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An extract taken from a dissertation on DSPD (Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder) by Melody Wimhurst September 2013

Voice

Adshead (2011)offers an insightful commentary on this issue. Forensic psychiatric narrative is discussed within the setting of the courtroom and the psychiatric report is likened to a tragic narrative. The index offence is the ‘crisis point in the narrative which fixes the identity of the defendant’ (Adshead 2011,p.365). A discussion by McAdams and Pals outlining the significance of narrative for the construction of personal identity is explored by Adshead (2011), who purports that the construction of offender identity is a key process in the drama of the criminal court. We are reminded that the defendant whose mental illness ‘causes’ his offence is:

a tragic figure, whose mistaken and damaged mind has brought about his own downfall, as well as creating terror and suffering for others. His ‘offender’ identity may then be combined with a ‘patient’ identity i.e one who suffers: the Greek word ‘pathos’ means suffering and is the root of the word, ‘patient’. As an expert in mental disorders and their relationship with violence, the forensic psychiatrist gives voice to this ‘patient’ identity(Adshead 2011, p.365).

However, Adshead points out that it is equally possible that the forensic psychiatric expert’s narrative can cast doubt on this identity:

These experts ‘create’ monsters with their narrative: classic monsters of story who threaten the community. But if the prosecution depict the defendant as a monster who threatens the community, the defence will try and portray him or her as a person who lost their way in life’s dark wood; who, on a quest, made mistakes and metaphorically, lost ‘sight’ of what was happening or the true import of what they did  (Adshead, 2011, p.365).

 

Griffith and Baranoski, cited by Adshead (2011, p.365), argue that the use of concepts such as narrative does not undermine attention to professional ethics in terms of objectivity, honesty and veracity. If both sides are creating stories, there is no significant concern about ethics as long as both sides are afforded the opportunity to recount their tale. The concerning factor is when only one story is told or where the story teller ‘fails to communicate their ‘voice’’.

 

This struggle for ‘identity definition’ within the courtroom may be viewed as a microcosm of a societal conflict between ‘tellable’ and ‘untellable’ narratives (Burr, 2003, p.145).  It could be argued that the Frankenstein type ‘monster’ represented by the ‘Dangerous and Severe Personality Disordered’ man, and the label pertains primarily to men, offers a ‘tellable’, therefore socially acceptable explanation for the ‘untellable’ ‘mental illness narrative’ of men such as Michael Stone. This ‘tellable’ narrative is perhaps the reason for the language utilised by the tabloid press in relation to murder, for example, the editorial comment: ‘This monster must be caught and put away for the rest of his life’ (The Mirror 1997,p.6).

Once the ‘tellable’ narrative has been articulated, often loudly, through media reporting, the tale is told, the identity of the ‘monster’ is established and the individual in question is incarcerated and effectively silenced. There is no redress with regard to the ‘offender identity’ which has now effectively been legally established within the adversarial courtroom. As Albert[1] comments regarding his perception of stigmatisation:

You’ve done something violent and you are now seen as Mr. Violent. Someone is making a judgement and you can only judge people on their actions (Ferrito, Vetere, et al., 2012,p.12).

This perception of male violence is explored in a television documentary entitled ‘Frankenstein:  the modern myth’. It is interesting that the voices of those who are incarcerated at Broadmoor may be acceptably ‘heard’ within such a programme, which explores the mythology of the monstrous.  Adshead comments during the programme:

I think there’s something about this very childish wish that we can see monstrousness. It’s for real, it’s clear and we’ll know it when we see it and yet… we keep constantly being surprised by it – ‘buthe didn’t seem like that’ – well, what did you think he was going to be like?

It is also noteworthy that the Parole Board Amendment Rules (2009) have removed the right to an oral hearing for prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence. Thus many such men who have participated in the DSPD programme truly do not have a voice.

