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

Lucky Otters Haven

Originally posted on January 9, 2017

hiding_mask

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

The Internet has given us a voice, so now we can not only read and comment on the stories of others who have suffered similar experiences, we can also start our own blogs where we can talk about our own abuse.   Before the Internet, who would listen to us, much less believe us?  More than likely, we’d be told, “oh, of course your mother/father loves you,” or “Oh, I’m…

View original post 2,884 more words

Advertisements

Bullying and the suppression of empathy and shame.

marchforlife

On Friday, at the National Mall in Washington, DC, there occurred A Tale of Two Rallies: two rallies that clashed in a way that says everything about where America as a country stands in 2019.

As the Indigenous Peoples Rights demonstration was winding down, the March for Life anti-abortion rally was just starting. A large group of boys from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School were attending the March for Life.

An indigenous elder and Vietnam veteran named Nathan Phillips was standing alone on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, singing a native American protest song as he banged a small handheld leather drum. As he sang and kept rhythm with his drum, a large group of teenage boys from Covington began to surround him and taunt him, cruelly imitating his singing, dancing to the music in a mocking way, and shouting “Build that wall!”  Many of the boys wore red MAGA hats — a clothing item that is already becoming associated with hatred and racism, much as the swastika or brown shirts of WWII Germany eventually became associated with the Nazis and the Holocaust.

One boy in particular stood out, and the video of his silent and seemingly hostile standoff with the Indian elder has gone viral. I won’t name the boy, because I have no desire to ruin his life.   Although the teen’s behavior toward the elder was deplorable and cruel (involving a form of bullying known as physical intimidation — invading someone’s personal space),  I blame the environment he was raised in, particularly the environment of Covington Catholic, which has developed a reputation of fostering a culture of racism, sexism, and white supremacy in its all-male student body (though both the school and the diocese have apologized for the students’ behavior at the rally).

I do not think the boy in the video is necessarily a sociopath or a narcissist, although his behavior toward the elder certainly makes it appear that way.   There are reasons to think this boy is a normal kid who may have been doing this on a dare or to appear “cool” among his peers, and may also be being indoctrinated by his school and his classmates to harshly judge and intimidate people who are different than he is.

Jack Brown, MD, is an expert on facial and body language, and he writes fascinating Twitter threads and articles analyzing the facial and body language of celebrities, politicians, and sometimes, everyday people like this high school boy, whose facial expressions during the exchange with the elder proved to be far more complex than they at first seemed.

So I have taken the liberty of reposting Dr. Brown’s fascinating thread, which goes into great detail about the boy’s subtle facial cues, which while on the surface seemed threatening and bullying, showed fleeting glimpses of shame, anger, sadness, and even empathy.

First, here is the video of the incident.    You can use this to reference the incidents described in Dr. Brown’s tweets.

1/ On Friday 18 January 2019, in Washington DC, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a confrontation occurred between some students of Covington Catholic HS (a private, all-boys school in Park Hills, KY) & members of the Indigenous Peoples March – most notably, Nathan Phillips.

2/ The students were in DC to participate in a March for Life event. Many of the boys in the crowd were wearing MAGA hats as well as clothing with Covington Catholic High School insignia.

3/ Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the Vietnam War and Native American elder of the Omaha tribe. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this event.

4/ At 0:06, we see this student display what is known as a Loose Tongue Jut. A loose tongue jut is a microexpression/near-micro expression signifying the thought-emotions of:

• I’ve been caught

• I’ve been bad

• I’ve done a stupid thing

mfl1

5/ During 0:07 – 0:08, we see a second student exhibit this identical behavior.

mfl2

6/ During 0:23, one student pushes another student toward Mr. Phillips in an effort to further encroach into Nathan Phillips’ personal space (intimate space).

mfl3

7/ A third student displays another Loose Tongue Jut during 0:34

mfl4

8/ During 0:43, we see the student who, in the remainder of this video, is the primary confrontational individual (here referred to as John Doe). He is shown here, in near profile, in order to demonstrate his normal chin contour.

mfl5

9/ This image (0:48) is captured shortly after John Doe and Nathan Phillips encroach into each others’ personal space. The expression on Doe’s face is a partial, sincere smile (Duchenne Smile).

mfl6

10/ Entering into another person’s interpersonal space (personal space and even intimate space) – is a body language behavior which very often provokes violence.

11/ While this is true for all genders, it’s particularly incendiary when two men are Whole Body Pointing toward each other (eyes, head, shoulders, torso, hips, and feet). Simply by turning 20º – 30º to one side will de-escalate the potential for physical confrontation.

