cognitive therapy

Practice Self-Control (2)

“Instant gratification takes too long.”

– Carrie Fisher

Reading time: 15 mins

Delaying gratification

The late Hollywood star Carrie Fisher certainly knew about instant gratification. Known for her biting wit and satirical bent the above quote was a comment on her own weaknesses but also described the nature of culture in the 21st Century. Gratification, in all its guises has proven to be the primary channel through which the human family escape reality and the darkness within.

That drive for the instant “hit” gets ever stronger the moment it is satiated. This leads to the following statistics:

    • Obesity: About 36 percent of American adults are obese — more than 1 in 3. And, globally, more than 1 in 10 humans are obese.
    • General substance abuse: Nearly 21 million Americans ages 12 and older had a substance use problem in 2015.
    • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths each year.
    • Sex: The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimated that 6%-8% of Americans are sex addicts, which is 18 million – 24 million people.
    • Pornography: More than 80% of women who have porn addiction take it offline. Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs.
    • Gambling: Over 80 percent of American adults gamble on a yearly basis. [1]

The above are extremes. But for every addiction that becomes full-blown there’s another one germinating in the wings. We don’t have to be a gambler or substance abuser to know that we have a problem with controlling our desires and impulses. Often it’s a very fine line between addiction and what is considered “normal.” Equally we can be addicted to all kinds of covert negative behaviours which cry out for limitations and order. “Think before you speak” might be the most obvious and applicable to most of us. Practicing self-control means that you’re able to delay ego-gratification without going into an emotional tailspin. Do this often enough and it becomes an asset, thereby improving the quality of your life.

Stanford professor Mischel has spent his life exploring this very topic and provided some very interesting data that proves self-control is a key component of individual mastery. His psychological studies date back to the 1960s and involved children with an average age of 4 – 5 years old. Mischel and his research team published their findings in 1972 as Cognitive and Attentional Mechanisms in delay of gratification and it remains the most influential experiment on self-control available. These experiments were refined and improved over the decades, but the basic format remained the same. Popularly known as “The Marshmallow Test” from the book of the same name, Mischel’s discoveries and conclusions make fascinating reading, so we’ll return to some of suggestions on building self-control later on. Meantime, let’s look at what this ground-breaking experiment was about.

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3. Practice Self-Control (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

“No man is free who is not master of himself.”

— Epictetus


Reading time: 10-12 minutes

Let’s get the definition out of the way so we can get to the meat of the issue:

“Self-control [is] the ability to inhibit competing urges, impulses, behaviors, or desires and delay gratification in order to pursue future goals”

Self-control is probably the bane of everyone’s life to some degree of another – how to exert self-control and the faith that such a discipline can increase one’s quality of life in the long-term. There is the kind of self-control that most of us have in order to get through the day and exist as a functioning member of society. Without it, we’d end up in a psych ward or closely resembling many of our esteemed leaders…Many of the most repellent movers and shakers of our world are masters at giving the illusion of self-control in public, but allow all kinds of masks to fall once no prying eyes are around. Indeed, as they ascend the corporate, political elevator they don’t have to worry about controlling themselves, they live for the power to control others.

While many of us ordinary folk may not lust for power, we have are own mini-power differentials taking place everyday as we struggle to balance what we want with what we need, if not for our highest good then for a more peaceful life. We know that reciprocating the insistent charms of a sexy guy or girl at the office might be great for one’s sex instinct and appeals to our sense of adventure but not so good if you’re wife or husband trusts you implicitly. Our love for that person, our conscience and sense of responsibility will generally drown out that biological response – if it’s strong enough. If pre-disposed to alcohol as means to self-medicate, having that last drink will always end up being a binge session if we don’t listen to that memory and impose order as a protection against certain chaos (and a hellish hangover).  Allowing another family member to push our buttons for one thousandth time so that we react in kind is similarly about adopting limitation and internal order in the face of emotional heat that would otherwise taint the whole household. Once the trigger point or hot button has been pressed with a background of stress and tension, other issues tend to come bubbling up and it’s next to impossible to put that fiery genie back in its bottle. Sure, you’ll make up and apologise (if you’re lucky) but such reactions over time tend to wear down the will to try.

The problems come when a sufficient amount of intrapsychic storms have been allowed to build up and begin to uproot what was once stable. A battle with a past addiction or the waiting shadows in a family with a history of repressed emotions can be released, seemingly from nowhere. Psychic carnage is just one step away should we relinquish that self-restraint. But that’s what usually happens because we haven’t been taught any preventive measures, nor had our parents. And our education system only manages to increase the level of ignorance when it comes to self-knowledge and mastering ourselves at the most basic level. Schools and their overdevelopment of intellectual rigour replaces emotional intelligence and social awareness. Since the process of thinking and expressing a thought is riven with emotion it’s hardly surprising that we end up in a boiling vat of reaction when under pressure from every quarter.

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Crowd Control II: Mixed Messages (1)

“In all the interviews I have done, I cannot remember one offender who did not admit privately to more victims than those for whom he had been caught. On the contrary, most offenders had been charged with and/or convicted of from one to three victims. In the interviews I have done, they have admitted to roughly 10 to 1,250 victims. What was truly frightening was that all the offenders had been reported before by children, and the reports had been ignored.”

