Phase V, ACT VI: Child Protective Services, The child catchers

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The story went like this… Neighbors saw two toddlers out in the middle of the street without the supervision of their mother. A call was placed to Child Protective Services who promptly removed the children.

I began seeing the mother through a county program that provided mental health services for people who did not have medical insurance. In order to continue servicing her needs, my work was to be transitioned to the child welfare department as an independent contractor. I immediately found myself having difficulty understanding her rambling, disjointed thoughts and sheer anger with the department. I asked her about the work that she had been doing with another therapist and she was unable to clearly articulate any information that she had been able to retain. I knew that that she was suffering from a learning disability that would significantly interfere with her ability to process any information delivered in a linguistic format.

Through my own digging I was able to find out was that this young mother had gone to a local physician up river after feeling depressed. He had seen her over time for a multitude of issues and prescribed her more than 5 different medications. Because of her depressed state and strange speaking pattern, he diagnosed her with Bipolar Disorder and prescribed her another medication. It was then she began to act erratically. That led to the incident where the neighbors saw her two children out in the street and called CPS. I suggested that she see another physician who changed her medications and her behavior stabilized.

I was able to have her seen and evaluated by a clinical psychologist who formally dismissed the Bipolar Disorder and concurred with my diagnosis of a learning disorder. He suggested that she continue counseling with me and that there was no reason she would not be able to effectively parent.

CPS was convinced by an assessment conducted with the mother that she needed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I was able to convince the department that the woman was in need of some accommodation due to a learning disorder. I decided to take the most emotionally salient issue, her CPS involvement, and use it as a teaching tool instilling the best of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy tenets. The approach was tailor made for this woman and enabled her to learn skills that would make her more successful in her interactions with CPS case workers.

Using this adapted modality, this young woman felt more in control of the often contradictory and demeaning treatment that she received by the department. My notes reflected her ability to master awareness in her CPS interactions through noting differences in the people that she was forced to deal with and alternating her approaches to each person, using their responses as a way to gage whether she was being effective. She slowly mastered the skills through witnessing her own ability to meet the incessant demands placed on her.

Despite my positive feedback to the department, it was clear that they wanted her to lose her parental rights. Because I supported my client, I began to be harassed and told that she had NOT done the training because I did not use a book. Since I was not going to continue to work with her, as they saw fit, they were proceeding with termination of her parental rights.

During this mounting pressure, a hearing was held “to transfer the children to a family member” so that she “will be more likely reunited with her own children.”

She turned to me frantically, “I know what they are up to… They want to move the children further away, out of state, so that I cannot visit the kids. Then they can make the argument that enough time has gone by and I haven’t been able to visit…They don’t want me raising my kids. It doesn’t matter what I do.”

Her public defender told her not to worry and so did I. She was complying with the court expectations. You know something? She was right.

At the termination hearing, which I was not allowed to attend, the mother of these two young children was asked specific questions about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Of course, she was incapable of responding. Her parental rights were terminated.

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Making peace with violence and recognizing its perpetuation in our attitudes towards others

It was this past Monday, the day after Mother’s Day when I was absently trolling through FaceBook posts and happened to check in with the daughter of a dear friend that I spent a short period of time with back in Wyoming. The year was 2005 and I left the state within a year and a half of arriving there. That did not do anything to take away from the impression that Seana Beartusk Fisher left on me. She was a sister of the heart, a kindred soul whose presence graced my life if only for an abbreviated period of time.

I haven’t connected with many women as deeply and honestly as I did with Seana. There was an opposing reality in her existence that I recognized in myself. She was successful extraditing herself from the reservation and becoming a beloved member of the  Sheridan County community.

Piecing together the events of March 29th 2020

In the afternoon of March 29th Mr. Dana Beartusk, husband of Angelina Beartusk, brother of Seana Beartusk Fisher and uncle of Mochdaveyano “Blackhawk” Fisher posted a message on Facebook at 3:27pm. “Just realized I have been called jackass for 20 years… Awesomeness!”

Four and a quarter hours later shots were heard at 7:45pm. Shortly after hearing another round neighbors say they witnessed Mr Beartusk on the cell phone where he allegedly called a relative in Montana to report that he had killed a person/persons. The family member, a brother, called authorities in Sheridan and requested a welfare check. When authorities arrived they reported seeing a man visible in the window slumped over. They arrived to find Blackhawk, aged 25, deceased with a gun shot to the head. Ms Fisher, aged 54 was found nearby on the floor with a bullet wound to the head. Mr Beartusk’s wife was then found in the bedroom with a similar head wound. It was conjectured that the wounds were “execution style”

Autopsies reveal alcohol consumption by the three victims.

Mr Beartusk had left Wyoming shortly after the incident for Montana and turned himself in. He was held in custody for a DUI. He faced extradition back to Sheridan County where he faced premeditated murder allegations. He will face the death penalty or a life sentence without the chance of parole. The trial is to be set for June 2020.

The effect of Intergenerational Trauma on genetic expression and future perception of reality

“Nothing but useless, they are,” Doreen, my aging 70 year old neighbor would explain to me of her impressions of Native Americans. “Below niggers” she added.

As I sat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn reenactment an older white woman turned to me to complain about the descendants of Chief Yellowtail who attended Tongue River Elementary School where my children were enrolled. “They will not even participate in these activities. They are so angry. They should just get over it!”

The cost of peace for Seana and her people  was, from my vantage point, the subservience demanded of her by the unspoken atrocities of a bygone age. An hour north sits the remnants of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Thirty minutes to the south the Fetterman Battlefield. Massacres of Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho and Lakota line the fields of  southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming:  Wounded Knee and Sand Creek, reminders of traumatic abuses committed in effort to eradicate a people attempting to protect their way of life. 

Neurobiological understanding is in its infancy but it needs to be appreciated if we are to understand the complexities that take place in human development over time. Our bodies are amazing… When a person or a people face human atrocities, it affects not only the biochemical firings in the moment, it also has the ability to alter the expression of genes themselves. Why? Because the body is attempting to ensure the survival of our progeny. If our sons and daughters are better prepared to anticipate and properly respond to similar traumatic events that could ensure the likelihood of survival of associated family members in similar circumstances.

Native Americans and other oppressed people, I hypothesize, are more apt to REACT with a sympathetic vagal response to perceived threats. Poly vagal responses are: fight, flight, freeze and float. In fight, I take the perceived perpetrator on. In flight, I attempt to run away and maybe even hide for protection. In freeze, I am immobilized like a deer in headlights. In float, my brain takes me elsewhere and I disconnect with what is happening around me. There is no greater chance for extinction of a people  than those who have survived genocide, famine, torture and ostracism, who have been deprived of their voice and narrative, and been relegated as sub species of the dominant society. The appropriate neurological response in this situation is the sympathetic response and I believe that very feature played a role in the horrific altercation that took place in Big Horn, Wyoming, the evening of March 29th, 2020.

Poly vagal Neurobiology

Two distinct aspects of the tenth cranial nerve, the Vagus nerve are activated in response to threat. The sympathetic nervous system shuts down higher center brain functions and allows the adrenal glands to shoot adrenaline,  rerouting our circulation to face the threat; fight or flight. The parasympathetic nervous system is its contrary. Its balance with the sympathetic nervous system keeps us calm and not overreacting to stimuli. Overstimulated  as in a situation where there is nothing the person can do in a situation the parasympathetic creates systemic shut down; freeze or float.

There are situations where we can observe the effects of the vagal response with some accuracy. In the situation mentioned here, the Facebook post clearly shows the ability to articulate the overwhelming feelings present in the subject. The sense is stifled anger of a pattern of treatment that Mr Beartusk reports feeling for the last 20 years. Add the presence of alcohol, which surpresses inhibition and you have a recipe for escalation and violence, thus sympathetic in  origin.

Emotions and the Human Body

We are beginning to understand the effect of emotional energy patterns on stored areas within the human body. We now recognize that difficult events NOT dealt with end up residing within us as somatic complaints. Called “psychosomatic illnesses” by the medical establishment, these energetic disruptions are not as yet quantifiable by measurement but exist instead as energetic invitations for us to deal with traumatic incidents to ultimately clear and maintain our physical bodies.

Our understanding has dismissed this reality. Emotional people are often judged as weak and we are socialized from an early age to “just get over it.” The problem is that our bodies carry these memories. That is why one can feel highly emotional after a massage or chiropractic adjustment. The somatic body work  releases pent up emotional energy residing there. Practitioners often fail to warn their clients of this very real phenomena and  often do not have the skills to offer suggestions on how to effectively work with its very real opportunity for somatic and emotional release. For that reason many people are intimidated and may even avoid that somatic work all together.

As we accumulate traumas in our lives we exist as a warm soda can. Each insult we experience shakes our warm can (structure) building pressure from within. Since most of us choose to stomp uncomfortable feelings down, they cannot be released  but are held inside constantly accumulating pressure for release….. Until that day, that event, that atrocity has been endured and our structure cannot hold it back anymore and explodes.

The Reactions to Tragedy

And so we as a combined people continue our disregard for the Native American narrative and refuse to address the neurobiology that continues the great atrocities now etched into and taking residence in our bodies and souls. We continue to REACT and do harm to each other and ourselves, the metaphoric warm soda can within our bodies primed after years of choosing to do damage to each other in retaliation for perceived injustices, setting the stage for further victimization of the human spirit, depriving us of love and hope for our future through even greater human atrocities. When will it end?

I understand anger but I choose to learn from it as a creative force for change. Reactions are NOT creative. They are destructive; to ourselves and others. They shake the warm soda cans within our structure that stick to vulnerable organs in our bodies. They can either impode or explode depending on our neurological underpinnings, past traumas and intergenerational histories. They are, without a doubt, seldom dealt with and always misunderstood.

I understand that to honor the memories of these beloved people, I must see the bigger picture. To REACT to Mr Beartusk is to pluck the head off the dandelion forcing its energy to submerge and become more entrenched. I want to honor the memory of the recently  departed by unrooting the cause of the ongoing hared, intolerance and violence that has taken root within us all and continues to reveal its ugly  and inconvenient truth that no one seems to pay attention to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sad Truth About the Current Maladies Experienced in Human Interaction; A Critique

We all stand alone; men, women and children, regardless of the color of our skin, religious affiliation, gender identification, or political leanings. We have been pitted against each other in ways that allows us to lose focus on ourselves and each other. The more we find fault in each other, the less we are able to find the common ground that exists in our fractured, empty loneliness. We no longer resonate with the human experience because we are too committed to avoiding the pain affiliated with the inhumanity that has superseded our very natural and healthy need for interdependence.

