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Intimidation of Abuse Bloggers

My abusers are trying to intimidate me into silence.  I have clear documented evidence of this, and witnesses.  I have pulled this information together for others being intimidated into silence by their abusers, especially for bloggers.  In our voices, we have strength.  Keep blogging!

Threats and intimidation: threatening to harm the victim, family members and pets, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, keeping weapons & threatening to use them—Abusive Relationships

 Whether it’s bullying from peers in school or the workplace, sibling abuse, child abuse or domestic violence, constant intimidation is unhealthy for all involved. Whether you are the perpetrator, the victim or an innocent bystander, constant intimidation can cause anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and nightmares. Even if the perpetrator fails to act on his threats, the damage is done. Verbal and mental intimidation can be far more damaging than physical violence as the scars are much less visible and can go undetected. –Long-Term Effects of Constant Intimidation | eHow.com

Only she is far from alone. My own friends list is full of people – mostly women – whose activism has led to them being targeted: whose failure to “get a joke” turns them instantly into the butt of one themselves. I’ve been on the receiving end, too, very recently. Of online abuse. Of intimidation. Though nowhere on the scale of that endured by better known columnists such as Julie Bindel, who has been threatened yet again this past weekend.

So forgive me if I don’t join with those suggesting Suzanne Moore “man up” in response to the latest batch of online abuse. Or dissing Mary Beard, who has come in for abuse following her appearance on Question Time last week, as an online wimp. It’s an issue – and the simplistic analysis I have seen of it so far doesn’t go a fraction of the way to address it.

First up, there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure.  Beard makes the point well, in a blog responding to her own online treatment.

It is clear that she is no stranger to tired old jokes about her appearance – but even she has been shocked about the response she evoked, describing the level of misogyny as “truly gobsmacking”. The focus of much of the abuse is sexual, sadistic even and, she adds: “it would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate”.

In other words, it is silencing, something I get very well from personal experience. I’ve opted out of contributing online for periods ranging from hours to a couple of weeks after being subjected to this sort of online nastiness. Not just me. Many far braver women with serious contributions to make to public discourse on violence and abuse have suffered similar: been silenced simply for having an opinion.–Jane Fae, Misogyny, intimidation, silencing – the realities of online bullying

This sounds like the kind of thing I was subjected to in 2009, here, which my narc ex-friend Richard proclaimed I should “get over.”  As does the vile crap which Mary Beard was subjected to because of her name, as she documents in her blog post, Internet fury: or having your anatomy dissected online.  An excerpt:

All the same, you may say … why pay it any attention, still less give it publicity?
Several reasons. First, the misogyny here is truly gobsmacking. The whole site is pretty hateful (and what some of the comments say about Andrew Marr since he’s been ill are almost worse than anything).. but the whole “cunt” talk and the kind of stuff represented by the photo on right is more than a few steps into sadism.  It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate, especially as all of this comes up on google..

But is it just a kind of rugby club joke misfired? Well that’s what I’d guess they would say. “Where’s your sense of humour?” But reading through it (and yes you get tipped off about it whether you search or not.. and no you cant resist looking at it), it is absolutely plain as day that this is meant to hurt and wound (“If all else, we got to her” as one commenter says). It shows the classic signs of vile playground bullying — claiming to know about the victim, sneering at things they could not possibly know but claim they do, destabilising by using names in the thread that are those of you friends or even anagrams of your own, suggesting that they are watching you… that’s all part of the bullying repertoire.

Given the kind of graphic threats Kathy received, I can appreciate the need to be cautious, maybe even to take a hiatus for a while. But when a voice is voluntarily silenced forever, the bad guys have won. Fear wins. I cannot accept this. Intimidation only works if you let yourself be intimidated; terrorism only works if you let yourself be terrorized.

So Kathy, if you’re out there, I urge you to come back. We miss you.

Of course, it is Dare’s blog, and he is free to do whatever he likes with it, regardless of what those 70,000 readers might want. He doesn’t specify exactly what the problem is, although I have a hard time imagining that his many posts about XML, web APIs, and Facebook are causing problems for his family in Nigeria. Still, I hate the idea that Dare is giving up, that he’s conceding to unnamed forces who are intimidating him into silence.

It’d be one thing if Dare said that he didn’t enjoy blogging, or if nobody was listening. But clearly that’s not the case. Dare provided a refreshingly honest and open look at what was going on inside parts of Microsoft, along with some penetrating industry analysis. I’ll miss that greatly.

I’ve never met Kathy Sierra or Dare Obasanjo, although I do feel I know them peripherally through long term readership of their blogs. It’s not my place to tell them– or anyone, really– what to do.

But I’m absolutely certain that when they stop writing, everyone loses.–Jeff Atwood, Death Threats, Intimidation, and Blogging

Today at the American Center for Law and Justice, we announced that we’re representing Ali and the National Bloggers Club. We intend to aggressively respond to any and all attacks on bloggers’ free-speech rights. The truth is a defense to frivolous libel claims, and the law exists to protect free speech, not enable its attackers. It is appalling and inexcusable that major leftist organizations fund a convicted domestic terrorist. It is even more appalling that the price of reporting these facts is a campaign of threats and legal intimidation.

But one thing is clear: The radicals have picked a fight with the wrong people. Ali and the bloggers at the National Bloggers Club will not be silenced.–David French, Defending Bloggers from Attacks, Intimidation, and Frivolous Lawsuits

The district court’s ruling (PDF here) is the fullest treatment I’ve seen of the theory that blogs, as an inherently less factual medium, are less susceptible to defamation suits. Judge Marco Hernandez turns to the Ninth Circuit’s standard test (first laid out in Unelko Corp. v. Rooney but expanded upon in Partington v. Bugliosi) for deciding whether a written work is “factual” (and thus open to defamation claims) or “opinion” (protected by the First Amendment).

That test, first of all, looks not at the author’s intent to be “factual” or not, but instead turns on how a reasonable reader would interpret the information. To figure out how readers will take the information, the test looks to the “context” of the work, both in a broad, general-tenor sense (which includes “the subject of the statements, the setting, and the format”) and in a more focused sense (looking at things like the writing style of the disputed content, whether figurative language was used, and so on).

Judge Hernandez ended up ruling that Cox, who runs a website critical of Obsidian Finance’s acts in the bankruptcy realm, was writing opinion and not fact. And that’s fine with me. The judge’s order runs through plenty of evidence — the website’s URL (ObsidianFinanceSucks.com), the subject matter (bankruptcy disputes), the language and tone (described as “stream of consciousness”) — to suggest that Cox’s posts aren’t “factual” in the defamation-law sense of the word. Instead, Cox is just someone with (as the judge puts it) a “personal vendetta” against Obsidian Finance. Her writing makes that bias obvious, which undercuts the factual nature of her blog.

Now, that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with looking at the entirety of a website to decide how factual or non- various statements are. (Otherwise, The Onion would have a lot of trouble). That inquiry focuses on the message being conveyed, not on the medium used to convey it.–John Sharkey,  Why Blogs Can’t Be Trusted, or: ‘Statements Made Here Are Not Likely Provable Assertions of Fact’

Cox vs. Obsidian Finance Group, Judgment; The Case

Here we go again. Over the past few years there have been a number of cases in which a crank, quack, or charlatan has attempted to silence legitimate criticism of their claims and behavior by threatening legal action, either shutting down their site through the ISP or suing for libel. I guess they feel that a lone blogger would be easy to intimidate. They are not part of a large media outlet with lawyers on the payroll to defend them. Defending against even a frivolous suit can be ruinous to a lone blogger.
The goal, however, is not to really sue but to threaten the blogger into silence. It is intellectual thuggery, meant to defend a charlatan who cannot defend themselves with science and evidence…..

Recently a person calling himself Marc Stephens wrote a very threatening letter to Andy Lewis who wrote a critical post about the cancer clinic of Stanislaw Burzynski called The False Hope of the Burzynki Clinic. Stephens tried to make the letter sound legal and official, even though he does not appear to be a lawyer. The letter says, in part:

Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your posting to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: defamation Libel, defamation per se, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships. The information you assert in your article is factually incorrect, and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity.

In other words – the blog post is libel and we will sue if you don’t take it down immediately. Lewis essentially responded the way General Anthony Clement McAuliff responded when asked to surrender by the Germans in World War II – “Nuts.” The post is still up, and now there are dozens of other blog posts up also criticizing the Burzynski clinic and their attempt at silencing criticism.–Steven Novella, Another Crank Tries to Intimidate a Blogger

There is an extensive blogging community who write about their experiences with abuse, narcissism, borderline and other Cluster B personality disorders.  I have looked over countless such blogs, and it is the normal way of things to describe your experiences, in however much detail you like.  Some people use their real names, but most use pseudonyms and fake names or “titles” for the people in their blogs, such as “NM” for “narcissistic mother.”

Oftentimes the blogs are found by the people described.  Sometimes these people get upset, but don’t do much except be nuisances, leaving nasty comments or sending complaining e-mails denying the truth of the blogs.

But I have come across various cases of bloggers being threatened with legal action.  One narcissism blogger wrote this very helpful post for fellow bloggers, Airing the Family Laundry: Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character.  I’m reblogging this for all such bloggers who might happen upon my blog.  Some quotes:

“…context matters: courts have held that given the nature of online forums, online comments cannot be taken as seriously as those made in real life or in the media. Because of these requirements, bringing a claim for internet libel is a challenge.”~ the Legality ….

I read several articles in preparation for this post and most of them suggested it was ill-mannered and probably not-very-wise to write about family and friends. However, in context of the recovery community, personal narrative and disclosure are de rigueur. Readers expect a certain type of blog when reading about narcissism. We don’t expect love stories—unless the blog is seriously pathological and merits being flagged as inappropriately ludicrous like Chicken Soup for the Soul-less or something.

We expect bloggers to write from the gut, interspersing emotion-laden anecdotes, not clinical appendages suitable for publication in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. We expect to see a cooperative blog where people share their troubles with one another; i.e.: airing out the family linen together.

On blogs like mine, self-disclosure is i-m-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e. Bloggers connect the dots between past and present which will, if we are doing our recovery work, focus on family dynamics. Bloggers write about sensitive topics such as: family patterns and dysfunctional behaviors; internalized beliefs and assumptions; distinctions between normal and pathological behavior; traumatic events; intimate details in relationships; our thoughts, behaviors and reactions to other people’s thoughts, behaviors and reactions; and never forget: the armchair diagnosis based on accessible information about pathology.

We do not expect bloggers to be professional psychologists so whatever diagnosis bloggers have determined best fits, is not libelous. It’s opinion.

Don’t let the fear that you ‘might’ be sued stand in the way of speaking your truth.  I would imagine that more than one blogger writing about narcissism has been warned—finger in the blogger’s nose—that should she write even ONE WORD disparaging the narcissist’s most excellent reputation and untarnished character, that she would be sued into the netherworld of Hell. And yet, here we are—still blogging, still learning, still fighting for healthier relationships by opening the doors on dysfunction…whether people like being written about or not.

