From Psycho-Linguistics to the Politics of Psychopathy. Part 1: Propaganda.

We are living in an Orwellian society. Here’s a long but important article about the way language has been used to promote psychopathy in society and politics, and target the most vulnerable members of society. It’s a form of societal scapegoating, not much different than the way dysfunctional families target their most sensitive member (the “truthteller”) for abuse and ostracization.

Although this post is told from the perspective of modern British society, it definitely applies to America too (probably even more so), and most of the western world. Psychopathy–and its attendant lack of empathy and ruthlessness–is glorified, even though it’s not called by that name. The real victims of this compassionless agenda–the poor, disabled, minority races, immigrants, and people who otherwise don’t fit the stereotypical “ideal”–are blamed for all the ills of society even though they have never had any power. Think about how similar this is to what goes on in dysfunctional families headed by narcissists. It’s society-wide gaslighting and blame-shifting.

Language is a powerful weapon, and is being successfully used to promote this evil agenda of selfishness and callous disregard. It’s the real world Newspeak.

Politics and Insights

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1. Propaganda Techniques

Metacognition: We need to be mindful of how we think as well as what we think.

While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples (e.g. Nazi propaganda used to justify the Holocaust), propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging people to report crimes to law agencies, amongst others.

So the exact definition of propaganda is constantly debated, and no specific definition is completely agreed. Some argue that any persuasive communication is propaganda, whilst others hold that propaganda specifically alters political opinions. However, it is doubtless that propaganda is material which is meant to manipulate or change public opinion, and though it may vary in form and technique, it always…

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“Throwaway People”

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There’s a blog I really like (but don’t read much because its posts tend to make me feel angry and upset) called Ramen Noodle Nation, written by a blogger who struggles every day with poverty and just trying to survive in a increasingly profit-oriented, empathy-deprived, narcissistic society that has no patience for “losers” and “leeches” who are too “stupid, “fat” or “lazy” to get a decent job or “better themselves.” (by attaining an education they cannot afford and that has become unaffordable).

This particular article hit home for me. It’s about the way employers look down their nose at applicants who are “different” in any way. Employment has become a process of weeding out qualified applicants rather than finding people with talent and potential. If you are the wrong size, wrong age, have the wrong body type or facial features, don’t smile enough, don’t wear the right clothes, have a disability of some kind, aren’t outgoing or perky enough, live in the wrong neighborhood, or drive the wrong car, be prepared to be shown the door, even if your talents and abilities would be a perfect fit. Nonconformists need not apply. If you have medical problems, you will be overlooked because with more companies now not even providing health insurance, you are too much of a liability. You’d better be thin, healthy, young, outgoing, always smiling, always fashionable, with perfect hair, perfect skin, and have never broken the law (even a traffic violation or that one pot charge back when you were 22 will haunt you for the rest of your life), and no health problems. In other words, you’d better be a Barbie (or Ken) doll. Your actual knowledge and talent don’t really matter. Image is all that matters. Things never used to be this way and should never be this way. But gaining a foothold in the world has been rendered needlessly difficult or even impossible if you lack “curb appeal”–or aren’t born wealthy.

Ever notice the way those well-heeled yuppies on the home-buying reality shows thumb their noses at perfectly functional bathrooms and kitchens because they lack granite countertops, garden tubs, and stainless steel appliances? “Rip it all out!” they moan. Well, people with good souls and minds but who lack curb appeal are held in no higher regard than the avocado tub and Formica countertop sitting in the Dumpster in the driveway.

BESTPIX  Homelessness Reaches All-Time Record In New York City

Throwaway people used to be a rarity. There was always your family, if the chips were down, who would take you in and support you even when no one else would and you couldn’t take care of yourself. Many people still have that, but more and more people today do not, especially the adult children of those who were encouraged, even as parents, to put their own needs ahead of their kids and throw any child who stood in their way or demanded too much or was too “needy” or didn’t make them look good under the bus. Generation X (1961-1981) has become especially vulnerable to becoming “throwaway” adults, but the problem certainly isn’t confined to this generation. Adult children of narcissists are especially vulnerable to becoming throwaways if they don’t measure up to whatever impossible standard has been set for them by parents who care only about how their adult child reflects on them. And our compassionless, Ayn Rand-worshipping society says that’s perfectly okay! If you’re not a “winner” in life you don’t deserve to live. Pull yourself up by those bootstraps, loser! If you don’t have bootstraps, well too bad, it’s probably because you have a “victim mentality.” 🙄

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Throwaway People
Ramen Noodle Nation, 6/10/13

We have too many in this society.

What does one do in a society where you are told YOU DO NOT BELONG and ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE A LIVING for the most minute of differences? I faced this when I got sick, said illness denied me high paid enough, sustainable employment which made the health problems worse. I have seen so many talented people set aside via the bean counters. It’s a travesty. Right now we have a growing underclass of all kinds where they know they do not belong.

Read the rest of this article here.

Further Reading:
Everything’s a Competition in America

Forever a Bum to Your Own Family (EXTREMELY triggering because my family is EXACTLY like this!) Finally, someone GETS it.

How did narcissism get so “popular”? (part two of two)

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Here is the second installment, as I promised–I apologize for the delay. In part one, I covered the way narcissism has increasingly infiltrated our society and become a near-virtue to be emulated, starting in the late 1940s and 1950s in a postwar America now regarded to be a world superpower. The babies born in this mood of can-do optimism, the Baby Boomers, were indulged by their parents, who believed anything was possible and showered their children with all the new toys, space-age technology, and new permissive child-rearing techniques that were suddenly popular.

In Part One of this article, I discussed how the indulged Boomer generation influenced western society at every stage of life, and (as a generation) grew into grandiose, entitled adults who demanded (and got) special treatment every step of the way. I covered the decades from the 1950s through the 1980s, and described how narcissism became increasingly regarded as a desireable quality. By the 1980s, narcissism came out of the closet, with the election of a president (Reagan) who encouraged greed, materialism, and entitlements for the wealthy with his “trickle down economics.” At the same time, empathy, neighborliness, and general goodwill toward others seemed to become almost quaint, a naive relic of the past. The juggernaut was the new “greed is good” philosophy, made popular by a 1987 hit movie, “Wall Street,” (which was of course the place to be). Narcissism was no longer something to be hidden; now it was something to aspire to.

