About luckyotter

Recovering from C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. I was married to a sociopathic narcissist for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Christian, mom to 2 Millennials, mental illness stigma activist, passionate anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE

Something worth saving.

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Five types of gaslighting narcissists.

Lucky Otters Haven

Gaslight-2

I haven’t written an original narcissism article in awhile, and I was thinking about gaslighting today, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

Gaslighting is a defense mechanism commonly used by narcissists in order to diminish their victims and make them doubt and question their own reality.  The term comes from the 1942 movie “Gaslight,” in which a young wife is abused in this manner by her husband, who almost succeeds in driving her insane by telling her she is imagining the gaslights in their house going on and off, even though he has been secretly playing with the gaslights himself to make her think she’s going insane.  Gaslighting is one of the most sinister and crazymaking things a narcissist can do, and over time your self esteem and even your grip on what is real and what isn’t begins to erode.   Dealing with a gaslighting narcissist…

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Weird and disturbing changes at Google.

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I just got this notification from Google that my account with Google Plus (and most likely yours, too) is being shut down in April.  (I do not think this affects Gmail accounts.).

This will affect Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) at least as far as ability to comment there (comments default to your Google+ account name), and WordPress, insofar as our posts may no longer be shared on Google+ and the G+ button will no longer work.

This development, coupled with Google’s new algorithms (that I am pretty sure now are the primary factor responsible for the drastic drop in blog hits I’ve experienced of late) makes me think that Google is turning its sights more onto web developers and large corporate accounts and away from consumers, leaving writers, hobby bloggers, and owners of small business and art sites scrambling for now.

Google and WordPress appear to have formed some sort of partnership that excludes and/or alienates most of its consumer base and hobby bloggers and writers.   The sudden big push for bloggers to switch to Gutenberg (an extremely writer-unfriendly editing platform that’s better suited to web developers and page designers) seems to fit right in with Google/WP’s goal of squeezing us small time bloggers out.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but there are just too many coincidences here to think it’s some benign change that won’t significantly affect our blogging life.  We have been marginalized.   Why?  Follow the money.   We aren’t raking in the big bucks.

Here is the notification I got:

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events. See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you’re a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

Narcissists are rude to servicepeople.

An older post about a common narcissistic red flag that is rarely mentioned.

Lucky Otters Haven

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I want to talk about a little-mentioned red flag, but one of the easiest ones to spot early in a relationship. Most narcissists are rude to servicepeople and others they see as beneath them. My ex was notoriously rude to servicepeople, always screaming at customer service people, even if the problem wasn’t their fault. He was also rude to wait staff in restaurants, to the point it was embarrassing going out to dinner with him. He was unreasonably demanding, condescending, and treated wait staff as if they were mentally deficient. With attractive female wait staff, his rudeness was of a sexual character–he openly flirted with young waitresses, even though I was watching. I think he did this because he knew it would bother me.  He also did it because he knew his target was a sitting duck and might be fired or reprimanded if she objected to the flirtatious behavior…

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Augustana: Hey Now (and thoughts about 2008)

“Hey Now” is incredibly nostalgic to me.    Although it came out in 2008, it has a distinctive ’90s sound.   Without going into too much detail, even 2008 seems like “simpler times” to me now.    Obama’s election made it seem as if racism was finally a thing of the past.  How wrong we were.   (But that’s another topic for another time).

2008 (eleven years ago!) was also one of the last years actual rock music was still being played on commercial radio, but Augustana (grouped in a catchall category called “modern rock” which included more well known indie-pop bands like The Fray, Snow Patrol, or O.A.R) never caught on big.  I believe their biggest hit was “Sweet and Low,” from the same album.

I purchased Augustana’s 2008 album “Can’t Love Can’t Hurt” and almost all the songs are great, but this one, which was never released to radio, became my favorite song on the album and possibly of that year.

This comment on Youtube sums it up best:

This is one of those songs that confirms that some of the best most epic songs exist in the “unknowns/seldom exposed” category. If this song was released in the late 90s, it would be played in the cycle of those nostalgic 90s sound most of us loved. I don’t think that sound every ended. It just fell asleep, while bands like Augustana and Blue October kept that timeless mood alive for another day.

Dropping traffic, Gutenberg, and Google: what on earth is going on?

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My ads are back (WordAds/WordPress must have been having issues earlier today), but I do wonder how much longer I’ll qualify for the WordAds program (members get a small income based on number of impressions per ad).   My earnings have been dropping along with my traffic, which has been dropping steadily for several months, but has really taken a nosedive since the beginning of this year.

I can’t think of anything I’ve suddenly done differently that I hadn’t already been doing.  I did change my theme fairly recently (I think it was around Thanksgiving), but I don’t think that has much, if anything, to do with the drop.  In fact, my readers have said my new theme is easier to read and the layout less cluttered (I removed a lot of widgets from my sidebar).   So I think, if anything, the simpler, cleaner theme would be a draw.   Removing the unwanted and outdated sidebar items also has increased the speed of loading.

My WordPress stats show that my search engine activity is lower than it used to be.  This blog also no longer comes up on page one or two if I type in keywords that are used frequently on this blog, such as narcissism, or narcissistic abuse.    I can see that my Google hits are low, but there’s no way I can find out why.   Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow its users to use Google Analytics, which does go into a lot more detail about the reasons why your blog isn’t getting Google traffic.

