Sunday, July 30, 2006

And yet another useful concept:

Ambient abuse

Ambient abuse penetrates and permeates everything – but is difficult to pinpoint and identify. It is ambiguous, atmospheric, diffuse. Hence its insidious and pernicious effects. It is by far the most dangerous kind of abuse there is.

It is the outcome of fear – fear of violence, fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, the capricious, and the arbitrary. It is perpetrated by dropping subtle hints, by disorienting, by constant – and unnecessary – lying, by persistent doubting and demeaning, and by inspiring an air of unmitigated gloom and doom ("gaslighting").

Ambient abuse, therefore, is the fostering, propagation, and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, the irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen.

In the long term, such an environment erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, the victim adopts a paranoid or schizoid stance and thus renders himself or herself exposed even more to criticism and judgment. The roles are thus reversed: the victim is considered mentally deranged and the abuser – the suffering soul.

Anyone else feeling this, particularly for oh say the last five and a half years?


LtL said...

I wonder... perhaps I'm playing too much of the armchair psychoanalyst, but could it be that this "ambient abuse" that is being visited upon our country reflects Bush's own upbringing? The victim becomes the victimizer. Let's be clear, that is not an excuse, but it does make a certain sense - considering Bush's lack of intelligence, his track record of failure in a family that seems so much smarter and more capable than him. As soon as he got the chance, he made as many people as he could feel as bad as he did. It might be sad, it might even be tragic if the man didn't hold significant amounts of power over the life and death of millions.

belledame222 said...

Oh, I agree. Ever read "Bush on the Couch?"

then, too, there's a reason why he's been "elected." i mean you can't blame Diebold/gerrymandering/u-name -it for *all* of it. clearly something about this resonates for a lot of other people as well.

alphabitch said...

"I am so afraid
that I listened to you,
Your sunglassed protectors,
they do that to you.
It's their ways to detain,
their ways to disgrace
Their knee in your balls
and their fist in your face.
Yes and long live the state
by whoever it's made,
Sir, I didn't see nothing,
I was just getting home late."

[L. Cohen, "A Singer Must Die"]

kactus said...

I read this whole post thinking you were posting about Ambien, the sleeping pill, and thinking that if I had some ambien I'd sure be abusing it cuz I've barely been sleeping in this heat. Jeez, belledame.

belledame222 said...

agh, kactus, my deepest sympathies. the heat has been brutual here, too.