I now have an eye-popping cover on all my versions of Tojet. The artwork is by Kimberly Steele. For years I haven’t changed the cover because of, well, fear of changing anything in my book: Revisions could make something go goofy. 😛 Here is the new cover:
Also, while working on the revisions, I had to update my pricing as well. The last time I did this, I could set my own royalty at a reasonable rate to keep the book prices as low as possible for the reader. But now, Lulu is making me set minimum prices higher than I wanted–and I discovered that retailers such as Amazon would then take away most of that royalty! If I want anything above 70 cents from an Amazon royalty, I’ll have to jack up the print prices so high that no one will buy it. >:(
So I don’t think I’ll be selling my print books through retailers anymore, except for any copies they may have in inventory. But now that I’ve made both of my books available as e-books in the versatile epub format, those should soon be available through retailers. Print versions, however, will have to go through Lulu.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with the cover of The Lighthouse. It’s a Lulu-provided cover, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get a better one. I could make one, but I don’t do full-color paintings, so I hesitate. Paying someone costs $$$. Public domain images just don’t look right for the book. So for now it’s staying as it is, unless I come up with a better one.
For years I’ve wanted a Kindle, but didn’t have the $$$. But I recently discovered that Amazon offers payment plans for Kindles, and I had a birthday coming up. So now I have one–
and discovered how sucky my old e-books look on a Kindle.
In the early days of e-books, offering your book as a PDF was enough because most people probably would just open it on their computers anyway, and PDFs looked good and professional. PDFs were also good if you wanted to print the book.
As technology began to pass me by, I had no idea that my PDF offerings were now tough to use on the fancy e-book readers. Since I didn’t have one, I didn’t know how they worked.
Well, now that I have my own Kindle, I see clearly that the old PDFs just aren’t good enough. So now–
after a lot of frustration because of formatting issues and the tendency of both Word and WordPerfect to use punctuation that turns to garbledygook in HTML >:( —
I am offering both Tojet and The Lighthouse as epub-format e-books. At the moment, they’re available from Lulu, but they should soon be available from more stores, including Amazon’s Kindle store. I use Calibre to convert my epubs to use on my Kindle.
So come check them out if you have an e-book reader. As before, I offer them for $3 each: My Lulu Storefront
Her reasons are so true. I have learned in my own life, dealing recently with two people with Cluster Bs (narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, high-conflict personality disorders), that they do not change, do not accept responsibility, will just keep blaming you for everything wrong if you stick around.
I felt guilty for so long for cutting these Cluster Bs out of my life, often wondering if I did the right thing–
–but as I discovered a couple of years later, they were still blaming me for everything wrong, still justifying their own Cluster B rages and abuses, still crossing my boundaries of insisting that I be treated with respect and kindness.
While a layman can’t make an official diagnosis, a layman still has to deal with the behaviors of abusers, whether the abusers ever get diagnosed with Cluster B or not.
And if all the behaviors are there, the abuser must be treated as if they were officially diagnosed: In other words, cut them out of your life and don’t look back, without feeling guilty.
An official diagnosis only gives an official stamp on the behaviors of this person; it does not create them. An undiagnosed Cluster B is still a Cluster B, still causes destruction, and his victims need to act as if he had been diagnosed.
Or to put it another way, an abuser is an abuser no matter what’s driving his actions.
As Shrink4Men’s Tara J. Palmatier puts it in the comments here:
Diagnosing an individual with a personality disorder can be difficult for several reasons:
1) PD’d individuals tend to lie/minimize/blame others/portray themselves as victims to therapists. They can be very proficient at playing the sweet, injured party and as such, are able to fool a lot of people, even well-trained therapists.
2) They often refuse to acknowledge their problems, blame others and drop out of therapy once the therapist starts to recognize the real issues and tries to make the PD’s behavior the focus of treatment.
3) Many therapists, even when they strongly suspect/believe the individual has a PD, do not give them the diagnosis for a variety of reasons.
This video, “NPD and BPD” by DelusionDispeller@gmail.com, on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline), makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline.
It even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar.
It also says that when you break up, the BPD is more likely to try to get you to reconsider, while the NPD is more likely to say “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” (Tracy’s reaction).
Many of my clients and participants on Shrink4Men comment on the overlap of narcissistic and borderline behaviors in their wives, girlfriends, exes, parents, and siblings, etc. This is because narcissism is very frequently present in individuals with BPD. –Dr. Tara, The New Face of Borderline
I had my own experiences and the testimonies of Richard and Todd to go by before, saw how well they fit in with all the traits of Cluster B.
