How a Traumatized America Finds Relief in Hate

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From The Inquirer/Philly.com: “According to Maté, addiction is any behavior — not necessarily just drug use — that individuals cannot stop doing, despite harmful consequences, because it provides them with some relief or pleasure. He remembers a sex worker who told him that the first time she tried heroin, it felt like a ‘warm, soft hug.’ For Maté, the question is not ‘Why the addiction?’ but ‘Why the pain?’

The connecting line between addiction and hate, according to Maté, is trauma. ‘What happened in Pittsburgh is a manifestation of trauma,’ Maté told the Inquirer. ‘There is no mass killer who wasn’t a traumatized person.’ […]

Just like addiction — to drugs or classical music — provides relief to people who were traumatized as children, so does hate.

People like the shooter from Pittsburgh have, according to Maté, ‘anger [that] has got nothing to do with what they think they are angry about. They are just angry because of what life has done to them as children and then they find external targets.’ Politics plays a role, too. ‘It will give them a target and an explanation to their rage and an outlet to express their rage,’ and ‘adds more and more fuel to direct their violence toward certain groups,’ he says.

In his keynote address, Maté critiqued the view that prevention campaigns can solve addiction crises. ‘If those campaigns of “just say no” [to drugs] were so successful, why are we having a 9/11 every three weeks?’ — referring to the overdose death toll in the country.

Maté talks about hate in a similar fashion: ‘You can’t “just say no” to hate.’

‘You can’t fight hatred,’ Maté explains. ‘Telling people not to hate is not fighting hatred.’

But there are solutions. The first step is recognizing the problem.

He says: ‘Instead of saying this is not our way, we should be saying, “Let’s get real — this [mass shooting] is happening. It is happening a lot. It is happening increasingly.”‘

After recognizing that there is a problem, we need to find out what causes it. ‘We have to take an honest look at ourselves as a society and as a culture and say what is it about us that foments this kind of stuff,’ he says. […]

We can reduce the harm of hate by not letting it boil over. We can vote for legislators who will enact gun laws to reduce the harm in those moments that it does. And we can create an environment that allows parents to be there for their children emotionally to prevent trauma — that includes paid family leave and stopping the fetishization of hard work.

Both hate and addiction are a manifestation of a society that is ill, disconnected, and traumatized. It is an indictment of American culture and society that anyone finds relief by picking up a rifle and driving to a synagogue. To fight hate, we need to change our culture and society.

That’s a big task, but Maté believes it is possible: ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but in the long term, I don’t have any doubts.'”

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know where this physician got his expertise in hate or the underpinnings of such. What I can say that the research is missing is women. How many bombers and mass shooters are women? Almost none. (Less than three percent is the correct answer) Lots of people are stressed beyond the breaking point but with women it comes out in videos of them yelling at people. We make them internet sensations for yelling hateful words but otherwise doing little actual harm. But with men we get bombers and mass shooters. What’s missing from this article, and from the conversation in general, is the topic of toxic masculinity. I and a lot of other survivors would really appreciate it if MIA would stop promoting the idea that traumatized people as a whole are some scary group of angry potential domestic terrorists. It may be correct that men with trauma in their pasts are more likely to become violent themselves, but where are the women? If trauma were the culprit, you’d expect women to be equally violent and antisocial and it simply isn’t the case any more than mentally ill people are responsible for large amounts of violence. So once again, correlation does not equal causation. And if it doesn’t apply to the whole group of traumatized people, it is simply another correlation in the puzzle of factors influencing violence.

      • Not all trauma is created equal, though – different types, severity/frequency, and the ages at which they happened will all play a role in the outcome. One of my favorite psychologists who explains this all so well, Dr. Faye Snyder – you can see a breakdown of how different trauma ingredients produce different outcomes in her book “The Predictor Scale: Predicting and Understanding Behavior According to Critical Childhood Experiences” – has a simple saying that sums up the mechanics well: “What goes in must come out. What doesn’t go in can’t come out” – for better or worse. There are many mitigating/compounding factors, but the bottom line is, well-nurtured/loved people generally do not hatch plans for mass murder. There is a rhyme and reason to all of this, and it behooves us to untangle what it all is.

        • You are correct. I believe it also matters a lot how the people around you respond to the trauma. I understand that those who are sexually abused as children but have a supportive adult believe and protect them are much more likely to come through functioning pretty well, whereas those who are not believed suffer more greatly, even if the traumatic event appears less severe.

    • I can think of one mitigating factor where women are concerned, off the bat. As women we are permitted to be more emotional and more supportive of one another. People don’t bat an eye at women empathizing with each other, supporting, hugging and kissing each other, talking for hours, talking about feelings and experiences – how accepted is this for males? Males learn to bottle up their emotions much more and generally receive less empathy and emotional support in our society than females do. All of this is dangerous for their eventual boiling over/exploding. They often face more violent/dire life circumstances as well – they work more dangerous jobs, get sent to die in war, are more often faced with physical fights, etc. – and I feel our society’s decreasing empathy for what they face and deal with is perhaps aggravating the situation.

