Trump is lawsuit-happy–common narcissist/abuser trait

Just read an article in the paper (though, of course, the online version is much longer) called Trump and the “I’ll Sue You” Effect.  It goes into Trump’s history of making threats to sue for defamation, few of which have actually gone anywhere.  While some people have been intimidated into backing down, some have not.

It’s yet more proof that Trump is just a thin-skinned, big bully, dishing it out but not able to take it himself.  He’ll call people losers and rip on their looks and their personal habits like a schoolyard bully, but if you fight back with comments about him being a bully etc., he goes into a conniption fit.

In fact, I’ve known people like this.  I’ve even gotten a threat of a lawsuit, but I refused to back down, and it never materialized.  As Bill Maher said about Trump,

“Plainly, the guy uses lawsuits as a tool of intimidation and doesn’t care how much he clogs the courts with nonsense.”

The article goes on to state:

“Donald Trump has repeatedly attempted to silence his critics over the years through frivolous lawsuits,” said Mascagni, citing Makaeff’s winning claim as one example. “If you really examine some of these cases, it becomes pretty obvious that Trump didn’t file these suits to seek justice. Rather, he filed them to intimidate, harass and silence his critics.”

This is a common tactic used by abusers and narcissists.  I’ve seen all sorts of abuse bloggers claim to have been threatened with lawsuits or even sued.

As for Trump as president–Are you ready for World War III–but with us as the aggressor this time?

Not that Hillary is much better.  Recent revelations have even liberal Democrats getting upset and saying, “Hillary lied!”  I have a little hope that, because of this, she’ll drop out and let Bernie take over.

Otherwise, get ready for President Johnson.  Or President Stein.  This race may actually make a third-party president conceivable.

 

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The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 4

I previously wrote about “the Avenger” here.

I soon discovered the full extent of Avenger’s abusive personality: You could call her the teenage version of Tracy, another abusive and/or personality-disordered bully whom I met later on in life.

Avenger and her boyfriend Lima constantly carried out smear campaigns against innocent people with reckless abandon, yet still some people were so ridiculous as to try to tell me Avenger was a nice person.

Soon after Gypsy’s party, Sharon heard there had been some sort of flame war over Pamela in the forums, and checked it out.  I did also, soon after.

Lima, Avenger and possibly others flamed Pamela and told everyone how “horrible” she was.  Pamela, of course, got upset.  I think she even tried to defend herself, but they just flamed her more.  In the end she said her presence in the forums just brought on more trouble, so she wasn’t going to read or write anything in them anymore.

It’s such a shame when nice people are forced out by mean ones.  It’s such a shame when a bully chooses to justify his or her behavior rather than repenting of it.

I was so upset by this that I wrote a post chewing out Avenger and Lima, and anyone else flaming Pamela, for bullying her.  I unwisely accused them of immaturity–though, as you see in the link above, immaturity is a common trait of bullies–which would keep coming back to haunt me.

Avenger wrote a scathing reply, but she seemed to disagree and yet agree with me at the same time, as Speaker said when I met him on the 8th.

She seemed to defend her actions, and yet say that we should all respect Pamela and let the thread die.  She was sure one to talk about respecting Pamela!  She was as guilty as the rest of them of harassing her.

Lima complained that the thread was old and people should look at the dates of the messages.  Though, from what I’d seen in teleconference, what I said still needed to be said: Even if the thread had died, their harassment of Pamela hadn’t.

Avenger also insisted, “I am mature.”  My future husband Cugan told me once that this statement showed she was immature.  He said immature people don’t like being told they’re immature.

Meanwhile, Speaker avoided Avenger, and often typed “ignore Avenger” when he went online.  When he did this, nothing she did or said online showed up on his computer, as if she were never there.  She was harassing him now.  She knew his embarrassing real name, and teased him about it, among other things.

Once, I found Pigpen and Speaker online, and Pigpen said to Speaker, “Is Avenger being mean to you again?”  (Speaker told me once that he didn’t know why Pigpen and Cankersore liked to come see him every Saturday.)

Stimpy soon sent me an e-mail saying, “Please don’t say any more to them about this.  Do this for me!”  They were vicious people who loved arguing, and that was all I would get out of them.

So I stopped saying anything in that thread.

Probably around the time of the Big Flame War, which happened later that month, Avenger and some of her friends voted in one of the forums on whether or not Franz, whom some of us called Znarf, was cool.

(Franz was in college now, a freshman at MSOE, or Milwaukee School of Engineering, which was also Cugan’s alma mater.)

I voted that he was cool.  Avenger said my vote didn’t count because only the cool people could vote.

Apparently she meant that only her worshippers could vote.  She didn’t seem to want to have anyone else on the BBS considered “cool” except for her and her cronies, and if you disagreed, she ripped into you.

As far as I was considered, everyone in her clique was very uncool, while nice people like my roommates, Krafter, Stimpy, Ish, Speaker, and others were cool.

According to Love Our Children, such polls are yet another means of cyberbullying.

Check out the answer to the “Bullies prey on the weak” myth here: It says, among other things, that “bullies prey on people with a kind heart” and “bullies are irresponsible people who refuse to accept personal responsibility for their behaviour and the effect of their behaviour on other people.”

Also look at the answers to “Victims are unlikeable” and “People who get bullied are wimps”: Basically, these are myths, the victims are normally likeable, and their good points are seen by bullies as vulnerabilities.  Let’s not let bullies decide for us who the cool people are.

Even after discovering that Avenger found this chapter of my Memoirs

–I keep this story in here and haven’t tempered the wording.  This is why:

Because bullying in any form has always been, always will be.  The victims need to know that it’s not right, they’re not weirdos, and they don’t have to let the bullies decide who they are or what they can accomplish.  

Victims of bullying can read the articles I linked to, for ideas on how to combat bullying.  Bystanders can get past the myths and stand up for the bullied.

A year or two after this, Avenger tried to ridicule and harass another woman (who was older than she was, which, I believe, Pamela was too), the same as she did to Pamela.  She said this woman had done something bad to one of her friends.

I didn’t know the other woman’s side, so I don’t know what really happened.  But whatever the case, I thought Avenger should not be carrying this harassment out in the open on the public forums.  I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to see this in the forums.

The woman found Avenger’s comments amusing–things like, she was ugly and fat–and zinged her right back, which I admired her for.  The forum-op broke in and said if the argument continued, she would move it to the Pit forum (which was for arguing).

I think this Avenger is a narcissist, or more likely a sociopath, because of her constant bullying of so many people.  And the way she quickly took offense at NOTHING, flamed you, and then you became her enemy for life.

This was in US News and World Report for March 22, 1999, in the article “E-Mail Nation”:

Emboldened by E-mail’s seeming anonymity, kids send bomb threats to school and hate mail to teachers–and are often suspended from school if caught.  Moreover, they could be sued for libel, says attorney Christopher Wolf of Washington, D.C., if they defame someone’s character in an E-mail (p. 58).

So Avenger was treading dangerous territory here.  She could get in serious trouble if she ridiculed and harassed the wrong person.

I haven’t been on TCB for some time (it’s March 24, 1999), because a couple years later it had become a haven for people like her, and most of the nice people had left.  So for all I know, it’s already happened, and she’s been slapped with a libel suit or two.

After all, she’s not exactly anonymous on TCB: She’d be easy to track down and sue.

Okay, now it’s May 19, 1999, and I’ve been on TCB again.  No one seems to use it for anything other than games and the Internet, so even Avenger hasn’t been on for a while and Lima’s account has been deleted.

Avenger seemed like the ringleader of a clique which worshipped her.  The “clique” title fits because other people were kept out and ridiculed.

Ish said privately to me once, after I read a message from Lima, that Lima just did whatever Avenger did and didn’t seem to have a mind of his own.

Also, Avenger, Lima and a few of the others couldn’t even type a regular, non-flame message without cussing.  Since the BBS was set up to censor such words, their messages kept showing a bunch of asterisks, making them hard to understand.  If the words didn’t show up anyway, why bother writing them?

And the whiny group kept crying “censorship” because their swear words didn’t show up, even though it was a family BBS, and the sysop CD had every right to restrict such words on his own BBS.

As for Avenger, she had a serious persecution complex: She thought everyone over twenty (Lima’s age) was out to get her and all teenagers, and owed her something.  No matter what anyone said, no matter what the subject or how totally unrelated to kids, in her mind it must have been a cutdown on kids.

Not only that, but she and her clique showed absolutely no respect for authority, cutting down on the sysop just as viciously as anyone else–despite the fact that he could ban them all from the BBS if he wanted to.

She’ll get nowhere with that attitude, and if she treats people that way, that’s how she’s going to be treated: It’s the “what goes around, comes around” thing.  Just wait until she has teenagers just like her (though I do hope her and Lima’s future kids will rebel against them and become nice, sweet, wonderful people, like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous).

I liked to play online with a teenager named Mustang, and we shared stories of our genies (mine was Zara, and I think his was Abu).  To my surprise, I found one day (probably after the Flame War) that he was getting to be good friends with the clique.  I really, really hoped he wouldn’t start acting like them, since he was such a nice, fun guy.

The Big Flame War began after Gypsy’s party and before the BBS party on March 18th, 1995.  I believe it went on for several weeks, so in the beginning I may have still been dating Stimpy (or just broken up with him), and in the end I was with Cugan.

