Current Song Obsessions

The following songs are stuck in my media player:

The new one by Torul, “Saviour of Love” (I actually have the Extended Version, but this is essentially the same).  Check out that sultry look the lead singer gives you:

E Nomine’s “Wolfen (Das Tier in Mir),” about a werewolf–chanted by a famous German voice actor.  I just love that growling, German voice:

The English translation:

E Nomine’s “Vater Unser”–I just love that powerful German voice saying the Lord’s Prayer and screaming out, “Father, hear my voice”!

“Spiders (UnterART Remix)” by Ashbury Heights (which always makes me think, “Follow the spiders?  Couldn’t it be Follow the butterflies?”):

This is actually an obsession from a few months ago, but I forget if I posted it–MGT and Ashton Nyte, “The Reaping.”  Love the architecture inside that Gothic-style church, and the artwork!


FLASHBACK TO 2011: Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary of friendship crash and burn

I’m thinking of celebrating the first anniversary of 7/1/10, to help me deal with it.  Sure it still hurts to see what I thought was a wonderful, close, lifelong friendship (Richard) crash and burn in betrayal and verbal violence.

But I have no regrets for having kicked Tracy out of my life.  I’m much happier not being forced to talk to her, not being forced to see her name on my Facebook feed or IRC channel, not cringing every time I hear her voice.  

I don’t want to ever see her again.  And allowing myself to be beaten down internally over the crap she flung at me would be a crime.



FLASHBACK TO 2011: Can we destroy something God put in place?

[Written in a comment to this post on February 13, 2011:]

The whole situation with Richard and Tracy demonstrates the danger of expecting perfection out of your spiritual guru. I keep going back and forth: badly wanting apologies and reconciliation, then remembering that I couldn’t stand the things I saw going on all the time, and realizing I’m better off sticking with my kinder, gentler friends.

I simply can’t condone the things that these people did, or respect anyone who would do those things and excuse them. If I objected to something that was done or said to me or to someone else, I was treated as if I had no right or cause to complain.

I was objecting quite a bit shortly before the incident of the betrayal and verbal abuse, because all of a sudden quite a bit was going on right in front of me to object to….

But it’s so hard to close the door on it forever when it seemed like God was working in so many ways to form the friendship.

It’s a question that applies in many different contexts: If you see the hand of God everywhere in a project, decision or relationship, so much so that you’re convinced the Holy Spirit is driving it, yet it all falls apart–How is this to be explained??

Can people destroy a good thing even if God is driving it? Or if we’re mistaken that God was behind it, how can we tell that something with so many evidences of God’s handiwork, is not of Him after all?

#notokay No, Trump, not just locker room banter: My own sexual assault / harassment stories

See juslikagrzly’s It has happened to me.  It has happened to you.  She writes about the pervasive problem of sexual harassment, by simply posting the stories of many women reacting to Trump’s banter on sexual assault.  She says,

It’s happened to me many, many times.  It’s happened to you many, many times — and Donald Trump’s vile and disgusting admission of sexual assault has brought the memories roaring back into my awareness.  It feels like being dragged down into a vortex of the shame, embarrassment, disgust, fear, and utter helplessness women experience when men have treated us like sexual meat.

One of the anonymous stories:

Watching the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings and wondering why she continued to work for him, all the while KNOWING EXACTLY WHY SHE CONTINUED TO WORK WITH HIM.  Feeling ashamed and embarrassed for her, myself, and all women who grit their teeth and put up with vile, disgusting behavior.

The stories have a common refrain: “I never told anyone.”  I didn’t talk about it, either.  I didn’t tell teachers.  I didn’t tell cafeteria monitors, even though friends told me to.  I didn’t tell my parents.  I didn’t change seats.  I just stayed silent, letting it eat away at my stomach until I had to get Pepcid for the stomach ulcer and medicine for the headaches and a splint for the TMJ.

I thought maybe it was the NVLD or selective mutism or shyness keeping me silent, but here I find plenty of other teenage girls who also said nothing, just put up with it.

Then, many years later, it happened again, online this time.  After many years of silence, I told my best friend, a man, what had happened back in high school–but now he turned around and told me the online stuff “wasn’t real” and I should “get over it.”

People say things are better for women and there is no rape culture.  But here’s Trump and Giuliani saying this is just “locker room talk” that men do all the time.  Trump’s apology was fake, as anyone who’s known a narcissist can tell you.  First he says he’s sorry, but then he turns right around and minimizes what he did, then deflects attention onto somebody else’s shortcomings.

Well, here are my stories, and I’m not silent about it anymore:

Elementary School

As a little girl, I loved wearing dresses.  I preferred them to pants.

Then one day in Kindergarten, as I walked to school, a couple of little boys cornered me and started lifting up my skirt.  I finally got away from them, but the damage was done: I never told my mom why I suddenly hated dresses and insisted on wearing pants all the time (except to church).

High School Sexual Harassment 

My freshman year in high school, I was sexually harassed by three guys, two of them together.

One of them kept making sexual comments to me at lunch, and once even put his penis on the table next to me.  I refused to look, but know he did it, because of the reactions of the guys around him.

I couldn’t stand the school’s chicken sandwiches after that because that’s what I was eating at the time, and it reminded me of it.

Now I know that I could’ve switched tables to get away from them, but at the time I felt trapped into sitting at that one table because that’s where I sat at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t realize that I could sit at a different table with other kids.

I’m not sure why I felt that I had to sit at that table, but it could have been an NVLD thing: “You can’t change the pattern you’ve already set!”

After lunch we would all stand by the door and wait for the bell; I can remember this guy doing or saying something while we stood in line, so much that I crouched down as if to protect myself.  But I just don’t remember what exactly he was doing.

