Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by Alex

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  • Most thankfully, I found it. Or better said, it found me, once I got not only psychiatry but all things “mental health” industry out of my way, including myself.

    I left psychiatry behind over 15 years ago after a 20-year relationship with it, got very dysfunctional toward the end there, and it almost killed me. But layer by layer, over a period of years, I got out of that weird web and put myself back together again with new life tools and perspectives, and found what I wanted in life and from life. That was quite a trek, and not without battle scars, as you are knowing now; definitely not for the faint of heart and spirit.

    What I learned in my journey was that when we heal to the point of feeling predominantly our own light channeling through us, and appreciating that to the nth degree, then we automatically have an abundance of it to share with others. It’s pretty cool! Win/win :).

  • Very inspiring, Catherine. I agree with you that the most fruitful path to change is to create new things which render obsolete these old ways which have caused and continue to cause such extreme dysfunction in our society. The light you bring from rebirthing into the new is refreshing and of tremendous value in the world today, the way I see it. Healing ourselves is really hard work, and also it is what uplifts us and those around us, including the world. Gratitude and respect for taking the journey.

  • Ah, ok, I think I can connect some dots for you, been sitting in meditation with this for a few and I’m realizing why this feeling is. However, it’s going to have to wait until later this evening because I have been engaging here on breaks I’ve been taking from a project on which I’m working and I’m trying to meet a deadline this evening. I also have a few other things to do, so I’m quite far behind at this point, need to focus and detach from this right now.

    I had not expected to get into a dialogue like this today, but your first reply to my response to your comment is what initially threw me and why I said something about it, and I think that’s why this dialogue took the path it took. Which is fine, I’m glad, I think it’s interesting, truly, and will hopefully bring some clarity to what these blocks are in communication between people with divergent perspectives and roles in this particular community.

    And I appreciate your emotional transparency, and your desire to know clarity around what I am saying. I just needed to start out by saying I was having this very strong feeling because that was my experience in the moment I read your post, it was totally authentic.

    This feeling was triggered by “I hope you are well,” followed by a smiley face, which is what confused me here, in this instance. I wasn’t sure how this was a response to my post. Was their non-verbal communication taking place here? If so, you’d have to be more direct for me to get it because if that’s the case, then I definitely know why I’m confused. Especially online, clarity is contingent upon using mindful language and saying what you mean. Once you start with innuendo and undercurrents of meaning, then you are creating confusion, that’s inevitable.

    But I have a bigger picture, too, because I’d felt this before, and this was the opportunity I took to say something about it, because the feeling in me was flagrant after reading that response. That’s where I was scratching my head, as I have before with a few things you’ve said. I’ll bbl to paint you a clear picture of where I’m coming from here, see if we can reach some point of truth, or at the very least, mutual understanding and clarity.

  • I don’t have this problem in general. I communicate with a lot of people over the internet and about complex issues and also feelings, and I don’t generally feel confused. Just to be clear about that.

    It’s no big deal, Shaun, I was simply expressing a FEELING. Just my subjective truth of our communication. Seems to trigger you, so maybe there’s some good information for you there, I don’t know.

    You’re a therapist, process the feedback neutrally. I certainly do, but I process it through my feelings (not analyzing it from observation and defensiveness), so that I am in ownership of my experience. That’s the only way I know how to learn, grow, and evolve.

    In any case, thanks as always for the dialogue.

  • I am the example. I’m being an example in present time of someone who is confused by you. I can’t help but to wonder if others have this experience of you, or is it just me? I’m just following the thread of my emotional response to you, which is how I know my truth.

    And no, we should no longer dialogue about the system. Our positions are clear, and clearly incompatible. You take your path, I take mine, and that’s all he wrote.

  • I’m talking about a *feeling.* Something about how you communicate in your responses causes me to feel confusion. That’s what I’m noticing, and I’m wondering from where this feeling is coming.

    “I don’t know what you are talking about” is a good start. I can see that you don’t. Does this make it any clearer, the way I am explaining this to you? I’m wondering if there is an open line of communication here without the confusion. If not, so be it. That’s exactly what we are discussing in this thread, so it’s helpful to see it in action, as an example of what many of us are talking about.

  • Yes, I’m fine. Although I find this to be an odd response, and ironically, rather aligned with what we’re discussing here.

    I have to say, Shaun, after all the dialoguing we’ve done on and offline over the last few weeks, I honestly don’t know in the slightest from where you are coming. You confuse me, and I do wonder why it is I’m feeling this from you?

  • Thanks for expressing this, Shaun. I can see how therapists and social workers could feel extremely powerless. The system (and its funders/supporters) renders everyone powerless, which is why it is rife with anger and ever-present conflict. “The system” is the ultimate “sick society.” Adjusting to it undermines everyone’s health and well-being, clinician and client alike. There’s way better stuff out here in the world, away from all that.

  • Wow, Fred, this is a fantastic post. I’d like to flash neon red arrows all around it and pointing to it. It is truth to perfection, in my estimation, and potentially transformative in and of itself. The discussion does need to transform in this direction to be fruitful from here forward, I agree hardily with that.

    In how many ways can one coldly and distantly analyze away, “I’m just trying to make what I feel is a very important point based on my experience” in order to avoid the truth! Facing hard truths is, indeed, where change and transformation occur. We’re human, it happens.

    Stop analyzing, start feeling, create empathy, tell the truth. At least that’s a start. And from there, there is *a lot* of work to do to see that change through to completion. There’s your transformation.

    Thank you, Fred, for the inspiration.

  • “I tried to question the psychoanalytic belief system, but it was not possible to argue with believers. Their argumentation didn’t follow any logic known to me.”

    Yes, I agree that there is no logic in the responses (or non-responses) when questioning the beliefs within this field, despite overwhelming evidence of the failure of it. Which, to me, indicates perfectly how dangerous it can be to sit 1 on 1 with a clinician whose logic and reasonability go flying out the window when questioned in any capacity. That’s where all the negative projections, stigmatizing, and gaslighting begin.

    If you are a clinician and experience deep frustration with other clinicians for this reason, attempting to have an open and fruitful dialogue, imagine how clients feels while vulnerable to this dynamic, and who are expected to be open in their emotions while trying to talk about their issues. That is a recipe for disaster, and it quite often has resulted in just that, for this very reason.

    “Let’s start making the world a better place by helping our children to overcome their problems not with drugs but with support and help from their peers and parents.”

    We can also make the world a better place by supporting parents in how to best guide and nurture their own kids, regardless of any issue they may have. Kids follow the example of their parents in how they deal with the inevitable stressors in life. Sometimes it’s even the parents causing the kids undo stress, and it remains in the shadows due to denial and scapegoating. What then? This is not in the slightest uncommon, and I believe it should be brought to light. There are tons of kids suffering in silence from this.

  • Michael, I do not mean to belabor this and stray from the topic, but you have opened a door for me to talk about something very relevant and important when you say, “Until they are almost against all odds able to escape the trap.” I’ll post a thumbnail response here and were you to feel inclined to discuss this further, please do feel free to contact me. This is exactly my life work.

    Yes, it is a trap and yes again, it is almost against all odds. I cannot even begin to tell you all that I did in order to beat these odds. Being on a disability income in San Francisco leaves hardly any options because we are so focused on barely surviving, while carrying intense fear of not being able to pull even that off. But I went around town very humbly volunteering and bartering for healing and training to finally get the info I needed that would allow for the escape path to open up, which was really about learning to manifest. It’s why I’m always talking about energy and working with the light of the universe. That was a very specific perspective and skill which I happily fostered as I went along.

    This did work for me unequivocally but it took great humility, while at the same time I had to reclaim my power. It was a long and uncertain process for me, but I was told by a teacher I had at that time that I was breaking ground, so I kept going wondering to where it would lead.

    Getting out of SF in order to clear my head and ground in nature was a feat in and of itself. I had neither the means nor a destination, but as I experienced more and more healing and set a deliberate intention to break through the glass ceiling, the doors opened and I followed the path which unfolded from this, which was nothing short of miraculous.

    All I did though, was to apply Law of Attraction to what I was already doing to heal based on the energy work I learned. This is where the turnaround occurred. These are powerful teachings.

    I teach this now, to anyone–how to manifest our way forward, regardless of ANYTHING. Most everyone I know feels oppressed on some level, trapped by whatever circumstances are double-binding them.

    Just last night, I gave a class where we talked about the pitfalls of money in our society, where I remind people of something called “innate abundance.” This concept served me more than I can express. It is greater than money and everyone has it, if they can access it within themselves. From this innate abundance, money will manifest when we need it, as well as anything else.

    But in this mindset, we do not give power to money over anything else. The power is in knowing our innate abundance, and that takes deep healing if we’ve experienced the kind of trauma we’re talking about here. Still, this is where we can beat those odds, every time. So far, I know of no other way.

  • Beautiful, Michael, letter perfect, imo.

    “The same unacknowledged unconscious inner fear that prompts a politician to induce fear in others via projective identification, also prompts the diagnosing “mental health” clinician to need to have the emotionally suffering person in front of them to embody the clinician’s fear of their own emotional suffering, so the clinician can safely go on telling themselves that they are beyond ever feeling the emotional pain that they diagnose in others.”

    Yes! And so the client gets a double dose. They then have not only their fear and whatever else they are bringing to address within themselves, but now also, on top of that, they are vulnerable to carrying whatever is not owned by the clinician and projected onto the client. That is exactly what the current paradigm allows and has become the practiced norm, and which I feel is THE vital core issue which is in need of shifting. From this stems everything–the drugging, the marginalizing, the re-traumatization, etc., and especially the notion that these are lifelong chronic issues, which I do not believe this at all needs to be the case.

    But if a client is faced with these projections week after week and year after year without realizing it (and often it is so subtle that it’s hard to catch if one is feeling dependence, and also if it is the familiar), then, indeed, this can create a chronic lifelong issue. That is trauma upon trauma upon trauma, which is what eats away at people until they get out of that situation and make necessary changes to their beliefs about themselves.

    That is exactly what I had to do in order to find my clarity again, and as a result, my energy shifted so much that my entire world around me changed because I was attracting new energy into my life– more respect, along with self-responsible and conscientious people. It was amazing to see how the internal shifting changed my reality so drastically.

    I feel very encouraged from the clarity you put forth here. Thank you!

  • I think one of the issues many have had in the mh system is having to deal with a plethora of clinical projections that often occur after speaking one’s personal truth.

    The hard part is that the stigma which is born from these all-too-common prejudices creates social and professional marginalization, regardless of a person’s ability to not identify with the projection on a personal level. Yes, projections are about the projector. And still, this dynamic can ruin innocent lives, and it has. Truth speaking is an act of integrity, and for the reasons I give above, I see it as courage personified.

    While I certainly don’t expect it to always go down well when I speak my truth, I believe it’s the way out of oppression, and I defer to the higher power of the universe for validation by what unfolds for me next.

    The film I made several years ago, Voices That Heal, was intended to create a new dialogue, but instead, it just pissed off the system and alienated me further from it. Ok, lesson learned. I get now what happens when one mirrors the system and speaks one’s truth in that direction. It’s not pretty!

    And at the same time, my path of transformation and freedom was laid out for me unequivocally thanks to having spoken my truth of the matter clearly and directly. Because I made it a point to not identify with the projections which came at me from some when I spoke publically about my journey, and instead, followed the guidance of this higher power, I learned to once again trust the process of life.

  • I agree with ParaPatty, this *is* a good one, Michael. And I think this article is particularly timely and relevant because you are cracking an important code.

    “Understanding that negative projective identifications are happening helps me to keep my balance and perspective. That search for balance and perspective looks to be very necessary while going forward each day into the tumultuous future ahead.”

    Yes, indeed, we need our most powerful tools and inner resourcefulness to navigate the current and upcoming conditions. We are changing, and it’s been a long time coming.

    In addition to perspective and balance, I would add speaking the truth of our heart as one of our most powerful inner resources which can help move things along with clarity and integrity. I value and respect very highly transparency and authenticity because they trump gaslighting.

  • “Don’t take it personally” was a response I ran into repeatedly from tons of people in the “mh” world, from therapists to professional advocates. It’s like a motto or philosophy, in order to avoid. Talk about a cop out!

    And indeed, it is one-way, because they seem to take EVERYTHING so darn personally. Therapists will not take feedback, and they HATE it when you terminate with them. They feel personally rejected, rather than seeing it through a professional lens, like any other business which serves clients would normally do. It’s crazy-making.

    “Don’t take it personally” means there will be no change because nothing will be looked at on a deeper level, which is what is supposed to happen in so-called “therapy. It is a completely inappropriate response because it is a personal judgment which the therapist is attempting to project onto the client, and it has nothing to do with healing. This response serves only to appease the status quo of any system.

    This is how abuse gets enabled and dysfunctional systems remain unchallenged. It is, in fact, a form of gaslighting, so it is abusive, in and of itself, in this context of “therapy.” It’s also incompetent.

    I knew a “professional advocate” who would say this to people complaining about blatant discrimination and double-binding in the mh and social services industry–as in, don’t you dare complain about how you are being treated or there will be consequences. Don’t take it personally??? That’s not even the point of the grievance.

    I guess it’s just too much trouble to make change happen by actually challenging abuse and discrimination head on and calling it out as it occurs. We’ll just stay mad and wounded from it and complain about it forever, together in unison. But please, and this above all–don’t take it personally!

  • Just one thing I wanted to add here that occurred to me as I was thinking about this a bit, and I felt this thought ground and relax me about this issue–

    We do go through initiation as we grow along our healer path, and facing an onslaught of aggressive invalidation is the best way I can think of to truly face our shadow and be strong and clear in our sense of self; not take it on, but instead, it further illuminates our path. Our inner voice and knowingness are way more powerful than outside opinion and judgments, and I believe the universe mirrors that back to us unmistakably.

    As an activist and truth-speaker (and when I say this, I don’t mean THE truth, who knows about that? I mean MY truth, I am transparent with this more than most, it’s how I walk my talk), I’ve had this happen repeatedly, where I am challenged by harsh judgment, yet something really good and expansive happens in my life and I end up getting what I want in the most unusual ways, because I am in my truth with integrity, regardless of anything. Doesn’t matter what others think and project onto me, this is between me and my higher self. This is how I know the correct path to follow for myself, which voice to trust.

    Who can trust outside voices in an ocean of illusion, deceit, and resistance, through all of those filters, projections, and programs? This is smoke and mirrors corruption, all avoidance of truth. I know that I certainly carried these programs at one time, it is how I grew up, this was the belief system in my family and culture, and it dictated the relationship and group dynamics in my family–which is how I got into that mess to begin with. But my experience with “the system” woke me up and I had to deprogram, pure and simple. That was the big healing, where I became totally and completely free.

    Social brainwashing is similar to cult thinking, mob mentality, etc. It’s hard to break those old thought and belief habits, all based on seeking approval and a sense of belonging (not to mention fear of consequences for breaking away from this). But that is true change and transformation to individuate from this and stand one’s ground in the midst of resistance. That was the best option I had along my path, and thankfully it paid off. I didn’t know what to expect when I was in the middle of all that and following this path of new information and perspective. I just had to trust with each step forward, gaining clarity as I went along. Radical change was inevitable, it had to be, for the sake of living the life I wanted to live.

    That’s why we’re here, at least to me this is what activism is about, and especially so in this particular arena–to challenge those programs of social invalidation and bust them up inside and out, taking back our power and calling out their shit. That’s great healing! Lots of far-reaching rippling change occurs in that scenario, like dominoes in many directions.

  • “Gaslighting, or manipulating people into questioning their own sanity, applies here as people are often ridiculed, put down, ostracized or abandoned for trying alternative treatments. This is usually after psychiatric drugs made them too sick to engage with life.”

    Thank you, Chaya, I’d never seen it put so directly like this and it totally reflects my experience.

    I was on the psych drugs for 20 years, functioning ok in life yet of course dependent on them and on psychotherapy with chronic side effects, which came and went and for which more drugs would be added, as is the way. Eventually my system broke down completely from the toxic build-up and compromised all my major organs, including my brain, of course.

