Last week a friend of mine finally gathered the courage to talk to her therapist about her boyfriend. She has been referred to a therapist by her doctor, to deal with long-term and life-impacting anxiety issues.
She told the therapist about how her boyfriend treats her (not well), about how that makes her feel (not good), and about her reasons for staying with him (IMO, not healthy). And the therapist’s response was to tell her that she was being judgemental.
Judgemental. To make an assessment about a person’s impact on your life, based on prolonged observations of repeated patterns of behaviour, is judgemental. Noticing that someone is demanding that you sublimate all your needs in order to cater to their wants is judgemental. To want to be happy and healthy, and to realise that someone is constantly scuppering your efforts to get there, is judgemental.
And a mental health professional (allegedly) said this to a person who has been struggling all her life to even admit to herself that when people stomp on her toes, her toes hurt; let alone tell anyone else, include the foot-stomper, about her predicament. Someone she’s supposed to be helping get better.
Relating this episode to a friend of her upset said friend, who also has anxiety issues as well as a history of domestic abuse. Confused, disappointed, and triggered, said friend went forth to her establish support group for such eventualities: an internet forum specifically created and managed so that people can vent their emotional upsets, and get comfort and commiseration (not advice: just comfort).
And the mods censored her post, because she referred to her needs as “not stupid”. And the word “stupid” even when used to refer to non-people, is able-ist.
They didn’t hide her post, or take it down, or sent her a private message with a warning. No. They literally over-wrote all over the offending word “this section was removed by the moderators for able-ist content”, so every other forum participant could see. On a post written by someone who is, by her own admission, suffering from social anxiety, is recovering from long-term trauma, and has just been triggered.
And now I’m thinking that this is the end. We’ve come full circle. We’ve put all these mechanisms in place to protect the meekest and weakest and most disadvantaged, and now the mechanisms are more important than the people. And we readily sacrifice the people to the mechanisms, if the people ever come up short.