ethics, Ex, mental health, narcissists

The seaglasshole’s “truth in grifting” policy…

The featured photo is one of the places Ex says she wants to visit… we were there in August 2019, long before I knew this was one of her “dream” destinations.

Happy Sunday morning, y’all. The sun is back in Germany. I don’t know how cold it is outside, but all the snow we got on Friday and Saturday has vanished. Bill and I have a lunch date for later, and I’m working on booking lodging for our upcoming trip to Italy. We will be going to Parma, Florence, and Lugano, among other places, at the end of the month. The trip includes wine tasting, and I’m sure, plenty of food. I’ll be sure to bring my “fat pants”… which means I could bring pretty much all of the pants I own. It’s nice that we can do these things. I plan to enjoy doing them for as long as possible.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post I titled Love bombing 101… lather, rinse, repeat… That was kind of a continuance of another post I wrote a month ago called The seaglasshole is at it again, which was about my husband’s ex wife’s “crowdfunding campaign” for a new, secure fence for her 15 year old “severely autistic son”, who runs away. For months, she’s also been tweeting up a storm about finding a “service dog” for her son.

My husband was married to this woman for almost ten years, back in the 1990s. He was her second husband. One of the problems they had in their marriage was that she had a habit of spending gobs of money on things they couldn’t afford, and didn’t need. At the same time, she insisted on handling the money, even though she wasn’t the one earning it. She also insisted on living in a small town in Arkansas that didn’t offer the kind of work Bill was qualified to do. As you might have guessed, these decisions led to financial ruin.

When I met Bill online, back in 1999, he was flat broke. He lived on about $600 a month, having lucked into a cheap apartment near the Army post where he was working. Ex took most of his salary, which covered child support, alimony, and the mortgage payment on the dwelling they bought that would eventually go into foreclosure. He also went through bankruptcy while they were married. While I could blame Bill for not being more assertive in his dealings with Ex, I have come to realize that she’s one of those people who can be a holy terror when she’s angry. She’s also very manipulative, and knows how to wheedle money out of people, even when they really can’t afford to give her money. Or… in the case of my husband’s stepmother, really shouldn’t be giving her money because they live on a fixed income.

When they were still married, Ex had a habit of buying stuff on eBay, ordering elaborate snacks from Swiss Colony, and making large purchases without discussing it with Bill, or even waiting until he had a full time job. One time, Ex bought two cars without Bill’s input– a van for herself and a Miata for Bill. Another time, she bought new furniture, carpeting, and ordered landscaping while Bill was on National Guard duty. At the time, it was his only source of income, since he had just (temporarily) left active duty, mainly at her behest. During the four years he was off active duty, but still in the National Guard, Bill was working low paid and unsatisfying jobs in factories, because that was all that was available for him at the time in the Arkansas town where they lived. She didn’t care. In fact, she often did things to try to sabotage Bill. Like, for instance, if he had to work one evening, she’d go out and leave him with the kids, then get back late, which would make him late to work. And, of course, she also got him to become a Mormon (temporarily), which required tithing 10% of his income.

She finally decided to dump him when he got sick of the hand to mouth lifestyle and went back on active duty. Or, maybe her plan wasn’t actually to dump him. She said she wanted to force him to “rock bottom”. She set up her confrontation at my FIL’s and SMIL’s home in Tennessee, over Easter weekend in 2000. FIL and SMIL took the kids out for ice cream, and Ex dramatically confronted Bill about his alleged (and imaginary) “hatred of women”. She wanted him to go into counseling with his LDS bishop. Bill declined, since he doesn’t hate women and didn’t need counseling for that… (although I might agree that he could have used support and counseling for other reasons). When he declined, she said, “Then I want a divorce. I’ve already found a notary and drawn up the papers.”

Bill was distraught. He didn’t want to divorce, mainly because he didn’t want to lose access to his daughters and former stepson. He loved them, and as a child of divorce himself, he knew that divorce would be hard for them. Also, he was heavily under the influence of Mormon bullshit, particularly the popular saying that floats around the church…

“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home. David O. McKay

He asked Ex if she didn’t think he was a good husband and father. And her cold response was, “Maybe to another family.”

So, much to her shock and dismay, he agreed to the divorce. There they were, on Easter Sunday, driving to the notary public in Tennessee, signing the paperwork. I’ve heard that Ex locked herself in the guest room at my in-laws’ house for hours before they made the trip. Bill held her hand the whole time on the drive to the notary’s house. And then, a couple of months later, it was a done deal.

A year later, we met in person. This year, we will have been married for 20 years. All I can say is that I’m glad he decided to divorce her. He’s a wonderful husband, and it’s one of my deepest regrets that we couldn’t have children together, thanks to Ex’s decision to convince Bill to have a vasectomy (which he later unsuccessfully had reversed). But honestly, we have a great life… and we get a lot of joy just being together and loving the many rescue dogs we’ve had over the years. Lately, I’ve actually been feeling grateful that I don’t have to worry about children in today’s world, anyway.

The one time we had a visitation with the kids, it was June 2003. Ex was still “Mormon”. We had two beers in our fridge because, after all, I’m not LDS. Bill’s younger daughter saw the beers and slapped him across the face. She was nine years old at the time. I was shocked. If I had ever done that to my father, I would have been knocked into the next millennium. But Bill just sat there looking sad. Later, Ex sent Bill a nasty email demanding more life insurance coverage (he had a $500,000 policy, and she wanted $1 million). She mentioned in the email, regarding the beer, “I’m so glad that at least you didn’t drink in front of YOUR SON (ex stepson– who is actually #1’s son).” In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t have visitations. Imagine the stress.

Bill now has an excellent credit rating. He’s thriving in an interesting and well-paying career that suits him. Though he lost contact with his two daughters and former stepson, one of his daughters has figured out that her mother is abusive. She now talks to Bill all the time. The other one, sadly, is still mired in the bullshit and, at age 30, still lives with her mother, taking care of Ex’s “severely autistic son”.

