Ex, narcissists

Repost: Since you asked… questions and answers

My friend Alexis asked several questions in the comment section on the original Old Emails post, so I answered her in a new post. I am only reposting this because it goes with the other post, and because I think it clarifies things a bit. Just a reminder that this was written in August 2013. Things have changed somewhat since then.

Since you asked…

Alexis asked me a few questions about my “Old Emails” post.  Here are my responses to her questions and comments. Alexis’s questions are italicized.

There’s so much material here that I don’t really know where to start, so I’ll just mention a few things. I think Bill was a very brave man (though maybe he had no choice) to be worth more dead than alive to such a complete psycho.

I don’t know that it was bravery or complete guilt that prompted him to compensate her so lavishly after their divorce.  When I met him, he thought the whole thing was his fault.  He was really overwhelmed with guilt.  I was inclined to be open-minded about Ex when we first got together, but then I quickly started to see that she was totally exploiting him.  That is her typical M.O.  She finds people who are vulnerable and uses them.

This was just a little thing, but it really got to me when she was describing her co-worker who resembled Bill, and alluded to his even being writer as Bill is, except that he, the co-worker, pursued his craft diligently, while Bill went to work for the Pentagon. Precisely where the fuck does she think any of us would be if, throughout history, at least some of our brightest and best didn’t make the sacrifice of devoting the better part of their lives to careers in the military?

I read that comment a couple of ways.  First off, the gushy way she writes about the co-worker makes me think she was not over Bill.  The part about him being actually published (and who knows if he really was or not– anyone can be published nowadays) was a way of keeping Bill in check.  She likes to pepper her responses with subtle little digs that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention.  I do know that Bill’s salary in the military was what made it possible for her to be getting $2550 a month in child support for ten years.  Had he stuck with her plan and continued to work in factories, it would have been a hell of a lot less.  Also, it’s proof that despite her comments to the contrary, the girls knew who Bill was.  Apparently, they “forgot” about him as they got older, though.

Is she a really good actress? I’m trying to get inside Bill’s head and figure out what made him think she was ever worthy of even his holding a door open for her at a post office, much les marrying her. Some of those Cluster B types can hold it together for just long enough to get someone to make a commitment.

I don’t know about her acting skills, but she can be very slippery.  My mother-in-law says her presence is overwhelming.  After you talk to her, you feel like you’ve been caught in gale force winds or something.  She found Bill when he was very vulnerable.  He was a young lieutenant in the Army at a time when the Army had no tolerance for mistakes.  He had a low opinion of himself and wasn’t doing that well.  She overwhelmed him with attention and positive regard.  Once they married, that went away. 

She is not a particularly attractive woman.  I mean, she looks like a normal middle aged woman.  She’s very pear shaped, with a big butt, hips, and elephant like legs.  My mother-in-law said she looked at my legs when we first met… so did Bill.  They were delighted to see that they weren’t like Ex’s.  The one thing I noticed in pictures of her is that when she smiles, it looks very forced and fake.  I’m five years younger than Ex and, I think, a whole lot prettier.  Not that I think that I’m particularly pretty… it’s just that when I smile, you’ll believe it.   

Bill had such low regard for himself in those days that he thought his Ex was his only chance for marriage and family.  A lot of people who have seen him since we’ve married have told me they think he’s handsome (and I agree).  I have told him he could have had his pick of women.  He’s good looking, intelligent, considerate, interesting and has a good job.  But when he was younger, he didn’t believe these things about himself, so he was vulnerable to Ex and her ilk.  I always told Bill that if I ever had a son, this would be one area that I would try hard to influence.  No one likes conceited people, but it can truly be dangerous to have a super low self-esteem.

Have you been able to create a relationship with Bill’s dad and stepmother in spite of her attempts to circumvent the happening of such?

Sort of.  There were some pretty hard feelings between us for a few years after that Christmas incident when I didn’t show up.  Bill’s stepmom thought that I didn’t show up because I was snubbing them.  I’m sure Ex did her best to make it seem that way; Bill said they were crying on each other’s shoulders and whining about how I spoiled Christmas by not showing up to the slaughterhouse.  Bill’s dad was upset because he saw my refusal to attend as being uncooperative and obstinate.  They didn’t really speak to me for a few years, not that I really minded.  Back in 2009, Bill’s stepmother did apologize to Bill for that Christmas debacle that they allowed Ex to stage in their home.  And she asked him to apologize to me on her behalf.

