Articles from October 2013

Carolyn Hax: Deciding when to call the police/CPS; Seeing abuser again; socializing with abusive spouse of a friend

Carolyn Hax has a good response for a common problem:

I realize there is a sense of crossing a Rubicon when calling the police or child-protective services on a parent — of putting them in “the system,” of possibly doing more harm than good. I also understand why this sense is often enough to keep people from making the call.

At the same time, if these kids are in crisis, then it’s every witness’s duty to speak up.

Read her response here.

In my own case, I knew someone who works “in the system,” so I asked her for advice.  But if you can’t do that, Carolyn has some good ideas.  Another thing you can do is to ask Social Services/CPS for advice before making an official report.

I especially like Pace1’s comment:

Please do not talk yourself out of what your instincts are telling you about the likelihood that this woman’s kids are likely experiencing at least emotional abuse at the hands of their mother. You cited two instances of red flag behavior.

Please also don’t think you’ll get more clarity “talking” to the kids. Kids in abusive homes are often very good at keeping the “family secret” of abuse. They may display a lot of love toward their abusive parent because kids will attach at any cost in order to survive.

Kids are often convinced the treatment they receive is deserved because they are bad–a belief often reinforced by the abuser because abusers are unlikely to take responsibility for their behavior. Please err on the side of protecting the kids. A call will most likely initiate an investigation, not an immediate removal….

In another thread of the comments, someone asked,

I have a question: if you were sure, absolutely sure, that you knew someone who had abused a spouse or a child, could you “forget” that enough to socialize with them in other contexts?

Maybe its just me (and I would need to be absolutely sure of the abuse part), but if I *knew* that someone had committed physical, verbal or emotional abuse against a family member, that would make them someone I would ~ based on my own morals ~ not want to socialize with.

The general answer: NO.

Exactly.  That’s why I could not easily socialize with Tracy and resented being forced to.

I also like this comment farther down:

Someone I hurt owes me nothing. I owe them. And the first thing I owe them is the right to assert enough control over themselves and their choices to go forward. I can be ashamed of my own conduct; but I don’t get angry or hurt if someone exercises their God-given right for self-determination and chooses to avoid me.

But abusers do: abusers get *angry* and *offended* when people don’t let them be dominant. They convince themselves that they are entitled to be/act the way they are/do. And because there is no real guilt, no remorse, the pattern endures.

The mere fact that Grandpa is still in the middle of the drama shows that he hasn’t changed. And if he can’t hit with his fist or his belt, he can mindfrick her with his presence and the gaslighting of pretending that nothing is wrong and she’s making a big deal about everything.

You can decide to forgive a rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake, I guess. But you don’t let it get within striking distance of you, that’s for sure.

Several people in this thread “get” why abuse victims do not want to even be in the same room with their abusers, how the abusers try to maintain power over them, and just being in his presence can trigger the cycle.

This cycle, and abusers trying to maintain power by forcing their presence on me where they could continue to psychologically abuse me, is on display in the e-mail my abusers sent me last year.


We make wedding plans, more of Phil’s fake dreams–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–March 1994, Part 4

In World Civ I learned that I could stick out my tongue at an old memory: In eighth grade American History, we heard about a general named Hooker.  I called a friend’s attention to the name, and giggled.  She frowned and told somebody else I was laughing at the guy’s name.

Well, now Dr. Williams told us that the term “hooker” for a prostitute came from this guy, who was known for visiting them!  I just loved the poetic justice of this.

Phil told me once, when I saw an open garage door and nobody around it, that S– had almost no crime because the populace was mostly made up of blue-haired old ladies.  Soon after, Phil mentioned this to Dave as he drove Dave and me to school, and Dave told him that there was too crime in S–.

I have since heard that Dave was right.  My current city has the same thing: We have crime, yet people keep leaving their garage doors up, or car doors unlocked.

Maybe in junior year, the college installed a huge gumball machine in the Campus Center lounge.  It must have been as tall as a person.  There was a contest to guess how many gumballs there were in it.