In this next installment, I’ll be focusing less on the Boomers and more on the continued growth of narcissism in society, as well as the backlash against it–the narcissistic abuse and ACON community–which began as an Internet phenomenon during the mid 1990s due to one self-professed narcissist named Sam Vaknin. But actually, the seeds of the backlash had been planted as far back as 1983, with M. Scott Peck’s bestselling book, “People of the Lie.”

1990s.

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The greed worshipping culture begun in the 1980s continued during the 1990s, as Boomers rose to power and we elected our first Boomer president, Bill Clinton, in 1992. Under Clinton, the economy boomed, and a new breed of Yuppies, the Dot Com entrepreneurs (who were mostly Generation X), rode on the coattails of the newly born Internet, and they made money hand over fist until they went bust several years later. But people still went shopping and the culture at large was becoming increasingly exhibitionistic, obnoxious, and in-your-face (reality shows were born during this time), while corporations grew bigger and more unwieldy (unlimited growth, like a cancer, was encouraged, and smaller companies merged into megacorporations the size of small governments). Meanwhile, government institutions built in the more sedate and community-oriented 1950s and 1960s began to splinter and crumble. The government, especially the part of the government that tried to help its less fortunate citizens and attempted to even the playing field through fair taxation, became The Enemy.

But a backlash was beginning to silently bubble under all the glitz and bling of the ’90s. Back in 1983, a psychiatrist turned born-again Christian named M. Scott Peck published his groundbreaking book, “People of the Lie.” Here, for the first time, was a self help psychology book that focused on “evil”–specifically, people who were evil. The traits described in the book are exactly those of malignant narcissism. The book resonated with many, particularly with Gen-Xers and later born Boomers (Generation Jones), who had been raised by narcissistic parents. In some cases, especially for younger Boomers and early Gen-Xers, these kids had been betrayed by initially doting Silent generation parents who suddenly, during the 1960s or 1970s, seemed to suddenly care only about their own self-development at the expense of their confused and hurt adolescent and preteen children who they no longer seemed to even like much (this is exactly what my experience had been growing up in the 60s and 70s: my parents changed and no longer seemed to care).

But in the early 1980s, Peck’s “evil people” were not automatically equated with narcissists or people with other Cluster B disorders. Until the mid-90s, narcissism–or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)–was simply a psychiatric label given to certain patients with a certain set of traits, who may or may not have been evil. NPD wasn’t demonized yet.

Then along came Sam Vaknin in 1995. Vaknin, a former white collar criminal and self-confessed narcissist, had written a tome about narcissism called “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.” Written initially to obtain supply and a guru-like status for himself, Vaknin’s book actually helped many of the narcissistic abuse victims who read it and recognized their abusers in its 600+ pages. Vaknin’s idea of NPD didn’t fit that described in the DSM: he mixed in with NPD several traits of psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and Borderline personality disorder (BPD), to describe a particularly dangerous type of malignant narcissist that made the toxic people described in M. Scott Peck’s book seem almost tame in comparison.

The book was successful, and soon Vaknin started his own website, and discussion groups, and abuse victims all over the world jumped on the bandwagon. Vaknin, exactly the sort of person they sought to avoid, had become their savior and guiding light out of darkness.

Until the 2000s, Vaknin’s was pretty much the only voice on the Internet about narcissistic abuse. But in the very late 90s, a few books were beginning to be published about this “new” type of abuse that didn’t necessary include physical violence (but could). Parents, particularly mothers, were the focus, and a subset of the narcissistic abuse community–one that focused on narcissistic mothers and the damage they had done to their now-adult children–formed the template for the explosive ACON (Adult Children of Narcissists) movement.

2000s.

bling

For a brief time, after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, it looked like Americans just might start to care about each other again. There was an outpouring of support for the victims of the 9/11 disasters, and solidarity shown among all Americans. For the first time, regional differences and even racial differences didn’t seem to matter, and Americans were united by their flying of the flag. No one seemed all that concerned by the curtailment of certain freedoms and and increase in xenophobia–after all, it was for the protection of the country, right?

But as a result, the economy was suffering, so George W. Bush Jr. (“Dubya”) gave us all permission to “go shopping.” And so we did. It was back to the bread and circuses and the shallow, materialistic culture of the 1980s through pre-2001.

Reality shows rose in popularity and the badder the behavior, the more popular they got. New celebrities were famous only for “being famous,” having a famous parent, or just for acting badly. People aspired to be just like Snooki and The Situation from The Jersey Shore, or Tiffany “New York” Pollard from Flavor of Love. All of these characters were narcissists, or at least acted that way for the benefit of the camera. And people loved them for it.

During the 2000s, Millennials, the rising young adult generation, born in the 1980s and 1990s, started being being accused of being narcissistic, but if they are, you can blame their parents for having taught them these values. In addition, a lot of gaslighting is going on by older generations, who blame the Millennials for their inability to find jobs that pay a living wage and provide benefits, forcing them to live at home and be dependent for longer than earlier generations–and accuse them of being “lazy,” “spoiled,” and “entitled.” But what about their mostly Boomer and Gen-X parents, who modeled this sort of behavior?

Politicians became more blatantly narcissistic and their lack of empathy sank to new lows. One politician said if you weren’t rich, you should blame yourself. Blaming the victim became increasingly popular, and was even seen by some conservative politicians as a “Christian” way to behave–for if you were favored by God, He would bless you with wealth and material comforts. Religion itself became a way for narcissists to rise to positions of great power, and use their “favored status” in God’s eyes as a way to abuse their flock of followers.

Meanwhile, the narcissistic abuse commmunity continued to grow, and blogs written by abuse survivors were beginning to pop up all over the Internet. The abuse community developed their own lingo, some of it borrowed from earlier movements such as 12-step programs (codependent, enabling, people-pleaser are examples), some from pioneers such as Sam Vaknin (narcissistic supply, confabulation), and some from mental health experts going all the way back to Freud. Some terms were taken from popular movies, such as “flying monkeys” (The Wizard of Oz), and “gaslighting” (Gaslight).

2010s.