12/ During 0:53, Doe adopts a significant component of Disgust – and his smile ceases to be sincere – ergo this is a Disgust-Pseudosmile.

mfl7

13/ During 0:55, John Doe begins to display a Jaw Jut – a forward displacement of his mandible – and here, indicative of an Adrenaline Surge. He is also suppressing laughter.

mfl8

14/ During 0:56, we begin to see a fascinating dynamic – the first signals of a tremendous example of Emotional Dissonance.

mfl9

15/ Although John Doe is primarily being governed by peer pressure – and mob mentality (aka herd mentality, pack mentality, gang mentality) – his individual personality is breaking through in his moment.

16/ Indeed, Doe is suppressing his empathy – specifically his feelings of sadness for indigenous peoples and/or Mr. Phillips specifically. Note his mid-facial tension.

17/ Although contraction of the “mustache area” and flaring of his nostrils are also associated with disgust – it’s also a dynamic associated with the suppression of crying. For a couple seconds, Doe is on the verge of tears.

18/ Please watch this video first at normal speed, then at 0.5 and then again at full speed – particularly this crucial portion. The details will then be more discernible.

19/ During 0:57, Doe’s jaw juts out further. He begins what is called a Hard Swallow (note his Adam’s apple moving up and down – indicating a dry throat and elevated anxiety).

mfl10

20/ Although we can’t them directly, Doe’s repositioning of his hands begins in this moment – most probably into his pockets. This is akin to a turtle retreating into his shell – he very much wants to leave, but peer pressure is preventing him)

21/ At 0:58, he tilts his head and neck backward and thrusts his chin forward – signifying strong feelings of Defiance. Here he finishes his hard swallow and the repositioning of his hands.

mfl11

22/ During 1:04 there is a resurgence of empathy-sadness (although some disgust as well).

mfl12

23/ At 1:05, John Doe Breaks his Eye Contact (he’s looking just past Mr. Phillips or perhaps at Phillips’ right ear).

mfl13

24/ We often break eye contact in such scenarios in order to suppress strong emotions. In this second, it allows Doe to once again break this cycle of empathy-sadness.

25/ This lack of eye contact enables John Doe to, once again, break into a sincere smile and a moment of suppressing laughter (1:11).

mfl14

26/ During 1:29, we see another example of emotional dissonance – a combination of disgust and tear suppression.

mfl15

27/ During 1:30, he breaks eye contact in another manner by looking down and to HIS right. Although this is obviously in the direction of Nathan Phillips’ drum, it’s also the quadrant to which most people look during strong feelings of shame, guilt, and moments of sadness.

mfl16

28/ Here, during 1:41, Doe is once again looking past Phillips.

mfl17

29/ And in the other direction (1:43) – disengaging himself from the intensity of this confrontation.

mfl18

30/ At 1:53, after Doe re-establishes eye contact, he re-escalates his emotions, becoming angry.

mfl19

31/ At 1:54, Doe looks away again – and immediately his anger is erased and we see the beginnings of a smile (with a hint of disgust).

mfl20

32/ During 2:23, we see a stronger example of Disgust. His partial eyelid closure, while not a requirement of disgust, acts as an amplifier.

mfl21

33/ During 3:21, another student, who is probably a friend or possibly a family member, begins to give John Doe a Shoulder Rub.

mfl22

34/ This is an example of emotional support and affection – but it’s also another signal of emotional dissonance. It’s as if the student in the blue jacket is trying to say, “You did good bro – but time to disengage”.

35/ He stops his shoulder rub at 3:22, yells/howls repeatedly – and displays multiple pseudo-chest/abdomen beating gestures. He exhibits a Loose Tongue Jut during 3:28 – as his psyche declares a mea culpa – calling himself out for his mocking of indigenous peoples.

mfl23

36/ He turns to walk away – retreating to the back of the crowd – but not before he displays yet another loose tongue-jut (3:30).

mfl24

37/ SUMMARY: Many students of Covington Catholic High School, along with some others who were in this crowd, displayed blatant racism toward indigenous peoples in Washington DC on 18 January 2019.

38/ One individual in particular deliberately maintained his position in Nathan Phillips’ personal space. Mr. Phillips was, of course, vastly outnumbered and elderly – however, in many (most) similar scenarios, this student’s act would have provoked violence.

39/ The display of disgust in this situation is profoundly noteworthy. Outside of the context of true self-defense, in order to for the psyche to inflict harm on another person or group, it must view them as less than human.

40/ Those who commit such acts need to see their victims – as “others” – beneath them. Disgust is the emotion which encapsulates this feeling. Indeed, disgust is the most common emotion displayed by people committing hate-crimes and acts of mass violence.

41/ This phenomenon was well-documented during the Holocaust.

42/ While this incident in front of the Lincoln Memorial was certainly an example of peer pressure and mob mentality, it also exemplified cognitive and emotional dissonance.

43/ The primary confronting student’s emotions oscillated from disgust, anger, and even taking joy in his deliberate intimidation – but also to sadness, empathy, guilt, shame – and several times he was even near-tears.

44/ In the near future, this student will very likely appear in a public setting/television interview, where he will apologize. A written statement (usually prepared by an attorney) is nowhere close to a sincere or meaningful apology.

