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The Slow Silent Scream of Social Exclusion
Your Social Connections Shape Your Brain
“The self is more of a superhighway for social influence than it is the impenetrable private fortress we believe it to be.” — Matthew D. Lieberman
Matthew Lieberman and his wife Naomi Eisenberger conducted an experiment involving a virtual ball tossing game with a built-in programme to ostracize it’s test subject player1 who was hooked up to a functional MRI brain scanner. No human actually excluded any other human in this study design. Eisenberger + Lieberman designed their study to test the hypothesis that social exclusion has a neural response which mirrors physical pain response. Participants were first told they would be watching other participants play and could not join because their computer wasn’t ready. For the second phase participants were included. For the third phase, participants experienced exclusion during play.
Eisenberger and Lieberman found that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) lit up like a house on fire when the player experienced ostracism and they found a positive correlation to the self-reports of distress. The dACC is a brain structure which reptiles do not possess, it is a distress centre and it facilitates + promotes social connection. For humans social connection = biological imperative, we are individually wired to connect to others for survival. The dACC sits like a collar over the frontal portion of the corpus callosum, which is the structure that links the two hemispheres of the brain. The dACC lights up when we are in physical pain—pain being an important + distressing way our body alerts us to a vital unmet need or resource depletion so that we can take corrective action.
Eisenberger + Lieberman tested for both implicit and explicit social exclusion2 as well as for inclusion and found that even the visual appearance of social exclusion triggered a distress reaction in test subjects. They observed that the Right Ventral Prefontal Cortex (RVPFC) lights up during explicit social exclusion (ESE) but not during implicit social exclusion (ISE), meaning that a person requires cognitive awareness of their ostracism in order to devote neural resources to mitigate the distress. Interestingly, Tylenol has been shown to relieve social pain the way it relieves a headache.
even the visual appearance of social exclusion triggered a distress reaction in test subjects
Social researchers also found that ostracism evokes a more acute distress response than does any other form of bullying. A 2011 study of 35,000 UK students found social exclusion the most emotionally harmful kind of bullying. In 2012, 1076 children filled out the Bullying and Ostracism Screening Scale, revealing that ostracism results in the highest need-threat, a composite score of four fundamental needs: belonging + self-esteem + control + meaningful existence. Studies also show that people consistently have the greatest recall for ostracism as opposed to other forms of bullying, indicating that the social pain lingers long after the social exclusion occurred and can leave a lasting neural imprint.
People exhibit a distress response to social exclusion consistently across personality styles and character traits. In response to social exclusion, victims devote their resources to need threat, in the form of prosocial behaviour to regain inclusion—as long as they see a possibility for resolution. What happens when the victim of ostracism can no longer tolerate his or her ostracism or when s/he sees no hope for an end to the isolation? Humans cannot tolerate social isolation for extended periods of time any more than we can tolerate food or water deprivation. Social connection is a biological imperative for humans. That makes social exclusion, and in particular professional ostracism, a form of torture.
Imagine attending a diversity training session at your workplace and asking about sex-based rights for women vis à vis toilets and having the session leader visibly bristle then proceed to publicly (in front of your colleagues + bosses) shame you as an anti-trans bigot who wants to get trans people killed. Imagine your boss thanking the abusive diversity trainer for her grace in front of everyone there. Imagine your boss reprimanding you and sending you for sensitivity training because you offended the gender diversity session trainer by asking a reasonable question to expose the weakness and dishonesty of the dehumanising + unconstitutional ideological position she promotes. Imagine standing up for the constitutional rights of Canadian women and being told you are a genocidal bigot. That’s what happened to Nick Osmond-Jones and you can read about it in Quillette. Nick is one of many, for your information, we know about his story because he summoned the courage to take steps to tell it. That is not easy or everyone would be doing it! This form of workplace bullying has gone on for quite some time unabated, in case anyone denies that’s the case.
I am writing this article to attempt my own thoughtful + compassionate + balanced response to the tragic death of Richard Bilkszto, which happened after a lengthy struggle with the aftermath of workplace bullying that triggered professional ostracism, a very sophisticated + emotional + psychologically dangerous form of social exclusion. Richard has become a flashpoint. Richard has become an unfortunate representative of the sea of silent screams drowning in the collective narcissism of the wokeist-antiracist industry. I wanted to look away and ignore this whole cancel culture fury, I tried really hard to do that. I could not.
