The Abusive Society: Why Abuse Seems to Reach Into Every Corner of Modern Life

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From Medium/Eudaimonia and Co: “A profound loss of the integrity of the self is what abuse genuinely is: the internalization of the harm that has one been done to one, over and over again, until one believes that one has deserved it, needed it, earned it. Abuse is a cycle, a burden passed down through the generations: no one is born an abuser. And so it’s at this moment, I’d guess, that the American psyche turns genuinely abusive. First, our average American needed safety in the arms of a father or mother figure, to make up for an unsafe world — and now they begin to believe that there exist good reasons that they needed to be abused, and thus, that they should and must behave abusively, too.

What are those reasons? Probably something like these. That to succeed, one must be more ruthless and merciless than the next person. That one’s suffering is a measure of one’s weakness, and therefore suffering must be erased and denied, not felt and understood. That one’s purpose in life is to amass power and privilege, no matter how barren or empty one feels inside. They are the prices one has learned that one must pay in an unsafe world, not for safety, warmth, security, which are by definition impossible to find, but just to exist at all, protected, at least, by their abusers.

And so now the second dilemma of the abusive society arises: one must abuse people to earn a sense of self, just to feel protected, but the price is happiness, because happiness comes from the strength and quality of one’s relationships, and in this mode of relating, one has no genuine relationships — only absences and emptinesses, voids and lacks of seeing and knowing people as people.

. . . A flight to mega-institutions is one solution to an abusive society. But it is a poor one, because it seeking the protection of one’s abusers, not from them, and thus licensing them. And so it can only ever be a palliative, like taking heroin for the pain of being abused all one’s life long. What Americans really need is to fix the cycles of abuse that have driven them to seek, and yet never find, safety in the unsafe world they themselves have created. To undo the predatory ways of being that they came to call wise and just and true, but in fact, were only ever the lament of the hurt child, begging, just for an instant, to be held, to be known, to be loved.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. No it is not palliative even. The place people will meet their ultimate abusers, minimizers of humaness, dehumanizing the subject before them, ridiculing and labeling that which people suffer, is psychiatry itself.
    They do know this, at least the majority get an inkling of what their jobs entail, but by then it’s too late isn’t it. The importance of oneself is dominant over that of another. Psychiatry suffers from this malady, and there is nothing medical about that which beguiles an institution to force their will onto the one who does not have such power.

    Psychiatry has demonstrated itself to be simply….about power.

  2. Many times, we are unfortunately abusing ourselves in some manner and then extending that abuse to others. Now, does the abuse begin when we are abusing ourselves or because others abuse us. Sadly, this is very probably one of those chicken or the egg type things, except, that the effect of this is so much more far-reaching, profound, damaging, life-threatening, and thus, even deadly. They say there is a cycle of abuse and how can we stop that cycle. I think they are looking for an exact point in which to intervene in the cycle in which to stop it. I do not know if there is an exact point for each incident of abuse. But, I think, the best thing we can start to do is promoting and teaching the value of each individual life from conception onward. Each person needs to know who they are valued for who they uniquely are as they say, “warts and all.” Additionally, we need to have the courage to throw out all those wasteful “self-help” books that promise answers to both issues that don’t and answers to issues that do exist but are not answers at all. Yes, in this instance, we do need to as they say, “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Each one of us needs to start all over (no matter our age) and re-originate ourselves without the use of these types of books and without abusing ourselves. It seems that these “self-help” books are channels of “self-abuse.” Of course, I know this will not cure all the pain from abuse and in its horrifying, terrifying forms. It is impossible to rebuild Rome in a day, so to speak. And the other greatest abuser of all remains; psychiatry, etc. This is because, it is so slithery, seductive, deceptive, and stalks in a quiet harmful approval from all kinds of allegedly accepted sources and authorities. When psychiatry, etc. and all it drugs, therapies, and treatments, etc. has finally left the world (some call it abolishing) then this abuse of self and others and cycles of abuse in self and others will stop. Guaranteed. Thank you.

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