45/ In giving a public apology, with high probability, he will break down in tears – and it will become, for him, a fundamental life inflection point. It will be healing. Such a public apology will permanently up-regulate his empathy.

46/ Alternatively, if he neglects to undertake this difficult, but emotionally intelligent act – he will most probably spend the rest of his life digging in his heels and rationalizing his bad behavior.

 —  Dr. Jack Brown, MD

jackbrownpic

My takeaway is similar to Dr. Brown’s conclusion:  this incident will be a pivotal event in this boy’s life.  If he takes the high road and chooses to acknowledge his barely suppressed empathy and shame, and publicly (or even privately) apologizes, he will feel painful emotions but will be able to redeem himself.  He will have learned a valuable life lesson and his empathy will henceforth no longer be so hidden.  He will grow up into a man who can truly care about others.

But, coming from a school environment having a reputation for racism and “othering” people who are different, combined with peer pressure from classmates who may be more sociopathic than he is, he may choose not to acknowledge his feelings of cognitive dissonance, and not apologize, which will make it easier for him to suppress his empathy and shame in the future.  As Dr. Brown pointed out, should he choose that road, his personality, still malleable due to his youth, could turn sociopathic or narcissistic.

*****

Follow Dr. Jack Brown’s Twitter page:

The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

Thought I’d reblog this, as it shows where my head was at almost three years ago, and how I reacted to criticism from “pure” abuse survivors who didn’t believe it was possible to be both an abuse victim and also suffer from something as “evil” as Borderline Personality Disorder (whose symptoms are often mixed up with those of  Complex PTSD and may even be the same thing).

I’m a lot calmer and more centered today, but I was also in therapy at that time and learning a lot about myself, so it was a fruitful time for me, however difficult it could sometimes be.

Comments here are welcome, since the deadline for comments under the original post has expired.

Lucky Otters Haven

awkward-1

I won’t lie.  It’s incredibly awkward being a blogger who blogs about two things that seem diametrically opposed to many people in the narcissistic abuse community:  being a victim of narcissists, and having a Cluster B disorder (BPD).   To those of you who aren’t familiar with the ACON (adult children of narcissists) blogosphere,  there are a few ACON bloggers (not too many on WordPress, fortunately) who seem to think if you have BPD then you can’t also be an abuse victim and certainly shouldn’t be blogging about it.  Because, you see, if you have BPD then you are one of the soulless abusers.  If you are any kind of “cluster B person” blogging about abuse, then of it follows that you must have an “agenda.”  What that agenda is is never specified though.

I have been accused of many things, none of which are pretty, and few of which are true…

View original post 1,243 more words

My codependent “marriage” to a narcissistic boss.

I completely forgot about this post! Unhealthy, codependent relationships with narcissists are not limited to romantic relationships, marriages, and familial relationships. You can definitely be trapped in a codependent “marriage” with your boss (or anyone else you have frequent contact with, especially when unequal balance of power is a natural part of the relationship, as there might be between therapist and patient).

Lucky Otters Haven

boss

In late 2004, I was hired as a cashier at a local convenience store. My boss, John, was a flamboyantly gay man around my age who seemed fond of me at first. He was friendly and likeable in a way that didn’t offend my Aspie social reticence. We often worked alone together, and because he spent most of the time talking my ear off, I wasn’t required to add much to the conversation. I was his captive audience when we weren’t serving customers. John was bright and I found his one-sided monologues interesting if sometimes a little strange.

I’d hear everything about John’s exciting life, from his four Shar-Pei’s antics (he was a huge dog lover) to his once-a-month visits to the spa for regular colonic irrigations–he discussed these publicly, in the most intimate detail, even with customers–as if he was talking about what he had for breakfast. Although John…

View original post 1,944 more words

The real reason highly sensitive people get bullied.

It was time to pull this one out of the archives!

Lucky Otters Haven

authenticity

I had an “Aha” moment today.

The reason highly sensitive people get bullied so often isn’t because of our sensitivity. It’s because of the dismally low self esteem that tends to go along with being that sensitive, especially if we were victimized by malignant narcissists and bullies when young.

Narcissists envy and fear high sensitivity.

narcissist_face

Narcissists hate high sensitivity in others for two reasons: 1. They envy it because it’s something they can’t have or may have lost as children and it’s a sign of an authentic person, which is something they aren’t but wish they were; and 2. they fear it, because they know this quality makes it possible for to zero in on the emptiness hiding under the narcissist’s guise.

Their hatred and fear is expressed through love bombing followed by bullying and other forms of abuse meant to weaken the HSP. An HSP’s fragile ego can be…

View original post 1,304 more words

Rethinking political correctness.

political-correctnesspeanuts_racism

Political correctness can definitely be taken to ridiculous extremes, as these cartoons show. 

