Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Recognition, Acceptance, Ownership and Treatment of lingering Dichotomistic Polarization as a fundamental Cognitive Distortion in Complex PTSD in general and Religious Trauma Syndrome in particular.

Many survivors of spiritual or religion-related abuse in childhood and adolescence will have symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years or decades unless they receive effective treatment from a licensed psychotherapist trained in the rehabilitation of those with Religious Trauma Syndrome (best, IMO), cultic abuse (also good), and/or Complex PTSD (far better than "therapy" in general, but ranked third here for a reason). Many other survivors are able to dig their way out of RTS on their own to a considerable extent by digging into such as what's described in A Collection of Articles on Recovery from Religious Trauma Syndrome and other solidly grounded material online, in books and workbooks.

But there is a lingering symptom of spiritual or religion-related abuse in childhood and adolescence so often seen in online forums -- as well as face-to-face -- that my sense now is that it may be fundamental to RTS and inability to recovery fully from it. And it is dichotomizing almost all potentially conflicting perceptions in terms of "either / or," "all-good-or-all-bad," “all-right-or-all-wrong," "all-righteous-or-all-sinful," "black & white" thinking with no shades of gray between a pair of mutually conflicting polarities. ("All-righteous-or-all-evil" moral absolutism is a good example.)

I'm certainly guilty of doing it myself at times -- and especially when my not-okay inner child IFSM parts over-I-dentify with similar parts in others who have been traumatized by religion as children -- though I now tend to at least recognize and acknowledge that fairly quickly.

Dichotomistic polarization should -- in my view -- be expected in survivors of any form of childhood abuse and/or neglect or abandonment by parents, grandparents, other family members and cultural authorities who either cannot see, hear, feel or sense children, or worse (actually much worse) can see, hear, feel and sense children but Just Don't Care because they Want What They Want from them. Which runs the gamut from being "seen and not heard" to being "shining examples of our righteous family" to keeping their little mouths shut after they have been battered or used as gratifying little sex toys by others in the church.

Rage is a Stage we have to go through in the course of recovery from abuse. And in that second -- as well as the first -- of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief processing, imitation of one's abusers (very much including their dichotomizing) is normal. That said, it is a stage most therapists see as counterproductive to long-term recovery if it is left unrecognized, unexamined, unaccepted, unowned, unappreciated and untreated.

Thus, may I suggest a review of these books and others of the rational emotive, critical thinking and cognitive-behavioral, psychotherapeutic genre? Because continued investment in and practice of dichotomistic / polarized thinking will NOT get patients where they want to go... which is into secure attachments with other people finally worthy of their trust.

Functional trust, after all, is at least a third of the ground floor in psychotherapeutic Re-Development.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The TRULY therapeutic experience of finally being Seen, Heard, Felt and Sensed. At last.

How many times have I seen patients in extremis wake up from the nightmare of being two or three with "the monsters" again when they sense they are no longer invisible?

I was reading famed psychologist Frank Putnam's account of an inpatient with extreme anxiety and depression who was being subjected to sleep deprivation "therapy" when he was in training back in the late 1970s. (SDT was thought promising in those days because it did -- at times -- appear to "work.") When that patient suddenly went manic, she was forced into a locked isolation room and left there for over an hour.

My own memories of precisely the same experience as an inpatient in 2002 hit me like a ton of bricks. I was immediately struck yet again by a) why it is that I and so many others recommend against inpatient hospitalization save in the most dire circumstances, and b) that the obvious truth of the statement at the link below remains unseen, unheard, unfelt and unsensed by so many "professionals" to this day.

Children direly need to know that they are seen, heard, felt, sensed and understood.

Isolation, as at least some of us now know, is the last thing a patient with severe anxiety needs. Far better to handcuff the pt to a heavy bed and sit with them attentively while they "work through" IMO and IME. Because -- on most occasions -- it's all just a power-dive regression into a frustrated inner two-year-old's raging "temper tantrum."

I would be shouting, "Why is isolation still in use?" if I didn't know the answer. And, for me, at least, it is this: Way too many mental health professionals are far from recovered from the trauma that drove them into the profession to begin with. Which leaves them blind... and far from capable of leading the blinder. Which is in no small part due to the way our cult-ure rationalizes its re-act-ions to "extreme" behavior in its slavish adherence to established protocols rather than artful use of its eyes, ears, affects and sensory experience in general to actually see, hear, feel and sense what IS actually going on vs. what is said to be.

I was soooooooooo fortunate to encounter a man of simple and straightforward speech who made all that so self-evident. I have now read well over 30 of the 50 or so books by or about him. As he so often said, "One must come to be able to see and hear oneself with neither condemnation nor rationalization." Just as the patient in extremis needs to be seen and heard by anther without condemnation, criticism, judgment or misguided attempts to assure them that "everything will be okay if you can just wrap your mind around my brilliant explanations or just do these exercises I have been trained to use."

do see, hear, feel and sense the worth of rigorous, formal procedural, empirical research and protocol for sure. But without the ability to see it through the lens of something like the first eight of the 10 StEPs component of Choiceless Awareness for Emotion Processing and pretty much everything else, much of what I learned in ten years of post-graduate work -- useful as it may prove to be -- is just a bunch of verbal-symbolic mambo jambo waiting for a context to actually Make Sense of it.

