Garden of bones


‘Garden of Bones’ is the fourth episode of the second season of HBO’s medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones, where feminist messages continue. Almost at the beginning of the episode Robb encounters field nurse Talisa, who cuts off a survivor’s leg after the battle to keep it from gangrene. When I was a kid I watched movies on the big screen like Gone with the Wind where the doctors who cut off legs after violent battles were men, and women didn’t have the stomach for it.

That woman, Talisa, would seal Robb’s fate in the penultimate episode of the next season because he would marry her, breaking the pact he had with Lord Walder Frey to marry his beautiful daughter, who unlike non-Aryan Talisa is completely white. It doesn’t matter to spoil forward to the end of the next season, where you can see where Robb’s stupidity of messing with a non-Aryan commoner after being engaged to a beautiful Aryan of noble birth came to be. What matters is to denounce the feminist bombardment with which Game of Thrones overwhelms us.

I could even mention my family. As I tell in Whispering Leaves, in his capacity as a surgeon in the royalist army, my Catalan ancestor came to New Spain to join forces that fought against the Mexican insurgents, made up mostly of non-whites. That’s true history: a male serving as a field surgeon for real-history battles.

Worst of all in the HBO episode is that with the dead still on the battlefield Talisa lectures Robb, the King of the North, because this little woman dislikes war. Total surrealism. This sort of thing—a commoner scolding a king right after a bloody battle—never happened in the Middle Ages or in later times, as in the wars of independence in the Americas.

In the episode Talisa continues to argue with the King of the North in a derogatory way, and Robb is not offended.

What madness! I don’t want to read how those passages appear in Martin’s novel because Martin is also a feminist, although the pair of Jews who produced the episode exacerbated Martin’s feminism on the television version.

Never did women speak like this, especially after a bloody war with streams of blood from the dead still running in the field. Why white men haven’t rebelled, since 2012, with lots of negative reviews after scenes like this?

In the last bad message of the episode a black man is shown as a powerful guy, this time in Qarth, ‘the Greatest City that Ever Was or Will Be’ located in the brutal desert called Garden of Bones. This black man opens the gates of Qarth (pic above) to the wandering Dany and her followers, who would have died in the desert had it not been for this negro.

Published in: on March 9, 2021 at 11:24 am  Comments Off on Garden of bones  

Why I don’t talk about the news

Talking about the news is a matter for commoners, not the crow.

These days I rarely read entire articles that come from the pen of white nationalists. And indeed, today I didn’t read the entire article that MacDonald published yesterday, ‘Why It’s Important for Trump to Win’. If we imagine that there is such a thing as the three-eyed raven, with all that wealth of knowledge about the human past, then the fact that the most powerful nation spearheads the suicidal passion of whites is seen from the crow’s meta-perspective of all history and its general meaning. Commenting on the news, on the other hand, is myopia.

Unlike the raven MacDonald doesn’t live beneath the weirwood tree; he’s unaware of the history of Christianity (soon I’ll continue with instalment 130 of my Deschner excerpts). He’s clueless about how the religion that instilled the doctrine of eternal torture in whites and forced them to worship Yahweh has been transmuted into runaway self-hatred once it became secular.

Similarly, my visitors are unaware of why debunking psychiatry or understanding the trauma model that I have been promoting on this site is important. Just think of the second paradigmatic case of girls in Colin Ross’s class to understand the self-harming attitudes of today’s white man. That chapter appears less than thirty pages after Paulina’s missive in the original Whispering Leaves book.

If we understand how there are adult women who self-injure—the case of the second girl when she grows up—, we will understand why virtually all whites self-injure today through an ethno-suicidal ideology originated in the Levant. It is this psychohistorical meta-perspective, the third eye of the raven’s vision to use George R.R. Martin’s character, that distinguishes this site from other racialist sites.

And by the way, America delenda est.

Published in: on October 22, 2020 at 1:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Exlibris

Those who wish to read my recent ‘Nobody Wanted to Listen’ series in due order can do so on my Ex Libris page (here).

Published in: on October 21, 2020 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Exlibris  

Nobody wanted to listen, 11

Epilogue

Every time I tried to draw water from the well, the bucket came out dry in the desert of my acquaintances. Parents or personal tragedies, as a subject, was forbidden throughout society. For decades I couldn’t cover the topic with anyone.

For the human galaxy of those who commit suicide that history has seen, ‘at least one soul in the entire world’ could have saved them, some confessed. But they had no one to show solidarity with them and they killed themselves. How many millions of humans could have written a History of My Mind like the one the poet Kleist threw into the flames before blowing his brains out? Throughout my twenties and thirties something similar happened to me: I couldn’t write when I had everything ready to do so. Nor could I study a career, and what is worse, I didn’t understand why. In addition to the Letter I had written, my will faded away as I tried other enterprises. Then someone appeared in my life.

Caesar:

The day before I received your letter. How long the mail takes!

I have finished reading your book, it is so shocking and disturbing that sometimes I had to stop reading because of the sadness and pain I felt. It made me think and once I started to cry and I better stopped reading it because I was going to wet the pages… I understand your suffering and at the same time I admire your strength. Another lad would have become an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homosexual, a robber or whatnot.

Despite everything, I imagine that your parents love you, as well as you love them. How good it would be if they recognised the damage they caused you and changed their attitude towards you. The past could no longer be changed, but perhaps you would feel better in your self-esteem. (I think deep down they feel remorse, but they don’t want to admit it. How humility is necessary to recognise one’s mistakes.)

November 24, 1998. And you walking through those gloomy streets of Manchester, at midnight, with the solitude of Chirico’s paintings. Like a repetitive nightmare: the teenage Caesar slapped and alone. The one who lost his family and only loved his tree. The Caesar who walked around in his bedroom at his grandmother’s house when he turned thirty…

July 17, 1999. The letter you want to send to your mother (‘Postscript: I will never forget the golden stage that, thanks to you, dad and my siblings, I passed as a child in the house in Palenque’) touched me. I really like that about you.

But I am very sad that there is no reconciliation with your family. I felt a lump in my throat when I read your postscript: you love them Caesar. I can’t understand why your parents harden their hearts—they love you too! How sad that out of pride, for reasons unknown, they don’t come near you. How would it feel to lose their child? I don’t want them to leave this world with that abyss towards you…

Don’t take me wrong, believe me it comes from my heart.

Take care,

Paulina.

Returning to the country after a year in the gloomy and rainy city of Manchester, and speaking with her in person, she confessed to me that upon reaching the passage of my Letter where I put on a jacket when running away from home when my father hit me, she felt like a Thumbelina like the one in the children’s story. That Thumbelina, she told me, although she couldn’t travel back in time to that night in April 1976 and console myself, felt all the intensity of my tragedy. She wanted to be, although at least as small as the character in the story, an inner voice of comfort in my heart during the most crucial night of my life.

Paulina’s compassion was the cure for my soul: the antithesis of all the offenses of so many people over so many years. A single word of comfort can save a life. It’s like seeing life in colour again after centuries of seeing everything in black and white. ‘If at least one soul in the whole world…’ said those who would commit suicide.

But they had none.

Published in: on October 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm  Comments (2)  

Nobody wanted to listen, 10

The pathetic survivors

Finally, I can be told that since the mental health professions are inherently corrupt, I shouldn’t have considered even anti-psychiatrists but only survivor groups. Common sense tells us that, unlike the professionals who are part of the system, in self-help groups we will find the much sought after help. But let’s remember what happened with those filmmakers when I said that the Alcoholics Anonymous therapies were skin deep because they omitted the issue of parental abuse. This omission is endemic in self-help groups and even in less superficial associations than AA and its countless imitations of the twelve steps. For example, in the texts that are circulated in a group called Co-counselling I was stunned by the absolute omission of the role that parents play in the emotional problems of their children. Nothing is more alien from the ideology of this group than to fight for the legislative milestones of those countries that have prohibited corporal punishment of children. And exactly the same can be said for any other self-help group. Needless to say, not attacking the root cause is, as I told the AA believer who went mad at me, an epidermal remedy.