I did the right thing in cutting these people off, sized them up correctly. If I had stuck around instead of ending the relationship with them, they would just have continued their abusive behaviors, and sucked my soul away.
I see clearly that I lost nothing of value, that Richard was no true friend. Now, without them–and knowing that I was correct about them and did the right thing–I can go on with life, much happier without them.
Because of the psychological “spell” which narcissists put you under, you begin to think you can’t live without them. Maybe they are your lover, your mother, your best friend, or some other such relationship which you feel you can’t break off.
But it isn’t true. It may hurt for a time, just like cutting off a diseased limb, but eventually it will get better, life will return to you.
For example, I felt forced to cut my best friend out of my life, only to discover later that his character was not what I thought it was, because of a horrible, violent act he committed (choking his daughter to unconsciousness) and was convicted of after the friendship breakup–
–and the lack of remorse he showed for this act, in the e-mail he and/or Tracy wrote to me. The truth of his character was forced to my notice.
My husband Jeff says Richard is afraid of me because I know about this and so many other things he’s said and done, and that he wants to keep me under his thumb.
Not only am I much happier not dealing with his wife’s constant dramas, but I am now making friends with a person who has many of the traits I so admired in my former best friend–but none of the narcissism.
This is a fellow parishioner who has the piety and zeal of a convert while being cradle Orthodox, and knows about our faith’s theologies and oddities such as the toll house controversy, is someone I can talk to about such things.
He posts quotes from various saints on Facebook. He listed Goth music in his Facebook “likes.” But he is against getting too concerned about outward form such as headscarves and pews.
He’s shown no signs of extremist politics; he posts about religion, not politics, on Facebook; he voted the same way I did the other day. As far as I can tell, he has no violent past, and eschews violence.
Through him I’m also making new friends who interest and amuse me, who want to convert to Orthodoxy, so we can relate to each other. I feel my zeal for God returning.
It’s almost as if God is telling me, Don’t worry, I really am here, I just needed to get this false friend out of the way so you could make much better friends–and reconnect with your true, old friends.
I go to parties or get-togethers with old friends, meet up with my old roommie, and it’s fun. People are free to be themselves; nobody judges me harshly for being a shy, quiet person with little oddities.
One friend will flirt shamelessly with me, and his wife and my husband just laugh at the silliness of it all.
My old roommie does social work and is a liberal; she can relate to my outrage over child abuse.
Another old friend is a preacher, but also a liberal with a huge heart, and very silly at times; he’s fun to chat with on Facebook. I can tell him I just watched a Muppet movie, and thought of him.
Another old friend told me he used to be passionately in love with me back in high school but never had the courage to say anything.
I’ve comforted someone who was dealing with an abusive marriage. I’ve connected with a cousin (by marriage) who went through a painful breakup with a narcissistic girlfriend at the same time I went through this painful friendship breakup, and who has Asperger’s, so we relate to each other in many ways.
For a while, Hubby and I went to SCA dance classes in the neighboring barony, before they moved on to fighter classes instead.
We’ve traveled. My husband found a new, fun group with which to play D&D.
My husband finally found a good-paying job, with health benefits, right here in town. I’ve been making friends with other parents at my child’s school.
Though for a long time it seemed like I could not go on without my former best friend, like I just wanted my life to end, I’ve slowly been breaking free of his narcissistic hold over me.
Which is good, because recent events have shown me that he is a full-blown narcissist, not a true friend at all, not capable of being the kind of friend I once thought he was.
Here is a blog post written by a guy who used blogging to realize what really happened during his relationship with his probably borderline ex, and get over her. He’d been so beaten down by her that it took this step for him to remember the truth. Some quotes:
Finally, one thing that this exercise also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia. “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”
When those thoughts come into your head (and even now, they still do for me, occasionally), go back and read the story you’ve written. Remember, this is your narrative – not hers. Things were that bad.
You’ll remember that pretty quickly—and you’ll never want to let yourself fall into that trap ever again. Write it out. And remember: You get to….
As I write this, I’m approaching 2 years of no contact with the ex. I am by no means “all better.” I don’t know if I ever will be. But if I’m not “all” better, I’m at least better than I was two years ago at this time.
I hope this post and other posts I contribute will be more like postcards from the voyage. I want to say “the voyage back to wholeness,” but that would be an assumption.
