Acknowledging and constructively integrating
Honestly looking into the mirror
We have seen that, to use Howitt's wordplay, the demonology appears to have outstripped the psychology and that a process of demonizing and scapegoating has started. This is convenient for public and politicians. After all, gays and communists are outdated as enemies of the people. People need an enemy, a scapegoat to project the own hidden feelings onto. Since some Muslims have done some wrong things, the Muslims have also experienced this process. Now that a new enemy is found, the people are united again.
The demonizing of people with pedophilic feelings has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd, especially in English speaking countries. To 'protect the child', a horde of armed policemen knocks at the door if a toddler walks nude through the garden. That toddler is 'an exhibitionist', thus a 'sexual delinquent' - for its entire life. The case of the Swiss boy Raoul is worldwide known.
For adults, it is not any better. Anyone who merely possesses a picture of a nude child, will be lifelong a sex offender and will be registered as such. As far as one receives treatment, one receives anything except real therapy. Such treatment, which is actually incarceration, may continue for the rest of their life.
Recently, laws combat terrorists. For convenience, the lawmakers have labeled pedosexuals also as 'terrorists'.
Real therapy is impossible in the US, because a therapist is legally obligated to report to the police anyone who expresses pedophilic feelings or fantasies.
This is thought control by the police as described by George Orwell's 1984.
Also non-offenders may become the victim of this policy. A lot of innocent people have been molested or even murdered by mobs. In the United Kingdom, a mob did not know the difference between a pediatrician and a pedophile. A female pediatrician had to flee quickly to safe her life.
Here, in the Netherlands, the same process is going on, but here we might still be able to stop it. Here, it is nearly a reality that a person who appears to have pedophilic feelings, but has never done any misdeed has, in the view of the public has not any right at all to live or work, or even to have an opinion. The constitutional rights to speak, to meet and to associate, are not accepted for these people.
According to a lot of people, such a devilish person, like me for instance, have no right to even speak. 'Of course', such people can never do any good research or say or have reasonable opinions. After all, such people 'are only trying to justify themselves'. For instance, Dr Edward Brongersma is blamed for this.
Remarkably, this blame does never hold for a reverend who tells about belief, nor for a pregnant woman who tells about pregnancy, a married person who tells about marriage, a men who tells about being a man, nor a woman who tells about female matters, nor for a governor speaking about governmental affairs. No, the blame only holds if someone with pedophilic feelings speaks about pedophilia. This is called 'selective indignation', an irrational process, in which fears plays a great role.
What those evil people say is 'of course' dangerous for youth; it only stimulates wrongdoing for youth and young adults - exactly the blame that hit Socrates. Nevertheless, I do speak, for instance by writing and publishing this. I will not silence myself.
I know that my e-mails have been intercepted and that, with letters to the Minister, the congress presidium and the newspapers, someone has tried to prevent that I should present my lecture in Paris. The reasons were the same: I would give people wrong ideas and 'thus' stimulate them to wrongdoing.
My lecture was still presented, and has been chosen as one of the four best out of 600 lectures. It is to be published in a scientific magazine.
As long as I can speak, I will speak. Just like you, I am part of society.
It is this demonization and scapegoating that is dangerous. It surely does not give any protection to youth. What I see is that people who come across pedophilic feelings in their soul do not dare to speak about it anyway. This causes depression and obsession, which sooner or later will burst if it is not dealt with. The safety-valve is closed and the tension grows until the boiler bursts.
It is difficult to describe what is going on in scapegoating processes, because it are irrational processes taking place in the unconscious. Even more difficult is that it not only concerns individuals; it are also collective processes taking place in the collective unconscious. Thus, people will on the rational level always deny they are even taking place.
This happens in a scapegoating process: people do not want to know or acknowledge certain feelings. These feelings still exist, but are hidden in the cellars of the mind where they remain unconscious but yet have influence. They are projected onto others who get the role of the scapegoat.
