family, LDS, musings, narcissists

The pitfalls of being a “truth teller”…

It’s another beautiful May Sunday here in Germany. As I mentioned in my travel blog, I was hoping Bill and I could go do some really fun stuff this holiday weekend. But, thanks to a lack of planning and general laziness, together with raging allergic symptoms, we’ve kind of stuck close to home. It has been kind of a busy weekend in other ways, though. Bill and his daughter have been talking a lot, mainly because the youngest grandchild has just turned one year old.

We’ve been learning more about younger daughter’s college years and escape from Ex. Every time I hear more about what happened during that time period, I’m flabbergasted anew. I sense that younger daughter doesn’t want us to feel badly for her, nor does she consider herself a victim. I find that a very refreshing and admirable attitude to take. However, it still shocks me to hear about the challenges she faced during that time period. I do think a lot of her blessings came from being involved in her church, where people are encouraged to help each other. That’s one of a few things I do like about the LDS church. I especially find it funny that church people helped younger daughter so much, since Ex used the church as a parental alienation tool against Bill.

Anyway, as we were reacting to some of the revelations last night, I found myself trying to explain my reactions. I reiterated that I don’t think of younger daughter as a victim. I think she is incredibly resilient and resourceful. I just find it regrettable that it was more important for Ex to be hateful to Bill than do what was right for their daughters. Younger daughter didn’t have to go through what she did. Bill would have been so happy to help her. It would have been an honor for him to set her up for success at school. But Ex not only didn’t want to allow him to help their kids, she didn’t even want her kids to help themselves. I think she meant for her kids to all stay in her home, and those who try to flee the nest get punished.

It became clear as younger daughter was talking that Ex didn’t expect her kids to have ANY money of their own. At the time younger daughter was applying to school, Ex didn’t know that younger daughter had some money socked away, and she used it to pay the application fee for college and have her transcripts sent to her school of choice. She had just $80 of her own money— at age 18, no less. And she used it for higher education. Ex had not wanted her to go to school away from home and when she found out what younger daughter did, she got VERY angry with her. I think she was angry, not just because she’d applied to college (imagine being a mother upset about THAT), but because she’d secretly had the money in the first place!

I mentioned that I didn’t think Ex wanted her daughters to have money because money equals power. And, as I was talking, I explained… “Bill wanted very much to help you. He just didn’t want Ex to be part of it, because Ex always has to be part of the deal.” And then, before I knew it, I blurted out, “Your mom is a total psycho.”

And then I apologized… because “psycho” really isn’t the best word for what Ex is, at least not when I’m talking to Bill’s daughter. I didn’t want to offend younger daughter, either. But then it became pretty clear that she wasn’t offended by that comment.

I did explain at the end of our session that I am not the most politically correct person. I often speak my mind, sometimes out of turn. Often, I piss people off because I don’t tend to hold back on what I’m thinking, and sometimes I use language that would make a sailor blush. But… at least you know that what you get is what you see… as the great Tina Turner once sang.

Yeah… I am right there with you, Tina.

Once again, I am absolutely floored by how forgiving and kind younger daughter is. She doesn’t seem to have a drop of anger or bitterness in her. I’m sure it’s there somewhere, but I have yet to see it. I find that amazing… and very admirable. Maybe she has much to teach me. But anyway, she says that there are always people who have it worse. That’s true, but it doesn’t negate what she dealt with back in the day. She shouldn’t have had to struggle like that.

I’ll try to be a little more circumspect… or thoughtful about what I say. I suspect younger daughter’s husband, if he heard that comment, probably thought it was funny, though. I think he and I can commiserate about a lot of things. I don’t envy his position, when he has to deal with his mother-in-law. She is a challenge… or maybe she’s more like a trial. Whatever she is, one thing’s for certain. She is a psycho, and that is the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end, I forced myself to keep writing, even though my writing felt kind of “constipated” for awhile. I didn’t want to give those people the satisfaction of forcing me to quit what I enjoy doing. I especially wanted to send a hearty “fuck you” to former tenant, as I hadn’t planned on having an unofficial “minder” included in our rental contract when Bill signed the lease in 2014. Seriously… I don’t know why she was so determined to be involved in our business, but it was truly a bizarre situation. Maybe someday, I’ll even write a book about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

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

Which brings me to today’s title…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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mental health, narcissists, psychology, social media

Those of you who are “hell in high heels”, kindly stay the hell away from me!

