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Things are starting to get underway for the development of a Canadian HVN! Maria Haarmans from Toronto, Ontario. Maria is the INTERVOICE representative in Canada and is bringing together organisations and individuals to stimulate development of hearing voices work across Canada.

Hearing Voices Forum

 Intervoice Canada
Updated 16/02/2013

Quebec: La Pavois is mental health organisation based in Quebec, they work with the Francophonic community and have been developing work on hearing voices since 2007, including providing training and supporting groups, producing DVD's and conducting research and evaluation projects.. They have translated "Working with Voices", and are also translating ‘Accepting your Voices’. 

The Topic: Anger and Abuse

The following is out of a response made to a contact from a list. Details and names have been removed to protect the identity and privacy of the person involved in the discussion. I post this here as I think it may help some others who are not talking directly to anyone but might like to hear something about it.

Dear angry abuse victim,

I don't know if you want an actual answer to some of your posts but I thought I could relate to some of this so thought I would.

In any case. I first want to say that I think you are WAY too hard on yourself and I think the voices you are hearing are reflecting that. The voices abuse those even more if they can get away with it and especially if they can get a distress reaction. Getting a distress reaction makes some spirits, and some flesh and blood people, FEEL powerful. That's WHY they do it. It is like they are a "reflection" of real life in external reality.

If we could not deal effectively with the abusive voices in external reality efficiently than we can't in the internal one either. They seem to go together. Have you noticed that?

However NEITHER silence nor yelling stops that. If they can make you yell they "win" and if they can cower you into silence again they "win". In reality though on BOTH levels, it is the abusive voices who are the true losers, whether they recognize that or not. We have to say, or even just THINK, something, that dis-empowers their abusive payoff. One of the ways we can do that is by SAYING, I know that you are getting the abuser's payoff for doing this and I think that is so sad that you would actually believe that getting a distress reaction makes you bigger and better.

For some, this is like saying the things to the childhood abuser that you were not allowed to say then, or that you could NOT say then because it was too dangerous to do so.

This thing about being "wrong" no matter what you say, or don't say, do, or don't do, is VERY common with abusers as it is how they make themselves feel "right." I talk about this on my website too. I do that because I think it needs to be brought out into the open. A lot of people and many children are being forced to suffer in silence just so they can feel a little bit safe. It is likely that you are feeling all those old feelings now because you are talking to people who get that and that makes it safer to risk saying it and when we relive, we also "Re-feel." We all need to get through things we never got through the first time when they were actually happening. That is the nature of PTSD. But that is not a brain disease. It is a mentally healthy reaction to an unhealthy event or situation.

Also yelling at people who are not the actual abusers is often done because it is safer to act out on surrogates (stand-ins for the real culprit) than to do so with someone too dangerous. Of course the reaction may seem "crazy" to your stand-in...because it is too extreme.

What if you thought of some of those situations slightly differently and instead of thinking you needed to be "healed" from your attempt to get though to them you thought that maybe some of them need to be healed of their attempt to be right all the time, deny the abuse, and its devastating effects and from excusing their abuses?

I have found that one thing all dysfunctional groups seem to do is preach to their victims, that the VICTIMS need to overlook the abuse, rather than that the victims need to stop accepting that abuse as "normal" and which "should" be ignored or accepted. It is this acceptance that makes us pass it all along, generation after generation, in some warped attempt to find some kind of "balance" like saying....I accepted abuse from others so NOW others have to do the same and accept it from me, just to kind of "even" things out...what we end up with though, is twice as many abusers as we had before and then we keep this stuff going....I found the books of Alice Miller very helpful. She was much more realistic about it.

When you yell randomly of course, almost everyone sees that as having no meaning at all, as the diagnostics suggest to others that this is just a problem caused by your "illness," which get equated to a brain problem, and others then see your anger as not "real" or even related to your real life. That kind of judgement of course traps people in the state they are already in.