Perhaps whilst society may not be able to ‘contain’ such a dialogue of cruelty and violence at a macro level, such dialogue may be safely contained within a forensic setting where patients’ voices may be both articulated and listened to. It may well be the role of the forensic psychotherapist to offer an alternative ‘tellable’ and socially acceptable narrative, as in the aforementioned ‘Frankenstein The Modern Myth,’in which Adshead comments:

80% of our people have experienced abuse or neglect, which is about 4 or 5 times the national average…

Hollway (2010)explores the ‘psycho-social subject in evidence-based practice’ (2010, p.9) and demonstrates how unconscious intersubjective dynamics, such as transference and counter-transference, affect the research relationship (2010, p.18). Hollway cites Ogden who presents the subject as dynamically produced in each inter-subjective relationship (2010, p.18). Ogden:

explores the idea of ‘finding yourself becoming a subject whom you have not met, but nonetheless recognise’ by the process of ‘creating a voice with which to speak (think) the words (thoughts) comprising it. The person who is produced in the interview is, in this sense, new (but also recognisable) (2009, p.19).

Hollway (2009, p.19) purports that qualitative research must build upon such evidence. However, research, representing that which is to be voiced, may not wish to uncover society’s darkest fears of us all being potentially ‘dangerous’. This may be the very reason for silencing the voices of those whom society wants to silence.

[1] Names have been changed to protect identity

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Golgotha (The Place of the skull) by Hope Wells

Dig deeper:

Such excavations froth barren fruit.

Gourds of malevolence grin adn grind.

Hearken hearken chorus shriek

with ecstatic growls and cracks

ungird with face as grim as whips and scourges

which tear and tug

and scream.

Grinding crushing, this desert red agony,

this moment of skull screams.

O why did I forsake,

Why did all unforsaken cause

Such murder?

Infinite hope in butchery,

Yes indeed Amen

for sacrifice bleeds truth

this is carnage-

Murder of eternity

in every way

undiminished

unfurl torn flags

of hope desolate

flap in derelict

air on and on

Enough!

A shrill bleat.

Afterwards shards of soft silence.

Aha! Not soft ths:

Death black as blood

overturned subsumed

deprived of lies.

A conquering truth gains hand over fist

hands joined in

singing a name

glorious and gifting

Alleluia!

Silver Rain

Write about a character driving in the rain

Submitted to Reedsy Prompts weekly writing Contest

I think about the silver rain, or rather the season of the silver rain. When the miracles came. Definition of miracle:

an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.

Or:

an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God

However, I will not speak of the secret things. The miraculous is a holy thing, to be cherished and respected.

But I will speak of us, or rather you. Were we meant to meet? Was the suffering that came meant to happen?

I am left with so many questions and not many answers. Because pain and suffering and trauma and loss are not gifts for all. Happiness hasn’t been my gift though so I cannot really talk about it.

The nightly interface between reality and sleep is a strange place now. I find myself avoiding that lying there moment waiting for sleep to fall by playing Jewel Academy on my phone over and over and over, level after pointless level. How did this happen to me?

But I will talk about this:

harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention.

I never thought this could happen to me. The staccato thoughts that come are somewhat obsessive too; short sharp bursts of memory jabbing like darts:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.

We were flung together and the pull was extraordinary. The pull of gravity – two intense souls both grappling various hues and shades of pain. Colliding cataclysmically.

I felt you had a halo emanating from you. I felt safe under the beams of light. I felt love and loved. I felt you were safe and pure and real and redeemed.

The first half was extremely beautiful. Helping vulnerable souls and so many cups of tea, tomatoes. You used another language; ‘the hair fairies’, ‘winklings’.

Why did it change? Why did it go wrong? Why? Why? Why?

You revealed feelings for me. Feelings I could not reciprocate in the way you wanted. Because I could not sin. Temptation is not sin and the temptation to have something I have never known was so vast. So I cut you off, snip.

And then it began. Black rain you named it. Mr Jekyll and Mr Hyde you once said to me. I never thought I would meet the bad one (I am not even sure which one of the two was the bad one).

