Articles from August 2012

Freedom from Richard’s Political Stranglehold

There is an unexpected blessing inside all of the trauma and ugliness of the friendship breakup with Richard (and Chris, as well, who had been posting some really weird stuff on Facebook before he unfriended me): I’m no longer dominated by his crazy Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) politics.

I was so tolerant, and so afraid of offending my bestest friend, that I didn’t tell him how I really felt about his politics, and I let him go on about how he hated Democrats, they were the enemy, they vote for killing babies, etc. etc., even though I tried to gently tell him that good, Christian people also vote Democrat.

Some of the most religious people I know (including a very conservative, anti-abortion Christian from college, and a preacher) are Democrats.

But inwardly I hated the way he railed against Democrats, even though I was an Independent myself, sometimes voting for Democrats, sometimes voting for Republicans.

I hated how he talked about Obama, how he talked as if the people who voted for him in 2008 were just mindless dupes–as if they couldn’t have honestly voted Democrat because they felt he was the best candidate with the best ideas and values.  (And McCain’s running mate sure didn’t help.)

Then he went into that Tea Party and Anarchy, and really went off the deep end in wacko politics.  I was afraid to tell him what I really felt about these things, because he started scolding me for disagreeing with him.

Like during a citywide controversy in 2009, when we were about to lose Mercury Marine, a company which is extremely important to our local economy.

But he pooh-poohed that, even though I had already seen my engineer husband lose his job at another company because sales at Merc had gone down, and even though other cities in our state had already gone into the crapper because of big companies moving out.

I “liked” the Facebook status update of the city council president because he helped keep the company in town.  Then Richard actually scolded me for liking it!

When he started spouting off on Facebook about nutty things like how we don’t need the police, I disagreed with him, so got chewed out and basically told that my opinion didn’t matter and that I didn’t care about liberty etc. etc.

He even scolded me for posting on Facebook one day (after seeing on Hotel Rwanda how political hatred led to so much violence) that we need to not hate our political enemies!  I really began to feel like I was the heretic to his orthodoxy, in his own mind.  [Update and disclaimer: When I went back into my Facebook timeline in 2014 to review this post and its responses, I saw that I may have confused his reply with those of some other people.]

In 2000, when the candidates were first being nominated, I looked at Al Gore as a possibility, though later on I did not vote for or like him.  But around 2000 I noticed, whenever I took an online political quiz, that I kept leaning more toward the middle, or even toward liberalism.  I had been a lifelong Republican, so this surprised me.

When I became Presbyterian (USA, the liberal one) in 2005, I found myself agreeing with the more Democratic leanings of their denomination’s monthly magazine.  It was actually refreshing to find liberal instead of Republican politics in a Christian magazine.  Which, of course, was surprising for a lifelong Republican.

But in 1998 I was so disgusted with the Republican crusade against Clinton (even though I did not like Clinton, thought he was slimey) that I told my Irish penpal I no longer considered myself Republican.  So by 2005 I believe I was a moderate Independent, neither one nor the other.  [Wait: I also began thinking more Democratically after reading Cornerstone Magazine.]

I voted for McCain, but that was only because Richard told me about a video (which I found online) in which Obama, doing a stump speech, said he was going to make states pay for abortions, something to that effect.  Well, he never actually did that.

I always liked McCain, especially since he kept partnering with the Democrat Feingold (whom I also liked), so I didn’t mind voting for him.  But I was still happy to see Obama win.  But try to tell Richard that, and oh, you get told how wrong you are….

In the past few years, especially with the rise of the Tea Party, its eventual connection to the Republican Party, and the maddening denials of science and reason and human rights and rights of the poor, which I’m seeing come out of the GOP lately–I cannot in good conscience have anything to do with the Republican Party anymore.

My opinion of the Tea Party did not come from the media, but straight from what Richard and Chris kept posting on their Facebook walls.

I believe in global warming.  I love Obama and will vote for him, think he’s a good person/president, he’s just being stymied by Republicans who don’t believe in compromise.  I believe compromise is a virtue and essential for good government.  I can’t stand Ron Paul, think he’s a kook whose policies would destroy the country.

I don’t believe in a New World Order or Illuminati conspiracy.  I think the John Birch Society is also kooky.  I don’t believe the government is going to round us up into concentration camps, take our guns away, or force martial law.