The two other guys, who sat at the table behind mine in Biology class second semester, would spend the class period making sexual comments to me.  Once, one spoke so loudly to me during the lecture that the teacher stopped and scolded them.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell the teachers what was happening; a friend told me to do so about the lunch period bully, but something kept me quiet.  In fact, in general I was a passive recipient of bullying.  I just didn’t fight back.

Then there was the guy who called me up one day.  We were having a nice little conversation until he said he was playing with his d***.  I said something I now forget and hung up.  I never did find out who it was.  It sounded like he knew one of my classmates.

Then, of course, there were the catcalls, starting in middle school when my curves began to form, going on for years, sometimes at recess, sometimes while walking home from school.  Even a girl in my neighborhood made a sexual comment to me one day on my way home from school!

Religious and Sexual Harassment by a Teacher 

Meanwhile, my Photography teacher made at least one such comment as well.  (I don’t know why all this happened the same year.)

All first semester he’d been harassing me for being a Christian and having conservative values, even though I don’t recall saying a whole lot about them in class or much of anything, really, unless spoken to.

Other kids in Photography class joined in on the religious harassment, including a witch who told me her coven killed my cat (all I said was he went missing on Halloween and never came back), and one day started yelling at me that maybe God is the liar and the Devil is telling the truth–until a Jewish girl told her to quit it and leave me alone.

Then one day, during a work period, the teacher was sitting on a stool at a large table when I had to get around an obstruction of some type.  I don’t remember the details now, what the obstruction was, or anything.  But I didn’t want to go behind him to get around, because there wasn’t enough room and I’d run into his butt.

Rather than leave me alone like any decent man would do, he ridiculed me and told me to go behind him.

I don’t know why on earth I did this like an idiot–probably because I had grown up with the mindset that you do whatever a teacher tells you–but I started going the other way to go behind him, like an obedient student.

He started humming or moaning, and a girl said to me with wide eyes, “Better not do that.”

The following semester, I ditched that class and switched to a class on life skills.  He was a major reason why, both from this and from his religious harassment.

That year or the next, a letter to the editor of the school newspaper complained about an unnamed teacher who would sexually harass students.  I always wondered if the girl who “rescued” me was the writer and if she meant my Photography teacher.  (I must have forgotten her name already.)

All these things happened freshman year, and that year I began to get an ulcer from the stress.  After every lunch period, my stomach was in a lot of pain.

My junior year, I developed headaches from TMJ in my jaw, another stress-related condition, even though the freshman year bullies had either graduated or were no longer in my classes.

College Sexual Abuse

For my stories on this, see my college memoirs here, and look for Shawn and Phil.  Shawn is…complicated, a guy who kept pushing my boundaries and then saying he wasn’t attracted to me, and blaming me for everything he did.  Phil used various forms of manipulation and even tried to force me into anal and oral sex.

Online Sexual Harassment 

In late May or early June of 2009, while I was in an IRC chatroom with my best friend Richard, two of the admins started sexually harassing and bullying me.  Several of the other members–including a woman!–egged them on.

I did nothing to bring this on, had said nothing for some time, and probably wasn’t even watching the screen at first, while doing other things online.  I sat there in silent disbelief when they started doing this.

Then the Creep, one of the admins, because my handle was a hobbit, began making cracks like, was I hairy all over.  His comments turned to my private parts.

I just sat there in disbelief, not responding at all, when he started going on and on about how awful it is for women to not shave that area, and how his girlfriend shaves.

And then one of the other Creeps, also an admin, started insisting I post pics of that area.  I said nothing to these guys to bring this on; I don’t think I said a word through much of this.

I thought Richard would stick up for me, but he said nothing, at least not publicly so I could see it.

Richard quickly went onto a channel I myself had made recently for personal friends, so I could get away from these people and still talk with him.

While this stuff was going on, his wife Tracy came in the main chatroom.  I expected that she had seen everything and was going to give these creeps a piece of her mind, complete with her usual cussing.

But instead, when one of the admins told her I was being a b**ch for refusing to show him a picture of my private parts, she just said, “You know how hobbits are,” and started joking around and chatting with them about having a get-together at her house.

I finally told the main harasser to bite me.  The other admin said that was a stupid thing to say.  Richard even typed that he was “biting” me, basically participating now.

Then they kicked me off the channel, and banned me for several days.  I kept checking to see if I could get in, but just for information’s sake: I intended to have nothing more to do with that channel and those jerks.

These filthy creeps were actually friends of Richard and Tracy!  Nearly a year later, I learned that Richard told them they were being jerks.  But he never made them apologize or anything.  And they knew I was his real-life close friend, but did this anyway.

I was shaken and upset for days, trying to watch movies on TV, but this was constantly on my mind.  It was disturbing, made me feel gross. 

For probably at least a year, even making love to my husband would bring it back to mind, because of how gross it made me feel. 

This was no joking around–This was sexual harassment!  And Richard and Tracy did absolutely NOTHING to stick up for me!

As I wrote in an e-mail to Richard on June 5, 2009,

I’ve been feeling this massive boredom and sadness the past few days because of so many things happening at once….

This strange feeling of not knowing if I want to be around people or just hide away even from my best friends, waiting and waiting to hear that something has changed or been resolved….

I try to be happy and it almost feels like I’m manufacturing it, it’s not really felt.

I try to ignore the [IRC] thing, try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it just isn’t working.

I have to be honest with myself.  I have to put my finger on the problem: Why should I be upset about being banned from a place with people I don’t even like?

If that’s all it is, then I’d feel like an idiot.  So it can’t just be that.  Is it pride because I’m not the sort of person who gets banned from *anywhere*?  It’s part of it, maybe, but not all.

