Friday, February 12, 2010

Perpetuation of Generational Violence On Children -- Who Grow Up to Be Gay - Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

The research of Dr. Sidney H. Phillips is significant in understanding the kind of harm caused to very young children who grow up to be gay and the effects its has for these children in their adult lives. His works, as well as, Dr. Jack Drescher, Dr. Richard Isay and others bring to light the many problems and complications that children who grows up to be gay will encounter in their adult lives, when these children are raised in a social environment that has been influenced by harsh antigay social and religious norms. Whereas, children who grow up to be gay, but are not raised under the influence of harsh antigay social and religious norms, do not experience the complications in adult life, as those who do.

Essential Precautions

Explaining clinical psychological material, especially when it relates to children warrants taking certain precautions, because clinical material is so easily misinterpreted, almost as much as the bible and other sacred religious texts to the harm of many innocent lives, especially to children. Before continuing to present the research work of Dr. Phillips related to the early childhood psychological development of children who grow up to be gay, there are four important concepts to understand. First, is the importance of understanding the cognitive differences between a child’s mind and that of an adult. The second is found in Selma Fraiberg, (1987) Ghosts in the Nursery, her research helps us to understand how our past mistreatment by adults in our lives growing up as children, can be unconsciously repeated in our treatment of children, when we are adults. Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D., explains the third in his description of Dissociative Processes in his book Clinical Studies on Psychiatry (1956), Chapter 8, pp. 166 to 181. Fourth, it is important to remember the complexity of the research material on early childhood psychological development being presented here and further reading of this material and references listed is encouraged.

A Child's Mind

It is absolutely essential when attempting to understand clinical material related to the stages of early childhood psychological development to remember, at all times, that a child’s mind is not capable of seeing and understanding the world around them in the same way as an adult. Many forms of child abuse stem from negligence in this regard of not being mindful of child’s level of comprehension to perceive and interact in the child's surrounding social environment. Just as adults, we must physically bend our bodies down to play, at times, even to talk to a child, mentally, as adults, we must position our minds to the level that of a child’s mind, in order to understand and care for a small child. Personally, from my years as a parish Catholic priest and as a clinical psychologist I have found that this mental positioning of the mind to the level that of a child, working with very young children can be as therapeutic for the adult, as it is helpful for the child.

It is essential for non-clinicians, many who may be exceptional experts in their own particular fields of study and employment to take a moment to assess their ability to tune into a child’s mind. Selma Fraiberg, (1987) Ghosts in the Nursery, in her landmark work, reminds us all, clinicians, non-clinicians and parents, how even unconsciously we may mistreat children. This can be done quite unintentionally and unknowingly by inflicting on them the same kind of mistreatment we received as children growing up.

Selma Fraiberg, (1987) Ghosts in the Nursery, explains how parents' own past experiences of growing up, impacts their relationship with their own child, beginning as infants. Fraiberg’s research studied the interactions between an infant and one of the parents, when both were left alone in a room. She observed what happens when an infant begins to cry and continues crying for an extended amount of time. Fraiberg discovered that some parents appeared undisturbed by their infant's distress and made no gesture, to soothe, calm or even to pick up their infant.

What prevented these parents from attending to their crying infants? Fraiberg’s research revealed that unconscious processes, conflicts (the Ghosts) of the parents' own past were being played out, in the same way, as these parents experienced being cared for by adults during their early childhood years growing up. The reason why some parents did not pick up their crying infants was because in the past when they were growing up, no one heard their cries or picked them up to soothe them. Not having experienced the attentiveness of a caring comforting adult when they were in distress, as children, as parents, they have no conception of the need to comfort their own crying infants.

