the effects of white privilege: mental trauma and co-dependent adults


I've recently been introduced to the work of Pia Mellody. She is a foremost authority around relationships and addiction. 

There is a portion of her work where she talks about empowering and disempowering children as a form of abuse. As I listened to her lecture on YouTube it was very intriguing to hear about the concept of over-empowering a child being as a form of abuse. 

She continued to explain, how when a child is over-empowered they learn that they are better than others and tend to play the abusive role in a codependent relationship. 

white privilege. 

White privilege inherently whether it be via implicit parenting through behavior and language towards others being watched by children or the group consciousness of a community or culture OR intentional parenting where children are literally told they are eilite or superior due to race, class, or socioeconomic status -- is abusive in alignment with Mellody's definitions. 

Over-empowering a child leads to abusive behavior and patterns in relationship. An over-empowered child grows into an adult that needs someone underneath them to feel valid, important, even safe. 

Why wouldn't they - their paradigm has been created such that's what is normal, thus what is safe. There are two critical points here. 

  1. This superiority pattern plays out in adult relationships creating negative leadership and management loops. 

  2. This is a core dysfunction of present day Corporate America 

Negative Leadership (Power Structures) and Over-empowerment

It is a resonantly negative feedback loop we are operating from in our society, beginning at childhood and continuing into adulthood. Then we wonder why the men in Congress sound like children.

Racist Thoughts and Ideologies --> Over-empowerment --> Superiority Complex --> Abusive Relationships/Interactions --> Social Climb --> Position/Title Reinforces Superiority --> Power Structure formalized --> Policies and structures created --> Power structure crystallized --> Racism institutionalized --> Embedded racism

The cycle of racism beginning as a thought of superiority over time is formalized, reinforced, and crystallized into institutional racism. Over a period of time this level of racism becomes so embedded that it is second nature such that was started out as emotional truama has become the new norm and even policy.

Hence when the structure of racism is threatened those committed to the structure may not be present to the addictions they have to the patterns which create the structure. 

There is the obvious commitment and attachment to the benefits of racism. However, what isn't addressed are the mental and emotional addictions at risk.

The continued negative reinforcement of people of color whether it be through the media, unequal pay, disproportionate access to opportunity, appropriation of culture, genocide - there is a continuum to the severity of racism just as there is a continuum to the severity of an illness - fuels an addiction to codependent behavior as a needle fuels the viens of a heroin addict. 

Capitalism and It's Hidden Fuel

A 1990  New York Times article projected that roughly 96% of Americans suffer from co-dependency. It is hard to imagine how the 4% have managed to mature unscathed. Those 4% must either be the children of those that have done immense work and/or have done immense work themselves.

The interdependency of the quest for validation by overpowering others and Capitalism. Capitalism as we know it is based on competition, survival of the fittest, and use of one's own priviliges (be they earned or not) for one's greater gain. 

There is no mistake that the mental illnesses that pervade our society also seek to fuel our economy. There's also no mistake that said economy has led to the symptoms of abuse - manipulation, lying, rape, immaturity being played out on the smallest and largest levels in society. (ie. Congress, White House). 

After a while whatever you feed a system it begins to spit out at you, exacty what you fed it. 

The case feels severe right now because the cancer has grown large enough to be felt by the masses. Racism has always been everyone's problem. It has always been a business problem, a relationship problem, a health problem, a humanity problem. 

A cancer of the stomach the entire body is at risk.  

And now as we begin to fight against, dismantle, and reverse the affects of arguably the most pervasive addiction on the planet - the question is are we willing to look at the root of the problem?

It isn't equal pay, access to funding, nor pipeline rates. While these are all very important issues to address. Doing so will continue to be a bandaid until organizations are willing to look at the core cause and address that. 

Addressing Core Issues

The issue of diversity issues is not that one of race - it is one of unmet human desires in children playing out in adult bodies. There is no mistake that there is a welless craze in the United States as we speak. 

The climate is that of healing. Creating the space for healing and authentic dialogue will begin to unravel unconscious programming and compulsive behavior. 

I wonder - what if - we approached the negative impacts of racism - as any other abusive relationship or addiction is addressed. 

I realize there is the collapse of micro and macro issues here. However, as above so below. All macro-issues are a compounded effect of a resonant macro issue.