For years, I’ve been writing about this… and it’s only been recently that I’ve been paying attention to what Ex does online. I used to avoid looking her up because I didn’t want to be angry, even though I was angry, anyway. Now that Bill’s children are adults, I’ve been watching her. At first, it was entertaining, but now I do it because I’m afraid she’s going to exploit my husband’s stepmother. As I wrote in my “Love Bombing 101” post, I’ve seen evidence that Ex has been grifting money from SMIL. And while that’s not directly my business, I don’t want to see Bill’s other family members wind up having to pick up the pieces when Ex drains SMIL dry, the way she did Bill.

The other day, Bill contacted his sister and told her about what we’ve observed. Ex went down to see SMIL last month, and just after that visit, I noticed that the crowdfunding she had going, asking for funding for a fence, was gone from her social media. I posted screenshots of the crowdfunding campaign in the other post, since I’m sure it will be deleted soon. Today, I have screenshots of some of her latest public online activities. Notice how many pleas she makes for items that aren’t really “needs”– photos, books, puppies, gin and gin glasses (guess she’s not Mormon anymore)… as well as flirting with Mark Hamill and other people she admires. And yes, lots of bragging about her supposed relations to famous Scottish families (Ex was adopted).

It’s been interesting watching Ex in action. You see, I’ve been exploring my own ancestry, and I’ve discovered that I’m pretty Scottish myself. Both 23&me and Ancestry say so… I don’t claim to be related to any famous Scottish families, but I do know I’m related to a whole lot of Scots (and Brits and Irish people). And we’ve actually had the chance to go to some of the places Ex says she dreams of visiting. Perhaps if she hadn’t been so keen on her wants back in the 90s, she could have been to some of these places and seen them firsthand, instead of scouring Instagram and Pinterest for stuff to dream about. Perhaps she could have also taken her “beloved” children with her on these trips, so they could also explore the world. But no… there were too many other pressing desires… like treats from Swiss Colony, Disney plates, and depression glass.

This may seem like a “mean” post. But Ex has been getting away with her shit for years… and it’s mainly because no one directly calls her out on this stuff. We did clue Bill’s sister in to what we’ve observed, and advised her to keep an eye on her mom. Ex may still do some grifting… but maybe if it gets bad enough, SIL can get law enforcement involved. Because I don’t think Ex will stop until she’s forced to stop somehow.

Well, I need to close this post, because Bill and I have a lunch date. I need to get dressed and put on my face. I suspect some people will think it’s wrong that I’m exposing Ex in this way… but I’m just so tired of sitting by and watching her spread her lies. Ex is a liar, a grifter, and exploiter. I’m glad no one but her contributed to her crowdfunding campaign. I’m going to do what I can to stop Ex from turning herself into SMIL’s next cash drain. The seaglasshole doesn’t practice truth in grifting, and I’m tired of seeing people I care about being used by her.

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Duggars, law, music, religion

A song leads me to ponder Christians and lawsuits…

Sorry in advance for those who are tired of this topic. I’m still working it out in my head. Also, please excuse me for taking so long to get to the point. 😉

A few days ago, I was working on my latest jigsaw puzzle. I had the music going, and a song came on that I think was by Paul Thorn. I can’t tell you which one it was, though, because I have a habit of downloading whole albums by artists I like, or even when I just hear a song I like. I don’t always get around to listening to the whole thing, like I used to when I was younger and poorer. I remember, when I was a kid, I would save my pennies for albums and listen to the whole thing over and over again, until I had the whole thing memorized. Nowadays, there’s just so much out there that I like, I don’t do that anymore.

In fact, just this morning, I was looking at songs by Stephen Bishop. I had heard his original version of the song, “Separate Lives”, which was made famous in the mid 1980s by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin, who sang it for the film, White Nights. I was contemplating buying a live EP by Stephen Bishop, even though I already have a different live album by him. Then I noticed the Alan Parsons Project also had a song called “Separate Lives”. I have always liked the Alan Parsons Project… I’m nerdy like that, and I’m a bonafide child of the 80s. I ended up listening to a snippet, and liked what I heard, so I downloaded that. I’m now listening to that album. And I also bought an obscure early 90s album called The Law, which one of my college roommates had. I liked it back then, and it just popped into my head. So I bought that, too. I’m probably a record company’s wet dream of a customer. I’ll buy albums at the drop of a hat. It’s a good thing I gave up my obsession with horses, or Bill and I might legitimately be in the poorhouse.

Aha! I thought those backup singings sounded familiar. They also sing with the great Mike Farris, as well as on their own!

I am a recent admirer of Paul Thorn’s music. I discovered him when someone made a hilarious YouTube video using his funny song, “It’s a Great Day to Whup Somebody’s Ass”, speeding it up so it sounded like Paul was on helium. I found the original version and loved it. Next thing I knew, I was downloading shitloads of Paul Thorn’s music. His song, “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love” was very comforting to me in 2014, when I lost my dad rather suddenly. I was listening to my iPod on the way to my home state of Virginia, and that song, which I had never heard before came on… and I could really relate to it on so many levels.

I know Paul Thorn is the son of a Pentecostal preacher. He grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and was not allowed to listen to rock and roll when he was growing up. He had to hide the two records he did own– one by Huey Lewis and the other by Elton John. It’s not surprising that some of his songs are about faith issues, even though his own career has involved rock and roll, and until recently, booze. Thorn has evidently given up the sauce… something for which I heartily congratulate him.

So anyway, this song came on, and it sounded like it was an indictment against lawsuits. I thought it was a song by Paul Thorn, but I could be wrong. I’m trying to find it now, but I haven’t been successful. I should have “Shazamed” it. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could do a topic search in my music library and find the song that way? I probably could do that, but lack the technical expertise to figure out how. The song got me to thinking, though. I have heard that Christians shouldn’t sue each other. But what if the lawsuit is for a good cause?

