Author Topic: Former staff forgivable??  (Read 7218 times)

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Offline Tampa survivor

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Former staff forgivable??
« on: October 14, 2002, 05:14:00 PM »
How do ya'll reconcile the whole "we were brainwashed too" line by former kid staff?  In many cases I can go with that, but there were people like Wanda M and Clark, Doug Hemminger, etc that stand out as sadistic and who genuinly seemed to get off on thier power.  We still pursue Nazi's as little old men for what they did as 25 year old soldiers caught up in the war.  
How can I forgive kids who purposly joined staff and perpetuated the MADNESS?
Do you?
Bill
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Carmel

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Former staff forgivable??
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2002, 05:37:00 PM »
Well, I guess that depends on how you look at it.  Even as clients we were made to inflict the same abuse on those under us.  It was the only way to make it up the ladder.  How do we forgive the staff? How do our newcomers forgive us?  We were trying our hardest to get up to right where those staff people were.  That was the light at the end of the tunnel.  Not for everyone, but you get my point.

There are actually many more fellow clients that I hold much more resentment towards than there are staff.
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Offline enough

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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2002, 06:34:00 PM »
Well, as the subtitle suggests, I initially had to learn to forgive myself. I have noticed that early on in the 'awakening' process almost everyone I have talked to intially denies that they ever 'abused' anyone else, and often that they themselves were ever 'abused physically'.

Over time, it seems, most of us come to realize that even the process of carrying people around on beltloops was abusive, indeed it qualifies legally as battery, or 'making physical contact with another person without their consent'. In much the same light, much of the 'confrontation' would clearly fit the legal requirements for 'assault', which can be no more that 'speaking to another person in an agressive or threatening manner, without consent'. Finally of course much of what we said in group qualified for the legal definition of slander/libel.

Of course few if any courts would accept these things, based on heresay alone, though that does not change the fact that they were abuses.

Though I suppose it is possible to have avoided it, it was quite common and natural in group to poke a newcomer in the back to make them sit up straight, or to force them to wave their arms around, to push their heads around so they were facing the speaker, slap their hands away from the heads or faces during a rap etc etc. How many oldcomers slammed a 'nuke' down on the chairs hard if they were misbehaving?

The original modality, first developed in China, was based on the principle that the 'guards' were not the abusers, rather the other 'inmates' would choose to abuse non compliant inmates, as a form of peer pressure to adopt the 'state approved' indea or thought pattern. Remember that this modality was designed to reform political prisoners, and to make it possible to parade them before the populace in their 'reformed' state- so that they could espouse the new 'state belief'.

Once I came to understand that I had been manipulated and lied to by sophisticated adults who knew fully well what they were doing, I realized that everyone from the exec level and down were for the most part already brainwashed, and I found it hard to hold them responsible.

However, everyone from the director level and up, and most importantly at the top of the ladder- Mel Sembler, the US Ambassador to Italy, were fully aware of the sub-plot if you will- They designed the modality, they knew where it came from, they knew what is was about and how it worked.

These higher level people were fully aware that having some differential diagnosis done as part of the intake process would limit their client base, and raise their costs to a prohibitive level.

Indeed this is why the program was ever seeking mental health profesionals, hoping to admit their children so that they could brain wash these people into selling the party line.

The most dangerous abuser is the altrusitc abuser. The wife beater who feels absolutely certain in his own mind that he is helping his wife become a better , more servile and submissive women, to better fulfill her role as his 'slave'- will beat his wife all the worse for sake of his deeply held and often religiously based convictions.

The same was true of most of us on staff. we were chose by the higher ups based on our 'dedication' to 'helping others', we were groomed and stroked into a set of self beliefs that centered around 'saving' people.

There is a website called 'godhatesfags.com', it maintained by the Westboro Baptists Church in Topeka Ks. If you can stand to read through it, and it is truly offensive, you will find that they believe the kids who beat Matt Shepard to death in Wyoming were in fact doing him a favor, by putting him out of his misery in a life of buggery. This is merely the same principle taken to a greater extreme.

I feel certain that When Tim Brown's father threatened me with a gun, telling me that he would 'shoot me in the leg and tell the cops I tried to steal his gun', he believed in his heart and mind that he was helping to 'save me'.

This is in no way exclusive to Straight or straight related cults. There are religious schools in Missouri right now that regularly beat children to get 'the devil out of them'. These kids may have made no more than a passing transgression, an off color remark or watching "Harry Potter".

This is not to say that there were not people in group or on staff that were simply sadistic and mean. Nor that some people on staff or in group understood that they were merely using others as stepping stones to progress themsleves or to escape the cult.
I am sure that was true in a small number of cases.

But I remain convinced that most people believed they were helping each other, that they were involved in a 'mission from God' so to speak. I know that I was convinced that I was helping people, from second phase on, indeed it was this sense of altruism that drove me to to complete staff training and go on to be a staffer, for the short time that I was.

