blog news, communication, Military, musings, narcissists, YouTube

Yesterday, I was reminded once again of what’s important…

The featured photo is of a beautiful loaf of bread Bill made yesterday. He’s become very accomplished at baking bread. It’s a skill he’s learned, and shares with younger daughter… It reminds me somewhat of my writing “career”. If you’re a regular reader, you might want to skip to the subheading.

Lately, when it comes to blogging, I’ve been kind of losing my mojo. I look at the number of posts that actually get read by more than a few people, and I wonder why I keep writing. I have some posts that are very popular and get read by hundreds, or even thousands, of people. And I have some posts that get read by just one person. I’ve been wondering if maybe it’s time to quit blogging and do something else. What’s the point of writing if people aren’t interested?

Granted, it’s not that often that I only get one hit on a post. I also genuinely enjoy writing, especially when I’ve found an especially interesting or “juicy” topic. My blogs have also been useful in unusual capacities. (and apologies in advance to those who already know about the story I’m, once again, relating…)

Like, for instance, when we lived in our former house, and our ex landlady tried to accuse us of committing theft of a refrigerator. Thanks to my blogging and propensity to take lots of photos, I was able to prove that her allegations were false.

Ex landlady had claimed we dumped the fridge on her, and “stole” her nice one… which I had documented was one I purchased several days after we moved in on September 1, 2014. I had a receipt for it, because I bought it on Amazon.de. I had also blogged about that situation, back in 2014, before I realized what a mistake it was to rent that house. Former tenant had been following my writings and commented. Unlike later, when she’d leave comments and delete them, former tenant didn’t remove those early comments… which were much more conciliatory toward us. They came in handy years later, when ex landlady was trying to force us to fund her upgrades. If I hadn’t been a blogger, she wouldn’t have left those comments, and I probably wouldn’t have those photos.

I don’t know if ex landlady really believed that we stole her refrigerator and dumped an old American one on her. But, because on September 1, 2014, I had taken a photo of the crappy little refrigerator in the kitchen on the day we moved into her house, I could show that the old fridge she’d claimed we “dumped” on her was there the day we moved in. We could also prove the fridge wasn’t American, as it was plugged directly into the wall. American appliances have different plugs and use 110 voltage as opposed to 220.

Even though that whole situation was ludicrous, it was still very unpleasant to have to go through it. We were just looking for a place to live, and expecting our landlady to leave us in peace. Apparently, she had different ideas about what was reasonable and appropriate behavior on her part, and she expected us to simply give in to her accusations and demands.

Later, when things really started going south, former tenant was acting more like a flying monkey. I was not as aware as I should have been, and former tenant would leave comments and erase them. I’m not totally sure, but I assume she was stoking the situation– making it much worse than it needed to be. I don’t know what her motive was. Maybe she was simply getting her kicks, enjoying causing problems for us. Maybe she was jealous that we lived in Germany… or maybe she just didn’t like me, personally, or didn’t appreciate that I was a blogger instead of working at AAFES. She might have simply hated the name of my blog, assuming that I’m a narcissistic asshole just based on that. Who knows? I can’t ask her now, because she’s no longer among the living.

What I do know is that former tenant’s interference, coupled with ex landlady’s abuse, did some real damage to me. For a long time, I wondered if I should quit blogging, because she was using my blogs to stir up shit. I had legitimate trouble writing for awhile. I was feeling paranoid, and was, for a time, literally afraid to share my thoughts. It also took me months to feel comfortable in my current home, thanks to that situation with former tenant and ex landlady. I almost quit blogging back in 2019, when things got very intense and Bill decided to pursue legal action against ex landlady.

In the end, I forced myself to keep writing, even though my writing felt kind of “constipated” for awhile. I didn’t want to give those people the satisfaction of forcing me to quit what I enjoy doing. I especially wanted to send a hearty “fuck you” to former tenant, as I hadn’t planned on having an unofficial “minder” included in our rental contract when Bill signed the lease in 2014. Seriously… I don’t know why she was so determined to be involved in our business, but it was truly a bizarre situation. Maybe someday, I’ll even write a book about it. πŸ˜‰

Things gradually got easier, and I eventually relaxed… I stopped engaging so much with the local military population, which made things much better. Although there are people from all walks of life in the U.S. military community, I’ve found that most of them seem to think I’m weird, annoying, or obnoxious. I am occasionally all of those things, but I don’t go out of my way to bother people. Some people want to assume that I do, though, and stir up drama, and as of 2019, I simply didn’t have the time for it anymore. I left high school in 1990, but some military folks are apparently still there, years after their graduation days.