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Being only 5 years into the 2010s, it’s hard to see any patterns yet, but it does seem that the problem of narcissism is finally being noticed by the general public. One of the Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump, is well known for his “NPD” and called out for his grandiose antics constantly, even by people outside the narcissistic abuse community. Narcissism is a fashionable topic now–the fascination by it may only be a fad, but it’s making people pay attention. Lately I’ve noticed a number of Christians who are abandoning the fiscally conservative values held by groups such as the Tea Party, who are about as collectively entitled as you can get (they had better get their social security, but to hell with that child who needs special medical treatment but can’t get it because his parents are too poor). It’s probably too soon to tell whether the “social gospel” is making a return, but there does seem to be a greater call for an increase in empathy and caring for each other and building communities instead of just building up the Almighty Self.

It will be interesting to see what the rest of this decade holds.

How did narcissism get so “popular”? (part one of two)

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When I was compiling my lists of songs about narcissism, it didn’t pass my notice how few songs there were prior to the 1980s that focused on it. Oh sure, there have always been a few here and there (Carly Simon’s 1972 hit “You’re So Vain” immediately comes to mind) and there were always those “you/he/she done me wrong” love songs, but songs specifically about narcissism were pretty rare.

I think the reason for this is because it wasn’t until the 1980s that narcissism became so dominant in western (especially American) culture that it became a new virtue–something to aspire to if you wanted to be financially and professionally successful. And it wasn’t until the 1990s that narcissism became recognized as a real problem and websites, blogs and forums about narcissistic abuse began to spring up all over the Internet.

But I think the problem really started long before that, back in the post-WWII days when the Baby Boomers started being born. Of course there are exceptions, but as a generation, the Boomer generation was raised to be grandiose, entitled and lack a collective sense of empathy for others. As the Boomers aged, their collective sense of entitlement bled over into everything they touched–politics, business, and the culture at large. Today this narcissism affects all living generations, but generations older than the Boomers generally frowned on it.

1950s.

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After our WWII victory, America became very hubristic. We had become a superpower to be reckoned with the world over, and American life never seemed better. Life was very different than it had been even a decade earlier, and most newlyweds now had TVs, new kitchens with modern appliances that made a wife’s job much easier and left her more time to spend with her children, and often two cars. Employment was high and jobs paid well compared to the cost of living at the time. Young husbands were able to afford to buy tract homes and new cars on the GI bill, and could afford to support a wife and children. Of course, these were very conformist times too, and “keeping up with the Joneses” was a thing.

Enter the victory babies born in this national mood of optimism following the war: the Baby Boomers. Raised according to Dr. Benjamin Spock’s indulgent philosophy of “feeding on demand” and “Johnny will clean up his room when he feels like cleaning up his room,” Boomer infants and toddlers were pampered, indulged, and trained to be entitled. They were given anything they wanted and discipline tended to be light and consist of trying to “reason” with children. There was an endless array of new toys and snacks marketed to children, and mothers were made to feel like bad parents if they refused to comply with what advertisers told them to buy. The kids caught onto this attitude of entitlement, and if Sally got the new Barbie doll or Eric got the new battery operated toy truck, then Debbie and Paul had to have them too. The culture at the time was child-centered. It was a given that a child’s needs and wants always came before the parents’ and children were constantly told how “special” they were.

As they entered school, young Boomers’ attitude of entitlement and specialness carried over into the classroom. As a generation, they expected to be treated as little gods and goddesses, just as their parents had treated them.

1960s.

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As the Boomers entered their teens, they began to rebel against the parents who had showered attention and material comforts on them. I believe this rebellion was due to a collective fear of engulfment by overindulgent parents. They were attempting to break away by reacting against the very lifestyle that had given them so much. Of course not every child had overindulgent parents, but teenagers always try to emulate what’s popular or cool. Rebelling against “the Establishment” or the Vietnam War (which also represented the values of their parents) became hip and cool. Adolescent Boomers, having been raised to believe they were unique and special (and most of those middle class and above were able to attend college and were often the first in their family to be able to do so) embraced causes that were anathema to the values of “the old fogies” and at first, really believed their causes were superior to those of their parents. They tuned in, turned on, and dropped out. They experimented with marijuana and LSD. They dressed in hippie clothing and wore their hair long, which horrified “The Establishment.” They listened to rock music, the louder and harder and more offensive to the older generation, the better. They protested the war, attended “love ins” and participated in campus sit-ins, and eventually riots. Young Boomers believed their values were exactly what the world needed, but their attitude was based on entitlement rather than realism. They were idealists who believed the world could be changed by smoking pot and listening to the right sort of music.

Due to the sheer size of the Boomer generation, anything they did got a lot of national attention. Besides the many disapproving and negative news stories about the Vietnam protests, communal living, and recreational drug use, others were also beginning to emulate them. The next-older generation (The Silents), who had been largely ignored as they came of age, tried to seem younger by emulating the Boomers in their dress, tastes, and general lifestyle. The Boomers were never short on collective narcissistic supply (both negative and positive), and this continued to feed their attention-getting behavior.

Parents wondered where they had gone wrong, and why the children they had raised so lovingly had turned so rebellious and so insistent on “doing their own thing.” They wondered why this new generation seemed to hate them so much.

By the end of the 1960s, the “hippie lifestyle,” like everything else the Boomers would ever start, had become a lucrative market. But by the time The Establishment caught on, the Boomers were beginning to move on to other things, including embracing what they had rejected.

The power was still in the hands of the older generation of course, so narcissism had not yet become a noticeable part of the culture (although hubris and conformity definitely still was). By the 1970s, the first signs of a growing narcissistic culture would begin to make themselves felt.

1970s.

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Boomers, now entering their 20s, had by now largely abandoned their earlier hippie incarnation for a more subdued “back to the land” movement, in which they opted for whole foods, fresh air, and healthy living. Others began to infiltrate the job market, often with degrees in esoteric subjects. Having children was something to be avoided, as Boomers wanted to prolong their adolescence or make a mark on the world. The Pill and newly legal abortion made all this possible. Around the same time, women began to demand equal rights in society and the workplace. The 70s wave of feminism was very anti-child and pro-career. If you preferred to marry and raise children, you were looked upon as a throwback to the 1950s.

