Rethinking political correctness.

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On January 13, 2015, I wrote an article criticizing political correctness, explaining that it was a tactic some narcissists use to control others.   According to Charlton Heston, political correctness was tyranny wrapped in a happy face.     He wasn’t altogether wrong.

Toward the end of that post, I wrote,

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous.

From another post of mine (June 2, 2015) called Narcissists Use Political Correctness to Control:

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.

Later in the same post, I wrote:

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.

 

I still believe there is much truth to all this, and in general, I still believe that in recent years, political correctness has gone too far.    We’re afraid to say anything at all or express our real feelings about things, because someone might be offended.   As this cartoon shows, political correctness can be taken to ridiculous extremes:

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For all its problems, there is still much to be said for political correctness — when it isn’t taken to ridiculous extremes or used to control others.   Political correctness came about because during the 1960s and 1970s, as people became more aware of racism, sexism, and all the myriad ways society tries to separate itself from “people who are not like us,”  it became no longer socially acceptable to call black people the “N” word, gay people “faggots,” or the cognitively challenged the “R” word.    We realized these people were human beings just like us with feelings, and those feelings ought to be respected.    The color of their skin or their sexual orientation or their cognitive or physical abilities didn’t make them any less human or any less prone to being emotionally hurt.

Due to the feminist movement of the 1970s, we also stopped referring to grown women as “girls,” although mature women do still use that term among themselves to refer to each other in a joking, informal kind of way (“I’m having lunch with the girls”).  We also stopped referring to them as “the weaker sex,” which they are certainly not, at least not mentally or emotionally (even though due to their smaller size, there may be truth to women being physically weaker than men).   Of course, being thought of as “weaker” did tend to bring out chivalrous behavior in men (opening doors or holding out a seat, etc. — which most of us still appreciate and recognize as a courtesy rather than an insult to our strength or competence).

So these days it’s pretty unsettling and appalling when we hear a lawyer in a rape case publicly refer to women as “the weaker sex”  or a new President brag about how he can “grab ’em by the pussy.”   It’s upsetting when that same president made fun of a disabled journalist during his campaign by imitating his awkward motions like some 9 year old bully on the playground — and got away with it.    Such behaviors and insults go way beyond thumbing your nose at political correctness and the need to having to watch everything you say.   They show a lack of respect and a callous disregard for our fellow human beings and don’t allow them any dignity.    There’s nothing noble or admirable about having no filter and not caring who you injure with your words.

When public figures callously and openly insult others,  they teach the world that it’s okay to bully and make fun of others who are different from you — especially when they get applauded for it.      Already, teachers, parents, and others who are closely involved with educating children are reporting an increase in bullying behavior in schools, especially toward people of color or non-Christians.   The kids are thinking, if the President of the United States can get away with treating others that way, well, why can’t I?   They wouldn’t be wrong to think that way.   Kids imitate the behavior of adults, especially those in the public eye such as celebrities and politicians.   Why should they listen to some teacher tell them it’s wrong to insult other kids for things they have no control over, when the President himself does it?

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It seems like civility and politeness are things of the distant past.    We are a polarized nation, with both major parties routinely flinging vitriol and insults at the other party.    While this is to be expected in dark political times when so much is at stake,  it’s unsettling that such barbaric and disrespectful behavior seems to have become the norm even outside the political sphere.  It’s even more disturbing that we excuse it by applauding the bullies for daring to be rogues through their refusal to be “slaves” to political correctness.

Like most other things in life, political correctness can be a negative thing when taken to extremes and certainly can interfere with freedom of speech (as some of its critics have pointed out).    But that doesn’t mean there’s not a need for it.   “Political correctness” is really just the politically correct way to say “respect and kindness toward others” and “do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”    Until Trump’s election, many people (understandably) got so burned out on the political correctness movement that they pushed back against it — so much so that they admired and applauded a man who seemed to thumb his nose at political correctness at every opportunity and seemed to be proud of his propensity to fling hurtful insults at people who were different from him.

We all need to relearn the Golden Rule, which we were taught in Kindergarten but seem to have forgotten.   Being civil and courteous doesn’t mean we give up our constitutional right to freedom of speech.   It doesn’t mean we have to always wear a happy face and lie to others and pretend we love everyone when we don’t.    We don’t have to be fake.  But we do need to learn all over again what it means to listen to each other, to be civil to each other even when we disagree, and to not judge others harshly by things they cannot control, such as their physical or mental abilities, color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation; or cultural differences such as their religion, cultural beliefs, or creed.   We need to relearn manners and basic civility,  and that means to know when to keep our mouths shut.   If we are thinking hateful thoughts about someone due to something they cannot help and express those thoughts openly, we help no one.  All we do is hurt others and make ourselves look like ignorant jerks.

