There comes a point in the life of every professional, regardless of your profession, when a loud claim of outrage whilst lacking any insight or self reflection, will leave you hoisted by your own affront.
Have a read of this latest post from Sara Ryan and then tell me that particular Oxford CC commissioner hasn’t completely lost the plot – https://mydaftlife.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/the-birdseye-view-from-an-oxon-commissioner/
This is her “There’s always something or other with Mr Neary” moment, multiplied by 1000000.
So, why does this seem such a common reaction? How comes from writing about her truth in her blog, does Sara Ryan become the perpetrator of other people’s illnesses? By the way, I think we’re talking about Dr Crapshite here – a psychiatrist, who ought to be used to dealing with other people’s rages of life. They did the same with me. Whistler’s Mother became so distraught at the publicity our case was attracting, that she had to go off sick for several weeks. Funnily enough, her ill health meant she missed giving evidence in court about her actions throughout the year.
When you read that commissioner’s comments, you see instantly that she has no idea at all that she is writing about human beings. There is no sense that she sees LB as a person. She certainly doesn’t see Sara as a person. Both have to be turned into objects to satisfy the pain of a disrupted professional.
It’s all too easy to fall into a “my pain is greater than your pain” void here. There is no point comparing the staff who wept over the weekend with the lifetime of distress that the Ryan family will experience. But that is what, stupid statements like that attempt to do. Very much like KP’s “as a mother and a CEO” line. I used to run a therapy group that became unbearable in the “pain trumping” that went on. And worse still, the facilitators were encouraged to share their pain as well.
People should be allowed to experience their distress in their own unique, messy, raging/sobbing/silent way.
So people are objectified and our emotional experience also becomes a strange diluted, heavily filtered through the recipient’s own experience, mess. I blame the X Factor. Listen to the contestant saying “I’m going through this journey for my brother who was killed in a car crash the week before the auditions”. You can see on the faces of the other contestants, “Fuck! What do I say next”. So, you get, “I’m dedicating this song to my mother who is bravely fighting leukaemia in the hospice”. Desperately sad stories. But their presentation, whilst seemingly giving them powerful traction, actually reduces everything to an homogenised glob. Unfortunately, this is pretty endemic now in our way of living.
I dunno. I’m rambling. It’s very hard to make sense of turning a human being’s painful phenomenological experience of loss into a bureaucratic arm wrestling contest.