Is it the crying out for justice?  Maybe that’s it.  I want somebody to get chewed out.  I want apologies.  I feel humiliated.

That’s part of it: The humiliation.  I’ve been in flame wars before; I recall once sticking up for my friends and getting ridiculed for it, until finally the sysop put a stop to the whole thing.  I learned how not to feed the trolls.

But in this case I wasn’t even feeding the trolls.  I was just bored and playing a little here and there to pass the time, not being mean or nasty to anybody.

The humiliation comes from, mostly, being verbally abused for no reason and the others standing by and letting it happen–heck, some even joining in, saying don’t let the door hit me in the a** etc. etc., even a *girl* playing along like it was funny.

I remember it was [The Creep], [a few others], and possibly one other though I don’t remember now.  You say you were chatting with [The Creep]; I want to hear that you told him to knock it off and that he’s being an a****** to a dear friend of yours and that he’d better be apologizing to me ASAP because his “joke” is not at all funny.

I wrote about the guys in high school.

When Tracy came in I thought she’d seen everything and was going to chew out [The Creep], especially after he said I’m being b*****y for not posting obscene pictures of myself, but instead she just says “that’s how hobbits are” and starts joking with him and arranging some get-together….

I don’t want these people anywhere near me if that’s how they treat women.  All I ever did was be nice; I thought being your friend would mean good treatment; in return I got sexually harassed and verbally abused and banned. As far as I’m concerned, these are not good people.  Even as a joke–That just isn’t funny.

I feel sick inside.  I know you were disgusted by the whole thing as well; I’m not blaming you for anything.  I just can’t keep bottling it up.

I thought he would distance himself from them, stop hanging out with them, because they were so horrible, because they would treat a woman like that, because they were sexual harassers.

But no, he still kept going into that channel, still kept talking to the worst offender on the phone.  He occasionally brought them up in conversation.  I couldn’t understand how he could do this.

But he only mentioned them once or twice over the next year, so I said nothing–until I heard he was going to have them all over to his house in 2010.

In March of 2010, when my husband came home from D&Ding with Richard and Tracy one Friday night, he told me we wouldn’t be able to D&D with them the following weekend: They were planning to have those jerks from the IRC channel come visit them.

Here in my town.

In their house.


I was irate, telling Jeff, “It’s disgusting!”

If I saw somebody sexually harass one of my closest friends, I’d have nothing to do with him!

How could Richard not cut these people out of his life for being so horrid to women, to one of his best and closest friends, to the one who helped him above and beyond what most people would do?

And how could he invite sexual harassers to his house?  Wasn’t he afraid of letting these people anywhere near his little girls?

I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell Jeff just what these people had said to me in the chat, but tried to make him understand that he would’ve wanted to punch them all out if he saw it.  It took quite a while before I could tell him just what went on.

I ranted about it to Jeff, wondered what I should do about it, what should I say?  We pondered the wisdom, or lack thereof, of an ultimatum.

Jeff told me I had to make a decision on what to do, whether to say that Richard should drop these friends.  He also picked up some brochures about a circle of respect, which he was going to “plant” at Richard’s house so the jerks would find it.

The party was cancelled, but I began to ponder the situation, what to do about it, how to handle it, whether it was my problem or his.

A week or two later, I had almost forgotten about it, when something brought it back to my mind again, making me feel dirty and gross with the memory of what the creeps had said to me.  So I knew this was important.

So I wrote an e-mail to Richard about it.  This was around April 1.  It took me some three hours, carefully crafting it so he wouldn’t feel like I blamed him or anything, and carefully leaving out any hint that he should drop these friends.

I used all the tips that counselors recommend for dealing with difficult conversations, without putting people on the defensive.

I kept out how I found it disgusting that he would invite these jerks to his house.  I restricted my request to him please refraining from mentioning the names of these people around me, to help me to get past this and move on.

After all, the time he spent with me was only a few hours every week or so, most of which were taken up with D&D, and he rarely talked about them around me in the first place.  So this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

He said no.  In fact, he wrote such a scathing e-mail–saying that he had actually written other drafts which he scrapped, which were even more scathing–that I thought here was proof that no, he didn’t care about me at all anymore.

I cried, and was so upset that it affected me physically.  I even had to ask a neighbor to take my son to school, because I just couldn’t handle it.

Instead of writing back, I called him up.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that online sexual harassment isn’t “real” and he thought I knew that.  He said, “I love you like a sister, but you’re driving me crazy.”

He blamed me, treated me like there was something hysterical about getting upset over guys online making personal remarks about my genitals and ripping into me for getting mad at them and not showing them naked pictures.

He complained about “pampering” me.

He also talked like there was something ridiculous about not wanting to hear the names of your sexual harassers spoken around you.

Yet even my husband feels the same way, cringing at the very name of someone who has abused or otherwise mistreated him.  My husband thought I was not being at all unreasonable, and did not like how Richard treated me over this.

I just couldn’t stand that he would call this “ridiculous” or tell me to just “get over it”–or that he and Tracy were still friends with the main harasser, the Creep, after this incident, that a year later he was talking with them about a get-together at their house and in my city.

I told Richard I didn’t want these guys to know what city I lived in, who I was, or anything.  But he said they already knew.

He said the Creep was actually shy and quiet in real life, not like his online persona at all–but that didn’t impress me, because you’re still a jerk even if you’re only a jerk online.  He said he did tell these guys they were being jerks to me, but now he so downplayed what they did, made it sound like I was just irrational and silly, that I couldn’t believe it.

