Ex, mental health, politics

When QAnon brings estranged family members together…

Yesterday, I read a sad article in The Washington Post about how people have lost family members to QAnon. It began with a compelling description about how 24 year old Tyler watched as his mom stocked up for an imagined armageddon. She brought home ammunition, a water purifier, camping gear, and shelf stable food. She started wearing a holstered pistol just walking around her house, believing that there would be days of power outages and civil unrest.

Tyler’s mom told him that on March 4, 2021, there would be massive chaos. That would be when Donald Trump would return to power. March 4, for your edification, is the original Inauguration Day prior to the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1932.

Tyler had been living with his mother since he graduated college in 2019. They were located about an hour north of Minneapolis. As the 2020 elections approached, Tyler watched as his mom became more and more entrenched in baseless conspiracy theories and outright lies. Based on the WaPo’s article, I can assume that she turned into someone he no longer knew. Complicating matters was the presence of Tyler’s stepfather, who is apparently just as entrenched in QAnon.

The confusion in the household and worry Tyler experienced prompted him to seek help online. Last month, Tyler found the Reddit group, QAnonCasualties, which was founded by people who had watched their families fracture over the political climate in the United States. He explained to the moderators of the group that his mother and stepfather have a lot of weapons and are convinced that World War III is about to commence.

Making matters worse is the fact that Tyler hasn’t been working. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism, Tyler had graduated from a local university with a degree in manufacturing engineering. He quit his job in early January because he hoped to find work that would make use of his newly minted degree. As of yet, he hasn’t found new work. As Inauguration Day approached, he watched his mom grow ever more unhinged.

An old friend had stopped by with a wedding present, since Tyler’s mom had just remarried. Noticing the pistol, the friend asked Tyler’s mom if she planned to shoot anyone that day. And Tyler’s mom reportedly replied, “You never know what’s going to happen with the Democrats. They stole the election.” The friend told WaPo reporters that Tyler’s mom had once been a “wonderful” person who had invited her over for tea and gone kayaking with her. But now, it seems she’s gone completely off the deep end. According to the article:

To protect his family’s anonymity, The Washington Post is only using Tyler’s first name. In an email, his mother blamed her son for the tension in the house, writing that he was disrespectful and refused to look for work after leaving his job earlier this year. She added that she “never even heard of Qanon until very recently” and doesn’t “follow it,” but declined to discuss why she had begun purchasing survival gear and whether she believed Trump would return to the White House in March. “My beliefs about Trump are actually none of your business,” she wrote.

Tyler said he and his mother discussed QAnon one time; a bizarre conversation in which his mother insisted that QAnon prophecies were the product of artificial intelligence. He described an atmosphere of growing conspiracy and fear that pervaded his home. “It started a month before the election,” Tyler said in an interview, “and it kept growing until it felt like she was preaching the Bible to me.”

At first she insisted that Trump, not Biden, would be inaugurated on Jan. 20, and for a while Tyler held out hope that Biden’s swearing-in would jolt his mother back into reality. She would put away her gun and life would return to normal. But, the ceremony in Washington seemed to make little difference at his house in Minnesota.

Tyler truly hoped his mom would be more normal once Biden was inaugurated. He even posted online that she had seemed more “normal” on January 21st. But very soon, she went back to her old ways, insisting that Trump would be back in the White House. So Tyler decided to confront his mom, and that confrontation ultimately led to his being ejected from her home. She even threatened to have her new husband “hurt” Tyler.

Which brings me to the title of today’s post… up until this point, it sounds like Tyler’s family fell apart due to QAnon. But he found help from his other parent– his biological father and stepmother. Tyler had lost contact with his dad when he was a child and they had only recently reconnected. And Tyler’s dad and stepmother were willing to take him in, once Tyler’s unhinged mom tossed him and his belongings out of her house. On February 3, 2021, Tyler texted his stepmother, Heather, and told her that he’d confronted his mom, telling her that he didn’t believe in QAnon or any of his mom’s whackadoodle theories.

Half an hour later, Heather picked up Tyler, who was waiting in the front yard. When he got into Heather’s car, Tyler started to cry. Tyler is now sleeping in his 7 year old half sister’s bedroom. She sleeps in her parents’ room. Not long after the confrontation with Tyler’s mom, Tyler was contacted by his new stepfather, who wrote “When your daddy gets sick of you living there (and he will) don’t bother calling us.”