Around the same time, various forms of non-traditional, humanist psychotherapies (EST, Esalen, etc.), grassroots religions, and cults became popular. Collectively known as “the human potential movement,” self-improvement and self-development became a priority for Boomers. Putting your own needs before those of others was not only normal, it was considered healthy. New York Magazine dubbed the 1970s “The Me Decade” for this reason. Couples opted to cohabitate rather than marry(because it was easier to break a commitment), and divorce was becoming very common. Children raised during this time (Generation X) found themselves ignored, treated as second class citizens, or sometimes even abandoned by their self-involved Boomer parents who seemed to put their own needs ahead of theirs.

Around the middle of the 1970s, a new kind of music (disco) became associated with materialism, hedonism, and over the top sexuality. By now, Boomers had done a 180 from their emergence during the 1960s as hippies, and now embraced the crass materialism they had once rejected. They were ready for a President who would encourage their pursuit of luxury and material success.

At the same time, fundamentalist Christianity, which had been “rediscovered” by some Boomers as an outgrowth of the Jesus movement of the 1960s, was becoming increasingly popular, and the new conservatism was using it as a way to attract newly saved Christian voters.

The new narcissism wasn’t lost on Christopher Lasch, who published his book, “The Culture of Narcissism,” in 1979.

1980s.

yuppies

Ronald Reagan popularized trickle-down (or “supply side” economics), which basically meant allowing people to pay less taxes and keep more of what they earned. This played right into the hands of financially successful, entitled Boomers, who didn’t want to share their newfound wealth. The hippies had become the Yuppies–young urban professionals who had to “dress for success,” live to impress, and have the best of everything. Clothing wasn’t acceptable unless it had a designer’s logo on it. Housewares weren’t acceptable unless they were handmade in Outer Mongolia by native women. Food wasn’t acceptable unless it was “nouvelle cuisine.”

Having the perfect body was a priority, and Boomers started going to the gym or even personal trainers to tone and sculpt their bodies, sometimes to the point of unhealthy obsession. Boomers, mostly in their 30s by now, were finally deciding to have families, but children themselves became a status symbol, and getting your child into the “right” preschool or having the “right” designer clothing, or the “right” dance instructor became all-important. It was common for Boomer parents to watch other people’s children closely, to find out what they needed to do to “one up” each other as parents.

In 1987, a popular movie called “Wall Street” was released, in which its most famous quip, “greed is good,” became a national meme. While it was intended as a joke at first, “greed is good” quickly became a new philosophy of life, in which greed was not only good but became a virtue. Greed may have been one of the seven deadly sins, but even Christians made an exception for it, and we even had a Christian president who encouraged as much of it as possible. After all, it was the American way and America was a Christian nation, right?

Please continue reading Part Two of this article. 

*****

For further reading, see my articles:
1. Are Millennials Really the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever?
2. Why is Narcissism so Hot These Days?

Our twisted society.

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There’s already been enough written about the narcissistic society we live in that rewards greed and selfishness (even ruthlessness) and thinks of corporations as people. There’s something deeply wrong with any society where CEOs are making hundreds of times more than the workers at the bottom of the totem pole, who are trying to subsist on minimum wage and sometimes having to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. There’s something evil about any society where the working poor still may not be able to afford a place to live, and cannot even go to the doctor when they get sick. And then on top of that, they are accused of being lazy, stupid, or shiftless. These victims of the system are blamed for all of society’s ills by–you guessed it–the Tea Partiers in their sterile, gated communities and the ultra wealthy who drive new Lamborghinis and own four vacation homes.

But the insane disparity between the ultra-rich and the poor is an issue that’s well-known and finally beginning to be talked about more in the media, and that’s a good thing. I don’t want to get on a political soapbox though. I actually want to talk about something else that’s related but rarely discussed: the way a few people are rewarded for being leeches on society and sucking the life out of hardworking, deserving people who are left with nothing. Ironically, it’s liberal politics, rather than conservative, that’s responsible for what I’m about to rant about. In my opinion, neither of the major political parties have anyone’s best interests at heart. They’re both funded by mega-corporations who only have their own interests in mind and care nothing about the people who live under their dominion.

I’m referring here to my ex. I know I’ve talked about this lifesucking parasite before, but someone brought it up and I’ve been triggered again, so I’m going to rant. I also realize I’ve had issues with those who hold onto a victim mentality, but sometimes things just get to be too much and there’s no escaping our victimization. Sometimes you just have to rant.

Our sick society is rewarding a man richly for having antisocial personality disorder. This conscienceless jerk used and abused me for 27 years — freeloading off my already strapped circumstances for 7 of those years and refusing to work or lift a finger during the time he stayed glued to my couch while I worked my ass off so that he could qualify for disability (SSI). He was always lazy as f*ck and even though was capable of a limited amount of labor, he always made the excuse that he couldn’t work and still qualify for disability (physically, he has diabetes and knee problems).

He expected me to give him a free place to stay, drive him to his doctors appointments, and never even bothered to clean the house or even clean up after himself. This leech stayed on my couch, leaving a dent in it from his constant hateful presence, left his dirty dishes and cigarette butts all over the coffee table, threw trash on the floor, brought in a dog that almost got me kicked out of my house, and expecting me to buy his cigarettes and lottery tickets. He complained about the inexpensive but healthy food I bought. He thought that because he was diabetic, he was entitled to steak every night. He blasted his horrible music when I was trying to sleep and raged at me whenever I asked him to turn it down. He spent all his time trolling political websites, cruelly bullying people he disagreed with. He insisted I hand him over a third of my tax returns, but now that he has money he won’t give me a dime (not that I would ask because technically I’m NC with him).

useless_bum

He was rejected 4 times for SSI, and a year after I got a restraining order on him (for threatening my daughter), he finally got his booty–-which included $31K in back disability pay for the years he freeloaded off me. (Yes, I know I was stupid to allow this but whenever I threatened to kick him out, he’d threaten to commit suicide and make it look like a murder, and I was so beaten down I felt like I didn’t have a choice).