    Then I did my big shift and went from the drugs and “mental health” anything to herbs, grounding, natural healing, energy work, etc., the whole paradigm shift. After getting off the drugs I was able to do theater, a new skill I had no idea I had in me, then built my practice, then made a couple of films, and then moved to the woods, started a band, live peaceably now and in good health, doing good work in the world with partners, all thanks to God and some wonderfully supportive people in my life who witnessed my healing journey. I went from night to day within a few years and am thriving now, entirely due to this blatant shift I made away from psych drugs and “therapy” after years and years of these.

    And you would not believe the way my healing, work, path, and truth have been invalidated as I very visibly healed and transformed my life. Or maybe you would, I guess, it seems you know what I’m talking about, from what you write here. Not only gaslighting, and very cruel and sabotaging, but I also feel it is delusional, about as far away from truth as one can get because it completely lacks reason and foundation, as well as heart–a rabbit hole of negative projections. Par for the course, which is why I condemn the field.

    The fact that I healed as I did and manifested a new life with tools other than what “mental health, inc.” had to offer–which for me was both medically and socially very profoundly toxic and from which I had to heal, specifically–challenged the beliefs of those around me, and apparently, it is too much truth for some to handle. That’s how I’m seeing it at this point. It is vampiristic, as well as relentless resistance to change. Thank you for calling it out.

  • Of course no offense taken, LavenderSage, we are different spirits and we have different experiences of emotion and how we channel them. I believe that is the diversity of the human experience, on the whole. It’s why, when it comes to healing, one size doesn’t fit all in any respect.

    I do agree that destruction is a step to transformation. My personal preference is to bring light in order to create, and when shadow lights up along the path of creation, it only serves to keep lighting up the path to the new while the old caves in on itself from its own sabotage energy and renders itself obsolete. For me, personally, that is more fulfilling and it’s kind of a catch-all, takes care of everything at once. But I do believe that to allow for the new, the old must be released, or at the very least, transmuted.

    When it comes to social transformation, the way we talk about in here, I believe we each have a role in this, and we end up playing the roles which we are most naturally inclined to play, based on who we are and what we believe, and to where our life path has taken us so far.

    I also believe this is flexible, we can change roles if we want to. Our perspectives can shift drastically during a transformational process.

  • For the record, I am going to disagree with the notion that rage is, BY DEFINITION, blinding. I do see, LavenderSage, that you wrote that for you this is the case, and I know you are not alone in this, but I do not feel this is universal, and I think that’s important to say, for reasons of permission.

    I believe rage can be channeled in a way that is creative only, and neither destructive nor hurtful. Although sometimes the truth might feel painful, initially, but that is not the same as someone deliberately hurting another, in order to avoid their own feelings. When we smart from the truth, healing opportunities are before us.

    I’m not talking about just anger or righteous indignation. I know what rage feels like. The system relentlessly attempted to render me powerless and they were damn stubborn about it. Reason never, ever worked, so I fought and healed my way out of that, but they did not make it easy.

    However, it did lead to my true soul path, so I have gratitude for my experience and see it for what it is. But there is residue from all that crap, as we know. I’ve turned it into my life’s work.

    I’ve also had a process of waking up to sabotage from my own family, which they never got that this was wrong, on their part, they would first, deny, and then, justify it. And even my partner caused me energy-draining grief in many ways. We’ve since worked it out, that took years of deep healing work separately and together, and now we work together in our creative business, in service.

    But these awakenings and the absolute stubborn refusal on the part of abusive vampires to change, even when it is SO OBVIOUS what is going on and clearly what these relationship dynamics are all about, all of that together piled up as a huge fireball of rage in me, and it was under my skin for years, causing minor health issues here and there which were easy to address naturally. But I knew it indicated I still had some leftover energy from all this running around my body, this is insidious energy.

    But my mind was clearing up and my heart was healing, so I never, ever took it out on someone else randomly nor did I ever destroy anything. I was crazy with rage, but never blind. Letting out a scream in a neutral and safe direction feels good to me, but I know what I’m feeling and why, and what I’m wanting to say about it, once I find the words and relax my nervous system a bit.

    I usually know exactly what I want to say that is truthful, but the challenge is finding words that others are willing to hear in a tone of voice which will not intimidate them, and then they have to be willing to look at themselves in the mirror but I don’t have control over that. My job is done once I’ve spoken my truth.

    That can be a helluva challenge, and often quite impossible to be heard, for a lot of reasons. But if I were to get enraged every time this happens, then I am giving away my power. I’ve learned to see it from a different perspective now, as the guides doing their work. There is light on every situation, if you can find it, feel it, and follow that thread. I imagine you know what I mean here, I’ve seen you talk about energy and shields, etc. I work with the guides, part of my process.

  • Yes, it is super easy and by law they cannot refuse. You do have to sign a release, however.

    I called this case manager and said I wanted a copy of my notes, and then went to the front desk where a release had been prepared for me to sign, and they gave me a manila envelope marked “confidential,” with my entire history of case notes.

    When I read them, I realized they showed not only an extreme distortion of me, but also, a whole host of projections coming from this case manager, which explained why I had been feeling so increasingly uncomfortable with him in this weird and murky way, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I just knew he was saying off-base things, and wouldn’t seem to budge when I reflected this back. It was more than merely aggravating, it was rather disorienting.

    When I read the notes, it became clear to me why I was feeling what I was feeling. Those notes were like the scarlet letter “A” of stigma, and only that. I did not see myself in them, but instead, saw the dark heart of this clinician, as well as his delusional version of reality. Unmistakable.

    If someone perceives me inaccurately based on projections (and this is easy to tell, I know myself well enough to tell when I’m being projected onto), then I would say that their entire perceptions of reality and of humanity are distorted. They’re not seeing me, they’re not seeing themselves, so through what filters are these clinicians perceiving people? I believe we all know the answer to that question.

    What garbage. Although it is dangerous and seriously damaging for people–and a rampant practice–which is why I’m talking about this.

  • I don’t know any activists who do not experience rage, and in fact, I believe that when we can focus, that rage is what fuels activism, in general. Activism begins with feelings of powerlessness, which is where I believe the rage originates. This is why we fight back, to regain our power.

    There’s always the option of communicating the rage, using our voice to speak our truth. I think when we are focused and know exactly what is causing us to feel the rage, and when we can take a moment to find the words to express exactly what we’d want to say, opportunities open up for expressing ourselves in a way that feels relieving.

    For example, I’ve used Yelp on several occasions to communicate in hindsight to clinicians and agencies who caused me to feel enraged. The trauma caused by these places and the fact that we’re talking about a closed system makes it tricky, which is why the rage builds up. And more than likely, there is no response to expect.

    Still, it has definitely made me feel better in the long run, because once I say what I wanted to say to the person I wanted to say it to (or I do the best I can in this regard), I definitely feel a release of this, it’s not so intense any longer. I get a lot of clarity after this, and a bit of peace.

    This is the review I left for my last and final “case manager/therapist” before totally leaving the system behind. This was a few years after the fact, given that this kind of post-traumatic stress does take a while to heal so we can find the clarity we need to finally get the picture, the truth of what happened–

    “My experience with “Mission Mental Health” was abysmal and only created further trauma for me, out of sheer frustration with a dishonest, betraying, and backstabbing “case manager/therapist.” Basically, emotionally abusive. I found this out when I requested my case notes, which is everyone’s legal right to do. I highly recommend checking out what your “therapist” is writing down about you, and NOT discussing with you.”

    My intention was for this to ripple and awaken people to their power of having the option to request their case notes, and to hopefully recognize when they are being gaslighted and betrayed, so they can save themselves from all that. I have gotten 1 “useful” vote so far on this review, so at least I know I was heard. My hope is that everyone requests a copy of their notes as one way to take charge of these power-imbalanced clinical relationships.

  • This is a superb article, rings true in every way to me. Thank you for posting this, disequilibrium1. A couple of passages that especially stood out for me:

    “The worst, most damaging bout was group therapy led by a disdainful psychologist and a syrupy psychiatric nurse. Clients were encouraged to bring-your-own-whine, though often answered with bruising dismissals. The nurse announced ‘something about you makes me want to kick you.'”

    So similar to my experience in a group once, many years ago, where a psychotherapist said to a 60-year-old-man (a gentle and wise old soul who identified as “disabled”) complaining about bully abuse and rampant theft in his public housing situation, “Take your meds and don’t make waves.”

    And this–

    “So I’m left to untangle this large knot left by so-called treatments. I feel hoodwinked. I combed professional literature and was dismayed by the denigration of unsuccessful clients and the limited discussion about harmful therapy. We’re labeled resistant, and our dissatisfaction is labeled as transference. Or we’re conflating our internal pain with an external relationship. Or we’re difficult cases who don’t want to change or too unstable to be redeemed. There’s scarce conjecture I reacted sanely to my therapists’ distortions. As I read how therapists are trained to think, attitudes toward difficult cases, and the defensiveness toward official complaints, it’s clear why therapy left me feeling worse.”

    Absolutely correct.

  • Read this satirical yet truthful (in its message) article, which makes a very clear point about gas-lighting from the White House, and you’ll see why lack of trust in others is justified in this day and age.

    Here is a picture of the emperor with no clothes, all his cronies, gatekeepers and minions around him (that he is using only to throw away when they are no longer useful) speaking from their well-practiced scripts. Indeed, it is fiction, but I believe it is based on a powerful and evident truth we are experiencing right now, as so many of us see it.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-shot-michael-cohen-broad-080038116.html

    The good news about all of this, imo, is that it seems the codes have been cracked. We see it, are calling it out, and not taking it anymore. This is the Great Awakening from the ever-illusory “American Dream.” Now we can get real, once and for all.

  • Trauma can compromise our feeling of safety in the world because it creates neural pathways that signal “terror” to the body, based on past time events. Healing trauma means not only coming fully into present time and discovering long suppressed aspects of ourselves, but it also means re-routing neural pathways so that we can discern what is internal vs. that which is external.

    “Is the fear justified or am I reliving trauma?” That is very powerful in depth inner work to be done, and in doing so, the body and mind come to work in synchronicity, rather than split and in conflict with each other. That is where we can feel our power, and where we will know our wisdom, without a doubt. Takes time, patience, and integrity.

    We can know whether or not we are on our path with each step, if we tune into our intuition, above and beyond fear. That is where we find our path to healing and relief, following our emotional signals along the way. Discern as you go, see what happens.

    The only thing I know to trust inherently is my own process and that which is greater than myself, which is where I find my peace and inner guidance. Call it The Universe, God, Source energy, whatever you wish.

    That energy speaks through everyone, we are all aspects of this one collective consciousness. It is up to us to discern when we are being tricked vs. when truth is being revealed. Often, it is the same thing and when this clicks, we are on our power.

    I agree with you. It is hard to trust people. Although I have learned to refrain from judging because one thing I know with certainty is that our society is filled with the walking wounded, and that can make people all sorts of crazy, especially right now, when our country is covered in a haze of toxic smoke–literally and figuratively. This is the time to heal, for one’s own salvation. Our society is crumbling big time. Watch the news lately?

    But I do trust my own sense of truth, that is my intuition. And I can feel this in my body with clarity when I am in synch with myself, following my own truth and no one else’s. Trusting my process.

  • I believe that in the human experience, regardless of who we are or what is our cultural or social identity, accessing our own innate wisdom and making moment to moment choices is how we (in the world) can move forward in any respect. Relying on others for their information creates dependence. Relying on others to do the work on our behalf is equal to giving away one’s power.

    Self-empowerment comes from trusting our own unique path guided by our own unique inner voice. Life brings people together as it does. Trying to manipulate or control others via deceit and misrepresentation (fraud) is how the system was created.

    We access our own wisdom by healing ourselves. I believe everyone has this capacity. It’s just a matter of discovering it. That is what I would call taking the journey of life, growth, and evolution. I can’t think of a single exception to this. I believe it applies to everyone.

  • “I believe there is a certain journey or life mission that we each have. Sometimes it can be hard to even put into words. It can be a complicated mission. If there is any way to access or remember what that soul mission is, and articulate it in some form, even if it is not in words, it can help get some perspective on psychiatric drug withdrawal.”

    Truth! Soul growth, soul mission, soul family–the entire purpose of going through the dark night of the soul, to have our deepest, most creative and fulfilling experience of life. Quite the journey, and not for the faint of heart. This all speaks to me unequivocally. You’ve articulated it beautifully, Chaya, as usual.

    “Having a witness to the soul path can also be hugely beneficial, especially in breaking out of the identified patient role”

    Fwiw, I love following your journey, and this article in particular moved me to tears. Brilliant work, inspiring all the way. Perfect way to start my day, thank you.

    Keep shining your healing light of truth, Chaya. I see it and feel it, truly. What a gift to the world you are, and I mean that most sincerely. You are bringing such healing to the planet. I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg. Really awesome!

  • P.S. This is all I can offer on a limited venue like this. If you really want to learn more in depth about energy and how to apply these principles to healing, either post your contact info (do you have a website?) or feel free to contact me through Steve. He can forward your email to me and I’ll write you back. I do have Skype, if you want to talk face to face. I imagine that would cut through the static we experience in online written communication.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Shaun. Indeed, we are all having our journeys. I’m going to once again cut to the chase here.

    I don’t know if any of this will resonate with you at this point, but it’s the best I can do right now, as far as offering you what I feel might be new information. If it’s not, then I apologize ahead of time for wasting your time. Hopefully, this will be something new for you to chew on, and also hopefully it will ripple to your clients.

    There’s always more, but for starters, this is the core of what I learned in my healing journey–

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the idea of light vs. density, as energy concepts. Light is free flowing and a spectrum of colors, like the rainbow; whereas density is thick and dark, like tar. These are contrasting frequencies of energy, and can even be measured in Hz.

    On a feeling level, it is quite apparent the difference. Light feels good, buoyant, and clear in the body. It is expansive and creative, and translates into feelings of joy and optimism, and our bodies and minds feel unburdened in the light, and our energy flows freely and unencumbered.

    Whereas density feels like worry, fear, doubt, shame, guilt, and intense anxiety in the body. It is constrictive, inhibiting and even undermining to energy flow. The only thing created by this is frustration, chaos, conflict, and self-sabotage.

    There’s really no gray area here, when speaking of energy, it is either one or the other. There is a continuum of frequency, the way there is a continuum of emotion, but it is either in one category or another: light or dense.

    When we talk about healing either individuals or society on the whole (one individual at a time), we are talking about healing density, of transforming it into light. That’s the idea—transformation. This is accomplished by transmuting energy, which is how frequency is raised, and this is what brings relief to our minds and bodies.

    Emotionally speaking, we look to transmute despair into hope, the relief of which is where we feel healing (change) occurring. This is exactly how we alleviate suffering. That is a process, taken one step at a time. Quantum leaps are possible, but they can be rugged. Best to find ease in the flow of healing, which would mean radical self-care and practicing great patience and trust. That, alone, is healing.

    Truth-speaking sheds light on the dark, because truth is light energy. Deception, duplicity, fraud, and corruption are pure density. And think about it—wouldn’t anyone lying, somewhere in their consciousness, feel ‘worried’ about being caught? And wouldn’t their fear be that they would feel shame and humiliation? That is why density is now on the run, people are no longer taking on these projections. The entire country is truth-speaking at this point. Everyone who is aware of it now (and that’s a lot of people during this time of mass awakening) is sick and tired of the lies, deceit and corruption–the density which has been running our world.

    Awakening is not a one-time event. We awaken repeatedly, in layers and over time, because what we’ve absorbed from living and operating in such density as our society has become, is in our cells, and that can take a while to work its way out, depending on one’s healing process.

    Density is what blocks healing (energy flow), so there is paradox here to ascend, which is wonderful consciousness expansion. Not always easy, but highly invaluable to our personal growth and evolution.

    But to feel our own light, aka self-healing power, it is vital we walk our talk. That is synchronicity in the body, and that is what ripples most powerfully and clearly, like a stream of light. Integrity is pure light, in human form.

    Ok, that’s the best I’ve got right now. I hope at least some of it rings true. Take good care of yourself, and all the best to you. And I sincerely mean that.

