As regular readers of Positive Health will know, Dorothy Rowe is one of my favourite authors, primarily because I find deliciously wicked her outspoken, subversive and politically incorrect views on God, the Church, Politics and Government, Psychiatry and pretty much every other aspect of life today. Beyond Fear, originally published in 1987, has now been updated, substantially enlarged (now 680 pages, including extensive Notes and Index); upon my second or third reading this seems to be a totally new and entirely riveting book
As always, Dorothy Rowe's books touch on the most compelling human stories, about women who were abused or unloved when they were children and who present for counselling or therapy decades later, about men who were sexually abused by their schoolmasters, schoolmates, father or, even by Priests. In reading these cases, you are drawn into the narrative very gently; it may start off with the current presentation of a couple with children, and then diverges into the forgotten past of one or both parents, with incidents of cruelty, abuse, absence of love. These true stores are always a revelation, and reveal masterful insights into the human psyche and behaviour.
At the heart of all is how much our actions are governed by our deep-seated fears about annihilation, about how we might disappear as though we had never existed. Also how reasonable our sadness, depression, anxieties and obsessions are, in the light of our history, our feelings of being loved or otherwise when we were children and powerless. And how futile the pharmaceutical route so often is. As ever, the author excels in her analysis and descriptions of depression recounted by real people. Depression is buttressed by the belief, firstly that we are not good enough, and secondly in our belief in a Just World.
The author makes toe-curling, seditious statements and scathing commentaries about Psychiatry and government policy regarding 'Care in the Community'. "To justify their taking over the care of the insane, doctors needed to show that they had some special expertise. So they set about showing that insanity was a physical illness and that they were the only people with the necessary expertise to cure such an illness...Those who do not conform in terms of race, nationality or religion are easily dealt with. They become strangers, enemies, and are easily persecuted. Such persecution can be carried out in many different ways, but always the persecutors try to justify their cruelty. It is not unknown for psychiatry to supply such justification..."
She goes on to recount that during the Second World War, German troops stationed in Norway sometimes had 'liaisons' with Norwegian women. Children from these relationships were classed as Aryans (the highest possible class) by Hitler and were placed in specially privileged homes. After the war the Norwegians took out their hatred of the Germans on these children, putting them into orphanages and asylums, physically and sexually abused. "As justification for this a leading Norwegian psychiatrist explained that these children were mentally subnormal and insane because their mothers must have been insane to have consorted with German men."
This is a superlative book. Buy it and become absorbed and yet enraged about the inexcusable shortcomings of the psychiatric profession.
publisher: Harper Collins