Fraiberg’s aim was to intervene at this point, in her parent/infant psychotherapy, to uncover these unconscious processes of the parents that were being played out in caring for their infants and then to them help to construct a more meaningful life-giving interactions between the parents and their infants. (Fraiberg, Selma; Adelson, Edna; Shapirio, Vivian; (1987) Ghosts in the Nursery: a Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired Infant-mother Relationships. Ohio State University Press, p. 105).

by Harry Stack Sullivan

Have you ever wonder why some very prominent male public figures, who have been known for making harsh condemning public statements against homosexuality, only to find out later in the news media that these same men were caught engaging in “public restroom” sex or were paying to have sex with men. Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D. in his description of Dissociative Processes in his book Clinical Studies on Psychiatry gives some insight, as to how this phenomenon can happen not only to public figures but also to anyone.

Instant Smoke Screen

Dr. Sullivan considers his theory of dissociative processes in understanding how “an important system of the personality is effectively barred from any disturbing influence of personal awareness for a period of years and perhaps for a lifetime.” He explains how even a blatantly obvious issue of a person’s personality, which would be expected to be in that person’s self-awareness, however, it is successfully kept out. How is this possible? Sullivan begins by explaining the dynamics of anxiety, as having an “extraordinarily arresting effect on whatever was about to happen.” So when a disturbing issue is provoked and about to enter into one’s consciousness that person feels anxious. Sullivan states that the anxiety becomes more important than the disturbing issue that has been provoked. It sounds like anxiety can be used like a drug. Because when anxiety is allowed to flood the conscious mind, it preoccupies that person’s attention, and therefore any disturbing issue is blocked out of the person’s awareness. However, over time, if anxiety is allowed to run a person’s life, Sullivan states that it ...
… generally leads to an appallingly uncomfortable life. Take for example, a person to whom any sexual impulse, any movement of lust, is an intolerable ingredient of awareness. Presumably the only discharge of impulse, which concerned lust would occur in sleep or in some other very extraordinary situation. One would expect long stretches of waking life to remain in which the person was in the throes of lust. That would mean, from our standpoint, that he was anxious, and was therefore practically incapable of that application to reality that is necessary in order to carry out complex performances, to realize goals take more than momentary action (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 168).
Contradistinction to Anxiety

Dr. Sullivan describes dissociation in contrast to anxiety, because it “does not require disturbance of the contents of consciousness and which does not act as an impediment to the conduct of life in the areas where there is not dissociation…one is more efficient and much nearer happiness, contentment.” Sullivan describes what a person suffers being in a dissociative state by what people say who are recovering from a dissociation state. They report that “... they could now take things easier. Life is less exhausting; it was not so intense; it did not tire them so rapidly per hour (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 169)."

To illustrate the processes and effects of dissociation, Sullivan chooses the example of a married man, he calls, Mr. A, who has dissociated from all his thoughts and impulses of being a homosexual. On the surface, this man’s married life is picture prefect, except for his lack of sexual relations with his wife. Although, this man’s homosexual impulses have remained constant and alive from preadolescence to the present, he has been able to successfully totally dissociate from that whole part of his life. What this means is that this man has tremendous anxiety about being a homosexual, which likely began for him, as far back as his pre adolescent years growing up. And the way he has been able not to have his anxiety become overwhelming for him is by not consciously accepting the fact that he is a homosexual. In his mind he would have seamlessly reworked any indication that would lead to the conscious fact that he was a homosexual. It is this process that Sullivan is describing, as dissociation, a level of cognitive sophistication and specificity that is seamless, undetectable consciously by the person himself.

