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Case Histories

1. L. V., a 46-year-old single woman lawyer, complained of recurring pains on both sides of her neck which has persisted for about two years. She has received diathermy and tried various liniments and poultices, without obtaining lasting relief. Of late she has been under the care of an orthopedist because of episodes of torticollis, with head turning to the right, occurring with increasing frequency for the past six months. It tended to come whenever she started to read, be it at home or in the office. Psychiatric help was suggested by a good friend in the office, a man in whom she occasionally confided her problems.

The Male Adolescents In Crisis

If I were asked which group of patients seemed to be given the least support by the culture, and at the same time were at great odds with their environment, I would point to the group of adolescent boys. The fact that they had no choice in the majority of cases, but to regress back to mother, was, in my opinion, tragic. ft is an indictment of the culture in its failure to provide healthier alternatives for the adolescent boy who is struggling to emancipate himself from his attachment to mother.

Adolescence is, of course, a confluence of events. The appearance of an almost entirely new biologic and metabolic makeup brings rapid growth, new sensations, and new powers. The intensified psychological drives serve as a means to adapt to the overwhelmingly new situation and are an integral part of the growing-up process itself. His social and cultural world suddenly changes as he leaves behind the situations and symbols of his childhood and attempts to bridge the gap between childhood and maturity.

The Problem Of Aggression

With a psychological background marked by dependency, enveloping affectional ties, suppression of feelings, awe for authority, denial of personal wishes in the interest of family and group, the Filipino finds power a naturally attractive alternative. Adding impetus to this desire is the impelling prospect of economic plenty, a dream that he has nurtured through centuries of foreign political domination. At this time of his history, he finds the expression of his energies being gradually defined in terms of those modern goals: money and power.

Both goals demand for their realization the mobilization of one’s aggressive drive and/or its derivatives. Each requires mastery of interpersonal skills, more so with power than with money. An economic enterprise, to be successful, should influence or control at times in indirect but effective ways the next person’s psyches. In the exercise of power, the effects are brought to bear more directly on the interpersonal encounter and on the other person.

The Dilemma Of The Filipino Woman

Of all the segments in the population, the women seem to be the most changed by the forces of modernity and industrialization. Some of this change is more apparent than genuine; it is not that they have changed but that their behavior has become more visible. Some of it, however, undeniably represent a recent acquisition of new patterns. Modes of appearance and behavior are so uneven among women, not only s compared with one another but also in the same woman, that generalizations are difficult to make. Thus, a young Filipina girl may wear the latest styles and use florid make-up yet panic at the thought of being alone with a man; a young mother, filial to parents and devoted to her young children, may go off by herself to the United States for a year or more of post-graduate training.

Belongingness

A person grows up in the Filipino culture with one paramount assumption: that he belongs to someone. When he presents his self to others, it is with his family that he is identified. He belongs to the family as a whole as well as to its members. Whatever honor, glory, infamy, or disgrace he gains is shared by them. In good fortune and bad, his family is the first to know and participate.

Within the family, such belongingness becomes more finely delineated. One belongs to one’s parents, or to whoever assumes meaningfully or sustains authority and responsibility in their absence. It may be an aunt, an older sibling, a grandparent, or a benefactor. The feeling of belongingness assumes an additional meaning aside from shared participation, as in the context of the family, in that interpersonal belongingness stresses allegiance, loyalty, and a sense of obligation. The importance of parents, particularly the mother, appears to be that of keeping the family intact, so that the feeling of belonging may continue. The absence of the parents (authority figures) makes the solidarity of the family difficult to maintain. Usually, one sibling emerges to keep the family together. This is why, during the parents’ lifetime, plans are usually laid for the solidarity to continue, even after they are gone. A dying or ill parent tells the offspring “Take care of each other” or to the oldest child, “You will be in charge now.”

 

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