“Sawinery”: woodworking as PTSD/C-PTSD art therapy.

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Credit: Sawinery.net

Once in a while my readers reach out to me with questions, their own stories about abuse, or projects they are working on.  I can’t respond to all of these, but I do appreciate when my readers want to share things with me.    Occasionally, something stands out so much to me or is so innovative that I feel like it might be of help to other readers, so I asked the person who sent me the email about this if I could share it on my blog.

Sawinery is a blog about the woodworking world.

Woodworking? Why would I want to include an article about that?  It’s not a topic I’ve ever written about and isn’t the kind of thing I do write about.   But this is different, because the blog’s owner told me they have started to explore the power of woodworking as therapeutic healing art for trauma related conditions of PTSD and C-PTSD.    In the owner’s own words:

We recently interviewed 3 people: two men and one woman, who suffer from CPTSD/PTSD, one because of abuse in his childhood and one after retiring from the army — who are all doing woodworking as therapy.

They describe how it improved their creativy, that it helps to cope with confusion and anger as a result of trauma, that their confidence has improved and that they can now communicate more easily with other people.

You can read the full interview here:
https://www.sawinery.net/blog/woodworking-cptsd-ptsd-therapy-interview/

If you suffer from a trauma related disorder like PTSD or Complex PTSD, or know someone who does, you may want to take a look at the above link and share it.

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Outside my door.

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Indulging my diving fascination.

The snow from Diego (since when did they start naming winter storms?) is coming down hard, and I’ve spent much of the day watching diving videos, and being reminded of summer.

I’ve been fascinated by diving (both Scuba and freediving) for the past couple of months.   The underwater world is in its own dimension.  It’s like being on another planet.    I can understand why so many divers think of the sport as an almost spiritual experience.  At the same time, the many dangers — and the great depths — associated with diving make it terrifying, but I think that’s part of its allure to me.  I’m also fascinated by the kind of people who have the guts to take such risks — and get to experience such beauty as a reward.  (I’ve also been watching cave diving videos — yikes!)

I’m not sure I ever want to try diving in real life.   But modern technology lets me experience it vicariously, with none of the dangers.

I fell  in love with this video.   Be sure to enlarge it so it fills your computer screen to experience the full effect.

Snowbound blogging.

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We’re expecting a big snowstorm here in western North Carolina starting in about 24 hours.   They’re saying we might get up to two feet!  (I’ll believe it when I see it).

Since I’ll be pretty much housebound, as long as I have power, my plan is to write some new blog posts and catch up on some reading.    I’ve been getting lazy about doing both, but if I’m snowbound, I have no excuses to not write!

I’m not a winter person, but I’m still looking forward to sipping hot cocoa and spending several days in intimate contact with the written word, cocooned by a world of white.  If we get the two feet of snow, I doubt I’ll be going to work on Monday.

This guy sure has the Christmas spirit!

My son saw this guy with his car at a gas station, so he took this picture. Haha! Or even better, Hoho!

Life is full of surprises.

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9 ways to survive the holidays.

It’s that time of year again! Why write a brand new article about surviving the holidays when this old one will do just as well?

You may be one of those people who really gets into the holiday season, but if you’re not (and believe me, if you’re not, you’re far from alone), here are some great ways to survive it (and even enjoy it in spite of yourself)!

Lucky Otters Haven

Originally posted on 12/12/15

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season is officially here. That means crowded stores, grumpy drivers clogging the roads on their way to and from said stores, horrible office Christmas parties, commercials showing perfect happy families living in big houses with tons of relatives all appearing to love each other (are they TRYING to make us jealous?), fake cheerfulness, fake sleigh bells (did anyone ever REALLY go on a sleigh ride?), horrible canned Christmas music you cannot escape from, “Jingle Bell Rock” (quite possibly the most annoying Christmas song ever) playing endlessly on every pop music station, and maybe worst of all, the shortest days of the year. It’s dark in the morning when you get up for work, and it’s dark again at 5 PM when you get off.

All this is enough to make you want to shoot yourself in the head. But…

View original post 1,073 more words

I’m not letting Trump ruin my…er…Christmas.

Originally posted on December 17, 2017

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Just like he did with the NFL by making it all about politics (you’re a traitor and a “very bad person” if you “take a knee” instead  of standing for the anthem), Trump has made Christmas a political issue.  Football and Christmas:  two traditions that bring people joy and bring them together regardless of ideology, have now been tainted by Trump turning them into divisive political issues, and that’s a damn shame.