I don’t believe there is a “liberal media,” but I do believe Fox News has a deliberate and deceitful bias trying to make people vote Republican.  I love the Daily Show and Colbert Report because finally, I found there some sanity!

I believe in teaching science and not religion in a science classroom.  I believe God created using evolution, that evolution has been proven, is no longer just a theory.  I believe unions are absolutely necessary to keep businesses from exploiting their workers.

I’m even beginning to believe–contrary to what I’m “supposed” to believe as an Orthodox Christian–that homosexuality is often something gays/lesbians are born with, not something they choose, so God must have made them that way, and that they should be allowed to settle down with whomever they love, and legally marry.  I believe that people should be allowed to make whatever marital arrangements they wish (such as plural) as long as they’re consenting adults.

I believe the poor and old should have help from the government.  I like Obamacare, though what I really want to see is something more like Canada.

I despise what Walker did to the state of Wisconsin, believe he cut or tried to cut everything that’s wonderful about that state’s government, and the Republicans steamrolled over the Democrats to get there.

I don’t believe in abortion, but I do fear the unexpected ramifications of changing the laws on that (such as making the birth control pill illegal in some states).  I believe in Social Services being allowed to help the ones who can’t help themselves, i.e. abused children.

I believe in having the police, a fire department, etc.  I believe in helping illegal immigrants instead of abusing them.  I believe in renewable power, and regulations on banking and business.  I believe in supporting public schools and that we can pray any time we like in our heads.

I believe that Islam is not the enemy, that there are many wonderful, pious Muslims.  I don’t think political systems are inherently evil; it’s what is done with them that makes them evil.  I don’t think Socialism is the enemy, nor do I believe our president is a Socialist.  Or a Muslim.  Or a Kenyan.

And even though I am Orthodox, I keep finding Democrats in my local church.  One of the elderly men is Democrat, for example.  My new friend in the church is not just pious, but Democrat.

I have finally come out of the closet and said I am a Democrat, and proud of it!

–Can you imagine the fallout if I told this to Richard (and Tracy) and was still friends with him?  Especially when I noted how his other friends tend to be Republicans or Libertarians like him?  I can, and it isn’t pretty.

I can be friends with people of other parties; my friends have always been a mix of Democrat and Republican.  So I can change from one to the other and still keep the same friends; I just avoid political discussions with them.

For the past two years, I have finally felt free to post what I like on my Facebook about politics!

And about pretty much anything else, since with Richard and Tracy no longer on it, I was no longer derided for not liking gory movies, or treated like I needed to be “pampered” when I don’t, or punished for being too quiet, or scolded for saying that pesticide is bad for the environment and our health, or made fun of for posting about new raffle rules for Greek Fest, or had my comments deleted all the time, or got yelled at for saying “I’ll miss you dearly on your trip, but have fun!”

I can gently flirt with my friends without an angry Tracy on my back, or a hypocritical Richard acting like it was wrong, while he did far more blatant flirting with others all the time!

No more scolding for being too “liberal” in my religious beliefs about marriage, or lectures on how I should be submissive!  No longer told that everything I do is wrong, that my childrearing is “spoiling” my kid, while they defend their own abusive behaviors!  No more bullying both on Facebook and in real life!

I’m free to be myself again!  It felt like a noose had suddenly been taken from my neck.

[Update: Unfortunately, it seems like whenever I get rid of one extremist, another one replaces him.  Especially after Scott Walker turned Republicans and Democrats against each other, nobody listens to each other anymore, and I’m afraid to post anything political at all.  I always seem to get at least one snarky comment no matter what the subject.  😛  ]

 

The Pain of Being In/Watching Destructive Marriages, Domestic Violence and Stockholm Syndrome

I’ve seen far too much of the evil of the world:

An old middle school classmate and his wife have been married maybe a year and a half, but ever since they got married, their drama has been playing out on my Facebook news feed.

There’s abuse, cheating, all sorts of nasty stuff going on; somebody leaves, their Facebook walls are full of complaints, they get back together and they’re all lovey-dovey posting cutesy things that I really don’t care to read (too much like being a voyeur, and I’ve never felt comfortable with other people’s PDAs).

It’s probably driving everybody crazy who reads their posts.  [Update: It’s been less than two years since I posted this–and they’re divorced, have been for a little while now.  So at least that drama is over with.]

