Monday, March 26, 2012

Manipulation and Lies, How Programs Destroy Lives

by Angela Smith

HEAL recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary fighting institutionalized abuse and supporting other human rights, environmental, and animal welfare campaigns. In the last ten years, we have been up close and personal with victims and survivors of institutionalized abuse. We have witnessed the long-term damage caused by the methodology, manipulation, and lies of deceptively marketed behavior modification programs.

Some victims of institutionalized abuse never recover to the point of living healthy lives and having healthy relationships. And, the twisted methods of the programs seems to have left some in an emotionally infantilized state of mind. Some victims appear unable to reclaim their lives and mature into functioning, responsible, and considerate adults. And, it seems that cruel or immature "acting-out" against those they use as surrogate family or parents is a repeated pattern that cannot be broken by even the most compassionate, loving, and ethical survivor advocate. These instances are rare. But, when they surface create a lot of pain, distress, and heartache for the entire survivor community.

In these rare instances, victims of institutionalized abuse mimic those in authority at the programs where they were held captive. They will misrepresent information so as to avoid accountability or responsibility for their actions. They will flat out deny any wrong-doing even when hard evidence such as audio or video footage of the actions are available. They will claim that their words have been twisted by others to persecute them. And, they will attempt to use the kindness, goodwill, and compassion of others against them to "save face" or create confusion and distress to avoid accountability. These behaviors are taught by and learned at behavior modification programs. And, they create distrust, isolation, and a repeat pattern of pain and rejection.

HEAL is a network of survivors and families that have been victims of fraud and institutionalized abuse. We advocate for children and families and do everything in our power to stop the institutions from ruining more lives. We are an inclusive network and we do our best to support all victims and survivors of fraud and institutionalized abuse. And, this means not working with those who would harm other survivors or our work through personal or other forms of attack. And, sometimes it means for the greater good, that we take action to protect ourselves and others from perceived harm.

HEAL hopes that all victims of institutionalized abuse will truly heal, recover, and live healthy and productive lives. Our hearts go out to each other and to all who have suffered at the hands of fraudulent and abusive programs. For the few who find themselves excluded by or from HEAL, temporarily or permanently, we hope you understand that we are doing what we believe is necessary for our personal safety and the greater good. And, we hope that someday you will have the insight and wisdom to understand that HEAL is made up of human beings. And, that we have feelings, needs, desires, and goals that require us to make decisions that will best meet or help us achieve an end to institutionalized abuse.

The programs use methods that require children turn on themselves and write out false confessions. The programs often encourage children to spy on, lie about, and set up other children in the program in order to make the victim a target for punishment, scorn, and abuse. The programs say whatever they can and encourage others to be sociopaths in saying and doing whatever they can (ethical or not) to get what they want or need. Programs teach children to lie and some children fall victim to the brainwashing to such an extent that they believe their own personal needs/wants justify any action no matter how unethical or harmful. And, unfortunately, HEAL has learned a hard lesson through experience that a rare few victims repeat the patterns of harmful actions outside of the program. And, while these victims deserve and have our love and compassion, we cannot devote time to those very few who cannot break free of the mental chains of the program. For those few, you will need to free yourselves and when you are ready, we can't wait to work with you and welcome you back.