“Some people find relief in drugs like heroin, some are finding relief and validation in harboring hate. Both hate and addiction are a manifestation of a society that is ill, disconnected, and traumatized. Just like addiction provides relief to people who were traumatized as children, so does hate.” Dr Gabor Maté Read the full interview here.
Do you have the capacity to stay present within even when it is difficult or painful? Can you attune with yourself in an atmosphere of kindness and compassion? Or in response to fear do you turn against yourself? Are you numb and frozen? Do you lash out in anger?
When people feel alone and unloved, scared and abused, when we fear for our life or feel despair that we are not worth living, we naturally escape any way we can. Catastrophic thinking, anxiety and depression are epidemic in our culture. So is isolation. So is addiction. So is hate.
Ending this suffering is possible. Individually, in our families and in our communities – there is nothing more important than to heal our personal and collective trauma. Only deep healing and human connection will protect us from family members or strangers who lash out through violence, sexual misconduct or who are so out-of-it with alcohol or other drugs that they have lost their connection with being fully human.
Dr Brene Brown writes about the danger of dehumanizing others. “Is there a line in the wilderness between what behavior is tolerable and what isn’t? Do I have to put up with someone tearing me down or questioning my actual right to exist? Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? The answer is yes.
Michelle Maiese defines dehumanization as “the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.” Dehumanizing often starts with creating an enemy image. As we take sides, lose trust, and get angrier and angrier, we not only solidify an idea of our enemy, but also start to lose our ability to listen, communicate, and practice even a modicum of empathy.”
We live in a highly traumatized, terrorized, fearful, anxious world. When our primitive brain and survival system run the show, we are vulnerable to being manipulated by politicians and people seeking power over us. Many people feel powerless and hopeless in response to these threats. This is natural.
This is not the only possible response. We can join others and work together for social change. We vote. We look for what connects us with others, not only what divides us. We gather our courage and resources and heal from addiction.
Give yourself permission to take a break. Find times and places where you can experience physical and emotional safety. Relax your vigilance, let your breath settle. Rest.