Stop Saying This, Part Two: “Reframing” and More

Megan Wildhood
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Last month, I began a series on things that people who want to be helpful need to stop saying. There are so many things, so let’s continue:

Let’s “reframe” this bad thing into this good thing

The encouragement from therapists and coaches to reframe thoughts like “I’m a victim” or “I am so alone” is ubiquitous. And, while going overboard with the victim mentality is also ubiquitous, “reframing” thoughts of being a victim should not be universal advice. The reason is that, in some cases, you might actually be a victim, and not admitting that, “reframing” it to something else, is keeping you in a bad and probably dangerous situation.

My former therapist encouraged me for years to “reframe” the pain of deep neglect and verbal, emotional, and financial abuse I was subjecting myself to in my marriage: “if you stop thinking of yourself as a victim,” she would prod me, “what would you be instead?” Instead of “complaining that my ex-partner was stepping on my feet while we were trying to dance,” she said, what if I let her help train me to get my feet out of the way? “This is one way to practice self-care,” she said, in addition to the “mindset work” of not considering myself a victim.

What she was actually doing was encouraging me to enable my abuser to perpetuate his abuse while making me responsible for my abuser’s behavior and calling it self-care. The real way to help me with self-care was to stand up for how terribly I was being treated and empower me to leave. The result of her “helping” me learn “self-care” was that I stayed in a relationship that was actively destroying who I was, my hope for the future, and my ambition to create the life I wanted for myself until I almost didn’t have the drive to get out.

What got me to finally stand up for my heart, my value, and my hopes was no longer “reframing” my thoughts about being a victim. It was being straight with myself and those who actually cared about me and weren’t afraid to stand up for me and to abusers (which, I realized much later, included that couples therapist). I was a victim of abuse. I finally told the truth, which broke me free from the unreasonable burden that therapist had placed me under by trying to dodge my ex-partner’s calculated stomps. Telling the truth that I was being victimized also released me from the lie I was living that, if I just simply tried harder, claimed more power, stopped “feeling sorry for myself,” I could be happy in a partnership that had no genuine care or room for me—a partnership with someone who was unwilling to genuinely take responsibility for the damage he was inflicting.

Reframing can be a useful tool when someone is struggling with making progress on a goal they’ve identified as important to them or maybe when someone is looking for help getting out of a thought pattern that has bothered them for years. Reframing might be useful in certain situations of conflict between people or when trying to come up with solutions to problems that have been perpetually perplexing. But the rampant dispensing of the advice to “reframe” is more damaging than helpful not only because it often turns into victim-blaming, but also because “reframing” can look so much like denial that the two are difficult to distinguish.

It is a tool that worshippers of toxic positivity use to keep out “negative” energy so as not to interfere with their manifesting everything they want for themselves or even simply their good moods. In situations of abuse, reframing is an extension of the abuse, not an antidote to it. It plays the same games the abuser does: obscuring the truth, denying the victim’s experience (thus making them question their own thoughts and feelings), and disempowering the victim by placing an inappropriate amount of responsibility on their shoulders. Therapists, coaches, and others who want to “help” should use this “reframing” tool sparingly, not as a universal response to distress.

When you tell someone to “reframe” their bad experience into a “learning” opportunity, you are really saying, “I don’t want to deal with your uncomfortable feelings and I’m going to make you responsible for fixing that.” Because “reframing” sounds like a helpful thing for someone to do, people can feel like they’re being supportive, and therefore comfort themselves that they’re helping while doing nothing to fix real problems. There is no way to “reframe” abuse to make bruises or emotional scarring go away. “Reframing” doesn’t put more money in someone’s bank account. Reframing may make people feel better, but that’s why it’s so dangerous: I “felt better” for years even as I was continuing to be deprived of anything like a real marriage. All reframing did was waste a decade of my life. People who have their needs met for real, people who are in safe, loving partnerships, people who are genuinely fulfilled in their lives do not need to reframe their situations. They can live in the present reality as it is.

You’re being triggered / Some of this reaction is to the past

My ex used this one a lot to get out of taking responsibility for extremely harmful behavior.

