celebrities, Ex, mental health, narcissists, psychology

The latest big dream “job”…

The featured photo is one I took when Bill and I visited Venice, back in 2013… Ex probably could have had that herself, if she hadn’t been so hellbent on “punishing” Bill for not dancing to her tune.

It’s Tuesday, and once again, I’m finding myself reluctant to write too much about current events. I’ve been consuming all kinds of “news”/infotainment about politics, and the aftermath of Trump’s time as our “POTUS”. I just don’t feel like going there today. My mind is still on Jennette McCurdy’s book, and how much it resonated with me. I am fortunate, in that my own mom wasn’t like Jennette McCurdy’s mom was. It resonated with me, because I think Bill’s ex wife is a lot like Jennette’s mom was.

A really good interview about Jennette McCurdy’s book, I’m Glad My Mom Died.

No, none of Ex’s kids have been professionally involved in show business. But I do remember when the kids were young, we would hear stories about her hopes for them to enter showbiz. We’d hear about her wanting ex stepson or one of Bill’s daughters to audition for movies, or get involved in the performing arts. Recently, she’s been tweeting celebrities about her youngest daughter wanting to become an actress and hoping to go to a “conservatory”. I think I’ve included those tweets in earlier posts here, so I’m not going to repost them in this entry. But yes, she’s posted about that, and she’s included comments about how she wants one of her daughters to marry Keanu Reeves or someone similar. She is fixated on fame and what she thinks is “quick money”. Bonus if it’s someone else doing the work, while she enjoys the benefits of being the “mom”.

Recently, Ex has gotten back to posting on Instagram. A few days ago, she posted a few new agey “positive” memes. On the surface, the memes appear to be very nice and edifying. I’m sure the strangers who look at them, and know nothing about her, think she’s just this really kind, loving person. Below are a few recent examples:

I don’t pay a lot of attention to Ex’s Instagram, although sometimes, I do check out the comments. I definitely stopped in my tracks when I read the comments on the one about traveling before retirement… Behold:

Now… there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about travel. I did it for years, before Bill and I could finally make the dream come true. However, given the life that I have with her ex husband, it does strike me as crazy that Ex is now posting pictures of memes that reference Italy, and wistfully commenting about how much she’d love to travel with her youngest child, who has “severe autism”. She has repeatedly posted that he runs away, and for that reason, she needs a fence for her backyard. More than once, in this year alone, she has posted crowdfunding attempts to get money to finance building a fence. She has posted repeated claims that no local charities can help her, and no gadgets or gizmos designed to stop her son’s escapes have worked.

It’s possible that Ex’s post about wanting to travel is just “shit” she posted** for whatever reason** just to get a reaction– any reaction at all– from her followers. Still, I can’t help but pause. She’s commenting that she’d like to travel the world with her son, who has severe autism and, she claims (falsely, I think), that he doesn’t speak at all. Someone suggests that she start a blog about traveling with her autistic son. Her response is, “Yes… I’ve been giving it serious thought… but I need money to make it happen.”

I smell another kickstarter… and probably one that will go as far as her fence fund has.

I reflect on the stories I’ve heard from Bill and younger daughter, about the money Ex pisses through, buying worthless crap online, or taking road trips, often to see her unsuspecting victims. Then, she will try to grift, as she did last spring, when she brought Bill’s older daughter to his stepmother’s house and asked for money and “heirlooms”. Bill’s dad died in November 2020, so his stepmother has been grieving. I’m sure she’s pretty vulnerable right now. To her credit, she did tell Ex that she couldn’t help her with money. That was when Ex gave her boxes to put things in that she’d like to “pass down”. My guess is that anything Ex got from SMIL would end up on eBay.

