Saturday, 14 December 2013

Affluenza - A Rich Man's Disease?

The disorder of having too much? Or a fatal dose of semantics?

Affluenza : "The term "affluenza" was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence." It has since been used to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising."  

Read more here.

A Genuine Defense or Another Kick in the Teeth to the Poor?

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A North Texas teen from an affluent family was sentenced to probation this week after he killed four pedestrians when he lost control of his speeding pickup truck while driving drunk/ Read the full story here. 

There is a varying range of projects listed on the Affluenza website with topics that include such things as;-

How To Better Serve Your Affluent Client: A Psychological Profile

Affluenza, Climate Change & Loss of Biodiversity

Money Dearest: Healing From Affluenza

It really make me wonder if Jessie O'Neil is really the most, un-biased "expert" that could be found to testify in a case that involves 4 deaths.  One thing's for sure"Affluenza" looks like it's a very lucrative earner for the M.A. Visit The Affluenza Project to read more.

Who is Jessie O'Neil, M.A.?

On Jessie's website we can find the answer...
About Jessie H. O'Neill, M.A.

"Jessie O'Neill was born to wealth. She is the granddaughter of Charles Erwin Wilson, past president of General Motors and secretary of defense under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was Wilson who immortalized the equating of financial and patriotic success with the now famous, comment: "What's good for General Motors is good for the country, and vice versa."

What are the symptoms of affluenza?

"In individuals, symptoms of affluenza can include: workaholism; an addiction to chaos; low self-esteem; depression; a loss of future motivation; an inability to delay gratification or tolerate frustration; a false sense of entitlement."

"Affluenza is frequently accompanied by all manners of addictive/compulsive behaviors. We can see the symptoms of affluenza throughout our culture:in those around us who have wealth; in those who are pursuing wealth; and in varying degrees within ourselves. One of the major causes of climate change, loss of biodiversity and the "legacy" we threaten to leave our children and grandchildren, is affluenza." Jessie O'Neil's Website

Is it a bad dose of semantics? 

Affluenza - Influenza

A contagious disease or a convenient way out of taking responsibility?

Let'stake a closer look at Affluenza and maybe you'll notice that it's all fairly subjective, open to opinion rather than fact and therefore potentially very corruptible.

Workaholism - Where I come from I know people who are juggling three jobs, for them it's not workaholism for them it's survival. Other terms that may apply equally well to the term workaholic could be driven, ambitious or determined.

Isn't defining one "disorder" with the use of another "disorder" a bit like defining a word by using it?

Addiction to chaos - Where I live we generally call this being a Drama Queen.

Low self-esteem -  another subjective term and something that we have more control over than we think but only if we take responsibility for ourselves.

Depression - Another dis-order within a dis-order and too huge a subject to discuss here.  One thing's for sure, depression hits people in all wealth brackets.

A loss of future motivation - Not giving a monkeys. Common side effect of a lack of purpose and self-obsession and also a common symptom of depression, so there's still not really anything of a solid nature for this Affluenza bug.

An inability to delay gratification or tolerate frustration - Character traits associated with this type of behaviour would include Impetuous, Greedy, Impatient and Victim of emotion.

A false sense of entitlement - Here we'd call it, A Bad Attitude!

"If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, 
we'll always be its victim."
 Richard Bach 

Even the word disorder itself holds a clue to what is really going on in the mind of those diagnosed with Affluenza.  What if the disorder was merely a disordering of thoughts?  What if by creating a "disorder" around it, we actually dis-empowered the thought process that would be most likely to create a different set of behaviours?  As victim of the "dis-order" there is now a reason, what some may call an excuse for the behaviour to continue, allowing the "victim" to continue to take no responsibility, while those around them pander to them because they are mentally ill! The pain is never really turned up, so change doesn't happen and instead the behvaiour is reinforced making it much more likely to continue.

 "We are setting a double standard for the rich and poor," she added, noting the message is "families that have money, you can drink and drive. This is a very, very 
dangerous thing we're telling our children.""
Dr. Suniya Luthar, Psychologist 

Rashelle Reid BA Psych.

Rashelle Reid was born to love.  She is the granddaughter of Joseph Hicks, crane driver and amateur boxer. His most famous quote, fondly remembered by his descendants today was "Bless yer wee cotton socks."

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