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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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 Post subject: Poisonous Pedagogy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:03 am 
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I've started this new category as it's widely underestimated as a factor in damaging emotional health in children (and adults). Children who are, for example, exposed to humiliation, threats, lies, belittling, isolation, religion, without knowing its cruelty, become adults that will continue this behavior and adapt it as necessary and normal.

Any thoughts or examples from your own life are welcomed to be written here.

Dennis


Last edited by Dennis on Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Poisenous Pedagogy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:55 pm 
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Great category, Dennis - of vital importance, and so easily underestimated or ignored by so many.

I first read the term "poisonous pedagogy" in Alice Miller's "For Your Own Good" (which I believe is all online), and that gave me a basic idea about it, though I found many of her examples a bit dated. (That said, I loved her Hitler chapter in that book though, and see that as timeless.)

I remember reading somewhere that you were interested in Summerhill - an example of non-poisonous pedagogy? In some ways I see Summerhill's healthiness, though I wrote a book review about it in which I critiqued their philosophy. For some reason amazon.com removed my review, and I've tried several times to get it reposted, to no avail. Perhaps it's because I used the word masturbation...

-Daniel

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 Post subject: Re: Poisenous Pedagogy
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:08 am 
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Dennis wrote:
I've started this new category as it's widely underestimated as a factor in damaging emotional health in children (and adults). Children who are, for example, exposed to humiliation, threats, lies, belittling, isolation, religion, without knowing its cruelty, become adults that will continue this behavior and adapt it as necessary and normal.

Any thoughts or examples from your own life are welcomed to be written here.

Dennis


Gosh Dennis,

This is a challenging one!!. I know I was subjected to all of the above when I was a little girl, and being the mother of two adult daughters and two grandchildren, I wonder now how they can be as healthy as they are, if your hypothesis is correct. And I don't doubt it. I am sure I unknowingly committed some of the above with my own girls under the guise of discipline or some other form of 'loving' control. And, at the same time, I am also grateful, that I began my healing journey when I was in my late 20's. I am 58 now. So, perhaps I began to grow in awareness early enough to not project too much for too long on my little ones.

All I can do now, is be there for them, if they need me, as they awaken.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:37 pm 
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Daniel, I've read your book review on Summerhill a while back but never found the time to respond to that. Who knows, maybe Amazon has automatic removal software on certain key words. But to me it didn't read like a book review. You wrote about one specific element that you found disturbing in the school. I remember that the statistics on people who found this review helpful, wasn't high.

To me, the experimental school Summerhill founded in the early 1930s, has provided some great insights in freedom and teaching. Your example in the book review about how A.S. Neill showed his naked body to a boy who felt very shameful about nudity, and how you interpreted this as very sick of Neill, was perhaps helpful in some ways to the boy without causing additional trauma. That it isn't the way to deal with this, is clear, and I doubt that his daughter Zoe (who's the director of the school nowadays) would do the same to her pupils. I remember reading that he gave a cigarette to a kid and won his trust by doing so. (Lots of kids smoked anyway, in secret, no matter how many times an adult had forbidden it). I've only read the book Summerhill School and A.S. Neill's autobiography Neill, Neill, Orange Peel and it's a very interesting historical document. Neill was an anarchist and he was very influenced my Max Stirner, but also one of his best friends was Wilhelm Reich. Of course one can argue that his anti-authoritarian education is also an ideology but by putting it in the historical context, the man made some great discoveries. And the most scrutinized school in the world still exists. I also know of a school in Holland who works according the same principal, teaching kids in freedom, and part of their website is in English.

Clare, I suppose it's rare that someone of your generation has the willpower to confront the cruelty in their childhood, because it can feel easily overwhelming. But, as you know, a growing awareness in these things will only bring you good, and to your grandchildren.

