The bullies are winning and my heart is breaking.

wearenotok

Today I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and recovering from some terrible illness at the same time.  I have no energy.    I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep.  But I can’t sleep because I’m so on edge.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I’ve spent the entire day lying in bed. I’m depressed and anxious and everything hurts.  I’m stress-eating, doing pretty much nothing but staring at the ceiling and dropping the crumbs from the loaf of lemon pound cake I bought this morning all over my clean sheets.  At least I haven’t watched the news today (I need a break from it, after this past week).   I’ve been trying to read a new book I just bought, but I can’t concentrate.  I must have read the same page about ten times and didn’t comprehend a word of what I read.

As a survivor of narcissistic and sexual abuse, this whole Kavanaugh drama that’s been on the news 24/7 for almost two weeks now has been extremely triggering and making my C-PTSD symptoms flare up.  It’s not much comfort to know I’m far from alone though.  What this government is doing is narcissistic abuse writ large, and it’s negatively affecting millions of women and children, people of color, immigrants, and even many men.  Brett Kavanaugh is an abuser.  Even if he wasn’t a sexual predator (and I think there’s enough evidence that he is), he is predator and an abuser of women.  You can tell by his smug demeanor and his fake tears, by his narcissistic rage, by his entitlement, and by his abuser non-apology (“I didn’t mean to lose control, but SHE made me do it”).  Trump loves Kavanaugh because he’s a mirror image of himself and he will do his bidding and make him immune to the law.

So now that this predator, serial liar, and all around awful person has been confirmed to the highest court in the land, I feel personally threatened.  Not by Kavanaugh personally, since I will never have to deal with him.   I feel threatened by this entire regime which seems to grow stronger and meaner every day.  The abuse they inflict seems to keep getting worse, and now it’s getting personal.   First there was the Muslim ban, then the horrible treatment of the people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, there was Heather Heyer being killed in Charlottesville by a white supremacist, and then football players taking a knee and being condemned for that.   As terrible as those things were, they didn’t seem that personal.  They were just terrible news stories, distant from my own life.  I still had hope things would turn around, people would wake up to what was happening, and good would triumph over evil.

But real life isn’t a movie with a happy ending, and things continued to deteriorate.   There were reports of  migrant kids from Central America locked in cages and forcibly separated from their parents.  I remember waking up in cold sweats from nightmares about little Hispanic children crying and screaming behind bars in cold dark cages, reaching their little hands out through the bars toward me, tears streaming down their small brown faces, and not being able to do a thing to help them except pray for them.  My nightmare wasn’t far off from the reality of what was actually happening.  Kids in concentration camps.  No privacy, not enough food, forced to drink dirty water, denied medical care or comfort.  Provided only with an aluminum foil blanket for warmth.  Ripped from their mothers’ arms and then not even allowed to comfort each other.  Abused and mocked by cruel, sociopathic guards in some cases.  Children fortunate enough to be returned to their parents looked shell shocked, their faces devoid of emotion.  They’d obviously been traumatized and were forced to  bury their feelings because living like that, in cages, away from the family that loved them, not understanding what they did wrong to deserve such treatment, hurt too much.  These little kids will be damaged for life, because a fat orange faced dictator felt like it was necessary to “deter” immigrants from coming here, and these innocent little lives were used as a tool and a warning.

And this travesty is happening in America.  In the land of the free.  In the the shining city on a hill.  “It can’t happen here.”  Really?  Oh, yes, it can.  And it is.   Who will be targeted next?

Women.   Women are being targeted now.  Especially women who dare to come forward and tell the truth about their abusers.   This regime has no empathy for survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise, especially if they’re female.   Trump mocked Dr. Christine Ford at one of his rallies, and his supporters cheered.   A sexual predator gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, after lying under oath, committing perjury, and after a sham FBI investigation was run that turned out to be nothing more than a way to get “the left” to shut up.

Now Democrats and liberals are being targeted.    I avoid reading Trump’s tweets, but I couldn’t ignore this one, because it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck:

You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left wing mob.  Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern.  Republicans believe in the rule of the law – not the rule of the mob.

Let’s unpack this tweet.  First of all, it is blatant gaslighting and projection, which this man does every day.   It’s the Party of Trump (formerly the Republican Party), that has become extreme and dangerous, they are the ones who are trying to install a fascist, authoritarian government, remove our rights and freedoms, and now they appear to want to squash the First Amendment rights of anyone who doesn’t fawn at Trump’s feet.