Those of you who regularly follow my blog might already know that my husband lost contact with his daughters after he and his ex wife divorced. A few years ago, one of Bill’s daughters finally reconnected with him. The other one remains estranged, and is apparently hopelessly entrenched in her mother’s sick, culty world. Last year, just before COVID-19 shut everything down, Bill visited his younger daughter for the first time since Christmas 2004. When she opened the door, Bill said the two of them stood there and shared a long overdue hug. And then they spent the whole two days of Bill’s visit debriefing each other about the events of the fifteen years they had spent apart.

I don’t know anything about Tyler’s mom, but although Tyler’s mom’s friend describes her as a “wonderful” person, I have a feeling that she’s another one of those people who hates her exes more than she loves her children. I come to that conclusion, not just because she fell into the QAnon cult, but because of a comment Tyler made to his stepmother. When he texted Heather that his mom had threatened to have his new stepfather “hurt” him, he also explained that he wasn’t actually worried about his safety. He wrote, “I’ve been dealing with this for years. It’s normal for me.

When Bill and his daughter met last year, Bill heard in more detail what it was like to grow up with Ex. There were many threats and promises made. There was a lot of “culty” thinking, not just in terms of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which Ex had insisted on joining a few years before she and Bill split, but also in terms of her own mini narcissistic cult. The girls were forced to write Bill letters disowning him and demanding that he allow their stepfather, Ex’s third husband, to adopt them. Ex had reportedly stood over them and made them write the letters, which she sent Bill just in time for his 42nd birthday.

Something tells me that Tyler’s current stepfather is not his first, since he wrote to Heather that this was not a new thing. Tyler’s mom evidently has a history of coming unglued, and probably sees Tyler as an extension of herself. And when Tyler didn’t want to fall in with her QAnon fantasy, she cast him out… the same way Ex does to anyone who won’t play along with her fantasies. I don’t know enough about Tyler’s mom to say I think she’s a narcissist, but my guess is that she has a “high conflict personality”. And as Bill and I have observed with his ex wife, who also has a high conflict personality, these types of people often get sucked into things as they blame everyone else for their issues. With Ex, it was everything from multi-level marketing scams to the LDS church. Granted, the Mormons didn’t turn out to be all bad. They did help Bill’s daughter escape her mother. But the church doesn’t give things without strings attached.

Younger daughter no doubt feels indebted to the church, and believe me, it’s not unlike the leadership to capitalize on that human need for reciprocity— that is, feeling obligated to reciprocate “kind actions”. There’s nothing wrong with that on its surface. Sometimes, however, “reciprocity” can be abused, and people wind up trapped by the need to pay back a solid, even long after the “emotional debt” has been repaid. This is how groups get control over people and stop them from living their own lives and thinking for themselves. Pretty soon, the lovebombing that occurs at the beginning of the relationship can turn into something sinister and toxic.

I have long believed that my husband’s ex wife runs her life like a mini cult. Anyone in her sphere has to accept whatever her conditions are, no matter how nutty or destructive they are. She’s allowed to do anything she wants, even if it’s criminal, because she had a shitty childhood and no one recognized how “special” she is. She’s allowed to abuse her husbands and her children because she was abused, and she’s allowed to take that abuse as far as she wants with no repercussions, whatsoever. Meanwhile, those of us who have been affected by her behavior and dare to speak out about it get raked over the coals and smeared. She went as far as to alienate Bill’s children, but she also did her best to try to destroy his relationships with his own parents!

Like Tyler, Ex has at least a couple of children who are on the autism spectrum, which makes them more vulnerable to her toxicity. Bill’s older daughter supposedly has Asperger’s Syndrome, and younger daughter has said that Ex’s youngest child, a fourteen year old son, is non-verbal due to autism. Bill’s older daughter, who will turn 30 this summer, still lives with Ex and has supposedly devoted her life to caring for her brother, who will likely never be able to live on his own. Meanwhile, whenever Ex gets pissed off at older daughter, she threatens to throw her out of the house, even though older daughter does the heavy lifting involved with caring for Ex’s son. Sounds a lot like what Tyler went through with his mom.

Incidentally, Tyler went back to his mom’s house about a week after he moved out to pick up his stuff. All of his belongings were thrown out on the front lawn, where they soon became covered with snow. He still hopes that his mother’s Trump fervor will fade and he will eventually be able to reconcile with her. He said, “I just don’t see the humanity in this. I wanted my family back, not this hatred.”

