We Must Help Our Suffering Brothers And Sisters

The day before at the monthly staff meeting two very interesting things happened.  There was a presentation about identity theft and an improvisation theatre group came and worked with us as a way to release some anxiety about the economic impact the staff is feeling.

Normally I would choose the improv. theatre as the focus of this blog because I am a big fan of this very expressing form of performance art.  I go monthly to see the Boulder Improv Theatre West.  They are both incredibly funny and very moving in their telling of stories the audience shares with them. 

It was the identity theft presentation that got me thinking about a lot of things especially after a conversation with a young staff member who wasn’t even at the presentation.  She said, “Why are we stealing from each other?”  We agreed that we are all brothers and sisters and wondered why there seems to be a lack of important values that seem key for the well being of society.

This got me thinking as we talked.  My thoughts turned to jail as our primary intervention for people who break the law even though most of them were severely damaged as children through abuse and neglect.  I wrote about this in my letter to my nephew below.  These troubled souls and I have worked with many of them in my community were sexually and physically abused some daily from the time they were little kids.  One of my clients was beat by his abusive dad everyday until he was big enough to knock his Dad on his backside. 

These brothers and sisters of ours in the human family often turn to drugs and alcohol to numb out their childhood pain.  Too often because of their substance abuse they end up in jail and are re-traumatized by that experience.   How will the cycle of trauma end if they never get the help they need to heal?  Statistics show that people with drug addictions commit many of the identity theft crimes.  Only about 3% are caught.  One out of six of us have been impacted by this growing crime; soon it will be one out of three. 

Many of these abused children now have children of their own and have no models of healthy parenting or values and become perpetrators themselves.  The cycle not only continues but also expands into the next generation unless counseling and treatment is offered.   This means that jails as the primary intervention creates more problems in the long run for society then they eliminate.  As the trauma victims grow crime will continue to rise.

This means that people with trauma create more trauma and have little or no touch with higher values.  The values don’t develop if the family is in survival mode because of trauma.  If a person is significantly traumatized his or her ego is too damaged to know what is right or wrong at a very elementary level.  How could a person tell right from wrong if he or she has been treated terribly abusively for much of his or her lives?

We as brothers and sisters must find ways to care for each other to break the cycle of trauma or the damaged people will continue to do what they need to do to provide for themselves any way they can. 

Compassion is needed now more than ever.

Peace Letter #47

Dear President Obama,

The cycle of abuse in this society have left us with many in prison, in pain and in poverty.  This means compassion is needed more than profits and big bonuses.  Where has the heart gotten lost in America and is that the reason our nation is in trouble?

You and your family must be the compassionate and caring model for an increasingly suffering nation of those without.  Hope comes with compassion and kindness, not war and profit making.

Your challenge is great so that means greatness is waiting in you and all of us. 

Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

Join me and send President Obama emails of support and encourage the end of war and the other dysfunctional ways of government at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact