●Reflecting the Orlando Incident from the mind of LGBT
− " I " could have been " Him " −
Dear FRIENDS all over the world.
If you think this article will help your friends , please share with them.
We really hope the incident that happened in Orlando will not increase grow from hatred and make people sad.
Hello, my name is Yutaka Murakami.
Ever since I came out as a homosexual(gay) in 2007, I've been working as a psychologist giving counseling in Tokyo & Osaka.
Not only am I working as a psychologist giving counseling to clients, but I am also openly gay, that is why I get many clients whom are LGBTQI and their families, or those in doubt with their sexuality or partnerships.
I've had clients whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual, GID, DSD, asexual, nonsexual, in questioning, straight, etc. which number approximately 1,000 clients over the past 9 years.
I've seen many articles about the Orlando incident; every time I read an article it brings me to tears.
One time, I had to rush into a restroom at the train station and sob, to prevent a scene.
My heart was continuously screaming, preventing myself from knowing, acknowledging, studying.
Fortunately, this Orlando Incident could not be put away within myself.
The reason is very simple. That "50th guy" could've been me.
Or perhaps me, my family, partner, or friends could've been "the 49 victims".
I've experienced bullying at a young age based on my sexuality, that's why I know.
People from all over the world are calling out to create love from hatred, not hatred to more hatred. From the USA, France, Australia, UK, Germany. From Shinjyuku Nichome, Shibuya cross road, Tokyo Sky Tree.
This is living proof that this Orlando Incident does have a potential to create love, not just additional hatred.
Thinking of the Orlando incident brought me a new hope; that I too, wanted to create something other than hatred.
Working amongst the hearts of the minority, next year will mark the 10th year of my working career; what is it that I can do? What was it what I realized, thought, and most importantly wanted to tell others?
That's when I realized that my intention was to create "an understanding".
This person was no psychopath, he was a normal living human being, just like you & I.
Perhaps, not many of those in Japan study the criminal's mind based on the perspective of LGBT, that's why I think it important to let people know this examination.
Omar Mateen, the serial killer who brutally injured & killed more than 100 people, does not exist anymore. There's no talking directly to the guy, that's why what I have to say here is nothing more than a speculation of "what could have been".
I think it would be great if more people could discuss why it happened, the cause of it, and most importantly the "mind" that caused it to happen.
Let's give a thought to the article below about "the 50th guy" and say that Omar was gay or a bisexual male. We'll describe "Omar Mateen's tendency of being gay" as "Omar's nature" or just plain, "nature"(what I mean by using the this term, I mean that one's sexual orientation/gender identity cannot be selected based on personal hobbies/ideas, it's something that's already decided, so the best term would unmistakably be "nature")
Let's examine the mind of "the 50th guy" based on the following themes;
Attachment Theory from Developmental Psycology
Psychology Ban and Game Theory, from Transactional Analysis
The Halo Effect, Pygmalion Effect, Labeling Effect from Cognitive Psychology/Social Psychology
Masow's Hierarchy of Needs from Humanistic Psychology
Psychology Projection from Psychoanalysis/Jung's Psychology Studies
Developmental Psychology studies on how the human mind changes through growth; amongst it there is something called the Attachment Theory.
Attachment theory explains the emotional bond created between parent & child; this affects the human being in many situations not only as a child, but as one grows older.
Omar was born in an Islamic household, with the roots of Arabic immigrants.
Religion may seem unfamiliar in Japanese households nowadays, but truth is that to be honest, religion can actually affect a person's life very much so.
Especially when religion passes on from generation to generation, personal beliefs become less important, which can effect one's life deeply.
I'm sure each person has different knowledge of Islam, but fact is that in many Islamic countries, homosexuality is a crime worth the arrest/death penalty, men take the lead in society and matrimony and giving birth a boy is considered most important.
Omar was a boy born in America amongst Islamic Arabic immigrants.
Brought up in a household where the rules were, "Homosexuality is the worst crime worth the death penalty; man should be wed to a woman and give birth a boy." and considering Omar's nature, what technically should be his safety zone, perhaps, was not a safety zone after all.
Attachment Theory explains the safety zone as a place where one's safety is promised, where one can fulfill energy through relationships and environment.
Had he realized while growing up, let's say while a teenager about "his nature", that could mean that such realization connected to the loss of his safety zone.
Or perhaps he never really had a safety zone in the first place? Had he realized at an early age, then maybe such safety zone never really existed around him?
Let's switch our focus to Psychology Ban & Game Theory of Transactional Analysis.
Transactional Analysis is the psychology that focuses on person to person communication.
It can be introduced in many different situations such as "what compels one to continue a conversation regardless of how uncomfortable one may feel?" or "how to build a better relationship" and can be commonly used from relationships to business matters.