I found I could not look away from the growing chorus of suffering professionals when social exclusion and social death have shaped my life and arguably are a primary reason that my mother conceived me in the first place.3 I have suffered social exclusion of various kinds, on personal + professional + religious + spiritual levels. I have suffered social death. I actually don’t like groups because I expect to be excluded when the group gets to know me, based on my profile of intellectual and political views about current issues and based on my expectation of neutral reciprocity as opposed to victim-based hierarchy entitlement. Once in a while I feel hopeful and decide to disprove my theory that I am destined for social exclusion and I eventually end up with the same results. The Shunning feels very real.
The brain shapes and is shaped by social connections. Social connection right now in North America comes with a forced buy-in to any number of deeply mind fcuking + masochistic cognitive distortions. The polarised socio-political landscape coupled with emotionally unintelligent + intellectually dull leadership coupled with intensely dumbed down + polemic discourse in a deeply compliant media landscape coupled with the heterogeneity of the cultural mosaic leads to obstructed social cohesion and this creates lots of disconnect + disenfranchisement.
We live in a time that invites and normalises social exclusion. Canada is seen as better than America because we have less gun violence and because overall we have a less physically violent human society. However, we have a passively cruel + repressive leadership cohort, we have socially violent people who will think nothing of destroying a professional career for a petty political disagreement over tweets or a Meta comment or harmless conversation therein. Tweets are what is trashing Amy Hamm’s life right now for two years and going — not practise, not actual patient incidents, fcuking Tweets are what is threatening to destroy Amy Hamm’s nursing career and life. So, are we really better in Canada than the USA, considering the level of deliberate + orderly + institutionally backed social cruelty in our society?
My personal history includes extensive + various kinds of social exclusion experiences. In retrospect, considering my own life, professional ostracism caused me the most emotional damage. The bullying approach of the 12-step community comes in a very close second though. More than most physical abuse I experienced, including rape. Because the social exclusion feels deliberate and intended to wound for no reason other that to cause corrective pain, and I could rationalise (rightly or wrongly in the reader’s opinion that is not the point here) that rape was done to me to meet a physical need, ie not about me but about the person doing the awful thing to me, and not to benefit me.
Social exclusion feels like a thing that is done to me about me because of me and for the benefit of others whilst being presented as being for my own good—it is the enduring reminder that I suck as a human being. But I do not suck as a human that is a terrible cognitive distortion that embedded itself into my neural network like an invasive weed. Social pain coloured my connection not just to everything and everyone around me, but also to myself. When you are fed lies about yourself for no reason other than the whim of others who think mashing you into the ground will help fix you that is the ultimate social exclusion, discounting the connection with yourself. This is not in the social exclusion literature I read by the way, it is a conclusion drawn from my own personal + parental + familial + professional clinical experience living and observing others in social pain after having read and reflected on the scholarly literature.
My brain is a loom, making new fabric from threads I feed it with the stuff I read.
I understand my rapists to have been using me to meet a primal need and I understand my addiction counsellors to have deliberately set out to tell the vulnerable like me those abusive things they did as part of a job they got paid to do specifically to make us feel awful about ourselves. They thought this was Buckey’s Mixture and they were wrong, it tasted awful and it only added to the hurt. I had to stop using crack to get a bed in that place, the decision to quit was already mine, no one gets credit for that but me. So, it tasted awful and did not work. So it wasn’t like Buckley’s Mixture. Saying that 12-step mind fcuk gaslighting stuff was helpful to addicts is like saying some guy jizzing over a girl’s photograph is loving her.
Anyway. Moving on.
Social exclusion cultivates a kind of pain that feels desperate + cruel in the experience of your own Self, it ultimately plants a black hole of despair within you and locks you into dark tunnel or tower of self-hatred. Social pain drove me to make terrible impulsive choices and seek comfort from very risky people that ended up harming me. Social pain drove me to seek solutions in very risky activities that ended up harming me. I sought harmful choices and connections as a means to relieve my distress. Structural dysfunction and leadership failure create unstable social conditions with organizations. Social pain distorts everything it touches. When we don’t heal we connect through our distortions and the distortion becomes a contagion that mutates further and spreads like a computer virus from human neural network to human neural network.
Spirtitual religiosity used to help humans mitigate social pain (as much as it inflicted collective pain it helped people cope with individual pain) but we live in secular times and the dominant culture demands rationality not fluffy woo spirituality. But is it all woo, though? Do we now know enough to know that the unseen can impact the seen?