Resources have been replaced by monetary exchange as the accepted form of barter for basic needs; food, water, shelter, and clothing. Currency is the only accepted exchange that is now integral to our physical condition because resources have become commodities for purchase to the highest bidder. Without acquisition of any of the aforementioned resources, we face death. Like the ringing of a bell in Pavlov’s dog experiment, we have had our most basic needs linked to monetary exchange as the ONLY way to acquire what we need the most. In Pavlov’s day the bell created salivation because it was paired with food. In our human experience we have learned to accept scarcity as the reality in a fallacious manipulation of resource acquisition. We believe we as individuals are in danger from those around us competing for their right to acquire the basic needs for human survival. Money is truly meaningless because its acquisition has NOTHING to do with the resources available for humans around the world. We have just been conditioned to believe otherwise. Because survival depends on this blind allegiance, we choose to buy in, hook, line and sinker.

As a result no compassion or warmth exudes from those who have chosen to monetarily buffer themselves from the cold, hunger, and lack of shelter that the less fortunate of us face. In fact people who have accumulated the capital needed to live comfortably have become so afraid of facing the manipulated reality of scarcity, they often  choose instead to dismiss and ostracize those who actually are faced with these circumstances. They buy into these manufactured fears and inadvertently feed the corporate entities who live off their indentured servitude, lining their own pockets while depriving their minions of a larger and larger portion of the monetary exchange taking place. There is a very real reason that the minimum wage does not keep in pace with the cost of living and that fact has nothing to do with the worthiness of those minions now caught in a never ending battle to survive. We  have accepted the large but fabricated burden of scarcity by working harder, even to our own demise, failing to realize the fact that we continue to receive less and less for our efforts while the very few horde the fruits of our labors.

In the most desperate of circumstances it has been those who have faced the most blatant forms of disrespect who ironically have given me the most hope…  like the aging, white haired, disheveled gentleman reeking of alcohol who pulled out the money to cover my beverage when I came up short. During the fight of my life it was the  social worker at the  hospital who tried to find me a place to stay when my adoptive family refused to offer me a bed after finishing my 3rd cycle of  chemotherapy and seeking refuge from a former boyfriend demanding sex for me to stay with him. It was my adoptive aunt struggling with Parkinsons who refused to allow me to be homeless. God bless her! I had mistakenly thought I could go back to my “home” traveling 3000 miles to receive the support needed to heal. The people I had placed my faith in had more money than I ever had, had homes with more than enough room and the ability to ensure that I did not go hungry. Instead I ended up without a place to stay, the food needed to continue healing, and most importantly, the care needed to feel safe. Remission from Cancer was complicated as a result. While I am now in remission and being supported by the same family, I had to face inexplicable horrors to be worthy of their attention and support.  I still am reluctant to ask for what I need and continue to trust no one!

Being born to another family and put up for adoption created a view of me as “other” from the beginning. There was no consideration of my differences in the “human law” that transferred my care to my adoptive family. In order to be accepted fully I was only okay if I could look like, act like and be carbon copies of them. I failed miserably because the expectation was unrealistic. There was no consideration of my unique needs so I grew up having to perform to be worthy of the most basic human consideration, always falling short since my genetic background and beginning environment had NOTHING TO DO with their reality!. The fact that I was with my biological mother for the first 3 days of my life  had no bearing on their treatment even though I had enough time to bond with her. The third day of my life, she just disappeared. When I started experiencing panic attacks at an early age expressing my preverbal confusion and fear with the only means available to me, temper tantrums, my adoptive mother became physically abusive. That was to be a part of my ongoing care by her. She was set up and so was I.

We don’t talk about shameful events so those of us who experience these very real injustices hold the shame of an existence that those in positions to judge refuse to grant credit. The enormity of emotional garbage we are forced to carry has less to do with our own misdeeds and instead points to those around us who find solace in diagnosing and pathologizing  our lives, character and worthiness of participation in society. There are efforts to “fix” us instead of acknowledging the foundations of the creation and maintenance of the blame we endure.

With my adoptive fathers incestuous preoccupation of me my adoptive mother became more and more abusive as she competed for my fathers attention and affection. As I still struggle with her hesitance to face these truths that began to take residence in my body, I try to be understanding of the trauma and disregard they both experienced before my birth. I am both facing the rightful anger of my own mistreatment and mourning that time forever lost to me. The fact is that the answer to my pain and that of both my adoptive and biological families lie NOT in the perpetuation of the same treatment but the resonance of the common ground of intolerance groomed into all of us, created, maintained and reinforced by powers that continue to create and maintain inhumanity.

Considering the way I was treated it has become clear to me that our inability to be vulnerable  both maintains and perpetuates our inhumanity. What we choose not to experience in ourselves becomes the seed of revulsion for those who mirror our own  fears and struggles back to us. It is, despite the lie being professed, the underprivileged who by and large are forced to live with humility and grace so exulted in the tenets  the major religions professed today. I recall the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Gospel of Luke. In Luke 18-9-14 a self righteous Pharisee obsessed with his own virtue is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy. It is said that the tax collector, able to acknowledge his participation in the mistreatment of his brethren  was more worthy of the love and grace of God than that of his elitist peer. I contend that the mercy of God CANNOT reside in any person so willing to judge the supposed sins of another without consideration of HIS own. There cannot be grace or mercy in a world of people emulating the Pharisee position in the parable. Instead there is judgment, ostracism and punishment of those deemed “less worthy”!

As they say… It is NOT the oppressors that need to face the trauma we ourselves have endured. It lies instead in the responsibility for us as the victims of these horrors to heal ourselves and by our example begin to heal each other and the world!. The problem inherent in that philosophy lies in the fact that the oppressed end up carrying all the burdens for a society in denial. We have no allies who have the connections and money to support a growing movement of the oppressed and ostracized among us. The statistics bear this out… Blue collar crime is fervently punished while white collar crime goes unnoticed… Yet it is white collar crime that has a much more far reaching implication in the lives of those affected because of the monetary and asset resources available to them. As more and more of us fight for survival, the privileged resort to methods to silence our truths through correctional standards that pathologies the human condition for a growing number of us. Together we would be a force to reckon with… Given the current state of affairs, we need open minded powerful and affluent people to buy into these issues with the fervent veracity that those of us who have gone without continue to use in our efforts to be heard!

It is “those people”, who are portrayed as being unacceptable, living without their most basic needs who end up reacting to the inhumane way that they continue to be treated that face trouble with the systems of governance. “Those people” become the subordinates in the distribution of resources that the culture demands for inclusion  separating “us and them” while encouraging an ongoing battle for those without voice wanting to be heard and respected. This dynamic explains the rise of the gang culture! Focus instead subverts responsibility of society at large and perpetuates the betrayal of “those people” traumatized and trying to survive the inhumane treatment that they have come to know. While at the same time those in positions of privilege and power escape attention and use their influence to paint a picture of “mental illness”, “addiction” and “criminal behavior” ,  conditions in which they themselves share complicity. As they play by the rule of  the blasphemy inherent in “human law” the elite who choose this life path become complicit in the violation of all that serves humankind. Their actions become reinforced by the coverup and we all learn that to rise to power and position requires blind allegiance to the same.

In insulating ourselves from the mental and physical assaults of others, we wall ourselves off from our connection with all that is around us; that includes family, friends, peers, animals, and ultimately the resources we need to survive as a species. We end up consumed in trying to prove our worth for the money we erroneously believe ensures all we need. In fact it is quite the opposite, the more money we acquire, the more divorced we become with the reality that ensures our own and others well being. It is the biggest lie of our existence and one  that we actively choose to embrace!!!

What is Wrong with Men?

I will try to share my insights of the male experience from a kind and understanding vantage point despite my life long experience of victimization at the hands of men who should have supported and protected me… I will speak from a place of vulnerability in the building of the masculine experience. I understand that this will not be tolerated by many men and the women who wish to buy-in to the masculine ideal of the world.. Being in a position of privilege and “on top” makes one very aware of how far they can fall from their position. It is the masculine acceptance of the lower status for inherent in those considered  vulnerable that feeds this misconception. That explains the ostracism and segregation practices enforced on those who cannot produce at accepted levels; people with disabilities, the elderly, and children. The fear for many men  every minute is that they are on the slippery slope to oblivion and it is that fear that supersedes all others! They (and now many women) now accept this fact as the gospel truth. This critical vantage point is conveniently shut down but has been needed for a very long time. Discussion by all parties must open a real  perspective as to the reason why social change is difficult. The need for accountability falls on each and every one of us. Effective change cannot occur while a segment of the population with the most wealth and privilege turns a blind eye to those in a more subservient position.

Men come into the world the same way that women do. They have emotions that are in need of acknowledgment to create a feeling of safety and belonging. Instead they often are coddled less, breast fed less, if at all, and face the expectation to “be a man” long before they have the capacity to understand the meaning. So boys look for meaning in fathers who endured the same treatment. I can only imagine the anxiety provoked by expectations that have no meaning and the set up experienced when a boy exhibits very real human emotions that speak of needs unmet… “Man up.” “Don’t be a wuss.” and worst of all, “If you are going to cry, I am going to give you a real reason!”

Needs for boys go unmet regardless of their age and the generation from which they were born. When I tell women this they become defensive, “My son is not that way,” they inevitably tell me. Maybe not in their homes, there they perform as expected depending on the environment in which they find themselves. They adapt their behaviors to the environments in which they find themselves and each environment supports different expectations. This is a diagnostic feature for Borderline Personality Disorder and both boys and girls learn to exhibit these behaviors to have their most basic needs met. These youngsters learn to understand the desires of those in authority without first resonating with their own personal feelings and sense of morality. The brainwashing endured as we grow and develop creates a “external locus of control” with a child learning to “perform” for others  expectations while lacking a true sense of self that has been denied development. This makes the individual pliable and easily manipulated by misguided and dangerous individuals. One need only think of the great human atrocities over the years where compliance by the masses contributed to the performance and maintenance  of extreme violence and genocide.

