Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mass Shootings are caused by Repressed Anger and Not by Mental Illness

I’m so tired of listening to all the talking heads blaming mass shootings on mental illness. The shooters were not mentally ill, they were driven by the repressed emotions of the child they once were to hurt themselves and others.  I’m all for gun control, but it all prevents the number of people they hurt at one time and they will still go on hurting others on a small scale, even if they only hurt one person or an animal at a time, it’s still bad, why we only pay attention when is a mass shooting?! Society needs to ask why young men are so angry and where this anger comes from and why?!

Anger it’s not a dangerous emotion, it only becomes dangerous when it’s repressed and directed at scapegoats. The words written below by Alice Miller in her article What is Hatred? Are so true: “We tend to associate the word hatred with the notion of a dangerous curse we need to free ourselves of as quickly as we can. An opinion also frequently voiced is that hatred poisons our very being and makes it all but impossible to heal the injuries stemming from our childhood. I take a very different view of this matter, and this has led to frequent misunderstandings. Accordingly, my attempts to cast light on the phenomenon of hatred and to subject the concept to more searching scrutiny have not yet been very successful.
I too believe that hatred can poison the organism, but only as long as it is unconscious and directed vicariously at substitute figures or scapegoats. When that happens, hatred cannot be resolved. Suppose, for example, that I hate a specific ethnic group but have never allowed myself to realize how my parents treated me when I was a child, how they left me crying for hours in my cot when I was a baby, how they never gave me so much as a loving glance. If that is the case, then I will suffer from a latent form of hatred that can pursue me throughout my whole life and cause all kinds of physical symptoms. But if I know what my parents did to me in their ignorance and have a conscious awareness of my indignation at their behavior, then I have no need to re-direct my hatred at other persons. In the course of time, my hatred for my parents may weaken, or it may resolve itself temporarily, only to flare up again as a result of events in the present or new memories. But I know what this hatred is all about. Thanks to the feelings I have actively experienced, I now know myself well enough, AND I HAVE NO COMPULSION TO KILL OR HARM ANYONE BECAUSE OF MY FEELINGS OF HATRED.

We frequently meet people who are grateful to their parents for the beatings they received when they were little, or who assert that they have long since forgotten the sexual molestation they suffered at their hands. They say that in prayer they have forgiven their parents for their "sins." But at the same time, they feel a compulsion to resort to physical violence in the upbringing of their children and/or to interfere with them sexually. Every pedophile openly displays his "love" of children and has no idea that deep down he is avenging himself for the things done to him as a child. Though he is not consciously aware of this hatred, he is still subject to its dictates.

Such LATENT hatred is indeed dangerous and difficult to resolve because it is not directed at the person who has caused it but at substitute figures. Cemented in different kinds of perversion, it can sustain itself for life and represents a serious threat, not only to the environment of the person harboring it, but also to that person him/herself.

CONSCIOUS, REACTIVE hatred is different. Like any other feeling, this can recede and fade away once we have lived it through. If our parents have treated us badly, possibly even sadistically, and we are able to face up to the fact, then, of course, we will experience feelings of hatred. As I have said, such feelings may weaken or fade away altogether in the course of time, though this never happens from one day to the next. The full extent of the mistreatment inflicted upon a child cannot be dealt with all at once. Coming to terms with it is an extended process in which aspects of the mistreatment are allowed into our consciousness one after the other, thus rekindling the feeling of hatred. But in such cases, hatred is not dangerous. It is a logical consequence of what happened to us, a consequence only fully perceived by the adult, whereas the child was forced to tolerate it in silence for years.

Alongside reactive hatred of the parents and latent hatred deflected onto scapegoats, there is also the justified hatred for a person tormenting us in the present, either physically or mentally, a person we are at the mercy of and either cannot free ourselves of, or at least believe that we cannot. As long as we are in such a state of dependency, or think we are, then hatred is the inevitable outcome. It is hardly conceivable that a person being tortured will not feel hatred for the torturer. If we deny ourselves this feeling, we will suffer from physical symptoms. The biographies of Christian martyrs are full of descriptions of the dreadful ailments they suffered from, and a significant portion of them are skin diseases. This is how the body defends itself against self-betrayal. These "saints" were enjoined to forgive their tormentors, to "turn the other cheek," but their inflamed skin was a clear indication of the extreme anger and resentment they were suppressing.

Once such victims have managed to free themselves from the power of their tormentors, they will not have to live with this hatred day in, day out. Of course, the memories of their impotence and the horrors they went through may well up again on occasion. But it is probable that the intensity of their hatred will be tempered as time goes on. (I have discussed this aspect in more detail in my recent book "Our Body Never Lies - The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting", Norton, New York).

Hatred is only a feeling, albeit a very strong and assertive one. Like any other feeling, it is a sign of our vitality. So if we try to suppress it, there will be a price to pay. Hatred tries to tell us something about the injuries we have been subjected to, and also about ourselves, our values, our specific sensitivity. We must learn to pay heed to it and understand the message it conveys. If we can do that, we no longer need to fear hatred. If we hate hypocrisy, insincerity, and mendacity, then we grant ourselves the right to fight them wherever we can or to withdraw from people who only trust in lies. But if we pretend that we are impervious to these things, then we are betraying ourselves.”

 Also these words from Alice Miller’s book “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence” in the chapter Unlived Anger could not be truer: “In October 1977 the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski was awarded the Prize of the German Booksellers' Association. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about hatred, with special reference to the event that was on many people’s minds at the time, the hijacking of a Lufthansa plane to Mogadishu.

