Monday, December 17, 2007

The Danger of Dependance

This is the first of two posts on dependancy. This first one speaks of it in general terms. The next one will relate it to narcissism and to why we must avoid becoming dependent on a narcissist.

After the First Gulf War, a citizen of Kuwait, who was a friend of one of our teachers, came to speak to the students at our school about his experience. I was bowled over by something he said.

He said that the people of Kuwait had learned a very important lesson. When Saddam Hussein's Iraq attacked, they, as a people, were paralyzed. They offered no resistence whatsoever. Iraq went through Kuwait like a hot knife through butter because in Kuwait it was every man for himself as the Kuwaitis all just fled into hiding and sat there waiting for ... guess who?

Uncle Sam ... to come and save them.

He said that he and his countrymen were ashamed of this, that they should have at least organized some resistence and done whatever was possible to help themselves and each other. But they sat there as if helpless.

Then he explained what was wrong with them. He said it was because they had the mindset of children.

Let's consider that mindset. Try to remember it if you can.

What do children do in an emergency? Imagine that a tornado has just gone through your neighborhood and that your family comes out of the basement onto a scene of destruction. You set your little girl down in a safe place and go off to see if the neighbors are OK. She sees the neighbors' puppy caught under a tree limb and crying in pain. What does she do? Does she think, "I can go over there and try to help that poor puppy or at least pet it till someone strong enough to move the branch comes along."

No. It isn't that she refuses to help that puppy: it's that the thought that she might help it never even crosses her mind. It never occurs to her that she can and should do something to help that puppy herself. She just sits there waiting for some grownup to come along and take care of things. Why? Because she's a child. And that is a child's role.

Therefore, in any disaster, children will sit there, literally picking their noses, and just waiting for some grownup to come along and take care of them. They won't lift a finger to do anything to help themselves, let alone each other. Even though there be things they could well do to make things better.

They just never even THINK of doing anything themselves. They are children. They view themselves as here for OTHERS to take care of.

The man from Kuwait said that the people of Kuwait had become like children. How? Was it because they were lazy and degenerate? No! Was it because they were poor? No! To the contrary, the people of Kuwait were all rich by any standards. They all lived on such a generous monthly handout of oil money from the government that the citizens of Kuwait didn't have to work for a living.

The entire work force of Kuwait was comprised of foreigners. The Kuwaiti people were so well off they didn't even cook their own meals or clean their own homes. They got a monthly allowance from the government to pay others to do everything for them. Foreigners built the roads, ran the oil fields, doctored them, taught in their schools, maintained law and order ... everything.

In other words, the Kuwaiti people were dependent on a nanny state so wealthy the handouts were huge. The people of Kuwait had become so used to being taken care of that they lost the ability to take care of themselves. He said that the Kuwaiti people were determined to change this.

Not that timy Kuwait should have been able to hold off Iraq, but the Kuwaitis should have been able to resist and slow the advance of the invasion to be worthy of aid by lending a hand in their own defense. For their own sakes = the sake of their self-respect.

We saw a similar phenomenon within the City of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The City of New Orleans is unique in that a huge percentage of its people were dependant on the welfare state. And they behaved differently than people outside the City of New Orleans did.

They had become like children who just sat there wringing their hands at what was going on around them and complaining before the wind had even died down yet that the federal government wasn't there already and taking care of them in the middle of a storm bigger than Great Britain.

You could tell that it never occured to them to do anything about those injured people on that flooding stairway themselves! President Bush was supposed to be there taking of that. It never occured to them that since he wasn't, maybe they should do something about the situation themselves.

This was also about the only example of a disaster in America resulting in a breakdown of law and order (though it was exaggerated by a magnitude of about 15 times in the press). Normally, when a hurricane strikes, the lights go out, or the earth quakes, there is no looting and no increase in the crime rate. In fact the crime rate usually falls. Presumably that's because even the bad guys are busy helping to dig their neighbor out of the rubble. They don't view the disaster as nothing but a chance to get away with something while the cops have their hands full.

Again, that would be the mindset of children: when the teacher leaves the room, they act up, because they have no sense of responsibility.

Outside the City of Orleans, that helpless whining just didn't happen. People showed wonderful resourcefulness and energy and love for their neighbor. They were too busy helping themselves and their neighbor to rag at the TV cameras about why the 101st Airborne Division hadn't parachuted in yet (since that would have been the only way to get federal aid there at the time - though this is not to deny that it did take way too long in the end and was a fiasco).