When my now ex-husband said, “I’ve been thinking about divorce for a while” the day he found out I’d nearly died, that was pretty “triggering” for me. He abruptly stopped speaking to me, contacted my therapists (without my permission) and then showed up at a poetry reading I had that night as if nothing was wrong. In other words, to everyone else, he looked like a perfectly supportive partner and I appeared completely unstable and overreactive when I expressed anger. He tried to tell me that the reason I was so volatile was because of how my parents were never there for me emotionally as a child, even though they were physically present at all my performances and recitals. But it doesn’t matter if these incidents poked my childhood wounds; even someone with a perfect childhood deserves to be treated better than this.

But, let’s say they did poke a childhood wound. Let’s say that my father also lacked integrity and regularly failed to keep commitments. How on earth does that disqualify me from being hurt when someone else does it? It may not be another person’s fault that my wound was there, but that person still poked it. That behavior needs to be addressed regardless of the size of the reaction. Maybe someone else would not (outwardly) react negatively to their partner telling them they’d been considering divorce for a while as if they were a hero for not going through it, but I bet they’d still be pretty hurt. Also, we shouldn’t permit shitty behavior just because it might not hurt the people who don’t have those particular buttons.

The point is that healthy people care about what triggers those they love. They don’t feel the need to walk on eggshells, but they also don’t use the other person’s buttons to set off alarms they hide their bad treatment behind. This is not to say that you should be allowed to act as mean as you feel like when you’re hurt or upset. It is to say that, even when someone’s present-day actions bring up old injuries from the past, you are allowed to be hurt by what happens in the present and ask for amends for that situation even as you feel the pain from the past, too.

In fact, that’s often how old wounds finally get healed. To dismiss or invalidate hurtful behavior in the present just because it happens to bring up similar pain from the past is to create yet another wound that will, in the future, be what gets “triggered” in interaction with someone else.

Speaking of the size of the reaction, there is no objective bar of “reaction” over which someone can go when triggered. There is no objective measure of “over” reacting; those who claim there is are really saying to you that your emotions make them uncomfortable and they (wrongly) think that’s your responsibility rather than theirs. As I said, this is not a license to be as destructive as you may feel like being when someone hurts you and it brings up past situations where you were hurt in similar ways. But the fact that you were hurt in similar ways in the past does not mean that the present situation has no role at all and that people can be as harmful as they want. There is a reason the trigger is there. But, even if there wasn’t, the unresolved pain of the past does not automatically negate the pain of the present.

You have to love yourself before anyone can love you or you can love anyone else

Unless self-hatred is so extreme that it’s debilitating and paralyzing a person, I just don’t see how these are connected. I’ve never understood the rampant idea that you treat others how you treat yourself. I and most people I know, with a few notable exceptions, treat others much better than they allow themselves to treat themselves. And we’ve probably all heard some example of this when a coach or a therapist or a friend is trying to get us to stop beating ourselves up: “You wouldn’t talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself, would you?” “You wouldn’t let someone talk to you the way you talk to you.” It’s so common to treat others better than ourselves that these questions have intuitive answers; even if we might answer affirmatively ourselves, we instinctively know that the answer “should” be no.

People who fail to treat themselves well fail, presumably, because they don’t have a lot of self-love. Yet, they are able to treat others well, or at least better than they treat themselves, which calls this ostensibly causal link between self-love and loving others into question. This is not to downplay the importance of learning how to truly honor who you are and what you need. You probably can love others better if you also love yourself, but I’ve only seen this alleged link between self-love and loving others asserted rather than proven; and it would need to be proven since there isn’t an inherent logic to the connection. It might seem like there is, but that’s likely because this idea has been repeated so damn much that people either feel like utter failures at loving others because they know how badly they feel about themselves or they take this link as an excuse to stop trying to love others while they “work on themselves.”

It’s also just not true that you have to love yourself in order for anyone to love you. In the first place, I know several women who struggle deeply and daily with self-loathing and never measuring up to their own impossible standards and they have absurdly but genuinely loving partners.

But, more importantly, flip this situation around: are you able to love people who struggle to love themselves? I know I am. Everyone I know struggles to love themselves, which I blame capitalism and psychiatry for, and yet, I love and feel loved by so many of those struggling people. I’ve been told that they feel loved by me even as I’m struggling in the self-love department, too.

Additionally, for all the hype and trendiness of self-care, which I’ve also written about previously, this gives self-care the specious task of “earning” love. If you believe that you have to love yourself before anyone can love you, you might be tempted to work on “loving yourself” in order to get other people to love you. Or, if you believe self-love is a prerequisite for being loved, you might forgo efforts to form relationships until you start loving yourself. I’ve known people who have done both. Neither works. Loving yourself in order to get love from others doesn’t work because you can’t “earn” love and trying to do so is toxic. Avoiding others until you love yourself doesn’t work because human beings actually do need each other.

