Quinzell Covington went on a shooting “caper” for the first time in the late 1990s with his cousins and friends. The tough guys who raised him in ways of the streets pulled the trigger that day. Afterward, over Chinese takeout, Covington tried to ingratiate himself with the crew by declaring that their victim got what he deserved.
He was about 13 years old. Growing up, he knew it was wrong to shoot a man. Still, Covington said, he didn’t feel remorse. What he did feel was that his crew had newfound respect for him.
By 15, he was the one doing the shooting. Over the next dozen years, Covington learned to do it well. He used 9 mm guns that held 16 bullets and Mac-10 submachine guns. He lured victims to his turf, where he could scout for witnesses and surveillance cameras, in what he called his “Miranda check” — a macabre reference to the right to remain silent.
He also knew where to aim.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Shoot to Kill: Why Baltimore is one of the most lethal cities in the U.S. Source: Baltimore Sun
The Male Socialization Process of African American Males
All people are situated in an historical as well as a culteral process. Any understanding of African American men must be based understanding the African American history and culture. This implies that counseling approaches must be based on an understanding of African Americans. Young African American men in today’s society are confronted with many challenges and difficulties that can and often do affect their psychological developement.
Historically, Manhood and masculinity has not been a birthright for the African American male and to this day is not accepted as such by the majority of the American society. With the forces impacting the development of African American men, it is essential that dedicated counselors help and support them to develop attitudes and behaviors that will enable them to function psycho-socially in this demanding world.
Adolescent African American males keep facing great hardships and obstacles as they mature. The central issue is that they are raised in an antagonistic, hostile and non-supportive environment. Often the environment includes poverty, criminal justice and injustice, unemployment, inequitable educational opportunities and negative media images.
A African American male’s gender identity and masculinity has been and keeps on being unstable. It must be earned and and is being tested on a daily basis. A man can’t simply be manly, he should continually “validate” it. The socially endorsed masculine behaviors require men to work against the fulfillment of their own needs, to compete, to be aggressive, and to evaluate their lifelong success in accordance with and the perspective of others. Male’s are caught in this impossible-to-win situation: ig he lives out the role society has written for him, his basic needs stay unfullfilled, if he satisfys his needs, chances are he is being judged by societ or even himself, not to be a real man.
Today’s socially accepted picture of a male, especially the African American male is that he doesn’t verbally express his feelings, either because he doen’t have any or because he has been taught not to. It appears many African American males have problems expressing feelings openly, giving up emotional control and are being vulnerable to self, others, and new experiences.
Given Afro-American history, the Afro-American man has – for many generations –
been taught to ignore his own feelings and become out of touch with with his body. He doesn’t recognize internal stress, strain and symptoms of illnesses as such. If he is aware of his inner distress he usually doens’t accept these signs and refuses to see a doctor. This behavior opens the door for diseases like cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and mental illnesses.
Strongly related to the issue of Black masculinity are the problems encountered on the path to manhood. Most Americans are aware of the presence of young African American men but they are generally viewed as a source of tension, trouble and problems within the social structure because the American society does not allow them to stay in touch with their feelings and express them in a healthy way.
Practitioner Related Issues
Therapist need to be aware of their own biases. African Americans may be especially wary of the motives of authority figures and thus may test relationships before allowing themselves to develop trusting and intimate bonds with a therapist. The negative portrayal of African American men as absent from families and remiss as providers have left many practitioners devoid of basic knowledge or effective intervention strategies applicable to Black men.
The recognition of African American males as resources for sustaining the well-being of Black families can enhance the development of effective therapeutic intervention. Practitioners with a stereotypical view of African American males will fail to utilize their strengths jeopardize the effectiveness of the intervention. This stereotypical framework could result in a self-fulfilling prophecy of poor client follow-up, premature termination, and failure to achieve treatment goals.
Counseling Dyad Issues
Women therapist struggle with balancing the power of their professional position with women’s more traditional roles of nurturer and caretaker. When women therapists are asked to generate a quick list of adjectives that describe male clients as they choose manipulative, hostile, intellectualizing, passive, distant, rigid, dominating, childlike, and generally uninterested in change.
Women have been taught to take cake of men without asking them to face their own vulnerability. Women therapist have also tended to ignore the sexual component of therapy with men. They often don’t find it clinically vital to explore male client’s fantasies and feelings towards them. The male client’s seduction or attraction can mean different things, since sexuality is a socially approved mechanism by which many men express not only lust, but care, dependency, connection, sadness, and anger.
Additionally, nothing intimidates most women therapist more than their male client’s anger. Some men try to control therapy by yelling, storming out of sessions, refusing to speak, or aggressively engage in intellectual argument. The female clinician must learn to confront without being critical and to set limits without being punitive.
