communication, condescending twatbags, Ex, narcissists, Twitter

“More! I want MORE!” The tragedy of wanting everything NOW…

Like my title? It was inspired by Police Academy. I was thinking about the scene in that 1984 film, when all the hapless new police academy recruits are doing physical training, and the busty blonde Callahan is counting sit ups as she wails, “More! I want MORE!” The cadets all groan in unison as they heave their bodies on the upward count, another painful sit up done. I probably should have rethought that, though… Given today’s topic, maybe Veruca Salt would be a better inspiration for a title. It’s too late to change the title, though.

Some people are never satisfied with what they have…

This morning at about 3:00, Arran woke up and wanted to be fed. I think the combination of taking Prednisolone and being a beagle mix has made him ravenous and insatiable. He’s eager for his meals, and he’s eager to help us eat our meals. Although it’s obvious to us that he’s feeling a lot better than he was a month ago, I wonder if it’s a special kind of torture for him to always want to eat. But then he jumps up on the bed and snuggles with us, begs for a walk, and kisses me. Of course, I came to the rather sick realization yesterday, that one of the reasons he was licking me was because it happens to be my special time of the month. To a beagle mix, I probably smell like a rare steak right now. Sorry… I know that’s gross, but it’s probably the truth.

This theme of excess and never being satisfied with what one has is on my mind again today. Last year, I reposted an article I wrote about the Duggar family back in 2012. At the time, they were still talking about having more babies, and I wondered why they couldn’t just enjoy what they had. I mean, 19 children is quite a quiver full, right? They’ve done their part to repopulate the world with Republicans. Why not just enjoy the children and grandchildren, instead of trying to have more? In that post, I remembered how, when I was a small child, I would ask my mom for more food when I hadn’t finished what was on my plate. My mom, being ever the grouch, would say “Why don’t you eat what you’ve got?” Then I would try to enjoy what I had, and that would frequently be enough for me.

As I listened to Mrs. Duggar talk about “gifts from God” coming in the form of more children, I began to think she was sounding very unsatisfied. If I were to follow her reasoning about wanting more children, I would think she was pretty ungrateful to God, who had already “blessed” her with 19 precious “gifts”. Why not enjoy those children, most of whom were still under 18 at the time, instead of begging for more? More gifts that, by the way, she wouldn’t be taking care of… because we all know the daughters raise the Duggar children. But, thankfully, Mrs. Duggar’s womb finally cried “uncle”, and she’s now done birthing babies. Hopefully, she’s enjoying being a grandmother, because it appears that the “gifts from God” are no long forthcoming from her womb.

According to Twitter, Ex, like Mrs. Duggar, is unsatisfied with what she has. There she is, a woman who supposedly has so much, if you go by her tweets on Twitter. She still seems to think she is entitled to more than what she has. This is how she describes herself on Twitter.

Mom: 5+2 amazing people, 3 autistic, 1 nonverbal, 5 grands! Autism advocate, writer, seaglass lover & fibro warrior! I VOTE; you?

But then she has this very idealized view of what love should be. And even though she is a mother of five and a grandmother, she feels the need to promote an image on social media, interacting with strangers instead of tending to her own family. They apparently aren’t enough for her, if I’m to assess her latest comments. Lately, she’s been going off about student loans. I saw that she recently commented that she no longer owes them. But I also know that she made her daughters take out loans and used the extra money on herself. Then she posts this:

Me: M.Ed. Specializing in Educational Leadership with years of experience working in global higher ed and k-12 special education, about to embark on a PhD. You: ? I do not consider myself above others; rather, I’m grateful for the “Liberation of an Education”©, which all deserve.

Ex dropped out of high school and got a GED, then took about twenty years to finish a bachelor’s degree, which she finally did seemingly because, years ago, I wrote an email to her. I pointed out that she lacked the education and experience to diagnose my husband with mental health issues, which she had been doing for too long. Next thing we knew, she was back in college, then supposedly getting a master’s degree, which we’ve been told she doesn’t use professionally. Even back then, she was talking about going for a doctorate someday, but if you know the truth about her, it doesn’t seem feasible. Now… she DID work for a university, but not in any high level capacity. We were told she was released from that position for doing something “inappropriate” with funds. So, I think the above statement is a liberal stretch of the truth. Yes, she has worked in “higher education”, but it was as a glorified clerk. And yes, she has experience with special ed, but it’s only because she has a son with autism and has done some volunteer work with local organizations.

It’s not that I think Ex is dumb. She isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with her intellect, and if she put her mind to it, maybe she could earn a doctorate, although it probably wouldn’t come from a top school. However, doing that would mean several years of sacrifice, paying lots of money, and submitting to peer review, which I know would be very difficult for her. Then, what would she do with that degree? Does she want to teach or do research? Or is she just after a few initials after her name that she can flaunt on Twitter, or whatever follows it when it inevitably collapses? Isn’t there a smarter way to get that regard she’s obviously seeking? One that doesn’t involve years of study, high tuition bills, and more debt?

One thing I learned when I was in my graduate program– which was full time and took three solid years– is that I am capable of getting a doctorate if I want one. I took many classes with people who were either doctoral candidates or already had terminal degrees. They were my peers. For me, the knowledge that I’m smart enough, and capable of higher education, is sufficient. I’m satisfied. Graduate school, in my case, was in some ways a waste of time and money, because I don’t use the degrees in the way I expected to. In other ways, the time and money were very well spent, if only because I proved to myself that I could do it, and I learned skills and knowledge that are applicable in everyday life.

