Monday, January 25, 2016

Aligning the Mind with the Heart

Hi A,

I think you still are fighting this battle. The quote below it describes very well the battle we go through when we are involved with a person incapable of genuine feelings.

I think you still want to see good in everyone and you have difficulty to see that some people are incapable of genuine feelings and they will never change and become real no matter what you do or say. You say that maybe I could help M, but whatever happened to M as a little child, it caused a barrier and he is fixed and is nothing I can do for him. I hit my head against Marty's walls for 10 years and I'm done wasting time hitting my head against walls. Life is too short and I don't want to waste one minute of it hitting my head into someone's walls.

I could have written the words below. It's exactly what I went through with Marty for 10 years and also a little bit at S for nine and a half years!!! But at S I already I could see very clear and I had no illusions and I knew most people were not real, so when their true colors came out after I published my book, I was not too surprised. Yes, the heart likes to see good in everyone and that they can change, but some people are soulless just acting as if personality mimicking human emotion and everything they do and say is a game and a strategy to fool you and keep you hooked by giving you hope of change, so you stay exactly where they want you to be, so they can use you as medication and as scapegoat to transfer their repressed feelings and make you feel what they themselves can’t feel, especial their repressed fears. 

“Cognitive dissonance is a common struggle during (and after) emotional abuse. Pathological individuals are constantly lying, gas-lighting, blaming, and manufacturing feelings in others. The extreme highs and extreme lows can cause an overwhelming battle between the heart and mind, which usually make a great team. On one hand, your heart will want to see the good in everyone and believe the best in this person. But on the other hand, your mind will grow increasingly wary of their worsening behavior. The heart will hang onto their promising words, while the mind begins to hyper-focus on their actual actions. You may not even be consciously aware of this battle going on, instead manifesting as abstract anxiety, insomnia, and depression. When all is said and done, the mind does save us from these people. It helps us put together the puzzle pieces and understand something that is not natural to the heart. But with time, a big part of recovery is about allowing the heart a chance to speak again. Allowing it to be open and free, working alongside the mind once again.” Read more here

“I think everyone has the potential for good, but I know that some people will never change!”

This little sentence shows the battle so clear!!! Your heart still wants to see the potential for good in everyone and then your mind says that you know some people never change!

That’s why I like you! Because your heart is pure. I use to be like you! I always knew people were wounded and I believed if they got enough love, they could be healed, I thought love could heal all -- that was my illusion that Marty burst! Once people are adults, they are like bottomless pits that never can be filled no matter how much love and money they get from the external world.

As long the emotions of the child remain repressed, they will be driven by them sooner or later in one form or another to do to others what once was done to them when defenseless little children.
I still had a tiny hope that people would prove me wrong at S and would use my book to become conscious of their own repression and take responsibility for it, but they rather destroy me than face their own repression.

After S I have no more illusions with people and my family, because what happened at S is exactly what happened with my family when I was young girl that they would have meetings behind my back of how to stop me to manage their repressed fears, just like the people in S did and I know if my family still had power over me, they would still try to stop me if they could, because I know them and some S’s residents are all living in fear NOW, because they were not able to destroy me, of where I will go and might do. I triggered their fears and they have to deal with them!! At Mrs. A's Christmas party one woman that lives in S was there and didn't know exactly what had happened. I told her that what P. P. and S board did to me was pure evil and now I was going to write a book about the evil I experienced at S and she tried to talk me out of writing a book. I told her that I would change names to protect their anonymity, but she still tried to talk me out of writing a book about it and I told her if they didn't me to write about it, they should not have tried to destroy me. She was more concerned about protecting the sociopaths than of what they did to me.

My family and S are micros of the world, so the majority of people are not capable of genuine feelings and becoming emotionally honest.

When most residents from S came to my 53 birthday party, most of them were just giving me the illusion of love, they loved their own false images projected into me and when they read my book they saw my true self and it shattered their false image and saw their true reflections reflected at them and they didn’t like their own reflections and that’s why they wanted to destroy me to protect their own false images. I was very aware of it!!!

If their love was real would not have ended like that! Just because I wrote a book about healing childhood trauma. If most people in S were real the sociopaths would not have been able to get away of trying to destroy me, but the fact most were cowards because not enough rose up to protect me and they allowed the sociopaths to go Scot free and this is what happens all around the world. People admire and kiss the sociopaths asses and allow them to destroy lives and go Scot free. If most people were real the world would be a very much different place! 

I was looking through the Body Never Lies last night and reading this quote by Marcel Proust in a letter to his mother I thought of X: “For I would prefer to have these attacks and please you, rather than displease you and not have them”

“Everyone has potential; if not, then your book and all of Alice's are meaningless. I know that it's not easy and likely impossible for most people.”