To explain this, the image of a cellar is used as well as the concept 'shadow'. A human has a persona, a mask that represents how we like to see and present ourselves. Feelings or ideas that not fit with this mask are exiled to the shadow. Every human has a shadow, individually as well collectively.
We may see scapegoating processes working in families in which one of the children gets the role of the scapegoat. We see it in groups as well in marriages. If, for example, the man denies his depressive feelings, we may see a depressive wife. This is called "projective identification": one marries with someone with qualities which one denies in themselves but yet has and needs.
In principle, this is not wrong. One may have suppressed one's vitality or sexual desires and project these onto one's partner or children. Many men detest their own sensuality for themselves as well as for other men, but they admire that of women. Negative, but also positive characteristics can be exiled to the shadow. The classic example are laborers' children with musical, poetic or otherwise artistic talent who are sent to the fabric to earn a good living, instead of giving room to 'all those pranks'.
Collective scapegoating processes are more difficult. People evoke, for example, demons or witches. One can recognize the scapegoating process by fanaticism, strong emotional involvement or expressions, by exaggerated reactions and black-and-white thinking: fried or fiend, normal or distorted. However, we should not look to the fiend or the freak, but to our ways of looking to them.
Thinking is over-simplified black-and-white categories is characteristic of demonological thinking: black or white, religious or heretical, communistic or rational, offender or victim. The later bipartition was a problem when a village in the US discovered that a large group of children had played 'sex' in the local wood. Who were the offenders (to be sent to court and a severe locked clinic), who were the pitiful little victims (to be sent to a more friendly clinic)? In reality, children had had both roles in turn. Reality appeared to be more nuanced than black-and-white thinking.
Politically correct thinking does not tolerate shadowy nuances.
"Because this [way of thinking] defines very narrow what is acceptable, it invokes a life-size shadow, which makes it nearly impossible to study in-depth some topics with all their complexity and ambiguity."
(Zweig & Wolf 1997, p. 285)
We will follow the book of Zweig & Abrams (1996), which devotes its chapters seven and eight to this subject. More literature will be mentioned later.
"If a person or a group believes to lead a honest life, different people can be labeled as wrong or evil, as fiends. By doing so, tension between good and bad may diminish in time, but in essence this is recklessness under the cloak of self-justifying." (p. 183)
"[The scapegoating process] often has the form of collective fanaticism, which expresses itself in religious wars, racism, cast systems, indicating scapegoats, witch hunts or hating people [...].
If society projects onto a minority what it rejects, real evil is evoked. Examples of this kind of popular cultures are the hunt on Jews, gypsies and gays in the Second World War, and the communist hunt of McCarty [...] and the apartheid in South-Africa." (p. 250)
The core of the darkness is our own heart. Making the most awful and destructive people monsters gives us a quiet mind, as if they are creatures of another nature, and their bad example is irrelevant to us." (p. 281)
Susan Griffin says, when people think in these ways, they use "a chauvinistic brain", a brain that 'thinks toward itself' and that 'thinks away of the other". [...]
"The concept 'human' is so organized that [....] falls outside of it. The dark and the sinister is exclusively in the other, not in the own mind - al least not consciously, because here we speak about that part of the inner self that is lost or suppressed because it is forbidden. It concerns an inner conflict that is projected to the outside. One cannot realize that the awful other is also a part of oneself." (pp 306 ...)
One creates a bipartition and a fiend. Humanity exists of 'angels' (of course: the group to which one belongs) and the devils and demons to be find in a minority group. We are good and they are bad - simple. There is no equality, there are only differences. We cannot recognize within ourselves what we reject. We see it even more within the other. Selective observance, selective indignation and moral panic help this process, eagerly assisted by the public media.