Dennis


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:11 am 
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What I think is that it is very hard to stop doing the subtle things which traumatize the children, awareness will help, but it isn't enough. Some people may think that spanking, for example, is a positive form of discipline and maybe they can be convinced never to do it. That would be a good thing.
But then there are the everyday things which are a part of our personalities, which mess up the kids. The only way to fix those things is to go through the healing process. Otherwise we will continue to be emotionally unconscious and effecting the children.
I don't like the term "poisonous pedogagy" because pedogagy is teaching isn't it? Much of the poisonous pedagogy is the unconscious stuff we do as parents to children. Not really actual teaching. But I think it is certainly true, we can get rid of all the outright conventionally known abuse and still be left with all this other stuff.

I saw a long article in the newspaper about therapy for criminal sexual predators. All it talked about was cognitive-behavioral therapy and drug treatments, and how none of it was working. About trying to make these men stop being aroused inappropriately and having inappropriate fantasies.
In the US some states are attempting this type of therapy, but it was a negatvie report, none of it is working. Not one mention was made of childhood causes of such behavior. Not one sentence in a long article.
It is just amazing to me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/us/06 ... yt&emc=rss


Phil


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:29 am 
very poisenous indeed

how about poisonous? :twisted:


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 Post subject: My mom and I
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:48 am 
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I am going to be 39 years old soon. All my life, it's been a roller coaster ride with my mother. My mother was very abusive with me as a child verbally, physically, and psychologically (lots of mixed messages from her). I would like to think that by the time a child (me) reaches a certain age, parents begin to humble down and treat their child like an adult and, in some situations, take some responsibility for the past. - especially when they've witnessed their child's adult life being devoted to therapy and getting better.

My mother hasn't changed. She's only softened up a tad bit because I am married now and my husband has stood up to her. Now, that she knows that I have a VERY protective husband, she's softened. But the verbal part of the abuse still has not come to an end.

With my mom, everything about me, my lifestyle, my decisions, my husband and friends are all WRONG. My husband and I have had enough.

Here's the trickiest part of all. My mom is VERY gifted and smart. Because of her fear of conflict and confrontation, most of what she says that hurts the most are of a passive aggressive nature which makes anyone the subject of her ridicule look like an idiot should they attempt to defend themselves! According to her, everything is all in my head, "I analyze too much", "I think too much", "I'm just looking for a reason to find something wrong", and she will often respond to me saying, "I was just kidding", "You misunderstood me", "I didn't mean it that way", and will even attempt to re-write history with contradictions and so on.

When my mom is NOT being verbally abusive, she resorts to over-compensating. She will make it like my husband and I are the best things that ever happened since sliced-bread, and she will fluff us up with endless compliments that are so off the wall sickeningly sweet and overboard, we will be showered with material goods, and she will over-sympathize with our current situation (having financial problems and health issues). She does that to win us over so that the next time she goes for my jugular, she somehow hopes it will soften the blow so that I don't react to it. She is, again, very talented and manipulative like that.

However, what my mom has yet to realize (and here is where she is not so bright) is that my husband I don't trust the overboard lovey-dovey stuff. My mom has also yet to realize that when she throws another underhanded attack toward me that I DON'T give in and give her a carte blanche to say what she wants just because she has showered me with extreme kindness a month ago. She will do whatever it takes to keep me from defending myself, my life, and my friends hence the underhanded blows.

To be fair, let's just say that out of all of her underhanded blows, there is a small percentage that I AM misperceiving. But I like to err on the side of suspicion because at least that way, my self-esteem isn't further crushed and I can walk out of the situation knowing that I've cleaned it up. I will say with confidence that if I do misunderstand her, it would be only 5% or less of the time. My mother has an agenda with me that is CLEAR as a whistle. I have known this all my life. Her mission is to mold me into the same person that her own parents have molded her into. But unlucky for my mother, even at 38 years old, I am my own person and am not brainwash-able. But my mom hasn't given up. She still has hope. The more my mom is hopeful that I will change to suit her needs, the more I suffer when I am in her presence or when I talk to her.