This is how it began: In one of the forums, probably /events, CD and others discussed the BBS bowling party, which was to be on the 18th.  They wondered what time it should be, and suggested some late evening times.

Sharon posted that they should keep in mind that many users were under eighteen and might have curfews; the time should be early enough for them to join in the fun, too.  She was just being sensitive to the needs of the kids online.

That’s it.

Avenger posted, “ExCUSE me!” and how sick she was of adults looking down on kids like that.

????!!!!?????!!!!!?????!!!!!

It was a clear case of someone not reading a message thoroughly and reading in things that were never there.  Stimpy quoted her and replied simply, “Um–um–what?  Um–um–what?”

No matter how much Sharon tried to explain that she didn’t mean it that way, Avenger refused to listen to her.  Instead, Avenger insulted her in various ridiculous ways.  For example, she accused her of sleeping with her professors to get good grades.

Irate at Avenger for defaming my smart and virtuous friend, I wrote that she was totally wrong, and told her off.  I did for Sharon what I would want a friend to do for me.

Avenger and her clique began a vicious attack on the both of us, making personal remarks and cutting us down.  And this all because Sharon was trying to be sensitive to the needs of the younger users!

I didn’t know back then that this was called trolling, or baiting people to start fights online.  I didn’t know that it was best to ignore such mean, rude people, aka, “Don’t feed the trolls.”

Sharon apparently didn’t know this, either, because we both got caught up in a Big Flame War with Avenger and her clique, which included Nobody and Sub-Zero.

Avenger and her cronies threw around all sorts of personal remarks like you hear from children on the playground: making fun of our looks and clothes, calling us “dorky,” ridiculous crap like that.  They proved themselves to be just as immature and childish as Avenger insisted they were not.

I didn’t do that to them.  Heck, even as a child, I did not behave in such a ridiculous fashion.  There is no need to go into details; flame wars on the Internet are now a dime a dozen, and everyone knows now how they go.  But eventually all sorts of people began taking both sides.

When the contested bowling party finally happened, Pearl joined Sharon and me.  Though Pearl and I didn’t bowl, we all joined a group with Krafter, CD, and Ish.  Avenger and her clique were in the lane right next to ours, and CD joked, “Nobody say anything about maturity!”

Avenger ignored us all, of course.  This was Pearl’s first look at Avenger.  She later told Sharon and me that Avenger had this snobby or snotty way of holding her head and looking at people, which Pearl imitated for us.  She said, “It was like she was thinking, ‘I’m hot.'”

Though Pearl wasn’t in the Flame War (and was sick of hearing Sharon and me say “Avenger this” and “Avenger that”), one night she found Avenger online, and argued with her about how Avenger treated us.

One girl told me that Pigpen was two-faced, and would seem nice, then do something really mean to you.  Pigpen pretended to be this girl’s friend, then stabbed her in the back.  I forget the details, but it had something to do with the girl’s brother.

This put me on guard against Pigpen being two-faced to me.  Pigpen had seemed like my friend because I was friends with Speaker.  But now she turned two-faced to me, too, joining in with the Avenger clique, making me believe this girl told the truth.

I got all my forum replies in my BBS inbox, so I couldn’t stay away from them simply by avoiding the forums.

Keep in mind, Pearl’s computer was an 8088, and had no mouse or Windows OS, which was in its infancy.  We were running on DOS.  Also, the BBS’s in S— were different from the ones back home in Indiana, so I didn’t know how everything worked.

On BBS’s in 1995, you got your messages immediately on logging in.  It’s not like an e-mail program in Windows which lets you look at a list of headers before deciding what to read.  Some e-mail programs even let you delete without opening, though Thunderbird does not do this.

But there was no such option on this BBS.  The BBS sent me each message as I logged in, and I had to open it before deleting it.  So every time my bullies replied to one of my forum posts, it came directly to my attention and I had to see what they wrote.

I was increasingly bombarded again and again and again by these creeps, with no way to get away from them, unless I stopped going on TCB.

And why should I be forced away from my new online friends and all the fun of playing games with them, when I had done nothing wrong?  This was also my principal means of communicating with my new boyfriend Stimpy and with Krafter, whom I now knew personally, not just online.

So every time I logged in, I’d get all these attacks in my inbox, and tried to defend myself against them.

Not only did they make personal remarks (calling me ugly etc. etc.), but they twisted my words and told lies about me on the forums, which the more gullible kids began to believe, so they started defending the bullies!

Since they kept attacking my friends and me, I kept defending, since nobody ever told me this was not the way to deal with bullies.  When our friends stepped in to defend Sharon and me, they got hit with the bullying, too.

Yet more proof that Avenger is a narcissist and maybe other Cluster B personality disorder as well–probably even a sociopath–surrounded by sycophants and sociopaths who mob-bullied anybody she wanted.  And no, there was no justification for what they did, no matter what they dreamed up in their sick little minds.  This was a cold, calculated smear campaign.

This whole thing also did a number on my self-esteem, making me doubt myself and my looks, and wonder if I was as awful as they said.  I wasn’t, of course, but the residual effects lingered long afterwards.

I believe it went on for weeks.  I was so upset that I carried it through my days, thinking of it even as I sat in class.  I felt like the dork and retard these creeps called me.

I shouldn’t have let little Avenger and her pipsqueak friends get to me like that, but I did.  It was like middle school all over again.  (And yet she insisted she was mature….)

One big problem with bullying is the way sensitive, kind people are made to look like idiots and nerds by the insensitive, immature and unkind.

Instead of accepting it as a “part of life,” bullying of any kind should be stopped by bystanders and/or those in authority: teachers, parents, forum moderators.  

When a bully is supported by his friends, when authority figures aren’t interested in stepping in–even resorting to blaming you for the bullying, when the bully “gets away with it”–this makes it much harder for the bullied to reach “closure.”

At one point, I heard that harassment online was illegal, so I sent a message to CD asking him to step in.  He said the best thing to do would be to ignore Avenger, Lima and Nobody, and they would get bored and go away.

What he really should’ve done was ban the whole lot of them–

–not just for their constant bullying and harassment of me so I couldn’t even log in in peace–

–but for how they bullied so many others on the forum, gang-style, and occasionally chased people away. 

As I noted earlier, that BBS became overrun with flaming gangs and eventually died.  Not banning bullies is a good way to allow your BBS/forum to be overrun with bullies, while the victims get no justice.

CD and Krafter set up a secret, invitation-only forum, which would not show up in the list of forums.  This way, only the nice people could be in the forum and wouldn’t have to deal with the Avenger trolls.  (I didn’t know this usage of the word “troll” until 1998, so I didn’t actually call them that.)

It was called the /elite forum, and in the beginning included maybe a handful or a dozen people: me, Sharon, Pearl, Ish, Krafter, Stimpy, CD, a young girl named Grace and her boyfriend.  If one of us wanted a friend to join, we mentioned the friend in the forum.  If everyone agreed, this person was invited in.

This worked for a few days, but then Lima, Grace’s brother (talk about siblings who are total opposites), came over by the computer and saw the /elite forum when Grace was online one day.  He got mad, wanted his own forum, and told the others in the Avenger clique, who promptly cried, “Censorship!”

This was ridiculous: Forums often have private sections like this, whether for the admins/moderators, or for people to discuss how they’ve been abused without the abusers and trolls finding it, or for some other reason.

(The Forum has such a section.)

This was the abusers and bullies finding the sanctuary and refusing to let anyone have peace and quiet without their trolling, to let their targets have a safe place to get together without their bullies harassing them.

The /elite forum was scrapped, especially when CD or one of the others decided maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  The Pit, or /thepit, however, was formed.  Here, anyone could argue all they wanted, but it had to be kept out of all the other forums.  We applauded this improvement.

I finally wrote a message intending to end the whole thing.  I set things straight about accusations made against me, which some of the kids believed merely on Avenger’s word, and said I would stop my part of the argument:

To ALL

I’d like to set a few things straight to everyone who’s been reading this forum, especially to those who seem to think Avenger is some sort of hero for standing up to those ‘b—- college students who think they’re better than us high-schoolers.’

I don’t care anymore if Avenger or Nobody hates me. Avenger’s friends say she’s ‘nice’ and ‘cool’; well, maybe she is in real life, but I’m not dealing with her in real life, I’m dealing with her on here, and this is the persona she’s chosen to have online.

She’s chosen to treat myself (and others) this way online.

I did not start the argument and neither did Sharon; it was, I admit, stupid of me to respond to what was said to me, and be an ‘easy target’; but I learn from my mistakes and will know better next time.

Now I am trying to end this once and for all so there can be peace, or at least a truce. Also, I don’t want everyone hating me without reason.

I never cut on the age or intelligence of anyone in here. I have not made personal remarks, which the argument has turned to. I have merely responded (though ill-advisedly) to remarks made to me, with ‘an equal and opposite reaction.’

Such as IQ’s, etc.–that was merely a sarcastic response to being called a ‘tard,’ as Nobody termed it. I said nothing about his or anybody else’s intelligence, only mine.

As for age–I have nothing against high-school students. I used to be one myself. What I’m against is the immaturity many high-schoolers have, and also–brace yourself for my unexpected admission–many college students.

I am against immaturity in general, especially when it is the cause of someone else’s relationship problems. Many high-schoolers are also–gasp–mature.

But it usually irritates someone older to see blatant immaturity and popularity games in a group of younger people. It irritates me.

Also Sharon was concerned about younger users having curfews and not being able to go to the bowling party.

