by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace
All images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace used with permission.
Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion more jocular, we’ve defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).
Here’s a radical thought as we continue to consider the trappings of the Halo Effect. (I’ve dubbed the other side of the idealization coin as the Horn Effect to describe cognitive bias that results in the demoralization of others.)
Consider how this might work in light of how abusers treat victims when they’re trapped in ‘middle management’ in a high demand system. As the other side of the coin to Lifton’s description of the duality required of doctors under the Third Reich (discussed in the previous post), we might reverse the roles to see how the victim also uses the healing-killing paradox by default. While some may learn to use evil to accomplish good, they would not accomplish much without those who accept that evil, accommodate it, and support it.
It has been said that uber men need a scapegoat, and such wartime habits of objectification have also been a frequent subject on this blog. From the NeoConfederate to the Occidentalist, to exact the acts required during war, one must demoralize and dehumanize the enemy. I like how a Zionist author notes that scapegoats can’t be truly annihilated, for there will be no balancing entity on which to lay ongoing blame. Such systems seek to “subjugate, humiliate, and then assimilate” that demoralized foe.
Soon after I learned about thought reform and felt this way, I found myself challenged by a quote from an unlikely source – Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. I read the book for the first time after seeing the quote printed on the tag of a bag of herbal tea as it danced along the side of my Far Side mug. (What an example of jumping from the sublime to the ridiculous!) Upon reading the book, I learned that Salinger quoted Wilhem Stekel, “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” Christians treasure the virtue of sacrifice, but they most often come as daily, small ones that few notice.
In Lifton’s book, the Nazi Doctors, the first section of chapters bears the title of “Life Unworthy of Life.” That was the deeper lesson that I learned through those seeds of scandal planted in my young heart and from the shaping of my perception through PTSD. In a sense, this is the same message that my friend grappled with after growing up in a dysfunctional family to find herself living in a dysfunctional marriage. She sought out the religious patriarchy movement as some remedy, but patriarchy only amplified her sense of unworthiness. She had many choices before her when she left parents, yet she selected a mate that was not healthy for her, and she turned to a religion that was worse. She made bad choices, just like I did and still do along with the rest of the human race.
- Sandra Wilson’s Hurt People Hurt People (FYI: It’s a Christian book)
- One of the $3 Kindle books about Cognitive Bias at Amazon.com
- Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery
- Bessel Van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps Score
- Francine Shapiro’s Getting Past Your Past
Cynthia Mullen Kunsman is a nurse (BSN), naturopath (ND) and seminary graduate (MMin) with a wide variety of training and over 20 years of clinical experience. She has used her training in Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a lecturer and liaison to professional scientific and medical groups, in both academic and traditional clinical healthcare settings. She also completed additional studies in the field of thought reform, hypnotherapy for pain management, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is often associated with cultic group involvement. Her nursing experience ranges from intensive care, the training of critical care nurses, hospice care, case management and quality management, though she currently limits her practice to forensic medical record review and evaluation. Most of her current professional efforts concern the study of manipulative and coercive evangelical Christian groups and the recovery process from both thought reform and PTSD.
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