 Social Study Experiments

A social experiment by Stanley Milgram backed this perspective. Participants were willing to shock those being experimented on to dangerous levels just because they were pressured by those conducting the experiment in positions of authority. The shocks unbeknownst to the participants were being simulated but demonstrate the power of authority towards compliance. https://youtu.be/rdrKCilEhC0 Another study by Zimbardo in the “Stanford Prison Experiment” demonstrated the depravity of actions taken by those who were placed in the superior role of corrections officer over those who had been placed in a subservient role of inmate. Great atrocities were committed as a result and Zimbardo himself was reluctant to stop the experiment when a colleague voiced their concerns over the mistreatment witnessed. https://youtu.be/yUZpB57PfHs In both studies subjects felt justifies in using the socially accepted power granted them even when it was to instigating and maintaining another’s mistreatment.

The common denominator? These socialization tactics and behavioral expectations are the practices needed for effective cultural participation given our institutional pathology; blind compliance and obedience. Self accommodation through rebellion given a pathological system is adaptive if it ensures an individuals survival and despite the belief in “criminal behavior” has been neurobiologically predetermined in the development of the lower brain centers that ensure survival .

 

Boys never are allowed and  supported to experience their emotions or given the tools to effectively learn to articulate needs and develop self soothing methods so instead they exist as needy people having to portray an air of superiority, and supremacy over women and children, both boys and girls. They become threatened by women’s desire to bond with their children and the inevitable emotions exhibited in the care of their own appropriately needy children. Men can and do resort to sentiments like “I went through that and more growing up” These utterances are verbalized in an effort to discount a mothers feeling of responsibility to her children. As far as I am concerned this is the most primal form of triangulation and it has become a foundational part of our familial socialization patterns. Having NOT received what he himself needed in childhood, a man will often end up in competition with his own children for his wife’s affection, a situation that is a no-win dilemma for everyone involved. In essence women  end up having to raise another child and often become increasingly more resentful as time passes and the burden weighs her down, usurping her time while having to  play a peace keeping role where she always falling short.

Within his gender  role a man is apt to earn more money and have more assets than his significant other. That fact is institutionally sanctioned as evidenced by the discrepancy of pay for women. The practice ensures women’s  dependency on a man and ensures our willingness to abdicate our natural feminine power to ensure the capital to support ourselves and the children we bear. We are put in no win situations and face systematic removal of our children for failing to be both the nurturing mother and the breadwinner often with a lack of support both emotionally and financially from many of the involved fathers. That leaves  women at a financial disadvantage and helps create an intimidation that ensures the parental relationship is unequal. As a result she always worries of authoritarian intervention more apt to judge her than the father of her children. Men use these accepted tactics because of the injured little boy who went without the support of his own developing humanity. He is using his position to regain power through control of his wife and progeny since he experienced being both powerless and voiceless as a child. As he grows with the built in privilege inherent in his own gender role he chooses venting the built up rage with grave consequences for both himself and his family. He ends up confused and angry when his significant other gets tired of being controlled and begins to stand up for herself, calling the police and forcing him to get entangled with the legal establishment. Fact is… He was set up and so was she. Their children? Watching and learning their roles to be worthy of the same acceptance and support as they grow. It is survival in its most basic terms.

What is Wrong with Women?

In many cultures and families the preferred gender during pregnancy is that of a boy. In China during the “One Child policy” newborn girls were executed and thrown away (quite literally).  There was an effort by some to retrieve the discarded girls before they died from exposure. It was the rise of the adoption business in China. Agencies would have you believe that they cared for these girls but they were instead motivated by charging top dollar to Westerners for the adoptions. The girls? Affected by the very real stress carried during their mothers pregnancy that set up these girls own survival neurobiological responses, their own brush with death and abandonment, they became easily tossed aside when their unseemly behaviors did not measure up to the privileged elite expectations back in the United States. Returns on the girls became a part of the story and so did the the commoditization of prostitution of these vulnerable and traumatized beings.

No matter where you live in the world girls are well aware of their subordinate status. We are often charged with caring for our brothers and enduring the lack of basic resources often doled out more liberally with the men and boys that share our residence. We acquire the responsibility for the domestic responsibilities with our mothers and are expected to be happy about it. We can be physically punished if we object. We learn to hold the responsibility for the family unit as much as our mothers. Boys are allowed to get away with misbehavior with comments like “boys will be boys”. Boys learn to accept their role because they are allowed to misbehave and get away with things that girls are not. Theirs is a place of entitlement and privilege that is hard to shake. They rely on this way of being to vent the rage burning within them. Frankly, that is the only emotion allowed them and they learn to use it well.

Boys are congratulated for their conquests regardless of the way they achieve them. Rape  is better acknowledged if it occurs at the hands of  a stranger. That social attitude lies in direct opposition to the truth of the matter, the fact that the statistics bear out that in most rapes the assailant is known to the victim. Boys grow up getting away with all kinds of misbehavior and then at some point feel the abrupt 180 degree shift when facing charges for the behaviors that they at one time got away with. They, unable to feel anything but rage, revert to what they know best. Women and children, in structured subordinate roles are forced to face their wrath, a position continuing to be supported by the artificially elevated male asset and money acquisitions.

We as women have tremendous responsibility in our own subjugation. We allow men to control us, dictate how we are to raise our children, turn a blind eye to the mistreatment and abuse of our sons and daughters despite the fact that our bodies scream at us at times when our men overstep their boundaries. There is a very real reason women bear children and not men, yet we give our power away.

Men have come to find find relief in pornography. It titillates them in unrealistic ways that no woman can replicate. Men devoid of human connection look for anything to fill the emptiness they feel inside. The monetization of sexuality continues to erode feminism. In fact “feminism” creates confusion in women as time passes. I remember the husband of a neighbor watching pornography who called out to me as I spoke with his wife, “You two should come here and learn how to really satisfy a man.” Does that mean that a feminist is someone who knows how to please her man? Hell, they were singing about that back in the 50’s. Does my objection to the sexualization of Beyonce make me less of a feminist or has the monetization of female sexuality gotten manipulated enough to destroy feminism itself?

The rise of Christianity brought a close to the reverence of Goddess religions  and the understanding of the power inherent in the feminine state of being. We lost control by the aging crone who attended our births that were revered for their natural state and empowered by the shared feminine acceptance of its natural process. After the persecution of the midwives men took over our care and projected their fear of our power back on us making us more apt to question our own bodies. Before Florence Nightengale’s insistence on hand washing for basic hygiene it was men who had taken over the births of women who spread disease because they did not know enough to wash their hands before placing their hands inside a woman’s vagina to assist in birth. They were sticking their hands into cadavers and then, without basic hygiene into the vaginas of birthing women. As a result women experienced a tremendous rise in sepsis. The death statistics for women escalated and the myth of a woman’s incapacity to birth on her own was established and is currently perpetuated with the same misinformation. Florence Nightengale’s contribution never was accepted by the male patriarchy so the escalation in birthing deaths continued without acknowledgement. As a result we have learned to endure pregnancies with a focus on pathology and the fear created from the erroneous beliefs of men who choose to view the world from their own warped perspective of us.

It is my assertion that it is NOT women with authentic ideas and interventions that are paid heed. It is instead the acceptance by women who take on the perspective of men who acquire the assets and monetary acquisition who are given the right to voice themselves, not those of us with new ideas that challenge the status quo. This troubling development has replaced the feminine understanding of herself. Women of power are accepted because of their obedience and so therefore offer no viable alternative options than the perpetuation of the same masculine dogma.

As a result women now birth in hospitals in the lithotomy position once preferred by King Henry the VIII who “got off” on watching his mistresses give birth. ItThe position’s  convenience for the male practitioners is still being used today and accepted by the females now granted admission into the profession. The position is antithetical to the position of the vagina. In the supine position a woman is pushing against the natural gravitational force aiding in birth because she is forced to birth her baby uphill. After each contraction the baby is forced back into the womb by the very same force that could lessen the time, pain and risk experienced in birth. Obviously that was not King Henry VIII concern.

Midwives prefer a squatted position or that of an elevated and supported back of the mother so that she works with the natural forces meant to support HER labor!The position creates less trauma on the connective tissues and that results in less tearing and stress on the baby.

Current practices also include episiotomies. The rationale states that the episiotomy is easier to heal than the tears that can result from birth of a child’s head, the largest and first part birthed. That is a blatant lie that does not consider the depth of the surgical incision which also cuts into and destroys muscle integrity. Tears are more superficial in nature.

Back in 1985 I was attending Rutgers University in the Nursing program. There was a woman who was preparing to birth. The FEMALE obstetrician decided that a cesarean section was needed and the woman was rushed into the surgical unit. There the mother underwent a c-section and I was given the responsibility of monitoring her in recovery. She started complaining of radiating pain to her right shoulder, she was losing consciousness, her blood pressure was dropping, her pulse becoming erratic and thready. I went to the nurses’ unit to express my concern. Between my attempts to get the woman the care she needed, I went back and stroked her hair encouraging her too “stay with us”. Finally after my third attempt, the nurses came in, pushed me aside when they saw her condition and she was rushed, yet again, into the surgical unit. Her hemoglobin had plummeted. She was bleeding internally. After going into the surgical unit, I witnessed the FEMALE obstetrician open her up revealing an 8 inch hematoma over the broad ligament. Her son was fine and had been born without incident, but this woman’s life was jeopardized by an unnecessary cesarean section! I went to visit 1 week later and she thanked me. “I didn’t know if my husband, my son or anyone else was there. I just knew you were.”

Our bodies are our foundation. Without unmitigated access to all our body is capable of, we are a fractured subordinated group of people. We have chosen to defile our bodies in order to be worthy of inclusion and have done so for so long we no longer are aware of what we have been missing. We are missing equal representation because we have NOT been allowed to be what we truly are.

I got in trouble in seeking my Masters degree at Goddard College in Plainfield Vermont when I shared my thought of feminism with my supervisor, a staunch lesbian feminist who saw my idea of feminism as a threat to her own. My desire to birth at home, learn to bake bread, tend a garden and my aspiration to self-sufficiency was extremely offensive to her. She was critical and unsupportive. She didn’t care WHY I carried the feelings I did, she just wanted me silenced and she made sure to do exactly that. For a woman who had suffered the atrocities I had growing up, the attacks on my person shut me down. She had “assumed the habits of her oppressors”. She called herself a feminist but I joked that she was supporting a hidden dildo. There was no room for me and so my developing thoughts were put on hold. It is my contention that many women choose to support dildos and fail to recognize or attend to the very real misogyny present in our society. In fact, it is my contention that they have signed on.