I have never heard any president in my lifetime ever refer to the opposite party as a “mob” or “dangerous.”   Such labels were reserved for outside enemies, like ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  Our protests have been peaceful, much more peaceful than the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended in the death of a counterprotester, or all the hate-filled Trump rallies where his followers chant mindlessly, “Lock her up!  Lock her up!” two years after Hillary lost the election (even though she didn’t lose the popular vote) — and even though repeated investigations found she was innocent of any wrongdoing.   THEY are the mob, not us.  The Trump party does NOT believe in the rule of law because its leaders are corrupt to the core and break the law every day.  Its followers are fueled by hate and fear, and they are growing more aggressive, as Trump stokes their rage at his rallies and encourages bullying and violence against anyone who is different from them, or anyone who doesn’t worship Trump, which means most of us.  I fear there is going to be a crackdown against us very soon, a curtailment of our rights, even though we have done nothing wrong.

In America, the bullies are winning.  Evil is winning.  It’s so triggering.  I am reminded of being the bullied, sensitive kid at school who was chased home every day by a rowdy group of cruel boys and mocked by the popular girls because of my social awkwardness.   Our president is a sadistic bully and he is surrounded by and rewards other sadistic bullies, while gaslighting and blaming and cruelly mocking everyone who has ever been a victim — or even anyone who is just a decent human being — by him and his merry band of flying monkeys.

When I think back to two years ago, or even a year ago, I realize with a jolt how much worse things have become since then — and much worse than I ever thought they could get.  I certainly thought Trump would have been impeached or removed under the 25th Amendment by now, but nothing he does or says — locking kids in cages, committing treasonous acts with Putin and Kim Jong Un in plain sight, alienating our allies, mocking women and abuse survivors who are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories — nothing at all seems to force him to be accountable.   He is apparently already above the law.  His new SCOTUS pick, Kavanaugh, was chosen primarily because he will make sure Trump stays above the law and is never held accountable for his many criminal acts and brutal deeds.    Our system of checks and balances has been hacked away at and has failed us, and now all three branches of government are completely under Trump’s control.

Even the breaking news story the other day in the New York Times that provided proof that Trump is a tax cheat and fraud who lied about his inheritance and businesses,  made barely a blip in the news.  It got buried under all the Kavanaugh drama, and no one even seems to care.  No one is going to hold him accountable for his crimes.   Even if the Mueller investigation somehow isn’t shut down,  Trump will skate, no matter how bad the charges may be.

Things have gotten worse, so much worse.  I feel it in my very cells.  It’s different now than it was even a few weeks ago.  Trump is consolidating power, he’s become more blatant and open in his cruelty and his lackeys don’t even try to hide behind a pleasant facade anymore (Lindsey Graham is a good example —  it’s almost like he’s possessed or suddenly removed his “soft spoken southern gentleman” skin suit).

The GOP has declared open season on women who dare to call out a man for abuse or for rape, and on all Democrats.   This isn’t normal.   A president is supposed to bring people together, not divide them.   Democrats have been demonized and identified as the enemy, and Trump’s tweet is preparing his base for aggression and violence against us.  To Trump and his supporters, we are the enemy, every bit as bad if not worse than ISIS.  We are fair game for whatever Trump wants them to dish out.   Martial law and curtailment of our freedom of speech is probably next.   We may even be rounded up and put in reeducation or forced labor camps.  Private prisons can make a hefty profit off our free labor.

As a Democrat and a woman and abuse survivor, I don’t feel safe in this country anymore.  I’m hypervigilant and constantly stressed.   Things seem to get better for awhile, I see a ray of hope — and then something happens and it feels like I’m on the Titanic as it was sinking, knowing there’s no way to save myself.  Or like I’m in hell, trapped in a torturous game of two steps forward, three steps back, for all eternity.   It’s as if I’m back in my abusive marriage, only this is worse because there’s no escape, no way to go “no contact.”  Trump dominates everything, he’s an oppressive presence even when I’m not seeing or hearing him.   I feel like I can’t breathe.  I wish I could flee the country, but I lack the means to do that.    And I’m so jealous of those who will be able to.

If things have gotten this much worse in less than two years, I’m absolutely petrified of what is coming down the pike next year, or two years hence.   I lack the right kind of emotional makeup to be able to survive living in a fascist dictatorship and once it’s established (if we lose the midterms I am sure it will be), all I have to look forward to is the relief of death.   I worry about my children facing a future under such a cruel and heartless regime, where my daughter can be targeted because of her gender, and my son can be targeted because of his sexual orientation.   I don’t feel like they’re safe here either and I worry about them.

Besides being terrified, I’m also heartbroken.   I remember the way things used to be here in America, how bright the future seemed.  I remember the way we took our many freedoms and rights for granted and never dreamed anything like this could happen.  I’m filled with grief so profound and heavy I can barely move.    I often wonder if this is the way women felt in Afghanistan or Iran before Sharia Law took over or the way the people of Germany felt in 1934 before Hitler seized total power.

I never thought it would happen here.  But it has.  America is dying, and this is what is feels like.