Kolakowski said that time after time there have been instances of people who are completely free of hatred and who therefore offer proof that it is possible to live without it. It is not surprising for a philosopher to talk like this if he identifies humanness with consciousness. But for someone who has been confronted with manifestations of unconscious psychic reality on a daily basis and who sees over and over again how serious the consequences of overlooking this reality are, it will no longer be a simple matter, of course, to divide people into those who are good or bad, loving or hate-filled. Such a person knows that moralizing concepts are less apt to uncover the truth than to conceal it. Hatred is a normal human feeling, and a feeling has never killed anyone. Is there a more appropriate reaction than anger or even hatred in response to the abuse of children, the rape of women, the torture of the innocent---especially if the perpetrator’s motives remain hidden? A person who has had the good fortune from the beginning to be allowed to react to frustration with rage will internalize his empathetic parents and will later be able to deal with all his feelings, including hatred, without the need for analysis. I don’t know if such people exist; I have never met one. What I have seen are people who did not acknowledge their hatred but delegated it to others without meaning to and without even knowing they were doing it. Under certain circumstances, they developed a severe obsessional neurosis accompanied by destructive fantasies, or, if this did not occur, their children had the neurosis. Often they were treated for years for physical illness that was really psychic in origin. Some suffered from severe depressions. But as soon as it became possible for them to experience their early childhood hatred in analysis, their symptoms disappeared, and with them the fear that their feelings of hatred might cause someone harm. It is not experienced hatred that leads to acts of violence and destructiveness but hatred that must be warded off and bottled up with the aid of ideology, a situation that can be examined in detail in the case of Adolf Hitler. Every experienced feeling gives way in time to another, and even the most extreme conscious hatred of one’s father will not lead a person to kill---to say nothing of destroying a whole people. But Hitler warded off his childhood feelings totally and destroyed human life because “Germany needed more Lebensraum,” because “the Jews were a menace to the world,” because he “wanted young people to be cruel so they could create something new”---the list of supposed reasons could go on and on.”

Comments from the sharing of this post on Facebook 

Bev Nason Sylvie, I know of several people where chemical imbalance is a factor. think all sides need to be explored

Sylvie Imelda Shene Yes, but chemical imbalance is caused by repressed emotions.

Donald Warner Parker exactly

Sylvie Imelda Shene Dear Alice Miller,

a few days ago, a friend of mine committed suicide.


Although me and other close friends were devastated, none of us were overly surprised. She was a very troubled person, and had been so for most of her adult life. She was deeply alone and her personality was so damaged that she was unable to have a normal life. She was only 25 years of age.

When I told some of my other acquaintances that a friend of mine had killed herself, this was the most common answer:

“Ah, depression is such a nasty illness.”

I was absolutely aghast at such lack of understanding.
'Depression'?! Is that all it boils down to? Was she not a person, with a life, and feelings, and needs, and especially UNMET needs? Are we going to simply call it 'depression' and shrug it off?! When the reasons why she was so miserable were so obvious and so deep?

I do not and will never believe that depression is an “illness”, like a cold, that an otherwise healthy person suddenly “gets”. The way people perceive depression nowadays is truly sickening, and I think that this whole “illness” concept is so popular because it lets people get away from their duties and responsibilities: you often hear things such as: “Ah, we did everything for her, but when depression strikes, there's little you can do”. Certainly not our fault, then. Certainly not her parent's. Certainly not anything's. What a load of rubbish.
Where has our humanity gone? Have we all lost our ability to empathize with people's pain and needs? Have we all become so hypnotized by the biochemical, psychiatric terms that dominate psychology today that we have learned to ignore the reality of the person's emotions and the more glaring signs?

The truth is that none of us wants to face the reality of our pain and our failures, grieve, and start over. Because it's long, it's complicated, and it hurts. It's much quicker and easier to blame an inanimate molecule and call it “chemical imbalance”. Yeah, sure! But even so, how did your brain get in that kind of mess? By chance perhaps?! I doubt it. This whole line of reasoning is a gross, disrespectful and tactless disregard for the pain and terror that victims suffered. If we are so blind to these feelings in other people (and ourselves!), none of the heinous crimes that I hear about daily will surprise me again.

To sum up, people can think what they want. But after all the pain I witnessed in my friend, the loneliness, the tales of abandonment and alienation, I WILL NOT HAVE ANYBODY SAY THAT MY FRIEND COMMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE SHE HAD A CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. I will not tolerate anybody who thinks this, and I will always fight this cowardly view.
It would be like if I shot them with a gun, and said that the fault of their injury is not mine, it's the bullets.

Sincerely,

D.A.

(PS I give you permission to publish this if you desire.)

AM: You are absolutely right, and I can understand how you feel. We are publishing´your letter, it may encourage others to trust their feelings, which they were forced to ignore very early and which they still ignore even if they could be free to no longer ignore them.

Read original letter here


Donald Warner Parker "No subject is more misunderstood, even today, than suicide. It remains one of the last taboos. This post is extremely difficult for me to write in certain ways. I have experienced very bad depressions in my life and, while I never attempted suicide, I went through periods when I often thought about it. Sometimes, I would share those feelings with friends. (I would always discuss them with a therapist if I was seeing one, but I'm not talking about professionals in what follows.) Almost every time I discussed my suicidal thoughts with friends, it turned out to be a disastrous mistake." 

"And that is the most important, the absolutely crucial point: suicide is the only possible way to express the true self--at the expense of life itself. Most people do not grasp this at all." -- Arthur Silber

above excerpts from the article THE ROOTS OF HORROR
The Suicide Taboo by Arthur Silber