How many times do we as women choose to silence what we fear voiced in the narratives of our sisters? We have no power as a result. Men play us off of each other to have their way in all matters. AND WE LET THEM!

Men Need Us Now More Than Ever but NOT the way you think

We need to grow some ovaries ladies! Men are afraid of being vulnerable for good reason. Please coddle your boys and HUSH your men when they suggest that you are making a “sissy” out of your son. Breast feed no matter the gender and do it until he or she is ready to wean themselves. Give your sons responsibilities early and even let them care for your daughters. Teach them to cook, garden, clean and reflect words that help them describe their emotional experience.

Adult men need to allow you to be the caregiver if he lacks the skills but don’t be afraid to help him learn through your role modeling. This will not be easy because he will have to relinquish the ways that he has found to give him a sense of control and superiority. He has the means and the backing of a paternalistic cultural system. Give him the encouragement for what he does well and expect him to rise to the occasion. If he chooses to use his power over you be willing to keep yourself and your children emotionally safe (you are modeling healthy social interaction) If your man threatens you, separate yourself from him until he gets himself under control. Remember that he does not have the skills to understand what that kind of healthy control is so have an emotional safety plan with people to go to in any circumstances that threaten  either you or your children’s sense of safety.

Remember that using threats mean nothing and can instead escalate a situation. Threats are a signal that the situation has escalated enough that the fight or flight response is coming into play. Get yourself out of there. Say what you mean and mean what you say consistently and often. That creates continuity in your expectations. If you trigger, that is feel a sense of panic that resonates in your body, you have are responding too late. You will be more apt to push his buttons than be effective. Your man has not been trained to understand your new way of being or to tolerate the demands you are making so gentle persuasion is preferable to escalation. Opening your mouth and trying to reason when he is escalated will only infuriate him. If any interaction is not possible an “Adult time-out” is needed. This models deescalation strategies for your children as well as normalizing “time-out” as a way to calm yourself after being triggered. If you need further assistance please reach out to a therapist who specializes in trauma.

Men are not BAD, they are misguided and  we have come to expect them to act with behaviors that they have not been trained to embrace and be responsible for. The more we assume the power inherent in the true knowledge of our feminine HERstory, the more we can choose to be effectively participant in a new reality for both men and women. Our children will benefit as a result. Change is possible BUT women must be the key. We lack access to the key as long as the lies and misinformation buffer and sustain the status quo. This essay has been my effort to create common understanding with responsibility for all parties involved. What will yours be?

A private essay by Nanaymie Kasmira Godfrey, MS, LMHC, CDP MHP.                       She can be reached directly  through:  nkgtherapyanswers@gmail.com

 

The American Exceptionalism Ruse; Its Effect here and Around the World

I work professionally as a therapist specializing in social interaction of all sorts; couple, familial, individuals and the agencies and service providers meant to support them. Within the homes of the families I have come to know and the agencies, organizations and judicial establishments I have paid witness to, the quiet desperation of men and women who have become so traumatized from their own past they end up carrying unconscious triggers into their homes, businesses and crucial interactions while seemingly becoming unable to resonate with the good they once believed possible. Traumatic social interactions set the stage for our reactions to each other. It is the establishment and maintenance of inhumanity by nothing more than apathetic ignorance of those who would rather not know or acknowledge aspects of parts of our own and other’s lives we would rather deny exist. By refusing to pay witness to “others” pain, we deny ourselves of our own. The more we define “them” as separate from us, the more we can rationalize our treatment of “them” as unworthy of attention and basic human consideration. We as entitled Americans have developed a “litmus test” of “others” who either cannot or choose not to live up to our societal expectations. Those expectations include the silencing  of stories created behind the walls of our homes, businesses, agencies and organizations that fail to reflect on and consider the truth inherent in the bogus story of American Exceptionalism.

No, we are not being bombed or watching the mutilation of friends and family. Those are the blatant atrocities we have committed against the people in other parts of our world. We have rationalized our inhumanity based on defects in individual and nation character, choices of government and sovereignty, religion, language and speech, and ultimately differences in the color of skin. The acceptance of this idea of American Exceptionalism allows us to rape natural resources of other countries, “for their own good… ”  We choose to consume more and more as the ravenous, unsatiated  people we have become. In our efforts to fill the emptiness in our lives with things, we deplete “others” of what is rightfully theirs.

My Central American Experience

I spent 4 months traveling in Mexico and Central America. I lived like the people and so was able to learn a great deal about the corporate take-over of other county resources and witnessed the audacity the the erosion of other countries sovereignty through the actions United States corporate entities impose abroad. As I traveled in Honduras I saw banana and coffee plantations overtaken by American companies armed with native workers cultivating and tending their own native vegetation at mere pennies to the dollar. The resources of the local areas eventually heading for the never ending appetites of  a populace convinced that the more and more acquired can calm the growing dissatisfaction and disengagement Americans have with their hearts and souls over 1500 miles away.

We stopped in Puerto Cortez and watched an American freighter pull in.  It was the Mary Sheridan from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it was the time of the Sandinista conflict in Nicaragua. Military equipment was being unloaded for the United States military base in Comayagua, Honduras, other blatant evidence of American sense of entitlement. I turned from the scene to enter a local hospedaje to have desayuno (breakfast). I sat down suddenly aware of the freeze dried Sanka coffee on the table…  More evidence of the fact that corporate greed had taken over Honduran land and resources at a significant discount, only to be sold back to the locals at an inflated cost and diminished quality. I looked up and the poster said it all. It was a illustration of the world with a fist crushing the life out of it. It said simply this… “Tercer Mundo”. Indeed, the third world is being crushed by the greed and sense of entitlement that separates individuals from their humanity. It was one of the most formative lessons of my life.

As if to accentuate the point… Traveling back through Honduras from our stay outside in  the military base at Comayagua, we traveled through Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, to stop to get a visa to travel through El Salvador back to Guatemala heading back home. We had been planning to go to Costa Rica but were having problems finding out the how safe it would be for two gringos headed over land through Nicaragua. After hearing of a Canadian volunteer executed by the Contra Rebels a mere 3 kilometers from our location we chose to head home. Heading south through El Salvador would cut down the amount of travel needed to enter Guatemala. It seems that our lessons were not finished…

We were told that we had to stop at the El Salvadoran embassy in Tegucigalpa to go obtain the needed visa. We had transversed the blocks in proximity to the Honduran Presidential palace multiple times, getting more and more exhausted by our efforts. Nearby we watched locals coming in and out of the main mercado. The hill we had been repeatedly transversing rose above the local river way and the valley below. We had headed around the same block when there was a burst of what sounded like machine gun fire. Rat it tat tat tat. Looking down at the mercado close by and up the streets with the local tiendas I watched those nearby freeze, scream and run. Owners of local shops looked out anxiously when another round was heard. Rat it tat tat tat. Everyone ran for the nearby shops as the owners slammed their doors closed. I dashed in with them after imploring my dazed and frozen partner to take action. He was standing in the middle of the street seemingly immobilized by the shock. “Jeffrey,” I screamed at him, “A coup!” Before he could move a large, earth shattering explosion went off as a mushroom cloud emerged from below the river.

There we stayed with many local residents in a local tienda as the sound of machine gun fire and continued explosions ran on. It seemed like an eternity but the machine gun fire and explosions began to recede. Slowly, as if moles emerging from the depths of the soil afraid to face the brightness of the sun, we emerged.

News flash… A fireworks factory nearby had blown up. It didn’t matter. I had paid witness to the fear generated by the reality of war intimately known by the citizens of this less privileged country, a war created and maintained by United States interests in the acquisition natural resources of these unacknowledged and disrespected sovereign places.

And still there was more to learn on this journey. We ended up going directly to the El Salvadoran border where we were denied a visa. I wasn’t sure I would ever get used to the sound of the machine gun fire heard from the Chiapas Mountains of southern Mexico, through Guatemala, the distant but visible mountains of El Salvador and Honduras or the appearance of 12 and 13 year old boys carrying oozes and M-16s  boarding the many buses we took on route to our many destinations along our way. I came to realize that I had become more disconcerted by the fact that by the time we were attempting to travel home through El Salvador I barely noticed either the boys or the machine gun fire anymore.

On the way back, again having to transverse the Honduran countryside towards the Guatemala border, we found ourselves on a former United States school bus. It like all the others we encountered from southern Mexico south were in terrible shape, had bald, overused tires and were the only source of transportation on roads that were poorly attended and the nearby cliffs that plunged great depths.

On the way to Santa Rosa de Copan I met a self described mercenary soldier hired by the United States government to fight in Nicaragua. He had found conversing with me helpful because he did not speak even the most rudimentary level of Spanish. I, on the other hand, was fairly fluent by that time. I was horrified by his bragging of killing the many people he encountered. As we sat on the dilapidated school bus enduring his self aggrandizing, we rounded  a curve over a high cliff. There was a large jolt and everyone was thrown forward.The bus rocked dangerously towards the right side of the cliff lifting up on two wheels and then slamming solidly down. There was a hissing sound emanating from the engine as the driver screamed at us all to get off the bus. Again Jeffrey stood frozen as I grabbed his arm and guided him to the back of the bus where we all were disembarking.

There in front of us was an outdated pale yellow pick up truck. An elderly abuela and abuelo sat, their eyes permanently pried open as if in shock, their hands resisting the brunt of the impact just endured. They sat frozen in their intimate death embrace.

I was in shock. The complete disconnect by the mercenary killer and the death of these two elderly travelers  just seemed to capture in real terms the poster I had seen at the hospadaje in Puerto Cortez, “Tercer Mundo”, the illustration of the world with a fist crushing the life out of the third world.

The completely disconnected mercenary, aware of the trauma etched on my face then, without understanding his own ignorance, turned to my partner and told him, “She couldn’t handle Nicaragua. The Sandinistas would rape and then kill her without question.” This coming from a man incapable of understanding the pleas and cries of those he was executing! Reality can bite us in the ass but only if we are humble enough to understand its messages.