― Anna C. Salter, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders


If you’ve been following the trajectory of these posts you’ll have hopefully understood that we are dealing with a highly complex set of influences which make up the overall picture of child abuse, sex crime and our current expressions of sexuality.  None of these issues lend themselves to simplistic solutions. Aside from the activities which go on within institutions, the high profile but rare cases of violent sexual abuse and sometimes murder which have been committed in the lower income levels of society play a part in giving undue credence to such crimes, making them appear much more common than they are. [1]  

That doesn’t mean to say that such crimes are not a very big part of the European and American Establishment. They most certainly are. But many of these crimes often have pathways leading directly to government, banking, the church and other institutions whose initial ideological and political constructs have become something entirely different. They now offer sanctuary and protection to child rapists and other psychopaths by virtue of a Hive Mind tradition that has fused with conscienceless individuals.  They are able to stimulate the market for abuse at both the macro-social and micro social level while simultaneously hiding behind their political, religious or corporate mask. This has ultimately meant that these networks of child abusers are buffered and protected by the societal chaos encouraged through public “lone” paedophile trials, celebrity pederasts and intra-familial abuse cases, the latter of which often act as suppliers to the Elite.

Sensationalising the issue increases the “fear factor” and a parental paranoia that is leading to restrictions on natural child development. The erosion of childhood has led to “a drastic decline in children’s outdoor activity and unsupervised play…” [2] This is due to technology and the so-called litigation and “claims culture” which has produced so much alienation and social fragmentation in America and Europe. We are now living in a world where parents and adults alike are becoming increasingly wary of even talking to children that are not their own or tending to a minor injury in the school-ground lest they be accused of inappropriate “touching.” [3] The well promoted obsession with lone child molesters is out of all proportion to the cases reported.  All of which benefits the Establishment where the most serious child rapists reside.

lone-predator

© infraskhun

So, while we know that child abuse is serious problem let’s also take a look at the other side of the coin, and how an abuse paranoia is currently manifesting in the UK.  To this into perspective for a moment, last year over 100 children in the UK alone were killed on the roads, more than 6,000 were injured and 1,000 seriously, leaving them disfigured or disabled for life. How many children in the UK have been killed by the lone child molester in a comparable time scale? Seven.[4]  Over 40,000 children ran away from home while the British government still insists that the traditional “family values” should be maintained without providing the support that families need. Britain also has one of the worst records of child poverty in Europe. Among 100,000 and 200,000 people under eighteen, experience homelessness each year.

A UK Home Office report from 1999 became yet another research study to be added to the growing body of respected research confirming the real risk comes from sexual abuse not from isolated child molesters but from relatives, family friends and siblings. The research also found that: “… only one in five men jailed for molesting children was likely to be caught re-offending, compared with reconviction figures of 50 percent for non-sexual offenders within two years of the original crime.” [5]

While the lone child molester and “stranger danger” meme gets enormous coverage in the press, the less sensationalist trend is the incidence of abuse that occurs within the family unit suggesting a hidden pathology afters years of ponerisation. Economic deprivation, the rise in narcissism and the materialism from which it is sourced is a large factor in the presence of abuse within the family. This serves as another reminder that sexual crime can always provide an infinite variety of scapegoats while ignoring the core reasons for why these offences take place. We might equally say that recognised offenders were expert in covering up their crime coupled with the fact that the age of the victim invariably ensures that the molestation is not reported adding difficulties in provision of definitive data.

According to Mary Marsh director for the National Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC): “Over the last 30 years, hundreds of children have been beaten, starved, burned, suffocated, poisoned, shaken, strangled or stabbed to death by their parents” [6] She believed the child abuse killings were a “national disgrace,” her belief drawn from the statistics which suggest that more children die in the home than in the street. Yet still, the lone child molester threat continues to pervade popular culture holding parental sensibilities to ransom with 63 percent of parents believing most child murders occur outside the home. [7]  Meanwhile, massive advertising from child charities  targeting children in the family to report on signs of abuse to the organisation, further fuelling the idea of the family as a den of corruption, already under severe socio-econommic pressures. It’s a rock and a hard place.

While the NSPCC’s had some dubious methods for raising awareness of this problem, the collected data and conclusions found were pertinent. One NSPCC poll found that 70 percent of parents were “more concerned for their children’s safety after the deaths of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.” [8] Cases such as these allow newspapers to milk the fears of all parents who in turn campaign for legislation that adds to the overreaction for a predator that is statistically already within the home and more importantly, as an indirect result of individuals  found in the top echelons of our social systems and thus shaping it toward a singular psychological worldview. Perception management ensures that this is a “natural” consequence of people’s nature and the evolution of modern culture. Yet so far it seems, neglect, physical violence (and in some statistics rape) represent an overall increase far above sexual abuse. More than three children are said to die each day in America as a result of child abuse or neglect. [9]

2013-07-12 20.26.14

© infrakshun

While statistics need to be viewed with a suitably sceptical but open mind, sufficient studies over several decades have confirmed that there is a much higher incidence of physical abuse as opposed to sexual abuse, closely followed by neglect which is seven times more prevalent than the former. Indeed, it seems the younger the child the greater the risk of murder (infanticide) for those aged under five. The US fairs no better. The number of homicides of children under age 5 has increased over the past two decades, albeit with a modest decline in the last few years, according to government figures. The number of infanticides of children age 1 and younger is also increasing since the 1990s. Infant sexual abuse (nepiophilia) is also a rising problem within the family. The effects of sexual abuse on those of pre-verbal age are relatively unknown.