Again, this isn't because the people in New Orleans were lazy or degenerate: it is because dependancy had robbed them of something. It had left them feeling powerless, as powerless as children.

But they aren't. They have just been killed with kindness.

Here's a third example. A few years ago, 15,000 people died during a heat wave in France, the country that boasts it has the world's greatest healthcare system, which is absolutely free for all. Yet these people died because there were no hospitals open.

They were mostly elderly poor, who seldom have fans or air conditioning. It was during August, when everyone is on vactation, so all the hospitals are closed. When the morgues started filling up, no one in the government, no doctors or nurses - no one - cut short their vacation to return home and deal with the mounting disaster. There was no effort to OPEN THE HOSPITALS! The dead weren't discovered for weeks because neighbors and relatives never thought to check on them and see if they were OK.

That was for someone else to do, you see. That is Mother Government's job. Make sure you're clear on this: it wasn't that these are all mean people who refused to care for their neighbor: it just never occured to them that they should care for their neighbor.

They view the government as here to take care of them, and they view themselves as here to be be taken care OF by the government. Just as children view their parents as here to take care of them and view themselves as here to be taken care OF.

When that's your mindset and you see a ditch that needs digging, you don't grab a shovel. You never even THINK of grabbing a shovel.

The common denominator in all these examples is dependancy. People dependant on handouts (or any form of being taken care of) become like children. This would happen to you or I if we became dependent, too.

I remember a group of Russians speaking at our school just after the Fall of the Soviet Union. One man explained to us how difficult the situation was for the Russian people. He said that only the very old, those who knew what life was like before Communism, knew what to do in the brave new world. They showed resourcefulness and soon were setting up livlihoods for themselves, selling chickens, cabinetry, or whatever else they could think of to earn a few bucks. But the younger were totally hapless.

In their world the governemnt had picked a career for them, educated and trained them for it, found a job for them, and then took care of all their needs for life. When the government was no longer there to do all that, they were left as helpless as orphaned children. (In fact, their progress in such a short time since is amazing! They certainly are fast learners, but it wasn't easy to change that dependent mindset.)

Now this sounds like an indictment of socialism, and I guess it is, but note that an extreme right-wing government makes people just as dependant on it, with the same outcome. Coming from a different angle, Nazi Germany, for example, made the people just as childishly dependent on Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich.

Next time, I will show that narcissists never outgrow the child's mindset. I will also show how dangerous it is to let a narcissist make you dependent on him or her.

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At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is where I tend to see a "middle ground". I have no problem with programs designed to help people, and I DO consider myself a Socialist, just not as radical as others. However, I KNOW that people out there WILL take advantage of a "nanny government"(Like leech sociopaths or other social deviants), which can end up creating more problems. Help only works on those willing to help themselves. If they can't or won't, then a "hand out" won't help them. Problem is that if a welfare recipient tries to work along with getting benefits, then they lose the benefits, and the job alone isn't enough to support them. Like a Catch 22, really.

But, at the same time, if there's nothing that helps a person helps themselves and they're expected to handle things on their own, then that too is a breeding ground for predators because they KNOW that people will try to handle the problem themselves. Or that the person isn't able to "do it all", or "reach a certain level" on their own, but there's nothing to help them. It's sadly why some bullying/stalking victims DON'T ask for help because they think they can handle it themselves or that they're supposed to.

Best bet is to not be afraid to ask or accept help (not that I blame people for not wanting to because you can't trust everyone), but be PROACTIVE in your own help. That will ward off most predators.

Do you have any cites or references about Kuwaait or France? Because, I honestly find it hard to believe that the French sat there and did nothing or that HOSPITALS were closed. And there's something about Kuwaait too. Like, how women still didn't have rights and how they were supposedly actually stealing oil from Iraq and then cried for help when Iraq invaded. Kind of like the victim continuing to stare at the bully when ask/told to quit staring.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

For Kuwait, no. That Kuwaiti man was the only one I heard that from. But it does square with the known facts: Kuwait had no resistence going at all. And it stands to reason. people do lose the ability to take care of themselves.

As for France, I don't have all the links anymore. Just Google it yourself. It was huge news in Europe. France wasn't the only country it happened in either. But it was so ironic in the case of France because it boasts the best healthcare system in the world.