The chances that you will be sued are slim-to-none if you follow Good Faith practices protecting your anonymity. If you’re the one being unjustly written about, be careful reading websites sponsored by ambulance-chasing attorneys who’ll feed your greed and your desire for revenge. You’re better off toughening your own thin-skin and keeping the narcissist away from your blog, than you are engaging in litigation that could cost thousands of dollars and a decade of your life. And what for? So you could tell the narcissist she was a scuz? So you could stick it to the person who said you were scuzzy? I am preaching to myself as much as anyone because it isn’t easy defending people’s right to free speech when you’re seriously butthurt from something they said or wrote about you.

….Cyberspace is most definitely a new world from the print-world I grew up in when the printed word (newspapers and magazines) was the only source of information. Retractions for false information couldn’t be edited at a moment’s notice and people had no voice for opposition if they didn’t own a printing press. Libel suits were integral to a fair and just society because reputations could be ruined and financial losses irreparable by the time a retraction could be published.  This is not our reality today. Our first action ought be contacting the author. Working things out. Resolving our differences. Not hiring an attorney.

…I hope my blog inspires an army of ACoNs [Adult Children of Narcissists] to start writing since nearly every person who does, discovers a power within they didn’t realize they had. Writing puts things into perspective and for some of us: restores our SANITY.

I was thinking about the ACoN community and why blogging is so important. If you ever attended 12-step meetings, you’ve likely heard the cliche: “Your head is a bad neighborhood to visit alone.”

Talking with other people interrupts unhealthy rumination and even obsessiveness. That’s been my experience and believe you me, I know a lot about obsessiveness. ha!

… Where do you go to talk about dysfunction and narcissism? If you join your local quilting group and start talking about patriarchal abuse, they’ll stick you with their needles and sew your mouth shut. I mean seriously, who are you going to talk with?

A lot of people have the resources and the time to spend years in therapy. Some of us don’t have extra cash for that and our insurance policies won’t pay for it anyway. To just sit in our ‘shit’ and let it fester rather than working through our issues with people who don’t shame, blame and “sue” us for defamation, perpetuates dysfunction. We start out with unhealthy behaviors and if left uncorrected, those behaviors turn into traits and pretty soon, you’re the lonely old cat lady shooting passersby and muttering to yourself.

The last two paragraphs were in response to a comment that there are no support groups in real life for victims of narcissists and Cluster Bs, so this is why we turn to blogging.  My comments are turned off because my narcissists found my blog.  But just writing my story, and occasionally commenting on other narcissist/abuse blogs, and reading their similar experiences, has been very helpful.  These are people who understand because they’ve been there, and don’t judge you.  They don’t give you pat answers like, “just let it go,” because they know that the only way to move on is to face the problem head-on and work through the pain and anger.

The biggest words to keep in mind are, of course, “falsely” and “knowingly.”  You have to be deliberately writing things you know to be false, for it to be libel.  I steer clear of such behavior, having always had an innate sense of honesty.  Whatever I write, I have reason to believe to be true.  Using real names is also a big no-no in most cases.  So avoid both and may your blogging lead you to emotional health.  Your blog gives you a voice, something which you may have been denied–as I was–in dealing with your narcs/Cluster Bs/abusers.

I don’t even care anymore when I see my blog stalkers in the stats.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

[Update 11/10/12:] Another blogger who’s been threatened with a lawsuit, this time blogging about a narcissistic ex-husband, but it went nowhere:

The bottom line– he saw my blog and wants it removed.  He wants the custody orders changed and is throwing out words like “defamation” and “slander”.  He threw out accusations of Parental Alienation Syndrome which is the furthest thing from the truth.  He is a bully and he is trying to intimidate me. –One Mom’s Battle, Intimidation Tactics

After receiving the paperwork yesterday with his request for an emergency hearing, I spoke to many knowledgeable people.  Professional bloggers and people with a background in law.  I was assured that I was in compliance since I haven’t publicly named him. –One Mom’s Battle, Hearing Request: Denied

Just like me, this writer posted her story of abuse on the web, then her abusers found it.  This is her story of what happened next:

Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi

In February, I got a phone call from my main abuser saying: “I read your little blog post, what are you doing? Trying to get attention? Who abused you, and why am I hearing about it in this way?”

(I would like to say that “your little blog post” was kind of comedic to me, since this is a highly trafficked website that has helped thousands of people.)

And then 3 more phone calls from my other main abuser.

Phone Call 1: “Kylie, we got a phone call today about your blog post. Someone in the family has read it and we really need to know what is happening and what is going on here. It’s really obvious that you are accusing someone in the family of sexually abusing you and since we know that isn’t true we just want to find out what is going on with you.”

Phone Call 2: “Kylie, one of your aunts has read the blog post and she can’t sleep. She hasn’t been able to sleep in 3 nights. She is so upset.”

Phone Call 3: “Kylie, one of your uncles has read the blog post and now he is wanting to beat up the person you accused in your article.”

Kylie: “I am really sorry for all the drama this is causing for you. I genuinely was trying to help people. I do whatever I can to help people heal from what I have overcome and been through. I had no idea it would cause anyone else any stress or pain. I was very conscientious not to point any specific fingers, so I’m not sure why people are making these assumptions about who abused me.”

Because her abusers still frightened her, she

actually stopped working on a book on overcoming sexual trauma that I have been working on for over 10 years. I stopped commenting on EFB and OSA Facebook pages and sites. I stopped offering the recovery-based courses that women were participating in with life-changing results.

In short, I stopped speaking my truth.  I silenced myself.

But she goes on to describe how she pulled out of her paralysis and began speaking out again.  I noted that she was helped greatly by this post by Christina Enevoldson. I’m not sure if Christina wrote that post directly in response to a question I asked her, or if she was already working on the post.  But I had just read Christina’s post about her mother threatening her with legal action and accusing her of lying about her childhood sexual abuse, and asked her,

I noted the similarity between my story and what Christina’s mother wrote to her. I also note that she accused Christina of some kind of “threat.” What happened after this? Did the police get involved? How did you get the courage to keep telling and keep the story online, Christina?

Christina responded,

My parent’s threat actually emboldened me to speak up more. The reasons for that is a little long to include as a comment, but I’m working on it as a separate blog post. I’ll post the link here as soon as I get it up. Thanks for your question! It’s really good to consider all the ways their threat helped me.

Now her post has helped not just me, but many others as well.

Here’s how one court dealt with a narcissistic ex-husband suing his ex over her blog and book:

The Commission refused to hear the motion and threw it out while making it very clear that he does not want to hear about the book or blog ever again. He said that I have the right to write about anything that I choose.  One Mom’s Battle

 

“Note to Narcissists~ If you think you recognize yourself in something I write, then YOU owe somebody an apology. I don’t owe YOU one. It’s not MY fault if your own behavior embarrasses you. I never identify the lowlifes I’m writing about, and if you behave like that, not to mention being arrogant and idiotic enough to actually think YOU are the star of something I write, then you SHOULD be ashamed of yourself . So quit whining and start apologizing for acting like a jackass and hurting people who love you.” ~Rev. Renee Pitelli, posted here  [Update 11/27/14: Muldrfan’s blog no longer exists]

As Paula wrote on one of her blogs:

I am 100% supportive of outing these fools by name. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand that outing them is a direct consequence and they should deal with it. They don’t. Instead, they seek low-life attorneys willing to send cease and desist letters to scare us into thinking we’re committing a crime. We’re not!! It’s called freedom of speech. If they think we’re lying and hope to sue us for defamation, libel, or slander, they need to prove that in court. The burden in U.S. courts is on the complainant, not the defender. I believe it is opposite in some countries, including Canada and the UK. :)

…Not that I’ll be doing this.  No, that information is for my friends, not the Net.

Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control. The abuser uses intimidation, fear, guilt or threats to frighten and belittle the victim.

In intimate relationships, emotional abuse often results in one partner feeling ashamed, afraid and isolated from friends and family. They may be fearful to talk to anyone about the abuse because their abuser has told them that no one will believe them. Abusers often degrade and humiliate their victims to the point that they are left with little self-esteem.

Parents or caregivers who emotionally abuse their children also use similar controlling tactics to gain power over the child. Children who experience emotional abuse feel that they are responsible for the behavior of their parents and that if only they were more polite, better students or better children, than their parents would be more loving. –Emotional Abuse

I am beginning to think that this was his plan from the start –Wear me out emotionally, mentally, financially. I bet he never expected me to fight this hard but either way, I wish I saw an end in sight. I can’t move on living like this. But he may have anticipated that. Turns out its not uncommon for batterers to use the legal system to abuse their ex.–Juniperskye, Power and Control  [link no longer works]

 Abuse is any threat, act or physical force that is used to create fear, control or intimidate. Abuse is about maintained power and control. An abuser may choose to use intimidation, isolation, humiliation, blame or physical violence to make you go along with everything he says and does. Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behaviour. In fact, abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you. Abuse takes many forms. It can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial.–Information on Abuse

 How do we deal effectively with intimidation? Well, the first thing is to recognize it for what it is. This is a problem that the narcissist has with himself, not with you. If you take it personally, you’ll fall into the trap of getting distracted from what’s really going on. You’ll be manipulated into thinking you have something to do with his problem and hence can fix it, and you’ll compromise yourself in trying to do so.

The narcissist has a deep problem with himself. Know that the narcissist’s actions don’t come from a place of strength, but from desperation. His greatest fear is the truth, and if he’s going into a rage, it’s probably because you’re getting close to it or you’ve already exposed him. He will intimidate if his sense of control, grandiosity, and dominance is threatened.

Remembering this can help you detach, take a step back, and allow him the space to have his fit on his own. Trust in yourself. You’re going to feel frustration, fear, anxiety, but don’t act from it or you’ll get sucked in. Ask yourself the important questions, “Was this outburst appropriate? What happened before the outburst that brought it on? Why did it bring about such a reaction?” If you’re too enmeshed in the situation to answer objectively, ask other people what they think.–Katie, Surviving After Narcissistic Abuse: Intimidation

 In 2008, when the Daily News started reporting in earnest on the growing evidence that Armstrong had cheated, we found that paranoia struck deep in the cycling world. It’s a small industry, and Armstrong was a transcendent figure, so powerful inside his sport that people feared for their livelihoods and reputations if they crossed him.

Four years later, it’s easier for the wider world to see why. The evidence published this month by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows that Armstrong and his cronies possessed a cynical assuredness that their yellow wristbands entitled them to smash anyone who threatened their corrupt regime.