Today, the wife posted this song by Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie (Part 2).”  I don’t know this song, not having listened to pop music for about 10 years now.  But the lyrics are full of Stockholm Syndrome; read them at RIHANNA – LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE PART II LYRICS.

Video:

I tracked down Part 1 as well:

Lyrics are at Eminem-lyrics-love-the-way-you-lie-feat-rihanna.

I was once in an emotionally abusive relationship (Phil) that had the elements of physical violence being very likely in the future.  My friends and family all grew to hate him, but I didn’t know why.

Yet I kept trying to hold it together, even debased myself by begging him to come back when he–disgusted with my refusal to just sit back and take his abuse without protest–left me.

When he came back again two weeks later, it was to a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  But I did one thing wrong in his eyes, and off he went again.

It lasted nine months, but the baggage lasted for years.

One of my cousins is in a physically abusive marriage.

My friend Catherine married a guy who, with his controlling ways and desire for a subservient wife, reminded me of Phil, but she divorced him.

Another friend married her college sweetheart, but he began doing drugs, began cheating, they got divorced, and she discovered bruises on their son (from the guy’s new girlfriend).

I saw firsthand an abusive relationship (Richard and Tracy) because it was in my house, saw her slap his arm in anger, saw her control and intimidate him, saw her decide who his friends could be, heard her scream at the kids all day long, heard her pick fights, pick on him with put-downs disguised as jokes, order him around and accuse him of things, then heard from him after they moved out that she was punching him at home and spanking the kids too hard.

He told me he put the children in the closet once and may have to do it again.  He told me that if his wife hit his face, he’d hit her back.  I saw her slap a tiny toddler hard in the back of the head.  I saw her go nuts on two of the kids one day, with no clue what they’d done wrong.

The things I heard and the things I saw made me fear that one day, I would hear about them on the 6:00 news, unless I reported them to Social Services (only to find that Richard had already been charged with child abuse before I reported).

But he kept telling me these things were happening, then denying the truth of it when I told him I saw it, too.  He kept excusing her abusive actions, not just to him but to his friends, because her abuse was not just contained at home.

Then I heard that he himself was an abuser, had choked one of his kids to unconsciousness (a few seconds more would mean death), had once beaten the same child mercilessly when she was little.

But he’s so entrenched in Stockholm Syndrome that not only does he stay, but he lets her abuse his friends, and blames the friends for it, as her abuser-by-proxy.

Both are now stalking me for trying to get the story out–of what she did to him and what she did to me–to try to get the abuse to stop, accusing me of defamation, even though I am telling the truth, am using fake names online, and I have in my possession an e-mail and record of a phone conversation which prove I’m telling the truth.

(I held onto them just in case Richard would need an ally in court.)

My other proofs are listed in Now I’m Being Stalked, which also includes the narcissistic and DARVO e-mail they sent me a few months ago.

They’ve traumatized me severely, so severely I had to take to blogging to deal with it, and are now re-traumatizing me, on purpose!  The lengths an abused person can go to, to defend their abuser, is just mind-boggling.

And this when all I wanted was to be there for Richard, to help him see the truth of what was going on.  But who knows, maybe one day he will finally come out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) and come to us.

Another friend told me his wife was abusing him, trying to keep him from seeing his best friend (who happened to be Richard), would slap his kid on the back of the head, and he would leave, but he kept going back to her.

Now I advocate online through my blog and website, and on Facebook as well, to spread awareness of abuse, to let people know that women also abuse, to provide links to help for people in these situations.

The above song is especially painful because it’s full of Stockholm Syndrome, keeping the persona in a relationship with someone she knows is bad for her, because she’s addicted to him and the drama.

It’s painful not just to be in this, but to watch it, the shock waves extending not just to the couple, but to children, family and friends.

Abuse Tears Families Apart: A Sister Mourns the Loss of Her Brother

 

Wife Vs. Secretary: Musings on Jealousy

I recommend the movie Wife Vs. Secretary  (also here, here and here), which I just watched tonight [August 25, 2012] for the second time since 2008, as an example of how jealousy can ruin a perfectly good relationship.

(I’m especially interested in this movie because I was a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home mother.  The wives of my two bosses never showed any sign of worry, even though I was young, slim, etc.  Apparently times have changed.  But imagine if they’d been jealous of me–that would’ve caused a lot of trouble, and potentially jeopardized a job I needed!)