************************************************************************************************

“Hello, is that Aurelia? “. “This is Pat from Victim Support. How are you feeling?”

“I am very low. He is relentless. I am so bombarded. He has sent me numerous texts and emails. I was getting about fifteen texts a day at a minimum. Every time I find a way to cut off one channel of communication, he finds another”.

“Have you reported it all to the police?” It’s really important to log everything, however small or insignificant it might seem. It builds a picture”. “You also need to block his number”. Can you screenshot the texts?” That will assist the police?”

“Yes I have sent over numerous screenshots. I have sent them all to the police”.

“There is an app you can put on your phone. It’s called Hollieguard. That will help others know if you are in danger.”

“Thank you Pat. I will do that”.

“Try to look forward”. It’s important to keep positive”.

“I just want it to stop”. I cannot believe the drip drip effect filling my life. I have to lock my car doors now, everywhere I go. I am always looking over my shoulder when I am out. I think about my safety all the time”.

“You are doing all the right things Aurelia”.

“Thanks Pat for all your support”.

The messages ring in my ears like text bullets firing at me. “I hate the silence”. “Why will you not speak to me?” “Please, I love you”. Relentless.

My life was well ordered and successful. A senior, well respected NHS worker. I enjoyed helping others. I wanted to help you and I felt that I could.

You told me you were lonely in your marriage. You asked if I was lonely. You asked if I was hungry and told me you knew I hadn’t had lunch. You guessed I didn’t eat properly and realised I didn’t look after myself very well. I was amazed at how you noticed the small things that no one else seemed to. You bought me lunch and listened and for the first time in a long long time I felt heard and seen and understood. I was starving-starving for attention and I had no idea. I had been so invisible, busy in my career. We spoke of our vulnerabilities; I felt you understood me.

I watch lights dancing wildly on the tree. Christmas is nearing. Last Christmas it seemed like the lights had been switched on and illuminations sparkled across my heart. Lunch, coffees, lattes to be precise or tomatoes as you always called them, time spent with you and your wife. My trust growing like a tiered wedding cake-a soft sponge layer at first, then tier upon tier. Until I went away.

The new job in London was a huge distance. It took hours on the motorway and I stayed in a hotel.

The calls were every morning and evening at first-I felt cared for, heard, supported and no longer alone.

Dinners at your house, dinners at my house. I loved you, I loved your wife. But not in that way-not the way you wanted me to. It was a beautiful sunny day when you told me. I knew we had all grown close and I had just a tad of confusion in what I felt-the magnetism of your personality was compelling. But my moral compass was too strong-I knew right from wrong. Temptation is not sin.

“I know you have feelings for me, but nothing is going to happen”.

But that was a smokescreen. The fire of desire. I struggled with feelings, because I was oh so aware that temptation can be sin. If you think it, isn’t it just the same as acting upon it? Isn’t that what Jesus said? Temptation taunts and grimaces and entices.

But I stood my ground. Not perfectly, I admit. But you had groomed me well. I was lonely, I was vulnerable, I was alone. And you seemed so adept-I think you had done this before.

And then I think I realised I was trapped. I was always in contact-you would call whenever you liked. And come on-I always answered. You messengered me all the time-at night, in the morning. I should have questioned it, but I did not. Slowly the water began to boil and like a lobster in a pot I started to feel the heat rising around me.

And then the odd behaviour began-you started to pull my friends in-helping them, drawing them into to the skeins of the web you had woven around my life. Dinners with friends, photos with friends; every web you could weave you skilfully wove. So then I was encased in your silky skeins.

The moment of truth-when my friend told me you had sent her a sexual message. I suddenly knew with a ferocity that burned-you were not the sweet kind benefactor I had grown to love. You were in fact a sexual predator, preying upon women’s vulnerabilities. But now I know that I was mistaken-you were simply trying to make me jealous. The obsession was in place. And in retrospect I wanted it.

