Two myths about Trump Republicans.

Myth #1. Trump Republicans are Conservatives.

conservative

No. Trump Republicans are not conservatives, and here is why:

Conservatives believe in conserving things, not tearing everything to shreds.  Trump Republicans are radical fascists and anarchists who seek to tear down “the establishment” and all the things that made America great (and held it together) before. They seek to  replace those things with new things that will hurt the vast majority of people and destroy the Constitution itself (conservatives believe in upholding and defending the Constitution).

Conservatives believe in traditional values. But Trump Republicans literally worship a president who is a serial adulterer, slept with a porn star (while his third wife was pregnant), had five children by three different wives, and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy because he’s a big star who can do anything he wants (and then he denied ever saying it).   And he’s never, ever repented or apologized for any of it — or anything else he’s ever done.   It seems to me that if God chose Trump to be president (as some evangelicals believe),  he would have chosen someone who is NOT a narcissistic psychopath and also  someone capable of empathy, remorse, and repentance.

The concept of traditional values goes far beyond just family values, though.   Having traditional values also means you believe in civility, kindness, generosity, being nice to strangers, and holding your tongue if you have something unkind to say out of respect for that person’s feelings (or broaching the subject in a sensitive, mature way).   It means being neighborly.  It means being concerned about people who are not as fortunate as you are.   It means not mocking or demeaning people you dislike or who are different from you,  not calling immigrants “animals,” and not treating people of color and women like slaves or second class citizens.

Conservatives believe in small government.    Trump does not believe in small government.  Sure, he and his minions like to talk about small government, but the huge windfall they just gave to the rich and corporations through their tax scam created the hugest deficit in history, which is now in the trillions (which will be paid for by us — through huge cuts to earned benefits like social security and Medicare).

Sure, they’re slashing those annoying regulations (most of which help keep us all safe and healthy) because they don’t believe corporations should be accountable or responsible for anything at all,  but they sure would like to put a lot of new laws and regulations on private citizens, including our sex lives and reproductive freedom.  They’re busy expanding the military and turning ICE into the American Gestapo.   The Trump GOP is pushing through all kinds of new laws and bills that will greatly restrict our civil rights and freedoms, especially if you’re in one of the groups they don’t like or respect (women, LGBTQ, POC, and non-white immigrants).  They are also pushing through legislation that blurs the line that has always separated church and state in the name of “religious freedom” (which it’s anything but).

The endgame is an oligarch-controlled, evangelical “Christian” theocracy that wouldn’t differ much from living in Saudi Arabia under Sharia law — or Europe during feudal times.

So tell me again how Trump supporters don’t want big government?

Hell, they want fucking Big Brother.

Please stop calling Trump Republicans conservatives.  They are conserving nothing.

Myth #2: Trump Republicans Want to Bring Back the 1950s.

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Perhaps Trump Republicans like the idea of the 1950s — doting housewives whose lives revolve around husband and kids,  husbands as the breadwinners, girls who look like girls and boys who look like boys, clearly defined sex roles, conformity, safe suburban neighborhoods, low crime; children’s books, movies, and TV shows that feature lily white protagonists; and little tolerance for cultural or racial diversity or “difference.”

The sexism and racism of the 1950s is well known, but was not really the result of oppressive policy, just the kind of culture we lived in at the time.  Most people just took for granted this was the way things worked so it wasn’t an issue for most people — at least not for a few more years.  Blacks were definitely discriminated against under Jim Crow, but women at the time for the most part welcomed the opportunity to marry and have “victory children” once their men returned from overseas in the Second World War.   There were no laws that women could not pursue traditionally male careers or a more independent life; it just wasn’t something most women considered.

But the 1950s are also known for strong labor unions, higher taxes on the wealthy (in fact they were quite high!), well paying jobs that enabled even working class people to buy homes and new cars, New Deal policies that made it possible for the elderly to live (and die) with dignity and independence rather than be a burden on their children who were trying to raise their own families; affordable healthcare, doctors who actually spent time with their patients and seemed to care about them personally, companies that cared about their employees and offered good benefits and even pensions, good public schools and a strong emphasis on public education, a recognition that science and scientific research trumped superstition and religious dogma, a healthy respect for education and intellectualism, an importance placed on treating others well, having a moral compass and a sense of responsibility to the community,  and a general acceptance by all that for the greater good, the rich should pay more taxes.

Hell, by today’s standards, the 1950s were downright socialist!

