Some therapists say I am hypersensitive. I attach importance to subtle aspects of interpersonal relations and tend to see repeated problematic interactions in childhood as a source of pathology.
I interpret the tendency to dismiss the importance of subtle phenomena as a form of sophistry. There’s an intuitive appeal to dismissing seemingly trivial circumstances. In the 1930s, if a person complained about cigarette smoke in the environment the smoker could convincingly say, “It’s just cigarette smoke. Don’t be hypersensitive.” Some subtle things, such as second hand cigarette smoke, are important or even pathogenic.
The following paper shows that scapegoating in families is sometimes based not on dramatic incidents, but simple communication patterns between the parents and the scapegoated child. These communication patterns are subtle but distinct. The patterns in communication only emerge after careful scrutiny by a trained professional. It’s all quite technical!! (“The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to determine the degree of reliability between the initial ratings and the check ratings. Only those associated characteristics and verbalization categories which were found to have inter-rater correlation coefficients which approached significance (p<.10) were investigated further.")
Does scapegoating in groups or the workplace also involve subtle communication patterns?