In 2010, we went to their house and had a visit.  We talked for two or three days straight and I explained in detail why I wasn’t there.  I told them that I felt it was the most respectful thing I could do, given how wickedly pissed I was about the whole thing.  I knew if I were there, the tension would have been intolerable.  There would have been a fight.  I stayed out of the vortex for everyone’s sake– Ex’s included.  At that time, she didn’t know who she was fooling with.  They said they understood and seemed to forgive me, especially when I added that we really couldn’t afford that trip at the time, either.

But we still don’t have a very good relationship.  I deleted stepmother-in-law from my Facebook when they started talking to younger daughter again (again– things have changed since 2013– younger daughter eventually came around).  I did that because I don’t want anyone from Ex’s sphere to have access to my Facebook page.  And even though stepmother-in-law claims to be angry with Ex, they are somewhat cut from the same cloth and I think any relationship they have with the kids will include one with their mother.

As far as her current husband goes, is he as manipulated as Bill was, or is he a real tool who deserves her as much a she deserves him?

I think victim #3 is every bit as manipulated as Bill was.  I also think he’s a real tool who deserves her.  He was extraordinarily rude to Bill on multiple occasions, while Bill was always civil and polite to him.  He acted like a complete asshole in Bill’s father’s home.  And he spent a good portion of his marriage to Bill’s ex, sitting on his ass playing video games and living off Bill’s child support.  It’s only been recently that he’s gotten a job in which he might support his own two kids.  I know the Ex has told him stories about Bill… she told Bill stories about her first husband that led him to believe he was abusive.  But #3 apparently lacks any critical thinking skills, just like everyone else in that household. 

We hear that Bill’s ex is not working now, supposedly because her youngest kid has autism.  And yet she bills herself as a master’s level “educational consultant”.  This, from someone who dropped out of high school and took about twenty years to earn a bachelor’s degree.  I don’t think she has a master’s degree… but if she does, I have serious questions about the quality of the program she supposedly attended.

Have you ever met this woman in person?

No.  I chose not to meet her when we dropped the kids off after that one visit in 2003.  I chose not to attend the Christmas debacle.  Though it wasn’t my plan to avoid meeting her, I think it was a blessing we’ve never met each other in person.  People like my husband’s ex wife thrive on information about their victims.  Meeting her would give her the chance to find out what makes me tick.  As it is now, I know a whole lot more about her than she does about me.  That’s the way I like it.  As time went on, I realized she wasn’t someone I wanted to know anyway.  All I need to know about her is that she’s highly manipulative and dangerous.

Also, she has a way of overwhelming people.  I liken it to being in a shaken can of soda.  She doesn’t let people relax, settle down, and think, so they’re in constant crisis mode.  It’s exhausting, but it also keeps her in control.  I think if the people around her had the chance to settle, they would soon see what they’re caught up in.  Bill said he felt better as soon as they separated and got better and better as time went on, despite living in a tiny, drafty apartment on $600 a month.  He was much happier being almost destitute, but on his own, than he was with all his paycheck but living with her.  She is a very toxic person.  Besides, she controlled the money he brought in and she spent it like a drunken sailor on things like Disney collectible plates, Swiss Colony snacks, and trips to the temple instead of on their mortgage.  At least when he was on his own, he could control his money and start to recover from the financial nightmare. 