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Gaslighting.

I’m pretty sure more people in 2017 know what gaslighting means than they did in 2016 or earlier.   It’s left the domain of the narcissistic abuse community and become a household word now that we have a leader who does it on a daily basis, largely via Twitter.   I see this term everywhere now.  In one sense, it’s a good thing, since people are becoming educated about what it (and malignant narcissism) looks like in a leader.    But it’s very bad that the whole world is being gaslighted now.   It’s even worse that so many people fall for the lies and act as flying monkeys who call those of us who value the truth ‘snowflakes.’

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Home from the vet.

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Sheldon’s left cheek was swollen to the size of a golf ball, and I thought it might be an infected tooth.   I took him to the vet tonight and it turned out to be a puncture wound he must have got in a cat fight.  His teeth are fine.   He’s back home now and on antibiotics and plenty of catnip.    The vet also noticed he had worms so he was treated for those too.

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Hatred of truth.

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Thanks to Neurofeedback, I’m not just getting older, I’m getting happier and healthier!

This is just begging to be reblogged. I’m so happy for your progress, Lynda Lee!

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A Blog About Healing From PTSD

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The lyrics to an old Beatles song have been dancing around in my head lately:
– – –
When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
– – –

Sixty-four! That sounds OLD, doesn’t it? Especially for someone whose generational mantra was “Never trust anyone over thirty”!

Like everyone else on this planet, I started out as a very young person. I was little, and I could not wait to be big. The years passed slowly by, and I slowly grew, and then YAY!! I was all grown up, a bona fide adult. I had finally ARRIVED!!

But the years did not stop going by. Indeed, they started…

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Earth Day 2017 — March for Science

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In these days of dangerous lies called alternative facts and facts touted by our leaders as fake news,  the celebration of Earth Day has never seemed more important.  All over the nation today, people in cities big and small gathered to defend science and scientific research.  Scientific knowledge and education is important to keep our water and air clean, our food healthy and safe, and keep our young people educated instead of indoctrinated in ignorance.

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The organizations that sponsored our event.

In one important sense, the Trump presidency is the best thing that could happen to our country, because it’s forcing people to wake up and finally take a stand for the things that really matter.   I doubt there would be this level of activity had Hillary won the election.   People would remain stuck in their apathy and cynicism.

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It’s encouraging that so many cities had such a big turnout for these Marches for Science, including my own.   I live in a small city (a blue city in a red state), but it seemed like there were thousands of people attending (though some were probably just there to watch the goings-on).

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Our March for Science started at one end of town (where I picked up my tee shirt I’d ordered ahead of time) and wound up on the other, in a park in the center of the city, where we’d be seen and heard.    I enjoyed watching people’s reactions, most who seemed friendly to the cause.    Many people carried signs, though I didn’t — but as you can see, I enjoyed taking pictures of the signs, most which were pretty creative.  We chanted and someone banged a drum while we marched to the park.

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When we arrived at the park, loudspeakers were playing three rock songs related to science:  Major Tom by David Bowie, Rocket Man by Elton John, and She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby.   Some of the attendees were dancing to the music.   After about 20 minutes of listening to music, the organizer of the event — a 17 year old high school boy named Luke Shealy — gave a short but inspiring speech and introduced some other speakers.   They were all good, but one — a Latino man who is also an astrophysicist — was so passionate he moved many people to tears.

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Young Luke Shealy, the organizer of our March.   The tee shirt I purchased is exactly like his.

After the speeches, some local musicians played for awhile, and I went to the various tables and picked up literature and a couple of bumper stickers.    Next Saturday I’ll be attending another rally I just found out about today addressing climate change.  I might make a sign this time!

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I was an honorary furry for a few days last week.

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Me trying on one of my son’s fursuit heads during my August 2016 trip.

I completely forgot to mention this in my posts about my Florida trip.   I met a few of my son’s friends in the Tampa area furry community, and they are all awesome people — very chill, extremely friendly, and best of all, very supportive of each other.

I actually attended a furry party my son threw at his apartment.   I was an honorary furry for that night!   No, I did not wear a costume. In fact, no one did.  It was just good clean fun, nothing questionable or too weird going on.  We watched a furry dance competition on livestream on my son’s Mac, played Cards Against Humanity (it’s a hilarious game), and watched a couple of bad (non-furry) films.   (One of my son’s hobbies is throwing “bad movie” get-togethers for his friends — they watch these movies ironically and laugh at them — if you remember Mystery Science Theatre 3000, that’s the general idea here).  After all the silliness, we all headed down to the apartment complex’s pool and hot tub for an evening swim and relaxation.

