Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Daytop Village

Musical Chairs

(1/2) > >>

A chair is a very useful common object. At Daytop (and throughout the TTI) The Chair is a very common and effective breakdown tactic .They seem to confuse breakdown for breakthrough quite a lot.

The Chair in its’ most benign form involves the recipient being ordered to sit there from am to pm. Or from when The Chair is ordered until it’s been decided the time spent “on Chair is sufficient”. This at times goes on for days with time off only for bathroom breaks, meals and sleep.This isn’t so bad in an abusive program setting considering this (teen time out) gives some brief reprieve from the screaming, gaming, copping crying and cleaning. This is fairly basic. Though I’ve observed some houses (locations) add the stress of placing the recipients’ forehead to the wall for whatever reason.

Consider also the differences of being put on chair for a known infraction versus being put there and not told of the reasons. This is called "sweating you out" and it is the prelude to a fishing expedition.

Furthermore, different chairs different circumstances: If you’re on chair facing the wall and you’ve already been screamed at, this is the basic being on Chair experience. You will likely only have the part where you are expected to cry and ask forgiveness to look forward to during your haircut (if you haven’t received it yet). Crying is interpreted as the only authentic contrition so really do make a point of showing them the emotions they demand or risk accusations of “coming out of your head” and consequences for having done so, but only when it’s asked of you.

If your chair happens to be facing outward and is by the closed door of the Coordinators or a counselor’s office, you are about to be moved to another chair. This will be a "haircut".That chair will face three or more other chairs and the occupants of those chairs will be screaming at you. These haircuts can happen several times a month, or week and for some even more than one in a day. Sometimes one of them is meant to be “as the voice of reason” and try to coax you in good cop mode, but often that devolves to the fling of their spittle against your cheek as the accusations, condemnations, warnings and even threats fly out as well as from the others.
Try not to cry right away though or this will be ridiculed as false and manipulative. You’re a kid and you come from a home of violence and you tend to vacillate between shutting down and breaking down? Well, look forward to spending a lot of time as a shot down you little manipulator. Once you know when to cry at the time that seems to elicit the least rage from your treatment team you are now in fact a manipulator and like an ulcer even unconsciously this created conflict eats away especially in the setting that causes one to be constantly gut checking themselves.

If you are on chair facing outward to say the day room or other and you are wearing a sign that starts with the words: “Ask me…” or if you are instructed not to speak and your sign starts with the words “Tell me… ”you are the recipient of an LE. This is learning experience—known in all other places of the world as humiliation. Sometimes your sign can come with a prop that is meant to signify whatever aspect of your program that needs working. Peers are required to respond to these signs by asking and informing in a constant stream of pull-ups throughout. If they don’t do so and this avoidant behavior is observed they will be accused of either neglecting or conspiring with the LE recipient and receive their own inane dealt-with or worse.

If your chair is placed similarly to the pending haircut position, but you have a clip board, blank paper and a pen… your world has just changed. Even people with whom you do not get along are averting their eyes from this fate. You are dropping guilt. Your accuser's bellies have flipped (their parlance) and their suspicion has lead to this. Your friends tummies are gnawing with a little fear that some secret or even only silliness not approved will be outed that they will soon be punished for. They try to fight the urge to make an eye contact plea or show of sympathy or support to you. They know that this too might be observed and noted and lead to consequences. Good Luck. There is nothing good that comes from forced confessions and nothing good that comes from pleading your case when your paper isn’t filled front and back with guilt to be picked through.

If your chair is facing a house meeting—everyone knows why you are there and it’s going to be a long while. You see first the counselors rally the house. Then the house is incited to show you some punitive love. This is called feedback and it’s very loud. This will go on and on and by the time you are issued your insane LE your ears are ringing and you're just glad that part is over. It’s like an encounter group (a circle of combative “dissipations” –like a rage prone debate team of sorts or the verbally abusive equivalent of a cockfighting ring where everyone is either yelled at, yelling or silently willing themselves to disappear), but a house meeting in your honor is all of the focus and intensity and rage aimed your way from every "family member" and every staffer on hand to participate. You do not speak until you are instructed to read your confession and express your contrition and have been permitted to thank the peers who have just called you everything from junky to liar to slut to trash to toxic to baby to even too stupid to want to be saved.