He talked as if these guys were just behaving normally and did this to Richard’s other friends, but those friends would play along and be good sports about it.  It made me sound like a combination of prude and party pooper.

In August 2014, old college classmate Persephone shared this webpage on Facebook, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.

I then shared it myself, along with a short description of the above incidents.  My friends responded:

cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.” –(my old friend Mike)

what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.” –(Persephone)

I replied,

Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.

Persephone wrote,

ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  🙁  “



Watching the fallout over Trump….

In case you haven’t been paying attention, yesterday we learned that Trump said some comments in 2005 about hitting on married women and how women let him do anything because he’s a celebrity.  He basically laughed about sexual assault.  Even his running mate Pence is distancing himself from him, and the GOP is in disarray.

Of course, I wonder what took so long: Trump’s been saying crap like this for ages–not just from 11 years ago, but in the past week/month/year–but only now does it seem to be the “last straw” for the GOP.

It’s too late now to change things.  Early voting has already started.

Trump is an obvious narcissistic sociopath.  Those of us who have been abused by such people in one way or another, recognize this easily.  Nothing about him screams “Christian,” either, so this stubborn determination by Evangelical leaders to support him as a so-called “repentant Christian,” just boggles my mind.


This is what we call “Christian in name-only.”  Or “nominal Christian.”  Someone who only calls himself a Christian to get benefits from that.

Also, his “apology” strikes me as very much NOT an apology.  His wife’s comments that she accepted the apology–I suspect that she is so engulfed in Stockholm Syndrome that she doesn’t see the truth about his “apology” or his character.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves that voting Republican no matter what is the “Christian” way, while Democrats are the “anti-Christian” party.

I am well-versed in the Bible and Christian ethics, and this is WHY I abandoned the GOP many years ago now.  The Democrats have some issues as well, but I determined the platform actually follows the teachings of Christ.  You can’t just automatically dismiss a whole party as the “Antichrist” unless it actually calls itself the Antichrist Party.  (Or it’s Neo-Nazi.  😛  )

As for individual Democrats–they’re people, too.  Individual Republicans are people, too.  Even though I heartily disagree with Paul Ryan’s politics, for example, I’d feel a LOT better if he were on the ticket instead of Trump.  Even Pence gives me far less of a squicky feeling than Trump.  Even Cruz–well, no, not Cruz.  😛  Ben Carson–I’d be okay with him instead of Trump.  BUT NOT TRUMP!


“Betty, Girl Engineer” and 1950s sexism

In general, I love the old 50s sitcom Father Knows Best.  It’s funny, and it even pushes the boundaries at times, such as one episode which addressed prejudice against Latinos, and another which showed Betty fending off a date who felt entitled to get more from her than she wanted to give.

But occasionally, it gets on my nerves with the old sexism.  For example, Father joking about Mother’s “womanly” manipulations to get what she wants, because apparently she’s not supposed to just come out and ask.

Though if you watch other media from that time period, such as movies or sitcoms, you soon discover that not all the women portrayed behaved like this.

For example, on Donna Reed, Mrs. Stone is very much against women using manipulation to get what they want.  She comes out and asks her husband for things.

The wife on Make Room for Daddy is a housewife, and occasionally submissive, but she can also be very fiery and fights back when she thinks her husband is unfair.  She and other wives also feel threatened by a new Asian bride, because they fear their husbands will expect them to wait on them hand and foot.  They soon learn that the bride is the way she wants to be, and that their husbands like them the way they are.

Alice Kramden does not strike me as the kind of person who would use feminine wiles for anything.  She’s not submissive at all.

Zelda Gilroy decides that she’ll have to be the one to work, because she’s brilliant, while Dobie Gillis is just plain lazy.

Of course, Lucy Ricardo is the epitome of manipulative and scheming females, though–in a crossover episode of Make Room for Daddy–we discover that Ricky won’t have her any other way.

As for how real women acted, I bet there were as many differences back then as there are today.  The women in the media are “types,” some more real, some more idealized.

Back to Father Knows Best.  In one episode, tomboy Kathy learns to become a Proper Girl (TM) because that’s the only way boys will want to date her.  She learns how to manipulate because that’s what girls do.

In one of the last episodes, Betty, the oldest and almost done with college, applies for a job; a young man also applying, shames her for trying to take away a job he needs for his career.  (Maybe she needs it too!)  In the end, she decides what she really wants is to be a bride, not the job.

Last night, I saw “Betty, Girl Engineer,” which I also saw back in high school.  Yeah, it annoyed me then, too, but I forgot what all happened.  Last night refreshed my memory.

A good summary is in this blog post by Shereen.  Basically, Betty goes through aptitude tests at school which show that she’d be good at engineering.  She comes home, all excited about this career choice.

But everyone at home laughs at her, like this is just one of Betty’s silly little whims, because girls don’t belong in engineering.  Father even chides her for thinking she can handle higher math such as algebra and trigonometry.

She signs up for a work-study position surveying, but is shamed out of it by the supervisor.  However, instead of telling everyone where they can stick it, and following her dreams, she succumbs to the brainwashing, puts on a dress, and the chauvinist pig supervisor becomes the latest in her long string of boyfriends.  Father even encourages the chauvinist pig to lecture Betty out of her silly dreams (since apparently girls need to be taught by men what to think).  She ditches her silly whim of being an engineer, and becomes a Proper Girl (TM).


Over on the IMDB page on this sitcom, somebody brought up sexism in the show, but got shamed by everyone else for complaining about it.  Apparently, from the comments I read in that thread, if it happened 50 years ago, you aren’t supposed to look at it with a “modern lens,” but just accept it as “the way it was.”  And apparently, old shows are much better than godless modern ones which present fathers as goofballs etc. etc.

