Why I Left the GOP

As a kid, I was raised Republican–but not for religious reasons.  The Democrats were stupid donkeys; the Republicans were smart elephants.  Abortion and gay rights were barely a blip on the fundie screen in those days.  Adding religion to it didn’t happen until I started watching The 700 Club around 1987 or 1988.

I watched it on and off starting around age 12, but it wasn’t until around 14 or 15 that I started watching it every day, seeing it as important as my new determination to read the Bible daily.  Pat Robertson indoctrinated me into the idea that Democrats were evil atheist liberals out to destroy all we hold dear, while the Republicans were righteous warriors saving our country from baby-killers and homosexuals and big government.  I believed everything he said because he was a Christian preacher.

And yet, even though my dad was very conservative, he still told me that voting by party when the other guy is a better candidate, is stupid.  He still said not to listen to Pat Robertson or the people who say we need to put prayer back in schools.  He said that presidents could not do anything they wanted, that the courts told Nixon he had to turn over the tapes.

In college, chinks in the wall started coming as I took classes on Persuasion and Mass Media.  I learned about logical fallacies and how words can be manipulated to bring emotional responses.  I learned that The 700 Club hadn’t always told the truth about stories in the news.  I learned that Rush Limbaugh was highly manipulative, how he cut people off when he didn’t like their comments and formed the reactions of listeners.  Pat Robertson kept saying over and over that God told him over and over that Bush would win in 1992; when Clinton won, Pat’s only explanation was, “I guess I missed it.”

I started to recognize that everything Pat said about the cultural wars was also suspect–not abortion or gay rights yet, but everything to do with the Satanic Panic: rock music, Dungeons and Dragons, Halloween, etc.  I had no idea he might be a racist until he defended a school board in 1994 that wanted to focus on white history.  I began hearing about the religious right during that time, realizing finally just what Pat really was.  Once in a while I’d turn on The 700 Club, but only to criticize.  It took longer to break from the show’s teachings on charismatic sign gifts, which led me into believing God wanted me with guys who were very wrong for me.

In 1994, I also dated a guy for a month who was very much into Rush Limbaugh and the extreme end of the party.  I was turned off when he screamed at an elderly woman in the cafeteria for saying something that he thought was too “liberal.”

So I was not an extremist by any means, recognizing by now that I had been misled by them, but you didn’t have to be an extremist Republican to be against abortion or gay rights.  I was also influenced by the teachings of conservative Christianity as well.

But over time, probably starting around 1995, I began to say that it was gay sex, not the passive act of being gay, that was the sin.  In the next several years, as I learned that my own behavior (introversion, NVLD/Aspergers, etc.) was influenced by things I was born with and could not change, I began to listen to the argument that being gay is something you’re born with and can’t change or be blamed for.

That particular issue took a long time to deal with, as I first examined papers put out during the mid-naughts by the liberal ends of the Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, then read Orthodox views on the subject, then realized that maybe the Presbyterians and Lutherans were right after all.  Re-examining the abortion issue came later.

But as for strict politics–Because I had finally recognized the religious right for what it was, the extremist end of the party, and the fact that Pat Robertson had not told me the truth about Democrats, I was now more aware of how Republicans behaved in the halls of Congress.  Locally I didn’t see much to worry about, but in Washington, Republicans were actively trying to destroy Democrats.  Ever since Clinton was elected, the GOP members of Congress had been trying to bring him down.  They fought everything he did, badmouthed Hillary, and started the Whitewater investigation–which all looked like a bunch of nothing.

Even though I thought Clinton was scummy because he cheated on his wife, Kennedy did the same thing, and Clinton did do some good things, such as balancing the budget and bringing us a surplus.  From what I recall, I hated Clinton, but not with the passion of the GOP leaders.  I agreed with Republicans on abortion, but was beginning to move further away from their views on most everything else.  And when Clinton was impeached for lying about getting a BJ in the Oval Office, I wrote to my penpal saying I was done being a Republican.  But I didn’t like the Dems, either, so I didn’t know where to go.

In 2000, for the first time, I liked both candidates (though I would’ve preferred McCain) and examined the platforms of both sides.  I was turned off Gore, however, during one debate when he seemed to physically threaten Bush.  I rooted for Bush during the Recount and thought I was more Republican after all.

But in the naughts, it all changed for good.  First, I kept taking quizzes that said I agreed with everything the Democrats stood for–except for abortion rights.  (That changed later as I discovered that I wasn’t being told the truth about that, either.)  I supported Bush in the early years, but then things started coming out like torture, Gitmo, and a few items in the Patriot Act that seemed to overstep onto our freedoms as Americans.  The more I learned about these things, and that there were no WMDs in Iraq, the more I saw Bush as evil.

