Month: April 2013

And Today Was a Good Day….

Holy Week has begun.  Every day has at least one service, sometimes two, until Easter finally arrives on Sunday, May 5.  Yes, it’s quite late this year.

Today was Palm Sunday, and we had a fish luncheon after church.  Lots of people were there; sometimes it’s better attended than even the midnight Easter service.

Then we had another service a few hours later, the Nymphios service, though few people came for that.  It’s a beautiful day after a long wait for spring weather to begin; I rode my bike to/from the Nymphios service.

I have been developing the church’s new website; it, provided for us free from the archdiocese and with a professional-looking template, is both gorgeous and awesome.  I make sure it’s full of the information I kept longing for in our old website, which has been defunct for a while.

And it’s already getting positive remarks from parishioners who have seen it, and from people from other places who have found it and commented to the church about it.

I loaded it up on my cell phone at church; one of our especially pious ladies (from the Old Country) saw the icon of Christ on the screen, and kissed it.  “Mom!” said her daughter.  LOL

My stalkers appear to have lost interest since I began redirecting traffic to my new blog, and finally blocking them at the server level.  They also haven’t been to my church since last August.  The church website has given me purpose and intellectual stimulation.  The clouds seem to be clearing from my head along with the cold of the winter.

By the way: I recommend the plugin Search and Replace if you have to change your Wordpress server.  I just switched from my previous, free server to a paid server, because the free server was giving me far too many headaches, with constant downtimes where I couldn’t get into my blog, others couldn’t see my blog, etc.

(Update 10/25/17: You can also use Better Search Replace.  I use a combination of both, depending on my needs at the time.  Though I see that Search and Replace has not been updated for a while, while Better Search Replace has.)

I just want to set up my Blogger redirect to the new blog and forget about it, not keep checking to see if my new blog is up, and then turning off the redirect on the old blog while the new blog is down.

I feared this would mean hours/days of fixing all the internal links in my posts, because that’s how long it took when I switched from Blogger to Wordpress.

To clarify, I often link from one post to another; when I changed servers yesterday, all those links, in more than 400 posts, had to be found and redone to read “nyssashobbithole.com” instead of “nyssasphp.net78.net/.”

But then I heard about the Wordpress Search and Replace plugin.  This obviously won’t work if you’re moving from Blogger to Wordpress.  But if you’re just migrating your Wordpress blog from one server to another, and keeping your permalinks in the same structure, with this plugin, updating all those permalinks takes two seconds!

Yet again, today was a good day….

Reblog: “How I Fell for a Narcissist”

From Tina Swithin’s How I Fell for a Narcissist:

 Part of healing involves research on this personality disorder. I reached out to Dr. Craig Malkin, clinical psychologist and instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, for his opinion on how a person could potentially fall for a narcissist. According to Dr. Malkin, narcissists are experts at “impression management.”

Part of what makes narcissists so seductive, especially at the start of a relationship, is that they’re experts at impression management.

According to research, for example, they’re no more physically attractive than the average guy or gal — maybe a 5 or 6 — but they’ve perfected the art of looking like (and acting) like a 10. They can be charming, alluring, and even sensitive (up to a point).

Add to all this the fact that, when we’re in love with someone, the judgment centers of the brain become eerily quiet, and it’s easy to see why narcissists can slip by, red flags and all, and cozy up to us for a good long while.

Narcissists who run hot and cold are especially difficult to leave. The ups and downs put you on what psychologists call a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule — the same pattern of occasional reward that keeps gamblers racing back to the slot machines.

One key to spotting a narcissist is to bring your judgment centers back online. Pay attention to feedback from friends, for instance. They’re more apt to see — and remember — important red flags that you miss, precisely because they’re not under the narcissist’s spell (I call this ‘borrowed judgment’).

Keep a journal of painful moments, and ask yourself, is your partner working with you to understand and prevent them? Learn, and watch out for, some of the hallmarks of narcissism:

Is every mistake he makes, for example, someone else fault (‘externalizing’)? Does she routinely devalue and belittle other people in her stories? If so, it’s only a matter of time before the disdain or indifference comes your way.

Read more at How I Fell for a Narcissist by Tina Swithin.  Also see her blog One Mom’s Battle.

Tracy Fortune wrote in the comments, “Victims exhibit PTSD after interactions with an NPD- it’s THAT bad.”

My own story of narcissistic abuse is here.  (There is another one here, the story of Phil.)

Having written down this story as soon as possible after it happened, has helped a great deal: Whenever I start to weaken, and remember only the good things, thinking the bad things must be my imagination–I read parts of my story again.  I see and remember that everything I wrote is exactly what happened, not my imagination, but truth–and that reminds me that my memory is not my imagination, either, but the truth.