The featured photo is of a shoe that was shared around social media a few years ago. It seems to fit the theme of today’s post.

Good morning WordPress fans. I had a really terrible time trying to sleep last night. I was kind of lazy yesterday, so I didn’t get tired for physical reasons. I didn’t drink anything alcoholic last night, nor did I take any sleep aids. Bill isn’t home, so taking care of Arran’s nocturnal needs falls to me, and he got up twice– once at about 2:30 AM, then an hour later. I ended up feeding him at 3:45, because he was demanding it, and I was awake anyway. Then I realized that Noyzi was trapped in his room, because he hasn’t learned to use his paw to open doors for himself. So once I opened his door, he wanted to eat and go outside, too. By the time we were done, it was close to 4:00 AM. I was wide awake.

I then got on Facebook, because although I’ve been trying to finish reading my latest book, I kept getting distracted. I ended up seeing a GoFundMe post shared by a “friend”. To put this in perspective, this is not someone I know offline. I think we might have “met” back in the days when Facebook games required users to be friends if they wanted to be “neighbors”. I ended up with a bunch of strangers as friends because of that policy. A couple of them have actually endured, even though we don’t really know each other personally.

I know this phenomenon isn’t all that unusual. I have a few friends who don’t know each other offline, but have friended each other because they “met” while interacting with me. Sometimes what ends up happening, when your friends make friends with each other, is that you unintentionally get exposed to drama you wouldn’t otherwise.

So, anyway, there I was in the wee hours of the morning, reading a GoFundMe plea for money on behalf of a woman my “friend” knew from college. It seems that my Facebook friend’s college friend and her husband have been supporting the college friend’s very ill ex husband. The ex husband is on Social Security and just had a liver transplant. For some reason, the ex wife and her current husband have been paying most of her ex’s non-medical expenses. They are now “tapped out” and need financial help. So they are crowdfunding, and my “friend” dutifully shared their request on her page.

I noticed one of the comments on that post. It came from another college friend of my Facebook friend’s. She donated to the crowdfund, even though she specifically stated that she wasn’t friends with the college friend who has been supporting her very ill ex husband. She wrote, “I wanted nothing to do with her. We aren’t in the same socioeconomic class”. Nevertheless, the person still donated money, because she wanted to help the very sick ex husband, who is also the father of her college classmate’s son.

She later posted an irate comment, because she got a thank you note for her contribution from the current husband. In the note, the current husband wrote that the money would go for helping pay expenses for the ex husband with the liver transplant, and “reimbursing” him and the ex wife the money they have spent to help the ex husband. For some reason, this really PISSED off the contributor, who claims that this is fraudulent behavior. She writes that she’s complained to GoFundMe and “the government”. Below is a screenshot…

Wow…

To reiterate, I don’t know these people at all. I have no idea why the divorce occurred. I know nothing about the the characters of the couple who asked for the money, nor do I know the ex husband who had the liver transplant. It sounds like the split was at least a little bit amicable, though. I know sometimes people get divorced because of financial reasons caused by severe health issues. I know of a few people who split up and remain on excellent terms with their exes. In any case, on the surface, I think it’s very commendable that this married couple is helping the wife’s ex husband. I don’t see a problem with them getting some money from the fundraiser, if they have put their own funds into helping the very sick ex husband. People need money to live, and if you’re paying for another person’s bills, it gets expensive fast. Whenever I give money to a cause, I expect that not all of what I give goes directly to the cause. But that’s just me.