Nevertheless, research offers evidence that the foetus can be highly sensitive to external stimuli of a positive or negative nature so we can also surmise that the infant will be equally sensitised to the intent and physical effects of sexual abuse. A toddler’s brain has twice as many connections among its 100 billion neurons as the brain of a fully matured adult. [10] It is a crucial process of development within an intricate and complex system, housing neural circuits of learning that is highly almost exclusively dependent on external stimuli. The parents and the environment can directly affect whether or not the child inherits damaged circuits and the surfacing pathologies, however slight, or creative ones that lay down a healthy foundation for the future. Evidence from a recent report fro Reuters in December 2011 has even shown that: “Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat”.

When infants and children are exposed to unhealthy social encounters which include stress and anxiety, the brains do not wire themselves properly in the “emotional centres,” which leads to negative cognitive reactions which then become “hard-wired.” If we then take the trauma associated with infant abuse, we can imagine the damage inflicted on the neurology of a developing baby and the future generational line.

A leading expert in the field of sexual abuse of the infant child, Dr. Bruce Perry at the Baylor College of Medicine, believes the development of the cerebral cortex can be reduced by as much as 20 percent from the effects of abuse resulting in many brain structures remaining under-developed.  Instead of dense neural clusters as by-products of creative learning, there are effectively “holes” sourced from trauma, stress and anxiety. [11]

Perry indicates that the human brain has a variety of ways by which it can store or “recall” experience right across the board of motor, vestibular, emotional, social and cognitive applications. The body locks in these memories that, according to Perry, are non-cognitive and pre-verbal: “It is the experiences of early childhood that create the foundational organisation of neural systems that will be used for a lifetime.” [12] Of these neural patterns, instead of laying down stable and proper functional platforms for further learning, the imprinting shock of abuse lays down trauma and anxiety related to psychosexual development during the general mapping process. This then leads to a greater propensity for widespread damage in the biological life of an emerging infant with personality development prone to severe disruption.

With the long term effects of child abuse covering a wide range of fears, anxieties, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor self-esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships, we can tentatively conclude that the effects may be a form of emotional fall-out which not only has a very long legacy but offers a primary resource for the manipulation of the mass mind. When emotion, fear and trauma dominates, the mass mind is wide open to propaganda and perception management.

american-beauty

Promotional poster for “American Beauty” (1999) about the darker psycho-sexual and social tensions behind American suburbia which ultimately lead to redemption.

The 1999 multiple Oscar-winning film American Beauty portrayed middle-class suburban America as undergoing a reaction to the narcissism, sexual subversion and overall inversion of the American Dream. Themes explored included gender, maternal and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, alienation, self-liberation and redemption. Literary critic and author Wayne C. Booth described the film’s “elusive centre” and the talented mix of creative energy of all those involved that made the film so successful. Similarly, when art manages to make connections with the subconscious and speaks to underlying themes simmering below the surface there will inevitably some form of resonance.

The film explores the underlying connector as a materialist, consumer led “beauty” that has removed all possibilities for sense of the sacred and sanctity in American life. Beneath the struggle to adjust to impinging economic realities intolerance, fear and mental illness are descending upon middle America.  As such, beauty is still present in the unlikeliest of places from simple teenage eroticism to a plastic bag floating in the air currents of an urban alleyway. It shows how existential emptiness and the loss of meaning govern much of American and European daily life. These are the pathways by which sexual extremes and pathological deviancy may enter under cover of suburbia created from the norm of Establishment and institutional perceptions of reality.

Much of the youth in America and Europe are drowning in a sea of superficiality. There is an absence of proper role models and any form of integral education which is adding to the inevitable rise in gang-related crime. The pathological tendencies which have been allowed to gain a foothold in young social groupings are thus becoming gradually more fertile for subset-pathologies to be expressed. Indeed, it seems that the trend for children to be abused by their own age groups than by adults is also on the rise.

One comprehensive report analysed data between 1976 and 1994 and estimated more than 37,000 children had been murdered. [13] In fact, during the same period, 1 in 5 child murders were committed by a family member and 1 in 5 child victims were known to be killed by another child. Children under 18 accounted for 11 percent of all murder victims in the US in 1994. Nearly half of these 2,660 child victims were between 15 and 17. In most murders of a young child, a family member killed the child, while in most murders of an older child, age 15 to 17, the perpetrator was an acquaintance to the victim or was unknown to law enforcement authorities. Keeping to the same statistical research we also find that in family murder of a child 10 percent of victims was age 15 – 17, while in murders by strangers 67 percent of victims were in this age category.

Since the mid-1980’s the increases in the number and the rate of murder among 15-17 year-olds, particularly among black youth in this age range, outpaced changes in murder in all other age groups. [14]  Since 1980, there has been a 15 percent annual average increase in the number of prisoners sentenced for violent sexual assault (other than rape) which is “faster [increase] than any other category of violent crime and faster than all other categories except drug trafficking.” [15 The majority of these prisoners are young men.