But I know I don’t need to earn a Ph.D. I’m fifty fucking years old, and I have nothing to prove. I also realize that I don’t have talents for either science or business (public health), nor do I particularly want to work with people (social work), nor do I want to analyze literature (English). So pursuing a Ph.D. would be a true waste of time for me. It would simply be for vanity’s sake, and people in the military community already dislike me enough for being an “uppity liberal woman.” (I’m sort of kidding… because at this point, I don’t care what people in the military think of me.)

Ex seems to think that having a doctorate will make her a more lovable, interesting, important person. I think that if she did get a Ph.D., she would become more insufferable, obnoxious, and arrogant. See this related tweet:

You cannot degrade the value of higher education, that implies exactly what I referred to… privilege, value, social standing! Every human being has their own capacity for learning; education should be based on ability to succeed rather than one’s ability to pay for it. 1/2

This woman denied her three eldest children the typical high school experience. All three of them dropped out and got GEDs, like her. Her eldest got a degree from the university where she was working before she was fired. Older daughter got a degree from a very expensive private art college, which she no doubt had to get huge loans to fund. Younger daughter didn’t finish college, but had to pay back loans she got at her mother’s behest. I don’t know about #3’s kids. I think their daughter is in college. Ex has made many comments about her desire for her daughter with #3 to study acting… as she apparently also hoped for former stepson and younger daughter. I think she has a dream that one of them will be rich and famous, so she can ride their coattails. She doesn’t seem to realize that a career as an actor, particularly a famous one, is fraught with pitfalls. One only has to read Jennette McCurdy’s recent book to understand that reality. But, on the other hand, her kids are at least used to being around narcissists, because they have apparently been raised by one.

Even though she seems to hope her children will someday be rich and famous, Ex is presuming to be an expert on education, a field where making a lot of money isn’t really a thing for most. And Ex is not a teacher. Younger daughter has told us that she was frequently told to “figure it out”, when she needed to know something. Her mother, who is trying to make people believe that she’s this benevolent, open-minded, intelligent person, denied her and her siblings the right to normal childhoods.

This next bit is truly ridiculous, as my husband still has an aversion to any kind of boxed convenience foods, thanks to his years of living with Ex… I don’t see her growing her own food. She doesn’t cook or clean; those duties were fobbed off on Bill’s daughters, whom she never even bothered to teach any skills. They had to figure it all out for themselves.

Sad that our governments [she is referring to the UK’s government] have utterly lost their minds. I want to immigrate to Scotland, don’t mind being poor and having to grow the majority of my food! I’m poor here… everyone is poor here because of policy. Everyone except that damnable 1%… we all live in debt to survive.

I would like to tell Ex that when Bill and I met, we were both broke and heavily in debt. I had student loans, a car loan, and credit card debt. He had child support, credit card debt, a car loan, and recovery from a bankruptcy and foreclosure he went through with Ex. When we met, Bill’s credit rating was in the 400s. Now, it’s in the upper 700s. Today, I have no credit card debt, no student loan debt, and no car loan debt. Bill owes some on our Volvo, and his credit card. If he needed to, he could pay off his debts today. It took years for us to get to this point, but we’re now here. And we’re going to stay here for as long as we can, barring any catastrophes.

Yes, it IS possible to live with low debt loads, as long as you don’t have chronic medical problems. You simply have to make managing and controlling debt a priority, do some planning, make smart choices, and practice some discipline. We’re not in the “damnable 1 percent”. We aren’t rich, but we’re pretty comfortable. We work together as partners, and are committed to not be drowning in debt. Consequently, we have been able to enjoy a lot of the things Ex claims she covets. And no, we don’t live in debt to survive, although we used to do that. We made changes so we don’t have to do that anymore. We also don’t have kids, largely thanks to her. Kids are expensive. She has five of them, and one will probably never be able to live on his own. Imagine where she could be if she’d simply been satisfied with what she had twenty years ago and set a few goals, instead of wanting and trying to have it all. Maybe she could have even had it all at some point… just not all at one time.

This could be Ex’s theme song. It’s a great song, and maybe inspirational to some. But if you focus on having it all, you miss out on enjoying what you already have.

I get the impression that Ex lives as if she will die tomorrow. So, instead of taking things as they come, she wants everything NOW. And she wants us to believe that she is worthy of having it all, when the truth is, none of us can have everything. Even super wealthy people typically lack other things in their lives, like stable relationships with mentally healthy people who aren’t trying to use them for their money or influence. Like, Donald Trump supposedly has a lot of money and power, but he still wants more, doesn’t he? He’s not satisfied with being married to an ex model, owning hotels and golf courses around the world, or even being a former US president. And yet, he continually wants more. Ex is not that unlike him, is she?

Anyway, I think we can add this Ph.D. ambition to Ex’s long list of desires for her life… like a fence for her house, a therapy dog, a trip to Scotland, unlimited wealth, unconditional love from her husband and kids (which really doesn’t exist, unless you’re a dog), and an idyllic house that looks like one she saw in a snow globe. 😉 Nothing to see here. It’s just another typical day in paradise for a garden variety narcissist.