We need however to express our anger in ways that will get us heard and I use my website for just that. Of course I still get verbal abuse for it from EXTERNAL sources. A return attack of violence though is not really a defence. A defence is one in which YOU have self control as well as a way to protect your own boundaries from invasion by others..and we CAN do this, I believe with thoughts and words and no violence at all against either ourselves or others.

As for the other thing-It might matter what you are being asked for that you don't think, or feel, you can give. Think boundaries. Is it something YOU feel comfortable with or it it something someone else wants to guilt you into giving him, of her, without any regard as to how you feel about it? It matters. We cry because we are sad, or frustrated, or something... but it is never meaningless. We never cry for no reason.

Abuse can break people, including breaking our minds. Keep it simple and use one principle: mutual respect for boundaries going in BOTH directions at the same time. That means respect other people's personal boundaries and EXPECT them to respect yours. You can't make people do that but you can let them know you expect it and will not be interested in putting up with less. You can do that in words. And then follow through with actions which show you mean it but without the yelling.

Those who can't hear what you say in a normal voice can't hear yelling it any better. We handle abuse by setting boundaries and then just staying still. You will be tested by abusers to see if you remain the same and if you will hold your position and some will leave you for your stand, but you know what? Sometimes alone is better. You have to decide what you really need and what you can live without, and then stick to your position; only you can know for sure what that is.

Anger is an emotion and it signals that somehow, somewhere, one way or another boundaries are being violated, either toward you by others or by you toward others. It is up to us individuals, in individual circumstances to figure that out.

When we are in situations with other people who also have concrete power over us, it often makes us feel exactly the same as we did, or do, with our abusers, especially if the abuser was a parent or other authority figure. This that you said here

"you're not really hearing what I am trying to say," is exactly right . Many of our doctors are hearing what they have been TAUGHT to hear, in the terms in which they have been taught to hear it. Like Joel Gold in Montreal.

Your daughter's point of view is legitimate for HER just as yours is legitimate for you. You likely were not there for her, just LIKE no one was there for you. This is like chain reaction dysfunction and unless we learn to understand it, we keep it going. So we must learn to understand it now. I think that many of us who have been through something similar can do this together.

Some things are easier to see than others. If anyone beat you THEY are in the wrong no matter WHAT you did, or did NOT, do to "deserve" that, short of trying to hurt them first physically and if they tried to stop that. NO ONE "deserves" to be beaten. NO ONE. Period. Don't doubt it. Read some Alice Miller.

Third party input can help to stabilize us for sure, as long as we don't get too dependent on it or take anything, anyone else has to say, as a truth better than our own. Still, validation from someone else can change a lot of self doubt and ease up on a lot of painful feelings; so hang in there.

Hope something I have said here helps you, or someone else, who is feeling the same way.


                                              Intervoice Online 

The People Who See What Others Do Not 

Every generation has within it some people who see the group behaviour and the collective insanity for what it is. If you looked at the metaphors of their times without declaring them to be meaningless as YOUR defence mechanism, you would see that. You might also see that those people represent a minority in their own time and as such, the majority who don't see what thy minority sees, declare them to be crazy. Every generation creates and defines reality by group consensus.  It is also known that the MAJORITY of people are followers and not leaders. That is why the minority write fairy tales like The Pied Piper, Through the Looking Glass, and the Wizard of Oz. The majority need to  talked to in metaphor as they routinely reject genuine direct communication as “normal.” It is too scary for them. So we must resort to “Once upon a time...”


Madness Radio

First Aired 4-2-2010    Duration: 48:28 


Madness Radio:
Violent Voices Erica van den Akker




People who hear voices are no more violent than anyone else -- but what about the small number of voice hearers that do actually commit violent crimes? Are medications and locked wards the best way to help those who act on their aggressive "command hallucinations?" Dutch psychologist and Hearing Voices Movement member Erica van den Akker discusses her innovative counseling work with violent offenders in the Netherlands. alpouvar1(at) tomaatnet(dot)nl


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