During the 1950s (and through the early 1970s), government worked for the people instead of the other way around.  Our checks and balances were intact and working well. Sure, there were always problems — rampant sexism and racism, communist “witch hunts,” etc — but the gap between the rich and poor was low (much of this due to the rich being taxed at a much higher rate) and most people lived pretty well and felt secure in their lives.  Even the less educated, working class could afford nice homes, cars, vacations, and were able to raise children who would later be able to attend college and live better than their parents.   The American Dream was a real thing almost anyone could achieve, not the huge lie it is today.

Life was pretty good in the 1950s because of the things Trump and his staff want to take away from us:  all the New Deal changes FDR made after the Great Depression, including Social Security and Medicare;  high taxes on the rich and corporations; corporate requirements to offer certain benefits to employees, such as health insurance, overtime pay (time and a half) and holiday pay;  a minimum wage that was actually a living wage that kept up with inflation; strong public schools, strong labor unions, federal grants for college, a GI bill that allowed veterans and military personnel to purchase inexpensive homes,  large public works projects, public libraries, and a public interstate highway system; and all sorts of other things that made life more enjoyable and less stressful and made advancement possible for most Americans.   In the 1950s, most people trusted the government, and the government believed that taking care of its people created a healthier and more productive society — as it does in all healthy democracies.  We were the envy of the free world.

While Trump Republicans appear to bemoan the “traditional values” of the 1950s, they never stop to think about the fact that much of what Americans enjoyed then was possible because of a government that actually served its people, instead of one that expects to be served by the people.

Trump Republicans do not want to bring back the 1950s, because that would require them to do all the things they hate: raise taxes on the rich,  offer more social programs, increase funding for public works projects, public schools, libraries, and infrastructure, raise pay for teachers; take care of the elderly, sick and veterans;  improve our national parks and monuments (instead of destroying them and selling them off), encourage and support labor unions, and stop gerrymandering and suppressing votes.   It would require the realization that enhancing the common good matters more in building a strong nation and a strong economy than rewarding and placing value on only wealth and power.

Trump Republicans may want to bring us back to the ’50s, but it isn’t the 1950s — it’s the 1850s right before the Civil War and the Gilded Age — or maybe even the 1350s, if the Christofascists ever get their way.

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Exhausted and depressed.

I was going to write a post about my vacation, which I returned from yesterday (it rained the whole way driving home).

I’m so sorry, but I’m just depressed and tired and not up to putting a new post together today, especially one which requires uploading photographs and deciding which ones to use.

Part of my problem is suffering from my usual PVD (post-vacation depression), as well as exhaustion from both the long drive and my generally depressed emotional state right now (which seems to have lots to do with watching my nation split apart and turn into a shithole country before my eyes). I’m pretty traumatized by the whole sad political situation here, which doesn’t seem to be getting better and may in fact be getting a lot worse.

I’m having trouble coping with life in general. I’ve lost interest in lots of things that used to interest me, or I just can’t get myself motivated to do them. Trusting people is hard, and politically we are so divided that neighbors and even family members and previous friends can seem to be enemies.

I did have a great time away in Florida last week, and I have lots of wonderful photos and stories to tell, and I intend to share that with all of you soon, but I’m just not up to it right now, so please be patient.

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Child roles in dysfunctional families.

Lucky Otters Haven

dysfunctional-family
Credit: Artist unknown.

Wikipedia has an excellent, detailed article about dysfunctional family dynamics. Here I am just going to talk about the roles various family members play, and the kinds of families that become dysfunctional. If you’d like to read the whole article, click on this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family

Dysfunctional families are usually of two types:

1. One or more of the parents are active alcoholics or addicted to drugs.
2. One or more of the parents have a Cluster B disorder, usually Narcissistic Personality Disorder but sometimes Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, or Histrionic Personality Disorder (or a combination of any of these).

The Cluster B Connection.

Outside of alcoholics and drug addicts, dysfunctional family dynamics are most prevalent when one or both of the partners suffer from a Cluster B disorder, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Malignant Narcissism.    After NPD, BPD is the most common disorder seen…

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Three years ago today: 20 Truths About Blogging.

Still as true today as they were three years ago!

 Originally posted on May 21, 2015

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In my 8 months of blogging I’ve learned a few things. Here are 20 of them.

1. Nothing is too personal to write publicly about. There will always be someone who will be grateful you shared it. As for the rest, they don’t care as much as you think they do. That soul-baring post is probably only embarrassing to you.

2. If you have a post you’re afraid to make public, make it public anyway (see #1). It’s okay to run naked in public sometimes. You’ll feel freed.

naked

3. You are going to have haters. It’s unavoidable. If you can’t handle people hating you or your blog, you have no business blogging.

4. If your blog starts getting popular, your haters will be more numerous and more vocal. It’s okay to have haters. Love your haters. They’re obviously obsessed enough with you to visit your blog and that increases your views.

5. Some people you thought were your friends or supporters are not. Be careful who you trust.

6. If you write about a serious or dark topic, break it up with a little fluff sometimes. Or write about something else. But don’t lose your focus.

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7. Trolls are easily controlled. Just don’t approve their comments or send them to Spam/Trash.

8. Be agreeable. Don’t attack commenters who disagree with you. Most people are reasonable and disagreements can lead to some interesting debates where both of you may learn something.

9. If you decide to run ads, you’re not selling out. If you’re serious about blogging or writing, it’s a good idea if you have enough traffic.

10. You do not need to pay for SEO. All you need is patience. If you post often enough and your blog starts getting enough hits (USE THE SHARE BUTTONS–or at least have them available under your posts so others can do your dirty work for you), those hits will eventually lead to more hits, and this keeps feeding on itself. Eventually you’ll find some of your posts appearing at the top of the search engines, and once that happens, the sky’s the limit.

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11. You can’t “make” a post go viral. There is absolutely no way to tell what article of yours may go viral or when. It could be one you never expected to, or it could happen months after you first posted it. When it happens, it’s a complete surprise and a completely amazing feeling.

12. Don’t write something just because you think it’s popular if it isn’t something of interest to you. Don’t try to be cool–people can always tell if you’re trying too hard. You’re either cool or you’re not, but you don’t have to be cool to have a great blog. (I’m definitely not cool).

13. You are going to lose followers. It’s inevitable. As long as you are gaining more followers than you’re losing, then there’s no problem. The people who are unfollowing you are probably not people you want to have sticking around anyway.

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14. You will change in ways you never expected. Blogging is an adventure.

15. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day and don’t post. We all have those days we need to take a break or just can’t think of a good idea. If it really bothers you, reblog someone else’s article or post a funny picture or inspirational saying. People always love those.

16. When all else fails, post a picture of a cat or a cat meme. Cats on the Internet are like sex in the movies. They attract viewers. Kittens are even better. Everyone loves kittens, even people who hate cats.

kitten

17. Use pictures and graphics, especially in long posts (but don’t use so many your post looks like the cover of a supermarket tabloid). No one wants to read a wall of text, even if you’re the best writer ever. But they want a clean look too, so be careful how many graphics you use, especially if you are running ads too. No one likes a cluttered, messy looking blog that makes their eyes hurt or gives them flashbacks to the MySpace era.

18. You don’t have to be a great writer. You just have to be original and willing to take a few risks.

19. Always be honest even if your opinion might be controversial or unpopular. Controversial posts may get you more haters, but they’ll also make your views soar.

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20. Haters can make good fodder for new posts. Sometimes those posts will be your most interesting. But be careful about calling out specific people by name; you could get in trouble for that.
 

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Checking in!

anclotekey1

This is a VERY short post so no one worries about me, since it’s been almost a week since I last posted.

We are here in Clearwater Beach, FL having a WONDERFUL time.  I’m very frustrated at the moment though, because I just made my first little video of the moving Gulf water after sunset and the interesting patterns it was making, but even though it’s possible to post it here, it isn’t possible to remove my real name from the video (which I have never used on this blog).   So I won’t be able to post it after all.  Grrrr!    Trust me, it was very cool.   If I can find a way to remove my identifying info, I’ll definitely put it here.

I have about a gazillion photos, so I’ll be writing a longer post using some of those pictures in the next few days, or I just might wait until I get home on Sunday.   It’s so nice to see my son and swim in the warm Gulf waters again.

The picture you see above is from Anclote Key, a remote sandbar several miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and accessible only by boat.  More about that later!

I hope all of you are well. See you again soon!

 

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Thank God my vacation is finally here!

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I’ve been feeling more anxious and depressed every day about the political situation, and I don’t feel like any of our efforts are really helping.   Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind.   It’s so easy to get bogged down in negativity, fear and hopelessness when the opposition is so nasty and overwhelming and you no longer have the slightest doubt of the horrifying reality that you are being held hostage in your own country — a country that is being run by the worst human beings imaginable.

I definitely need to clear my head and get away from all that for awhile.  My annual trip to Florida to visit my son can’t get here soon enough.   I leave tomorrow before dawn (I love driving before dawn on a long road trip — here’s an article I wrote in 2016 about that).   Depending on traffic, we should arrive in Tampa (that’s where he lives now) late in the day.