  • Nancy, I really love your exploration about the diverse advantages and applications of meditation. I’ve had a daily meditation practice for over 15 years now, and it is what helped me most to heal from the various injuries I incurred from the mh system, including temporary brain damage (and other organs) after I withdrew from psych drugs after 20 years. Not to mention, the chronic ruminations caused by too much psychotherapy. I could not shut off my brain, and that is an energy drainer.

    I’ve learned different kinds of meditation over the years, and am trained in chakra meditation, which I learned in a psychic healing program years ago, to see our own energy and work with it in a way that is supportive to our holistic well-being. I believe we are our own healers.

    I have also found it valuable in the process of creating and manifesting. Learning to quiet the mind allows us to hear our higher self/inner guidance/inner healer, so we are not dependent on others and we know our resources at all times.

    I find that daily meditation aligns me in such a way that what I need manifests on my path when I need it. No more feelings of lack or deprivation, but only abundance when we integrate with our spirit energy and higher self awareness. It is a robust feeling like no other I know, and with practice, it can become a constant, no matter what is occurring around us. True serenity, the calm in the storm.

    Although, of course, being human and all, I still most definitely feel and express my emotions, which I value highly, it is the core of our truth. But thanks to meditation, I’ve learned to enjoy my emotions, as creative and guiding tools, rather than to feel overwhelmed by them or self-conscious for expressing them. Much in opposition to what I feel the system doles out, there is absolutely no shame in having emotions! In fact, we would not be human without them.

    Thank you for your beautiful testimonial, which I’ll repost here because I believe it bears repeating–

    “Meditation it is not merely about watching your breath. There is so much depth to it than that – for example, meditation enables you to get to know your own mind (i.e., to develop self-knowledge), and to cultivate wisdom. Also, when we practice meditation, we are able to understand how we are attempting to find happiness through mere autopilot striving and reacting to stimuli, as well as the difference between hedonic happiness (which involves short term happiness that come from fulfilling sensory pleasures) and eudemonic happiness (which is about cultivating contentment and wisdom).
    Also, in contrast to what you say, meditation is not about ‘instant nirvana’ – it is a slow process of gradually cultivating understanding.”

  • “Seems to me you might feel this way because I haven’t concluded like you have that the system needs to be abolished” is yet another projection because I’m not trying to convince you of anything, but more so, to hear what I am saying in the moment and to treat my perspective and information with respect rather than saying things like “you obviously don’t understand…” yadayada, which implies I don’t know what I’m talking about, when in fact, I most certainly do! Otherwise, my journey was completely meaningless and useless, which is neither truth, nor acceptable to me. In this venue of all venues, the voice of experience should most definitely be respected, and not dismissed. This is exactly what we’re trying to reverse, right here.

    Yes, I am saying the system is getting worse, because it is increasingly apparent that it cannot take the feedback it needs to hear. It has been a failure for a long time, people have been saying this and with plenty of evidence and powerful testimonials, and it keeps trying to chug along, draining us all along the way.

    Money for this research and that research and all this stuff that we already know, all for grant money. I think it’s a bad investment because it does not serve those who it needs to serve–the clients. It only serves to make academics richer, which is what drives the system.

    ALL about money, at everyone else’s expense. Because most of this research is meaningless and trickles down to nowhere. Fat cats getting fatter.

    So yes, you read me correctly here: it is abysmal, from my perspective, and failing society terribly, on the whole.

    What we are talking about here is so, so, so much bigger than merely introducing a new “treatment option” or “healing modality.” We’re talking about systemic abuse, marginalizing perspectives and practices, and the head-scratching and maddening legality of it all. This involves other entities (all part of the “bigger system,” so to speak), all of which collude against the human heart and spirit, for their own gain and profit.

    I believe by now, this is evident to most people on the planet. Certainly outside of the very small bubble of the mh industry, this is common knowledge.

    Are you aware of how the mh industry is not in the slightest representative of how most people perceive reality? It is in a world unto itself, and most people whom I know realize this already! Even before I tell them my story. They’re not terribly surprised when I express my disdain for the mh and social services systems, and at that same time, they are aghast when they hear my story, go figure.

    And that is a reasonable response, it is a ghastly experience to be subjected to this kind of inhuman treatment!

    The mh industry is, to such a large degree, “horror stories from the mh industrial crypt,” and that can be truly mind-boggling to the everyday person, to hear the details of how this occurs. So we all know to avoid it at all cost.

    As you and I have agreed, healing is available in many forms and fashions. There are myriad ways to *tap* into the unconscious in order to unearth trauma and shift the energy of it, for relief and clarity. But in the context of “the system,” any modality of healing is sorely compromised by the bigger picture of systemic corruption.

    “What information am I missing? You imply that I’m ignorant of something. It seems to me you might feel this way because I haven’t concluded like you have that the system needs to be abolished.”

    You are drawing a false conclusion here, and that is the third blatant projection I am seeing in this dialogue, which is exactly what I’m talking about when I criticize psychotherapy and suggest it needs to be accompanied by a warning–it’s just way too easy and second nature to do this, until we make it a point to see it in ourselves before we unwittingly project it onto others. That can confuse and disorient a client faster and more profoundly than anything, leading to all sorts of chronic rumination and post traumatic stress.

    I do believe, however, that you are missing information, and from my experience, you don’t want to hear that. Ok, go forth, and tomorrow you might see that today, you were, indeed, missing information!

    We’re all ignorant about that which we have yet to learn, you’re not alone. Same applies to me. I do think I have a much broader perspective than you do around these issues. Again, maybe I’m wrong, but that is my feeling, based on these dialogues. You’ve never been on the inside of it, to my knowledge, so you would indeed be missing that information. The information of truth comes from experience, not outside observation.

    No reason to be “offended” if you feel ignorant, that is a neutral quality we all share, until we learn that about which we’ve been ignorant. To me, that is the essence of humility.

    And thank you, as well, I feel complete here, and at peace with it all. Keep going!

  • ” It makes me think you don’t understand EMDR or it’s philosophy.”

    Ok, first of all, let me tag that as a projection. I certainly do understand Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and I also know it’s been around for a long time. I know people who have benefitted from it, starting in the late 90s.

    “you seriously think that changes like offering EMDR is a sign that the system is getting worse? Please, I don’t get that logic at all.”

    What I find illogical here is yet another projection you make. I never said that the EMDR is a sign that the system is getting worse; those “signs” are in society and the overwhelming negative feedback the system gets. EMDR is separate from this issue. Your harping on it the way you do does not equal the power of change.

    “I tend to fall on the side that we’ve done some good but also a lot of harm.”

    If people feel the system has done them good, more power to them. The fact that it’s done “a lot of harm” is the dominant perspective here. So, I’d say “enter at your own risk” would be an appropriate phrase.

    We’d also need official warnings posted in every therapist’s office, too, if we are to offer informed consent: “psychotherapy may cause suicidal feelings and post traumatic stress.” Because that is absolutely true. Maybe not in all cases, but in a lot of cases this has already proven to be accurate, and people have the right to know this.

    Shaun, I sincerely and with my heart applaud your efforts to bring relief and clarity to your clients. Perhaps in your community, you are progressive and conscientious, and so therefore you can help bring about change for the good of everyone concerned. I can’t say one way or another. But I’d cheer you on in that process, while honestly reflecting back where I feel you are missing information. That would be up to you to either take to heart what I say or dismiss it. Your choice, your reality.

    Right now, I’d say keep going and keep an open mind. You’ll discover interesting and perhaps eye-opening things on a daily basis. Life will teach you what you are meant to learn, as it does with us all. I’m sure of it.

  • “I’ll just point out that if the DSM and drugs weren’t in the picture, there is no way we’d be in this mess with iatrogenic effects, dehumanization, and pathologizing human suffering.”

    But they are in the picture at present, and you are talking to someone who experienced all of this first hand. This is from where I am getting my truth about it. That, and having been on your side of things, too. I am familiar with both perspectives, from a first person point of view, and my truth comes from having integrated both perspectives of my experience. I feel this gives me a very broad perspective.

    Not only has this been my direct experience, all that you mention here re DSM and psych drugs, but I got out of all this a while back and have been processing through it for clarity and very deep information for years, and with others, and I call the result of this “my truth.” You can assess it as you wish, and hopefully not project anything further onto my experience, although I have no control over that. Although I do inherently have the power to not take it on. That is my choice, and I am not in any way dependent on you, not even on your opinion. That is simply the truth of the matter.

    I hear you that you feel EMDR is a viable healing tool, and I’m not arguing with that. I’ve said this twice, already, and very clearly and directly. But I seriously doubt it’s going to save the system. Still, if it helps clients, then go for it, is all else I’ll say about that.

    The framework of the DSM and the systemic dependence on psych drugs as a tool for anything are SYMPTOMS of a much deeper issue at hand, a societal issue amounting to oppression and control, and it is not only misleading, it is also downright fraudulent to call this “healing” or “support” of any kind. I believe this begins with specific personalities who are drawn to this field.

    Yes, people want to help others, and that’s fine. But I think they discover something about themselves when they come face to face with clients, and that’s when the denial, projections, and dysfunctional power-imbalanced relationship dynamic begins. The abuse can be subtle and insidious on this level, and it can go on for a while before a client realizes they are being gaslighted and manipulated, to line the pocket book and feed the ego needs of the clinician. That is so common in this field!

    Thousands and thousands of testimonials have corroborated this. Are you going to dismiss them all as merely “subjective?” They still have the power of truth and experience behind them. Put them all together and you get a very clear picture of something terribly amiss here that goes beyond DSM and psych drugs.

    And THAT is where therapy can be extremely dangerous and most harmful to unsuspecting clients.

    “The system in some ways is changing for the better.”

    I totally disagree with this, I believe it is getting worse. I’ve seen “changes” happen that, in reality, amount to more of the same. These are illusions to appease funders. And funding groups change their mind and focus all the time, arbitrarily, and no one is going to stand up to funders and go against their bread & butter. This is why, in reality and despite the pretense of change, nothing ever gets done.

    There are increasingly more and more and more and more socially, financially, and professionally disenfranchised people every day, just look around. I believe this is the product of your “system,” which you defend on some level.

    Again, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, and wait until history tells the story in hindsight. But, at this time, I do wholeheartedly and in my gut completely believe the reality I am putting forth about this. I’m fine with being wrong about it, and I would applaud anyone who actually FIXES this system.

    However, I do believe I am right and speaking truth here, and I honestly do not believe that the system can be fixed, in any way shape or form, because it is already a black hole. It is sabotaging itself bit by bit, day by day, as is the case with toxic systems. They eventually self-destruct, their own shadow turning against them because it is never owned. We’ll see how this unfolds…

  • “We need a paradigm shift…”

    Yes, we do. And I believe it is a much broader and core shift than what you are describing.

    I agree that we are all fragile and vulnerable, and at the same time, we are all resilient and powerful. That is what I call “being abundantly human.” This is how we grow and integrate as we go along in life, exercising all sides of ourselves, hiding from nothing about who we really are. That is the exploration of our spirit, the journey of life, as I see it.

    And I also believe that what we manifest for ourselves along the way is the precise reflection of how we are doing in this regard, where we can validate ourselves and where we can learn and grow. This is how life mirrors us, and we can use that mirroring as our most powerful guidance and tool for growth. Or, we can simply blame life or others for our plight, and see what manifests from that. It is a choice we all make from moment to moment, involving trial and error. Again, that’s life.

    Personally, however, I’d stay far away from any of these systems–mh system, social services, the entire mh industrial complex–for the purpose of achieving healing, personal growth and spirit/body/mind integration, and I know you already know I feel this way. But I’m happy to reiterate it.

    From my experience in the system and also working with social workers in a teaching capacity (I’ve given workshops to social workers et al), I believe wholeheartedly and with certainty that they lack the training and perspective necessary for holding a safe space for growth and healing. Being loyal to the system will simply not allow it, so it is stressful to all concerned.

    I believe the agenda in the system and all that world is entirely different, at the core, has nothing to do with healing and rehabilitation, and it is of course virtually always denied that this is the case. Of course it would, that is the essence of “corruption.” I see it as blatant criminal fraud.

    Again, it’s why I call it “toxic,” most accurate word I can think of to describe such a system so stuck in its own self-aggrandized delusions, and claiming it can help others in their quest for clarity and well-being.

    You are certainly free to disagree with me, based on YOUR experience, if that is what you feel. And from your posts and our previous dialogues, it seems that we are simply not in agreement here, because you seem to insist that the system/field can be reformed, and I’m saying it is beyond repair and doing way more harm than good, in any respect, way beyond the issues of DSM and psych drugs. I believe it is philosophically misguided and vampiring society at large.

    If we are not in agreement here, and I imagine we are not, then we’d just have to agree to disagree, and I’m ok with that.

  • “The larger truth is that -all- of mental health, inc. is often (usually) damaging, sometimes to the point of death.”

    Yes, I agree that this is the larger truth. The mh industry has proven to be extremely dangerous and even fatal for way too many people for it to have any credibility as “well-being support services.” I perceive it to be a colossal failure, and sabotaging to individuals and society on the whole. And we’re paying for it big time.

    There are many paths to true and authentic healing available in the world already that have absolutely nothing to do with the academic study of “psychology,” which, in the end, is merely a thinly veiled exercise in creating nothing more than holograms and illusions to serve a few unenlightened greedy and power-drunk self-proclaimed so-called “elite” groups, at the extreme expense of everyone else.

  • Stephen, what do you do when you witness this peer-to-client abuse? Wouldn’t you be mandated to report this? Or any abuse, for that matter?

    I’m very curious because it would seem that reporting in-house abuse would be a powerful strategy against it. I know that there are all sorts of resistances to abuse claims in the system, and I’m also aware that this kind of reporting could lead to consequences in a toxic system. But that resistance has to be broken down somehow. Otherwise, the abuse perpetuates.

    It’s hard enough for abuse victims to get their voices heard, but when teamed up with a witness, that can make all the difference.

  • This is really beautiful feedback, Mike, thank you for your kind words, and also for writing about the life force power of creativity as you do.

    My belief is that life is creativity and creativity is life. We’re all creative beings; we can’t help it, it is our nature. The only thing created by stifling creativity is suffering.

    Yes, you get my meaning perfectly, talking about Rollo May’s perspective. This is my belief as well.

  • From my perspective it is common anywhere within the bubble of the “mh” industry, and I believe it is a core systemic issue. Has to do with how we communicate in relationship to others.

    The ability to communicate directly, clearly, authentically, sensitively, and universally respectfully–which also includes how we listen to and take in the truth of another–is vital to therapeutic relationships. These are relationship dynamics which are necessary to do the job effectively, if any healing is to occur as the result of this relationship. In my experience, clinicians who have this ability are needles in a haystack, and that concerns me as far as the overall industry goes, where I just don’t see change happening, regardless of anything. Which is why I bring it up. This doesn’t come from education or training or supervision, but more from personal heart instincts, just knowing inherently how to treat others. Some people have a knack for it, others do not. I believe that is fair and neutral to say, like with any skill.

    But a clinician who does not have this kind of communication and relationship skill, and who believes he/she does, can be very dangerous to an unsuspecting client! I believe this goes without saying, it stands to reason. And I believe there are a lot out there who fit this description, we talk all the time on here about this. Not being able to take feedback and getting defensive about it is quite common, I believe we all agree on this from experience, and it is a powerful tell in this regard. That’s a huge problem!

    Regarding what takes place on here, you may not perceive it as I do–as has been my experience with moderators here in the past–so I’ll let you make that judgment call. I’m not an overseer here, that takes a lot of energy and you’d have to pay me to do something like that.

    But instead, I’m merely a volunteer participant, here simply to speak my truth in hopes of inspiring what I’d consider to be positive change, where everyone has the opportunity to know and feel their power, and not just a select few. No other agenda.

  • Fred, I don’t think it’s a matter of convincing the so-called “powers that be,” because when it comes to embodying the truth of our experience, WE are the true and real powers that be! We’ve already exercised our right to heal and the power to create change within ourselves and in our lives. These changes are still rippling.