But it’s also already becoming harder for the world to see how lonely and painful it was for people in cycling to stand up and resist Armstrong’s Machiavellian tactics. Now it’s trendy to be an accuser — it’s the stuff of bestsellers, not defamation complaints. But if you took on that role during the peak of Armstrong’s Tour de France dominance you might be vilified, accused of being jealous, drunk, unpatriotic, mentally disturbed. –Victims of Lance Armstrong’s strong-arm tactics feel relief and vindication in the wake of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report

 

A comfort for the intimidated:

What are the negative effects of intimidation?
If you continue to use intimidation to control others, then you will:
* Find people developing emotional barriers in their relationships with you so that they are no longer vulnerable to being hurt by your control.
* Be at risk of being accused as being emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusive in your dealings with others.
* Find that the costs of “getting your way” all of the time are greater than you expected when you find yourself lonely and disconnected from others.
* Believe that the only goal in life is succeeding in getting your way at any cost and become totally consumed in the pursuit of acquiring power, control, position and status.
* Run the risk of becoming a pathetic, lonely, isolated person with few close relationships and many enemies out to get their revenge against you.
* Experience a great deal of passive aggressiveness thrown your way by the people you are trying to control.
* Risk becoming more absolute and rigid in your exercise of power and control and become more defensive about any personal criticism of your actions or beliefs.
* Begin to prefer “rejecting” people before they reject you and find yourself becoming increasingly socially isolated and alienated from others.
* Not be accepted, approved of or sought after by others who will never get a chance to see the “real you” whom you’ve locked behind your intimidating mask.
* Feel like you’re really a “teddy bear” underneath it all and bemoan that people never take the time to get to know this side of you. You might even lie and say you don’t care if they never get to know that side of you, even though emotionally you know differently.
* Run the risk of becoming more depressed as you become more isolated and find that your anger and rage flare ups increase.
* Experience even lower self-esteem due to the lack of acceptance by others. — http://www.livestrong.com/article/14742-eliminating-intimidation/#ixzz2NarE15R3

Featured post

Spanking, Discipline and Physical Abuse: ie, Spanking Does Not Work

Hundreds of studies on spanking spanning at least 75 years failed to provide evidence for the assertion that physical punishment improves children’s behavior in the long term (Gershoff 2008). Children who are spanked do not tend to internalize the value their parents want them to get (via the spanking) but instead are merely more likely to understand that they should not get caught.

Thus, the corrective outcome of spanking is short term at best (Larzelere 2000). In fact, one research study that followed children with serious behavior problems found that the children’s behavior actually improved after parents stopped spanking (Webster-Stratton 1990).

Moreover, the research shows that spanking is bad for kids. Spanking makes it more likely that children will be more defiant and aggressive (Taylor et al 2010), that they’ll be at risk for negative outcomes including mental health troubles (Strassberg et al 1994) and that they’re at greater risk for serious injury and physical abuse (Straus et al 1997).

I’ve heard spanking proponents dismiss this research stating that spanking is incredibly difficult to quantify and evaluate. This is definitely true, but even if you don’t believe the spanking research, all you have to do is look at other behavioral research to find corroborating justification for the spanking research conclusions.

Other research has consistently found that punishment is a vastly inferior method of behavior correction and that, put simply, violence begets violence. Per social learning theory, if you see someone use violence as a way to control another’s behavior, chances are you will too (ergo, the Cycle of Violence).

That’s one reason why it’s always astonished me when people use spanking as a way to teach children that they shouldn’t hit. The logical conclusion to that technique is: only hit those who are less powerful than you. –Dr. Misty Hook, PhD, Spanking, Discipline and Physical Abuse

Featured post

Princess Fi is Being Silenced About Her Molesters! This is an Outrage!

I just saw this post in my reader feed:

YESTERDAY I WAS BEEN ORDERED BY THE POLICE TO REMOVE FROM MY BLOGS ANY DETAILS WHICH COULD IDENTIFY WHO MY ABUSERS ARE AND THEIR LOCATION BECAUSE “SOMEONE IS UPSET ABOUT WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN”.

I’M VERY GLAD THEY ARE UPSET!  ACTUALLY THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES.

BUT INSTEAD THEY MAKE THIS BRAZEN ATTEMPT TO SHUT ME UP!

DUE TO THIS I HAVE HAD TO CHANGE THE SETTINGS ON MY BLOG – “EXPOSING MY ABUSERS” – TO PRIVATE SO THAT ONLY I CAN SEE THE BLOG.

There is more there, and her “Exposing My Abusers” blog is currently public for a short time, before she makes it private.  So you have a chance to read it before it goes down.  [Update 11/26/14: It’s been private for some time now.]  Somehow, I read her whole blog but missed this section.

This poor woman has suffered her entire life from what these monsters did to her in her childhood, she could not get legal justice because too much time passed before she got the courage to tell the police, and now her abusers are trying to silence her from getting the moral justice she could finally get through blogging.

Keep in mind she lives in the UK, not America, where the free speech laws aren’t quite as generous.  She speaks the truth, but still fears legal retaliation.

Please read and share her blog as much as possible before it goes down.  We know the truth, so she’ll get some justice!

I’m so glad I found this in time: I hadn’t read it before, and there’s only a short window till it goes private.  I’ve taken screen shots.

Featured post

Reblog: House of Mirrors: “How to Cause Narcissistic Injury Without Really Trying”

From Lisette’s blog:

The title of this post is a little tongue-in-cheek because it doesn’t take any effort whatsoever to cause “narcissistic injury.” Hell, sometimes all it takes to enrage a narcissist is to breath the same  air as them. The narcissist’s image is one of perfection: they view themselves as exclusive, faultless, flawless, irreproachable, magnificent bastards and if we lowly plebs ever forget it then look out there will be hell to pay! Because with every narcissistic “injury” there is a reflexive urge toward violence.

And guess who is at the receiving end of that violence? That’s right, we the people. WE are the ones that suffer “injuries” when the narcissist’s infantile little ego gets bruised. It goes something like this:

We somehow inadvertently threaten the narcissist’s grandiosity. In reaction to that threat, the narcissist experiences rage.  The natural byproduct of rage is violence. Depending on the narcissist, the violence can range from anything to name calling, shouting, a dirty look, walking away in a huff, the silent treatment, slamming a door, blasting the stereo, smashing a plate, breaking a chair, vandalizing your property, vandalizing your image, stalking, harassment, murder, and the ultimate… suicide.

The narcissist’s violence is a knee jerk reaction to a threat of their narcissism. It is immediate and it is inevitable. It can be mitigated and controlled, but the impulse is ALWAYS there. Narcissists are ALWAYS seething with anger and ready to explode.

The way I see it, the narcissist’s rage/violence serves a few purposes. First, it acts as a fortress to protect their image:  They scare the living shit out of us and therefore control us from ever speaking the truth about them and their behavior. We simply don’t speak-up for fear of retribution. We keep our mouths shut to keep the peace.  We walk on egg-shells around narcissists because we know that they are loose cannons ready to blow if we say or do the wrong thing. If you had N parents then you lived with the tension of always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

–Another great post from Lisette.  Read it here: How to Cause Narcissistic Injury Without Really Trying

My favorite part:

Causing “narcissistic injury” is a walk in the park; you don’t have to do a damn thing. What’s difficult is NOT causing narcissistic injury.  My life among the narcissists has been an exercise in not tripping the wire that causes the N to detonate. And living in a narc minefield is no way to live.

If however, you would like to cause a MN lifelong injury and all-consuming rage and maybe a little fear; here’s what you do: Sometime before, during or after you go NO CONTACT make sure the narcissist knows that you’ve got their number and you’ve NEVER bought their act AND you’re mad as hell. Then disappear.

You will forever be a thorn in the malignant narcissist’s side if they know you’re out there with the truth of who and what they are, and YOU are a loose cannon who’s not afraid to blow.

Woohoo, yep, I’m a loose cannon, and it scares my narcs so much they watch my blog constantly!  LOL

Comment from Anonymous:

 I think it comes down to – they are stalking. I never realized this until recently. Its like once they know you are aware of their narc behavior they go into stalk mode. It is not normal interaction- like- Hi , how are you, or can I help repair our relationship?- Its covert surprise attacks and snide comments, or mail or Reappearing out of the blue with a phone call, completely ignoring the fact of everything u have told them or the insults they projected on you.

Yep!

Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1: Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger–February 1995, Part 4

Sharon, Pearl and I soon discovered a bullying and smear campaign being carried out on TCB, led by “Lima” against his ex-girlfriend Pamela.

Lima’s usual greeting in Teleconference was “hello” written backwards, or “olleh,” the mirror-image effect Rachel was so fond of.  So I always greeted him with, “hello lima bean–olleh amil neab” or “hello olleh lima amil bean neab.”  But this was before I knew about the bullying.

Now, whenever I went online, I found Lima (a tallish, dark-haired guy of about twenty who worked instead of going to college) and his friends ripping on Pamela.  One day, Pamela came online and he complained about seeing her.  I asked why; he whispered to me (that means, he sent a private message to me) that Pamela was his ex-girlfriend, that she cheated on him and was just awful to him.

After this, Sharon went online one day and found Pamela.  Pamela, a pretty girl with dark hair who was about our age, took her into chat.  She said that Lima and his friends were lying about her, that she never did those things they accused her of.  She said he’d already dated and dumped another girl since her, so Avenger, his new girlfriend (who was only sixteen), was afraid he’d do the same thing to her.

(Actually, a few years later, he married her.  I have no idea if they’re still together, because–even though I can search divorce and criminal records easily in Wisconsin–I never knew their full names.)

Avenger posted sexual innuendos in her profile, which disturbed me because Lima was twenty and she sixteen: Sixteen-year-olds are jailbait in Wisconsin.  In fact, if the police discover that two minor teenagers of the exact same age have slept together, both get charged with sexual assault!  It’s nuts, I know.

“Pigpen” and “Cankersore” were friends of Avenger and Lima.  They were teen-age girls: Pigpen was pretty and slim, and recently broke Stimpy’s heart in a nasty way; Cankersore was plump.  I met them at Gypsy’s party.

Sharon and I witnessed the horrible things Lima, Avenger, Pigpen and Cankersore, probably Nobody, and probably some of Lima’s male friends did whenever Pamela was online.  They waged out-and-out war with her.

She didn’t like being online at the same time as they were, especially in Teleconference, where they’d rip and rip and rip on her with no mercy.

They posted nasty things about her in the forums.  No matter who else was in tele (Teleconference), this group posted everything publicly.  If they whispered anything to her, I don’t know.  This cyber-abuse, cyber-bullying, upset Pamela a lot.

Sometime during this period, I met Avenger online for the first time: I went into tele, finding Ish Kabibble, and Avenger in private chat with a boy who wasn’t Lima.

She came back into the main Teleconference channel and the boy left.  Ish said words like, “I see you brushing yourself off, there, Avenger.  You’d better be careful not to let Lima know you were alone with another boy.”

I made some joke in this vein which I can’t remember now, just some harmless throwaway comment to make her laugh.  Everyone else laughed.  But she turned on me and wrote, “Listen, NEW USER, you’d better be careful.”  I had no clue why she’d say that to me, especially when she wasn’t mad at Ish for teasing her.  It was bizarre.