Our hotel has a lovely pool and hot tub, and serves continental breakfast.  We’ll be spending time with my son when we can (he can’t get off work).  I think this time one of the plans is to hit Treasure Island!  We had planned to go last year but never got around to it.

After four days there, my daughter and I are driving to Clearwater Beach and spending four days there, right on the beach!

I’ll be posting pictures, so keep checking back!

****

Further reading:

8 Ways to Survive a 637-Mile Long Car Trip In Just One Day (and make it amazing!)

15 Things I Love and Hate About Long Road Trips

The Longest, Hottest, Most Boring Drive Ever 

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The Golden Rule in different religions.

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Almost all world religions preach some form of the Golden Rule.   We should all strive to be good to each other and treat others as we want to be treated ourselves, and most religions recognize that.  We need to stop hating each other over our differences, and instead come together over our similarities.  To insist that wanting to find common ground with people of other faiths is something evil or diabolical is a huge lie that many of us are told.

Only a very few religions do not believe in or practice the Golden Rule.  Satanism generally doesn’t, but Anton LaVey’s version of Satanism (which is really just libertarianism dressed up with some “black magic” and its own “bible” — LaVey Satanists are actually atheists) does ask its followers to at least not hurt others or destroy the environment while you’re busy being a selfish SOB.  Most Pagan religions, including Wicca, follow some form of the Golden Rule too.  Many atheists also practice the Golden Rule as a matter of personal choice.  I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that a person can’t have morals or a conscience unless they believe in God or some higher intelligence.  Some of the most moral, caring, and compassionate people I can think of are atheists and agnostics.

There have been many violent and hateful religions as long as mankind has been on earth, but today the two most obvious examples that come to my mind are the twisted extremist perversions of Islam and Christianity known respectively as radical Islam and Christian Dominionism, both which seem to regard the Golden Rule as sinful or wrong and prefer to use the rhetoric of fear, terror, war and battle to achieve domination.  I have heard there’s an extremist branch of Hinduism that is like this too.  There may be others.  There are certainly many cults as well with nefarious goals and anti-social doctrine.

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9 ways to tell if the victim blog you read is run by a narcissist.

Originally posted on January 9, 2017

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The Internet is a great thing for a lot of reasons, but for victims of narcissistic abuse, it’s probably the first time in our lives we ever had a voice, and would be listened to and believed.   There are hundreds and probably even thousands of blogs and websites for people who have been victims of narcissistic abuse, either by their families, or at the hands of an abusive spouse, boss, lover, or friend.

The Internet has given us a voice, so now we can not only read and comment on the stories of others who have suffered similar experiences, we can also start our own blogs where we can talk about our own abuse.   Before the Internet, who would listen to us, much less believe us?  More than likely, we’d be told, “oh, of course your mother/father loves you,” or “Oh, I’m sure she means well and doesn’t know how to express it,” or worse, “it’s all in your head,” or “you are too sensitive” or “you are too paranoid.  Or even, “you are crazy to think that.”

Before the Internet, if you actually went No Contact with an abusive person, especially if it was your own family,  most people would tell you you’d “regret it” because “your family is all you have.”   Religious people might have said to you that disconnecting from a parent or other close family member was a grave sin and broke the commandment that says, “honor thy mother and father.”  Well, my answer to that is this:  you are not honoring an abusive, narcissistic parent by enabling them or allowing them to continue to abuse and use you.  The kindest thing you can do for them is to stop enabling them, by going No Contact.  By doing so, you are removing yourself from the equation and making it impossible for them to target you anymore.   More than likely they will find a new person to target, or continue to talk trash about you behind your back, but you are making things harder for them. Think of it as “tough love.”  You can still love a narcissistic parent but refuse to allow them to victimize you anymore.

There are many great narcissistic abuse and ACON blogs, forums,  and discussion groups that have helped many people and for the most part they are a Godsend.   Without them, we’d all still be in the dark, thinking WE were the problem, and that if only we could please our abusers, everything would be fine.  We’d feel misunderstood and all alone. We would never have met each other or been able to tell our stories.

This blog started as an ACON blog, but because I’ve expanded into other topics and really didn’t have a lot more to say about my own abuse (because I got tired of dwelling in the past and prefer to look toward the future), I can’t really say this is specifically an ACON blog anymore, although I still include articles about narcissistic abuse from time to time and my old posts on it remain popular.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few blogs, forums, websites and Facebook groups meant for survivors of narcissistic abuse that are actually run by narcissists who are not aware they are narcissists and identify only as victims.   Un-self-aware narcissists are far more dangerous than those who have become self aware, because they refuse to–or can’t–see their own narcissism.   Instead they project it onto others, even where it doesn’t exist.

