While we were coping with social distancing, quarantine, isolation, and fear of an invisible virus, as I write this, we are seeing the powerful reactions in our cities to George Floyd’s killing. It is impossible not to be affected by this and of course, certainly not in the LGBTQ community. Any group that is treated as an outgroup, whatever the criterion may be, is familiar with the feelings towards the injustice and discrimination.
How are you dealing with this state of the country? How are your relationships and your mind coping with the anxiety, anger, frustration, and depressive thoughts over this? As we grow up, most if not all of us are taught that there is something called fairness and justice. Some quickly learn that those concepts may exist only in some quarters and not everywhere. That becomes a rude awakening. When something over which you had no choice is a trait used to treat you differently, that internal mechanism we call the self, rebels. The outward expression may vary from passivity since the stakes may be too high, to actively fighting verbally and/or physically. That is what we are seeing now. Our biological and mental structures send an alert – an alert that says there is a threat to your existence. We then may fight, flee, or freeze. Those are the three reactions we possess as survival mechanisms.
What heals in this process is a sense that we are not alone, that we have support, and that we are stronger when we unite, when we join forces to bring about change and progress. If I know you are with me in a quest for fairness, I feel stronger and that is what we are seeing as crowds gather. However, the crucial factor is that when people are in a hyperemotional state, unexpected things can happen.
I hope that by the time you read this, our country is in a calmer place but with determination to bring about change, to right the wrongs and to practice equality for all. We all have a responsibility to do what we can towards that goal. Humanity is based on that principle. May we all remember that.
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.
Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577