Let’s also not forget that the only reason she even knows SMIL is because of Bill, yet she completely denied Bill any access to his daughters, from 2004 onwards. It’s only been a few years since he and his younger daughter reconnected online. He has managed to see her in person just once since then– in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit with a vengeance. He has met his older two grandchildren. Both he and his daughter CRIED when they reunited, and younger daughter explained that she was forced to send a letter disowning Bill. She says her mother literally stood over her and dictated what she would be writing. And she removed all traces of Bill from their possession, and goaded them into legally changing their names when they turned 18. But there she is on Instagram, posting memes about what speaking kindly to a human can do. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

It’s hard to know where the truth lies regarding anything Ex says. She posts these “lovey” comments about her son, and how much she adores him. Then she posts about how he breaks her heart and makes her life difficult. She posts about how her son needs a fence to stop him from escaping home. Then she posts about how she wants to take him around the world and write about how he sees it. And she doesn’t post as if it’s a pipe dream, per se. She actually states that if she could fund it, she’d do it…. again, with a teenaged boy with severe autism whom, she claims, runs away?

Based on what we’ve heard, it’s true that her son runs off. That was confirmed by a more truthful source. So how awesome would it be if she and her son went to– say– Venice, Italy, and he decided to run off into the many vast crowds that descend there? It would definitely make for an adventure. Maybe it would be one she could write a good story about… Would the stress be worth it? I don’t think so, but I’m not Ex. We clearly have vastly different priorities in life.

Bill told me that Ex has always had a lot of “big dreams”. She often starts working on her dreams, using money and resources from other people. Bill did, for example, fund Ex’s forays into Mary Kay and Nutrisystem. He said she actually was doing okay with Mary Kay for awhile, but then abruptly decided the organization exploits women. So she quit selling Mary Kay, and she sold her inventory back to the company, at a substantial loss. The same thing happened with Nutrisystem. She decided after buying the food that it was too much about victimizing women. More money down the drain.

This would all be fine if it only affected Ex. But, as you can see, there are other people in Ex’s life who are impacted by her whimsical decisions. Four of her five children are legal adults now, but one is still in that gray time period between adolescence and adulthood, when someone can vote, but not drink a beer. Two of the three other adult children have moved out on their own, but one still stays at home and figuratively wipes Ex’s ass for her. And then there’s the baby of the family, the lad with autism, who is the star of so many of Ex’s pleas for money and assistance.

Speaking of assistance… what about the therapy dog she’s been posting about? More than once, she’s written about how pricey therapy dogs are, and how she can’t wait to train one to serve her son. If they’re jetting off to Italy so she can be an autistic mommy travel blogger, won’t it be difficult to get a dog and train it? Yes, therapy dogs are used in Europe, but they aren’t as widespread here as they are in the US. Moreover, there are places here where therapy dogs– even the ones that are genuinely certified, and not just “emotional support animals”– are not allowed.

I’m sure that Ex has heard, or maybe has even seen, the lifestyle Bill and I enjoy. We seem to have a lot of what she wants, except we don’t have children. It’s mainly because of her that we don’t have children, since she convinced Bill that he should give up his fertility because pregnancy was so “hard” for her. Obviously, it wasn’t that hard, since she subsequently had two more kids with her third husband. And she’s never going to change. She’ll always be chasing her dreams at other people’s expense. Or her dreams will abruptly change, and she won’t feel like she should answer for that.

Jennette McCurdy has said that her mother had wanted to be an actress. Jennette’s grandparents wouldn’t put her mom in acting when she was a child, nor would they support her career aspirations. So, when she was a helpless child at age six, Jennette’s mom decided that her daughter would be an actress, whether she wanted to be or not. Jennette happened to have the looks and talent to make her mother’s dream a reality. And she was put upon to keep working to keep the dream going, so mom could enjoy the perks and the money that came in. I see Ex as very similar to Debra McCurdy. Someone with big dreams that she can’t really fulfill… but is always looking for someone out there to make something happen for her. And then, inevitably, it won’t be enough, and she’ll have no qualms about tearing that person to shreds. Meanwhile, she’ll put it out to the masses what a “great” loving mother she is… and what a fantastic empathic humanitarian she would like to be. It’s one hundred percent bullshit, isn’t it?

I just hope the damage to Ex’s children won’t be too severe, as it was to Jennette McCurdy when her mother died, and she realized the truth.