I believe she left tele soon after, so I discussed it with Ish, wondering what the heck had just happened.  He didn’t know what set her off, either.

When Avenger logged off a few minutes later, she sent a message to me that said, “Avenger is hugging you!”  I paged her with, “So you’ve forgiven me now? :)

She didn’t respond because she was already offline.  I didn’t know at the time that this was her logoff message, sent to the entire board, that she wasn’t hugging me personally.

(By the way, I soon began to type “.wave all” before I logged off each time, which sent a message to everyone online saying, “Nyssa Of Traken is waving to you.”  That was my good-bye wave.)

After I discovered my mistake, and that Avenger had not “forgiven” me at all, I dreaded her appearance online, and avoided her.  I grunted “Avenger” with a frown whenever she came online.

I checked her registry.  It said she was sixteen, which I knew to be a volatile age, so I said to myself, “That explains it.”  Well, sort of, since I wasn’t like that at sixteen.

It wasn’t just her age, but her personality.  Of course, I didn’t know that yet.  She was rude and mean to me ever since she first met me, even though I was always nice to people online.  Her attitude problem didn’t go away with age, as I discovered a year or two later, and then around 2006 or 2007 when she found this memoir on my website.  She still refused to admit that she was mean and nasty to everyone, still saw herself as some kind of champion.

At 16, she seemed to hate anyone over 20.  She seemed to think people that “old” hated teenagers.  She turned on them with the slightest provocation–even with no provocation–and twisted anything they said into a slam on teenagers.

She and her cronies ridiculed older users in the forums.  If anyone tried to defend them, she ridiculed them, too.

She was immature, but insisted she was mature (which Cugan later told me was a sure sign of her immaturity).  She was bad-tempered, arrogant and cocky.

I never did anything to her–except disagree with her–yet she hated me.  One of the other users told me there were few girls on the BBS, so many of them hated competition.  (What’s with this “competition,” anyway?)  However, that didn’t excuse how nasty some of these girls got.

After all, Avenger wasn’t just rude to other girls, but to men, too.  Speaker was one favorite target.  So were Krafter, Stimpy and their male friends.  Once, an older guy wrote to her in the forums, “I don’t understand you at all.”

Nowadays, I believe that Avenger is a sociopath.  She could also have other Cluster B personality disorders, considering how easily she took offense, a sure sign of borderline or histrionic disorders.  I soon discovered the full extent of Avenger’s abusive personality, so much so that you could call her the teenage version of Tracy, another personality-disordered bully whom I met later on in life.

But this was not the end.  More on this batsh**-crazy sociopathic female is in the March chapter.  There, her drama-queen antics reached a fever pitch as she tried to mob-cyber-bully me off the board with a massive smear campaign.

That’s what she and Lima did to Pamela, who eventually stopped going on the BBS entirely, yet another nice person intimidated off while the nasty ones took over.  That’s what she tried to do to another girl, Amethyst? a year later–except Amethyst just laughed at her.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Technical Virginity and the Christian Single

This topic has been big among Christian teenagers since at least as far back as my own teens.  I got very upset when my fiancé Phil told me he’d had oral sex with two previous girlfriends.  I saw it as plainly sex (as a Christian, I always believed my future husband and I would save ourselves for each other).

But he and one or two friends told me they didn’t see it as sex.  Phil–who made a big deal about going through a few years of sex education in high school and “knowing better” than I did–also believed that dry humping was not sex, either–even though it seemed a lot like it–because it didn’t involve “penetration” and the clothes stayed on.

Meanwhile, I did not realize that if what he did was “sex,” then I had engaged in “sex” as well–a different kind, but still sex–with my friend Shawn.

There are various activities Christian teens engage in to avoid “fornication” while also satisfying their lusts with each other.  But are they right to call themselves virgins?

I don’t believe they are.  Giving someone an orgasm is a basic element of sex.  Just think about it: If a lesbian has had several lovers but never vaginal sex, can you honestly call her a virgin?  Even Wikipedia, in its article on sexual intercourse (which I won’t link to because it has pictures), includes oral sex as “intercourse.”

For Christian teens and young adults who want to save themselves for marriage, playing the game of “Don’t go past here, and you can still keep your virginity” is a dangerous one, and hardly God-honoring.  Don’t think, “How far can we go without having actual sex?”  Instead, think, “I don’t have the right to damage his/her purity.”

See these articles:

Can you get pregnant without having vaginal sex?  (Answer: possibly!)

USA Today article on Teens and Technical Virginity

Losing It–What is Virginity?

Medical Definitions of Sex

Technical Virginity and the Definition of Sex

Magical Cups and Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context  (The authors of this website have many viewpoints which are not Christian.  But Christian young people still should see that even this website includes other forms of “stimulation” under the heading of “sex,” and would not call a lesbian a “virgin” if she’s only had female lovers.)

Can I Get Pregnant If….

What’s Sex

State laws on legal ages of consent  Note that, in Wisconsin, you don’t have to be over the age of majority to be charged with a sex crime.  Even if you’re 15 and so is your girlfriend, and it’s completely consensual, you can be charged as a sex offender.  I live in Wisconsin, and my source is the daily newspaper, where I’ve read many such stories of kids under 18 being charged as sex offenders for consensual sex.

USA Today article–Teens define sex in new ways

Christian article on technical virginity  (Yeah, I know it’s from The 700 Club, but they do get things right once in a while.)

Article (warning: explicit terms) from Wikipedia about activities which avoid intercourse, yet still are termed “safer sex”

Extremely helpful advice to an extremely naive couple:

While what virginity is and is not is not something medical or actual, but an idea some people have that can differ from person to person, I think it’s very important that you acknowledge that you have been sexually active. You have had sex. Most definitions of abstinence simply mean that a person is not having any kind of genital sex with another person: not manual, oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Here is a good article about Christian dating.

Today, casual dates and “hookups” are so prevalent amongst teens and young adults. “Hookups” are one night stands with strangers (someone never met before), or that are only acquaintances. Any relationship starting on the foundation of sexual activity will not last long. All that lasts is the broken heart….

The pressure today to develop only shallow friendships, or friendships that are all about “me”, is significant. In a world of one night stands, and how many partners can I bag this weekend, today’s relationships are not started to last. Many relationships are over before they even really begin. With broken relationships come broken hearts. It takes an incredibly long time for a person’s heart to heal. –Friendship in the 21st Century

Be warned about legal definitions of sexual contact and intercourse, especially if you’re under 18.  You may think you’re still a virgin when legally, you lost that a long time ago, and you (or your sexual partner) could be liable for prosecution.  For example, Wisconsin state law says, for the purpose of assault:

(5) “Sexual contact” means any of the following:

(a) Any of the following types of intentional touching, whether direct or through clothing, if that intentional touching is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or sexually humiliating the complainant or sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant:

1. Intentional touching by the defendant or, upon the defendant’s instruction, by another person, by the use of any body part or object, of the complainant’s intimate parts.

2. Intentional touching by the complainant, by the use of any body part or object, of the defendant’s intimate parts or, if done upon the defendant’s instructions, the intimate parts of another person.

(b) Intentional penile ejaculation of ejaculate or intentional emission of urine or feces by the defendant or, upon the defendant’s instruction, by another person upon any part of the body clothed or unclothed of the complainant if that ejaculation or emission is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or sexually humiliating the complainant or for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant.

(c) For the purpose of sexually degrading or humiliating the complainant or sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant, intentionally causing the complainant to ejaculate or emit urine or feces on any part of the defendant’s body, whether clothed or unclothed.

(6) “Sexual intercourse” means vulvar penetration as well as cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal opening either by the defendant or upon the defendant’s instruction. The emission of semen is not required.

(7) “Sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated:

(a) Sexual intercourse, meaning vulvar penetration as well as cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal opening either by a person or upon the person’s instruction. The emission of semen is not required;

(b) Bestiality;

(c) Masturbation;

(d) Sexual sadism or sexual masochistic abuse including, but not limited to, flagellation, torture or bondage; or

(e) Lewd exhibition of intimate parts. –State Statue 948

(Also State Statute 940.225 uses this definition of intercourse.)

(19) “Intimate parts” means the breast, buttock, anus, groin, scrotum, penis, vagina or pubic mound of a human being.  State Statute 939.22

Index to my Life Opinion pages:

Topics on Page 1

Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 

Are Spiritual Marriages “real”? 

Am I supposed to spend all of my free time at home with my spouse/kids now that I’m married?  Will that strengthen my marriage–or weaken it? 

Topics on Page 2

Is it okay to be jealous of the opposite-sex friends of my spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend? 

Topics on Page 3

Abuse in all its forms: Links to help 

My Personal Stories

 

Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men–February 1995, Part 3

(Love fraud definition here by the one who coined the term.)

The following may have happened soon after February 7: I found my ex Peter, or “Red Dwarf,” on TCB.  I sent him a cryptic e-mail one day, saying he could look in my registry and know who I was.  I got no reply, so I thought he wanted nothing to do with me.

Then one night, he paged me on TCB with, “Hello Nyssa.”  He knew who I was.  He said he hadn’t answered, not because he didn’t want to, but because he wanted to catch me online and talk to me.

He said, “I never expected to see you on these BBS’s!”  I told him about Dad’s old modem in Pearl’s computer.

That night we talked online for a long time, mostly about what happened between Phil and me.  He heard we broke off the engagement, but didn’t know why.  “What happened???” he wrote.  He also told me he converted to Wicca/Paganism.

He got angry with Phil when I told him the things Phil did.  At one point, I wrote, “Phil should go and be a monk, and spare all women.”  He’d once wanted to be a priest, but I figured even a priest gives marital counseling to his parishioners, so a monk in some isolated monastery would do the least harm: safely locked away, sparing all women.

Peter made some shocked cyber-gesture and wrote, “I’m shocked that you would say–or rather, type–such things!”

Heck, I had written this and all sorts of other things in my diary on February 7, when I wrote that I no longer wanted Phil because he wasn’t worth it.

My mother also had never heard me talk about anyone the way I talked about Phil.

Peter talked about a girl he recently broken up with who was twenty(?) and acted fifteen(?).  I wondered if it was the same one I met earlier that school year in the cafeteria, though I didn’t mention her.  I couldn’t be sure, though; it could have been someone totally different.

Peter gently scolded me for using cold medicine and not herbs or other natural remedies.  Which struck me as weird, because doesn’t everybody do that, and why would I do different?

He said that he went to see the O’Haras recently, and was treated like crap.  So there was no love lost between him and Phil now, even though they once were good friends.

Soon after we started using TCB, and before February 8, Sharon went on one late afternoon before dinner and met someone who called himself Krafter, age 26.  He chatted with Sharon for a while, then told her he was administration.  Sharon, apparently thinking that a member of Roanoke administration was hitting on her, said, “Oh, yuck!”  As it turned out, he was a member of TCB administration, or one of the co-sysops, so there was nothing icky about him hitting on her after all.