Laing was a philosopher of disturbed minds. But philosophical sophistication often serves as a smokescreen to hide the mistakes of a thinker. In psychiatric survivor circles it is common to hear that Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America, published in 2001, is considered the most educational book against psychiatry ever written. Whitaker definitely gets off the philosophical tower of Foucault, Szasz, and Laing. But in his book, Whitaker doesn’t say a word about whether parents could be the agents of trauma. Mad in America’s deficiency was exposed when a guest in the guest house I lived in, read some passages from the book in my library and came across a favourite Whitaker quote among psychiatrists themselves: ‘Little is known about what causes schizophrenia’. My friend repeated this psychiatric slogan, omitting my footnote: ‘It bothers me that, after quoting Modrow, Whitaker didn’t want to see that the cause of the insanity has been known for decades’. And that’s the ‘best critical book’ on psychiatry, written not by a mental health professional but by an acclaimed journalist.

A word now about the most structured organisation of survivors of psychiatry: Mind Freedom International, which has invited Whitaker to its events (I don’t take into account the activism of the Church of Scientology against psychiatry because it’s mixed with Scientology quackery). This organisation publishes a magazine that bears the same name, Mind Freedom. In its winter 2002 issue, which features a photograph of Breggin on the cover, the magazine listed dozens of books critical of the psychiatric profession. But in the review of Modrow’s book it omitted to mention his central thesis: extremely abusive parents can cause ‘schizophrenia’ in the child. What has Modrow opined about such omission? It is pertinent to point out that, although I have consulted the Mind Freedom page many times, I have never come across a phrase that affirms that parental abuse may be involved in the child’s crisis. This is surprising when you consider that David Oaks, the director of the organisation, had a psychotic breakdown when he was in his twenties; and it is also surprising because a grassroots movement like Mind Freedom doesn’t have to comply with the political correctness of the most academic authors (the contributors to Simon’s journal for example). When I confronted Oaks about this omission, like Breggin he hid behind a wall of silence.

I must say that one of the aspects of Mind Freedom that caught my attention is its insistence on speaking of insanity as something to be proud of: similar to, say, the sexual identity advocated in the so-called gay movement. In fact, from the correspondence he sends me, I realised that Oaks is very interested in having the idea of ‘Mad Pride’ promulgated, including parades, imitating those of ‘Gay Pride’. This is a grotesque idealisation: we can already imagine Modrow feeling proud in 1960 because he was John the Baptist! With honourable exceptions the survivors of psychiatry, including those who demonstrate on the street, appear pathetic. In some internet reviews I recommended books by Szasz, Simon’s journal that Breggin originally created, Whitaker’s Mad in America, and Mind Freedom’s web page. Now I’m not so sure of the wisdom of these recommendations. None of them have dared to see the most terrible event in life: the maddening panic of a child assaulted at home. It is a splendid irony that, like their psychiatric foes, parental toxicity is a taboo subject for many anti-psychiatrists.

In How to Murder Your Child’s Soul I tried to cut a weed at ground level. But the extirpation that I do here reaches a root untouched in my previous book. In our culture it is strictly forbidden to get to the root of evil in the world. Breggin has written that we have to wait for the moment when critics of psychiatry are able to galvanise public opinion. He doesn’t realise that for that moment to come, Miller’s revolution in psychology must first be consolidated. Psychiatry doesn’t re-victimise children who are beaten at home by accident. It does it out of necessity. It is just one of the most recent institutions of an ancient social heritage that recreates evil in each generation. Psychiatry is part of an ancient cultural fabric: from the biblical ‘wise’ Solomon who advises beating the child, to the ‘educator’ Jean-Jacques Rousseau who abandoned his babies in an orphanage. Laing himself abused his family terribly. What people like Breggin don’t want to understand is that it is impossible to convince society of the falsehood of psychiatry if his editors don’t even tolerate the word ‘trauma’ in the manuscripts that come to them. Some of that trauma can be glimpsed in the TV talk show subculture with all the simplicity and vulgarity that these shows represent. But there is no chair in any university in the world that formally addresses the subject.

This is the most astonishing fact that I have come across in Alice Miller’s work.

Published in: on October 20, 2020 at 12:51 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 10  

Nobody wanted to listen, 9

Ronald Laing and anti-psychiatry

What’s written above leads me to a corollary to my book How to Murder Your Child’s Soul. The universal stubbornness or blindness about the ravages resulting from parental abuse is the cause of the existence of psychiatry. Because parents are taboo, for more than a century the profession has tried to find the source of mental disorders on the wrong side, the body. Parents are not only publicly untouchable: we are not even allowed to see their actions in the solitude of our bedrooms. So, when uncontaminated by social underpinnings, a child dares to say that his parental kings go naked, society completely loses its cool and labels the sane one who has told the truth as crazy. Through the involuntary administration of drugs it assaults the brain not of the disturbed parents, but of the child (analogously, in the former Soviet Union it was the sanest people, the dissidents, who were injected with antipsychotics). This was the tragedy that I tried to denounce in my previous books, and it is perfectly explainable if we start from the fact that the whole society strives to be blind on this matter.

A world that insists on seeing things in photographic negative can only (1) attack the child victim, or (2) ignore the adult in a literary search for his lost time. If such a vision in photonegative didn’t exist, bio-psychiatry wouldn’t exist: our eyes and hearts would make us see the toll that abuse entails. Psychic disturbances would be the province of the psychologist, and it would be seen as nonsense that they would be the province of the physician. It is more than ironic that the greatest critics of psychiatry have contributed, with their blindness, to perpetuate the pseudoscience they try to debunk.

To explain this situation, I would like to mention that in 2005 an American wrote me a letter. After reading ‘Why Psychiatry is a False Science’ published as an appendix to my previous book (the article that Laurence Simon refused to publish), he complained that after so many decades of activism critics of psychiatry hadn’t made a dent in the public conscience. The key to understanding this is that the critics themselves suffer from a blind spot in the centre of their vision: something similar to the black strip that appears on pay-TV channels. If the critics refuse to see what is central, that parental abuse causes neuroses and psychoses, and if it is from this black strip that it is intended to enlighten others, it shouldn’t be surprising that the public conscience hasn’t awakened.

______ 卐 ______

 
Interpolated note for this site:

Exactly the same happens to white nationalists, as Mike has told us on this site: ‘Whatever you want to call it, thinking you can aid in saving the white race while, at the same time, bending the knee to Jewish deities (Yahweh and Yeshua) is some kind of combination of insane, dishonest, cowardly, naive, or very stupid. To bottom line it, it won’t and can’t work’.

I used Mike’s words to debunk MacDonald at the end of my Daybreak.

______ 卐 ______

 
To clarify this point, I will now refer to those professionals who didn’t suffer from this blind spot. Unlike Szasz and Breggin’s epigones, Lidz, Laing, Arieti and others pointed to parents as responsible for the psychoses in their patients. But even these and many other psychiatrists didn’t sympathise with the victim with the integrity and empathy that Miller and I do. For example, in the Letter I quoted Theodore Lidz:

I also find it very distressing that because the parents’ attitudes and interactions are important determinants of schizophrenic disorders, some therapists and family caseworkers treat parents as villains who have ruined the lives of their patients.

Although I barely caught a glimpse of it when I wrote the Letter, now I clearly see in this sentence the typical fears to speak, without mincing words, of parental guilt. By resisting saying that abusive parents are what they are—the villains in the child’s movie—Lidz advised taking the victim away from his parent. The difference with Miller cannot be greater, who advises keeping the aggressor away from home. What’s the point of moving, say, a pubescent girl raped by her father if the aggressor stays at home, waiting for the next little sister to grow up to molest her too? But sexual abuse isn’t the most common.