I’ve since found that it’s much better to simply let readers find their way to me, rather than trying to promote the blog. Contrary to what people might believe, I don’t do this for “fame” or money. But I do sometimes get a little burned out… and I do worry, sometimes, that someone will get angry or upset about something and cause problems I don’t need. Dealing with former tenant reminded me that some people have alternative agendas… or are simply unhinged. So now, I’m much more cautious… and yes, sometimes I do consider whether or not writing is still worth my while.

Which brings me to today’s title…

I used to keep a Facebook page for the blog, which worked okay most of the time, but occasionally resulted in unpleasant and uninvited interactions with people who didn’t agree with my opinions and lacked the courage to comment publicly. I’d usually get those messages first thing in the morning, which would get my days off to a bad start.

Last year, when I got one too many wacko private messages from someone who didn’t even follow the blog or read what she was commenting on, I decided to delete the page. I had already deleted the blog’s contact page ages ago, mainly because people were leaving comments on things, but not including information about the content they were commenting on, which would leave me confused. A few people were also being insulting and chastising me– which, sorry, I don’t have to tolerate. If you want to leave a comment like that, you can do so publicly, so everyone can respond. And that’s only if I deign to approve the comment.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a really nice email from someone who must have been very determined to find my email address. I purposely don’t provide direct contact information on my blogs anymore, mainly because I don’t want to deal with crazies, like former tenant. Not everyone likes what I do, but some people have the wrong idea about me, and my motivations. I try to present truth as I see it, which doesn’t always make people happy. I still have the right to express myself without harassment, so long as what I write isn’t defamatory or libelous.

Making it harder to contact me directly also means that I miss out on positive feedback, like the email I got yesterday. The person wrote that she was very grateful that I had written about British gymnastics coach, Monica Phelps, and her sex offender husband, Brian Phelps. Apparently, the emailer was someone who had experience with the Phelpses, and she and others had read my post(s). And, although I don’t think I was nearly as negative about the Phelpses as I should have been in that first post, they were apparently glad someone had written something.

The crazy thing is, I wrote that first post about the Phelpses in December 2020, during the height of the pandemic. I was just bored one day, and ran across some “funny” YouTube videos someone had made about Monica Phelps and her oddly “verbal diarrhea” style of gymnastics commentating. Phelps made all kinds of appalling, shaming comments about gymnasts’ bodies. These weren’t gymnasts she was coaching, either– not that that would have been appropriate. They were simply girls and young women who were competing in the sport. Monica Phelps was comparing them to stick insects and making very belittling and insulting statements about them as they were performing very dangerous and physically demanding routines on television.

I am a singer, and I have sung in public. I know how nerve wracking that is. Adrenaline courses through the body as you face the audience, hoping you don’t forget words or your voice doesn’t crack… And yes, those things have happened to me before, and when they happen, they are mortifying. But… when you mess up as a singer, it generally doesn’t mean that you could be permanently injured or killed. Gymnasts, especially at the elite level shown on television, can really hurt themselves if they mess up. In many cases, what they’re doing is physically incredible, even if they aren’t at the level of Simone Biles or Sunisa Lee.

It was shocking to me to listen to Monica Phelps talk about what the gymnasts look like, and say some of the insulting things she said. I must admit, when I wrote that first post, I hadn’t really stopped to think about how very damaging it must have been to gymnasts who later listened to her comments. My initial reaction was laughter at the funny videos, but I admit that it should have been more like horror.

As I was completely unfamiliar with Monica Phelps in December 2020, I had no idea whatsoever that she had coached gymnasts, and that there were allegedly a lot of abuses in her facility. It wasn’t until February 2022, when I noticed a lot of hits on that first post, that I read more about Monica and Brian Phelps, and the terrible things that were alleged to have happened in their gym. I suspect that soon, there may be another huge women’s gymnastics scandal, this time originating in Britain, instead of the United States.