The human project wasn’t set up for us to love ourselves before someone else could love us. The ideal situation—that is, what’s supposed to happen and what damages people when it doesn’t happen—is exactly the opposite: we come into the world needing co-regulation—a caregiver regulating our infant nervous system with their own adult one—and we learn to love ourselves by, ideally, our caregivers loving us.

The fact that this fails so often is another contributing factor to the number of people struggling with self-love. This failure also illustrates the point exactly: if we weren’t meant to learn self-love from the outside in, it wouldn’t be so destructive to our ability to love ourselves when love doesn’t come in from the outside at all or in the way we need it.

It’s not that no one can love you until you love you, but it might be that you can’t love you (or learn to love you) until you are shown how by someone else. It is the internalizing of external love that is meant to generate self-love for the adult. There is no free lunch; self-love must be created from somewhere and something—more accurately, someone.

It’s possible that those who repeat this idea are attempting to ward off codependency. Even if that’s the case, there are superior ways to do so. The most effective one I can think of is teaching interdependency. As it stands, “you have to love yourself before anyone can love you or you can love anyone else” perpetuates individualism, which is deeply abusive, enables capitalism, and runs against the grain of how human beings grow and thrive. It’s time to retire this incorrect and isolating idea from all “help speech.”

We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover—dismantling help speech in a society dependent upon material, physical, and emotional convenience is no small task—so stay tuned.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Both psychology and psychiatry are all about denying and covering up abuse, I agree. Especially child abuse, given the reality that the vast majority of their clients are misdiagnosed child abuse survivors.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    And all this misdiagnosing of ACE survivors is by DSM design. Since today no “mental health” worker may ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse survivor ever, unless they first misdiagnose the ACE survivor with one of the billable disorders.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1?amp

    And most the “mental health” workers went off believing the “chemical imbalance” theory, which states “all distress is caused by chemical imbalances in people’s brain.” Despite this theory being disproven decades ago.

    The DSM “bible” theology is, by design, a systemic child abuse covering up religion. And all this systemic child abuse covering up does also aid, abet, and empower the pedophiles and other abusers.

    I agree, speaking the truth about abuse is infinitely more freeing than living in denial. I’m glad you are taking back your own power.

  2. I do like your writing Megan.

    Nothing like telling someone close about difficulties from the past. Any difficulty arising after that often gets blamed on the difficulty you confided. Amazing how everyone becomes a shrink or therapist and knows that it’s not them, it’s you.
    And to be “treated” in that “theraputic” manner is nauseating, even coming from a “therapist”. Heal thyself, but not through me.

  3. And honestly Megan, your article deserves a much better response then which I just left, but I have nothing to add to such a fine piece of writing, which makes so much sense that I’m hoping you put it out there on different sites.
    I have felt so guilty and self doubt by reading “self help” crap, because I did not know then, what I know now. The search for “healing”, making oneself “love oneself” has to be done with a huge grain of salt. It’s just so tempting to look for the trouble within oneself, and of course everyone loves this. 🙂

  4. Overall, Megan, that’s excellent. But there’s 2 both very huge, and minor points that jumped right off the screen and gobsmacked me upside the head. About the pseudoscience of psychiatry I’m in substantial agreement with you, but that “blame game” is lame and ultimately counter-productive and eventually becomes outright self-destructive. It’s the blame game, not psychiatry that ends up doing harm, unless you’re a psychiatric prisoner. Some time after escaping psychiatry, one must stop playing the blame game, or else….
    But it’s your ideological distortion in blaming “capitalism” that I find to be ridiculous non-sense. Name me one other country, or economic system that’s really any better or different? Russia? China? North Korea? Europe? South America? Canada? Name me one place that’s better. See what I mean? Capitalism neither requires nor demands the excesses you ascribe to it.

    Strong healthy persons create strong healthy societies. Strong healthy societies create strong healthy persons. It’s BOTH. NOT an “either/or”, as you mis-conceptualize it…..
    Other than those 2 points, everything else you’ve written is excellent, and I hope it’s widely read….