You keep battling this battle! Not everyone has potential!!! My book and Alice’s books are a support for the few people that are suffering all alone in isolation, like I once was and want to break free, but without the truth and support could never do it all alone with all the sociopaths surrounding them and I hope my book together with Alice’s books can be a support to those people. And this is why I need to try to reach the masses to reach all the few people out there capable of genuine feelings and feel all alone.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Only Very Wounded People Look for Crutches to Walk with in Life

Radical Muslim Leader Says This, and the Internet Responds

"After the recent attacks in Paris upon the Charlie Hebdo publication's headquarters, some Islamic leaders are taking a less than compassionate stance toward the victims. And the internet won't stand for it."

Facebook comments from the sharing of the post above: 

Only very wounded people look for crutches to walk with in life and religion is one of the worst and dangerous crutches anyone could pick up. As Alice Miller says in the article in the link below: Blood does not flow in artificial limbs.

All of my life I could not help myself but be true to myself.  Staying true to ourselves even at the risk of losing the people we love. The pain is deep but we must stay true to ourselves.
“Once feelings have been eliminated, the submissive person functions perfectly and reliably even if he knows no one is going to check up on him: …This perfect adaptation to society’s norms—in other words, to what is called “healthy normality”—carries with it the danger that such a person can be used for practically any purpose. It is not a loss of autonomy that occurs here, because this autonomy never existed, but a switching of values, which in themselves are of no importance anyway for the person in question as long as his whole value system is dominated by the principle of obedience. He never gone beyond the stage of idealizing his parents with their demands for unquestioning obedience; this idealization can easily be transferred to a Fuhrer or an ideology. Since authoritarian parents are always right, there is no need for their children to rack their brains in each case to determine whether what is demanded of them is right or wrong. And how is this to be judged? Where are the standards supposed to come from if someone has always been told what was right and what was wrong and if he never had an opportunity to become familiar with his own feelings and if, beyond that, attempts at criticism were unacceptable to the parents and thus were too threatening for the child? If an adult has not developed a mind of his own, then he will find himself at the mercy of authorities for better or worse, just as an infant finds itself at the mercy of its parents. Saying no to those more powerful will always seem too threatening to him.
Witness of sudden political upheavals report again and again with what astonishing facility many people are able to adapt to a new situation. Overnight they can advocate views totally different from those they held the day before—without noticing the contradiction. With the change in power structure, yesterday has completely disappeared for them.
And yet, even if this observation should apply to many—perhaps even the most—people, it is not true for everyone. There have always been individuals who refused to be reprogrammed quickly, if ever. We could use our psychoanalytic knowledge to address the question of what causes this important, even crucial, difference; with its aid, we could attempt to discover why some people are so extraordinarily susceptible to the dictates of leaders and groups and why others remain immune to these influences.
We admire people who oppose the regime in a totalitarian country and think they have courage or a “strong moral sense” or have remained “true to their principles” or the like.  We may also smile at their naiveté, thinking, “Don’t they realize that their words are of no use at all against this oppressive power?  That they will have to pay dearly for their protest?”
Yet it is possible that both those who admire and those who scorn these protesters are missing the real point:  individuals who refuse to adapt to a totalitarian regime are not doing so out a sense of duty or because of naiveté but because they cannot help but be true to themselves.  The longer I wrestle with these questions, the more I am inclined to see courage, integrity, and a capacity for love not as “virtues,” not as moral categories, but as the consequences of a benign fate.
Morality and performance of duty are artificial measures that become necessary when something essential is lacking.  The more successfully a person was denied access to his or her feelings in childhood, the larger the arsenal of intellectual weapons and the supply of moral prostheses has to be, because morality and a sense of duty are not sources of strength or fruitful soil for genuine affection.  Blood does not flow in artificial limbs; they are for sale and can serve many masters.  What was considered good yesterday can—depending on the decree of government or party—be considered evil and corrupt today, and vice versa.  But those who have spontaneous feelings can only be themselves.  They have no other choice if they want to remain true to themselves.  Rejection, ostracism, loss of love, and name calling will not fail to affect them; they will suffer as a result and will dread them, but once they have found their authentic self they will not want to lose it.  And when they sense that something is being demanded of them to which their whole being says no, they cannot do it.  They simply cannot.
This is the case with people who had the good fortune of being sure of their parent’s love even if they had to disappoint certain parental expectations.  Or with people who, although they did not have this good fortune, to begin with, learned later—for example, in analysis—to risk the loss of love in order to regain their lost self.  They will not be willing to relinquish it again for any price in the world.
The artificial nature of moral laws and rules of behavior is most clearly discernible in a situation in which lies and deception are powerless, i,e., in the mother-child relationship.  A sense of duty may not be fruitful soil for love but it undoubtedly is for mutual guilt feelings, and the child will forever be bound to the mother by crippling feelings of guilt and gratitude.  The Swiss author Robert Walser once said:  “There are mothers who choose a favorite from among their children, and it may be that they will stone this child with their kisses and threaten… its very existence.”  If he had known, had known on an emotional level, that he was describing his own fate, his life might not have ended in a mental institution.
It is unlikely that strictly intellectual attempts to seek explanations and gain understanding during adulthood can be sufficient to undo early childhood conditioning.  Someone who has learned at his or her peril to obey unwritten laws and renounce feelings at a tender age will obey the written laws all the more readily, lacking any inner resistance.  But since no one can live entirely without feelings, such a person will join groups that sanction or even encourage the forbidden feelings, which he or she will finally be allowed to live out within a collective framework.
Every ideology offers its adherents the opportunity to discharge their pent-up affect collectively while retaining the idealized primary object, which is transferred to new leader figures or to the group in order to make up for the lack of a satisfying symbiosis with the mother.  Idealization of a narcissistically cathected group guarantees collective grandiosity. Since every ideology provides a scapegoat outside the confines of its own splendid group, the weak and scorned child who is part of the total self but has been split off and never acknowledge can now be openly scorned and assailed in this scapegoat.  The reference in Himmler’s speech to the “bacillus” of weakness which is to be exterminated and cauterized demonstrates very clearly the role assigned to the Jews by someone suffering from grandiosity who attempts to split off the unwelcome elements of his own psyche.
In the same way that analytic familiarity with the mechanisms of splitting off and projection can help us to understand the phenomenon of the Holocaust, a knowledge of the history of the Third Reich helps us to see the consequences of “poisonous pedagogy” more clearly.  Against the backdrop of the rejection of childishness instilled by our training, it becomes easier to understand why men and women had little difficulty leading a million children, whom they regarded as the bearers of the feared portions of their own psyche, into the gas chambers.  One can even imagine that by shouting at them, beating them, or photographing them, they were finally able to release the hatred going back to early childhood.  From the start, it had been the aim of their upbringing to stifle childish, playful, and life-affirming side.  The cruelty inflicted on them, the psychic murder of the child they once were, had to be passed on in the same way:  each time they sent another Jewish child to the gas ovens, they were in essence murdering the child within themselves.”
From the book: “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence” By Alice Miller page 83, 84, 85  and 86
This book is available for free at NoSpank