Yesterday, when I had “writer’s block”, I sort of took the day off of this blog, and just wrote on the travel blog. Sometimes, I need to do that, to give my brain a chance to recharge. But, as I was looking at the interaction for my latest posts, I wondered why I keep doing this… and making my writing public. Then I realized that sometimes, posts take off later, when they get tracked on Google. And I also realized that a lot of people do read and like what I do. They just don’t always take the time to say so… and there have been times when people have appreciated my efforts. I would say there are more readers like the one who contacted me yesterday than people like former tenant.

And anyway… I have always liked to write. I’ve been doing it since I was a child and had terrible handwriting that no one could read. I’ve always loved writing stories. It’s something I’m good at, and do well. It’s also easier for me to write original stuff for reading, than sing original stuff, although once my guitar skills are better, that could change.

So, I’ll keep blogging… and be grateful when anyone reads my posts, especially when they comment. I don’t even mind criticism, as long as it’s delivered in a civil manner. And thanks again to the ladies who appreciate my posts about Monica Phelps. I’ll be looking for more developments on that story, and probably writing about them.

Hopefully, some will find my efforts interesting… but I think it’s most important that I still find the work worth doing. And right now, I still do… whether you choose to read it, or not.

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book reviews, healthcare

My review of This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, by Adam Kay…

Many people think of medical doctors as superhuman. Some people think of them as inhuman. Former physician, Adam Kay, writes in his 2017 book, This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, that anyone can be a doctor. Personally, I disagree with that opinion, but then, I have never aspired to be a doctor of any kind. Maybe if someone held a gun to my head and told me I had to study medicine, I might be able to do it. I am pretty math challenged, though, and I have a weak stomach. Adam Kay reminds us that working in healthcare, especially as an obstetrician-gynecologist, can be messy, exhausting, hilarious, and tragic.

I see from Amazon.com that I bought This is Going to Hurt last summer. I don’t remember why I bought it, but buying it wasn’t a bad decision. It IS a best seller, and I did legitimately enjoy reading Kay’s diary entries about being a young doctor in Britain’s famous National Health Service. Kay is often very funny, which stands to reason, as he now makes a living as a comedy writer for television and film. But before he commenced his career making people laugh, he brought over 1200 babies into the world.

So why isn’t he still doctoring? By now, he’d be long finished with the arduous training physicians go through. He might be enjoying a full night’s rest, a couple of days off, here and there, and deference from his more junior colleagues. I won’t ruin the book by explaining why he left the field. Instead, I’ll just say that medicine wasn’t for him. Before he realized that medicine wasn’t for him, Kay spent years climbing the ranks from medical school to senior registrar, just one level beneath consultant. Over the years, he collected many funny anecdotes, which he cleverly recorded in a diary… the basis of this book.

Kay writes that he decided to become a physician when he was about sixteen years old. He’s Jewish, and his family is chock full of physicians, and he was expected to carry on the tradition. In the United Kingdom, medical school lasts for six years and begins after graduation from high school. So, before he really had much of a chance to dwell on the decision, he was off to medical school. Once a person embarks on such a career odyssey, it cam be hard to admit when the fit isn’t quite perfect.

Starting in 2004, Kay chronicled his adventures and misadventures in the British National Health System, often with hilarious anecdotes about patients, colleagues, and superiors. He offers a look at how the British healthcare system works, wryly commenting on the politics that affect embattled doctors in training, who are chronically exhausted, underpaid, and overworked. Some of Kay’s stories are downright disgusting, but in a hilarious way. For instance…

I shared the above passage with friends on Facebook. One friend called bullshit on it, but frankly, I could see this happening. From what I’ve read and observed, doctors in training work so hard that they don’t always pay attention to hygiene. Kay writes that he gets very little time off and frequently has to cancel plans with friends and family because he has work to do. He explains that the NHS is often understaffed, especially on weekends, nights, and holidays. So the mostly young staffers in training do get exhausted to the point of not caring so much about things that most of us would notice and take care of right away after a shift.

Some of the entries are very short, while others run for a page or three. I liked the short anecdotes, which made the book easy to read and hard to put down. I also liked that Adam Kay adds lots of footnotes, which are convenient to read on a Kindle. Click the links, and a brief explanation of certain medical terms comes up. I learned new things reading this book, not just about medicine, but also some British language differences.