Among this theory, there is something called "the Psychology Ban", or "the Ban"
The Ban forms itself unconsciously on one's self; it can be brought on from a parent/surroundings while growing up, and it can also be brought on from one's self. This affects the human mind deeply. A good example is the bathroom training every child goes through.
Here are the varieties of the Ban; Do not exist, Do not grow, Do not be your gender, Do not be a child, Do not be important, Do not succeed, Do not belong, Do not be healthy, Do not be friendly, Do not feel, Do not think ,Do not act, Do not want, Do not be perfect, Be Satisfied, Work Hard, Be Strong, Hurry, Do not enjoy, Do not be loved, Do not be happy, Do not be independent.
The Ban can easily affect one's decisions and actions without one realizing it whether it be at home with family, at work with coworkers, even thoughts and ideas that define ourselves can be affected, dominated in one's life, even.
Raised in an environment where religious beliefs overcome that of personal values, growing up as an Arabic race most easily to get discriminated against, and having known the "nature", how many Bans of the 23 were placed against this man's life?
Where men take the lead in society, where matrimony is mandatory, and with a high risk of getting discriminated against, what would this guy's life be like? with the rules of "Do not exist, Do not be your gender, Do not be important, Do not belong, Do not be friendly, Do not feel, Do not think, Do not want, Be perfect, Work hard, Be strong, Don't enjoy, Do not love, Do not be happy?
Our next focus will be on Game Theory.
Game theory is explained as the choice one makes when on fails to make a good connection with another, instead chooses to take the opposite, a negative connection, in order to stay in touch.
The best example would be when a child who can't express gratitude to another child, instead teases the person to get their attention. This, of course, happens to adults as well.
We all share the same experience, when our original intention was to get in good terms with the person, but failingly take the wrong step.
Supposing that Omar was gay, based on his environment at home, his daily activities, and his state of mind, had he not been able to make good chemistry with the LGBT society and instead continue poor communication instead, what would his life had been like?
What sort of people was he surrounded by, and how was his self esteem?
Let's continue now to Cognitive Psychology/Social Psychology on the Halo Effect, Pygmalion Effect, and Labeling Effect.
The Halo Effect explains how the mind works when one certain image reflects strongly, that the rest of the image unconsciously switches places to that powerful image, the same way a small ray of light can influence an unnoticeable existence.
A good example is when a person whom normally acts cold hearted, unsociable, & oppressive, happens to be spotted feeding a stray kitten, can be misunderstood at the spot as a good hearted human being.
The Pygmalion Effect explains how the mind works when one finds out they're being relied on, to try and act on their expectations.
A good example is when a child finds out that their parents expect good grades and to listen boldly to what they are being told, to try harder with their homework to try and earn their parents attention.
The Labeling Effect in the same way, is when given a statement from an other person, one unconsciously acts the exact same way as stated.
A good example would be when a child is told how undisciplined they are, for them to act the more undisciplined.
What's important to know, is that such effect can happen on one's mind not only through others, but also by one's self.
Reflecting on the Halo Effect, Raised in an Islamic Household and realizing "his nature", what did he acknowledge of himself? "Homosexuality is considered a criminal act worth the death penalty."
Reflecting on the Pygmalion Effect, what was his response to his family/surroundings? "Man must get wed and give birth a child."
Reflecting on the Labeling Effect, what sort of label was imposed on him, based on his surroundings? Arabic American immigrants are targeted the worst in society, which involves harsh speech and brutality. There actually is a study on how discrimination starting with physical abuse can lead to lower self esteem.
Let's now set our perspective on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and Cognitive Frustration.
The five stage models proclaimed by Maslow are Psysiological Needs, Safety Needs, Loving/Belonging Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self-Actualization Needs.
Psysiological Needs are the needs for air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, and sleep.
Safety Needs are the protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, and freedom from fear.
Love and Belongingness needs are the needs for friendship, intimacy, affection, and love, from work group, family, friends, and romantic relationships.
Self-Actualization-Needs are the needs of Realizing personal potential, self fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
These needs can be fulfilled by both positive/negative actions and thoughts.
How, then, was Omar's need fulfilled based on Maslow's theory?
Our next perspective will go to Cognitive Frustration.
Cognitive Frustration explains the negative state of mind when one carries two opposite desires; one is an approaching desire, the other is an avoidance desire. Both desires do not come to an agreement, thus creating a state of frustration.
When an approaching desire is unfulfilled, it means that regardless of wanting to obtain information, to know the facts, to get a closer distance, it fails to do so.
On the other hand, when an avoidance desire is unfulfilled, it does not want information, it doesn't want facts, it wants to be in a farther distance, yet fails to do so.
When in a state of frustration, the average human mind works three ways; attack, escape, or defend.
Of the three, the most commonly used would be to attack.
To attack is to erase the cause of frustration.
Knowing "the nature", knowing that homosexuality does exist, that possibly a homosexual could exist close by, yet not having the source to get to know one, not knowing who was & wasn't gay perhaps moved both his approaching desire and avoidance desire?