That keeps me from running back to my narcs and making myself into their victim all over again, degrading myself by taking responsibility for their abuses.

It also keeps me strong in my resolve to keep them blocked from my blog, which they monitored for some ten months before I found out how to set up a self-hosted Wordpress blog, keep my Blogger traffic, and finally, effectively block them.

The story is especially helpful because Richard did to me what Tina’s ex-husband did to her: He made himself so charming, played so well on my loneliness, naivete and desire for that Best, Closest Platonic Friend Like Sam/Frodo Who Would Be There Forever, that I overlooked the red flags.

And the red flags were there.  But because he love-bombed me so effectively that I thought our friendship was real, enduring and God-ordained, I ignored the red flags.  And he did run hot and cold, as in the quote above, making me addicted to the rewards.

After dealing with Phil, my narcissistic ex, I relied more on the judgment of friends to help me find a good husband.  But with Richard, I had been isolated so long because of life circumstances–including a small child, shyness, church changes and my husband having a falling-out with a friend–that I had no close friends nearby to watch and make observations about my platonic friendships.

My husband was also under the spell, had also been charmed to some degree, thought that Richard was a good guy–until my husband experienced the “WTF moment” himself on 7/1/10.  (That’s when Richard blew up at him and became a raging, intimidating machine, not the gentle friend he had been to us.)

Articles such as the above help us figure out how we fell prey to narcissists, and how to avoid falling prey again.  Because why would we want to be prey to narcissists again and again?

 

A return to a peaceful spirit as my stalkers are defanged at last; also, glad to see my blog back!

Finally, my web host has finished whatever they were doing to protect us against botnet attacks, and my blog is back to normal functioning (I hope)!

But it was down for about a week, a long, frustrating week as my blog would go up and down, up and down.  I often had to turn off the redirect sending readers here from my old blog.

During uptimes, I installed better security and made adjustments, since you can’t rely on your host to protect you completely, especially on a free server.

I see from my security files that just in the last 24 hours, some bot from the Ukraine continuously tried to get into my blog’s dashboard for malicious purposes.  Apparently it would try, Wordfence would block it for a short time, then it would come back and try again.

But because of my security fixes, it could not come in.  😀  And now, because of Wordfence, I’ve blocked it permanently from trying again.

I have seen my stalkers trying to get in as well.  They are aware of this new blog, and have done searches for it which led them to my old blog, but not the new one.

I’ve seen them go to my old blog, but because the redirect for mobile phones was turned on, they got redirected here–and couldn’t get in.

I saw them try six times one evening to get in, when the mobile redirect was on, but they failed!

All they can ever see is the old blog, which is rarely updated now.  Now that my blog is back up and more stable again, the mobile redirect is back up, so they can’t get to the old or new blogs at all.

When the redirect is up, the only trace I can see of them is in Blogger’s stat page, when an Android browser is accompanied by a search term which I can recognize as theirs.  They do not show up in any other hit count trackers, because they are blocked.

I haven’t seen them back in a little more than a week, even though they had a long-established routine of checking in at least once a week, often twice or more–and several times a day when they discovered me trying to block them on my old blog a couple of months ago.

Strange how they won’t say a word to me otherwise, but will express their displeasure with me through their unwanted blog hits…..

Must be because they know I’ve been to the police about them already because of the e-mail they sent me, so they know I’m capable of doing so again.

This has been extremely helpful in restoring my broken spirit.  For almost a year I have feared what they may be planning next:

  • Will I get served with a lawsuit for telling the truth?
  • Will they send me another nasty message, threaten me, or assault me as Richard had once almost done to the person who evicted them?
  • Will they come to my church again on purpose to upset me and rub my nose in their lack of remorse for hurting and abusing me?

But none of this has happened.  No lawsuit.  No more nasty messages.  No assaults.  I haven’t even seen them at church since last August.  Their presence on my blog has been a constant irritant, but now I have successfully blocked them.

They are beginning to disappear from my life, even on the edges (ie, checking my blog), since I switched to Wordpress.org and blocked them.  They are also beginning to disappear from my thoughts.  Not completely, but it is a huge step forward.

There is still the risk of seeing them more often eventually at church, if one of our parishes fails financially and our separate congregations begin blending.  I dearly hope that does not happen.

But for now, our two parishes remain open, and they are not directly in my life (just occasionally seen on the street).  My spirit is moving toward peace, toward calm.

I am working to accept that Richard was never the friend or the person he claimed to be, or he would never have let things get this way, that he must have been conning and using me.