That was bad enough, but a few months ago I learned that his SSI income was DOUBLED because his psychiatrist diagnosed him with ASPD because he’s unemployable and “possibly homicidal.” Thats right–he’s being PAID not to work because he’s an antisocial POS. With the $31K (which is already spent–God knows how he accomplished that in just two months) he bought himself a brand new truck, a huge flat screen TV and a collection of new swords, and no doubt enough weed to last him for months. To his credit, he did buy our son (who he bullied and scapegoated throughout his childhood) some expensive camera equipment, but I suspect there was self-interest involved in this–buying my son over to his side so he can gloat about how I’m too poor to ever buy him anything.

rich_and_poor

The original $700 a month he was to be getting per month in benefits was increased to $1200 after he was diagnosed with ASPD! He also gets almost $400 a month in food stamps and full medical coverage. He still sits around watching TV and trolling political websites all day and sleeping. Meanwhile I have to keep slaving away at a grueling job that’s slowly killing me and have NOTHING to show for it. I can’t afford cable and don’t even own a TV, have no health insurance, and can’t even get my ancient car fixed. Yes, of course I’m envious. 😡 I get so mad just thinking about it that it can and has ruined my day, so that’s all I’m going to say because it’s unhealthy for me to dwell on it.

I’m trying to let go of this bitterness because there’s nothing I can do about it. I might write an anonymous letter to the paper describing the injustice of this state of affairs, but then again, I might not because I know nothing will be done. I can’t dwell on these bitter feelings even if they’re justified. It’s a very sick society where dangerous and useless people like him get to live high off the hog and honest people who try to play by the rules have to slave away at 2 or 3 jobs just to have food on the table–AND we still have to pay taxes to keep human cancers like him enjoying their creature comforts.

I only have one thing left to say:

fucking_insane

Where I stand on “positive thinking.”

positive_thinking_problem
Positive thinking taken to extremes is deluded thinking.

I’ve seen several blog posts about the problem of forced positive thinking lately, and since this is an issue that has concerned me for a long time, I thought I’d add my own take on it.

In recent years, there’s been an increased societal pressure toward “positive thinking.” I think two factors have led to this trend–the New Age philosophy that we can “be as gods ourselves,” and the continued glorification of the Reaganistic optimism of the 1980s. The signs are everywhere, in self-help and pop psychology books, in countless popular slogans and memes that appear on bumper stickers and coffee mugs, on motivational posters, on calendars, on the political campaign trail, and all over social media such as Facebook. The forced positive thinking brigade has even infiltrated churches. Motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” like Joel Osteen have gotten rich by telling us that if we only think positive thoughts, our entire lives will change for the better. They tell us if we let go of negative thought patterns, we can become happy, successful, healthy, and wealthy.

This is all fine and good, and personally I see nothing wrong with positive thinking for its own sake. Even if the outer trappings of your life rival those of someone living in a Third World nation, it’s certainly better for you if you can scare up a little optimism and hopefulness, and it’s definitely bad for you to dwell in hopelessness, depression and negativity. At the very least, seeing the glass as always half-full will make you more accepting of your sorry lot and therefore happier. That said, it’s incredibly difficult to see the glass as half full when there is barely a drop in your glass. That would be deluded, not positive, thinking.

For all its advantages to our psychological well-being, there’s a dark side to the positive thinking movement too, which goes hand in hand with the current societal glorification of narcissism and the nasty belief that selfishness and lack of compassion are virtues. While telling people that thinking positive thoughts is not a bad thing itself (because there is truth to the idea that negativity tends to draw in negative things–I have seen this dynamic for myself), the positive thinking movement has been taken to disturbing extremes. It’s led to victim-blaming and an overall lack of empathy for the less fortunate. The poor are blamed for their own poverty, regardless of the circumstances that might have led to it or keep them trapped there. They are told they are “not positive enough” or “made bad choices.” Even worse, some churches of the “prosperity gospel” ilk tell them they must have some moral failing or God would be rewarding them with material blessings. They are made to feel shame and guilt for their sorry financial condition. The chronically ill and disabled are likewise blamed for “not taking care of themselves” or “choosing bad habits.” It’s easy enough for someone who has never had to struggle with poverty or serious illness to thumb their noses at those who have and tell them it’s all their own fault.

broken_society

Is this the way Jesus would have acted? No, of course it isn’t. In fact, most of Jesus’ followers and disciples were the most financially and physically vulnerable members of his society. Jesus himself was humble carpenter and certainly not rich. He didn’t condemn these unfortunates or shame them for failing to be positive enough, or making the “wrong choices.” In fact, he seemed to love these vulnerable people most of all. Whatever happened to the “social gospel” of the late 19th and early 20th century? Oh, that’s right–it became “communism.” Somewhere along the way, compassion for the less fortunate and the culture of charity got twisted into “weakness” and “enabling.” The enormous popularity of Ayn Rand, who believed the greatest human evil was altruism, is disturbing, especially since her philosophy of “objectivism” has infected the minds of powerful politicians of a certain political persuasion, including many “Christians.”

While I don’t subscribe to some Christian fundamentalists’ idea that Satan is behind all this worship of greed and self-love and the denigration and victim-blaming of the less fortunate, I do think it’s a very destructive turn in the way our culture thinks, and it’s psychopathic in nature. Lately I’ve been seeing more blog articles criticizing this trend, and that seems like a good sign that at least a few people (usually victims of narcissistic abuse themselves) are finally realizing our society has become woefully empathy-deprived. Hopefully their message can break out of the blogosphere it’s currently confined to and begin to touch the hearts of The Powers That Be who are not yet completely brainwashed by the Cult of John Galt.

It’s absolutely fine (and desirable) to be a positive thinker, because positive thinking does tend to have its rewards, but blaming the misfortunes of others on their negative thinking or worse, their moral failings is just a form of societal gaslighting and is utterly evil itself. It’s also rife with hypocrisy– the Positive Thinking Powers That Be denigrate the emotions of guilt and shame for themselves, but they make sure those who haven’t been blessed the way they have feel plenty of guilt and shame for not having been “enough.” They never stop to think how impossible it is for someone who is struggling every day just to have enough to eat or with severe pain or illness to think in a positive way. It’s much easier for the already privileged and healthy to be able to say “life is good” and mean it. The well heeled Positive Thinking bots never stop to think of this–or they just don’t care, which is most likely the case, because those who haven’t been “blessed” with wealth or good health MUST have done something wrong to deserve it.