The secretary, Whitey, is attracted to Gable’s character, Van, and if he never noticed his secretary’s charms (since she is, after all, played by Jean Harlow), you’d have to check his pulse.

But their relationship is strictly business, never once becoming improper: Van’s character loves his wife passionately, and his secretary–who has brains, not just beauty–also has good character.

Yet people begin talking.  Though Myrna Loy’s character is initially very modern-thinking, all this talk makes her suspicious–leading to all sorts of trouble which never would’ve happened if only she’d ignored all the talk.

She thinks a hush-hush business deal, is actually an affair between Van and Whitey.  Her jealousy practically drives Van into Whitey’s arms.  Van says, “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says if you want to keep a man honest, never call him a liar.”

Meanwhile, Whitey’s fiancé, played by Jimmy Stewart, is also jealous of Van, which estranges Whitey and her fiancé.

As Jimmy Stewart’s character says at the end of the movie, “Gosh, all the fighting and worrying people do, it always seems to be about one thing: They don’t seem to trust each other.  Well, I’ve found this out: Don’t look for trouble where there isn’t any, because if you don’t find it, you’ll make it.  Just believe in someone.”

I noticed during the dancing scene that nobody looked at the wife funny for dancing with other men, but everybody looked at Van funny for dancing with Whitey.

It also annoys me that Whitey’s fiancé objects to her job, telling her that her having a career she likes (even after marriage) is somehow “unnatural” and works against having a home, marriage, and kids; and pushing her to quit so they can marry.

It’s also sexist to assume that a beautiful secretary was hired because of her looks.

I am very anti-jealousy.  I was raised, and socialized in, very open environments which accepted opposite-sex friendships/working relationships/church relationships as the norm.

In college, if I had objected to my boyfriends having female friends, I would’ve been dropped like a hot rock; they had female friends, I had guy friends, it was accepted whether we knew each other or not.

My friends are usually like this as well, especially my SCA friends, who see open and playful flirting as normal no matter what your marital status.

I also tend to pick up behaviors from the people I spend my time with, so I follow their lead of what is acceptable, start to open up a bit on things I was more reserved on before.  (The exceptions are things I morally object to, such as smoking or drugs or getting drunk–or cheating, which normally I don’t see my friends doing, anyway.)

The only friends of my husband whom I ever objected to, were women he’d slept with before we met.  I didn’t even object to friends of his who didn’t seem to like me for some reason, since it seemed very inappropriate to tell him who his friends should be.

So when I encounter jealous people, I don’t understand them, don’t know what makes a person want to be that way.  Wouldn’t they rather just relax and trust and enjoy life instead of wasting their time and energy being angry, suspicious and vigilant?  Wouldn’t they rather be the person their spouse can’t wait to come home to, rather than making his/her life miserable?

If you’re providing a warm, comfortable, happy relationship for your spouse to come home to, then other women/men should not be a threat.  And if they are a threat, then your spouse is a cad/caddette whom you’re better off without, anyway, so let him/her leave.  I have written about this subject at length here.

From Emerging From Broken: Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

I found this article very helpful for those of us who are frustrated by being told to forgive our abusers/bullies, even when those abusers/bullies (as is usually the case) refuse to admit that they ever did anything wrong.

This is an “in the trenches” style blog post, not one of those 5-step “forgive and forget” articles you often find on the Net and in magazines.  Thus, it is far more helpful for those of us who are trying to deal with/heal from/forgive the abuses of our past:

Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

Today’s Fun: Highland Games, Weird Friends

What a full day today:

First I bicycled to church (so I get to sleep in tomorrow), a new thing with my brand-new bike after years of no bike.  I got to visit with the people at coffee hour, practice Greek, try to understand Greek, and chat with a new friend, a very spiritual young man who’s become close enough to know my struggles with faith and the loss of a meaningful but abusive friendship.

I spoke to him about it back in February, told him the whole thing.  It’s hard for a shy introvert like me to make that close of a friend.  Facebook chats help a lot.

It’s good to find another spiritual, potentially close friend, to have someone to talk to who’s close enough to actually help.  Just his presence at church is quiet moral support as I go through this tough time.

My priest has also known for the past two years about my struggles, the various things that have come up, since I’ve been going to him for advice, prayer and counsel over this ever since July 2010.

They were my support system since long before the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy) found my blog.  So I’m not all alone there, even though Jeff goes to a different church.  There’s nothing the ex-friends can do to me with my support system in place. 