Standard
condescending twatbags, Ex, narcissists, Twitter

The onerous burden of raising a 31 year old “child”…

I’m just curious. At what age do most people consider their offspring “grown” and “raised”? I know my own parents could not wait for me to be an adult. I started cleaning stalls to help pay for my pony when I was twelve years old. I also used to provide my own transportation, riding my bike the few miles back and forth to work in the barn and take care of the pony I started leasing when I was twelve. Two years later, my parents bought for me the pony I was leasing. I later found out my mom wanted to buy the pony to keep me too busy to get pregnant. (Long story… there was never a risk of my getting pregnant, but we lived in a rural county in southern Virginia, and I have an older sister who dated a lot as a teen).

Me and Rusty, back when I was a teen, and my mom couldn’t wait for me to be grown and flown. Rusty was the cause of my very first work experience.

Starting from when I was fourteen, my mom pressured me to find a part time job, which, at that age, was mostly illegal in my state without a work permit. I got my first paying job three months before my sixteenth birthday. When I was eighteen, I went to college, and yes, my parents helped me financially, but I was free to make my own decisions, for the most part. I was considered an adult and treated accordingly. My parents encouraged me to move out of the house. I did have to make a couple of boomerangs back to my parents’ house as a young adult, but finally left for good when it was time to attend graduate school and become the overeducated housewife I was so clearly meant to be. 😉

Contrast my experience with some very recent tweets by Ex, who has five offspring, ranging from 34 to 15 years of age. Apparently, even though four out of five of her kids are literally legal adults, she’s claiming she’s still “raising” three autistic “children”, and they are keeping her from fulfilling her own dreams for herself. Evidently, these “children” require her to grin and bear her lot in life, with “joy” in her heart, even though she “want[s] to LIVE”. But she had her first “autistic child” with Bill in 1991. The other two, she chose to have with #3, even though she had lamented to Bill how difficult pregnancy was for her. She must have known that raising children is an expensive challenge, even when autism isn’t in the mix. It’s not her children’s fault that she’s not able to “LIVE” in the manner to which she thinks she’s entitled.

These three below posts were tweeted within hours of each other. Notice how Ex refers to raising three “autistic children” and seems to blame them for her inability to fulfill her “dream” of visiting Scotland. I am aware that Bill did his part to prevent her from being so burdened by those last two “autistic children”, as he willingly had a vasectomy to spare her the fate she’s dealing with now. But then she divorced him and remarried, and had two kids with her latest husband, #3.

Evidently, those two kids have autism, too… although we have never heard from anyone that Ex’s youngest daughter with #3 is so dysfunctional that she needs to be regarded as “childlike”. We HAVE heard that she’s kind of spoiled and unhelpful. Bill’s younger daughter has said that she and older daughter did pretty much all of the housework and cooking when she was still living in the house with Ex. Youngest daughter supposedly wasn’t one to voluntarily help out, and Ex allegedly never required that of her. As we all know, doing everything for one’s kids is one way to keep them from being independent. But we haven’t heard that youngest daughter by #3 is unable to function on her own, strictly because she has autism.

If I felt particularly charitable toward her, I might be able to give Ex a pass for claiming to still be “raising” her youngest daughter, who somewhat recently turned 19. However, she makes it sound like they are literally “children”, even though none of them could reasonably still be called children based on their ages. I happen to know for a fact that the eldest “autistic child” is 31 years old. She has a college degree, goes on dates, has worked for a florist, taught arts and crafts classes, makes jewelry and other artistic creations, and does most of the heavy lifting raising Ex’s youngest “child”, who will be 16 in a few months.

Now, from what we’ve heard, the youngest will probably not be able to live on his own, but older daughter and youngest daughter by #3, are not so debilitated. In fact, Bill’s younger daughter– one of the “grown” ones at age 28– has told us that older daughter is very productive on many levels, and always has been. She certainly doesn’t require “raising” by her mother anymore.