In another survey conducted by the US Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) the steady growth of child abuse over the last ten years was confirmed with the total number of reports across the US increasing by 45 percent since 1987 and the rate of child abuse fatalities similarly increasing by 39 percent since 1985.[16 Based on data from all three years, the survey found 82 percent of children were under the age of five while 42 percent were under the age of one at the time of their death. (See Crowd Control)

suburbanfamilyPhysical violence against children is more prevalent than sexual abuse yet they often they go together. Since the 1970s, the phenomenon of child abuse has been increasing and so too the limits of the extremes that surface. Regarding the instances of filicide (the killing of one’s own children) “Head trauma, strangulation and drowning were the most frequent methods of filicide (the killing of a person’s own child). Fathers tended to use more active methods, such as striking, squeezing or stabbing; mothers more often drowned, suffocated or gassed their victims.

In a study of child abuse in New York City the incidence of child abuse increased 1026 percent between 1964 and 1974 which ranged from neglect, physical violence, sexual molestation and assault to incest and emotional terrorism. [17] The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare stated: “An epidemic of child abuse is occurring in this country.” [18] Though fluctuating parallel to the number of cases investigated which has dipped of late, similar to the high incidence of missing persons, the increase was in part attributed to a growing awareness from the public and the willingness to report child abuse. Yet the number of total child maltreatment cases that were investigated by state agencies remained constant from 1986 to 1993 for example, but the percentage of cases investigated declined dramatically, suggesting a steady rise. Indeed, the instances of child abuse and neglect almost doubled in those seven years alone totalling more than 2.8 million children.[19]

Overwhelming statistical data analyses from the US Department of Health and Services (DHHS) Administration for Children and Families Division, confirm that since 2000 – 2007 a steady but fluctuating rise in the incidence of multiple forms of maltreatment overwhelmingly came from biological parents at 79.9 percent. [20]  Back in the UK, 1 in 14 children have been violently assaulted by their parents, and we’re not talking about a tap on the bottom here. Incidences of being kicked, punched, choked, burnt or threatened with a knife have been listed as the common attacks within the home. Broken bones, bruising, bites, burns and head injuries were some of the results, some of which were carried out by mothers at 52 percent and with fathers at 45 percent. It is almost a given that fathers are assumed to have been responsible for carrying out the vast majority of domestic abuse cases involving children yet many surveys and studies both in the UK and the US seem to prove that this is another myth. Most sexual abuse is carried out by step-fathers and siblings for example,[21]  with poverty and low income families most likely to harbour the abuse. [22]

One of the most common forms of sexual abuse is that of incest (or intra-familial abuse) remaining one of the most under-reported and least discussed crimes. This is due in part, to the lack of accurate statistics and information borne from the fear and secrecy inherent in such a crime not least the difficulty in gathering such highly sensitive information. Social and familial pressure maintains a strong taboo that is almost impenetrable. The coercion by the abuser and the feelings of guilt and shame further cement the wall of silence.

Research indicates that 46 percent of children who are raped are victims of family members. Incest is traditionally defined as “sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry (as between a parent and a child)” yet here too the definition has been expanded to include sexual abuse by anyone who has “authority or power over the child.” [23] The perpetrators of incest may include immediate or extended family members, babysitters, school teachers, scout masters, and priests.

The study of a nationally representative sample of state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 revealed that 20 percent of their crimes were committed against children, and three out of four prisoners who victimized a child reported the crime took place in their own home or in the victim’s home. [24]  While intra-familial abuse often seems to cross over into ritual abuse there are cases that are inter-generational and “poly-incestuous” cases involving parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles. Sometimes this can extend to over three or four generations or more.[25] Deprived neighbourhoods with poor unemployment and a history of economic hardships also featured in a variety of studies. The “infection” naturally draws in “friends of the family” further increasing the perpetuation of abuse and the likelihood of psychopaths participating, further increasing the severity of the effects.


