Articles from May 2016

More on abuse, isolation and ditching friendships because of a jealous spouse

I came across a discussion last night on a verbally abusive marriage.  Somebody commented that maybe the husband’s anger was partially caused by a friend, Grant, he was jealous of, that the wife could help the situation by re-evaluating her friendship with the guy her husband, Jodie, sees as a rival.

But the response to this was unanimous: Jodie’s abusive behavior was all his own fault, and ditching Grant would actually be a very bad idea.  They said this would help make the wife believe his anger was actually her fault, that she can do anything at all about it.  For one thing, they note that a functioning adult who’s jealous of a friend would talk to her about it, not engage in various soul-killing abusive behaviors.  One person wrote,

I agree that Jamie .. er .. Jodie is probably modeling Grant as a threat. And you know what? Grant doesn’t sound like a hysterical abusive monster so I bet at some level Grant is a threat. The threat of a reasonable person it’s nice to spend time with, eat with, not pander to for 8 hour long tantrums on unrelated topics.

That potential cause doesn’t change much about the toxicity of the environment or Jodie’s total inability to be civilized and loving in response. Threats to a relationship happen! Here is how a healthy conversation on The Grant Matter might go:

“Huh, I sure got upset there. That’s odd.”
“Yes, you seem really mad about something. Surely not just some TV show.”
“Yeah. I felt particularly angry at Grant. Why does he have to spend so much time here?”
“I like him! Don’t you? Wait, is this about him?”
“Maybe I’m worried you feel more than just ‘like’ for him.”

(Aha light follows, insight, healthy exchange of insecurities and needs, box of tissues, attempts to adjust thoughts, feelings and behaviors, gestures of good faith, reconciliation, ending in “I love you and let’s try to work this out”, etc. etc.) —Comment

Another poster pointed out that giving up Grant would actually be a very bad idea, because it would cost her a connection to someone who can help her, and make her think that Jodie’s anger is somehow HER fault:

A couple of people up thread expressed concern that your relationship with Jodie may be losing you friends. This can happen in subtle ways, but it can also happen in extraordinarily straight-forward ways. Like, you can become isolated and friendless because you stop seeing a best friend because that best friend makes your husband feel threatened. Imagine how your husband would understand the problem, if you could get him to admit he’s jealous. I bet it would sound something like this: “I need you to stop hanging out with Grant so much, because he makes me jealous.” Or maybe like this: “Yeah, your friendship with Grant is what makes me so upset.” Or maybe like this: “I wouldn’t be so angry all the time if you weren’t such great friends with Grant.” No matter how it’s worded, however, the sentiment is the same. And, to spell it out, the sentiment is this: “My anger is actually your fault, and you can solve it by getting rid of your friend.”

That’s not a good attitude. If you stopped hanging around with Grant, or even just dialed your friendship back a bit, in order to help Jodie stop feeling so jealous, what you are doing is falling yet again into the trap of taking responsibility for Jodie’s emotions and bending backwards to assuage him. And you’d lose a friend. You’d lose something that matters to you, because he has a problem.

Is that fair?

…Please, if at any point you find yourself with this choice, “Either I give up a friendship/connection to another, or my husband will be angry,” don’t give up that connection. Because we need human contact, and being in contact with normal, healthy people is a good way to keep sane, yourself. Does that make sense? Let that be a defining point: whatever your husband’s anger issues, you don’t have to sacrifice friends. —Comment

The commenters also noted that isolating a spouse is how abusers cut them off from people who can help them.

My ex Phil tried to isolate me from my friends, because they saw him for what he was.  I was also horribly abused by someone who saw me as a threat and tried to cut me off from friendship with her husband.  She’s also extremely abusive.

This is a huge red-flag warning of abuse, so I’m glad to see people realizing this, instead of the typical “ditch the friend if your husband/wife is jealous” or blaming the friendship for the abuse.  And yeah, Grant became very important when Jodie’s wife finally decided to leave, because he helped her get out.  I saw nothing in there about a budding romance, just somebody who helped.