The first task for the male therapist is to become more clear about their own values. Therapist, in particular male therapist, have been exposed to the traditional notions of male identity, role, and behavior. It could happen, then, that a male therapist may find it perplexing, and even threatening, when one of his male clients espouses nontraditional attitudes or behaviors. Restrictive emotionality also can plaque the male therapist.
The male therapist may be more likely to resort to corrective action rather than sharing the affective experiences of the client. Oftentimes the issue of homophobia- fear of close relationships with others of the same sex-can intensify issues of self-disclosures, intimacy, and trust. Homophobia encourages men to remain distant and view each other as competitors rather than as possible friends.
The male sex-role requires that men be independent, strong, self-reliant, competitive, achievement-oriented, powerful, adventurous, and emotionally restrained. These characteristics both take a toll on men’s physical and mental health, and make it difficult for men to seek and utilize psychological services. The traditional male role is a self-denying and stoic-heroic combination of characteristics. It appears that men seek therapy only as a last resort, when their lives are in very serious trouble or absolutely chaotic.
Even in crises most men will not seek therapy of their own volition, but at the insistence of someone else-either a wife or partner, a physician, a clergy-person, or an employer. Therapy can cause a great deal of anxiety since most men have developed cognitive schema which lead them to believe that exploring their sense of self can lead only to humiliation and rejection, especially if this exploration is done with other men. The results of this gender-type processing make it almost impossible for most men to find traditional therapeutic setting understandable, comfortable, or effective.
Once a man does choose to enter therapy, it is imperative that the therapeutic approach employed respond to his needs, his personality, and the behavioral expression of his gender schema. The therapeutic environment is tilted against men in that traditionally “feminine” values define the ideal client: the ability to tolerate feelings and put them into words, access to emotions, the capacity to talk about vulnerabilities and wounds, and to turn to others for help in their resolution.
Men come into therapy with a mix of reluctance, resistance, and hope. They may have little idea of what’s wrong in their life, except that they’ve lost their jobs, drink to much, or can’t make their relationships work. Seeking therapy is in itself humiliating for men. It is public admission that they couldn’t do it by themselves, that they are hurting and unhappy. Coming for treatment runs counter to the male ideal of competence and performance. Shame is also central to what leaves men feeling bad about themselves.
Historically, African American males have often been betrayed. African American men are not likely to share personal vulnerabilities. This tendency is not only a gender-related characteristic, but it is a racial characteristic, given the psychohistory of betrayal in the lives of African American men. Most African American men see no need for therapy. Their struggles with self doubt, vulnerability, relationships, or inability to cope with life events do not necessarily lead them to seek out mental health services.
Therapy is perceived as compromising “manliness” and “machismo.” African American male socialization teaches that men should be able to solve their own problems and that one should never drop his defenses with white people or risk his personal safety. The institution of slavery undermined African American men’s sense of trust, power, and control in many ways. Treatment for African American men must not only embrace the impact of racism and the contemporary concerns of African American people but also reflect aspects of African heritage, cognitive styles and psychological defenses. All African Americans, regardless of educational achievements and socioeconomic, have to some degree been traumatized by pervasive racism.
- Take steps to develop trust which is the crucial first step in treating African American men. Premature interpretations of the client’s problems may be perceived as professional arrogance, disrespect, or even an unfortunate display of “magical powers.”
- Recognize the presence of real socioeconomic barriers to the well-being and the performance of the provider role, as well as acknowledge and enhance individual efforts to overcome these barriers.
- Assist African American male clients must be given a way to become informed about his true history and culture.
- Provided role models and the information about how they have succeeded and not simply that they did make it.
- Assist African American male clients understand the variety of ways in which strength can be expressed and that he is not limited to traditional or macho pursuit such as sports.
- Assist African American male clients understand how he can develop a healthy relationship with African American women.
- Have clients become more aware of the challenges facing African American males internationally, nationally, and locally.
- Critically explore clients’ image of African American men.
- Regularly stress the notion of talking about responsibility, strength, character, giving, caring, sharing, and masculinity.
- Assist clients in developing a sense of brotherhood with other African American males while helping them increase their network of male friends.
- Explore therapeutic relationship regarding levels of intimacy and attraction.
- Recognizing therapeutic battles as attempts to connect.
- Talk about shame.
- Recognize the role of shame.
- Identifying with men – reassuring the client of both his feelings and his normalcy as a man.
- Talk about love.
- Increased awareness of the challenges associated with being African American and male and the notion of masculinity from a Black perspective.
- Increased awareness that a positive African American man develops, protects, and cares for his body/physical health.