It took several years for Bill to get his good credit back.  I was there for those years and we kept things mostly separate for the first few years of our marriage because my credit rating is excellent.  It also took him several years to trust me with the finances.  He had to, once he went to Iraq.  I paid off all his credit cards and a couple of my own.  Ex, on the other hand, did not pay Bill’s credit cards when he was incommunicado.  He should have been handling his own money, granted, but she had convinced him that she was better with finances and again, there was the issue of her meltdowns when he didn’t go along with her demands.  Abusers typically control the money in their household; that’s how they keep people in line.  Ex was apparently under the impression that I was handling the money in our house.  See this post for more on that… (it’s a post from 2010, that maybe I’ll repost some other time…)

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Ex, narcissists, YouTube

How to effectively handle the “creators of misery” in the world…

This morning, I was watching Les Carter’s most recent video, and I had a flash of insight. Les Carter, for those who don’t know, is a psychologist in Texas who makes excellent videos about narcissists. And in the video I posted below, he describes narcissists as “creators of misery”. He says upfront that narcissists are not healthy people, and they don’t function on a rational plane. And unfortunately, narcissists “create misery” with maddening efficiency. They don’t seem to care at all about how awful they are. I think the worst thing about narcissists is that their behavior can be contagious. They infect people with their miserable behavior, and that makes people want to react in kind. Pretty soon, non-narcissistic people find themselves being dragged down to the narcissist’s level.

Once again, Les Carter shares wise counsel to those of us who are confronted by “creators of misery”…

Dr. Carter rationally explains why it’s best not to try to get “revenge” on the narcissist. They don’t care about your misery, and if you treat them the way they treat you, they’ll just ratchet up their usual tactics and continue to smear you. The best thing to do is to go “no contact”, or if that’s not possible, “grey rock” them– that is, be totally bland and boring, like a rock. It doesn’t seem fair to have to do that, though. I know that I, for one, don’t have the personality of a “grey rock”. It’s really hard for me to act like one.

Fortunately, the narcissist in my life doesn’t affect me personally. Instead, Ex visits her misery on people Bill and I care about. We are legitimately worried about people in Bill’s family who may fall prey to Ex and her usual grifting tactics. She’s grifting for money, sure, but she’s also looking for supply. It would be bad enough if she was just after money, but she also spreads misery and toxicity when she comes around. She causes pain. So this time, something does need to be done, rather than just ignoring her. But how can we effectively handle the “creator of misery” that is Ex?

I’ve mentioned more than once that my husband is a bit of a “white knight”. He tends to take responsibility for things that aren’t his responsibility. He tries to save people who don’t appreciate or deserve his efforts to save them. When he was married to Ex, he got dragged down to her level, not in terms of behaving like her, but in terms of enabling her toxicity. When she decided she wanted to conduct “ye olde surprise visit”, he went along with it. When she demanded that he allow her to handle the bills and manage the money, he let her do it, even though she created a huge financial hole that took him years to recover from. When she alienated the children and tried to sever his ties with his family of origin, he protested only slightly more. He didn’t avail himself of the law, or document her abuse. He simply sucked it up and drove on, which left her free to continue her misery creating fuckery with other innocent people.

While I can see that stooping to the narcissist’s level is ineffective and pointless, I do think there’s a difference between getting even with someone and holding them accountable when they do harm. Ex has done a LOT of harm over the years, not just to Bill, but to people connected to him. In fact, I have mentioned before that some of the things she does have “ripple effects”. I even wrote a blog post about that– calling it “Ripple eff-Ex” (see what I did there?). I don’t think I reposted the original blog post, but I did write a sequel. Since today is a light chore day, I think I’ll repost the original incarnation of that post. I think it was a pretty juicy one.

Les Carter’s video is the second one I’ve seen this week about how it’s important not to try to “get revenge” on a narcissist. The video directly below was done about a month ago by Jess Stanley, who has a great channel that is based on her experiences dating a narcissist. Jess reminded her viewers that narcissists don’t care about your feelings, and they don’t “learn lessons” when you try to “show them”. Really, all trying to get revenge does is bring you down to their level and give them narcissistic supply/attention. Always remember that attention– good or bad– is what the narcissist needs for survival.

To a narcissist, you are just a list of goods and services. No form of revenge is effective against a narcissist.

The below video was posted in February. It’s very similar to the one above, which was posted this week. Basically, Jess says that in order to hurt a narcissist, you have to just go on with your life. And even that isn’t going to hurt them much, because they can always find someone to replace whatever you brought to them. And she’s right about that… however, I don’t think that should mean not holding them accountable when they do things that are illegal or egregiously outside the boundaries of morality.

