15 December, 2008

PAS, The "It's Not My Fault!" Syndrome


Oh Alex, you are so not helping efforts to validate Parental Alienation as a Syndrome...

Alex Baldwin's tirade against his minor child needs to be seen for what it is-child abuse. Not only is it child abuse but is also so typical of the mindset and the philosophy that Americans so easily resort to when it comes to taking responsibility for their actions. "It's not my fault."

Here is what Baldwin said after calling his little girl a "thoughtless little pig" and threatening to come from New York to Los Angeles to "straighten her out"-a threat to the kid's safety if ever there was one.

"Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child," he wrote. "I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.) I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case."

1. "Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child." - The man is not worried that what he said to his daughter would affect her adversely, only that what he said to her was released to the media. He is not concerned about how his abusiveness might affect the girl but how the release of the recording might affect her. Is this man in his right mind or is this indicative of just how much his character is flawed?

2. "I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. "- The man is shifting blame and not taking personal responsibility for his words or actions. He is sorry for losing his temper but blames "parental alienation" as that which drove him to lose his temper. No, Mr. Baldwin, "parental alienation" is your perception of a stimulus provided to you through the circumstances in which you've found yourself. Parental alienation, whatever that is supposed to mean, is not some animated, sentient entity capable of doing anything. It hasn't arms nor legs, a brain to think with, or anything else that would enable "it" to "drive" you to do anything. Your loss of temper is a behavior you chose to deal with a situation. (Since he is referring to someone committing the sin of "parental alienation," he must certainly be blaming the child as the alienator-it's the child's fault for alienating him-"parental alienation" made him do it.)

3. "You have to go through this to understand."- If ever there was an indication of the lack of critical thinking skills in the minds of Americans, this is it. This is something to which many resort in trying to justify their irrational and ill-chosen behaviors. Think a moment to what this man is actually saying: If you went through what I've been going through, then you would not condemn me. And, if you've never walked in my shoes, then you do not have the right to criticize me for calling my daughter a little pig." This man is claiming that the only way we could "understand" why he did what he did is if we had undergone this spookily-termed, "parental alienation." This man is not apologizing but trying to justify his bad behavior. And, he claims, you would understand why he abused his child if you had undergone his trials and tribulations. I don't have to have murdered someone to understand why someone resorted to bad behavior by killing his neighbor. I don't have to have sexually abused a child to know that it is ill-chosen behavior. I don't have to have stolen something that didn't belong to me to understand that stealing is wrong. How, I would love to ask Mr. Baldwin, would our understanding help us to "get it?" How would our undergoing "parental alienation" help us to understand that what Mr. Baldwin did to his daughter is somehow justified? After all, Mr. Baldwin seems to be saying if we had ever undergone "parental alienation," we would understand-cut him some slack.

4. "I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated..."- See how the man is trying to shift blame? What the man is sorry for, I cannot fathom, but I most certainly see that he is blaming the one who violated a court order. Baldwin cannot, at least as yet, just say that no matter what the circumstances were, no matter what the situation dealt, no matter what information he was provided to which he had to respond, that he was wrong-period-for lashing out at that child.

The past decades, if not a century, of psychoanalytical psychobabble has taught Americans that they are victims. If they act out with bad behavior, it couldn't possibly be the fault of the one who chose the bad behavior. It was "the circumstance's fault." If they get caught in some behavioral sin, then it wasn't their fault but the fault of someone or something that provided them with something to which they had to respond and did so badly.

Every circumstance, situation, problem, child acting out, a spouse acting out, a boss firing you, is just information provided to you. You get to choose how you are going to react to what is before you. All we ever do is behave. From the time we are born to the time we die, all we do is choose behaviors in response to a stimulus. What marks us as mature, sane, and rational is how we've learned to think critically through a bad hand dealt us and choosing the correct, socially appropriate and morally correct behavior.

Was one of Alex Baldwin's choices when his daughter didn't pick up the phone when he called to lash out in an abusive tirade at her? Yes.

However, thinking, and I mean using critical thinking skills, is what would have directed him to consider better alternatives. He could have ranted at the girl or he could have made a better choice. A little bit of maturity would have gone a long way in preventing his childish behavior.

Oh, Mr. Baldwin, we understand perfectly and are wondering,

"Just who is the child here?"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment