The Therapist Is In

What I know about therapy.

Do YOU Live With an Injustice Collector?

Sarah Palin scares me because she collects resentment and injustice.

There's something about Sarah Palin (seen here with some Barbarian friends) that's been bothering me. I realized she's an Injustice Collector. Her resentment at her ex-brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, loomed so large in her mind that it took precedence over governing the state of Alaska. Firing Walt Monegan, Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner, because he refused to fire Wooten, meted out the revenge she sought. In her capacity as Mayor Of Wasilla Alaska she also fired a top law enforcement official. Why? Like most Injustice Collectors, she fired them "because they were insufficiently loyal or not malleable enough."

Those of us who have grown up with an injustice collecting parent as well as those who are currently in a relationship with a person who's got a "bad" list that's endless, immediately recognize the Injustice Collector. Children who grow up with a parent that collects resentments have to resort to people pleasing to survive. Somehow people pleasers and injustice collectors are often attracted to one another. These are among the most challenging scenarios to work with in couple's therapy. If you're wondering if you or your partner or your child or parent are injustice collectors, read the top ten characteristics of people like this. If this person is in your life, you'll readily find them identified in the list below.

Characteristics of Injustice Collectors
1. Injustice collectors are never wrong. How is it possible that they are never wrong? It's simple: They are always right.
2. Injustice collectors never apologize. Ever. For anything.
3. Injustice collectors truly believe they are morally and ethically superior to others and that others seem incapable of holding themselves to the same high standards as the injustice collector does.
4. Injustice collectors make the rules, break the rules and enforce the rules of the family. They are a combination of legislator, police, judge and jury to those they consider their subjects. They forever banish from their kingdom any subject they deem disloyal, and only grant clemency if there is sufficient contrition.
5. Injustice collectors never worry about what is wrong with them as their "bad" list grows. Their focus is always on the failings of others.
6. Injustice collectors are never troubled by the disparity between their rules for others and their own expectations of themselves. Injustice collectors rationalize their own behavior with great ease and comfort.
7. Injustice collectors have an external orientation; the problem always exists in the world, outside of themselves, and in their view, the world would be an acceptable place if their rules and standards were followed at all times.
8. Injustice collectors do not have a capacity for remorse or guilt.
9. Injustice collectors scoff at the idea of therapy, therapists, self-help books, and other tools used by people who struggle to live with them.
10. The phrase "walking on eggshells" describes life with an injustice collector.

How many of those characteristics apply to Sarah Palin? In my opinion, way too many for comfort. An Injustice Collector should not be next in line to be the Commander In Chief of the U.S. Army.

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Mark Sichel is a psychotherapist in New York City and the author of Healing from Family Rifts.

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