I have a note which says, “and might not be able to join in the fun,” though I’m not sure where that was supposed to fit in the sentence.

We had curfews too, everyone under eighteen has curfews (usually), and she was concerned. Her message was the focal point of the argument, originally; it has gone too far off base and has no further purpose.

There has been a lot of assuming, reading between the lines, and twisting of words going on here. There have also been personal comments made to me that are actually ludicrous because they’re the opposite of what I really am or look like.

I’ve had many intellectual conversations here and elsewhere, I’m most definitely not ugly, and the thought of ME being a conformist just makes me burst out laughing! Go ahead, tell me more! I like a good laugh.

Plus, Avenger, I never called you–to yourself or to anyone else, not even to myself–a “dumb blonde.”

I do not believe in the concept of dumb blondes. I have at least four blonde friends (natural blonde) who are very intelligent, as well as brunette friends who, it is said (as a joke, not as a rip), ‘are blonde but their hair doesn’t know it.”  (I did not make up this phrase; an intelligent AND blonde friend of mine likes to say it.) And I was in an environmental group in high school.

This paragraph referred to things said by Avenger, such as “you may think I’m a dumb blonde but I’ve been accepted to UW-Stout and I’m in an environmentalist group.”

Anyone who has thought I meant differently about anything than I did, I’m sorry you took it wrong, but you must realize how it was truly intended. And please, before getting on the bandwagon of one side, look at the other side as well.

Plus–I do realize this is the /argue forum, for arguments. Argue away, but if someone doesn’t want to argue, let them be instead of harassing them. It’s much easier on everyone.

}] Nyssa[{

Four years later, this letter still makes me proud.  Ish, one of my supporters, saw my letter and approved.

I soon checked the responses, however: It was just Lima saying, “Blah blah blah,” nothing more intelligent from any of them, and Lima saying we must worship them (or something like that) before we could ever be in their good graces.

Like I even wanted to be in the good graces of a group of bullies.

What, did he get the silly idea that I was apologizing?  I did no such thing!  Obviously he didn’t actually read the post.  Do you see an apology to the bullies anywhere in that post?

I complained to Ish about these responses.  He said that group doesn’t want to read anything longer than a few paragraphs.

Considering how mean these people were in general, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected that they’d listen to me and lay off.  After all, that would violate the sociopath code.

But back then, I didn’t understand this about bullies, having the naïve notion that bullies could be talked into reasonable behavior and apologizing.

Ish and I were in tele when Lima, probably Avenger, and maybe others showed up.  I whispered to Ish that I would act nice to these people because, as the Bible says, that would “pour burning coals over their heads.”

I greeted Lima with the usual “hello Lima bean–olleh amil neab,” but he made some strange remark about “groupies.”  Then he started talking about bowing down and worshipping him!  I certainly didn’t do that, though I may have joked around a bit.

Then Lima and the others ganged up on me, despite my attempts to be nice, and treated me the same as they did Pamela.  Sharon, watching, said I should show them a thing or two by just leaving, so I did.  I then paged Ish about it, and he consoled me.

Sharon wrote a post to everyone saying that those who adopt online “personas” different from their own personalities, should realize that some people online are real, not “personas,” and do get hurt in real life by things they read online.

For the next several days, I refused to go into the forums.  I may even have stayed away from the BBS for a couple days.

CD soon forced Avenger to apologize to Sharon, which she did, sort of, with a public message in the forums.

I was upset, though, because she apologized only to Sharon when she should have also apologized to me.  I deserved an apology for her b**chiness and bullying of me, just as much as Sharon did.

I don’t remember how CD made her apologize to Sharon–maybe he finally threatened to ban her from the board–but it was a victory for our side.

(Either late that year or in the next year, Avenger wrote on the forums how much she liked Third Rock From the Sun, and sympathized with the aliens for being different and being misunderstood.  She actually said she didn’t make fun of people for how they look or dress, because that was stupid.

(LOL

(What a liar and a hypocrite!  She made all sorts of personal remarks about my looks and dress during the Big Flame War, and accused me of being a snob when I was merely quiet and shy!)

Around this time, CD or Krafter posted a warning to all the users on TCB to not use the same password on different BBS’s.

I didn’t go on Solaris, a rival BBS, very much, especially since it was apparently just some kid trying to go up against TCB instead of just having his own BBS and supporting all the other ones in the area.

But it was popular with the Avenger clique, who figured out people’s passwords (such as Pamela’s), began logging in as those users, and left nasty messages to other users and on the forums.

The innocent users looked bad and had to explain that no, they didn’t write the messages.  I was afraid to go on Solaris during the Flame War, for fear the same thing would happen to me.

This is yet another form of cyberbullying and trolling, which still happens online all the time.

This makes me wonder if Lima and Avenger (who got married eventually) and their sycophants have gone on to become hackers and trolls, spreading hate and trouble throughout the Net, hacking into people’s accounts, spreading viruses, etc.

Because you can see above that they behaved just like those sociopath trolls we still find all over the Net, doing the very same things to harass people–for fun.

In maybe 2006 or 2007, Avenger found these memoirs and posted in my guestbook.  She said little other than that I have “an interesting perspective” on what happened.

Mindblowing.

She must have been well into her 20s by then, and more than 10 years had passed. 

Yet she still thought SHE was right, and did not apologize for her actions.

My childhood bullies tended to apologize to me years later, yet she still had this twisted, false view of herself. 

Don’t most people GROW UP eventually?

Yet more evidence that this bully was still stuck at 16. 

Though when I was 16, I didn’t behave that way, and neither did most people I knew, so age is no excuse for her behavior.

After all, this is yet another way she behaved just like Tracy, another possible sociopath I had the misfortune to cross paths with in 2007. 

Sociopaths will laugh at you for calling them abusers, and refuse to admit wrongdoing or apologize for their bullying and abuse.

And that’s what Tracy and the Avenger both did.

 

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

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Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1: Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 4

Sharon, Pearl and I soon discovered a bullying and smear campaign being carried out on TCB, led by “Lima” against his ex-girlfriend Pamela.

Lima’s usual greeting in Teleconference was “hello” written backwards, or “olleh,” the mirror-image effect Rachel was so fond of.  So I always greeted him with, “hello lima bean–olleh amil neab” or “hello olleh lima amil bean neab.”  But this was before I knew about the bullying.

Now, whenever I went online, I found Lima (a tallish, dark-haired guy of about twenty who worked instead of going to college) and his friends ripping on Pamela.

One day, Pamela came online and he complained about seeing her.  I asked why; he whispered to me (that means, he sent a private message to me) that Pamela was his ex-girlfriend, that she cheated on him and was just awful to him.

After this, Sharon went online one day and found Pamela.  Pamela, a pretty girl with dark hair who was about our age, took her into chat.

She said that Lima and his friends were lying about her, that she never did those things they accused her of.  She said he’d already dated and dumped another girl since her, so Avenger, his new girlfriend (who was only sixteen), was afraid he’d do the same thing to her.

(Actually, a few years later, he married her.  I have no idea if they’re still together, because–even though I can search divorce and criminal records easily in Wisconsin–I never knew their full names.)

Avenger posted sexual innuendos in her profile, which disturbed me because Lima was twenty and she sixteen: Sixteen-year-olds are jailbait in Wisconsin.  In fact, if the police discover that two minor teenagers of the exact same age have slept together, both get charged with sexual assault!  It’s nuts, I know.

“Pigpen” and “Cankersore” were friends of Avenger and Lima.  They were teen-age girls: Pigpen was pretty and slim, and recently broke Stimpy’s heart in a nasty way; Cankersore was plump.  I met them at Gypsy’s party.

Sharon and I witnessed the horrible things Lima, Avenger, Pigpen and Cankersore, probably Nobody, and probably some of Lima’s male friends did whenever Pamela was online.  They waged out-and-out war with her.

She didn’t like being online at the same time as they were, especially in Teleconference, where they’d rip and rip and rip on her with no mercy.

They posted nasty things about her in the forums.  No matter who else was in tele (Teleconference), this group posted everything publicly.  If they whispered anything to her, I don’t know.  This cyber-abuse, cyber-bullying, upset Pamela a lot.

Sometime during this period, I met Avenger online for the first time: I went into tele, finding Ish Kabibble, and Avenger in private chat with a boy who wasn’t Lima.

She came back into the main Teleconference channel and the boy left.  Ish said words like, “I see you brushing yourself off, there, Avenger.  You’d better be careful not to let Lima know you were alone with another boy.”

I made some joke in this vein which I can’t remember now, just some harmless throwaway comment to make her laugh.  Everyone else laughed.  But she turned on me and wrote, “Listen, NEW USER, you’d better be careful.”  I had no clue why she’d say that to me, especially when she wasn’t mad at Ish for teasing her.  It was bizarre.

I believe she left tele soon after, so I discussed it with Ish, wondering what the heck had just happened.  He didn’t know what set her off, either.

When Avenger logged off a few minutes later, she sent a message to me that said, “Avenger is hugging you!”  I paged her with, “So you’ve forgiven me now? 🙂 ”

She didn’t respond because she was already offline.  I didn’t know at the time that this was her logoff message, sent to the entire board, that she wasn’t hugging me personally.

(By the way, I soon began to type “.wave all” before I logged off each time, which sent a message to everyone online saying, “Nyssa Of Traken is waving to you.”  That was my good-bye wave.)