Process Of Dissociation

How this process of dissociation works is that a person is mentally reworking all perceived information from his surrounding social environment that would lead to the intensely dreaded indication that he was a homosexual. Dr. Sullivan illustrates “what a remarkable performance dissociation is,” by using his example of this married man, Mr. A. Sullivan begins by indicating that Mr. A did have a very happy experience, which was a definite homosexual relationship, in his preadolescent years growing up. However, now, as an adult, Mr. A has successfully dissociated from all conscious memory of this happy experience. Sullivan than describes how Mr. A. would react if he met someone new, Mr. X, as an adult, years later, that vividly resembled this special friend from his past. Mr. X is “the type to activate powerfully an impulse which … would lead to homosexual instances with Mr. A (p 171).” Instead, what happens with Mr. A is he will treat Mr. X “almost as a non-existent entity.” Mr. A will be polite but it will be a reduction of his normal social demeanor. If people notice that Mr. A’s behavior tends to be rather cool towards Mr. X, Mr. A will rationalize it by saying that there is just something about this new person he does not like. Sullivan goes through many examples of how Mr. A will continue to act cool, disinterested, continuously making derogatory remarks about Mr. X. However, Mr. A in his dissociative state “has anything but data on what he has been doing (p.173),” studying Mr. X’s physical profile, orchestrating to sit across from Mr. X at dinner, even to have a sexual encounter with Mr. X. Sullivan describes,

Thus here is an aspect of the self-organization which frequently appear in the major tendencies. That is, a patient with a dissociated impulse will experience special cognitive distortions about anyone whose combination of positive values horribly moves the patient to integrate his dissociated impulse. These positively valued people are then endowed by the patient with the negative of the feelings that would accompany this integration, so that one literally, suavely, and automatically misidentifies the meaning of such a person. In other words, in order that the dissociated tendency shall never disturb awareness, shall not provoke anxiety – because if it did, one would be anxious so much of the time that one could not do things which are necessary to life---the security system has come to include very elaborate pseudo memories, revery processes, and so on, which amount to a wonderfully thorough piece of fantasy that neatly and very adequately excludes any ordinary ways by which one would become aware of something. You need not marvel too much that such things can be, because our erroneous explanations of things are of the same type, and you know they run very beautifully unless they happen to break down in a particularly distressful situation (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 174).

The process of dissociation as described by Harry Stack Sullivan is a complex system of cognitive distortion of our perception of reality to securely avoid us from knowing some truth about ourselves. A truth, so feared, if known to us would flood our conscious mind with overwhelming amounts of anxiety, causing us to become incapacitated to function normally.

How To Stop Harming Children

Understanding the mind of a child, personal ghosts from childhood and dissociations, mentally distorting reality to avoid the conscious flooding of overwhelming amounts of anxiety are the necessary precautions to be able to effectively avoid harming children. The following postings on this blog will be dealing with the lives of real children, who have no one to keep them safe from the kind of harm that is past on from generation to generation. This kind of harm is an implicit form, not visible to the human eye, easily rationalized or denied. However, the telltale signs are left in the wake of this destructive force of this form of implicit harm. By identifying this form of implicit harm that it exists, is the first step to help prevent it from continuing and being past on to future generations.

First, making an effort to understand and learn how children are easily traumatized is critical. This, also, requires us to learn and know the ways that we may have been traumatized as children, because they are our ghosts that follow us into the nursery. It is in this way that we unknowingly past on this implicit form of harm to other generation.

Secondly, indiscriminately speaking out publically against a whole group of people globally, like homosexuals, should be the very first sign that some form of dissociation is taking place within us, personally. It is the first easy detectable clue that we our cognitively distorting reality because unless we know every homosexual in the world, we cannot in truth make such statements. Time and time again, we have witnessed in the news media major prominent male political and religious leaders publically condemning all homosexuals and then some of these same leaders are caught in some public sandal having sex with men.

Collective Dissociation
Harmful to Children

It seemed like the process of dissociation was working overtime this past election 2008, for many with the defeat of the gay marriage proposals. However, it also showed that the process of dissociation does not have as tight of a grip on people as it once did regarding gay marriage, because the defeat was not by any overwhelming majority.

It is critical for each person to be responsible for personally attempting to identify this form of implicit harm that can be caused to others by our own seamless process of dissociation. And that the harm that this dissociation causes, especially regarding homosexuals is generational being passed on from one generation to another, unknowingly.

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

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Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit." Erik Erikson

Important note: I mean no disrespect to Pope Benedict XVI or the hierarchy, the one and only concern is the safety and well-being of children. Kids are being hurt!!!

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