Catherine Jane Shade McBeth Sprituality has been said to be like a road or path upon which you travel, with Religion being like a Stop upon that road. Religion is a very fixed thing with all of its answers fixed in place and forever unmoving, whereas True Spirituality asks questions and never stops moving. Religion is like being in a School with all of the answers being given to you, but Spirituality is like working in a Laboratory, or being a Scientist or researcher, never knowing and always seeking.

Pope Francis Blames the Victims for Provoking the Abusers

Pope Francis’ words on abuse vary by his audience

Facebook comments from the sharing of the article above:

Blame the victims for provoking the abusers, for daring to speak the truth and expose the hypocrisy of religion. Isn't this also what parents do to their children when they dare to stand up to their "loving" parents and expose their lies and hypocrisy. Parents too blame their children for driving the "lovely" parents to spank them, so what to expect from the pope or any other cult leader that has cast themselves as a father/mother figure over others. The pope is playing the role of the father and the followers playing the role of the child. People's childhood drama being played in the stage of the world. Everyone is stuck in childhood, it's so fucking sad to witness this play being played over and over again in our world like a broken record.

Tallulah Magilicutty religion insults intelligence, therefore it demands we openly speak against it to defend common sense and intelligence... if I wanted a balding drag queens opinion I would at least ask one with fashion sense..

Sylvie Imelda Shene I am with you, Tallulah. I could not agree more with you that religion insults intelligence and demands we openly speak against it to defend common sense and intelligence. Me too, I sure would not pay attention to someone wearing funny costumes!!!

Corporal Punishment and Political Missions

Under certain circumstances, children who have been told repeatedly that the humiliations and beatings they have been subjected to are for their own good may end up believing it all their lives. Consequently, they will raise their own children in the same way, laboring under the delusion that they are doing the right thing. But what happens to all the rage, the pain, the anger those children were forced to suppress when they were not only treated cruelly by their own parents but expected to be grateful for it?