Please keep in mind, that there is a higher percentage (as much as 70%, according to some sources)  of people with Cluster B disorders like NPD or BPD among those who were raised by narcissistic parents.   Because there’s not a clear line between people who have been abused and those who are abusers (and in fact both may be present in the same person) it shouldn’t be very surprising that some victims are suffering from disorders a lot worse than just C-PTSD.

This is a problem because a person who is in an abusive relationship and considering going No Contact (or is newly No Contact) may think they’ve found a safe haven with empathetic fellow-sufferers who can be of  help to them, but they may well find themselves re-traumatized later on by the group, should they disagree with them in any way or say or do the “wrong” thing — and there isn’t much, if any, forgiveness from groups like these.  Once they devalue you, you are dead to them.     I was the target of such a group myself, and was so traumatized I almost took my blog down.

I’ve been in the narcissistic abuse community long enough now that I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to tell the safe ACON/narc-abuse blogs from the ones that are not so safe and actually could be dangerous.   So here is a list I devised of the ways you can tell if a narcissistic abuse blog is dangerous and should be avoided.   If any of the blogs or websites you read show these “red flags,” proceed at your own caution.   If you must read them, avoid commenting.

1.The site preaches hate and revenge.

If the site, blog or group you are involved in constantly bashes people with Cluster B disorders, calling them demons, monsters, incurable, having no souls, all going to Hell, or encourages its readers to “get back at” them or “out-narc” them, proceed very carefully.  While righteous anger is perfectly normal when you have been abused and can give you the motivation and courage to go No Contact, and even anger at narcissists in general is to be expected, if that is ALL the site seems to focus on, that’s a red flag.   Websites and blogs like these CAN be helpful when a person is going No Contact or you’re trying to leave an abuser, but once you are safely away from your abuser(s) and all that righteous rage is out of your system (for most people, it WILL burn itself out eventually), you should move onto sites that focus less on how horrible narcissists (or borderlines, or whatever) are, and more on how to heal yourself from C-PTSD and narcissistic abuse.   Also, it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to try to “get back at” or “out-narc” a narc.  It won’t solve anything, and you may find yourself more of a target than ever.   You’re not going to be any match for any malignant narcissist who’s on their game, and they usually are.

2. The owner(s) and followers of the site, group or blog seem stuck in a victim mentality.

Things just never seem to get any better for them.   There is no emotional growth to be seen when people are stuck in a victim mentality.  If you try to suggest they move on and work on themselves to feel happier or less like victims, they are very likely to attack YOU as being a narcissist who thinks you’re better than them.   This is an example of projection.  Sure, I totally get that all the positive thinking nazi’s out there can be irritating (and I HATE those toothpaste-smile cheerleaders who discourage you from being able to express your real feelings and tell you to smile when you don’t feel like smiling), but that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with being more positive or forward-thinking, or doing something to change your outlook on life to a happier one.  As victims, we were trained to expect the worst from people and probably have very little trust in others.

But our narcissists aren’t going to just magically appear on bended knee and tell us they’re sorry and un-do all the damage they did to us.  So you really only have two choices.   You can continue to wallow in misery and victimization until the day you die, or you can try to change things about yourself without expecting your abusers to make things up to you, because they won’t.  Changing yourself doesn’t mean you were at fault, but fair or not, it’s the only way to escape from the trap of being a lifelong victim.

3. They are never in therapy or getting treatment.

I’ve noticed how some people in these groups are never in therapy or practicing mindfulness skills, or doing anything that can make their lives easier or better.   I think that’s because they are really narcissists or borderlines who think of themselves as perfect and use their victim status as a kind of false self to get sympathy or attention, and woe be to those who ever suggest they need to change anything about themselves, or that perhaps a therapist could help them.   Are they afraid if they go to a therapist, they might find out something they don’t want to know?  Few malignant narcissists ever think they are the ones with a problem; it’s always everyone else.

4. The group bans, blocks, or insults people who are self aware borderlines or narcissists — and those who challenge the status quo. 

It doesn’t matter if they are in treatment or say they want to change.  They are automatically just lying or trying to get attention, just because they say they have an NPD or BPD diagnosis (or even just a self-diagnosis).  Because of course, people with these disorders donothing but lie and misrepresent themselves.   They CAN’T be self-aware or want to heal!   But I know otherwise.   I spent time on a forum with self aware NPDs and borderlines who were in therapy and actively trying to make changes and practice mindfulness and treat others better.  Why on earth would they want to do that, if it weren’t true?  What would motivate them to lie about it?