I don’t know how often people used it, but it was quite a conversation piece.  Astrid said on Sunday, October 17, 1999 that though people did buy gumballs from it, the same gumballs were in it the whole time it was in the Campus Center.

Since the rest of us didn’t remember it, it was obviously after 1996, when most of my friends and I had graduated, when someone punched a hole in it and started a fad of grabbing handfuls of gumballs.  Twenty-five cents was hardly a lot, but being free seemed to make them more enticing.  One of Astrid’s Phi-Delt sisters would take a bunch of gumballs to sorority meetings and offer them to everyone.

Bruce Springsteen’s song “Streets of Philadelphia” came out around this time, a song of haunting beauty.

Jennifer eventually broke up with Mike.  Senior year, she began to date a guy named Jason, who had also dated Cindy and Catherine; Jennifer would one day marry him.  They are still together to this day, posting pictures of their kids on Facebook.  So I suppose it was just as well.

The new songs “No Excuses” by Alice in Chains and “Every Generation Got Its Own Disease” by Fury in the Slaughterhouse had a mystical sound that couldn’t be beat.

I heard “Generation” a couple of times on the radio, probably Lazer 103 or 93Q, but it was rarely played despite its musical superiority to most of the other songs they played.


Phil now had a confession for me: that he’d had oral sex with two of his girlfriends.  He still considered himself a virgin and “oral sex” only a name; he explained that without penetration, it wasn’t really sex.  I had always considered it sex.

There was no chance of pregnancy with oral sex, but he didn’t do anal sex (as much as he wanted to) because there was.  However, his admission still bothered me.  It was still intimate, nearly as intimate as sex–maybe more so.

I remember sitting in his parked minivan and saying, “It was supposed to be me!”  He wasn’t supposed to even have oral sex with anyone but me, the one he was to marry (see here, and how Christian kids are taught that virginity is a special gift to be saved for your future spouse, and we were already planning to marry).  I was hurt and devastated, and he felt bad about it.

I also told him that, whether it was really sex or not, I still didn’t want to do it before I got married.  I believe he struggled with the question of whether or not he was really a virgin, and I didn’t want to go through the same thing myself.  I wanted to be able to say unequivocally, “Yes, I am a virgin.”

I didn’t want to be what Ron Hutchcraft on Saturday Night Alive, that radio show for teens which I’d listen to on Christian station WFRN, called a “technical virgin.”  He didn’t go into much description of what he meant, but I figured this fell under that heading.

(Of course, Shawn and Phil both had gotten me into things which made me already a “technical virgin.”  But that’s already been covered in the sophomore year chapters.)


On Tuesday, March 22, Phil and several of my friends left for Choir Tour.  They wouldn’t return until about the 29th.  It was awful being away from Phil, and without many of my friends at school, it was even worse.  I counted down the days until he’d return.

Barb, who I believe was now engaged (she’d marry during the short time we worked together at an insurance company in 1996), asked me in World Civ how I was taking it.  She could barely take even a few days without her fiancé.

I was to stay with Phil’s parents when Spring/Easter Break (they were combined that year) began the evening of March 25, and when he came home, he’d take me to Indiana.  We would go back to school on April 4, the last day of Break.  Since his family had such odd eating habits and I didn’t cook, I was afraid no one would feed me, but they did.

I spent my days at his house playing 93.3 on my jam box and doing my homework in Phil’s room.  Phil’s parents complained about me shutting myself away, but I had to get my work done, and this way had the least distractions.

It was also a special time for me, because the music and the sun barely coming through the yellow Venetian blinds (which I may have actually rolled up at times) and the book On the Road gave everything a particular, relaxed feeling.  The song “Shine” by Collective Soul was brand-new and played quite a bit during those days.  I loved it because the musical crunch seemed to fit On the Road so well.

When Phil finally returned one night, waiting for me on his couch as I came out of the bathroom, he was like a stranger to me, which was really weird.  I almost didn’t want to look at him.  But I was glad to have him back again.

He had stories for me, such as going through Indiana (the choir tour was in several states) and seeing all these Bob Evans restaurants.  To me that was normal, but it reminded those Wisconsin kids of one of the guys on Choir Tour.  He had the last name Evans, so this inspired jokes.