If your chair is encircled completely by a ring of chairs that are occupied by your peers and counselors and happens to be facing an empty chair…hold on to your seat it’s reenactment time! Yes, you’re about to have childhood trauma play out for the group and you will be pushed and pushed until the desired performance is pulled from you. Whether you are meant to be screaming at [insert abusive primary caretaker here] or confronting yourself in the empty chair, an extraction is being performed and a performance is expected. This is not an option unless you want to be dealt with and have consequences for withholding from the group and depriving yourself of growth. Try to be inwardly grateful this is happening with chairs and not in an extended group…it gets far freakier when the "bedding bunkers built from pillows" are involved.

This rant was typed w/out coercion from the Philippe Starck ghost chair in my living room.
Edited: some typos and likely missed some more

Anne Bonney:
:eek:   And on that note, I need to take a break.  Too many memories.

Same shit, slightly different wrapper.

Sorry Anne. :Hugs:

Anne Bonney:

--- Quote from: "Inculcated" ---Sorry Anne. :Hugs:
--- End quote ---

No, no problem at all and backatya.  It's just been a while since I've thought about it in such detail.  Wow.  Great post!

Paul St. John:
I was chaired a few times.  The way I remember it, I was put there after being yelled at, and I faced the wall all day.  I was sat upstairs, by the coordinators desk, and so I was watched the whole time.  had to sit still.. could not look around, move your hands or arms, close your eyes, stretch your back.. nothing... just sit, staring straight ahead, motionless, in a chair that was not designed to be sat straight in, with a metal piece sticking into your back. If you broke the rules, and twiddled your thumbs or something, some annoying MFer "pulled you up" on it. I was interrogated for about an hour while in the chair, by some dude prepared to write my guilt.  I gave him nothing. At the end of the day, my back hurt, but I didn t mind the chair so much.. like you mentioned somewhere in your post, it was at least a break. .. and I kinda saw the whiole things as a challege.

But this is something weird, speaking of chairs, ya know what I really fucking hated from day one.. in all the meetings, we were lined up so tight in those rows, and we had to sit with our legs together as tight as we could, and we had to be touching the people next to us, and smelling them.  and when someone had to walk through, rather then being able to stand up, we had to all shift to the left,in unison with our legs so tightly pressed together, in an act very unnatural to a man.

LMAO! To my 16 year old self, sitting like this, and far worse, moving like this, gave me a very feminine feeling, and I fricking hated it. It made me feel, as I remember thinking ( no offense to anybody) faggy.  And I didn t very much like having people all pressed up against me either, especaillly when they were sweaty or smelt bad. It felt undiginified, and I felt like in order to do it everyday, I had to be unaware of much of my environment, and again, it felt very unnatural.  I was to just think of us all as pieces of meat, all stuck together, in one big orgy of "Who gives a fuck?"

Eventually, I just got use to it, and it didn t bother me at all.  It was just a part of life. ( But it did bother me, that it no longer bothered me)

I guess sometimes, it s the little things.  This is a very subjective experience I suppose, but that that is how I recall it.  How do I maintain my identity, when any slobberring motherfucker, can be all pressed up against me, and I him, to each as if the other is not there, and has no personality, and I no judgement of him, and him no judgement of me, and together we are nothing more, then each a piece of a tight formation, each a part of something that is merely functional, but not functional for the self, but rather ourselves subserviant to it, and it functional, merely for the purpose of herding us together. There was really no other reason.  there was so much more room that we could have made use of, but noone was suppose to feel that they deserved space from anyone else, just as we each must divulge our darkest secrets to any schmo who asked, unable to even questions their motives.

Paul St. John


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version