Do you know that, a full 14 years after my encounter with the recovery community of the Fraser Valley, I only now have the language to describe the bullying I felt during my recovery from crack addiction in a residential care setting? Can we call these places destroyer houses rather than recovery houses? Trained counsellors ran the facility like a kind of struggle-session-style therapy. The 12 steps care model promotes a very manipulative and cult-like narrative. You are lying to yourself if you can’t beat your addiction. Shame. Look at yourself, you wretch. Your spouse is a trigger you should stay away from her/him.
Strangely and as an aside, I watched some interesting professional-climate dynamics when the lead counsellor had to take a personal leave of absence and another counsellor move into that position — I recognised the behaviour of callous opportunism playing out before me. That did little to inspire a sense of psychological safety watching that drama execute itself before me amongst the people who were supposedly better thinkers than I, a lowly addict. I lost respect for the staff when that happened. I remember watching this happen, incredulous, wondering if I imagined that and if no one else could see what I saw. The recovery house felt a bit Stockholm Syndrome, in retrospect.
The most enduring memory I have of that time in the recovery community involves people bent on destroying primary attachments in the lives of others in order to evoke their distorted cultish vision of healing. It is such a powerful memory that I have cut myself away from all whom I met + engaged with socially as friends during that period, and I even refuse to this day to go to Abbotsford or anywhere near that town, the location of the recovery house where I stayed. I felt angrier at that recovery community and by association all those whom I met there — angrier + angrier about my treatment there as time progressed. I still have massive levels of rage when I think about this time in my life. I deeply loathe the AA community.
Yes, my now dead from suicide ex-husband was told by an addiction counsellor who had never met me or even spent 5 minutes in conversation with me and who was woefully unqualified to make such a determination that I was a trigger to him (husband) and that our marriage was poisonous to him. That is the kind of Christian care which a Union Gospel Mission counsellor told Martin. This is why they separate couples — so they can ruin the marriages? That’s pretty Christian, isn’t it? Imagine people who look you in the eye and say they follow God and want to help you heal going out of their way to destroy what is left of your marriage and therefore your attachment life, rather than try to help repair it. Imagine thinking you are doing good works when you meddle in people‘s lives, like the do-gooders meddled in mine, to destroy them. Imagine thinking destruction = fixing.
I hope everyone who has ever had anything to do with Martin has had the opportunity to take a good hard long look at how their actions toward him and our marriage contributed to his demise. I have spent every day since his death thinking about my contributions to his suffering. I am here now writing this. Do the fcuking work you asssholes, don’t just talk about it. You failed Martin, UGM, and I did to. The whole fcuking world failed an ultimately good man who went sour because he had limits. That’s the fact and his son has to live with our failure and that is not cool, people. Logan, the world can never repay what it took from you.
Apparently Christians don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage unless it serves their narcissistic whims. Also a man telling a man his wife is to blame is something sh1tty men do. Lot’s of sh1tty men counselling men it seems.
Social pain left an mark, a horrific + indelible mark.
Life continued to fall apart and the world continued turning like it does and my entire world collapsed and nearly everyone I loved + cherished died. As my parents were dying exasperated people around me told me to shut up stop being so emotional stop being so dramatic get over it. I have spend a decade listening to everyone tell me I am dramatic, I am attention-seeking, I am too angry/intense/crazy, I am unreasonable because I had a natural reaction to ongoing social exclusion in multiple areas of my life happening in overlapped succession. I knew that everyone was gaslighting me — the social pain I felt was not a DSM disorder, it was not a personality flaw, it was not a disease state needing correction. People roll their eyes and tell me I am too much for their mediocre asses. Negative energy. Drama. That’s how people see the invisible pain of others — like their irritation and annoyance. Newsflash — my pain is not happening to you, it is happening to me.
Social pain is real and it doesn’t need your DSM-V labels.
The social pain I felt and cried out over unceasingly, particularly in recent years since my dad’s illness + death, was a response to things happening in my life. I am a normal human, with above average intelligence who was highly attachment (as opposed to peer) oriented. My attachment system was irreparably ruptured in more than one way. My husband, having spent lots of time as a child detached + in boarding school, lacked the attachment strength to cope with our hardships. I carried everything emotionally for us all the time for the nearly 20 years of our life together. If the self is a lens that we look through to reach the world of people and things, then my lens got really broken. The life I lived through that broken lens was distorted and painful. A whole lot of social pain from a horrifically ruptured attachment system began with the traumatic detachment loss we suffered as parents together. It continued with none of the healthy connections required to generate positive energy to help counterbalance and mitigate that rupture. It led us to make unhealthy decisions as a way to fill the attachment void and in an effort to relieve the severe unrelenting social pain eating us alive inside.
