Tag Archive: Games People Play


Mish-Mash Musings

I’m not sure why I have called this Mish-Mash Musings except that I know where I am going to start but not where I am going to finish, which I suppose is OK if I’m not writing an essay but a blog entry, and not hoping to make Freshly Pressed (though I would love to).  I feel like trashing this already and starting again, but I never trash anything I write, so I’m afraid it rests.

The place I am going to start is with an incident I read about in a book called ‘The Manufacture of Madness’ By Thomas Szasz.  The book compares the mental health movement (his term, not mine) with the Inquisition.  It says that the two things are the same, in that first they decided what one was (heretic, witch, mentally ill person) then they went looking for them and treating them as their law allows/requires/demands.  With heretics and witches under the Inquisition he talks about the church ‘relaxing’ heretics out of its own hands into the hands of the law and legal process – a bit like the Jews did with Jesus, because they had no law to put a man to death (see also John 16:2, “Anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God”).

In psychiatry, if the psychiatrist says you are mentally ill and you say otherwise, it is said that you lack insight.  I know this and Thomas Szasz also says so.  He has us down as the people that are called paranoid schizophrenics.  This has definitely been my experience.  Under the Inquisition unrepentant heretics were burned alive, while those who changed their minds were strangled and then burned.  The incident a read about the other day talked about a man who, faced with the fire, said that he would convert himself to the faith of Jesus Christ, and that this was apparently a time of great rejoicing for the inquisitors, where the hugged him and welcomed him back into the arms of the church, then immediately afterwards they had him strangled and burnt.  Thomas Szasz draws the same parallel with psychiatry.  I’m not sure if Thomas Szasz wanted to see an end to all psychiatry or only the enforced kind, but he did say in this book that the inquisitors didn’t want too many heretics to be burnt whereas they shouldn’t have been burning any at all.  The Inquisition was torture, and Thomas Szasz says that so is psychiatry.  That has certainly been my experience.  He talks about having the idea of mental illness accepted by the popular mind, just as heresy used to be so feared and so treated/punished.  Both the Inquisition and psychiatry had two purposes, one for the protection of society and the other for the ‘good’ of the accused/patient.  By putting the word ‘good’ in inverted commas I am staying true to the message and spirit of the book, as well as owing the inverted commas as my own.

I have been reading quite a bit about Transactional Analysis as well.  I’ve read (again) Games People Play by Eric Berne MD, the founder of TA, and I’ve Just started reading I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas A Harris MD.  Dr Harris points out in the opening pages of his book that not only do the words Parent, Adult, Child have different meanings from usual in this context, but so does the word OK, so I’m looking forward to reading this book to the end.  I didn’t read it when it first became popular because a Church I was in said the message was untrue to Christianity which says we all need redemption because we are not OK.  There is also a chapter in the book about this approach to human relationships in the context of morality, which is a chapter I am looking forward to reading.  Dr Harris advises against just dipping in or reading the end first as understanding is established and built on from beginning to end.

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Moan, Moan, Moan . . .

I need to abandon this.  She has just, this minute after 2 hours at now 4.30 am, stopped talking.  I was eating a sandwich and drinking a small bottle of wine and every time I took a bite or lifted the co-op plastic party goblet to my lips, she screeched out or otherwise marked me.  It completely ruined it for me.  What should have been a pleasant late meal and a drink turned into a desperate, defiant act.  I felt I was acting like an alcoholic.  I need more than ever in my life to control the direction I am taking, and all I ever get is spoilers on my case.

So abandon ship.  The conversation ended as soon as I wrote the title and completely changed where I was going to go, which was to start off by saying that I am writing this morning out of my unredeemed self at 4.30 am taking an ear bashing and ball game type marking from an American baggage.  She had actually got up to go, but she has just re-appeared.  A couple of times in my unrestrained open talking to myself she said ‘yes no’ and it was interesting how and when.  I have adopted a position of not being intimidated into silence by the fact that other people are in 2s and I am alone.  If people are playing the psychological bouncing game I have a right to talk out loud to myself about what they are doing.  And I don’t have pretend mobile phone conversations to do it, I just do it.  No props.  I just comment and moan and pontificate aloud.  I don’t lose the right to speak just because I am on my own.  People in 2s and groups have been playing that card for too long.

Almighty Gob, to whom all ears are open and from whom no privacy can be hid.

OMG I hate steam rollers.

Now I should abandon and delete this because it isn’t helping me change my attitude.  The lady, having gassed while others were trying to sleep or focus on their own stuff, has no laid down to sleep.  I feel like disturbing her.  If I don’t turn this crap off in my speech and writing I can’t turn off the emotions that I start off thinking excuse it and make it a good post.  Of course no one wants to see this dilemma in a post they are reading, not spelled out.  At the moment I am putting what I have written in this post and the cleverness I wrongly think is expressed in it, before my own peace and character.  That is why I am not trustworthy myself.  If you don’t allow a change in your own nature when the choice presents itself, you stay as you are.  You can’t produce what you are not just because it is needed.

Please read my last post.  It was tagged but WordPress has not allowed it in this category.  Thanks.  Sorry it rambles a bit.  Since writing this they have put a link at the bottom of my post to another called ‘A Couple of Technical Questions’.  They say it is automatically generated, but everyone does this and I know what they have in mind, whatever they mean by it or intend, and those questions are matters for the police, not stalking and harassment.  I suggest they should shut up or put up.  They should go to the police.  I am not afraid, in fact I wish they would.  I’ve already talked to the police.  They won’t be telling them anything they don’t know already.

Loose paraphrase:  Which would you rather receive, a comment saying ‘great post!  check out my blog at (www.suebarnett.wordpress.com, in my case)’ or one saying ‘well said!  I know what you’re talking about because . . . and I think . . .’?

While the forum, if properly, fairly and legally run, is useful and sometimes feels helpful, I for one would rather not be nagged and patronised and treated like some sort of a great-niece or child or student in a classroom in this way.   As far as I am concerned, we comment the way we can at the time, and those of us who are sincere in our comments and appreciation might well be using that shorthand to say, ‘I am so impressed with what you have to say here, there is nothing I feel able to add, but I would appreciate you looking at my blog because I think yours is an opinion I would value’.

Some people, like me, sometimes read and blog in distress, or very focussed on their own thing and they are desperate to have someone else aware of and concerned about the things they are concerned about.  I don’t think we need to sanitise and make anodyne the way everyone should leave their comments, or that anyone should see it as an insult or somehow inadequate if a person says, ‘great post, please check out my blog’.  It might be all they are capable of at the time, and it might show more appreciation than launching into an opinion.

While I understand exactly what is being said and on the whole agree with it, there are times of desperation or recognition, for me, when I can’t say what I want without it being as short as possible and straight to the point.  I’m thinking, maybe pretentiously, of the difference between a diver, say, at their most polite and articulate, saying something like, ‘honey, would you mind getting the air cylinder out of the car?’ and a woman in intense labour pains screaming and swearing and snarling like a savage at her helper who insists on going by the book to shut up and give her the mask.  Something like that.  There are other situations of pain where the same would apply.  Or the difference between someone swimming yelling ‘hey, great to see you, come on in, let’s play ball’, and someone else in the water drowning doing their best while trying to snatch air to attract the attention of someone to help them.

Etiquette is for the adequate and sometimes even for the indifferent and self-absorbed, to get what they want with as little friction as possible.  Many people are inadequates who accept that about each other, and don’t want to be told they should emulate the adequate, bright, happy, switched on people in order for their contribution to be acceptable.

And while I’m thinking about it, someone said that most people live lives of quiet desperation.  But we have been taught in the past, if not now, to be completely hypocritical about that fact when applying for a job, for instance.  I can’t theorise on why that is at the moment, but if a person is desperate for a job, and also capable of doing it or of learning to, why should they be advised to rely on such self-negating and relationship-sabotaging dishonesty and subterfuge right from the beginning, and why should anyone be taught that it is not acceptable to show desperation if it exists?  I’ve never employed anyone, so I don’t know if employers are advised to despise desperation, or if the advice is based on the belief that, if someone sees you are desperate, they might take advantage of you, but it seems to me that no honest and honorable relationship can be based on an initial dishonesty of that kind.

It also occurs to me that the kind of comment WordPress is presenting as less desirable might be nothing more than the expression of an internalisation of that advice which allows for nothing more.  Keep it light, keep it casual, can easily translate to, ‘hey, that’s great, come and see mine!’  We need permission to become honest again, not instructions on how to become presentable and acceptable to other people in order to compensate for and not address the fact that experts in communication have told us to steer clear of some kinds of honesty.

So thank you for your advice, WordPress, and I hope this post might be in line with the kind of comments and responses you would like to see.  And please check out my blog at www.suebarnett.wordpress.com. Thank you for reading and for letting this pass the moderation procedure (which I personally find also inhibits and tampers with my ability to communicate as I would wish, sometimes.  If I’m not even sure I am going to get through the door or have my existence acknowledged or welcomed, why should I and how can I lay myself bare, as it were, in my response?  Often closed doors and rejection make desperate and battered people who can hardly hear you anyway, even with the impecceable (and expensive) etiquette of having a butler to hold the door wide open).

Oops, here we go!  Back to me.  If you go through a butler, you have probably had to go through other levelsof protocol as well, and how you handle them might determine whether or not you get as far as the butler.  In church I was taught that this procedure is a way of reveaing a person’s heart and whether or not ‘they are ready’ for access.  They never, to my memory, said anything or much about any inadequacies or unreadiness expressed by the person requiring such protocol.  Is it right that the person expected to go through it should be the only one expected to fit? In reality does it even work that way?  Some people want the challenge of the protocol because they want a process of validation or change.  I happen to believe that in some situations I am one of those people.  But if the people imposing or handling the protocol don’t respect that about me or even respect the protocol itself . . . .  protocol is a mutual thing, isn’t it, not just from the top down.  I’m sure it should be and that really that is how it should work.

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