For Tyler’s sake, I truly hope he can reconnect with his mom. I hope she is, deep down, a reasonable and decent person who can grow up and wise up, and see what she stands to lose by continuing to submit to the QAnon bullshit. I don’t know what made her fall down the rabbit hole, but it would not surprise me if Tyler’s mom had some trauma in her life that somehow made her feel ostracized and persecuted. And the siren call of QAnon, which is full of butthurt delusional people must have been much too hard to resist– so hard that she’s willing to kick her own son out of her life.

It’s not that I don’t empathize with the abused. I have no doubt in my mind that my husband’s ex wife was severely abused by many people when she was a child. I can understand why she’s so traumatized. What I can’t abide is her habit of throwing away family members and forcing her children and husbands to disconnect with those of whom she doesn’t approve. It’s possible, or even probable, that Tyler’s new stepfather is partly to blame for Tyler’s mother’s actions. However, reading that he has only now reconnected with his father and his father and stepmother, who have apparently been together long enough to have a seven year old daughter, have welcomed him into their home, gives me a feeling that Tyler’s mom has some serious issues. And those issues, like Ex’s, make her vulnerable to falling into cults from which they never escape.

Sadly, more often than not, the best thing to do in such a situation is go no contact and cut all ties. I don’t think younger daughter has gone completely no contact yet, but she has definitely come out of the F.O.G. since she moved away from Ex. As hard as that is, and as sad as it initially was, in the long run, it’s the only way to find peace, autonomy, and freedom from chaos and drama.

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LDS, musings

Getting laid… a continuation.

Today’s post is going to include frank discussion of sex. Proceed with caution.

More mood music…

A few days ago, I wrote a post about a guy named Lafayette who has Asperger’s Syndrome and wants to know how he can get laid. The good folks on the Recovery from Mormonism site offered plenty of tips. Some of it was actually good advice. Because there was such an outpouring of advice for Lafayette, his post was eventually closed and someone opened a new thread offering even more advice. The new thread was lighthearted and joking, so someone was kind enough to let Lafayette know that the first post offering tips was joking in nature.

But then, a woman offered this comment, which I thought was very astute…

Just a thought for Aspie (or not) men who want casual sex: your desire for pleasure is reasonable, but please consider that for women, casual sex comes with a risk of becoming pregnant with a human being that will need to be cared for for the next 18 years, unless she aborts it, and making either of those choices as a single women will be loaded with a metric ton of judgment from society. Even without a pregnancy or abortion, casual sex for a woman is still loaded with a whole lot of baggage. Even more judgment for being a woman who has casual sex, for example. Please take these things into account when you wonder why it isn’t easier to get laid.

I was talking about this with Bill recently. This guy wants to get laid. I’m assuming it’s because he has a physical desire for it. Not being male, I have no idea what that feels like for a man. It must be a very strong drive, though, because it seems like most men are looking for physical affection. A lot of them want it casually, with no strings attached. Some are looking for it from other males, but most want it from females. Females have more to lose when they engage in casual sex. Most of them can get pregnant.

We now live in a society where males are actively trying to take bodily autonomy away from women. Read the news, and you’ll see that in many U.S. states, there are “heartbeat bills“, that would ban abortion for women beyond about six weeks gestation. A lot of women don’t even know that they’re pregnant at that point. Unintended pregnancy can really put a kink in a woman’s plans for her own life. She can have the baby and raise it, give it up for adoption, and at least for now, consider having an abortion. All of those choices are potentially devastating and involve costs– financial and personal– that will affect the woman for the rest of her life. Most men aren’t like my husband. They expect the woman to financially provide for herself. It’s a lot harder to do that with children.

Another thing I didn’t see addressed in the original thread is that for some women, sex is painful. I am one of those unlucky women who needs a lot of lead time before sex doesn’t physically hurt me. Fortunately, Bill is the kind of man who doesn’t mind taking his time warming me up. Not all guys are like Bill. Some of them want what they want when they want it, and they don’t consider that sex hurts sometimes. It might be easy for a guy to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Maybe it’s like that for most other women, too. But I know that my experiences are not unique. A lot of women experience pain when they have sex. There are a lot of nerve endings down there. And frankly, I am not willing to go through that kind of pain for someone I don’t care about.

There are a lot of reasons why sex hurts for some women. Sometimes, it’s a matter of not being lubricated enough. In that case, a little more foreplay is all that is needed. Generally, that’s what works for me. Some people use commercially prepared lubricant to ease the way. Personally, I don’t care for it– it’s messy, slimy, and gross to me. But other people don’t mind it and use it with great success. I think I also suffer from a touch of vaginismus, which is when the vagina tenses up and spasms before something enters it. I know I had vaginismus when I was younger, and having sex was a nightmare. I can remember tensing up before doing the deed, knowing it was going to hurt. That’s also why I don’t use tampons.