I also learned either from Phil or, more likely, my friends, that on Choir Tour, “Home” is the house you’re staying in that night with your tour roommate, “Home Home” is Roanoke, and “Home Home Home” is your home with your parents.

I had a yellow piece of paper with the directions to South Bend written on it, the ones my parents had given me over the phone while I was at Phil’s house.  I kept it in my coat pocket.  Phil’s dad said to me just before we left, “Watch him and make sure he goes where he’s supposed to.”  Even his dad knew he had a tendency of going the wrong way.

When we stopped at the McDonald’s on one of the Tri-State Tollway oases, I got a map of Chicago.  Phil said we didn’t need one, and chuckled at me for getting one, but I said we should listen to my mother’s advice and get one.  (We did use it eventually.  I don’t remember if we used it this time, but we did on our way through Chicago in September.)

Phil had these tapes–Monty Python routines and Jerky Boys routines–that he liked to play all the time.  They were funny the first time, but he played them ALL the time.  Then he wanted to play them on the way to my parents’ house.  I said we’d play it some on my jam box, but after that, I wanted to hear my favorite Chicago stations!

He didn’t seem to understand that playing comedy routines over and over again is not quite as easy on the nerves as playing music.  The jokes get old, after all.

We also played the song “Witch’s Invitation” on my Carman CD because Phil had heard of it and wanted to know what it was like.  He didn’t like the part about a Dungeons and Dragons game set up on the witch’s table.  I think it ruined how he felt about the whole song, which I thought was unfair because it was too good to be condemned just for that one line.

(Of course, in 2006, I listened to the song again and decided I didn’t like it, either, or the rest of the CD.  The song stereotyped witches as Satan-worshippers when most of them don’t even believe in Satan, stereotyped witches as some sort of freaky horror show rejects, and lumped an innocent role-playing game with Satanic things.  Then it presumed to say what will happen to the souls of witches (many of whom are peaceful and caring), when only God can judge that.  The Eastern Orthodox say that we don’t know the extent of God’s mercy.)

I liked to influence the dreams of my cats and dogs, such as making them purr or barking at them.  My ex Peter sometimes acted out dreams, and I’d do things like scratch a notebook to see how he’d react.  Now, during Spring Break, Phil had a couple of interesting dreams which he acted out, while I helped.  One night, Phil went to sleep and had a dream which he acted out in some ways, such as giggling and kissing.  He dreamed that he and I had sex, though I didn’t help with that.  Then he was so sad, even shedding a tear or two I believe, because he’d taken away my virginity.

So I woke him up, but he still thought it had really happened.  I told him it was just a dream and I watched him have it.  He said it was I who had been dreaming that he was dreaming, and that it had really happened.  But I finally convinced him he’d been dreaming, not me.

Of course, I did not yet have a clue that this was all a ruse, that he was awake the whole time, pretending to be asleep.

One night, Phil and I talked about when we wanted to get married.  We didn’t want to wait until I graduated.  He was already taking on extra classes so he could graduate only a semester after I did, instead of a whole year.  We talked about marrying during my senior year and living in the new apartments, which Phil said were meant to also be married-student housing.

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:


So now it’s time for my son to start sex ed…..

4th grade, already, they start it around here.  And they’ve been doing it for 30 years.  My own school, 30 years ago, had no such formal training.  My teacher one day separated the girls from the boys, and told us girls why she requested a new pad machine for the girls’ bathroom (one of our 9-year-olds had already started her period).

Then she showed us the boys’ bathroom, because it had become a fad for girls to go in there.  She wanted to de-mystify it, while it was empty, so they’d stop doing that.  (I never did it.)  I did wonder why the boys didn’t have doors on their stalls; wouldn’t they hate being seen doing their business?

Now, we did have a day of movies etc. in some middle school class.  I believe birth control was discussed to some extent.  And we did have a bit of a talk in biology class in high school.  So we weren’t completely without sex ed.

