First off, I’d like to point out how awesome of a word that is. It almost looks like a death metal band name.
What do I mean by “dehumanization”, I pretend to hear you ask. I simply mean the actions of other reducing your self-esteem, whether that be by accident or on purpose. To be clear, I don’t mean reducing self-esteem like “I’m no pretty”, I am referring to no longer feeling worthy of any sort of human interaction. I mean the kind of state that makes someone no even ask for basic human needs because they don’t feel worth it. I mean locking yourself from the world because you feel like it would be better without you. And, before you ask, I am not talking about how depression and mental state could render that possible. I am talking about physical actions taken to reduce someone to a shell of a human, even if the actions are meant as an innocent gesture of goodwill.
Let’s start with an example: I use a commode. What is a commode? it is basically an indoor outhouse, which I realise how stupid that is to read. We are in the process of building a main floor bathroom, and I use that because I cannot make it to the second floor bathroom.
In order to maintain any semblance of cleanliness, my parents empty it into a traditional toilet. They insist, and continue to insist, that they don’t mind doing so. In fact: they insist that they are completely happy that I continue to do so, and constantly remind me that it is a temporary measure. When I implied one day that it is completely (yay! A proper use of the word of the day!) dehumanizing, they scolded me for being so proud.
Okay, so here is my issue with it. I have to announce when the commode has anything in it, regardless of whether or not there is a meal there. Regardless of whether or not someone is busy. Regardless or not if there is company over.
THERE IS NO NEGATIVE REPERCUSSION BROUGHT ON BY MY FAMILY.
It is a mandatory step that is temporary. I know this, but it does not change the fact that I hate it.
That’s right: I have taken away the burden from those around me and have internalized the shame. I am well aware that they are completely okay with the situation. I am well aware that this is temporary. I am well aware that the shame I feel is only because of my own pride.
It does not change the fact that I find it horrible.
That is one, and maybe the most extreme explanation I could use. I will now make things more general.
Let’s say that a group of friends are going to a festival. Jimmy is hesitant because the loud noise of the crowd, let alone the music, will set off his PTSD, and his reaction could ruin everyone’s time. His friends understand, and decide to not go. They are sympathetic, and kind to him. They constantly reassure him that it is not a big deal.
Nice story, right? Did you see where it went wrong?
Jimmy’s friends should not reassure him after the first time. He knows that he could not go, and he never intended for his friends not to go on his behalf. There constant reassurance makes things worse because he eventually would have just moved on, but now he is being told over and over again how “it’s fine” and that “he should not worry.” Now, he is left with the sinking feeling that it is far from fine. Even though they keep saying it, and they may actually mean it. He might just be running in his head for no reason.
Now, I am not saying that placating someone once, or twice, is not necessary. Quite the opposite, saying something is fine, and reassuring someone that everything is fine, can help. Just know when to move on.
I know that I use a strong example, siting PTSD as the cause for the mental anguish. This can be related to depression, physical limitation, or any other limiter in someone’s life. The best way to deal with it is to initially placate, then only mention things when brought up by the party affected.
Also: know the person. I am saying all of this in a general way, but it does all apply to people who think like me. I am not implying that it would be the same for everyone. I feel as though some over placate, which can be worse than anything.