    I think where folks like you, me, and others on here who have taken the journey and managed to beat the system, can make the most difference in the world is to own our power. If there is one thing I’m certain of, we know a very specific kind of truth, one that comes from traversing the shadows of society from a first person point of view, and surviving it to come out on the other side. It is life-changing and it shifts our perspective on just about everything.

    As we know, this very strange through-the-looking-glass trip inside “the madness of the so-called ‘mental health’ system” is a journey like no other. Lots of jewels to mine from that particular excursion through the dark night. We can share these with our own voices. I believe that’s where the power of our truth has maximum impact, because it is heartfelt and authentic. We are walking our talk.

    Everyone has their own brand of madness with which to contend, I believe no one is immune to this. Some have managed to put it off for a while by sloughing it off onto others, but I truly believe that day is coming to an end. I no longer take it on for others, and for me, that is radical change.

  • Yes, Mike and Julie, that is exactly my point. Psychiatry sabotages people–physically, emotionally, spiritually, and creatively. It is not only criminal to the individuals, but it is a crime against humanity because we need artists’ creative light more than ever now!

    I do think you’re right, Mike, a lot of envy and jealousy here for the permission and spiritual freedom which artists can embody.

    But also, I think, an artist who is grounded and who knows their center can create circles around the system, and I believe that is very threatening to the system, which shows absolutely no creativity. I find it to be rather a black hole in this regard, I’ve witnessed this in action repeatedly. It is much too rigid, authoritarian, and hierarchical. “By the book” seems to be the motto, at the very least, and that is no way to help people, but more so, to oppress them.

    I was on the drugs for 20 years and out in the world functioning, although not nearly living up to my potential. I was reasonably happy as a retail clerk-to-manager, earned a living and enjoyed life (albeit with drugs side effects and constant blood draws, dependence on therapy, etc., always paying into the system for “maintenance”) and I got a couple of degrees in the process. But the drugs wore me down over the years until I imploded from them.

    Once I was off of them for a while and healing from all that, far and away from psychiatry, suddenly, thanks to volunteer work I was doing and being in the right place at the right time, I was acting and singing on stage (never had done that before, I was in my mid 40s, getting good reviews and paid work for this), then I made a film, then a piano came into my life and I have a band for which I accompany and musically direct, and then I made another film. All I do now is create, that’s my life.

    It was hard core change for me, in mid-life, simply from coming off all those years of neurotoxins. My life literally became a burst of creativity. That’s my testimonial against neurotoxins, hard and fast.

  • That is a wonderful insight, Julie, and I agree with you in perspective and in feeling.

    Look at Oprah, she’s been completely open about her abusive childhood in a way that has helped so many people. And she’s been highly rewarded for it. Personally, I think it’s just, and I happen to believe that she is probably the one and only person I can think of who I’d consider fit for the office of POTUS, were she to decide to take on that challenge. She has her critics and no one is perfect, but overall, that is what I mean by personal transformation leading to important world change. She’d be my best public example.

    A lot of people have spring-boarded to success thanks to their hard knocks. When we make it a point to go in the other direction, we find our path.

    I just don’t think people have to necessarily suffer in the process of finding their success simply because other people resent or resist it, for whatever reason, competition or otherwise.

    That’s where I would turn the tables because sabotage of others is what I consider to be a “dark and evil” force in humanity. When we sabotage others, we only end up sabotaging ourselves. I truly believe it works that way.

  • Oh yeah–and the main way in which it is preserving the status quo, from my perspective, is by mimicking its systemic bullying practices. I believe I’ve seen other pubic grievances about this, although admittedly, this would be from my personal perspective and experience. I’ve complained about it directly to staff in the past, and in this public forum–not just on my own behalf, but because I believe I’ve witnessed this repeatedly in response to others. Naturally, I get a lot of resistance to this claim, but that is par for the course in activism. I still have the right to use my voice to speak my truth, and I believe I am being reasonable about it.

    Still, how to measure the accuracy of such a statement is not something I’d know how to do, and whether or not others would agree or argue with me about this is up for grabs, although in the past, I have been at odds with this community in regards to this issue . And I think it is kind of a public consensus type thing, because I believe that this kind of measure is often based on cultural norms, and this is a multi-cultural website in many respects.

    But given that this is a website of and for activists, I’d say it is a reasonable issue to at least bring up, and most relevant to “rethinking psychiatry.” And then let the truth, whatever it be, reveal itself. To me, that is sound and fair activism.

  • I am doing just that, vanilla. I do have a group which is exactly about that, and we’re doing it. I’ve been doing this work for a long time, and I’ve been succeeding at it little by little, changing myself, my life, helping others around me make changes within themselves and in their own lives. Not changes *I* think they should make, these are people who have the courage to make change in their own lives, not expect others around them to change on their behalf. I work with people looking to grow, the way I grow and change as I go.

    It all started with healing from what I went through in the system, and it’s rippling outward.

    As far as this not being my website, therefore who am I to have voice here regarding how things are run? Well, MIA put out a survey and then made this post, and I think the idea was for everyone to voice their perspective so that MIA can take the feedback and process it so that they can grow. That seems ok to me.

    My feedback to MIA is that I feel they are, in essence, preserving the status quo, despite the rhetoric. That’s what I think, and I wanted to put it on the table while they’re looking at the direction of MIA.

    My perspective and belief is that the only real and true agents of social change are the individuals who change and transform themselves. That is what healing is all about– change, by example. I agree with you–in what I remember reading in another post by you, I believe–that we needn’t be victims. Instead, we can use our experience to create change.

    I also agree with you that we should tend to our own gardens before throwing manure onto the garden of others. Although I have to say, you seem to be extremely critical of others. I hope you find your peace.

  • I’m referring to the survivor *perspective* which I feel takes a back seat to a “professional’s” point of view. That’s “the psychiatric survivor voice” I’m talking about, which I definitely feel gets overpowered here, the way it does in any session of dialogue with mh professionals and the like. For the most part, dialogue seems to degenerate into projections and defensiveness at best, on the part of the clinician, and at worst, gaslighting and other disorienting and energy-sucking mind games become the modus operandi for keeping truth at bay.

    I don’t see how this is either beneficial or productive in any way, other than, perhaps, for the vampiristic personality (extremely oppressive and double-binding, which is what we’re talking about here), but that can only be in the short term. In the long run, everyone loses in this dynamic–hence, the world dominated by any of these highly oppressive and draining “systems” coming apart at the seams, as it is.

  • Powerful, brilliant, and spot on, Fred. Thanks for expanding clarity here.

    Yes, what is intended as deep personal info to share for the benefit of one’s own healing and clarity, and also to benefit humanity with the clarity of our experience, turns sinister as instead, this info is used against the one generously and trustingly sharing their most challenging experiences and feelings. That is exactly the norm of psychiatry, and it is dangerous for people. To me, that’s the bottom line–in more ways than one!

  • Oh, one last thing for now, this was on my mind when I first read the article, but obviously not my priority focus here. Still, this made me LOL at first, from the ironic choice of words–

    “anything sounding like “Black people do X” or “White people are always Y” or “gay people suck”…”

    And then I did a second take and wondered why you would use X and Y for Black/White people and then a specific word like “suck” as the example for gay people, of ALL possible words! I’m very surprised that no one noticed this, with all those editors. You are all wordsmiths. We discuss so much about language, this one would seem obvious to me.

    The standard false rationale for homophobia, btw, is that we’re “immoral,” or some such projected judgment.

  • Steve, as a survivor, in every sense of the word, of the “mental health” industrial complex, I do want to say that I very much appreciate your discussion of showing sensitivity to the unique kind of trauma which survivors of the system, and of very poor and misguided (often toxic) “treatment,” have experienced–basically amounting to being “treated” badly, in a dehumanized and betraying way, simply from having some kind of diagnosis or because of socio-economic status, whatever. I’ll call it society’s collective prejudice.

    I also want to point out that, for me at least, when I share my very personal experience, it is never to hear anything like “I’m sorry you went through that,” or “that is just your experience.” I know for me, and I’d imagine for others, we are attempting to share information from the perspective of our first hand experience. I often feel these personal perspectives and insights from our own experience are dismissed in favor of some “professional opinion,” which feels dehumanizing all over again–and rather abusive, to be honest, from my perspective. I believe it is part of the systemic problem.

    Plus, I feel our personal stories–however and wherever we share them–are the most powerful and truthful perspectives BECAUSE they are based on our own experience, and not an interpretation created solely from the point of view of observing others. I believe this is where a lot of personal conflict and hard feeling happens, not to mention re-traumatization. Certainly doesn’t lead to clarity. Observation is what leads to projection, and false stigmatizing realities. The power here is in the experience, I truly believe. I also believe that this should be respected more than it is.

    I’ve experienced it on here and I’ve seen it repeatedly in dialogues, where a professional who has never experienced this particular journey of mh system survivorship–e.g., detoxing from heavy doses of neurotoxins, discriminatory oppression and marginalization, or altered states of consciousness which puts one at odds with society–will project in a way that feels demeaning all over again. It’s kind of standard procedure from what I’ve noticed. They may not even intend to, but it’s an automatic response, and I feel it merits mention because I believe people should be aware of this.

    At the same time, I’ve called out what I perceived and felt as abuse, only to be responded with, “I don’t see any abuse happening here,” which I think is pretty dicey, especially in a community like this. Reality check is one thing, but invalidating a person’s experience when they are triggered like that is downright dangerous, I firmly believe. I also believe it is cruel.

    Those of us who have gone through these experiences, and who have sorted and sifted through it all over the years, healing as we go, have information that is extremely valuable to humanity. We’ve walked the underbelly of our society, and we lived to tell about it. I know that I, at least, want to own and deliver it myself, not feed it to “those in power” so “they” can do something about it. That is exactly feeding the system and giving away our power–exactly what we want to reverse.

    I’m sure there is room for dialogue here and I know it’s all a delicate balance. We’re all human beings deserving of respect, regardless of how we identify in life. To me, it seems that even while wanting to be sensitive, there still seems to me to be a general lack of respect for survivorship here–which to me, would make it no different than the system, itself.

    This is where I’m looking for something new in these dialogues, that would really get across the value of having gone through it, rather than all this projection of “what it must feel like.” Some of us know EXACTLY what if feels like, no projections necessary! And we know exactly what we’re talking about.

    More than sensitivity, I’d like to ask for respect for my experiences. That would be positive change!

  • “They always win no matter what.”

    Well stated and to the point. Many of those who work in this field have mastered the art of “intellectual bullying,” which is insidious. It’s also dizzying, draining, quite maddening, and leads to nowhere but discouragement, frustration, and feelings of hopelessness that mutually respectful communication can ever take place here.

    Too much of that is crazy-making, and why I now feel reform of the “mental health industry” is, without a doubt, impossible. Rigid, rigid, rigid–with occasional pretenses of change, which are, in reality, merely thinly disguised infusions of more status quo. That’s its failure.

  • Of course, and I appreciate the vote of confidence. I’m sure I won’t be the only one 🙂 You seem to be fully aware of the process before you, and the challenges therein, so I’d say you’re off to a good start. Plus, you have tons of support, that is obvious.

    You’ve set some strong and well-defined boundaries which will no doubt be challenged. I think that will be the teaching and growth opportunities for all concerned, and from which deeper clarity will come. That’s where I find it most interesting because that is where the most visible energy is, the juice! Where creativity happens–that is, change.

    At this point, I’d say to someone at the stage where you are, “Trust your guidance!” Your well-honed skills will carry you through, I’ve no doubt.

  • Not at all, because I don’t know what I’d be skeptical about in this case. You’re a smart guy and you’ve been around the block, so I would imagine you are a capable moderator.

    Although the new thing here is having someone so vocal in the comments and also moderating. That’s never happened here before, and it’s interesting. As always, time will tell how you and others experience this new shift. As far as predicting anything, I feel neutral right now, overall, like I do any new thing. Wait to see how it goes.

    What is up in the air right now, in general, is the direction of MIA, and that has a lot to do with the changes coming from the survey results, too. It’s all part of the same stew at this point. I’m looking at the general overall trend of MIA right now. It is turning a corner, and we’re all wondering to where it will lead.

    *Fascinated* would be the accurate word to describe my feelings here. I observe the movement of energy. This is a big energy shift and it will cause ripples, always does because that is the nature of energy.

    I LOVE change, I really do. In fact, I live for it and I embody it. I believe it is the one thing that is constant, change is always occurring on an energetic level. So when it manifests physically like this, many “aha’s” come to light, and we see what happens next. It’s so cool! Keeps me in awe.

    I also teach about the process of change and I support that process wholeheartedly and hold a space for it, and always with fascination. It is where creativity is most supremely rich.

  • Hi James. I appreciate what you are saying here via that quote, but I think this is missing the point of “change” in this regard, at least the way I’m seeing it.

    I put that quote by DJT for a reason, because I think it is the same thing. We’re talking about oppression here, severe power imbalance. I believe MIA continues to perpetuate this, rather than to remedy it.

    I’ve been posting here for 6 years and have had many interactions with staff over the years, including several exchanges with Mr. Whitaker, to whom I voiced my concerns repeatedly. I experienced a lot of stonewalling and dismissiveness, in the exact same fashion I experienced going through the “mental health” system over a decade ago. Still, I continued to participate here because there was value for me in doing so, and at least some others seemed to appreciate it, from what I’ve heard.

    The systemic dynamic on MIA has been my greatest concern, and when I saw that at least some readers want to hear less from survivors and more from professionals, that was enough to convince me with certainty MIA is not really the agent of social change I am seeking because I do not believe it is an example of it. For me, this is where MIA is limited, and eventually runs out of credibility.

    I have gotten value from interacting here, but at the same time, it’s been stressful in the exact same way the system was stressful for me. So you see? No change here. I know where I feel freedom and I know where I feel oppression. These are easy to discern if I am feeling my feelings. Best regards.

  • “…others preferred less of these [personal accounts] but more from professionals.”

    This is interesting. So this is a place where at least some people (gosh, I wonder who) do not want to hear the survivor’s voice. I had already pretty much gotten that feeling, and to see it spelled out like this is actually validating my feeling. It is a very oppressive feeling to have one’s voice dismissed and disregarded. It’s what we come here to talk about, where change is needed most.

    I do appreciate knowing this with certainty now, seeing it spelled out in writing.

    Ok, thank you for letting me know! All the best in your crusade for “change.”

    “There are very fine people on both sides.” Donald J. Trump, re Supremacists vs. Protestors

  • “Mania” = lack of grounding. That’s it. Many issues can arise when we are not grounded, everything from poor judgment to adrenal exhaustion to self-sabotage. Our circuitry can run wild when we are not grounded. Same as with any electrical appliance, which also needs to be grounded in order to function properly and not short circuit.

    Learning to ground to the Earth is a profoundly healing practice, and soothing on all levels mind, body, and spirit. Extremely calming to the mind, too. Gets us centered.

  • “I don’t think posting on MIA is going to change much.”

    Yes, I agree. For me, it’s been another leg in my journey of truth-seeking. Interacting on here around these issues with such a diversely thinking and cross-cultural group has been of great value to me, personally. In that sense, it has led to some change because it influences my work and my humanity. My communication has shifted on many levels thanks to these dialogues.

    But you’re right, it is limited for a variety of different reasons, mostly because of what I said regarding the same old paradigm. I really do think that “be the change” is the way to go. I believe that this is energetically sound, and truth to the core.

    “I think the best way for all of us to change the system is by advocating for change at the levels of power that can actually make a systemic difference.”

    Not sure this is “the best way,” and I believe you are leaving out a lot of people and denying them their power. We all have the power to make change on some level, and again, I think that’s elementary. What you are saying is that people should give their power to those already in power. Noooooo friggin’ way is that sound, and it totally supports and feeds power imbalance. Isn’t that obvious to you?

    There are many aspects to change, each one having its own value. That’s important to keep in mind, considering that we’re talking about inclusion vs. exclusion, and the psychosocial effects thereof.

    “We do need to reeducate the world when it comes to “mental illness”, as clearly people have been told lies.”

    Yeah, we do the best we can here, but we also have diverse interpretations and perspectives of what this is, like nothing else before which has been vehemently disagreed upon. Furthermore, around here and in the system, people seem to favor the explanations of those who have not experienced it, as opposed to those of us with first hand experience of this phenomena. Makes no sense to me at all, and basically creates a false reality filled with delusionary thinking. When I say toxic, I mean toxic.

