Year: 2020

Friends & pod people & Christians wanting power & Weimar Prussia

While watching a John Oliver video on COVID Conspiracy Theories, I was inspired to check out Chris’ Facebook page.  Chris is in my story of Richard and Tracy; he was a friend Richard made here in town, who basically supplanted me as Richard’s BFF, inspiring some jealousy–but I also liked Chris.  However, over time, he’s turned out to be–well, how to put this charitably–nutty.

I’ve watched his Facebook over the years; there’s been everything from birther theories to fluoride to anti-vax to Oathkeepers to Obama putting us in concentration camps to aliens to flat-earth.  He was very upset with his ex for vaccinating their son.  He’d been quiet for some time, but COVID has inspired a whole bunch of posts lately about how it’s all a hoax and Trump is great and drain the swamp and masks will kill and COVID doesn’t kill but the vaccine will!  Then there was a post about how the vaccine was going to inject nano-bots into our bodies.  He pulls from such respectable sources as Alex Jones and Infowars.

One recent post said, Do you actually know anybody who’s been killed by COVID?  Like nobody *really* has died from it.  I saw this, like, a day or two after learning that my old online friend Enema had died of it, and that my mom and brother are dealing with it.  The brother of one of my college friends also died of it a few months ago.  So yeah, it happens, and you don’t have to be elderly.

This is the danger of these conspiracy theories that go around these days.  Before, they were annoying but mostly harmless; now they can get people killed.

Years ago, I pulled up some stuff about Chris on the Internet, as I described here–a history of people calling him a con and a psychopath and even clinically paranoid.  This is the person who replaced me as Richard’s BFF?

I remember writing this post after discovering that Chris had unfriended me on Facebook in 2011.  I was afraid of what Richard and Tracy had been telling him about me.  Three years later, I wrote this post because Chris had friended me again, making me wonder what had happened.  I’m amazed that with all my political posts over the past year, he has said nothing–heck, nothing about anything to me, really.  Makes me wonder if he even remembers me.

Given that, and given what I seriously think is some kind of mental illness, I finally decided to take him off my Facebook.  This is just crazy.  Is this QAnon?  I don’t know a lot about QAnon, but that may be where it’s coming from.  I just read about a Reddit support group for people who’ve lost loved ones to the Pod People (ie, QAnon).

This is the kind of thing that’ll lead to the end of this great democracy: people too far into their conspiracy theories to have any idea what’s really going on, while the Truth has been heavily documented and proven for all Americans to see in legitimate sources: government documents, videos, transcripts, news articles.  And these QAnon people call *us* “sheeple,” while they’re blindly following some anonymous poster on the Net.  They’re sucking on the Fog Machine.

Oh yeah, and this article, Christianity Will Have Power, came out today, trying to explain why white Evangelicals are so heavily supporting Trump even now.  It described a deeply religious community in Iowa, and a Trump speech which for the rest of us was about him saying he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.  But for the people at the speech, it was about giving white Evangelicals power and domination.

For anybody who knows white Evangelicals, and follows ex-vangelicals and political and religious commentators, this is hardly news.  But it inspired me to share it on social media with the comment: “It’s Weimar Prussia! I recommend “Sanctity of Rural Life” by Shelley Baranowski. The parallels are uncanny.”

I read that book back in 2016 or 2017 as research for my work-in-progress.  It was published 20 years earlier and had nothing to do with today’s American political climate.  But it described how Prussia’s farmers were deeply religious, and while they depended on immigrants from Poland to do farm work (Germans wouldn’t do it anymore), they hated the Poles bringing Catholicism into Protestant Prussia.  It was also controversial to let all those immigrants in.  The deeply religious Prussians saw their way of life eroding, with their kids going off to the cities for work, and the cities full of every kind of sin and iniquity.  The Weimar Republic took away the titles of their nobility, and, as far as they were concerned, also took God out of the schools.  They were upset that they didn’t say prayers in schools anymore.

Sound familiar?

Then the Nazis stepped in and said they would fix all that.  They would save Germany.  They would save Christianity.  They were a kind of “Christ.”  They would stop abortion.  They had all the same concerns as the Prussians.  Christian Nazi groups sprang up.  Junkers, the landowners and military and political class, thought Hitler and the Nazis were barbaric, but figured they could use Hitler as a tool to change things back the way they wanted (monarchy etc.).  They could keep him under control!