Queen’s lyrics to “I Want it All”…

Adventure seeker on an empty street
Just an alley creeper, light on his feet
A young fighter screaming, with no time for doubt
With the pain and anger can’t see a way out
It ain’t much I’m asking, I heard him say
Gotta find me a future move out of my way
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now

Listen all you people, come gather round
I gotta get me a game plan, gotta shake you to the ground
But just give me, huh, what I know is mine
People do you hear me, just gimme the sign
It ain’t much I’m asking, if you want the truth
Here’s to the future for the dreams of youth

I want it all (give it all I want it all)
I want it all (yeah)
I want it all and I want it now

I want it all (yes I want it all)
I want it all hey
I want it all and I want it now

I’m a man with a one track mind
So much to do in one lifetime (people do you hear me)
Not a man for compromise and where’s and why’s and living lies
So I’m living it all, yes I’m living it all
And I’m giving it all, and I’m giving it all
Oh oh yeah yeah ha ha ha ha ha
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
I want it all

It ain’t much I’m asking, if you want the truth
Here’s to the future
Hear the cry of youth (hear the cry of youth) (hear the cry of youth)
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now

I want it all yeah yeah yeah
I want it all, I want it all and I want it now
Oh oh oh oh oh

And I want it (now)
I want it, I want it
Oh ha

Songwriters: Brian May / Freddie Mercury / John Deacon / Roger Taylor

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karma, lessons learned, narcissists, politicians, politics, scams, stupid people, Trump

“You need to pay…”

Last night, Bill and I listened to more of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes. I’m hoping we’ll finish it tonight, mainly because I hate listening to Donald Trump speak, but also because I look forward to reviewing Woodward’s work. One thing that immediately sticks out to me is that Trump was amazingly forthcoming to this respected member of the press. And Woodward, like any good interviewer, does his best to stroke Trump’s ego, which of course, works like a charm. Trump, like so many narcissistic dictator types before him, loves an audience, and he loves to be stroked. As long as you’re stroking, he’s talking… and Woodward is an expert at extracting information and recording it. So that part of the book is interesting, even as I cringe listening to Trump’s gravelly voice with its weird, sing-songy cadence, and constant spew of bullshit.

Another thing that sticks out to me about The Trump Tapes is that Trump’s focus was almost entirely about money. At one point, he talks about a discussion with the Saudi Arabian king, in which he tells the king “You need to pay…” He was talking about the king needing to pay the United States for military security. He sounded like a mafia boss. I might have been impressed with Trump’s shameless appeal for money, except I know that Trump doesn’t like to pay for things. He has a long list of former lawyers, contractors, and employees who weren’t fully paid or paid at all for their services. Trump seems to think that the so-called “prestige” for working with him ought to be enough. He doesn’t see that if you don’t take care of your people, they won’t take care of you… at least not willingly.

A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed Disloyal, a book written by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen, like so many others who have worked with Trump, eventually learned that working for Trump will lead to misery and losses. Cohen admitted in his book that his job was mostly about getting Trump out of having to pay for things and using legal muscle to keep people in line. For this work, he was paid less than what he was used to earning. He also had to be at Trump’s beck and call, and it was not at all unusual for Trump to interrupt Cohen’s personal time with phone calls and demands for last minute jobs. In his book, Cohen wrote that Trump never pays full price for anything.

Cohen once admired Trump, and wanted to be like him. But he made the mistake of thinking that Trump would respect him and see him as an equal. Cohen, for all of his legal acumen, did not understand narcissism, and he fell for Trump’s charm. Then later, he realized that to Trump, Cohen was a mere tool to be used at his sole discretion. Cohen paid for his tenure as Trump’s legal lackey with prison time and the loss of his license to practice law. However, I have seen Cohen making the rounds all over YouTube, and he has a new book out called Revenge. I will read Cohen’s next book, because even though I think Cohen is pretty narcissistic himself, he’s entertaining. I also enjoy hearing him throw Trump under the bus. Cohen may have lost his legal career, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank as he generates a career selling out the guy who sold him out repeatedly. Perhaps, in his own way, he’s finally making Trump pay.

This topic comes up today as I look at my Facebook memories from October 27, 2018. Four years ago, Bill and I were in the midst of house hunting, as we made plans to move from Jettingen, Germany to Wiesbaden. At the time, we were renting a house from someone who later reminded me a bit of Trump on many levels. I was feeling psychologically unhinged, due to the passive and active aggressive harassment and false allegations lobbed at us by the ex landlady, whom I knew full well would try to rip off our deposit. Four years ago, I was anxious and upset, and there was a lot of adrenaline building as we geared up to stand up for our rights in a country that is foreign to us.

For the first time ever in our married life, Bill and I were very picky about which house and landlord we would accept. We saw seven houses before we finally decided on the one we’re in, which was the last house we viewed. We are paying a lot for this house, but it’s been worth it. Our current landlord treats us fairly and with respect, and this house is a lot more to my liking than the other one was. So we don’t mind paying, even if it is a lot more than what we used to pay. And, in the end, our former landlady also had to pay.