Ex’s youngest daughter reportedly goes to college, and, according to Ex’s recent Twitter pleas to Mark Hamill and others, has aspirations to be an actor. I don’t know how realistic that goal is. We were told, when younger daughter and ex stepson were much younger, that they wanted to be actors, too. I think that may actually be Ex’s goal for them, and not their own goals. Even now, she often tweets about how she’d like her daughter (not sure which one) to marry Keanu Reeves. Below is a quote from Ex’s Instagram in 2021, after she posted a photo of her youngest daughter dressed for the prom:

My baby girl going off to Prom. Cannot believe she is 18. She’s off to college in a couple of months. Wow, just wow. ❤️❤️❤️👩‍🎓🥰 

Does that sound like someone who is still being “raised” by her hapless 55 year old mom? Even if college hasn’t worked out for her and she’s moved back home, she was still functional enough to consider going, wasn’t she? It does not sound like she still needs to be “raised”. She could probably get a job, go to school, or– perish the thought– find someone with whom to have a romantic relationship. Prom, by the way, was an experience denied to Bill’s daughters. They were forced to drop out of high school and get GEDs, so Ex could sponge off their student loans.

One thing I have noticed about Ex is that she is very fixated on celebrities, particularly authors and actors who write and perform in romantic fantasies or science fiction. She is a big Star Wars fan, for instance. She likes novels that are based in fantasy, and seems to go a bit “Annie Wilkes” on some of the stuff she reads. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying works of fiction and fantasy. That is what keeps life bearable for some people. Being able to escape to a fantasy world is a blessing when your reality is a living hell. I don’t know what Ex’s life is like now, but I have heard that her childhood was legitimately nightmarish. I got this information from Bill, who actually knew her adoptive parents and her rapey stepfather. However, since she’s an adult, if her life is not good now, that’s her own fault.

Ex made some unfortunate choices, based on selfishness, lack of discipline, and a dearth of common sense. So now, she has to envy people who go to Scotland, and complain about how expensive it is to “raise three autistic children”… two of whom are legal adults and probably fully capable of not living with her anymore, draining her energy and resources. Of course, Ex doesn’t want her kids to move out. They provide supply to her, do her chores, and give her a reason for being. She might be willing to let her youngest daughter go her own way, but older daughter is the “stay at home” daughter. Ex counts on older daughter to take care of her youngest kid, the one with truly debilitating autism, and will no doubt expect older daughter to wipe her ass for her when she’s old and decrepit. Ex has somehow convinced older daughter that she’s incapable of living on her own.

I have only met Bill’s daughters in person one time. I distinctly remember the very first thing that girl– then almost twelve years old– said to me. She actually APOLOGIZED to me for her “strange” personality. She tried to explain to me that she has trouble meeting new people. When I told her that it was okay, and we didn’t have to get to know each other in one day, she immediately relaxed and asked me if I thought it was strange that she had a crush on Harry Potter! I can’t help but think she was taught to think of herself as defective and weird, and unable to get along in the world. And when I compare that impression with what reportedly happened when younger daughter decided to leave home at 18, I realize that all of those kids got the message that they can’t function on their own. But the reality is, Ex can’t function on her own. She has parentified the children, and convinced at least one of them that she needs them… and that they will forever need her.

Isn’t it interesting that Ex refers to her three “autistic children”, but then mentions her two “grown” children? I guess she means the ones who supposedly don’t have autism? Does autism make someone forever a “child”? I honestly don’t know. I don’t have much experience with the disorder, or know too many people who have it or are raising children with it. Ex says that raising autistic children is “expensive”. Well, so is raising “normal” children. God knows, Bill and I had some lean early days, when he was sending her half his paycheck and #3 was staying at home, playing video games. Now, #3 works, and Ex stays home to “raise” her last kid, as she tweets, comes up with unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns, complains about being broke, and moans about not being able to find or buy signed books by actors she admires. It’s crazy. She certainly had the time and experience to know that raising kids is expensive before she made the choice to have two more.