And yet no matter what he did, the GOP–both in Washington and here in Wisconsin–supported it all: torture, the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq.  The Dems temporarily blocked a Supreme Court pick because he helped justify torture, but to this day the GOP spins it as just being arbitrary obstructionism, which they use as an excuse for their own.

Then the Downing Street Memo came out, but got buried, everybody forgetting about it, when I thought for sure it and torture would lead to the impeachment of Bush.  I remember reading it, and I probably wrote letters and/or e-mails to representatives about it as well, trying to get something done–but then it all went away.  That’s when the GOP powers of persuasion really became obvious, and the way that the GOP circled their wagons and supported everything their leaders did, no matter how evil.  Around this time, a venerated citizen of our little city voted against the GOP for the first time in his 105+ years, because, as he said, Bush had “hijacked the Republican Party.”

In 2004, I was now an Independent, and voted for a Democrat for President for the first time.  This was also the year “Megalomaniac” by Incubus came out; even though it wasn’t actually about Bush, the video clearly was, and it just cemented what I was learning about the GOP.

In the naughts, I also learned that the opposition to the science of climate change could be traced back to the Koch brothers, who funded “studies” with fake conclusions, since their oil earnings would be affected.  I learned that a lot of the ridiculous claims I was hearing from right-wing conservatives came from the John Birch Society, which also traced right to the Koch brothers.  I didn’t hear about George Soros–the “boogeyman” to the GOP–until much later, but while I could find verification about the stories about the Koch brothers, the stories about Soros were very easily debunked.

I also met a very poor family and saw how their circumstances kept working against them; they were one reason why I turned Democrat: because Republican policies totally ignored the realities of poverty, expecting people to help themselves.  Ironically, this family fervently voted and worked against their own interests, believing Democrats were “baby killers” and that the GOP or Libertarians were their saviors.

In 2008, I voted for McCain, since I was Independent, not Democrat.  But the more I learned about Dems, the more I realized I identified with them best.

Over the years, I’ve seen and heard a lot; there have been occasions when Democrats behaved badly, but by and large, the Republican Party has been committing the largest part of the grave offenses.  They have been grasping more and more for power, hypnotizing their people with lies through FOX News and various radio show hosts (such as Limbaugh).  The more power they get, the harder it is to fight back.

It doesn’t matter where they are in the political chain–Washington, or locally–they have been continuously lying to the people, brainwashing them into thinking that the interests of big corporate fat cats are somehow the same as the interests of the little guy.  They’ve been lying about abortion and homosexuality, while at the same time, using those issues as lures for gullible Evangelical voters.

Somehow the GOP has become “God’s Own Party” even though it goes against everything Jesus ever taught us about how to treat the poor, minorities, women, and others.  Current GOP policy also violates everything the Bible teaches about treatment of immigrants.  It doesn’t matter to them if it saves or improves lives or is wildly popular with the people–If Democrats propose something, the Republicans oppose it.  If Dems manage to pass the thing, the GOP will try to get rid of it as soon as possible, bringing back the bad old ways under which people suffer.

They constantly harassed Obama, refusing to do anything he wanted, and criticizing everything he did.  Their followers posted pictures of him as the Joker and with a noose around his neck.  Obama was a good president and a devoted family man, a Christian, but the GOP painted him as EVIL and lots of people believed it.

Meanwhile, we now have a president who is the epitome of a malignant narcissist, with a history of selfishness, greed, rape and other criminal behavior, and no trace of Christianity, who is showing every sign of wanting to be dictator, yet the GOP paints him as a glorious savior who couldn’t possibly do anything wrong.

Obama did his best to promote peace, though he did make serious errors; the GOP maligned him for this.  Meanwhile, Trump is an actual security risk, destabilizing the Middle East with his reckless actions and putting our country at greater risk of everything from blackmail to nuclear attack–and the GOP supports him.  (I wrote this before getting the news that the GOP is upset about pulling out of Syria–but who knows if that’ll last long, either?)

They’ve been gerrymandering.  We keep falling further and further behind other industrialized countries, who have things like high speed rail and government-paid medical care and even pensions.  Meanwhile, if we can’t find a job in our small town, we’re stuck unless we pick up our lives and move away from friends and family.  We’re bankrupted by health problems, and can expect to work until we’re dead, with very little vacation time.  This all suits the fat cats just fine, because they’re rich and getting richer.  While the little guy keeps voting against his own interests because he’s been brainwashed into thinking the alternative is “EVIL socialism.”

Encountering the TEA Party up close and personal among friends back when it started, showed me just how ignorant and harmful it actually was.  I didn’t need the “liberal media” to “spin” it for me.  I watched in horror as it took over the GOP, kicking out more moderate members and turning the whole party TEA.  I remember, in 2007, looking at Ron Paul’s platform and thinking, “Geez, what a nutcase.”  Now his nutty ideas are GOP dogma.