    People have their own truth to live and journeys to take. We all awaken at different levels, life leads us there one way or another, by hook or by crook. There are as many paths to awakening to truth as there are people on the planet. Each one is unique. We make it easier on ourselves when we accept inevitable change, and furthermore, embrace it.

    Why not at least agree that we’re all unique, and no more projections onto that? Then, perhaps, we can start appreciating differences rather than being intimidated by them, and therefore scapegoating them.

    Of course, we have to be ok with ourselves, first, or we will inevitably resort to projecting, othering, stigmatizing, marginalizing, etc. It’s not human nature to do so, but it would be the nature of a sick society. Let’s not get too well adjusted to that, you know what they say about being well-adjusted to a sick society…

    Be well, too, Shaun. Always an adventure exploring the energy with you. I appreciate your authenticity and courage.

  • Shaun, I have to be honest here. My wish is not to fight and argue. I do not want to go point by point because this is not how I desire to dialogue. To my mind, it does not serve other than to agitate and create even more static in the communication. There is a lot of energy here to wade through, and I try to just cut to the chase.

    I did not respond to EMDR in the above post because I already said in a previous dialogue not too long ago that I’ve heard good things about EMDR and I would never argue for whatever works for a person. Even someone on the psych drugs who feels helped by them I would not argue with, nor would I put my story in their face.

    I would instead respect their decision they make for themselves and were they to ever want to hear about my experience because they are starting to question things, I’d gladly offer it. EMDR is fine with me, but I certainly don’t think it’s the be all end all in any respect, if there even is such a thing which I doubt. Still, it’s a good tool for some.

    At this point, given that you work with people in what you feel is a healing capacity, I’d only be interested in dialoguing about what best helps people in their quest for relief from chronic suffering and a feeling of justice in the world. Arguing like this will never accomplish this, and will only create more of the same. For many, it only recreates trauma, and that’s something I know well enough about to not feed, at least not consciously.

    I’ve been where you are, in that same mindset. What I went through changed my beliefs because I took the journey, filled with all sorts of archetypes and “hallucinations” (as you would put it), and also what you would call “psychosis,” and it was profound and I was not silent in this. It lasted for a few years and I never recoiled from society, although I felt as though I was walking around in a glass booth, visibly sweating from anxiety all the time–literally, day and night. I was detoxing profusely, and it was obvious. Yet totally benign to others. I was always respectful of boundaries, what you would call “meek,” during this time. I walked around terrified, to use your word. But determined to heal and get back my self-respect.

    I was withdrawn in a way, and reaching out in another way, with my heart. The results were more than fascinating and telling, how people responded to differences, even to someone who was obviously suffering, and trying desperately to heal.

    I’d go nuts trying to get this across to you, were I to be sitting in your office. I’d feel so terribly invalidated and invisible, and ultimately drained. Same results as with the others.

    Fortunately, I can turn off my computer and get back to my physical reality, which I enjoy a great deal these days. Engaging in these same issues at a conflict level only takes me back to all that crap I’m trying to leave behind.

    From your responses to me and in other dialogues I’ve read, I’d say you are not sensitive to those of us who were wounded and harmed by the system. You are not hearing our hearts. Fortunately, we’re not depending on that, but I think that’s why you are experiencing the friction as you are. This is what happens when a therapist is not hearing a person’s heart, but instead, is reinterpreting the information in a way that is putting you on the defensive, rather than seeking truth. Can’t do both at the same time.

    This is how being an activist is a conundrum for me. I believe this is important, but I also believe it may compromise our health and well-being to be constantly arguing, when people really are suffering daily. I don’t see how this is helping one bit.

    This is what I call “therapy brain.” It overworks us to the point of draining our energies, and it can trigger things like trauma and psychosis. It’s exactly why I’m not a fan.

    Just trying to make my point as clearly as I can. Again, it’s really nothing personal, but this dialogue is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. At least for me, it makes my point.

  • “I’m glad to hear that you admit you are generalizing. I get that your experiences fit a certain perspective, but it doesn’t mean that the field on the whole fits your experience.”

    No kidding. And yet, have you read the thousands upon thousands of testimonials which talk about how therapy screwed them up and how so-called “mental health” services failed them unequivocally? How it robbed them of money, family, quality of life? It’s online all over the place, starting here on MIA.

    Do you think it’s just the drugs? Or just the DSM? There are actually people behind all of this.

    Whoever is not an abuser in a dysfunctional system is an enabler. A professional field with this much controversy and resistance and suicide in the midst of it is seriously suspect. In my 57 years on this planet, I’ve never seen such a friggin’ mess like this field is. You can defend it all you like, but it will not change the reality that this “mental health” industry has failed. How can it bring health & well-being to people when the field itself is so incredibly unhealthy? That follows no logic, and I believe it is a given by now. I’m certainly not the only person in this world who feels the mh system is toxic waste.

    The sooner one faces reality, the easier and more fluidly change will occur.

  • “We don’t live in a world which embraces different experiences like “psychosis”. We are too often pushed in a direction of conformity.”

    So? Doesn’t mean we can’t muster the courage to be different. Change certainly won’t occur from conforming. What is activism, if not going against social oppression? Which is what “pushed in the direction of conformity” is, spot on. How about we *not* conform, and see what happens. Keep trying. The strongest willed will pave the way and break ground, making it easier for others.

    “Most of the people I see who fit this experience of psychosis are folks who are hearing derogatory voices, fear that the government is harassing them, thinking their house is bugged, and so forth. These folks are disturbed by their experiences and it’s been difficult for them or myself to see how it is “transformative” in any sense. Unless you consider terror transformative.”

    I went through this exactly, verbatim. And I know exactly what it was, it was the moment I began to withdraw from neurotoxins. I got over it eventually, with good healing.

    But not before I was TERRORIZED by some very cruel therapists–from PsyDocs to Psychiatrists to LCSWs to MFTs, you name it, and I’m not joking about that. I had to heal from that, too, which was way more complex, tricky, and intricate than healing from drugs toxicity.

    Healing from social abuse is very hard, but it’s doable. However, not while being in an environment which casts such negative projections, as a rule, thinking it’s neutral. It’s not neutral, it’s demeaning in the most dispiriting ways. That’s what I’m saying.

    Indeed I consider terror transformative. Our most challenging emotions ARE transformative, that’s exactly the point. It is all part of the human experience. Not all have the courage, fortitude, or corporeal equipment to carry this in their bodies. Thank God for those that do. That would be a hero’s journey, and it’s also awakening. But people need to guidance to get to the other side.

    Honestly, I don’t feel in synch with MIA, we do not have the same objectives or perspective. To me, this only echoes the paradigm of the system, regardless of how it challenges it in other ways. Still, I appreciate that diverse voices can interact here.

    Please do not generalize me, personally, to the group, because that would, indeed, be a misrepresentation of who I am. I am neither enmeshed nor dependent on this group. I most definitely march to the beat of my own drummer, and it works for me. I’d hope to encourage others to do the same, to be true to themselves, and FUCK CONFORMITY.

  • I have no problem owning that I am generalizing, and it is based on my very extensive and thorough experience in the field for over 3 decades, wearing a variety of hats along the way, often concurrently. I’m not saying all therapists are abusive, I’ve had a couple of really nice ones, and competent in addition to being humane and sensitive.

    Still, after my education, training, and years and years of front lines experience in all of these systems related to “mental health/illness/disability,” I find the core paradigm to be inherently abusive (without even trying) to certain populations and/or people with culturally challenging ways of being (not talking about issues regarding violence toward others, that is an entirely different matter).

    I have yet to see evidence to the contrary, even in dialogues on MIA. I’ve seen it overt and subtle on here. I’ve called it out, and the results have been mixed, but consistent with my experience up and down the “mental health” industrial complex.

    I have been through this on the therapist side of things, on the client side of things, on the social worker side of things, on the professional advocacy side of things, and on the activist side of things. I have lived with diagnoses and a head full of neurotoxins and I have released all of that and have moved on with my life completely and fully. That was a dramatic and revealing process of awakening and radical life change.

    So that’s fine to say that this is my experience because it is. Thing is, my experience has been vast in this particular arena, and I’ll repeat, I’ve yet to experience anything different from anyone in the field. I believe there is a lot of programming that takes place in training. I rejected it, and I paid for that. That’s yet another problem in the field, its extreme myopia. Indeed, it’s my personal opinion, based on my personal experience. What else is reality?

    I’ve also had a witness for 33 years in my partner, who eventually went to work for social services and totally got what I’d been talking about for all these years. Made his jaw drop, repeatedly. We both share the same opinion here, based on our personal experiences together in all of this.

    Would you instead prefer to pay some researcher to hear a different truth because you don’t like mine?

    Back to main point, however: What you call “psychosis” is an indicator of core change and consciousness expansion happening. A good guide can take this person through an amazing life-changing transformation. If a guide happens to be a “psychotherapist,” so be it. I’d like to meet him or her, because then, I’d know a psychotherapist who actually IS qualified to deal with what you are calling “psychosis.” But if you are calling it that, then the likelihood that you could guide this person to transformation is not very high. I believe this stands to reason, considering how people react to the word “psychosis,” and all that is inherently attached to it.

    It’s really a process of change, and people do fear change, the way they fear “psychosis.”

  • “Why wouldn’t a therapist be able to work with someone who experiences voices or other hallucinations?”

    Because therapists are not trained to see people as anything than “other.”

    Healers who have been through their own dark night know that what you are calling “psychosis” is not a break from reality, which is based solely on mainstream thinking–and which I believe most of us in here reject wholly because it has already proven to be destructive by polarizing humanity and creating marginalized populations. That is not human nature, to my mind, but more of repeating generational abuse. We can unlearn this, should we choose to do so.

    What you call “psychosis” can also be perceived as expanding one’s own personal reality. It is a process occurring that has profound healing information within it, as well as precise guidance for an individual’s growth path. It is the breakdown of the old to make way for a new and more personally aligned reality to emerge. One has to understand personal symbols, highly creative processes, and grounding, to get this. And I don’t recall learning any of this in my training. This information came with the energy healing I did.

    That’s where integral mind/body/spirit and validating, creative healing happened for me, as opposed to simply feeling “othered,” as is all I got from any aspect of “mental health” services.

  • I was thinking about our dialogue this morning, TruthisBest, and felt moved to once again copy & paste here my one of my favorite quotes. I’m not sure if I’m responding to what I’m feeling at present or to something in your energy based on what you say here. Maybe both, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter.

    What I find myself extremely moved by is your obvious courage and fortitude. I know the gaslighting thing well, that was my abuse, too, and it was long-term because I was raised this way and didn’t know any different for a long time, until well along my healing path. That was a rude awakening, but it was a powerful healing opportunity, so I addressed it. And it was also brutal because it seems to be inherently accompanied by negative gossip and kind of herding a community against one of its own. It’s quite the matrix, truly insidious. I feel you here.

    I heard someone once say that it was like having an eggbeater in your brain, to which I related wholeheartedly. Crazy-making! Which is the idea, and it works.

    But I truly believe that we can heal and get that eggbeater out of us. There is a lot of online guidance for this, check out YouTube and do a search for “healing from gaslighting” or ‘healing from narcissistic abuse.” Lots and lots of great info on this, really helped me.

    I’ve been working on that for years and my peace has returned to me for the most part. Although I do have to take good care of myself and do my energy work, because of the sheer density of this energy. Can make life more challenging than it need be, imo. So it’s a delicate balance, keeps me on my toes.

    I wish for you that same peace. I wish that for everyone that has suffered at the hands of abusive gaslighters–and there are tons of us, it seems!

    Anyway, here’s the quote and I hope it resonates with you or at least with someone who reads this. Blessings to you.

    This is from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • TruthisBest, I apologize if I came across as flip or insensitive. I was having a hard time understanding what you were meaning by that and felt it was ironic that I was being faced with “diagnostic symptoms” after not living with a diagnosis of any kind for over 10 years now–other than maybe a touch of post traumatic stress from time to time thanks to my stint in the system, although fortunately that is pretty minimal at this time.

    But to read what you wrote on a website like this, where we admonish DSM diagnoses (and ODD being one of the more controversial ones) is what struck me as particularly ironic, that’s all I meant.

    In any event, you seem like you’re in a lot of pain and I am sorry for that, and I certainly didn’t mean to add to it or imply anything that is not true about you. I was speaking in general when I said “you have to use your voice,” I should have said “we each have to use our own voice.”

    And yes, some people can be monstrously abusive and have no remorse about it, it’s both sad and maddening. It’s a pretty fucked up world, I think we more than likely all agree on that by now. I believe that’s what we’re looking to help heal, somehow. That’s *my* expressed intention, in any event. Best regards.

  • “Although I hear some oppositional defiant disorder symptoms in what you say”

    Um…not sure what to make of this, but I had to chuckle at the irony of it. Although, in reality, sounds like programming to me.

    I’ve gotten in my abusers’ face, btw, and have spoken my truth to every last one of them–in my family, and in the mh system. It was not at all easy and naturally there was tons of resistance to hearing me, and I had to really trust a hard process. But in the end it was extremely beneficial for everyone concerned, and created amazing changes for all of us.

    Truth is healing, freeing, and it breaks the system. But what I have found is that you have to use your own voice–which is empowering–and not rely on others to speak for you, which amounts to chronic dependence.

  • I like that, Steve, about different intentions infused into whatever is destined to replace the current corrupt (and disabled, I’d say, to be honest) network of systems. I’d say just about everything would have to be different than what we have going on now, if we expect to make manifest a world in which everyone’s needs are respected and met, and not a bunch of societies divided up into those who are “worthy” and “not worthy,” or what have you, based on how compliant they are with the “rules of society” and who does and does not challenge it simply with their way of being.

    This current society in which we live is corrupt and failing. So perhaps these “rules” (norms) should be challenged, and I believe that’s what activism is all about.

    People need freedom of choice, of expression, of creativity, and of simply being, in order to thrive, and I believe these are basic human rights. A humane system would honor this unequivocally, including a sound and universally supportive family system, rather than one in which an identified patient is created. That’s where all the splitting begins, along with internal struggles, and imbalance is born.

    A sound society would honor uniqueness, rather than shun, ridicule, and marginalized it, not to mention turning it into pathology. That is spirit-killing and leads to suffering and untimely death.

    Shaun, you make it sound hopeless. Of course there are viable alternatives. When old things break down, new things spring forth. I believe that’s pretty elementary. Are you aware of the power you are giving to the system with all you are saying here? You are feeding the system hardily.

    I’ve heard many therapists say “there will always be abuse in society”–to abuse victims! Is that really how we want to respond? Not a lot of empathy there, to say the least. Nor hope, if you ask me.

  • The way I’m looking at it, “the system” is not at all for the greater good. It is for the good of a few at the expense of most others. When something is truly for the greater good, then no one is excluded and everyone prospers because we’re all part of the collective, no way around that, I believe.

    We can’t always see the bigger picture–we are human, after all, with subjective perspectives–so we have to use our intuition. It also helps to have a way to guide oneself in life, from an internal locus of control, rather than to rely on others for their information. That is true freedom, and I believe it is for the greater good for everyone to feel free, that’s my personal belief. It’s a matter of getting there, and that’s the journey of awakening.

  • Thank you, Shaun, it’s all good. I do get from where you are coming, and I feel your heart in your work, without a doubt. We’re still coming from two different mindsets and perspectives which create different realities. I think that’s the most interesting and perhaps challenging things about life–we do exist in a world of diverse realities, like it or not. That is nature, and human nature. Can we all share the planet peaceably? That’s the trillion dollar question, to my mind. And I always say, start with cultivating inner peace, and it will ripple into the world, one way or another. Peace to you.

  • Hi Shaun, I do think we’re at an impasse at this point because you are very much a “systems” person, from what I can tell. You are bringing in other entities (police, Medicaid) which are all connected to the same corruption. There is “the mental health system,” and then there is THE SYSTEM, of which mh is merely a subset–“the rules of law and order and checks and balances” by which we are all supposed to live. Whereas, in reality, there is no law and order starting with our LEADERSHIP, and as I said earlier, there really are no checks and balances, all of this is an illusion, the big lie. At this point, it’s all a bust, as far as I’m concerned.