I have noticed that there are some things with which I agree with Ex. For instance, she has posted about how she doesn’t think Supreme Court Justices should have lifetime appointments. I agree with that. And she has posted some rather “woke” platitudes about kindness, education, not being racist, and politics. I do know that she wasn’t always so liberal. Her opinions seem to change with the winds… or perhaps as she finds people to emulate, to whom she can falsely attribute her own characteristics. On the surface, I might like and agree with her. But again… looking beneath the surface, there’s a hotbed of lies, nonsense, neediness, entitlement, and craziness. Exposure to her is one reason why reading Tom Bower’s book about Meghan Markle set off so many alarm bells for me. If even half of what he’s written about her behavior is true, she is definitely very difficult. These types of people seem to follow a playbook. I don’t even know if they are aware of what they do. But if you’ve been around them, you can easily spot them. It’s like narcissistic radar. And these folks thrive in secrecy, counting on people not to spill tea about them. If more people were emboldened to tell the truth, maybe there would be less abuse.

Well… I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I don’t pity the ex. I pity her children… who are not actually children, but having them be children, even when they are clearly mostly competent adults, suits Ex’s narrative. I hope that the ones who are capable of going out on their own will eventually achieve it. They deserve to live their own lives. And Ex… well… I think she just needs to get a life, and quit using her ADULT children to promote her own selfish agendas. But unlike Ex, I know that my opinion and a nickel will get us nowhere.

Standard
dogs, ethics, Ex, true crime

I’m calling it “puppy love”, and thinking it would be a doggone shame…

Hello from rainy Antwerp, Belgium. I took yesterday off, save for a short post on my travel blog, because Bill and I were having so much fun walking around the town. There was some kind of festival going on in the big square that went on all day, with lots of drinking, dancing, and carousing. It was fun to watch. Bill also rode on a ferris wheel for the first time, ever. That was a pretty big deal. We ended the evening at a piano bar, where we were poorly dressed, but managed to have a good time, anyway.

It’s hard to believe that I’m turning 50 tomorrow. I look back on my long history, and realize that my life is likely over half over. My Granny managed to live until she was almost 101 years old, but I doubt I will live that long. In fact, I hope I don’t. Granny had people to help take care of her. I don’t think I’ll have that. She was also much beloved by many. I know I won’t have that.

I don’t yet have much to say about turning 50. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have more than a couple of comments. All I know is that my body is a lot more padded than I’d like it to be; I need new glasses and contacts; and sometimes my ankles swell up. They did when we were in Italy. Happily, they’re not doing that in Belgium.

Although we’ve been busy, I did take a moment to check on Ex and see what she’s up to… I have to say, I didn’t like what I saw.

Ex is still howling about wanting a dog for her “severely autistic son”. Under ordinary circumstances, that would probably be okay. Unfortunately, nothing about Ex is ordinary. She’s not your garden variety harmless person who loves normally. She is very likely a narcissist, which is bad news for any living thing in her sphere.

I had to gape in disbelief yesterday, when I noticed a couple of recent tweets by Ex. She’s still going on about getting a dog, and even falsely claims to be a “dog rescuer”. She doesn’t rescue dogs, and never has. As a matter of fact, she had a dog when Bill left– a little elderly poodle named Fifi whom she’d inherited from a relative who died. Bill liked Fifi. She was friendly and sweet. He said that when he visited the kids once, early after the breakup, Fifi still remembered him.

Bill was horrified later, when he heard from ex stepson that #3 got really angry one day and kicked Fifi so hard that she lost an eye. Bill asked Ex what happened, having related to her what he’d heard about Fifi from ex stepson. She got all sarcastic and pissy, and said, “That never happened.”

A few years later, when I stumbled across the evidence of what ex stepson was planning– changing his surname without telling Bill– I looked up #3 in the court system. Sure enough, there was an animal cruelty charge listed for him. I think the fact that #3 kicked a dog so hard that she lost an eye should exclude Ex and #3 from ever having pets again. Ex doesn’t agree, though. Recently, she tweeted this:

How?

Next, she claims she’s always been a “dog rescue momma”… But she has only had one dog that we know of, and that dog lost an eye because her husband couldn’t control himself. Notice that she’s asking for “help”, too. Help with what? Money, no doubt.

No, Ex. You don’t need to get a dog. You also have never been one to take suggestions from anyone.

