Korifaeus Magazine

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How modern Psychiatry is failing the United States

Culture Clashes
by Korifaeus

Today i stood witness once again as to Culture Clashes and its impact on the mental well-being of those exposed to it. What got my attention was the way in which a wife spoke to her husband – both tourists, he originally from east-Germany, ( west-German border Region) and she from the Ukraine.

He ordered the coffee, since she did not speak english, and she gave him orders as to how to order, in ways that gave me an instant knot in my stomach. There was an obvious distance between them, which after 11 years of marriage between two very different individuals is not a surprising development. At some point she was sweet, nurturing, loving, giving it her best efforts promising to be a wife with whom a “harmonious” relationship can be formed – he married her and things began changing = she started ordering him around and no matter how he tried to accommodate her, he did everything wrong …..according to her.

At some point he’s not looking to go home after a long day of work, stays longer and longer at the office, she is getting suspicious accusing him of having an affair, while yet he just tries to avoid her temperament with which he has a tough time dealing – it gives him a knot in the stomach; divorce looms and hopefully they don’t have children by then and he gets out of the relationship before it can have a negative psychological as well as physiological impact on him and keeps his mental and physical well being.

The above is a typical example of an East/West relationship, i call a CCM = Culture Clash Marriage. An overwhelming number of folks from eastern European, as well as the Baltic and Black sea region, grow up in families in which folks not speak to one another, instead scream; couples yell at each other. also in front of their children, and at their kids, as well. Those having grown up in such families are numb to yelling, because it’s “normal” to them and to a point even “comforting”, giving them a feeling of “home”.

Most western folks, especially those from Mediterranean and Middle-eastern backgrounds, grow up in families where one speaks quietly and calmly with one another; screams and yells are never heard, especially not from parents addressing their children. It’s unthinkable and considered a taboo for mothers, or fathers, to scream at their children. Thus folks growing up in harmonious families experience “shock and awe” when witnessing families, or folks in general, scream at one another.

But opposites attract and when two people from very different backgrounds feel attracted to one another and all seems fine and mighty dandy at first – since it’s not uncommon that both are in seduce-mode courting to get married – the “alarm” bells are ignored, or believed they can be worked out. That’s rarely the case, however, unless one party is willing to give in = compromise.

I have YET to see a truly content Culture Clash Marriage. Should both stay together it’s usually either a “compromise” for the sake of the children and the ceasing of health, physiologically or psychologically, for one party in a CCM marriage

Where much of “modern” Psychiatry fails the United States, as well as other western countries and it’s people, is by the apparent inability to recognize ” Shock Syndrome”, resulting in spells of smaller nervous breakdowns, often times misdiagnosed as ” Bi-Polar disorder.

Example: Mrs. X is of Korean decent having been brought up in a Japanese/Korean family setting = folks talk in a low voice with one another; education and achievement is a priority. Mrs. X develops fine, has a quiet personality, is hard working and accomplished, has great jobs.

Now she meets Mister X, an American of Croatian background, growing up in a family where a nurturing mother was absent, instead he had a mother yelling at her children, and a brutal father. Mr. X is attracted by Mrs. X’s sweet and nurturing personality and they start dating. While she is successful, however, and has a well paying job, he’s a struggling artist, but she believes in him and is supportive of his endeavors.

They get married, move into a small studio, she brings home the bacon, while he takes care of the house, cooks, etc. But…. he feels inferior to her, feels financially dependent, thus starts belittling her, to make himself feel better about himself.

Her job is stressful, which used to never be a problem for her, now however she comes home and has no time to relax with her husband awaiting her at home to scream at her. A roller coaster ride begins for Mrs.X, and while she is trying to accommodate her husband, he points out flaw after flaw, until she is upset, wishes to retreat, suggesting they should split, when her husband assures her he loves her, but suggests she may have a mental disorder because she seems unable to deal with him and started eating a lot more in recent months.

Mrs. X did indeed eat more “sweet”, to contort her “nerves”. She also ate more fatty foods, to “comfort” her nerves. There is no escape for Mrs. X, and though her husband is not ” physically” abusing her, he is mentally abusing her, slowly talking her into seeing a Psychiatrist, while privately telling friends and neighbors as well as her mother that he suspects his wife may have a mental disorder, possibly bipolar, due to her mood-swings.

In the meantime he never tells anyone that he’s belittling her, screams at her day in day out. Mrs. X was brought up to never discuss private matters with friends or family. What’s in a marriage stays inside the marriage to be worked out by the couple, according to her culture.

That her mood changes shortly after coming home from work, with her husband seeking flaws and pointing them out, is “natural”, but….. not to the Psychiatrist she ends up seeing, who’s already been pre-conditioned by her Husband.

Diagnosis: Bibolar disorder, whereby Mrs. X is in actuality experiencing episodes leading to a nervous breakdown, which is neither a mental disorder nor a psychiatric illness, rather the result of “shock”, which she endures every time she comes home when being verbally assaulted and psychologically abused by her husband, trapped in a relationship with no possibility to get away from him to relax.

The example of Mrs. X is a common occurrence in America today. Most patients diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, mood swings, manic depressions, are married folks living in abusive relationships. Instead of finding the “cause” of the symptoms, many ( not all, thank goodness) modern Psychiatrists however, treat the “symptom”, prescribing medications.

A great many Psychiatrists are also from eastern European backgrounds, growing up in families in which parents yell ( at one another and their children), thus can’t imagine that there is a world out there that is harmonious, with folks communicating in “normal” tones of voices with one another.

It almost seems as though these Psychiatrists were put in place to make their own kind look “normal” while diagnosing the “normal” ones as mentally unstable, so to get away with their mentally abusive behavior, perhaps ? 😉

As a Reminder the Hippocratic Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the “hard-won” scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is “art” to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.



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