Sound familiar?

Since I read that during Trump’s campaign, the alarm bells have been going off for me for years.  Everything I’ve seen since then, has only confirmed those alarm bells.  He’s just as bad as we feared he would be, if not worse.  And huge groups of our population are so entrenched in their alternate realities that they don’t even see it.  They think Trump is the savior of America–just as Prussians thought Hitler was the savior of Germany.  And GOP leadership thought they could control him, use him as a tool to turn America back the way they wanted.

I’ve been studying history and literature for most of my life; I have seen written in those pages just how entrenched conservatives can get in power and control, how much they want to keep it, and how it prevents society from progressing in ways that help the downtrodden, that help everyone have a better life.  It especially struck me when reading a book about Asia, but also when reading about humanists and many religious societies such as the Puritans.  I realized–from reading the Bible through many times and seeing what it really said–that over and over again, liberals would try to bring values to society that would make them more Christian as Christ taught it, but conservatives would step in and turn it all back again.  I began to realize who the real Christians are (and you don’t have to be named a “Christian” to fit the bill).

The people who believe these conspiracy theories are not just harmless kranks anymore (and, depending on the theory, weren’t always before, either).  They could actually lead to the end of our Great Experiment.  Already, I see leaders like Macron and Merkel taking over where we once stood as leaders of the Free World.  They have to.

I will leave you with this video by Wiegand:

 

2020’s continued suckage

What a sucky week.  We were going to visit my family soon, only to learn that my mom and brother have caught COVID.  Now who knows when we’ll see them, and I’m worried that they’ll be the next ones in the dire number that keeps going up….

Then tonight I go to wish an old Forum friend happy birthday, and find that he died of COVID a few months ago.  Such a horrible end for Enema.  🙁  I wanted to post about it on the Forum, only to find that it’s been abandoned to hackers.

Well, Froggie just turned up on the windowsill again, making the kitty happy.  So at least there’s something….

Thought I’d recognize the 10-year-anniversary, but it slipped right by me.

July 1, 2010 is the day we felt forced to end the friendship with our narcissistic abusers, Richard and Tracy.  It was a trying day, when I was blasted with abuse by Tracy as she crowed about it on Facebook, while Richard betrayed me by never telling anyone the truth, instead deflecting all blame onto me.  Meanwhile, Tracy felt convinced she was right, when she was all wrong.

It felt like the end of the world. I couldn’t stop crying or my mind going over and over it. I felt like I wanted to die.

I struggled going to church, which only reminded me of Richard.  I struggled with sleep.  I struggled with getting up and going about my day.  I longed for my betrayer to apologize.  I longed for Tracy to finally recognize she was wrong and admit how she’d abused me.

The ten-year anniversary has passed.  On the one hand, wow has time flown by.  In many ways, 10 years ago feels like yesterday.  But on the other hand, that feels like a totally different world, like it was so long ago.

So long ago, in fact, that when the anniversary finally came, I forgot about it, and it passed.

But I still want to celebrate 10 years since we finally kicked Tracy to the curb.  She was the worst person I’ve ever known, and I’ve known some abusive a**holes.  She was racist, ableist, abusive, controlling, foul-mouthed, vicious.  She was no Christian, though she pretended to be one.  The entire time I knew her in person (and not just on the Internet), I struggled because I didn’t want to be around a bully like her, but felt forced into friendship with her whether I liked it or not.  Seriously, forcing somebody to be friends with you does nothing but create resentment.

And the fact that I did finally gather up the strength to cut her off, has given me more confidence in myself.  It has proven to me that I can trust my own instincts, even when other people tell me I’m being ridiculous.  This experience also taught me about narcissism and other Cluster B disorders, something I knew nothing about, before.  Without that knowledge, would I have recognized Trump for the monster he is, or tried to tell myself (like so many others–especially the news media–have done the past few years) that he isn’t really so bad as he appears?

This experience taught me that even the person I consider my best friend can be a narcissist, the telltale signs of it.  My subsequent friendships have been healthier, as I stay away from problem people and enforce boundaries.

I am much happier now, ten years later.

 

I want my abusers to apologize to me

Today I read a thread on Twitter explaining that most men have done something to make a woman uncomfortable, or have even assaulted her, without realizing it–like, for example, drunken hook-ups.  But it said NO!  Don’t track her down and apologize to her!  You’ll only re-traumatize her!  And you’re only doing it to absolve yourself!