Some groups also ban, block or insult other victims who show any empathy for people who have these disorders or who question the bashing mentality.    One of the things I’ve learned on my own healing journey is that narcissistic abuse and narcissism is not a black and white issue.   Most people with cluster B disorders were also victims of abuse–and most abuse victims have narcissistic traits or “fleas” to one degree or another.

I’ve been called a narc-sympathizer, but I no longer take that as an insult.   Some of the victim sites don’t seem to recognize that narcissism is on a spectrum, and some narcissists are a lot worse than others.   C-PTSD is usually comorbid with these disorders too.   While yes, it’s true that there are malignant narcissists who “like” their disorder and would rather undergo root canal than ever darken a therapist’s office door, there are others, lower on the spectrum, who dislike the way they behave and want to learn how to be more authentic and develop empathy and real connections with others.    Of course, the narc abuse sites probably aren’t the best places for a Cluster B person to land, but I’m appalled at the way some of them get treated.

The same goes for those who show empathy for people with these disorders.   If you don’t drink the “all narcs are incurable and evil” Koolaid and dare to question the narc-hating status quo, prepare to be mobbed, banned, smeared, or called a narcissist or worse yourself.   The irony here is that your show of empathy probably means you are lower on the narcissism spectrum than they are.    Also, just because you hate narcissists doesn’t mean you can’t be one.

5. The site or group has a tight clique of hangers on and there is never any disagreement or healthy debate among them.

All they do is pat each other on the back and agree about how terrible it all was and how evil the narcs all were.   They never challenge each other to THINK  or to be open to out of the box viewpoints.   There also never seem to be any helpful suggestions intended to help each other heal.  Years later, they are still bemoaning how badly they got treated even years after going No Contact, but are doing absolutely nothing to improve things for themselves.  They are not very welcoming of newcomers, or of anyone who challenges them that they may be the cause of their own problems now that all the narcissists have been booted out of their lives.

6. They seem to see narcissism where it doesn’t exist.

Someone offers a helpful suggestion or minor criticism, and they call that person a troll or a narc.    They talk about isolating themselves from everyone, because “everyone is a narc” or “the world is full of narcs.”  I understand the lack of trust, but you can’t heal when you isolate yourself from the world and continue to insist it’s an evil, dangerous place full of people who will only abuse you.   You have to learn self empathy and from there, you can slowly learn to trust others and realize there really are good people in the world.   It’s sad they will probably never reach that point.

7. They are combative and aggressive toward those who disagree with them.

They may even go on a full-on smear campaign: gaslighting, telling vicious lies about you,  projecting things onto you, triangulating against you (complete with flying monkeys), sending nasty “anonymous” emails,and even threatening lawsuits (narcissists are notorious for being litigious), all while continuing to insist that they are just harmless “empaths” who actually show little to no empathy, even among themselves.  This happened to me, and it’s happened to others, so this is no exaggeration.

8. If the owner of the group is religious, they are dogmatic and intolerant of other religious points of view or those who disagree with their religious beliefs.

Understandably, many victims of narcissistic abuse turn to God or Christianity since the people in their lives have proven so untrustworthy and unloving.  This is not only understandable, it’s also desirable.   Having faith can keep us healthy and sane, and give us hope when all hope seems lost.   But beware of site owners who use their religion in abusive or narcissistic ways — to shame, belittle, or make themselves feel superior to others.  Use great caution around anyone who tells you your religion (or lack of religion) is wrong or evil, or that you are going to Hell for your beliefs.  This is religious abuse, and narcissists are notorious for it.

9.  You just feel uncomfortable or ill at ease.   

Listen to your intuition.  Even if you haven’t been attacked or targeted, if you just feel ill at ease of uncomfortable on that blog, forum or group, or hesitate to share your honest feelings and opinions there, chances are there’s a good reason you feel that way.  Don’t ignore your feelings — you spent too much time already dismissing your feelings as “crazy” or “wrong” due to the abuse you suffered, but your feelings are probably trying to tell you something important and you should listen.

intuition

The thing that makes me so sad is that failing to move on from the righteous anger we all feel at first, can turn a person into a narcissist, even if they weren’t one to begin with.    With nowhere left for all that rage to go, a person can become bitter and paranoid.  They begin to see narcissism in normal human behavior.   This is why moving on from the anger stage is so important (and for most people, it does burn itself out once the danger has passed).