“You cannot win…”

I think there’s a big difference between holding someone accountable and exacting revenge. There’s a difference between aggressively fighting against someone or something, trying to “smear” them the way they smeared you, and being assertive and setting boundaries. We think it’s time Ex left Bill’s family alone. She has her own family, as well as her own in-laws. She should focus on them. And while Bill’s older daughter does have a legitimate claim to Bill’s family, she’s only a family member because of Bill.

Of course, just because we have these feelings, that doesn’t mean other people agree with us. And as they are supposedly competent adults, there’s nothing we can do to force Ex to leave them alone, or stop them from talking. The only thing we can control about this situation is how we react to it. So what do we do?

I’m not going to be specific about what our plans are, because I’m not stupid. I know Ex has stalked me online, and she probably still looks in. That’s kind of why I’m unabashedly writing about her now. I hope she reads this and gets super upset and …miserable. But we do have a plan, and what I’ll say about it is that the plan involves making Bill feel better about himself. He does have an action planned, but it’s not meant to hurt Ex or even protect anyone against Ex’s shenanigans. Ultimately, we accept that whatever happens will depend on what the other adults decide to do. We will simply do what we can to avoid the fallout and the guilt associated with her continual attacks.

Like I said… she’s like a bad case of herpes. Just like herpes, she pops up whenever she senses weakness in the immune system. In this case, it’s Bill’s dad’s death, the COVID nightmare, and perhaps feeling isolated and lonely for reasons other than the pandemic. Ex obviously smelled blood and came running.

Elton John has a really good song about this… Given Ex’s love of movies, I think the lyrics are especially appropriate.

“Keep your auditions for somebody who hasn’t got so much to lose…”

Lyrics

I can see by your eyes you must be lying
When you think I don’t have a clue
Baby, you’re crazy
If you think that you can fool me
Because I’ve seen that movie too

The one where the players are acting surprised
Saying love’s just a four letter word
Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes
Well their actions become so absurd

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

It’s a habit I have, I don’t get pushed around
Stop twinkling your star like you do
I’m not the blueprint
For all of your B films
Because I’ve seen that movie too

The one where the players are acting surprised
Saying love’s just a four letter word
Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes
Well their actions become so absurd

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

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Ex

Love bombing 101… lather, rinse, repeat…

Happy April Fool’s Day, y’all… In honor of the day, I’m about to write about a real fool. I know some people won’t understand why I’m writing this. Some might even think I’m a terrible person for writing this. I don’t care. I’m going to write it anyway, because I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in progress, and I need to process it.

Some readers might know the backstory, which is easily found here on this blog. Other people don’t know the backstory, and maybe they don’t care. As my friend Weird Wilbur says, “that’s very fine.” And some clueless people might want to tell me this is none of my business. And, in fact, they would be right. It isn’t my business, really… other than the effect it has on people in my husband’s family and, to a lesser extent, my husband himself.

For those who need a backstory primer, click here and here. Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the history of this sad tale of woe. It’s just the most recent, heartbreaking chapter of a very long, dramatic, poorly written novel of toxic, narcissistic abuse. This story began in the early 1980s and it continues to this day.

So anyway, about a month ago, I wrote a post called “The seaglasshole is at it again”. In that post, I noted that my husband’s ex wife had started a crowdfund. Below are some screenshots. You can easily see how the crowdfunding effort went.

You can see that no one, besides Ex, contributed any money to her fence building campaign. Ex also had a birthday last month, and it came to our attention that she, my husband’s estranged older daughter, and her daughter with #3 (her current husband) all took a trip down to Tennessee to see my husband’s stepmother. Ex lives in New Hampshire, and gas prices are at an all time high. I suppose it’s possible that she and the girls took a flight, but knowing Ex, I’m guessing they took a road trip. I find that to be an interesting decision on many levels. She needs $5500 for a fence, but she has enough money to donate $500 to her own campaign, and she has the money to go to Tennessee, along with two of her daughters. Either way, it’s telling. Obviously, she didn’t need the money that badly.

I noticed that after her “visit” with my husband’s stepmother, Ex quietly removed the link to her crowdfunding campaign from her very public social media accounts. I have a feeling she did that because she talked my husband’s bereaved stepmother, whose beloved husband died in November 2020, into giving her some money. And you know… I don’t think that is a wise decision on SMIL’s part, especially since SMIL has, on more than one occasion, told us sad stories about how she’s given Ex money or gifts that were never appreciated. But I don’t know what SMIL’s situation is right now. I suspect she’s lonely and needs attention. And Ex is all too happy to give it to her in the form of a love bomb.