At the time of reviewing this chapter, as of mid-2008, twenty-eight nations have prohibited corporal punishment of children. The dates indicate the year the legislation came into force, starting with the country that provided the example: Sweden (1979); Finland (1983); Norway (1987); Austria (1989); Cyprus (1994); Latvia (1998); Croatia (1999); Bulgaria, Israel and Germany (2000); Iceland (2003); Romania and Ukraine (2004); Hungary (2005); Greece (2006), Chile, Holland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela (2007); Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Malta and South Africa (2008). In Iceland, a country that illustrates Miller’s advice, the penalties for parents go up to three years in prison or a high fine. Note that these countries have omitted to include psychological and emotional abuse, which can be equally destructive, or even more so, since all bruises are internal (think of the Helfgott case and countless other schizogenic parents). Despite these legislative advances, these societies still cannot see other forms of undermining the emotional integrity of the children. Laing, who did focus on internal injuries, was closer to Miller than Lidz when he came to blatantly blame the maddening parents. But like Szasz, Laing philosophised from an ivory tower: cold and distant reason from the victim and his feelings, as was fashionable in the existential philosophy of his time. Much more reached the real person those who, without any philosophical ballast, addressed the issue of domestic violence: a revolution in psychology that began in the 1970s and 1980s and isn’t yet over. In the first chapter of The Divided Self (1960) entitled ‘The existential-phenomenological foundations for a science of persons’ Laing wrote:

It seems extraordinary that whereas the physical and biological sciences of it-processes have generally won the day against tendencies to personalize the world of things or to read human intentions into the animal world, an authentic science of persons has hardly got started by reason of the inveterate tendency to depersonalize or reify persons.

Laing refers to mental health professionals in particular and the social sciences in general.

If it is held that to be unbiased one should be ‘objective’ in the sense of depersonalizing the person who is the ‘object’ of our study, any temptation to do this under the impression that one is thereby being scientific must be rigorously resisted. Depersonalization in a theory that is intended to be a theory of persons is as false as schizoid depersonalization of others and is no less ultimately an intentional act. Although conducted in the name of science, such reification yields false ‘knowledge’. It is just as pathetic a fallacy as the false personalization of things.

In philosophising about the autobiographical genre, I came to these conclusions on my own. Animism and bio-reductionism are antithetical psychopathologies, one primitive and tribal and the other sophisticated and urban. And this objectifying people reminds me of the dehumanised language of the analyst Solbein: ‘Those are common clinical experiences’. [Interpolated note for this blog: See also Krist Krusher’s recent comment on this site.] Laing continues:

It is unfortunate that personal and subjective are words so abused as to have no power to convey any genuine act of seeing the other as person (if we mean this we have to revert to ‘objective’), but imply immediately that one is merging one’s own feelings and attitudes into one’s study of the other in such a way as to distort our perception of him. In contrast to the reputable ‘objective’ or ‘scientific’, we have the disreputable ‘subjective’, ‘intuitive’, or, worst of all, ‘mystical’. It is interesting, for example, that one frequently encounters ‘merely’ before subjective, whereas it is almost inconceivable to speak of anyone being ‘merely’ objective.

So far I’m in perfect agreement with Laing. Remember the passage of the two universes, the empirical and the interior; and that the existence of the subjective universe is so real that it is enough to think about our death to verify it [mentioned in the first part of the book]. However, Laing adds:

The greatest psychopathologist has been Freud. Freud was a hero. He descended to the ‘Underworld’ and met there stark terrors. He carried with him his theory as a Medusa’s head which turned these terrors to stone. We who follow Freud have the benefit of the knowledge he brought back with him and conveyed to us.

As I pointed out in my previous book, for Jeffrey Masson psychoanalysis was born as a betrayal of women. The Oedipus complex was nothing more than a grotesque attempt to cast guilt on the victims who came to Freud’s office to tell him stories of incest. Analytic theory is the diametrically opposite of wielding the head of the Medusa. If there is such a thing as the antithesis of the hero, that was Sigmund Freud: an ethnic Jew who, although he reached the threshold, was afraid to enter the Underworld and face pure terrors (remember my dreams when commenting on Giorgio de Chirico’s painting). Laing, an idol in my twenties, portrayed Freud in photographic negative and saw the dark as bright. Like many intellectuals of his day, Laing was seduced by the apotheosis of the Vienna quack, something in which Szasz was much more cautious.

When I reread Laing, I did so with a renewed mind after reading Masson, Szasz, and other critics of the psychoanalytic movement. In my rereading of the last chapter of The Divided Self I realised that Julie, one of Laing’s patients, was admitted to a psychiatric ward for almost a decade. If Laing himself hadn’t suffered from the scientific objectivity that he criticises, he would have empathised with Julie denouncing those who locked her up. True, in stark contrast to Szasz and Simon, Laing blamed mothers like Julie’s for their daughter’s psychosis. However, in The Divided Self he never made it clear that the mere fact of locking her up could aggravate her condition. In what I am close to Laing is that when reading his essay one is left under the impression that Julie’s mother, more than psychiatry, ‘murdered a girl’. These are the words of Julie speaking parabolically about herself: she meant that her mother murdered her tender soul. Now, the person Julie, not the object of Laing’s essay, needed to be taken away from the psychiatric hospital and from the mother who committed her; to take her to live far from her ‘murderer’. When she began her psychotic crisis at seventeen years old and said ‘a little girl was murdered’ Julie thought that she should inform the police about the crime.

Her delirium was closer to Miller’s posture than to the psychiatric that locked her up. The laws of a nation should seek to lock up the maddening parent, not the victim (who, in a state of florid psychosis, would have to be cared for in a non-repressive enclosure like the one that Laing presided over). In a just society that doesn’t see reality in the photonegative, this would naturally be done through the police. But in her chapter on Julie, Laing never suggests this. In fact, both the word victim and an exhortation of justice are the great absent in The Divided Self. Also, Laing doesn’t denounce the psychiatric re-victimisation of other women clearly maddened by their family. In another of his famous books, The Politics of Experience, he limits himself to reproaching society for misunderstanding psychoses. Sometimes Laing even seems to participate in the universal fear of touching the parent. Speaking of Julie’s mother, Laing mentions one of the fashionable concepts in the 1950s, the ‘schizophrenogenic mother’ but is quick to add that, fortunately in his opinion, there was no other ‘witch hunt’ in history: an equivocal comparison with women labelled witches centuries ago. If there is one thing the world needs, through the law that Miller outlines, it is to bring to justice every parent who murders children souls. The basic pathology of our society is that this crime, and this crime alone, must remain not only unpunished but invisible. For example, Silvano Arieti, Laing’s colleague across the Atlantic, talked a lot about psychotherapy in Interpretation of Schizophrenia. But he never proposed any social engineering to redress the problem of maddening parents; and he didn’t do so despite the fact that Arieti blames them for the psychotic state of his patients.

‘To my mother and father’ reads the dedication of Laing’s The Divided Self. ‘To my parents’, the dedication of Arieti’s Interpretation of schizophrenia (etymologically, schizophrenia means a divided self). Naturally, the most sophisticated thinkers of insanity also had parents. (In my next book we will hear a class about the problem of attachment with the perpetrator that explains the lukewarmness of Laing, Arieti and others.) Not until the middle of The Divided Self Laing speaks openly about abusive parents. In contrast, Miller and I do it from the first page of our writing, and passionately.