Some people didn’t leave the GOP until recently, because of Trump.  Some people don’t seem to realize that ousting Trump will get rid of a security risk who is totally inept and self-serving–but won’t fix the problem, because the fault lines go back decades.

The TEA Party takeover of the GOP may have just happened in the last decade, but it comes from the extremism that was already there in the party for years.  And it has been pushing out what was still left in the GOP of moderation and decency, until we now have this: a party that goes from criticizing Trump to kissing his backside, and defends every crappy thing he does, until now they’re trying to tell us,

“Don’t believe the mainstream media.  They’re LIBERAL and can’t be trusted.  Don’t believe what they tell you is in the Mueller Report.  Don’t believe the whistleblower.  No, only believe what we tell you.  Nothing to see here–No, Kavanaugh didn’t commit sexual assault against at least three girls.  No, Trump is not corrupt.  No, Trump did not collude or obstruct.  No, Trump did not threaten the leader of another country into helping him smear a political opponent.  No, it’s all liberal lies.  WE’LL tell you the truth.”

And the scariest part is when I hear loved ones repeat the lies the GOP has been saying.  I post something on Facebook and friends/family react with “laugh” emojis even though it wasn’t a joke.  I’ll post factual articles, while they respond with GOP talking points, and sound ignorant because those are not facts.  It’s frightening what the right-wing has been doing to this country.

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What Richard Told Me about border guards: Investigating its Truth

Back in 2007-2009, Richard told me many hair-raising stories about his time in the southern Border Patrol.  He was there while Clinton was president.  Here’s what he told me:

  1. Clinton told them to shoot the illegal immigrants on sight, through a secret Executive Order that drove many border guards to emotional distress, drinking, etc.
  2. Many border guards were corrupt, taking their own piece of the drug smuggling and human trafficking going on there.
  3. He shot somebody.  I won’t go into more detail.  But the guilt drove him to leave the job.
  4. He left before Bush came into office.  Other border guards told him that Bush saw the EO, was horrified, and rescinded it.

For many years–including when we were still friends–I have searched the web for answers, trying to find out if the “shoot on sight” EO was for real.  I have never found anything–though I have dug up lots of confirmation of corrupt border guards.  I’ve found plenty of people saying that Bush should implement “shoot on sight” (I think one was Richard’s own wife).  I’ve found plenty of confirmation that Clinton’s border policies were just as harmful as Trump’s, causing deaths by forcing people to take dangerous routes, militarizing the border.  I’ve found confirmation that some guards have indeed killed people–but zero confirmation that such an EO ever existed to cover their actions.

Of course, Richard told me confirmation didn’t exist because the government wouldn’t allow anybody to talk about it.  If he posted about it online, he said, he would get a Visit….

But if anybody would talk about such an order, it would be the human rights groups who report on deaths caused by border guards and whether or not they lead to justice.  I found reports of such deaths caused during the Clinton era, but Richard was nowhere listed.  If he really had killed somebody, wouldn’t they have mentioned him on one of their lists?  They don’t care if governments don’t like what they say, and don’t give Clinton a pass for being a Democrat–wouldn’t they have mentioned the EO as one of Clinton’s harmful policies?

Recently, I posted about it on Facebook, wondering if anybody knew anything about this.  One friend said Richard is so full of sh** that his eyes are brown (making me wonder if this person knew him).  Another friend said that she knew somebody who’s been a guard for years, and that such an EO never existed.  But this person was not a guard during Clinton’s era, so I didn’t know what to think, especially as confirmation of border guard abuses back to the 1920s keeps coming out.

Well, finally I found somebody who WAS a guard on the southern border during the same time Richard was (she was in from 1995-2001), and here is what she, Jenn Budd, writes about it:

It’s been some time since you left the force, what are some of the things that have changed? What are some of the things that have remained the same since you left?

When I became an agent, there were just under 5,000 agents and 1.3 million apprehensions. Today there are about 20,000 agents for just over 300,000 apprehensions. Judging by those statistics, I honestly don’t know what today’s agents do all day. When I was an agent, I played soccer with the kids in the flat fields of Tecate. Today they shoot them for getting too close to the fence. The Patrol is far more militarized and has greater extraordinary powers than in my day, yet there is little accountability.

After 9/11, agents told me they had the authority to do whatever in the name of “national security.” For example: before 9/11, we had a no pursuit policy if it endangered lives; no high speed chases that could result in the loss of life. After 9/11, agents stated they could justify it because it was a national security issue. This is the same excuse given when they pull over vehicles without cause, when they shoot children playing too close to the fence, to justify caging infants. The Patrol has also become aligned with anti-immigrant hate groups and promotes their websites to their agents through the union. This did not exist when I was an agent.

