The Disease of the Disease
by Al Turtle
Most everyone in our country suffers from this disease. Its origins are in early childhood treatment of babies. Because most people have it, we don’t notice it easily. Awareness of the disease is usually in the way other’s are infected. Rarely does a diseased person recognize their own infection. There are three symptoms.
1) The belief that there is a RIGHT way of seeing, describing, understanding, and valuing What-Is-Going-On.
Each person perceives things differently. The differences are greater with more abstract issues such as values. Agreement is actually exceedingly rare. The disease shows itself whenever you say, “Well, the truth is … such and such.” or “You are wrong.” or “Tell me what is the right thing to do.” “In reality, this is what happened.”
2) The limited capacity to be aware of, respect, appreciate, comprehend the subjectivity of another.
The sufferers think of themselves as the “center”. Or sometimes they put others in the “center of a world of correctness.” Still it is their belief, their disorder. For most it is difficult to be aware that others are immutably different and that all are equally unconnected to “the Right way of seeing”. Sufferers tend to think others feel what they feel, see what they see, value what they value. “Everyone likes broccoli.” “Everyone calls that yelling.” “Everyone thinks smokers are bad.” “I’m a failure and everyone knows it.” “Everyone’s mad at me!”
3) Primary Symptom: A tendency to derogate, put down, distance, shame, punish, argue, etc. another person when they, by act, show disagreement with your way of seeing what-is-going-on.
When someone differentiates, when they display that they don’t see what we see, etc., the sufferer will put them down crudely, politely, directly or indirectly. “You’re too stupid to see it!” “You don’t like rock music!?” “Anyone in their right mind agrees.” “Well, you’re just a kid (woman, democrat, etc.). What do you know!” “Obviously, you’re not as smart as you look!” “You are wrong, absolutely!” or Non-Verbal gestures.
This page is a summary of some of the thoughts shared by Dr. Harville Hendrix in 1994 on “the source of the Power Struggle”. He spoke during a Clinical Update to Imago Therapists on September 30th. Click here to download an MP3 recording of the central part of his words. The file is about 56 minutes long, and 18 Meg in size. Please remember that this material is copyrighted by Sounds True Recordings and is also the material of Harville Hendrix. Please be appropriately respectful.