Sometimes a woman has anatomical issues or sexually transmitted infections that make sex painful. In that case, a visit to a physician is the best way to solve the problem. But visits to the doctor cost money and time off work, and they are also potentially embarrassing. Although getting treated is probably the best thing the woman can do for herself, she may not want casual sex with you badly enough to go to the doctor. That’s her call.

I have some empathy for Lafayette. I was glad to see him come back and leave this comment on his original thread:

Top notch! Awesome feedback!

The post-start was a bit rhetorical.

It is not very likely that I will get laid but it makes it all much funnier to discuss.

Once – back in the time – I found a blog post that described how animals that are raised by humans imprint wrong behaviour. Things that will come naturally does not, so they will be lucky to learn to do natural things. I do not know if autism is just like that but it feels similar.

Being raised inside the frames of a cultural theocracy takes it toll on the imprinting.

As a naturally gullible person I must say that life has not always been easy but I should not complain today. Some things really are great!

I’m sure when he mentioned “getting laid”, it probably wouldn’t be the approach he would actually use. Or, at least I hope not. Autism is another one of those life experiences other people have that I can’t relate to at all. I don’t know how it feels. But I also liked this comment:

Announcing that you want to get laid. Jesus! Dude!

If the only thing you want to do is have sex, okay. But “How do I get laid”? I can’t even.

What you wrote translates into “Women exist for the laying of males. No mind or feelings necessary. All I want is a wet vagina.”

Christ! DUDE!

For some of us, achieving a wet vagina, even with someone we love and trust, isn’t all that easy. And if you’re not willing to put in the effort to get the woman there, why should she risk pregnancy, STIs, or heartbreak for you, just so you can satisfy that physical urge? I don’t know what it’s like for a man. But I think a lot of men don’t know and have never considered what it’s like for a woman, either. Too many of them want a woman who will “put out”, but then shame her for being “slutty” or getting pregnant. And too many men are unwilling to do their part to reduce the risk that the woman they’re having sex with won’t be left with any unpleasant lingering aftereffects… not that having a baby is necessarily “unpleasant”, per se. But not every woman wants to be a mother. Not every woman is cut out to be a mother. And quite a lot of women can’t afford to be a mother without help from the other party.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to have sex with someone with whom I couldn’t raise a child, but that’s just me… and fortunately, I’m about done with my childbearing years, anyway. I suspect that in a few years, it won’t matter at all for me anymore. I’m writing this for the younger women out there… and the men who might be willing to consider this perspective. You think of it as a roll in the sack, but for her, it could end up being a lot more than that. So if you really want to “get laid”, have a little consideration for what that could lead to for the other party and act accordingly.

Wow… even Cyndi Lauper was a Dr. Ruth fan.

On another note… sometimes I miss Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s cable show. Too bad I was too young for it when it aired on Lifetime.

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modern problems

Guy wants to know, “How do I get laid?”

A little mood music for this post.

I woke up at 3:00am. Actually, my body thought it was 4:00am, because Germany changed the clocks to standard time over the course of the night. Also, Auntie Flow has finally shown up and, as is her annoying habit, she kept me going to the bathroom all night. Sorry… TMI I know, but that’s how I roll.

An oldie but a goodie… and exactly how I feel right now.
Actually, my “monthly visitor” behaves more like this one.

Anyway, because I was wide awake at 3:00/4:00am, I decided to go check out RfM, and that’s where I found this thread “How do I get laid? (Asperger)”. A guy calling himself Lafayette writes:

He’s horny, but doesn’t know how to get his needs met…

I don’t have a lot of experience with people who are neurodivergent or neuroatypical. Although I’m sure autism and Asperger Syndrome both existed when I was growing up, the first time I heard about them was about twenty years ago. Bill’s older daughter is supposedly on the autism spectrum, but I have only met her once, and to be honest, I have my doubts that she truly has autism. Her mother is not known for being particularly honest, and she has a habit of turning health conditions into causes. The point is, regardless of whether or not Bill’s daughter actually has autism, I don’t know her anyway, so she was not in a position to teach me. What little I know about autism and Asperger Syndrome comes from what some of my friends who have children on the spectrum have told me.

