early life. See what Alice Miller has written for instance.
Using violence leads to failures and damages both for the man himself and for other people (not least his children).
What these men need is courage to admit that they are exercising violence, and help not to blame other people, and they also need will to change their behavior.
However, it is important to emphasize that it is only the practiser of violence who is responsible for the violence he exposes other people to.
To help the man to analyze what is happening in his life, and to analyze how different occurrences stick together with his behavior, can be a step in the right direction towards a change.
Men using violence basically don’t feel so well.
My further reflections on what I read were:
People have tried to find genetic explanations to tendencies to violent behavior. Pincus refers to the Richard Speck case (see the picture above, click on them to make them bigger).
If you believe or presuppose that (small) boys have inherited tendencies to anger, fury, outbursts of rage, maybe even violence, maybe you believe you need to stifle those traits and treat them “accordingly.” In a belief that this maybe will stop them from further developing those traits.
However, is it this that in reality makes small boys and latter grown up men violent – and more violent than women, who were less roughly treated when they were small girls (but they were treated in other ways, which in turn caused them problems, but of other sorts)?
On top, small boys were also often handled more roughly than small girls to make the small boys tougher and not girl-like.
We can see remnants of this in our treatment of small boys and girls, in our attitudes towards them, in our expectations, or lack of expectations, on them. The reasons for this is that we in turned were taught this very early in life; how we are and (thus) also how other people were. Behaviors and attitudes that are difficult to shake off, and things we many times are not even aware of because we learned them so early in life.
With great difficuly, and probably a lot of pain, we can change though. If we are allowed to admit to and acknowledge what caused all this in the first place. For this we need a therapist that is not in denial him or herself.
Read the article “Frenzy” by Thomas Gruner about Pincus’ book.