I have become the webmaster for my church, and that has predominated my thoughts (and time) lately as I struggle to understand the content management system it uses.

My son just bought a couple of adorable spice finches who are very attached to each other.

Life is slowly but surely moving on.

 

Take Care Before Signing “Contracts” to Volunteer at a Church….. (Spiritual Abuse)

TWW has posted this about a legalese contract at Elevation Church which requires you to keep your mouth shut or you could be sued:

Elevation Church and Steven Furtick: Volunteer to be Sued!

I can understand restricting contact lists.  But this includes new ideas for the church.  This even includes information about church finances, which should be freely available.

Heck, my church prints up the finances every quarter for General Assembly meetings, and posts a summary in each newsletter, which could be seen by anyone!  My husband’s church does the same.

And this is not just for employees.  This is for volunteers!

The post also links to other warning posts about membership covenants/contracts, which have become quite common in churches lately–and make it easier to allow spiritual abuse to run unchecked.

New Dating Prospects: Phil and Mike–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–November 1993, Part 2

On Sunday, November 14, InterVarsity went to a Susan Ashton concert at Elmbrook Church.

At the concert, a wonderful one with just Susan sitting on a chair with a guitar, she said she’d just married a preacher.  She talked about what it was like to be married to one.  I thought of my friend Mike, who wanted to be a preacher–and on whom I had a crush.

At the end of the concert, she wasn’t used to doing encores, but got clapped into doing one, apparently a common thing at Elmbrook concerts.

She said she didn’t know why she chose to do “Beyond Justice to Mercy” for her encore.

She wrote it because of a rift in a friendship–she was devoted but deceived–that still wasn’t repaired.  She said, you should keep trying.

I wanted to tell her that was me–Shawn and me at present, maybe Peter and me in the past.  But the timing was perfect and made me think God moved her to choose it for me.

It had been so long since she sang it–too painful, I wonder?–that she had to put the lyrics in front of her.

After the concert and in the foyer, I bought a tape of her debut album from 1991, Wakened by the Wind.  I loved this one, and it was good for mellow moods.  It had some of my favorite songs from 1991, such as “Benediction” and “Down On My Knees.”

Copy of part of a letter to Shawn, started 11/18/93, but not finished or sent:

How are you doing these days?  I don’t know if anyone’s heard from you lately, so we don’t know.  Are you feeling better, we hope?

Pearl lent us her space heater because this place is so cold.  It’s great, except when it turns on it’s so loud it drowns out whatever you’re listening to.

This dorm is like a prison these days–double-locked side doors sometimes, front door always locked, alarms soon to be put on the side doors so no one can go in or out past only 8PM!

The alarm occasionally got set off, scaring us all half to death.

I hate it here.  If somebody’s sleeping with somebody, which is often, you can hear it through the walls.  Our neighbors blast their stereos and yell and scream at the oddest hours, and keep me awake.  I feel no less isolated here than in the suites.

He’d always tell me to move to Krueger so I wouldn’t be so isolated.  But I liked having time to myself, and I could always go visit my friends.

Catherine’s leaving in the spring (or whenever) to live with her fiancé (husband by then), and Pearl and Sharon live in the new Phi-Delt suite.  I want to try for a cultural suite next year, and maybe even my own room.

I want to go back ‘home,’ and my best living arrangement was the German suite freshman year.  Sophomore year and this year are just not as good as that was.  Nothing else has seemed like a ‘family,’ and nothing else has introduced so many interesting people to me.

Living in the apartments was not yet an option.  But when I decided to live there, I discovered it was just as good as living in a suite, if not better.

Did I tell you they changed the name of Jubilee to Krueger (Kree-ger)?  The freshmen are confused and we old-timers are in revolt…

And everyone who came here since fall of ’92 has to go to a certain number of convocations and fine arts events before they can graduate.  Most of the upperclassmen are exempt, thank goodness.

The other people have to fill out these little green cards so the school can keep track for them.  The commuters and older adults really seem to hate it more than the others.

Everybody here seems to be getting wisdom teeth in–Pearl, Sharon, Jennifer’s boyfriend, and now me.  We can all feel the pain together.

Rachel’s boyfriend Ralph, too.  I’d been getting frequent headaches and jaw pains.  Somebody mentioned wisdom teeth and these symptoms, so I decided that was the cause of my pains.

My parents scheduled an appointment with our dentist for me to find out for sure, and discovered that I was right.  I would have them pulled by an oral surgeon in the summer of 1994.

On the way home for Thanksgiving Break, probably on Friday the 19th, Dad drove me down past Milwaukee in the night, probably to stop in Racine and sleep.