But my ex Phil gave me the impression that his school in Wisconsin had more formal and extensive training, which he then used to show me how ignorant I was in thinking certain sexual behaviors were sex.  (Actually, they are sex, but I believed him because of his fancy sex ed training, and put myself into risky situations, trusting him.)

It looks like the local schools have more formal training than we ever got where I grew up.  They have special teachers trained to do this, and start in 4th grade already.  They don’t go into detail at this age–it’s mostly about puberty changes, bathing, deodorant, that sort of thing–but they have special classes and videos.  Then in middle and high school, they go into more about the sexual aspect.

I’m in favor of sex ed in schools, because I remember vividly what it was like going through puberty in elementary and middle school, how the kids teased each other, that one 9-year-old girl actually did have sex–and because I don’t want any other girls to be led by some selfish boy who claims fancy knowledge, to get her to do things she otherwise would not do.

(“No, no sex before marriage!”  “But THAT’s not ‘sex.’  Sex involves penetration.”  Next thing she knows, she’s pregnant even though she never had “sex.”)

The failure rate of abstinence-based education is very telling, as is the rate of premarital sex even among Christian teenagers/young adults.  I don’t want my boy to get some girl pregnant because of lack of knowledge about how to avoid that.

I intend to make sure he knows that all the other “non-intercourse” sexual practices are indeed sex, and may lead to intercourse, which then leads to pregnancy.

But still–The thought of my little 9-year-old going through puberty and sex ed, when I could swear I just brought him home from the hospital a week ago–Where did the time go?



Should bloggers reveal the names of their abusers? Should I reveal mine right here in a big expose’?

Why do we have to keep everything a secret?  Why are our ‘secrets’ considered embarrassing? Why are we protecting our abusers? What’s wrong with a good ol’ public hanging?…

Nowadays everything happens behind closed doors. And on top of that, victims aren’t supposed to talk about it. …Why are we being judged for what others did to us? –Prozac Blogger, “Why are we the ones that hide the truth?”

Prozac Blogger no longer blogs, at least not about his abuse.  He wrote in the post/comments that he was afraid his dad would find his blog, and proceed to “wipe the floor” with P.B. with his high-powered lawyers.  So he kept his identity secret.

But then, one day last year, he finally got the chance to confront his abusive father, and cut him out of his life for good.  After that, he felt healed at last, took down most of the blog, and started a new one which revealed his own identity, but was about various things, such as politics and his own short fiction.  (He was a porn star!  Who knew!)

From that, anyone who knew him could figure out his father, so I guess he was no longer afraid, even though he didn’t give his father’s name.  But now, I don’t see P.B. anywhere when I search.  I had to get the above link through the Wayback Machine.

When Savannah Dietrich was raped,

The public humiliation culminated this June, when her assailants struck a plea deal on charges of felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism that Dietrich felt amounted to a “slap on the wrist.” And the court had an order for Dietrich, too: Don’t talk about it, or risk 180 days in prison and a $500 fine.

First, Dietrich cried. Then, she logged online. “There you go, lock me up,” she tweeted to a couple hundred Twitter followers, outing her assailants by name. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

These men had made their assault on her public. Now, they had convinced a court to keep it all under wraps. “If reporting a rape only got me to the point that I’m not allowed to talk about it, then I regret it,” she wrote in a note on her Facebook wall. “I regret reporting it.”  –Amanda Hess,

Read the rest of the above post for details of how various girls have used social media to expose their rapists–and the fallout they received for it.  But Hess sees them as brave, fighting to make a change despite the odds.  After all, exposing rapists and abusers online is risky, especially if you can’t point to a settled court case.

If your rapist was convicted, or your abuser is sitting in jail for years for choking you, then you can’t be guilty of libel.  But if it’s not proven, or if it’s verbal/emotional abuse or a general pattern of behavior, then you are on riskier ground if you reveal names.

Julie Anne Smith was sued by her former pastor for blogging about spiritual abuse she experienced from him; she won.

I understand why they used real names, but that put them into treacherous waters from the very beginning.  However, it has given other victims of spiritual abuse a forum, as they discover they’re not the only ones abused at Beaverton Grace Bible Church.  Other spiritual abuse victims of other churches are also speaking out on these and other blogs.

