Continuing from “Nihilistic Dream Worlds & Neurotypical Nightmares“:
The process of identifying with the abuser and adopting their characteristics and behaviors happens at both a micro and macro level, between both individuals and groups (take a look at Israel for an example of the latter). This little-remarked upon side effect may even be an unconscious motive of the abuser. If, for whatever reason, someone feels threatened by the existence of another person (as my brother felt threatened by me, the new arrival who undermined his uniqueness), one way to neutralize that threat is to force them “into line,” i.e., to strip them of their individuality, by abusing them.
I have already referenced the infamous Judge Roterberg center with its electro-shock treatment and the “packing” (wrapping autistics in frozen blankets) that occurs in France. But it’s not only such obviously brutal aversive treatments that come under the banner of medically sanctioned abuse. Holding therapy, for example, is a controversial method of treatment for autists and children suffering from attachment disorder. Although it has been banned in several US states and seems to have been largely discredited, it is apparently still being practiced mostly notably in the United Kingdom. A report by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering describes it as follows:
The child is held in a position that allows the parent to make direct eye contact while controlling the child’s attempts to protest, to struggle, and to escape. The technique anticipates and indeed facilitates confrontation so that problems can be resolved. As the child’s emotions are aroused, the child struggles to turn away. The mother expresses verbally her feelings – concerns, frustrations, hope, anger as well as affection and love – to the child. She uses her strength and tenacity to intensify contact and prevent withdrawal. The struggle becomes desperate for both, and then, if the mother perseveres throughout the child’s rejection, it dissolves into tender intimacy with intense eye contact, exploratory touching usually of the mother’s face, and gentle conversation highly gratifying to both mother and child.(Attachment Disorders, their Assessment and Intervention/Treatment)
I first heard about holding therapy, while researching this article, when I came upon the testimony of someone who had received it as treatment (full article here). Properly stated, they were a “victim of therapy.” The account is poorly punctuated with several spelling mistakes, but I have left it uncorrected except where meaning is lost. The emphasis is my own.
. . . one hand place on my chest held down [by] the therapist and constant forced eye to eye [contact] if i looked way my head would have been pinned in the direction of the therapist and if i tried to say no another hand would firmly clasped over my mouth which would send me into a fit of rage all this was also backed up with alot of shouting and swearing the therapist would say things like is this what your fucking birth mum did to you did she and the hand would come of my mouth for a responce this seemed to go on for ages in the end i was so drained and broken and scared i just said yes in therapy i was constanly prevented from rubbing my eye if i had an itch prevented from stretching prevented from doing all nataural that [a] human being does to relive a discomfort and sureley that is taking away a basic human right but at the end of each session broken tired it was kind of drilled in that all this was ok and they always managed to manipulate you to feeling ok when you left the session. another time i was wrapped in a blankett pind down and held so tight all i could feel was fright so i responded again with agression looking back this is what they wanted break you down to comply. i also attented so called intensive therapy where there would be 2 therapist again pinned down basicly given torrents of abuse poked proded until i reached agression again. I was [a] liveley lad growing up always trying to push boundries but during my time at …………… turned into this agressive monster attacked so many staff bit them punched them hit i had many bruises from this place and sometimes looked quite ill and run down i kept getting told they would help me but infact it was there methods that were turning me into somthing else . . . this therapy is not about helping children its about making a child love or attach through fear!
Of course the defense of all these medieval methods of treatment is that “they work.” While some parents are horrified when they discover what their children are being subjected to, others are grateful to see any kind of “improvements” at all and may be willing to disregard the cost. But even if we allow that such treatments can sometimes be effective, the question is: how are they getting their effects? The answer may be that abuse is an effective way of forcing someone to modify their behavior — it works because the victim of abuse surrenders their own sense of autonomy and submits to the greater will of their abuser. They allow their inner world to be possessed by their oppressor, i.e., to receive the psychic imprint from them, because psychically, that is the only way to survive the abuse.
It may not be possible to turn autists into neurotypicals — any more than it was possible for me to turn myself into Clint Eastwood — but that doesn’t mean it’s not being tried. It may not be possible to turn autists into sociopathic killers by abusing them, either. But that doesn’t mean it’s not being tried. Lanza may not have been the Sandy Hook killer. He may not have been autistic. But two of the victims (Dylan Hockley, aged six, and Josephine Gay, aged seven) apparently were autistic, and this fact may provide a clue to the event and the unconscious (or conscious) design behind it. The persecution of autistic children, whether in the form of open hostility or more covertly expressed through “intervention,” reveals this mechanism clearly. Neurotypical parents, teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, government officials, et al., are trying to socialize autistic children and make them like they are. The effects of this sort of fear-driven intervention for the autist child may be similar to — or indistinguishable from — abuse. And abuse, as outlined above, is the best way to get a person to imitate their abuser. The problem is that this sort of “intervention” will cause the victim to imitate things that the interveners are not conscious of, and these are generally their very worst aspects.
 “Holding Therapy in the US generally has its foundations in Robert Zaslow’s rage-reduction therapy in the 60s and 70s and psychoanalytic theories of rage reduction. The therapy was frequently used in a number of clinics around the Evergreen area of Colorado after Foster Cline founded his first clinic there in the 70s and was, in its early stages, used as a treatment for autistic children. The practice was later used as a treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder and, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, frequently used with Russian and other Eastern European children who often had been raised in orphanages and adopted by parents in the US. In the UK it seems that a key event in the introduction of Holding Therapy was a visit by the American psychologist Martha Welsh in the 80s. Welsh had written a book called Holding Time which advocates the use of HT on autistic children, she later adapted the treatment for children diagnosed with RAD. . . . My understanding is that a small number of clinics started using HT as a treatment for autism at this time but these gradually ceased to operate as the theory that autism was caused by attachment failures with the mother was discredited. . . . By far the largest, most systematic and sophisticated programme [sic] of Holding Therapy in the UK began in about 1996 and was started in the North of England by a foster carer and her social worker. The programme began as a non-profit making project but was soon reinvented into a private company. . . . There is a theme that runs through the recent history of HT in the UK like the letters in a stick of Brighton Rock. It is simply that the people responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of these Looked After Children don’t seem to have asked any questions – they appear to have simply turned a blind eye. The inspectors responsible for its governance don’t even mention the words Holding Therapy or Attachment Therapy, the social workers don’t seem to even know, or say they don’t know, that this kind of therapy is taking place. [A]cademics such as Prior and Glaser presumed it was a nuturing [sic] form of HT that was being practised in the UK. It could always be glossed over in this way.”
 A year or less after I saw Dirty Harry, it was replaced as my number one movie by a very different film: Harold and Maude (also released in 1971). In retrospect, I was acknowledging a profound realization about myself. I wasn’t Harry — I was Harold!