Perhaps this person is thinking that the folks who have been helping the liver transplant patient are not, themselves, deserving of any financial assistance, since they presumably freely chose to give their money to the cause. I don’t know. But if they’re still helping the guy, transporting him back and forth to medical appointments in another state, paying the rent on his apartment, buying him groceries, supplies, or whatever else, it seems to me that they should get some of the money, too. After all, they are providing some of the care, aren’t they? And most people would get paid for that kind of work. If the couple asking for funds weren’t doing it, someone would hopefully be doing that work for money.

I was curious about the woman who was kind enough to donate money to a crowdfund set up by a person she’d stated that she’d previously wanted nothing to do with when they were in college. So I took a peek at her profile page. There, in her intro, she’d typed “Hell in high heels”. I suppose a person could take that in a number of ways. Sometimes people who would refer to themselves as “hell in high heels” just mean that they’re high-mettled, feisty types. While that type of person can be challenging at times, they aren’t necessarily troublemakers. Sometimes, it just means they’re not to be trifled with casually.

But then I noticed a bunch of very dramatic public posts… and I very quickly surmised that this person probably really is “hell in high heels.” She posted a list of names of people who have evidently crossed her– including the name of one person who is dead. Then she wrote:

There were several more posts of this nature– all very public and scathing. And again, I don’t know what this is about, but it appears maybe it had to do with some sort of crime involving a family member that the “hell in high heels” person was the last to find out about. She’s obviously very angry about it, and wants to tell the world. I stopped reading her page when I got to this last comment.

Is she a Scorpio? I’ve heard they’re pretty vindictive.

She also wrote, “I swear this is the biggest truth. I am the most vindictive vengeful human on this planet and Iโ€™ll wait as long as I have to but I will get even.”

I do understand this kind of seething anger. I have experienced it myself. On the other hand, people who are this open about their rage– who openly admit that they never forgive people or apologize– are usually high conflict individuals who lack personal insight and introspection. They’re often much more trouble than they’re worth, because in spite of the Pinterest ready meme platitudes they share, they’re immature, dramatic, and quite often, very narcissistic and hypocritical. This person had posted the below meme, which references not walking on eggshells…

True, but…

I agree with the above statement, but I can’t imagine not walking on eggshells around a person who publicly posts the statements that this individual did. She openly states that she doesn’t forgive. She outright says she’s vindictive and vengeful. That implies that she doesn’t think she makes mistakes, or that other people should be allowed to make mistakes. It seems like it would be a lot of pressure to maintain a relationship with this type of person. On the other hand, at least she’s honest about who she is… which is more than I can say about Ex, one of a few people in my life who have made me seethe in anger. A person who is this open about their ability to be petty and vindictive are at least kind enough to offer fair warning, so they can be avoided.

Lately, Ex has been posting more dross in her unending quest to maintain her facade. She’s always trying to promote this humanitarian “Mother Teresa” image. And yet I know very well, that beneath that seemingly benevolent exterior, there is a true monster who uses people up, and leaves them broken and broke. My very kind and responsible husband left their marriage unable to father more children without medical help, and with both a bankruptcy and foreclosure on his credit record. She also left physical scars due to her abuse of him. Meanwhile, she told his parents and their children blatant, vicious lies about his character. She also told them lies about me, and my character, even though we’ve never met in person and she knows little about me. Put it this way… no one in her sphere has spent that much in person time with me, nor have they ever been in an intimate situation with me. Bill, on the other hand, has spent that kind of time with her. So has younger daughter. My inlaws know her pretty well, too.

God knows I’ve ranted a lot about her. I do think she’s a terrible person. But I also have a scintilla of compassion for her, because I know she was terribly abused and neglected, and she had a legitimately terrible childhood. That’s not an excuse for the way she behaves today, but it is a regrettable fact that she has suffered significant abuse. Although she doesn’t always act like it, she is a human being. And I try to maintain basic compassion for all human beings. I do believe she suffered, and I’m certain that she has mental health issues. Unfortunately, she’s also a narcissist, and a high conflict person. She seems “wonderful” on the surface. Get to know her, though, and soon you will be exposed to the rottenness.