The American Dream?

We as Americans have chosen to numb ourselves to the outcries of the world’s population because we would rather pretend that the American Dream still exists. And yet we are having more and more difficulty acquiring the dream ourselves. We try to convince ourselves that the reasons are within our own control and so we become whatever is required to be worthy of what we need most. Those needs depend on our compliance to our prescribed role, an unspoken but acquired expectation at birth from  Big Business and Big Brother for the exchange of revenue, assets and basic resources in substitution for the inherent sense of love, companionship, and sense of self worth even denied even the most compliant. Those who cannot or will not acquiesce face the other extreme, a  lack of basic sense of safety, shelter, food, and warmth. The determination of our placement is our ability to join the assembly line expected in the production of those things we have been taught that we need to satiate the empty hearts and lack of life purpose that consumes us. As we ally ourselves with the acquisition of money and material goods we place more stress on our country’s resources and lose our connection to each other. The pundits would have you think that with just a little more effort from us things will get better. But as corporate and government entities hold more of the revenue and assets for themselves, there is less and less for the rest of us.

We have been lead to believe that there is not enough to go around and that has created and perpetuated our pursuit of being good enough for the money, power, prestige and respect seemingly just out of our reach. We sell out our humanity and morality to avoid the punishment dished out to those who do not acquiesce to pursue the fabled American Dream, a dream that very likely never existed in the first place.

It didn’t matter the new immigrants that came upon our shores or how far back they can be recalled, they were all held with disdain. And we, the entitled “chosen people” from European descent aren’t even native, yet we  felt entitled to commit genocide on First Nation people and still to this day deprive them of their land, voice and effective participation. Acquisition of commodities by white settlers is older than even our own country and its foundations create the abomination of human indifference being experienced at this time.

We have all endured abuse and trauma and accepted it without question. As we respond to facing our own and others trauma, we actively choose to deny its existence. We put on our fake smiles and offer one line panaceas that do nothing but cover up the injustices taking place here and abroad. We trigger (get hostile) when someone  challenges our perception of the world because we must, without questioning accept what information has been doled out to us to be included as “privileged”. That is the embodiment of compliance and compliance without question leads to tyranny. As a result we have become THE tyrannical empire of both ourselves and others in the world.

We the people have chosen tyranny to prove our right to American Exceptionalism. We overpower that which we can take advantage of. We feel entitled to take what we perceive that we need without regard for the consequences we have imposed on others. Looking to others for the remedy for our empty lives keeps us from acknowledging the problem inherent within us!

In our families we see the mirroring of this distortion of reality. To face this fact could change our own interpersonal relations and our interactions with other countries around the world. I use a story to illustrate my point….

Trauma 101

There is a boy who grows up with an abusive father. Now there are common factors that let this boy know that his father is likely to physically assault him. His father drinks heavily, always at night after work. After consuming enough to quiet the demons in his own head, he is filled with rage. He drives quickly into the driveway looking for a release from the unwanted emotions within him. The driveway is made of gravel and so the car skids into place as he gets home. He begins screaming for the boy slurring his words. The back door is yanked open violently and is slammed back into place. The father stinks of alcohol and wreaks from the miscalculated attempt to down the last beer in a hurry. The boy, depending on his reaction learns to protect himself in the ways governed by his neurological effort to survive what can only be seen as an attack; fight, flight, freeze, or “float” (coined and adapted from my crania-sacral therapist) His age and ability to fight back his fathers escalating violent reactions can and will negate the ability to stay and “face the music”. If he is younger and more vulnerable he may choose to take flight by running away out the front door to a possible ally and friend who can help, or choose to take refuge in his closet, safe from the upcoming promise of being assaulted. His father may also call him names if he can’t “take it like a man.” In that situation there is no where that he is safe, so he freezes and may dissociate, (float) a way the brain protects us from physical and emotional threats that are perceived as life threatening.

Now it is 20 years later and he is engaged to his high school sweetheart. She calls to let him know how excited that she is because she just received a promotion. She tells him that she is going out with her best friends to celebrate. He can’t understand why his breathing is altered and his gut feels clenched (physical signs that he has triggered). As it gets later and later he struggles with the overwhelming physical sensations that he is experiencing.

While she is at the bar before leaving a man slips on the floor and spills his drink on her. She pays no attention looking forward to head home. She drives back to the house later than anticipated. Her excitement causes her to skid into the gravel driveway. She calls to him excited to share the events of the day. In her excitement she opens the door hastily and slams it closed.

Every single event in her journey that evening builds within the well learned triggers that signal her fiancee’s history of having to protect himself. He can use his larger size and (fight) go on the attack. “Where have you been?” His voice and gestures threatening, possibly using verbal reprimands and intimidation, maybe even becoming physical himself. He may take flight by taking off to somewhere he can feel a sense of relief, or freeze, physically, emotionally or both. He may “float” away somewhere else in his mind, disconnected from the experience that so closely resembles the horrors he grew up with.

No matter his way of coping, she is apt to judge his “erratic behavior” as being out of control. She may bad mouth him to family and friends or worse yet, lodge a domestic violence complaint, maybe even call the police… None of these good for the integrity of the family unit.

In the workplace

Triggered professionals, agency and judicial personnel are dangerous for us all. They are often out of touch with their own predispositions to triggers formed in their own lives and so project their own issues on co-workers and worse yet, the clients that they are supposed to help. This fact complicates “recovery” in medical facilities, mental health and addiction facilities, and with “professionals” of all backgrounds.

The courts are NOT there to protect the family unit. They judge “facts” most often without insight into the events that could answer “why” people act as they do while providing insight into the steps to help individuals, families, and therefore professionals, agencies, organizations, governmental services, and judicial establishments heal from the need to assert blame before understanding.

The cycle is self perpetuating. We truly do “assume the habits of our oppressors” unconsciously acting out the horrors we have known on the unprepared; children, people with cognitive disabilities, the already traumatized, the elderly, the homeless. We find it convenient to blame those who suffer the most because we do not want to be reminded of the hidden secrets that take residence in our bodies, those tender places that scream their injustices when faced with mirrors that remind us of the true path that we have traveled.

Summation

We are by this very example choosing “learned helplessness” by isolating ourselves from the power inherent in the common narratives built into our lives. There are no “others”. There is just the common victimization we all suffer under those who position themselves to horde that which is not rightfully their own while blaming those that they take reserves and assets from. We will not find humanity within ourselves or those that surround us until we accept that fact. It is our choice and we need to take responsibility for our decision and be willing to face the consequences of that choice. There can be no resolution of the disparities we see until we face the truths of the demons we have given our blind allegiance.

 

 

 

My Prayer for Humanity ….

No matter where I look I see evidence of our disregard for each other; from the old woman with developmental disabilities slowly making her  way to the local store for her beloved Pepsi in the freezing cold, improperly dressed and missing one shoe, to the young woman crying inconsolably seated up against the local Rite Aid store. She had dropped her purse only to have it returned missing the $400 she had to her name. So many pass by these folks disinterested… “Its not happening to anyone I know,” they would inevitably say. But isn’t it?

As we sit contemplating our mortality facing the inevitable changes of our condition, may we all have people who see us as we are without pity but with a human awareness of the changing winds that befall the human condition.

The Rise of the Ebenezer Scrooge in Each One of US

It was 1843 when “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens. Over the years the story has been adapted for the times and circumstances in which we have found ourselves. While details change, the message remains. We are drawn to the story over and over and yet fail to act in accordance to its realistic and mirrored reflections of our times. One of my favorite adaptations is Frank Capra’s “Its a Wonderful Life”. George’s feelings of hopelessness rings true for most of us who care to connect with the reality of our times. The hope it generates and the capacity to rise to meet seemingly outlandish circumstances draw us back again and again, as if belief were all that was needed to turn the tables at the most bleak times of our lives. All versions of these epic stories inspired hope in me as to the good within all of us. But now I watch them with a scrutiny worthy of Scrooge himself.

Idealistic fascination with these tales is worthy of consideration in the formulation of a life worth living, but they continue to fail to meet their mark. We have chosen to emulate the antithesis of this understanding and yet watch these stories with an addictive preoccupation… as if our lives depend on the fix to just be able to muddle through another year of existence.

It is my contention that the industrial revolution has had a number of downsides, the loss of humanity  being the most blatant in the creation, promotion and maintenance of human indifference towards one another. I have to say that I am not surprised that the year of the industrial revolution is quoted to have begun in 1760, some 80 years before “A Christmas Carol” was written. In that time productivity had surpassed human decency in interaction. We are now judged by how much we do, not by our compassion and humanity towards each other. Through the years this perception has been reinforced through the exchange of capital. Since capital is required for our day to day needs, ONLY those willing to abdicate their thoughts, ideas and talents, choosing instead to prescribe to the cultural dictates of the industrial revolution with the effort and capacity to “measure up” have found themselves clothed, housed, with enough to eat and drink. As if productivity was/is a measure of human worth?! Sounds more like enslavement to me! Punishment for infractions against this state of being? A slow miserable death… found in a lack of basic resources needed for existence, and at the same time enforced ostracism for “deviance” and “noncompliance”.  Suspicion of great atrocities occurs without efforts to understand or ameliorate the conditions which give rise to unseemly and judged behaviors that fall outside the realm of imposed  expectations. Those of us who do not concern ourselves over where “those people” will procure their next meal, where they will bed, if they will be warm and safe, if they will face punishment for the space they occupy, while also being judged for panhandling, eating discarded and refuse food, relieving themselves where they can, pay no attention choosing to judge what we cannot fathom.

In the time since the industrial revolution there has been an emphasis on monetary acquisition, because nothing, even human decency comes without a cost. We have found monetary ways to devalue people who cannot or will not effectively produce at quotas acceptable to the corporate entities that enslave us all… that is not to say that governmental agencies have not monetized their own existence, demanding the same of their populace. They judge our worth to receive help and often distribute money based on a complete disconnect with the social conditions that manifest in the real world. Their policies and procedures fail to keep up with the ongoing evolution of human existence choosing to fit recipients into programs that most often are out of accordance with the individual situation giving rise to the need for intervention. The cost in the ongoing loss of  respect for humanity is priceless.

We have used diagnoses to impose a new reality of “deviance” on those who do not appear to take personal responsibility for growth within current paradigm dictates  of the monetary reward system. When diagnoses were created we found ways to capitalize on a “fix” and “correction” for those differences. Money was and is exchanged for these issues but just what has been the cost to pathologizing the immeasurable variances in human capacity and ability? Those defined as deviating from expected quotas are often segregated in “group homes”, “special learning centers”, “nursing homes”, “jails and prisons” (Italicized for emphasis of facilities that lie in direct opposition to the basic tenets of inclusion). Those affected struggle with self esteem, find themselves ostracized from healthy human interaction and are denied the services and choices taken for granted by those immersed in the maintenance of their own well being without noticing the impact of their own indifference on the perpetuation of the misery faced by “others” they fail to interact with on a daily basis.

We are forever in a place of trying to prove our worth, to be considered, heard and respected. We value people with money over compassion and choose to adhere to those we idolize without consideration as to the value from which they speak. Since we are constantly looking outward for answers while refusing to pay attention to the truths that lie in our hearts, we miss our calling and our true place in the evolution of human understanding. Because we have silenced the differences in ourselves and others, we repeat the same atrocities suffered by all of us year after year, without paying witness to the immobilization taking place through our own complicity. The bipolar reality of the American experience? Tremendous wealth and asset acquisition while admonishing those who take residence in our back alleys, who eat our refuse, who we choose to look away from because the reality of the suffering hits home for all of us. It is our shared foundational grooming built on a lie that takes true courage to face. Until we face these realities with the effort to understand horrific experiences that our indifference has cultivated, humanity will continue to be in peril. We are scripting our demise with our own thoughts, intolerances and harsh actions towards others. With that stance we ensure the continued victimization of the masses and the depletion of resources occurring from greed, not the population growth those in power would like us to believe (another lie).

My journey to this place and time has been complicated by the enforcement of these tactics. While I have suffered more than many, the atrocities endured in the displaced and forlorn of our country’s most affected residents deserve consideration, tolerance, and yes, even compassion. I acknowledge and take responsibility for the life and activity of the God within me. As a result I have a special wish this holiday season that I take literally, acting in harmony with its idealism and goodwill 365 days a year, not just another holiday where I plan to receive gifts to buy my silence and replace my truths and experiences with just another plastic and meaningless smile…

Until we take responsibility for acting in accordance with the God within, we fail to honor the Supreme Being, regardless of what we call him or her! I don’t know why we are afraid of descending into hell after our demise. We have created hell on earth, right here, right now. Those who rise to power and use that position to silence the defenseless masses accumulating as fast as their wealth and assets, violate God’s love, compassion and acceptance of us all. God bless us everyone? In the face of our current reality this short verbalized wish should remind all of us that the only way to salvation is through the honoring of the divine that lies behind the fear we all carry: not having enough, being silenced and  ostracized, facing homelessness and hunger, of being unfairly judged without an effort to understand the conditions we are being forced to survive.

I find the hypocrisy of the use of God’s will interesting. God is supposed to save us through our diligence in prayer yet at the same time we are lacking in and avoiding responsibility for the treatment of God’s children?! It wasn’t long ago that illness was seen as a punishment from God rather than the accumulated effects of our indifferences and abuse of one another. Those of us who think differently, act differently with different social preferences are shamed, a definitive reality that is NOT in harmony with the God within. Tell me, if we are all made in God’s image, how does hierarchy survive unchecked? Who decides human worth and what is the criteria based on? Acquisition of money and resources? How convenient… for some! No wonder so many of us are throw away! In this way those afflicted with dreaded conditions are groomed to accept the shame of their differences alone, without kindness, compassion and understanding.

We have come to expect that we all must parrot the same ideas and understanding in order to be accepted. That lies in direct opposition to the multifaceted human genome, the building blocks of our own and our collective consciousness. While being respected makes up a huge part of our sense of self worth and esteem, we have come to ONLY value those who mirror what we see as the best in us. We are most apt to “friend” them and grant them our time and attention.  We react towards those who challenge our perceptions and way of being as if differences will destroy us all. We are driven by a fear that that has learned to devalue the very thoughts and ideas that make up our potential salvation… diversity. We have become monochrome, highly reactive, less forgiving and more apt to judge than understand. We have become the embodiment of Scrooge.

There was a bumper sticker that emboldened this understanding, “Think Globally, Act Locally”. It is not enough to convince ourselves that we are compassionate when we send money to “those people” through “Fund Me” or this humanitarian cause or that. Compassion is demonstrated by the day to day interactions that proves our belief in ALL human worth while acknowledging in these days and times “There but for the grace of God, go I”. You, with the money, status, power and privilege are in the best place to effect the rise from the ashes of the most needy among us. For many of you, this will fall on deaf ears. Trying to secure your futures, you are willing to deprive others of their own. That is the choice given one in your circumstances, not all of us.

I was lucky to be privy to an exchange that happened at my local Fred Meyer. There sat a homeless older man hunched up against one of the walls holding a puppy for comfort and warmth. A young man walked up to him and asked him if he would like a warm meal. The older man looked up as if dazed and simply nodded an affirmative, “yes”. As I exited the store I watched the young man hand the older gentlemen a sandwich. My heart filled immediately and I tapped the young man on the shoulder thanking him for caring. That was the moment that I felt the “Christmas spirit”. When we are willing to act with respect and care despite those willing to snub their noses and avert their gaze, we are respecting our Supreme Being by “Thinking globally by Acting Locally.” Human empowerment begins with the sentiment that, quite frankly, I give a shit! Words are meaningless and monetary exchange goes no where when we fail to acknowledge what is lying right in front of us. It is the rise of the Scrooge within us.

So I am challenging  all of you to pay attention to your own actions that prove Scrooge is alive and well, choosing instead to extend yourself selflessly, expecting nothing in return.   At this time we NEED the voice of the oppressed and silenced to help us accept the reality   of our artificially imposed current existence. It is then that I will again celebrate the possibilities of human potential and Scrooge will awaken again within me as to the joy of the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Myth and The reality of Scrooge

Are you one of those people, looking forward to the Christmas holiday with anticipation and the joy born of innocence and belief in a world full of hope? That was me. I needed to believe in a world of hope and kindness more than most because my life was filled with traumatic interactions with many who were supposed to protect me but who instead felt justified in their mistreatment of me. They were people in positions of authority and power, who were determined to make me into their own image, rather than guiding and trusting me to to create an authentic version of the promise inherent within me. Because their lens was focused only on what they knew, their ability to see the merit in my difference was lacking. They, like all of us, were and are groomed to see difference as a threat, a malady in need of correction. As a result they lacked the information to make sound judgments but yet felt completely secure in their verbal attacks, emotional manipulation, physical assaults, and sexual violations.

There is nothing more devastating than the anniversary of a traumatizing event that falls on a sacred holiday like the Christmas that I had built into my fantasies. After years of sexual grooming and familial abuse I had endured that set me up for being repeatedly raped at the tender age of 14, a forced abortion Easter weekend of 1975, I ended up pregnant again and was forced into an abortion the day after Christmas. Neither Easter or Christmas have been the same since.

How dare me procreate outside of the culturally accepted way. Despite the lack of voice in prescribed patriarchal society there refuses to be a consideration of the propensity for young men to celebrate “scoring” regardless of enforced opposing dictates and expectations for girls and women… after all young boys and men don’t have to live by the same rules. The narratives of girls like myself continue to be too inconvenient to consider. What would those men do if they were held responsible for their own hypocritical standards? The Equal Rights Amendment without the narratives of the girls and women who endured the reality of pornographically groomed boys and men who have learned to respond through domination and complete control of women’s self esteem and image subjugates women to a fabricated existence that reinforces myths of feminine inferiority.  Sexual accessibility and social submission is necessary through compliance with the masculine vision of our existence in order to have even their most basic needs met. For that reason menstruation, the ability to procreate without penalty, birthing, breastfeeding, and aging become strongly controlled without an understanding of the power usurped by a male dogma that deprives a female of her own ability to make independent decisions. If this idea were discounted we as women could dismiss it by calling it “an old man’s tale” but alas, we are not given the right to even consider this as an option. Do we not understand that we as women have sold ourselves out to avoid the punishment that is faced by not accepting the male version of our reality?

Men have been sold out too. They are brought up without the compassion given to girls. They are breastfed less, coddled less and allowed to act out behaviors with a mere dismissal “Boys will be boys!” Girls would never be given that consideration. Boys have less expectations  on a daily basis and despite lack of guidance are punished more ferociously in many cases when they  step beyond accepted cultural mandates for human behavior. Boys and men have been set up as much as girls and women are. Boys have trouble articulating seemingly missing feelings and their own needs, many times going without the love they have been forced to deny exist. Pornography steps in and titillates boys sometimes enticing feelings out of them for the first time, confusing them with warped and unreal depictions of women. Boys and men often fault women for their struggle. That resonates as anger. If they act out the unrealistic fantasies conjured, they often face strange responses from women and girls. When this grooming takes place in boys, they lack the ability to interact with girls and women respectfully.  The resulting anger can be played out in their manufactured sexual role. When sex and violence are paired, boys learn (just like Pavlov’s dog) that they need to have power and dominance over a woman to “get it up”. Their addiction to pornography can necessitate a continued escalation in violence to “get off.” There can be no healthy families in this scripted and played out dynamic of opposing gender roles. Both men and women have accepted this perspective and refuse to consider what this blind obedience has created within our personal relationships. Problem is, how do men and women exist in harmony when by maintaining these  interactive dynamics men are given complete autonomy to maintain power and control and women have yet to define their own being without male interference? Power and control are addictive intoxicants and both men and women are hooked. Women have learned that in order to gain monetary rewards and have their basic needs met, they must buy into this well laid protocol. Play the game or become bullied, chastised, victimized and ostracized.