It isn't just lazy people and degenerates who become helpless. It WILL happen to anyone. Truly. i know. I have seen it. They are good people, but they become helpless as children. They lose their self respect when they have to accept handouts. They don't view themselves as capable.

Those laws you mentioned were a huge problem in the past, because they supressed any effort of those on welfare to work. I think the Republican majority got rid of those laws though. There's plenty of room for reasonable people to debate how to run welfare so as not to perpetuate and deepen poverty, but I think all reasonable people must agree that handouts must be given as carefully as perscription drugs, because they can become addictive. And it doesn't take a weak or bad person to get addicted.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

PS French hospitals are closed every August. Try to get into on on a weekend, too.

The government can barely afford the system. (It has had to borrow money once just to make payroll.) So everyone MUST take a vacation and no one MAY ever work overtime. The best vactaion time is August, and everyone wants it. It's an equality and money-saving measure. In fact, in the few scattered hospitals that were left partially open, all the equipment was locked up, and sick people couldn't be treated with it because beurocrats refused to unlock the machines. I'm sure you'll find tons of stuff about it on the Internet.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

PSS, Kuwait was "stealing" from Iraq? Where did you get that? That was Saddam Hussein's line. He isn't credible. Remember, he's the guy who also claimed that he won that war.

No little guy stares at a big guy to pick a fight.

The Kuwaitis were drowing in oil and money. What motive to steal then?

Why would they risk war by stealing? Were they crazy, or what? Look at the horrible consequences of war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Come on.

And what do women's rights have to do with it?

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a link Kathy. I remember this story,really unbelievable.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dependancy grows deeper roots than most imagine, I think. The example of New Orleans shows that. Not just a few, but many "news" clips showed people not just whining, but standing in the streets and screaming about not having handouts. "NOBODY'S GIVING US NOTHING!!" Many were absolutely outraged at the handout delay. Like little babies wailing for Mommie's breast.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I know what you mean. You wondered if those people ever heard or saw themselves. See how they transformed it in their own minds into something they are owed. Something they don't have to be grateful to their fellow Americans for. They have a claim on other people's lives. I don't blame them: it's the situation. Look how rich the Kuwaitis were, and they did the same thing for the same reason - childlike dependence.

A different race, a different culture, a different socio-economic status, but the same result.

I remember seeing the same thing on C_SPAN in Southeren Iraq when the British arrived with food and water. Just demanding, trampling each other in the stampede, no gratitude. Not lifting a finger for themselves - except to loot everything in sight. That was another nanny state, with a ferocious nanny, but a nanny nonethless.

People are the same everywhere. Only cultures are different. Some, like ours, promote self reliance, and we are better off because of it I think.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

Welfare has always been a difficult issue for me because it's a system full of complex problems with no easy solution. I've never had a problem with it, but I've always believed that it should be limited in some way, but that's why it's a complex issue.

"It isn't just lazy people and degenerates who become helpless. It WILL happen to anyone. Truly. i know. I have seen it. They are good people, but they become helpless as children. They lose their self respect when they have to accept handouts. They don't view themselves as capable."

If someone can choose to be evil, then wouldn't it stand to reason that someone could CHOOSE to be dependent and childlike because they think they're entitled to a life without having to work for others or contribute to society?

If someone loses their self-respect for having to accept a "handout", then isn't it because they believed the negative opinions of using it? That they somehow weren't "self-reliant" or "weak" for seeking assistance? Or because they're told what they can/can't buy with the food card/money, thus implying that they can't make their own decisions? It's true that many of the poor are undereducated, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're stupid or incapable.

Anything can become an addiction, that's true, but if someone becomes "addicted to welfare", it could very easily be because they like the "free money" and don't want to risk losing it. Most people actually do get off of it after a few years, so the "lifers" are actually in the minority. They're just the most memorable and visible.

Speaking of entitlement, I've been around fandoms that claim that being on welfare is like "winning the lottery." Because then, they don't have to work at things they don't want to do. To them work=cutting into anime/video game/what they want to do time. No argument works to sway them.

I looked up the info on France, and all I can say is YIKES. I don't have a problem with their system, but I hope they've addressed those awful faults. As for going to help others, too many people just think that it's "not their problem". Then, of course, there are those who are unwilling to accept help, for whatever reason.

As for Kuwait, from what I understand, the women are taught to be very dependent on men and while they have more choices than say, Saudi Arabia, they still aren't really allowed much independence at all. They live in "gilded cages", so to speak. I don't know how true that is now, though.


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