I have been told that it wasn’t my fault, but deep, deep down I wonder-was it? Did I seek to distroy your marrij as you say? Am I a Jezebel? Somehow I don’t think so. Your script is not my script.

So where do we go from here? How can I make this stop? Do I even want it to stop? Maybe yes, maybe no. I miss you so much-that is the hardest thing to admit-I truly miss you. Or I miss the version of yourself you sold me. And yes I did love you. I hope it was the right way. I chose to walk away and that is how I tried so hard to save, not wreck your marriage.

***********************************************************************************************

Two years on. Rain on a motorway: swish swish swish goes the wiper. I think of rain as God’s tears. I think back to my brother’s funeral; the tiny baby shaped coffin and the rain coming down. My uncle with his arm around me. I knew God was crying that day.

Randy Crawford sings in mellifluous tones:

Tender falls the rain

As I speak your name

And what it means to me

Tender falls the tears

As I think of all the years

And all the joy we shared

Leaving me this way

There’s just no more words to say…

Am I playing this to summon you? Why oh why do I play the cd you posted through my door (I think). Do I want this to stop? Am I addicted to you?

Suddenly my wiper stops working. There is a se4rvice station ahead and I pull in.

The kind man mends my wiper and the rain stops. However it starts again, pouring down. My wiper holds and then flops uselessly. There is no visibility and I am driving. It is getting darker.

“I think my windscreen wiper has been tampered with. I have a stalker”.

“Yes I think it has defini8tely been interfered with, the clip is broken”.

I know it is you. I know you are trying to kill me. I cannot see. I put my wiper on and all it does it scrape the windscreen. I put my hazard lights on. A car is close and honks as it almost crashes into the back of me.

*************************************************************************************

But I got away. And I am about to leave you; to finally break this ridiculous cat and mouse cycle.

I am a statistic and I share my story with the national press:

Terrified victims of stalking face a desperate postcode lottery as they seek justice, the Sunday People can reveal.

Women have been murdered or brutally assaulted in horrifying cases. Many were left physically and mentally scarred.

Yet our research has found that just 11% of suspects reported for alleged stalking end up facing prosecution.

Alarmingly, in some areas it is less than 5% – meaning only one in 20 victims sees the accused end up in court.

**************************************************************************

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

On emotional pain

In my experience, emotional pain hurts far more than physical. It builds upon previous pain and compounds it. And it doesn’t go away.

It is the middle of the night and I should be asleep. Inside my heart is heavy and my washing machine thoughts revolve round and round and round, seeking to process my sad. And I don’t get anywhere.

I wish I could switch it off. I wish I could find a way to find sunshine. But I can’t. So I simply battle on, trying in vain to process and find some sort of closure.

For those super-sensitive souls like myself, life does this frequently. It throws a curved ball and knocks you over. And other humans hurt us the most. Especially through underhand, subversive and cruel actions, possibly deliberately intended to wound.

I believe in forgiveness, I really do. But I also believe it is a choice, not an emotion. So I keep choosing to forgive.

I don’t think the pain will stop. Maybe it will heal. But in the meantime, life goes in. It doesn’t wait for me to catch up….

The hallmark of 2020

I have been thinking a great deal about the past year which has been turbulent, to say the least. There are two words which for me encapsulate 2020; sacrifice and kindness.

There have been many acts of sacrifice over the year. One of the most striking acts of selflessness is the many staff who have laid down their lives for people they work for; nurses, care staff, doctors and key workers on the front line.

The BBC highlighted a tear jerking moment recently:

BBC Breakfast presenter’s teams at Covid care home choir – BBC News

Locally to where I live, there is a a new project recently set up called Community Kindness. That is very close to my heart.

So as 2020 draws to a close, I feel that much has been done by humans or humans. There have been many losses as so many have departed the planet, but there have also been great gains and for me it is learning that the real meaning of our lives is how we relate to others. Selfishness and greed haven’t been in people’s vocabulary as much this year and that is good to see.