Tackling this question has helped me get nearer to answering the first of the questions I asked about childhood: How does evil come into the world? Gradually, the conviction took shape in my mind that evil is reproduced with each new generation. Newborn infants are innocent. Whatever predispositions they may have, they feel no urge or need to destroy life. They want to be looked after and protected, to love and be loved. If those needs are not satisfied, if children are abused instead of cherished, then that will determine the entire course of their lives. Human beings feel the urge to be destructive only if they were subjected to cruelty at the beginning of their own lives. A child who has been loved and respected will have no motivation to wage war on others. Evil is not an inevitable or integral part of human nature.

Although these insights seemed logical and consistent to me, I still had my doubts because hardly anyone seemed to agree with me. To prove to myself that my convictions were true, I turned my attention to the life of Adolf Hitler. I thought that if I could show that this monstrous mass murderer was made into what he was by his parents, it would be the end of the traditional idea that some people are just "born bad." I described Hitler's childhood in my book For Your Own Good, and many of my readers were aghast. One woman wrote: "If Hitler had had five sons he could have vented his revenge on for the tortures he was subjected to in his childhood, then he would probably never have victimized the Jewish people. You can take everything you've suffered out on your own children and never get punished because murdering the soul of your own child can always be passed off as parenting, child-raising, upbringing." In Paths of Life (pp. 158-161), I elaborated on the childhood roots of Hitler's hatreds:

We know that as a boy Hitler was tormented, humiliated, and mocked by his father, without his mother being able to protect him. We also know that he denied his true feelings toward his father. . . . This hatred remained repressed because hating one's father was strictly prohibited, and because it was in the interests of the child's self-preservation to maintain the illusion of having a good father. Only in the form of a deflection onto others was hatred permitted, and then it could flow freely.

Hitler's specific problems with the Jews can, in fact, be traced back to the period before his birth. In her youth, his paternal grandmother had been employed in a Jewish merchant's household in Graz. After her return home to the Austrian village of Braunau, she gave birth to a son, Alois, later to become Hitler's father, and received child-support payments from the family in Graz for fourteen years. This story, which is recounted in many biographies of Hitler, represented a dilemma for the Hitler family. They had an interest in denying that the young woman had been left with the child either by the Jewish merchant or his son. On the other hand, it was impossible to assert that a Jew would pay alimony for so long without good reason. Such generosity on the part of a Jew would have been inconceivable for the inhabitants of an Austrian village...

For Alois Hitler, the suspicion that he might be of Jewish descent was insufferable in the context of the anti-Jewish environment he grew up in. . . . The only thing he could do with impunity was to take out this rage on his son Adolf. According to the reports of his daughter Angela, he beat his son mercilessly every day. In an attempt to exorcise his childhood fears, his son nurtured the maniac delusion that it was up to him to free not only himself of Jewish blood but also all Germany and later the whole world. Right up to his death in the bunker, Hitler remained a victim of this delusion because all his life his fear of his half-Jewish father had remained locked in his unconscious mind.

Jews were not the only target of Hitler's rage and fear. He was also frightened by the chaotic behavior of his schizophrenic aunt, Johanna, who lived with the family:

As an adult, Hitler ordered every handicapped and psychotic person to be killed, to free the German society from this burden. Germany seemed for him to symbolize the innocent child who had to be saved.
Besides his fears in connection with his father and aunt, there was his early relationship with his very intimidated mother, who lived in constant fear of her husband's violent outbursts and beatings.
These irrational fears -- which an outsider watching his speeches on video can easily recognize -- remained unrecognized and unconscious to Hitler until the end of his life. Stored up in his body, they drove him constantly to new destructive actions in his endless attempt to find a resolution.

Those who claim that Hitler and his helpers were born with sadistic genes -- and there are still many who think and even write this nonsense -- should be able to answer the question why so many millions of Germans were born with these defective genes exactly 30 years before the Third Reich, making them willing executors for a mad dictator, and why Germans of today show no such genetic heritage. To me, the only reason for the Holocaust at that time was the brutal upbringing to which German children were subjected during the first years of the 20th Century. It was an upbringing calculated to produce blind obedience. (I documented this thesis in the essay on the "Roots of Hatred" in my book, Paths of Life, Pantheon).

Not all my readers were able to accept this view of Hitler and concede that his terrifying example demonstrates how evil comes about, how tiny, innocent children can turn into ravening beasts threatening not only their own families but the whole world. I was reminded that many children get beaten and otherwise abused in childhood, but they do not all turn into mass murderers. I took these arguments seriously and investigated the question of how children can survive brutal treatment without becoming criminals later in life. From a close study of many biographies, I established that in those cases where the victim did not turn into a victimizer, there was invariably some figure that had shown the child affection, the person I call the helping witness. Children with helping witnesses to turn to were able to gain awareness of the evil that had been done to them while at the same time identifying with the person who had shown them kindness. The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one well-known example. Though he probably suffered at the hands of his brutal father, he was given solace by his loving mother.

