Narcissistic abuse: who is the real victim?

I’ve noticed the way the Trump administration is constantly “blaming the victim,” and the way they never take responsibility for their own terrible and abusive actions that hurt real people.  Not just that, but they usually paint themselves as innocent victims and use rhetoric that makes it sound as if the real victim is the perpetrator.  They project their own evil onto the victim and often use flying monkeys (in a government, a flying monkey can include state run news, TV pundits, and other propaganda generators) to smear or destroy the victim’s reputation or credibility.   This is a form of emotional and mental abuse common in families run by sociopaths and narcissists and, as we are seeing, it also happens in sociopathic regimes like the one we’re currently living under.

There is an acronym called DARVO in the narcissistic abuse community (DARVO = Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender). Narcissistic abuse survivors are all too familiar with this method of mental abuse and emotional manipulation.  It surprises me that more of them don’t see it happening in the Trump administration, when it’s staring them right in the face, but there are abuse victims who actually unconsciously identify with their abusers and this could be an example of that.

There are many examples of DARVO in this administration (it would take a whole other article to name all of them), the most recent one being the GOP ganging up on and blaming a rape victim of trying to “ruin the life of” and making a victim of a “model citizen” (Brett Kavanaugh).   In general, women are held in very low regard in this regime (especially if they are not white), and are usually blamed by the patriarchy for anything that happens to them, including rape. These hateful, entitled men seem to think a man who sexually abuses a woman or even a child (Roy Moore) is just “doing what men do” and it’s the female’s job to somehow stop him, or that she somehow “led him on.”

In this authoritarian regime which emboldens and encourages toxic masculinity and misogyny, men are painted as poor innocents who simply cannot control their sexual urges.   Never mind that forcible sex, rape and molestation have nothing to do with sexual desire and is all about power and control.   If it cannot be denied the rape or sexual abuse was wrong, the woman is blamed for not reporting it in a timely enough manner.  But there are many reasons a woman or girl may not report sexual abuse or may wait many years to do so: shame and fear of retribution being the most common reasons.   According to the patriarchy, the man is never to blame.  It is always the woman’s fault.

Franklin Graham, the dominionist son of Billy Graham (what the heck happened to Graham’s kids anyway? Billy was not a lunatic) even went so far as to say Kavanaugh “respected” his victim by “not finishing.”   Wow.  A real man of God.   He probably thinks it’s okay to rape young girls because that’s what men did in Old Testament times.    Now the corrupt GOP are trying to silence Dr. Blasey Ford and ram Kavanaugh through for the SCOTUS seat in spite of abundant evidence he is not a man of good character.  They are trying to excuse what he did to Dr. Blasey Ford as normal behavior for a teenage boy, even though it is not at all normal.     When I was in high school, no boy with any moral compass would ever hold a girl down while forcing sex on her and cover her mouth to keep her from screaming (and have a friend turn the music up to drown her out), and if he did, it would become a police matter (if she ever reported it).

In light of these developments and the real peril women are in under the Trump regime (we may lose all our rights and freedoms should this nomination go through and if the GOP wins the midterms), I’m reblogging this article I wrote about distinguishing victims from their abusers (it can be hard to tell, if the abuser has convinced you they’re the victim)

Lucky Otters Haven

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Narcissistic abusers are great at charming people they want to impress, or those people they want to get on their side. When they have targeted an individual for abuse, they will stop at nothing to turn their friends, colleagues, even their families against them–and it’s not at all uncommon for them to claim that THEY are the ones being abused.   The process of using malicious gossip and lies to turn people against the victim is called triangulation and is well known in the narcissistic abuse community. Most of us who have been targeted by narcissistic abusers know all too well about triangulation and its close cousin, gaslighting. Both will be used in conjunction with each other to turn the victim’s potential allies against them, effectively isolating them and ripping away any support systems they could use later.

Those who have been turned against the victim by the narcissist are called

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A beary good day.

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I took a drive out to Lake Logan, about 30 miles from here.  The lake’s surface was so still it was like a mirror.  There was no human activity at all (this is a very isolated lake, but in the summer there is still quite a bit of activity from people camping in the area).

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There’s a definite fall feel in the air even though the days are still hot and most of the leaves haven’t really begun to turn yet.   Summer is definitely over.