I don’t remember if I was talkative, as I usually was at night when somebody drove me home or to Racine, or if I sat there thinking about Phil and Mike, whom I now had a crush on.  (Usually I wasn’t pensive and dreamy about the scenery until the next morning, when I was driven from Racine to South Bend.)

It was amazing to think that there were two guys at Roanoke whom I could probably go out with soon–and that neither one was Shawn or Peter.

There had never been a time when I felt so certain while on the way home that there was a guy at RC who liked me and whom I liked, and who may be waiting for me to return just as I was waiting to see him again.

I don’t think I was sure about Mike, but there were definite signs from Phil.  I must have forgotten about James, from lack of encouragement.

I spent my free time Thanksgiving Break playing Battle Chess on our computer.  I probably did the same during Christmas Break.

Copy of part of a letter written to a penpal on 11/23/93:

So far I’ve kept on schedule with my homework.  I’m also trying to read …And Ladies of the Club by Helen Santmyer.

I found it while shelving paperback novels in a section of the main reading room.  I’d read about it in a book about writing bestsellers, and wanted to finally read it for myself.

Santmyer read Main Street when it came out and thought it wasn’t at all an accurate depiction of small town life.  So she started writing her own book–and didn’t finish it until she was an old lady, many, many years later.  Then she sold it to a publisher and it became a bestseller.

According to my day planner, I tried to read ten pages a day from November 29 until December 17.  I may have finished it over Christmas Break.

That thing’s over 1400 pages long!  It’s a library book, so I’m trying to read fifty pages a day this week.  Then I want to do some heavy reading of it over Christmas Break, which is a whole two weeks without homework.

I want to get this thing read so I don’t have to renew it too many times, and so I can get to Pamela by Samuel Richardson.

Oh, here comes my wisdom-headache again.  I’m getting my wisdom teeth in, which means pain, which means crankiness whenever the pain gets bad.  I suppose you could call it our last remaining rite into adulthood, unless you count getting drunk on one’s twenty-first birthday (which I don’t intend to do anyway).

I’d read an article lamenting modern society’s lack of rites into adulthood, and the social problems it seems to cause.

I hope they don’t have to be pulled.  I keep wondering what people did before they had dentists to pull wisdom teeth out.

This year’s got a better pick of guys at school.  I’ve actually had trouble choosing.  There’s one that likes me and keeps talking to me [in the library], but he seems so opposite to me.

He plays football, can’t read well, can’t write (his own admissions).  I hate football, love to read, love to write!  He seems real nice, but I don’t know if it would work.

At least I know somebody wants to date me.  Now if only I could be that sure about some other guys.

 

Copy of part of a letter written to a penpal on 11/25/93:

Illinois is just to the left of us, a state that’s about the same size, and on its left border is the Mississippi River.  The flooding went pretty far over, but didn’t reach Indiana.

A lot of people did help out that weren’t affected by the flood, including people from our area.

It’s hard for us in South Bend to imagine flooding like that, too, but some of my friends at college got a little of it.  The college even put up announcements for people affected by the flood that would have trouble paying tuition.

I’d like to go to Europe, which makes me pretty jealous when my friends get to go there for class or for Band.  One of my friends is in the German-speaking part of Europe with her fiancé over Thanksgiving.  [That, of course, would be Catherine and Glen.]

I’m working in the school library now, which I love.  It’s laid-back, a big contrast to my job last year in Food Service.  That one was too fast and menial for me.

Copy of part of a letter written to another penpal (I had many) on 11/25/93, Thanksgiving Day:

 Yes, I am finding plenty to keep me busy!  I’m on Thanksgiving Break now, and I have homework as well as a book to read.  It’s not as much homework as last year, so it’s been a pretty relaxed break.  And today I get to eat the traditional turkey dinner!  Yum!  And stuffing and pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip…

I love this holiday.  I just wish they’d play more Thanksgiving movies about Pilgrims, and not Christmas movies like Home Alone.  I love seeing movies about the Pilgrims that have John and Priscilla Alden in them.

Have you read about them in Longfellow’s ‘The Courtship of Miles Standish’?  My ancestry has been traced back to them, so I love the notice they get.  Longfellow traced his ancestry to them, too, so he’s my cousin, in that sense of the word.

I haven’t copied any more of my diaries since summer.  I just have too much else going on.  I dread to think where mine will end up, too.  I don’t want my parents to see them.  Maybe I’ll leave them to my grandchildren.

Sharon said she’d rather leave her diaries to her grandchildren than to her children, and I thought she had a good reason, which I forget now.