    • “It’s the blame game, not psychiatry that ends up doing harm, unless you’re a psychiatric prisoner. Some time after escaping psychiatry, one must stop playing the blame game, or else….”

      It’s not JUST about us though, is it. It’s not about “escapees”, it’s about present and future others. About children, about parents, about people who need to be cared for by a “healthy society”, not demonized or told that their troubles are a “mental illness” and then be punished for it. A “healthy society” does not engage in punishment and removal of all rights because they are not what someone deemed a success.

      • Thank-you sam plover. You DO GET IT!
        When we blame any person, place, thing, situation, etc., we aren’t taking personal responsibility for ourselves. (Yes, persons, situations, etc., can and do hurt us, and that must be acknowledged and dealt with.) While we aren’t responsible for the person who has hurt us, we ARE responsible for owning that we’ve been hurt. It’s up to us to accept our hurt, and heal it. When we accept ourselves, we cease to BLAME, we become more happy and healthy. Blaming disempowers us, and empowers our oppressors.

        • There’s this guy Karl Marx, check him out.

          I don’t think any country has ever claimed to be “communist” (except Albania at one point). It’s always capitalists who refer to them this way. For example, the U.S.S.R. stood for the union of soviet socialist republics. Socialism is meant to be a transitional phase to communism, which is a stateless society.

          Being governed by a “Communist Party” doesn’t make a country communist any more than being ruled by a “Democratic Party” makes a country democratic.

          • “Being governed by a “Communist Party” doesn’t make a country communist any more than being ruled by a “Democratic Party” makes a country democratic.”

            How true.

  5. I got so sick of being told how much I needed to love myself during all those years of adult preschool. AKA “day treatment” and “clubhouse.”

    Made me want to burst into song, “I love me. I love me so./I took myself to a movie show./I put both arms around my waist./I got so fresh I slapped my face!”
    I actually did during one incredibly dull session. 😀

    Like C.S. Lewis I find the reverse is true. I must love my neighbor before I can love myself as my neighbor.

  6. My marriage was similar so all that was (heh) ‘triggering’…but the bit about self-love and the frenzy of ‘self-care’ societal pressure (yup, it feels like the ‘positive thinking’ mandate).

    And I’ve never considered the ideas you present about the same self love not being necessary for one to be loved. Thanks.

  7. I see this has to do with therapist/patient and friend/patient relationships.
    It also has to do with our understandings about who people are and what we should do to help them.
    I have not been much exposed to all the “helpful information” being promulgated by various persons and groups these days. But I know I haven’t seen one yet who has their basics right.
    People deserve respect as sovereign beings, not just because it sounds nice, but because it’s true.
    But if you’re not getting that respect, there are things you can do about it. If you know your basics.
    We all still have a lot to learn about these things.

    But here’s a little bit from me on these particular concerns.
    “Reframe” sounds like a meaningless buzzword more fitting for a business meeting. Trying to use it in a therapeutic situation would probably just piss the other person off.
    Triggering is a genuine reaction, but it does no good to just accuse someone of being the effect of it. That amounts to just finding another way to trigger them!
    “Love yourself” is a New Age platitude, in my book. Society is full of them these days! Glad I didn’t have to grow up around all that! The New Age is notorious for trying to force very high level concepts on people at times when it is totally inappropriate. That whole sector has become polluted, as far as I can tell.

    • And it’s always a “new age” lol. New ideas, new drugs, new disorders, new pathologies. Just business as usual, nothing “new” to see. Psychiatry is really very animal based, it is limiting, so not at all how humans think of themselves. It obviously does not have anything to do with “progress”, as man seems to think he is doing. Something “progressive”.
      Psychiatry is greatly degressing and responsible for keeping people down there with them. It’s lonely being a shrink ya know.
      Socially constricting. It is way past it’s due date and probably a good reason of why fewer applicants to psych school. Kids are hopefully getting different messaging and exposed to more than their parents idealism and pressures “to become better than other people”

    • I want to say something about “New Age” as a formal descriptor, category, or genre. NEW AGE covers so much territory, that sometimes some of it conflicts with other parts of it. Some things seem like they’re NewAge, but they’re not. And some world views are NewAge, some are not. NewAge deals with feelings in more nuanced and healthy ways, but does have a lot of emotional freedom. New Age sadly never got more acceptance in the wider society. Who remembers the “harmonic convergence”? See what i mean?….