He spoke with Sharon often over the next few days, and seemed to have more than friendship in mind.  One day, I talked to him as well, starting my own friendship with him.  One night, I even chatted with him for hours–somewhere between three to six.

I may have run out of time on TCB, because he told me the name and number of his own BBS, Deltapolis, and we went over there to chat.  We had many things in common and really hit it off (obviously, or we wouldn’t have chatted for so long).  Now he seemed interested in both Sharon and me as more than just friends, but didn’t know which one he preferred.

He’d never dated before, so he couldn’t believe that two women were actually interested in him.  He said he must be dreaming.  My handle, Nyssa of Traken, also interested him because as a kid, he had a huge crush on my namesake, Nyssa on Doctor Who.  He also hated the Doctor’s other teenaged companion, Adric, with a passion because he was “in the way.”  After that chat, he seemed more interested in me than in Sharon, which wasn’t my intention, though I was starting to fall for him, myself.

When Sharon discovered this, I couldn’t tell if she was mad or just faking, but part of it seemed real.  She said, “I hate you,” and laughed.  I didn’t think she meant it, though it made me uneasy.  I didn’t mean to steal Krafter away from her.

I told her, thinking of my ill-fated meeting with the Vampire, “You might not even like him when we meet him.  You don’t know.”  I probably said we should wait until our meeting with him on the eighth to decide who should have him, if either of us.

We set up our meeting for 5:30pm in the Chase Center in the hall beside the plants, or the greenhouse which was on the main floor of Chase.  Sharon had a class there at six.  His description: long leather coat, brown coat, red backpack, a (hooded) sweater/sweatshirt in many colors, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes.  I think he was about six feet tall, and something over 200 pounds.

We ate our dinner in excitement.  Randy joked about our meeting.  When 5:30 neared, we rushed off to Chase.  We sat in the hallway by the plants, wondering what we got ourselves into.

A scuzzy-looking guy in a leather jacket walked by.  At first we feared it was him, but it wasn’t.  We sighed with relief and waited some more.

Finally, Krafter arrived.  He was cute with striking, slanted, dark eyes.  He had short, brown hair, glasses, a shapely mouth, and a sweet, cute smile.  I was attracted to him, but Sharon wasn’t.

She said none of this to him, of course.  We went into a classroom, sat at the desks, and talked for maybe ten minutes or more.  I was jealous because Sharon had more to say than I did, so the two of them talked mostly to each other.  He smiled a lot.  When it was time to separate, Sharon said to me, “He’s so nice!”  Whether either of us wanted to date him or not, we certainly wanted to see him again.  And I was definitely interested in dating him.

I probably met Speaker online around this time, too.  He was 20, which seemed young to me then, even though I was only 21.  He had low self-esteem, refused to give his real name, and complained that he could never find a girl to love him.  We chatted for hours; I seemed drawn to such guys.  Phil had been similar.  I didn’t mind trying to encourage them.

Speaker had spoken to many of the other girls on TCB, but I was the “only truly nice girl” or the “nicest girl” there.  We became fast, online friends.  He called me Nyssie, and I called him Speaker-y.  I called myself his Nyssie.

Speaker and I got acquainted by doing the Budweiser frog thing to each other: One of us typed “Bud,” the other “Weis,” and the first typed “Er!” or “ER!”  I didn’t know it then, but he hadn’t even seen the commercial.  (When I met him finally, he said that on the way over he saw a Budweiser frog billboard, and thought of me.  Then I had to explain to him that I got the “Budweiser” thing from the frog commercial.)

Krafter wanted to meet us again.  He said he and his friend Stimpy watched Mystery Science Theater:3000 and ate pizza every Saturday night.  Though at first he wanted to just see us alone that Saturday, he said, “No, I can’t do that to Stimpy.”

Krafter knocked on the kitchen door on Saturday the 11th at around 5pm, holding a box of pizza.  Somebody also provided Mountain Dew, since, as my roommates and I now discovered, caffeine-filled Divine Dew was the drink of choice for computer geeks.

I answered the door.  Stimpy was nineteen, tall and skinny, with distinctive eyes.  His handle came from Ren and Stimpy.  His hair was long and light brown, and under a baseball cap–but facing front, not back, a good thing.  I thought he was cute, and Sharon and Pearl thought he was hot.  If Sharon wanted Krafter, I could take Stimpy.

We seemed less like two people meeting two other people, and more like two girls and two guys trying to get together and pair off.  All we needed to know was who wanted to pair off with whom.

That night, I sat on the couch, Krafter in a chair to my left and Stimpy on the couch to my right.  I wanted to choose one of them, but wasn’t sure which one I wanted most.  At the time, I thought it was Krafter.  I also flirted with Stimpy.

Sharon thought they were paying too much attention to me and not to her, so she finally went to bed.  She didn’t understand that she was Krafter’s favorite, not me.

To me, TV wasn’t a conversation killer, but a social gatherer.  By watching it and not each other, and filling up uncomfortable silences with it, you could feel more comfortable with people and begin to open up to them.  (Farwest Trivia, though it killed teleconference after its debut, was also this way, because you could comment on the questions if the conversation lagged.)  You could learn a lot about people just from their comments and laughter during TV shows.

Krafter was “in charge” of an imaginary corporation named Delta, made up of some TCB users (such as Ish Kabibble; more on him later).  Its aim was to take over everything.  This was all a joke, of course.  He even gave us Delta business cards.  The name of his BBS, Deltapolis, came from this.

Delta was housed in an imaginary pyramid, which, Krafter said, one day would “crush H–.”  I asked why H– (the town in which my friend Mike grew up); he said it was arbitrary, picked for being tiny and close to S–.

I dropped a Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwich (chocolate ice cream and nuts) on Stimpy’s lap in a flirty fashion.

After the TV shows ended, Krafter and Stimpy sat on chairs by the kitchen counter.  Krafter said,

“Stimpy and I can tell you about the users on TCB.  We can tell you who’s nice, who you can trust, and who you should avoid.

“If you want to meet someone, do it in a public place with people around.  If somebody doesn’t want to meet you, you should beware that they may not be as nice as they seem.

“Ish Kabibble is the one truly nice guy on TCB.  Speaker is a problem, since he never wants to meet anyone, and keeps giving girls these sob stories to make them feel sorry for him.

Red Dwarf is the worst!  He pretends to be what a girl wants so she’ll date him.  And he’s always borrowing programs from us for his BBS, which is really annoying.”

This revelation floored me.  I smiled and said, “I used to date Red Dwarf when I was a freshman.”

Krafter and Stimpy looked at me like I’d been contaminated or there was something wrong with me.

I laughed and said, “He was a Christian back then.”

Of course, what they said about Red Dwarf, or Peter, made me wonder how much of our relationship had been real, and how much had been an elaborate lie so I’d date him.  Was he like that back then, or was I not only his first girlfriend but the one who actually got to see the real him?

I had no way of knowing, especially since he changed completely after the breakup.  That could indicate that he lied to me, except that back then everyone else saw him the same way I did: as a sweet, Christian person.

Of course, Shawn wondered all along if Peter truly changed after the breakup, or if he’d been that way all along.  He said sophomore year, “Nobody changes that much.”

I didn’t believe Shawn back then, but now I didn’t know what to believe.  I still don’t; it’s not the sort of thing you ask somebody, even when you’re friends again: “Were you just fooling me and manipulating me?”  Apparently he makes a girl think he’s just the guy she’s always wanted–then wonders why she’s so upset and can’t let go after he breaks up with her!

I saw Speaker online soon after that, and he began beating himself up again.  Instead of reassuring him like usual, I got mad because he seemed to be manipulating me just as Krafter and Stimpy had warned me.  He then got mad at me for getting mad at him based on what other people said about him.  We eventually made up; I decided to be his friend and make up my own mind about him.

When I returned from Christmas Break, I planned to go back home after I graduated, and be with the Vampire, my old friend Josh and my high school friend Becky.  Now I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving all the wonderful people I was meeting on TCB.  I decided to stay in S– with them and my roommies.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

Meeting Cugan (Hubby)–February 1995, Part 2

My last semester was comparatively light: two classes and my senior honors thesis.  But that thesis needed a lot of work: reading the massive book Middlemarch at my teacher’s request and writing reaction papers, research, drafts and rewrites.

Todd, my Irish Writers teacher, was now my Brit Lit teacher.  Most of the students were female, and often amused by him.  He loved Jane Austen, and was quiet and shy.  One day, forced to mention women’s periods because they related to something we’d read, seemed very nervous about it.  I didn’t notice it, but others did, and giggled about it later.  He was a favorite teacher.

On Wednesday, February first, I spoke to Dr. Nelson about my senior honors thesis.  I’d dreaded it since freshman year; junior year I almost took a regular junior studies class instead of junior honors so I wouldn’t have to do the thesis.  But I finally decided to go ahead and see the honors CORE classes through.  As I was about to find out, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared.

I began to write my thesis based on Victorian women writers, how they perceived society’s restrictions on women, and how they treated the subject in their writings.  Nelson was to be my adviser.  Sometimes his wife, who shared his office, was there as we discussed the paper; she made her own comments on such things as Middlemarch and Victorian society.  She noted that some women long for the Victorian days so they wouldn’t have to have a job and write.

Middlemarch is by George Eliot, the penname of a woman who wrote in Victorian days.  This book was huge: The recent Penguin edition is 880 pages.  I was supposed to read it as quickly as possible.  I read as much as I could each day, but I did have two other classes, and, despite my comprehension skills, had always been a slower reader than everyone else I knew seemed to be.

I also had to read Chaucer in Middle English.  Catherine and Anna were in Chaucer class with me, so it became a common topic of conversation.  I already liked The Canterbury Tales; Catherine grew to love his works.  She hadn’t realized how clever, fun and, especially, bawdy they could get.

We read not just The Canterbury Tales, but many of Chaucer’s other stories, poems and translations, such as Romance of the Rose, a tale of Antony and Cleopatra, and Troilus and Criseyde.

The most fun part: We were required to learn the first 12 lines of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, and recite them to a teacher other than our own (Christina) by a certain date.  On about that date, several of the students in Brit Lit cornered Todd after class and recited it to him.  Until that time, Anna and Catherine and I loved to recite lines of it to each other.  It was fun, and the lines were musical.  This is also when I posted lines from the Prologue in my TCB tagline.

Others still complained that Middle English was difficult to understand, but within a short time I got the hang of it.  The theory was, you were supposed to read it in its original pronunciation to understand it better.  But I discovered that just looking at the words without sounding them out made them easier to understand.  Many times Modern English has the same word in the same spelling, just pronounced differently.  Still, it took quite a while to read my assignments each night.