After reading The Divided Self, the best of Laing’s essays, I was convinced that there can be no such thing as a science of subjects. Seen from the outside, the subject inevitably becomes an object: an offense for those who want to speak with their own voice. This is precisely the foundational flaw of academic psychology. If science is the study of the empirical world there can be no such thing as a ‘science of persons’, only people writing about their lives. Although Laing had much more heart than Freud, and this puts him on a higher level to understand the tragedy of the person in crisis, he starts from the same objectivist position. His essays and those of Lidz are, at best, a solidary approach to the disturbed subject. It’s funny that in The Divided Self Laing quotes Sartre: ‘I am not fond of the word psychological. There is no such thing as the psychological. Let us say that one can improve the biography of the person’. I would go further. The direct study of a soul in psychotic hell can only come from the pen of someone who, like Modrow, speaks in the first person singular.

Nobody wanted to listen, 8

Peter Breggin and his editor

In my previous book I had said that the psychiatrist Peter Breggin has denounced the folie à deux between the parent who abuses his child and the psychiatrist who drugs not the aggressor, but the abused one. Unfortunately, like Szasz Breggin’s successors suffer from a dire blind spot.

Critics of psychiatry who flourished around the 1960s, and the paradigm would be Ronald Laing, saw the most important thing in their profession: the family is responsible for mental disorders. However, as soon as the embryonic anti-psychiatric movement proposed by Laing and others was conceived, it was aborted. Today’s critics are much more politically correct than those of the 60s, including the associations of survivors of psychiatry. Although they fight biological psychiatry, these professionals and survivors don’t want to see what’s in front of them: abusive parents are the number one cause of mental disorders. From this angle, the criticism of the profession by Modrow and Miller, who do not suffer from this blind spot, is far superior.

EHPP stands for Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. When I learned that a journal that Peter Breggin created was challenging psychiatry, I was delighted. That’s what the world needed! Although already in my forties, with a youthful spirit I sent to the journal’s editor an original contribution to the academic critique of psychiatry (eventually published as an appendix in my previous book under the title ‘Why psychiatry is a false science’). I was very excited and fantasised about contributing various articles and reviews to Breggin’s journal. What would be my surprise when the new editor, a certain Laurence Simon, answered me saying that it was necessary to modify some passages related to the trauma model. The condition for publishing was to tone down the idea that abusive parents could psychologically harm their child. Simon’s request surprised me because Breggin had written some texts indistinguishable from Miller’s point of view; in fact, Breggin mentions Miller several times in his books. Laurence Simon, his new editor, had turned one hundred and eighty degrees on what the journal’s founder had written. In Simon’s email to me, the trauma model ‘has long lost credibility with the scientific community as have all the older analytic theories that blame poor mother’.

To the poor mother! Simon didn’t answer my question if he had read the researchers of the trauma model. Nor did he respond to another of my letters where I pointed out the existence of academic books on this model published in the new century. In one of his emails Simon even complained that I kept using the word ‘trauma’ in a modified version of my text. I still had hopes of publishing in Breggin’s journal and was willing to sacrifice a few paragraphs from my article. But Simon’s anti-trauma stance made me think that, like my attackers at the Cineteca, the new editor harboured deep-seated fears about something in his past. The old work of authors who studied cases of maddening parents was left out of my article. I relented on this point, but it seemed incredible to me that references to Theodore Lidz, Ronald Laing and Silvano Arieti, widely read authors in the 1960s and 1970s, would have to be censored in the journal that Breggin had created. Simon then revealed his true colours by insisting that all references to the trauma model, including contemporary authors, should be left out of my article.

I complained to Andrew Levine, the person in charge of responding to letters sent to the organization that Breggin founded, and to co-editor Johnatan Leo. None responded. I complained to Dominick Riccio, the director of international affairs. No reply. I complained to David Cohen, the editor before Simon and a close associate of Breggin. Cohen sided with Simon. I complained in several letters to Breggin himself, the director of the organisation that publishes the journal. Breggin hid behind in a wall of silence. I insisted and his wife, Ginger Breggin, wrote a few words in her own hand in one of my missives that she returned to me. Ginger simply claimed that her husband ‘no longer worked’ at the journal. But the truth is that Breggin continued to lead the organisation that publishes it, and his attitude seemed inconsistent with his previous position, if not cowardly.

Only now do I realise that, like Szasz, I had idealised Breggin. It was very hard for the idealist that I was to wake up to the fact that, although he has dedicated himself to denouncing what psychiatrists do with minors—an issue in which Carlos García so miserably cowed—Breggin hadn’t the stature I imagined. It is impossible to convey in a few paragraphs how confused I was by this little affair. I couldn’t believe my senses: that the most important thing of all had to be censored in the pages of the journal that Peter Breggin had created. In my private diaries of those days I wrote:

18 September 2003

It seems that my article won’t be published. See what Simon tells me this day, and my response.

I had to take another long walk in the street saddened by the resistance of the world even in those who professionally criticise psychiatry. As Miller says, the greatest resistance comes from the professionals themselves. Every time I run into a jerk like Simon I enhance the figure of this woman even more. I think I should try again with Cohen and Breggin but I highly doubt it will work. As always, Caesar, the people are incomparably more Neanderthalesque than you imagined.

Hopefully this is false and Breggin understands me…

He didn’t. Even two years after the rejection of my article, I still couldn’t believe my senses: that Breggin’s editor took a position contrary to something Breggin himself had written. So in September 2005 I made one last attempt at communication. To make sure my letter got through, I sent it to him through Federal Express. Somewhat edited for this book I quote some passages of the letter:

Dear Dr. Breggin:

I would like to thank you for your work. When I was a teenager, my mother ruined my young life by putting neuroleptics in my orange juice without my knowing it. Thanks to your work I now know that the hellish akathisia I experienced was the direct result of the drug. I am truly grateful for enlightening me on this issue.

I wrote you two or three letters in 2003 and 2004. Although none were answered, I hope this one is, and directly from you. The fact is that Laurence Simon contradicts what you say in chapter 2 of Toxic Psychiatry. Allow me to quote something from your book, which in my opinion is one of the best on the subject: ‘More than one patient of mine has begun with just such anguished fragments of memory before discovering the agony of his or her abusive childhood and its relationships to current entrapments’ (p. 24). Then, saying something very similar to what Laing used to say, you wrote:

Mad persons are victims of a corrupt upbringing: Behavior that gets labeled schizophrenic is a special strategy that a person invented in order to live in an unlivable situation [your emphasis]. What’s wrong is not “in the patient,” but in his family and society [p. 31].

You made many other similar pronouncements in the chapter on schizophrenia under the headings ‘The Family,’ ‘Envy and Shaming in the Family,’ ‘Blaming’ and ‘Should Parents Feel Guilty?’ In fact, the view you present on what is labelled schizophrenia is identical to mine. This is why I am so puzzled that your new editor takes the opposite position: that the aetiology of psychoses is a mystery.

I am about to finish a book that includes extremely harsh criticism of Laurence Simon and EHPP because Simon’s ‘poor mother’ stance is an insult to people like Modrow and many others who have had terribly abusive mothers (and fathers alike). I would like to spare you from such criticism. Those passages above show that you are—or at least were when writing Toxic Psychiatry—a very understanding person towards survivors. They also show that you believe there is some truth to the claim that some parents drive their child mad.

So please reply to this letter. How was it possible for your editor to take exactly the opposite position from what you say in your most important book? If the topic of parental abuse is central to understanding mental disorders, why haven’t you fired him?

Respectfully,

C.T.

The years that followed the editor’s rejection and the wall of silence behind which Breggin hid from me represented a great confrontation with reality. In addition to resigning myself to publishing my article not in a specialised journal but as an appendix to my previous book, I had to swallow the bitter drink that critics of psychiatry suffer from the same fears as psychiatrists, analysts, and psychologists. To give just one example: the EHPP editors failed to publish an obituary, or even better a tribute, to Theodore Lidz: one of the most prominent Americans in the trauma model of schizophrenia in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, who died in 2001 at the age of ninety (I talked to him over the phone when I lived in Houston). Even when Breggin and Cohen were EHPP editors, I didn’t find a single article in their journal about the work of Lidz or other authors of the trauma model, not even a critical one. Just as psychiatrists do, for these ‘anti-psychiatrists’ the trauma model is not even mentioned. Clearly, in recent decades there has been a failure of the nerve among critics of psychiatry.