Hm.  So, then, when I read, say,

The Sun Also Rises and everybody rips on Cohn for being Jewish, or

The Great Gatsby where they see a couple of rich young black men and dismiss them as a couple of uppity “bucks,” or

Trilby with all the author’s prejudice against Jews, which he clearly states and then throws into the slimy character of Svengali, or

–any old book or movie in which blacks are dismissed as simple-minded,

I’m supposed to just say, “Oh, that was another time and it would be wrong for me to look at it from the lens of our modern times.”

Hm.  I’ve been critiquing various forms of media all my life for sexism, racism, and the like, without feeling I was being unfair just because it was written/filmed a long time ago.

What about the people who lived in those times and had to suffer from the sexism and racism which was so acceptable back then but not now?

If women in the 50s were perfectly happy being housewives and not following their silly, childish dreams of becoming engineers/scientists/etc., then why did we have the feminist movement just a short time later?  Why did so many women in the 60s and 70s sound so unhappy with their lot?  Yes, many women did and do want to be housewives, but many don’t.

Even back then, there were women who wanted careers.  Women weren’t just perfectly content to follow one path until Gloria Steinem came along and convinced them otherwise.  No, this was percolating for a long time.

For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote that she helped Pa out in the fields, and didn’t just help Ma in the house.  She also wrote that she refused to say the word “obey” when she married Almanzo in the 1800s, and he said no decent man would want her to.

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman way back in 1792, arguing that women were only overly emotional because they weren’t given proper education or opportunities for careers.

George Sand–a woman who took a man’s pen name to be taken seriously–was certainly no conventional housewife.

In Jane Eyre, we find this passage:

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot.  Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth.

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex (p. 129).

My Honor’s thesis in college was about women writers of Victorian times wanting to break out of society’s restrictions on them.  It was titled “I’ve Stopped Being Theirs,” a line by Emily Dickinson, whose poetry revealed an intense desire to decide her own fate.

While researching, I discovered that even Little Women seemed to be Louisa May Alcott’s ironic attempt to whitewash reality with what society said women “should” be.  Her own family was nothing like the Marches, and she was more like Jo, yet she–like Jo–was told by others how she “should” act.

(Maybe I should pull out that old thesis and post it here?  Of course, it’s quite long, because that’s required of theses.  I may have to chop it up and edit it.  But it was good enough to get an A and be filed in the school library as an example for others!  😀 )

In fact, I wrote this thesis–and became a feminist–after my experiences with a very sexist ex, Phil, who tried to force me into an old-fashioned, submissive role, even while chiding me for wanting to be a housewife.  (Doesn’t make sense, I know.  But also demonstrates why my feminism is NOT the kind which tells women they should not be housewives.  On the contrary, I believe in letting women decide for themselves.)

Also, in the early decades of the 20th century, women were already starting to break out of society’s restrictions: women doctors, women scientists, women journalists.  Remember Marie Curie?  In fact, when the Nazis took over in Germany, they forced not just Jews but many women out of their jobs, because they thought women should just be housewives.  (Their preaching on this turned around and bit them on the butt later, when the women were too content being housewives to want to help the war effort.)

It has been common for decades to hear about the “idyllic” 1950s.  That everyone was religious and everyone knew his/her place and was happy.  But if that were true, then where did the unrest of the 1960s come from?  If life were perfect, then who but an idiot would want to turn everything upside-down?  Why were there riots?  Why were there marches and protests?  Where did the feminism come from?

No, that feminism didn’t start in the 1960s.  It started centuries earlier.

Instead of looking at this as, “You can’t judge a 1950s show with your modern lens,” how about we say, “Yes, this is an example of the rampant sexism that inspired women to rebel in the 60s and 70s.  This is how tough our mothers/grandmothers had it.  Look what they had to fight against!  Let’s appreciate what they went through.”

Also see:




Reblog: “Disastrous Duck by Wisconsin Supreme Court! Walker Off Scot-Free?”

Our governor Scott Walker gets away with shady activity which violates state law.

This kind of thing makes us wonder who really is running our state, the people or corporations?

And Walker and his cronies recently made it even harder to keep them honest, by removing various watchdogs over state government.  They didn’t like the powers of the John Doe probes, so they removed them.  When our innovative Government Accountability Board did its job and Walker suffered, he and his cronies rolled us back to what we had when this crap went down.

The courts have failed us yet again.


The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to take the Wisconsin John Doe campaign finance case is a major setback for democracy, transparency, and accountability.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was flagrantly skirting 40 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent on campaign finance by coordinating with outside groups, as the recent article in the Guardian amply demonstrated. And the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s corrupt decision in July 2015 to shut down the John Doe II investigation of Walker was based on a blatant misreading of U.S. Supreme Court rulings on this subject.

So I’m surprised and severely disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court did not take the case. It has an obligation, however, to revisit this issue of coordination between candidates and outside groups in the near future because the precedent that Walker and the Wisconsin Supreme Court have now set is disastrous. It undermines the ability of legislatures to impose meaningful limits on donations to candidates or to require adequate disclosure of donations – both of which are keys to a well-functioning democracy.

–Matthew Rothschild, posted here



Reblog on toxic troll culture online–and rise of Trump

I recommend Kali Holloway’s The Toxic, Bullying Troll Culture Has Made Much of the Internet Dangerous; Just Perfect for Donald Trump’s Political Rise.

It’s about the rise of dangerous trolling on the Net–no longer “just for lulz”–and how it’s contributed to the rise of Trump as well.  This is because of the increasing acceptance in the modern “troll culture” for misogyny, racism, neo-Naziism, and the like.