****

On Sunday, February 5, Catherine took me to my first SCA meeting.  It was for the S–/M– shire.

I was already interested in checking out this group of people who wear medieval clothes.  But she enticed me into going by saying, “There are lots of hot guys there, and they love to flirt with you.”

The meeting was at 2pm, though Catherine told me we didn’t have to get there on time.  I think we got there up to an hour late, which she said was normal for the SCA.  She said they wouldn’t have started until then, anyway, because most everyone else wouldn’t be there until then, either.  Unfortunately, this one started close to the proper time.

Steve the Head of the Psychos used to be part of this group as well, until he graduated with most of the Octagon in 1994 and (I believe) moved back home to Chicago.

The meeting was held at the home of people with the SCA names Ragnar and DiAnne.  Ragnar was a big, burly, blond-haired Viking with glasses and a beard.  He loved to hug, and to take smaller people, like me, and bounce them on his knee.  DiAnne had a pleasant face, glasses, and long, brown hair.  They had a newborn baby girl.  I don’t know how old they were, but I’d say 20s.

Catherine took me to this place, a duplex, and led me in the door and up a high entryway staircase.  She went in and the shire members cried out in happy surprise, not having seen her for some time.

“I brought somebody new,” she said.

They cried out in happy surprise again.  For the rest of the afternoon, I felt like the star of the show.

We set our coats down, probably on the floor, and found seats.  I quickly scanned the room for the hot guys Catherine had told me about, but most of the ones I saw looked too old or too married or too plain.  (Apparently she meant the SCA in general, not just this group.)

One, however, stood out: Cugan, who had been in the SCA for a few years, and joined the shire after Catherine stopped going.  (Well, actually, two were cute, but the other one had a girlfriend.)  I sat down in a chair near him and opposite the couch.  Catherine sat in a nearby corner.  These were the only places we could find to sit, and the chairs had been so arranged that I felt like my chair was out in the open, while Catherine’s huddled into the corner.  I felt self-conscious.

The meeting ended up being very dull.  It was long and all business, since they changed the format recently to make it more efficient.  (No more late starts, tangents or turning on Star Trek: TNG.)  Though it was very boring and I didn’t understand it, I did learn some things about the group, including Cugan.

He wore a black hat with a dragon pin, a Celtic knotwork medallion, and a large cross on a pendant.  In time, I discovered he made the medallion himself in Ireland, when he was about seventeen.  A Dungeons and Dragons book sat on a table near him.  (I later asked Catherine if that was his, and she said it probably was.)

As a person with NVLD, I couldn’t tell how old he was just by looking at him.  I feared he was much older than I, and would consider me too young.  I feared he was married or had a girlfriend.  I hoped he was a Christian, but wondered if the universe could really be so much in my favor.

He just couldn’t keep still during the meeting: His hat kept traveling from his head to his hand to his knee.  Sometimes, it even ended up on the head of a girl named Nadine.

I thought he kept looking at me during the meeting.  I hoped so.

At one point, somebody asked Cugan, the Chronicler (writer of the newsletter), “What about this note in the newsletter about the pitter-patter of little feet?”

Cugan said, “What?”

Cevante, the Seneschal (chairperson), who sat next to him, answered the question.  I thought at first that Cugan and Cevante were married and the baby was theirs, but soon discovered this wasn’t the case–to my great relief.  The baby in question probably belonged to our hosts.

I soon discovered that SCA people usually referred to each other by SCA names, rather than real names, though some people were called by their real names more often.

(For the most part, I’ve kept real SCA names and online handles here because they reflect personalities and can be hard to duplicate with fake names.  Not only that, but they’re much harder to trace than real names.  But not all the names I use for SCA people are SCA names, because some people were better known to me by their real names.  And not all the SCA names and Internet handles I use are real, especially if their misdeeds are recounted.  So you won’t know which is which.  :)  )

Nadine was the best friend of, same age as, and possibly roommate of Cevante’s daughter, Tatiana.

When the business portion of the meeting finally ended and the members broke up into smaller groups, a tall blond, Marcus, got up and pulled up the hood of his red robe.  Unlike the others, he wore SCA garb.  Catherine poked me and said his persona was a druid.

Cugan said to me, “I’m Cu’gan-mhatthair MacMuircheartaigh.  That means in Gaelic, ‘b**tard son of a bi*** and a passing sailor.'”  Actually, literally it means, “Dog without mother, son of a passing sailor”; the rest was his embellishment.

This was the only time he cussed during the entire meeting.  He then grabbed a clipboard with some papers on it, jumped over and knelt down before me with a big smile on his face, and asked for my name and address.  I smiled and wrote down my name and college address.

At one point, someone announced a homemade brew or wine was available.  Cugan, after proclaiming his enthusiasm, got up and went with the others who sampled it.

Cevante spoke with me as well.  I said I just took a Celtic class at college.  She said, “Good girl!”

The meeting went on for probably two hours or more after Catherine and I arrived.  We mostly stayed in the living room.  At one point, she sat with Nadine on the couch, while I got cornered by the Herald, Donato.

I would have preferred to find Cugan and start a conversation, or listen to Nadine and Catherine’s conversation.  But to be polite, I sat and listened to Donato explain the structure of the SCA, its offices and ranks, and some of the rules: play the game by wearing garb at events, etc.  (You can find this same information here.  A few years later, I heard him give the same talk to a girl with the online handle Malika; she seemed fascinated.)  I caught parts of Nadine and Catherine’s conversation:

Nadine: “You’re married now?  Wow.”

Catherine: “You’re nineteen now?  I feel old!”

Cugan eventually returned; Catherine asked him about a music group he put together to practice period music.  She mentioned it to me before, and the possibility of my joining in with my tin whistle.  (This never happened, and the group didn’t last long.)  I wanted so much to break away from Donato and chat with Cugan.

Finally, Donato finished talking, and I was free! free!

In late afternoon or early evening, people began to go home.  Cugan put on a classy jean jacket, his hat and maybe a scarf, and said to me, “Do you hug?”

These SCA people were like Catherine, and loved to hug.  Now, probably like most people, I felt uncomfortable hugging people I barely knew.  But I said, “If somebody hugs me.”  In my mind I added, “Especially you.”

He hugged me, and I enjoyed it tremendously.  He said a cheerful good-bye to the rest of us, including Nadine, and left.  I hoped to soon see him again, and get to know him a lot better.

Complication: Nadine now said to the shire members near her, “It seems when I like him he hates me, and when I hate him, he likes me.”  (Much later, when I told him about this, he got upset and said, “I don’t know where she gets the idea that I hate her.”)  I wondered what was going on between them, and why she felt this way.  I didn’t think they were dating, at least.

(As it turned out, she had a huge crush on him that he didn’t know about for a while.  She wrote a letter about it to Tatiana, who showed it to him.  He got scared, because to him she sounded obsessed.  So I just walked into a little soap opera.)

Soon, Catherine and I also left the meeting.  On the way back, as Catherine played her Prince tapes as she usually did when driving me places that semester, I told her about Cugan hugging me.  I said,

“I didn’t mind being hugged, especially by Cugan.”

I had no idea that Catherine had been scheming all along for me to meet Cugan, that when she told me there were hot guys in the SCA who love to flirt, she was thinking mainly of Cugan.  I wouldn’t know this until probably a few months later.

She didn’t know him well, but figured he was the kind of guy I’d like.  He seemed better for me than Phil.  She hated Phil (and Persephone).  She must have been pleased that, with no prodding from her whatsoever, I now sat there saying how cute Cugan was and how much I wanted to get to know him better.

I had no idea that, so soon after my divorce, I met my future husband, one who would stick around; Cugan had no idea that he met the future mother of his child.

 

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

NVLD vs. Aspergers: Videos to explain

Richard and Tracy refused to believe in my NVLD, and it was the source of most of our problems (that and me recognizing her abuse).  But it is real, and the following video succinctly describes my childhood–and many of these problems have followed me into adulthood:

Another source of disagreement was Richard thinking that NVLD and Asperger’s are one and the same, so since I don’t act autistic, I must not have NVLD. But here the differences are clearly explained:

And this describes Asperger’s:

If you want progressive change, you have to VOTE

Now we’re stuck with Walker for another four years, despite all the dissension.  Now we’re stuck with a fully Republican Congress.  But I’ve seen the numbers: When everybody gets out and votes in this state, we elect Democrats.  And the elections were all very close.  So you’re out there.  And you say you hate Walker for all the crap he’s done to ruin this state.  Where were you?  The new Voter ID law was blocked for this election, so you can’t say you couldn’t get an ID.

Jezebel expressed it well, since apparently it’s not just a Wisconsin problem:

Election 2014 Postmortem: We f**king did this to ourselves

A Democratic president can’t do much with a Republican Congress who blocks everything he wants–even when they themselves came up with the idea (ie, Republican response to Obamacare, which was a Republican plan and a compromise to get them on board).  They’re doing this on purpose.

And now we still have public unions who have lost their rights to bargain over benefits and working conditions, health care coverage which is hamstrung by Walker’s refusal to take funds, and schools forced to slash budgets.  A lot of our teachers bailed after Act 10 passed.  Some of the effects of Act 10 are detailed here.  A lot of people are in a health care limbo because Walker dumped them from BadgerCare, but they’re not able to get coverage through ObamaCare.  This wouldn’t have happened if he went along with how ObamaCare is supposed to work.

Minnesota is doing far better than Wisconsin is, with their more liberal policies.

And now Walker is able to ram through everything he wants done, while we Democrats get nothing, even though we are half of this state.  And a Republican Congress gets everything they want, while we get nothing, even though we are half of this country.

And the Koch brothers have Walker in their pockets.  I did note that Burke was leading until Walker’s fat cat donors gave huge amounts to boost the campaign.  This is why Citizens United needs to go down: Elections should not be bought.  They should not be determined based on who has the biggest donors.  They should be determined based on who is the best candidate with the best ideas.  That did not happen here.

There is also corruption, which has been coming out in the newspapers lately: E-mails prove Walker’s past campaigns engaged in activity which is against state law, and that corporations were buying favors.

And now he’s talking again about running for president.

Just imagine: President Walker.  He’s encouraged now because he keeps winning despite opposition.  After he has so heavily damaged our wonderful state and turned brother against brother, so that even longtime friends and family barely speak to each other, do you want to see the whole country like this?  Imagine another Civil War…..

My husband is conservative from a conservative family.  He’s been saying things lately that make me cringe, wondering who he’s listening to and what he’s reading to get such strange ideas, so this even gets into households.  Yet his family treats him as if he’s abandoned the family’s religion, whenever he has a moderate viewpoint.  And whenever he sounds even remotely like he’s listening to the liberal side of things on ANY subject, his brother will scold him, stonewall, and threaten to unfriend him on Facebook.