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The nursing careers Martin + I each tried to build to get past the sad tribulation with our youngest son ended up being taken from us because women hated Martin and could not contain their contempt for him in the workplace. I found I could not work at a profession that destroyed my husband, leaving him like a used up piece of human trash. In his decompensation, I became a victim of his inability to cope. His cruelty grew and his gentleness waned. He became a monster before my eyes. So much hatred filled me. The one time I convinced him to see a doctor during this time she told him it was his cannabis use and she dismissed him, not even bothering to ask what was happening in his life. How is that medical care? Who is looking after people?
Those women who proudly hate men—do you know that the men you target with your viscous hate are loved and relied upon by other women? That these men have children? Does that matter to you, man haters? I don’t believe it does. To this day I deeply loathe women a great deal for what they did to me and I try hard not to and it is an every day struggle I engage. That’s the honest vulnerable truth about me.4
I felt weak for years about the fact that I could not bring myself to continue to work alongside the nurses who so cruelly bullied my husband out of his livelihood. I felt the impact acutely of the bullying that targeted him. The impact of bullying is felt at target. Eventually every nurse anywhere in any facility became synonymous with the monsters who bullied Martin and with the monstrous management who saw it and ignored it. All female people by the way, every one of them a woman—cruelly they would smile at me in the hall as they turned the knife into my back.
I couldn’t work with these people—it became disembodying + disconnecting + agonising. Imagine that, I felt I had failed professionally because I stood up for the man I loved, who was not a saint and nonetheless did not deserve the way the profession treated him. The system brainwashes you into thinking that abandoning your values over the long term for an employer who abuses + exploits you repeatedly as a means to collect a paycheque to look cool in front of your shallow uncaring peers is professional success. I call it prostitution, personally.
That’s why I am not rich, I guess. I would rather go without all the cool things people my age flaunt and brag about having to be able to look at my reflection in the mirror. I am happy with my choices and my chosen values. My character, not my bank balance, determine my success as a human being.
He who dies with the most toys still dies. I don’t need the most toys to win life.
So let me get back to the world of supposed addiction recovery.
I was forced to sit through daily indoctrination sessions led by evangelical Christians with extreme views about human behaviour. They would tell me the problem was my own (stupid) thinking that got me into that painful compulsion connection with a crack pipe. Yes, I was told pretty much I am stupid and a liar that’s the reason for my suffering. Then I got dragged to Dutch Reformist Church where I listened to some preacher tell us all about sin and sh1t. Everyone living comfortable lives untouched by loss telling me I am doing it wrong just irritated my ruh spirit. Some entitled white guy on a podium is telling me about living life? Sure. Also, I was a catholic at the time and so being forced to attend a non catholic mass was forcing my soul into a state of un-grace and that never mattered to the fake Christians who only like you when you are obedient to their 12 step cult of psycho-bullying.
My addiction developed in a marriage with a co-parent + partner, we suffered unspeakable loss together, our suffering was entwined together because we harmed each other to get relief, that’s a marriage dynamic. What God has joined together let no man put asunder. I was willing to fight for and fix my marriage and no professional gave me the chance to do that. God never sleeps. The supposed recovery community chose to ignore the marriage and alienate the marriage partners and did not let us heal together. Would he be alive now if people have not taken Martin’s career? Would he be alive now if people had not counselled him to hate his wife and destroy his marriage? These are good questions. Ultimately I think we might have avoided that whole devastating situation if we didn’t face the professional ostracism.
I want you to imagine that my case is not unique, other couples suffered like this and no one knows because the voiceless cannot speak. I am only unique because I was created to tell this story and no one can silence what the universe wills for itself. Our society does not value marriage or family and so it thinks it can destroy these like it clear cuts logs to build buildings. We must stop that thinking because it kills people. Martin is dead. He is dead. He should not be. I didn’t want him back I had moved on but this didn’t mean his kid didn’t want a life with his dad. The last thing Logan ever asked his dad for was the one thing Martin denied him — continued life.
Every human matters. Every single human.