But she keeps trying. Lord, does she keep trying to convince strangers that she’s really a lovely person… See below:

Those who get to know Ex well, will eventually and often see a woman who is more like the “hell in high heels” person who inspired this post. She rants, rages, and says the most damaging things. She lies, manipulates, and does harm to other people without a second thought. Those who are closest to her will be left with scars. Sometimes, they are literal scars in intimate places, and other times they are emotional scars that never fade with time.

Now… I don’t know if the person I wrote about at the beginning of this post is like Ex, or if she’s just super pissed off at the moment and having trouble processing her anger. I have experienced that myself. Sometimes, it takes me a long time to cool off when someone has tried to screw me over. Former landlady comes to mind. I was very angry with her for a long time. Now, I seem to have mostly gotten over it, even though that whole situation was incredibly bizarre. I will admit, I kind of resent that we were involved in that situation… and in fact, in a weird way, it’s partly due to Ex that we were. Because if not for her disastrous financial shenanigans, from which we had to spend a few years recovering, we probably wouldn’t be renters today. On the other hand, we probably also wouldn’t be living in Germany.

I fully admit that I’m not the easiest person to like. Some people find me annoying, insufferable, overly blunt, obnoxious, and weird. But I know that, deep down, I truly am a kind person, and have the capacity to forgive people, even if it takes awhile. It comes from being hurt when I was a defenseless child. I know that’s probably the root of Ex’s problems, too… Perhaps even Donald Trump is the way he is because he was deeply hurt when he was a defenseless child. The difference is, Ex and her ilk are truly not to be trusted. I don’t know about the lady who inspired this post, but I can’t say that her public persona on Facebook would make me want to approach. When she writes that she’s “Hell in high heels”, I am inclined to believe her. And I am inclined to stay the hell away from her.

Sigh… hopefully tonight, I’ll sleep better and stay out of Facebook rabbit holes. I did eventually sleep for about two hours, before Arran woke me up again at 6:30 AM. On another note, this is not the first time a Facebook friend I don’t actually know has led me to strange places. I probably need to prune my friends list again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Duggars, narcissists, politicians, politics, royals, YouTube

The “red mist”, and family ties that bind… and GAG!

Yesterday was an interesting day. I watched the election results roll in, gratified to see that a lot of people made their opinions regarding women’s rights quite clear. Yes, it’s true that Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ron DeSantis won their races, but on the whole, the projected “red wave” turned out to be more like a red misting. Honestly, I don’t understand the lack of situational awareness and common sense some extreme right wingers have.

They thought they’d win because of the current high inflation and the cost of living situation. But why didn’t they consider that when people are having trouble paying their own bills, the LAST thing they’d want to be is pregnant?! Besides the fact that the anti-abortion laws are an obvious affront to privacy and bodily autonomy, having a baby is an expensive and potentially dangerous proposition for most women. Obviously, more people, than the Republicans realized, were mightily pissed off at the intrusion into their private healthcare and family planning decisions, but I’ll bet some of them realized that forcing people to have babies will make life even more expensive.

I wish Texas had gone blue, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Now, it’s time for some repercussions. I suspect some healthcare providers will leave Texas and go somewhere they can practice without draconian laws that punish them for doing their jobs. I suspect a lot of very bright women will leave the state for places where they can make private decisions about their healthcare, family planning, and their own bodily autonomy. I suspect some companies will decide not to operate in Texas, or move out of the state, so that their employees don’t have to deal with Abbott’s disastrous laws. It’s hard to attract good talent when the living conditions in a state are unhealthy or oppressive. The anti abortion laws in Texas are very oppressive, and they are going to kill women.