I could not have been more wrong, and forgiving myself was the more difficult step, forgiving the staff above me, came much easier when I began to understand all of this.

But I can never forgive the Semblers, or Art Barker, or Miller Newton, or Mr. Tilly, or Mr. Buttermer, or Helen Morton, or Mr. Oliver, or the others at the top of the ladder- they not only should have known better- They did- and they specifically chose to ignore the abuses, to further their own careers or political powerbases.

It is my opinion that the program was really a device to extend the powerbase of the republican party, and in particular the right wing idealogues, who want the fifites back. They pine for the day when everyone wore suits in public, and ladies wore dresses. The felt robbed by the late sixties and early seventies cultural revolution in America. They were driven by greed and fear- a powerful combination of motivators.

In the case of Alanta, it is easy to see the inconsistancy between the stated mission and the reality of the client base. There was one poor black kid in the program in Atlanta, a city where there was a serious problem in the poor inner city neighborhoods with drugs and young drug users. Yet the program was recruiting middle class white families from hundreds of miles away- why?

 Because these families were more likely to vote Republican, the party of choice for the highest level of the administration. It was not racisim persay, but it was racist in practice. These middle class families were more likely to become politically active, more likely to contribute money to the coffers of the GOP, more likely to develop networks of resources etc etc.

On a slightly more cynical note- these families were more likely to help Mr. Sembler build out his primary buisiness of land development and building strip malls.

That is all for now....tired fingers ....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Jeff from Houston

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Former staff forgivable??
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2002, 06:36:00 PM »
Great Question

I have tortured my self with that exact thought the last few days.
Carmel has a good point on the Old Comer thing. I guess I joined the party so it's hypocritical of me.

I hate most of them in one way or another, some I liked in a sick way. Just as much as I hate myself for doing what I did (Graduating). The difference is my choice was an attempt to get out. They had already exited the building.

My question to myself is, had Straight lasted another year, would I have done it as well? I look back & I am pretty sure I would have.... That really makes me take a long look in the Mirror.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline enough

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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2002, 06:40:00 PM »
Just an after thought- I did in fact vote repulbican for years after I left the program and was a self identified conservative- Then I learned about libertarianism- with a small 'l' - cause the party itself and their platform are whacked.
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Offline hedwigfan

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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2002, 08:09:00 PM »
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline hedwigfan

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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2002, 08:37:00 PM »
Sorry, that was a little premature...
I've thought a lot about this issue. I can't explain why I didn't run away, why I was so transfixed by the false threat of a court order, why I decided to comply and work the program, other than I wanted to survive. I was already a broken person before Straight. I wanted to live, get married, have kids...
 I do believe that, if you were in Straight long enough, you were brainwashed...
  Going on staff seemed like the right thing to do back then, a way of "giving back to the group." In doing so, we contributed to others' pain. This is what has haunted me the last 20 years and memories of my young adult life are mostly turmoil...
  In a bittersweet twist of irony, I gave birth to twins in 1990. Pregancy was the happiest I'd ever been in life, but then came the downward spiral...Listeria sepsis...premature birth at 32 weeks... NICU...ventilators...and the final blow, finding out both boys had cystic fibrosis...I remember my husband and me crying, wondering what we had done to deserve this? All I had wanted was to be someone's mom...and in doing so, I'd handed out a death sentence to my beautiful baby boys...
  Parenthood has taught me more about survival and forgiveness and love than anything else I've attempted or accomplished. My children are healthy and active today because, as a family, we all accept responsibility for participating in their respiratory therapy, making sure they take their enzymes, etc. I can't change the fact that they've got 2 bad genes, but I can ensure that they don't merely survive, but thrive. We don't dwell on their disease, but are constantly aware of it. I guess I am starting to look at being a former Straight staffer in somewhat the same way. You take responsibility for your mistakes (it took me awhile to get enough courage to reveal my name and the fact that I was a former staffer when I found this website), learn from them, and try not to repeat them. You grieve the transgressions which you've experienced. You also learn to rejoice in life's little pleasures. As hard as it is to forgive others, sometimes, it's harder to forgive yourself.
Kris
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Majiktrvls

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2002, 10:46:00 PM »
How in the world can I be expected to heal my own wounds if I am not able to show compassion and grace to those who have wronged me? How can I be forgiven if I am unable to forgive? After all, I also was involved in this dangerous mind game, willingly or not, beliving that I was courtordered, when I was not, I still played a part in what occurred there. Do I desire to be forgiven? Of course I do. And,most importantly, I forgive myself.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Tampa survivor