I read my blog post from October 27, 2018. It was partly about something I saw on The Angry Bartender’s page. Someone had decided that they were “too drunk to tip”, and promised they’d tip the next time they visited. Having worked in the restaurant industry myself, I had sympathy for the bartender, even though I don’t care for the tipping custom myself. I mean, I absolutely DO tip where tipping is the norm. I just think it would be better if paying staff wasn’t passed off to customers. I prefer the way tipping is in Germany, where servers and bartenders are expected to be paid by the people who hired them, and tipping truly is a token of gratitude from the customer, rather than an obligation. However– in the USA right now, tipping is expected in most places. And if you’re too drunk to do math, then you probably shouldn’t be exiting a bar without an escort, especially if you can’t walk to wherever it is you’re sleeping. My guess is that the Uber driver isn’t going to want to be stiffed on a tip, either.

Some people on that post were saying that the bartender ought to report the non tipping patron to the police. Naturally, someone else was outraged by that idea, and said so in the comments. From my post four years ago:

I read the comments and one woman suggested getting the person’s license plate number and calling the cops, telling them the person left the bar too drunk to drive.  Another commenter left an irate shaming comment about how jacked up it is to “fuck up someone’s life” just because they didn’t tip.  But think about this for a minute.  This person was too drunk to do math.  If he or she was so intoxicated that tipping properly was too much of a challenge, he or she was certainly too intoxicated to drive.  And people who are that drunk have no right to “fuck up” or end an innocent person’s life by driving drunk.

I continue to be amazed by some people’s senses of entitlement. I see it every day on any newspaper comment section on Facebook, where people constantly complain about paywalls. One guy wrote this:

Why do you post this if only subscribers can read it? You should create a close[d] group only for subscribers.

People pointed out to the guy that if he was reading so many articles that he’d used up his free limit, he needed to become a subscriber. The guy came back with more nasty, entitled spew, as he didn’t seem to realize that he obviously values the paper’s articles enough to read them. But he doesn’t want to pay for the news, even though good journalism is a profession that takes training, expertise, and a fair amount of natural talent. Isn’t that worth paying for? Journalists have bills to pay, too, and it takes money, training, and time to bring you the news. I want to ask the complaining guy if he works for free. Better yet, is he one of those people who resents people who don’t work? Writing the news is a job. People who work jobs should be paid. Newspapers and other media outlets generate money through subscriptions and advertising. You want to read it? You need to pay.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Trump. I see a number of people are trying to hold him accountable. In the past, he’s been eel-like in his ability to slip out of financial obligations. He seems friendly and energizing to those who stroke his ego, but people don’t seem to understand that what they’re seeing is simply superficial charm. There is no substance to it. I listen to Trump act like he and Bob Woodward are great friends, but then Woodward went on to write books about what a dishonest slimeball Trump is, and how his administration was dogged by constant chaos and lies. Woodward is polite and respectful to Trump, not getting offended when he doesn’t let him get a word in edgewise. He gets the story by letting Trump speak for himself. Listening to The Trump Tapes is painful on many levels, and yet we can hear straight from the man’s mouth what a lying grifter he is. He’s someone who never wants to pick up the check, as he tells other people “You need to pay.”

It’s not lost on me that Bob Woodward’s Audible book is coming out just before the midterm elections. I hope it has the right effect on enough people. I don’t think we can afford another Trump term. It’s time Trump paid for his fun, instead of pushing the check on to the American public. It’s time that we, as a society, told Trump, “You need to pay.”

Hopefully, I’ll be ready to write a real review of The Trump Tapes soon. For now, it’s time to do my usual Thursday chores, which now includes taking Arran to the vet for his chemo. Cheerio!

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Ex, mental health, narcissists, psychology, relationships

“To have good friends, you must BE a good friend…”

When I was a junior at Longwood College (now Longwood University), I had a really nice roommate named Angie. I went through many roommates when I was in college– I think seven, in all. Angie and I got along the best; she was a very considerate person. I remember telling her I was really glad we were such good friends. And I remember that Angie said, “To have good friends, you must BE a good friend.” I was honored that she ever thought of me in that way, although I think that a lot of bad people wind up with good people in their lives.

I wish I could report that Angie and I are still in touch, but she sort of dropped off the face of the earth at some point around 2007. I don’t think she ever bothered with social media, which makes her smarter than a lot of people, including yours truly. I sometimes think about her and wonder how she is. I hope she’s doing well. I’m thinking of Angie this morning as I ponder something I saw on Ex’s Twitter feed this morning.

Although I think that in a perfect world, Angie’s quote would work well, I know for a fact that a lot of good people are super attractive to narcissists. Because many good people are more empathic than other people are, a lot of really selfish, mean-spirited, exploitative people do end up with good people in their spheres. Since empathic people are so concerned about the welfare of others, they wind up trapped in toxic relationships with narcissists. Even when a good person recognizes that they are being victimized by someone with nefarious intentions, they often still get trapped in situations in which no one can win.

Narcissists are experts at DARVO– that is Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. When they get called out for doing something shitty, they frequently gaslight their victims. Most narcissists, especially ones as old as Ex is, are very practiced at turning around an accusation so that the person being wronged and having the courage to speak up, ends up being the one who is demonized.

