In Defense of Our Democracy

We have continuing evidence about who Trump surrounds himself with. One after the other we see corrupt cabinet officials and others. His present Labor Secretary has been complicit in covering for a serial child molester/rapist. The evidence of the corruption of Trump and his cronies just keeps mounting. What is even more shocking is that at least 40% of the American public are devoted to Trump. For a time I thought it might be just a matter of the information they were getting. But the coverage of the corruption is so widespread that they must be hearing about it and their continuing devotion is extremely shocking.

As a psychologist I need to make one thing perfectly clear. What Epstein did is not something that has a temporary effect on his victims. Many of these girls were already vulnerable because of family dysfunction. He seized on their vulnerability. And what he did is being defended.

The experience these girls had was traumatic, will almost surely permanently warp their self image and self esteem. They go forward in their lives with post traumatic stress disorder. Even worse, society contributes to the damage. Too often girls who are raped or mistreated in this fashion are then unfairly viewed as soiled and are rejected. In the stories of these women who were raped we hear that they avoid the word “rape” because of the impact on how many people see them and what it does to their self esteem. It is totally unfair and immoral to treat a vulnerable victim in this fashion.

The larger picture is increasingly distressing. Trump supporters stand with and applaud him as the future of our democracy is endangered. Our relationships with our allies are being trashed and our departments corrupted. There seems to be a reticence to confront these issues about Trump supporters openly but we must. Do they not care that the integrity of our precious country is being shredded? Do they not care about what that means for the future of their children and grandchildren?

If Trump’s supporters will not stand up for our country and help put an end to this widespread corruption, then it is up to the rest of us to defend our country and that means every one of us getting out to vote. If you have not voted before, you need to now. And the rest of us must be sure we return to the voting booth.

I never thought I would see this day. Our country must be defended.

Time To Face Facts

 

 

I couldn’t resist this picture. It is open to multiple interpretations. One is women’s confinement and restriction. Another, how they are forced into being chained together as they seek justice. Make your own interpretation as we continue our struggles for their equality and justified power of women

Time to Face Facts

Not a New Set of Issues

After decades working as a clinical psychologist I can clearly see the vulnerability of women and how often they were subjected to abuse and violation. Recent events with Judge Kananaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford brought back a significant memory.

One person stands out in my memory as illustrative of the current issues. She came to my office seeking psychotherapy for an enduring depression. We began to explore its origins and found it had endured for at least two decades. But we seemed to be getting nowhere until one day she fell utterly silent. I waited and at last she began to talk about being raped decades before. She had told no one and endured continuing pain.

Finally I could see the base of the depression. She felt that the rapist still controlled and constricted her life. Once that was out in the open, the depression began to resolve and in a matter of days she was taking back control of her life and her future.

What We Must Understand

The recent reports of what happened to Dr. Blasey Ford show how the victims are often blamed and treated badly. Of course, in the climate that has endured, women generally do not report the crime. And when they do, as we see now, they are often abused again—publicly. They may suffer death threats and find themselves and their family at risk.

A Societal Problem

It is clear we have a societal problem and a male culture problem. In society we are willing to stand by and see the victim suffer further abuse as if they are the one who is at fault. Certainly many people are stepping forward to support Dr. Blasey Ford and to state outrage at the victimization of she and her family. Many other people seem to view a woman who is so victimized and abused by rape as being despoiled. Have we no shame? It is not permissible to treat women in this fashion.

A Male Culture Problem

And then there is the matter of the male culture which too often excuses such male behavior or even supports it as a man’s right. Yes, it goes that far and demonstrates a misperception of what is appropriate and a terrible misogyny. 

In general the male is generally expected to express interest in a woman and then she has to draw the line she feels the need to draw and he must withdraw. But too often he does not and aggression may be fostered by the support of his male fellows.

Seeking National Morality and Fairness

Now is the time when women are becoming empowered and are speaking out. But the opposition to them speaking out and asserting themselves goes to the intolerable and

boorish. Now we need to evaluate ourselves as a society and for men to examine their own culture. Abuse of women is not a male value to be fostered or supported.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

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Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Self Blame Versus Self Actualization

 

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Are you accountable for everything that happens in your life?

The Moment of Decision

Catastrophic events require major decisions for which we may be totally unprepared probably because we thought they would never happen to us. And our attitude about the event may well affect the eventual outcome.

Certainly there are times when we need to take ownership of something that happens to us and that we may have contributed heavily to an unfortunate incident. But often it may be simply a terrible life event where we were, in effect, an innocent bystander. Events may be sudden or slow motion and our response is important.

Determining A Fictional Character’s Reactions

When I write, I am creating an event or string of events that may be important or simply of interest. My orientation is to make a brief survey of the character’s role and then to see what action they take in behalf of themselves and their loved ones. It is the same process in our own lives. Time and energy can be wasted if we pick up on and concentrate on some ideology which may have nothing to do with what happened. The event, fictional or real, requires an understanding of relevancy, origins and our necessary response.

How We Take Ownership

Some people find it satisfying or enticing to believe they have ownership of all events. But it can become self accusatory and self damaging. I will never forget the day when a young woman who came for therapy was in my office exploring her life and the problems she was facing. Suddenly she started to talk about a rape she had endured many years before.

In our exchange she revealed her belief that she had “needed” to be raped and how it was her fault. In doing so she showed she was bringing the rapist forward to continue to control her life. In understanding her belief she triggered a release. She dismissed him and stopped accusing herself. The change was remarkable. At last she was free and had control of her life.

Critical Decisions

As a psychologist I often explored people’s lives with them and certainly there is a role for ownership but there comes a point in every therapy where there needs to be a dramatic shift and an assessment of ownership.

It comes down to, now you know what happened and you know what you did or did not contribute to it. Now, what are you going to do about the effects? It comes to that in almost all therapies.

I found amidst the fog of terrible pain after my accident that I had only one job and that was the construction of a restored life in behalf of myself and my family. There are viewpoints which suggest we should own all events as being of our creation. On that morning I dismissed that notion and focused on constructive solutions. To this day I believe I was an innocent victim in that car accident who then faced the reality of his life and essential dedication. To become focused on self blame would not have been useful but too often people recommend that viewpoint to us.

Effective action

And often in the world of fiction I see a similar process. We don’t design a story so we can wallow endlessly with our readers in a never ending struggle. Something has to be learned or there is an occasion to which the character has to rise. After the darkest moment, often called “as bad as it gets”, there is a call to effective action. It typically doesn’t involve saying “I guess I brought that on myself” or “I guess I deserved that.”
Sometimes those things are said but then once explored we must move to action otherwise we are stuck floundering in a quagmire of self blame. Yes, action does speak louder than words although in fiction the action can be put into words.

What have been your major decision points?

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