Coping Responses and Credibility
By John S. Carpenter, MSW, LCSW
“On the other end of this discussion are those experiencers who are seen and assessed by the public - even the UFO community - as ‘coping too well to have been genuine abductees.’ Judged as attention-seekers, book peddlers, or New Age ‘crusaders,’ these individuals are often only seen and known to the public in the latter stages of their years of coping…Many of these same abductees struggled for years, privately, trying desperately to comprehend the confusion.… Documenting their experiences and personal growth in book form has become a therapeutic catharsis.”
“Aliens always abduct mentally stable people.”
The notion that alien life forms could possibly detect in advance how psychologically sound any individual is and always be able to make an accurate selection is an extraordinary concept. For an otherworldly being to always be able to predict how any human being is going to react emotionally or choose to cope is highly unlikely.
Research in UFO abductions has indicated that there are frequent reports of “tests” or “stage events” to elicit emotional responses from abductees. When these abduction participants react, there is frequently a subtle acknowledgement that the subjects did well by just responding with intense emotions. This implies that the they have not understood our human emotions well and have undertaken a study of this unexpected of less known variable - as any sensible scientist would - if indeed this is the assumed logic of their actions. There are many abduction accounts in which the little grays have reacted with apparent surprise at sudden emotional displays made by captive humans. The creatures tend to “stand back” or simply leave at such moments; they do not challenge the feelings. It therefore seems unlikely that they could be superior in the emotional assessment of humans prior to an abduction.
As researcher and mental health professionals we have constantly stressed our assessments of sanity and normality among abductees to establish credibility for the phenomenon. However, how many experiencers have not coped well and lapsed into dysfunctional coping behavior such as alcoholism, drug abuse, delinquency, overeating, gambling, or explosive and detrimental displacement of anger? How many have buried their confusion, anxiety, anger, and fear in these ways for years without knowing the source of their irritations? How many personalities have been shaped by years of silent intrusions upon the mind and emotions of these humans?
Will these unfortunate people be judged as having less credible encounters because they are alcoholics or poorly coping individuals? We cannot judge the nature of their original incidents by simply assessing their present level of functioning. Researching the encounters may be next to impossible due to dysfunctional behavior and fragility in coping ability. But we should not conclude that their encounters are created by their present day coping deficiencies. Skeptics will claim that the alcoholism, for example, manufactured the anomalous event. In fact, the opposite is more believable - that the bizarre experience led the witness to drinking excessively as a dysfunctional method of coping. Nor should we conclude - without a careful investigation of the facts - that their experiences are imagined or self-serving. We would be naive to assume that all abductees will cope well, given time - and that all would even make the revealing connection to UFO’s in order to begin appropriately processing their unresolved feelings, phobias, and non-productive behaviors.
“Abductees that cannot withstand public scrutiny are less credible.”
The second line of trouble is the public ridicule, debunking, and disbelief that overwhelms the experiencer who may be barely managing their emotions under such pressure. We have seen some publicized cases break down certain witnesses into psychotic episodes, erratic behavior or claims, and depression with withdrawal into seclusion. The skeptics gleefully make their claims of “hoax” or “insanity” as these witnesses crumble under the intense weight of public scrutiny. Can we even begin to know how that pressure would feel? Are we to conclude that their encounters are not real just because they fail to survive these kinds of pressures? The public typically makes an instantaneous assessment based on a media critique or brief witness interview (shaped by editing, of course). Those words and images are unlikely to represent the individual’s entire experience and full range of emotions, but, like a timely snapshot, this is what will be recalled.
“All Abductees who speak on TV, at conferences, or sell books have not suffered badly and just like attention.”
On the other end of this discussion are those experiencers who are seen and assessed by the public - even the UFO community - as “coping too well to have been genuine abductees.” Judged as attention-seekers, book peddlers, or New Age “crusaders,” these individuals are often only seen and known to the public in the latter stages of their years of coping. Coping is a process. Many of these same abductees struggled for years, privately, trying desperately to comprehend the confusion, mixed feelings, and anguish of having their perception of reality shattered forever. Documenting their experiences and personal growth in book form has become a therapeutic catharsis - a way of organizing, releasing and gaining some form of control over their feelings, while hopefully - helping someone else out there with their private disclosures.
This handful of advocates, bravely speaking publicly to sincerely promote the existence of this wide-spread mystery, are doing what they believe is important. For most, it is a peak in their adjustment to a new reality - to take great personal risk in order to speak from the depths of their feelings in hopes of helping others. To fairly assess them one must know of their complete
journey through fear, pain, confusion, self-doubt, and terror - not just what you observe in a few public moments at the finish.
This article is published with the expressed written permission of John S. Carpenter exclusively for publication on The Alien Jigsaw: alienjigsaw.com