Reblog: “Dealing with Abuser”–and how it brings up memories

I just read the post Dealing with the Abuser by Pastor Jeff Crippen.  Lots in here reminds me both of my ex Phil, and of the ex-“friends” Richard and Tracy, especially Tracy.  It’s validation yet again, helping to reassure me that I was correct, that it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t deserve it.  I’ll point out the parts which especially jumped out to me and why:

“This is a vital lesson to learn then in respect to dealing with an abusive person.  Such a person, like Sanballat, has only one pursue – to destroy, to discourage, to instill fear, to mock and rob his victim of any sense of self-worth and confidence.  Sanballat wants to control, to own, to exercise power, to be as God to his victims.  Therefore, it is not wise to enter into mediation with an abuser.  It is not wise to enter into couples’ counseling with an abuser.  Communication problems are NOT the problem.  The abusive person’s mentality is the problem, and it is his problem alone.”

“Like Nehemiah in his dealings with Sanballat, the Christian is NOT bound to meet with an abusive person. We are NOT obligated to maintain an abusive relationship, thereby permitting the abuser to continue in his power and control and abuse. …

“Mediation, communication, reconciliation and peace-making requires goodwill from both parties. But as we have seen, the abuser has no goodwill – he is malevolent toward his victims. He will only use such sessions to exercise more of his abuse, to work more of his deceptions, and to make it appear to the foolish that he is the one who truly wants to set things ‘right.’ Beware of Sanballat!”

…See it? We have already studied and learned about the abusive man’s tactic of making allies. That is, of deceiving people like relatives and friends of his victim into thinking that the VICTIM is really the problem. That the victim is crazy, or that it is the victim who is being unreasonable in not being willing to come to the negotiation table.  That is what had happened in Nehemiah’s people.  The enemy had cultivated allies from among Nehemiah’s own people!

While the paragraph specifically says couples’ counseling, the larger context is not an abusive marriage, but a man reviling Nehemiah (for wanting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem) and bringing in flying monkeys to help with the abuse.

Both Phil and Richard/Tracy had flying monkeys–the friend they sent to “friend” me on Facebook so they could spy on me, who then posted a scathing “profile” description, which ripped on the false and defamatory image that Richard and Tracy had given her of me.

Then there was Richard’s friend, who heard–from Richard, not me–what had happened, so he came in to try to get me to reconsider ending the friendship–and he had a false view of what was going on, as well.

Then there was Phil, who made his busy-body friend think that I was the abuser and he was the innocent victim.  The busy-body then came to me and gave me a long lecture on how horrible I was and how I needed to change to get Phil back.

This also reinforces that my husband and I were absolutely correct in refusing to have a “conference” with Tracy, that no good whatsoever could possibly have come from it–as evidenced by her further abuse when we refused.  Heck, my priest also said that no good would have come from it.

Instead, as the quoted blog post proves, it would have been about Tracy refusing to listen to anything I had to say, and continuing to abuse and abuse and defame my character until she felt spent, while telling other people how horrible I was as well.  This is how she behaved with me and with others, such as mutual friend Todd.

Then in the post we have the story of a woman who entered a passionate marriage–only to see, over time, his true colors.  I’ve noted that the literature usually says that people end up in relationships like their parents’, but my parents were not abusive.  This woman, too, did not grow up in an abusive relationship, defying the usual portrait of an abused woman.  Rather, this man took advantage of her giving nature, and twisted her brain around so much that she no longer knew what was right.

When she objected to his physical abuse, and said she’d leave if it happened again, he somehow managed to turn *her* into a horrible person, guilting her.

After that evening, he did abstain from hitting me; the physical violence in our relationship was limited to him shoving, grabbing, and pinning me up against the wall with his arm across my throat. He ratcheted up emotional abuse. At that time I didn’t recognize the red flags. I believed abuse only involved hitting and punching: now I know that abuse can be verbal and psychological.

He used constant criticism and name- calling, telling me that I was a stupid, worthless woman who couldn’t do anything right, repeatedly. Over time, the Stockholm Syndrome (ie, Traumatic Bonding – being bound to one’ s abuser when the abuser alternates abuse and ‘kindness’) – set in.

Through humiliation and ridicule my partner taught me that to express my own feelings and needs was selfish. He made it clear that it was not safe for me to disagree with him.

If I said I wanted or needed something, he would withhold it. He was generous with other things, but not with what I wanted most – he deliberately withheld his love and acceptance.

