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.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism