Just Listen

The secret to getting through to anyone, anywhere, anytime

Loser Siblings: Sound Like Anyone You Know?

Sadly most of you know of a family with a member 18+ that the included profile fits, but you probably don't talk to them about that child, because the conversation is awkward and you don't have a solution for them. Read on to find that there is a solution in the form of outpatient, treatment where you live, psychiatric and/or drug/substance abuse rehabilitation. Read More

This is an advertisement

Should a PT post be an advertisement for psych services?

Why is this ad on the list of articles?

The articles posted to the main feed on this site could use a great deal more oversight. This one for instance is purely an ad.

Loser Doctors: Sound Like Anyone You know?

Most doctors on PT create the anxious patients they desire. It's the same thing with the saying that goes: "The Pharmaceutical industry DOES NOT create cures, they create customers."

We can adapt that to: The Psychology Industry DOES NOT create cures, they create customers.

Given that the pharmaceutical and psychiatry/psychology are heavily partnered up -- who in their right mind, would trust their lives to you? And given that your industry spreads blatant discriminatory propaganda, that are eugenics-based, such as EXTRAVERSION is superior -- pumping out blogs, so-called "research", scientific papers, administering personality tests -- all of this has a worldwide effect (DSM), from education studies/institutions to workplaces and top LinkedIn "Influencers" (who are mostly Extrovert managers)...all advocating for and embracing the Extrovert person over the Introvert.

The DSM is Western propaganda, under the guise of "mental health"; and given that Western nations are known for their "Extroversion" while other nations are considered "Introverted" -- people are being manipulated to believe that Extroversion is superior. In making this claim, it's much like before women's liberation -- you get to CONTROL the lower-status group. Many minorities belong to the Introverted group or perceived that way because of their skin colour, looks or accent.

The main reason for Extroversion to be better is for CONTROL over the lower-status population; and fight for resources such as jobs, female reproduction - growth, opportunities....basically to elevate the WHITE population and give them more advantages over minorities. There is a fear of browning of Western nations -- admit it people! And any WHITE Introverts who don't make it as an ambivert or get lost in this structured hierarchical system, well too bad, so sad -- we got psychiatric pills for you to shut you up and numb you.

Not sure I would want to send

Not sure I would want to send a sibling who fits that profile to someone who would label them a loser. Gives us a glimpse about how you feel about the patient. Imagine if a doctor was soliciting siblings of "retards".

Ignorant and dehumanizing

I agree - I can't believe Psychology Today would publish an article with such an ignorant, dehumanizing view of people with mood and anxiety disorders. To expand on your excellent point about disabilities, would the author suggest that someone who dropped out of 9th grade because of Down's Syndrome would be better off dead because they can't contribute to society? It's shamefully irresponsible for a mental health professional to post an article that implies that some people really should commit suicide, and the author's claim that no-one will identify with the description is beyond disingenuous considering the number of people with depression who read this site.

Re: "Loser" term

I don't view them as "losers," but their fed up, angry functioning siblings do and think that their parents and maybe even mental health professionals are not being firm enough with them.

I used the term to grab the attention of the often successful and highly responsible sibling that wants nothing to do with this "troubled" sibling, but who keeps being drawn in by the parents who are at their wits end about what to do.

The functioning and successful sibling often feels more for their parents' anguish than that of their troubled sibling and may intervene for the benefit of relieving stress in their parents rather than because of deep compassion (which they once had, but got burned out) for their sibling.

response to a reader

A reader privately approached me about a sibling and parent that the above blog described. I suggested he say or send something like the following to that sibling. Feel free to use it, improve upon it or criticize it:

Dear____,

I am writing you this because I don't think we can have a conversation without it turning out to sound like I am lecturing you.

I need your help with something. Everyone in our family loves you, thinks you're smart and talented and is worried that if you do not take a different approach to your life that people your age who are less smart and less talented will move way past you. And then when that happens, you will either try some huge idea to try in order to catch up with them or pass them by. The problem with trying anything new is that the work doesn't start until you run into obstacles that takes some of your excitement and enthusiasm away and make you think, 'Well that's not fun, must be the wrong thing, time to switch to something else.'

I would welcome the chance at any time to speak with you about what your dream life would look like at age (whatever two years from now is) in terms of what you would be doing, what friendships and relationships with what kind of people you will be having and anything else. I will then want to understand why you selected those so I can better understand you and then would love to work backwards from each of those about how to make them all come true.

I hope you consider this an invitation and not an order or obligation.

I'm writing it because I love you.

My apologies

I can see that this article offended many, which was not my intent. I will plead guilty to wanting to provoke people to read about the increasing problem of people with severe psychiatric, drug and alcohol problems not getting the treatment they require because they not following through on it. The article is about a way to increase the chances of their following through and therefore getting better with the assistance of a skilled person who comes to them where they live.

This article is directed at the functioning sibling who has a troubled and troubling sibling that is creating much stress and distress in the family, especially for the parents. The listed profile is what that functioning sibling who may have lost patience with their troubled sibling often thinks.

The purpose of the article is to point out that there is a solution to help the non-cooperative and non-compliant person with psychiatric, drug or alcohol problems that involved case managers coming to where those patients reside and helping them get started doing things with them that will help become active and then after that productive.

Merely suggesting such activities to such patients if they do happen to come for treatment and having the patient agree to follow through doesn't work in the cases of noncooperative and non-compliant people. If what they have requires treatment and they are not even making it to the treatment much less following through, more often than not they will remain stuck.

Reading this confirmed all my

Reading this confirmed all my worst fears about myself and I am what you call a loser sibling. My life fell apart and it's taking me a longer than anyone would like to get back on track. You were wrong about a loser not reading this and it is beyond damaging. You basically told me with #20 that I was right all along. Stating such a thing about suicide is damaging in ways you must not understand.

Dear Anonymous

It took a lot of courage for you to write as you have. And you're articulate so I know you are smart.

#20 on that list is just what any group of people feel when everyone is in anguish and there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight. It's the keeping it a secret that makes the vibes so devastatingly negative and causes the atmosphere to feel so futile.

What is most important right now is for you not to lose the courage it took for you to write and instead go to your biggest detractors in your family, or better yet, ask to meet with all of them together. Print up this blog and give them all a copy and then say:

"I know some or many or on a very bad day view me in these ways. I would like any and all of your help. Going forward what one or two positive and consistent behaviors -- and please make them small and doable -- that if I developed into habits and which negative behaviors if I were to eliminate completely - and again go sparingly with those - would cause you to put my past behind me and to root for me."

I believe you can do this. If instead you think, "But you just don't get it doc. There's just too much crap to overcome," I'd like you to replace that with, "Up until now, there's just been too much crap to overcome."

This was a great share on your part and I thank you for it.

Thank you to Anonymous

You helped me to rethink #20 to reflect what may be going on when such a person is "frustrating" everyone who tries to help them. In some way it's a way of causing other people to temporarily feel the kind of "powerlessness" that this person feels all the time.

If that is true, you can then say to everyone, "How powerless are you feeling with me right now?"

Hopefully everyone will agree and say, "Very."

At that point you can say, "What if the way you're feeling with me right now, you felt all the time with no escape or break? What would that be like for you?"

Hopefully some will say, "That would be pure hell."

Then you can say, "Welcome to my world."

When people feel most discouraged and alone in it, many of them don't want be figured out, or even feel understood, they want to feel felt. Because that's how alone it feels inside that person to be felt by no one in the world.

Thanks for responding and I

Thanks for responding and I know that I will get back on my feetand out on my own again. I appreciate what you are saying but you are assuming that every family actually empathizes with their "loser" sibling. Some families just make things harder and almost unbearable. I also think your list doesn't take into account that life isn't that black and white. Every person has different circumstances for why they may be a "loser" and until you know what has happened to that person I wouldn't dare assume they are a "loser". In my case, I graduated college and became a loser when I could no longer handle my abusive marriage and sexual assault. None of which I could share with my family.

You are right that life isn't black and white

If you haven't heard of NAMI (at: http://nami.org), I'd suggest you check them out. They are a free resource to patients and families dealing with mental illness. More than that they are a heartfelt caring organization where you will feel welcomed instead of judged.

It really is hard when you lose the support of your family.

I also think it helps to find groups dealing with as close the same issues as you are. Most people resist going to them at first, but when you find the right one after you get over saying to yourself, "well this is a group I never wanted to be a member of," you can feel a level of acceptance that with time can cross over into more of a will to deal with life.

I do apologize if my blog "retraumatized you." The point of it was really to point out that there are an increasing number of out patient psychiatric and psychological rehabilitation programs that help you where you live much as the AA community does.

I'm hoping that there will be more in the future, because sometimes having a caring and skilled person do things with you in a supportive, non-judgmental way works better than a well meaning professional telling you what to do, but then your not having the motivation or energy to push yourself to do it.

There is such a place I know of in Southern California where I interviewed all the case managers who go out to help people to find out why they seemed to be so effective. What struck me as so special about these case managers was not only their skills, but that they accepted and greatly enjoyed the people they worked with and these were people who hadn't felt accepted or enjoyed by anyone in a long time.

agreed with Loser Doctors diagnosis.

This article came across as mean-spirited and the author as lacking empathy. I cringe to think doctors and psychologists are out there thinking their clients are just hopeless losers...

Re: Loser

yes, I would agree it is harsh. I have a brother who has taken advantage of everyone in my family. He has never been a father to his children instead blaming his X for everything. His children are now older and have learned from him to take advantage of my mother. It is devastating to watch her be financially, emotionally and mentally abused and drained. She would not even turn him in when he stole her social security money because she has enabled him for so long she feels she is "helping" him and his children. He just turned 41 and no one in my moms family will speak to her because of him. She blames him. Finally after years I called social services because she was in danger of losing her apartment because of his theft and his daughter living (smoking in the apartment) at her home. Because she is not "incompetent" and makes these decisions willingly there is nothing that can be done. LOSER is the correct if politically incorrect term.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Mark Goulston, M.D., is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

more...

Subscribe to Just Listen

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.