What sane person cares if people say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?  I sure don’t.  It’s trivial and dumb.  Trump’s belief that there’s a “war on Christmas” is just so stupid and wrong, because there was never a war on Christmas.   For as long as I can remember — and that’s a very long time — people have said “Happy Holidays,” a phrase that’s meant to be inclusive and respectful of people who may celebrate Hanukkah or other December holidays.   It’s not a diss on Christmas or Christians, and it’s not anything new either.   Heck, back in the ’60s, my parents used to send out cards that said “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” because they had a lot of Jewish friends and didn’t want to offend them.   No one was offended.  It just wasn’t an issue for anyone.

Trump loves to rail on about political correctness, but he’s a hypocrite because he’s the one getting all bent out of shape about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or not.

Even worse,  now he’s ruined Christmas for a lot of folks by making it political, when it should be anything but.   I’ve heard so many people say they’re afraid to say “Happy Holidays” now because they’re afraid they’ll be perceived by Trump supporters as being rebellious or subversive.  Other people have said they’re afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because they might be mistaken for Trump supporters.

I’m not letting that apricot menace ruin my Christmas.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone!

*****

Further reading:

10 Reasons Why the “War on Christmas” is Bogus 

Football and Christmas: How Trump is Destroying Two American Traditions

I woke up feeling sad this morning.

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I woke up feeling super sad.   I woke up thinking about the state of our planet, and the fact that it’s mostly America’s selfish and shortsighted corporatist leaders that don’t give a damn about taking care of it or leaving it intact for future generations, who are at fault.   The things they do don’t just affect life and the environment within our own borders; their actions affect the entire world.  But they don’t care.

Greedy corporatists are concerned only about short term profits.  They gleefully go about raping and pillaging the land and dumping toxic waste into our oceans.   They think nothing of destroying the earth’s beauty and delicate ecosystems for short term gain — at the expense of human life, animal life, and all our ecosystems that sustain and nourish all life on this world.

I remember back in the 1970s when the EPA was formed and finally, polluted rivers, lakes that used to catch on fire from the petroleum deposits on their surfaces, and dark,  sooty unbreathable air in the cities began to clean themselves up because of new regulations that kept further pollution at a minimum or even eliminated it completely.

After several decades passed, the differences really began to show and these formerly toxic places became clean and liveable again.  Lakes and rivers that had been poisoned with industrial waste became swimmable and even their water became drinkable in some cases. It became possible to see a clear view even in big cities instead of a miasma of lung clogging smog.

Now we have a group of wealthy sociopaths  running everything, corporatists who want to ditch all those regulations and take us back to the bad old days.  They don’t care about our children, about animals, about future generations, or the future of life in general on this planet, as they happily go about blowing up mountaintops for more coal deposits, fracking for more oil, clearcutting forests, digging in the Gulf of Mexico and in our oceans for yet more oil, and destroying our beloved national monuments that bring joy and wonder to so many people, to sell to the highest bidder.   They make fun of those of us who hate what they are doing.  They call us socialists and snowflakes because we care about endangered species and want to preserve the earth’s beauty and want laws to protect our home from human exploitation and greed.

“Corporations and far right capitalists who want to get rid of regulations say it’s because they prevent growth. They want unlimited growth, even if the loss of protective laws destroys life on this planet. Guess what else is characterized by uncontrolled growth that kills? Cancer.”

This is a beautiful, unusual planet that evolved in a way perfectly suited for all kinds of life. Maybe in some other solar system or galaxy there are other earthlike planets suited for our kind of life, but we are not that advanced yet and have no way to travel to those planets, if they exist.   In the meantime, this planet is the only one we have.  If it dies, we go with it.

The planet is being destroyed by these greedy corporatists who don’t care about it, or anything on it, and stubbornly refuse to consider sustainable technology that other countries are doing, and it makes me so angry and sad.  That’s why today I woke up almost in tears.

If we don’t change our ways soon, we are going to be responsible for the extinction of so many species and the destruction of so much beauty and unique plant and animal life, and that may even include ourselves. Some people even believe humanity is about to become extinct, because the earth will prevail somehow, and do what it needs to do to rid itself of us, if we don’t do the job ourselves.   Maybe that’s true, and if it is, maybe we deserve that fate for how we have treated the only home we have.

If you’re a religious person who believes God created the earth, what right do we have to treat it the way we do?   Even the Bible tells us God wants us to use the earth sustainably and be stewards of it, not destroy it.  Right wing Christians who insist that taking care of the environment is a sin because it shows a lack of faith that God will replenish what we use are talking out of their arses.   That’s like saying that teenagers who throw a party while their parents are out shouldn’t have to clean up their mess because that would show a lack of faith in their parents’ ability to do so.   Maybe it’s true God CAN clean up our mess and replenish what we destroyed, but really, why should he?   Why would we deserve anything but annihilation if we blithely destroy the home we were given?

