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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