      • Well, it’s true. Using “New Age” is similar to saying “American.” It’s not really that helpful. But you can go to Wikipedia and places like that and get a feel for how that whole phenomenon developed and what sort of traditions it taps into. I mean, you have meditation, and everyone’s saying nice things about that these days. Well, almost everyone.

        But above I said I felt that the New Age movement had become polluted. And I think that has to do with the fact that certain people wanted to keep it a fringe movement, wanted it always to be perceived as not suitable for the mainstream.

        That’s actually true of many groups who have reached toward higher truths. Someone out there who has a lot of control over media content and public perceptions has been working constantly to marginalize my group, UFO studies, “ET” contact studies, psychic studies. There is valuable data to be found when you reach in those directions. And someone is actually discouraging this and trying to make it look “kooky.”

        “Love yourself” is a valuable concept. But you can’t just throw it at someone who is having issues and expect a therapeutic result. What most of the New Age is weak on, if I had to single out something, is human interaction skills – or what you might call friendliness. It tends to be focused on the idea that “enlightenment” is entirely a personal internal process and that all you need to achieve it is a good teacher and a lot of dedication. But that could be a perception being pushed by those who want to keep it marginalized. Kinda hard to tell sometimes.

  8. If one doesn’t put their energy into trying to convince “therapists” et al. to be something they aren’t and never can be it wouldn’t matter what they think or say, or how they say it. Just ignore them. Alienation is inherent to capitalism and cannot be solved by “service providers,” no matter how they “frame” things. It requires revolution.

  9. Well OH, I do believe that some people have a lack of supports, no family or friends. Or friends and family that have little to offer. I have gone to people for wisdom. Not answers. People do need a dollar and if that entails making someone feel heard or supported, I think it’s fair. Few people are looking for “healers”, since there are none. But definitely there are a few who I would pay to hear speak.
    I do have issues with the word “therapy”, simply because the psych world decided to buy it, along with a buncha “therapists”. I also have an issue with the amount of dollars.

    • Yes I understand OH, and I as much as anyone have become to despise the language but psych is the one that pooped on it. It is a shame that we have to create language all over again or at least take it back.
      The word “healer” has always bothered me, since I do NOT want to be someone’s “healer” if it is connected to a concept of me being the well one and them being “sick”.
      We know we are all each others builder uppers, or tear downers.
      There are indeed a few good people out there, they just have to come up with new terminology to distinguish themselves, or perhaps leave little innuendos on their sites that let people know what their “intent” is not.

      • Another time I’m about to say “ditto” then find the stumbling block at the end…

        It’s not a struggle between good and bad people but between people and bad systems. Further, pronouncing a system “bad” should not be seen as pronouncing a competing one “good,” esp. if it’s only a matter of degree, or if there’s money involved — this applies to Open Dialogue as well as Scientology.

        (To segue a bit, particularly for the sake of l e cox): I would never argue that Scientology hasn’t produced some excellent AP videos that, prior to the inevitable promo at the end, would pass any test of credibility in terms of fact checking, etc. I have no problem saying this “on the record,” and don’t give a fuck about any idiot who decides I must be a Scientologist on the basis of stating a fact. I recommend everyone adopt that sort of attitude, rather than live in fear of being called a silly name designed to stop us in our tracks.

        I personally observe a public moratorium on using “mental health”-related metaphors, as the population’s ability to distinguish between abstract and concrete is at a low right now.

        • I’ll be looking in on a little online meeting later today on the subject of “mental health issues” in California. I’ll be interested to see if any one of their “experts” deviates beyond the usual limits that are implied to exist in such conversations. I have been trying to find a way to get policy makers here to take the human rights violations more seriously, but it’s not looking good. And the key is that they don’t really understand the whole problem at all, and don’t seem that interested in understanding. It’s kind of like this pandemic. The great majority are willing to let the “experts” tell them what to do, even though the “experts” advice is, roughly translated, “go over to the edge of that cliff and jump off.” The whole scene is extremely troubling.

          • “they don’t really understand the whole problem at all,”
            Interesting. I think they refer to it as lack of insight. Very interesting.
            I think this is way beyond a “human rights” issue. All we get if they allow “human rights” is “better treatment”, but they still believe you have a “sickness”. I think if we beg for itty bitty things like “no more ect”, and no more “forced treatment”, it plays into their scheme perfectly.
            People would be quite happy with crumbs, they would not notice that psychiatry has been basically forced to make changes, ONLY to replace them with worse garbage and it all has one agenda. To keep the paradigm alive.