I do think that eventually, the abortion laws in Texas will have to be relaxed somewhat. But unfortunately, that won’t happen until the public is more outraged, and realizes exactly what they’ve wrought when they force people to have babies they aren’t ready for and/or don’t want. And it will take some deaths, too, when women who are denied timely care during miscarriages or other healthcare crises die or get much sicker… again, both propositions that will ultimately cost more on many levels, financially or otherwise. Sicker patients cost more to treat, and take up more spots in overburdened hospitals. They require more care, and take longer to go back to work. Dead mothers aren’t around to take care of their babies or other children. Eventually, I hope some people will understand these truths. I hope it happens before a lot of people actually find out firsthand. But God forbid someone actually exercise some common sense, right? They’ll get accused of spreading misinformation or cheering for “murdering babies”.

I’ll tell you what. I certainly don’t cheer for abortion, but I think early abortions are preferable to the horrors of babies growing up in violent, abusive, neglectful, alcoholic homes… And I think abortion is less traumatic and cruel than the reality of what too many of today’s children experience, sitting in classrooms or church services, terrified as gun toting lunatics storm through and randomly murder anyone who happens to be in their way or looks at them funny. At least abortion “victims” don’t know what’s coming, and don’t fear death or suffering the way already born victims do.

Anyway… I don’t mean to rant about this again. I’m just glad to see that I’m not the only one who sees why safe access to abortion is very important. I’m glad to know that the silent majority realizes that the pro-birth movement is only a good thing when there aren’t any societal ills to worry about. And Americans know that we have a lot of societal ills to fix before we start requiring all babies to be born. A few days ago, Mama Doctor Jones shared the below video on her YouTube channel… The elections are over, but I still think this is a good video. Hope you’ll watch…

These fools need to be voted out of public office.

So now, what’s up with today’s title? It was inspired as I watched Katie Joy’s video about Jinger Vuolo’s new book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear, about escaping Bill Gothard’s IBLP cult. Katie Joy says the Duggar parents are “terrified” that Jinger will expose their secrets and hinder their chances of getting back on TV. I think that’s entirely likely, but Jim Bob and Michelle had to know that one day, their children would be adults. I know they hoped the children would all stay under Jim Bob’s authority, and they did all they could to influence them to make those “choices”, uninformed as they might be. But come on… nineteen children… there’s bound to be some rebels in that group. And of course, there will be at least one “truth teller”, who isn’t going to stay silent about what went on, and still goes on, in that family.

I doubt Jinger’s book will be a super revealing “tell all”, but it’s probably going to be revealing enough to get her shunned by her family for awhile. As for whether or not I’ll be reading it… at this point, I don’t know. I don’t have a burning desire to read a book written by someone who escapes one cult, only to enter another. And while I know Jinger used a ghostwriter, I’m not altogether sure her book is one that’s going to excite me much. I did try to watch her video about it, but aside from liking her outfit, I didn’t find her delivery very compelling. I was reminded of when she was younger, and on the show. She was always the one who smiled, gave two thumbs up, and seemed “happy”, even if it was an act. In her latest video, she didn’t seem like the same person. Her eyes were kind of dead to me. Maybe she’s happier now, but I wasn’t convinced. But I’ve been wrong before. Maybe I’m wrong again. Anyway, if you want to see her video, you can easily find it on YouTube, at least at this writing.

I do think that Jinger should have a voice. She should be free to speak her truth. As a “freedom loving” Republican, her dad should embrace his children’s rights to express themselves. That is one of the top Constitutional rights all Americans are guaranteed. But I guess Republicans only care about the Constitution when it promotes their agendas.

The other book that’s about to come out is Prince Harry’s. His book, Spare, reportedly worries his family. The British Royal Family also has a lot of secrets they’d rather keep, and they worry that Harry’s insights will damage the family’s reputation. There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen when the book is published. Many people think King Charles III will strip Meghan and Harry of their titles, and ostracize them forever. If that happens, I will be sad– mainly about the ostracism, not so much the titles. I feel like Harry and Meghan should not use their titles, if they are going to be living in the United States and not working as royals. But… I also think that if this is the path they’ve chosen, they should have the right to express themselves. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they should have to deal with the consequences of their actions. It just means that they have the right to their own thoughts and expression, as everyone does. The British Royals aren’t wrong to be angry, but neither is Harry.

