Denying the obvious.

rakingforestfloor

Climate change is not a theory, but a scientific fact with nearly as much evidence to back it up as the existence of gravity.  Scientists and climatologists aren’t stupid or deluded.  They have spent years studying geology, climatology, oceanography, and meteorology.   Climate change isn’t a conspiracy theory dreamed up by George Soros, China, or “the left.”   It’s not God punishing us for homosexuality or abortion (some right wing evangelicals actually believe this, but there isn’t even a logical connection between natural disasters and sinful behavior so their “argument” is no more than superstition).  Climate change is a real thing, and we would be wise to heed the experts and not right wing politicians and conspiracy theorists who continue to deny what’s right in front of them.

Climate deniers like Trump remind me of my deceased mother in law, a malignant narcissist who lied about things that were obvious to everyone else, and then, when she was shown evidence that she was wrong, instead of admitting her folly, continued to deny the obvious and even double down on her “beliefs.”     I remember a year or so after I got married, my husband and I moved into the first floor of her two family house in New Jersey.   It was an older house, and hadn’t been maintained well, and unbenownst to us, it was infested with termites.

One spring day, we had a massive swarm. Flying termites were literally coming out of the walls and oozing out of every corner.   They were dropping their wings all over the living room floor.   There must have been hundreds or even thousands of them.   I was terrified and felt like throwing up.   I called my mother in law down to look and begged her to hire a pest control company.   But not wanting to take any responsibility, she denied the termites were even there.    She said they weren’t termites, they were “bugs” caused by “dirt.”   We weren’t dirty people, but she was trying to blame us, saying if we were “cleaner people” there would be no bugs (especially since they hadn’t invaded her upstairs living quarters).

She reacted the same way when the basement washing machine broke.   It was 20 years old, and bound to break eventually, but she said we broke it because we shouldn’t have been mixing different colored clothing in the same wash.   Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  How does mixing colors cause a washing machine to break?  It doesn’t.    It was a lie she made up to blame us.

Trump’s behavior toward the people of California when he finally went there to survey the damage caused by the wildfires reminded me so much of my mother in law.   Instead of showing empathy to the people and offering help and temporary FEMA shelters to people left homeless by the fires, he tried to blame Californians, chiding them for “not raking” the forest floors.    Raking forest floors to prevent fires makes about as much sense as not mixing colors to prevent washing machine breakdowns, or dirt causing termite infestations.    Malignant narcissists, instead of admitting they may have been wrong, double down in their convictions,  and if they have to, they will concoct the most outrageous and ridiculous lies to “back up” their ludicrous claims.

Recently, a climate report by an independent and scientific agency came out, and it contained an alarming warning:  if we don’t stop our use of fossil fuels immediately, our planet’s weather will continue to worsen, with more severe and frequent hurricanes and other devastating storms, more frequent and damaging wildfires like the one that continues to rage in California, and eventually the ice caps will melt, completely changing the outlines of our coasts and submerging vulnerable landmasses like Florida and coastal cities like New York.   The Gulf Stream, which warms western Europe (which otherwise would be as cold as Canada and the northern US due to those countries’ high latitude) would be disrupted, and those countries could be plunged into deep freeze.

I could go on about all the changes but there are way too many to name here, and most of them would be devastating to life on this planet.

Yet Trump and his supporters continue to deny climate change, calling it a conspiracy theory, a “Chinese hoax,” and a left wing anticapitalist plot.    They see how bad the weather has been in recent years, with terrible and frequent hurricanes, wildfires like we’ve never seen, long droughts, flooding rains, the destruction of crops, much warmer winters than have ever been normal, and generally,  strange and severe weather that’s atypical for its location and latitude.

Trump thinks that because it happens to snow somewhere, or temperatures are colder than average on a given day, that means “global warming” is a hoax.   The term “global warming” has fallen out of favor (even though average temperatures are in fact rising) because the outcome of climate change doesn’t always mean hotter temperatures, even though over the long term, the earth is warming.  The preferred term is now climate change, because it takes into account the fact that a warming planet can cause every kind of severe weather, even bitterly cold temperatures.

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A good example of how this can happen is the Gulf Stream (which I already mentioned earlier), a current of warm tropical water that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and crosses the Atlantic, moving to the northeast, warming up northern and coastal Europe. The warming effect gives countries at high latitudes (Ireland is at the same latitude as Labrador!) much warmer weather than they would otherwise have.   If the Gulf Stream were to become disrupted (and the melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels would certainly do that), those countries will become much colder.   Yet it’s because the planet is warming, a chain of events started by the melting of the ice caps which would turn the entire Atlantic colder for a time.