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Two views of the bumper of the car that belongs to one of my son’s friends who was at the party.    She can’t get enough of ferrets and owns four of them.  It’s hard to see it here, but her car is a lovely frosted pink and is awesome.

Speaking of science, tomorrow is Earth Day, and I will be attending my second protest — a March for Science taking place here in my city.    I haven’t made a sign yet (and am not sure I’ll have the time), but I’ll be picking up a tee-shirt I paid for in advance (proceeds go to help the cause).    I’ll be wearing this tee-shirt along with the buttons I purchased at the last protest I attended about the ACA and healthcare.

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I’ll definitely post about my experience at the march tomorrow and will take pictures, as I did the last time.

The rest of the weekend I’ll probably be engaged in the tedious task of pulling posts from this blog I may want to use in my book.   That’s my intention anyway;  I can’t say I’ll actually commit to doing it.   Actual writing is so much more fun.

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Happy Earth Day 2017!

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About my book.

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For a couple of years now, I’ve talked about writing a book.    Writing and publishing a book has always been a dream of mine,  but getting motivated enough or knowing what I wanted to write about has always been an issue for me.

My book won’t be fiction because I’m really bad at fiction and can never seem to think of a viable beginning or end that doesn’t seem contrived.   My one attempt to write a book of fiction (in 2003) was a disaster and I hated all my characters.   It was self-indulgent, full of cliches, stilted dialogue, and uninteresting and unlikable characters who always seemed to be arguing about nothing.  To this day I can’t tell you what the book was about, because I don’t know.   I have no idea how to plot a novel, although I have read hundreds of novels by others who do know how to plot them.  It’s simply not something I have any talent for.

For some reason, I never threw that manuscript away (I spent too much time writing it) but I don’t look at it and never will again.  Its 300 plus pages sit in a tattered cardboard box in the farthest corner in the back of a closet.  The one time I tried to reread what I’d written, I cringed at how atrocious it was.    It was that bad.   I sent it to several publishers who also thought it was that bad – and sent it back to me with a polite rejection note.

The dilemma I’m facing (besides lack of time and drive) is what the topic of my book would be.    I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to two things.

Let me say straight out that my book will not be about narcissistic abuse, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or anything related to personality disorders, C-PTSD, codependency, or dysfunctional families or relationships.   Although this blog has been primarily about those things (at least until recently), I don’t feel comfortable writing a book covering anything in this field for at least four reasons.

First, there are many bloggers who have already written books about narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and many have done it better than I think I could.    I don’t even think this is one of the best blogs that ever covered narcissistic abuse.   Second, since I’ve moved on in my recovery,  I’m less passionate about this problem than I used to be.   I feel like anything that needed to be said, I’ve already said — or others have said better.   That doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue — it definitely is, but I feel like my passion for it isn’t there anymore.   Third, I’m afraid that delving into a personal account of my own life with a narcissistic family and husband — or my mental disorders that were caused by that — will be too triggering and send me back down the rabbit hole, a place I’ve gratefully left behind.  At first, it helped me to talk about it, and to find that I wasn’t alone.   Without that outlet and this blog, I would never have discovered things about myself I needed to change.    So I’m grateful for that, but I’m not in the same head space I was two years ago.  Therapy is quite enough for me right now and is intense enough as it is.  I no longer have any desire to dwell on the trauma I had to deal with just to have something to write about.   There are other things I prefer to write about now that make me feel better.  Fourth, I’m not a mental health professional and would feel like something of a fraud were I to write a self-help book for others, even though I know quite a bit about personality disorders, enough to write such a book.

So, what would my book be about, if it’s not going to be a novel or a book about personality disorders or narcissistic abuse?

I feel like I’m strong at writing opinion and humor.  Short little essays and anecdotes that give readers a window into the way I look at life — both the big and small things.    I enjoy writing posts like these.  My last post, “My Problem With Pens,” was one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve written in a long time.    I like that kind of writing and I want to do more of it.   No, I’ll probably never be the next David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, but I love creative writing and I can write humor.   I think I’m good enough at it to compile my best essays (both humorous and more serious) into a small book.    I’ve written a number of those kind of posts on this blog already,  but I never realized until recently that was actually my strongest writing.  Because I never focused on those types of posts and never made a section for them in the header or compiled a list of links, it will take some time to go through this blog and pull out all the titles and then decide which ones to use (and probably add some new ones to flesh out the book and give readers of this blog something new to read).

