Dee's Blog
Sun 11/18/2007
Visiting the Old Library, Creating a New One
Topic: Aliens

The militiaman’s library includes a variety of books. One is a book about how to blow things up. Another is the King James version of the Bible!

My old childhood “library” couldn’t be assembled in one room. Nor was it necessarily a bunch of books. It included ideas that permeated the choices that my parents made, though, and led me down some paths, making sets of choices that I might later regret as my own belief system changed.

Yet to wish away that part of my life, a part that was filled with riches and coping skills learned even in the midst of the confusion, is not a good thing. It changes nothing, and fails to embrace the person I have become to the fullest extent that I need to do so.

It certainly included a lot about destruction. The “Devil” and God (or God, as I was led to believe who was the only way to see God) were at war. God was going to win out in the end, probably in my own lifetime they said, just as many survivors believe today. It was such a narcissistic way to view God, and it wasn’t much different than the belief system of many writers in the Bible and the translators who complicated things further. These were people who could not see beyond their own dilemmas and shallow set of goals. In that, they were so much like us today.

Becoming the exception, or the person who sees beyond today and looks at the larger picture. This is what I understand of true spirituality. Not that I’m there by any means. Yet I want so much to see the universal problems of power, fear, anger and rage that are our greatest enemies whenever we misuse them or fail to see clearly where they are being misused.








Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Sat 11/17/2007
The Third Option
Topic: Making Changes

While making important changes in our lives is a slow process, I've noticed that it is often slower when we make errors in how we think about a possible change.   It can happen because we over-estimate the time that it will take to "just do it."  Taking a step forward may look quite simple to others who seem to make changes more easily.

I often recall with humor a moment in my life as the wife of a minister, when a lady who was very entrenched in leadership, loudly proclaimed to some of her followers just a few feet away from me:  "That woman wants to change EVERYTHING!"  That reaction was all because I had decided to give my young students autonomy, so they could decide whether or not to have speaking parts before a frightfully large audience in the Christmas program.  It was an innocent move on my part.  I had no idea that I was breaking an unwritten rule.  I seem to do that a lot, in many avenues.   There's something about me that just makes assumptions about possibilities, though I do it innocently.  Always full of surprises, without intending to be changing anything.  People who know me well, call me creative.  People who think they know me well often consider me strange or upsetting.

My husband often laughs at the results.  He is trained in the use of Family Systems theories in couselling.  So he'll just say, as I stand there, sometimes dumbfounded:  "You sure know how to shake things up."  He says it in pride because he realizes that I'm not necessarily trying to cause a problem for anyone.   I just tend to do the unexpected, not realizing how much I'm shaking things up.  It's almost like I don't know how to do the expected. 

Truth is, he's done it more than he takes credit for himself.  Though he doesn't tend to do so with ease.

Deciding to do the unexpected, whether intended or not, is what prompts change in systems.  It can take the pieces of the stained glass and reassembles them so that there are new patterns, new channels of communication that are often more effective.   It gives us creative, new responses that we've never had to the same old same old.  It changes the "dance," as they say in systems language.  Often by simply confronting the irrationality or either the idealistic or status quo thinking in ourselves or others.

The speed with which we make changes may be effected with how much emotional baggage we have, so that any change is scary.   If we feel we have made big mistakes in the past or things haven't turned out okay because of our indecision, we may actually freeze, petrified because we do not trust ourselves.

We often believe we are not making a decision when we actually HAVE made one.  Or at least we've decided for that day what we'll do.  For the third option, which is so close to us that we often fail to see it, is to do nothing.   That's the choice that is so often made, day after day, keeping things from actually changing in institutions and families.   Waiting until there is a real crisis before we take action, at which point we have limited options and wonder why we are suddenly a "victim of circumstance."

Fear keeps us frozen.   It keeps us from taking action that involves some risk.  Yet all productive action, whether it's a decision to speak out or to move across the globe, requires risks.  Action is best taken while there are more options.  And it usually opens the way for new thinking and less worry about what will happen if we decide to do nothing.

The willingness to take risks, create new possibilities, approach life with honesty, and to see things in a new way is such a spiritual exercise, and I think that's what makes Christmas so special.  We anticipate the delightful surprises that are behind the packages if we just dare open them.  Or we can choose to be a pessimist, just looking at the packages, assuming it's not safe because of an embedded bomb, and making the choice to be happy with the decision "not to decide."  That's a sure way to keep from having to deal with change or the unexpected new sets of choices that making a choice to change may entail.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Fri 11/16/2007
Understanding Real Diplomacy
Topic: Aliens

Real diplomacy, just like effective activism, understands that no amount of screaming and yelling is going to bring about quick change. It may stir people up and get them thinking. Chances are the people most likely to be stirred up and interested in long-term change, though, are the “little people” in the pyramid. And that takes so long! Because the little people do not have power except in numbers.