          • I have been trying to find a way to get policy makers here to take the human rights violations more seriously, but it’s not looking good.

            Nor is it in their interest.

            (BTW the pandemic is over, and soon this will no longer be an official epidemic either.)

          • I have now viewed the online discussion mentioned above. There was a black woman who noted that the system was not working well in her community. She advocated paying communitiy members with government money to take care of each other. Interesting.

            Regarding the pandemic, I recently saw a graph indicating that deaths (all causes) in the UK had returned to normal summer levels. Yet I saw other graphs indicating deaths were continuing to spike in South Africa (where it is winter), and in U.S. states where the summers are dry – or so hot they drive people inside. The people who want this great abuse of power and privilege, this slap in the face of all humanity, to continue will probably have their way unless something marvelously extreme happens, such as mass arrests of the high and mighty.
            …but all this is off the subject, is it not?

      • And since it’s really never just about the individual, we need to look at all possibilities and suspects. Power has a funny way of maintaining itself in the weak and defenseless.
        Definitely we need to “help” each other, but it is rarely helpful to see the individual as “sick”. And you are correct, psychiatry is not there to “help”, that has been evident from the get-go.
        We do not even know if there was good intent, ever. There is a selfish, biased and often prejudiced motive deep within ourselves when we offer someone our services. Humility is difficult to cultivate within ourselves. (Perhaps I speak for myself, but I figure that I share a lot of traits with other humans) 🙂

        • You seem a bit cynical about humanity. I can understand that.
          But there is a natural flow of help that is part of being human. The mother suckling her baby. The farmer growing food. The toolmaker manufacturing implements in his shop. Help is a part of living.

          We often run into harm posing as help. The intent of that is to make you suspect any offer of help. But real help is a natural part of life, and I think we do need to keep that in mind.

          • It’s been a real struggle to me not to hate humanity.

            Unlike Frankenstein’s monster I used to be a human being till They damaged me beyond hope of recover and dishonored me forever in the eyes of all Humanity.

            Shrinks have harmed me–while causing suffering–by pretending their cruel, pointless experiments fixed known brain abnormalities. Apparently many were laughing up their sleeves when they talked about the “scientifically proven chemical imbalance.”

            But they couldn’t have done it without help from all the “normals” applauding the cruel damage. I know this was ignorance (except for a few like Pete Earley.) But if your kid were getting worse instead of better every time the doctor put him on something to “treat” the problem which wasn’t bad till after the doctor “helped” it would make sense to try figure out what was wrong.

            They don’t know because they don’t care. Sticking a “loved one” in a psych ward to be drugged and shocked indefinitely is easier than doing a little research to look for ways of actually helping people. Happier handing you over to the tender mercies of the experts. Then they can ignore the relative forever. Almost as good as locking them in the old asylums.

          • It’s true that psychiatry could not survive in its present form if no one else in the society tolerated or supported it.

            We had the idea of keeping it at bay by trying to erect legal safeguards. But that still means that millions are being hurt.

            At the rotten core of their practice is the intention to extinguish our love for each other. We can’t let them prevail.

    • Since souls are immaterial the thought of healing them with drugs or surgery is ridiculous. If you believe in souls. Either way, “psychiatry” should go the way of mesmerism. It claims to heal what doesn’t exist (materially) by material means of drugs and brain mutilation.

  10. I would like to hear Megan write about what individualism is and what interdependence looks like that isn’t codependent. I’m being sincere. I agree with much of how she defines what she’s experienced and the way she words these things that need to stop, I intrinsically agree with her. I feel lost after what she says though. I feel overreactive in my victimization and I feel angry (as I should) and I don’t know how to approach elderly parents who didn’t know how to parent in a way that wasn’t abusive and wasn’t teaching me individualism or demanding someone to be something they didn’t know how to do (because this is who I would attract consistently-I’ve given up now). I simply don’t know how to take in emotionally what she’s honestly and convincingly arguing to need to stop. I feel I’m setting myself up to be bullied in saying all this out loud. I also feel bullied already and don’t know how to not overreact (as I believe she understands) of what I’ve come to expect from those who ‘love me’ and ‘know me’ best. It’s too heartbreaking much of the time to really accept.

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