After I discovered my mistake, and that Avenger had not “forgiven” me at all, I dreaded her appearance online, and avoided her.  I grunted “Avenger” with a frown whenever she came online.

I checked her registry.  It said she was sixteen, which I knew to be a volatile age, so I said to myself, “That explains it.”  Well, sort of, since I wasn’t like that at sixteen.

It wasn’t just her age, but her personality.  Of course, I didn’t know that yet.  She was rude and mean to me ever since she first met me, even though I was always nice to people online.

Her attitude problem didn’t go away with age, as I discovered a year or two later, and then around 2006 or 2007 when she found this memoir on my website.  She still refused to admit that she was mean and nasty to everyone, still saw herself as some kind of champion.

At 16, she seemed to hate anyone over 20.  She seemed to think people that “old” hated teenagers.  She turned on them with the slightest provocation–even with no provocation–and twisted anything they said into a slam on teenagers.

She and her cronies ridiculed older users in the forums.  If anyone tried to defend them, she ridiculed them, too.

She was immature, but insisted she was mature (which Cugan later told me was a sure sign of her immaturity).  She was bad-tempered, arrogant and cocky.

I never did anything to her–except disagree with her–yet she hated me.  One of the other users told me there were few girls on the BBS, so many of them hated competition.  (What’s with this “competition,” anyway?)  However, that didn’t excuse how nasty some of these girls got.

After all, Avenger wasn’t just rude to other girls, but to men, too.  Speaker was one favorite target.  So were Krafter, Stimpy and their male friends.  Once, an older guy wrote to her in the forums, “I don’t understand you at all.”

Nowadays, I believe that Avenger is a sociopath.  She could also have other Cluster B personality disorders, considering how easily she took offense, a sure sign of borderline or histrionic disorders.  I soon discovered the full extent of Avenger’s abusive personality, so much so that you could call her the teenage version of Tracy, another personality-disordered bully whom I met later on in life.

But this was not the end.  More on this batsh**-crazy sociopathic female is in the March chapter.  There, her drama-queen antics reached a fever pitch as she tried to mob-cyber-bully me off the board with a massive smear campaign.

That’s what she and Lima did to Pamela, who eventually stopped going on the BBS entirely, yet another nice person intimidated off while the nasty ones took over.  That’s what she tried to do to another girl, Amethyst? a year later–except Amethyst just laughed at her.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

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I am out of danger from my abusers: Statute of limitations has run out

A quick check of Wisconsin laws tells me that the statute of limitations for libel/slander is two years.  I never libeled, defamed or slandered my abusive ex-friends, but when they found my blog, they threatened to sue me for this.

Even if Richard and Tracy were to still think they have a case, it has been between two and a half to four and a half years since I told friends, family, my priest and this blog about what happened, hoping for support, venting and help with healing.  It has also been more than two and a half years since they made this threat.

They have suffered no job losses.  If they even have jobs, I wouldn’t know who they work for, and wouldn’t contact their employers anyway.  That just isn’t the kind of thing I do.  We also do not run in the same circles except online, even though we live in the same city.  They have absolutely no financial losses to claim because of me.

This tells me their threats were just intimidation meant to keep me quiet, that they were all bluster, that they hoped I was easy to intimidate, that they were indeed intentionally trying to gaslight me into doubting what I knew was true.

Instead, I stayed strong and brave, continuing to tell my story, keeping my blog up, keeping my mind and memory strong and secure against the gaslighting.

This tells you, the reader, to be brave and tell your own story of abuse.  Don’t let your abusers silence you!

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Controversial Play Tears the School Apart–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–March 1994, Part 2

Now for the defining event which essentially ruined what InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) fought so hard to set up at Roanoke:

You don’t have to agree with the people who were against the school play, but I do want you to understand that nobody was trying to stifle women’s voices or fight against women’s empowerment.

Nor was it IVCF trying to censor people, which is how it was misrepresented to the student body.  This is what really happened:

In March, there was a huge controversy over the school play that was to be put on that semester.

Lucky Spot” had already caused controversy fall semester because it had nonstop cussing and was shown on Family Night without a warning; the language really should have been toned down out of sensitivity to the audience and any Christian actors.

The language added nothing; the play would have been perfectly understandable without it.  It didn’t seem right to make actors use language which may have been against their personal Christian beliefs.  It was, however, a good and funny play.

This next play, “Uncommon Women” by Wendy Wasserstein, caused controversy because of the often vulgar subject matter.  Many people considered it inappropriate at a Christian college.

The year before, my World Lit class had said that we could be pretty sure the old guys who ran Roanoke would never agree to showing the old Greek play, “Lysistrata.”  But “Lysistrata” was tame compared to this play.

Some of the controversial scenes: A girl runs in and says, “I did it!  I’ve tasted my menstrual blood!”  (I have a low tolerance for gore.)  There was also a scene in which a girl shows a virgin the different penis sizes.  I don’t remember more concrete examples from the play, so you’d have to find a copy or video of it.

In Googling this play just now, I discovered that this play was shown on TV back in the 70s, to critical acclaim.  I had never heard of this play, however, and I doubt that many people at Roanoke had, other than the older generations, such as the theater director.

(No doubt my parents did not want me, a 5-year-old, to see it.  As Nazarenes, they probably did not want to watch it themselves.)

A critic from the New York Times called the sex talk funny and believable, though it becomes excessive.  But to me, it wasn’t at all believable, and was all excessive.

As Phil explained it to me, a former member of our IVCF group, Dori, also a theater major, got a copy of the script (hoping to try out), but was irate.

She wrote letters to the churches that supported the college financially, quoted the vulgar parts of the play, said it had no business being performed on a Christian campus, and that IVCF was behind her in this.

But I don’t know why she wrote this about IVCF.  She was on the outs with our club president Pearl, she had not been in IVCF for a while, and IVCF had never even heard of this play.  

The rest of the school, however, got wind of this by March and believed a rumor–namely, that IVCF was against the play.

The members of IVCF had never read the play, and had no official stand on the play, not then or, as far as I remember, ever.  But they were seen as censors.

The Mirror staff showed a grave error in judgment by making a certain Kelly, the most vocal and adamant supporter of the play and foe to IVCF, the main writer of articles about the controversy.  

Rather than do actual, professional, journalistic research, he wrote rumors and opinions and inaccuracies as facts, and fueled the fire against IVCF.  Basically, he was our own Rita Skeeter.

IVCF was ridiculed and verbally abused.

Many of the people, organizations and churches who funded Roanoke threatened to withhold their money because of the play.

I have since learned that Tracy was involved in this play (to my surprise because I believe she was a Christian), and that the actresses made T-shirts which said, “Who’s afraid of Wendy Wasserstein?”  Which really made no sense; nobody was “afraid” of Wendy Wasserstein.  We didn’t even know who she was.

I had no individual stance until after the Play was shown.  I wanted to see it for myself before making up my mind.

I went around listening to people’s various sides of it: I had long talks with Phil about it, since he had the one male part in the play: an announcer offstage.

He said this year’s theme was plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning women, but this play had not won the Pulitzer.

(After just now checking out the plot of the Pulitzer winner, The Heidi Chronicles, I bet it would have been far better received at Roanoke than Uncommon Women.)

We also talked with others about it, such as Julie.  She and Darryl were to change their position after converting to Catholicism a few years later, and feel mortified that they took the stance they did.  But at the time they felt that Roanoke was a liberal arts school, and showing the play was part of being liberal arts.

Kelly apparently didn’t know that I was in IVCF, which he mistakenly thought Dori still belonged to (an example of his lack of research before writing articles).

When Phil and I somehow ended up talking with him about the play after lunch or dinner one day and the cafeteria was nearly empty, he railed in a loud voice against Dori.  He was graphic, crass and embarrassingly loud.

He said he bet she had done things to herself that were like things spoken of in the play, and then moved his hand down to his crotch and started yelling out female cries of orgasmic pleasure.

Phil and I said nothing at the time, but both agreed that what Kelly said and did was far over the line of decency.

Others, such as Astrid and Pearl, thought that a Christian school should not be showing plays with vulgar content.  If this were a secular college, they would have let it go.

Different people in IVCF had different opinions.  Some thought it should be banned; some thought it should be shown; some didn’t know what to think and preferred to stay out of it (that would be me and probably my roommate).

The rumor mill made us sound like a powerhorse, but IVCF was merely a handful of hardworking friends with no real influence in anything, who just wanted to get a group going for Christians to come together and hang out and have Bible studies.  

The majority of people against showing the play did not attend IVCF meetings at all, or rarely attended.  Some of us, regardless of our individual stances, were disgusted at how our little group of IVCF had been dragged into this.

Pepper Steak Derek had started doing a campus talk show in Bossard called “No Holds Barred.”  One night, the topic was the play.

On the panel were four people who he said represented InterVarsity–not representing the people against the play, but IV, though it had no stance: It was just a group.  They were Pearl, Mike, a guy who I don’t think came to IV that often, and Dori–who wasn’t even in IV.

I didn’t go to it for some reason, but Pearl later told me that it was like being in Hell itself.  There was yelling and jeers (people against IV), and people accusing IV of things it wasn’t even doing.  

Pearl and others tried to explain their positions, and I believe they got rudely shouted down.  Once a girl stood up and started rambling on about it, and her thoughts were disjointed and made no sense so the unnamed guy on the panel said, “Excuse me, but what is your point?”