They have threatened to sue me if I tell members of the church about what they’ve done, but I told my priest and this friend long before they made that threat, and I’ve also told them about the threat and the blog stalking and intimidation they’ve done since.

It is my human right to confide in whomever I choose about my problems, so such a lawsuit would violate my free speech, would be frivolous, and would be thrown out of court.

Such threats are often used by bullies/abusers to keep their victims quiet and fearful.

That woman, Tracy, even pressed up against my back in the communion line and started breathing loudly–literally breathing down my neck and snarling!

It is a huge relief to connect and re-connect with normal, nice people who do not abuse their friends, who just have the usual human foibles.  The more I see them, the better I feel, the farther along I get on the healing process.

Then I went to another friend’s annual Highland Games/caber toss thing.  Stoneput, spear throwing and another tossing thing were added, and the usual caber tossing (big pole like a utility pole, in various weights/sizes).  Extra points if you wear a kilt.

The usual/annual jokes about men tossing their wood and what’s under that kilt.  (The rules stated that you cannot go commando because it’s unsanitary and could subject the people behind you to an unwelcome view as you toss your caber.)

And the usual fun was had by all.‎…Oh, and Jeff got a plaque (homemade by my friend, T., a gifted craftsman) for coming in 1st place in mini caber.

I tend to have unique friends.  I’m not used to the rougher types T. hangs out with, but my friends are usually geeks of some kind, computer geeks, British comedy fans, Dr. Who fans, roleplaying geeks, reenactment geeks (SCA, Renaissance Faire).  I even married one.

That’s also why my friends tend to be guys, though sometimes girls are this way as well. 

T. is one of these unique friends, met years ago through other geeky friends I met on a local BBS (back before the Internet made BBS’s into a bunch of crickets chirping, around 2000).  He also has Scottish ancestry, and even claims to go back to King Nebucchadnezzar.  I believe he goes back to King MacAlpine as well, which makes us cousins in a way, because so do I.

Though I couldn’t help wondering–after discovering that not only does my dad’s line go back to royalty, so does my mother’s–if some of the records coming down have been fudged.

Why is it that everybody I know, who has records stretching back that far, goes back to royalty?  Or is it just that if you can trace your records back that far, you must be from royalty, because the records of common peons would not be so carefully kept?

[Update: I recently read some Internet article which demonstrated that, based on math and probability, EVERYONE goes back to some kind of royalty.]

T. also comes from a unique family: Today he told the story of his stepfather, I believe it was, who likes to go into the pharmacy, let a nasty one go in one aisle, then go to another aisle and watch in the security mirror to see people’s reactions.

Once he did this while T.’s mother was bent down looking at a bottle.  An old lady came along, said, “Well, I never!” and started hitting her with her purse.  The response: “Maybe you should, and then you’ll be in a better mood.”

Another of my unique friends, M., seems to know other people I know as well: the youth pastor I used to work with 12 years ago, and a new convert at my church who almost went to live with him.

He is the kind of person who started out with a completely normal, ordinary name, hated it, and legally changed it to a name from myth (which if I named to you, would identify him, so I won’t give the name).  He also wore a beautiful kilt to T’s first Highland Games, in October 2010.

We used to play Dungeons and Dragons with him, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend (now husband, who was the first one I befriended on that BBS), T., and a teenager who also hung around in our little group on the BBS and in person, back around 2000.

The teenager was obsessed with Star Wars, wore a Jedi cloak to my birthday party in 1999, and to this day, despite being a mature adult, insists on being called the name of a certain Star Wars character.

In maybe 2001 or so, there was a rift in this group when everyone except me turned against one of the members.  I felt like, because I did not want to cut him out as well, I was also jettisoned, because after that, there were no more invites, no more showing up for our invites.

But in the summer of 2010, having reconnected with all these people through Facebook, and finding the rift repaired because the outed member had greatly matured, Jeff and I invited them to a party.

M. had a sunburn, claimed that grass was good for sunburn, then went out and rubbed his back on our little closed-in lawn.  While doing so, he lost his iPod, but didn’t realize it.  That night, it rained.

The next morning, we found his iPod on the lawn, and returned it to him.  I don’t know if it still worked.

I’m told by T. that M.’s wife was a very serious person in high school, the last person he would’ve expected to marry M.  Yet they were together for many years before getting married, so she must’ve had both eyes open.  Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?