Some things have not changed though. The agency still refuses to admit they have a serious issue with sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by its male agents on its female agents.  That helps explain why there are so few female agents. Agents are routinely found to be taking bribes and engaged in corruption, smuggling drugs, and people. They are also often charged with murder. Yet the Border Patrol prefers to defend their agents even when there is clear video evidence they have committed crimes. The agency is more concerned with bad press than it is about enforcing laws and holding their agents accountable.

So yes, the corruption stories were true.  Yes, guards sometimes commit murder, then as now.  But this contradicts Richard’s claim about Clinton’s EO.  This would suggest that if anybody made such an order, it would’ve been Bush, not Clinton.

And that makes me wonder why the heck Richard would make such a claim.  Why would he say he murdered somebody if I can find no proof that he ever did?  Wouldn’t he have gone to jail for this?  Even if the EO had kept him out of jail, wouldn’t the human rights groups have mentioned him someplace in their long lists of guards accused of murder?  Why would guards even be accused of murder in the Clinton era, if they were acting under orders?  Jenn Budd now blogs about border issues and has an open letter telling border guards to either quit or fight back against human rights abuses; wouldn’t she say if such an EO ever existed when she was a guard?

The only reason I can think of for Richard’s claim of murdering somebody, is political, to suit his usual narrative that Democratic presidents are evil and only conservative presidents can be trusted to do the right thing.  Or maybe it was from some narcissistic desire to paint an image of himself as bigger and badder than he really was, in order to impress people.

A mutual friend has confirmed some of the other stories Richard told which are just as hard to believe, such as the Mafia gem smuggling–but this particular story keeps falling apart no matter how many times I try to confirm it.

 

 

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We made it onto Colbert!

My city’s public high school made it onto the local news last week.  I hoped it would go viral (and did my best to help it along on social media).  My hopes were finally fulfilled when Stephen Colbert did this segment last night:

Don’t worry: Kai the snake is (according to social media and the principal) very friendly and perfectly harmless.  He’s also been found and returned to his home, where he’s going to stay.

(By the way, that is NOT how to pronounce Fond du Lac.)

This is how the school year began for Fond du Lac high school students: with the principal sending out hilarious e-mails/phone messages about a missing snake.  He didn’t mean them to be funny, but we couldn’t help giggling and sharing them on social media.

For more information:

Missing: Ball python flees Fond du Lac classroom

Fond du Lac High School Snake: Reptile found Friday

My favorite tweet:

 

 

 

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Trolls, stalkers and threats: ten years of my blogging experiences

I’ve had this blog since January 2009, and it has seen a lot in that time.  I’ve also had a website since around 2005.  So for the tenth anniversary of the blog and fourteenth of the website (merged in 2014), let’s do a little summary of what has happened:

For 3 years, I mostly wrote book reviews; not much happened.  Around 2012, it started to get a bit of traffic because I started writing about narcissism, which was just getting popular as a blog subject.

  1. In May 2012, two of my abusers came to my blog after not looking at it for a couple of years.  They discovered I’d been writing about their abuses, accused me of lying, threatened me with a lawsuit–and also threatened to stalk me at church.  I knew I was telling the truth, and zero lies.  So I stood my ground, kept the blog up, and continued telling friends/family/church friends/priest what was happening, as I had been doing for two years already.  It has now been 7 years, and no lawsuit.  The statute of limitations has also long since run out.  These two abusers still read my blog, but none of their many threats ever came to pass.  I count this as a victory.  I’m not sure why they check my blog anymore, because these days they often spend maybe a minute on it, and that’s not enough time to read anything.
  2. In August 2016, after I had supported a particular blogger for four years–comments, sympathy, reading her novel, reblogging her–she threatened me with a lawsuit for *quoting* her with full attribution (well within my rights under copyright law regarding Fair Use).  I took the quotes down, but after this, I wanted nothing to do with her anyway, or with promoting her blog.  But the fear and trepidation over this had to succumb to real-life trouble because a couple of days later, I got the call that my dad was dying in a few days.  That was a very difficult month–but I got through it, and I warn others about this blogger.  She is very popular online, and has had many other victims as well.  Or rather, she was–I’m very relieved to see that her blog is now offline and apparently has been for a while now.  Maybe people can still find good things in her book to help them understand narcissists, but she encouraged people to stay “stuck” in the anger stage–even yelled at people who said we should try to heal eventually–and blamed people for being victims of narcissists if they didn’t fit a certain category.  This is all very harmful, so I’m glad to see her no longer running a blog where she victimizes people who come to her for help.  Meanwhile, my own blog and website are still up, and I encourage you to try to heal and move on after your anger has run its course.  You’ll be much happier than if you endlessly try to find ways to “get even.”
  3. In early 2017 and again in early 2018, this blog was inundated with hits from malicious and obsessive trolls who had been stalking another blogger for a couple of years.  He’d attracted a whole mob of them, who now started checking me out for talking to him.  I had only just gotten a Twitter account, which they used to find my blog, where they began leaving snarky comments and combing through my archives looking for who knew what.  I used the blog for therapy and wrote all sorts of things about my past, so I feared what these people planned to do with it.  Even when the mob abated, I was told they still stalked my blog and Twitter and talked about me in their little circle.  I occasionally saw evidence of that, myself.  But for many months now, they still stalk the blog and Twitter account of their original target but seem to be leaving me alone.