Will I read Harry’s book? I don’t know. I am a little curious about it… but I have a long list of books to be read, and I feel like some of Harry’s behavior has been pretty bad. I don’t like Meghan Markle. I think she’s a narcissist. For that reason, I feel a little sorry for Harry, because he’s caught in a trap. But I’ve also seen the toxic way narcissists affect their victims and make them unlikeable and unattractive. That’s part of the design. When narcissists get their victims to alienate other people, they prevent them from escaping their clutches. Harry used to be very well liked by people around the world. Now he’s pissed off a lot of people, which means that he has fewer places to go for help and comfort as he gets further stuck in the relationship… and as Meghan continues to devalue him until he’s no longer himself. I know some people don’t see this and will disagree with me. And again, I could be wrong. But I’ve seen this many times… and I’m married to a man who was once married to a narcissist. The signs and symptoms are pretty clear to me, even as I also acknowledge that what I see is only what’s in the media. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors?

Well… it’s going to be a busy day. I’ve got to go get the laundry, walk the dogs, practice guitar, vacuum, and take Arran in for his fifth chemo appointment. After today, he’s going to be more than halfway through his nine week protocol before the chemo appointments are less frequent. He continues to amaze us with his resilience. Yesterday, when I walked him, he demanded to go the long way. A month ago, he could barely manage a short walk, and didn’t want to eat the tempting canned food. Now, he scarfs down kibble, jumps up on the bed, and shows us love. So, I’m going to quit blogging now…

Have a good Thursday. If you’re American, I hope the elections where you are went somewhat the way you hoped they would…

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family, lessons learned, mental health, narcissists

Narcissists force their victims to “punish” healthy people…

A few months ago, someone in my husband’s family friended him on social media. It was someone my husband hasn’t had a chance to get to know well, so Bill was excited to be Facebook friends with the person. But then, a few hours after friending Bill, the person abruptly unfriended him with no explanation whatsoever.

Bill was non-plussed. What had he done to offend this person? Bill hardly ever posts on social media, although he has admittedly become a lot more politically and socially liberal than he used to be. He also makes no secret that he’s no longer a believer in organized religions, particularly Mormonism. That means he freely curses, drinks alcohol and coffee, and laughs at ribald humor. Did the person look at Bill’s page and decide it was too “raw” for him? He didn’t know.

Although Bill was a little bit sad that this person he’d wanted to know had unfriended him with no explanation, he eventually figured it wasn’t him with a problem; the person who’d unfriended him had the issue. Life went on, and he pretty much forgot about the incident until it was brought up again by a mutual relative.

The mutual relative said that the person had decided to unfriend Bill because of Ex. The person realized that by having a connection with Bill, Ex would possibly have a connection with us. So Bill was unfriended, not because he was “offensive”, but because the other person wanted to spare Bill from offense by keeping Ex out of our sphere. And I suspect, it was also because that person likewise didn’t want any trouble from Ex.

I appreciated hearing that explanation, although I wish the person had thought to send Bill a private message or an email to let him know that the unceremonious “unfriending” wasn’t because of something Bill had done. Bill is a kind, empathic, and thoughtful person, so the truth is, he is a bit sensitive about being liked by others and not wanting to upset or offend them. But then again, when it comes to social media, I guess a lot of people feel that no one really owes anyone else an explanation. That’s one aspect of social media that I don’t like very much. Many of the “friendships” aren’t very authentic, and a lot of them have replaced what used to be “real” relationships with other human beings.

I was recently unfriended by two people with whom I had once hoped to be offline friends. I wasn’t that surprised by their decision to delete me, although perhaps because I’ve spent over half my life dealing with people in person, it still stings a little when “unfriending” happens. I had a feeling the people who unfriended me found me annoying… and the truth is, I found them a little annoying, too. But I realize that in the long run, in very few cases do I end up truly missing the people who leave my Facebook realm. After the initial ego shock of seeing the friend count go down, life goes on and I forget about them.