Moving on doesn’t mean you have to tolerate narcissistic abuse or resume contact with toxic  people you have gone No Contact with. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you have to forgive your narcissists for what they did to you (and you surely don’t want to forget!)   But it does mean that at some point, you should be able to let go of the hatred and even begin to see abusive types as broken people who got that way because they were themselves abused (I don’t believe anyone consciously chooses to be a narcissist, in spite of what some people say).   Once you can recognize them as broken people instead of demons from the bowels of hell,  you can then begin to look inside yourself and see what you can do to change and make yourself less attractive to narcissists.   (Thinking this way also makes them seem a lot less dangerous, which in turn will make you feel like less of a victim).   Maybe you are codependent and unconsciously do things to attract that sort of person into your life.  That’s not victim-blaming — it’s just being willing to take responsibility for yourself and having enough insight to see the role you might have played.  None of us are perfect.   It wasn’t until I was able to stop thinking in an “us versus them” way and stop seeing myself as a “poor helpless victim” that I was able to see how my own narcissism and codependency negatively affected my life and my relationships.   Without this knowledge, I would never be able to heal.

All that being said, I truly don’t think these group and forum owners and bloggers are aware that their behavior is very Cluster B, that they may be on the N spectrum themselves, or even–God forbid!–have NPD.   I also don’t think they are being dishonest about the abuse they suffered.  They honestly believe they are only victims with PTSD or C-PTSD.  But their thinking about the issue of narcissism and narcissistic abuse is too black and white for them to be able to see their own narcissism, for to do so in their current state, would mean they would have to admit they were one of “those bad people” and the cognitive dissonance arising from that would be far too great for them to handle.   So they must continue to split: projecting onto and smearing those who refuse to drink their poison Kool-aid.
*****
Further reading:

22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums and Blogging Communities

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How to retain your blog’s traffic when you aren’t writing new content.

traffic.jpg

If you’ve been around a while, you probably noticed I post a lot less frequently.  During my first two or three years as a blogger, I posted at least one new post a day, and sometimes several a day.   Now it’s closer to one new article a week.

Over time, you may find that as the novelty of blogging begins to wear off, writing new content may become more of a chore.  That doesn’t mean you no longer like blogging or that you’re burning out,  just that, as with most things in life, the initial excitement eventually tapers off.   While writing new content may still be as enjoyable as ever,  it’s just a lot harder to get motivated.

Don’t abandon your blog!

I try to write at least one original post a week, but I don’t like my blog to just sit around being idle during all those days in between.   People who are in the habit of checking my blog for new posts every day are bound to be disappointed, and it is hard to keep your traffic moving at a healthy pace when you aren’t posting as frequently as you’d like, and  relying on on your older, popular, or once-viral posts to do the work for you.

Share, share, share! 

As an established blogger, several of my older articles have gone viral and have high Google rankings (this happens naturally over time if you’re a dedicated blogger and share your posts a lot — you do not need SEO, just patience and dedication!).   I do rely on these older posts to bring in new traffic, since they are regularly seen on Google when people type in certain phrases or keywords.   Every so often I’ll also share those older articles (as well as other ones I wish to get more views) to my social media to keep their Google rankings high.

Since I have a newly large-ish Twitter following due to my online political activity,  I like to share my older articles a lot on Twitter and this way, they get even more views and shares — by a brand new audience who had no idea my blog even existed!   My posts about narcissism and narcissistic abuse dovetail nicely with my newer posts about Trump’s psychology because there is a lot of overlap between narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy and the rise of Trumpism in America right now.   Learning about narcissism prepared me for what I write about now, and my new Twitter audience is interested in all of these topics since they are so interrelated.

But I digress.  There are other ways you can keep your blog active and keep the traffic coming besides sharing your older posts on social media.  You can also

— reblog someone else’s post.   Don’t do this too often if you aren’t adding original content — you are not a clearinghouse for other people’s blogs.

— post memes, cartoons and photos (don’t do this too often though, because eventually people will be able to pick up on the fact you’re just too lazy to write anything original and they’ll go elsewhere.

— reblog your own posts.   There are bloggers who insist this is a no-no because it annoys people.    While I can understand it becoming annoying if you reblog an article only a few weeks or a month after you first posted it (that makes you look desperate),  I see nothing wrong with reblogging a post that is several months to several years old.   You can turn it into an “anniversary” and add a phrase to the reblog’s title such as “This Day Last Year” or “Blast from 2015” to disguise the fact you just want this particular article to get more views that it did the first time around.    It’s also a good idea to add an original intro to your reblogged post, which gives the reader some perspective into how the feelings expressed in your old article have changed for you over time — or even how you changed since then.