I am rather nominally a Christian myself. I was raised to be Christian, but I don’t go to church anymore. Even if lawsuits weren’t considered a “Christian” thing to do, I don’t think that would be a reason not to engage in litigation. I do think that people should only sue someone as a last resort. I don’t think lawsuits should only be about money, either.

One of the reasons my husband sued our former landlady was because we knew she courted junior members of the military– young, inexperienced couples who might not have the time or resources to hold her accountable. She was very proud of hosting several American families in her rental house, and according to her, they were all “perfect” tenants. Except for us, that is. She said we were the “worst” tenants she’d ever had.

Now, we aren’t perfect people by any stretch of the imagination. But we do pay rent on time– early, actually– and we don’t throw wild parties, get in fights with each other or the neighbors, purposely destroy things, or complain a lot. I may not be a great housekeeper, but I do keep a basically sanitary home. She made us sound like we were total pigs. And although she accused us of being irresponsible slobs who were the “worst” tenants she’d ever had, I noticed that she never once asked us to move out of the house. She never claimed Eigenbedarf (needing the house for herself or her family). In fact, we have many emails in which she thanked Bill for paying her promptly and for being so “considerate”, which he certainly is. Although I had plenty of reason to complain about her many unplanned intrusions, I rarely did, at least in the beginning. It was only after she became verbally abusive toward me in my own home that I became really angry.

How is it, then, that she justified keeping our deposit, only begrudgingly giving us 20% back when Bill insisted? How is it that she clearly broke German laws, and we were the shitty ones? The money she kept, we could afford to lose. But there was a time when her decision to keep our money would have been financially devastating to us. I couldn’t help but notice that she appeared to prefer a certain type of tenant. Her place was priced reasonably for the Stuttgart area, although until we moved to Wiesbaden, it was one of the most expensive rentals we’d ever lived in. It was more than what we paid for housing in Texas and Georgia, though we lucked into a fairly cheap place in North Carolina. None of those landlords had problems with us, either. She was the only landlord that ever dared to rip off our deposit in such an egregious way.

We figured that if she was willing to rip us off without any compunction, she would certainly do it to younger, less assertive people with less experience living in Germany. She would count on them having to leave the country and not having had the foresight to buy legal insurance. She would bet they would be too intimidated by the court system and the lack of German language proficiency most Americans have. Plus, she’s a total bully, and most people don’t enjoy confronting bullies. That’s why they can continue to be that way to other people for as long as they do.

So, although we definitely wanted to hold her accountable for ourselves, we also saw suing her as a moral obligation toward those coming after us. She may very well continue to try to rip off her tenants, but at least someone has refused to let her get away with openly breaking German tenant/landlord laws. I strongly suspect that the people before us realized that she was a dishonest person and, instead of having the integrity to deal with her themselves, they lied to us and left us holding the bag. And then, when I started to figure out what happened, they tried to shame me into silence. They wanted us to pay the price for things that happened on their watch… because I KNOW that they didn’t get the same level of scrutiny on checkout that we did… and I KNOW that the house was not as clean for us as it was when we left it, in spite of ex landlady’s claims that it was filthy.

Bill watched her carefully when they did the walkthrough. She obviously had to look pretty hard to come up with defects, although she did have the nerve to complain that we left the trashcans full, as they were when we moved in back in 2014. I wish he’d had the presence of mind to remind her that we had paid rent and Nebenkosten (other costs– eg. water, trash) for December 2018, when we weren’t even living there. We had every right to use the trash cans in November 2018. The lease was in effect until 11:59pm December 31, 2018. If she was so upset that they were dirty, she could have asked us to come back and clean them after they were dumped. She knew we weren’t leaving the country. Of course, that would have meant she needed to cooperate with us, which she plainly wasn’t willing to do.

When it became clear that she was trying to portray us as people we clearly aren’t, to the point of even falsely accusing us of theft and other illegal things, we decided that a lawsuit was in order. It brought us no joy or pleasure to sue her. In fact, I know I was very angry about having to take that step. But what choice did we have? We could sue her and pursue what was rightfully ours under the contract, or we could let her get away with what looks to me to be like her usual scam involving Americans in Germany. To me, it seemed immoral not to hold her accountable, because it would only embolden her to continue doing the same sleazy thing to other people. In that sense, I don’t think what we did was “unChristian”. She did finally end up giving us our money, but boy, was it obvious she didn’t want to do it. Months after the case was settled, she still hadn’t paid. We contacted our lawyer, who must have sent her a very strongly worded letter. And then ex landlady didn’t pay us directly. She paid the lawyer, who then gave us our money. It must have been very painful for her to do the right thing.

And then I think about so-called Christians, like the Duggar family, who have certainly used the legal system to get what they want. Four of the Duggar daughters sued over invasion of privacy when their information was leaked to the press. That case was eventually dismissed after a couple of years of wrangling. Of course, right now the legal system is having its way with their brother, Josh Duggar, who is going to have an extra couple of months cooling his heels in the Washington County jail. His lawyers successfully petitioned the court for more time before he is formally sentenced for his horrific crimes against children. I have heard that jails are a lot less comfortable than prisons are. They are set up for short term stays, which means they have less in the way of resources for inmates. But Josh probably prefers to be in Arkansas, close to his wife, Anna, who is able to talk to him by phone. Once he gets to prison, he may be less protected from harm than he is right now. But of course he’s going to have to go to prison at some point. Frankly, I think the sooner he accepts that, the better off he’ll be.

Speaking of the Duggars… there was another wedding yesterday. Jeremiah Duggar, twin to Jedidiah, who was married last April, got married to the former Hannah Wissmann in Nebraska yesterday. Some photos have already surfaced of the event, which was apparently relatively subdued for a Duggar wedding. There weren’t any weird pranks played, for instance. This was also the first wedding Josh didn’t attend, obviously. I don’t know where they will honeymoon. Since TLC isn’t paying, I guess it won’t be anywhere in Europe.