No, you haven’t always been a “rescue dog momma”, Ex. Bill and I have always had rescue dogs.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t care too much about this. But it’s just another example of the tremendous lies she puts out to the masses. Sometimes it seems like she lies, even when it would be easier to just tell the truth. And she’s still running a crowdfund campaign for a “new fence”, but no one is contributing to it.

I can’t help but notice that, once again, it seems like Ex is kind of emulating me. There are a number of “coincidences” that have come up in the 20 years I’ve known about her. Like, she went to grad school– or so she claims– to get a master’s degree after I told her in my one email to her that she shouldn’t be “diagnosing” Bill as a woman hater. He’s the exact opposite of a woman hater. And she didn’t used to be so excited about Scotland, but then about ten years ago, we started going there, because of my heritage. Now, suddenly, she’s in a famous clan… a famous clan that declined to raise her and put her up for adoption. :/

Now, she’s claiming to be a “dog rescue momma”, when we have not seen any evidence of that. Bill has known her since she was a teenager, and she’s only had the one dog… Fifi. And poor Fifi got abused by #3. Ex is claiming now that she wants a puppy to train as a service animal for her son. And yet, in her crowdfunding campaign, she writes that her son has escaped the house several times, once without pants. What will happen if, while she’s training the dog, it runs out and gets hit by a car? What happens if her son gets super attached to the dog, and the dog becomes a victim of negligence, or her husband’s evident inability to control himself when he’s angry?

I’m sure there’s a psychological name for people who can’t develop their own identities… It seems like she’s an empty shell of a person, always trying to fill the void with new things and new interests. But it never works. I just worry that a dog, who would be helpless against Ex, could really suffer in her “care”. According to reliable sources, Ex isn’t the one who does the heavy lifting, particularly when it comes to taking care of her son. That duty mostly falls to older daughter now, since younger daughter flew the coop… after Ex feigned a suicide attempt.

I do think it would be a tragedy if an innocent dog was brought into the mix. It won’t fix things. And if Ex is disappointed by the hard work, expense, and responsibility of taking care of a dog, it will just end up discarded.

I want to point out one other thing… something kind of sinister. Ex bears a resemblance to another woman… a woman who is now sitting in jail, awaiting trial for the disappearance and death of her children. I recently reviewed a book about Lori Vallow Daybell, and her crazy life. Ex has a few things in common with her. She’s had dealings with the LDS church. She’s been married multiple times and has children by different fathers. She’s big into fantasy… and she has an autistic child. Lori Vallow Daybell’s adopted son, J.J., was autistic and had a service dog. Days before J.J. disappeared and was murdered, likely by Lori’s fifth husband, doomsday Mormon author, Chad Daybell, Lori got rid of the dog. I could see Ex doing the same, when the dog becomes too inconvenient, expensive, or drains too much of her narcissistic supply.

So count me among those who are silently hoping Ex doesn’t get what she claims to want. I don’t think it would be good. Hopefully, any dog people who get contacted by Ex will be wise enough to steer clear.

Anyway… just had to get that off my chest. Time to continue my birthday celebration… which will proceed with a nap. 😉

Standard
mental health, psychology, rants

I didn’t even know this was a thing…

Living in Germany for seven years has taken me out of the loop regarding certain American cultural mores. Like, for instance, Halloween etiquette. Germans are catching on to Halloween, but by and large, it’s not really a thing here. I do remember years past, when Bill and I were living in the United States. We would carve a jack o’ lantern (poorly) and wait for kids in cute costumes to ring the bell and yell “trick or treat!”. When we lived on Fort Belvoir, we would get dozens of kids on Halloween! But now, if we buy candy for Halloween, we mostly end up eating it ourselves.

Anyway, a friend of mine has three sons that she worked very hard for… When I say she “worked hard”, I mean it took a lot of effort for her to get, and stay, pregnant. She finally had a son and twin boys, and she’s really into raising them. We became friends at a time when I was also hoping to become a mother. I didn’t work as hard at it as she did, though.