For example:

“In a sense, we’ve managed to push white nationalism into a very mainstream position,” one anonymous white nationalist and Trump supporter told Olivia Nuzzi, writing at the Daily Beast. “Trump’s online support has been crucial to his success, I believe, and the fact is that his biggest and most devoted online supporters are white nationalists. Now, we’ve pushed the Overton window. People have adopted our rhetoric, sometimes without even realizing it. We’re setting up for a massive cultural shift.”

This, by the way, is one main reason why I do not allow comments on this website.  It cuts off conversation, yes, but it also keeps out the trolls, especially on a site which discusses my own experiences of abuse and harassment.

I’ve seen plenty of this kind of behavior online, and now see the neo-Nazis all over the place on Youtube while researching WWII.  I used to hang out on gaming sites and in IRC chats with my now-ex-friend Richard; the behavior I saw there was deplorable, but constant.  It’s a main reason why I don’t hang out there anymore, or on forums like 4chan.

The following reminded me of Richard’s claim that my experience of sexual harassment from his online friends wasn’t “real” and that I was being ridiculous and just needed to “get over it”:

“The thing that’s so bizarre is this demarcation, IRL, in real life, versus some otherwise place known as the internet,” Phillips told me. “The thing about real life is that it pretty much subsumes everything. It’s not that the line is fuzzy. There is no line, and it makes no sense for there to be a line other than the fact that it’s often used as a post hoc justification for certain people’s terrible behavior.

“It becomes part of a sort of apology: ‘I didn’t actually hurt your feelings because I said it to you online.’ What the hell does that even mean? It’s just a way of perpetrators to hide behind technologies and language to justify them doing whatever it is they feel like doing that the rest of us apparently have to deal with.”

“Just because something happens in an online space doesn’t mean that it isn’t fundamentally connected to that person’s embodied identity and experience,” Phillips added. “Of course it is. You can’t go online if you don’t have a body.”

When trolls patronizingly suggest their targets become thicker skinned, avert their eyes from the torrents of abuse or simply step away from the computer, they’re attempting to diminish the very real consequences their bad—in some cases and states, criminal—behavior has on real people.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Phillips told me. “That you can just choose not to react emotionally and maybe if you weren’t so emotional then you wouldn’t be having these problems, so stop complaining. This is ultimately about you being too emotional.

“Think about the preponderance of this abuse that’s targeted specifically toward women and queer people and people of color. It’s very easy or comparatively easy for a white dude to be like, ‘Well then, just don’t take offense to racism.’ It becomes a mechanism of controlling, trying to police those sort of emotive boundaries of groups that have very real and embodied reasons for getting pissed off when they have to deal with certain kinds of content.”

I highly recommend this post.


Experience makes my writing richer

The grief of a parent passing is not just my grief, but everyone’s.  There are exceptions, of course–parents who terrorized their kids, kids dying before their parents–but it is universal.

Going through this myself, has given me new insights and maturity.  It also has altered the novel I’m working on, the rewrite of Unwilling Time-Traveler.  In the rewrite, Bismarck’s father dies, but it was just a note here and there, explaining that Bismarck had just inherited the family estate.

But now, I had some grief and trauma from the bedside experience, which I wanted to purge somehow.  I wanted to write about it, but not as a blog post or in letters to friends.  Some things are just too disturbing for that, especially when it’s about your own loved one.

But here was a chance to put it into words, not about my own dad, but about a fictional character.  A way to portray those moments, but altered to fit a different family.

And in putting that into my book, I have also altered the plot again–now combining four characters into two, and turning things into a slightly different track and focus.  Now Bismarck’s brothers, who before were just bit players off to the side, are taking on a larger role, absorbing them into two other characters who were more prominent.  I’m excited to see how this will change the story.

Last fall sometime, I thought my story was done.  Turns out that was just one possibility for how the story could go.  At a recent writer’s club meeting, one of our published authors (traditional, not self!) noted that writers get stuck on a story having to go the way they’ve already written it.  But until it’s published, you can alter it any way you want to.  You can change scenes, cut scenes, alter characters, change the plot.

And my story–though the first version was fun to write–keeps changing as I come up with new ideas and focuses.  Bismarck used to be evil, but over time he’s become a flawed but well-meaning character.  Madge’s true love used to be Torsten, then became Scott–and now has become Bismarck himself.

I hold onto every version of my story, not just in case I change my mind and want to revert to an earlier one, but because those earlier versions were fun to write.  I may want to read them over again years from now.  But the one that ultimately gets sent to publishers–We won’t know how that’ll look until I finish it!



Are we being too harsh on lower-level narcissists?

A couple of posts by another blogger:

Sam Vaknin’s damaging “definition” of NPD

The demonization of narcissism

We can’t deny that abuse happens, that some people are evil, that malignant narcissism exists.  A simple glance at crime reports, ISIS, Nazis, politics, and the like, will confirm that.  Just reading about Lance Armstrong convinced me that he was a narcissist, and that his “repentance” was not for real.

The trouble is that lower-level narcissists and borderlines may get lumped into the “evil” category.  Not every narc is the same; not every borderline is the same.  Heck, it’s said that we are all on a narcissism continuum, that without any narcissism, we’d be doormats.

I suppose we writers must have some form of narcissism, to want to share our lives and stories with the world in our writing.  Yet I know I have no desire to hurt or use others like a narc.  I just want to write and be read.

While my own experience with BPD is an abusive woman described here, Tracy is not the only person with BPD whom I’ve ever known.  I’ve also known borderlines who do not wish to abuse anyone.