Anyway… if I ever figure out who sang the song that inspired this post or the song’s title, I’ll try to post a link and perhaps offer more commentary. Next time, I’ll be sure to Shazam. But, suffice to say, I don’t think it’s always wrong or immoral to sue someone. Sometimes, lawsuits are completely justified and, in fact, even the “right” thing to do. It’s only when they are solely about taking money for frivolous or greedy reasons that I think they’re immoral. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit is the only way to get justice. And, I know in our case, it was also about reclaiming self-respect and maintaining dignity. Turning the other cheek is a good thing to do sometimes. Other times, it’s much better to fight.

One more thing before I go… I just discovered the wonderful music of piano prodigy Ruth Slencynzska, who is 97 years old and is Rachmaninoff’s last surviving student. If you love classical music, I would highly recommend checking out her brand new album, My Life in Music. It’s gorgeous!

It’s better to focus on Ruth’s sublime artistry and musicianship than people who lie, cheat, and steal from others.
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ethics, Ex, lessons learned, musings, narcissists

Things that make me go hmmm…

The weekend is gone again, and we’re starting a new season. With it will come lots of changes on many levels. It’s nice to see the sun again, see flowers blooming, and observe the days getting longer and less grim. Still, there’s always someone or something out there that is up to no good.

I feel a little like Sue Snell at the prom in the movie, Carrie.

As I mentioned last week, the seaglasshole and some of her spawn recently ventured down to another state see my husband’s stepmother. This was, as I understand it, yet another one of her famous “ye olde surprise visits”, that she’s so adept at organizing. That’s when Ex decides to visit people unannounced, and puts them on the spot to host her. Most of the time, people welcome her into their homes, even though she has a long history of unapologetically grifting money and goods from them, for which she never says as much as “thank you”. Hmmm…

Last night, I noticed that Ex quietly removed a link to a crowdfunding campaign she recently launched. Last I checked, the campaign is still active, but it’s no longer publicly posted on her social media accounts. When no one jumped up to donate to her campaign, she donated $500 to herself. But still, no one responded to her request for money.

The crowdfund campaign was supposedly to help pay for a fence for her severely autistic son, who is fifteen years old and supposedly can’t go outside unsupervised. And yet, though her son supposedly needs constant care and oversight, Ex, older daughter, and #3’s daughter all went to see my husband’s stepmother. They evidently didn’t bring Ex’s son with them. I’m assuming they drove there… and gas prices are reportedly at an all time high in the United States. So they drove many states away at a time when gas prices are very high, and she’s begging strangers for money to fund a security fence for her son, whom she supposedly left alone, though he shouldn’t be left alone (#3 supposedly works full time now). Hmmmm….

And now that the week is up, she’s mysteriously removed the link to the campaign. Does she no longer need the money? If that’s the case, what’s changed? Was she suddenly gifted some money? Or has she just “grifted” it? Hmmmmm…

Younger daughter says that she felt pressured to be involved in this visit… to promote the idea of one big “happy” family… to surprise SMIL with her “grandbabies” and “great grandbabies” (that technically aren’t actually her grandbabies). And if I know Ex, they will only be “grands” until SMIL does something to piss her off or doesn’t do her bidding. Then she’ll try to take them away again. I suspect Ex sees younger daughter’s kids as hers to exploit, just as she exploited (and still exploits) her own kids. It’s hard for younger daughter, because she’s a good person who legitimately cares about her family and doesn’t want to be cast out. But she also knows her mother is abusive. I don’t know if she realizes that SMIL is, too.

Ex also reportedly tried to involve ex stepson’s wife in these shenanigans, even though ex stepson basically used Bill (his ex stepfather) for money and changed his last name to what it was originally. Bill’s daughters also changed their last names to #3’s. All of these people who are supposedly “grandbabies” either aren’t actually related to Bill (and therefore Bill’s dad) or they changed their last names to disown him. And yet Ex still apparently wants to be connected to Bill’s family… the family whose last name was too shameful for Bill’s own bio daughters to keep. Has SMIL forgotten about all of this? I remember she was pretty outraged about it when it happened.

I don’t have much to do with SMIL. She doesn’t seem to like me very much. I know there are a lot of reasons why she doesn’t appreciate me. I’m not the mother of Bill’s children. I haven’t encouraged Bill to move closer to her, nor do I encourage him to tolerate her emotional blackmail tactics. I am not a very pliant person, nor do I go along to get along very well. However, even though we aren’t best buddies, I do hate to see her potentially being taken advantage of, especially by Ex. Last time I saw SMIL, she told us many tales of woe about how Ex has disrespected and taken advantage of her over the years. I don’t know if grifting money was the real purpose of Ex’s visit. It could all just be a coincidence that this trip coincides with Ex’s crowdfunding campaign, the link to which mysteriously “disappeared”. I do think it’s very possible, though… and SMIL may find herself out some money and, once again, outside of Ex’s sphere, once Ex gets what she wants.

I know SMIL is probably feeling very lonely, since FIL died. I don’t know that she has a lot of contact with her other family members who live nearby. And SMIL did recently go on a trip with a friend of hers. I’m sure Ex saw that, and figured SMIL was into some money… perhaps from a life insurance payout. I really don’t know. But I do think her actions of late are very curious and suspicious. They do make me go “Hmmmm” a bit.

Once again, I know it’s really not my business, so I’m not going to say anything to anyone directly involved. SMIL can certainly have anyone she wants in her home. I just think it’s very sad that she’s back to hanging out with Ex, who has legitimately hurt her more than once in the past. I hope someone who cares about SMIL will intervene… or at least ask her if she’s okay. This stuff looks very sketchy to me, and I’ve been around long enough to see the signs of trouble. I also know what Ex is capable of doing. She is a very nasty piece of work. As for SMIL… her daughter posted the below a few days ago. I have a feeling it was connected to this bit of drama.

