The Speech of Freedom The voiceless in the family

Sometimes one person in a family is deprived of the right to speak, because other members of the family don’t like what she or he has to say. Maybe, when this person speaks, others in the family say “See, she says vile and bad things. That’s because she’s bad. Or mad!” And so it goes …

From bad to mad! Once declared mad, the person cannot speak normally. Everything she says is interpreted as a manifestation of their madness and is dismissed — it is explained as part of their deranged thinking. And the victimized person cannot comment on this. They are caught in a double bind.

In Sanity Madness and the Family, R.D. Laing and Aaron Esterson explore several families of so-called schizophrenics, showing how the communication systems create a chasm where the “mad person” is confined. This pattern of communication was frequently found in the families of schizophrenics.

No wonder some people choose to be silent while other around then blabber loudly. They are unable to utter the speech of freedom, so take refuge in the freedom of silence.

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9 months ago