Because of my mother, I am a VERY defensive person. I feel that I am left with only a little piece of myself left as the bigger part of myself has been taken away in the past from all the abuse. But with what I have left, I protect it with every cell of my body. All of my energy is consumed by this in my daily life. And whenever my mother attempts to recover that little part of myself that still exists, I fight like an army to protect it - "it" being the dignity and self-esteem still left - my pride - who I am. Nobody is going to get that, and I will even die for that part of myself. My mom will reduce me to being "over-dramatic", but I'm dead serious. I will risk my own life for that part of me that is still alive.

Since I have been roughly 26 years old, I have set out on a mission to gain back everything or most of what I lost due to all the abuse over the years so that I no longer have to utilize all my energy into protecting the little piece of me left. Since then, I have been going to therapy and taking medication. At age 30, after returning from Japan, I went to another therapy. I am still unable to handle my mother. I am still on my mission trying and getting into everything an anything out of desperation to get my life back. At the present time, due to financial problems, I am unable to do therapy. I still keep researching and thinking of ideas to at least make me better handle my mother and my own life.

So, here's my question. I have often thought about having a one on one LONG TALK with my mom. I have ALWAYS wanted her to know what she put me through, how it hurt me, how what she did was wrong and everything that she did (that she has long forgotten) and how each episode made ME feel. I feel there IS an adult and feeling way to discuss this with my mother without me becoming mean or insulting toward her. What do you all think about this? I have already made a list of all the boundaries that I wish her not to pass through, and she has accepted that. But I thought that a talk might help as well.

Please give me your feedback.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:47 am 
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Hi Layla, and welcome to the forum. Thanks for telling your story. Reading that you had an abusive mother as a kid is already terrible but when the abuse continues when you're an adult, is something you can now choose to stop. Something that you couldn't do when you were a kid. And when you reacted as a kid, she got angry so you keep avoiding now to avoid her becoming angry with you. That is a deep fear. That way you put her feelings first and yours second.

You've realized your mother cannot change you in the person she wants you to become. But you cannot change your mother in the person that you want her to become. As a child it was the one thing that occupied the mind: changing mother into a good person. But the way she treats you, is her problem, it shouldn't be yours. You don't have to bear any responsibility in making the relationship work well. Such task is for parents. If this was my mother, I would tell her that if she values contact with me, she ends all abusive remarks and behavior. If she cannot recognize her own abusive behavior, then it's up to her to change that and seek help. She will do that if she values you, instead of brushing it off as a joke. No one needs to have abusive people around.

And being gifted, or talented or generous, or smart, doesn't include the permission to hurt you.

It doesn't matter what you or anyone else calls it, if you don't feel good about the things she does or doesn't do, then that's your own feeling. Therapy, medication or long talks don't give you a good mother that you needed as a child. And they won't make your mother a good person now.

And the sad thing is also that even if you do have suddenly a wonderful mother that you always dreamed of, the experiences and consequences from your childhood won't change with it.

This is my opinion and not meant as advice.

Dennis

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Everything I write here is my opinion, not absolute truths but I don't want to start every sentence with in my opinion...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:30 pm 
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Hi Layla,

I agree with everything that Dennis shared with you (read it a few times). I also want to add that (my opinion) I believe you have come a long way on your perception of things since you started your mission. Many cannot even get to where you are now (your depiction and understanding of the situation with your mother) and instead refuse to see the painful truth. It is difficult for me to say anymore without sounding like I am giving advice but maybe you can read this thread and you can gain more understanding about things. Thank you for sharing your story. It touched me and I can connect to everything you said. I hope my feedback helps.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:00 pm 
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Oh, I don't mind advice.

Anyway, I did click on that link, but it's so hard to read that other thread because it doesn't fit into my computer screen and I have to keep moving the mouse all the way across the screen back and forth.

:oops: Yeah... I know, I'm just being lazy. I am trying to find some kind of word-wrap function.....


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Layla, I've removed the big picture in the thread CC recommended, so you don't have to scroll the whole time.

CC, don't forget to update your bookmarks with the new domain http://www.wallsofsilence.com because links containing the old name primalforum.freepgs.com won't be valid anymore after August 28

Dennis

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Everything I write here is my opinion, not absolute truths but I don't want to start every sentence with in my opinion...


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