As you can see in this post, in which I published the DARVO e-mail sent to me by my own abusers, they apparently had some crazy idea that I was going to go on some kind of public campaign outing them to the whole city.

I never said or “threatened” that I would, and I have no clue where they got this idea; it must have been their own paranoia speaking.  (But then, Tracy has shown a tendency to read in things that aren’t there.)

Or, as I figured at the time, maybe they were jumping on the fact that I wrote–in a post written long before they ever found my blog–that I would have to talk to the priest if their church merged with mine, to get his help dealing with the situation, and form a contract which would keep them from harassing me at church.

No, the only thing I told them was to either apologize or stay the **** away from me, and don’t contact me.  No threats, period; they pulled that “threat” concept out of their backsides, then proceeded to give me an actual threat.

No, I had already told my friends and family what happened, reported my abusers to CPS for the many instances of child and spousal abuse I witnessed, and told my priest what was going on so he could advise me, all before my abusers even found my blog.

I named my abusers to my friends and family, who include people here in town.  I no longer hesitate to use their names when speaking of them on my Facebook.  But my Facebook wall is closed to the public.

This was all the public “outing” I ever intended to do, and all of it is covered under our precious First Amendment.

I used my blog as a tool to get everything out in great detail, something my friends would not have the patience for, so that I could heal and maybe help other abuse victims in the process.

But all names and identifying details were changed, I even removed pictures from my website/blog and Richard’s comments on my blog from 2009, and I had no intention of ever revealing these things on my blog.

Besides, posting their names here would be vengeance, not justice or a healing tool.

“Justice” was telling my priest and family/friends.

“Healing” was writing about the abuse, venting all my anger, and then beginning to transfer it to the written words and out of my heart.  “Healing” is seeing others read my posts to help their own healing, sometimes even downloading a copy.

Putting their names on a blog so future employers could Google it–that’s vengeance.  “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”  Not MINE.  (Besides, if I ruin their chances at getting a job, I ruin their chances of ever getting the means to move the heck away from this town.)

Now, the state publicly posts court records; I have nothing to do with that.  That, they will have to contend with.  Richard ruined his own chances of ever becoming a priest, and can’t sue the state for posting his criminal records.

I have seen all sorts of different abuse blogs in the past few years.  Some have never given the names of their narcissists and/or abusers, such as Tina Swithin and Whispers of God, but have still been threatened with or actually hit with lawsuits.

Some have given real names; the results have been mixed.  Princess Fi tried to go through legal channels, but it had been decades since her parents sexually abused her, and the police finally dropped the lawsuit.  She posted the names of her abusers online, but she lives in the UK, where the police forced her to remove the names.  Swithin has never actually been sued, and still blogs.

Christina Enevoldsen has been public about her abuse experiences in her own town for years, and even was threatened by her own mother with a lawsuit, but that never happened.  Other bloggers on Overcoming Sexual Abuse use real names as well.

[Update 12/20/14: After this post was written, Enevoldsen revealed that she was indeed sued by her mother–and won.  She writes about it here.]

Bloggers on Emerging from Broken use real names.  Though I think for the most part the bloggers are using their own real names, not naming their abusers.  Of course you can figure out who that is if you know the blogger, but the general public wouldn’t know.

Paula’s Pontifications does not give the name of her narcissistic ex.

Exposing the name of your abuser is a huge risk.  I don’t advise it, because changing names and identifying details should keep you from being successfully sued–especially if the abuse cannot be proven in court, such as verbal abuse or narcissistic mind games.

If your arm has been broken and the police are aware of this, or if your abuser has been convicted of sexual abuse or rape, you may be able to get away with exposing names.  But otherwise, take care.  It’s bad enough to be abused in the first place, without getting sued as well.

See Intimidation of Abuse Bloggers and Dealing with Gaslighting Legal Threats for more on this subject.


More evidence of NVLD: doing miserably on an all-logic IQ test

I just took an online IQ test.  Shortly in, I knew I was in trouble.  Normally, I score quite well on these things: 140s, gifted range, which I know to be correct because my teacher called me gifted, and had me put in a gifted school in 3rd grade.