Well… last night, Bill took a look at Facebook, which he doesn’t do very often, because he can’t seem to log into it on his iPad. He’s only able to see Facebook on his phone. He noticed that his SM had unfriended him. And then I found the below tweets on Ex’s public Twitter account.

Oh Ex… how low have you sunk this time?

Notice the very first tweet. She refers to her “mum”, who is 71 and just crossed an item off her bucket list. SMIL, who is 71 years old, just went to California, where I suspect she saw the Golden Gate Bridge. The photo Ex was reacting to was of the Golden Gate Bridge. Also… Ex is 55 years old, and we know that her adoptive mother is dead, and her bio mom was a married woman who had an affair. So, I can assume that Ex is now claiming Bill’s very Italian stepmother as her “mum” (Ex fancies herself a Scot).

Now… I don’t actually give a shit if Ex and SMIL have become “chums”. I can’t control who SMIL invites into her home, and she’s supposedly a functioning adult. She does have an adopted daughter who is a very good person, though, and I am worried that Ex will do her best to take advantage of SMIL. And then, SMIL could potentially end up in a situation that might make her a burden to other people.

Think this is a far fetched theory? Consider that Ex compelled Bill’s daughters to drop out of school when they were teenagers and get G.E.Ds. Then she got them to enroll in college and take out massive student loans, which she then proceeded to skim money from. My husband’s younger daughter has only just recently managed to pay off the debt, and she does NOT have a degree to show for it. Older daughter, we’re told, went to a very expensive private school, but she’s 30 years old, still lives with her mother, and takes care of her brother… the one Ex claims they need to erect a fence for. We’ve also heard that #3’s mom also lives with Ex and probably serves in an “Aunt Edna” capacity (reference National Lampoon’s Vacation). Maybe she looked after the boy while Ex and her adult daughters were visiting Bill’s stepmother.

My husband’s former wife has a very long history of being a parasite. She uses people for money and narcissistic supply, and anyone who figures out who she is and what she does gets cast out. But she never completely lets go of anyone. She’s still engaging with Bill’s family, even though she’s made false accusations about Bill, and they have been divorced for 22 years. I think if I weren’t around, she’d try to engage with Bill. Again, she never totally burns bridges.

Ex kept in contact with her first ex husband’s family, too. She used them to try to hurt Bill in 2009, when we busted her then 21 year old son trying to change his last name in secret, as he was also being paid child support by Bill. Bill never legally adopted his former stepson, but Ex somehow changed his name to Bill’s and convinced Bill to pay child support for him. She alienated her son from his bio dad and he didn’t pay child support for his son; that was up to Bill, who legally, was never more than his stepdad and, at this point, is now just an acquaintance. Bill loved that boy as his own and didn’t mind paying support for him. But he did feel that since he was paying support and the lad was calling him “Dad”, he should have been informed of his decision to reclaim his original last name.

SMIL knows all about this. She knows that Ex is capable of incredibly low depths. Apparently, she doesn’t care. Either that, or she has dementia. I don’t think she has dementia, though. I think she’s feeling angry and abandoned, and engaging with Ex is her self-destructive way of lashing out at her family– Bill and, perhaps, her daughter, who I know has recently connected with her bio mom. But, I’m afraid she’s only hurting herself, and perhaps her daughter.

Now, there’s really nothing we can do about SMIL’s decision to be Ex’s “flying monkey”/ally. That’s her decision, and her business. My only concern is that SMIL is going to wind up burdening innocent people.

I don’t like to see people being victimized and manipulated… and I have seen the abuse cycle enough times to know what’s going on here. If things go as usual, eventually SMIL and Ex will have a falling out. She will be discarded AGAIN, and her family will be left to pick up the pieces in the wake of Ex’s latest campaign. You can bet on it.

I’ve seen this before. Photo is public domain.