- Increased awareness that a positive African American man develops and uses his mind to its fullest capacity by fostering the development of attitudes and skills for optimal academic achievement.
- Increased awareness that a positive African American man has an indomitable spirit by fostering an understanding the major life roles and responsibilities of the African American male.
- Increased tolerance of emotional pain and hurt.
- Increased ability to access and share feelings.
- An increased sense of responsibility towards maintaining and enhancing one’s mental health.
Strategies for Creating a Welcoming Counseling Environment
- Make an agency wide commitment to better serve African American men.
- Encourage staff to participate in professional development activities that increase their awareness and empathy for African American men and issues they face.
- Increase the number of African American male professionals on staff.
- Develop support and therapy groups for African American males.
- Increase staffs presence on campus via general programmatic outreach activities.
- Develop programs that focus on the interactions and relationships between African American men and women.
- Develop programs that foster the development of skills that enhance self-esteem and self-worth (i.e. leadership training retreat, communication skills training workshops, etc.).
- Develop program activities that speaks directly to issues affecting African American men.
- Develop liaison relationships with campus organizations with significant male membership (i.e. fraternity, student government).
Prejudices attitudes…are irrational, unjust, or intolerant dispositions towards others. They are often accompanied by stereotyping. This is the attribution of supposed characteristics of the whole group to all its individual members.
It seems most useful to us to define prejudice as failure of rationality or failure of justice or a failure of human-heartedness in an individual’s attitude toward member of an ethnic group.
An emotional, rigid attitude (a predisposition to respond to a certain stimulus in a certain way) toward a group of people.
Thinking ill of others without sufficient warrant.
An unsubstantiated pre-judgment of an individual or group, favorable or unfavorable in character, tending to action in a consonant direction.
A pattern of hostility in interpersonal relations which is directed against an entire group, or against its individual members; it fulfills a specific irrational function for its bearer.
Hostility or aggression toward individuals on the basis of their group membership.
Prejudice is now commonly viewed as having two components: hostility and misinformation.
An unfavorable attitude toward an object which tends to be highly stereotyped, emotionally charged, and not easily changed by contrary information.
An adult survivor of child sexual abuse cannot be categorised in any way, such are the complex dynamics and deep trauma at work in this situation. Generally speaking, adults will normally have one of two postures towards life after such abuse, they will either collapse or they will attempt to rise above the abuse.
The collapsed outcome is an adult who often has easily recognisable symptoms and problems that stop them from being functional in one or more areas of their life, often with depressive, or addictive, or victim status personas, or require ongoing medical assistance to cope with life.
The second outcome where one “rises above the abuse and its shame” are nominally those who dissociate from the abuse trauma, soldier on and are able to maintain for some time an intact functional life in work and social settings, but who often withdraw or have impairment issues in intimate relationships.
Some behaviours and coping mechanisms common to both groups can include impulses to abuse another person in some way, sexual promiscuity or sexual frigidity or fluctuations between the two, prostitution, alcohol or drug dependency, suicidal thinking or attempts, self mutilation, abusive relationships or absence from relationships. There is a body of evidence that psychosomatic medical disorders are seen to accompany sexually abused children later in life.
#csa survivor, #borderlinerage, borderline #narcissisticmother, #borderlinemen, #borderlineabuse
Copyright: Mary Kite
Men with BPD are characterised by affective disturbance. They suggest a dysphoric effect is present, experienced through rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror and chronic feelings of emptiness.
Additionally, a pervasive pattern of instability that can be over a period of time or momentarily has been well documented. Individuals experience this as a rapid and fluid reactivity from one interpersonal state to another.
What may help:
Learn more about DBT:
Distress Tolerance Skills:
- DISTRESS TOLERANCE SKILLS
- RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
- DISTRACT YOURSELF FROM SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIORS
- DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH PLEASURABLE ACTIVITIES
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY PAYING ATTENTION TO SOMEONE ELSE
- DISTRACT YOUR THOUGHTS
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY LEAVING
- DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH TASKS AND CHORES
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY COUNTING
- CREATE YOUR DISTRACTION PLAN
- RELAX AND SOOTHE YOURSELF
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Smell
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Touch
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Taste
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Hearing
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Vision
- Self-Soothing – CREATE A RELAXATION PLAN
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills:
- Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment
- SAFE-PLACE VISUALIZATION
- CUE-CONTROLLED RELAXATION
- REDISCOVER YOUR VALUES
- SELF-ENCOURAGING COPING THOUGHTS
- TAKE A TIME-OUT
- LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
- IDENTIFY YOUR HIGHER POWER
- ADVANCED RADICAL ACCEPTANCE