It’s because they’re all people.  I’m an introvert, for example, but on the extreme end of it.  Yet I still enjoy spending time with friends, and not just at home with a book.  Other introverts may be far less shy and not nearly as quiet.  Not all introverts are the same.  Not all NPDs or BPDs are the same, either.

As a Christian, I have a hard time seeing anyone as irredeemable.  However, I recognize some people are so far gone that they just don’t want to be redeemed.  But does that mean every NPD is on the road to perdition?  Not if they repent.  Can they repent?  Maybe a malignant narcissist won’t, but what about one who’s not malignant?  Are they all malignant?

The other blogger writes,

Sam [Vaknin] is not a nice person. I have personally experienced Sam’s toxic behavior (I’ll go into more detail about this later) and came away wounded but much wiser. He is everything he says he is, and his book “Malignant Self Love” makes his self hatred all too evident. It’s a dark and depressing read, and his overall attitude is very negative.

Sam has generalized his deep hatred toward himself to ALL people with NPD. He is the person who is most likely responsible for all the hatred and stigmatization flung at ALL people with NPD on so many of the narc-abuse sites and that attitude has spread like wildfire across the web in recent years.

Before Sam came along and started posting about narcissism back in 1995, NPD was just a psychiatric diagnosis. Now, it’s equated with something more akin to demonic possession.

Yes, of course malignant and high spectrum NPDs can be quite evil, but lower spectrum narcissists are really no more evil than anyone else with a severe mental disorder who act out because of defense mechanisms instilled in them during childhood.

I do still have hope for the narcs who haven’t yet lost their souls.  I actually know a couple of borderlines who do not seem abusive at all, and have been in therapy.  I have also read about different kinds of borderlines: ones who are full of angst and may try to kill themselves, but mean no harm to others; also ones who are high-functioning and narcissistic.  Obviously the second type would be more malignant, but not the first.

I especially hope this, because of the possibility that Tracy and her husband will eventually come to my church.  I can hope that the teachings of Christ will finally get through to their hearts and influence them to repent for how they’ve treated people.  I can see behavior in their visits to my blog which makes me suspect–is that a trace of compassion?

In the early days after their abuse, all I could see was an evil couple.  Nowadays, I still see their behavior as evil, but them–Evil?  I don’t know about evil.  Despicable behavior, but not irredeemable people.  I have seen behavior in Richard that I don’t think was fake emotion.

I was abused so badly by my ex Phil, and in so many different mind-screwing ways (as you can see here), that I’m convinced he’s a narcissist.  And yet nine years ago, I got an apology from him.  We’re actually civil online, the few times we’ve interacted since then.  Lower-level and not malignant, perhaps?

The other blogger writes:

I’m certainly not saying that the victim sites aren’t helpful, because they definitely are (I have one myself–although I cover a lot of other topics too).  I’m also not suggesting that narcissistic abuse victims should enable or stay with a narcissist or not go No Contact, or that narcissists aren’t dangerous (they are), but this wholesale vilification of all people with this particular disorder has gotten way out of hand, and Brown thinks it was Sam Vaknin who got the ball rolling on that. I think he is right.

She also writes that Vaknin’s definitions of narcissism combine traits from various different disorders which he suffers from, not just narcissism.  (She also posted a follow-up after seeing my reblog, here.)

Some of the narc blogs and abuse blogs do go to an extreme, lumping all narcs into the “evil” category, then spurring you on to hate them and never let go of the hate.  The trouble with that is you get so focused on the hate that you forget there are good things in life, too.  Do you really want to spend all your days stuck in anger over what happened?  Or do you want to let the anger separate you from the narcissist, then let it go from a distance?

Evil does exist, malignant narcissism does exist, and denying this will only make you vulnerable.  The experiences of the narc-abuse victim need to not be dismissed.  Just like you shouldn’t tell a rape victim to “get over it” or pity the rapist.  The victims of narc-abuse should not be scolded for being “bitter” or “not forgiving” when they see in the eyes of the narcissist that he’s not sorry.  I also spent a little time (all I could stomach) reading the blog of a guy who claims to be a narcissist–and loves it.  He seems to have no conscience or human feeling.

But the danger comes in believing that all narcissists are like this and will never change.  Or that all borderlines are the same.  I have seen for myself, on one of the more extremist blogs, how this attitude has turned the blogger and his/her commenters into a group of bullies.  I see them demonstrating the same narcissistic behavior they condemn.

I also noted that after several years of writing about and finally beginning to move past my own experiences of narc abuse into a place of healing, of letting go of the anger and moving on–

returning to this person’s blog felt like stepping back into anger and a desire for vengeance.

This horrified me because I had been a huge fan of this blog for some time, and thought it was correct about narcissists and how to deal with them.  I adopted many of its attitudes and considered it helpful.  It affected the very language I used in writing or thinking about narcissists: words like deranged and insane.

Then I had a huge wake-up call about this blogger, after the events I describe here.  Another person got bullied by the same blogger and friends for daring to say that not all narcissists are malignant and incurable.

Now I had to backtrack and ponder how much the blog was just encouraging me to become a narcissist myself.

Yet that blog is HUGELY popular.

In this post is embedded a video in which Vaknin discusses the modern phenomenon of narc blogs and the narc abuse victim community, and how it’s turned into a groupthink: Dare to suggest that not all narcs are demons, and you’re turned on, the old mob violence.  Vaknin even says it’s because Americans got involved, that our culture/religion is very fundamentalist and puritanical, God vs. the Devil.

He said his purpose was NOT to inspire a mob, but to bring closure to victims of narcissists.  Meanwhile, the groupthink online refuses to let the narrative turn away from Good vs. Evil, even though the latest research says otherwise.  You do so, and you’re accused of being a “narc lover” making excuses for and pitying the narc.