In previous posts, I’ve sometimes criticized political correctness.  It’s true that in recent years, political correctness (PC-ness) has gone too far, and people are afraid to say what they mean because it might offend someone.    PC-ness can be taken to ridiculous extremes.  For example, a child today can get in a world of trouble — up to and including arrest — for something as innocent as drawing a picture of a gun.   Companies are afraid to hire a white person who may be a better fit for a job if a black candidate is also qualified.  People are afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because it might offend non-Christians, but they’re also afraid to say “Happy Holidays” because it might offend Christians (so what are you supposed to say??)  Parents are afraid to discipline their children because someone might call the authorities and their children could be taken away.   Of course, there are limits to what constitutes proper discipline of a child.  Obviously, if you see a parent beating their child or hurling insults at them, this is abuse, not just discipline, and there should be consequences.  But is it proper to report a parent for lightly slapping a toddler’s hand because she’s reaching for something that could hurt her or break?  Yet such actions are regularly reported as “abuse.”  Parents are afraid to be parents.   We can’t say what we mean because someone might be offended, even if no insult is intended.   During the holiday season, it might be better to just say nothing at all.

In spite of the problem of political correctness being taken to extremes, there is a place for it.  Political correctness is really nothing more sinister than showing respect for others.   It means practicing the Golden Rule, which we all learned in kindergarten and would behoove us to keep practicing as adults because it makes everyone’s lives so much easier and more pleasant, including our own.   Political correctness is about being a good neighbor and a good citizen.  It’s caring about the way others feel.    When it’s not taken to extremes, political correctness makes our relationships with others and within our communities a heck of a lot easier.   But people get all up in arms over the term itself.   Why is that?   I think the term “political correctness” irritates people more than the actual practice of it, because of its its associations with the “liberal elite,” a group that many conservatives distrust, dislike, and simply cannot relate to. But showing respect and empathy for others, even if they’re different than we are, is not about partisan politics.   The Golden Rule applies to everyone and benefits everyone, regardless of political party, economic status, race, religion, or creed.

golden_rule2

We have a president who takes pride in his lack of political correctness.  He insults people and calls them names and calls this behavior honesty.     Many of his followers think of Trump’s antipathy toward PC-ness as one of his greatest strengths, but the truth is, Trump’s version of “honesty” (something he definitely is not) is nothing more than schoolyard bullying, and most of what he says is not true anyway.     His language and bullying manner not only hurts people who have done nothing wrong (other than being critical of Trump or his policies), it also encourages hatred and intolerance among his followers.   Since Trump’s election, suddenly it’s okay for people to bully others who are not like them, since Trump does the same thing.    It’s okay to demean and insult Muslims, Mexicans, women, gays, Democrats, the liberal media, and other groups Trump looks down on because Trump does it and seems to think it’s okay.   It’s become okay to dehumanize and target people who aren’t the same as we are or who don’t agree with us.

Recently, I read there’s even been an uptick in school bullying since Trump got elected.  Bullies everywhere and of all ages feel empowered because the president does it and seems to think there’s nothing wrong with it.   Some critics of political correctness think it means stuffing your feelings and wearing a fake smile all the time, but that is just not true.   We don’t have to go around grinning like idiots (was it un-PC to use that term?) and pretending to like people we don’t or be happy with situations that make us miserable, but that doesn’t give us the right to go around insulting and demeaning others for no reason other than that we find their differences offensive.

blog_political_correctness

Sadly, this attitude about political correctness is very widespread today.  

 

Trump is giving the world the wrong idea of what strength is all about.   In his strongman world, dictators and authoritarian leaders are admirable because they rule with an iron hand and victimize and punish those who oppose them.   Civilized discourse, peaceful negotiation, and compromise is seen as weakness.   This is why he’s the only president in living memory who has not included the opposing political party in his decision making.  In fact, all he does is insult Democrats (even though he used to be one himself), sabotages their efforts (as he is by refusing the pay Obamacare subsidies), and then blame them when things inevitably go wrong (“Obamacare is DEAD!”).    This is a divide-and-conquer strategy narcissists and sociopaths like Trump are infamous for.

Real strength means showing respect and compassion for others.    It means  refraining from calling people insulting names when someone says something critical of you (as long as the criticism isn’t abusive), and maybe even learning something from it.   It means lifting others up instead of working to oppress them and keep them down.  It means encouraging people instead of trying to sabotage or insult them.   It means being inclusive instead of exclusive.  It means working to find common ground instead of encouraging divisiveness.   And it means being PC sometimes too, if by political correctness we mean showing respect for our fellow human beings, regardless of how different from us they might be.    Granted, political correctness is sometimes taken too far, but Trump’s dangerous lack of it is off the rails, and is a threat to our democracy and to the world.  Civility is in short supply these days. If we really want to “make America great again,” we need to return to a culture of civility, common courtesy, and neighborliness.