Not writing as much as I used to is obviously a factor, but I think there’s more going on, since each month is worse than the last and I’ve actually been writing more recently, or at least sharing old blog posts to social media when I’m not posting.   I don’t write every day, but I do spend a lot of time promoting this blog and its posts.  I seem to get half of my hits these days through Pinterest, of all things.

I have two theories as to why my hits have dropped so drastically lately.

  1.  Google has penalized this blog (but again, since I can’t get Google Analytics as a WordPress.com blogger, I can’t find out why.)
  2.  Gutenberg.   I don’t understand Google algorithms or even what they are, but I’ve been told its algorithm has been changed recently and it prefers Gutenberg to the classic editor, which I am still using (and want to continue to use).   So articles written in Gutenberg, apparently, are given priority.

Now I’m wondering if I should make the switch to Gutenberg, as much as I hate it (I’ve played around with it on a dummy blog I created just for that purpose, and I still hate it).   But I know if I did that, blogging would be a chore instead of a pleasure, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it.

Help! Can you see ads on this blog?

I don’t get anywhere near the number of hits I used to get, but I don’t believe they’ve dropped so low that I no longer qualify for the Wordads program (the WordPress.com advertising program). Besides, I checked my settings and it says Wordads is still active.  I also checked my ad blocker and I don’t have ads blocked on this site.

I emailed WordPress support (I don’t seem to have the Live Chat option anymore but I’m not sure why) and am waiting for an answer from them.

In the meantime, will you please let me know if you can see any ads on this site?  Maybe it’s just a glitch on my end.

The most chilling book I have ever read (book review: Democracy in Chains)

This is a book everyone who cares about saving democracy in America needs to read, so I’m reposting this review I wrote in September 2017.

If you do read it, don’t expect to get much sleep. It’s as scary as anything Stephen King ever wrote, but is based on extensive research. I have seen some of its predictions come to pass, and so have you.

A similar book is Dark Money by Jane Meyer. I have read that too, even though I didn’t review it.

Lucky Otters Haven

democracyinchains

I just finished reading Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy McLean.    This book was as creepy as anything Stephen King ever wrote, but it isn’t a horror novel or even fiction.   It’s a well-researched expose of how America lost its way — and it started a lot earlier than you thought.   It also wasn’t an accident.  Everything up to and including public attitudes about democracy and the rightward shift of both parties was planned down to the smallest detail decades ago.

It all started innocuously enough with an ultra-conservative economist named James McGill Buchanan in the early 1950s.    Buchanan was a libertarian who believed that the New Deal, labor unions, and the social safety net were assaults on true freedom  (to him and others like him, “freedom” meant the right of property owners to keep all…

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Toxic positivity.

There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking.  But it’s become fashionable in recent years to shame “negative thinking.”  I put that phrase in quotes because sometimes “negative” just means being realistic.    Too often, being positive is the same thing as denying reality: The 3 pack a day smoker with a chronic cough insists they are healthy when you suggest they see a doctor (of course, this could be fear on their part too).   The abused wife tells you everything at home is fine even though she has the demeanor of a whipped dog and flinches whenever her husband speaks to her.   Your “friend” tells you you’re being paranoid when you (correctly) observe that he hasn’t called you in several weeks and is always “busy” whenever you’re around.    He is gaslighting you.

These are examples of toxic positivity.  Empathy is not a factor when it’s directed at someone else’s concerns.    Toxic positivity sounds more like criticism or gaslighting when directed at another person, or just plain lying or denial when it’s about yourself.   In both cases, it helps no one.

I don’t know who made this chart, but I like it because it shows the difference between toxic positivity and real positivity, which includes empathy.

toxicpositivity

Further reading: 

Where I Stand On Positive Thinking

My unsophisticated palate.

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Why?

 

I’m almost embarrassed about how unsophisticated my palate is.

Tonight I ate a strange salad consisting of raw spinach, strawberries, Teriyaki sauce, plain yogurt, and grated romano cheese.  I pretended to like it, but I actually hated it.  It was just…weird tasting.    I would have preferred a boring ol’ tossed salad with Italian or ranch dressing.

Mind you, I liked all the individual ingredients in the salad (except the yogurt, which I have never liked), but they just didn’t go together.  It was like eating a steak with chocolate sauce.   I couldn’t finish it.

I know some foodies are really into exotic combinations and contrasting tastes, but I’m not a culinary daredevil.  I’m not even a big fan of sushi, which is no longer considered that strange or exotic and everyone but me seems to love.    I’m way too fond of things like macaroni and cheese and spaghetti and meatballs.   I prefer my burgers with mimimal condiments or none at all.   I prefer my BBQ on the mild side.  I like my pizza without weird toppings like pineapple or balsamic strawberries.   I am not a fan of most seafood, apparently a requirement to be a true foodie.

I have the culinary taste of an 8 year old.  It’s kind of embarrassing.

There are a few exceptions though, especially when it comes to chocolate and sweets.   I adored salted dark chocolate before it was a thing.  I always put dark chocolate in my chili (it actually cuts the acidity and you don’t taste the chocolate).   I really can’t stand most mass marketed candy, with the exception of Fifth Avenue bars, which are fucking delicious and almost impossible to find (I can’t stand the much more common Butterfingers, which they’re often compared to).   I prefer marzipan to fondant, I like spicy brown or stoneground mustard better than the yellow kind, and I love pine nuts in almost anything.