 

Meanwhile, I have learned a lot about blogging and running a website.  I have learned things that have helped in healing from the past.  I’ve been working on a new novel for nearly four years now, a new passion, along with defeating Trump and what has become of the GOP in the last several decades.  I have learned a lot about and/or changed my mind about a lot of things, from politics to religion to abuse to history…. This has all happened over the fourteen years of this blog/website, and you can find it all in the archives.

I have also been very active on Twitter, here.  I don’t write as much on the blog as I used to because Twitter is a good way to share retweets and keep my followers up-to-date without having to go through the trouble of writing a blog post for everything that’s on my mind.  I encourage you to follow it (unless you’re a troll).

 

 

 

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Cuddling, narcissistic recovery, and nonsexual affection:

I read a few posts over the weekend that I want to share.

The first is Where Are You in Recovery? on the One Mom’s Battle blog, a post written by Sandra L. Brown, MA, Director of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education at saferelationshipsmagazine.com.  The 2016 article written in 2016 addresses not just recovery from narcissistic abuse but the role of narc bloggers:

For instance, of course, one must disengage from the relationship, one needs pathology education to know what kind of relationship they are healing FROM, and one needs to recognize their symptoms of trauma in order to know what to work ON.  But these are first steps in what we consider the ‘early’ recovery level on the path to healing.  75% of survivors of narcissistic abuse develop a trauma disorder like Acute Stress, PTSD or CPTSD. Despite this, many and sometimes MOST survivors never get beyond early recovery.

In the past, I’ve been confused on whether I had PTSD or CPTSD, or if that’s supposed to be for, say, shooting survivors.  But this confirms that I most likely did have such a disorder.

The narcissistic abuse field is relatively young. Many survivors don’t realize that this field is only 11 years old. When you consider how long it took the domestic violence to get up to speed with their theories, and trainings, and therapists trained, 11 years is a drop in the bucket. The first information about narcissistic/psychopathic relationships and abuse was in the 1st Edition of my book ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths’ (Sociopaths & Narcissists) in 2008. There has been theories to work out and research to do and treatment approaches to figure out. We are just getting around to a formalized therapist training in a Model of Care in 2019. There hasn’t been much in the way of trauma therapists that understood these relationships for treatment. But what has been prolific, is survivor’s manning-up with books, blogs, and social media.  Survivors have had to rely on other survivors in the absence of a trained psychology field.  …In the absence of a trained psychology field, most survivors find information in a blog or social media site and stay, never progressing to the next stage of recovery because of so few trained trauma therapists in pathological love relationships (PLRs).

So it’s no wonder that I never heard of narcissistic abuse before 2010, even though I knew the word “narcissist” (as in lover of self above all others) and knew a lot about abuse: The information just wasn’t out there yet because even the psychologists didn’t know much.  And we bloggers have been a crucial part of getting the word out and helping others, because we have firsthand experience with such people.  But so many of us are still “stuck” because, again, even the psychologists don’t know enough about it.

We also hear a lot about empaths and codependents.  Empaths sound kind of New-Agey to me, so I have cast that a wary eye.  Also, codependency seems to make YOU into the pathological one, as if you’re somehow to blame.  So this part was interesting:

A pathological relationship happened because of your personality trait elevations which are part of your hard-wired nature and are ‘targeted’ by pathological partners. Our research with Purdue University on your personality made that abundantly clear, that you have high-normal personality traits that are a perfect fit for a pathological partner. As opposed to what you may read, this is NOT simply about ‘empaths’ and ‘codependents.’ Those labels are not research.  The true research shows you have personality trait elevations BEYOND mere hyper-empathy (and over 60% of you did NOT test as codependent), that are impacting your risk factors called ‘Super Traits.’ Since your personality is hard-wired, and these traits are always targeted by pathological partners, it makes sense that you need to understand your own risk factors and how to guard those traits in the future. Once trauma symptoms are being consistently and successfully managed by you, education on your Super Traits is the next step of recovery.  A mental health professional works educationally with you about the researched and known personality traits and their FACETS that are known to be a risk factor in you. (If they are suggesting you are an empath, you are in the wrong place and they are not educated.)