One of my friends’ children has autism. I don’t know how high on the spectrum the lad is, but I do see his mom posting a lot about autism and the causes associated with it. Yesterday, she posted this image.

Wow… I wouldn’t have even known what to think if someone rang my bell and had a blue pumpkin bucket.

I think I had dimly heard of the teal candy bucket for kids with food allergies. I don’t think I ever knew anything about the blue buckets for people with autism. Either way, if someone comes to my house trick or treating, of course I’m going to give them candy. I can’t imagine why someone would give a person a hard time on a night that’s supposed to be about fun. I don’t even care if it’s an adult who’s got their hand out, looking for a sweet. Who cares? I also would never fat shame someone on Halloween– I do remember a few years ago, some woman getting in the news because she handed out fat shaming letters to fat kids on Halloween instead of giving them candy. That sucks!

But again, it’s been a long time since I last was expected to pass out any candy on October 31, and many of the places we’ve lived in the States haven’t been conducive to trick or treaters, anyway. In Georgia and North Carolina, we lived way out in the boonies and didn’t have many neighbors, and we never got Halloween visitors. So this is an issue I probably would have stayed ignorant to, if not for my online friend with a child who has autism.

I probably took more interest in the above post because I also recently got into it with a woman who is mutually friended to a lady I met on the Recovery from Mormonism message board. The woman who argued with me, took offense because I disagree with banning the word “retard”. I don’t think people should be using that word as an insult, but to ban it outright is a bridge too far, in my view. It has other meanings besides the insulting one.

In the course of that argument about why she thinks the word “retard” should be forbidden, the woman told me that one of my comments was “stupid”. I took that as hugely hypocritical and ended up blocking her, because she was being offensive and wasting my time. It seems to me that if a person doesn’t want to be insulted, they shouldn’t be insulting to others. But again, she said she has autism, and maybe people with autism lack the ability to practice what they preach. I honestly don’t know. I am ignorant on that topic.

I will totally admit that I don’t know much about autism. I probably would have known more if Bill had been able to raise his older daughter, who is reportedly on the spectrum. But the fact remains, I don’t know too much about this phenomenon… only that when I was growing up, we didn’t hear about it nearly as much as we do now. I’m sure it existed, and there were probably many undiagnosed people who had it and were trying to function in a world made for neurotypical people. Things seem to have been a lot more black and white when I was a kid.

Nowadays, it seems like everyone feels like all of the people in the world should automatically change their way of thinking and doing things. Many people seem to be loudly and aggressively demanding that change. Not surprisingly, they’re being met with resistance by people who don’t like to be told what to do. I’m not saying the change isn’t necessary. It often is. But expecting everyone and everything to change on a dime is unrealistic and unfair. Aside from that, people are going to occasionally fuck up and say or do something insensitive. That’s life.

I appreciate the people who feel the need to be educators and activists on the autism issue. I don’t mind being clued in on things I don’t know about. But I am a little bit confused about some things. First off– do people want special treatment or consideration because they have a certain disability? Or do they want to be treated like everyone else is treated? It seems to me that if they want to be treated like everyone else is treated, it’s not realistic to also expect special treatment.

If someone wants to be treated like everyone else is treated, autism or other issues must be irrelevant. Declaring a need for certain considerations means that a person isn’t like everyone else is. That doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of respect. It simply means that the person has special needs that need to be accommodated and, in fact, they aren’t like everyone else is. What’s wrong with that, as long the differences are handled with kindness, discretion, and sensitivity?

Secondly, do people want complete privacy? Or do they want special consideration because they have a certain condition? If they want privacy, how can they expect special consideration for a medical problem? If I don’t know anything about someone’s health challenges, how can I know what their needs are? How can I address them?

Take, for instance, the exchange I had last week with the woman who argued with me over disagreeing that the word “retard” should be banned. When she responded, she immediately qualified her first statement by saying, “I have autism.”

I thought to myself, “So?” So you have autism. Does that mean I don’t get to have an opinion about this? Like I said, I don’t know much about autism, but I do know that having it doesn’t mean a person has a poor intellect. Should I have felt sorry for her for having autism? Does it give her license to speak to me in any way she pleases? Or should I treat her the way I would treat anyone who aggressively attacks my opinions?