Published in: on October 16, 2020 at 1:39 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 8  

Nobody wanted to listen, 7

Szasz and Shirley MacLaine

Now some will tell me that it is neither the psychiatrists nor the psychologists nor the psychoanalysts, but the critics of the mental health professions with whom I should have tried to communicate.

Another myth. At the beginning of the century, the activist Carmen Ávila directed me to investigate Mexican psychiatry. Although she praised my Letter, she advised me the same as Dr. García: to rewrite it with pseudonyms. Ávila repeatedly insisted on this advice without realising that caring for the interests of a family that, without repenting, will take their sin to the grave offends the victim of that family. Anyone who has not been educated in poisonous pedagogy doesn’t object to denouncing a case of abusive parenting in the public light (although I admit that understanding it cost me long agonies).

Mrs. Ávila specialises in the abuses of the medical profession with children and campaigns against the psychiatric drugging of those labelled as ADHD kids. Unlike García, Ávila has enthusiastically celebrated my public denunciation of Dr. Amara, who has persistently been promoting the drugging of children on the radio. Since we have both battled psychiatry, Ávila holds me in high regard. However, like the rest of humanity, the will to denounce the figure of the mother frightens her.

You might think that Ávila advised me to rewrite my book because she is a grandmother—literally—who sometimes takes on the role of a mother. But when you take note of what the most eminent critics of psychiatry write, worse attitudes remain to be seen.

In his book Cruel Compassion and at a conference in Los Angeles that Ávila attended, Thomas Szasz denounced the collusion between abusive parents and psychiatrists. However, the dean in the civil war against psychiatry omits the fact that these parents can drive a child mad. The omission is evident throughout his work, and the reason is exposed in The Meaning of Mind. In that book, Szasz states that adult misconduct cannot be traced ‘to child abuse or sexual abuse’. In contrast to that statement, for Richard Rhodes and his biographee, the criminologist Lonnie Athens, every criminal had a harrowing childhood or adolescence (which does not mean that all the abused automatically become criminals, since some of them had helping witnesses, or developed neurotic defence mechanisms). But Szasz goes further. Speaking as if he were a typical American Calvinist he writes that the poor are guilty of their poverty, and as if that weren’t enough, at the end of his book he quotes one of Sartre’s stupidest remarks: that one deserves his own destiny. Sartre’s statement isn’t only ideological madness: it is perverse for having been uttered in a century as genocidal as the 20th century. Reading Szasz’s book motivated me to part ways with a book review that the thoughtpolice on Amazon Books deleted, but which I would like to rescue, edit it and incorporate it within these pages:

Tom Szasz was a mentor in absentia for a long time. He made me see what involuntary psychiatry and so-called free societies are. His analysis of the psychiatric newspeak, his concept of the Therapeutic State, his stance against both psychiatric bio-reductionism and Freud, and especially his moral calibre and love of freedom, have made their mark on my thinking. Anyone who wants to meet a dissident of the system should read Szasz. The Manufacture of Madness is a good starting point.

But my dear mentor has gone astray in some passages of The Meaning of Mind. Szasz simply doesn’t understand what goes on in the heads of those who have gone through psychotic breakdowns. He makes the same mistake as psychiatrists: ‘Don’t listen to them!’ There is a way to understand people who have been through a crisis: read what they have written. For example, How to Become a Schizophrenic by John Modrow is a window into the author’s mind and the dynamics of abuse that temporarily drove him mad. As Modrow sent the manuscript of his book to Szasz, and as he read it, there is no excuse for those passages in The Meaning of Mind where Szasz blames the victims for his hallucinations, delusions of grandeur and other ravings. Szasz even blames poor Virginia Woolf for the voices she heard!

Szasz is unconcerned about what a person feels when she has a panic attack and loses her sanity. He approaches the process of going mad as if it were an everyday experience that can be understood with the most common of the senses. But Szasz has never had a psychotic break. Modrow has had it. Modrow holds the key to understanding the world of madmen. Szasz doesn’t have it.

Anyone who really wants to know something on the subject should read not only Modrow’s study but also the writings of Alice Miller. The trauma model of mental disorders is the only rational alternative to the psychiatrists’ medical model. Amazingly, hardly anyone has heard of it. Parental abuse, conscious or not, is the primary cause of disorders in human beings, even in the neurotic adult. Szasz makes the incredible pronouncement that ‘child abuse, sex abuse, ignorance, poverty’ are not causative factors (p. 37). Furthermore, Szasz states that ‘autism is a poorly understood (perhaps genetically caused) condition’ (p. 56). This is an incredible claim to have come from the pen of one of the greatest enemies of biological psychiatry (autism is a condition likely caused by a mother without empathy with the baby).* Here is another statement from Szasz that I find incredible: ‘However, many hallucinating persons refuse to take antipsychotic drugs voluntarily, preferring the company of their “voices”…’ (p. 131).

Wow! Was this written by the great Tom Szasz or is it an advertising slogan of Big Pharma? ‘As I already suggested, the schizophrenic patient who “hallucinates” or has “delusions” is profoundly dishonest with himself’ (pp. 129f). It is unnecessary to continue to quote these incredibly stupid pronouncements. Suffice it to say, Szasz is absolutely ignorant about what mental hell is. I never tire of repeating that, since the process of going mad is a subjective experience, both Szasz and his enemy, the orthodox psychiatrist, have no right to interpret what is going on in the minds of those who suffer from it. Let those who have gone through these crises speak! Let us read, for example, page 23 of Modrow’s book, whose abusive parents were internalised in the poor boy he was: ‘After each assault by these “internal persecutors”, the individual’s ego retreats more and more behind a fortress that becomes increasingly empty, until at last, in the words of C. Peter Rosenbaum, “The moat is empty; the bridge is down; the sentinels fail to stand guard. The unconscious storms into the consciousness, and the walking dreamer of Jung is to be seen”.’

As for many years Szasz used to be a therapist, if Modrow had come to see him, perhaps Szasz would have offended him like those New Age folk who preach that you must blame yourself for what happens to you. The fact that Szasz has quoted Sartre, that in capitalist America he has blamed the poor, and the disturbed persons for their condition, is alarming. The pronouncements of the most serious philosophers are often indistinguishable from the silliest claims of the New Age. The stance of Szasz and the above-mentioned Elsié, identical to Shirley MacLaine’s nonsense (‘You create your own reality’), may seem laughable. But as we are about to see, other critics of psychiatry who don’t make these kinds of pronouncements are also blind to the psychic toll that family violence causes.

_____________

(*) I have corresponded with Dr. Jay Joseph, a critic of the fashion of blaming genes for various psychiatric disorders. This fashion is immensely popular precisely because it exonerates the mothers of autistic children. In 2006 Joseph published The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless Search for Genes in which he refutes the genetic theories of autism.

Published in: on October 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 7  

Nobody wanted to listen, 6

A humanitarian analyst

Once again, I will be told that I chose the wrong people: that the Escobars were unfortunate cases and that in the world there are professionals capable of understanding a tragedy for what it is, a tragedy and call a spade a spade. Let’s now see what happened to me with the most benevolent analyst I have ever met.

Dr. Carlos García had lent money to my parents when they were going to be expelled from their house in Tlalpan for not paying it. Likewise, when I was unemployed at twenty-three, García invited me to play chess with him once a week and paid for my classes. Almost two decades later, the same month as my disagreement with the Escobars, I went to his house to personally deliver a copy of my Letter to him. Let’s see what my diary says of that encounter in his home study:

July 15, 1998

Today I went to see Dr. García and he surprised me with several comments that corroborate my vision of him as a good person. For example, he told me ‘I have never committed a patient since 1960’ and used the word ‘curse’ from Szasz, with whom he says he agrees, when referring to psychiatric labelling.