My ex Phil also withheld the things I wanted and needed, making me feel like a shrew and a nag for them.  He made it very clear over time that I was not to object to anything he wanted, no matter how distasteful or painful it was, and that I was not to disagree with him.  Meanwhile, I was not to ask for anything.  He ultimately left me for not following these rules, then brought in his flying monkey, manipulating him into thinking everything I did and everything I said about Phil’s behavior was abusive and wrong.

Those who know my story often ask why I stayed. First, I stayed because I truly loved him. Then, because I had sympathy for him; I knew he had pain in his life, and I wanted to save him. [WRONG motives, as Hunter now realizes].

Then in the blog post, it finally all came to a head with witnesses, at a July 4 party.  The abused wife hesitated when her husband said it was time to leave, so he threw a violent tantrum, which led the witnesses to intervene.  And that’s when she left him.

He called me from the gas station a block away. ‘Are you coming with me?’ he demanded to know.

‘No.’

‘If you don’t come with me now, you can never come back.’

This reminds me of Phil, a time when he was so obnoxious at a party that the other partygoers got upset, but he just didn’t stop.   All evening, people kept saying, “Shut up, Phil.”  I was mortified at his behavior, and how he disregarded everyone else’s feelings.

Finally, he left the suite, and someone closed the door behind him, pretending to have thrown him out.  It was a game, though partly they meant it, being so very annoyed by him.  They thought he’d come back in a few minutes.

Instead, we got a phone call.  Mike answered and tried to talk to Phil, but Phil just kept plaintively wailing, “Nyssa.  Nyssa!”  So I had to come to the phone.

I said hello, but for a moment he said nothing.  I tried to get something out of him, but it was harder than pulling a tooth.  Finally he said, “I’m at the phone outside Krueger.  Are you going to come here, or stay there?”

I didn’t want to leave my friends, but didn’t feel I had much of a choice.  He wasn’t coming back to the party, either.  My friend Cindy had long since left the party with some others, and then returned to Roanoke after bowling; she found him there at Krueger.  He said to her,

“She’ll come here, if she knows what’s good for her.”

Whoa, whoa, I had nothing to do with his obnoxious behavior or the consequences it brought on him.  I had nothing to do with his leaving, and didn’t want to leave my friends over his own bad behavior.  If I’d known Phil said such a thing, I might never have gone back to Krueger for him.  But I didn’t, so I went, and spent long hours comforting him.  I don’t believe I told him that what he did at the party was okay, because I still thought he’d been obnoxious and annoying.  Mike thought he shouldn’t have made me leave the party like that.

Cindy told me his words a few years later (we were co-workers), and that they left not because of Phil being obnoxious, but because they planned to go bowling at a certain time.  It was a birthday party for Ralph, but he left it early, so we all thought Phil was the reason.  Well, okay, maybe he was partly the reason.

Not only is this blog post by Jeff Crippen validating for me (which is helpful ever so often despite the passing of many years), but it’s also a validating and helpful post for people who are caught up in abusive relationships.  Once again, see here.

 

 

 

My first post on ClassicPress! –and Wisconsin is doomed

1: Okay, first a quick note registering my upset with the Lame Duck Session.  My assemblyman has not responded to my e-mail (unless it got buried somewhere), but my senator did.  He, at least, has a conscience, and didn’t vote for the stripping of powers from our newly-elected governor/attorney general until he was satisfied that it was no longer immoral.

But I’m not, and neither are lots of us who are upset, dismayed, and angry at this outright, audacious power grab by the Wisconsin GOP.  We elected Evers and Kaul to pull this state out of the hell of corruption–which keeps getting worse all the time–where it’s been lying since Walker took office.  But the state legislature wants to ensure we stay down there.

I keep seeing this lately: GOP complains when Democrats are in power, then when one of their people is in charge and really screwing the people over, tells them to “suck it up” and deal with losing.  Then Democrats get in power again, so GOP takes their power away.

Update 12/7/18: My GOP senator put out a statement that he greatly disagreed with the original bills and did what he could behind the scenes–negotiations and such–to amend them until he was satisfied that they did not overreach, that there are still checks and balances and the new governor’s and AG’s powers would not be stripped.  Of course, whether he went far enough is probably going to depend on who you talk to, but I give him kudos for his extraordinary efforts and listening to his constituents.  We will see what happens in the coming months.

2: But enough of that rant.  Wordpress is updating today to 5.0, which means Gutenberg will now be the default.  I’ve been following this for months, all the controversy, but lots of WP users probably have no idea what’s about to happen when they click the “Update” button today.