The only problem with writing a book like that is I’m not already a “name” (unless you count blog ownership as a kind of qualification), and compilations of essays usually sell best when written by someone already well-known for something else.    But I’m not expecting to make a million dollars or for the book to catapult me to sudden fame and a review in the New York Times Review of Books.  Not even close.    I could probably make more money writing a book about having been raised by narcissists, having BPD or C-PTSD, or writing a self help book about how to deal with abusers.   I could probably even sell more books writing about mindfulness techniques and developing empathy for people with Cluster B disorders.  But I don’t want to write a book like that.   I want to have fun writing my book, and this is why I’ve decided to write a compilation of my observations, opinions, and humorous little anecdotes.

There’s another topic I’ve been thinking about writing a book about:  handling Internet trolls and bullies.   Obviously, that’s related to narcissistic abuse, but it’s a narrower and more focused topic and doesn’t require me to delve into my deep past and retrigger ancient memories.    I’ve definitely been a victim of Internet bullying (most of us bloggers have, unfortunately) and I have experience now in how to deal with them — enough experience to be able to help others.   Any book I write about Internet troublemakers would be mostly a compilation of some of the posts and numbered lists I’ve already written for this blog.    Someone told me I had one of the most comprehensive lists of articles about Internet trolls and how to handle them they’d ever seen, and that got me thinking that maybe I ought to publish an actual book about it.

Very soon, I will need to lay off blogging and start compiling posts and writing new ones for a book.  I wish I had time to do both, but the need to keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge makes doing both nearly impossible.

What would you rather see me write about first?  A book of observations, opinions, essays, and humor; or a book about handling trolls and online bullies?

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My problem with pens.

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I have a house full of old, nonworking pens.  It’s not because I want them.   Keeping up with pens and throwing away old ones is one thing I never seem to bother keeping up with.    Whenever I need a pen, I can never, EVER find a working one.  I have dozens of old markers that no longer have any ink in them, tens of cheap ballpoints I got for free somewhere with no ink in them and non-working clickers; I even have dried up pen refills with no actual pen to cover them.  I have Sharpies with their nubs worn down to nothing.  They all sit forlornly in old coffee mugs around the house.

People can’t understand why I can’t find a working pen when I need one.  They look around at the mugs of pens in every room and on every available surface, and they also know I have drawers full of pens (as well as old phone chargers, paper clips, rubber bands, broken push pins, paid bills from 2003, business cards for businesses I’ll never use or have never heard of, a broken lighter with Y2K joke on it [no joke], and all the other detritus most of us wind up gathering somehow without any effort at all).   I almost always wind up having to borrow their pen — if they’re carrying one — and I can see them just shaking their heads in bemused amazement.

I have the same problem with pencils.  I have at least a hundred pencils — all with broken points or sharpened down to an inch or so (and still sporting broken points) — and not one sharpener.   So the pencils I own are utterly useless.   Maybe I should install a sharpener on the wall, like the one we kept on the basement stairs while I was growing up (I’ll never know why it was installed on the wall of the dark basement stairs, as if it was something to be embarrassed about).

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At least with the Internet, I rarely need a pen.  But sometimes I do.  There’s still the occasional form I need to fill out, or the birthday card I need to sign (I hate e-cards).  Sometimes I have to leave post-it notes to myself on the bathroom mirror that say things like:  BUY A PACK OF PENS TODAY!  Hah.  I never learn.   I never go out and buy a pack of pens for these moments.  The one time recently that I did buy a pack, I somehow lost all those pens.  But the old, dried up, broken ones stuck around like unwelcome guests.

And they MULTIPLY.  You know that portal that’s hidden in the back of your washer that sucks your socks into an alternate universe?    Well, I think there’s another portal — a reverse wormhole — from that same universe that spews broken old pens into ours.  Maybe it somehow transforms our socks into pens.  You never know.

Why don’t I just throw away all those broken and nonworking pens and pencils?  Honestly, I don’t know why.    It’s not sentimentality,  and it’s not because “maybe one day I will use them in a multi-media project where I can glue them to a board with all the other useless junk in my drawers and call it art.”  ” No, I think the reason I don’t weed out all the old pens and pencils is pure laziness.   The idea of going through all those mugs and drawers full of broken writing implements and testing them isn’t something I want to spend my day doing.

So the pens stay, and I continue to search in vain for a working pen when I need one.

Anyone want some of my old broken pens?

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Scale.

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