Driving back home along some back roads, was I in for a surprise!    This black bear was standing in the middle of the road and at one point was quite close, but he quickly lumbered off before I could grab my phone to get a closeup picture.   I managed to snap this photo before he disappeared back into the woods.  I guess he found the attention unbearable.

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15 Heartwarming Facts about Mister Rogers.

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Most of you probably remember Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, the children’s show that aired on PBS (NET) in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Fred Rogers exuded kindness and empathy,  qualities that seem very rare today.  Well, according to this Mental Floss article, he was as good and kind in real life as he was to the millions of young fans who watched his show.

#13 is especially interesting.   Fred Rogers speaks at a hearing where conservatives were considering cutting funding for public television (PBS).   Rogers gives a heartfelt speech about what cutting funding would mean for America’s children, and in a move you would never see in today’s political climate, the conservatives were so moved by Rogers’ speech they not only decided not to cut funding for PBS, they decided to increase it!  Imagine something like that happening today.

In these dark times, I like to read stories about good people doing good things, whether they are from the past or the present.   Enjoy!

Fifteen Heartwarming Facts About Mister Rogers 

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My Seasonal Affective Disorder makes me want to hibernate until spring.

It’s baaaaack!  I hate this time of year.

Lucky Otters Haven

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Graph I made showing my mood pattern throughout the year. It’s this way every year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my SAD.

SAD is triggered by the lack of light and shortening days for those affected with it. During the shorter days the brain produces more melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that induces sleepiness in certain animals, like bears. It’s the reason why some mammals hibernate until the warmer, longer days of spring. Unfortunately, some humans retain this biological urge to hibernate, but because we must continue to live productive lives, our natural urge to sleep is ignored and seasonal depression is the result.

I seem to suffer from a weird form of SAD. The fall is much more depressing to me than winter. Most people with SAD feel terrible in late fall AND all winter. But for me, I start feeling depressed sometime in mid-August, when the…

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I got a new smile for less than fifty dollars! (Don’t look at me like that — keep reading!)

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Hey girlfriend!  You don’t have to do that anymore.

 

I have a problem many people today have.

I don’t have dental insurance.  I haven’t had dental insurance in about 20 years.   Although I try to take good care of my teeth and brush and floss at least twice every day, I have not had regular checkups and I certainly can’t afford any expensive dental work on my own.

I had strong, beautiful teeth as a child and didn’t get my first cavity until I turned 13.  But since I turned 50, my teeth have become a lot weaker and much more prone to decay.   I also have a sweet tooth. My love of sugary treats has certainly done me no favors.

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Me and my winning smile in 1977.

In spite of my careful dental self care, over the years I have lost all my back teeth (molars) and find it difficult or impossible to eat steak or anything that requires a lot of chewing.   But that’s okay.   You can’t see those teeth.  I can still eat most other foods.  I’m not confined to eating soft foods like yogurt and macaroni and cheese.

My real problems began about three years ago, when one of my front incisors developed a pinkish orange tinge to it.  It soon became sensitive to hot and cold, and I realized that tooth had a cavity in the back of it that wasn’t visible but was hollowing it out.   I couldn’t afford to have it capped or fixed or replaced, so I lived with it, brushing it constantly, hoping against hope I could ward off the inevitable:  tooth loss.

Last spring the tooth finally split in half while I bit into a piece of bread, and about a month later the rest of the tooth chipped off.  It was horrifying to look in the mirror and see a gap there right in front of my mouth.   But even more horrifying was what I saw next to it:  the tooth next to it also had a huge cavity coming in from the side.  I would soon lose that tooth too.

I called dentists but all the quotes for implants, partials, or bridges were in the thousands of dollars.  Not to mention pulling the rotted teeth which would require me to face my fear of being in a dentist’s chair for a painful procedure.  Even professional veneers are very expensive.

The Internet is such a huge blessing.   I looked for cheaper alternatives and was intrigued by the “flippers” that pageant contestants use to make their teeth look perfect.  Of course, those “flipper” teeth are too white and too perfect. I wanted something more natural looking but it was a start.

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The package appears to contain the “bleached” teeth.  I don’t recommend those.  On the right is the “natural” color in “small.”  This is what I ordered and I am very satisfied.

 

I finally came across a video about a man who had lost most of his front teeth and tried a product called Imako Cosmetic Teeth (I can no longer find the video I saw, but there are others on Youtube).   I was very skeptical, but I watched the entire video and the man looked so much better with his new teeth.  It looked so easy and hardly cost anything.  (There are also “how to” videos in case you need help getting your teeth to fit).