    I don’t function in this paradigm, I’ve expanded my reality beyond these illusory limitations which are 100% based on oppression and fear mongering and making us believe that “the status quo” is the only way to go; whereas it is really the least desirable and beneficial for most people on the planet, to comply with “systems thinking,” as far as our current political, economic, medical, and social services systems go. That is simply enabling corruption at this point. Creativity is the key right now, and that is a real point of power.

    That is the whole point of transformation. We transform into an expanded reality. Ask anyone who has been through their dark-night-of-the-soul journey and has come out on the other side, in a new light. That’s pretty literal, and I’m certainly not the only person who can claim this. Many of us have had this path in this lifetime.

    Considering how the old systems are indeed crumbling at this point because just about everyone is feeling the extreme failure of them, I’d say we’re totally at the dawn of a new age. That’s how it goes, from Dark Ages to Renaissance. But giving police and insurance the kind of power you give them, that’s only going to keep us in the dark.

    Life on Earth offers us myriad realities, we get to pick & choose & create. I believe that once we have connected with our true self/spirit self/higher self–whatever anyone wants to call it, that which is beyond the physical, true to our hearts–then we are unlimited in our ability to create our lives our way, aligned with what is for the greater good. That is win/win.

    I have enjoyed our dialogues, Shaun, and have gotten a great deal out of them. I am going to re-focus and take a break from all this right now, let this new information process a bit while I tend to my life out here in the world. Very best wishes to you, and perhaps soon we’ll have more opportunities to compare our respective realities. In the meantime, take good care.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS3XFTwIKfE

  • “All of these human created systems are abusive and manipulative on some level. History is ridden with examples of abuse.”

    Yes, which is why we’re advocating for radical change. For me, it starts here, and then other issues will go more smoothly and things will get done better because there is better communication. Many approaches to this, it is a big process of multi-layered healing.

    “I’m not sure what the answer is, other than for each of us to focus on our own truth, advocate for what we believe in, and try to avoid re-traumatization if at all possible.”

    I believe that IS a good answer, what you say here. That would be novel, too, I believe, in a general sort of way, so I’d call it “change.” It’s a start! Good inner focus. Lots of programming and habits to break here, but it is doable.

    “More police officers are being CIT trained, which is needed so they have a better understanding and appreciation for people who are in distressed states.”

    I was around when CIT training started, and it has notable problems which only reinforce the stigma, discrimination, and marginalization.

    You’re talking about the system changing (or improving) the system, and that ain’t gonna happen, it’s not logical. That which is the problem is not going to create the solution.

    “I agree that if this is what the client wants, it should be short-term.”

    Lots to say here, but overall, I feel long term psychotherapy is harmful and does create dependence, inevitably. I’m open to discussion on this, but as of now, this has been my observation.

    “…people who have experienced severe trauma since an early age need more time to heal.”

    Yes and no, I believe. People who have experienced severe trauma since an early age have patterns and cycles to break. Healing happens in layers, and it’s up to a person’s process how they heal and by what means. Some can be extremely efficient but still have layer upon layer, depending on the history.

    There are a lot of excellent ways to heal severe trauma that have nothing to do with psychotherapy and psychology training. For me, it was the way to go, in the way of healing my spirit, my heart, and then my body/mind. Not for everyone of course and I don’t advocate energy/psychic/chakra healing for anyone not interested in this. I just offer it as an option to those who are interested or curious, and most often they are stunned with the results and what they learn in the process. Most people who can take this healing in say that they can get what feels like 5 years of therapy in one healing session. It really cuts to the chase.

    In my practice, it varies and I have clients as well as students in groups where we discuss the manifesting process as a healing agent. My standard is to go with three sessions, where we discuss the issue, get to what needs shifting in present time, I prescribe exercises (usually one 5-10 minute focus exercise/day), and then they come back a week later to report how this affected their energy and the issues at hand, then we tweak if need be and go one more week, then come back for closure. That often works, or at least gets them well on their way. By this time, a shift has definitely occurred.

    Sometimes they want to go further simply because they find it so fascinating. Healing and manifesting happen simultaneously, so it’s kind of cool to follow the energy of this. And it can be life-changing, a whole new perspective from which to navigate life. That’s how one of my testimonials read. And, it is extremely efficient healing. I’ve been in practice for over 13 years now.

    This is based on tons of training I did over the years as I healed, and then from my own process, as I integrated this very mindfully. I’ve integrated several healing modalities in which I trained and became certified—the new stuff, based on ancient stuff. Worked miraculously for me, and now I’m paying it forward.

    “I am encouraged by EMDR as a treatment for trauma, because it helps the brain and body heal itself through bilateral stimulation.”

    I’ve heard people speak well of this. Anything that works and is obviously helpful to a client would be my standard of practice.

    “Unfortunately our culture supports active passivity and learned helplessness.”

    Well, I don’t—not in my life, and not in my practice.

    “I wish everyone felt empowered to change their lives for the better. Many feel like lost causes.”

    The world would certainly be a much easier and nicer place to live if everyone knew their personal power, rather than feeling hopeless or chronically frustrated thanks to these crazy messages of marginalization projected without effort or consciousness.

    I felt my cause was a lost one at one point, I’ve talked about my almost successful attempt to take my own life. I had good reason to believe it was hopeless, it all stacked up like this thanks to the messages I received from the system. I was in it hard core at that time. It’s why I call it “terrifying.”

    BUT, I was wrong, thank goodness, and I found my way, and then my power. I speak about it only to give hope to others. At one point, I had told a friend that I needed a miracle to get through the mess I was going through. Well, they occurred. I’m here, and I’m thriving. ‘Nuff said.

  • A couple of quick add-ons–

    First of all, where I say, “a different perspective than what you express below in many places,” I do mean *above* not below. I must have been standing on my head at the time 🙂

    Mainly, I thought it would be important to add that re this voc rehab agency, I was actually kind of becoming a superstar, I seemed to have this in me. I was terribly insecure at the time, but it was after my near-death experience, which is another story. And I truly loved the job, until they started giving me a really hard time, for reasons which were kept very vague from me, about which I scoffed.

    Point being, I was a bit out of my mind from the psych drugs withdrawal so I wasn’t so much consciously choosing my path at this point, but more like, intuitively following some kind of inner guidance, based on my extreme desire to work, and things came into my path, like a door opening. That’s exactly how I ended up at the voc rehab center.

    And I was matching people with jobs they enjoyed right and left, to the point where I had two outside job coaches and counselors call me to tell me that people were wanting to meet me, how was I doing this? Seemed I had some kind of skill here, which this voc rehab agency could have helped me foster, and that would have been win/win, everyone would have benefitted from this.

    But I had already, somehow, stepped on management’s toes, that was all that mattered to them. That’s really the issue for me. How insane is that? Their sensitive egos are more important than their clients, the people they are paid to serve and support. I was told I exhibited too much power! I was a timid but focused, very nervous 25 hour a week employee.

    In San Francisco, I found it to be standard operating procedure, over and over again, to not let clients feel their power because it is interpreted as manipulation and “need to control.” Can we say “blatant and stigmatizing projections???” ‘Cuz that’s what it is.

    My partner finally got a job in social services and discovered the exact same thing. It’s kinda jaw-dropping really, at first, to discover how deep this goes (aka truly systemic).

    And we’re talking about a rich, rich city where homelessness and mean streets abound. The city is high tech, attorney-ridden, and owned by a very powerful mental health industry, public and private. Non-profit social services abound. Wtf are they doing????????

    Ok, I’ll shut up for now and leave it at that for the time being. But I wanted to share these details because this is what I am angry about in present time, because it just seems too obvious that someone(s) are getting away with societal murder! And it is negatively impacting us all daily. Scratching my head over this. What is the solution, I do wonder?

  • “The legal/”justice” system works the same way. To many marginalized people, the lawyers, judges, cops, parole/probation, and prison system are all in cahoots to support and enable each others’ bad behaviors.”

    I imagine this to be true but I do not know this from personal experience because I never had any issues with the law, I do not have a legal record at all as a defendant. But I do as plaintiff in a legal mediation.

    What I do know from experience is that, in my case, the clinicians, social service agencies, advocacy agencies (including legal advocacy), department of Rehabilitation, and even ACLU (to where I took a grievance) are in cahoots to support each other against anyone challenging the system, even when doing so reasonably and with solid evidence.

    And I say this last part with confidence because I did win my EEOC mediation, even though I did not have funds at that time. I had been totally drained by private psychotherapy before having to go into the system at a critical time for me, and then “wrongfully terminated” just as I was about to transition from disability, finally (by a government sponsored voc rehab agency, no less!).

    I scoured my community for someone who would hear me that could give me the professional help I needed, and that turned out to be a senior staff attorney at a non-profit legal aid society. I was pissed and she knew it and she could still hear me to see that what I was speaking was pure truth. We connected the dots together and eventually proved that I’d been expressly discriminated against by some seriously incompetent and rather oblivious people.

    Although it did take me a few months to get to this one God-send of an attorney (who also happened to be an activist for LGBT community, so we spoke the same language when it came to social justice). Before that, I went through some frustrating and triggering (at that very sensitive time, I’d been traumatized by all this) “conversations” with attorneys who basically told me “no thanks,” while more than insinuating that I was crazy and must have done something to deserve this. And all this barely into my psych drugs withdrawal. I HAD TO WORK!

    Shaun, you noted previously my messages about personal empowerment, and it comes from these experiences. I don’t know how I did it, but I do remember being absolutely determined to get some kind of justice here. I knew they were so wrong on so many levels, and I was not going to let it rest until my truth was unequivocally validated.

    What they projected onto me because I had the “audacity” to challenge them and call them on their wickedly abusive ways would be inconceivable for me to do to another human being. For them, it was like breathing, I kid you not.

    My ACLU grievance against Dept of Rehab, however, came back after 6 months, citing simply my “psychiatric file,” received from DOR, which “clearly indicated” my “anger issues” and ” anti-authority issues,” so there was no reason to go further. I never got interviewed or anything of the kind.

    I then went to a bigly funded legal “advocacy,” agency, and they said they don’t do work like this, and suggested I “write an article” about my experiences. Then she gave me a couple of contacts, for which neither number was in service. Go figure!

    Where did these qualities they picked out for me come from, you might ask? That was a psychiatrist who had known me for 6 months only, who was my only choice at the time—private, but he took my insurance at the time, and the only one who returned my call when I was seeking help to come off psych drugs—and gave me all these labels that had never been part of my history. I had chronic anxiety and other issues which I don’t want to go into now, pretty harmless to others, mostly harmful to myself.

    And then this got passed on to the voc rehab agency without my knowing about it, and from there, to DOR.

    That’s how ACLU responded to my grievances, which were sound and I had evidence, also a witness because my partner went through all of this with me, he was catching on to the sinister quality of all this. It was sinking both our lives, and we went through protocol step by step.

    Ok, win some, lose some; although in this racket, no one really wins, in the end.

    Shaun, this is really what happened, I’m being as direct and honest as I know how to be, showing by example from where my statements come. It does happen to offer a different perspective than what you express below in many places.

    “This is also why it is so important to involve clients in their care on a equal footing, meaning they should have an active role in how the care is provided, and to be able to have access to information which would make the system more accountable for the treatment outcomes.”

    “Clients” need to be short term, and for a specific purpose, not to take over and control their lives. Of course they need to be in charge of their own care. You work for them, not the other way around.

  • TruthisBest, thank you for highlighting and validating this particular phrase. This has been the most challenging thing to get across, and I’m not sure this is universally experienced this way, I am realizing. I’m not really clear on that at this point.

    To be clear, however, (if it hasn’t been already) this is my main cause in all of this, what I feel is the most core shift to make, and the most challenging, which I guess is par for the course. It is deeply embedded.

    It seems there are various interpretations of what would constitute “systemic bullying” and a variety of responses to it. That’s a hard topic, but I feel it’s one of the most important conversations to have. It is so epidemic everywhere now, and creating only chaos at this point.

    There are many vital issues which are worth discussing, of course, but this systemic bullying thing is, for me, the bottom line, everything stems from that. We’re talking about human beings in the system perceived as and treated like chattel, rather than as thinking, feeling, sensitive, conscious human beings.

    I was unwittingly part of this system when I was a student and then intern, I was going by the book, which is how I lived my life at that time, by “the rules.”

    But then I had the mixed blessing to be on the receiving end of this, and that’s when I started waking up, and seeing what I had to change within me, which was to give myself permission to go by my own rules because the system had failed me in every way, that had become quite clear.

    That’s not easy because suddenly I was left to my own devices, and I had to start experimenting with life and then seeing the results day by day. That was the hard healing work, but something had to change drastically at this point, wasn’t sure what.

    So I set out on this “consciousness journey,” which was eye-opening and life-saving. Mainly amounted to learning how energy works, then I got it and started applying it in a real and grounded way, very practical.

    Those “rules” do not work, they are created to marginalize and to keep the power imbalance alive. The “law and ethics” guidebook is completely unfair here, it would need to be challenged.

    And the more I fought it and stood up for myself and began to audibly call out “discrimination,” the worse they got–and when I say “worse,” I mean really, really bad. Disgracefully so, to my way of thinking, given what their jobs are.

    I still shudder when I think about some of the responses I was given to my clear, direct, and most reasonable requests/issues/questions, etc. Then to start filing grievances and going through legal protocol, and the stonewalling this leads to. To call it unsafe is an understatement. It is downright treachery. For at least some of us, it’s been a system of no checks and balances, and the result is being drained of life force energy fighting this damn system just to get basic human needs met.

    Having to “fight” the system is simply draining, so where do we get the energy to actually create our lives, in the meantime? It is scary shit–terrifying–to be at odds with a closed system.

    We can only do better, and I hope we do soon.

  • I can see the stars from right here on Earth, Frank, where I am standing with my feet firmly on the ground.

    Life is whatever we make of it and that’s always a choice. I agree that it’s outside the bubble. The bubble is an illusion, a human projection which is fluid, not fixed, so it is changeable.

    Our imaginations can take us far. It is a vital component of our power. Got a “disease?” Create the cure. Don’t have one? Then move along, nothing to worry about here.

  • Eric and Shaun you are both saying specifically what I was thinking while reading this article. The insistent reframing and reinterpreting, telling others what their experience is, and assessing people as lacking in self-awareness because they disagree with said assessment, is nothing short of abusive, in my book. It is an extremely toxic combination of gaslighting and double-binding, and there is no winning here.

    Even when it is not consciously intended to be purposefully controlling, it is so the norm and standard procedure in the mh world, that I call this, without a doubt, systemic bullying. It’s very damaging to a person to be constantly challenged on their own reality, and very draining to one’s energy, ultimately sabotaging. Does this not stand to reason?

    It’s why I hate the system so much and condemn it beyond redemption–because it seems to be relentless here. I see it as a runaway train in that regard. Unless these crazy projections stop, nothing will change here. And I’m not so sure this will happen voluntarily, although I’m open to it being a possibility. That would make the inevitable and sorely needed change here so much more peaceable.

    Shaun is absolutely right, there is no need for any kind of diagnosis to provide helpful support to someone in need. I understand that “helpful support” and “being in need’ can be open to interpretation, but overall, we are in the position to help and support each other along the journey in life, when we so desire to be helped or to help others. Doesn’t have to be anything forced, we all decide for ourselves when we want to reach out.

    I don’t think it’s a fixed identity for life, unless you are in a system where this occurs, which, to my mind, would be a system to get rid of, because that would be way out of balance and, by definition, would not be allowing people to grow into their potential. And indeed, that’s what we’ve got going on now, that is just way too obvious. But in general, we help ourselves, we help each other, we encourage, cheer on, etc.

    Just for me at least, however, no re-parenting, please. That is one thing I do not need from others, that experiment has failed over and over again. Really, that’s my own job to do, and I let life guide me through that process.

  • Oldhead and Julie, I still don’t know what the hell you two are talking about, but whatever!