NB: My life is wonderful the way it is today I don’t want anything different than it is right now I simply want people to think about the ripple effect of the poor choices they make involving other people’s lives + primary foundational connections. The trauma of vindictive exclusion is real + enduring + can set people on a path of tragic destruction. I would only want Logan to have his dad the way he wanted and deserved to have.
This sh1t show of psychological abuse happening as part of a thing called recovery was all supposed to help me heal the glitched out dopamine reward circuitry in my brain that gave me bacterial pneumonia and nearly killed me. Addiction recovery conducted under the 12-step care model felt exactly the way a Maoist struggle session has been described in the literature of the wounded. Tales of DEI Trauma Survivors—hearing the stories from professionals about the treatment they receive from people who don’t agree with their sociopolitical views—leave me with the same residual feeling that the 12 step struggle sessions gave me, that every experience of social exclusion has given me. The felt sense of a social pain distress signal.
This is all to say — I understand social exclusion more than I wish I did. I understand social exclusion more than readers might realise. I consider myself one of The Shunned, it’s fine now, deciding to exist a safe distance at length from the group affords a beneficial intellectual perspective.
Imagine that every day across Canada in white collar workplaces people suffer silent abuse and they feel awful because they doubt their own brain’s distress signal telling them dude lissen-up mate somethin is wrong. Imagine feeling that burning twinge when the session leader says to you in front of a room filled with your peers you’re a white supremacist or you want to trans people to die or you are stupid and that’s why you are suffering now. Imagine political opponents seek to destroy you based on benign social media posts and comments you made on Facebook. Imagine feeling like as soon as you step out your door or open your mouth to speak honestly the back-stabbing harpies + goons will terrorise you and set your life on fire, beginning with your livelihood. Imagine feeling like when you have a traditional opinion about how you want to raise your kid you have the state crawling up your ass, trying to snatch the kid from you, driven by fictitious accusations of abuse.
Parents of kids caught in the gender-wang machine get told by therapists it’s your fault you bigot you need to accept that your daughter is a son now cope you’re selfish, the system gangs up against them and goes so far as to apprehend their child and place the child in danger and the child gets harmed or dies. Yes, this really happens, in the name of gender identity. Alienating a child from parents for a false accusation of abuse is the ultimate social ostracism that can lead to dangerous + desperate consequences. No matter the circumstances. We have recently seen the results of separating child from mother in the celebrity news, in fact. Both are now dead — who was served by keeping them apart?
So I want you to think about all this carefully now.
Imagine people forced to sit through a session led by an extremist who claims anyone wanting to exercise their constitutional rights vis à vis sex is a genocidal maniac trying to bar trans people from public life as well as from receiving public service.
Imagine people forced to sit through a session led by an extremist who teaches that the level of anti-black racism in Canada is the same as in America. Imagine when you point out the factual error in such a statement, having actually taught in both countries, the session leader calls out your “white supremacy”, because you are white and dared to factually correct a black woman based on your professional expertise in front of everyone.
Imagine anti-racist workshop leaders promoting the idea that anti-black training for white people means black people get the floor for an hour to promote racial untruths and white people are branded white supremacists when they challenge the racial untruths.
Imagine you must sit through this abuse and take it without question or challenge.
Imagine you will lose your job and your professional life will end if and when you do challenge and question the Struggle Session Supreme Leader.
That’s what the DEI Industry has become now — a means to psychologically abuse anyone who holds opposing political views about gender and race and then get paid as a trainer by big corporations and even government. DEI has become a tool and a forum for the pathocratically abusive to oppress and terrorise professionals at their place of work.
So, let’s go back to my question. What does happen to the individual who has suffered the social pain of professional ostracism in a DEI session and the further ostracism from their employer who chose to ignore the abuse? What happens to such an individual when s/he can no longer tolerate the social pain of their devastating ostracism? When a person who has suffered devastating abuse that has taken a very significant thing from their life feels hope has gone, what does that person do next? And how does the group behave, what does the group do next?