I will warn that the book ends on a serious note. Kay was inspired to publish this book when, back in 2015, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, accused junior doctors of being “greedy”. Kay had left the profession by 2015, so he had nothing to lose by speaking out about the realities of life as a junior doctor in England. He reiterates that the job was often awesome, especially when he saved a life, or when he helped someone feel better. But there’s a high price to pay for that privilege of saving lives and being respected for doing that job on a daily basis.

Some readers might not appreciate Kay’s cynicism. Again, I must point out that some of the humor is pretty gross, and Kay isn’t always respectful. Some people might not appreciate his graphic descriptions or use of vulgar language. Personally, I loved it… but I have a very ribald sense of humor and I enjoy scatology. πŸ˜‰

Below are a few more samples…

On many levels, I could relate to Adam Kay’s predicament. I was supposed to be a public health social worker myself. I can imagine that if I’d actually done that work, I would have eventually become burned out, cynical, and bitter. I don’t know that healthcare would have been the ideal career for me. But I wanted to be employed. Kay says that he was expected to be a doctor, and his family was pretty upset when he gave up his medicine career. I expect he’s much happier as a comedy writer. He doesn’t have to make life and death decisions anymore. Now, he just worries whether his comedy kills, rather than his doctoring skills. It’s a lot less pressure. Since he’s been so successful, it no doubt pays better, too. I guess that goes to show that people really ought to choose their careers… just like they should choose whom they love.

I liked This is Going to Hurt. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone in the medical field, but also to anyone curious about the British healthcare system. It’s a real eye opener.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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fashion, royals, videos, YouTube

Time to check in with an “old friend”…

I got out of the habit of watching YouTube videos by The Body Language Guy, Jesus Enrique Rosas. Some readers may recall that I was kind of into his videos a few months ago, and he would regularly show up in my video suggestions. Somehow, I fell out of the loop, and after noticing that a lot of people were hitting my blog, having read my comments about some of his earlier videos. I’m sure the interest generated in my older posts about Jesus Enrique Rosas has come about because of the Platinum Jubilee, and the fact that Harry and Meghan have finally taken their children, Archie and Lilibet, to England to see Queen Elizabeth II.

Initially, I liked Meghan well enough. I thought she seemed dynamic, and I figured she might be a breath of fresh air for Britain’s Royal Family. But, I have since changed my mind about Meghan, not that it matters a whit to anyone. I think it’s a shame that Harry and William are not on the best terms, according to the press. Also, I’m sorry to say that she kind of makes my Cluster B warning alarm bells go off. However, I don’t know Harry and Meghan personally, so everything I think is based purely on speculation and conjecture. Of course, I wish their children well, too.

Yesterday, I navigated to Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel and was not surprised to find the below video there, with many snarky references to the “Harkles”… I notice Jesus is wearing a really snazzy new suit, too. YouTube must be treating him well.

As usual, there’s snark aplenty! I get a kick out of Rosas’ wit.

I do wonder if things have turned out for Harry as he’d hoped. Is it all it’s cracked up to be, living in California? Does he feel “dissed” by the Royals? How did it feel to be “booed” by his countrymen? Harry used to be a very popular member of the Royal Family. Now, it seems that a lot of people have turned on him. I think he tried to have his cake and eat it too… and he wasn’t able to do that without significant consequences. I’ve always respected Harry, for many reasons. I think he had a very difficult childhood, though he clearly has a gift for military service. I don’t know what he sees in Meghan, but I’m sure he knows… and really, that’s all that matters.

As for Meghan’s dress… I liked the style well enough, although the white ensemble kind of made me think of an old fashioned style nurse. I’m sure it was no accident that she chose that color, which screams innocence and peacefulness. I liked the way the dress fit her, but I think I would have chosen a different color… because Lord knows, they aren’t innocent, and trying to look innocent is kind of disingenuous. If you listen to Mr. Rosas, you hear him talk about how how Harry and Meghan seemed to be trying to act like the past two years never happened. And whether or not anyone has the “right” to feel this way, I’m sure a lot of Brits feel betrayed by the “Harkles”. Yes, they expected Harry to come home and see his beloved Granny, but as he did so, there was, of course, going to be some shame involved.

River– another hilarious commentator on the Royal Family, also weighed in. River wasn’t a fan of Meghan’s outfit.