Demonology thinks along the lines explained above. Treating people with pedophilic feelings with this model in mind, creates the same processes within the patient. The 'pedophilic' part of the personality is declared wrong and it is no longer permitted to express itself. It is made a demonic shadow. The patient must learn to combat thoughts and fantasies, and every contact with children is forbidden. One must combat a part of ones inner self. However, combating a part of ones inner self has a paralyzing effect on the person and its thinking. The energy is blocked instead of streaming. Emotionality and sensibility starve. The development and the individuation of the personality stagnates. One only adjusts oneself. One only follows the crowd. One becomes politically correct.
However, one cannot exile the shadow. It shall return, maybe disguised, but stronger than it was. The Gospel tells the parable of the seven devils who will return after one has been exiled. A caged animal becomes wild. "See how wild it is!" says the guard. Exiling a part of the human causes that part to become a demon. The longer it is caged, the more destructive will be its force.
"We cannot suddenly stop these energies by willpower alone. We must lead them into other ways, we have to transform them. This requires that we are conscious of our shadow and that we accept it as a part of ourselves which we cannot exile. [...]
Suppressing [...] looks aside and pretends to see nothing. If we continue this, it inevitably leads to psychopathology. [...]
The shadow must get her legitimate expression, one way or another, at one time or another. By having an eye on it, we have a choice to decide how and when we allow it to give expression to itself in a constructive way." (Zweig & Abrams 1996, p. 50 & 51)
"The shadow cannot hold its tongue. It always forcefully pushes its way to the conscious, maybe as anxiety, guilt, fear or depression. The shadow becomes a symptom."
" The question how to combat this symptom is the wrong one. It implies that it does not come from within. [...] The symptom does not disappear because one tries to combat it. That is the reason that Perls said that, as long as one combats a symptom, it only becomes stronger. Willpower does not help as long as it exiles the shadow."
(Zweig & Abrams 1996, p. 402 & 403)
The 'therapist' needs a lot of power to force the patients to exile a part of themselves. Therefore, this kind of treatment gets demonic features.
I have already criticized this kind of treatment in my lecture in Paris and Sweden.
The State uses force and invades the thinking and feeling of humans.
Acknowledging seems like a healthier way to me. One may acknowledge a part of oneself without giving it the the highest power. One may acknowledge desires and also make the ethical choice not to indulge them. One may see, acknowledge and accept a part of oneself without letting oneself go. One may listen to 'the demon' in oneself and let it speak.
This is the
core of real psychotherapy. One may accept the suppressed part of
oneself and take responsibility for it. So one becomes whole, one
becomes healed, and then one may constructively use that part. We
are able to decide to constructively integrate 'the demonic' within
ourselves. By doing so, the need for repressing and projecting ends. The
scapegoating process will stop. We become unique individuals. We do not follow the crowd anymore.
"We must acknowledge and accept the evil and the dirty that we all have as a part of ourselves, because we are humans and have an ego. [...] Then we are able to met our fellow humans as fellow victims and there is no need to make them scapegoats anymore." (E.C. Whitemond, quoted in Zweig & Abrams 1996, p. 253)
This holds also for the therapists. These people should be psychologists, no demonologists.
Speaking specifically about pedophilic feelings, I do not say that all people have, suppress and project these feelings. They may, but there are many other feelings and ideas which are not accepted consciously and which might be projected.
Take, for example, aggressive feelings to children or to 'softy males'. Take feelings of guilt because of neglecting children or not giving them enough attention. Take feelings of powerlessness because we cannot really protect our children. Or take vague feelings of guilt because we destroy the ozone layer and we accept vehicle traffic, air pollution, dangerous preservatives or hormones in the meat. Or take the acknowledgement of children as erotic creatures that may have sexual feelings. We refuse all these ideas. They are only the distorted ideas of others. We certainly don't think like that. We can't acknowledge them, because they are unconscious.
But we might take a look at what one usually blames 'the pedophiles' for, and then have a honest look into the mirror. On the contrary: people with pedophilic feelings might also project and take a look into the mirror. Especially, have a look to what one blames others for, and what one sees or feigns to see in the children. It might be possible that the erotic desires one thinks to see in children, in reality are ones own desires. One never knows.