Meanwhile, the big blokes like Hoover, positioned at the top of the pyramid that appear to be able to protect us, does it’s own work to confuse the issues, keeping us off guard.

When it comes down to it, change is a very, very slow process. It’s a good thing to rejoice in small changes. We just want to not expect real miracles, though. Or maybe we want to re-define what a “real miracle” is. Maybe it’s the small changes.

When you look back in your own life, do you see a lot of small personal changes? Or maybe there actually were some drastic changes, some very big risks that you took, as you ignored what others thought, moving ahead for the sake of putting yourself in a position or even a new geographical location where life would not ever feel the same or the “old, normal way” that was so comfortable.

If you do find some of these moments, then you can choose to see them as disasters filled with grief. Or you can choose to see them as moments of positive transformation. Even if they leave you feeling quite lonely and longing for relationships with people who can no longer understand why you have made the dramatic choices that you have.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Thu 11/15/2007
Stopping the Success of the Terrorists
Topic: Aliens

Terrorists and perpetrators both succeed in putting us under siege. By capturing us psychologically, we have difficulty moving outside of the fear, anger, rage and hatred they create within us. That fear often becomes paranoia, and paranoia can sometimes lead us to violence, against ourselves or others.

Whenever it goes that far, the terrorists succeed. They have us where they want us.

The terrorists of 9/11 were trying to get us to see some things we’ve been needing to see for a long time. I kept hearing evidence of denial in those first few weeks after the horrific acts of violence, acts that destroyed the terrorists themselves.

I still hear evidence voiced frequently today: “Why would anyone want to destroy this country that has done so much for so many?” I’m not going into that question in depth on this blog. However, I can assure you, having lived overseas and seen the massive problems compared to the paltry foreign aid we have given, in economic terms, that I have a little more understanding than many Americans as to the “why’s.”

NOT that I am condoning the violence. Violence and unethical behavior is always a poor way of righting wrongs. That’s one of the first principles young children learn on psychiatric units like those where I have worked.

It is very hard to wait and use diplomacy. Especially when the “ears” seem to be made of stone and not even attached to the brains that lead people to act out of an irrational justification for war or terrorism, whichever term you think applies to the violence that we may think is the answer when we are focused just on this immediate moment or present generation.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Wed 11/14/2007
Protecting Our Souls

Church leaders have pet stories that they like to use. Some are Bible stories. Often they are stories about some well-known case like Cardinal Bernadine in Chicago, where they want to show that the outcome of the story showed quite clearly and credibly that there was a false accusation. That story becomes the “poster story” or character who is held up as the hero.

Dare I say that survivors are often known to do the same thing. OK--please don’t run away before you hear me out. Putting the most hideous of perpetrators up on the “screen” and pointing to that “poster perpetrator” as the typical can work either for or against change.

The enemies that we call perpetrators, we know, are not easy to spot nor to nail down for many reasons. In fact, that’s what the establishment would like to believe. I find it ironic and sometimes humorous that I have been asked so many times by journalists or talk show hosts to give some magical way to identify a perpetrator. Truth is that they are embedded, just as the terrorists who destroyed so many lives on 9/11.

Profiling in order to try to identify the enemy leads us to target large groups, filled with many people who may have some odd beliefs but wouldn’t think of committing abuse or violence.  I hear it frequently with "all males...." statements even, from women I might otherwise agree with.  I hear it in "all clergy....." statements and have the same reaction.  Even when talking about groups who call themselves by certain names, I can make that mistake myself.  There are degrees or exceptions, even if they are rare.

These profiled groups or people who just have a paranoia that the "world is against US, and you are one of the world" can feel so threatened by “outsiders” even though the "outsiders" may actually share many of the values of the group otherwise.  The "insiders" typically are unwilling to look at the deeper issues that need a re-examination before the group can feel safe enough to hold accountable the perpetrators.

Issues like patriarchy and exclusiveness, to name only two. When it comes down to it, there are so many issues that splinter us in our world--especially our larger world that is far beyond the borders of Western civilization--that it is hard to stay focused long enough to change anything. That’s certainly a problem for me, and I suspect it is for you.

In our idealism, we lose sight of the larger picture. We fail to see what is truly going to destroy our souls.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/05/2007 10:49 AM CST
Tue 11/13/2007
The Wise and the Harmless
Topic: Aliens

Rights--that’s a word that sometimes baffles people in Europe where "responsibility" is considered to be a more important word.  That's what a British clergywoman recently told me.

Sometimes I wonder if my soul is still planted more in Europe than America, though I appreciate the ideas of both rights and responsibilities. Our European friends often say that we Americans are too focused on our rights at the expense of being responsible. And I tend to agree that this is true on many issues.