The people I do tend to miss are those with whom I actually interact or have ever known offline. Failing social media relationships and inevitable “unfriending” is even harder with family members because, if I’m honest, it makes me think they don’t like me at all. And the more I lose touch with people in my family, the more I think the situation is personal, and will be permanent. Thanks to Facebook, I don’t even feel that comfortable thinking about going to the family homestead for a reunion anymore, mostly due to politics and religion and social media behavior. I just assume my family would rather not see me, which makes living in Germany very convenient.

Bill’s younger daughter recently told him that she’d wanted to invite him to her wedding a few years ago. I’m assuming she would have invited me, too, although I don’t know for sure. In the end, younger daughter didn’t invite Bill, because she wanted to avoid drama with her mother. Here it was, younger daughter’s wedding day. She should have felt free to invite whomever she pleased. It should have been her day. But she was more concerned about her narcissistic mother’s feelings and, ultimately, her mother’s behavior. So she excluded Bill, even though I can guarantee he would have been a better behaved guest at her nuptials.

I don’t fault younger daughter for doing that. I might have blamed her some years ago, before I got to know her better. But I don’t feel that way anymore, because we’ve learned more about what happened during the many years in which she and Bill were not allowed to communicate. Younger daughter grew up in an environment where she was compelled to either do what her mother wanted, or suffer dire consequences. It took a few years outside of that environment for her to relax a bit and make decisions for herself.

Younger daughter didn’t even initially tell her mother about her decision to talk to Bill. Even though younger daughter is a grown woman with children of her own, and her mother lives on the other side of the country, she knew there would be trouble. So, instead of telling her mother that, as an adult, younger daughter has the right to live her life as she pleases, she maintained the false reality for a bit longer.

I can relate to younger daughter’s angst on a much smaller and less personal scale. When Bill and I first moved into our current home after leaving the toxic and abusive environment of our last, it took me several months to be able to relax and enjoy the current, healthier living situation. I kept expecting our former landlady to come over and yell at me for something, or give me a look of disgust, disdain, or disapproval as to how I live my life. I was suffering from a mild form of PTSD that had warped my thinking and reality a bit.

The truth is, ex landlady was working for us. We were paying her a lot of money for the privilege of renting her house. I should have simply reminded her of that fact and demanded that she show me basic respect. But that’s easier said than done when you’re dealing with an immature, irrational, narcissistic person. Because, as you quickly find out, narcissists can out-drama most normal, healthy people, and there will be hell to pay if you don’t play their games. So innocent, decent, well-meaning people are “punished” and have to suffer in favor of the narcissist’s need to stay in control. One of the punishments I actually enjoyed, by the way, was ex landlady’s penchant for the silent treatment. Those were actually the best months of our time with her in our lives. Remember, it’s not a punishment to be shunned by an asshole. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bill and his daughter now talk somewhat regularly. She calls him “Dad” instead of “Bill”, and she lets him see his grandchildren on Skype. She didn’t give in to her mother’s demands that she forget about her father and accept a poor substitute in Ex’s third husband. Frankly, that’s more than Bill had ever expected or hoped for, after his disastrous attempts and failures to co-parent with his ex wife.

But when she speaks to her mother, younger daughter has to listen to Ex complain about how #3 (younger daughter’s stepfather) “misses” her and wants to see “his grandchildren”. Not once has younger daughter ever heard from her stepfather expressing these bereft feelings. Sure, we’ve seen #3 post the odd social media post about how he thinks of Ex’s brood of five as “his kids”, but in reality, it’s all a big facade. In reality, he doesn’t show a lot of regard for Bill’s daughters or former stepson. He’s clearly much more interested in his own kids with the Ex than he is with her other children.