‘Snowflake’ is a term used to gaslight those who dare speak out against the new authoritarianism.

callmesnowflake

‘Snowflake’ (sometimes ‘special snowflake’) is a slang term used in recent years, usually directed against “entitled” Millennials who complain about the America they inherited — one full of debt, minimum wage jobs,  exhorbitant student loans they can never hope to pay back, and few opportunities.

The term “snowflake” has its roots back in the 1990s and early 2000s when Millennials were still schoolchildren.   In those days, it was fashionable for teachers to recognize that “every child was special” and give awards and prizes just for participating, etc.  so that no one would feel left out.    A real snowflake is a common and unremarkable thing, as common as dust.  But since, purportedly, no two snowflakes are alike, every snowflake is special.

Over time, “snowflake” became a pejorative term, intended to shame a person for allegedly wanting “special” (or in most cases, maybe just “fair” or “just”) treatment.

Since Trump’s win in November, the meaning of ‘snowflake’ has shifted to a more political definition and is no longer confined to Millennials.    The formerly non-political insult has been used frequently by alt-right Trump supporters to dismiss and minimalize the concerns of  “the lib’ruls” (another insult they frequently use against those who oppose their far right views).  “Snowflake” is used to trivialize the very real concerns of those who oppose the Trump presidency, regardless of their generation.  It’s used against anyone of any age who dislikes Trump’s authoritarian, cruel, and controversial policies.  So, if you’re an aging person and afraid you might lose your health insurance or Medicare or social security, are worried about accelerated climate change and the shut down of the EPA when we need it the most,  fear and loathe Trump’s dismantling of democracy, are deeply offended by his war on truth, or oppose the Muslim ban, then, according to the Trump supporters, you are a pathetic snowflake who just expects special treatment or entitlements, when all you really expect is decent and humane treatment and your civil and human rights to not be taken away from you.

Calling people ‘snowflakes’ under these circumstances is gaslighting and shaming.   It’s only one small example of the nationwide narcissistic abuse this administration is already dishing out on all of us, but it’s one of the more obvious (and annoying) ones.   Complain because your mother has cancer and may lose her health care and die, and you’re a snowflake.    Speak out against the president’s constant lies and twisting of the truth into “alternative facts” and “fake news” and you’re a snowflake.   Express concern that this administration’s bigoted policies may  bring back discrimination and sanction public bullying of non-whites, and you’re a snowflake.  Object to Trump’s discussing women like chattel and sex objects, and you’re a snowflake.

In Trump’s strongman world, there is no room for anything feminine, sensitive, or soft.  There is no room for compassion, kindness,  or empathy, for in Trumpland, all those things are weakness.   If you’re bullied, well, you probably deserve it because you’re a loser anyway and probably a snowflake too.   Already I hear stories about bullying of kids who are “different” now being condoned among the kids of alt-right parents. They feel empowered to bully those who aren’t like them, because  Trump is the President and he says it’s okay and he does it himself, so it must be okay.

This administration is bringing out the worst in everyone.  For Trump’s  supporters, they now feel emboldened, because they now have permission to bully and abuse those who don’t agree with them or are different than they are, and for everyone else — especially those of us who suffered abuse —  we feel triggered: dissociated, afraid and hypervigilant, caught in a downward spiral of increasing chaos, hopelessness, and despair.

Gang-stalking: is it real or just a conspiracy theory?

gang_stalking

I’ve been seeing a lot lately about a phenomenon called gang-stalking (sometimes referred to as “community terrorism”).   Gang-stalking means one person is targeted by Dark Triad people (psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists and their flying monkeys, most who don’t even personally know you) for nefarious reasons that are never specified but who want you to know you are being watched.  The stalkers seem to have an uncanny, almost supernatural way of infiltrating and ruining every area of your life, even when logic would dictate some situations simply wouldn’t be possible (such as pre-emptively knowing exactly where you will be 24/7 in order to harass you).   The goal is to drive you (the “Targeted Individual,” or “TI”) insane or to suicide–or have you incarcerated in a prison or mental institution–or even killed.   Here are two articles about it.  You can Google “gang-stalking” and find hundreds more.

https://taknbsorbemwon5.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/suspect-gang-stalking-when/

https://www.newswithviews.com/Stuter/stuter78.htm

Here’s a well written, sometimes humorous, but VERY long, article by an individual who may have been gang-stalked (or maybe not), but at least has the ability to use critical thinking, something that seems to be in short supply in these post- 9/11 days where everyone, from the benign looking cashier at the grocery store to your kid’s teacher, becomes a potential terrorist:

http://in2worlds.net/gangstalking-and-targeted-individuals

I don’t know whether to believe it or not.   Of course it’s a fact that high spectrum malignant narcissists and psychopaths/sociopaths can and do recruit flying monkeys to destroy your reputation and your life.   I’ve seen it happen to others and I’ve experienced it.   But where does their power over you end?    I don’t see how it’s possible, for example, to be treated rudely in stores or given bad or dishonest service by complete strangers or how your abuser(s) would have managed to influence them ahead of time.   How would it be possible to be “black-listed” for every job you apply for if you don’t have a criminal record (unless they are somehow able to create a fake criminal background for you)?  How could they cause random people on the street to give each other knowing looks whenever you pass by, or shout abusive things at you?  How could your abuser cause you to get the “evil eye” from strangers sitting across you on a bus or deliberately have people move into the apartment over yours who blast their music and fight all night with the sole intention to cause you to suffer sleep deprivation and drive you slowly insane?