Ways to reblog your own or other people’s stuff.  

On WordPress, there are two ways to reblog an article, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.   The first way is to simply hit the reblog button at the end of the article.  This is the easiest method, and it allows you to write an original intro, but does not allow you to change the content of the actual post.   This benefits both of you by making potential plagiarism impossible.   However, you will need to add categories and tags.   I try to use the original blogger’s own categories and tags.

When you use the reblog button, the entire article will not appear on your blog, but the first few paragraphs will, as a sort of “teaser.”  A link is then provided to the original post where readers can read the whole thing if they want to.

The other way to reblog an article is to simply copy and paste it into a new blog post.   This is a good method if you’re reblogging your own post, because you can edit or change the article, or add different graphics or other content, so that it’s less recognizable to others as a “recycled” post.   You can also update the article if that is necessary.   When I reblog my own material using this method, I like to add an “originally published on…” date at the top of the reblog (without actually linking to the original post).

I don’t recommend using this method if you’re reblogging someone else’s material, unless they are not using WordPress.com and you do not have the reblog button option.  Make sure to give the author credit and be sure to link to their post.   This is extremely important, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget to do!  If you want to add your own graphics, photos, or edit the post in any way, be sure to check with the original author first.

Annnnd…it’s confession time.

One reason I occasionally like to use the reblog button for my own posts instead of the copy/paste method (I use this method if there have been no changes or updates to the original post) is that it helps my traffic!  Because I run ads (no, I do not choose my own ads), it means more impressions which means more money.  I don’t make very much but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this is a factor.   With a reblogged post, you have to click on a link that takes you to another page on my blog.   The more clicks, the more money I make!  I try not to overdo it though, and I’d say most of my self-reblogs are actually done the copy and paste way.

So, to sum up, my traffic isn’t quite what it used to be, but it’s remained pretty steady and hasn’t really declined, as long as I continue to:

— post something original at least once a week

— share relevant older posts — both viral and not — on social media

— reblog or recycle my old stuff

— reblog other people’s stuff

 

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Music for cats.

musicforcats

The other day I received my copy of The Humane Society‘s magazine (All Animals), and read an article about a cellist, David Teie, who joined up with a team of animal psychologists to create a new form of music just for cats.

It turns out that cats don’t particularly enjoy human music.   What may be soothing and relaxing to us may irritate or disturb cats, who hear at a higher frequency than humans.  A lower tone which we might find pleasant or relaxing, can be perceived as a threat to them (growling and feline distress sounds tend to be at a lower frequency).

Science has found that human babies develop their sense of rhythm and music in the womb, so most beats in our music are based on the heartbeat that the fetus hears.   Cats, whose brains are much less developed while they are in the womb and who cannot hear until they are born, therefore develop their sense of music as tiny kittens, from the sounds of suckling and purring which were the first sounds they heard.     Teie has combined simulated purr-like, bird-like, and suckling-like sounds with a higher frequency and many more sliding notes (based on cats’ vocalizations) with a cello baseline (which cats can’t hear but make the music more palatable to the humans who will play it for their cats) to make a kind of musical catnip that relaxes and reduces stress in many cats — or just makes them listen.

Musicforcats.com includes a sample of what Teie’s cat music sounds like, and you can also find some of Teie’s cat compositions on Youtube.  To me, most of the cat music sounds otherworldly and mournful, almost sad, like this one (which is my favorite so far):

Some of his compositions are much more energetic and playful-sounding, but those are harder for me to listen to than the slower, more pensive tunes.   I really like the rising, sliding sounds in these compositions. which sound eerie and very cat-like.

Teie has created other species-specific music (most notably tamarin monkeys), and is currently working on music for dogs.   It’s hard to imagine what the dog music would sound like, since dog vocalizations occur at many frequencies depending on the size of the dog, and there seem to be fewer sounds that would be associated with dog learning and early puppyhood (outside of suckling and littermates whimpering).

Here’s a fun video of some cats reacting to their owners’ playing Teie’s music (you can hear samples of some of the songs here too).   But — and I know this has nothing to do with cats or the music —  what exactly is going on with the dog at 2:55?

I must secretly be a cat because I actually really enjoy this music.   I played some of songs for my cats, and only Sheldon really seemed to cotton to it, actually rubbing up against the speakers and becoming more affectionate.   The other two didn’t seem to care one way or the other.

 

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