WTF?

I want all my abusers–whether it involved mental, emotional, verbal, threatening, or sexual abuse, or sexual harassment–to track me down and apologize to me.

It’s not for him.  It’s for me.  It’s to hear from him that I did not deserve this, that it was all his fault.  It’s to make it easier for me to forgive him.  It’s to ease my mind from all the trauma and endless circles of thinking over the years that kept leading me back to the thought, Maybe I did something to deserve it.  Maybe I was the real abuser.

I posted on Twitter:

TBH, I’d love to hear an apology from various people who abused me in the past. It’s not to make *them* feel better, but to hear them finally say that I did not deserve what they did. That would be tremendously healing. I long to hear this from Richard/Tracy/Shawn/Phil.

I keep hearing people say “Don’t contact the person you abused to apologize! It’ll re-traumatize them!” But that is NOT the way I feel about it at all! I even try to friend them on Facebook, open the lines of communication, hoping to hear this from them.

I told Richard/Tracy on my blog that they can apologize to me. I long to hear this from all my abusers. I’ve heard a version of it from Phil, but he never mentioned the sexual abuse. Ex-bullies have apologized; I welcomed it and became friends with them on Facebook.

I finally got Shawn to friend me on Facebook a few days ago. I’ve tried for years. I hoped he would see who I really am and not the distortion he had in his head 30 yrs ago.

Years ago we reconciled, so I thought it was okay for us to contact each other, yet I’ve heard nothing from him for 15 years despite a few attempts over that time.  This friending on Facebook was important to me.

Two days later, he unfriended me without a word. I have no idea why.

Once again, it felt like that apology from him had escaped my grasp, like he still blamed me for everything, had still made me into a monster in his head, despite the reconciliation years ago.  And yet he was the one who did the abusing, based on a patriarchal view of relationships and a prejudice against introversion.  Phil and I also made peace with each other years ago, yet I still can’t get him to respond to me on Facebook just to find out how he is, make sure he’s still alive during COVID.  Meanwhile, I’ve been friends online with Peter for many years.  He messaged me recently to make sure I hadn’t gotten the plague.  I want to find out the same from my other exes.  Because no matter what they did 25 or 30 years ago, I still care.

This idea that abusers/rapists should not apologize–This is not universally held! I wonder how many of my abusers have held back from that apology I long for, because they’ve heard this.

Here’s someone else who welcomed that apology from her abuser years later: My abuser apologized, and I forgave him.

Another writer says that the #MeToo movement should demand apologies, that they are important to make the patriarchy start to crumble: Men need to stand up and apologize for sexual abuse, says Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler

A therapist explains how to properly make such an apology: Dear Therapist: Is it possible to apologize for a sexual assault?

In a way, seeing threads like the one I saw today, telling men to NEVER EVER track her down to apologize, feels like a new violation, a new invalidation of my feelings about past abuse.  It feels like yet another denial of those apologies I so crave, like I’m wrong to even want an abuser to apologize to me.  It’s good to do a quick Google search and see that no, I’m not wrong, that many people do actually feel the same way I do about apologies from abusers.

Danny reached out to me a few weeks ago for the first time in almost three decades to apologize, and I had no idea how much I needed to hear that from him.

Of course, an apology doesn’t change what Danny did to me and hearing it didn’t instantly wipe away the suffering I’ve experienced throughout my life because of it. However, Danny taking ownership of his actions, acknowledging how wrong they were and expressing his deep sorrow for what he did has helped to begin healing a wound I thought would never heal.

We aren’t sure where we go from here, but we are both better for having made contact again and the reconciliation that occurred as a result. My story is mine alone and every other survivor has their own personal tale to tell ― or not tell. That is up to them. And, if someone else’s abuser reaches out to ask for forgiveness, there should be no expectation that the survivor in that situation should accept the apology. Every experience and every survivor and every abuser is different and everyone needs to do what feels right to them.

However, Danny and I hope that as we as a nation continue to grapple with domestic violence, sexual assault and other incredibly personal and consequential traumas, our story might provide an example of what can happen when people take responsibility for their actions, even if it’s 30 years later. –Donna Thomas, My Abuser Contacted Me After 30 Years. Now We’ve Both Agreed To Tell Our Stories. We need to hear stories from men who have taken responsibility for their actions.

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