Any society that is empathy-starved is eventually going to self destruct.

For further reading, check out this article from The New York Times and also this one about empathy being a choice.

Narcissists use political correctness to control.

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Political correctness has never been more in vogue than it is right now, and our society has also never been more narcissistic than it is right now. As Americans, we worship narcissistic celebrities, narcissistic politicans, narcissistic sports stars, and narcissistic CEOs. And the more narcissistic they are, the higher a pedestal we seem to place them on. It’s all about the clothes, the glitz, the glamour, the money, the bling, the presentation, the package, the trappings of success. Even many of the poor don’t vote for the soft-spoken candidate who will increase the minimum wage and food stamps or provide job training; no, instead they vote for the garrulous, rich CEO who bails out the banks instead of the homeless. Why? Because the overbearing, rich CEO is perceived as being on the winning team, and they want to be on the winning team too.

As a nation, we are so deluded. We live in a big dysfunctional family, with the narcissistic “parents” running the government and the corporations, and held up as role models, while the vulnerable–the homeless, the poor, the sick, the old, and the disabled–are held responsible for their own lot, and told they are to blame for it, even if their circumstances are completely beyond their control, which they usually are. The vulnerable in our society are the scapegoat children that everyone has permission to kick when they’re already down, because the narcissistic Powers That Be tell them it’s okay. We live in a seriously empathy-deprived society.

It’s a huge irony that at the same time we worship the material over the spiritual, the rich and callous over the poor and kind, the corporation over the individual, the aggressive and ruthless over the empathetic and cooperative, that we insist on something called “political correctness.” This ties in closely with a concept we call “zero tolerance.” It’s gotten so extreme that if we tap our child on the rear-end in Wal-Mart, we could be charged with child abuse. If a young boy draws a picture of a gun, they could go to jail. Not long ago, there was a case of an autistic ten year old who was accused of making terrorist threats because he wrote “bone thrat” on a wall.

political-correctness

We have euphemisms for everything. We have to watch everything we say for fear of offending some or another group of people. Political correctness, we are told, exists so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings or insult a group of people, whether they be of a certain nationality, race, have a particular disability or mental illness, or sexual preference. But I don’t think that’s the real reason for political correctness. I think the real reason is control. If we have to watch everything we say and walk around on eggshells for fear of offending someone, then we become anxious and fearful. That’s the way the narcissistic Powers That Be want us: scared to death and easily controlled. Zero tolerance is another way they can control us.

The same is true on the personal level too. When I think of most of the narcissists I know, almost every one of them insists on political correctness in some form or another. They make sure you always say the right thing at the right time. They are constantly warning you that you could insult someone if you don’t (as if they care). If I call someone “mentally retarded,” not meaning any harm by it, but just using that phrase because it’s the one I’m used to and the one I was raised with, a narcissist will rudely interrupt and tell me I should have used “cognitively challenged” instead. I can be talking about Cherokee Indians, and the narcissist will interrupt and say I should have said “Cherokee Native Americans,” even though that phrase is awkward as hell. I can’t talk about someone being “fat,” I have to use “larger framed person” or something equally ridiculous-sounding. If it’s a female narcissist with feminist leanings I’m talking to, I can’t use the word “girl” for a young woman without getting chastised, even though “girl” is a lot easier to say than “young woman.” Most everyone knows I don’t say “girl” to diminish the female gender or somehow compare her unfavorably with men, it’s just easier and sounds less awkward. I’m used to it. But the narcissist will interrupt and tell me that I was insulting my own gender my using that word. Hell, you can’t even say “Merry Christmas” anymore. You see, it’s all about the package, the presentation, the image: the narcissist is not listening to the message behind my words or really hearing a word of what I’m saying; they are using my choice of words to diminish and instill in me a sense of shame. They do this to instill fear so they can thereby exert control over you.

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But they don’t practice what they preach. Narcissists aren’t politically correct themselves. Being PC doesn’t apply to them. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They’re allowed to say the most hurtful and insulting and diminishing things to everyone else–you are fat, a cow, a pig, crazy, stupid, insane, a bitch, a whore, and so on. If the target of these slurs objects they are chastised for that: “Take responsibility for your own feelings” or “stop being so sensitive.” They take no responsibility for their own hurtful words and actions.

Narcissists have no empathy so when they tell you to be “PC” to avoid hurting someone, do you think they really care? Of course they don’t. When they tell you to be “PC” what they are really saying is “use the words I tell you to use so I can make you fear my wrath so I can exert control over you like the spineless puppet I have designated you to be.”

Why is narcissism so “hot” these days?

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I haven’t seen any official studies or statistics, but it seems like narcissism is possibly the most popular psychological topic on the Internet in recent years. Blogs about narcissism are spreading like wildfire (though it’s possible they may be on the decline now). The subject of narcissism seems to be brought up regularly even in articles and sites about other topics, especially entertainment, big business, and politics, where narcissism is rampant. Narcissism is a buzz word, and it’s because we children of the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation–parents who bought into narcissistic values way back in the 1960s and 1970s–are finally having our say.

In a society-wide twist of values, Narcissism has become a virtue. Old fashioned virtues like altruism and empathy are seen as liabilities that hold people back from achieving success, rather than prosocial traits that keep us civilized and human. Ayn Rand, who idealized narcissism in her philsophy of “objectivism” (and was most likely a narcissist herself) has become a cult hero; her mediocre torch romances “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” both featuring selfish, narcissistic “heroes” as their protagonists, have been enjoying enormous popularity.

ayn_rand
Ayn Rand.

I believe all this started in the 1960s and 1970s, during the Consciousness Revolution. Certainly the 1950s were mind numbingly conformist and rife with racism and sexism, but things went way too far in the other direction, as Baby Boomers and younger members of the Silent generation began to rebel against all the conformity. They popularized the idea of “doing your own thing,” whatever that thing was. Having and raising children became something to be avoided and any woman with a brain avoided pregnancy as if it were a disease. Abortion and The Pill became legal–and cool. Of course there’s nothing wrong with women having control over when and whether to have children, but I think the general attitude toward children in the 1960s and 1970s was negative. Young Gen X children were not wanted or valued. They were demonized in movies like “The Omen,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist.” I remember an Esquire article from March 1974, “Do Americans Suddenly Hate Kids?” Well, it did seem that way.

