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  • Syreeta Butler

Power

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

I have been so hesitant to speak on this subject since shit hit the fan a couple of weeks ago regarding the whole Harvey Weinstein fiasco.

I was hesitant because I knew that I wanted to weigh in on the topic, however it was hard to find a therapeutic way of communicating all of my thoughts.  I have been in conversations that argue "Why were the women in his hotel room in the first place" to "Why do so many men feel it is okay to use their power or even perceived power to harm women", I mean look at our Pussy Grabbing President? 

Honestly I felt somewhere in the middle, I could hear and appreciate both side, but I couldn't identify my own voice or thoughts regarding such a hot button topic.  Then it hit me...duh Syreeta.

The notion of Fight, Flight or Freeze is a real and very complex Trauma Response. 


The notion of Fight, Flight or Freeze is a real and very complex Trauma Response. 


Fight is just that, when something bad happens there are people that automatically get aggressive and want to fight against the situation, whether that is an aggressor, a notion, or a system they want to take it on. Then you have people when something bad happens they flee the situation and want to remove themselves and get as far away as possible.  Lastly, you have those that when something bad happens they get stuck and freeze, yes literally freeze, they can't speak or even move.  Usually, the majority of people fall in one of these three categories.  We could go into why people respond the way they do, but that involves personal history and brain chemistry which is not all that interesting to most.

I set this up because it is important for people to recognize which one of the three they fall into, to gain a better understanding of how they respond to bad or even traumatic events.  Which leads me into the Harvey Weinstein thing and how it was able to go on for such a long time.  We see the actresses and actors that he preyed upon and can't figure out how a man like him was able to traumatize so many people, well for me it's pretty simple, he was/is a predator and like most predators they study their prey.  I would bet money that most of the men and women that he was inappropriate with are in either two of the three categories, they identify as either apart of the Flight or Freeze categories.  Harvey knew that both of these types of people just wanted the situation to go away and create as much distance from his disgusting and predatorily advances and actions , which is perfect when you are a person engaging in deplorable acts.  When we think about these actresses and actors we only see who they are when they are "On", we don't understand or recognize that actors are people that can, and do have struggles, just like everyone else.  We think because they are on TV, make music and have money that makes them exempt from life's hardships, when in actuality I believe it makes them more susceptible because the world in which they live in are full of smokin' mirrors and sorted realities. However, I think there is a subset of people that don't get talked about in this conversation because, well I don't know why but I would like to make a forum here to discuss the hard stuff.

What about the woman or man that see that powerful person as a way for them to "come up".   Not suggesting that any of the people that have come forward fall in that category, however (comma) let's keep it real 100 those people exist and will do something strange for a piece of change.  The person that comes to mind regarding using her sexual power to "come up" and making little to no apologies for it was Marilyn Monroe.  She was very candid in how she used her sexual power as a bargaining tool for roles in movies and even at one time using her power to become the highest paid actress per movie.  Monroe once said, "that when a producer calls an actress into his office to discuss a script that isn't all he has in mind ... I've slept with producers. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't" (Summers, 34-35). In 1955, 20th Century Fox awarded Monroe the richest per-film contract of any actress. "It means," remarked Monroe, "I'll never have to suck another cock again!" (McDougal, 217).  If that isn't the ultimate "come up" then I don't know what is, and still predatorily af. Like Harvey she studied her prey and used what power that she thought would be effective to get what she wanted out of life, and many people do it to this day quiet as it's kept.  This is the same predatorily act of Harvey Weinstein, he had opportunity to offer movie success which equaled to money and a better living and there may have been some people that were willing to get in the bed with the devil, literally and figuratively in an attempt to further their careers; I might not have done it, but there are plenty who would and possibly did. 

What's really the difference between these two types of people.  In my opinion not all that much.  They both had power or perceived power and used it to get what they wanted in life.  Neither of them cared about the carnage that was created because of the selfish and predatorily decisions.  Power is power, and when it is in the wrong hands it can be dangerous.  When we don't have people around us that we trust it opens people up to explore the really disgusting sides of their shadows (the parts of themselves that are unpleasant).  We have to begin to have real conversation regarding how power can be used in ways that damage both the predator and prey.  Keeping with the two examples above one had a huge medication dependency where she may have taken her own life, and the other will be a disgrace to himself and humanity until the next shumuck does something equally egregious. In the end, anyone that uses their power in a predatory way is not cool and we as a society have to do better...that's my therapeutic stance...lol Until next Thursday.

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© 2019 by Syreeta P.  Butler, M.A., LMFT

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