Given the prestige that the doctor has in society, Tom Szasz says that the semantic stigma with which the psychiatrist denigrates his victim results in a social curse.

He liked Ronald Laing because of his colourful personality, and he told me that Laing played bassoon and had died playing tennis in Monaco.

Also, and this is novel because it qualifies what I wrote in previous pages, it vindicated the role of benevolent analysts like him. He told me that at psychiatrists’ symposia he had been blatantly told ‘That won’t work’—psychoanalysis. ‘This is where the buck is made’— psychiatry—since psychiatrists earn four times as much as analysts. He has had schizophrenic patients and one ‘labelled’—he used that word—of manic-depressive who had been prescribed lithium for life, but he left her well with only therapy, taking away the medicine. The shrink who had treated her before ‘was on the same page’ he told me, pointing to a book by Ramón de la Fuente.

This was a splendid start, and everything suggested that I had finally found a friendly ear in a professional. A doctor who recognises fraud in his profession can be a guarantee of good feelings towards the victims of the parents and the doctors who pay them. A month after I gave him my manuscript I excitedly called García to see what impact my precious text had caused. I don’t know shorthand, but I managed to jot down some important phrases by writing as fast as I could while talking to him on the phone:

17 of August. ‘It is very well written. It is a good testimony, like Kafka’s letter. In my opinion, the family problem must be removed: by removing the names, it could become a good testimony to be known socially; we must remove the character of denunciation and give it more social and collective function. It has curative action. It is a book against family, medical institutions and in particular, ahem, the health [apparently an euphemism for the psychiatric] institution. With pseudonyms… hopefully it may be published’.

This opinion encouraged me and I made a new appointment with him. But I must confess something. Years before I had been offended by García when in his home study he defended Amara against my complaint. That happened before I started my psychiatry research and could properly present my case in two books. But García’s comments about my Letter reconciled me to him, at least momentarily. The day I saw him, back in his home study, I wrote these reflections in my diary:

August 28. Today I went to see him and spent an hour and a half talking to him. I was wrong in believing that García wasn’t compassionate. The first thing he said about my Letter to Mama Medusa was: ‘I was so amazed. I felt moved’.

And he did talk about Amara: that there was no communication, although I remember that he was ambiguous about assigning blame (he implied that it was necessary to find out where the error came from). But he did say that instead of wanting to understand family dynamics Amara turned to drugs. This comment and others end the resentment I had for him when he long ago repudiated my criticism of his colleague. He also spoke of the terrible lack of communication with my parents as a teenager. That was the year [1974] that García met me at my parents’ school. He was incomparably more human than Angelica, Hector and not to mention Solbein. García confirmed to me that no physician in Mexico publicly opposes psychiatry. Almost at the beginning he spoke of ‘the high-risk situation’ in which I found myself as a teenager. But he added that it would be ‘pamphlet’ if I didn’t use pseudonyms, which was ‘the only objection’ he made to my text.

So García advised me the same as Tere: he was more concerned with the public image of my family than with my need to report the case.

Without having assimilated this fact, two years later I would send him How to Murder Your Child’s Soul. Once again, I wrote down what he was saying to me over the phone. The brackets and ellipsis mean that I couldn’t write down his sentences in full, but the fragments are significant to know what García was thinking:

June 9, 2000.

What a disappointment! Dr. García told me:

‘I read half. I haven’t finished it; the question of sight has become more acute. From what I have read, I believe that you are wasting time and vital energy on the family matter. [You have to] put a line, a full stop and dedicate yourself to other issues. The critique of psychiatry is somewhat outdated; I feel it’s anachronistic, like that criticism of Dr. Amara. As far as I have read, if you reoriented your critical skills in another field… I think there was a series of misunderstandings and it led to suffering… My point of view [is that you should abandon your project so] you don’t have to continue paying the toll of what happened to you in youth. [I would suggest that] the question of Dr. Amara be put aside’.

I asked him ‘Are you friends?’ and he replied: ‘Not properly. We don’t treat each other; I don’t know about his activities. My opinion isn’t influenced by a question of friendship’.

García’s little sermon caused me enormous indignation. I embarked on a reflection for several days that made me fill my diary with expletives. I didn’t respond to García either at his home study or in writing because it would have been useless. But on the very day of his paternalistic advice I wrote down this soliloquy:

Do you remember his defence of Amara years ago that hurt me? Good!: history repeats itself. All this corroborates my view that only apostates of an ideology understand reality. García is an analyst. He never apostatised from his profession: he’s part of the guild. His internal alliances don’t allow him to see reality. He’s like Hector Escobar: good people but wrong. I mustn’t interact with them at all! I mustn’t speak to him again. You have to accept your solitude, Caesar: no professional will be able to understand you since the profession itself is a trap. Now the last door is closing…

11th of June. One of the nonsense that García told me that I didn’t write down the day before was that continuing my literary project ‘could harm me’. This shows that analysts know nothing of the mind. What García ignores (‘so that you don’t continue paying the toll on what happened to you in your youth’) is that you cannot start a different life without money. And even with money I would write first and only later would I dedicate myself to the cinema, for the simple reason that it’s now that my soliloquies from those years are alive and need to be written down. I have been a mountain philosopher for decades and it would be a crime if, by dedicating myself to something else, they would go out of my memory. I don’t see in what other areas I could help myself and other victims more than by telling my life.

June 17. There is something more serious in García’s response. If Amara keeps destroying teenagers in his office it is deeply immoral to say ‘put it aside’. That advice presupposes as an absolute fact that Amara hasn’t destroyed and is not destroying other young people. García didn’t deny my accusation, he simply ignored it, no matter how obvious the fact that, since Amara and other psychiatrists continue to do these things, my testimony would serve to combat them. Without knowing it, García is part of the system. His message seems to be: Your text is changing the rules of the game for me (he used those words!). I won’t read it all: it may endanger my POV about my colleagues.

June 27th. Another thing. That response from García, allying internally with someone who deserves a trial in court, shows that therapy is really a very bad thing. There is no getting around this conclusion: If García had scolded me for denouncing his colleague in the past, I’d have been terribly confused. Well, something similar happened to me years ago, but in 1976 I would have panicked. I must use this in the future to show the accuracy of Jeffrey Masson’s stance: All therapy is toxic. Now I just hate him. As a teenager he would have hurt me.

Imagine this: suppose my book has already been published and is selling well. If a journalist interviewed García to talk about the literary novelty, he couldn’t have come out with the advice he gave me. It wouldn’t have been so easy to escape. He must have faced what I wrote in that half that he read. But talking to an analyst in private lends itself to violating the most elementary rules of logic and common sense. Therapists despise what their clients tell them and shy away like children. It is too evident that the Amaras, Santarellis, Krassoievitchs, Millanes, Corrales and even Garcías [the analysts who have offended me] should only be challenged in my writings. In other words, their offices are a Wonderland where the accusations are ignored, disregarded.

Remember that counselling the victim instead of reforming the perpetrator is what Miller calls poisonous pedagogy, and the same goes for trying to ‘educate’ the victim without vindicating him against the curse that Szasz spoke of.

It is clear, Caesar, that you shouldn’t expect anything from those in the cult of psychoanalysis, including those who originally showed a good heart. They all belong to a quasi-religion and will not apostatise from it. They will take it to their graves. Forget about them. If they weren’t so religious, García and Escobar could’ve called me to politely discuss our differences. They won’t do it: this is a world without morals and the García case exemplifies it. Instead of telling me something about my accusations, they close their minds. Like my sister Korina, they give advice. It seems that the taboo on these topics is much more widespread than expected. It isn’t just my parents. It isn’t only the old Uncle Beto and Godmother or my cousins Héctor, Octavio and Carmina. People who agree with Szasz himself, such as García, also have closed minds (and let’s not talk about doctors Santarelli, Millán and other renowned analysts who have offended me terribly). That is your world Caesar, like it or not. My message is for other people. Don’t give your pearls to pigs anymore.