…We can see that this level of recovery is necessary for prevention of future PLRs because your personality and its risk factors will always be with you. Without understanding HOW Super Traits work in your thinking, feeling, and behavior there is nothing to prevent another PLR when your personality tries to do what it has always done with incoming information and red flags.

One reason many of us are still “stuck” is the lack of trained help:

We are well aware of the scant few trauma therapists trained in PLR Recovery. An online course for their training is currently being developed and when done, will house a database of therapists trained in this Model of Care approach for your use. Survivortreatment.com

I don’t know anything about this institute, so I can’t recommend or endorse it.  However, I hope that this will turn out to be a breakthrough for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

Along with this, came two other blog posts which helped validate my experiences in narcissistic abuse.

The first was Dad Goes Off On Wife And In-Laws After They Tell Him To Stop Cuddling His Teenage Daughter.  He posted on Reddit to find out if he was the a**hole or not; the overwhelming response was that he was not, that there is nothing “sexual” or “inappropriate” about cuddling.  A similar conversation came up over on the Love Joy Feminism blog, when a post about a 19th-century book brought up the question of what was considered normal and platonic behavior and touching (such as cuddling or hugging or stroking hair).

Both conversations made it very clear that the common restrictive view on cuddling in America is neither the rule in the rest of the world, nor healthy.  Supposedly even Americans used to behave a lot more freely, before the 20th century, so when we read a 19th-century book on girls cuddling (or about Frodo and Sam holding hands) we think “OMG GAY” when it’s not.  And some–just as I have in the past–wondered if our lack of cuddling/other nonsexual touching is the reason why people in America have so many pathological issues (such as shooting up schools).

The Love Joy Feminism discussion also touched on the fact that modern Americans get hung up on the idea that close emotional connections must be romantic/sexual, so if two teenage girls become BFFs they start thinking they might be gay–when it’s just a normal, straight friendship.  Not knocking the fact that many people are actually gay or bisexual, but most people are not.

In my childhood, people saw demons and Satan everywhere; nowadays, they see sex everywhere.  Maybe this is also why people have gotten so hypervigilant about opposite-sex friendships, when 20 years ago, the common thinking seemed to be that opposite-sex friendships are normal and jealousy is bad.

Quotes from the comment section:

Single adults, definitely – one (bad) reason that people can end up desperate for a relationship, and cling to unhealthy ones, is that so many of us have a natural desire for touch and intimacy, and we’re only ‘allowed’ to have an outlet in romantic relationships.

 

Platonic yet intimate female relationships make my marriage work. Another reason society would be better if we stopped sexualizing all overt emotional expressions and physical affection. We all have different needs and to expect all those needs to be met by one person in our life is a tough order.

 

Because so many shows right now are really irritating me with that. We get connected to a character that identifies as straight, she gets a good friend, and boom they’re an item. Not every female magically becomes bisexual when they develop close intimate friendships with the same sex. In fact most don’t. I get that they’re trying to increase LGBTQ presence in the media, but it still seems to be developing as a titillating plot point. Not one that represents real life. Which is why they probably don’t do the same with males. Two females kissing is a fantasy for many adult males and that’s why they use it. It also confuses kids way more than helping them. I’ve actually had to help my youngest understand that just because she notices how attractive a girl is doesn’t make her gay or bi. It’s not that I care if she was but she’s not. And some of her friends have actually made fun of her for being supportive of her female friends. Like she’s not allowed to be complimentary or something unless she’s gay.

 

Oh my gosh yes. That’s my only real pet peeve with the increase in LGBTQ relationships on TV. It seems with girls (and only girls, never boys) that once a certain level of intimacy sets in, they evolve to a romantic relationship. And that’s just not accurate in real life. I actually am quite affectionate with my best friend both verbally and even physically. Lots of hugs, lots of I love you’s, etc. My youngest daughter has the same type of relationship with her best friend. Always remarking how cute she is, how much she cares, lots of physical affection. Right now they are both in fits because they have no classes together next year. They’re both straight though. Emotionally intimacy and general physical affection is a lovely thing IMO. Not everything has to be seen through the lens of sexual attraction.

Quotes from the Reddit thread:

This is a result of America’s puritan bullshit and had actually led to “cuddle starvation” across the nation. Look it up. It basically means that people become depressed because of a lack of cuddling and affection since we reserve it for romance.

 

Let me guess, you’re American? Americans always sexualize things that have nothing to do with sex. Why the hell should a daughter not be alowed to cuddle her father if she wants to?!

 

Also sleeping on people while watching a movie is just one of the best feelings in the world. I do it with close friends regardless of gender (and am somewhat well known for my inability to stay away during movies). Ive fallen asleep with my head in a cousins lap during many a post thanksgiving meal football game. If you’re both comfortable with it – why would it be weird?