He’s more of a moderate, and doesn’t like pandering to corporations, Scott Walker, or eliminating the Common Core.  He sees the excesses of the Tea Party, which has taken over the Republican Party.  He detests the callous attitude of our Tea Party ex-friend Richard over how the poor would suffer for years if all the so-called “entitlement” programs are discontinued.  He even willingly watches The Daily Show/Colbert Report along with me.  But his brother treats him like the Antichrist for this.  It’s Groupthink on a family level, so you can’t even consider that liberals have good ideas.  (It also shows how ridiculous Richard’s wife was for treating me like a threat to her marriage.  Yeah, like I’d want to be married to an anarchist-Libertarian-Tea Partier.)

And, oh yeah, now my district has lost its retiring moderate representative, replaced by a raving lunatic.  We had a fiscally conservative Democrat running against him, a moderate who should’ve been able to win, and even our retiring Republican representative refused to back the raving lunatic Republican.  Petri was rather miffed by the guy’s remarks about Petri not being conservative enough:

“Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?” Petri said. “I don’t want to smother him with love or anything like that.”…”Grothman said if the GOP turns down the path Petri did, he will go against it,” Petri said. “I always feel you want to reach out and work with people — that has been my approach to both parties.” He said Harris has done “a fine job” as county executive.–FdL Reporter

There was a time when this wasn’t such a big deal: One party may win control of a state/the country, but still work with the other party.  But lately, “compromise” has become a dirty word.  So winner takes it all and the loser gets nothing.  That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

There are also comments that the Democratic candidates were trying not to be too Democrat, and distancing themselves from the President, which also turned voters off.  What the heck was that about?  Why abandon the President?  He’s no George Bush–He’s a good president, or would be if Congress still believed in compromise.  (I heard Boehner’s speech when Obama won re-election: To Boehner, “compromise” means “Democrats do what the Republicans want.”  Not the other way around.)

I’ve heard so much of the slander being thrown against this president, a smear campaign meant to get him out so a Republican gets voted in next.  “Dictatorship”?  Seriously?  And Benghazi is hardly the scandal Fox News makes it into.  It’s brainwashing from the conservative media.  (Such as the conservative media myth that the mainstream media is “liberal,” which sets you up to believe the conservative pundits instead.)  So now we abandon him, too, and let the bullies win?  If he weren’t getting so much pushback from Congress, we’d see how his policies can actually work well.

Scott Walker is counting on you to stay home. That’s because when you don’t vote, you’re saying that you approve of the way he’s running our state. Not voting means that you approve of more low-wage jobs, drastic cuts to public education and BadgerCare, and taking away women’s and workers’ rights.  Republicans admit that their chances of winning are better when fewer people vote.  That’s why Scott Walker pushed his unconstitutional voter ID law.  That’s why he cut back early voting hours and eliminated weekends. If you don’t vote, you’re voicing your approval of these attempts to rig the election.

Right now, we have the chance to show Walker and his corporate allies that they are wrong on voter ID, wrong on minimum wage, wrong on public education, wrong on women’s health, wrong on Badgercare, wrong on collective bargaining, and wrong for Wisconsin. But if you don’t vote, nothing changes.

You can’t predict the future, but you do have the right to vote today. Don’t let anything get in the way of casting your ballot.  Put the past four years behind you, and move Wisconsin toward a better future.  Vote now!

–Jennifer Epps-Addison, Not Voting is a Vote for Scott Walker

Hopefully the results of this election will prove to the cynical just how important it is to exercise your precious right to vote.

Also see I’m Scared by Wisconsin Soapbox:

Reason why I’m up a creek is because now that the election is over, everyone is more than willing to discuss what they are planning, and with a four year agenda already under their belts, we know what it will look like. (Oh hey SB 286!) Oh, and with those pesky moderates in the State Senate gone, this legislative session will be a blood-red tidal wave to anything the even resembles something that resembles Wisconsin’s progressive tradition.

From the Wisconsin State Journal: 
Walker says he hopes to fast-track the state budget process, expand the taxpayer-funded school voucher program, require drug tests for those seeking food stamps and unemployment benefits, and continue income and property tax cuts.

“We’re going to be even more aggressive now,” Walker told members of his Cabinet on Wednesday at the Capitol. “Because I think we’ve got an even stronger ally in the Legislature.”

Yep… All things that were mentioned to those of us who were paying close attention to the election. Not a damn thing joe or jane average voter probably know much about with any depth. Oh, and let’s not forget the 45-ish% of people who could’ve voted but opted to sit on the sidelines and not give a hoot.

Vos said his priorities include continuing tax cuts, pushing for school accountability and expanding the state’s voucher program, overhauling the state Government Accountability Board, and changing how secret John Doe investigations are conducted in Wisconsin.  Vos also talked about replacing Common Core with educational standards developed in Wisconsin and changes to campaign finance laws.

Time to screw over the teachers even more after all the work they’ve gone through getting ready for Common Core.  Time to fix things so John Doe investigations can stop nailing Walker’s people for illegal activities.  Changes to campaign finance laws?  You mean, so what Walker’s people did, is no longer illegal?

Some research into the Koch Brothers reveals where the Tea Party ideas, which have taken over the Republican Party, actually come from.  Voting is our best means of fighting this.

Now Ron Johnson says that Congress will compromise with the President.  That would be refreshing, and a glimmer of hope–but I will believe it when I see it.

 

Reblog: Ingrid Schlueter and another threatened defamation lawsuit

This post regards a situation described here, which is right in my backyard, in Milwaukee.  Ingrid writes,

I have a message for Vic, for Randy, and for anyone else who believes that Scripture’s direct instructions on handling conflict don’t apply: We will not be bullied. We will  not stop speaking the truth about what has gone on, and no attorney letters, threats and throwing weight around by anyone of influence matters one bit. We have tried for years to get help and to resolve this in a Christ-honoring manner to no avail. Peacemakers, think about that name, were not wanted. Attorneys were. Onward Christian soldiers.

The only option for those who claim to possess Jesus Christ is biblical mediation of conflict. That has been resoundingly refused by Randall Melchert, the top officer legally of VCY America, inc. It has been resoundingly rejected by Vic Eliason and Randy Melchert, men who prefer to pass on stories about headless squirrels and retain attorneys to try to stifle the truth.

She also writes,

My sister called tonight and asked if I’d checked the mail. I hadn’t. Vic Eliason, our father, is threatening to sue us for attempting to get this shameful situation into biblical mediation with Peacemakers. He is characterizing all we have spoken, the truth, as defamation.

….My father may not be aware that we have a close friend who is a lawyer. Our friend, who actually has significant experience with defamation has pointed out the following. First, a lawyer with experience in this area of law would identify the supposed falsehoods. This “gentleman” is unable to do that.

We wonder–what is false? That we requested biblical mediation? That his daughter and his two sons-in-law were forced out of VCY? That he tried to bribe his grandson into bearing false witness against his own mother? That he sent pornography to me under a false name and posted on blogs as a woman? None of these things is false–all are provably true. And this lawyer apparently doesn’t realize that defamation does not mean “bad for Vic” but means actually false.

From Julie Anne Smith’s latest post, VCY America Founder, Vic Eliason, Sends Letter Threatening Legal Action to His Daughter, Ingrid Schlueter:

I sometimes have to laugh when attorneys use the “defamatory” word.  It is up to the courts to decide what word or phrase is defamatory or not, not some podunk Wisconsin lawyer throwing around legalese to threaten (disclaimer: this is JA’s opinion, lest some whacknut attorney try to sue me for defamation).  Mr. Russell, you would be wise to look up defamation lawsuits and see how many cases are in fact successful.

….Now, if Ingrid Schlueter is telling her story as she sees it, that is her perceived truth. In court, Ingrid’s perceived truth would not be judged as a lie (even if it is in fact a lie). The plaintiffs in a defamation lawsuit would have to prove that Ingrid (and her sister, or anyone else named in the lawsuit) intentionally lied.

….Let’s just cut to the chase. This letter from Attorney Patrick Russell is a farce. He is throwing around big words acting like he’s going to make a real case over this situation. He doesn’t have one. It’s a bully method to tell someone to shut up (disclaimer:  Julie Anne’s opinion).  Abusers and bullies use all sorts of methods to control and using civil courts and threatening letters is just one more method. It happened to me, it happened in the Grenier lawsuit, and now we see it here with Ingrid Schlueter’s father.

It’s important to acknowledge what this really is and what it is not. This letter is Vic Eliason’s attempt to control who can talk. It is not an honest attempt to resolve conflict in a Biblical fashion (as the Schlueters have attempted to do via a mediator). It is certainly not appropriate behavior for a Christian to sue another Christian. It is not loving and gracious.  Is this what the 1 Corinthians passage is referring to when they use the word reviler? There is no humility in paying an attorney to bully family members. Imagine what family times might be like with the Eliason, Schlueter, and extended families. I suspect Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a bit solemn as this fractured family reels with a pending lawsuit over their heads.

This shameful situation is now public. I hope Mr. Eliason will retract his attorney’s ridiculous letter and handle his family conflict using appropriate Biblical methods. This public display of suing family members in the civil courts makes him look like a fool and a bully.

This all sounds very familiar, as I, too, was threatened with a lawsuit for suggesting biblical mediation to resolve the situation with my abusers, if they began coming to my church full-time.  In my case, I called the bluff and immediately went to my priest about the situation (though, of course, I had already spoken to my priest about it previously, because I needed his counsel).  My abusers pretended to continue trying to intimidate me and be oh-so-scary.  But in truth, they backed down, and did nothing.  The statute of limitations has long since run out for them to sue me for going to my priest about this.  And, well, a policeman told me that they could not sue me for that, anyway.

But not everyone is so fortunate.  Various abuse bloggers have been sued in recent years: Julie Anne, Alex Grenier, Christina Enevoldsen….But the bloggers keep winning, or (in Grenier’s case) could still win.  Hopefully Ingrid will not get sued, or–if she does–will win the case.

Keep speaking the truth without fear!

 

 

 

Life on TCB–February 1995, Part 1

Counselor Dude said when he gave me a grade in February that my working on the novel Jerisland since 1988 or 1989 showed persistence.  He said I had a good grasp of the mechanics of writing, and could become an editor if I wanted to.

****

Sometime early fall semester, Sharon saw two freshman guys put up a poster advertising the new Roanoke College BBS.  We were surprised, and checked it out.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones on campus getting connected to the wonderful world of the Internet and BBS‘s.

It wasn’t much, mostly a message board saying what classes were canceled and such, but it was still nice to have one.  It was a voice line, however, hooked up to the freshmen’s dorm room phone, so we could only call up at certain times of the day.

Every other college already seemed to have Internet access for students.  Roanoke didn’t have it until the next school year.  I’d watch the students on Beverly Hills: 90210 use the Internet on a school computer, and feel jealous.  We heard the access was supposed to be available senior year, but had to be pushed off until the next year–after I graduated.

Pearl had friends with e-mail addresses through school accounts, and now she could finally send them e-mail through our AOL accounts.  We got one account for all four of us with separate screen names.