I enjoy River’s commentary about the British Royal Family. There’s always plenty of funny snark about the bizarre fashions some of the Royals wear at these events. I am not a fashionista myself, lacking the budget or the body type to wear really interesting (and probably uncomfortable) clothes. But I do enjoy seeing who wears what. Personally, I’m on team Catherine… I think Kate is fabulous, and William could not have possibly chosen a better woman to marry. She’s absolutely perfect for the job of Queen, should the British monarchy survive beyond King Charles. She’s the epitome of grace and class, has a beautiful figure, and seems like a very lovely person, too.

I have probably mentioned before that I attended the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. I was five years old at the time, and we lived in England. I have no memories of it, except for the memorabilia my parents had in our house when I was growing up. And, of course, on our trip to London in 2009, we found a memento of the event near the Tower Bridge.

We were around for this one.

I would like to visit London again at some point… maybe when things are a little more normal in terms of COVID-19. I always get a kick out of my my ancestral homeland. I fit right in on many levels. I don’t enjoy being around crowds, though, so I wouldn’t want to be at the Jubilee, even if there was no pandemic. I’m sure hotel rates are OBSCENE… or even more obscene than they usually are in London.

Anyway… I just wanted to post a lighthearted post today, given yesterday’s bitchery. I enjoy watching the Royals, even though I know a lot of people think they should go. I have tremendous respect for Her Majesty the Queen, though, and I know the past couple of years have been very difficult for her. Losing her dear husband, watching her beloved grandson move to America, being denied access to her great grandchildren… and getting older and more infirm, all as the whole world looks on. It’s tough, I know.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday. I think I shall retire to the living room and hang out with Bill for awhile.

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book reviews, mental health, narcissists, psychology

A review of My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me: A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by Helen Naylor…

Today, I made a concerted effort to finish reading my latest book, My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me: A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by Helen Naylor. This book was just published in November 2021. I decided to read it because I’m a sucker for true stories, especially when they are about people who have psychological issues. I’ve always found Munchausen’s Syndrome to be a fascinating disorder, although this was the first time I had seen a book about Munchausen’s Syndrome and not its related malady, Munchausen’s By Proxy.

Munchausen’s Syndrome, also known as “factitious disorder imposed on self”, is a psychological disorder in which a person either feigns illness or injury, or deliberately makes themselves ill. They do so to get narcissistic supply, attention, comfort, or sympathy from healthcare providers, their friends, and especially their families. People with Munchausen’s Syndrome exaggerate any real symptoms they have, often insisting that physicians do very thorough examinations, procedures, and tests. They are often hospitalized, and they have a tendency to know a lot about diseases.

If you search this blog, you’ll find that I’ve already reviewed a couple of books about Munchausen’s By Proxy (MbP). One book was written by a woman who was raised by a narcissistic mother who constantly and deliberately made her ill so that she could get narcissistic supply from medical professionals. The other is a true crime book about a social worker who adopted two babies from Korea in the 1970s and deliberately made them sick, resulting in the death of one of the babies. Again, it was so she could get attention and regard from medical professionals, praising her for her devotion and dedication to her children. MbP is an especially horrifying disorder, as it’s often imposed on people who are helpless, like children, elderly people, or the disabled.

In British author Helen Naylor’s case, she was not a victim of her mother doing horrifying things to her physically in order to get attention. Instead, it was Helen’s mother, Elinor, whom Helen describes as a narcissist, who was making up illnesses and demanding attention from her family and friends. Elinor is now deceased, but Helen writes that her mother pretended to have chronic illnesses for about thirty years. Helen’s father, who predeceased his wife by some years, actually was debilitated with a serious heart disease. When he passed away, Helen, as the only child, was left to take care of her mother, whose constant pleas for attention and emotional outbursts caused real hardships for Helen, who was also married and raising two small children.

For years, Helen endured the constant dramas and stresses surrounding her mother’s mysterious illness, called ME in the book. I looked up ME and found it defined as myalgic encephalomyelitis, perhaps better known to us Yanks as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS made a lot of news back in the late 1980s and early 90s. Elinor Page had supposedly contracted ME at around that time. The ME made it difficult for Elinor to care for young Helen, whom she described as a “difficult child”. Helen writes of her mother not having the energy to take her places or spend time with her. Or, so it seemed, anyway.