Please pray for us.

*****

Here is a similar, but more hopeful, article from Chris Kratzer’s amazing blog.  Its central message is that if what is happening in America makes you feel sick, nauseous, angry, sad, fearful, or disgusted, there is nothing wrong with you.  In fact, if you feel those things, it’s an indication you have a working soul.

If Today, Your Heart Breaks and Your Hope Is Fading

Advertisements

To the Young Men and Women of America: From the GOP

This is a very powerful and well written post from one of my favorite blogs, JohnPavlovitz.com.

Warning:  it may be triggering to survivors of abuse.

To The Young Men and Women of America, From the GOP

Narcissistic abuse: who is the real victim?

I’ve noticed the way the Trump administration is constantly “blaming the victim,” and the way they never take responsibility for their own terrible and abusive actions that hurt real people.  Not just that, but they usually paint themselves as innocent victims and use rhetoric that makes it sound as if the real victim is the perpetrator.  They project their own evil onto the victim and often use flying monkeys (in a government, a flying monkey can include state run news, TV pundits, and other propaganda generators) to smear or destroy the victim’s reputation or credibility.   This is a form of emotional and mental abuse common in families run by sociopaths and narcissists and, as we are seeing, it also happens in sociopathic regimes like the one we’re currently living under.

There is an acronym called DARVO in the narcissistic abuse community (DARVO = Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender). Narcissistic abuse survivors are all too familiar with this method of mental abuse and emotional manipulation.  It surprises me that more of them don’t see it happening in the Trump administration, when it’s staring them right in the face, but there are abuse victims who actually unconsciously identify with their abusers and this could be an example of that.

There are many examples of DARVO in this administration (it would take a whole other article to name all of them), the most recent one being the GOP ganging up on and blaming a rape victim of trying to “ruin the life of” and making a victim of a “model citizen” (Brett Kavanaugh).   In general, women are held in very low regard in this regime (especially if they are not white), and are usually blamed by the patriarchy for anything that happens to them, including rape. These hateful, entitled men seem to think a man who sexually abuses a woman or even a child (Roy Moore) is just “doing what men do” and it’s the female’s job to somehow stop him, or that she somehow “led him on.”

In this authoritarian regime which emboldens and encourages toxic masculinity and misogyny, men are painted as poor innocents who simply cannot control their sexual urges.   Never mind that forcible sex, rape and molestation have nothing to do with sexual desire and is all about power and control.   If it cannot be denied the rape or sexual abuse was wrong, the woman is blamed for not reporting it in a timely enough manner.  But there are many reasons a woman or girl may not report sexual abuse or may wait many years to do so: shame and fear of retribution being the most common reasons.   According to the patriarchy, the man is never to blame.  It is always the woman’s fault.

Franklin Graham, the dominionist son of Billy Graham (what the heck happened to Graham’s kids anyway? Billy was not a lunatic) even went so far as to say Kavanaugh “respected” his victim by “not finishing.”   Wow.  A real man of God.   He probably thinks it’s okay to rape young girls because that’s what men did in Old Testament times.    Now the corrupt GOP are trying to silence Dr. Blasey Ford and ram Kavanaugh through for the SCOTUS seat in spite of abundant evidence he is not a man of good character.  They are trying to excuse what he did to Dr. Blasey Ford as normal behavior for a teenage boy, even though it is not at all normal.     When I was in high school, no boy with any moral compass would ever hold a girl down while forcing sex on her and cover her mouth to keep her from screaming (and have a friend turn the music up to drown her out), and if he did, it would become a police matter (if she ever reported it).

In light of these developments and the real peril women are in under the Trump regime (we may lose all our rights and freedoms should this nomination go through and if the GOP wins the midterms), I’m reblogging this article I wrote about distinguishing victims from their abusers (it can be hard to tell, if the abuser has convinced you they’re the victim)

Lucky Otters Haven

adult-workplace-bullying

Narcissistic abusers are great at charming people they want to impress, or those people they want to get on their side. When they have targeted an individual for abuse, they will stop at nothing to turn their friends, colleagues, even their families against them–and it’s not at all uncommon for them to claim that THEY are the ones being abused.   The process of using malicious gossip and lies to turn people against the victim is called triangulation and is well known in the narcissistic abuse community. Most of us who have been targeted by narcissistic abusers know all too well about triangulation and its close cousin, gaslighting. Both will be used in conjunction with each other to turn the victim’s potential allies against them, effectively isolating them and ripping away any support systems they could use later.

Those who have been turned against the victim by the narcissist are called

View original post 1,349 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

My codependent “marriage” to a narcissistic boss.

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 intimidate me (because of my social phobia and severe shyness).  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 was intelligent, he was definitely a somatic narcissist, obsessed with his internal health and what he put into his body. He never ate anything unnatural. He was a devout vegan who never touched most of the snack food we carried.

