Guest Blog Entry
Anyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.
Occasionally I am sucked into watching the Dr. Phil Show with a young person who gets great delight from it - a sort of sanitized, upscale Jerry Springer show in which, usually, everyone gently swats a paw in the air and hisses "meow" ever so politely, rather than the all-out alley-catfights over the ends of which Jerry pontificates.
So it was earlier this week as we watched a preview of the next day's program in which an Exorcist-like scream was issuing from the mouth of an apparently seriously disturbed young woman.
We got our popcorn and lime-salsa corn chips ready for five o'clock the next day and discovered, to our horror, that the girl - Amanda - was being stalked (by a private eye) and manhandled (by any number of people); her privacy was invaded by her Gorgon of a mother and her older sister - who clearly was anointed by Mommy to do her evil bidding - while she was trying to have a shower, all because she possibly had a cell phone which she used to talk to her boyfriend, not Mom-approved and branded as a "gypsy" by Mom and consequently "too good" for her child and who knows what else.
Here is the problem:
You are sixteen and you are in love; your parents' disapproval of your beloved only confirms that s/he is wonderful and right for you; of course the more you are pulled apart the more tightly you cling to one another. Didn't ANYONE in that family - or Dr. Pill, for that matter, read Romeo and Juliet?
You buy a cell phone - perhaps Romeo and Juliet might not have died if they'd had cell phones - to talk to your beloved. The more Mom pushes, the farther she pushes you into your beloved's corner, until one day you decide - I am going with my beloved to the ends of the earth - and you leave.
Now Mom is as enraged as the Sea Witch in the Little Mermaid. She tells everyone that you must have been "abducted" by "gypsies" who probably will lead you into a life of crime. (It transpires, near the end of the show, that Amanda and her boyfriend, George, have been seeing one another since she was FOURTEEN - just like Juliet, and where has Mom been in those two years? Why let Amanda have a boyfriend at 14 and be so antagonistic two years later? If, as she claimed, the boyfriend and his family were not good enough for her precious daughter, why did she not terminate the relationship sooner?). She transmutes her wrath into a piteous howl that she aims at the Dr. Pill show and - like blind fools - they jump in. Now you are going to be hunted like an animal, caught and bagged, bundled up and shipped back to the zoo that is your place of origin - the mind baulks at the terms "family" and "home", both of which suggest love, harmony, trust and stability, and none of which are in evidence on Dr. Pill's self-congratulatory show-and-tell. You are lied to and emotionally and mentally abused - where are the social workers? Do the authorities think abuse has to be physical in order to do damage?
There is a term in psychiatry/psychology - "scapegoating" - to denote the family member who unwittingly becomes the "cause" of everyone's ills and dissatisfactions, and Amanda is the scapegoat in that family. Nobody tells Mom or the 20-year-old, still-living-at-home sister that YOU DON'T GO INTO THE BATHROOM WHEN SOMEBODY ELSE IS HAVING A SHOWER UNLESS THEY'VE SLIPPED AND SPLIT THEIR HEAD!. The sister is the surrogate for Mommy when Mommy ineffectually goes into the bathroom first and returns empty-handed. The father? Seemed a bit of a cipher, which is always bad, no matter the sex of one's children. Children require strong, moral, sympathetic and kindly role models of both sexes in order to grow into strong, moral, sympathetic and kindly adults who understand the opposite sex and the fact that one can have disagreements or fights in a family but they won't be held against you in aeternam - that is something else that seemed to be lacking in that family.
Of course, there are two reactions to being scapegoated - to wilt and to become defiant - and thankfully Amanda is of the latter persuasion or there would be no hope for her at all. She would graduate from her family with the rank of Prize Doormat, surely an honour beyond words.
This is what Dr. Pill should have done:
1) Not reunite Amanda and her family until he had the TRUTH from both sides, and had had the opportunity to think deeply about the family dynamics.
2) Spoken to George, got a true picture of George, his intentions, his family, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, what it was about George's family that was so much more appealing than her own (one can guess).
3) Had a no-holds-barred counselling session with each family member.
4) Given a cell phone to each family member so that they can communicate with one another from a distance, which is the only way these people seem able to deal with one another without triggering aneurysms.
A Note About "Minors".
In Amanda's jurisdiction a person is considered a "minor child" until the age of 18. Many of the more rabid posts on the Dr. Pill website support corporal punishment, withholding of privileges, intrusions into her privacy, as though they are Constitutionally sanctioned and protected rights of the parents.
Here's news for you: A person of 16, 17, 18, may be "minor" but no longer is a "child", and should not be treated as such.
AND You cannot teach a person to be civil, respectful, honest, by lying, cheating and being overbearing tyrants. And if you truly think that as a parent you should be able to lie, cheat and be overbearing in order to impose your will (what it is all about) on them, I feel sorry for your children - there is no hope for you.
posted by bluemlein at Saturday, April 22, 2006
I always laugh when I see Dr. Pill because he looks so much like Hank Kingsley. Hey now!
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