A couple of days ago, I posted about how narcissists will take revenge on those who hold them accountable. I wrote about how I think that the Sussexes may try to get even with the British Royal Family by becoming estranged and withholding access to the young Sussex children. That may or may not happen– as the British Royal Family is pretty powerful. However, I have also seen this dynamic happen in less famous and powerful families. One parent in a narcissistic family system feels entitled to weaponize the children and keep them from the other parent, or the opposing parent’s extended family. This is a means of temporarily maintaining control.

Of course, that happened to Bill, and when he tried to confront Ex about it, she accused him of being a terrible person who horribly abused her and their children. The reality is, he simply couldn’t take Ex’s abuse anymore. He didn’t want to live in poverty, do low-paid, second and third shift assembly line work in factories, and have his life completely controlled by a woman whose personality seemed to change by the hour. He didn’t want to deal with a woman who treated him like a sexual predator, when he couldn’t be further from being an abuser. In fact, the opposite was true. Most of all, he didn’t want to be married to someone who didn’t love and accept him for who he is. Ex wanted someone else, and she was constantly trying to get Bill to change who he was to suit her whims. Even when he did something different, Ex wasn’t satisfied. She would accuse him of trying to be cool, or something like that. Above all, her shit never stinks. It’s always someone else’s fault when something isn’t right.

My old friend, Ken Turetzky, has a great song about the “her shit don’t stink” phenomenon.

So, as you can see, Ex isn’t a good friend. And, it appears that she doesn’t have any good friends, either. This was what she lamented about on Twitter today.

It IS sad… and she’s right that she doesn’t trust people. But aside from that, in order to have good friends, you have to BE a good friend.

To be a good friend, you have to have good intentions. You can’t look at people and determine their worth only in terms of what they can do for you, or how they might influence other people. A quality friendship is based on mutual respect and admiration, honesty, and genuine regard and concern. There must be give and take, fairness, and consideration for the other person. I know for a fact, Ex isn’t a good friend. She doesn’t have consideration for other people. She is good enough at FAKING concern, but only toward people who don’t know her. Those who do get into her “inner circle” are eventually abused. And when they’ve had enough abuse and try to back away from the relationship, she accuses THEM of being abusive.

Unfortunately, if a person has been trapped in an abusive system like that long enough, their thinking can get distorted and they can experience “trauma bonding”. That is, the victim can attach to their abuser, not because the abuser is good to them, but because they are chasing the “high” of the good times, and they think they either “deserve” the abuse, or they can’t live without the abuser. Narcissistic abusers can be very charismatic and charming, and they can be convincing as they make the case that they’re victims. They are also very good at being threatening and foreboding. A narcissist won’t hesitate to tell a victim that if they leave the relationship, they’ll be left with nothing.

When I first met Bill, he made many alarming statements about his relationship with Ex. She had him believing that he was dangerous, and that he’d profoundly harmed her. He believed that the divorce was his fault, and he was sure that I would see the situation in the same way Ex presented it. But the more I got to know him, the more I realized that he is not an abuser at all. He’s an empath, and a very good friend to those who will allow him to be a friend. Although we do have occasional spats, they’re usually caused because he doesn’t want to be assertive and explicitly define his needs, not because he’s a mean, abusive person. And now that Bill talks to his daughter, we can see that he never was the whole problem. Ex treats her children– who are in her inner circle, at least for a time– just as badly as she treats her husbands. And I’m sure that if she ever has had a friend who got close, that friend was treated similarly badly. Ex keeps her relationships superficial for good reason. Because beneath the surface, it’s really ugly.

Hell, I have even experienced trauma bonding myself. A few years ago, I actually was against moving out of the house we rented from a very high-conflict landlady, because I worried that the next landlord could be even worse than she was. At least I knew what to expect from her, right? Of course, now I know that my thinking was skewed by four years of psychofuckery, and dealing with this very intrusive, manipulative, and controlling person whose dealings with us were dishonest and exploitative. Our current landlord is nowhere near as disrespectful and unfair as she was. Yes, we pay much more rent, but it’s totally worth it, because it’s a much nicer house, and we get to maintain our dignity and privacy. But I still marvel at how I had initially balked at moving because I was scared. That’s a form of trauma bonding.

The same “trauma bonding” dynamic happens in abusive friendships, marriages, employment, and romantic relationships. Narcissistic abusers can’t risk letting anyone get close, because then they will see the mess that lurks under the facade. It would be one thing if Ex was open to allowing someone to help her clean up the mess, but she can’t do that. She doesn’t trust anyone, and is fixated on a false reality that she’s created, because reality, to her, is simply too painful to acknowledge.

Likewise, now, when I look back on the four year period in which we rented a home from a high-conflict landlady, I realize that just like Ex, our former landlady was very focused on the external. Every project she undertook was about curb appeal and surface image. She never did anything, at least while we were living there, that would improve the actual experience of living in that house. We weren’t important, because we were already in the “inner circle”, and ripe for abuse. She wanted to attract new victims for when we were discarded. So all upgrading projects that were done while we were living in that house were done for cosmetic appeal or the landlady’s convenience. Moreover, it didn’t matter to her if we were inconvenienced as she completed these projects. I did read that after we left, and before she got new tenants, she updated a few things in the house– probably using the money that she illegally tried to rip off from us. But I’m sure those upgrades were minimal and mostly cosmetic. I doubt, for instance, that she bothered to put in a modern toilet that didn’t backup all the time. Instead, she got a new dishwasher. Dishwashers are great, but toilets are essential, and I think that having a toilet that doesn’t take two or three flushes to clear would be better than having a spiffy new dishwasher.