To learn what the fuss is about, see here and here.  The controversy is so fierce and people are so concerned that the Gutenberg editor will break older sites, that there’s now a page to help people fix their sites.

The thing is, Gutenberg is not only a huge change from the old editor, making it hard to understand for many, and hard to use for many with accessibility concerns, but it’s only the beginning.  Menus and widgets are slated to be next, converted to “blocks” as the backend of the site is moved to heavy use of Javascript.  I’m concerned about that because it seems like every time a plugin moves to Javascript, it gets buggier.  So now my whole admin screen will be Javascript?

Other concerns are that older sites with lots of modifications to fit the old editor, and with lots of posts written in the old editor, are going to break.  Reports are coming in that such posts–though they are put in a “classic block” to preserve them–are having issues, that converting them to Gutenberg causes issues.  And for those of us who write long posts, the Gutenberg block-based editor is hanging up and interrupting the writing flow.

The official word from Wordpress is that you can use the Classic Editor plugin (or Disable Gutenberg plugin) if you don’t want to use this.  BUT it’s only going to be supported for three years, and before those three years are up, the widgets and menus will be re-structured.  So this isn’t really a solution if you don’t want to ever use Gutenberg; it just puts it off for a few years until you’re forced to use it.

Because of the outcry, a Wordpress fork has been developed: ClassicPress.  At first it seemed like a pipe dream, but lately it seems like a truly viable alternative.  And if it doesn’t work for you–important plugins start supporting only Gutenberg and no longer work, some plugin doesn’t like ClassicPress, or whatever–you can always revert back to Wordpress: The migration plugin has been altered so you can do so, or you can use FTP or backups.  (Always back up your files and database before making changes like this.)  I often use FTP to overwrite my core files when something on my site goes buggy, or an update crashes the site.

I’ve been pondering this for several weeks while watching the controversy.  I believe it’s best for Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole to switch to ClassicPress to preserve my thousands of posts and pages, and all the modifications I’ve done over the years.  It’s also mostly a text-based site which could suffer from the Gutenberg changes.

But my author page should be safe in WP 5.0 and Gutenberg.  (I might turn off Gutenberg for the blog, which I can do with Disable Gutenberg.)  It’s only a couple of years old and has few pages, pages which might actually benefit from the things Gutenberg can do.  But for now I’ll have Disable Gutenberg on (I see it’s working), until I have a chance to play with it.

I’m also disgusted by the response to people who complain about Gutenberg or suggest other ways to add it without forcing people to use the new editor.  Countless people are saying it should be an optional plugin, for example.

But they keep hearing: Can’t stop a moving train, this is how Wordpress is going, this is the decision that was made, and–maybe not from the WP CEO, but from others–Gutenberg is superior while you’re all curmudgeons who hate change, only a tiny minority of developers hate this while bloggers love it, etc. etc.

But people have legitimate concerns, and I know bloggers who refuse to use Gutenberg.

If this is how people will now be treated for their concerns, the arrogance has really put me off.  That’s the other reason that I’ve moved Hobbit Hole to ClassicPress.

So far, so good.  ClassicPress is working with my plugins.  We’ll see how it works, then.  The only drawback is it doesn’t appear to be working with PHP 7.3 yet, and I want 7.3!  (PHP is like an engine driving your site; 7.3 is more powerful than what I have now.)

Update 12-8-18: I just learned that Elementor does the same stuff Gutenberg does, but is easier to understand and use.  Meanwhile, turns out you can write a post in the Classic Editor and then add stuff to it in the Elementor editor–You don’t have to choose all one or the other.  Also, editing a page in Gutenberg was spitting out all sorts of PHP errors.  So my Author Page is also now in ClassicPress.  🙂

 

Article on slapping kids upside the head

I came across a Nigerian article on the subject of slapping kids upside the head in punishment, based on research done by Nigerian researchers.  Now, I get the impression that the writer and researchers don’t yet realize that other forms of physical punishment such as an “all-out whipping with a belt or paddle” are just as abusive and damaging as smacking a kid on the head.  So be warned.  But I’m glad to see awareness being raised in other parts of the world about damages that smacking does to the brain.  Some quotes:

Although, such an act may not make the child lose consciousness, medical experts warn that repeated blows to the head may lead to worrying consequences, including increased susceptibility to concussion, long-term cognitive decline and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative disease associated with people who have suffered multiple head injuries.

 

Paradoxically, little blows to the head can add up to big risks, even a continuous habit of hitting a child on the head. A growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head trauma may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

–From abdussalam’s Knocking a Child on the Head Can Affect Memory, Thinking Abilities

 

 

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