 

I hate to bring up the concept of “Toxic Masculinity” everywhere but this is a pretty textbook case of the inlaws trying to push it I think. This disgusting idea that men shouldn’t be affectionate is so goddamn damaging on both an individual and wider scale, and sadly we’re still in the stage where normalizing touching and all that is a fight.

I don’t want to rehash why this last part is especially meaningful for me, but longtime readers of my blog will know.  Basically, I have had my motives maligned and sweet, beautiful, platonic expressions of affection turned dirty, and it was very psychologically and emotionally damaging–and abusive.  For a time I had begun to open myself up to others more with physical affection, but this scared me back into my shell.  Meanwhile, I see others do the same thing with friends, or here online I read about them doing that, and it’s okay for them to do it!

But these three blog posts have been very comforting for me the past few days.  And in the current state of the world, comfort is good where you can find it.

 

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Reblog: “The Christian Right is Radicalizing White People I Love”

Years ago, I was very disturbed by things I heard from Tracy, Richard’s wife; her views on politics struck me as lacking in empathy and compassion–and very, very misguided (climate change, for example).  She claimed to be a Christian, but I did not see any evidence of this in fruits of the spirit.  It was a relief to cut off relations with her when her abuse of me, her children, and Richard finally became intolerable.  (If not for her being married to Richard, I wouldn’t have put up with her at all, let alone for two and a half years.)

As for Richard, he was a bit better in some ways–He was compassionate toward immigrants, having seen firsthand what draconian border policies do to people.  But he had extremist views of his own that began to get very disturbing.

When I started seeing a couple I knew in college start making similar comments on Facebook, I decided to cut the cord there, too.  I couldn’t make any political posts without this couple making some snide remark.

Lately, however, I’ve been seeing views like theirs showing up more and more on my Facebook news feed, whether people’s posts or their responses to mine.  I’ve already unfriended a few people and changed my settings so I can block another person from seeing certain posts.  But I can’t unfriend family or people I see all the time.

And it’s not just my imagination.  John Pavlovitz writes in The Christian Right is Radicalizing White People I Love,

 

  

There is much more there about watching your loved ones turn into right-wing extremists.  Since I’ve started making political posts on Facebook again after years of avoiding them, I’ve seen comments that make my hair stand on end–from people I thought were better than that.  I’ve unfriended people I had crushes on in school.  I’ve unfriended the mother of a friend.

I’ve wished I could unfriend relatives and friends who see my posts on the treatment of immigrants and say “I’d vote for Trump again” and make snarky comments that mirror GOP talking points.  I’ve heard people say things that seem to come out of left field–then, sometime later, hear those same wacky comments come from some GOP politician or pundit or other right-winger.

And yes, I wonder if this is what it was like for Germans who kept their sanity but watched their friends/relatives/colleagues fall in love with Hitler.

Again, the article is The Christian Right is Radicalizing White People I Love by John Pavlovitz.  Comments here are turned off so you can put them on his blog.

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Reblog: 7 Gaslighting Phrases

Shahida Arabi recently posted 7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You, Translated

I found much familiar there.  For example:

First phrase: “You’re crazy.”  I got this one from Richard and Tracy (“you’re not all there”).

Translation: You’re not the pathological one here. You’re just catching onto who I really am behind the mask and attempting to hold me accountable for my questionable behavior. I’d rather you question your own sanity so you believe that the problem is really you, rather than my own deceptiveness and manipulation. So long as you believe you’re the one who needs help, I’ll never have to take responsibility for changing my own disordered ways of thinking and behaving.

There’s also a bit about narcissists provoking jealousy, and “Manufacturing love triangles and harems are a narcissist’s forte.”  I saw this more than once: There was Richard, who I now realize made a habit of provoking people to jealousy, whether it was romantic partners or platonic friends, because he got off from people arguing over him.  He once boasted that he got three best friends to hate each other because he was dating all of them at once.  Then there was Phil, who constantly tried to make me jealous, while then accusing me of jealousy.

Third phrase: “You’re too sensitive.”  I got that one from Richard.

Translation: It’s not that you’re too sensitive, but rather that I am insensitive, callous, and unempathic. I do not care about your emotions unless they serve me in some way. Your negative reactions provide me stimulation and pleasure, so please, do keep going. I enjoy putting you down for having legitimate reactions to my abuse.

Fifth phrase: “You need to let it go.  Why are you bringing this up?”

Translation: I haven’t given you enough time to even process the last heinous incident of abuse, but you need to let it go already so I can move forward with exploiting you without facing any consequences for my behavior. Let me love-bomb you into thinking that things will be different this time around. Don’t bring up my past patterns of abusive behavior, because you’ll then recognize that this is a cycle that will just continue.