So anyway, I don’t think that Ex is a good friend, even on a casual basis. She isn’t capable of being a good friend, because she is much too fixated on herself. She’s not a good partner or a good parent, either, for the same reason. She was never able to psychologically mature beyond early adolescence. It’s really sad, actually. I would almost feel sorry for her, except that I know she has hurt people I love. Aside from that, I actually think that it’s rare to have a lot of extremely true friends who are very loyal. Those types of relationships are very special, and they have to be nurtured. That’s why I tend to hang out with dogs. 😉

Noyzi is a pretty good friend.
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Ex, lessons learned, poor judgment

Repost: Ye olde surprise visit…

I’m still debating on what today’s fresh post will be about, so here’s another blast from the past. This post appeared on my original blog on March 9, 2014.

It’s rude to just show up at someone’s home, uninvited.  This was a lesson I didn’t necessarily learn as a child.  When I lived in a suburban neighborhood, it wasn’t uncommon for me to go next door and ask a friend if he or she was available to play.  When I lived in Armenia, I had a friend whose home I used to visit unannounced.  I had sort of an excuse in Armenia, though, since, at the time, the phones were mostly useless there.  I still cringe when I think about it, though.  Dropping in on people seems very rude to me now, and I don’t do it unless I am absolutely positive I won’t offend, even if someone tells me I have a standing invitation.

My husband’s ex wife does not share my reluctance to drop over unannounced.  In fact, “ye olde surprise visit”, as Bill calls it, is one of her many tricks.  She generally does it to people who are “nice”, especially if they care about her kids.  It’s mostly relatives that get the “pleasure” of a surprise visit. She’ll just pack up the kids and go, showing up on their doorstep.  She’s done it to Bill’s parents many times.  It never seems to occur to her that they might have other plans, or they might not be feeling well.  Or maybe they just want peace and quiet.

Ye olde surprise visitors… they don’t need an engraved invitation!

Bill’s family would never turn Ex away, even after the divorce.  They wanted to see their grandchildren.  Ex was well aware of that fact and exploited it to the hilt.  She knew the kids were her ticket to the family circle, even though by the time she and Bill had split up, most of the family couldn’t stand her.  She’d always be armed with them when she’d come by, looking for food, lodging, and information.  

I’m sure that if Ex had less assertive friends, she would have done the same thing to them.  On the surface, it seems like a friendly visit, even if it’s inconvenient.  Look deeper, though, and you soon realize it’s disrespectful.  Let’s look at what happens when someone like Ex pops by with the kids.  She rings the bell, startling Bill’s dad and stepmom, who may have been lingering over coffee, trying to decide what to do with their day.

They open the door.  There’s Ex.  She’s driven in from several states away.  She has the kids with her.  They look tired and hungry.  It’s a kind and Christlike thing to do to invite them in, even if they had other plans.  And putting up with Ex is a small price to pay, since it’s been awhile since the grandkids were last allowed over.  They let her in and she proceeds to park herself at their computer and let the kids run amok in their home.  They make lunch, which Ex determines isn’t to her liking.  Then Ex feels free to opine about how she thinks the in-laws’ Catholic beliefs are bullshit and Mormonism is the only true path to God.  She spends a couple of days in their home, leaving them exhausted and bewildered in her wake.

Now, if Ex had been some stranger, the in-laws probably would have felt free to ask her to leave.  But she’s my husband’s ex wife.  She’s pulled “ye olde surprise visit” many times, especially when she was Bill’s wife.  It’s never occurred to her that there are new boundaries, now that they’re divorced.  And the in-laws were always loathe to try to enforce them, since they knew she’d hold the kids over their heads.  Consequently, they got the surprise visit several times, even after the divorce.  The element of surprise makes it less likely that the forced visit will be rebuffed.  She shows up looking tired and hungry and, being nice, compassionate people, they take her in… and she takes advantage of their kindness.

I use Ex as the example in this post, but this type of thing happens pretty often in certain communities.  While hanging out on RfM, I’ve read many accounts of people getting unexpected drop by visits from church people.  Hell, it happens frequently in my neighborhood, as church people go door to door, knocking and ringing doorbells on Sundays or evenings.  They think they’re “sharing a message”, but they’re really more likely interrupting someone’s peace.  The element of surprise puts the victim at a disadvantage and manipulative types are quick to capitalize on that.

This isn’t to say that a drop in visit isn’t sometimes welcomed.  Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise when an old friend or family member happens to be in the neighborhood and comes by unannounced.  Certain people can get away with it at any time.  I would never turn away my mother or mother-in-law, for instance… not that either of them would ever dream of showing up uninvited.  Perhaps that’s WHY I wouldn’t turn them away, besides the fact that one of them gave birth to me and the other gave birth to Bill.   

It can be hard to deal with someone who just drops in, especially when you are a nice person and don’t want to hurt another person’s feelings.  However, for your own good, it’s probably best to tactfully but firmly explain to the interloper that you need them to call before they show up.  A true friend will understand why they need to call, but will certainly not begrudge you your privacy if you tell them their unexpected visits are causing distress.  Someone who doesn’t care about you or have respect for your feelings will be deeply offended if you remind them that the courteous thing to do is call first before popping by.