I did a search for Imako Cosmetic Teeth and looked at some other brands as well.   In the ads, the Imako teeth looked the most natural.  They cost a little more than some of the cheaper alternatives, which looked like Halloween teeth and were blindingly, fake white and ugly.   What I liked about the Imako teeth was their natural looking color: the “gums” were a natural flesh tone rather than bright pink, and the teeth were available in an off white “natural” color which was much closer to the color of natural teeth.

They cost about $40.00 plus tax and shipping.  I ordered the top teeth (my bottom teeth are fine).  They come with a set of thermal plastic beads which melt at low temperatures and are used for molding them to fit your mouth.  I ordered the “small” (recommended for women) and received them in about a week.

It takes some patience and time to get the teeth to fit your mouth.  You might have to practice for a bit.    The teeth are made of a flexible plastic that becomes more flexible in hot water.     Microwave the teeth in water for a couple of minutes, and then while they are soft, fit them over your own teeth (you must have at least one or two natural teeth for them to stay in place).   You can also shave down the “gum” or even the teeth themselves with the tool provided in the package to make it thinner if you need to, but be careful because they are fragile and break easily.

I actually did something you’re not supposed to do.  I cut the teeth in half, since using the entire row over my good teeth on the right side of my mouth made me look buck toothed and I couldn’t close my mouth properly.   I only needed to use the half that covers the left side of my top teeth.

In order to get them to stay put, I had to melt the plastic beads (they have a low melting point and turn to a clear goo when microwaved in hot water).  As they began to dry (but are still pliable), roll a spaghetti like piece and fit that over the back of the “gum” of the teeth and then press into place in your mouth.  The soft plastic will make its way into crevices and gaps between your teeth.  Keep pressing in place until the plastic dries, and then carefully remove the entire piece from your mouth.  It should now be a custom fit, and almost “snap” into place, but I still find I need to use some extra strength Polident to be sure they stay and don’t slip out.

I won’t show a picture of my “before” teeth because I’m too embarrassed, but believe me, my smile was ugly and in photos, I could only wear a closed mouth smile.

Here’s a selfie I took of my new smile, which looks natural and very much like my original smile.   The fake teeth can be seen on the upper right hand side of my mouth (actually the left side).  The rest of the teeth are still my own.  The one next to it was taken almost five years ago, before I lost any front teeth.

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Please be aware that you should not eat any chewy or hard foods with these teeth in place, but you can drink and speak normally without worrying about them falling out.  They should be soaked in peroxide or denture solution after each use.  Do not sleep with them in place.

I’m posting this today because I know how much it sucks when you can’t smile or hate to have your photo taken because you’re embarrassed about your teeth.   If you think you can never afford to have an attractive smile again without spending a lot of money, you’re wrong.   This may not be the perfect solution (or a permanent solution), but if you can’t afford thousands of dollars in dental work (not to mention the time and trauma of it), this is a workable solution. It cost me less than fifty dollars.  I hope this helps some of you having dental issues.

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I used to be a dominionist without even knowing it.

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I’ve written about dominionist Christianity extensively, so I won’t describe it at length here.  One of the most toxic and abusive doctrines of dominionism is that if you are vulnerable in any way — if you are poor, sick, disabled, mentally ill, or even a person of color (in dominionist doctrine, people of color are believed to be derived from the line of Ham, the son of Cain, who was Adam and Eve’s “bad” son — in the past this has been used as “biblical” justification of slavery) — these are all indications of God’s disfavor and people “afflicted” with these things deserve their lot.   In contrast, God’s favored people are always rewarded with great wealth, perfect health, and no disabilities.  They are also usually white and Republican.  This is why dominionist Christians feel no obligation to show compassion toward the sick, poor and disabled (as Christ would do) — because to help them would be to go against God’s will.   It’s also why they seem to think unlimited power and greed (and oppression of others) is perfectly moral.

But getting back to myself.  While I was never a dominionist Christian or even a conservative evangelical, my attitude in the past toward myself was a very negative, self punishing one.   I always had at least a nominal faith in God, but I truly believed he disliked me and my terrible luck, my bad relationships, my inability to form close relationships, my emotionally abusive family, and my poverty were all punishments God was inflicting on me because he hated me.    I looked at others and saw how fortunate they were (or at least seemed to be) and felt like God must like them much better.  Sometimes I thought God only put me on earth as an example to others of what not to be.