This kind of processes, in which one projects something into another, are not by definition pathological or harmful. They are human. This is the way the human psyche works. Man and woman, adult and child may very well complete each other.
Man may experience their own suppressed sensitivity in their wife and so be more complete. Adults may re-feel sensitivity, emotionality, vitality and openness again by seeing it in children. By doing so, they may re-experience their own suppressed childhood and so repair themselves and become more complete humans. A child who needs care may met a careful Vitalis who may be life-saving to her or him. Careful adults, e.g. grandparents, may recapture their vitality in their grandchildren. There is nothing wrong with that.
The senex-puer or -puella relationship is a classic and archetypical relationship existing in every culture and era. Senex means the older and wiser adult, puer or puella is the young one of whichever age. Usually, one speaks about "a positive senex" referring to a wise teacher and guide, a Merlin who teaches the young Arthur the lessons of life.
Young people who search a senex may search for a substitute parental figure. Their parents might be one-sided, weak, absent, or not internalized. They attach themselves to their senex. Sometimes, they tempt her or him to such an attachment, in order to be more complete. A positive senex may complete or repair the bonding between the young one and her or his parents, or may give a timely and meaningful supplement. The fire of love is a strong force that can break through masks and purify. Again: there is nothing wrong with that. (Chopra 1995; Zweig & Wolf 1997 p. 118, 277, 278)
Nevertheless, it is good to investigate oneself. One might be busy with projection and it is good to become conscious of this. One may weigh ones own projections and see if they are good or if they might have a harmful element. One never knows before. By doing so, one also may try to as yet acknowledge, accept, repair or feel the projected characteristics again. Then, one may constructively integrate them and projection is no longer needed.
One might consider that the shadow is not wrong per se,
"no mistake or weakness. It is part of our nature and part of the natural order we are part of. It is no problem to be resolved, but a mystery to consider. The shadow connects us with our own [...] depths [...], with our ancestors and the unborn, with humans in general, and with the other creatures." (Zweig & Wolf 1997, p 365).
Please, note that I ask both parties to honestly look into the mirror. When we speak about pedophilic feelings we see such a scapegoating process working, that a look into the mirror has now become necessary for both concerned parties, those who blame as well as those who receive the blame.
Concerning myself, I will discuss these things later in full. For the time being, we are browsing in the literature and I want to continue so. Below, I refer to some other authors who have written about the process of scapegoating. In the next chapter, I will browse through the literature to see if people with pedophilic feelings would be so special as the demonology tries to teach us, or if reality might be different. In the chapter after that, I will discuss what I have discovered about myself.
[The original Dutch version mentions several Dutch-only authors. In this English version they are not mentioned unless there is an English translation available.]
Kirkegaard & Northey describe the scapegoating process as they saw it working in society and more specifically within a religious community. They also describe how the same community was able to stop that process. They created , groups to support the ones who were vilified and to help them to integrate into society.
Randall searches for a specifically "Radical Christian" way to approach the pedophile peer creatures. As we did here, he also comes across improper models of thinking and language used concerning these creatures. So, his first chapter reads: "From Bad Language To Crooked Thinking".
Sociologist Ken Plummer describes the labeling processes with 'pedophiles' are created as a social construction. He tries to find the way back, to labeling people with deviant behavior as normal beings.
Huub Kort explicitly describes the creating of the modern demons, 'the pedophiles'. He sees these as created by a society which, on the one hand invokes and tolerates a lot of dangers for children but on the other hand regrets that it cannot offer complete safety to children. The 'solution' that society creates is constructing demons who - and only these do - form the ultimate danger to children.
See also a list of literature at < http://www.ipce.org/Library/overview_witch_hunt.htm >
As already stated, in the next chapter we browse through the literature to see if people with pedophilic feelings indeed are the kind of humans as the scapegoating processes want us to think, or does the truth lie elsewhere?