“ … we know, for instance, that people who have been ostracized are less helpful and more aggressive to others, whether or not the others are the perpetrators of the ostracism … such antisocial behaviors may provide a way to reestablish control over the social environment; if ostracism threatens one's sense of control, aggressive behavior is one way to restore it … Interviews with victims of extended ostracism suggest that such individuals eventually experience the depletion of their coping resources. Consistent with the final stage of the temporal need-threat model, these individuals appear to accept the essential message of their ostracism-that they are completely insignificant and they experience a sense of alienation and worthlessness. They seem, then, to self-ostracize, perhaps in a misguided effort to prevent further rejection at the hands of others; they report high levels of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts, as well as other indicators of psychological difficulties.”—Kipling Williams
We do feel social or relational or attachment pain — it feels as distressing as sensory and somatic pain. We don’t dream of telling anyone with a broken arm or a fresh postoperative wound to get over it and stop being a whingey baby and we have no problem at all telling someone suffering grief from professional ostracism or some other form of social pain to get over it and move on. The repressive fanaticism that rules over and throughout regime countries—the repressive fanaticism that characterised Mao’s Struggle Sessions—inflicts cruel and social barbaric punishment on its targeted victims. One of Anne Thurston’s interviewees described the pain of their experience as a slow silent scream. A theme emerging from her work indicates that victims of ostracism lost hope and ended their lives when their last social comfort rejected them under pressure from the Cultural Revolutionists themselves.
Remember the Napping While Black thing from a while back? Well the stories the media makes up about white women like Sarah Braasch have real consequences. Sarah is a real human who was the victim of extreme ostracism that ended her phD candidacy and effectively rendered her persona non grata to the world. Sarah is struggling to maintain basic necessities and struggling to find purpose and meaning in her suffering ordeal. Remember the Birdwatching While Being Black thing in NYC Central Park? Amy Cooper lives in hiding to this day, her life having been irrevocably destroyed by a menacing woke black man who set out to destroy a white woman for woke anti-racist sport.
Have you heard of the Arabic word Kafir? This derogatory term describes infidels and it involves harmful repercussions up to and including brutal beating and death. Infidel includes anyone who is not a Muslim and in several Islamic countries to be knowns an infidel can bring the death penalty. Anyone who secretly dates a forbidden person, who is LGBT, who leaves Islam becomes Kafir and then becomes a target for an honour killing. Honour killing is the beyond extreme form of social exclusion — it happens for the ones left behind. Honour killings serve the same purpose as making an example killings in the mafia and other violent gangs, only your own family even your parents do the killing in the case of honour killings.
In some other cases the wider community or the state exacts punishment—China, Saudi Arabia and Iran lead the world in executions. In 2015 The Guardian published this story about an atheist blogger who was killed in a knife attack because he published writings critical of religious superstition and promoting science and evolution. Ananda Bijoy Das had been receiving death threats from extremists prior to brutal machete attack by four masked men which took his life in Bangladesh, a secular country.
Deliberate social exclusion harms humans. Deliberate professional ostracism destroys lives. Removing livelihood is an attempt to remove life. Words can be violent. So can silence. Social Violence is arguably a form of terrorism. It causes real harm to human attachment and connection and therefore to human life.
The bottom line, the message I want readers to takeaway from all of this, is that our perception of ourselves is woefully wrong. We do need social connection — we need it to live. Intuitively we know this. Just look at the cruel ways we punish one another. Consider a few of the harmless people whom vengeful + malignant narcissist progressives have savagely targeted in their Maoist social revenge campaign—Chanel Pfahl, Nick Osborn-Jones, Richard Bilkszto, Sarah Braasch, Jim McMurtry, Amy Cooper, James Dreyfus, Graham Linehan, Kevin Spacey, Hal Niedzviecki, Steve Galloway, Joseph Massey, Stuart Parker are a few names that come to mind immediately. Then consider who has not been a target despite the harm they did cause, in fact institutional structures exist to prevent certain VIP who have done harm from being exposed. Just think how Jimmy Saville was a hero and so was LouLou Mountbatten and think about how Graham Linehan is the devil incarnate. Think about the system that promotes this way of manipulating lives for politics.
Social exclusion causes real pain. Professional ostracism causes real social pain and it is a source of workplace trauma. Professional ostracism leads to a severe needs-threat deprivation situation and beyond—to actual human physical threat to survival. Why have corporate + government + professional employers given DEI workshop trainers a minority bully pass or victimhood asshole pass to give lectures to members of a visibly dominant cultural group? Only a narcissist thinks this is an okay HR strategy.
So that was a huge downer I just injected into your brain. What can we do about it?