Children with no helping witness are in the greatest danger of regarding the dreadful things they have been subjected to as for their own good and then dealing out to others the same kind of treatment without the slightest pangs of conscience. In short, they will ideologize this hypocrisy. Hitler the child learned at home that blows and humiliations were right and proper. Hitler the adult insisted -- and believed -- that it was his calling to save Germany by exterminating the Jews. Other dictators have ideologized their acts of vengeance in similar ways. Stalin had to purge Russia of the subversive "cosmopolitans"; Napoleon had to establish the Grande Nation, cost what it might; Milosevic had to make Serbia into a great nation.

Society's blindness to these mechanisms is what still makes wars possible because the actual reasons behind them remain in the dark. Although probably all historians, at least in Germany, know very well that Frederick the Great was humiliated and tormented by his father, I have yet to come across a historical work that makes the connection between the cruelty meted out to this sensitive child and the monarch's later compulsive urge to overthrow as many countries as he could. Obviously, this subject is still taboo.

For as long as we have recorded memory, the same woeful picture has been repeating itself. Men go off to war, women cheer them as they leave, and very few questions what really sparked it off. Wars patently designed to invade and conquer foreign territory are passed off as acts of self-defense, or as the fulfillment of some holy mission. Most people are blind to the genuine reasons behind these "missions." Only when we have understood where evil comes from and how we keep it alive in our children will we cease to be helplessly exposed to its effects. We have a long way to go.

In nearly half of the fifty states in the United States, teachers are still allowed to spank children in school. This punishment is given for minor offenses, usually in the form of paddling on the buttocks performed by a person specially designated to do so. There is a graded scale of different forms of corporal punishment aimed at meting out "discipline." Pupils are made to stand in a corridor awaiting their turn to be chastised. These children appear to consider this institutionalized humiliation as something normal. Only later will their pent-up feelings of rage be vented in acts of criminal aggression. Most parents tolerate this system; some actively endorse it. Isolated mothers and fathers who oppose it are more or less doomed to ineffectuality. In Texas alone, according to the Project NoSpank Web site (, some 118,000 children are punished this way each year.
Many teachers cannot imagine a school system entirely free of such punishment. They themselves grew up in an atmosphere of violence, so they learned very early to believe in the effectiveness of punitive measures. Neither in their own childhood nor during their teacher training were they given the chance to develop a sensitivity to the sufferings of children. Thus, they have little awareness that in the long run, using physical force against children merely teaches them to behave aggressively later in life.

Children with a background of violence have learned to devote all their attention to averting danger. So they will hardly be able to concentrate on what they are being taught at school. They may well expend most of their energies on observing the teacher so as to be prepared for the physical "correction" that they feel to be inevitable. If it does come, it will reinforce their view. On the other hand, a teacher who understands these children's fears might move mountains -- provided, again, that the abused child's reality is never played down.
We come across the same phenomenon in politics. As long as we are unaware of the degree to which the right to human dignity was denied us in childhood, it will not be easy to concede that right to our own children, however sincerely we may want to do so. Frequently we believe we are acting in the interests of the children and fail to realize we may be doing the very opposite, simply because we have learned to be callous in this respect at such an early stage. The effects of that learning are stronger than all the things we may learn later.
We can see an illustration of this in present-day legislation. As of September 2000, the German parliament has expressly denied natural parents the right to physical correction. As recently as 1997, they were still entitled to that questionable privilege; it was denied only to non-blood relatives and other caregivers. The overwhelming majority (80 percent) of German parliamentarians were convinced at the time that in certain cases corporal punishment at the hands of the natural parents could have a salutary effect. This opinion is still shared by most legislators, as recent decisions in Britain show. The persistent argument was that physical force should not be prohibited because it prepares children for life's dangers and thus helps them learn to protect themselves.
But beaten children are not learning how to defend themselves against criminals. They are learning to fear their parents, to play down their own pain, and to feel guilty. Being subjected to physical attacks that they are unable to fend off merely instills in children a gut feeling that they do not deserve protection or respect. This perniciously false message is stored in their bodies and will influence their view of the world and their attitude toward their own children. They will be unable to defend their claim to human dignity, unable to recognize physical pain as a danger signal and act accordingly. Their immune systems may even be affected. In the absence of other persons on whom to model their behavior, these children will see the language of violence and hypocrisy as the only effective means of communication. Naturally, they will avail themselves of that language when they grow up because adults normally suppress feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. This is the real reason why so many defend the old system of parenting and schooling. Until now only 17 of 192 members of the United Nations Organization had made spanking children illegal. This shows how little this problem is recognized worldwide.