Notes

[1] There is evidence that child abductions are on the rise in England and Wales: From The Independent, May 2006, ‘Indypedia’: 1985 – 102, 1990 – 208, 1995 – 355. This also includes family kidnappings and not necessarily those by strangers. 2000/01 – 546  2005/06 – 1,028.
[2] ‘Play on’ By Jenny Cunningham, January 3, 2002, spiked-online.com
[3] ‘Protection risks doing more harm than good.’ By Sandra Dick, January 18, 2005, The Scotsman.
[4] Research and Development Statistics (RDS) Home Office UK, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/
[5] ‘Home Office Report says: Most child sex attacks committed by relatives, family friends.’ Agence France Presse, 1999. BBC News, 13 October, 2002.
[6] ‘NSPCC steps up campaign on child abuse killings’ 14 October 2002, nspcc.co.uk/ The “fear-mongering” methods by which organizations like NSPCC alert the public to these dangers is also under scrutiny by some commentators, something we will look at in following posts.
[7] Child murder rate ‘a national disgrace’ BBC News, October 13, 2002.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey: […] 25 states provided the following breakdown for reported cases: 62per cent involved neglect, 25per cent physical abuse, 7 per cent sexual abuse, 3per cent emotional maltreatment and 4per cent other. For substantiated cases, 31 states gave the following breakdowns: 60per cent neglect, 23 per cent physical, 9per cent sexual, 4per cent emotional maltreatment and 5per cent other.
[10] ‘The Long Term Neurological and Developmental Effects of Sexual Abuse on Infant Children’ Mike Earl-Taylor and Lindsay Thomas, March 2003 (quoted from science in Africa.co.za )
[11] Trauma, Violence, and Abuse: A Review Journal. January 2000, by Bruce Perry Vol. 1, Number 1. Sage Publications, Inc.
[12] Ibid.
[13] US Department of Justice · Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crime and Victims Statistics 1998.
[14] Statistical data from Yesican.org/
[15] US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 1997.
[16] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 2000 Annual Fifty State Survey.
[17] Quoted from ‘Child Abuse in America: Slaughter of the Innocents’ By James W. Prescott, Ph.D.From Hustler, October 1977
[18] Ibid.
[19] Survey shows Dramatic Increase in Child Abuse and Neglect 1986-1993 Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1996, Michael Kharfen, US Depart. Of Health and Services, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov.
[20] Chapter 4, Perpetrator sex Child Abuse stastics, Child Maltreatment, DHHS report 2007.
[21] ‘Revealed: The Truth about Child Sex Abuse in Britain’s Families’ by Jeremy Laurance, The Independent, November 2000.
[22] “‘One in 14’ children attacked,” BBC News, 19 November, 2000.
[23] Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its After effects in Women, by Sue E. Blume, 1990, published by  John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.
[24] The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) ncvc.org.
[25] ‘Poly-Incestuous Families: an exploratory study’, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, By K.C. Faller, 1987.

Sex, Lies and Society II: Paedophilia

“Ex LostProphets singer, Ian Watkins: “Described in court as a “determined and committed paedophile”, Watkins, 36, admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13; conspiring to rape a child; three counts of sexual assault involving children; seven counts of making or possessing indecent images of children; and one of possessing an extreme image involving a sex act on an animal.”

– the Gig Cartel


Paedophilia – another form of psychopathy?

Paedophilia, from the Greek pais meaning ‘child’ is defined as an adult who is sexually attracted primarily to prepubescent children, or more literally, “one who loves children.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 111-R), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, defines paedophilia as: “recurrent, intense, sexual urges and sexual arousing fantasies of at least six months duration involving sexual activity with a pre-pubescent  child.” [1] Another definition that may give us an unambiguous starting point is from authors John Silverman and David Wilson who describe the paedophile as someone who perpetrates “sexual abuse outside of the family, of pre-pubertal children by a physically mature adult, which in extreme cases is a deeply ingrained, life-long, erotic preference.” [2]

Paedophiles, have a sexual orientation which finds children sexually attractive. This doesn’t automatically mean they act out their fantasies. Those that do may or may not have a history of sexual crime. We can also say that extreme acts of violence and sexual aggression committed against juveniles are likely carried out by child rapists i.e. psychopaths. An adult who actually engages in sexual activity with a child with the intent to aggressively rape and abuse the child is a child rapist. This is the kind of abuse that sees the child as an object to rape whereas paedophilia has some concept of “love” or gentleness involved, albeit highly distorted and delusional.

This is, however one defines it, still a form of serious child molestation, though perhaps with a more narcissistic flavour than purely psychopathic. Most paedophiles say they could never “harm” a child in the way a child rapist does.

Nevertheless, there are many different ways to harm a child.

We have also seen the label of paedophilia used as a slur against those who have an erotic fantasy towards, or sexual relations with an adolescent i.e. during puberty or post puberty. This is apparently another form of abuse which is named pederasty derived from the combination of pais (Greek for “boy”) with erastis (Greek for “lover”; cf. eros). This is usually a man who has sex with a boy or girl as the passive partner. Some professionals have attempted to explain pederasty as a sub-category of Ephebophilia which is used to describe those for whom sexual attraction and activity exists regardless of the sex.

Pederasty was famously idealized by the ancient Greeks and Rome as part of what could be considered a moral and educational framework, at least at that time. It could be said that the relationship was not only an excuse for adults to satisfy their needs according to this sexual preference  but was conducted within a wider philosophical belief of erotic love where the relationship commonly represented an overall teaching or “mentoring” which took place outside the family unit. It seems bisexuality was encouraged rather than an exclusive preoccupation with same sex relations.

One can’t help thinking it was merely a way of intellectually justifying a consensus for the practice of abuse by the elect… Yet, it was not only ancient Greece and Rome that favoured a varied fruit basket. According to Aristotle, the Celts had been quite keen on pederasty for some time as were the aristocracy and dynasty families of Northern Italy during the Renaissance, most notably artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Beauty, in all expressions was to be worshipped – and sampled so it seems – regardless of its nature. [3] (Again, one wonders if the child had any say in that “adoration” however rationalised)

Pederasty was also practiced in ancient Japanese culture as well as in Mughal India until British colonization; amongst the Aztecs and Maya prior to the Spanish conquest of Mexico and in China and Central Asia until the early 20th century. The tradition  persists to the present day in certain areas of Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, and Melanesia. So, can there be a cultural pederasty that is benign? It seems to depend on history and culture, but more importantly, whether or not the individual is merely a psychopath indulging his whims. In a modern, Western culture which I believe is already straining under social pathologies inherent at its very inception, pederasty will – 9 times out of 10 – manifest as symptoms of the sociopath or psychopath since they are already “inside the box” of psychologically compromised societies.

ancientgreek1Ancient Greek pottery depicting an older mentor (erastes) with his student eromenos who was to learn about wisdom and philosophy … and a bit more besides by the looks of it.