Remember I said social connection shapes and is shaped by the brain? That means we get to use neuroplasticity to reshape our neural circuitry to help us have a healthy social connection with our Self and the world around us. I found Wired to Connect quite crucial in helping tie loose threads together and redirect my work focus. I discovered Amy Banks and her work through the Trauma Conference, which I was able to attend on behalf of my nonprofit thanks to a scholarship from the Trauma Research Foundation. I found Dr. Banks’ book about relational neuroscience and her accompanying assessment model very helpful personally — it provided depth and context and some vindication that I am not insane or dramatic. The C.A.R.E Programme Amy Banks, MD created helped me to put the bigger picture into a frame. Here are some questions to consider for your own social connections and relational well-being going forward.
Do you feel safe in your connection with yourSelf?
Do you feel safe in your connection with others?
Do you feel accepted in your connection with yourSelf?
Do you feel connected in your connection with others?
Do you feel resonant with others? To whom?
Through whose lens are you seeing yourself?
Do you feel resonant with your own Self?
Where do you derive your energy from — what connections are fuelling you?
Are you connecting to unhealthy things that give you feel-good energy? How can you get that feel-good energy from healthier connection?
Hope exists as long as you are taking another breath. Hope lives as long as you know that your heart still beats inside your chest. Stop looking at the thing you lost. I mean it, just stop that. I feel fairly confident that, after reading a bit of my story, and a bit of my mother’s too, you can take what I say with the all love I intend. STOP LOOKING AT THE EXCLUSION, STOP LOOKING AT WHAT IT TOOK FROM YOU. BE. HERE. NOW. You can. Darling, yes you can. Others have done and are doing. Believe in you. The things occupying your head right now are shaping the person you are becoming. Read the entrance quote to this piece — scroll up there and read what Lieberman, a leading social connection researcher, says about the self.
If you found this article helpful I am very glad you did because that’s the point! Would you like to read more stuff like this? Well, then you can help me to write it and you can just generally be a helpful hooman through the following:
First of all, stop cancelling people who trigger negative emotions inside you and do take every opportunity to encourage humanization in everyone for everyone. Use the stuff you learned from my writing to make the world of humans a better place than you left it, use the stuff you learned from my writing to relieve suffering, do not use the stuff I teach you to create more suffering because you are having an asshole moment, share this stuff widely with anyone whom you think might be helped by it or me, subscribe, encourage others to subscribe, upgrade your subscription from free to paid, make a donation to help me pay for the knowledge acquisition that makes this content creation even possible: help me pay for my (already 50% discounted d/t a scholarship) virtual ticket to the Oxford University Master Series on Trauma + Health. The Boston Trauma Conference I attended in May changed the course of my work so I expect the Oxford Conference will equally blow my socks off (and so yours too, then) and send my brain-loom spinning for weeks and maybe months.
I am an independent writer + researcher. I am not wealthy, and have no special fancy funding or sweet fellowship position or rich relative or trust fund daddy—I am the long ago professionally-ostracised daughter of a late domestic violence refugee and a late windrush immigrant, I am an educated first generation who is a smart cookie, fortunate enough to have secured a provincial disability pension for myself to have some security when sh1t fell apart for my ass. My grandmother was illiterate and I cannot even dream of not being able to read + write. You are reading these words because I wrote them. My life is an embodiment of hope. Remember this hope when you feel like giving up.
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Cyberball is the creation of Kipling William, a pioneering researcher in the field of ostracism and social exclusion, and a co-author of Eisenberger + Lieberman’s 2003 study.
implicit social exclusion (ISE): subject told their was a technical problem preventing them from joining the game which was visually identical to the ESE scenario.
explicit social exclusion (ESE): subject included in game and received 7 throws and were excluded in the remaining 45 throws.
I was conceived about a year after my mother’s life blew apart as the result of domestic violence and she had to, with the help of her gay 16 year old son, steal pots and pans from the kitchen and run away, after his dad tried to kill her. She had 5 kids and she had to leave them, and run for her life. My brother was the guardian for two of our siblings and the very youngest ones aged 5 and 9 were alienated from mum and removed from the country. She tried to get them and was thwarted. In the 60s abused women had no rights. There was a reunion in 1978 when I was 10 years old. My mother was a kind of refugee you could say, her entire religious community and family judged her silently and rejected her socially — she experienced a shunning that she never entirely overcame. She purchased our acceptance with my dad’s servant leadership. Children see things others do not.
My mother suffered abuse at the hands of women, and she struggled with this also. My sisters also do. Memere was abused by her mother, who abandoned her at the age of 9 to marry a wealthy man.