by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace
All images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace and used with permission.
I think with three of the people that come to my mind now, I believe that if they really understood how painful their response was for me, given my history, they would not have said what they said to me. And the other person? It troubles me deeply because I don’t believe that they even care, one way or the other. Used as a weapon against me that renders me powerless and makes any attempt to plead my own case look like subterfuge, the accusation of being the opposite of who I know that I am hurts terribly. The statements weren’t made to help me see through my own bias. They were made to hurt me and bolster someone else at my own expense. I became insignificant, helpless, and forever fundamentally flawed.
Two of my religious leaders have done this to me quite poignantly. It happened quite a bit on a low level, too, just among other members of my church. We all had to praise the new clothes of the emperor. We paid the price if we failed in that duty. For someone who grew up with a collapsed sense of self, it seems to me that encountering a leader who tends towards this kind of bias results in terrible pain. It goes back to the moral issue for me — that I have disregarded others and used them in the process of trying to pretend that I’m more than I am. To me, that’s one of the very worst things that a person could do to another precious soul, especially if they are already so wounded. I’ve been there and know how painful it is. How ironic that a person in pain can turn their own bias around to make it their weapon. For me, it isn’t just a bias or a blind spot or a human failing. It’s an act of harm. That is something that I never want to ever do to another. (And that is a world away from healthy conflict, even if the negotiations are heated and uncomfortable. One can disagree without deep insults about a person’s being.)
One of the $3 Kindle books about Cognitive Bias at Amazon.com
Shermer’s The Believing Brain
Carroll’s Skeptic’s Dictionary
Gilovich, Griffin & Kahneman’s Heuristics and Biases
Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
- Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery
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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