Paedophilia encompasses high degrees of naricssism and possible genetically inherited psychopathy or psychopathic tendencies. Whilst the paedophile can and does commit abuse under all kinds of self-serving justifications there are also many examples of what we can define as affection or a form of “love.” Psychologist A. Nicolas Groth explains:

[The paedophile] appears to have a high emotional investment in the victim. He seems to regard the victim less as an object and more with a person with whom he identifies. He is interested in maintaining an on-going relationship with the child so that there is repeated sexual access to the same victim over time, and his investment seems to extend beyond the sexual activity. There much more lovemaking and foreplay, kissing and caressing etc., in such encounters. Paedophilia appears to be equally distributed across all socioeconomic, educational, and professional levels. It does not appear to diminish with time. [4]

As mentioned, the child rapist is in a different category which has nothing to do with distorted erotic “love” which for the paedophile, may often be as a result of suffering abuse themselves. Rather, the victim is threatening to the offender; an object to release hostility and rage, or sadistic pleasure.  For example, in October 1, 1993, Polly Klass, a 12-year old girl from a middle class family in Petaluma, California became the victim of what could be called a situational child molester, Richard Allen Davis. This psychopath abducted the girl from her slumber party by climbing in through the open window, brutally raping and strangling her to death. There are obviously different degrees for such crimes where violence may be absent but the victim is seen as an object to manipulate sexually all the same.

Paedophilic child molestation could be said to fall into three groups: heterosexual, homosexual and indiscriminate. There are also the respective age groups such as adolescent, the middle-aged (and/or married) and the elderly. The former definition becomes less reliable when we pose some of these questions: How young is “young” before deviancy comes into play? What about adolescents “abusing” other adolescents deemed consensual by both parties? What part does the sexual precociousness of the emerging heterosexual/homosexuality of boys and girls play in the solicitation towards the adult harbouring latent responses of erotic desire? What are the distinctions between violent and aggressive abuse, as well as the blurring of the age of consent, experimentation and clear transgressions via the older participant and enforcer? How do we distinguish between significant and consistent interference and a one off aberration due to a myriad of external factors?

This is not to infer that even minor forms of abuse cannot be damaging, but to wrench back some clarity on the issue that may protect the child and innocent parties. One is dependent on the other. We need education that is clear and unequivocal and untainted by politics and sensationalism, though admittedly, that might be a long time in coming. If we are to get a handle on people like Ian Watkins and Jimmy Savile who were both in the public eye and masters of emotional disguise, what does this say about those outside celebrity and ensconced in care homes, prisons, day care centres the military and hospitals?

What of the female paedophile?

Statistically, they appear to exist in far less numbers than men. However, due to the taboo nature of the female paedophile massive underreporting takes place, likely covering up a high incidence of abuse. By 2009 this possibility had been confirmed with an estimated  64,000 women in the UK listed as child sex offenders with 20 percent of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles listed as women.[5]

One documentary to broach the subject of female abuse aired in the UK almost 17 years ago.“The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers” by the BBC’s social and current affairs series Panorama explored a very taboo issue indeed. [6] The programme suggested that though female abuse may still be lower than male abuse, it was vastly underestimated in scope and frequency with up to as many as 250,000 having been abused as children by women in the UK alone. As we will see when we explore the nature of the lesser known female psychopath, it is because we have been used to seeing paedophilia as male dominated that we experience a cognitive dissonance when we are forced to contemplate the idea of female predators preying on children. We must also bear in mind that Watkins’ victims were in some cases provided by their mothers…And yet, this incredulity remains as strong as ever.

Together with a pragmatic evaluation of male and female paedophilia and psychopathy, we must  truly differentiate between the paedophile and/or pederast who “loves” his victim and the child rapist /molester who seeks to destroy the soul and body of his prey.  They are both serious abuse. The difference is, one may offer the potential for assistance in order to address and ameliorate his or her condition so that s/he can take their place in society. The other would laugh at such an idea and go on doing what is in his nature to do: prey on the vulnerable.

In my view, we have no choice but to understand the nature of these sexual deviances in the hope of providing cognitive and drug-based cures for the paedophile or pederast who places his or her own desires at the expense of the child’s. Condemnation for those paedophiles who want to be cured can only restrict the possibility of reducing such crimes. Cutting edge forms of rehabilitation and therapy must be paid for by society and afforded to those who want it. Most importantly, we need a new awareness of the crimes of the psychopath so that  preventative measures and societal protection can be organised.