    For some reason, I’m not terribly bothered by this because I continue to feel my respect for you both. And if you think that’s just more bs for you to wade through, that’s fine, too. Although I’d be sorry to hear that as it would be your loss to not accept this, because I really mean it. How could I not? I think everyone on here is brave, for different reasons. But I do see everyone’s courage and commitment to something important.

    Seems however, we can’t seem to agree on what is important–or do we? I don’t know, hard to tell! Probably a mix of misunderstandings, personal disagreements, and seriously opposite and irreconcilable perspectives. I do wonder how the chips would land, in the end, when deeper clarity manifests, which it inevitably will.

    Shaun, they do know my story I’ve shared many aspects of it on here for years, and I’m quite accustomed to this. Yet another interesting component to my journey, a core paradox for me. Continues to be meaningful in ways, but I’m not quite sure how to resolve it at the core! I believe there is a lot of good and clarifying truth if I could get to other side of this, once and for all. All in good time, things unfold as they will. And I do trust that process wholeheartedly.

  • “Ask shaun whether he ever supports the use of force by psychiatry (ask about Aunt Sally and the Psychokiller). Then get back to me.”

    I don’t know at all to what you’re referring here and it sounds like you’re trying to inform me of something that would make me change my tune and either fight with Shaun or not engage with him as I do, perhaps more confrontationally.

    But even if I were to read up on whatever this is and it would bring something to light, I’d actually have a dialogue with Shaun about it the way I have been. I have found him to be reasonable and flexible in his thinking, he clearly hears me, I can feel that, and I believe he truly cares about helping people. Is he perfect? Of course not, and neither am I nor are you nor is anyone.

    We’re all doing the best we can here but at least Shaun is actively on a quest for truth and clarity in this mess. I genuinely applaud that and definitely I welcome that here, unequivocally.

    So please, oldhead, whatever you think about ego here or whatnot, can’t you open up just a bit to see that we’re all trying? I get that you have suspicions and feel free to have them, doesn’t make them true.

    I’m being watched, eh? Hmmm, what does this remind me of? Oh yeah, now I remember…wow.

  • “I see Alex as being irresponsible by coddling your self-aggrandizing arrogance at the expense of survivors.”

    You do? Seriously? To my mind, I was merely having a dialogue with a someone whose identity creates projections for me, and moving right through those to have a meeting of the minds and to be mutually supportive in our respective life journeys, each of us seeking truth. I felt really good about it and it helped me to move through stuff.

    I’m not going to start trying to analyze everyone’s motives. Not only is that going to lead to projections on my part, inevitably, but that’s also not going to help bring clarity on things which I feel are of value here, nor is it going to create the change we’re looking to create.

    Where does this cynical interpretation come from, oldhead? I am honestly baffled by this. In many ways, I believe we’re on the same side. Perhaps we do not agree in all ways, but it seems to me we have plenty of common ground to work with.

    But when you start with these insults and slanted interpretations of things, based on your opinion, I don’t see how we could work together. I obviously bug the shit out of you, and I’m just being myself. I’m pretty well-liked in general, so I don’t know, maybe something to do with how I translate on the internet.

    In any event, I respect you because you are passionate about your truth and you seem very dedicated to it. But what you’re doing by throwing around these insults or whatever you would call them, is just not going to help things any, that I can tell. We’re all pissed on some level, you’re not alone in this.

    And thanks, Shaun, I read your response after I posted this, moves me deeply. Oldhead, what is stopping us from all working together here? Shaun is obviously working hard to deepen his understanding, and I’m following my own intuition to the same end. Why the condemnations? Why not support for moving things forward a bit?

  • “Some have the audacity to claim that only THEY can know what “stigma” is. That it hurts them more than those they stigmatize.”

    This I’ve never heard of. Although I know that the system did co-opt the entire issue of stigma to use it in their favor, to create business. It’s a marketing tool.

    However, taking back the term, like the Scarlet Letter “A,” then this becomes more like the experience. And it truly ruins lives, if we let it. That can hit you where it hurts on many levels–feelings of powerlessness, evicted from society at large, alienation from others and even from self. It creates, both, financial and emotional hardships, at the very least. It is anything but freeing, it is the opposite, leads to chronic self-oppression because we can internalize it. To my mind, this is the essence of suffering, and what makes it so challenging, is that others just cannot pick up on it. There is a block there.

    We’ve been talking about the remedy for this on here forever, to detach from what others think and find your own truth and live by it. I believe that is where we can regain our trust, starting in our own processes. That’s how it is possible to eradicate–or at least seriously lighten–the post-traumatic effects of social bigotry (aka stigma). That is very significant change.

    The “mh” system in all its entirety perpetuates this bigotry/stigma, that’s always my point because there is all the fraud and corruption. This leads to the forced incarceration and drugging, and the drugging in general. But even that is rooted in stigma–created, reinforced, and now co-opted by the system. Ok, but it’s still real and it’s still destructive and it can be remedied. That’s all I’m trying to say. That’s what I’ve explored most over the years that has brought me the most clarity and healing, fwiw.

  • Oldhead–ugh, you reached out in two directions and got us both in one sentence.

    How is “New Age Kumbaya-talk” any different than any pejorative, stigmatizing, judgmental, and condemning/shaming label which people like you–and all of us on here–work so diligently to eradicate? It’s a rhetorical question because methinks there is no difference at all.

    Like it or not, I’m speaking my truth, and if it is in a language which you either do not understand or on which you project some kind of judgment or negative feeling about, then I don’t have to take that on because in my primary community, which I love and with which I feel affinity, this–what you hate so much–is the norm. It’s a different consciousness than what you have going on. You’re not alone, and neither am I.

    Still, I can see some bigotry and prejudice coming through. Am I wrong? Does this not stand to reason? What you send in my direction feels extremely judgmental, and without foundation, it’s just your opinion.

    What I’m describing is how I healed, recovered, and freed myself. Should I not speak about these things on here? Please enlighten me.

    Shaun–the feeling is mutual, and indeed, I am genuine in what I speak, it is always from my heart. Thank you again.

  • Shaun, thank you so much for sharing your truth of the moment so openly and with trust, and also for getting what I’m about–which is, indeed, more than anything, personal empowerment. That was so necessary for me to get when I was at the bottom of the pit, and it really mattered. That is our most powerful support tool in life—our own ever-evolving sense of self–and it is in all of us, somewhere in there. Yep, you do get it, no doubt.

    I have very much felt in no man’s land, too, and it goes back and forth. I’ve been at odds with clinicians after having been among them, and that separated me from that culture; and also I’ve been at odds with other survivors, and that served to further individuate me to where I could start feeling and nurturing my unique sense of self.

    That is the groundbreaking transformed me happening, away from any norm, fully on my own and living my own truth. It is extremely vulnerable making, which is when we are at our highest creative potential, so the inner work to reinterpret any negative projections or other resistances coming at us is vital and powerful here, because it only strengthens our creative abilities.

    Our power, then, becomes spiritual/energetic, based purely on courage of the heart, as opposed to coming from our “ego,” which I believe is more about fear.

    I’m still here talking about it because on some level, I can feel it making a difference, even when it feels I’m talking into an echo chamber. Still, in my heart and gut, I can feel energy moving, and I’ve been seeing results around me in all sorts of ways. That’s where I find my encouragement, from how the universe is responding to me. Sometimes it comes through people, while at other times it is in other non-personal ways.

    Sounds like you are well on your way along in a transformative process, and in fact you seem to have been doing that, allowing change to occur as you speak your truth, regardless of what comes back to you. Individuating from established groups is a necessary part of that process, I do believe. That is an experience which we can navigate internally, tons of feelings come up. We can transmute them by expanding our perspective and seeing/feeling the soul growth happening. That is exactly the consciousness shift to which I refer.

    It’s also a flexible and ever-changing stream, so keep going, you are right on track. I say this because I do feel that is an inherent part of transformation and individuating from the corruption and oppression of the world. That’s kind of a dark-night-of-the-soul feeling, isn’t it?

    When we can align with that and see it as part of the journey, then you will appreciate this phase for what it is and move on to the next layer of evolution, which is you coming into alignment with who you really are, and trusting that process! This is where it gets exciting and even kind of magical, as far as manifesting goes. I kid you not.

    Not sure what else to say, other than I’m so respecting and appreciating your process, Shaun, I can see you going with it while taking good care of yourself. Let’s see what manifests from this clarity!

    Oh yes, and regarding why I don’t blog for MIA, that is a long story which I don’t feel comfortable sharing here. Let’s just say I felt I could use my voice well here in the comment section—“one of the masses,” so to speak, at least a representation of that. That way, I avoid feeding into the “illusion of hierarchy.” 🙂

  • Shaun, I truly believe we are getting closer to common ground here.

    “We can choose to go against the status quo to one degree or another.”

    I’d say “to disregard the status quo,” rather than “to go against.” Going against something is effort and usually creates more of what one pushes against. Whereas disregarding something is to not give it any power, to, literally, not regard. That is a solid choice to make, and totally doable.

    Again, a shift in consciousness is required here or one will not be able to get how this is done, but I’m an example of it in many ways. I believe you are going in this direction, based on what I’ve been seeing in these discussions.

    “My point, however, is there are very powerful, coercive forces in the various systems which we all interact that do impact our choices to a certain extent (e.g., capitalism, corrupted government leadership).”

    Yes, indeed, and again, when we disregard this–which, granted, takes practice because we are shifting focus, beliefs, and neural pathways, but it is THE practice of transformation–we disempower this group and in the process, we take back *our* power, which was ours to begin with.

    Toxic vampire cultures feed on others by projecting disempowerment onto others (oppressive shaming, fear mongering, etc.). When we heal this internally–and yes, that is a process–we take back our power, and we pay it forward by NOT doing the same thing–by all of us owning our shadows and inner conflicts, so that we do not project it onto clients. We have to know that this is ok, that we won’t be “punished” for owning our foibles. We are all human, that is a given; but it seems to be often forgotten, in clinical practice.

    “We live in a toxic world with inept leaders, and of course this will have an impact on all of us.”

    Yes, we do, and it will, because we are all part of the collective. Some will be motivated to end their lives, as is what happens in a toxic world. Others will be motivated to sit in victimhood and grow bitter, that is not terribly uncommon. Some will try to save themselves from this toxicity while some feel motivated to save others.

    Some people want to know something different, others feel they are stuck with what is. Some it inspires to create and others this reality inspires to think more deeply and seek truth. It does, indeed, impact each and every one of us, and how we each choose to respond to this toxic reality is widely diverse.

    Shifting consciousness and operating from a new set of beliefs–a new being-ness, I guess I’d say–is one way to address the toxic reality we live in. Personally, I favor this approach, for myself at least, because it is what leads to the most interesting and attractive change, and it’s radical, which I also favor away from toxicity. I do not compromise here, because it is such a matter of well-being and quality of life.

    You have the belief that this elite group of coercive forces has power over society. I’m admonishing that belief. I believe individuals have way more power over corrupt groups than we are led to believe. I also believe that this belief saved my life, given the options I found myself with at one point years ago. I chose to shift consciousness and do all this internal work because I could not change others, and I believe that is universal. We can influence others with our example, but we cannot force people to change, that is elementary.

    And by changing myself to the extent I did, it led to others around me following suit, because they were motivated to do so, they could see and feel the positive changes in me, and in my life it was unmistakable. That’s an interesting story, too detailed for here. But seriously as a result of shifting at the core, my entire reality changed, the world around me. It’s still rippling, give it time 🙂

    Shaun, I must say, you are thoughtful and clear in your responses and it has inspired me to continue, because I do not feel we’re going in circles here. I do very much appreciate your presence here. You bring good stuff to the table, I feel your truth. Gratitude.

  • This article is a tool to increase stigma and further divide people into categories with all sorts of false assumptions.

    “…perfectionistic self-presentation, a form of perfectionism characterized by the need to appear perfect, is associated with mental health stigma and may lead to a tendency to hide aspects of the self that are perceived to be negative.”

    While I agree that needing to appear “perfect” to others can lead to all sorts of internal conflict and self-induced stress, to associate this with “treatment” issues and “mental health stigma,” per se (whatever that is, as opposed to carrying stigma due to either having a diagnosis, being on psych drugs, or where one falls on the of the socio-economic ladder hologram) is actually adding fuel to the already out-of-control fire. The issues of needing to appear perfect is exactly the twisted mainstream norm which sends most people seeking some kind of help and support. It is a cultural mindset that I believe became really embedded in our society post WWII–the perfect neighborhood, the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect salary, the perfect car, the perfect attitude and disposition, etc.

    It’s enough to drive anyone bonkers from needing to maintain a standard far above and beyond what is human, mistakes and mars on that perfection being the reasons for which people begin to feel shame for not measuring up to these impossible standards. People have killed themselves over stuff like this.

    But not only are these standards impossible, are they really desirable? I imagine life would get awfully boring if we were perfect and faced no challenges. How would we learn and grow? And from what would we create, if we faced no contrast in life?

    “Further, perfectionistic self-presentation was found to be associated with negative attitudes toward help-seeking than trait perfectionism and was connected to a higher level of self-stigma about seeking help. These results suggest those who feel the need to be seen as perfect may especially struggle with seeking help due to stigma, leading to a higher at-risk population that may rarely show signs of needing help.”

    Clinicians are the ones that strive to be perfect in the first place! They are the ones, via the DSM, who set an impossible and totally fabricated standard of existence! They are the ones who have this need to appear perfect–which in this case, means to exhibit no “DSM symptoms,” as in–“Hey, look, I go by society’s rules! You should, too! And if you don’t, we will project our entire shadow onto you, and believe me, that will hurt. Then, I don’t have to feel the shame that I am projecting onto you.”

    To put this on the client is just one more blatant example of projecting negatively onto the clients of the system. This is social abuse, and it’s generational. Researchers and clinicians continue to make the client the fall guy, that is perfectly clear to me.

    “In closing, the researchers call for further research in this area.”

    Of course they do. They want more grant money. It’s how they make a living, at the expense of those they exploit.

  • Change is already here, Shaun. Yes, status quo begets status quo. Who needs that garbage? It has failed us all, that’s as clear as a bell.

    The idea is to buck the status quo, be brave and groundbreaking. We can each choose to live by our own values and ideals, not those of others. That is freedom–creative, spiritual, and otherwise.

    Change happens one person at a time, transformation by transformation. The biggest gift from having lived through the challenges of my particular journey is that I got to heal from soooo much, it was top to bottom transformative. Now I help others through their core shifts, transformations, rebirths, etc., which lead to creating a whole new life for oneself, consciously, on new and updated terms. That’s my life vocation, I did years of healing and training. Turns out I have an affinity for this kind of work, so thanks to all that happened to me, I found my life purpose.

    It’s here for anyone who is ready to embrace change. It’s inside of us, first. Outer change will come rather effortlessly as the result of internal shifts. That’s how energy works, projected outward from within.

  • Yep, room for healing on all sorts of levels body, mind & spirit. I haven’t necessarily forgiven but I’m not angry all the time, either. Used to be angry quite a bit when I woke up to what happened to me–same as “millions of others,” as you say. And it can make me angry when I think of the crazy corruption in the world which is so negatively impacting the planet and its inhabitants.

    Although I have taken actions and have created things that have combated corruption in real life, so my anger has fueled my activism quite a bit, of course, as has my sincere desire to see radical change in the world. I’m doing my part every day in a few different ways.

    But I certainly don’t focus on that all the time, I have other things in life which get my attention, thinks which make me feel good, relaxed, happy, etc. Were I to think about injustice and corruption all or even most of the time, and how seriously deep it goes and how it causes such needless suffering, I’d go nuts with feelings of despondence, rage, hatred, and powerlessness.

    Healing my brain was about learning to quiet my mind so that I could derive some meaning from my experience. How was this driving me in life? How is my experience serving me to grow in awareness, and also to help others? And other questions like that, pure introspection. That’s how the healing begins.

    Many stages and steps to healing the brain, mind, heart, and spirit from betrayal and neurotoxicity. Point is, everyone has a path to healing. It’s not a religion to have awareness of who we are as spirit/soul beings. That’s simply a matter of further awakening to who we really are as human beings.