Kind of telling, isn’t it?

This isn’t the first time Ex has pulled this “one big happy family” bullshit. She’s been doing this for years. And some people seem to fall for it over and over again, much like Charlie Brown falls for Lucy’s football prank. The sad thing is, I know that SMIL knows what Ex does. She’s told us.

I know Ex relates to Peanuts… so in homage to her, here’s a clip that outlines her predictable behavior.

A couple of days ago, I combined some fresh content about USAA with an old post about LuLaRoe. In that post is some wisdom that I think bears repeating. So here it is, slightly edited… and this isn’t to say that I think all families are like this. Just the ones that involve narcissists, grifters, and other dishonest people who are more interested in money and power than real, healthy, loving relationships that aren’t based on acting like a parasite.

“One big happy family” sounds great… until you realize that some of the most toxic relationships a person can have are with family members.  Family members have that advantage of being in the group… they have access to you that other people generally don’t.  They know you better than most people do.  And when something unpleasant needs to be done, family members feel okay about asking other family members for help.  If you go against the grain, you run the risk of being cast out… lovingly, of course, because you need to see the error of your ways.  While I don’t know for sure, I get the sense that Ex’s family system is kind of culty like that.  You toe the line so you won’t be towed outside of the group. 

Ex runs her family like a mini cult. Too many people are caught up in it… not realizing that there are many healthy, decent people in the world who are much more worthy of their love and attention than the narcissistic ex is. Why, if Bill was such a terrible husband to her, is she so desperate to hang on to his family? I think we all know why… hmmm? Anyway, all I can do is watch and muse, so that’s what I’ll do.

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Duggars, narcissists, poor judgment, psychology, religion

Ben Seewald is currently in the dog house. History shows it’s a familiar place for him.

Well… I thought I might have a non Duggar topic for today, but all I can think about this morning is that clip I saw of Ben Seewald and Jim Bob Duggar interacting at Jill and Derick Dillard’s 2014 nuptials. And since I’ve recently been watching videos about body language, I think I’ll just go with what’s in my head this morning. In a manner of speaking, writing about Ben Seewald is kind of a change of pace. I don’t usually pick on him. I’ll try to be gentle.

A little mood music for this post. It’s inappropriate and rude, so be warned. This song is stuck in my head.

Here goes…

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how Jim Bob Duggar is facing a “difficult season”. His eldest son, Josh, is sitting in the county jail awaiting sentencing for his crimes against children. He lost his bid to run for an Arkansas Senate seat. And now, his son-in-law, Derick Dillard, who is married to his formerly beloved Jilly Muffin, is slamming him publicly on social media. Derick Dillard had some very “choice” words for his wife’s father. I shared them in yesterday’s post, but for the sake of simplicity, I will share them again in this post.

Dayum, Derick… tell us how you really feel!

The other day, I wrote another post in which I commented on The Transformed Wife’s assertions that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are “very good parents”. Now, I don’t agree with that at all, and you “regulars” probably already know why. I’ve explained many times why I think the Duggar parents are frauds and grifters. They have been using their children to bankroll their hypocritical “fundie Christian” platform for way too many years. I think a lot of their “Christian” ideals are put on for the cameras. Christianity serves as a facade for what I believe is really Jim Bob’s narcissistic mini cult. Today’s post about Ben Seewald highlights an example of what I mean.

In the post I wrote two days ago about Jim Bob’s and Michelle’s alleged “very good” parenting, I included a video of Jill’s and Derick’s wedding episode on 19 Kids and Counting. When that video originally aired, I remember being absolutely floored as I watched Jim Bob, Derick, and the rest of the male part of the wedding party getting dressed. There was a subtle incident in that episode that I think pretty much sums up Ben’s relationship with Jim Bob and, quite frankly, his wife, Jessa. The interaction I’m referring to happened very quickly. It was so fast that a lot of people probably missed it. I haven’t seen anyone else bring up this incident prior to today. But, to me, it speaks volumes…

Anyway, here’s what happened. Jim Bob and Michelle were watching everybody getting dressed for the wedding. They both spotted Ben Seewald, who was, at that point, just “courting” Jessa. Ben was wearing a black tie. Michelle Duggar was wearing an absolutely hideous silver dress that I think makes her look like a fish. Not surprisingly, Michelle bragged about getting that dress from the clearance rack. It’s obvious to me why that dress was on clearance. Michelle then commented that Ben needed to iron his necktie. The tie, which appeared to be cheap and made of polyester, was a bit rumpled. Jim Bob agreed with Michelle…

I remember trying to find video of the above incident some time ago. I knew it was in Jill’s and Derick’s wedding episode, but I kept missing it. It’s very easy to overlook this interaction, since it lasts just a few seconds. However, given what has happened to this family since 2014, I think this incident is quite profound. Below is a YouTube video of the wedding episode. You can see this ridiculous and cringeworthy interaction for yourself at around the 41-42 minute mark.

Fun times.

Now… the other day, I briefly mentioned this “necktie” incident, but that was before Derick wrote his Facebook post slamming Jim Bob for being a verbally abusive and manipulative liar, and a complete hypocrite. After Derick posted his strongly worded comments that directly called out Jim Bob, Ben came back with this rather “bitchy” and passive aggressive rebuke that sort of indirectly calls out Derick for being “rude”. He claims being “rude” is being “weak”. I don’t know how Ben finds the nerve to call Derick “weak”, when he can’t even address him by name and has to hide behind the Bible… and he literally lets their father-in-law lead him around like a dog while they’re on camera!

Um… don’t you think Derick has the right to be rude to Jim Bob, given what happened to his WIFE, Ben? Where are your balls? In Jim Bob’s dog house? Or in Jessa’s purse?