The rumor mill had made IV sound like Bible-thumping censors and jerks, but that was nowhere near the truth.  IV, in fact, never did have an official position on the play.  Kelly, of course, also wrote a biased article about “No Holds Barred.”

Pearl, Mike and Rachel all wrote excellent letters to the editor.

Pearl thought the college should decide if it was Christian or secular, and on that base its decision whether to show the play.

Mike thought that people in the local towns were sheltered; nowadays, after forgetting all about the play, he says he’d be interested in seeing it.

Rachel, who was not in IVCF and was certainly no prude, thought the play should not be shown.  She tells me now that the play embarrassed her, that women can be crass and vulgar, but portraying them that way shows their foolishness, not their strengths.  It doesn’t do women justice.

Somebody, I don’t know who, started a petition to ban the play.  I don’t believe the petition had anything to do with IV.  If anything, it was just one or two people who wanted to do it.  I don’t believe I signed it, either, if I ever actually saw it.

Since Phil was the voiceover, I got to see parts of the script beforehand.  Some made me laugh, so I thought maybe the play would be fine.  The date I went to see the Play: probably April 22.  I don’t know what I did with the program.  I may have tossed it.

I felt the acting was often exaggerated, done to shock and to play to the supporters, done to emphasize the controversial bits, rather than to amuse.

During the intermission, I went out into the foyer to go to the bathroom, and Phil soon found me.  He took me into the entryway, which was separated from the foyer by glass doors, and asked me what I thought of the Play.  I said it was just awful.  Then and/or after the play was over, I said I hated it.  I didn’t care who heard me.

From what I could see, with everything in context now, the Play had no plot or point, and just took whatever chance it could find to be as gross, offensive, or vulgar as possible.  It glorified promiscuity.  And why on earth would anybody want to taste her menstrual blood?

I didn’t consider myself prudish–after all, I liked Lysistrata, The Monk, the Black Adder series and Are You Being Served, and had been addicted to Tales of the City and Melrose Place.  But there was a line I did not like to cross, a line which went past “provocative” or “naughty” and on to “obscene.”  As far as I was concerned, Uncommon Women was on the “obscene” side.

It was like it had been written by a teenager who wanted to shock their elders, or a shock jock, or one of those shock comics we had in those days.  Such things may make adolescents giggle, but they’re not true, lasting art.

Maybe it was making some kind of point about society’s views of women, but that was in the 1970s when the Sexual Revolution was a new thing.  In 1994, it wasn’t at all unusual to hear teenage women talking about sex, or for Christians to be mocked for believing in God and for abstaining from sex, drugs and alcohol.  All through my childhood and teen years, I had been mocked for my beliefs.  I came to a Christian college to find a safe haven for four years where I could hopefully find a husband among a huge pool of men with the same values I held–but instead I found almost none who shared them.  The ones who did, weren’t interested in me for some reason I never could understand.  The guys I did date, kept pushing me to compromise my beliefs.  And now here was this play telling me that my beliefs were wrong, that chastity was weird, as if I hadn’t already heard enough of that every day.

Everybody gave the play a standing ovation, but I thought it was the worst play I’d ever seen.  I later wondered if it would be better to read it, because the acting itself was so terrible, with little attention paid to things like emoting and sounding natural, sacrificing quality to say shocking lines as loudly and mockingly as possible.  This wasn’t artistic–It was nothing but a big F**K YOU.

It was possible that the play would have been much better in the hands of skilled actresses with comedic timing.  I had seen much better acting on that very stage, even from the very same actresses.  For example, if you want to see shocking, controversial subject matter done well with excellent comedic timing, I recommend watching the show Titus from around the turn of the century.

I figured the standing ovation could only have been for putting on the play in the first place despite opposition, and not for artistic value.  I stayed in my seat and only made a couple quiet, cursory claps–even quieter than my soft, shy claps usually are.

This may have been when I decided that the play did not belong on a Christian campus, though I didn’t support Dori’s actions, either.  (It was too late to join one side or the other, however, now that the play had been performed.)

Reading works in Lit class was one thing, often necessary to get a full grounding in Lit education; performing them was another, because it essentially endorsed whatever work was performed.

None of the campus plays I’d seen before this were specifically Christian, especially Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  But here was a Christian college putting on a play that openly mocked people who wanted to save themselves for marriage and resist looking at others as sex objects.

IVCF did go to the Play, an effort to show that we were trying to be fair and had been given a bad rap, and held a discussion on it after opening night.  However, no one even came to the discussion, which surprised us.

(I don’t believe I saw the Play on the opening night but on the second, though my day planner suggests I did.  I think my not going to the Play that night was the reason I didn’t go to the discussion.)

The lack of anyone at the discussion was a slap in the face, especially considering that lots of people on campus thought the play should not be shown.  Gary’s Christian girlfriend, Diana, not a part of IVCF, had the part of the virgin, and was the only character I liked.  I wondered why she wanted to be involved with such a play.

The memory of this Play was still fresh in our minds when senior year began, and the strange hostility to our group didn’t seem to dissipate much.

Once during a prayer (when once again we prayed at each of the buildings around campus), two girls walked by and began singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of their lungs.  (We countered such rudeness with humor, which you can read about when I discuss this in the senior year chapters.)

I was so furious with the rumors and what they did to our hard work that, years later, I still burn to tell people what really happened.  [This part was written and posted online in 2007.]

Years later, I discovered that the play director’s wife misrepresented the opposing point of view in the Summer 2007 issue of the alumni magazine, in an article about her husband, who had retired:

Tracy and the rest of the cast of ‘Uncommon Women,’ remember the controversy about the play?  You suffered as a group because at the time the college didn’t know anything about women’s studies.

I’m still proud of you for responding by wearing those ‘Who’s Afraid of Wendy Wasserstein?’ shirts.  Thanks for supporting [the director] and the idea of empowering women’s voices.

This just re-opened the wound I thought had closed, by making it sound like the people against the play–some of whom were my close friends, and women writers–were ignorant anti-feminists who didn’t want women to have a voice.

First they were accused of censorship; now they are accused of stifling women’s voices?  Come on, now!

This had nothing to do with woman’s “struggle against patriarchal society” or “empowering” women.  This had nothing to do with knowing nothing about “women’s studies.”  (Heck, we’d read Toni Morrison and other women authors in Lit classes.)

Many of the people against the play were women writers, even feminists.

This had everything to do with a Christian college putting on and endorsing a play which glorified promiscuity and made it impossible for many Christians to even try out for it.  For Rachel, it was about women being depicted as foolish.

This was about people refusing to listen to both sides of an argument, instead shouting the other side down and allowing slander to run rampant, and then mocking the opposition after you have effectively silenced them.

How is it “empowering” women to talk about penis sizes and tasting menstrual blood?  Women are struggling with much more important issues than finding a good lay.  We have everything from unequal power structures to abuse and murder to contend with.

How about being “empowered” in positive ways through good, unselfish, equal marriages, children raised to respect others, equal pay for equal work, equal respect, women (and men) choosing to work or stay at home as they wish, women dressing how they like instead of how others tell them to?  How about being empowered by fighting for a society that rejects sexism and rape?

Do we really need vulgarity to accomplish this?

The victors really do write the history books, so we have to be careful.  And journalists do not always tell the whole story, whether through deliberate yellow journalism or through getting facts wrong or through getting their stories chopped up.

And this does real damage to lives and to groups.  Not only did the effects of this slander and libel follow us through the rest of the year, but they continued to follow us through senior year, as I will show.

As far as I know, IVCF lasted only a little while after our last founding member (Astrid) graduated several years later.  And all this fuss was over what–something noble?  No, it was over a play about tasting menstrual blood.  I still hear about “Hair,” but I never hear about this play.

One heartening thing is discovering that, in 2007, the college now has four specifically Christian organizations, where once it had none.  Once IVCF was the only one, and it struggled to survive; now there are others in its place.

Those groups must have enough support and members to survive as four groups instead of one.  It makes me wonder if the atmosphere there has finally changed, if perhaps it has become the Christian college we had once prayed for.

But I have no way of knowing, since I haven’t attended for twelve years now.  I also couldn’t tell you if the college ever put on another controversial play.  [Note this was written in 2007.]

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

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On Fearing Lawsuits When Writing Memoirs About Abuse

I suppose the threat of a lawsuit, which I got in Now I’m Being Stalked, had to happen eventually.  I’ve always feared such a thing because not only do I write memoir (see my College Memoirs), including stories of the good and bad times (including abuse), but I also adapt real life into my fiction.

But I read Writer’s Digest for many years (until it seemed everything I’d already read kept being rehashed), and followed its guidelines for avoiding libel suits.

But as writers, we must not let this keep us from telling our truth.  I continued telling my truth, but that lawsuit never materialized.

Now that the materials it was threatened over, have been published for at least a year, it seems the threat is over.

Also, my stalkers never said which “facts” were supposedly “false.”  I have examined the materials many times, and find nothing whatsoever that is false.  All I find is truth and opinion, neither of which are actionable.

I occasionally follow interesting Google searches which led readers to my blog.  (I see them in my stats, and can click on them.)

Today, one such search was “can i write a memoir about abuse defamation,” which had led to my post Articles about abuse memoirs and abuse blogs: why we need to write them.

Clicking on the search link led me to Peering at Privacy in Creative Nonfiction by Kaylene Johnson.  She writes many reassuring words, such as:

The influences of mass media and Freudian psychology have popularized biographies and memoirs and, for better or worse, opened the doors to a cavalcade of talk shows and tell-all celebrity.