*****

Further reading (please read, it is important):

A Grave Climate Warning, Published on Black Friday 

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The most effective defense against gaslighting.

bytheirfruits

Narcissists and sociopaths not only try to make you think you are insane, they can literally drive you insane.   They do this most effectively and insidiously through gaslighting, a method of mental manipulation in which you are made to doubt or question reality or told your feelings are invalid.   This occurs on a personal level with narcissistic people and extends today all the way up to the national and political level. It is always extremely damaging.  People who are constantly gaslighted by a narcissist or sociopath often develop PTSD or Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

Examples of gaslighting in relationships:

“I was joking. Stop being so sensitive.”

“That’s not what I said.” (when they definitely have said it).

“You are imagining things.”

“It never happened.”

Trump gaslights his political rivals, his enemies, and the entire country on a daily basis.   I can’t and won’t attempt to list all the examples, but his Twitter account is a treasure trove of gaslighting if you can stomach it.   Perhaps the most egregious example to date is his recent denial of the Access Hollywood tape where he now denies he ever said he could “grab women by the pussy.”  Another good recent example is Roy Moore (who I believe is as sociopathic as Trump) justifying his pedophilia by comparing himself to Jesus being persecuted — he is pinning the blame on the truth-tellers (projection and blame shifting) and denying reality (gaslighting) at the same time.

When our own reality is questioned or denied, or when actual events are called “fake news” and the free press “the enemy of the people,” it’s not uncommon for us to begin to question the truth itself.   You begin to think that maybe, just maybe, the gaslighter is actually the one telling the truth and you are just nuts (which the gaslighter will happily confirm).

My favorite Bible verse ever is this one, from Matthew 7:15-20 (New Living Translation) because it’s so useful in gaslighting situations.

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

When a gaslighter makes you question the truth or wonder if your honest feelings are invalid, I’ve found this verse stops any doubt I’m having and calls out the abuser for the liar they really are at the same time.   Look at what the person is producing.    If they’re creating nothing but chaos, destruction, fear, and misery, if they’re sowing discord instead of unity,  if they always break their promises,  don’t believe anything they tell you.    They are lying and will never produce any good fruit, no matter what they might want you to believe.

Truth or Dare?

Elizabeth Mika writes probing, fascinating, and, well, creepy posts about Trump’s malignant narcissism and the ways our narcissism as a nation inevitably led to an election of someone like him.   She also writes about the psychology of his most ardent followers, who seem eerily reminiscent of cult members.   This is a phenomenon she accurately dubs “Trumpism.”    When under the thrall of a cult leader, many people seem to forget their own morals and not have minds of their own.   They will continue to deny truth and support their leader even when there is irrefutable proof of the leader’s immorality and even criminality held up to their noses.

In fact, I believe Trumpism is a cult, and Trump qualifies as a cult leader.

cult_definition In Ms. Mika’s most recent post, she writes about this disturbing trend and the true intentions of the criminal mob who hijacked the White House in November.

Truth or Dare?

Would you want to know ahead of time if your future president suffered from a dangerous, incurable character defect — not mental illness — that was typical for all tyrants in the history of human race?

What if that defect, with its predictable manifestations and consequences, was described to you early on, so you could perhaps help prevent the tyrant’s rise to power? Or, if too late for that, at least understood what to expect and pursue appropriate action as his reign took hold?

Would you want to know?

This knowledge is easily available, though for some reason we prefer not to find it, and that’s as our government, country, and the entire world come under threat from just such a characterologically defective leader and his circle of similarly impaired enablers.

Yet we don’t want to see it, and we loathe talking about it, even though, as Lee Siegal reminds us, avoiding questions about Trump’s mental unhealth is “a betrayal of the public trust, a denial of human nature, and an insult to posterity.”*

In a September 2016 post, The Red Herring of the Candidates’ (Physical) Health, I wrote:

If / when Trump is elected and proceeds to dismantle our democracy (yes, we know this is a very real possibility, thanks to correct diagnosis, as chaos and destruction are assured by his character defect; but he also said so, should there be any doubts), will we perhaps revisit and rethink the Goldwater Rule? If we have that chance, of course, and courage and a desire to do so.

The dismantling of our democracy is in full swing now and proceeds according to schedule.

