18 January 2009

Lynching a Madwoman Takes Real Moral Courage

A place of refuge beckons there
So seemingly secure,
But thugs and bullies have a lair
Beyond that open door.
Where hypocrites pontificate
And stealth abusers dominate,
They only will exacerbate
The traumas known before.

The weary wounded stumble in,
Told they are safe at last
By predators who sit and grin
Awaiting a repast.
With cloying words of phony praise,
The narcissists prepare to graze;
Their targets, in dependent daze,
Compete to be harassed.

Each endlessly repeats a tale
Of post-traumatic hell,
But of abuse within the pale
Each is forbid to tell.
The ones who see are forced to leave;
For banished friends the remnant grieve;
Yet the remainder still believe
That place can make them well.
I wrote this, some time ago, after witnessing incredibly vicious behavior directed towards someone who was clearly unwell, by people who knew the person, knew the problem, and were supposedly there to "help".

[No, thank God, it wasn't me.]

It's time to share it.

It is dedicated to every individual, anywhere, who has survived abuse only to be re-traumatized by an abusive recovery group, whether faith-based, secular, 12-step, online or in realspace.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The targets, in dependent daze,
Compete to be harassed."

Would you write more about this dynamic? about what you mean with the word "compete"

When I've been victimized, I was told I allowed it, or asked for it, or wanted it on an unconscious level, or provoked it


18 January, 2009 16:42  
Blogger Stormchild said...

Hi Anonymous

"When I've been victimized, I was told I allowed it, or asked for it, or wanted it on an unconscious level, or provoked it"

When you've been victimized, those to whom you have turned for help, support, and validation have used your vulnerability to victimize you further, labeling, blaming, and abusing you in place of offering genuine support, guidance, and help.

I'm sorry that has happened to you. Try to do everything in your power to reject this labeling and projection, because that is what it is...

There is a huge difference between being unaware of an abusive dynamic and deliberately soliciting abuse.

If you're getting this message from any mental health professional or pastoral counselor, try to find someone else; this person is not good for you.

If it's family, try to distance yourself as much as you can, try to accept the fact that this person or these people will not be there for you [but can be solidly relied upon to kick you when you're down] and do what you can to find healthy support and non-blaming guidance in realspace.

That little couplet of mine,

"The targets, in dependent daze,
Compete to be harassed."

is restrained by the conventions of rhyme and meter, so it is a very condensed expression of the situation. I'm glad to have the chance to explain it.

This was a real situation. It happened in a recovery/support group which was thickly populated with guru wannabes, very self-centered people who were using other group members for narcissistic supply. There was much highflown talk of recovery, but little work or evidence of actual change.

At the time the event described here takes place, there were at least four Phony Gurus 'working a racket' there, under some kind of d├ętente. [There's not only honor among thieves, but also some version of 'reciprocal hunting rights' among human predators, apparently.]

Anyway. Each of the four had their own 'shtick', their own guru pose, and each focused on specific newcomers [and unaware old-timers] as sources of adulation and supply. They didn't poach targets from one another, but they could be, and were, savagely abusive to anyone who was not a Phony Guru and tried to interact with their chosen targets in a healthy way.

What would happen is that the people being used for supply by Phony Guru X would become very dependent, emotionally, on Phony Guru X, which, of course, Phony Guru X was deliberately encouraging. These people would actually begin competing against one another for strokes, favorable attention, etc. from PGX.

Yet, PGX would do to these people exactly what has been done to you, exactly as you describe it. They would go to PGX for validation and support, and PGX would side with their abuser. 99.99% of the time. Sometimes covertly, for instance by scorning their lack of compassion for the poor soul who [stole their car, stole their husband, broke their nose, emptied their bank account], and sometimes very overtly, with language just like the language you have been abused with, above.

So did Phony Gurus W, Y, and Z, with the members of their entourages.

This is what I mean by targets being in a dependent daze, and competing to be harassed. These people were hypnotized, brainwashed, groupthunk, if you will, and couldn't see that they were being harmed, stalled in their recovery, and used as an emotional food source by the very people they were turning to for help and support.

18 January, 2009 18:31  
Blogger Cinder Ella said...

You paint a powerful picture. BTDT. Thank you for sharing this.


25 January, 2009 02:23  

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