But this thing is all frickin’ logic, so I only got 114 on the European measure (it was something like 100 on the US scale; I didn’t save the results).

Just like I also didn’t do so well, about 20 years ago, on a test which was heavily math, even though I still scored highly on it (130).  A more balanced test a year later gave me high results (150).

From what I can gather, this test appears to be a kind of performance IQ evaluation, since it mostly involves completing pictures, and people with NVLD have a discrepancy of at least 10 points between verbal and performance IQ.

For those who don’t know, Verbal IQ is basic arithmetic, vocabulary, etc. while performance is picture completion, block arrangement into shapes, etc. In other words, performance tests non-verbal capabilities. —Wrongplanet poster


People with NVLD:

Rourke (1995a) has also identified deficits in executive functioning as among the primary impairments in NVLD (Strang & Rourke, 1983). Executive functions include such higher level abilities as abstract reasoning, logical analysis, hypothesis testing, and cognitive flexibility, or the ability to “shift gears” mentally.

The ability to focus, shift, and distribute attention, organize information into memory to aid learning and remembering, and otherwise regulate thought processes are also examples of executive functions.

Although similar etiologies have been proposed to explain both nonverbal learning disability and executive dysfunction (i.e., impairments of subcortical white matter), poor performance on measures of executive functioning are not always found in children with NVLD.

There is no clear data to indicate how frequently executive functioning deficits occur in the NVLD population. It is the author’s experience that such deficits are common in more severe cases of NVLD and quite rare in more subtle cases. —The Syndrome of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: Clinical Description and Applied Aspects by Michael A. Roman

Trouble “shifting gears mentally”: oh, definitely.  I always hated that at work, when the phone rang while I was in the middle of a task.  Even as a housewife, it still happens, and I hate that, too.  My mom also noted this about me when I was a kid.

NLD children find it difficult to learn from past experience, deal with novel situations, internalize feedback, and understand cause and effect relationships; all of which requires information processing and generalization skills.

Thus it would seem logical for children with NLD to experience more difficulties with analogical problem solving tasks that require processing and transfer of knowledge from one situation or context to another.

I am very detail-oriented.  I am very smart in certain areas, and while I did do better than my peers in regular math and science classes, there is a huge discrepancy between what I could do in math and science, and what I could do in language-based classes (English, spelling, writing, literature).  (Just look at the 30-point difference between my logic IQ and my usual IQ.)

I never fit in with the “regular” kids or with the “smart” kids, because the other kids had all their subjects in the same level (regular, honors or advanced), while I was split (regular for math and science, advanced for English).  I knew this because I heard them talk about and saw which classes they were in.

So it’s not that I struggled when put into a class which matched my abilities; it’s that there was such a huge discrepancy between my abilities for each subject.  You’ll note that in between regular and advanced, we had an honors level.

I tried honors for each subject; in math and science, I did poorly in middle and high school, so got bumped down to regular.  In English, I tried honors, but found it too easy.

Maybe, one day, I’ll have thousands of $$$$$$ to finally get this diagnosed.  But for now, this is all I can afford…..

For me, it’s awesome to know there’s a legitimate cause of the problems I had in school, socially and in other situations throughout my life.

It’s puzzling why your teachers call you smart but you struggle with things the “average” kids do easily.

Knowing it’s a learning disorder, and that even smart kids can have one, means you’re not a freak or weird after all, and that you don’t deserve those baffling criticisms people would make of you that you knew weren’t true, but couldn’t figure out why they said that about you.

Before you think I got teased because I was smart, or that it’s common for gifted kids to be seen as “weird,” I got teased BY THE SMART KIDS.  I got called “weird” AT THE GIFTED SCHOOL.

Many children and teens with an NLD had medical problems during their mother’s pregnancy or birth. Some of the common pregnancy and birth difficulties are:

  • very long labor at birth
  • having the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck
  • premature birth or low birth weight
  • serious infections as a young infant

Hmmmm….My son had the first two….


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