Make no mistake: What we are witnessing is not some incompetent bumbling of political novices, but purposeful and vengeful destruction of our government, country, and possibly — if the pathocratic Trump/Bannon cabal is allowed to remain in power unopposed— the world.

*****

Read the rest of this post here

I highly recommend Ms. Mika’s blog on Medium.  This is where hers and other’s articles on Trump, Trumpism, and the normalization of sociopathy/narcissism in general can be found.

Words as weapons.

by Photos8.com

by Photos8.com

If you were raised by narcissistic parents, you are probably familiar with these.  These are the words I heard from my parents (yours may differ somewhat but the devastating effect is the same).  I’ve broken them down into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, since the emotional abuse doesn’t stop when you become an adult.  Sometimes it gets worse. No matter what stage of life you’re in, these words are intended to destroy your soul. They are extremely effective weapons.

Childhood:

child-abuse1

You are too sensitive (the #1 criticism)

You have no sense of humor.

You cry too much.

Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.

Your hair looks like a rat’s nest.

You always look so dirty and sloppy. (after being outside playing)

What did you do to your hair? (I did nothing; my hair was naturally thin and fine and tangled easily–and also grew in a strange way with cowlicks and weird curls)

You read too much.  (what?)

You’re too obsessed with your books, drawing, and solitary games. (These were my escapes)

You act so immature; no wonder you have no friends.

You know you hate competition (when I wanted to join the swim team)

You know you’re not good at team sports. (I wasn’t, but this made me doubt myself even more when playing team sports)

I don’t think you really want that. (subtle gaslighting intended to make me doubt my own reality)

Here, let me do that for you.  (a favorite of my mother’s when she didn’t have the patience to teach me or supervise me in a new or unfamiliar activity)

You’ll only make a mess of things. (another way to discourage my competence).

They’re just jealous of you because you’re prettier/smarter than they are (this seems nice but wasn’t based on reality and even I could see through that BS; I was bullied because of my high sensitivity, not my “superior” looks and intelligence)

You come from a better family than they do. (better in what way?)

We don’t associate with people like that. (see above–my parents were VERY into social status)

Don’t tell anyone what goes on in this family.

Keep your mouth shut about what happened here tonight.

Adolescence

teenager_sad

You’re gaining too much weight.  (my mother’s #1 favorite criticism, usually done in front of others)

You’re too fat (when I weighed 120 lbs at 5’4″!)

Your hair looks too stringy/greasy/what have you done to it, etc.  (a variation on the childhood hair criticism)

You eat too much chocolate, you will get pimples and no one will think you’re pretty anymore.

You’re boy-crazy!

You don’t study hard enough; you will fail all your subjects and not graduate (always catastrophizing)

You’re too pretty to wear that/do that/say that, etc.

You know you don’t want that. (making me doubt my reality)

You know I don’t like it when you act “tough” (but my sensitivity was hated too–I could never win).

You always get too hurt by everything (no empathy after a breakup or lost friendship, etc.)

You always get too obsessed with a boy.

This dress will make you look slimmer (this was a dress given to me in front of my friends at a birthday party)

Your butt is too big (I do have a big butt–I couldn’t help it!  It’s the way my spine curves. What was I supposed to do? Slice it off?)

Your breasts are so big they will hang down to your waist when you’re 50.  (I’m over 50 now and they don’t, they weren’t THAT big, and I think there might have been some envy in this anyway because she wore an A cup and I wore a C)

You’re acting like a crazy person.

What a stupid thing to say.

You have a terrible personality. I wouldn’t like you either.

You should change your personality.

You need to learn to control yourself.

You’re not goal-oriented.

Adulthood:

depressed_woman_bw

You’re living  a loser’s life.

You have nothing to show for your life.

You make terrible choices.

You’ve always made terrible choices.

You probably did something to deserve it. (always said when someone else treated me unfairly; no empathy shown)

Well, the way you are, I’m not surprised they are so angry with you/don’t like you, etc.

You’re a disgrace.

You never learn from your mistakes.

You overreact to everything.

You have no sense of humor/too sensitive, etc.

You don’t know how office politics works.  (I don’t, and I hate it, but this was meant to insult me)

You never did have a knack for making it in the business world.

You’ll always be poor because you make such terrible choices.

Don’t expect any help from us.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Why don’t you join a convent? The nuns will take care of you.  (said when I was threatened with homelessness during my divorce).

Go live in a homeless shelter (see above).