I don’t usually pick on Ben too much, although I remember thinking, when he and Jessa started “courting”, that Jessa could do better. He seemed so young, immature, and, frankly, kind of wimpy. I thought Jessa would go for someone a little more assertive. But hell, I don’t know Jessa or what turns her on. I have noticed that she tends to be snarkier than a lot of her sisters. It seems pretty clear to me that in spite of Ben’s alleged biblically “superior” gender and his supposed role as “protector” and headship, Jessa is the one who rules the roost. And you know, that’s fine, if that’s how it works best for them as a couple. But I do think that Ben made a fool of himself with the above post. He clearly lacks a spine and perspective.

Remember this, Ben? (and Jim Bob)

Instead of calling out Derick in a straightforward way, using his own words, Ben relies solely on scripture and a “bitchy”, peevish tone. He seems to have completely missed the point, hasn’t he? Jim Bob is partially responsible for the fact that Josh Duggar was allowed to abuse his sisters and a babysitter, along with God only knows how many other young females. Jim Bob, supposed headship, protector, provider, and megadick almighty, did not live up to the role that he claims is so important, according to Bill Gothard’s principles. Jim Bob failed to lead and protect his own family in his own household. Then Jim Bob had the nerve to try to inflict the rest of Arkansas with his spineless, self-serving, misogynistic and money grubbing agenda by running for public office, which thank God he did not succeed in winning.

And now, following his father-in-law’s toxic example, instead of standing up to Derick in an assertive way, Ben Seewald snivels, passive aggressively hiding behind Bible verses, and not directly addressing anyone in particular. But we all know he’s throwing shade at Derick for speaking out against Big Daddy Duggar. I can practically picture Ben’s pissed, humiliated facial expression captured in the screenshots above, as I see him posting the above rebuke to his brother-in-law.

What the hell, Ben? Where are your priorities?

Ben is supposedly studying to be a pastor. He works for Jim Bob. He lives in a house owned by Jim Bob. It’s too small for his growing family, but instead of going out and getting what he needs, he relies on Boob and sticks up for him when another son-in-law justifiably criticizes Jim Bob. Ben needs to grow up and reclaim his balls. He needs to get a life, “leave and cleave”, and stop being such a goddamned bitch, doing it “doggy style” for Jim Bob. Even if he doesn’t agree with Derick, Ben should own up to it and address Derick directly, like a man.

I’m not the only one who has noticed how wimpy Ben Seewald has a tendency to be. It’s being discussed in the Duggar Family News community. Katie Joy has also tackled it, although I started writing this post before I listened to her video. I pretty much agree with Katie on this. Ben has missed the point, and he’s totally calling out the wrong person. Ben doesn’t want to piss off Daddy Duggar, because Daddy Duggar is bankrolling his lifestyle. But what a yucky way to have to live! Who wants to kiss Jim Bob’s ass for the rest of their lives? Derick clearly is more mature and courageous than his brother-in-law, Ben, is. I think if Boob had tried to lead Derick by the tie, Derick would have knocked the hell out of him. Maybe he would have done it verbally instead of physically, but he would not have let Jim Bob treat him like that.

For more on this…

Again, I really don’t know what the dynamic is like between Ben and the rest of the Duggars. It almost seems like Ben should have taken Jessa’s last name, though. He’s definitely showing signs of submission, which is not necessarily a bad thing, even in a man. But I do think that if one is submissive, one should embrace that and OWN it. Ben’s attempt at being “manly” by calling Derick “rude” is PATHETIC. Either man up and be assertive, or keep being a submissive lap dog. If I could, I would say this to Ben…

Ben– for God’s sake, your WIFE was molested, as a young girl, by her brother in Jim Bob’s house. And Jim Bob did NOTHING to fix the problem! Look at where Josh is! Maybe if Jim Bob had gotten his son arrested as a teenager, he might still be in jail. Or, maybe if he’d hooked Josh up with a therapist, Josh might still have offended. But at least he would have TRIED!!!! Ben, why the hell are you defending Jim Bob? He didn’t defend your wife– his own daughter– when it was clearly his responsibility to do so, under your own religious beliefs! Derick may be “rude”, but at least he cares about his wife, and he clearly LOVES and protects her. That’s a real man who doesn’t do it “doggy style”.

I have repeatedly stated on this blog that abuse thrives in secrecy, especially child abuse. I know it goes against what a lot of people think of as “polite behavior” when other people air their “dirty laundry”, but abusers THRIVE on people who don’t want to make a scene, upset the apple cart, or rock the boat. Abusive people demand that their victims be silent and keep their secrets. They use shame and humiliation to keep their victims down so they can continue to manipulate, exploit, and abuse others. Jim Bob is clearly very narcissistic, and Ben has signed on as one of his “flying monkeys”… or, perhaps he’s more of a lap dog. Either way, it’s pathetic, and it will eventually lead Ben down the road to ruin. He’s following a loser, and the loser will not take him anywhere worth going.

People who speak out against bad behavior may seem “rude” and obnoxious. I have been called “bitter”, “petty”, and “snotty” myself, for calling out certain abusers in my life and writing about them in this blog. However, I’ve also noticed that fewer people try to abuse me because I simply don’t tolerate it anymore. I would rather suffer or cause someone else some embarrassment, than tolerate abuse, exploitation, and disrespect.

Being an abuse victim is unhealthy and unworkable. If not being silent means people like me less, so be it. I’d rather have genuine people in my life who have real regard for me, than someone who just hangs around because I keep their secrets and do their bidding.

It seems to me that Derick Dillard has similar opinions to mine, when it comes to showing and receiving basic respect. Good for him for being a real man, instead of acting like another one of Jim Bob’s lap dogs. And may Ben find and CLAIM his balls very soon, instead of just playing with them when Jim Bob and Jessa give him permission and hiding behind posting passive aggressive Bible verses on Facebook.

