Some Practical Observations About Sick Communities
the abuse or violence of the sick community focuses on the weak and vulnerable
On a more practical note, there are many real reasons why victims in Abusive sick communities just can’t literally leave the situation or even avoid it effectively while remaining in the sick-community.
Basically, the abuse or violence of the sick community focuses on the weak and vulnerable, never on the rich and powerful. In other words, the abuse and violence of the sick community syndrome takes aim on the working class man and woman, their children, their property, their jobs, and on the elderly. That’s why the abuse and violence of the sick community syndrome is so evil!
When outsiders read about sick-communities, too many too often have the simplistic idea that the victims should just fight back or actually leave the sick-community. That’s much easier said than done.
The suggestion might even sound logical: Just throw in the towel and ignore the situation, deny it, don’t confront it and they’ll leave you alone. Just move on with your life – right? But when it comes to sick-community abuse, it’s never as easy as “just ignoring it” or “just walking away from it.” Now Coeymans knows from direct personal and historical experience that this approach NEVER works.
Just ignoring or leaving an abusive sick-community is hard for a great many reasons. We’d like to mention just a few that might make it easy to understand why a resident or victim of abuse might stay in the sick-community.
The community at large normalizes unhealthy, abusive or violent behavior so that residents and victims may not actually understand that their situation is unhealthy, abnormal, and abusive.
When you are made to think that unhealthy or abusive behavior is “normal” or acceptable, it’s becomes very difficult to admit that you live in an unhealthy, abusive, sick-community. If you don’t admit there’s a problem, you’ll never want to correct the situation. oregonfamily.com-Kids Worried Sick Oregon Family Magazine
Psychological and emotional abuse destroys the victim’s self-esteem, making the victim feel that it’s impossible to live any differently. Residents and victims in psychologically and emotionally abusive sick communities may not understand that they are actually being abused because there’s no “physical” violence involved. Victims will often dismiss or deny psychological or emotional abuse because they don’t think it’s as evil or unacceptable as physical abuse. It’s hard for those in abusive sick-communities situations to even think of change after they’ve continuously been told they’re unable to change things or made to feel marginalized that there’s no better option for themselves. When a community has low self-respect, low self-esteem, economic depression and exploitation usually follows on the heels of psychological and emotional abuse. In our example, Coeymans, NY, we are observing that happening right now.
Human beings tend to be resilient. Victims tend to try to bounce back after trauma, and so the “Cycle of Abuse” begins: after every abusive incident comes a plateau phase where the victim recoups and tries to stabilize. There may also be a “honeymoon phase” when things seem to just become better again, the bright morning after the dark night. All too frequently, after the violence or abuse is done, the abuser follows up with something nice like a community social event, a neighborly gesture, or promises that things will be better. This strategy has the effect that their victims minimize the original violence or abusive behavior, and the abuser gets away with the abuse.
- It’s very risky, even downright dangerous to leave a sick-community. Leaving a community, sick or healthy, is similar to a bereavement situation: it is psychologically, psychosocially, emotionally, socially, economically, physically challenging. The only way to reduce the trauma of leaving a sick-community is to have a solid plan for preparing to leave, leaving, and what is to be done after the leaving. Just leaving is tantamount to courting disaster.
- Even if there were no conditioning involved, it’s very difficult to get out of the vicious cycle of control. Victims in abusive sick communities may attempt to break the control cycle, to fight back, even to consider leaving the community a number of times before the final decision is made. Statistics based on domestic abuse situations have shown that, on average, a victim in an abusive relationship will attempt to leave 7 times before finally leaving for good. The same findings may well apply to victims in sick-communities. What we do know is that the children of victims of sick-community abuse more often than not leave the sick-community, finding better conditions and opportunities elsewhere. This results in the sick-community becoming even sicker, more economically depressed, and generally populated by those who cannot leave, even if they wanted to.
- Many people have been conditioned to think that the popular attitude of a ride-or-die mindset is acceptable. It is not. Those in unhealthy or abusive communities might choose to remain in the sick-community or even to return to it after actually leaving, because they feel pressure to not give up, forgive and forget or pressure to “ride it out.” Victims may also feel guilt and shame for having abandoned friends and relatives in the sick community, and feel the need to right the wrong by returning.