Today’s recipe of hope is to celebrate someone who has been kind to you this year. Let them know how they have impacted your life; I am sure they will appreciate this X

Acknowledgements

BBC news online (accessed 27/12/2020)

A glimmer of hope

When life is tough what do we do? Dig deep into our hope resources. Sometimes people face horrendously difficult times and all there is is a glimmer, a flicker of hope.

Life has its ups and downs and as someone who has faced many painful times, especially this year, I understand what a glimmer of hope looks and feels like. I have been stuck in a cast for a few weeks now, not driving or going very far. My hopes of writing daily blogs were scuppered because much as I love writing, typing one handed is a bit challenging.

But the glimmer of hope has been that I have my faith, I have health, I have a wonderful job and kind family and friends. It won’t be this way for ever, just for now.

Hope waxes and wanes. Hope fluctuates. But that is life. Being hopeful is an attitude and a choice.

Today’s hope recipe is to choose hope even when she seems a distant memory. Let us choose to find her beyond this pandemic with all its limitations. X

Rain by Hope Wells

Your tears have stopped now

They have dropped onto my aching body

And diminished smile

Slathering me with sadness

Cuddling me with wet comfort

Awaking me to the life that is mine

As I slide through ripped canvas

Onto my mud

I feel my bag of sleep is wet

With tears and tears

O friendly rodents, do you sing this night

Do you shriek with grief of humankind’s unkind acts?

This I understand; skies cry for me when none else cares

Time to think

I can be an overthinker. I admit that and it isn’t helpful. However, I also need time to think and plan and reflect. I need margins.

In our busy world it is easy to rush about doing this and that and going from thing to thing so that our to do list is reduced. But margins are extremely important. Time slots to rest and reflect and mentally recharge. I love having a good think. I can note down what needs to be done, check my calendar and diary and it makes me feel organised.

If we are crazily rushing around, it isn’t good for our stress levels and it certainly isn’t good for our mental health either. We need to have time to recharge and plan. A friend of mine starts every year with a plan of things she would like to achieve in that year. And she is one of the most focussed, organised people I know.

Time spent planning is not wasted. Planning goals and dreams. These are the building blocks for a hopeful life.

Today’s recipe of hope is to sit and carve out some time for planning. If you have got caught up in rushing around, slow down. Plan some breaks in your diary. Plan some rest and relaxation time.

May we all learn to live in a balanced and peaceful way X

Exploded fantasy by Hope Wells

I write these words knowing you will never read them.

You have serrated my heart with your jagged knife

of an ending

which in my mind was a beginning

Me, in my beautiful dress

and you in your lateness

Telling me on our first date

of your six year state

of being with someone

You showed me your darkness

You told me the truth

then said goodbye

And I am still in so much pain

from the loss (one of multiple may I add).

The disappointment and most of all

the cheating me of an ending I had dreamed of

for such a long long time.

Did you want me to hurt? Did you just not know what to do?

And I torture myself with this question:

Why oh why do I so still deeply love you?

Australian sunset by Hope Wells

Tendrils of slithy light

Flirt and shove

through darkness

Death in reflection

Inevitable conclusion

The touch of my hand

(A sacrosanct moment)

carried a thousand

potential shared sunsets;

And yet within

the explosive force of

hands touching skin

Unleashing gallons of

sunlight burning like butter

Lay unbirthed a knowledge

That this moment

In sheer force of beauty

Was simply a snapshot

(camera shy perhaps)

of sunfading, flickering

extinction of more hope.

Your words so strong

Held and squeezed for every trace of meaning

conveyed a panoply of

colour which days have

shimmied into soft

softer softest grey

Threads and skeins of gold

have now

shrieked and bellowed

their last goodbye.

I love the beauty of sunset, I love the beauty of your

epiphany in my

life

Despite the pain.