Their parents, the Boomers and Silents, were encouraged to put their own self-growth and advancement of their careers ahead of child-rearing. At the time, this was even thought of as “good” for children, providing them with a positive example of a parent with a high self image and lists of achievements a mile long. Unfortunately, for many children growing up during this time, the attitude that adults were more valuable than children backfired and we felt like we just weren’t that important in our parents’ universe. We grew up with collective low self esteem.

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Hippie parents.

The 1970s were dubbed “The Me Decade” and adults were encouraged to do and be whatever they wanted, even if this meant neglecting their own children and turning them into latchkey kids with far too much freedom for their own good. Promiscuous sexual behavior and drug abuse among adults was rampant. Women everywhere (including my own) joined consciousness-raising groups that encouraged them to put themselves over their families. The fallout rained down on the lives of their Generation X and Gen-Jones (late Boomers born at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s) children, and we suddenly found we had to fend for ourselves, without much parental support, even when our parents were not narcissists.

While attitudes toward children improved during the 1980s as Millennial children began to be born, the Boomers and younger Silents who had spearheaded the Consciousness Revolution and Me Generation, were suddenly in positions of authority in politics, business and entertainment. We had Ronald Reagan, with his “trickle down economics” and support of the “supply side” and big business over the people. Tax cuts for social programs commenced with his election and increased over the next 30 years (and show no sign of letting up). Reagan was popular and charismatic, and so were his draconian economic policies that hurt the poor and later, the middle class. New college graduates during the 1980s and 1990s realized they could make unlimited amounts of money in the stock market and suddenly the “helping professions” were unpopular and considered far less lucrative than making a killing on the stock market or in investment banking. These became the infamous “having it ALL” Yuppies.

Yuppies were better parents than their hippie predecessors, but they micromanaged everything their children did, to the point the kids became stressed because they weren’t free to just be kids. These overcontrolled children were sent to the best private schools, given lessons in everything from piano to karate, and had no free time to just play and learn on their own. Millennials grew up stressed out and expecting to achieve in life, only to find when they first entered the job market during the 2000’s, they could not find decent jobs.

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Yuppie mom.

Narcissism continues to be a “virtue” and our policies increasingly glorify the self and unlimited financial achievement over humble, old fashioned values of community and compassion. Children who were born or who were children or teens during the 1960s and 1970s are now adults, the oldest of us now in our 50s. I’ve noticed most blogs by ACONs seem to be written by women in their 40s and 50s: these are the Generation X and late Boom/Generation Jones children who suffered the most at the hands of parents who bought into the selfish ’70s and greedy ’80s. Even back in those days, the shift of narcissism from a vice to a virtue was not unnoticed. In 1979, cultural historian Christopher Lasch wrote his treatise “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations,” about the danger of narcissistic values for American society. His book remains popular today.

We may be a bunch of middle aged fuddy duddies, but we’re no longer scared and we are not shutting up. We call out everything we see wrong with the culture we were raised in, a culture that has become just as unhealthy for our own Millennial children. We were the scapegoats of a society that didn’t value us, and now we are the truth-tellers who are boldly talking about everything that was done to us, everything that went wrong and why. It was us who spearheaded the ACON movement (and yes, it is a movement) and are bringing narcissism out into the light where it can be seen for the disgusting and ugly scourge on humanity it really is. We are doing our best to nurture our own children according to more humble, old fashioned values, although that’s hard in a society that still only values personal gain and material wealth, and still tries to keep us down.

Zero tolerance has gone too far.

bonethrat

Zero tolerance has gone way too far, when a 9 year old Georgia boy with autism writes “bone thrat” on the wall and is charged by police with making a felony terrorist threat. This actually happened a few days ago:

http://www.infowars.com/police-charge-9-year-old-autistic-boy-with-terroristic-bomb-threat/

I’m getting to the point of having zero tolerance for zero tolerance. Between this and “political correctness,” it seems people have no right to free speech anymore. Whatever happened to the first amendment?

Silencing is a major way narcissists gain control, and Americans are living in an increasingly narcissistic society. All this zero tolerance/political correctness BS is The Narcissistic Powers That Be showing its paranoia and exercising control over the rest of us peons.

The Social Rules I Break

Fivehundredpoundpeep’s blog is so wonderful I wish I could reblog everything she writes, but this one really stood out to me, and being that tonight I just don’t feel like writing much, this will stand in for an original article (which I may do later anyway if I have time).

This article is about how this narcissistic abuse survivor (one who had truly evil parents, even worse than my mother) copes as an Aspie living in our shallow, narcissistic, materialistic society that seems to have no respect anymore for the things in life that really matter. We live in a world that expects us to wear a fake smile and pretend everything is la-de-da even when it ain’t so. Go ahead and break their dumb rules, Peep! They deserve to be broken.

The Social Rules I Break!

1. Never talk about anything too negative or intense or intellectual.

idiocracy

Aspies cope by analyzing things, this means fully facing reality and dealing with the way life really is. Smiling stoicism is not our natural setting. It is our suck it up and avoid getting beaten up default setting among strangers. It’s hard. Why are things like this? Sometimes the human world seems like it is run like the animal world, and if any individual exhibits any weakness, they are pecked to death like in the chicken world.

One thing I notice some neurotypicals get into, is that one is never to share or display pain or vulnerability. Maybe there is the good reason for that for self protection from narcs but it helps the narcissists rule, because no one has the ability to talk about anything real. Sometimes, I feel like I have to censor myself constantly around some neurotypicals. One thing about our society is the powers that be want the serfs to smile and not cause trouble. Don’t help them out. No one is feeling their feelings. No one’s crying and patting heads in the American Hunger Games.

There is some scary stuff happening in our society where talking about troubles means you are a bad person. New philosophies are teaching people that anyone who has bad things happen to them is at fault. The Bible admits that life is full of tribulation. The graveyard whistlers don’t want to admit that poverty or bad things can happen to them so they want you to shut up so they can shut their eyes to the human pain around them and play their video games or live in fantasy. A lot of our world now is manufactured around Roman “bread and circuses” and well, no one is supposed to be bawling their eyes out in the circus or discussing the stampeding barbarians outside of the tent.