Some people suggest a demonic, supernatural influence.  They say this exists because the world is being taken over by evil and is under Satan’s dominion.   Although I’m a Christian, I can’t accept this.   I’m a skeptic by nature.    Not because I don’t want to believe it and am in denial, but because I think there are better, more scientific and reasonable explanations for the seeming increase of horrible human behavior.   Actually I don’t think things are any worse than they ever were.  I think there are just more people on the planet and there’s the Internet and mass media and the mass panic that always ensues following a breaking news story that gives rise to all sorts of conspiracy theories.

Things were actually far worse a hundred years ago than they are now.  Abuse of all kinds wasn’t publicized and called out the way it is now.  Neither was bullying.  Back then, if you were abused (or bullied), that was just your lot in life and you were just supposed to suck it up because that was your birthright as a child, a woman, or a person of color.   What we call abuse today was considered normal.   What we would throw a parent in prison for today was just “discipline” back then, and a parent had the right to treat a child however they saw fit, even beating them daily or sending them to beg on the streets.  Or sending them to work 12 hours a day in a factory, as child-labor laws didn’t exist.  No one tried to protect you from bullies either.  There were no laws against harassment, sexual or otherwise.    In the old days, if you were bullied you’d be told to “fight back” or “stop being a sissy” if you were a boy.  If sexually abused, you just didn’t talk about it because “nice” people didn’t talk about those things.    If you did try to call out someone for harassing you (and you were a woman) you’d be blamed for dressing “provocatively” or something.   It seems like there’s more bad news today because there’s just more news.    Good news doesn’t sell so you don’t hear about it as often as bad news.    I also think where there’s overpopulation, problems develop, and there are definitely too many people in the world.   Things like cyber-bullying and identity theft didn’t exist because (duh!) there was no Internet to make those things possible. But things like slavery and public hangings did exist and no one batted an eyelash.

I don’t know about gang-stalking.  It smacks of conspiracy theory to me, but I could be wrong.  I do know that evil people can and do recruit flying monkeys and can and do target certain individuals.  It happens in dysfunctional families all the time.  Scapegoating is not a myth, it’s a fact.   But the whole idea of them having so much power that EVERY sphere of your existence is influenced, that where no matter what you do or where you go or who you turn to, trouble will follow you and there is no escape and you are just screwed?  I don’t know about that.

What are your opinions about gang-stalking? Do you believe it or think it’s an overblown conspiracy theory, like the belief that Illuminati is taking over everything? *   If you know you’ve been gang-stalked, I’m not trying to say you’re just being paranoid.  I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I am highly skeptical.

* I’ve  come to the conclusion that all the convincing Illuminati symbolism going on in music videos, films and TV is actually a tease intended to play off our paranoia.    These industries see people freaking out about “Illuminati symbolism” and play on that, creating more of it on purpose just to get attention (and hence sell more product).

*****

ETA:  It occurred to me that since most alleged incidents of gang-stalking appeared following the passing of the Patriot Act, which gave anyone permission to spy on and report anyone else if they suspected them of being “un-American” (this could means having left wing politics, being of Middle Eastern descent, being atheist, or just being “different” in some way), that gang-stalking could be a result of this.  I hear police departments refuse to get involved and have been instructed to ignore claims of gang-stalking.    Maybe some sociopathic or antisocial people abuse this “right” and report anyone who they dislike as being involved in “un-American” activities, and government funds are used to harass the target in order to silence them.   I do realize how conspiracy-theory-ish this sounds, but it’s a possibility.

Beware who you befriend on the Internet.

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing (1)

Not all ACON blogs or bloggers are “safe.” On another blog, which I will not name, my character is being ripped apart and an article I posted which was one of my most honest and vulnerable ones is being used as fodder for the attack. In this abusive post, my character is being cruelly compared with golem (a type of demon). There was no instigation for this attack, since I have made no references at all to this other blogger, their blog, or their friends’ blogs in in over a year. The attack just came out of the blue. Interesting that a post was chosen where I was at my most vulnerable. Isn’t this what narcissists do? The hypocrisy is staggering.

Someone also tried to send me a virus in my email yesterday. I wonder if there is any connection? Hmmmm.