And here’s a link to Red Peters’ hilarious album that provided the “mood music” for today. As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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Duggars, religion

The Transformed Wife says Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are “very good parents”…

Before I get started with today’s post, let me state upfront that I don’t regularly follow “The Transformed Wife”, aka Lori Alexander. I do occasionally write about some of the dumb things she posts on social media, especially when they get people especially spun up in tizzies. I have a pretty high tolerance for stupid postings, though, so it’s not that often that I feel moved to opine about Lori’s commentary. I understand that she probably believes the stuff she writes, but I think most of it is laughable, and I generally don’t see the need to give her a platform.

I’m writing about her today because yesterday someone in the Duggar Family News group decided to do a little trolling on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page. She asked Lori Alexander what she thought of the Duggar parents. I can’t find the specific post in question, but Lori– true to form– was quick to block the rabble rouser. But then she posted this…

There are no “perfect” parents, true… but I don’t think I would call Ma and Pa Duggar “very good parents”.

Lori Alexander explains that Josh Duggar “made his own choices”, and Jim Bob and Michelle shouldn’t be blamed for Josh’s choices. Well yes, Josh is an adult and he did make his own choices. But there were many signs, when he was still years before adulthood, that he needed significant help. At the very least, his siblings needed to be protected from him. Didn’t we hear Jim Bob say to Megyn Kelly that Josh had come to Jim Bob and Michelle in tears and told them what he had done to his sisters? Wouldn’t this be a sign that Josh needed assistance with a big problem? But they did nothing effective to address this issue.

This interview was full of untruths and half truths. I remember watching it in June 2015 and stating that the Duggar parents were lying through their teeth. I remember a now former Facebook friend taking me to task for stating that this interview was full of bullshit. Based on the results of this week, I was right.

In the above interview, Jim Bob and Michelle said that all of the children had professional counseling. They also said that Josh paid for his own counseling. We now know from Justin’s and Julia’s podcast that Josh just got his head shaved, and his “very good parents” sent him to do hard labor for a family friend for a few months. The “professional counseling” certainly didn’t come from a licensed mental health professional. It came via a stern lecture from a former cop, who is now in prison himself as a sex offender, and interrogations from religious leaders. Jim Bob also said that Josh touched the girls over their clothes while they were sleeping. Also, clearly untrue. Then at the sixteen minute mark, Jim Bob and Michelle explicitly state that their son isn’t a pedophile (or, more accurately, a child molester), but transgender people who want to use restrooms that apply to their genders are deviants who automatically put women and children at risk. Where was their concern for their daughters, who were clearly at risk with their sexually deviant brother still living at home?

The hypocrisy is astonishing.

But… I think the biggest sign that these two aren’t “very good parents” is that all of this stuff happened as many as 20 years ago or so, years before this family became reality TV stars. They knew their son had a problem, which allegedly began when he was as young as 12, but they chose to go on television anyway. They held themselves up as an example of an “ideal” Christian family. They got away with the deception for well over a decade before reality smacked everyone upside the head.

Then, once the truth came out, not only about Josh as a teen, but also about Josh as a philandering and sexually violent adult, Jim Bob still wanted to pimp out his adult children on reality TV! He was behind the new reality show, Counting On, which focused on the lives of his adult children who weren’t sex pests. And then he didn’t even pay them for their work! One of the reasons Jill Dillard is estranged from the family is that she sued her father so that she and Derick could be paid for their contributions to Counting On. I think I read that Jill finally got the equivalent of minimum wage for her work on the show. I doubt the rest of the “kids” got a similar payment.

I think raising children to be independent is the mark of a good parent. And yet here’s Jim Bob Duggar with quite a few adult children still living in homes that he owns, working for him, and completely dependent on him for their livelihoods, which he apparently doles out as he alone sees fit. The adults who are still being supported by Jim Bob are certainly not free to voice their opinions, and they must be loyal to Jim Bob or risk being cut off financially and shunned by the rest of the family. The adult children who have managed to be independent are somewhat on the fringes of the family, which now seems like the better place to be. But it also means that the youngest children don’t get exposure to their more independent siblings and in-laws, who might show them the possibilities of life beyond the Duggar compound.

So… while I agree with Lori that there are no “perfect parents”, I also think that there’s ample evidence to suggest that Jim Bob and Michelle are anything but “very good parents”. In fact, I think it’s pretty shameful that they did all they could to protect golden boy Josh from facing the consequences of his despicable actions, yet marginalize their daughters, Jill and Jinger, who were not only Josh’s victims, but were also smart enough to marry educated men and get the fuck away from Jim Bob’s toxic influence and control!

I’m sure if I really felt like it, I could sit here and think of all of the crazy stuff that has been said and done by this family over the years they’ve been on the airwaves. I can think of all of the fucked up and bizarre parenting and discipline techniques and methods I’ve seen on their show. Let’s put it this way. Before the Duggars were a thing, I didn’t know what “blanket training” was. I didn’t know the significance of the word “Nike!” (having the guys look at their shoes when a woman showing too much skin walked by– it obviously didn’t work). Outside of the film, Carrie, I had never heard of a prayer closet, nor did I know anything about Bill Gothard, or the wacko beliefs in the Gothard cult. I’ll admit, it’s all interesting stuff to me, or I wouldn’t read and write about it so much. But I don’t know that the Duggar family has contributed much to making America great again.

In fact, just last night, the news broke that eldest daughter, Jana Duggar is also in trouble with the law. In September, she was issued a summons for reckless endangerment of a child. She’s due in court next month. I don’t know the specifics of Jana’s case, but I do think that she probably wouldn’t have gotten into trouble with the law if there weren’t so many babies and children in the Duggar household that need constant supervision. And, if you’ve followed this show at all, you know that Michelle Duggar routinely handed off her babies to her eldest daughters to raise. Now that Michelle is a granny, the grandchildren are apparently being minded by Aunt Jana.