Throughout her life, Helen’s mother required her daughter to attend to her every need. She convinced many people that she was very sick, and Helen soon found herself being scrutinized and judged by other people, who expected her to take care of her mother. Most of those people never saw Elinor’s true personality. Most of them never saw Elinor when she was full of energy and fully capable of socializing and taking care of herself. They only saw the fake persona she put on in a pathetic bid for sympathy and attention. Elinor would do things like deliberately starve herself so that she looked sicker and weaker. She would stage falls near emergency pull cords and insist that she was in dire need of medical attention. She would get the attention, and nothing notable would be found. Elinor would demand full time “carers”, but she didn’t really need them. So she would call her daughter, who was very busy with her own life and raising her own children.

After Elinor died, Helen found her mother’s diaries, which she kept quite religiously. It was after she read them that Helen realized just how psychologically sick her mother was, even though she insisted that she was debilitated by ME and later by Parkinson’s Disease. Elinor did have mild Parkinsonism, which is not the same as the full blown disease. But Elinor wanted to be regarded as very ill, and she would do all she could to convince people that she was unwell and needed hospital care. I think it’s important to point out that again, this book is set in the United Kingdom, which has the National Health Service. So, while these repeated medical episodes would cost a lot in the United States, money to pay for Elinor’s repeated medical visits and hospitalizations was much less of an issue in England.

I’ll be honest. I found this book compelling, but kind of hard to get through. There were a few parts of the book at which I started to think I didn’t like it very much. But then, toward the end of the book, when Helen writes about the extreme drama her mother put her through as she was trying to raise her children, my heart went out to her. I realized just how incredibly toxic that situation was for everyone involved. Yes, it was very hard on Helen, her husband, Peter, and their two children, Bailey and Blossom, but I think it must have been very hard on Elinor, too. At one point, Helen writes an insightful comment about what had caused Elinor to behave in this way. She was desperate for attention, and must have felt she would die without it.

Of course, it’s easy to have sympathy for the person with Munchausen’s Syndrome when you’re not the person having to deal with their constant emergencies and pleas for attention, coupled with the angry tirades, dismissive hairflips, and outright dramatic scenes that come from narcissists. Having heard from my husband’s daughter about what it was like for her to grow up with a narcissistic mother, I definitely felt for Helen Naylor.

It really is tough when your mother is not a mom. And you are forced to grow up years before your time, taking care of things that children shouldn’t have to worry about. And that demand for duty continues even after you’ve come of age, left the house, gotten married, and have small children of your own to tend. In my husband’s daughter’s case, at least there are siblings– notably, her older sister, who has been recruited to stay home and take care of their mother and youngest brother, who is legitimately disabled. Poor Helen was an only child. And her mother had enlisted a number of “flying monkeys”– friends who were there to help do her dirty work, guilting, and grifting. Helen Naylor didn’t have a “mum”– as she put it. She had a mother who parasitically fed off of her own daughter– for narcissistic supply and to serve as an emotional punching bag. Later, when she found her mother’s diaries, she realized that not only had her mom been faking everything for decades, but Helen was also severely neglected as a helpless baby. She suffered an unexplained and untreated broken arm at six months old, and her mother would leave her alone for hours while she went out drinking.

When I finished My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me this afternoon, I came away with a basically positive opinion of it. It’s reasonably well-written and offers a different look at Munchausen’s. Again, most of the books I’ve seen about Munchausen’s are written about mothers who make their children sick. This book is about a woman who deliberately made herself sick or schemed to make herself look like she’d taken a fall. She fooled a lot of people, except for those who caught her when her facade had slipped. I would imagine that when that happened, it was also traumatic and embarrassing for Helen, who had to deal with the fact that her mother did this stuff. It’s pretty clear to me that Helen is normal and just wants to be a good mom and wife.

People who have to deal with narcissists often hear about going “no contact”. I’m pretty sure that Helen’s husband eventually advocated for that. Or, at least not coming right away when Elinor called. But it’s very hard to turn your back on your own mom. I’m sure that is what kept Helen trapped for so many years. Now that her mother is dead, Helen no longer gets the dramatic phone calls from her mother or people taking care of her mother or worse, finding out that her mother has been hospitalized or moved days after the fact. She no longer has to deal with her mother’s friends, trying to horn in on overseeing her mother’s care and take her things. The traumatic memories linger, however, and I’m sure she is still haunted by them. When I stop and think about just how much this must have been for Helen to deal with, it just blows my mind.