My adoptive sister made a comment to me just recently that sums up the indifference to the atrocities faced by people like me. She said, “You always had a slightly skewed idea of Christmas.” She told me that I was “unrealistic in my expectations. I was emotionally triggered. I felt discounted, understanding that I was being judged without an effort to understand the events that took place at that time or the feelings cultivated in me as a direct result. My response? “No, my perception of Christmas was changed by being forced into an abortion the day after Christmas.” Pro-choice? My ass! I had no choice and wasn’t even considered. Outsiders had been and continued to control of my life without my input. The assaults that my body had endured beginning with handing me to the social worker at 3 days of age, physical abuse by my adoptive mother, my adoptive grandfather’s grooming, my  adoptive father’s incestuous preoccupation with me, exposing himself and barging in on me in various stages of undress, a family “friend’s” preoccupation of my developing body, leaving pornographic magazines for me to find, trying to watch me shower and look down my shirt, each repeated incident over my prepubescent years after the age of 10 were never considered in the judgments being asserted in the resulting “whore” and “slut” status I acquired.

It is so much easier to pretend that atrocities never occur and that when they do, they are deserved. That makes those of us who have endured these horrific circumstances hold the responsibility while at the same time replicates and reinforces the tactics of inhumanity inherent in false judgments and allegations, the real stories and truths never considered because the tactics are tolerated. The emphasis of “fault” is misinformed, intended to support those willing to support the status quo, judge without understanding while shutting down to the fact that we are all vulnerable to inhumane treatment. The more we push away this reality by assuming the habits of our oppressors, the more we perpetuate the inhumanity through distancing ourselves from the lives of others that we would rather not acknowledge exist. Instead we demonize them because “they deserve what they get,” or “they wanted it.” There is no greater lie in the judgment of the human experience.

There is an illusion that “upward mobility” protects those who blindly do as they are told from trauma. It is a cultural lie that backfires in our social interactions where we often trigger without understanding the cause, direct evidence of our shared vulnerabilities and reactivity. If an interaction causes judgments and abusive treatment, it is more a sign of the person being triggered than it is of the person being accused of misdeeds. The foundation is preexisting, unrecognized trauma playing out in our interactions and lives. Our relationships are stressed and real connection to another person almost impossible because we are so busy reacting because of our own issues, that we fail to care about anyone else. While healing starts with self awareness, unresolved trauma creates a self preservation based in fear. All of us are subject to this but those in positions of power are the most apt to exercise their rights on a frequent basis. Self preservation is the antithesis of self awareness because self preservation does not include the concept of responsibility for one’s own actions and the more elite a person becomes the more apt he or she is to get away with it. One cannot be aware of what they choose to shut down. It instead causes a projection of personal issues aimed at the person or group being unfairly judged. It is ethnocentrism and narcissism at its worst. It is grandiosity and a sense of entitlement at the least. What I learned in my formative years is that Christmas is an illusion, a fantasy of “goodwill” with no serious investment in the meat and potatoes needed to take away the inhumanity cultivated over years of intergenerational acceptance of abusive treatment of the masses. Instead this view of existence endures because it is never acknowledged for what it is. We become our own worst enemies, the dogma entrenched and replicated through the same tactics.

I often swear to myself that the next year will play out differently, that I won’t be devastated by the inhumane treatment I had received by those around me who were supposed to protect me, but those feelings rise every year on the anniversary of the still seeping wounds. I will spend Christmas alone reflecting on a truth that others choose not to embrace and mourn an existence full of a promise unfulfilled, the promise of the authentic version of me.

I have a more humane view of Scrooge and now see the social and cultural implications that continue the mistreatment and the trap inherent with the idea of Christmas.  The story of Scrooge is a reflection of our cultural preoccupation with “conformity”. Fall outside the borders of what is of comfort to all of us, accept being in a position to be judged and threatened with punishment, segregation and ostracism. Mine is a narrative that is easier dismissed, and  trust me, it has been, many times through violence, at other times, indifference. There are those like me who are apt to say “Bah Humbug”. Fact is that at some point Christmas becomes a let down because it becomes clear that the illusion is just that and that the hard lives we have been forced to endure will continue.

. The Trauma Within: The Common Ground Between Us

..

 

“Nobody wants to remember trauma. In that regard society is no different from the victims themselves. We all want to live in a world that is safe, manageable and predictable, and victims remind us that this is not always the case. In order to understand trauma, we have to overcome our natural reluctance to confront that reality and cultivate the courage to listen to the testimonies of survivors.” ​Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma (2014)

 

If you are receiving this you have had a significant effect on my life. Each of you is being given the opportunity to pay witness to my delayed but developing narrative of our shared experience. During our brief time together neither you or I were in a place to articulate the often-unspoken issues implanted within our bodies. To do so would touch those tender places that resonate enough at times to keep us forever stomping down foundational feelings that we would rather deny exist.

While I acknowledge that I had been socially groomed to accept the treatment that I received at your hands, I had rarely given thought to the fact that your intense judgment and harsh treatment of me had been groomed into you; that you, much like me, were just doing what you needed to do to survive free of the pain of acknowledging the violence and insensitivity that plagues our very existence. I apologize for not understanding that.

I cannot know your story. Maybe, like me, you have chosen to ignore the narrative screaming from your body at those moments when you are touched through activation of those tender places. The more we have faced mistreatment by others, the more powerful the resonating sensations from our body and the more we want to deny their existence. That is when we become repulsed by behaviors that fall outside the norm in those around us. Because we cannot face the reality of the humanity we share when placed in a position of power we seek to elevate ourselves through the defacement, ridicule and ostracism of those deemed unworthy of being understood. We judge them and engage in efforts to silence their claims.

We have a social problem that is affecting us all, pitting us against each other, stagnating our self-proclaimed efforts to promote healing from human suffering. The question is this…. Who gets to define suffering? At this point suffering is only considered when a diagnosis is rendered. It comes from people in positions of power and privilege, the very people who are positioned in a place where they can misuse their status in the judgment of others considered beneath them and therefore unworthy of understanding and compassion. We have institutionalized our culture and it has now taken on a life of its own, grooming the next generation and the next to accept the status quo.

There is a pervasive institutional belief that is directing our human understanding of emotions and behaviors. Those of us who seek resolution of their own suffering through community are judged and sentenced to lives of correction. The emphasis is on individual pathology rather than the cultural grooming and traumatization of the masses. That emphasis divides us by victimizing those who suffer through harsh judgment and erroneous interventions implemented “for our own good”. Intervention without participation is traumatizing in and of itself, consent for treatment meaningless at that point. In order to find acceptance within society we are expected to submit to its engrained social expectations. This also creates and maintains the hierarchical status of those willing to acquiesce their truths and knowledge for acceptance and to “rise through social mobility.”

As long as we see an “us and them” these issues will remain black and white. Someone is right another is wrong. This is the reason why, in my humble opinion, that we continue to seem to sway back and forth on issues of importance to our growth and development. Republican/ Democrat. Pro-abortion/Anti-abortion. Liberal/Conservative. We see this even in the theories cycled back and forth. We are fighting each other rather than finding common ground. As long we back the status quo through silencing those who challenge accepted beliefs and shine the light on the true reality of our circumstances, the more we as a society stagnate and the more divisive and abusive our society becomes. This is a repetitive cycle that is the foreshadow of our own demise.

In essence, as far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as criminal behavior. Fact is: we live in a traumatic and unforgiving environment where humanity has been sacrificed for the accumulation of money and power. The structures of oppression were created and supported by people with power for their own benefit. They began institutional foundations, organizations and agencies whose policies and procedures emphasize blind obedience over ethical human interaction. We suffer and are traumatized by their effects. You know negative institutional social policies immediately because they tell you what you “should do” and refuse to consider differences of opinion, never considering extenuating circumstances, and are centered in preserving the status quo regardless of the consequences. In essence, they turn a blind eye and assert that people who suffer under their management get what they deserve. Those who receive this harsh treatment are given little recourse and, in many cases, never are given the audience to share their own perspective. As our humanity erodes, those who have faced the wrath of this unfair enslavement become desperate.

Unconscionable behaviors occur because people are, as my cranio-sacral massage therapist says, in their “lizard brain”, the baser survival mode in which our higher centers of cognition and understanding shut down. Fight-flight-freeze. Agencies paid to “correct” bad behavior make money by asserting the fact that people need to be fixed. Their policies and procedures incorporate the overarching belief that through “compliance”, that is, forgoing new thoughts, beliefs and truths, restitution is paid and injuries to the threat of the status quo rectified. There is nothing more truthful then the human atrocities we have endured that have taken

residence in our bodies and yet these fail to have voice in the accepted cultural narrative. The overriding institutional mind set is that emotions are “bad”, and subjugation entitles one to the illusion of upward mobility. Our institutions , organizations and agencies adopt this mindset and are paid to correct the “problem” in every client they serve. They focus on deterring people away from the truths screaming at them from tender places in their own bodies. Problem is… healing is NEVER cognitive, it is, in fact, emotional and needs to be given voice where it is can be acknowledged and ACCEPTED by others.

“Cortical appraisal can lead to intentional suppression of emotional behavior or thoughts; this has been recognized as a counterproductive, although common strategy and involves misuse of cortical executive networks to interfere in the spontaneous self- regulatory action of the sub cortical centers” ​Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Agencies themselves have a hard time employing the most basic of tenets, acceptance. Instead they rely on coercion, shaming and punishment in collaboration with the ultimate power of destruction, the court system (with the power to destroy civil liberties). These experiences are traumatizing in and of themselves. Is it any wonder we as a society are as violent, addicted and
“mentally ill” as we are? Our problem is not individual. It is social! It is the fabric that has been put in place to groom us into accepted participation.

The more traumatized we are, the more behaviors manifest and the more correction is required. That is the foundation and the reinforcement for the need to continue and escalate the exchange of capital. We have created a dependency on revenue and depend on corrective services to “fix” our problems. It is only through those monetary sources that we are allowed to purchase the most basic of our needs. If we cannot generate capital, we are deemed unworthy of our literal existence; food, shelter, warm clothing, opportunities and social connection. We are instead ostracized and, if lucky, housed in segregated facilities for those who cannot generate enough capital to be worthy of human interaction, nursing and group homes which at least can be in our own communities of origin. For those less fortunate jails and correctional facilities provide housing that allows the most blatant and accepted forms of abuse without any notice ironically for behaviors created by the very fabric of our current socialization practices. If all else fails, there is always homelessness….