Abusers like Watkins  showed “no remorse” for his crimes, using his public persona to get away with serial rape against the most vulnerable. This suggests sexual psychopathy and society needs protection against such people rather than wasting money on pointless therapy. (This realisation will become more pertinent as we explore the Establishment networks later on). Conversely, there are paedophiles who have committed crimes, served time and who are diagnosed as having the potential for combating their desires. Yet, thanks to austerity cuts and an historical underfunding they will not have the support available to assist them in battling these demons. In some cases individuals have taken their own lives rather than live with the truth that they are paedophiles.

Some would understandably say, good riddance.

Yet, if we are to tackle this pathology then practices which were having some success need to be researched and extended, not as some politically correct sop but for the sake of future generations and the promise of community stability.

The Offending Cycle

From a British perspective, authors John Silverman and David Wilson provide some important research regarding reasons why we must tackle the issue of paedophilia and the issue of “labelling.” It also places the focus on the equally irresponsible action of the tabloids in the UK and media abroad, where people are labelled as paedophiles through rumour rather than fact – often when they have been innocent of wrongdoing. This has ruined lives. The authors suggest that if we are to tackle this problem then sex offenders have to be given treatment rather than demonisation and condemnation no matter how justified we may feel it isn’t going to manage the the problem.

Discovering whether a paedophile is a damaged being  with hope for treatment or whether s/he is simply a psychopath exhibiting paedophilic preferences is the overarching challenge.

In their research, “Wolf’s Offending Cycle” is mentioned which they describe as “a measure used by forensic psychologists to plot the route which can lead to paedophile behaviour.” A poor self-image and low self-esteem leads to repeated feelings of rejection and failure. This energizes an already potent world of fantasy to which the individual escapes into whenever he can. If not sexual to begin with, then they may quickly progress towards fantasies and masturbation. For some paedophiles, child pornography acts as a short-term drug and in combination with other facets of an offender’s profile can be viewed as a rehearsal to actualize their fantasies. For paedophiles rather than sexual psychopaths, minor offences ensue, from loitering to the “grooming” of children. Guilt and shame may make an appearance but are usually overwhelmed by rationalisations, the severity of which may indicate how much narcissism is present. In some cases a spiral of self-destruction eventuates where they feel the only way out is suicide. This cycle is unstoppable by the time it enters the criminal justice system. Of those beyond the law this cycle must be fed without compromising their notoriety which is why we may find more psychopaths in power in this context than anywhere else.

It may be so that paedophilia cannot be definitely cured but the evidence suggests it can be preemptively managed in many cases.  There are individuals who struggle desperately to prevent these desires from being expressed, often at great cost. While methods of incarceration, medications and even chemical castration have proved largely unsuccessful there are progressive and beneficial programs such as cognitive behavioural therapy combined with psychopharmacological treatments. But the medical and political establishment is resistant to the idea of altering present programs on a larger scale. [7]

The lack of multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving stems from the ponerisation of our institutions that continually prevent large scale adoption of creative initiatives. With such an understandable stigma attached to paedophilia, sufferers who do want to be treated are hardly encouraged to come forward in a climate of hatred. (Psychopaths of course would never give “therapy” a second thought of course as they are doing what comes naturally). Despite the low level of recidivism in sex offenders compared to others who commit serious crimes, the effects are far greater and enmeshed in the wider symptoms of pathology currently manifesting.

The following passage describes Julia Long’s evaluations on this matter. A psychologist and experienced therapist in charge of running HMP Grendon’s Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) in England she believes that: “… If you repeatedly ask people to identify themselves as paedophiles, then that becomes their identity. I have seen that within treatment settings.”

She continues:

When I was on the wing at Grendon there was pressure from all the other sex offenders to get everyone who had offended against a child to accept that they were paedophiles, whether that offender had offended against an eighteen-month old baby or a fifteen yearold girl. The more I thought about it over the years, the more I felt that insisting somebody accepts that as their identity, time and time again acts as a sort of risk factor. There must be lots of people outside that have fantasies about children, but who don’t offend against them. Perhaps that’s because their identity is so much more than simply being an offender. ‘I feel like offending against this girl, but I’m not going to because I’m a social worker, because I’m a father, because I’m so many other things that protect me from having to act out that fantasy.’ If all your identity is that you are a paedophile, that’s your label – that’s who you are first and foremost – then it’s almost as if you have nothing to lose. You are going to be a paedophile whether you offend or don’t offend. [8] [Emphasis mine]

The above refers to those who are usually former victims of abuse. Referencing those who are exhibiting an essential psychopathy this would not apply and would amount to a false appeasement with no remedy in sight. This also conforms to the notion of narcissism that is presently reigning as the primary effect of large scale ponerogenesis. If society is in the process of blurring or eroding traditional roles in favour of a vacuum of narcissistic and gender confused influences this may feed into stimulating latent pathologies.  Similarly, if you tell the child that he is worthless often enough through both conscious oppression and the “invincible force” of subconscious projection, he will become precisely that which the parent is ostensibly trying to “avoid.”

In truth, the parents are merely projecting all of their own accumulated abuse and /or narcissistic tendencies onto the child thereby perpetuating the cycle of emotionally “distant” or damaged persons. Children cannot be anything other than the negative embodiment of self-loathing and insecurity implanted into their own minds before any identity can be formed. This can be likened to the public’s role in projecting their fears onto groups and individuals manifesting the aberrant deviancy such as paedophilia. As the condition is pathologically narcissistic at root, this has symbolic and literal implications for society as a whole.