It may seem impossible now, but you must cut off that Cluster B, regain your own memories of what happened, research Cluster Bs, learn how to reject the abuser’s words and cuts at you (such as Tracy’s rages at me) as mere sewer sludge to be washed off.
Eventually, you will get to the point where you can say to your bully/abuser, as Sarah did to the Goblin King, “You have no power over me!”
I can now laugh at Tracy and Richard trying to call me crazy, knowing that I’m actually quite sane and that life is again good.
Angry, I love this blog, you, the whole concept of blogging to “get back” at selfish people anonymously, get it out of your system.
Sometimes I just tell people in your situation, You gotta’ blog, get support on the web, there are people in your EXACT situation. And here you are, doing it.
But maybe there’s a direct way to get to them, too, a therapeutic approach for all of the fam. I just started reading so if that’s impossible, don’t get angry 🙂 at me. Just sayin, people can change, it can take a while, no doubt.
OAD writes in “My Man”(Update: probably in the comments, which are not archived) that her reason for her blog is the same as mine:
I think venting about NM (narcissistic mother) is a good thing, but perhaps look for a different outlet for that venting besides DH (dear husband).
A journal, blog or one of the DONM (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers) message boards are a great place to get it all out. I started this blog to spare my DH and my friends. I know they are supportive, but I think the topic gets old and there comes a point to move on.
Toxic, righteous, controlling, bullying, abusive pseudo-friends usually don’t change. The relief and freedom you feel when you clear them out of your environment tells you that it was worth the effort. You’ve reclaimed your spirit and your life.
Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.
The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect
Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.
Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.
When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.
You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized
Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….
How is this relevant to the topic of narcissism? I am convinced that the narcissist has learned intuitively how to hypnotize people….
Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.
I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power….
The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions. –Anna Valerious, This is your brain on hypnosis
There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes. But he kept staring. (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)
He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life. I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.
Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.
When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here. When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:
The Narcissistic Stare
The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.
The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.
A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.
Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.
Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2
1. Narcissistic Stare
Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List
It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”
They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…
Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….
The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.
However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….
Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”
I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…
Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.
The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages. Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …
Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”
It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look. Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.
Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.” Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …
Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths
So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.
On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.” Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is! You kiss pieces of wood!”
(By the way, I hear that my old friend Catherine is dealing with a “friend” living in her place and giving her much the same trouble my old “boarders” gave me. Not moving out, complaining about everything, blaming you for everything, then getting all cutesy to manipulate you into letting them stay. Dang, that sounds familiar. Hubby, who just told me all about it, says people like this prey on people like Catherine and me, who are nice and sweet etc. He was just telling me all about Catherine’s “boarder.”)
Now for the sociopath I googled.
I’ve mentioned this guy on my blog before. Almost 20 years ago now ( wait–what? 😲 ) , a guy came to my SCA shire (medieval re-enactment; a shire is a local group) and immediately began turning it upside-down.
First he made an entrance which I consider attention-seeking: He came to a Halloween event with a mask, so we’d wonder who he was. Nobody else wore masks. His girlfriend, one of our members, helped out by saying, “Who is it?”
Finally, after intriguing us all, making us wonder if he was some famous personage, he took off the mask–and was nobody anybody knew. Shortly afterward, he began to insult the religious beliefs of my husband and me.
This became a pattern for him at subsequent SCA events, insulting Christians, getting up on his soapbox and railing against them. I wanted to go to events to have fun, not to hear how my religion is evil and must be vanquished. It was very stressful.
Then he took over the shire’s brand-new website and turned it into a platform promoting his own religious beliefs, leading to a link on his own site which said he was on a campaign to stamp out Christianity. Now, religion in the context of medieval times would have been fine, but a shire website is not supposed to be about promoting anybody’s religion or giving instructions on how to astral-project.
Some people complained; my husband, the president of the group at the time, was the go-between and tried to resolve things peacefully. He asked the guy to remove the stuff promoting religion without historical medieval context, and make some aesthetic changes because the site was a resource hog that took forever to load. (Lots and lots of pictures, many animated, ON ONE PAGE, in the days of dial-up and HTML.)