It’s just so damn sad.   For whatever reason, human empathy seems to be disappearing and without it, only death and destruction awaits.  Even higher animals have empathy.  We need to work on getting it back, and we need to teach children how important it is to care about each other and about other species too.   The lack of empathy is what’s wrong with our country, and with the whole human species.  Our lack of it will ultimately spell the end of life as we know it.  We must stop our predatory, selfish ways and reverse them, and we need to do it immediately, before it’s too late.

I love this beautiful planet.   It’s a rare gem in the vastness of space and we are blessed to be able to call it home.   I deplore what selfish, arrogant people are doing to it in the name of greed.   They don’t ever stop to think that they aren’t invincible either.  When the planet dies at their hands, they will die too.

Trump’s strange behavior at G20 summit is a window into his current state of mind.

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An example of narcissistic projection.  Blame others for what you are guilty of, even when there’s no proof.

 

Some of you may remember Trump’s overconfident, even arrogant and obnoxious alpha- male behavior at last year’s G20 summit in Germany and other events where he had to mingle with world leaders:  arrogantly pushing aside Montenegro’s president so he could get to the front of the group, the childish refusal to shake Angela Merkel’s hand, his standoffishness, and other gestures and comments indicating his contempt and disregard for the the leaders of western democracies.   I could go on with examples but that would take too long and it’s not my point in this post anyway.

Trump is under enormous stress right now, due to recent events that don’t bode well for his future in politics or even his freedom:  Mueller and his team are beginning to move closer to Trump’s inner circle, his longtime “fixer” Michael Cohen has turned against him and admitted he lied under oath (and telling Mueller everything he knows).   Perhaps most ominously, in just over a month, the new Democratic Congress, headed by the very competent and confident Nancy Pelosi, takes over, bringing much needed checks and balances back into government.  These Democrats can and will hold Trump accountable for his crimes and unethical and cruel policies, and Trump knows it.   The party’s almost over.

For perhaps the first time in his 72 years, this overgrown spoiled brat who has always gotten his own way and never been held accountable for anything in his life, will finally be made to answer for his illegal and immoral mob boss ways, and Trump isn’t pleased.    In fact, right now he’s feeling pretty shaky and insecure.   He’s not even able, at the moment, to mask his insecurity with his usual false arrogance and bluster.  He’s emotionally deflated and terrified of what his future holds,  and his mental state shows in his odd behavior at this year’s G20 summit.    He seems more like a frightened little boy about to be sent to his room and denied his favorite TV show than the fearsome dictator he aspires to be (or thinks he already is).

I had noticed on several occasions that Trump only looked truly happy when he was hobnobbing with vicious dictators like Putin, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, or North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.   I’ve never seen him smile like he is in the picture below (either Putin or MBS was approaching, though I can’t recall which one) with any leaders of western democracies.  (In fact, he always seems downright uncomfortable with them and is very critical of them).   This is one of the only genuine looking smiles I’ve ever seen from Trump.

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Here’s another of him in the private (closed off to the press) meeting that took place in the Oval Office last year with Russian oligarchs.  He looks genuinely happy.

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So, it doesn’t help Trump’s fragile ego that his despotic buddies (and objects of his childlike hero worship) Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) appear to be shunning Trump like a couple of catty middle school girls at the G20 summit this year.

Watch this incredible video of Putin and MBS sharing a moment of laughter and high fiving each other as Trump comes lumbering into the room from behind.    Trump must be painfully aware that these two despots have never smiled or laughed with Trump the way they do here with each other.  Deep down,  Trump must know that he is not as well regarded or well liked by these two as they like and regard each other.    But  as they are very likely pure psychopaths rather than mere malignant narcissists like Trump, they would naturally have more in common with each other, both of them being free of that pesky emotional fragility and hypersensitivity to criticism that people with NPD are always saddled with.   As pure psychopaths, they don’t care what other people think of them: they just do what they want.   Although Trump shares their lack of conscience and empathy, he also cares very much what people  think of him, especially those who (like Putin and MBS) are useful to him.

Trump definitely sees them, and his jealousy of their bond is as obvious as his orange tinted spray tan.  Here’s a closeup screenshot someone took of Trump’s face during the exchange.  If looks could kill!