This made me feel completely worthless and made me want to hide in shame from the world.   It made me painfully shy, which only exacerbated my problems meeting people and socializing.    In my recovery from narcissistic abuse, I realized this negative, self defeating narrative was self inflicted due to internalizing abuse inflicted on me when I was young.   I began to realize that I had good qualities and never had the chance to develop them.

I like myself now.  No, I’m not living my “dream life” (that would involve traveling all over the world and writing bestselling books) and I will probably never have a high powered, high paying career at my age.  I probably won’t ever achieve all my dreams, but really, who does?   I’m still on the lower end of the income scale, but I wouldn’t say I’m impoverished anymore.   I have enough money to be comfortable and even buy a few luxuries (like occasional inexpensive vacations, beach trips, new books, the occasional dinner out, and nice clothing).

I’m still alone (not in a relationship), and even though sometimes that’s lonely and I even occasionally feel sorry for myself, I also know I prefer things that way for now.  I’m still working on myself, trying to find out more about me and what God wants for me (and what I want for myself).

I feel fortunate to have two wonderful adult children, both of whom I have a great relationship with, and three awesome cats.   I also live in a beautiful part of the country, with endless opportunities for photo taking and just enjoying the natural world.  Not everyone is so fortunate to have that.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse coupled with reframing God as a benevolent and loving Father who wants all his children to be happy and healthy rather than as a punishing and hateful bully who favors some of his children over others (and rewards them primarily with wealth and material abundance) has made all the difference.

I think this is why I find Christian dominionism so triggering and scary.  Not just because it’s become a real threat to our basic freedoms and rights, but because it’s a toxic, abusive, and hateful belief in an avenging, constantly angry, narcissistic God who likes to bully and punish the most vulnerable.  That sort of God, to me, is as bad as the devil.   I think that God was made in his narcissistic control freak human makers’ own image.

I’m so glad I don’t believe in that God anymore.

 

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4 years of blogging!

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WordPress reminded me of something today.

Four years ago today, I started this blog!   Wow!  It certainly doesn’t seem that long.

While originally a place where I could document my recovery journey after going No Contact with  my malignant narcissist ex-husband (and coming to terms with the upsetting realization of having come from a family of narcissists), over time it has evolved.

I’ve always included many posts covering other topics that pique my interest, intrigue me, make me think, make me feel, or make me laugh.  I like to post photographs (both ones I take and ones I don’t), memes, and cartoons.  Sometimes I just like to share random “shower thoughts.”

Over the past two years (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long), this blog has become more political.   Since Trump seems to fit the criteria for NPD or Malignant Narcissism, it wasn’t too much of a leap from writing about narcissism in general (or as it pertained to my family and other people in my life) to writing about the narcissism of a man who is abusing all of us from afar (whether we want to admit it or agree with that or not).

I feel like the first two years of immersing myself in the subject of narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and setting about my own recovery,  prepared me to better understand the much more existential and serious problem of Trumpism.

As far as this blog, I never stopped including posts about nonpolitical subjects, personal posts, photographs, and even occasionally a new article about narcissism or narcissistic abuse that has nothing to do with politics.   I cast the net wide for my own sanity, and I think doing that makes this a better blog.   It’s also more fun that way.

Here’s to the next four years!

 

 

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When time stands still: 15th anniversary of 9/11

It’s now two years since I wrote this article. I’m posting it again this year.

Lucky Otters Haven

394261 14: A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) 394261 14: A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Not too long ago, one of my regular readers spoke of seeing a bunch of military tanks practicing for a martial law takeover. In America, I am hearing of an increasing number of incidents like this. I try to avoid the news, but there’s an increasing and unavoidable sense of panic that our nation may be on the brink of a removal of all our freedoms as martial law becomes the norm rather than the exception. It’s very frightening.

But what I really want to talk about is the feeling of unreality and dissociation that accompanies seeing something like what my reader did.  She said when she saw the tanks, she felt as if she was dreaming. It didn’t seem real…

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Planting trees.

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Going forward…

I found this meme that shows tips from Robert Reich and wanted to share it because I think it’s really important going forward.   Please share.

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