This guy turned it into a huge conspiracy against him. He made himself into a martyr, posted our e-mails online without proper context (such as phone calls which tried to resolve things peacefully), posted his e-mails as “proof” of what we allegedly “did” even though his e-mails twisted everything in their details, left out Hubby’s initial e-mail which was very diplomatic, brought in everybody he knew to support him, e-mailed other shires to badmouth us, tried to involve kingdom officials, and turned us into the Evil Oppressors of the Innocent Him. And yes, he used everybody’s full, real names or SCA names. Months later, one of our members got an e-mail from a stranger saying how horrible my husband and a few others were, because of what he read on the site, which was still up.
Finally he left the group. We got a new webmaster, who made the site into a simple, informative website with meeting and event schedules, member bios, that sort of thing. It also loaded a lot faster.
The kingdom–our local regional group–put out a webmaster’s guide which specifically prohibited every single thing this guy did. It said the sites were not to be used to promote religions, not to be used as a soapbox, etc. etc.
But then we got mailbombed with about 100 e-mails labeled “karma.” I strongly suspect this guy did it–especially since I later learned that he uses the term “karma” when punishing those he thinks have oppressed him.
He also came to a shire event brandishing a real sword, not fake ones like you’re supposed to have in the SCA, violating rules and creating a safety hazard. Hubby felt he did this to goad Hubby into responding, because Hubby was sitting troll (ie, taking entrance fees and having people sign the customary waivers).
“Jenny’s Story” in my collection The Lighthouse was partially inspired by this whole thing. I put this guy’s words into the mouth of Scott, the accuser of Jenny. It was my way to deal with the anger over what he did to my husband and others in the shire.
I don’t want to make this a big, long post, but there’s much to sum up. Over the years, every now and then–like maybe every five years or so–I wonder what the dude’s been up to, and start googling. I keep coming up with some freaky stuff, like:
He claims to be the creator of several Atari games, which he claims intellectual rights to, and that Atari screwed him.
He likes to create computer viruses/trojans to avenge various perceived wrongs done against him or others. He created one such trojan to punish Charter, the cable company. Another was used against a bank.
He was busted for shooting naughty pictures of a 15-year-old, and now has to register as a sex offender.
He moved around a bit after leaving our shire, but eventually settled in a city in the next county where the shire is based. (No, it’s not Fond du Lac or this county, thank goodness!) I found an entire web forum in that city devoted to hating on him back around 2009. I found all sorts of threads about his criminal history and complaining about him.
Over the years, I have gotten a strong picture of a guy who is severely mentally disturbed, probably a narcissistic sociopath. Someone who must have attention, martyr complex, paranoia, that sort of thing. Must be grandiose, must be the subject of some conspiracy, must avenge all wrongs like he’s Don Quixote. Even the name he chose for the SCA was Lightbringer, like he’s a Messiah.
You can find this type in the writings of Sam Vaknin.
Well, tonight I went looking again, to see if yet another criminal case has been taken out against him. Every once in a while, state court records show that he’s been arrested for something again, usually for violating the requirements of the sex registry. And he always complains about being treated unfairly in one way or another.
Sure enough, he’s currently in such a case, updated just a few days ago. A little googling revealed that he has turned this court case into part of a grand conspiracy against him, involving an allegedly corrupt local police force and even our state governor Scott Walker. There are videos about this on Youtube. It’s a featured case on a website called Leagle.
I even found his petition for writ of habeas corpus demanding a “federal criminal grand jury investigation.” It has some weird garbledygook about not being a citizen of the US (Inc) but of the US, therefore not subject to the US (Inc).
He calls himself a Reverend now. He’s talking about murder threats, false imprisonment, that the local police are out to get him and he didn’t really commit a crime with the 15-year-old, government conspiracy….
Oh yeah, and the court records for the current case reveal the state questioned his competence to stand trial.
So, a guy with a history of grandiosity, a martyr complex and sociopathy is claiming that he’s the target of a vast conspiracy and didn’t REALLY take naughty pictures of a 15-year-old. (I’ve seen the website he ran around the time he was arrested for that charge, and its pictures of teenage girls, so I can believe he really did take naughty pics.)
And I recall how he turned my husband and several shire members into a kind of Evil Coalition against him, when they just wanted him to make the website into a simple, informative site which loads in less than 10 minutes and doesn’t hide page links. (Seriously, the page links were invisible unless you knew to look for them. This was 1999, when most people didn’t yet know a picture could also be a link.)
Yeah, I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that anything he says is for reals. I think he wants his life to be a Hollywood movie.
No, I won’t name the guy on my website. But I thought it was an amusing example of the kind of sociopathy you may come across. And an example of why we should be careful not to believe just anything we read on the Net.