What exactly does all the exchanging money buy us??? Instability. Fear. Stress. Anger. This paints a dim existence for us all. Fortunately, we have the power to actively choose to break free of our fear and the replication of the script we are born into. We need to understand that we are in a vicious cycle which sets us all up for participation in the promotion of abuse and inhumanity. None of us are free from that reality. The numbers don’t lie… We are more physically ill, more mentally ill, more violent, less educated, less participant in our “democratic” process then other industrialized countries. Apathy is the greatest burden in the United States today and it is robbing us of our lives. ​Apathy is the product of a resigned populace to its fate and is the “freeze”response of the “lizard brain” to the overpowering force of pathological societal pressure that repeatedly traumatizes the individuals and communities it is supposed to help. We have created a monster that has taken on a life of its own. The answer lies within each and everyone of us and it starts with compassion for ourselves and the “others” we have distanced ourselves from!

. The Trauma Within: The Common Ground Between Us

..

“Nobody wants to remember trauma. In that regard society is no different from the victims themselves. We all want to live in a world that is safe, manageable and predictable, and victims remind us that this is not always the case. In order to understand trauma, we have to overcome our natural reluctance to confront that reality and cultivate the courage to listen to the testimonies of survivors.” ​Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, The Body Keeps the Score:Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma (2014)

 

If you are receiving this you have had a significant effect on my life. Each of you is being given the opportunity to pay witness to my delayed but developing narrative of our shared experience. During our brief time together neither you or I were in a place to articulate the often-unspoken issues implanted within our bodies. To do so would touch those tender places that resonate enough at times to keep us forever stomping down foundational feelings that we would rather deny exist.

While I acknowledge that I had been socially groomed to accept the treatment that I received at your hands, I had rarely given thought to the fact that your intense judgment and harsh treatment of me had been groomed into you; that you, much like me, were just doing what you needed to do to survive free of the pain of acknowledging the violence and insensitivity that plagues our very existence. I apologize for not understanding that.

I cannot know your story. Maybe, like me, you have chosen to ignore the narrative screaming from your body at those moments when you are touched through activation of those tender places. The more we have faced mistreatment by others, the more powerful the resonating sensations from our body and the more we want to deny their existence. That is when we become repulsed by behaviors that fall outside the norm in those around us. Because we cannot face the reality of the humanity we share when placed in a position of power we seek to elevate ourselves through the defacement, ridicule and ostracism of those deemed unworthy of being understood. We judge them and engage in efforts to silence their claims.

We have a social problem that is affecting us all, pitting us against each other, stagnating our self-proclaimed efforts to promote healing from human suffering. The question is this…. Who gets to define suffering? At this point suffering is only considered when a diagnosis is rendered. It comes from people in positions of power and privilege, the very people who are positioned in a place where they can misuse their status in the judgment of others considered beneath them and therefore unworthy of understanding and compassion. We have institutionalized our culture and it has now taken on a life of its own, grooming the next generation and the next to accept the status quo.

There is a pervasive institutional belief that is directing our human understanding of emotions and behaviors. Those of us who seek resolution of their own suffering through community are judged and sentenced to lives of correction. The emphasis is on individual pathology rather than the cultural grooming and traumatization of the masses. That emphasis divides us by victimizing those who suffer through harsh judgment and erroneous interventions implemented “for our own good”. Intervention without participation is traumatizing in and of itself, consent for treatment meaningless at that point. In order to find acceptance within society we are expected to submit to its engrained social expectations. This also creates and maintains the hierarchical status of those willing to acquiesce their truths and knowledge for acceptance and to “rise through social mobility.”

As long as we see an “us and them” these issues will remain black and white. Someone is right another is wrong. This is the reason why, in my humble opinion, that we continue to seem to sway back and forth on issues of importance to our growth and development. Republican/ Democrat. Pro-abortion/Anti-abortion. Liberal/Conservative. We see this even in the theories cycled back and forth. We are fighting each other rather than finding common ground. As long we back the status quo through silencing those who challenge accepted beliefs and shine the light on the true reality of our circumstances, the more we as a society stagnate and the more divisive and abusive our society becomes. This is a repetitive cycle that is the foreshadow of our own demise.

In essence, as far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as criminal behavior. Fact is: we live in a traumatic and unforgiving environment where humanity has been sacrificed for the accumulation of money and power. The structures of oppression were created and supported by people with power for their own benefit. They began institutional foundations, organizations and agencies whose policies and procedures emphasize blind obedience over ethical human interaction. We suffer and are traumatized by their effects. You know negative institutional social policies immediately because they tell you what you “should do” and refuse to consider differences of opinion, never considering extenuating circumstances, and are centered in preserving the status quo regardless of the consequences. In essence, they turn a blind eye and assert that people who suffer under their management get what they deserve. Those who receive this harsh treatment are given little recourse and, in many cases, never are given the audience to share their own perspective. As our humanity erodes, those who have faced the wrath of this unfair enslavement become desperate.

Unconscionable behaviors occur because people are, as my cranio-sacral massage therapist says, in their “lizard brain”, the baser survival mode in which our higher centers of cognition and understanding shut down. Fight-flight-freeze. Agencies paid to “correct” bad behavior make money by asserting the fact that people need to be fixed. Their policies and procedures incorporate the overarching belief that through “compliance”, that is, forgoing new thoughts, beliefs and truths, restitution is paid and injuries to the threat of the status quo rectified. There is nothing more truthful then the human atrocities we have endured that have taken

residence in our bodies and yet these fail to have voice in the accepted cultural narrative. The overriding institutional mind set is that emotions are “bad”, and subjugation entitles one to the illusion of upward mobility. Our institutions , organizations and agencies adopt this mindset and are paid to correct the “problem” in every client they serve. They focus on deterring people away from the truths screaming at them from tender places in their own bodies. Problem is… healing is NEVER cognitive, it is, in fact, emotional and needs to be given voice where it is can be acknowledged and ACCEPTED by others.

“Cortical appraisal can lead to intentional suppression of emotional behavior or thoughts; this has been recognized as a counterproductive, although common strategy and involves misuse of cortical executive networks to interfere in the spontaneous self- regulatory action of the sub cortical centers” ​Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Agencies themselves have a hard time employing the most basic of tenets, acceptance. Instead they rely on coercion, shaming and punishment in collaboration with the ultimate power of destruction, the court system (with the power to destroy civil liberties). These experiences are traumatizing in and of themselves. Is it any wonder we as a society are as violent, addicted and
“mentally ill” as we are? Our problem is not individual. It is social! It is the fabric that has been put in place to groom us into accepted participation.

The more traumatized we are, the more behaviors manifest and the more correction is required. That is the foundation and the reinforcement for the need to continue and escalate the exchange of capital. We have created a dependency on revenue and depend on corrective services to “fix” our problems. It is only through those monetary sources that we are allowed to purchase the most basic of our needs. If we cannot generate capital, we are deemed unworthy of our literal existence; food, shelter, warm clothing, opportunities and social connection. We are instead ostracized and, if lucky, housed in segregated facilities for those who cannot generate enough capital to be worthy of human interaction, nursing and group homes which at least can be in our own communities of origin. For those less fortunate jails and correctional facilities provide housing that allows the most blatant and accepted forms of abuse without any notice ironically for behaviors created by the very fabric of our current socialization practices. If all else fails, there is always homelessness….

What exactly does all the exchanging money buy us??? Instability. Fear. Stress. Anger. This paints a dim existence for us all. Fortunately, we have the power to actively choose to break free of our fear and the replication of the script we are born into. We need to understand that we are in a vicious cycle which sets us all up for participation in the promotion of abuse and inhumanity. None of us are free from that reality. The numbers don’t lie… We are more physically ill, more mentally ill, more violent, less educated, less participant in our “democratic” process then other industrialized countries. Apathy is the greatest burden in the United States today and it is robbing us of our lives. ​Apathy is the product of a resigned populace to its fate and is the “freeze”response of the “lizard brain” to the overpowering force of pathological societal pressure that repeatedly traumatizes the individuals and communities it is supposed to help. We have created a monster that has taken on a life of its own. The answer lies within each and everyone of us and it starts with compassion for ourselves and the “others” we have distanced ourselves from!

Nothing about Us without Us

There are many ways that we descend into becoming affiliated with “them”.  Some of us are born different and never break free of that designation. We are chastised and victimized until our difference becomes the pathology “they” seek to keep us contained. Others are “fortunate” enough to buy into the mantra indoctrinated into their existence… that in order to thrive the necessity becomes to identify and ostracize those who are “different”; the independent thinkers, those who see and act in the world in ways that do not align with the accepted mantra, those who are diagnosed with physical, cognitive and mental afflictions.

The fact is that at some point, whether we like it or not, we all descend into the designation of “them”. We all age. We all face sickness. We all die. Avoiding “them” does not change the reality of US! What is lost by denying the reality of us is the unique capacity that exists ONLY in the acceptance and reverence of difference.

The suffering of human existence does not take place because of those with the accepted designation of “unworthiness”. It exists from fear of us and our reality. Avoidance, apathy and indifference built into our own socialization cuts our ties from each other. Because we are trained to look for difference in others to protect ourselves, we lose our humanity. Because we silence the small voices within ourselves to comply with those expectations to have what we need, we lose our unique gifts and capacity. As the masses are indoctrinated into this mindset to be worthy of receiving the most basic of needs the differences inherent within each and everyone of us is effectively silenced by fear. We doom ourselves into lives of subjugation. We empty ourselves of our authenticity and assume our roles in the replication of these expectations. For that we are paid. We accumulate “wealth”, money which in and of itself has little meaning except what we assign to it.

In essence we have trapped ourselves and created the emptiness that knawels at us as we sit in silence. We ourselves are own worst enemy.  Our broken ties leave us trusting no one. Our preoccupation with our own need to be valued creates competition so that our special qualities assure us of the basic needs so easily denied. Competition allows us to judge worthiness of others always in relation to ourselves. We are severed from the entirety of our divine existence by the manufactured design of socialization. Its methodology serves only those who aspire to replicate its prescribed policy and procedure. To take a stance against its doctrine places one at risk from and enhances maintenance of the status quo. It is a trap that most of us are too afraid to even acknowledge.

The answer? I see you! I may not agree with you but I care enough to look deeper than your reactions to me. I understand that your reactions are but efforts to protect you from your fear of unworthiness and accompanying punishment through scarcity. I understand fear because I share your humanity and have faced the same socialization. I spent much time trapped in the judgment of others. I choose something different now and I encourage you, for your own sake, to do the same.