Tag Archives: domestic violence

What determines sanity

At the core of anyone’s sanity is the issue of knowing and recognizing the truth. Our political “situation” now is affording us the opportunity to witness what happens when someone with high visibility abandons the truth. As black people who have experienced constant racism, we know all too well that we are held to a stricter standard than our white brothers. Not only is the truth overlooked when it comes to us and not only is it crucial that we adhere to every tiny detail of situations in order to be able to defend our truths, but even after that, the truth is often overlooked, suppressed or shut down when it comes to us. We are seeing how the dominant culture is bending, stretching and altering the dictionary in order to avoid calling the dominant political figure a liar. If he is not lying, then he may well be courting mental illness. Distorting the painful truth knowingly is lying. It is not “alternative fact” making, It is not avoidance of facts, it is lying. However, when people knowingly lie like we are seeing – in counting crowds, in recounting other people’s reactions, in stating intentions to one group and then stating the opposite to another group. If it is not a fact, it is a lie. If it is a fact, we can all prove it. We can all attest to it. We can all agree to it. If it is not true, but is so painful that the person’s ego cannot stay intact and accept it, then we call it delusional. It is a mental health problem. It deserves compassion but with treatment, not with collusion.

What about if this new president truly can’t see the truth? What about when someone’s brain filters out the real facts and replaces them with fiction that makes them feel better? Then that’s an altered reality and that’s a mental health problem. It is psychosis. It causes them to strike out against enemies that others don’t see. It causes them to harm others unfairly. By now, most blacks know that when unfairness gets handed out, it is usually aimed at us.

Why does it matter? The highest office in the land and any position of power, judgment or decision making which puts one human being in charge of or in control over another requires that person to be clear, accurate, temperate and an excellent decision maker with an understanding of the available options and their long term and wide ranging impacts. A person who does not read books, listen to the opinions of those with more knowledge than they, set limits on their own needs and advantages and who cannot see their own limitations and the gifts of others, is not the right person to lead others. We hold responsibility to educate ourselves before we follow someone. It is embarrassing and concerning (to say the least) to watch a person careening towards disaster and taking a whole country with them.

From a position of compassion, it is understandable that for someone who has nothing to lose by putting themselves out there as the expert, the chief thinker, the “only one” who can help people with their situations,  they can only carry with them those who do not use their own discernment to make a sound choice for the people following them. You can often see people stuck in their childhoods at the point where their development was halted by trauma or great tumult. They are children in adult bodies.  They talk like children, make choices like children and react like children but they may exercise the power of adults. Money only makes it easier to disguise their emotional delay. Language, mood and extremism reveals it.

When we witness someone out of control like this, it seems kind to give them the benefit of the doubt but we have a responsibility to those that we are individually responsible for, to make a choice that protects our own. We see this in abusive relationships, where the mother stays in a relationship and attempts to explain away her abusive, immature spouse’s rants and loss of control. She may feel sorry for him when he falls back into  his pitiful stance after ranting and expressing violence. She may make excuses and want to “give him another chance”. She may do this for years as her children are frightened into silence and lose the self esteem they need in order to recover from their exposure. They may lose respect for her as well as themselves.

Already, we hear people starting to make excuses for this new president.  The Women’s March on January 21st, 2017 proved that millions of people all over the world recognize that there is a problem in our American family. From their histories, ancestors, political experiences and intuition, they KNOW that what is happening in the United States right now is not normal. They recognize the lies and know that lies have meaning and create damage. They recognize that survival and peace is more important than race, than money and than advantage.

Just as you do with that mother who is afraid to leave and is perhaps addicted to being needed though abused, you can’t wait for her to realize her power. You can’t wait for her to see her value and the value of truth. You are so proud for her when she steps up to the plate and takes a chance on herself. The antidote to fear is taking a chance on yourself and seeking like -minded people with whom to move forward. Silence only increases your feelings of frustration and hopelessness. Join MoveOn.Org in their 100 days of action to help get us out of this bad presidential relationship.

Trumpin’ for domestic violence

bl woman cartoon pulling hair outA recent article in the Huffington Post pointed out something that many victims of domestic violence have been thinking; that Trump’s personality and behavior are characteristic of the abusive partners  they’ve had. The article was sent to me by a client who felt Trump was a good example of an abusive spouse and for her as for the women the Huffington Post talked to, watching him was triggering the feelings associated with the trauma from which they were escaping.