Anyway… I think My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me is well worth reading for those who are interested in psychology, narcissists, or unusual psychological disorders. I will warn that this book is written in a distinctly British style, so some of the terminology and slang may be foreign to American readers. Personally, I found this book kind of hard to finish, but I appreciated that it offers a different perspective of people who need attention so badly that they have to make themselves or other people sick.

It’s pretty clear that Elinor is primarily very narcissistic, but she has a number of other behaviors that augment that already unbearable personality trait. She has the Munchausen’s, but there are also elements of a potential eating disorder and perhaps body dysmorphic disorder, as well as depression and anxiety. She must have been a miserable person, and I am sure she was very miserable to be around. I hope wherever she is now, she’s finally resting in peace. And I hope writing this book helps bring peace and closure to her long suffering daughter.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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silliness, sports, videos, YouTube

Monica Phelps and her cringey gymnastics commentary…

Here’s another silly post from yours truly. It’s another lame attempt to stop myself from writing something serious today. It’s Friday, after all, and who needs a depressing blog post? All you really need to do is hang out on Facebook for that. Yep– I’m tempted to bitch about some things, but I’d rather draw your attention to the craziness that is Monica Phelps.

Who’s Monica Phelps, you ask? I didn’t know who she was myself, until I stumbled across some hilarious videos made by YouTuber Ampli Tood, who is apparently a big fan of women’s gymnastics. Monica Phelps is a British woman who was an artistic gymnast in the 1960s. She competed in the 1964 Summer Olympic Games when she was about twenty years old and then going by her birth name, Monica Rutherford. Although her status of being an Olympian is nothing to sneeze at, Phelps apparently wasn’t that decorated. According to Wikipedia, her best showing at the Olympics was a ranking of 59th on the vault.

Also according to Wikipedia, Monica Phelps was married to British Olympic diver Brian Phelps. Mr. Phelps is a convicted sex offender, having been sent to prison in England back in 2008. Anyway, these two founded a trampoline club called Olga, which they ran in England. Later, they moved to France. I’m not sure if Brian Phelps is still in the pokey for rape, attempted rape and 19 indecent assaults on two girls which took place from 1976 to 1986 – while the girls were between six and 15. I’m also not sure if he and Monica are still married. Evidently, Brian Phelps’ younger brother, John, was also arrested for molesting girls.

But enough about the crimes of Brian and John Phelps. This post is about Monica Phelps, who carved a career for herself as a women’s artistic gymnastics commentator on British television. As annoying as some American commentators are, I’ve never heard them say things like Monica Phelps does. She goes from gushing about a performance one moment to body shaming and making grotesque comparisons to “stick insects” another. Have a look at Ampli Tood’s first funny video.

“She’s a hefty girl, but no no, she’s a very, very shapely young lady…”

Good gawd! The above remark just tips the iceberg. It’s like she’ll literally just say anything that comes into her head, no matter how bizarre or inappropriate.

For this second video, Ampli Tood added some goofy synthesizer music and a photo of Monica in her heyday, wearing a sixties era leotard.

“We’re not looking for pre-pubescent stick insects anymore…”

Most of the videos are from the 80s and 90s, which was about the time I used to watch gymnastics regularly. I don’t watch very often anymore, in part because I don’t get live TV here and also because I’m so old and decrepit that it’s depressing to see these really young, fit girls. Especially when I know that so many of them have been abused.

“Quite a chunky gymnast, but…”

I wonder what this must be like for commentators, watching gymnasts and rambling on throughout their performances. I mean, I guess they get paid to do this, but it’s like verbal diarrhea. She just goes on and on, saying things that are equal parts funny and mortifying!

“She is very, very female…”
The elastic makes quite a crease around their waists.

There are a bunch of videos like this one. Ampli Tood has also done some pretty funny videos featuring Tim Daggett, who was a 80s era men’s gymnast. I remember he had a pretty bad history with injuries back in the day. Somehow, he still made it to the Olympics, despite having had many surgeries.

Bwahahahahahaa!

I do like to watch gymnastics, but I’m kind of glad I never felt the need to be a gymnast myself. The recent horror stories that have come out about this sport are just awful. That, along with the constant risk of serious injuries and my fear of breaking my ass were enough to keep me away!

The music on these videos is everything, even if some of the videos are kind of sad. Monica Phelps must have been a successful coach, though, even if her own gymnastics career was not all that stellar… as far as I can tell, anyway.

Dawes is hungry!

I could watch these all day!

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