The Emperor’s New Clothes

“‘The good ones leave, the weak ones follow the crowd, and the leaders bully and intimidate …”

This blog-article comes from  Dr Creatively Maladjusted and has been published on Mad in the UK. It begins:

“The anonymous blogger of The Double Life of the Recovered Professional wrote: ‘The good ones leave, the weak ones follow the crowd, and the leaders bully and intimidate’ and I want to add my voice to theirs. This is an anonymised slice of my experience.  

I am an ex-service user turned clinician and this blog is about my experience of working in a re-traumatising and damaging system.  
For me to have been re-traumatised it follows there was an earlier trauma or set of traumas. This is the essence of them. As a child it was my job to keep my parent happy. I had a very unhappy (depressed) parent and they, and neighbours, teachers and God-parents all impressed on me how important it was to ‘look after’ my parent and the way I could succeed in that task was by being a Good Daughter. Being Good itself broke down into more and less tangible concepts, but more often into a paradoxical mess. It turned out the unspoken task of Being Good was to wholly protect the image that my parent had of themselves as ’Ideal parent’ and to NEVER allow the possibility for my parent to confront the reality of themselves as ’Actual parent’. The cost of my not achieving this could, as I experienced on this perilous learning curve, be my parent attempting suicide. The shame and exposure of noticing themselves being less than ’Ideal’ created a powerful force of self-destruction in my parent. The stakes were high. I really did have to protect my parent’s identity as a Sane, Just and Fair Loving Parent even when they were, let’s say, quite far from that. I tried my best to be a Good Daughter and I endeavoured to completely conceal from my parent the chasm between themselves as Ideal parent and themselves as Actual parent. I wholly took responsibility for filling this reality gap. I owned the task and I owned the shame and I cut myself whenever I had not been Good Enough, whenever I had fallen short and failed to uphold my parent’s need to see themselves as Ideal. To summarise, the task was to invisibly, and completely, distort the truth to protect the way my parent needed to see themselves. I had to unwaveringly admire the Emperor’s new clothes; a task based on a definitively crazy-making premise. 
Fast forward 30 years during which time I had some excellent effective help (not from psychiatry) and completed training as a mental health nurse. I went to work in the NHS, eventually landing in a Specialist Service for people diagnosed with ‘Personality Disorder’ …”

You can read more from here.

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