But our favorite was The Crystal Barrier, or TCB, as I described here, because of all the fun we had with people who lived nearby:

The action words in Teleconference, or tele, were a lot of fun.  For example, if I typed, “slap stimpy,” Stimpy saw, “Nyssa Of Traken is slapping you!” but I saw, “…Wap!…Wap!…Wap!”  You could also do them to other people privately, like this: “kiss stimpy secretly.”  I saw, “Pucker up!” and Stimpy saw, “Nyssa Of Traken is kissing you on the cheek.”

More action words: “pave,” which said, “Crystal Dragon is driving a steamroller over everything, chanting, ‘The earth must be paved'”; “pkiss,” or “Nyssa Of Traken is kissing you passionately!”; “look,” or “Stimpy is looking at you,” which the user saw as, “Like what you see?” or “See something you like?”

“Look” was good for giving a funny look to someone who was acting very strange.  You could also just type “look” without directing it at anyone, and that showed up as, “Nyssa Of Traken is looking around the room.”  To direct an action at someone, all you needed were the first three letters of that person’s handle, or more if someone else online had the same first three letters.  You didn’t need to capitalize.

Sharon and I often spoke to each other and others offline as if we were in tele and using action words.  For example, I’d say to Sharon, “Nyssa is slapping you,” and we would laugh.

South Bend and S– BBS’s had different commands.  South Bend used dot commands.

Unlike with the South Bend area dot commands, which dealt with other functions on the BBS’s, on TCB you could use dot commands to send an action to someone who was logged into the BBS, but not in Teleconference or Farwest Trivia with you.  Example: “.kiss krafter.”

To look at someone’s registry, or a list of answers to personal questions, you typed “/r Krafter,” or went into the registry menu.  This registry asked for computer phone number, the name of your own BBS if you had one, your favorite food and movie and music and TV show, your least favorite show and music and movie, physical description, eye color, hair color, a short summary, etc.

You could answer each question however you wished: Some people typed “n/a,” or not applicable, to every question.  Speaker typed “.” after every question.  Some people gave answers that revealed them to be scary people, such as one guy who I believe called himself Nightstalker.

I either ignored the phone number questions or made up fake BBS names or spelled out fake numbers (“1800FUNWITHZARA,” for example).  My summary was often, “I long for the days when men were men, alternative was alternative, and mice were little furballs that squeak.”

Krafter liked this one.  I knew it was an adaptation of something I’d heard once (and I don’t mean the standard, “When men were men and women were women”), but I didn’t remember where.  Some time later, I discovered it came from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  My variation was my own, but the Hitchhiker’s version went:

In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were REAL men, women were REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. –http://www.davekimble.org.au/humour/hitchhiker.quote.htm

We could also type taglines, which showed up next to a user’s handle whenever someone typed “/#” to call up a list of who was online at the time.  There was a default tagline, I forget exactly what; I generally had various taglines, depending on what I felt like putting there.  When someone was still logging in, the screen showed “login” in place of the handle, and “I couldn’t stay away!” as the tagline.  These were similar to the taglines on Pan-Optic Net.

I was Nyssa Of Traken, Sharon was Ziggy, and Pearl was Pearl.  My name, of course, came from my favorite handle from Indiana BBS’s, as I explain here.  Sharon loved Ziggy, and Pearl’s handle came from her nickname, so none of these names was a surprise.  Even Astrid went on TCB a few times, and called herself Tigger, fitting with her nickname, Boing Boing.

There, as in Internet chat rooms, normal punctuation and spelling rules went out the window.  In forums, people wrote normally (except for the occasional “4” for “for,” “u” for “you,” “c” for “see,” and other abbreviations).  But when chatting or playing in tele, you saw lots of ellipses and emoticons, and a lack of capitalization or punctuation.  Even I, whom Stubby once called the TCB spelling cop, was guilty of this.  It’s just quicker to write if you don’t have to worry about what your English teacher would think.

Sharon loved going online and being bombarded with “so and so is hugging you” from people all over the system.  I would go online, get such greetings, and type “.kiss Krafter” (which kissed him on the cheek) to greet him each time I saw him online.  Pearl was also popular.

The people online were so sociable and Sharon was so popular, in fact, that sometimes she went online and hoped no one would notice her so she wouldn’t have to answer their pages or return their hugs.  She tried to sneak on, check her e-mail and get back off again.  The problem, however, was that the system announced to everyone whenever someone came online, along with an entrance message, if one was set.  So it was hard to sneak on without being noticed, unless you figured out how to work the “invisible” function.

In my teens, the “cool” kids had never even heard of BBS’s.  (No, I was not one of the cool kids.)  Now, even the “cool” people joined the “geeks” online.

Other people liked to sign their names in various ways–all capitals, shortened handles, funny symbols–so I decided to use my own signature.  This is what I came up with:

}] Nyssa of Traken [{“

For a short time, I changed my online summary nearly every day so that a different line of the first twelve lines to the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales–in Middle English–showed up.

When one of us was online, the other two often sat around the computer and watched.  Most often, we went into tele or Farwest Trivia (a multi-player trivia game).  There, the watchers would tell the one typing, “Page so-and-so and say this,” “Say this,” “Tell him Pearl says such-and-such,” etc.  When one of us was online, all three of us were generally online, even though only one of our screen names was logged in.  It was quite a party every night by the computer.

Oftentimes, people, such as Krafter or Speaker, sat in the menuing system (main menu), and just waited there for pages while doing something else.  Just like nowadays we do with, say, IRC, Facebook, or other instant messaging systems.

For me, the computer gave stiff competition to the TV.  Even though I wanted to see a new show named Sliders, Star Trek: DS9, and this new Star Trek show called Voyager, it was hard to pay attention because I was usually online while they were on.

I loved Sliders anyway, as did Charles, and we loved the various things that were different in each dimension the four sliders slid into.  One of my favorites had a dimension in which America had never broken from England.  (When Sci-Fi Channel picked up the show three seasons later, they ruined it, turning it into some action thing where favorite characters got killed off.)  As for the Star Trek shows, I couldn’t get into them.  After that year, I didn’t even try keeping up with them.  My love affair with the continuing Star Trek series had ended: There were just too many of them now.

For a short time, a guy called Atlantis sent me messages on TCB.  He played a game with me, a guessing game, with hints on who he was.  Then he disappeared before I could find out, upsetting me.  I heard somewhere that he was kicked off, maybe for a misunderstanding, but I don’t know if this was true.  Then Mike’s friend Brent finally admitted to being Atlantis.

Sometime during this period, Pearl’s sister came to visit and stay in the apartment for a day or two.  She saw my tapes and CD’s and went wild, because I had a lot of alternative, and the kids were really starting to get into alternative in those days.

She also went on TCB a few times as Squisha.  This name came from an inside joke between her and Pearl, a name one of them gave to a squirrel squished on the highway, Squisha Squirrel.  She had a lot of fun, and the other TCB users loved playing with her in Teleconference.

One day, I checked a user directory for one of the BBS’s.  The new user setup, or a series of questions each user needed to answer–what kind of computer and graphics you had, what password you wanted, your real name, address and phone number–included, of course, the question, “What handle would you like to use?”  The user directory listed all the users of the BBS by handle.  One person showed up as:

What do you mean “HANDLE

(No, no closing quote or question mark for “handle”; there wasn’t room; the handle could only be so long.)

Many teenagers hung out on TCB, and most of these seemed to love talking to Sharon, Pearl and me.  We felt popular.  Sharon said, “I think they think we’re cool because we’re three women living together.”

Though TCB wasn’t free, it wasn’t expensive, either: $5 a month got you five hours a day.

****

Sharon’s Sharon-isms included various expressions of disgust or dismay: “eww,” “ergh,” possibly “erckle” and “icky.”  We both used these online as well.  Another popular term among us roommies was, “Owie!  Owie!”  Sharon also sometimes said “cry” during a fake argument.

During second semester, it became common for my roommates to steal my seat whenever I got up from the couch.  I often ended up sitting in the armchair instead.  It was comfy, of course, so this wasn’t a problem, though sometimes I’d be in the chair while my roommies acted weird on the couch, joking and making weird noises and such.  I felt a bit left out.  But at least I had fun playing the straight woman.

Just as she did last semester, my old roommie Clarissa often came over to walk to dinner with me.  This, of course, was on nights when I didn’t end up eating mac and cheese or Spaghetti-os in front of the computer, while playing on TCB.  Now that we had our own kitchen and food, I could do this.

Tara and Pearl, having just seen Bugs Bunny’s A Hare Grows in Manhattan, began saying, “It’s a GY-raffe!  a GY-raffe!” instead, of course, of the usual “giraffe.”

My friends now watched Sesame Street every once in a while.  They thought there was nothing weird about this, that they had every right to if they wanted to no matter what their age, and that the show was cute.

Pearl’s sister liked Elmo.  (This was before the “Tickle-Me-Elmo” craze, which was in the fall of 1996.)

We noted that the same little African-American boy with an afro (probably John-John) had been on Sesame Street since we watched in the 70s, yet he was still there.  The show kept playing the same old clips even in the newer shows.  It was good, though, that the little kids wouldn’t miss out on some of the things we saw as kids, but wouldn’t they wonder why the kid’s hair looked so weird?  I never wondered about it as a kid, but that was in the 70s, and lots of people had hair like that.  (Of course, if Sesame Street still plays those clips of the afro boy, today’s kids probably think he looks normal.  Fashion is weird like that.)

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

I am out of danger from my abusers: Statute of limitations has run out

A quick check of Wisconsin laws tells me that the statute of limitations for libel/slander is two years.  I never libeled, defamed or slandered my abusive ex-friends, but when they found my blog, they threatened to sue me for this. 

Even if Richard and Tracy were to still think they have a case, it has been between two and a half to four and a half years since I told friends, family, my priest and this blog about what happened, hoping for support, venting and help with healing.  It has also been more than two and a half years since they made this threat. 

They have suffered no job losses.  If they even have jobs, I wouldn’t know who they work for, and wouldn’t contact their employers anyway.  That just isn’t the kind of thing I do.  We also do not run in the same circles except online, even though we live in the same city.  They have absolutely no financial losses to claim because of me.

This tells me their threats were just intimidation meant to keep me quiet, that they were all bluster, that they hoped I was easy to intimidate, that they were indeed intentionally trying to gaslight me into doubting what I knew was true.

Instead, I stayed strong and brave, continuing to tell my story, keeping my blog up, keeping my mind and memory strong and secure against the gaslighting.

This tells you, the reader, to be brave and tell your own story of abuse.  Don’t let your abusers silence you!

 

 

Surgery went well….

All over with.  And I’m still groggy from the anesthesia, so this is all I want to write.  :P

[Update 11/1/14:]

There were three polyps, all benign.  And the mysterious bump was dysplasia.  All are removed, so nothing to worry about.

Well, except for the bills….