Smith explains that “the more private our lives become, the more self-conscious, the more we attempt to define ourselves apart from tradition or communal expectations, the more we turn to memoir, biography, or celebrity tabloid to offer possibility.

When we read biographies, we search for a friend, a mentor, a kindred spirit, and ultimately for ourselves. What can we learn from his experience that will confirm, challenge, or enhance our own?”

One might even argue that the current modus operandi in media and publishing leans toward anything goes; the juicier and more sordid the detail the better. However, the freedom to discuss the most private experiences in a public forum has also given voice to the formerly silent and disenfranchised.

There is power in truth; and the freedom to tell the truth gives rise to transformation and change. It is precisely this power that authors of creative nonfiction tap into when they decide to write their stories. What to reveal and what to leave unspoken becomes, then, a decision of conscience.

…..In the end, Molly Peacock encourages writers to write first, to write honestly, and to worry about the risks later. “It’s best to go forward with your own truths and then go forward with your negotiations,” she advises. “The legal issues and the psychological trespass issues should be left to later when the work is done.”

She claims that authors write memoirs in order to figure things out, and that the writing itself is a genuine process of discovery. To self-censor over worries about privacy issues is to limit the possibilities of discovery. “Say whatever it is in you to say. You can decide later what to publish… you will endlessly be coping with obstacles if you don’t.”

…..Although libel laws are set and enforced by various state laws, authors cannot be sued for statements of opinion. Neither can they be sued for telling the truth.

However, the MLA notes “Belief in the truth of an offending statement is different from the ability to prove the truth of such a statement.” In other words, writers should research and make sure their facts are accurate.

And finally, “actual malice” must be proven for a libel suit to be successful. Publication had to be made “with the knowledge that the material was false or with reckless disregard of the truth.”

The bottom line is that responsible research and honorable intentions are usually enough to keep authors and publishers out of legal hot water. Truth is considered a complete defense and the more tangible the evidence of truth (public records, etc.) the better.

……Fear of legal entanglement and concerns over the trespass on another’s privacy can cripple a writer’s ability to get at the heart of the story she is trying to tell.

That is not to say that these issues are not legitimate concerns. However, if the work is honest and the writer is truthful, she has little to fear.

Perhaps the most important question to ask in the process of writing is whether or not the disclosure of private thoughts, events, conversations, and anecdotes will serve the work at hand.

……Connie May Fowler said she started writing her memoir, When Katie Wakes, as a tribute to her dog, yet the story graphically describes the horrors of domestic violence.

“I went into it innocently, not knowing how hard it would be. I wasn’t ready to write it, but in an odd way that helped contribute to its rawness,” she said. “Writing the book helped me get to a new point in my life. From here on my art and work will be artistically bolder.”

A creative nonfiction writing exercise at a Spalding MFA in Writing residency proved how wrenching the writing of personal narrative can be.

MFA students of all genres were asked to write a personal response to a public event such as the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Voices shook, hands trembled, and tears flowed as seasoned writers shared their writing in small groups. No one anticipated the emotional cost of this exercise or the “down time” some students needed afterward to recover.

The risk of crossing boundaries is not just limited to trespassing on another’s privacy: the ultimate challenge may lie in breaking through our reluctance to move into the tender and vulnerable places of our own lives.

As writers we must be willing to take those risks, not for journalistic reasons of the truth as fact, but for the sake of shaping the work into an art that transcends the circumstances about which we are writing.

Writing hard truths with candor and compassion legitimizes and validates not only one’s personal experience but, when artfully done, offers a passageway to universal truths that can illuminate and liberate.

Seasoned authors such as Terry Tempest Williams, Molly Peacock, Connie May Fowler, Rodger Kamenetz, and Thomas Lynch all had to tackle privacy issues when writing their memoirs and essays.

Theirs were not the questions of “amateurs” but the legitimate concerns of writers everywhere.

It turns out that permission to write about these hard truths is more easily gained than one might imagine-so long as truth, compassion, and empathy are braided throughout the work.

All authors agreed that writing is often a process of painful discovery. However, the movement toward greater honesty-writing about hard truths in the light of compassion-will serve the work by creating a room for the reader that is alive with presences.

In other words, we must tell our truth without fear of reprisal, if we want our work to be honest, if we want it to mean something.

 

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Intimidation of Abuse Bloggers

Please note: This is a diary of my struggle dealing with abuse and stalking, NOT legal advice.

My abusers are trying to intimidate me into silence.  I have clear documented evidence of this, and witnesses.  I have pulled this information together for others being intimidated into silence by their abusers, especially for bloggers.  In our voices, we have strength.  Keep blogging!

Threats and intimidation: threatening to harm the victim, family members and pets, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, keeping weapons & threatening to use them —Abusive Relationships

 Whether it’s bullying from peers in school or the workplace, sibling abuse, child abuse or domestic violence, constant intimidation is unhealthy for all involved.

Whether you are the perpetrator, the victim or an innocent bystander, constant intimidation can cause anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and nightmares.

Even if the perpetrator fails to act on his threats, the damage is done. Verbal and mental intimidation can be far more damaging than physical violence as the scars are much less visible and can go undetected. —Long-Term Effects of Constant Intimidation | eHow.com

Only she is far from alone. My own friends list is full of people – mostly women – whose activism has led to them being targeted: whose failure to “get a joke” turns them instantly into the butt of one themselves.

I’ve been on the receiving end, too, very recently. Of online abuse. Of intimidation. Though nowhere on the scale of that endured by better known columnists such as Julie Bindel, who has been threatened yet again this past weekend.

So forgive me if I don’t join with those suggesting Suzanne Moore “man up” in response to the latest batch of online abuse. Or dissing Mary Beard, who has come in for abuse following her appearance on Question Time last week, as an online wimp. It’s an issue – and the simplistic analysis I have seen of it so far doesn’t go a fraction of the way to address it.

First up, there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure.  Beard makes the point well, in a blog responding to her own online treatment.

It is clear that she is no stranger to tired old jokes about her appearance – but even she has been shocked about the response she evoked, describing the level of misogyny as “truly gobsmacking”.

The focus of much of the abuse is sexual, sadistic even and, she adds: “it would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate”.

In other words, it is silencing, something I get very well from personal experience. I’ve opted out of contributing online for periods ranging from hours to a couple of weeks after being subjected to this sort of online nastiness.

Not just me. Many far braver women with serious contributions to make to public discourse on violence and abuse have suffered similar: been silenced simply for having an opinion. –Jane Fae, Misogyny, intimidation, silencing – the realities of online bullying

This sounds like the kind of thing I was subjected to in 2009, here, which my narc ex-friend Richard proclaimed I should “get over.”  As does the vile crap which Mary Beard was subjected to because of her name, as she documents in her blog post, Internet fury: or having your anatomy dissected online.  An excerpt:

All the same, you may say … why pay it any attention, still less give it publicity?

Several reasons. First, the misogyny here is truly gobsmacking. The whole site is pretty hateful (and what some of the comments say about Andrew Marr since he’s been ill are almost worse than anything).. but the whole “cunt” talk and the kind of stuff represented by the photo on right is more than a few steps into sadism.

It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate, especially as all of this comes up on google..

But is it just a kind of rugby club joke misfired? Well that’s what I’d guess they would say. “Where’s your sense of humour?”

But reading through it (and yes you get tipped off about it whether you search or not.. and no you cant resist looking at it), it is absolutely plain as day that this is meant to hurt and wound (“If all else, we got to her” as one commenter says).

It shows the classic signs of vile playground bullying — claiming to know about the victim, sneering at things they could not possibly know but claim they do, destabilising by using names in the thread that are those of you friends or even anagrams of your own, suggesting that they are watching you… that’s all part of the bullying repertoire.

 

Given the kind of graphic threats Kathy received, I can appreciate the need to be cautious, maybe even to take a hiatus for a while. But when a voice is voluntarily silenced forever, the bad guys have won. Fear wins. I cannot accept this. Intimidation only works if you let yourself be intimidated; terrorism only works if you let yourself be terrorized.

So Kathy, if you’re out there, I urge you to come back. We miss you.

Of course, it is Dare’s blog, and he is free to do whatever he likes with it, regardless of what those 70,000 readers might want. He doesn’t specify exactly what the problem is, although I have a hard time imagining that his many posts about XML, web APIs, and Facebook are causing problems for his family in Nigeria.

Still, I hate the idea that Dare is giving up, that he’s conceding to unnamed forces who are intimidating him into silence.

It’d be one thing if Dare said that he didn’t enjoy blogging, or if nobody was listening. But clearly that’s not the case. Dare provided a refreshingly honest and open look at what was going on inside parts of Microsoft, along with some penetrating industry analysis. I’ll miss that greatly.

I’ve never met Kathy Sierra or Dare Obasanjo, although I do feel I know them peripherally through long term readership of their blogs. It’s not my place to tell them– or anyone, really– what to do.

But I’m absolutely certain that when they stop writing, everyone loses. –Jeff Atwood, Death Threats, Intimidation, and Blogging

Today at the American Center for Law and Justice, we announced that we’re representing Ali and the National Bloggers Club. We intend to aggressively respond to any and all attacks on bloggers’ free-speech rights.