You are to keep the smile on at all times. I can see emotions becoming a thing of a past in our growing narcissistic world. All emotions but anger and glee will be canceled out. Watch an old movie sometime and notice a few people cry in there, or feel loss. Men of the 1950s have no problem speaking of romantic love. People cry. You will know that the emotional landscape has been extremely altered even since the 1980s. Us Aspies are outsiders and are viewing this stuff. An old Aspies sees these wide changes, while many within the heating up pot are clueless.

Aspies are being really oppressed by the appearances oriented society we have now, where we are told to hide any bad stuff. However it goes deeper then this, there is a severe anti-intellectualism now in our culture. If you are an intellectual in America, you are written off as a “nerd”. I remember this started sometime around the 1980s with the “Revenge of the Nerds”. Only weirdos and social ingrates sit around and talk about history or obesity conspiracy. While I can explore theories and topics with many Aspie friends and maybe one or two good-minded neurotypicals, the majority of neurotypicals seem angered by intellectual forays. You can even avoid religious and other topics and discuss a neutral one, and still manage to anger a few people without meaning too. One Aspie incredible joy is intellectual banter and discovery, so it gets very sad that around some neurotypicals, this joyful part of our personality is to be suppressed. I know among my family, discussing any intellectual endeavors fell flat. The most neutral thing pissed them off. They seemed bored, wanting to show something off instead.

I want to dive deep into the ocean, while many neurotypicals are telling me to stay in the puddle, and splash. Am I too intense? Maybe. I like humor, jokes and funny movies like anyone else, but I feel so repressed at times. Often in the world, I am this very quiet person. I learned long ago opening my mouth got me in trouble more often then not. Sometimes I bounce between “just being me and letting the chips fall where they may” and running back to the corner to hide. I can’t handle having endless enemies and fighting endless battles. I like blogging because I can talk about things openly.

2. Maintain your Status.

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Status is too important to to many out there. I don’t feel like playing the king or queen of the mountain games. If I had money, all of you know, I would not going to spend it on a giant McMansion in the suburbs with a double sink and granite counters in the kitchen. Boring! Aspies usually are bored to death via competition. It bores us or troubles us. We derive no joy from smashed up opponents on the ballfield. I never wanted to destroy anyone else to get their bennies or climb to the top. Status to me seemed a useless thing but it is so important in our world. Sometimes I have told Asperger friends my theory that a lot [not all] of neurotypicals operate according to status. Many of their mental and emotional battles are hierarchy maneuvers that a great deal of energy is dedicated to.

Whose on top? Whose on bottom? Who cares! Sadly here too, with our growing narcissistic society this has only grown worse. The narcissists want to be in charge and want control. One thing that will happen to Aspies is sometimes they will get thrown under the bus, because they may be a threat to someone’s status. Every little Aspie remembers the people in school who would be nice to you in private but pick on you in front of the bullies. Going back to the pecking chickens again, group status and dynamics have some really poison attributes to them. This is how conformity is demanded and expected and any “stand-outs” smashed down with a hammer.

Our entire world world is based on status, and well this is one reason some Aspies may really suffer. While we want to be left alone in peace and just want to do our jobs in the work place, this doesn’t happen. The games and drama to establish the social order and status seem never ending. I always had the thought before, if all these narc and social pecking order games were ended, that society could advance somewhere more decent. You would have your flying cars and cured diseases because Marge and Sally and George and Henry would be busier working and innovating rather then fighting, backstabbing and reporting each other to the boss.

There is always someone who is going to have a higher grade point or or more money. Aspies are more loner types. We do not feel like playing the “Big Cheese” or selling ourselves. Perhaps this is a bad thing and why too many Aspies who lack sellable savant or computer skills, end up broke. The world sometimes feels like a bunch of screaming matches where the narcs are on the stage screaming “Look at me, dammit!”, the non-narc enablers in the audience and some of us decided to leave the theatre while being sick of it all. A lot of status seeking is empty to the Christian and those with a more spiritual mind-set, but as I look out in the world, that is what so much of it is about.

3. Conform in dress, opinion and thought.

different

I’m failing that one big time. As I age, I realize there are many people who simply aren’t going to like me for the opinions I hold. There are times in life where I have found out someone has flat out hated my guts. These are people I never had one argument or debate with in my entire life. How did this happen? They hate me because I’m different.

Surprise, Surprise! Us Aspies can offend some neurotypicals just by just being ALIVE! If you are Aspie trust me it will happen. I know I’m not politically correct, and everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing Aspies have to develop is a thick skin, especially if you are going to fly all your weirdo flags. People either love you or hate you when you are an Aspie. There are many times where I am simply hated for breaking some social rule I don’t know about. I try to be nice, so wasn’t rude to anyone. Sometimes just being me is enough to make this happen. Sometimes it is because I simply do not conform.

I have noticed too many people’s opinions all match now. There are the independent thinkers who don’t fit in the Republican or Democratic box, but have you noticed over the last 30 years people started to match their official demographics. I’ve had people get mad at me for things they thought I believed based on demographical assumptions.

Don’t get me started on dress. I noticed someone wrote that manufacturers had streamlined the clothes for the global market, and that is why fashion creativity for the average person died on the alter of expediency. I’m old enough to remember different styles and colors and patterns. People get mad sometimes now if you don’t dress like them. If you see a person with an individual style, don’t lose them, it means something today.

The herd expects too much conformity now. You think the 1950s were the conformity society, they couldn’t beat the 2010s. While they advertised fake freedom and “choices” for the masses via entertainment, actually the screws got tightened down more.

There is a reason weird Uncle Charlie or Aunt Lucy could still get some kind of job 50 years ago but sit unemployed now. There’s a reason it feels so hard to make friends. I get this complaint from non-Aspies. There’s a reason going to work at the office feels like a session of mental gladiators and a back-stab fest. Something is really wrong. The cultural rules have grown tighter and tighter and life I would say has gotten tough for the Aspie in this way, even if there is more discussion of disability rights and cultural awareness on the surface level.