 Capture

The Hollywood offering on the subject of paedophilia is The Woodsman (2004) starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted child molester who must adjust to life after prison. It was lauded by critics and public alike and provides an unsentimental and thoughtful overview of the paedophile and his demons, the relationship to family, community, police and care services as well as insights into conflicting thoughts in Bacon’s character. These are the paedophiles in desperate need of help and who are left to perpetrate their crimes again due to revulsion and the consequent ostracisation. We can also see how this particular category of paedophile is used as the perfect patsy for the serial child rapists who inhabit the establishment and use such people as a cover for their activities. The latter paedophile has a condition akin to the drug addict or alcoholic all of whom need support to conquer or manage these demons, often neurologically hard-wired. To do so benefits our communities and societies, an understanding that is inimical to Official Culture.


Another former psychologist who also worked at the prison confirmed the data that in her experience much of what passed for paedophilia did not involve physical harm to children. She recalled that: “… some types of sexual offenders would be repulsed by the idea of physically harming a child. What’s driving them is the sense of wanting to be close to a child inappropriately and wrongly, and in the process of achieving this harm might be caused to the child which is terrible, but not necessarily posing a threat to the life of that child.” [9]

This is a key difference that is often lost in the hysteria of baying for blood while the true psychopathic child rapists within Establishment circles continue their abuse undeterred and with absolute impunity. The authors reiterate the substantial and consistent research that proves that paedophilia expressing itself through violence, coercion and the extreme end of offences such as torture, rape and murder is rare. As mentioned, this is the province of the psychopath and child rapist.

A report from the US Department of justice showed that only 3.3 percent of all registered sex offenders re-offend confirming that it is the smallest re-offence rate of all crimes. [10] At the same time, paedophiles can reoffend up to twenty years later. The difference between the paedophile that strives to control his need to express his exclusively sexual attraction to children, (which he defines as “love,” however narcissistic) as oppose to those with psychopathic tendencies of the child rapist, must be given the drug treatments needed to control these impulses, although the definitive curing of this condition may prove impossible without large-scale adoption of cognitive therapy and drugs.

While most predatory paedophiles’ behaviour follows an increasing trend that develops over time as a chronology of extremes, there are cases that present instructive insights into the complexity of the condition, not least the workings of the human brain. One example included a man with a brain tumour who became a paedophile overnight and obsessed with sex to such an extent that resulted in the molestation of a child. [11]  Other research indicates that endocrine system disorders may have a connection to the manifestation of paedophilia.[12]

This underscores the uncharted nature of neurology, sexuality and their connections to societal programming. Which means we have to be doubly careful with our conclusions, most especially when Establishment manipulations are involved. As opposed to wilful psychopathic child rapists who have no interest in curbing their compulsions (many of whom are to be found in government it seems) it is in all of our best interests that paedophiles, as defined above, are given all the psychological care that they need so that their crimes can be understood and prevented as any other addiction. Paedophiles that do not wish to act on their feelings should be given the help the need to ensure that it stays that way. Feeling something is not the same as acting it out.  Paedophiles used as a collective projection for all our frustrations and dark denials can only lead to pushing these pathologies underground. That way undoubtedly lies further madness.

Update – See also: The APA/DSM pedophilia controversy: Orientation or disorder?

 


Notes

[1] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 111-R), published by the American Psychiatric Association, Vol. 3 1987.
[2] Innocence Betrayed – Paedophilia, Media and Society By Jon Silverman and David Wilson. Published by Polity Press, 2002 | ISBN 0-7456-2889-3.
[3] Politics, Aristotle II 6.6. Athen. XIII 603a., Strabo (iv. 199).
[4] op. cit. Groth (pp.153-154)
[5] ‘Up to 64,000 women in UK ‘are child-sex offenders’’ By Mark Townsend and Rajeev Syal, The Observer, October 4, 2009.
[6] The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers UK TV Programme, Panorama, BBC1, 10 pm Monday 6th October 1997.
[7] TV review: ‘Breaking a Female Paedophile Ring; The World’s Tallest Man: Looking for Love’ The Guardian, by John Grace, May 26, 2011.
[8] ‘The Treatment of Sexual Deviation Using a Pharmacological Approach’ Journal of Sex Research, by John McDonald, Wilson Bradford, August, 2000.
[9]    op. cit. Wilson; Bradford (p.33)
[10]  op. cit. Wilson; Bradford (p.34)
[11] ‘Brain tumour causes uncontrollable paedophilia’ By Charles Choi, 21 October 2002, newscientist.com news service:  “A brain tumour caused a 40-year-old man to become obsessed with sex and to molest children, doctors have reported. The married schoolteacher from the United States, who had no previous history of sex offences, had an egg-sized tumour in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex, according to a report from newscientist.com. This is the part of the brain responsible for judgement, impulse control and social behaviour.”
[12] ‘Paedophilia and hyperprolactinaemia’ P Harrison, P Strangeway, J McCann and J Catalan Department of Anatomy, St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London. The case of a man presenting with paedophilia who has found to be hyperprolactinaemic is described. There is possibly a link between paedophilia and endocrine disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry 155: 847-848 (1989) © 1989 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.