The truth is a defense to frivolous libel claims, and the law exists to protect free speech, not enable its attackers. It is appalling and inexcusable that major leftist organizations fund a convicted domestic terrorist. It is even more appalling that the price of reporting these facts is a campaign of threats and legal intimidation.

But one thing is clear: The radicals have picked a fight with the wrong people. Ali and the bloggers at the National Bloggers Club will not be silenced. –David French, Defending Bloggers from Attacks, Intimidation, and Frivolous Lawsuits

The district court’s ruling (PDF here) is the fullest treatment I’ve seen of the theory that blogs, as an inherently less factual medium, are less susceptible to defamation suits.

Judge Marco Hernandez turns to the Ninth Circuit’s standard test (first laid out in Unelko Corp. v. Rooney but expanded upon in Partington v. Bugliosi) for deciding whether a written work is “factual” (and thus open to defamation claims) or “opinion” (protected by the First Amendment).

That test, first of all, looks not at the author’s intent to be “factual” or not, but instead turns on how a reasonable reader would interpret the information.

To figure out how readers will take the information, the test looks to the “context” of the work, both in a broad, general-tenor sense (which includes “the subject of the statements, the setting, and the format”) and in a more focused sense (looking at things like the writing style of the disputed content, whether figurative language was used, and so on).

Judge Hernandez ended up ruling that Cox, who runs a website critical of Obsidian Finance’s acts in the bankruptcy realm, was writing opinion and not fact. And that’s fine with me.

The judge’s order runs through plenty of evidence — the website’s URL (ObsidianFinanceSucks.com), the subject matter (bankruptcy disputes), the language and tone (described as “stream of consciousness”) — to suggest that Cox’s posts aren’t “factual” in the defamation-law sense of the word.

Instead, Cox is just someone with (as the judge puts it) a “personal vendetta” against Obsidian Finance. Her writing makes that bias obvious, which undercuts the factual nature of her blog.

Now, that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with looking at the entirety of a website to decide how factual or non- various statements are. (Otherwise, The Onion would have a lot of trouble). That inquiry focuses on the message being conveyed, not on the medium used to convey it. –John Sharkey, Why Blogs Can’t Be Trusted, or: ‘Statements Made Here Are Not Likely Provable Assertions of Fact’

Cox vs. Obsidian Finance Group, Judgment; The Case

Here we go again. Over the past few years there have been a number of cases in which a crank, quack, or charlatan has attempted to silence legitimate criticism of their claims and behavior by threatening legal action, either shutting down their site through the ISP or suing for libel.

I guess they feel that a lone blogger would be easy to intimidate. They are not part of a large media outlet with lawyers on the payroll to defend them. Defending against even a frivolous suit can be ruinous to a lone blogger.

The goal, however, is not to really sue but to threaten the blogger into silence. It is intellectual thuggery, meant to defend a charlatan who cannot defend themselves with science and evidence…..

Recently a person calling himself Marc Stephens wrote a very threatening letter to Andy Lewis who wrote a critical post about the cancer clinic of Stanislaw Burzynski called The False Hope of the Burzynki Clinic. Stephens tried to make the letter sound legal and official, even though he does not appear to be a lawyer. The letter says, in part:

Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your posting to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: defamation Libel, defamation per se, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships.

The information you assert in your article is factually incorrect, and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity.

In other words – the blog post is libel and we will sue if you don’t take it down immediately.

Lewis essentially responded the way General Anthony Clement McAuliff responded when asked to surrender by the Germans in World War II – “Nuts.” The post is still up, and now there are dozens of other blog posts up also criticizing the Burzynski clinic and their attempt at silencing criticism. –Steven Novella, Another Crank Tries to Intimidate a Blogger

There is an extensive blogging community who write about their experiences with abuse, narcissism, borderline and other Cluster B personality disorders.

I have looked over countless such blogs, and it is the normal way of things to describe your experiences, in however much detail you like.  Some people use their real names, but most use pseudonyms and fake names or “titles” for the people in their blogs, such as “NM” for “narcissistic mother.”

Oftentimes the blogs are found by the people described.  Sometimes these people get upset, but don’t do much except be nuisances, leaving nasty comments or sending complaining e-mails denying the truth of the blogs.

But I have come across various cases of bloggers being threatened with legal action.  One narcissism blogger wrote this very helpful post for fellow bloggers, Airing the Family Laundry: Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character.  I’m reblogging this for all such bloggers who might happen upon my blog.  Some quotes:

“…context matters: courts have held that given the nature of online forums, online comments cannot be taken as seriously as those made in real life or in the media. Because of these requirements, bringing a claim for internet libel is a challenge.” —the Legality ….

I read several articles in preparation for this post and most of them suggested it was ill-mannered and probably not-very-wise to write about family and friends.

However, in context of the recovery community, personal narrative and disclosure are de rigueur. Readers expect a certain type of blog when reading about narcissism.

We don’t expect love stories—unless the blog is seriously pathological and merits being flagged as inappropriately ludicrous like Chicken Soup for the Soul-less or something.

We expect bloggers to write from the gut, interspersing emotion-laden anecdotes, not clinical appendages suitable for publication in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

We expect to see a cooperative blog where people share their troubles with one another; i.e.: airing out the family linen together.

On blogs like mine, self-disclosure is i-m-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e. Bloggers connect the dots between past and present which will, if we are doing our recovery work, focus on family dynamics.

Bloggers write about sensitive topics such as: family patterns and dysfunctional behaviors; internalized beliefs and assumptions; distinctions between normal and pathological behavior; traumatic events; intimate details in relationships; our thoughts, behaviors and reactions to other people’s thoughts, behaviors and reactions; and never forget: the armchair diagnosis based on accessible information about pathology.

We do not expect bloggers to be professional psychologists so whatever diagnosis bloggers have determined best fits, is not libelous. It’s opinion.

Don’t let the fear that you ‘might’ be sued stand in the way of speaking your truth.

I would imagine that more than one blogger writing about narcissism has been warned—finger in the blogger’s nose—that should she write even ONE WORD disparaging the narcissist’s most excellent reputation and untarnished character, that she would be sued into the netherworld of Hell.

And yet, here we are—still blogging, still learning, still fighting for healthier relationships by opening the doors on dysfunction…whether people like being written about or not.

The chances that you will be sued are slim-to-none if you follow Good Faith practices protecting your anonymity.

If you’re the one being unjustly written about, be careful reading websites sponsored by ambulance-chasing attorneys who’ll feed your greed and your desire for revenge. You’re better off toughening your own thin-skin and keeping the narcissist away from your blog, than you are engaging in litigation that could cost thousands of dollars and a decade of your life.

And what for? So you could tell the narcissist she was a scuz? So you could stick it to the person who said you were scuzzy?

I am preaching to myself as much as anyone because it isn’t easy defending people’s right to free speech when you’re seriously butthurt from something they said or wrote about you.

 

….Cyberspace is most definitely a new world from the print-world I grew up in when the printed word (newspapers and magazines) was the only source of information.

Retractions for false information couldn’t be edited at a moment’s notice and people had no voice for opposition if they didn’t own a printing press. Libel suits were integral to a fair and just society because reputations could be ruined and financial losses irreparable by the time a retraction could be published.

This is not our reality today. Our first action ought be contacting the author. Working things out. Resolving our differences. Not hiring an attorney.

 

…I hope my blog inspires an army of ACoNs [Adult Children of Narcissists] to start writing since nearly every person who does, discovers a power within they didn’t realize they had. Writing puts things into perspective and for some of us: restores our SANITY.

I was thinking about the ACoN community and why blogging is so important. If you ever attended 12-step meetings, you’ve likely heard the cliche: “Your head is a bad neighborhood to visit alone.”

Talking with other people interrupts unhealthy rumination and even obsessiveness. That’s been my experience and believe you me, I know a lot about obsessiveness. ha!

… Where do you go to talk about dysfunction and narcissism? If you join your local quilting group and start talking about patriarchal abuse, they’ll stick you with their needles and sew your mouth shut. I mean seriously, who are you going to talk with?

A lot of people have the resources and the time to spend years in therapy. Some of us don’t have extra cash for that and our insurance policies won’t pay for it anyway.

To just sit in our ‘shit’ and let it fester rather than working through our issues with people who don’t shame, blame and “sue” us for defamation, perpetuates dysfunction. We start out with unhealthy behaviors and if left uncorrected, those behaviors turn into traits and pretty soon, you’re the lonely old cat lady shooting passersby and muttering to yourself.

The last two paragraphs were in response to a comment that there are no support groups in real life for victims of narcissists and Cluster Bs, so this is why we turn to blogging.

My comments are turned off because my narcissists found my blog.  But just writing my story, and occasionally commenting on other narcissist/abuse blogs, and reading their similar experiences, has been very helpful.

These are people who understand because they’ve been there, and don’t judge you.  They don’t give you pat answers like, “just let it go,” because they know that the only way to move on is to face the problem head-on and work through the pain and anger.

The biggest words to keep in mind are, of course, “falsely” and “knowingly.”  You have to be deliberately writing things you know to be false, for it to be libel.  I steer clear of such behavior, having always had an innate sense of honesty.  Whatever I write, I have reason to believe to be true.

Using real names is also a big no-no in most cases.

So avoid both and may your blogging lead you to emotional health.  Your blog gives you a voice, something which you may have been denied–as I was–in dealing with your narcs/Cluster Bs/abusers.