June 28th. I can’t leave Garcia alone. I think of the phrases ‘that criticism of doctor Amara…’, ‘there was a series of misunderstandings…’ I didn’t criticise Amara: I denounced him! Using the word ‘criticism’ suggests something like an opinion, a point of view: as if in my book I hadn’t talked about criminal actions, not ‘misunderstandings’! See now this: ‘If you reoriented your critical capacity to another field…’ Imagine telling Solzhenitsyn to redirect his criticism to a field outside Russia! I have been thinking many things about Garcia. It’s a great indicator of how bad his profession is.

García also told me by phone that the National Institute of Psychiatry [known also as INP in Mexico] ‘hadn’t allowed a patient to be committed because it was involuntary’. With this argument he tried to refute my manuscript (‘the criticism of psychiatry is somewhat outdated’) by assuming that in recent years the profession has become more humanitarian. I was speechless. It couldn’t be that I, decades younger than García, knew that the INP is the only psychiatric hospital in Mexico City in which internment is voluntary. In the large psychiatric hospital next door to García’s home, the Fray Bernardino Álvarez Hospital, involuntary psychiatry is practiced, such as electroshocking the inmates! The INP does it too, but it brainwashes the patients into undergoing therapy with their consent. Of course: they aren’t warned that that ‘therapy’ produces amnesia. A woman who was interned at the INP told me in 2005 that the electroshocks that were applied to her there erased her memories of a trip. It is also worth mentioning that the director of the INP, Gerard Heinze, told me personally that he mentions the magic word ‘Fray Bernardino’ to intimidate his patients into submitting to electroshock ‘therapy’.(*)

Garcia’s ignorance of psychiatry in the year 2000 stems from his incredible—truly incredible—blindness before the human rights violations that take place a few blocks from his home. The only psychiatric facility in the country that locks up children, the Juan N. Navarro Children’s Hospital, is also close to his home! In which bubble was Dr. García living? A few months before García told me that the criticism of my manuscript was outdated, the Mexican magazine Proceso had published a cover article exposing the crimes committed in a national psychiatric hospital run by the state. My diary from 2000 continues:

June 29. Oh García: I can’t leave you! Two years ago you told me that the schizoid label is ‘label’ and ‘a curse as Szasz says’. But when a colleague of yours labels me as a teenager while I am perfectly sane, and as an adult I want to denounce him, then you tell me: ‘Amara must be put aside’. Isn’t this precisely schizophrenia?

The anger caused by the old friend’s scolding was such that in my diaries I continued to go after him sporadically in 2001, 2002, 2003 and even 2004. But the above is enough to provide an idea of the bile that I spilled over his little piece of advice and scolding: the ‘poisonous pedagogy’ that Miller speaks of in its purest expression!

Carlos García did exactly the same that my pseudo-friend Tere had done to me. They both advised me to abandon my literary project. They didn’t realise that just by giving me that advice they would become themselves characters in such a project. The only difference is that Tere wanted to dissuade me from publishing my Letter to mom Medusa, where I denounce the crime of my parents; García wanted to dissuade me from publishing How to Murder Your Child’s Soul, where I exposed his colleague Amara. For Tere as well as for García and many others, the crimes that society commits with a family child must remain hidden. No one is to pronounce names. This pair reminds me of the first Gulag fugitive who escaped from an archipelago island and published a book about his experiences. In a crazy western world where Stalin used to be worshiped, the fugitive’s testimony was ignored and its author was subjected to the same kind of expletives that I received.
____________

(*) With another anti-psychiatric activist, in 2002 I interviewed Gerard Heinze, the director of the INP, and later I wrote a report about that visit.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 6  

Nobody wanted to listen, 5

The opinion of psychologists

‘Where are the men?’ the little prince at last took up the conversation again. ‘It is a little lonely in the desert…’

‘It is also lonely among men’, the snake said.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


It may be assumed that Tere simply followed the dictates of traditional morality, but that if I told my testimony to a professional psychologist I would find the much sought after oasis. Nothing further from the truth. In the same multi-family apartment complex where I lived with Tere’s family, I met the psychologist Angelica. She read a version of my Letter and other texts that bear certain similarities with what is written in the narrative part of this book. Let’s see what happened when the psychology teacher read my stuff. I will cite my diary and later some of her letters that we exchanged. I had spoken to Angelica on the phone and I surprised her at the moment when she read the climax of my Letter:

July 25, 1998. I interrupted Angelica right in the passage of ‘The Medusa’! She said that it’s very good; that she doesn’t read out of obligation but because she’s enjoying it a lot; that the psychological references are very good and that she congratulates me. She still doesn’t get to the toughest pages. Right there I interrupted her.

August 12 and 13. Nothing new she told me. We only talked about my next trip. Even when I mentioned Medusa, nothing came out except that she said ‘I had read Laing again’.

Compassion doesn’t exist.

Two years later, I sent Angelica the manuscript of my second book. As psychologists are colleagues of psychiatrists, I was particularly interested in having her tell me something about such a ruthless exposé of psychiatry: something that had never before come from the pen of a fellow countryman. In 2000 she sent me an email note: ‘I think you already handle more psychology than I do. What’s more, I feel myself behind in clinic stuff; just finished my sabbatical and started writing a textbook. I really think you have a lot of easiness to express your ideas’.

Thus the same story and the same lack of compassion of two years ago was repeated. Although Angelica intended to flatter me, her missive upset me. Not only a couple of years before she hadn’t told me anything—like Tere—about the tragedy in my family with my parents. Now she wasn’t saying a word to me about the profession that helped ruin my teenage life. I must say that her position is similar to that of some friends who have focused exclusively on the literary aspect of my Letter: something that doesn’t interest me. The sole purpose of writing had been for someone to tell me something about the agony I suffered as a teenager; that it would show some indignation towards the aggressors and a society that allows such things!

Angelica had gone to live in La Paz. Due to her lack of compassion I decided to get away from her as I decided to get away from Tere. To my surprise, four years after her letter, Angelica visited Mexico City; she went around to find out my new phone number, insisted that we meet and talk in a restaurant. As a mature man, I was determined to tell Angelica that many people who, as a lad, I had taken for friends hadn’t really been friends. I alluded to the case of Tere, her former neighbour, and tried to present my arguments along the same lines to what was written in previous pages. Remember that a few years before I had sent her some drafts similar to the ones I publish in this book: texts about what I have felt about the country in which I was born. In July 2004, just a few days after we last saw each other at the restaurant, Angelica sent me an email:

Hi Caesar:

I read your book again. It’s okay. I think some things seemed too racist to me, for example your comments about your country. Your work loses value by your stupid racism: nacos, etc.

In Mexico naco designates the clumsy and uneducated Indian who emigrates to the city. If Angelica hadn’t been indoctrinated in a Marxist-Leninist university, she wouldn’t have been offended. She is a white woman who had a very handsome son, and at that time she was living with another much smaller son whose absent father was European.

You who seek to be treated as a human being don’t treat others as what you ask. It really gave me deep sadness to see you so aggressive and deteriorated.

I don’t think I told you the end of the dream. I was crying and that’s how it was. When I went on the subway, I became depressed and I broke down crying. Believe me, I esteem you more than I imagined. I really wanted to see you and hug you but your mask prevented me. Hopefully you can read this email.

A hug,

Angelica.