In Cameroon, an organization named EMIDA (Elimination de la maltraitance infantile domestique africaine) reports that it has statistical evidence suggesting that 218 million children in Africa are regularly subjected to physical "correction." When I inquired about the reasons for such a high incidence of maltreatment, I was told it is a common myth that the brain functions better when children are beaten until they bleed. It is understandable that when they reach adulthood, children brought up in such a tradition will adhere to this system so as to avoid confronting their repressed early suffering. But the consequences of such repression are all too apparent in the bloody clashes between the peoples of Africa. All kinds of reasons are advanced to explain these conflicts, but the most plausible one is the pent-up rage of the beaten child thirsting for release and vengeance.

I have frequently asked myself so terrible as the massacres in Rwanda could come about. Rwandan children, a customarily carried on their mothers’ backs and breastfed until quite a late age, a fact that we are inclined to interpret as indicating the idyllic conditions of loving care rather than a breeding ground for maltreatment. Only recently did I receive information that brought home to me how high a price these children had to pay for the love of their mothers. They are conditioned to obey at a very early age. They are smacked for fouling their mothers’ backs with excrement. Fear of these spankings causes them to cry as soon as they feel the urge to excrete, thus warning their mother in time to take the child off her back and impress on it the need for cleanliness.

As a result of this conditioning, the babies are “clean” at a very early age, and much the same methods are used to ensure that they stay quiet. I feel that the massacres in Rwanda may well be traceable to this abuse of babies. Though children in all African schools are cruelly beaten (in a survey conducted by EMIDA in 2000, only twenty out of more than two thousand children responding said that they were never beaten at home or at school), the methods used on infants are the ones that are of decisive importance. The earlier the use of violence starts, the more profoundly the lesson is internalized and the less accessible it is to later control by the conscious mind. Thus, the first opportunity, in the form of some kind of political ideology, will suffice to spark off bestial cruelty in quiet, servile people who were living with explosive suppressed aggression.

For those acts of vengeance, society provides a whole range of ideological guises. Racism, anti-Semitism, fundamentalist fanaticism, and "ethnic cleansing" are only some of them. Many young people engaged in such activities strongly believe that they are serving idealistic aims.

5 The silence of the church
Religious schools of various denominations justify all forms of sadism by declaring them to be sanctioned by God or the prophets. Feminists have established that there is not one sura of the Koran that could qualify as support for the brutal custom of mutilating the genitals of young girls, though religious motives are trotted out in justification. Genital mutilation owes its existence solely to a male desire to exert total power over a woman and to the insistence of circumcised mothers and grandmothers on inflicting the same suffering on their daughters and granddaughters as they themselves have experienced while denying that there is any suffering involved. The result is that today there are over 100 million women whose clitorises were removed at the age of ten, and most of them actively endorse this practice. The government of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros has announced its intention to introduce a ban on corporal punishment in order to defend- as its letter to the UN Commission of the rights of the Child puts it- the right of children to a childhood free of torture. In contrast to the soft-pedaling encountered in most other bulletins on such questions, the letter makes surprisingly frank reference to the practices of Koranic schools, indicating in no uncertain terms the extent to which religion serves as a cover-up for the sadism of the teachers. For the pettiest offenses, children are brutally flogged and otherwise humiliated beyond our worst imaginings. After the flogging, they are tossed into a bathtub full of nettles or dragged half-naked into the baking sunlight, where liquid sugar is poured over their bodies to attract insects that will torment them. Finally, they are taken through the streets and forced to cry out their misdemeanors and to do public penance for them.

Unlike some adult survivors of torture, children subjected to organized humiliation do not recount what has been done to them. They are too ashamed. Their conscious memories may, in fact, contrive to forget the torments or at least repress them. But their bodies have preserved every single detail, as their later behavior only too amply demonstrates. These cruel punitive practices have been successfully represented to the children as righteous and proper, and this is what will enable them to avenge themselves without any qualms when they are old enough to do so. Twenty years hence, some of these victims will themselves become teachers at Koranic schools and inflict on their charges and their own children the same treatment they endured in childhood. And society will revere them for it and commend them as God-fearing men going about their sacred duties. Thus sadism is free to originate and flourish under the cover of piety and religion. Those teachers were not born sadistic; they learned to take pleasure in sadistic practices at school and perhaps even earlier, at home. And always with the injunction: this is for your own good!