It was the same thing back in 2006, when Ex tried to get Bill to sign legal papers so #3 could adopt Bill’s daughters. He heard from Ex that #3 “loved” Bill’s girls as his own and wanted them to legally be considered his children. Never once did #3 ever personally speak to Bill about the prospect of his legally adopting the girls, just as he’s never spoken to younger daughter about his so-called “love” and affection for younger daughter’s children and thinking of them as his grandchildren.

That’s all a bunch of wishful thinking/fantastical/bullshit that Ex continues to promote. It’s a false narrative of the truth. Unfortunately, it’s easier for the healthier people to continue to tolerate that crap from Ex, than call her on it. It’s easier for younger daughter to nod and smile than tell her mother, in no uncertain terms, that Bill is the father of younger daughter, and younger daughter’s children are Bill’s grandchildren, not #3’s.

Despite Ex’s best attempts to replace Bill with her third husband, her efforts have failed with at least one of Bill’s two daughters. I’m proud of younger daughter for refusing to give in to her mother’s demands that she forget about Bill, because Bill truly loves both of his children and never should have been denied access to them. Denying him access caused a lot of damage that could, and should, have been avoided. And if Ex were a decent person and a responsible parent, she’d understand that it’s wrong to hate her exes more than she loves and respects her children. But, unfortunately, she’s a very toxic person. She’s selfish, delusional, and disrespectful. And because of that, and her propensity to be “dramatic”, good people are punished.

Bill can’t have a social media connection with his own daughter or his son-in-law. Why not? Because it would cause drama with Ex. Either she would object to it, or she would try to exploit the connection somehow. So, even though Bill is by far the healthier parent, he has to be “punished” as a form of protection– both for younger daughter and her family, and for Bill and, to a lesser extent, me. (I’m sure Ex reads this blog, though… and I don’t actually care.)

I think younger daughter is, like me, a bit of a truth teller. Truth tellers are the ones who don’t buy into the fantasy. They don’t fall prey to cognitive dissonance. They see things more clearly than others do, and they tell the truth. That tendency can make them unpopular in a sick family system, particularly when it involves someone with narcissistic tendencies. A truth teller can be a “buzz kill”. Their demands to adhere to reality can really be a downer for someone who would rather fabricate more palatable (to them) lies.

Ex would like to pretend Bill never existed, or, at the very least, see him punished for not continuing to accept her abuse. She suffered an ego blow when Bill agreed to her divorce ultimatum. The ego blow worsened when he found someone else to love him and, clearly, lives a much better life now. She’d rather not face reality and take responsibility for her mistakes. She’d rather make Bill the bad guy and punish him, and she tries to make other people punish Bill, too. But younger daughter is a truth teller, and she doesn’t accept that false reality.

I’m waiting for younger daughter to get fed up with Ex’s demands and tell her mom the way things really are, and how they’re going to be, regarding her children. She may never do it. The reality is, it’s hard to give up on your own mom, even if she is toxic and crazy, and even though there are so many other people in the world who are healthier and kinder. Ex is still her mom, and she has a special place in younger daughter’s life. Plus, younger daughter truly is a lot like Bill. She’s legitimately kind, considerate, and decent.

I feel sad for her. I think she felt like she had to apologize to Bill for “dissing” him at her wedding because of what she knew her mom would do. The fact is, it was her wedding day, and she should have had the right to do whatever she wanted. It should have been entirely her choice as to whom to invite. But Bill completely understands why she felt she had to exclude him, and he can handle it. That’s why he’s the better parent, and he has to suffer for it.

I hope that someday, younger daughter realizes that she has every right to do what she wants and needs to do for herself and her family, even if it causes her mom to bring the drama. I hope that she gets to the point at which she realizes she doesn’t have to tolerate that abuse anymore. If Ex wants to be dramatic, she can do it without younger daughter in attendance. Younger daughter is a grown woman with allies… and she can choose to opt out of the drama. Once she realizes that, maybe she can stop “punishing” the good and healthy people in her life by excluding them.

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