A different kind of national defense

| Tue Aug. 23, 2005 8:39 AM EDT

Excerpts from the message boards:

Let her give these speeches from Canada--I surely hope not a penny of my tax dollars ever goes to this misguided, delusional woman.

Come on. She is obviously delusional....She is a disgrace.

...deranged individuals should be quietly led to treatment, not encouraged to dramatize their delusional ideas for the evening newscast.

I hope she wakes up from her delusional dream world before her life is entirely destroyed.

I see her as just another delusional lefty, of no major political significance.

The woman is obviously delusional with grief and is being used.

She's a liar and getting more delusional by the minute.

His [Casey] mother on the other hand is a self-serving, delusional, anti-semetic *#@! who's so covered in her own mud that we don't need to sling any.

Perhaps...the media whores supporting and encouraging a grieving mother in her delusional thinking truly believe that they are on a mission from God.

Can you say "delusional"? The Cindy-haters sure can, and do, all over the Web. "Delusional" is a psychiatric term which refers to having a false belief that is held in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Some examples would be: The world is safer since we invaded Iraq; The war is going really well and Iraq is on the way to stability; George W. Bush cares about your children...that sort of thing.

Anyway, as long as we're getting psychiatrtic (which I like to do--I'm a psychotherapist), this is as good a time as any to look at the unconscious defense mechanisms, as defined by Drs. Sigmund and Anna Freud. The two defense mechanisms that are considered the most primitive (that is, they are developed in very early childhood) are denial and projection.

Denial is an unconscious refusal to accept a reality. It is often used in the service of the ego, in order to protect us from overwhelming pain. For example, it is denial that causes us to go about our business in a robotic daze after we have experienced a tragedy. But it is also the an unconcious inability to acknowledge that the tragedy even occurred. Projection is the attribution of our undesirable characteristics onto others. An angry parent, for example, may accuse her child of hostility. Troubled marriages are sometimes based on projective identification by both partners.

I believe that the emergence of Cindy Sheehan has triggered in many a deep need to defend against what she represents. She is not a politician. She is not a talking head. She is a woman whose son is dead, and he is dead because Cheney, Wolfowitz and their pals want to take over the world, and because an alarming number of Americans really hate dark-skinned people and love SUVs. These are not suitable reasons for Casey Sheehan to have died at the age of 24. And the simple truth is: If Cindy Sheehan's son can die in Iraq or some place like it, Betty Bushlover's son or daughter can die there, too. And if that happens, Betty Bushlover and her countrywomen need to believe that their kids died for freedom and democracy and honor and all the abstract things we go on about when we have a war, even if that war is really about something ese.

Ms. Sheehan is called "delusional" every time she speaks. Sounds like denial and projection to me.