Leaving out the fact of religious reasons, the actions we see against homosexuality daily can perhaps connect to trying to fulfill one's cognitive frustration?
What can definitely be said, is that one cannot run away from one's self.
You may find things you personally do not want to admit, ignore perhaps, pretend it doesn't exist, but such actions cannot fulfill the avoidance desire. You are what you are, that is a fact that cannot be changed.
Sadly, when one tries to solve cognitive frustration by attacking one's self, what happens is that it results with self harm, or at times, suicide.
Obviously Omar knew that in American society if you use a gun on people, you too, would be shot. He was sell aware that gunning others would result that he, too, would die.
Gunning people at an overcrowded night club could have been his suicide attempt of having someone shoot him down as a serial killer.
For the final conclusion, why, then, did he use a gun to shoot down many LGBT people?
According to Freudian Psychoanalytic Model or Jung's Psychology Studies that recounts Psychology Projection(the unconscious placement of identities/thoughts in one's mind), guns are said to represent aggression or masculinity.
Did he perhaps have a complex about masculinity, and was his aggression stimulated for him to get hold of a gun? As a psychologist, I think there's more to it than just that.
While thinking of why Omar decided to use a gun rather than a knife, chemical substance, explosives, what came to my mind was one of the sessions I had held in the past.
Projection, used in psychological treatment, involves something called the sandplay technique.
It's a psychological therapy where one can put whatever one likes in a sandbox, reflecting consciously on the unconscious.
I was undergoing this therapy with a female client, when she created in the sandbox a soldier with a rifle.
I asked her why this man carried a rifle, and here's what she replied;
"This soldier is sad beyond despair. No matter how much sadness he shows, calls, shouts, nobody notices him(or those who do notice pretend not to). Nobody shows interest, so this man decides to forcefully screw into other people's hearts his entire emotion of sadness by using a strong and powerful rifle."
The client's intentions was not to kill another human being; a bullet can easily penetrate a human's body, this client wanted with all her might to have others notice her own personal feelings, so described it by creating a man holding a rifle.
When I mentioned to the client, "Regardless of being forceful, all what you really wanted was for your sad feelings to be listened." She shed into tears.
Looking back at this session kept me thinking, should Omar happened to be gay, with several other equipment to kill another human being, why was it "a gun" he used to kill his own comrades?
It's possible to study the situation from several other different perspectives of psychology.
For example, Negativity Bias or Defense Mechanism, Reaction Formation, Cognitive Distortions can be directly connected. Reciprocity, Inconsistency can also lead to an effective study. Many things can be studied psychologically. I'm looking forward for many psychologists and scholars to study and examine the psychological aspects of the Orlando Incident.
Speaking from a Christian's point of view, his soul will eternally fall to hell, brutality is a sin without reason.
I think it appropriate to say that Omar is a sinner who killed 49 and injured 53 others.
There's absolutely no reason at all for those 49 people to have been victims of a crime like that. What he essentially did was by no mistake pure evil, and there should be no forgiveness.
On the contrary, should he had been born gay the same way I was, then it is my strongest desire for me to prove that this was no monster the way people mention, that this was an act by a normal human being.
I want to prove that he is no monster, that he is a normal human being.
The Orlando shooting was not caused by a monster with messed up feelings, but by a human being, a very sad, sad, sad human being who completely lost his way in life and had no place to go.
One who lost his way in life, couldn't distinguish left from right, deciding to pull a trigger on himself instead.
For those who insist that he was a monster, at least this much can be said; that he was not born as a monster, that he was unmistakably born as a little boy, that by the law of nature of humankind, he was "emotionally transformed" into what he is known today as a monster.
Based on my perspective of psychology, regardless of sexuality, this "transformation into a monster" can happen to anybody. We are all involved in this Orlando incident.
Discuss before hatred.
Discuss even after hatred.
I pray from the deepest of my heart for a "heart to heart" conversation between mankind, that beyond ethnicity, sexuality, community, religion, race, disease, and handicap.
To prevent more hatred and despair from hatred. To create love and tenderness from hatred and despair. I pray that from this Orlando incident, more people from all over the world will learn to communicate and have a discussion. It would be my greatest pleasure should this column of psychology be of help to those who need understanding.
For those living abroad;
This column was originally written by Yutaka Murakami and translated by Christopher Futoshi Kobayashi.
If you're living in a country that does not use English/Japanese, then it is my desire for you to translate this column into your language and share with your family, friends, partners, coworkers, etc.
Cc license is set( Display - Non-profit - Modified ban ), but as long as you have practical intentions, you may use it for profit.
Understanding how each and one of our hearts and minds work, I pray that this Orlando Campaign of exchanging love & tenderness continue beyond borders, beyond the years, forever. Hoping & praying that the next 49 victims and 50th person would never have to take place in this earth ever again.