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Although I’m not a mental health professional and can’t make a diagnosis, most mental health professionals agree that Trump almost certainly has all 9 DSM criteria for  Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and fits most of the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder).   When a person has both NPD and ASPD (sociopathy), they are considered to be malignant narcissists.  Malignant narcissism, a term first coined by psychologist Erich Fromm back in the 1960s, isn’t a clinically accepted medical term, but it’s well known in the narcissistic abuse community (and now, due to Trump, is becoming known outside of that community and is practically a household word, much like the term gaslighting has recently become a term most “lay” people know the meaning of, because Trump and his followers do it so constantly).

NPD causes a profound lack of empathy that often manifests as social awkwardness. This causes even some professionals to initially mistake people with NPD as being on the autism spectrum.  Some narcissists can fake empathy, but Trump isn’t one of them. While his inability to fake empathy may actually be a saving grace for the country and the world (Trump’s poor acting ability makes his disorder more obvious and therefore he is less dangerous than someone who can hide behind a mask of fake compassion and kindness).

As a result, Trump often shuns social events that require him to show empathy, or camaraderie with others.   Like all narcissists, he is terrified of appearing awkward or socially incompetent in public, and because he doesn’t possess the acting ability to fake social competence or empathy, when he is forced to attend such events, he usually is off by himself, physically not present, or behaving in ways that deviate from what the others are doing and appear strange, inappropriate, and awkward. Notice how out of touch he seems in both these photos. Due to his lack of empathy, he cannot read social cues that others can read with ease.

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This is why Trump has refused to attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in which one of the traditions is to “roast” the current president and other high profile politicians.    Trump has never forgiven Obama for roasting him about insisting he produce his birth certificate at the WHCD in 2012.  Obama’s joke at Trump’s expense got uproarious laughter from the audience.  Narcissists cannot stand to be laughed at, even as a good natured part of a tradition.  They can’t roll with the punches because they take themselves very, very seriously.    A joke at their expense becomes a severe narcissistic injury.   (The White House Correspondents’ Dinner discontinued its comedic roasts this year, possibly due to not wanting to risk any more “hurt feelings.”)

Here’s a photo of Trump at last year’s G20 summit in Germany, and you can see how isolated he is. Keep in mind that at that summit, he was among highly intelligent people who are leaders of world democracies and cognizant of world affairs. Trump, having little in common with them (and painfully aware his intelligence and knowledge of world affairs could never match theirs) sits, nearly pouting, by himself.

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It’s even worse this year for him, and Trump, not possessing acting abilities, doesn’t even seem to be able to fake a smile (or arrogantly push aside the president of another country, as he did with Montenegro’s president Milo Đukanović).   He  appears unusually isolated, morose, angry, and unhappy.   He is suffering severe narcissistic injury due to what he knows is coming (even though he continues to deny any wrongdoing).  The apparent rejection of his heroes Putin and MBS at the summit are like salt in an already festering wound.

At his rallies back at home, he’s surrounded by people less educated and more ignorant than even he is (and is fawned over, adulated, and even worshipped as if he is God, and this infuses him with the narcissistic fuel he needs to function), so it’s easy for him to snap back into his alpha male show of bravado and false confidence, but at a foreign summit full of intellectually superior world leaders, he cannot and his emotional vulnerability is on display for the world to see.

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Trump is a man who knows the walls of justice are closing in on him, and even his foreign despotic allies seem to be losing respect for him. He may even be a liability to them at this point. I almost want to feel sorry for Trump, but because of his two year reign of terror and the immeasurable trauma he has caused to Americans and the entire world, I have no pity for him. He deserves whatever is coming.

In the next few weeks, until the Democratic House convenes on January 3,  Trump is going to double down and his aggressive behavior and lies here at home (where he’s back in his element) will become much worse.  We need to hang on and be courageous as his narcissistic rage will be nearly out of control.  But take heart:  it’s almost over, and he knows it.  That’s why he’s lashing out at anyone who isn’t on his side:  journalists, Democrats, women, liberals, and anyone who criticizes him.  But it’s temporary.  Like the Wicked Witch of the West, he has been doused with water, and he’s melting.   He will scream and flail and put up a mighty fight, but he will not be able to destroy democracy.  We are stronger and more powerful than any flailing, screaming, decompensating narcissist because there are more of us and we have truth on our side.

Don’t be surprised if he resigns.   While resignation is an act of defeat that seems out of character for someone as narcissistic as Trump, if he can no longer hold up the facade of invincibility, in order to save face resignation may be his only option.

 

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Friday thought.

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