As I wrote in the comments here,

The trouble is when you get abused by someone who exhibits these traits, you don’t want to empathize with them, because those traits caused the abuse. In the early days, I also found sources that said these people choose to be this way. Well, if they choose to abuse you, you don’t want anything to do with them. Victims also fear that the focus will be taken off the harm that was done, while everyone pities the abuser instead.

But at the same time, as a Christian, the idea of irredeemable evil is abhorrent to me. I believe that anyone could potentially be redeemed. In fact, my conversion to Orthodoxy started when I discovered some of the Orthodox saints believed in some form of universalism. It wasn’t “official” church doctrine, but I identified with their heart. There are even beliefs of Christ preaching to the already-dead….I don’t want to get into all that here, but basically, I don’t want to give up hope for anyone.

But evil does exist, and some people do fit the description. And many of them end up in positions of power. We can be empathetic to a degree, but too far leaves us vulnerable.

The takeaway I get from all this can be summed up this way: Of course what happened to us was wrong.  Of course there is evil in the world.

But the purpose of learning about narcissism is NOT to make yourself some kind of crusader against all the narcs in the world, but to help you learn, understand–and then heal and move on.

It’s to help you learn about reasons why people might end up behaving a certain way, not to excuse the abuse, but to recognize that you didn’t deserve it.

It’s also to help you figure out ways to avoid becoming a victim again, to help you not just to recognize narcissistic behavior in others, but to recognize your own vulnerabilities and attraction to such people.

Just as I realized that gullibility and loneliness keeps making me susceptible to such people and their lies, so I need to be more careful.  It doesn’t mean I deserved what happened.

Calling yourself a narcissist “magnet” is not helpful if that means you have no responsibility whatsoever in figuring out why you’re susceptible.  Do you really want to keep being a victim over and over, or do you want to enjoy life?


The undercurrent of grief after Dad’s passing

One thing I’ve noted about grief after the death of a parent from disease, is that it’s different from a romantic or friendship breakup: There was no rejection.  It is acute, but in a different way.  I wonder at the lack of tears.

But then, I cried quite a bit the day of his death.  Not after, but before.  I knew it was coming, I was by his bedside, his breathing had become rough, and he was now in a comatose state.  His pain made me cry.  I couldn’t bear it.  Seeing my mom, his primary caregiver, worn out, made me cry.

I had hoped to spend all week spending time with him, watching TV with him since the lung cancer was taking his breath away.  But it took him so quickly that he was barely verbal the first couple of days I was there.  He’d been fighting two other forms of cancer but beating them.  Then the third was discovered, and the nurse gave him only a month.  He didn’t even last that long.  Even my brothers could barely stand it.

The first day I arrived, a Sunday, he could speak a little, and responded when we all surrounded his bedside.  He knew I was there.  The second, he managed to say a few intelligible sentences, though you could tell his mind was going.  The third, I don’t remember if he spoke at all.  The fourth, late in the evening, he left us.  As I told my mom, I didn’t have enough time.

Before he passed, I tried to still sort of spend time with him.  His bed was in the living room, so I turned on our old favorite shows, as a way to watch them “with” him.  He could barely attend to anything now, but Mom kept saying he could hear.

But the day he passed, as I heard his breathing, I began to break down.  But after he passed, I didn’t cry anymore.  Just once, on the way home after the funeral.  Maybe a few tears come to my eyes once in a while.

Maybe it’s because the pain is finally over for him.  Maybe it’s because we knew about this possibility for two years, as he battled the cancer.  Maybe it’s because the anniversaries haven’t started coming.

Well, actually, they have.  Remember how, after 9/11, we referred to it as “Tuesday,” before the first week passed?  It took a while before we called it 9/11 or September 11, because it had only just happened.  But we’d note it was Tuesday, or a week ago, or whatever.

Well, little things happen: I see it’s the same time of night that he passed.  Or I see the date written someplace.  Or I think, “It’s been a week.”  This evening, it’ll be two weeks.  Or I think, “The funeral was a week ago.”

I go about my day normally, attending to things normally, enjoying TV shows and such.  But then late at night, or first thing in the morning, I’ll remember.  Or a smell will bring it back.  Or last night, watching the premiere of Queen Sugar on OWN network, as their father died.

I can understand why men in WWII came home and didn’t want to speak of what happened.  You don’t want to remember the bad times.  You want to remember the good times.  You don’t want to remember the death, but the life.

And yes, I saw and heard things that were traumatizing.  I’ve told my husband, I’ve told a friend, and my family saw them too, but I haven’t spoken about them elsewhere.  I certainly haven’t written them here.

I just want to remember the good.  I want to remember the things which I wrote in Dad’s eulogy.

Pop Evil’s “Torn to Pieces” was based on real-life loss of a father:



So glad I switched hosting providers

After a couple of days with the new host (Siteground), I’m very pleased.  The site loads within a few seconds, the site backend issues are all fixed, and now my stats are rebounding back to normal (about 200 a day).  😀

Which tells me that yeah, my site problems DID come from the server of the previous host.  😛  There have been many complaints about the previous host lately: outages, slow load times, poor customer service.  They didn’t use to be like that, back when I signed up with them.

And this costs *less* than I was paying before.

So no more thought of going back to the free blogging platforms.  Except, maybe, one day approaching my eventual demise….I recently found a post on the topic of, should you self-host or use a free platform.  It said that one drawback of self-hosting is that when you die and stop paying for the site, it goes away (unless the Wayback Machine has recorded it, of course).  While Blogger or WordPress can potentially keep your blog up forever (or at least, until they go out of business).  So maybe in old age I’ll stick my site over on WordPress.com so it can live on.  😀