I didn’t answer her. The restaurant meeting had been forced, and it will surely be the last time I see her. But I would like to say something about the mask she mentioned. Angelica had had a dream, one of those that portray a situation. She had dreamt of myself as cold and distant, with a black mask; and in the dream she saw a woman who seemed responsible for all that; whom, within the same dream, Angelica related to my mother. In real life I was cold to her at the restaurant, and that was in dramatic contrast to the friendly lad Angelica had met in her apartment almost twenty years earlier. I wore a black mask in the dream and in real life I was dressed in black on my appointment with her (she was all dressed in flashy red).

Regarding her comment that she highly esteem me, I’ve also heard it from people I don’t want to see. Like Tere and Angelica, many hypocrites say they esteem me. But very few say anything meaningful to me when I open my heart to them by placing a homemade impression of the Letter in their hands: the core of my pain and the key that opens the door to my later life. Although Angelica is a professor of psychology, she didn’t show any compassion for what I told in that epistle. And from the other texts she read, it didn’t occur to her that if my father had agreed to emigrate I’d never have written a derogatory line about Mexico, although I’d have written about the United States. In her mind my cry of loneliness before a culture that is no longer mine appeared as ‘stupid racism’ (in my eleventh book in Spanish and Daybreak in English I address the issue of the word ‘racism’). More serious is that the psychology teacher had less compassion than Tere. The latter at least told me she was devastated; that only when she had the strength would she resume reading my Letter, and that at one point her eyes clouded when she read me. The professional psychologist didn’t even have that hint of pity.

It is worth saying that in 1985 Angelica had yelled at me horribly during an argument in which she agreed with my mother. And it was my mother with whom Angelica was talking about me that year! (although, unlike Tere, Angelica did it over the phone). The psychologist interpreted my belated resentment as if I was ‘aggressive and deteriorated’. Ironically, she saw me like this when I was enormously robust compared to the twenty-something lad of yesteryear. People get used to the docility of people damaged by their parents and with low self-esteem, and a change for the better is seen as a bad thing. I have only been ‘deteriorated’, to use Angelica’s word, when due to lack of a knowledgeable witness I couldn’t confront older women (Angelica and Tere are older than me).

Many years ago I witnessed how Angelica scolded her three-year-old blondish son with the threat: ‘I’m going to cut your balls!’ Betito, the European’s son, began to cry. Angelica and Tere say they esteem me. The truth is that there are many people who, like them, lack empathy for the feelings of others. What they estimate is not the real person, only a facet or one-dimensional image that they have of the person. Whoever is lucky enough to have a friendly ear, someone with whom to communicate the dimensions of the soul, knows that trying to transmit the secrets of the heart to a fellow without empathy is like speaking to Golem. Lack of empathy always has the same cause. The last time I saw her, Tere told me a creepy story perpetrated by her grandfather with his children. Once one of his sons was twelve years old, he took him to another city to abandon him. Tere’s grandpa told him that from that day on he had to subsist on his own. He didn’t even take him with a relative or acquaintances. He left him on the Mexican streets and never saw him again in life.

Tere and Angelica were, like the trio in the Cineteca gathering, victims of mistreatment. And not only that. Like those of the Cineteca they have buried the feelings of anger towards their parents. Ironically, the repression was greater in the psychology teacher than in Tere, who at least told me the story of her grandfather, or the filmmakers, who also spoke about their past. The more terrible the abuse of the parent and the greater the repression, the less empathy the daughter will develop towards her son (we can already imagine the toll that constant threats of castration can cause in a little boy of three years).

 
The analysts

There will be those who, after reading the above story, will think that there are not the psychologists, but the psychoanalysts the experts in deep psychology: professionals who take an interest in the lives of their clients, especially in the terrors of their childhood. This is a myth. I won’t repeat the exposé from my previous book on psychoanalysis because no one currently believes in its cornerstone. Freud said that his ideological edifice rested on his discovery of the Oedipus complex: that parents turn out to be a source of sexual desires for the child. It takes being too stupid, or seeing Freud as an infallible guru, to believe such a thing.

For many years Alice Miller practiced her profession as a psychoanalyst in Switzerland. In her first three books, Das Drama des begabten Kindes (The Drama of the Gifted Child), Am Anfang war Erziehung (translated as For Your Own Good) and Du Sollst Nicht Merken (Thou Shalt Not Be Aware) Miller believed that her discoveries were not incompatible with psychoanalysis. But in the late 1980s and early 90s she openly broke with her profession with the publication of Der gemiedene Schlüssel (The Untouched Key), Das verbannte Wissen (Banished Knowledge) and Abbruch der Schweigemauer (Breaking Down the Wall of Silence).

People like Miller, Jeffrey Masson, and others have found that an analyst is someone trained not to listen to his client. Before I became familiar with her thinking, which helped me distance myself even more from psychoanalysts, I used to hang out with a couple of young Lacanian analysts: Solbein and Hector Escobar. The same year that I gave copies of my manuscript to Tere and Angelica I gave another to the Escobars. Hector, who had studied psychology, loved it and devoured it in a day and a half. In a cafe he talked about my literary skills—as I said, something that irritates me to be told—and also spoke as a psychoanalyst: ‘The problem arose with that self that your mother deconstructed’. Hector was very cordial and warm, but his analytic term (‘deconstructed’) was cold and far from what my pages actually screamed (compare it with my metaphor ‘a dagger in the heart’). Solbein also liked my book and it was she who, when I sat with them in the cafe, brought up on the table the subject of the manuscript I had given them. But Solbein uttered an icy comment: she said she didn’t notice many differences with the cases she saw in her office. It was as if someone were simply telling a Gulag survivor that his story was not dissimilar to other zek stories! The way she concluded her comment was horrifyingly dry:

‘Those are common clinical experiences’.

The analyst’s words remind me neither more nor less of the infamous Dr. Amara when he read the epistle to my mother. Faced with Amara’s evasiveness in his office, I asked him: ‘But what do you think of what I say, that the cause of my problem was my mother?’ In my previous book I tell that Amara answered: ‘It’s myopia’ and that he explained that neuroses exist in every family, and that mine was just one more neurotic family. In addition to this incredible similarity, Solbein told me that the analytic thesis she was writing referred to mystical stages in people who had had absent parents. I wrote in my diary that I was surprised that she wasn’t moved by the tragedy of the physical torture my parents inflicted on me: getting out of bed every day after sleeping for only a few hours, something that has nothing to do with ‘an absent father’. Referring to their comments, in my diary I noted that these Lacanians ‘don’t touch the people, nor the Subject they talk about so much, but they invalidate him by speaking objectively about him’. Although Hector was much warmer, he listened to his wife without realising how terrible terms such as ‘clinic’ sound to those who seek consolation: a word that Angelica had also used in one of her letters. For an autobiographer immersed in the humanities, the repulsiveness of language in psychology and psychoanalysis is discovered in the following anecdote.

At the time when I gave my manuscript to the Escobars I used to eat at a restaurant in downtown Coyoacán in Mexico City, an extremely populous place. For the hermit, few things are more execrable than the crowd, the street vendors and the noise. As I didn’t have a kitchen in my home, I suffered greatly from having to fight my way through the human swarming every day when I went to eat. But, oh miracle, when I met the Escobars in that place I knew that the sacrifice of having gone there for weeks had been worth it. Out of dignity I hadn’t spoken to them on the phone to ask what they thought of my text. I hoped the initiative would come from them. But just like the day I ate with Tere in Coyoacán, my heart burned to know what the young analysts would say about my life. The daily and painstakingly crossing that crowd of Neanderthals, I told myself, was worth it to find them! (incidentally, in those days they both looked like Iberian-type whites). And it is that in my imagery prior to the meeting in the cafe I imagined a compassionate and understanding Solbein who explained to me, with her knowledge, my written confessions. But when in real life I came to what I thought would be an oasis of understanding, I found only sand. The intimate manuscript on the great odyssey of my life simply describes ‘common clinical experiences’.