One thing is certain, as we make our way through the maze of confusion, nobody has a right to use physical, spiritual or emotional violence to violate the rights of others. The same responsibilities of moving within our world to do whatever we do in an ethical manner so that we do not destroy one another’s rights, even as survivors, nor the rights of those we consider our enemies are extremely important if we are to act in ways that show us to have truly risen above the people who are using established power to protect themselves and the institutions they serve.  It’s a fragile walk sometimes, trying to be both wise and harmless.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/05/2007 10:40 AM CST
Mon 11/12/2007
Anarchists--the Good and the Bad
Topic: Aliens

Solutions all look so simple to many survivors and advocates. The real complexities, the issues that lie so much deeper, however, elude everyone.

Those issues have to do with our belief systems. We know that our emotions are often primal, yet they come from places deep within us. We are at a loss to explain why we do what we do. Keys to understanding begin arriving when we find the courage to examine the old beliefs that we took for granted as being something we should never challenge.  Not in ourselves and not in others.  Challenging those beliefs would, in fact, be considered total heresy to many. 

That’s what the youth of my era did so much of. And that’s what brought about much change. “The Enemy Within” points that out, in fact. People who were considered anarchists stirred things up sufficiently, throughout world history, to raise the issues.  Issues like racial prejudice, the rights of women and children, the right to privacy.

The respectable anarchists, when we look back in history, were not enemies.  The real heroes for us did not condone violence or war.  Yet their teachings sometimes created in their followers a desire to rise up and act in destructive ways, all in the name of social justice. 

Whenever we step over the line, we take the low road.   For the low road always invades the boundaries of others.  It doesn't just hold the line nor challenge belief systems.  It goes a step further.  Defeating itself, ultimately, and sabotaging the higher values that are being promoted by a lot of good people.  It's a fine line indeed.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Sun 11/11/2007
Stopping the Triangulation with the Enemy
Topic: Aliens

Until we can stop the triangulation that keeps us from seeing the real enemy, we cannot team up to truly hold accountable the people who originally got things in a fog. People like the Timothy McVee’s, who ironically came from groups who thought the enemy to be a group of people who pose such a grave threat to others' security that people and valuable property need to be annihilated in order to wake up the perceived enemies.

So we need to identify for ourselves two things:

1. What emotions or ideas threaten to destroy the things that are precious within us?

2. What are the real enemies?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Fri 11/09/2007 12:53 AM CST
Sat 11/10/2007
Dr. Phil Blows It

If any of you saw Dr. Phil, you were probably disappointed with the confusion that the show created in exposing the teacher vs. students with allegations last week.   I was certainly disappointed to get the reports, though I didn't see the show myself. 

Rather than clearly showing what he led me to believe he'd be showing in the program, this icon of wisdom for so many left the multitudes confused by bringing on kids who may very well have been acting out of immaturity in even bringing the allegations.  It strengthened the myth that victims, in general, are not to be trusted.  The public will see this story, I fear, as a typical abuse story.

I apologize for leading any of you astray who may have watched in horror.   Please understand that Dr. Phil and CBS together led me astray, along with a lot of others who had issues clarified well on the Early Show only to be left with no clarity in the end.

What a missed opportunity for this man!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Fri 11/09/2007
The Fog Thickens
Topic: Aliens

Studies like “The Enemy Within” give us an opportunity to look deeply within ourselves to see that we may also become “the enemy within" to others, whether we are perceived to be the terrorist or the people of the status quo. This can happen in families and churches alike.

We can even become enemies to our cause. It happens all the time when we make poor choices that sabotage our personal fulfillment or the fulfillment of goals in advocacy. Staying rational is a difficult task. It can be made even more difficult at times by, of all people, therapists who may not understand the more complex problems or issues related to the spiritual abuse we have sustained.

There’s a paradox that is often missed in survivor groups. So often the establishment and its leaders (ie. Church and its leaders) are viewed as “the enemy.” Sometimes they behave like the enemy, too, when they start becoming more afraid and angry and full of hate toward survivors who are speaking out than they are toward the perpetrators who started the real problems that threaten to destroy the organizations, as well as the direct victims.

Sadly, the real enemy within when we have such role reversal IS the irrational fear, anger, and hate that keep apart people who otherwise might be considered very docile. It’s so hard to see what’s real and how large the threat of DIM thinking is, because of the fog that is created by perpetrators. Perpetrators, in their addiction to power and control, create a fog--just as all addicts do. It’s a fog that works to distort facts, confounds scientific research, and keeps us focused on evil, both the real evil and some that may be imagined. So often, though, our fears are real but those who really know the truth (the eye witnesses) and can bring it to light are suffering from their own irrational fears so that they deny the truth, even when they may have once spoken it behind closed doors.

When that fear becomes a fear of losing something considered to be essential or valuable, especially if that "something" is an old belief system, then it complicates life immensely and takes time to sort it all out.



Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/05/2007 10:24 AM CST

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