I don’t know if Thomas Szasz has children, but for what it’s worth, here’s what he has to say about why so many parents would prefer to see their children as “mad.” I’ve often wondered about the exact same thing. Bearing up heroically under the strain of our child’s “mental illness,” we’ve stupidly handed ourselves and our child a life sentence because we shy away from looking at our own lives as a possible contributing factor to the problem. This quotation is taken from a new e-book, The Szasz Quotationary
Why do so many parents prefer to dispose of their young-adult children as mad rather than divorce them as unwanted? The answer is obvious and painful. Divorce leaves the son free to embarrass the parent, precisely what the parent wants to avoid; it also leaves the parent open to censure by kin and friends for “abandoning” his own child. Psychiatric disposition protects the parent at the expense of the child. The masks of diagnosis and treatment conceal the true nature of both the problem and the solution. It affects the separation of father from son that the father desires; at the same time, it casts the parent in the role of tragic victim, afflicted with a defective child for whom he “cares” with the medical treatment science has to offer.
Comment from an Amazon reviewer:
Tom Szasz’ thought has been an inspiration to me for a lifetime. To me, he is a true philosopher, one whose thoughts help you live. As a neurologist I saw patients with horrendous diseases like ALS and some who did not have ALS but thought they did. What I learned – among so much else – from Dr. Szasz is that I didn’t have to fret about mental illness. I could divide problems into organic i.e. real disease and no disease and not worry about mental illness, a metaphor. No disease means no disease. Fear, anxiety, “voices” (inner speech), depression, alcoholism etc etc etc aren’t diseases, should not be treated with more drugs, the loss of civil rights or the acquisition of money and fame.
His thoughts aren’t just about medicine. They are about thinking logically for oneself.
And they are distilled and organized in this Quotationary by a master of the art, Leonard Roy Frank.
Ten dollars AND it is voice enabled – this is the deal of the century.
John Friedberg, M.D.