Maybe it was because her children would be too close to her and possibly mad at her for how she raised them, and her grandchildren wouldn’t be afraid to sympathize with her.

I don’t think it was just because her grandchildren would be more interested in her life back in a time which to them would be quaint and fascinating, but to her children would just be out-of-date.

When would your mom be going to Milwaukee?  It’s just south of S–, maybe an hour away.  And a tip: The locals drop the ‘l’ in Milwaukee.  That’s how they tell who’s an outsider.

Of course, with the British accent I suppose that doesn’t matter so much; they’d tell no matter what that you’re not from around there.

I love my library job.  It’s easy and I can get my homework done.  I might do library work after college, unless I marry some rich guy and don’t need to work.  Then I’d just write.

I wanted to find library work, but never could find anything close by for library clerks.  Junior year seemed too late to take on a double major, Writing and Library Science, and become a librarian, so I would have to be a library clerk, if anything.  And well, Roanoke didn’t offer Library Science, anyway.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

…Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE! STOP THE VIOLENCE!

Upstate Woman Charged for Slapping Wrong Child at School

Called to Fairforest Middle School to pick up her son who had been suspended, Tyshekka Collier walked into the school’s and proceeded to slap a child who was face down sick on a couch and waiting for his own mother to pick him up.

Realizing her mistake, Collier quickly apologized to the child, then found her own son and proceeded to slap him with both hands on his face and head, according to an arrest warrant.

The sick child’s mother suggested in the TV report that perhaps Ms. Collier deserved a good slapping, too.

Collier wasn’t slapped, but she was arrested and charged with a count of third-degree assault and battery and disturbing a school.

 

Help prevent shaken baby syndrome

  • Never shake a baby. Also, do not slap or hit a child of any age on the face or head. A child’s brain is very delicate. Shaking, slapping, or hitting a child can cause serious harm, even though it may not leave any obvious sign of injury. –Healthwise staff, Shaken Baby Syndrome: Home Treatment

Also see Don’t smack your kids: Research into teenage football concussions, Child Abuse, Examples of Child Abuse, Hitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, and Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury.

How my narcissists craved attention

Note 2016: This post was originally my impressions of a site which described the narcissist need for attention.  I no longer endorse that site in any way and do not want to drive traffic to it, so instead I give you just my impressions.

First the site spoke of the following traits:

There was Richard’s name-dropping.  And it seemed like no matter who it was, or what it was, he had done it, or knew them, and had amazing stories to tell.  He had inside information on everything.  It made you wonder, is it really possible for one person of only 34 years old to have done so much and known so many people?

Then a comment that you can idolize a narcissist.  And that if a normally sweet, easy-going person hates one particular person’s guts, you have to take note that there may be good reason:

I used to idolize Richard, until his mask began slipping now and then.  And I never did like Tracy, felt forced to be friends with her because she had to approve Richard’s friends.  Now I hate her because of all the crap she put me through.

And I’m beginning to feel the same way about Richard as it becomes ever more confirmed in my own mind that he is indeed a narc, putting pride above friendship, and being every bit as ego-driven as he used to try to tell me he was.

Then there was the narcissist’s tendency to be easily offended, and to do what they can to annoy you more after you ask them to stop doing something:

They got extremely offended (to the point of no longer wanting to go to my church) because other parishioners suggested they take their kids to the play area downstairs when they got too loud.  And Richard told me once that he would encourage the youngest one, who was about 1 or 2, to make more noise if people got annoyed.

Over the many years I’ve gone to church, most of the time, when kids are noisy, their parents try to quiet them, or take them out of the sanctuary until they calm down: They are too embarrassed and considerate of others to wish to encourage the child’s noise.  So you can, in turn, be empathetic of the parents.

This was the first time I ever encountered someone in church with the attitude of, My kids are noisy, and if you don’t like it, you can suck it.

This same attitude has played out with these narcs, when they discovered I did not want them around, forcing themselves on my attention; when they discovered I did not want them on my blog, reading it all the time; when told not to contact me, sending me a threat- and taunt-laden e-mail.

Then there were comments about smear campaigns for imagined slights, craving attention, playing the victim, and sending flying monkeys:

This, Tracy’s tendency to smear people for imagined slights (not just me), and their threat to sue also matches a symptom of craving attention.

As for playing the victim and gathering flying monkeys: This applies to Tracy gathering flying monkeys to attack Todd on an Internet game for an imagined slight, and Richard telling me horrible things about Todd as well….

And to them finding a flying monkey to spy on my Facebook and, apparently, attack me through that monkey’s Facebook profile, which passive-aggressively and indirectly attacked me, this from a girl who did not even know me….

And to them trying to turn my own priest against me as well.