This post, of course, doesn’t apply to surprise homecomings! 

This mom is obviously delighted by a surprise visit.

And here are a couple of comments left on the original post.

I think when i have kids, my kids will always be welcome with or without notice, as will their spouses and kids. The same will not apply to their exes. They could drop the kids off in many instances, but i wouldn’t want the ex there. it would be disrespectful to my child.

I would understand if other people didn’t feel the same and wanted notice even from their children. that’s just the way I think I will feel.

My mom and her best friend have an agreement that they can show up on each other’s doorsteps unnannounced, yet they never actually do it. Weird.

I do think it’s rude.

My mom’s best friend has been dealing with the Mormons for abut 10 years, since they found her after her last move, which was about 21 years ago. (She converted when she was eleven.)They show up without calling about once every three months. She NEVER answers the door to anyone when she doesn’t know in advance. (Her house is messy unless she’s expecting company, in which case she straightens it.. I believe she cleans her kitchen and bathrooms on a regular basis, but things are not picked up and straightened unless she’s expecting someone.) i don’t agree with her housekeeping habits, but it’s her house and she has every right to maintain it however she wants. I appreciate the fact that it’s always clean and neat when I’m there.I would never guess that it’s not always that way except she tells me so and she would have no reason to lie. Anyway, she never opens the door for the Mormons because she doesn’t know they’re coming. Maybe she wouldn’t open the door anyway. But regardless, it’s rude to show up without an invitation or without at least calling first.ReplyReplies

  1. knottyMarch 9, 2014 at 10:01 PMI think Ex was entitled and thought of herself as “family”, even after the divorce. She even told Bill that they’d always be family, despite their divorce. Nice that she treats him like family by getting his kids to disown him.

    I was not happy with my in-laws for aiding and abetting her nonsense, but it’s their house and they are adults. However, I don’t have to take part in the bullshit.  

    I think for Ex, showing up as a surprise is sort of a manipulative power ploy. She does it to get people off guard. What can they do? If they say no, she makes them feel like shit. If they say yes, she comes in and takes over. It’s a no win situation.
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controversies, disasters, technology, the environment

The latest viral post…

Yesterday, I noticed a couple of my friends shared the post that serves as today’s featured photo. The quote has been attributed to the author, Marguerite Quantaine. Although I am an avid reader, I’m not familiar with Marguerite Quantaine’s work, so I’m not sure why I would be influenced by her over anyone else. Nevertheless, she (or her social media “person”) makes a pretty good point about individual choices most of us have the power to make as the costs of gas and other products rise. I saw her post being shared by different people on my friends list, who had also seen it shared by their own friends. In reading the comments on her original post, I noticed that Quantaine’s comments were actually made by a “cyber-liaison”, as Marguerite herself has been “indisposed” since October 2021.

However, while I agree with Quantaine’s statement about what we can do to mitigate high gas prices, I’m not so sure the higher gas prices can only be attributed to the war in Ukraine, at least not in the United States. Gas in the US mostly comes from sources other than Russia. Now, here in the European Union, it’s a different story. A lot more of the gas supply comes from Russia. But people over here are used to paying a lot for gas. That’s not to say they like to pay so much for gas, but at least there’s a trade off. For instance, generally speaking, it costs much less over here to get medical treatment than it does in the United States.

I clicked on one the posts that was shared by someone who apparently shared from Marguerite Quantaine’s page. There were a few dozen comments there. The very first one came from a man who is clearly a conservative voter. I just went back to the original post to re-read what the guy wrote, only to find that the post was apparently “cleaned up”. The “hater” comments were deleted. So I decided to visit Quantaine’s page, to see if there were any similar comments. There were, but none that made the statement that inspired me to write this post today. I’m going to have to rely on my memory. Fortunately, my memory is still pretty awesome, in spite of my wine habit.

So this guy, who appeared to be a “boomer”, basically wrote that all he cares about is being able to buy affordable gas. And he thinks that we should just exploit all of the resources we have in the United States. Another poster shamed him, reminding him that fracking and drilling will ruin what little is left of the natural beauty in our environment. The guy came back and wrote that the damage would be “minimal”, and he would be able to run his car.

I had a look at the guy’s profile picture and noticed that he appeared to have a family. There was a woman with him who appeared to be his age, and several attractive adults and kids. It looked like he loves his family very much. Unfortunately, the first thought that came into my mind, was that he must not actually love them that much, if he’s not concerned about the state of the environment and our dependence on fossil fuels. He’s only concerned about what’s happening right now. He probably won’t be around for that much longer, so the lasting damage to the environment likely won’t affect him too much. But it will definitely affect those grandchildren of his. He seems to love his grandchildren, yet he’s not concerned about what lies ahead for them.

I’m going to turn 50 in June. As winter is ending here in Germany, I’ve thought a lot about how different the climate is in 2022 compared to what it was like in the 80s, when I was a teenager. I remember back in the 80s, some people were concerned about the environment. I even remember there was a 1989 episode on this topic on the hit NBC sitcom, Family Ties. In the episode, “Rain Forests Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, the character, Jennifer (Tina Yothers), is studying ecology in school and gets fixated on making changes that would protect the environment. She encourages her family to adopt more Earth friendly lifestyle choices, to the point of being very annoying. But ultimately, she gets very depressed and has to see a counselor. I watched that episode maybe a year or two ago, and remembered how Jennifer’s family tried to console her. Now, 33 years later, that episode seems very prescient.