A few thoughts on Trump getting the nomination

There isn’t much to be said that the late-night comedians (Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Larry Wilmore) haven’t already said.  It’s ridiculous, ludicrous, and frightening.

But I’m not sure what concerns the Republican establishment more:

1) that a narcissistic, sociopathic, bully, entitled buffoon who wants to put his name on everything and bang his daughter (thanks Trevor Noah), and could send us into nuclear WWIII with the entire world (even our allies) through his quick insults, is their nominee,

2) that he has said things which make many of us–even the ones who recognize that labeling everything “Hitler” or “Nazi” is a weak argument–think of Hitler and the Nazis,

3) that he’s most likely going to lose in a landslide to Hillary Clinton, leading to another four years of a Democratic president (a great thing, yeah, but they’d hate it because they want to dismantle all the good things Obama accomplished, like the AHC Act),

4) or that he’s thumbing his nose at much of the Republican platform.  It was really weird recently to realize that Clown Prince Trump is more moderate than, say, Cruz, whose very name makes me }}}shudder{{{ .

It was amusing watching the clips on TV of how my birth state received Cruz }}}shudder{{{ .  No, I don’t believe Indiana has the Wisconsin reputation for being uber-nice, which is probably where my acerbic sense of humor came from, even though I have to keep it in check around the hubby.

Every election cycle, I hope for the best candidates to be put up so that even if the other guy wins–which is usually the case–I won’t feel like the city/state/country is going to go down in flames.  The GOP had some decent candidates, many of which I would’ve greatly preferred, such as Kasich.  Instead, it’s turning out to be Trump vs. Hillary, even though Bernie is still fighting on (Go Bernie!  Feel the Bern!).

Yeah, I know Bernie’s policies could put us hugely in debt, but remember, President is NOT King.  We have a huge Congress to keep the President in check (which is why Obama has, sadly, been unable to do much of what he’s wanted to do, especially closing the notorious Guantanamo).  Also, character matters a great deal, which is why so many of us don’t want Trump–and, by the way, why so many don’t want Hillary.  At least Bernie has character.

On the one hand, seeing Trump clinch the nomination isn’t so terrible when I realize that the Democrats are now almost certain to win the Presidency in November, so there’s little chance of him becoming the President anyway.

Except–Well, that’s what people said about him becoming the nominee.  :{  :O  Better read up on how they used to escape from WWII POW camps, because we might need some escape ideas when they start rounding up the Muslims for concentration camps.  😛



Which one will eat fewer of your children?

Germans know fascism when they see it.

While Americans can joke about “Soup Nazis” and Hitler mustaches, Germans know firsthand what it means when a failed businessman moves from a fringe candidate to a leader who takes over your democracy and burns everything to hell.

I learned this, repeatedly, while I was in Germany for a weeklong lecture on the 2016 U.S. presidential election hosted by the State Department and German officials.

As I hopped from one beautiful, Old World city to another, from Hamburg to Frankfurt to Munich to Berlin, every person I spoke to said that the rise of business mogul-turned-reality-TV star-turned-GOP front-runner Donald Trump reminded them of the early stages of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

…At a reporter’s roundtable in Frankfurt with Germany’s version of NPR, someone asked me for the hundredth time, “Can Donald Trump actually win the American election?” I gave my boilerplate answer regarding the numbers, his behavior, the nation’s temperament; that a Trump presidential win in 2016 just doesn’t seem that likely.

Then an older woman, maybe in her 60s, who’d been anxiously listening, started talking.

“I guess I’m the oldest here, so I’ll just come out and say it,” she said, looking around the room. “You say he can’t win, you say not enough people take him seriously, you say not in your democracy. We were saying the same thing in 1933.” –Jason Johnson, To Germans, There’s Something Familiar About Donald Trump