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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2002, 12:01:00 AM »
Forgiving myself was easy enough, as my parents were regularly hounded for feeding the newcomers fresh caught grouper and shrimp.  Hey, dad was a charter fisherman, and it was cheaper than steaks.  Nobody ever split my house, or raised hell there.  Wonder why??  They were RESPECTED, even Mark Gilley, who in 1981 had been in for 2 years.  He was yanked as my nuke after a month because we were "too nice" to him.
Every time I made significant phases like >3rd, I found myself at odds with the program, and could no longer comply.  Yeah, I sat on a misbehaver once or twice, found the feeling of power in that very act, and frightened myself right out the door again rather than succumb to that base shred of animal which lives inside all of us.
Just my thought at the moment....
Keep the great responses coming, as I want to understand.  I hold true bitterness only for a few like James named above.
Executive staff KNEW.  Hell, I saw them perpetuate it too.  Bobby Rugles in Jan 1982, Luray Harbor in 1981.  BTW she is dead.  Suicide after last split at age 16. Her sister misses her.  Thanks straight.
Bill
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Bill H
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2002, 02:56:00 AM »
I was on staff and to be honest I think that I was a damn good staff memeber. Of course when I first joined staff in MI there was no restraints because it was against the law and I left staff shortly after restraining was instituted. I dont think that you can make sweeping generalizations about any group of people. Yeah, straight was fucked up,so is alot of shit in life. Stop crying and move on, if you didnt have straight to blame who would you blame? I have many issues with straight I am not pro straight and yes alot of the problems I go through these days are not necessarily my fault but they are my responsability so I have to deal with them. Sometimes I get really tired of hearing you guys fucking complain.
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Offline shaneunc

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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2002, 04:43:00 AM »
DELETE
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 02:23:32 AM by shaneunc »

Offline Tampa survivor

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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2002, 06:58:00 AM »
Shane:  thanks.  well said



Anonomous: too bad you still can't question yourself.  Lashing out at the question; sounds to me like you have made real progress. I am sorry you have to hide behind an unregistered post...I guess you aren't that proud of yourself after all.



To All:  This isn't whining or aimless bitching.  It happened.  My life rules, and I credit the adversarial process of straight for being a part of me today which makes me formidable in the courtroom (ask my X or her attorney), or an advocate for my patients at the hospital.  

EVERYONE has their own feelings about this and NO PERSONS'S FEELINGS ARE WRONG.

We are not in Straight anymore.

Bill Hadley

12/80-12/82

[ This Message was edited by: tampa survivor on 2002-10-15 05:26 ]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Bill H
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Offline enough

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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2002, 04:57:00 PM »
"Sometimes I get really tired of hearing you guys fucking complain"

Believe it or not, sometimes I get tired of having to complain.

Sometimes I  get tired of living with nightmares that come on an almost daily basis, nightmares of people restraining me, of the program hunting me down, of me poking, prodding, and screaming at other people.

Sometimes I get tired of being acutely aware that the same people who invented our collective nightmare are at this very minute enjoying a life of taxpayer supported opulence in Italy.

Sometimes I get tired of having instinctive and exaggerated startle responses, as a result of the cult...tired of having relationships driven to the brink of dispair for reasons I can't explain.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing about how people were falsly imprisioned, lied to by staff about them being court ordered.

Sometimes I get tired of thinking about how my family was decieved, abused, manipulated and robbed of our dignity because of the obsessed ideology of a few WASPY assholes who felt sure that I was an addict, despite their utter failure to provide any kind of medically sound assessment.

Sometimes I get tired of waking up screaming in the night, covered in sweat, dripping with fear, unable to speak or breathe.

And then sometimes I get tired of people telling me they are tired of reading what I write, despite the fact that they do so of their own free will.

But I understand it, cause I use to say it. And I understand the pain and anger and self hatred that drive it. And so I choose to rise above my own rage, and tell them that I care, and I hope they will someday find the strength to face the reality that we were all decieved and used to further the political objectives of neo-conservative fundamentalist fanatics.
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Offline kosmonaut

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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2002, 06:05:00 PM »
Quote
On 2002-10-14 23:56:00, Anonymous wrote:
I was on staff and to be honest I think that I was a damn good staff memeber. Of course when I first joined staff in MI there was no restraints because it was against the law and I left staff shortly after restraining was instituted. I dont think that you can make sweeping generalizations about any group of people. Yeah, straight was fucked up,so is alot of shit in life. Stop crying and move on, if you didnt have straight to blame who would you blame? I have many issues with straight I am not pro straight and yes alot of the problems I go through these days are not necessarily my fault but they are my responsability so I have to deal with them. Sometimes I get really tired of hearing you guys fucking complain.

Hey listen up, for many of us this board is the ONLY resource we have as ex-Straight clients.  Some of us, like me, have NO ONE to talk with about Straight other than members of this board.  If you don't like us talking about the HORRIBLE BULLSHIT that we went through as teenagers, which still affects us to this day, then find somewhere else to hang out, or start your own threads about how great it all was.
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Offline hedwigfan

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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2002, 08:05:00 PM »
Why do you even bother checking this website, Anonymous? The whole mindset of "quit yer whining and suck it up" is exactly why I left surgery for anesthesia...You must have been really compassionate...What a fucking coward
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
ll this world is but a play
Be thou the joyful player
\"Maya\"  The Incredible String Band