It’s at times like these that I’m so glad we live on another continent. But, I have to give props to Bill, who has told me that this time, he is disinclined to be a “white knight”. He won’t be climbing up on his figurative horse, riding in, and saving the day this time. This time, he’s going to detach. So I hope SMIL knows what she’s doing. And I hope her daughter does what she can to protect herself from the fallout from Hurricane Sabrina.

I am watching an old episode of Dr. Phil this morning. I don’t really like Dr. Phil per se, but I do think this episode is an interesting one, mainly because the dynamic between the guests is somewhat like what we’ve dealt with. Bill was never in arrears with his child support obligations, though. In fact, he went above and beyond. And Ex is still trying to exploit his resources by glomming on to his family. Shame on her.

I relate to the guy in this story. To Bill’s credit, he never went as far as this guy has. But his anger is understandable.
When will the next phase in the cycle of abuse begin…

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condescending twatbags, narcissists, stupid people, videos, YouTube

The “Karen” channels: monetizing bad behavior on YouTube…

Yesterday, I got my third COVID shot. My arm is a little sore today. It was very sore yesterday, so this is an improvement. The sore arm is really the only side effect I’ve had, other than being a little chilled yesterday. I’m not sure if that was a result of the vaccine or a cold house. We turned up the heat and I felt better. My third shot, like the first two, was a Moderna vaccine. I wrote about the whole sordid experience on the travel blog yesterday. The one thing I learned is that the COVID lifestyle seems to have eroded my social skills.

After my vaccination “ordeal”, I came home and got in bed, which had nice, fresh sheets, then watched a couple of videos by my favorite YouTubers… and somehow, I ended up on a channel called Xenoshot. This channel features videos about people behaving badly in public. The guy who narrates the videos sounds like he’s channeling Donald Trump, complete with a disinterested, snarky, kind of snooty quality to his voice. To be honest, that vocal quality kind of turned me off, mainly because I think Donald Trump is the ultimate “Karen”.

I will admit, however, that a few of his videos are kind of interesting and entertaining… Like, for instance, the one below. I was especially glad to see it was about a man– I guess the male “Karens” are called “Kevins”. I have not made it a secret that I don’t like the trend of hijacking perfectly good given names to describe bad behavior. But I can’t deny that the woman in the below video got herself hooked up with a pretty terrible asshole. I would call him an asshole, though, not a “Kevin”.

She’s a pretty woman… she doesn’t need to give this guy another chance. What a psycho. He even got his mom to call.

I have noticed that most of this guy’s videos feature obnoxious women behaving badly. Below is one of the first videos I happened to see when it came on autoplay.

Actually, this makes me glad I’m not in the States. I think this behavior happens more often there than here.

The video below brought back flashbacks of my childhood in Virginia… not so much because of the yelling, but because of what the woman is wearing. Ugh… what a nightmarish situation. I would hate to have to live next to someone who acts like this. I don’t like neighbor (or landlady) drama.

This makes me want to move out to the woods. This one includes a lot of profanity.

Xenoshot’s channel led to other channels with similar content. I was suddenly reminded of my Italian friend Vittorio’s many frequent comments about the “weird-o-rama” culture in the United States. I’m sure that a lot of Germans would find this content amusing, but I can’t imagine a lot of people here acting like this here. For one thing, you can get in a lot of trouble filming or photographing people without their consent here.

And finally, there’s this lady, who called the cops because she didn’t like her son’s haircut. I like the barber, though. He seems like a nice guy. I got a kick out of his dialect. He sounds straight out of the northeast.

I can’t listen to too many of Xenoshot’s videos, mainly because his deadpan delivery is a turnoff. But, so is the channel’s content, which reminds me of just how out of control some people are in the United States. It also reminds me of how out of touch I’ve become with my own culture.

Seriously… I remember being in Europe the first time and feeling offended when Vittorio would comment on how strange the United States is. Now that I’ve been in Europe for seven years, I can totally understand how he came to that conclusion. And just to put things in perspective, Vittorio is a naturalized American and lived there for about 25 years. He moved back to Europe some time ago and married a German woman. I say, good on him for doing that. To be sure, Europe has its problems, but I can definitely relate to those who think the USA has a very odd culture compared to the rest of the world. It’s like a non-stop shit show.