Here’s a little background. About a year ago, I was mobbed and my character ripped to shreds on a few blogs (not WordPress blogs, fortunately) because of a disagreement with a blogger who I had thought was a friend. Boy, was I wrong. This person is part of a tight clique of bloggers who may well have suffered horrendous childhood abuse (no one could make up the stories they tell), but if you have the slightest disagreement with any of them, you will be added to their shit list. You will be called names, vicious lies will be told about you, and you will be accused of doing things they themselves are doing (projection). They are so angry and bitter they can only see in black and white, never any shades of grey. Their rage has turned them into the very thing they hate the most and they are incapable of seeing their own narcissism and abusive behavior. Or they just don’t care. They are wolves in sheeps’ clothing, but claim to be anything but.

I was thinking about just ignoring the post and saying nothing, but why should I? Why should I let this dangerous person intimidate me? Why should I not warn others? I only wish I had paid attention to the red flags early on (or seen them). I know better now. I won’t name these blogs or this particular blogger here, but here are some things to watch out for. If you see a blog that does any of the following, do not comment or get involved with that blog. If you must read that blog, read it as a lurker.

I am setting my other blog to private for now because that’s the source of the article that fueled this sneak attack.

Does the blog you read belong to a narcissist or abuser?

1.  Black and white thinking: they preach hatred and demonize a certain group of people (in this case narcissists) as being ALL bad or ALL evil ALL the time. Sure, some narcs may be *close* to 100% bad, but the seething black hatred that never seems to end is not merely a red flag, it’s a flashing neon sign.

2.  Cultishness: no tolerance for disagreement; they launch ad hominem and personal attacks on commenters who have the audacity to disagree with them;  dismiss the writers of critical (not abusive) comments as “trolls”

3.  Religion is used to shame, intimidate, and threaten (if you don’t believe *whatever* you are going to burn in Hell, etc.)

4.  If applicable, dwell on how they were abused and how they continue to suffer, without seeming to ever grow or change or learn anything about themselves from the experience.

5.  Paranoid and hypervigilant, suspecting everyone who disagrees with them or displeases them in some way as being narcissists or even sociopaths. (Yes, I have been called a sociopath by this group).

6.  Quick to project their own abusiveness onto others

7.  Never seem to take responsibility or admit when they’ve been wrong.

8.   Continue their vicious attacks even after the “danger” has passed (I haven’t had any dealings or made any mention of this blogger or their minions in over a year). This is just plain bullying.

9.   They use information you have given them (or that they have found out) against you or twist it around into a lie. If you have posted something where you admit vulnerability, expect that to be used against you later on.

10.  Usually have allies (flying monkeys) who appear out of nowhere to assist in the abuse when you have offended one member of the group and they have decided you’re an Enemy. May be part of a tight clique of other bloggers or hangers on.

11.   You just feel uncomfortable commenting or being honest on that blog or you feel somehow intimidated or judged — listen to your intuition: it’s telling you something.

Here’s a very good article about these types of online bullies:
22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums and Online Communities

Are HSPs really targets for bullies?

authenticity

(Edited from the original 3/25/15 post)

People who are highly sensitive are often targets for bullies, but it’s not high sensitivity itself that leads to the bullying. It’s because of the dismally low self esteem that tends to go along with being an HSP, especially if we were raised by narcissists. Sadly, for such victimized children, they often find more of the same at school and this only exacerbates their already low self esteem, leaving them open to further abuse.

Narcissists envy and fear high sensitivity.

narcissist_face

Narcissists hate high sensitivity in others for two reasons: 1. They envy it because it’s something they can’t have or may have lost as children and it’s a sign of an authentic person, which is something they aren’t but wish they were; and 2. they fear it, because they know this quality makes it possible for to zero in on the emptiness hiding under the narcissist’s guise.

Their hatred and fear is expressed through love bombing followed by bullying and other forms of abuse meant to weaken the HSP. An HSP’s fragile ego can be destroyed or greatly diminished after years of bullying and abuse.

Sharon: an HSP who carried a can of Narc Repellent.

narc_repellent

I was thinking about a woman I used to know named Sharon.  She was an empathetic young woman who felt everything so deeply–but mostly joy and love.  She’s exquisitely sensitive but is also self confident (she was raised by very loving parents). She is comfortable enough with herself to show her vulnerability openly, allowing herself the liberty to feel all her emotions as well as share the emotions of her friends.

You might think Sharon is a magnet for bullies, but she’s not.  She makes friends easily because she has such a loving and positive presence and and people feel like she cares about them, and she likes herself too (without being at all narcissistic). They are right.

Narcissists avoid Sharon like the plague. Why? They would probably love to get their hooks into her if they could, but Sharon’s confidence in herself and easygoing comfort around all kinds of people scares them right off. While still being emotionally vulnerable, Sharon is invulnerable to narcissists because they sense her strength. She’s indestructible and they know it. As a result Sharon is never victimized and tends to attract other loving people as her friends, people who just want to be around her because she’s a lot of fun but can also cry with you if that’s what you need.