The woman who argued with me clearly was articulate enough. Do people routinely call her “retarded”? If so, that’s definitely wrong. But she’s obviously not someone with a slow intellect anyway. Based on what little I could tell about her, she should have been capable of understanding my point without attacking me and calling me “stupid”. We should have been able to have a calm discussion without her laying into me aggressively and sarcastically. Or is that not possible with a person who has autism? I honestly don’t know. If being unable to be respectful is a feature of autism, I hope someone will tell me. But even if it is a feature, how would I even know that a random person has autism if they don’t tell me? And if I don’t know, how can I give them special consideration?

I think everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and basic respect. That means giving people the benefit of the doubt if they disagree. Just because someone doesn’t share your views, that doesn’t necessarily always mean they’re a bad person or even in need of “education”. They might just have a different perspective, and maybe it’s one you’ve never even considered. Also, opinions aren’t facts. Everyone has a right to their opinions, but they should not be presented as facts.

My favorite color happens to be blue. When I was a child, I probably would have loved to have had a blue pumpkin as my candy bucket. And my mom, who wasn’t up on all the childhood trends, even in the early 1980s, probably would have bought it for me out of sheer ignorance. I would expect that if I went door to door looking for candy on Halloween night, the people in my neighborhood wouldn’t have given me any shit about having a blue pumpkin, but not having autism or some other disorder. It would not have been their business.

The comments on the original post about the blue pumpkin got pretty heated. I noticed some people were lauding the post, but others took huge issue with it. Things got pretty wild. Have a look.

Like I said, I don’t know much about autism. My guess, based on the above comments and my recent interaction with someone claiming to be autistic, is that people with autism are very sensitive about some things. I can see that none of the people commenting above have any issues with their intellects. They are all writing coherently and correctly. But they’ve all aggressively dog piled on this woman who disagreed with them, albeit in a rude and profane way, and are now engaging in some of the behavior that they were initially denouncing. I’ve seen similar behavior in other online discussions, particularly in military circles. I find this kind of behavior disturbing, and I highly doubt much came of this discussion, other than some raised adrenaline.

It seems to me that being kinder and less antagonistic would net better results than being accusatory and insulting… Yes, the first poster was wrong to say the post was “full of shit”, and she was wrong to write “only an idiot”. But then the mob descends upon her, questioning her parenting skills, saying she’s a poor example to her child, and making sweeping assessments of a perfect stranger’s character. It seems very hypocritical to me. What would have happened if most of them had responded in a calm, kind, and understanding manner, rather than resorting to lecturing, shaming, and insults of their own? But again, maybe this is a part of autism that I don’t know anything about. People with autism get to be shaming, but other people have to be “respectful” toward them.

In any case… I think the original poster, who’s been threatened with “banning”, should bow out of that group and find one that is less hostile. It doesn’t appear that she’s very welcome there, which is a shame. Maybe she DOES need to be educated. At the same time, the folks in the autism group are certainly right to try to educate people, but there’s a way to do so that won’t be alienating. Other people have the right to their opinions, too. And it’s hard to get anywhere in a discussion when it devolves into namecalling and insults. There’s no reason in the world why people in that group should have said such personally insulting things to a total stranger, even if the original poster did initially come off as rude and offensive.

And if people don’t want to be “outed” for having autism, perhaps they shouldn’t be using it as a pass for being so hostile and insulting to other people. I get wanting to be respected. Everybody wants that. But just because a person has autism or some other issue, that doesn’t give them the right to expect special consideration and engage in hypocrisy, particularly in an online interaction. I’ve found that people often mirror back to you what you put into the world. Besides that, everyone has challenges and difficulties. I don’t have autism, but people have been mean to me, too. I try not to let it get me down for too long.

That being said… anyone who knocks on my door on Halloween is welcome to candy, regardless of their age, weight, costume, or whether or not they say “trick or treat”. Because I don’t need any more presents for my ass.

Standard
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.

Standard