A couple of days ago, I noticed a picture an acquaintance posted on Facebook of her little daughter. The girl was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It’s not even mid March yet. I remember when I was a child, March was still a pretty cold month, even in Virginia. I asked her what the temperatures were in North Carolina, where they now live. She said it was in the 80s.

Here in Germany, I’ve noticed there’s less snow that there was even fifteen years ago. The winter in Wiesbaden was rainy and chilly, but not particularly cold. When we lived here the first time, I would not have dared go outside with bare feet in the winter. I could and did go out barefoot sometimes over this past winter. Granted, I don’t think Wiesbaden gets as much snow as Stuttgart gets, since it’s not as elevated. But I would have expected at least one good snow in which there wasn’t immediate melting. We really didn’t get any of that this year… or since we’ve been here. I’m pretty sure this is global warming in action. The guy who made that comment about not caring about anything but gas prices probably denies it exists. But how else can we explain why the weather has been so much warmer in recent years?

I do understand that Quantaine’s suggestions in her viral Facebook post might not be feasible for everyone. I’ve had the experience of living in parts of the United States where public transportation is scarce. I’ve worked at jobs that required lengthy commutes. Moreover, I am not a fan of “preachy” Facebook posts in the form of memes that can be passed around like a plate of stale hors d’oeuvres. I guess it just shocks me that so many people are self-centered to the point at which they brazenly state it outright. The guy who was enthusiastically responding in that post really came off as a selfish asshole. And yet, it’s easy to see that he’s a much beloved person, with many family members who evidently appreciate him.

In another example, I noticed a thread by a friend who is also former fellow Epinions writer. This person has a lot of people on his friends list that are no longer on mine, for whatever reason. He posted a statement about how the United States can be more energy independent by encouraging people to buy fuel efficient vehicles and vote for using more renewable resources. He got a lot of responses from other former Epinions members. One response came from a guy I used to have a lot more respect for than I do today. This guy is one of those “me and mine” types– as in, “I’ve got mine, and that’s all that matters to me.” I unfriended him several years ago after his relentless pushing of his conservative views became too obnoxious on my page. This guy had a habit of shaming me for being pro-choice or having opinions that were progressive. I used to refer to him as “Papa Smurf”, because he often tried to act like everyone’s daddy and lecture them when their views didn’t align with his. It got to be very annoying. In fact, I believe my parting words to him were, “Fuck off, Phil.”

Anyway, I noticed that Papa Smurf posted a response to my friend’s suggestion that everyone should use more Earth sustaining vehicles and adopt practices that preserve the environment. Below are his comments, which I think kind of echo the entitled “fuck you all” attitude I noticed the “boomer” stranger had shared on Marguerite Quantaine’s post.

We used to have a RAV4 ourselves. It was a good car, and we kept it for 13 years. But I wouldn’t say it was particularly fuel efficient.

The above comment isn’t as bad as others I’ve seen him make. Like I said, there was a time when I didn’t see the conservative “boomer” side to his personality. I liked him fine when we could just talk about travel. I got a first inkling that he was kind of a jerk when we happened to be at an Epinions social event and he was openly talking about undertipping the wait staff because he had to wait for his dinner. Then years later, we’d clash on Facebook when I would be snarky and “tasteless” (in his opinion) in my comments about certain current events and political ideals. He would chastise me on my own page, which is a “no no”. You ain’t my daddy, Papa Smurf.

Anyway… to me it’s just a reflection of a tragic attitude some people have regarding the environment. They don’t seem too concerned about how today’s practices and policies might be paid for by tomorrow’s adults. Once again, I’m glad I didn’t manage to have children. I look at my husband’s daughter’s adorable son and daughter, and think about the little boy who will soon join them. I worry about what it might be like for them… and I’m glad my life is likely at least halfway over. This war in Ukraine, coupled with the coronavirus, are probably going to change life as we know it… and likely not for the better. Not unless we work together to come up with ways to mitigate the damages done. I think humans are technically capable of adapting our practices for the better… but unfortunately, selfishness and greed often get in the way.

I’ve noticed that electric cars are increasingly popular in Europe. There are a lot of places where one can plug in their vehicles. When we bought our Volvo in 2019, we were told that very soon, Volvo will stop making gas powered cars. I have been giving some serious thought to making my next car a hybrid or an electric. But I rarely drive much anymore, anyway. Unfortunately, I think it will take more time for electric cars to catch on in the United States. They are expensive, and it’s a concept that may be hard for some people to embrace. People tend to like to stick with what they know. For instance, it took me a long time to switch from Windows to a Mac. 😉

I do think, though, that if our species is to survive in relative comfort, we’re going to have to make some changes. And while I don’t think the higher gas prices are entirely caused by the war in Ukraine (the pandemic also contributed), I do agree that at this point, those of us who aren’t in Ukraine are lucky… for now. However, I also think that this thing could actually turn into yet another global event very soon if something lasting is not done about Putin. He’s gone much further than people thought he would… perhaps he sees this stunt as a way to ride out of this world in a blaze of glory. Frankly, I wouldn’t be averse to that… as long as he makes an exit from the world stage soon.

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