      • Men are in particular danger if they are bereft of female companionship because women (and girls) are no less supportive of, and empathetic towards men.

        Imo, one of the big problems is dominance. Expecting, seeking and enacting domination are inherently violent (whether physically, psychologically or systemically). The way history has played out to date, masculinity has been coupled with superiority and dominance. I believe if the reverse had been true, females would be the more violent of the genders, and also the more emotionally remote.

      • I believe this is true and well established. One piece of evidence is that the more warlike a culture, the less nurturance they provide to their little boys. Learning to “grow up tough” is important for warrior cultures. We no longer live in such a culture, but we still raise our boys that way, I believe.

    • Kindred, I think you are missing the importance of the different ways in which boys/men and girls/women are socialized. Just because traumatized women don’t usually become physically violent, and even just because most traumatized men don’t either, as Steve says, doesn’t at all mean that Gabor Mate is wrong here. Men are typically socialized to go outward with their feelings, and that anger is about the only intense feeling that is permissible to be displayed. Not all men, but an awful lot. And so some, even a small minority, end up doing awful, violent things. I’m not excusing it, and I don’t think Mate is, either, but I do think he’s absolutely right about the connection he’s describing.

      • Again for those in the back: Correlation does not equal causation.

        I am heartily tired of being held responsible for the traumas that happened to me, including having a loaded gun put to my head in front of my toddler. As a prohibited purchaser, thanks to psychiatric treatment, I cannot purchase a weapon to defend myself, however I have to read constantly about how I’m such a danger because I have a DSM label and a trauma background. Any scientist worth his salt knows that the correlation disappears when you factor in gender. This is sloppy science that is not properly controlled, reporting inaccurate sensational findings about trauma and violence, which doesn’t hold up when you control for gender. It’s time to stop holding women accountable for gun violence we are not committing!

        • It is remarkable how gender, which is BY FAR the highest correlation with violence with guns or otherwise, is completely ignored by the MSM and mainstream psychiatry/psychology, while the tiny correlation with “mental illness” as diagnosed by the subjective DSM is made into the biggest issue. It is a clear case of scapegoating the less powerful instead of looking at the facts, protecting the powerful at the expense of those who can’t defend themselves.

    • How many bombers and mass shooters are women?

      This is accurate in general as far as “mindless violence” is concerned; however women have often been among the ranks of revolutionary freedom fighters (which on balance is a good thing, though I don’t know how it fits into your analysis here). Also women are now praised for fighting in imperialist armies, and rewarded with political office when they return. (Don’t know if I have a main point here, just citing some contradictions.)

  2. “‘We have to take an honest look at ourselves as a society and as a culture and say what is it about us that foments this kind of stuff”

    The establishment, the big brother police state control gtid itself forments this stuff. They are the ones who benifit from it. So to awnser the question “what is it about us that foments this kind of stuff?” The awnser is our overall stupidity forments this stuff because people are to stupid to recognize divide and conquer.

    Before protests began breaking out in Ferguson, Missouri, and even after the first of the protests in August, many across America’s polarized “left/right” paradigm began to find a common ground, shocked at the level of militarization the police had undergone and the heavy-handed response they exercised amid protests. Even among the generally pro-police and military “right,” there was outrage over what was finally recognized as a growing and quite menacing “police state” in America.

    Politicians, the corporate media, and security agencies set off to work, dividing America’s public down very predictable lines. Convenient “revelations” that the police were connected with the ultra-racist Ku Klux Klan, coupled with growing choruses across the [phony fox news] right to circle the wagons in support of the militarized police attempted to place those who converged on this common ground back into their assigned places on the “right” and “left” of America’s ultimately authoritarian controlled political order.

    Regardless of its success, attempts to intentionally provoke violence, confusion, and division on both sides is an attempt by the establishment to keep people divided and weak while maintaining their position of primacy over the country and the expansive “international order” it imposes globally. So busy is America managing the predictable conflict amongst themselves, they have neither the time nor the energy to recognize their true tormentors.

    I took the above paragraphs from here https://www.sott.net/article/289519-Ferguson-This-isnt-a-revolution-its-the-same-old-divide-and-conquer-technique-used-throughout-history

    That webpage explains it well but the author IMO goes to far with the Wall Street stuff. BUT look how they play their same stupid repeditive advertizments on both CNN and controlled opposition Fox News. Finance both “sides” thats how divide and conquer is done.

    “It is an indictment of American culture and society that anyone finds relief by picking up a rifle and driving to a synagogue. To fight hate, we need to change our culture and society.”

    No way dude, it is an indictment of the “new world order” and there constant divide and conquer brainwahing tactics that anyone feels the need to pick up a rifle and drive to a synagogue. Or baseball field shooting steve scalise…