  • Very nice and honest self-reflection. Indeed, our reality is a mirror to our spirit, as that to validate and enjoy or from which to learn and grow. I wholeheartedly believe that.

    “Being human, or trying to be, was one of the biggest keys to my recovery.”

    Beautiful statement. Thing is, we ARE human–whether we like it or not. It’s when people don’t allow themselves to be human that they suffer. We have to be SUPERhuman, or something like that, to feel self-acceptance.

    Being a “perfectionist” can be extremely harmful to our health. That is unrealistic and way too much pressure, sets us up for inevitable failure, each and every time. We are human beings, filled with all sorts of flaws, contradictions, and shadow. Part of life’s purpose is for us humans to grow as the result of our imperfections–to grow in our ability to love and accept ourselves, just as we are, from moment to moment, and to let nature take its course, rather than us trying to control nature. That is yet just another mass delusion, to believe that we can control nature.

    We are also filled with light, somewhere in there. We can be it all, light and shadow. When we can accept that and allow ourselves to be all that, then we are free because we know how to be fully human, despite absolutely anything.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Greg, and best wishes on your fascinating journey!

  • “I’m sorry to hear that many therapists, social workers, and doctors abuse or misuse their “authority” in the situation in ways which are damaging to their clients.”

    I’m sorry, too, and I’m sure society at large has laments here, as well. And instead of just being sorry, let’s do something about it. I’ve taken abusers to legal task, I’ve written letters, filed grievance, I’ve called out a lot of abuse in the system over the years.

    You’re willing to turn in families you suspect of abuse, but you’re only “sorry” when clinicians are being abusive? Who is the watchdog here? Who is the “mandated reporter” in this case, to call out abuse and protect innocent people? I wonder.

    Hierarchies are, in reality, illusions based on delusional thinking. That is the norm right now, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. A shift in consciousness and paradigm would highlight this easily. But you can’t see it as long as you are a willing participant in the current system. Radical change can mean so many things.

    I believe that when it comes to “authority,” “empowerment,” and “mandated reporting,” we’re talking about how so easily, and seemingly by second nature, the psychotherapy and social service industries try and play God. That’s a huge problem in psychiatry as we’ve noted often in discussions on here, and I believe it is pervasive in the “mental health” world.

    “There will always be “inherent imbalance” in human relationships, say with kids and their parents, but it doesn’t mean that it’s inherently unjust or abusive.”

    I hardily disagree with this statement on so many levels. In fact, there is a lot of room for discussion here, Shaun, but I will stop now because, in the end, it is all a matter of personal perspective and experience. As long as we walk our talk, we are in our integrity and that’s what counts, I truly believe. We all have different realities, each of our paths and perspectives are unique.

    It does feel good to express my feelings about all of this, so I once again thank you for the dialogue. All the best!

  • “Most therapists I know don’t try and prop themselves up as an authority, per se,”

    Again, our experience is different here, Shaun. My former colleagues as well psychiatrists and psychotherapists I saw did exactly that. I heard often “they need a ‘dad’ figure,” for one thing, which to me seemed exactly “to be propping themselves up as an authority.”

    So if one starts out already perceiving him- or herself as a parental figure, what do you think they would elicit from their client, even in the most subtle ways? That’s how it begins, and it can be either conscious or unconscious. But I do feel it is written into the fabric of this paradigm.

    They sold this bill of goods in graduate school, too. It was called “re-parenting.” I think that’s dangerous and can potentially cause a great deal of harm in a fee-for-service relationship.

    I was a “mandated reporter” at one time, too. Plus, anyone in any kind of social services position is a “mandated reporter.” I’ve sat in all sorts of staff meetings where “to report or not report” was discussed.

    I will be honest here, I cannot stand that phrase. I’m sorry but I think it’s a euphemism for “gatekeepers to the system.” It’s an easily abused power and “mandated reporters” can take themselves way too seriously, using this “authority” specifically to flex their “I have power” muscle. A bit overcompensating, would be my guess. And I’m sure you can imagine how incredibly UNSAFE this is for clients!

    “We also have the power to sign off on paperwork for benefits and housing.”

    Wouldn’t the term “responsibility” apply here rather than “power?”

    I believe there is a bit too much emphasis on the word “power” in the mental health and social service industries. It’s always about “power.” It’s why I feel the entire paradigm is faulty.

    Being human is partly about personal power (to create the life one most desires and live freely), but it is not about having power over others. That is the essence of oppression and corruption. That’s where a society becomes toxic and beyond redemption, when it is based on who has power over whom? That’s what needs to change, and it won’t be easy. That program of “hierarchy” is exceedingly powerful, and stubborn in an established system. I tend to find it toxic, by definition. I believe more in the natural order of things, which is not ours to choose, but that which unfolds from integrity and authenticity.

    When a person has power over another, there is inherent imbalance and injustice, and suffering is inevitable. And that is exactly the “mental health industry” paradigm, to the last drop. That will never solve anything because it’s what most people are trying to get away from.

  • “thanks for validating that most therapists are either incompetent or abusive. There’s crossover between the two.”

    I actually had a really good, caring, and straightforward therapist early on, when I first began receiving psychotherapy back in the early 1980s.

    It was later, starting when I moved to San Francisco in the late 90s and began graduate school that I found myself swimming with the sharks, and I dove deep into the black hole of this paradigm. I was going from therapist to therapist, each one more demeaning, arrogant, judgmental, and presumptuous than the last, until I entered the public system and it was like a mine field of incompetence and abuse.

    I agree, Julie, there is a crossover between these two. When the therapist is incompetent, what makes them incompetent is their lack of self-awareness, so all their crap gets relentlessly projected onto the client, and that is nothing short of abuse. And extremely dangerous for the client, lots of post-traumatic stress in the making here.

    Can also lead to suicide ideation, when it adversely affects a person’s feeling of self-worth, which can happen if the client is particularly vulnerable and getting clobbered by their therapist with one shadowy projection after another. That’s not at all uncommon. In fact, I’d venture to guess it is the norm.

  • “I knew a guy who had sex with one of his marital therapy couple.”

    I am not surprised to hear this, it happens a lot. One of the most prominent professors/psychotherapists I had would talk about how in the 1970’s, it was quite a common therapeutic technique, to have sex with a client. Isn’t that clearly prostitution? After all, in these cases, the “therapist” is taking money for sex!

    So violating personal boundaries in the name of “service” has been an issue for quite a while in this field, not to mention extreme abuse of power, in the most overt ways possible. That’s a problem which needs to be addressed in all sorts of ways educational and legal.

    Well, on second thought, it is addressed in school because I did take Law and Ethics of Psychotherapeutic Practice and anyone would agree that engaging in sexual activity with a client is not in the slightest a sound idea for anyone concerned, that it’s entirely abusive, and it is, indeed, illegal, I believe. Yet it does not stop people, they lose their judgment somewhere along the line.

    Just like with teachers engaging in sex with their underage students. I think that’s been going on for a good long while, too–perhaps since the beginning of time–but at least that is being reported now and teachers are getting arrested.

  • Thanks for your very thoughtful response, Shaun. There are, indeed, no clear cut answers, and situations and people and relationships so widely vary and are each unique. As far as what is appropriate to the best outcome, there are different answers for different situations.

    You’re right there are a lot of lousy therapists out there and that is not a harm-free situation. A lousy therapist can do a tremendous amount of harm. These 1:1 meetings are risky, when one member of the relationship is vulnerable, foggy headed, hurting, and/or in need. How to discern a useful vs. useless therapist is a problem for a lot of reasons, and by the time a therapist shows their true colors, much money and energy has already gone down the drain, and disorientation–sometimes quite severe–is the result of bad therapy.

    “Someone with authority needs to be very careful how they wield their power.”

    Yes, I think that’s a truism. What is not clear to me is when a therapist considers himself/herself to have some kind of authority over a client. Why is that? To me, that is a counter-transference because a client has their own agency, pure and simple.

    A psychotherapist provides a service, and whether or not they provide it with competence and effectiveness would be up to the client to report. Yet, critical feedback is most often turned into some kind of symptom, delusion, or transference, and worse yet, the therapist can become so easily defensive. That’s happened to me more often than I can count, and it is truly maddening.

    It’s quite unclear what the truth would be in a relationship like this, I believe. It is simply not straightforward and direct, which is where we find clarity.

    This is why I don’t like the paradigm in which “psychotherapy” is taught and practiced, regardless of the diverse schools of thought and ways of practicing what is called “psychotherapy.” It still boils down to this vague idea of what service, exactly, is being provided here? And what would be considered a reasonable scope of practice?

    The extent to which it can be extremely harmful, if not provided with clarity and competence, needs to be emphasized because I believe it happens more often than not. Can’t prove that, of course, but it is my personal belief, from what I’ve seen and experienced during my lifetime.

    When I was in graduate school, one course I did not see in the catalogue was, “How You Can Do Harm to Your Client if You Are Not Careful, Clear, and Conscientious.” I believe that would be a responsible and eye-opening course to offer, leading to hardy and necessary self-awareness, in order to be “client-ready.” At least that!

    Good discussion about this, thank you, Shaun.

  • Rachel, you put it so perfectly and succinctly. I think that’s the biggest illusion in all this, and what causes such crazy-making problems, all this behind-the-scenes manipulation—which, btw, people who are extremely sensitive to energy can feel yet it can be hard to put one’s finger on. If we follow the thread of that feeling–the energy of it–we do get to the truth.

    But in a dysfunctional and programmed system, people turn a blind eye because that truth will challenge the system, and the beliefs/norms on which it operates, way too much by making people feel and acknowledge things they’ve for so long tried to avoid. That’s an opportunity for the system to heal, change, and grow, but it most often resist this, for so many reasons—e.g., resistance to change, not wanting to face hard truths, etc.

    Personally, I find it so interesting to both study and experience. I went through this with my family. I wasn’t exactly IP’d as a kid, but I did stand out because I was open with my feelings and was truly a present-time kind of person in a very academically oriented family. I was a good student, but I was more into the arts and more of a “free spirit,” which had both its positives and negatives, but overall, I was in the flow as a kid. It was later I had issues and sought help, which began my journey. But we all got our turns being IP’d in a very narcissistically oriented household. My folks were quite emotionally needy, and we were “trained” to fill in those gaps, which of course is a big role for a kid, very oppressive and not freeing.

    And it was much, much later, while I was going through the system and feeling like the IP of the world, that I began to speak my truth to my family, how that system had affected me, and THAT is when something switched in my family and as an adult, I was viewed as “other” and “lesser than”–starting in my 40s, which was a huge blow to me and it led to ego death and having to do consciousness shifting work, if only for my survival.

    That has been my work for years now, because it started to create shifts in this dynamic, to my favor. I began to give all that energy back that wasn’t mine to begin with, and indeed, as I followed that thread through this kind of yucky feeling, it led to a lot of truth that did amount to exactly what you say here–

    “while others play the “golden child” and “winged monkeys” and other roles assigned by the cold, selfish “narcissist” at the center creating the whole drama”

    There has been one person in particular in my family who I discovered was doing this, all behind-the-scenes, and it became extremely obvious from the conversations I was having with other family members and all these contradictions started coming to light.

    The other family members had become unwitting enablers because they believed what they were hearing due to the fact that it fit the program. The one playing the role of “narcissistic abuser” knows the dysfunctional program well and how to keep the power structure in place. It is so fascinating to actually watch this in progress, from the inside out, based on shifting internally one’s self-identity and speaking a new truth, or at least, speaking one’s truth with conviction and integrity. It is a very powerful action and it creates change.

    It was extremely confusing as I processed these conversations, both internally and also with a couple of people in my life with whom I discuss these things, and I realized exactly how the gaslighting was working, not to mention a bit of Munchausen by Proxy and all sorts of seeds-planting based on lies. All in order to create (manipulate into being) a really powerful illusion which would amount to casting shadow over me and in essence, stealing my light. Exactly the same as I experienced in the “mental health” system = stigma. That’s the tool used to create IPs. It is energy-sucking, by design.

    It was amazing to finally see and feel the light on all this. Cracked the code for me. How you say it is spot on, that is exactly how it went. And after years of speaking my truth about it, allowing myself to go into the confusion of it, and then getting my clarity, I am seeing the system changing yet again, and this time, I have way more power because I changed my role in the family.

    And that narcissistic gaslighting abuser? That person is fading from the system it would seem. This is all a family healing work-in-progress and it’s new ground for me so every moment is a surprise. But so far it seems to be working because I made it a point to challenge what they had started to project on me, and I did it out loud, first to the narcissist who started this–and that was a disaster as we all know can be expected, it simply confirms what we know and they pull from their bag of tricks again, and it can lead to retaliation. So then, I started speaking my truth to the one person in the system that I felt could possibly hear me, and that started to shift the energy, slowly but surely.

    Being sensitive to energy, as many of us are who go through these journeys in the assigned role of “MI,” or “the diagnosed one,” is a curse and a gift. At first, it feels impossible to manage life being so senstive with all the harsh energies of the world right now. It’s why we tend to become the peacemakers, we want peace in the world so badly, so that we can get on with things and not be in constant conflict, which is what can add so much static to the collective energy. Conflict can lead to clarity, but sometimes it just seems to beget more conflict, as a norm in the paradigm, far and away from the peace we seek.

    As a “sensitive,” a person can learn to work with this quality and it becomes radar-like, which is a powerful tool in life, but we have to know how to take care of ourselves and how to keep our own energy nourished so that it does not become depleted. I think anyone could benefit from learning this, but being a sensitive type actually requires this for not only survival, but also in order to create a good quality of life, I believe.

    I think it’s also important to keep perspective and remember that these assigned roles are illusions which we can shift, but we do have to work the system, somehow, and what I always say is simply to follow your truth, whatever that means to you. In other words, don’t doubt your information. If it *feels* funky, it more than likely is, regardless of what anyone around you says if you are the only one noticing it. You’re not crazy, you’re a visionary, and those around you are more than likely in denial, if they are trying to make you feel crazy.

    Every voice matters, but the IP is the one carrying all the information. Once they can process it, it is gold. Whether or not others in the system listen is 50/50, but believing in our own truth is empowering, and in my experience, leads to good changes, one way or another.

    Thanks, Rachel, your clarity is extremely inspiring and encouraging to me.

  • Not to belabor anything here and go off topic, but Shaun, I have to say that what you said about sexual transference really triggered some memories from my days in training.

    I remember there was this one director of a well-known training program to which a lot of interns applied post grad school. He was infamous for stopping the interview and then saying to the women who were applying to work there and have him as a supervisor, “Now I feel it is my responsibility to be open here and express that I’m feeling a sexual transference and it’s important we get this out of the way up front, for the sake of our professional relationship.” Something to that effect, and I kid you not.

    And they would come back to our training group at the clinic where I was doing my practicum, and report this, to which everyone would groan and say how creepy it sounded. Don’t ask me how many ended up applying anyway, because I don’t know. I’m simply remembering what this guy was putting out (so to speak).

    This was over 20 years ago, and perhaps since then this has changed, I hope. But, honestly, how is this not power abuse driven sexual assault thinly disguised as the product of transference? And for some reason, no one at that time thought to file a formal grievance, nor did our clinical director take any action, nor was that even in anyone’s awareness. It was uncomfortable for people, but that’s where it stayed, when there could have been so many possible actions to take. These programs are so, so powerful, which is why we’re asking for people to wake up. These things need to be addressed in the open, so that they can be eliminated from practice!

    I had one therapist tell me directly that I was attracted to him and that I should know better than to deny it, given my training. I can assure you that this was not the case, in the slightest. And, in fact, at the time, I’d been with my partner for over 25 years, we’re still happily married, more so than ever after having shared this experience and woke up to it all at the same time. That bonded us even more deeply. So for him to project this, and then try to double-bind and gaslight me that way, is downright criminal, wouldn’t you agree?

    If a male client is being inappropriately sexual with a female therapist, then no, of course she shouldn’t shame him, but she should protect herself, and perhaps suggest a referral? Wouldn’t that be the right message to send, more honest and direct, not to mention self-caring?

    I’ve known plenty of therapists who have crossed that line, themselves, btw.