It’s certainly true that the adult children “make their own choices”, but they were not raised in an environment where they had a lot of one on one time with their parents. In fact, they were mostly raised on camera, which is definitely not the ideal place for a person to grow up healthy. Childhood is a time when people should be free to make and learn from mistakes. It’s a time when people should be protected and nurtured. I see little evidence that the Duggar parents did a lot of nurturing. How could they? They were always on TV, and they were always focused on having the next child– a “gift from God”– who would inevitably be passed to an older female sibling to raise.

I do think that Jim Bob and Michelle should share in the blame for what has happened. For years, we’ve watched them try to build a fundie Christian “empire” of sorts. Jim Bob’s blockheaded behavior was passed off as almost endearing. He was seen as a “protective dad”. But now, I see him as possessive and autocratic. Below is a quote from People Magazine in 2015:

“Jim Bob’s favorite word is ‘no,’ ” a family source tells People. “He’s like a dictator. He once saw a guy kissing a girl before marriage and confronted him about it. And the guy said, ‘Jim Bob, show me that verse in the Bible that says we can’t kiss. Get out your Bible.’ And Jim Bob was like, ‘Uhhhh …’ because no one ever confronts Jim Bob. No one.

Adds a second source: “Jim Bob calls the shots. Always has and always will.”

In this wedding video, at around the 42 minute mark, you can see Jim Bob Duggar actually LEAD Ben Seewald by the necktie, as if he’s a dog, because the tie is wrinkled. Look at Ben’s face. He appears to be humiliated. And if he doesn’t take off the tie, he will literally have to bow down to Jim Bob while it gets ironed.

So, even if someone tried to speak up to Jim Bob about what was obviously going wrong, he would have shut them down, cut them out, and gotten any mutual associates to disassociate with them. Jim Bob even displayed his arrogant and dictatorial attitudes at Josh’s trial. When he was asked about Josh’s admissions regarding victimizing his sisters and their babysitter, Jim Bob repeatedly said he couldn’t remember. And then he objected to the line of questioning. Jim Bob said to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, “I’m not going to allow it, are you going to allow for that?”

Judge Brooks, to his credit, replied “If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won’t be you.”

Every time negative press came out about Josh, the Duggars would either deny that anything was wrong, or they would write “pretty” statements for the media, condemning Josh’s “choices”. Below is the statement Jim Bob and Michelle posted about Josh’s “actions” in 2015:

“As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.”

In spite of Jim Bob’s “dictatorial” behavior, Josh still made “choices” that insulted the family. Instead of ostracizing him, as he and Michelle have done to a couple of their daughters, Jim Bob was all about supporting Josh, minimizing his sins, and doing everything he could to try to shield him from the inevitable consequences of his perverse actions. Instead of protecting his daughters and other innocent women, Jim Bob got his son married off to Anna when Josh was just 20 years old. Obviously, they needed to get him out of their home and find him a nice, meek, docile woman who would give him a socially and politically acceptable outlet for his obsessions. Anna Duggar was used, and has no doubt been abused. And unless she takes decisive action, the abuse will continue, only she’ll be a single mom of seven enduring it, and will probably have a lot of dealings with CPS.

How sick… If anything, this is a sign that maybe practicing fundie Christianity isn’t the best way to live life. Especially if you want to be “very good parents”.
At best, this is a half truth. It wasn’t the Duggar home that was raided. However, clearly Josh was investigated, and Jim Bob knew damned well he was. Again– it’s not very Christ-like of him to lie, nor is he setting a good example for his children.
Okay, Jim Bob… what about your son? Would you like to see him executed for his crimes against women and children? And given your track record as a parent, do you really think you should be representing people in the community?

Now, if you’re the type of person who prays for others, I see nothing wrong with praying for the Duggar family, as Lori Alexander suggests. I don’t even see anything wrong with praying for Josh. I think he needs all the help he can get to redeem himself. Like it or not, he’s still someone’s brother, son, father, and husband, and I don’t generally take joy in wishing extreme suffering on others. So I don’t wish for Josh to be dead or beaten up in prison. I read this morning that he’s being held in solitary confinement for his own protection. The jail where Josh is being held is “notorious” for “inmate on inmate alleged sexual assaults“. As a white “Christian” man from a wealthy, famous family, who has been convicted of sexual offenses against children, Josh Duggar would be a sitting duck for attacks from other inmates. So it’s probably a good decision to keep him away from other inmates. Being kept in solitary confinement will probably not be easy for him at all, but “it is what it is”.

Just to sum things up… these folks are the same people who champion Donald Trump and his ilk… and Trump is every bit as sick and dictatorial as Jim Bob is. He just doesn’t use Christianity as much to hide his obvious agenda to fulfill his need for power, prestige, wealth, and control over other people. I think Jim Bob, and men like him, see other people as betas to their alphas. They can do no wrong. They accept no responsibility. And when something does go wrong, they are always victims. It’s sick and pathetic, and these are not people who should be leading anything in any way. They certainly should NOT be involved with making laws that everyone else has to follow.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I don’t follow Lori Alexander very closely at all. I really only pay attention to her when she writes something especially outrageous. Perhaps, on the surface, the statement she’s made regarding the Duggars’ parenting isn’t all that outrageous. But if you look at the outcomes, you can see that Jim Bob and Michelle are clearly NOT good parents, nor are they very good Christians. They aren’t attentive to their children or their needs, and they certainly don’t even live by The Ten Commandments. If they had been more focused on raising and nurturing their children, they would have gotten Josh the help he required when he was still a boy. They would not have kept pumping out more children and potential abuse victims. And they would have done all of this off television and outside of politics. Just my two cents… and I figure that if the Transformed Wife can share her opinions, so can the “Overeducated” Housewife. 😉

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