And we elect him for president, because he sounds strong and we want change? Maybe that makes us wishful dreamers that are hoping for help when we feel like we have no control over our lives. As many know, the first step in  helping an abused woman out of a relationship, is not just helping her to see that her partner is dangerous to her survival. It’s helping her to know that there are other choices, that she can do for herself what she is wishing someone else would do for her. Showing her that her mind, her skills are enough. Especially, it is important for her to accept the truth of her situation. In abusive relationships, the perpetrator works his weak spell by convincing his partner that she needs him alone, that she is weak and unable to take care of herself. This psychological imprisonment is as effective as real imprisonment.

When Trump declared that only he could save America from “the system”,  that we need protection and only he could save us, alarm bells went off in the minds of many listeners. Angel Marie Russell wrote on her Facebook page, per the Huffington Post, ” Trump is triggering so many abuse and rape victims, including me”. “His behavior is almost exact to my abusive exes. It’s terrifying. I can’t even watch him.” But watch him we must.  And as with all crazy-making behavior, we have to pay attention not just to what he says, but more importantly, to what he does.

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang

 

Picador
Picador

“Race makes itself known in crisis, in the singular event that captures a larger pattern of abuse and pain,” writes author Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Who We Be)  in the introduction to a series of essays on the significance of ongoing police shootings, social inequities, housing discrimination and campus diversity.

As an historian, Chang helps us focus on the broader picture (and effects) of the long-term system of racism and how it has played out and continues to develop in our country.  Chang touches on Trump’s speech in Mesa, Arizona (December, 2015),  demonstrations in Ferguson, MO (where he was arrested for participating) on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death,  and the effects of gentrification to produce a powerful punch through the veil of denial that shrouds and nurtures systemic racism.

We are reading…..”Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond”

nobodycasualtiesofamericaswaronthe-vulnerable

There is an almost palpable level of fear rising in the minds of many Americans over the steady stream of
unarmed young black men and boys, women and girls killed by police. How do we protect our children? How do
black people conduct themselves to be sure that they are not seen as dangerous. Not shot down, because by
their physical appearance alone, their movements are intuitively misperceived as imminently threatening.
While the majority of killings have been white officers against black citizens, there is that small number
of black officers on black victims that indicates that it’s not only about white on black racism.

Whether it’s this American drama on our urban streets or any of the international wars that bring death
to everyday life, it is clear, killing is not a solution to anything. Guns do not speak more articulately
than human reasoning. Mental health, is the essence of prevention. Racism is a mental health issue. Diminishing
the value of “others” is a mental health problem. In this book, Marc Lamont Hill joins Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander
in bringing clarity to the ongoing war against black men.

Chris Brown and Bipolar Disorder

The news is full of conjecture about Chris Brown and Bipolar Disorder. We have all been wondering about reported domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Why would she have tolerated being hit? Did she have warning? Was she caught off guard? Had it been going on all along? So many questions that the public has. The issue of Bipolar Disorder, a disorder of mood control and probably also of perception, is one that affects more and more families. Chris Brown and Rihanna just bring it to the attention of the public. One might think they are alone in  dealing with bipolar blues but the media attention on Chris Brown’s difficulties lets  us know that’s hardly the case.

Actually, Lindsey Lohan, Justin Beiber,  Lamar Odom, Miley Cyrus and many more who we would think have great lives have put alcoholism, depression, bolar disorder, domestic abuse and other frequent mind health problems in the spotlight, where we can all learn.

Is Bipolar Disorder overly or inaccurately diagnosed?

In a September, 2013 article in The Mail Online, Bipolar Disorder was referred to as in “vogue”, a “fashionable mental health diagnosis”. A top UK psychiatrist, Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, wrote about the exponential increase in the range of symptoms described as “Bipolar symptoms ” and the liberal diagnosis of moderate mood swings as constituting this disorder. Years ago there would have been a great distinction made between moderate hormonal mood swings and the previously rarely diagnosed disorder called Bipolar Disorder. It is also noted that with the huge uptick in diagnosis there has been a record breaking surge in the prescription and sales of  antipsychotic drugs. Drugs that have very serious and in some cases, permanent negative effects are being prescribed as if they are aspirin.

What’s the root cause of the problem?

Since the source of these mood swings is not actually known in most cases and since the drugs do not cure these unknown causes, why are so many people being prescribed these drugs and why are so many people taking them without asking questions about the side effects, whether there are less harmful alternatives and whether their problems might not be treated by psychotherapy?