As long as private Christian schools consider corporal punishment for the children entrusted to their care to be one of their religious duties, Christians condoning such treatment have effectively fortified any moral right to rail against the practices at these Islamic schools. In the summer of 2000 the South African government, in the face of vehement protest and resistance, introduced a ban on physical correction. On August 17, 2000, the government posted a letter on the Internet from nearly two hundred Christian groups demanding an exemption from this ban for their fourteen thousand young people in their care so that their instructors could “exercise their religious duties.” Equally blatant was their claim that teachers and parents have the right to punish children. The pseudo-religious arguments notwithstanding their sole concern- consciously or unconsciously- is to get even for the humiliations to which they themselves have been once exposed by inflicting them on their own students. We can only hope the time will come when children will be taught that being beaten is a destructive act. If they can be taught why this is so, eventually they will acquire an immunity to false information.

I receive letters from people all over the world telling me how much they suffered from the physical (and other) punishments dealt out to them at Catholic boarding schools they attended. Conversely, some correspondents suggest that the situation has improved and that the Catholic Church has long since abandoned its support of physical correction. Encouraged by this news I addressed a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to issue an appeal to parents-to-be that would open their eyes to the tragic consequences of beating their children. My conviction was that with this knowledge it would be easier for them to love their children and learn from them, rather than being misled by their own ignorance into turning their children into potential patients for physicians and psychotherapists who fail to understand the true meaning of the symptoms they display. I felt that an unequivocal plea from the pope, whose pronouncements are heeded by millions of Catholics worldwide, to refrain from beating children could have an immense impact.

As the latest psychological and neurological discoveries concerning child abuse are not yet widely known and trusting that Pope John Paul would be moved by them, I did the best I could to outline those insights as briefly and cogently as possible. I had the letters translated into a number of languages and made various attempts to ensure that it would be forwarded to the Holy Father personally. The reply I received makes me doubt this was the case.

The Vatican correspondent did not explicitly say that the pope had read the letter. He did reiterate that the church acknowledged the importance of the child rearing and education and believed that children and young people must be treated “with patience and sensitivity if they are to achieve physical, mental, moral and spiritual maturity.” My respondent also pointed out that the church had recently canonized an “outstanding and stalwart champion of young people,” Father Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist brothers, for his “great to the cause of the young.” The letter ended by extending a papal blessing to me and those “dear to me.” Nowhere did this response from the Vatican refer to the important information and insights I had written about in my letter. Obviously, the person I had asked to forward my letter and whose job it is to screen the mail was unable to relate to its contents. It is also conceivable that the information it contained aroused in them memories of their own upbringing, prompting them to dismiss my request out of hand. Not only the Vatican itself but all the intermediary offices I sent the letters to- in France, Switzerland, Poland, and the United States- reacted in the same way. The only response I received was the letter mentioned above, a formulaic reply without any bearing on the concerns I expressed. A later attempt to interest Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris, in the matter also failed. My inquiry as to how I might best disseminate the latest knowledge about the dangerous consequences of corporal punishment received an evasive reply from the cardinal’s secretary. I was given to understand that the supreme church authorities could not be expected to issue a statement on “every problem” and that it was up to us laypersons to communicate our standpoint to others. One of the questions I asked in my rejoinder to this was, “Is one to conclude from your response that the principle of human charity both preached and practiced by the church does not extend to the sufferings of helpless children exposed to physical violence?” (see my Web site,, for details of this correspondence in French and German.)

I was of course not so naïve as to suppose that a statement by the pope would suffice to change parents’ behavior from one day to the next. But an acknowledgment of the implications of this new information by an institution that had long tolerated and sometimes even advocated physical correction for generations might in the long term have had a major impact on the mentality of many believers. It usually takes a long time for scientific discoveries to filter down to the level of ordinary human reality and even longer to reach those who have had little schooling and who merely react to the cruel treatment they received at the hands of their own parents. This attitude, tolerated as normal the world over, might have been radically altered by one single utterance from the pope. But it was not to be. For the present, at least, the church prefers to keep its silence at this point.

I do not know if my arguments will ever be able to reach the holy father. His biography tells us that his mother lavished loving care on him and that after her early death his father spent a great deal of time with him. But it is improbable that in his childhood he should have been completely spared the conventional view that it takes a strict upbringing to make boys into real men. Inextricably and tragically bound up with the love children feel for their parents, this conviction frequently asserts itself throughout a man’s life. Challenging it may revive childhood anxieties. I can only hope that the pope will prove equal to this challenge once he appreciates that a few words from him would be sufficient to guard millions of children from the kind of abuse regularly administered to them.