SEE the bloddy patient. LISTEN to them. FEEL their anguish, helplessness and desperation. SENSE what IS for them right NOW. Because their not-okay inner children are running amok on a big yellow school bus without a driver careening down a mountain road overlooking a valley several thousand feet below. And those who were abused and/or abandoned as small children know they are NOT being seen, heard felt or sensed One More Time.

Unless WE show them what their parents and previous professionals did not. How many times have I seen patients in extremis wake up from the nightmare of being two or three with "the monsters" yet again when they sense they are no longer invisible?

Monday, February 21, 2022

The End of Suffering and the Default Mode Network

See Dr. Weber's 35-minute presentation at this location.

Weber is the author of Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening and Evolving Beyond Thought: Updating Your Brain's Software.

I am not Dr. Weber, nor am I any particular devotee of his conceptual framework. BUT... I do understand all the components of his mental schematic and view them as having been helpful in my own recovery from severe anxiety and depression, as well as in my continuing management of the conditioning, in-doctrine-ation, instruction, groomingimprintingsocialization, programming, habituation and normalization of neural networks of cognition -- very much including the default mode network -- in the human brain.

I utilize the totally portable and instantaneously available 10 StEPs component of Choiceless Awareness for Emotion Processing to monitor and willfully disengage and detach from the activity of my own default mode network... but there are all manner of "mindfulness"-based methods for so doing, including Vipassana insight meditation, which is IMO the fundamental skill set for all self-awareness-based psychotherapeutic systems.

(I am also familiar with Ramana Maharshi's methods, as mentioned by Dr. Weber. See Maharshi, as well as Batchelor, Brach, Chodron, Deikman, de Mello, Epstein, Hart on Goenka, Kelly, Klein, Krishnamurti, Somov, Tart, Tolle, Trungpa, Watts and Wright in A Meditation Book List.)

Enjoy the video. And if intrigued, may I suggest a look at Pankaj Mishra's An End to Suffering.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Is Dissociation of Sexual (and other) Religious Trauma the underlying Cause of Displaced Religious Aggression in early 21st Century America?

Before we go any further, one must understand what "ultra-repressive" dissociation and displaced aggression are.

If you've got those down, we can move on:

The example of "Five Fold Prophet" Wanda Alger popped up on a Reddit sub a bit ago. In response, I opined that...

"Wanda may or may not be a True Believer; IDK4S, OC. But if she isn't, she is one of the most cynically sociopathic leveragers of The Manipulation of Fear by the Pseudo-Christian Cults I have yet encountered.

"She is no better -- and actually far worse (and more dangerous), in my opinion -- than many of those who physically led the charge up the Capital steps almost a year ago. A righteous fool profiting from Let's you & them fight! in the best tradition of the irresponsible 'rabble rousers' in Hoffer's book who wouldn't be caught dead in the actual front lines of The Revolution.

"Paranoid-Delusional Disorder is sooooooo common among the Prisoners of Hate including those described at the links below:

"Actually, several other clinicians I know who deal with Religious Trauma Syndrome patients agree that the fundievangelical churches appear to be full of untreated victims who are displacing their rage in exactly the manner described in the OP's post and my direct reply to them."

To which I will add the following here:

What we're looking at in fundievangelical echo chambers of Groupthink, Social Proof, Implicit Social Contract & Unquestioning Acceptance of Authority may be nothing less than large numbers of people who were discounted, disclaimed, and rejected, as well as belittled, invalidated, confused, betrayed, insulted, criticized, judged, blamed, shamed, ridiculed, embarrassed, humiliated, denigrated, derogated, scorned, set up to screw up, victimized, demonized, persecuted, guilt-tripped, picked on, vilified, dumped on, bullied, gaslit..., scapegoated..., emotionally blackmailed, sexually defiled and/or otherwise abused by -- but stuck in psychologically enmeshed, codependent attachment to -- the righteous, fundievangelical parents upon whom they depended for survival in the first few years of life.

And they are usually either stuck in the mud of Learned Helplessness, Dread & the Victim Identity. OR... they are mad as wet hens, but owing to years or even decades of conditioning, in-doctrine-ation, instruction, imprinting, socialization, programming, habituation and normalization to "honor they father and mother in an isolated, ultra-authoritarian environment that does NOT allow any diversion therefrom, they have done what small children learn to do to protect their innocent minds from being (damned if do and damned if you don't) double-bound by the intolerable terror of knowing They Really Don't Matter:

They have learned how to...

a) dissociate from reality in the service of Not Going Completely Crazy,

b) displace their unrecognized, unacknowledged, unaccepted, unowned and unappreciated RAGE onto others, and

c) seek parental and peer approval in the congregation by so doing...

effectively keeping these people stuck forever in the second of Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief processing. See...

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