I don’t even care anymore when I see my blog stalkers in the stats.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

[Update 11/10/12:] Another blogger who’s been threatened with a lawsuit, this time blogging about a narcissistic ex-husband, but it went nowhere:

The bottom line– he saw my blog and wants it removed.  He wants the custody orders changed and is throwing out words like “defamation” and “slander”.

He threw out accusations of Parental Alienation Syndrome which is the furthest thing from the truth.  He is a bully and he is trying to intimidate me. –One Mom’s Battle, Intimidation Tactics

After receiving the paperwork yesterday with his request for an emergency hearing, I spoke to many knowledgeable people.  Professional bloggers and people with a background in law.  I was assured that I was in compliance since I haven’t publicly named him. –One Mom’s Battle, Hearing Request: Denied

Just like me, this writer posted her story of abuse on the web, then her abusers found it.  This is her story of what happened next:

Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi

In February, I got a phone call from my main abuser saying: “I read your little blog post, what are you doing? Trying to get attention? Who abused you, and why am I hearing about it in this way?”

(I would like to say that “your little blog post” was kind of comedic to me, since this is a highly trafficked website that has helped thousands of people.)

And then 3 more phone calls from my other main abuser.

Phone Call 1: “Kylie, we got a phone call today about your blog post. Someone in the family has read it and we really need to know what is happening and what is going on here.

It’s really obvious that you are accusing someone in the family of sexually abusing you and since we know that isn’t true we just want to find out what is going on with you.”

Phone Call 2: “Kylie, one of your aunts has read the blog post and she can’t sleep. She hasn’t been able to sleep in 3 nights. She is so upset.”

Phone Call 3: “Kylie, one of your uncles has read the blog post and now he is wanting to beat up the person you accused in your article.”

Kylie: “I am really sorry for all the drama this is causing for you. I genuinely was trying to help people. I do whatever I can to help people heal from what I have overcome and been through. I had no idea it would cause anyone else any stress or pain. I was very conscientious not to point any specific fingers, so I’m not sure why people are making these assumptions about who abused me.”

Because her abusers still frightened her, she

actually stopped working on a book on overcoming sexual trauma that I have been working on for over 10 years. I stopped commenting on EFB and OSA Facebook pages and sites.

I stopped offering the recovery-based courses that women were participating in with life-changing results.

In short, I stopped speaking my truth.  I silenced myself.

But she goes on to describe how she pulled out of her paralysis and began speaking out again.  I noted that she was helped greatly by this post by Christina Enevoldson.

I’m not sure if Christina wrote that post directly in response to a question I asked her, or if she was already working on the post.  But I had just read Christina’s post about her mother threatening her with legal action and accusing her of lying about her childhood sexual abuse, and asked her,

I noted the similarity between my story and what Christina’s mother wrote to her. I also note that she accused Christina of some kind of “threat.” What happened after this? Did the police get involved? How did you get the courage to keep telling and keep the story online, Christina?

Christina responded,

Wow, Kay!
That’s great that you’re not backing down! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s not easy to stand up to bullies of any kind. Yours seem to be very persistent, though you seem even more so. Good for you!

My parent’s threat actually emboldened me to speak up more. The reasons for that is a little long to include as a comment, but I’m working on it as a separate blog post. I’ll post the link here as soon as I get it up.

Thanks for your question! It’s really good to consider all the ways their threat helped me.

Now her post has helped not just me, but many others as well.

Here’s how one court dealt with a narcissistic ex-husband suing his ex over her blog and book:

The Commission refused to hear the motion and threw it out while making it very clear that he does not want to hear about the book or blog ever again. He said that I have the right to write about anything that I choose. —One Mom’s Battle

 

“Note to Narcissists~ If you think you recognize yourself in something I write, then YOU owe somebody an apology. I don’t owe YOU one. It’s not MY fault if your own behavior embarrasses you.

I never identify the lowlifes I’m writing about, and if you behave like that, not to mention being arrogant and idiotic enough to actually think YOU are the star of something I write, then you SHOULD be ashamed of yourself .

So quit whining and start apologizing for acting like a jackass and hurting people who love you.” ~Rev. Renee Pitelli, posted here [Update 11/27/14: Muldrfan’s older blog no longer exists, so the link no longer works.]

As Paula wrote on one of her blogs:

I am 100% supportive of outing these fools by name. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand that outing them is a direct consequence and they should deal with it. They don’t.

Instead, they seek low-life attorneys willing to send cease and desist letters to scare us into thinking we’re committing a crime.

We’re not!! It’s called freedom of speech. If they think we’re lying and hope to sue us for defamation, libel, or slander, they need to prove that in court. The burden in U.S. courts is on the complainant, not the defender. I believe it is opposite in some countries, including Canada and the UK. :)

…Not that I’ll be doing this.  No, that information is for my friends, not the Net.

Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control. The abuser uses intimidation, fear, guilt or threats to frighten and belittle the victim.

In intimate relationships, emotional abuse often results in one partner feeling ashamed, afraid and isolated from friends and family.

They may be fearful to talk to anyone about the abuse because their abuser has told them that no one will believe them. Abusers often degrade and humiliate their victims to the point that they are left with little self-esteem.

Parents or caregivers who emotionally abuse their children also use similar controlling tactics to gain power over the child.

Children who experience emotional abuse feel that they are responsible for the behavior of their parents and that if only they were more polite, better students or better children, then their parents would be more loving. —Emotional Abuse

I am beginning to think that this was his plan from the start –Wear me out emotionally, mentally, financially.

I bet he never expected me to fight this hard but either way, I wish I saw an end in sight. I can’t move on living like this. But he may have anticipated that. Turns out its not uncommon for batterers to use the legal system to abuse their ex. –Juniperskye, Power and Control  [link no longer works]

 Abuse is any threat, act or physical force that is used to create fear, control or intimidate. Abuse is about maintained power and control. An abuser may choose to use intimidation, isolation, humiliation, blame or physical violence to make you go along with everything he says and does.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behaviour. In fact, abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.

Abuse takes many forms. It can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial. —Information on Abuse

 How do we deal effectively with intimidation? Well, the first thing is to recognize it for what it is. This is a problem that the narcissist has with himself, not with you.

If you take it personally, you’ll fall into the trap of getting distracted from what’s really going on. You’ll be manipulated into thinking you have something to do with his problem and hence can fix it, and you’ll compromise yourself in trying to do so.

The narcissist has a deep problem with himself. Know that the narcissist’s actions don’t come from a place of strength, but from desperation.

His greatest fear is the truth, and if he’s going into a rage, it’s probably because you’re getting close to it or you’ve already exposed him. He will intimidate if his sense of control, grandiosity, and dominance is threatened.

Remembering this can help you detach, take a step back, and allow him the space to have his fit on his own. Trust in yourself. You’re going to feel frustration, fear, anxiety, but don’t act from it or you’ll get sucked in.

Ask yourself the important questions, “Was this outburst appropriate? What happened before the outburst that brought it on? Why did it bring about such a reaction?” If you’re too enmeshed in the situation to answer objectively, ask other people what they think. –Katie, Surviving After Narcissistic Abuse: Intimidation

 In 2008, when the Daily News started reporting in earnest on the growing evidence that Armstrong had cheated, we found that paranoia struck deep in the cycling world. It’s a small industry, and Armstrong was a transcendent figure, so powerful inside his sport that people feared for their livelihoods and reputations if they crossed him.

Four years later, it’s easier for the wider world to see why. The evidence published this month by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows that Armstrong and his cronies possessed a cynical assuredness that their yellow wristbands entitled them to smash anyone who threatened their corrupt regime.

But it’s also already becoming harder for the world to see how lonely and painful it was for people in cycling to stand up and resist Armstrong’s Machiavellian tactics.

Now it’s trendy to be an accuser — it’s the stuff of bestsellers, not defamation complaints. But if you took on that role during the peak of Armstrong’s Tour de France dominance you might be vilified, accused of being jealous, drunk, unpatriotic, mentally disturbed. —Victims of Lance Armstrong’s strong-arm tactics feel relief and vindication in the wake of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report

A comfort for the intimidated:

What are the negative effects of intimidation?
If you continue to use intimidation to control others, then you will:
* Find people developing emotional barriers in their relationships with you so that they are no longer vulnerable to being hurt by your control.
* Be at risk of being accused as being emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusive in your dealings with others.
* Find that the costs of “getting your way” all of the time are greater than you expected when you find yourself lonely and disconnected from others.
* Believe that the only goal in life is succeeding in getting your way at any cost and become totally consumed in the pursuit of acquiring power, control, position and status.
* Run the risk of becoming a pathetic, lonely, isolated person with few close relationships and many enemies out to get their revenge against you.
* Experience a great deal of passive aggressiveness thrown your way by the people you are trying to control.
* Risk becoming more absolute and rigid in your exercise of power and control and become more defensive about any personal criticism of your actions or beliefs.
* Begin to prefer “rejecting” people before they reject you and find yourself becoming increasingly socially isolated and alienated from others.
* Not be accepted, approved of or sought after by others who will never get a chance to see the “real you” whom you’ve locked behind your intimidating mask.
* Feel like you’re really a “teddy bear” underneath it all and bemoan that people never take the time to get to know this side of you. You might even lie and say you don’t care if they never get to know that side of you, even though emotionally you know differently.
* Run the risk of becoming more depressed as you become more isolated and find that your anger and rage flare ups increase.
* Experience even lower self-esteem due to the lack of acceptance by others. —Eliminating Intimidation

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