Canonizing a nineteenth-century figure like Marcellin Champagnat for his alleged commitment to young people is not an adequate response to the enormous challenge of preventing violence and cruelty in this day and age. But this indication was all the Vatican saw fit to give me in reply to my appeal for intervention for the sake of children entrusted to its care.

Much the same response was accorded to Olivier Maurel when he attempted to expound the problem of corporal punishment for children to the bishops of France. I reproduce here his letter to the bishops conference:

Olivier Muarel's Letter to the Pope

Your Excellency, I take the liberty of approaching you because I am working on a book about corporal punishment of children. A host of recent research results show that physical correction, even in the apparently harmless form of smacks and slaps, can have severe consequences for the children. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has taken account of this fact and for ten years now has been regularly questioning the governments that have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. At five-year intervals, these countries are required to submit a report on the status of children’s rights in their territories, with special reference to the use of physical force in families, schools, and the penal system. The reports and protocols of the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva and the comments addressed to the respective states by that committee are accessible on the website. 

In a frequently alarming way, these texts all reveal that-albeit to various degrees- children all over the world are victims of what the report calls a veritable form of “xenophobia.” I would like to ask you what the Catholic Church is undertaking in this respect. The injunctions of the Gospels about the respect and protection to which children have a right could hardly be more unequivocal. How is this to be reconciled with an educational attitude where the humiliation of children is the rule rather than the exception? By their own admission, 80 percent of parents in France have recourse to physical violence as part of the child-rearing process. But my impression is that the church has done nothing to speak out against such practices. Of course, it has pilloried especially severe cases of child abuse, but the cases society elects to classify as such are exceptional instances where the perpetrators are conspicuous for their unusual cruelty and face legal prosecution for that reason. But the fact of the matter is that the distinctions between “child abuse,” “parenting,” and “disciplining,” are entirely artificial. If the truth be told, children all over the world are exposed to physical blows administered in the name of the parents’ right to bring up their children as they see fit. In my attempt to collect reliable information on this point I have approached the editors of the journal Missions africaines because physical abuse is especially cruel and widespread on the African continent and the Catholic Church is very strongly represented there. 

The reply from Father Claude Remond was as follows: “Unfortunately I have no reliable sources on the degree to which the Church in Africa has been active in heightening parents’ awareness of the problem of physical violence in chi8ld rearing.” He kindly gave me the address of a nun in Togo who looks after street urchins. In her reply, she confirmed the fact that child-rearing in that area “cannot do without beating,” adding that she did not have the impression that the Church was doing anything to counteract this attitude because sometimes she saw adults in church keeping order among the youth groups with sticks in their hands. So where does the Catholic Church actually stand? Have there been any declarations by the Church on this problem? The pope has his bishops frequently referring to violence in general. But to my knowledge they never make any mention of the fact that children have their first encounter with violence-slaps in the face, blows to the head, back, or buttocks- at the hands of those they love the most, their parents. And this despite the fact that we now know that children learn not from what they are told but from the way they are treated. When adults are cruel it is because they, too, were once subjected to violence by those to whom they looked up. From the earliest infancy, they have had it drilled into them that conflicts can only be settled by brute force. So what is the use in pillorying violence without making any reference to the sources it stems from? I would be grateful if you could tell me whether there have been any official statements on this problem by the Church, the Pope, or the bishops. If you are unable to give me an answer, perhaps you would be so inclined to indicate to whom else I might address my inquiry. Yours sincerely, Olivier Muarel

Also, read my blogs The Pope is Fooling Himself and Others with the Illusion of Love

Friday, January 15, 2016

David Bowie in his Last Days Took Refuge in Religion and God

Sylvie Imelda Shene The process of dying triggered his repressed fears and he took refuge in his art, religion and the imaginary god to help him deal with the triggered fears. "The legendary artist, 69, died on Sunday after a secret 18-month battle with cancer and while he had questioned organized religion throughout his career, according to close friends it had been a great source of comfort and strength towards the end." Read article here

William Hounslow Didn't take long for the ever-loving God Squad to see an opportunity in another famous person's death.

Mariella Assioma People in great stress and body and mind weakness turn to religion very easily. But if you get patrons this way you should be ashamed of yourself.

More comments from the sharing of this post on Facebook 

Monica Chelagat The human fear of the unknown Sylvie. This is understandable

Sylvie Imelda Shene I understand the roots of humans' fears very well. Just like understand the fears of the sociopaths at my last job of nine and half years that tried to destroy me to deal with their repressed fears triggered by my book.