If you’re a highly sensitive adult whose self esteem has been destroyed by narcissistic abuse or a sensitive kid who has become insecure and fearful because of bullying, your high sensitivity will be expressed very differently than someone like Sharon.

Sensitive children do get tested by school bullies, and it’s harder to not let that damage your self image when you’re so young, especially if your parents are also bullies and have already done a number on your self esteem. But for an adult, most people will admire emotional openness and vulnerability or at least respect it–as long as they also know you respect and love yourself. People can sense when you’re comfortable in your own skin and narcs will stay far away, because they’re only attracted to codependent types who are unsure of themselves or their place in the world.

Being highly sensitive: a curse or a blessing?

blessing

A sensitive person who hates herself will tend to act in ways that attract mean people and bullies to them. They are unsure of themselves, fearful, easily depressed or discouraged, easily hurt, easily frustrated, paranoid, hypervigilant, and insecure. They are afraid of everything, and like ravenous wolves, narcissists can smell their fear. They see this–not the underlying sensitivity–as weakness, and they will horn in on such a person for narcissistic supply or bullying because they’re an easy mark who will be too afraid to call them out on their abuse.

Things are very different for a sensitive person with high self esteem. Such a person will be appreciative, insightful, observant, compassionate, forgiving (but not stupidly forgiving), affectionate, creative, a good listener, empathetic, and with a well developed (but never mean or sarcastic) sense of humor. They are not fearful and they know their place in the world. They have a clear sense of their own boundaries (and those of others) and know how to enforce them if they think they’re being violated. They attract people like themselves as friends and lovers and these relationships tend to be self-reinforcing for both parties.

Narcissists know a strong HSP is powerful and dangerous to them.

scare_narcs

Malignant narcissists stay away from self-confident HSPs, because they know they’re much stronger than they are. They know they’re dealing with an authentic person who is happy with themselves and with life, while they are anything but. They know a confident HSP (not the same thing as narcissism) has a laser-like ability to see through their mask without fear and won’t hesitate to call them out when it’s necessary. To a malignant narcissist, a self-confident HSP is a very dangerous and powerful person. That’s why they work so hard to destroy our self confidence and make us hate and doubt ourselves. If we’re crippled by abuse, they can still get what they need from us (supply), without running the risk of having any damage done to them.

As my confidence has grown over these past two years, I’m noticing a transformation of my lifelong high sensitivity from something that made me feel weak and helpless for most of my life into something that makes me feel strong and authentic. I know now that this “curse” and “weakness” I was born with is really a blessing and a strength. I just needed to develop enough confidence to be able to use it effectively.

Learning to love your high sensitivity.

dancing

Here’ a few things I have learned.

1. If you have a talent or skill in one of the arts, use it to express what you’re really feeling. Painting, singing, dancing, writing, poetry–can all be ways we can release our deepest emotions in a “safe” way that’s socially acceptable. Don’t hold anything back when creating art, performing or writing. Allow yourself to be vulnerable even if it feels weird and awkward at first.

2. If you don’t have an artistic talent, take up a hobby that speaks to you or get involved in a sport such as running or take a martial arts class, which can build confidence. Activities that center you and build both inner and outer strength, such as yoga, can be helpful too.

3. Always be 100% honest about your emotions. If you’re very shy or fearful, write down your thoughts and feelings in a private journal. Don’t worry about the quality of writing–that’s all just gravy. The main point is to get your feelings down on paper. Seeing your thoughts on paper (or a computer screen) will give you clarity. If you choose to blog publicly instead, you will gain confidence from expressing your most private feelings to the whole world and from the feedback from others you will get. It can be very scary to publicly post something you wouldn’t tell your next door neighbor (as I have now twice this week!), but believe me, it’s worth it. You’ll be amazed at how much doing such a thing will increase your confidence and sense of inner strength. At first you’ll feel like you’re running around naked in public, but you’ll be amazed by the sense of freedom and liberation running around naked can give you! 🙂

4. Every day, try to do one nice thing for someone other than yourself. If you’re really ambitious, you can try volunteer work to help the poor, homeless, children, animals, or anyone more vulnerable or less fortunate than yourself. In doing so, you will feel like you have a purpose, and that you can help others. Knowing you have made someone happier will raise your self esteem.

5. Listen to music whenever you can.  It’s second only to writing and blogging in my healing journey.

6. Surround yourself with positive people (not the same thing as positive-thinking nazis, who are often narcissists themselves) but authentic, happy people who accept you for who you are and don’t judge you.

7. Get narcissists away from you. No Contact is best, but is not always possible. If you can’t separate from your narcissist, read as much about their disorder as you can, and read about PTSD and complex PTSD and the devastating effects these character disordered people can have on the rest of us. Read books about highly sensitive people. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person is probably the best known (and an excellent book) but there are other books about HSPs too. Write down your feelings in a journal your narcissist cannot access.

8. Try prayer. It does work.