You don’t take good care of your kids.

You’re a terrible parent.

Those kids are going to grow up with so many problems.

You weren’t raised to be this way.

It’s not my responsibility that what I said upset you.

You chose to be upset by that.  (again, taking no responsibility and blame-shifting).

You choose your own emotions. (see above).

You made a choice to be depressed/miserable, etc.

****

I could go on, but I think this is enough for now.   Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Further Reading:
Lies My Narcissists Told Me

Narcissists in fantasyland.

kitten_sees_lion

We already know narcissists lie. It’s the one thing they’re all good at. I read a conversation today about the way narcissists lie even about things there is no reason to lie about, and that they also begin to believe their own lies.

Narcissists have been telling lies for so long and have gotten so good at it that they really do believe their lies are the truth. Sometimes they even become skilled at using lies to cover up other lies. To a normal person, living a lie and trying so desperately to cover the truth would be an unbearably stressful way to live. Narcissists are stressed out by this as much as anyone else, but they don’t know where their stress comes from. They are deluded and think their lies are the truth. They honestly don’t know any better so they can’t stop lying and they can’t stop the stress that comes from that.

Think of a young child playing pretend. The child may know the fantasy is just a fantasy, but while they’re in it they believe it’s the truth. Tell the child their fantasy is a lie and they will rage and get very upset. But for young children, living outside reality to some extent is normal. When an adult lives outside reality and creates a fantasy world they think is real, we call it crazy.

If you tell a narcissist to stop lying, they will attack or sometimes, withdraw or even disappear. This happens because: 1. They hate the truth because if they know you can see through their lies, you have blown their flimsy cover and that is terrifying to them; and 2. like a young child, they don’t want to leave their fantasy world–a dream where they are perfect and superior to everyone else. Because in reality they know they aren’t. In fact, narcissists have dismally low self esteem. They hate themselves–but are in love with the false self they created. That’s where their grandiosity and sense of entitlement comes from. They need a constant influx of narcissistic supply from you to keep their false image of themselves alive.

wizard-of-oz2

In “People of the Lie,” M. Scott Peck discusses a malignantly narcissistic patient of his named Charlene. After years of therapy (during which Charlene spent most of her time sadistically playing with Dr. Peck like a toy), in one session she told him about a dream she had of a “marvelous machine.” The machine did everything and was perfect in every way. Charlene proudly told Dr. Peck she had designed and built this marvelous machine herself. When Dr. Peck suggested this machine that did everything was actually an elaborate weapon Charlene had created in her mind to avoid facing the truth about herself, Charlene’s cover was blown and she reacted with unreasonable rage, attacking Dr. Peck for not agreeing with her about the perfection and beauty of the “machine” she was so proud of and what its true purpose was. She could not bear to face the truth and preferred to keep living in her fantasy world of delusions.

wizard
Wizard: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz wanted to appear to be a powerful and ruthless tyrant, so even though he was actually a weak and unassuming little man, he hid behind a curtain, amplified his voice, and projected a scary image onto the far wall when Dorothy and her friends entered the Wizard’s castle. What gives the Wizard away as not being a true narcissist (I’d venture to guess he was probably a borderline) was the fact that when exposed, he took responsibility and showed true remorse for behaving the way he did. It’s still a good illustration of the way narcissists deny reality though.

Narcissists hate themselves and only want you to see what they want you to see. While perhaps done unconsciously, they construct a False Self which is a self of lies. This mask isn’t who they are but they sure get good at convincing everyone it is. Their abuse of others stems from the need to protect “the marvelous machine” they created. If they feel this cover may be blown by the truth, they attack, abuse and rage (or leave), because they’re so terrified you may see the emptiness inside or even worse for them, the vulnerable and defenseless True Self hiding in the dark corners of their unconscious.

I’ve seen narcissists talking to themselves, sometimes in public. It’s weird. It’s as if they don’t know they are talking to themselves. I used to point this out to my ex when he was holding conversations with himself, and he’d deny it or get angry. Could narcissism be a psychotic or dissociative disorder? Do they hear voices in their heads? Sometimes I wonder.

By telling themselves so many lies, they are abusing themselves as much as they abuse others. Only they never realize this. And they won’t ever let you tell them. They’d rather wander forever in the confusing labyrinth of their disordered minds where up is down, north is south, dark is light, yes is no, wrong is right, and they are gods. They can’t face reality because it might destroy them. Or so they believe.