I do know that people with Asperger Syndrome tend to be very literal. They often don’t get sarcasm, and have trouble picking up on social cues. I can see why a man with Asperger Syndrome might have trouble “getting laid”, because he doesn’t understand how to play the courtship game, for lack of a better term. I’m sure that is very frustrating, although based on the way he posed his query, I wonder if he’s interested in anything beyond sex. Because most women I know aren’t interested in simply being made the object of someone’s sexual release, particularly for free. I also don’t know what it’s like to be a man, nor do I know what a man’s sex drive is like.

I enjoyed reading the thread about this guy’s problem, though. Ex Mormons are pretty good at coming up with witty responses. One person suggested starting a religion. Another suggested going to Brigham Young University after successfully completing a two year mission in an exotic place, majoring in business, pre-law, or pre-med, dating “homely” girls, and telling the girls that God has “directed” him to them. Alas, this advice sounds like it might be too “smooth” for a guy like the original poster. I don’t think he’s good at making up lies or stories to get himself in the sack. The one piece of bad advice given came from someone who suggested the guy look for a man. But why would someone suggest gay sex to someone who is heterosexual? Can’t follow the logic on that one.

Another guy provided a link to a list of brothels in Nevada, where prostitution is legal (it’s legal in Germany, too). I suppose if the need for sex is great enough, the guy can take a road trip to Nevada and find a willing professional to satisfy his urges. There are also licensed sex therapists out there who can help, although this guy doesn’t sound like he has a problem with having sex, per se. Sounds to me like he needs a willing partner and doesn’t know how to go about making the request without getting clocked in the face.

Still another person suggested opening a Tinder account. I have never used Tinder, but I have heard about it. I guess that’s sort of the latest “meet/meat” market for people interested in having sex.

This is not the way to do it, either.

One woman suggested that the guy find a female coach, willing to give him pointers on how to dress and what to say to make a woman take interest. That idea might be a good one, although I don’t know a lot of women who are interested in coaching random men on the art of getting laid… especially for free. Another female suggested finding a club with females who also have Asperger Syndrome and might understand the socially awkward gentleman’s plight.

There were some other tips given, too, including one very good piece of advice. A woman said, “I just want to add that men who are looking “to get laid” is very unattractive.” Another woman seconded that, and advised the man not to refer to having sex as “getting laid”. That seems to be a rather old school term for having sex, anyway. I remember the first time I heard it was back in 1985 or ’86. I was in the eighth grade, and one of my more “experienced” classmates with white blonde hair and a prematurely curvaceous figure told me that her boyfriend was going to “lay” her that night. At age thirteen, I had no idea what that meant, and I wouldn’t find out until a couple of years later. But by then, people were referring to “knocking boots”, “scromping”, or “shagging”, which now seem just as passe as “getting laid” does. I suppose it’s better than simply referring to it as fucking, though. I can just imagine the prelude to hooking up in that situation.

“Hey babe, I’d really like to fuck you.” he says.

She hauls off and smacks him across the face or hits him with pepper spray.

Or, “I really feel like getting laid.” he says.

She advises him to book at room at a Holiday Inn… ALONE.

In all seriousness, though, a man flatly asking a woman to “lay” him has all the romance, mystery, and charm of this pregnancy announcement…

Some things shouldn’t be all about business.

I will admit that I was amused by this guy’s thread on the Recovery from Mormonism site. Although people can get kind of angry there, I have found that the exMos on Rfm are mostly a good natured, intelligent, and helpful bunch. And they did give this dude some good advice without ribbing him too much about asking for help with such a delicate matter. Not knowing much about Asperger Syndrome or autism, it would not have occurred to me that people who have these conditions might have trouble finding suitable romantic partners. As someone who waited until I was 30 years old before I had sex for the first time, I can attest that finding someone to love is difficult. I’m sure I could have easily found someone to fuck me, but that would not have been very satisfying for me. I’m glad I waited for Bill, but I know not everyone is like me. Some people seem to have a physical need to have sex, even if that’s all they want. People are different, and that’s what makes them so interesting.

I dunno about this. I would ban this guy from my bedroom just because of his voice.

Well, I wish this guy luck. I’m not sure if he’s looking for love, or just wants to “get laid”, as he put it. Although simply getting laid isn’t for me personally, I suppose there is nothing wrong with it, as long as everyone is consenting and thinks it’s a good use of their time. I’m assuming this man is also ex or current LDS, which probably makes his quest for poon all the more difficult. It’s likely that he lives in an area where there are a lot of Mormons who don’t put out, or he’s in an area where people will shy away because they don’t want to be proselytized. He may have his work cut out for him… although it’s been my experience that every old sock has an old shoe.

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