- Again, the victim may feel personally responsible for the abuse they’re receiving. After a conflict, an abuser will turn the situation around and make the victim feel guilty or as though they were somehow at fault. This type of behavior is known as gaslighting, and is particularly conspicuous after political elections, when the prevailing group uses their victory to shame the other group.
The goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim doubt themselves. Gaslighting abuse causes a person to lose their sense of identity, perception, and worth. Gaslighting is a form of narcissism and sociopathic tendencies as they look to gain power over someone.
- Hope springs eternal, and many victims believe that if they stick it out, things might change for the better. Many victims choose to remain in their abusive sick-communities love their homes, they are historically rooted in the community, they love the area, and have hope that things will get better. In some situations, victims may believe their abuser’s behavior is due to challenging times or feel as though they can persuade their abuser to change if they are a more understanding citizen themselves. The reality is that you should never tolerate an abusive situation in which you rely on an abuser to change their behavior for the better.
- There is social, political, and psychological pressure to create the perfect community. In our local communities, there is constant pressure to envision some kind of ultra-positive change and the perfect community. While most mature human beings will recognize this as unattainable, but the majority of victims succumb to political and media hype that only perpetuates and accentuates this fallacy.
- What will the neighbors think and anxiety about how others will react, is a frequent concern. People in abusive sick-communities will often feel embarrassed to admit that their community is sick, unhealthy, and abusive. They fear being judged, blamed, shamed, marginalized, pitied or looked down on by outsiders. They tend to fear outsiders and to devalue outsiders’ opinions or observations, even though the outsider may see the real situation more clearly than those sitting in the middle of the muck.
- Community, even for victims in an abusive sick community, means sharing life together. Marriage, children, and shared friends and life activities are often very compelling reasons that keep victims in abusive sick-communities, and why they stay in them. This dependency on a status quo prevents victims from severing established ties to seek a better situation and positive change. The status quo is comfortable; after all, it will seem like the new normal if the victim is just patient.
“Anxiety becomes a problem when it affects quality of life and interferes with the activities you normally enjoy.
“Some symptoms of anxiety disorder include panic attacks, sleep problems, heart palpitations, chest pain, muscle tension, unexplained uneasiness, dizziness and cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet.
“We’d all prefer to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable. The trouble is if we don’t participate in activities because we’re scared of failing or because they make us nervous, we can’t grow more self-confident and resilient.
“According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), when we avoid stressful situations, we reinforce anxiety and end up feeling more demoralized.” [Sandy Kauten, Kids Worried Sick]
While there are many, many reasons that influence the victim’s decision to remain in an abusive sick-community, and while there are many ways to cope with the abuse, without actually eliminating it, there are important considerations to be made.
Denial is not an option; nor is blaming. Denial is the refusal to accept reality; avoidance is accepting the situation but avoiding it. Blaming is a form of avoidance of responsibility, tagging someone else with the responsibility. Then there is the problem of judgment. Judgment requires analysis and discretion; in order to exercise judgement whether good or bad, a person must perceive a situation and the factors at large. Depending on the person’s perceptions, his or her judgment may be “good” or “bad.” But judgment of any kind is conditional and relative; judgment depends on a number of complex factors.
One thing is certain: there is a vast difference between judgment and responsibility. While we can say with some certainty that a victim’s decision to stay in an abusive sick community or to accept the abuse in the hope of improvement is a case of bad judgment, we cannot say with certainty that the victim is responsible for the abuse, the unhealthy community, or for the failure of the community to improve. Because a victim chooses to be complacent in the face of abuse, it does not follow directly they are responsible, or asking, for the abuse perpetrated against them, but it does seem clear that they do bear much of the responsibility for the unhealthy community and the abuse that they suffer, even that they may sometimes be asking for it. Only you can decide.
These sources discuss domestic violence and abuse but with some simple word substitutions, and with some minor changes, they describe the “Sick Community” abuse and violence situation perfectly.
- Myths & Facts about Domestic Violence | Domestic Violence Intervention Program, http://www.dvipiowa.org/myths-facts-aboutdomestic-violence/, last accessed on November 12, 2019
- http://www.standffov.org/statistics/, last accessed on November 12, 2019.
- Center for Family Justice, https://centerforfamilyjustice.org/faq/domestic-violence/, last accessed on November 12, 2019
- Sandy Kauten, Kids Worried Sick at Oregon Family, last accessed on November 15, 2019.
Go to Part V of this Series (To be published on November 19, 2019)