The post notes that this is a way of forming a trauma bond:

This form of abuse amnesia adds onto your addictive bond to the abuser, also known as “trauma bonding.” According to Dr. Logan (2018), “Trauma bonding is evidenced in any relationship which the connection defies logic and is very hard to break. The components necessary for a trauma bond to form are a power differential, intermittent good/bad treatment, and high arousal and bonding periods.”

I’ve experienced this now and then; it also features prominently in my work-in-progress, a novel about a time-traveler who puts a young girl in a trauma bond that neither of them can break.

Sixth, “You’re the problem here, not me”:

Translation: I am the problem here, but I’ll be damned if I let you know it! I’d rather subject you to personal attacks as you bend over backwards trying to hit constantly moving goalposts and arbitrary expectations of the way I think you should feel and behave. As you spend most of your time trying to fix your fabricated flaws while always coming up short of what I deem “worthy,” I can just sit back, relax, and continue to mistreat you the way I feel entitled to. You won’t have any energy left to call me out.

I’ve experienced this repeatedly.  There was Tracy, with her constantly changing expectations that it was impossible for me to meet, and my “flaws” which she made up.  There was Phil, who at first was the One, my perfect man–then turned into the abuser, never satisfied with me, always yelling at me for every little thing I did or didn’t do, and then accusing me of being the one with the problem (story here).  Then there was the Avenger, a BBS troll who bullied and abused others (including me) while insisting that they were the ones with the problem, that she was just avenging herself and others.  Then when she discovered I wrote about this on my website, said I had an “interesting perspective” on what happened–basically invalidating and gaslighting me.

Then seventh, “I never said or did that.  You’re imagining things.”  This one suggests that you keep records of everything the abuser does or says, and learn to validate your own perceptions and recognize red flags.  Through all the abuse I’ve experienced from various people, I’ve held onto my own perceptions, which helps keep me from thinking I somehow “deserved” it.

Getting space from your abuser is essential. Be sure to document events as they happened, rather than how your abuser tells you they happened. Save text messages, voicemails, e-mails, audio or video recordings (if permitted in your state laws) which can help you to remember the facts in times of mental fog, rather than subscribing to the distortions and delusions of the abuser.

I’m certain that some of my abusers–Shawn, who complained that I wrote about everything in my diary, and Richard/Tracy, who tried to make me feel like a creepy stalker for saving e-mails and letters to/from friends–did this to try to gaslight me.  If I couldn’t remember what exactly happened or was said, then they could re-write each incident in my head.  But because I held onto my records, I could look back at them later and say no, that’s not what happened!

Once again, the post is 7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You, Translated

Comments are turned off here so you can put them on the original post.

Oh, by the way, also on that website, I found this post by Lenora Thompson.  Seems she hoped her narcissist abusers would find her website on narcissism, so she could confront them without violating her No Contact rule, and–maybe, hopefully–help them see what they did and change their behavior.  Instead of that, she got legal threats.  But it shows me I’m not the only one who wanted to tell her abusers what they did, but in a safe way.  She wrote,

While the debate still rages whether one should or should not inform narcissists of their Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I’m glad I did it and here’s why:

  • I notified them of why I, their “loved one” suddenly went No Contact. I owed them at least that much.
  • I confirmed their narcissism via the “litmus test” for my own peace of mind.
  • I gave them the tools for informing and educating themselves about narcissism.
  • I gave them the opportunity to change and become better people.
  • I gave them the data to diagnosis the problems in other dysfunctional, painful relationships.
  • I loved them enough to share a list of cancer cures.

Whether you inform the narcissists in your life that they are narcissists is entirely up to you. There are a lot of considerations. Are they violent? Are they vindictive? Will they use that information to turn your shared children against you via Parental Alienation? Are there a lot of flying monkeys about?

Are you doing it to benefit them? Do they honestly want to know? Is there a chance for them to change? Do you owe them that chance?

Do you owe it to yourself? Can you live with yourself if you don’t tell them? Can you live with yourself if you do tell them? What does your character demand? What will give you the most peace of mind, the clearest conscience?

So far, I see no evidence that they’ve accepted the “core dynamic,” learned, benefited nor changed. In fact, their continued actions continue to confirm my diagnosis of narcissism. I hope I’m wrong. I still hope against hope. At the very least, I put a bug in their ear. Perhaps, someday soon, they’ll look into it. Perhaps they have already! I hope so.

But, until then, I did what I thought was right and my conscience is clear.

I feel much the same: In the past, I had directly confronted abusers, who turned it around against me, making it fit their narrative that I was the crazy one.  In Richard/Tracy’s case, I still felt the need to confront them with what they did and that it was abuse, that I didn’t deserve any of it, but could see no way to directly confront them–especially after what had happened with other abusers.  My website was a way to get it all out.  And of course, it went badly…and yet I don’t regret it.  My reasons are similar to Thompson’s.

 

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