I know for a fact that there are “Karen” types in Germany… even though I would never call them “Karens”. However, this is not behavior I see very often anymore. It actually makes a me a little scared of the prospect of moving back home someday.

So I think I’ll go mine for more mindless YouTube content…

Incidentally, I read that Jenna Ryan– Karen extraordinaire at last year’s insurrection– turned herself in to prison in Bryan, Texas on December 21, 2021. She’s already done a little over two weeks of her two month sentence. But she couldn’t enter prison without making a ridiculous comment comparing the treatment of “rioters” to treatment of Jews in Germany (I’m assuming during the 1940s). She whined:

“They’re making fun of my skin color. They’re calling me an ‘insurrection Barbie,’” she said.

“They have no idea who I am as a person, what my beliefs are, what I’ve been through, who I am,” she added. “They see me as a one-dimensional caricature. They don’t see me as a human.” 

“And so, that is the epitome of a scapegoat. Just like they did that to the Jews in Germany. Those were scapegoats. And I believe that people who are Caucasian are being turned into evil in front of the media.”

Are you serious, Jenna? Really?!

I’m all for trying to keep things in perspective when it comes to how the media spins a story. I am definitely against “mob mentality”. I don’t like “cancel culture”, and I totally believe that people should be allowed to redeem themselves. But Jenna repeatedly says and does ridiculous things, and justifies her very bad behavior. She is a very obvious narcissist, and narcissists are not good people.

What a dumbass.

I remember when Jenna Ryan made the news last year. She was promoting herself and her business very openly, as she also openly broke the law. And she and thousands of her Trump supporting “friends” did their best to overthrow the 2020 election results. Donald Trump LOST the election. He deserved to lose. And Jenna and her ilk had absolutely NO right to go against the will of the majority to try to keep him in office. She deserves to be in prison for what she did. It was a bad choice, and she should stop justifying her bad decision and the consequences that came out of it.

Comparing her situation to anything resembling what Jewish people in Europe faced 80 years ago is beyond ludicrous. Liberals haven’t been violently rounding up conservative voters and jailing or imprisoning them, simply for who they were, or their political or religious beliefs. They have been arrested and, in some cases, incarcerated, because they broke laws and put people in danger. And then I think back to what she said during her “two minutes” in the Capitol…

“You guys, will you believe this?” Ryan said on Facebook Live while inside the Capitol, according to the sentencing memo. “I am not messing around. When I come to sell your house, this is what I will do. I will fucking sell your house.”

Does this sound like someone who believes deeply in preserving the Constitution and maintaining the integrity of the election system? It doesn’t to me. Sounds like someone trying to make some money… and maybe a name for herself. She succeeded in making a name for herself, at least.

And then, according to NBC News:

On the Capitol steps, she declared that she was “tired of paying taxes” to “crooks,” prosecutors said in the memo. But she has not consistently paid her taxes over the years, according to the memo, and at the time owed $35,000 in back taxes. (She settled her debt in April.)

That doesn’t not even remotely sound like someone who cares about being a law abiding citizen. She’s just upset because she’s being held accountable and, rightly, is stuck in the federal jug for a few more weeks. She’s at a minimum security facility, too.

Was getting this photo worth it?

I won’t be surprised if Jenna doesn’t try to profit off her prison experience. She’ll probably write a book or something. People like her have no shame whatsoever. I’m sure she’s not 100 percent terrible. Few people are that awful. But I will say that in the year since I’ve “known” her name, she has shown incredibly bad behavior, extreme entitlement, some shockingly poor judgment and immense self-absorption. I truly hope she learns from her prison stint, but I have very slim expectations.

Anyway… I’m grateful that I don’t feel too poorly today. I usually vacuum on Thursdays, but I think I might wait until Saturday, which is when I plan to take down the Christmas trees. That will be messy, and I will need to get the vacuum out anyway, since the process of taking the trees down always results in dropped “needles” everywhere. And since vacuuming is basically a waste of time, I might as well save up my energy. Also, my arm does hurt a bit. Not a lot, mind you… and not as much as it did yesterday, but it is pretty sore. So I think I’ll fuck off and move on with the day. By tomorrow, I expect to be back to my old curmudgeonly self.

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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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