Kathy was his assistant manager for the first two years I worked there. Kathy was not the most emotionally stable person around, and was dealing with the fallout from an abusive marriage to a psychopath. That made her a perfect target for John’s abuse. He overloaded her with work, and yelled at her for the slightest mistakes, sometimes with customers watching. He seemed to enjoy humiliating her. He wasn’t known for his patience, and would scream at her if she was slow to catch onto something or failed to do something right, and I can’t count the number of times he had poor Kathy in tears. Kathy used to tell me in private how much she wanted to quit and how much of an emotional toll John’s rants were taking on her. I sympathized but was caught in the middle–because when Kathy wasn’t there, I heard all about how “stupid” and “incompetent” John thought Kathy was. He also said he thought she was stealing. But I didn’t want to get on John’s bad side and just listened to him complain, never sure if he was telling the truth or not.

John apparently didn’t think too highly of me either. Kathy told me once he would never promote me because I was too “scatterbrained” and “stupid.” John thought all women were stupid. I could tell from his conversations that he regarded all women, starting with his mother, as mentally deficient.

Kathy finally quit and John ranted on about how she betrayed him. He told me she would never find another job and how lucky she was to have worked for him. By this time, I’d been working at the store for about two years and asked him if he would allow me to take Kathy’s place as assistant manager. I was told he’d “think it over” but a few days later he called me into his office and told me he’d decided to promote a young cashier (Kevin) who worked in the store instead. Because John was a misogynist, I knew he had a lot of misgivings about promoting another woman, but he did make me “paperwork specialist” which meant sometimes opening the store and counting the money in the safe, as well as making deposits at the bank. It was really an “assistant-assistant manager” position and paid about a dollar more an hour.

About six months later Kevin moved to the eastern part of the state and left. John was desperate and there was no other male he could promote to assistant manager this time, so I got the job by default. He knew I already was doing everything the assistant manager would do, and would not have to be trained in much.

I turned out to be good at the job, and he often told me so–but I also became the new “Kathy” and handy target for John’s abuse, criticisms, and frequent rages. I always felt like I was walking on eggshells with John, and found I preferred it when he wasn’t there to watch my every move and point out everything I was doing wrong. I felt like I could breathe on days he wasn’t there. I was now in Kathy’s position and took the brunt of John’s hatred toward women. More than once he screamed at me in front of customers, and I remember the humiliation of that and the pitying looks I received from them. I never cried though, just stood there and took it. I would not give him the satisfaction of letting him see me cry the way Kathy did, because her tears only served to escalate John’s abuse.

angry_boss

Getting no reaction from me frustrated John and once he even raged at me because “I didn’t react enough.” He took my poker face as a sign of disrespect and told me so. His insults became more personal, no doubt to try to get a reaction. By this time, my daughter was having behavioral problems in school and I was sometimes called by the school to come pick her up. This caused my attendance to become spotty. Instead of kindly telling me to find some way to reconcile my problems with my daughter with my having to leave early so often, he told me I was a “rotten mother.” As if that had anything to do with my job performance? He also told me he wasn’t surprised I was divorced, because he bet I was “hell to live with.” I didn’t realize at the time he was projecting all his own character defects and narcissism onto me. I felt hurt by these insults. I tried to talk to him about how much it hurt me, but having no empathy, he turned a deaf ear and never apologized for his abusive comments.

In 2009, John took a month’s vacation time and left me in complete charge. I still enjoyed John’s entertaining monologues, but the stress of never knowing if I’d get the “nice John” or the “mean John” was wearing me down emotionally and making me dread coming to work. I discovered I liked the feeling of being in charge of the store, I liked being free from John’s mood swings and rages, and I was doing a good job. I learned how to place the weekly orders, open the store every morning and count the drawers and the safe, change prices on the computer and in the registers, review applications, and keep track of lottery and food stamp sales. I didn’t like delegating work to other employees and tended to try to do everything myself, but slowly I learned that I had to delegate some work or I’d go nuts. Of course running a store has its downside too, and I’d be required to fill in if someone called in sick or didn’t show up. Also, because of the problems I had with my daughter, when I had to leave I’d have to put another employee in charge and I used to worry that they’d mess things up.

When John returned, the vendors and customers told John what a good job I’d done, and this probably exacerbated John’s abusive behavior. He also didn’t like the fact the main office preferred dealing with me to dealing with him. A “stupid woman” was stealing his show and he decided to punish me.

John was also making plans to move to another, bigger store with higher traffic. He knew that I wanted his job after he left and kept promising me the job would be mine.

But one day he brought in an old colleague of his from a store he’d worked in several years earlier. She was an older woman–older than me–and from Day One she treated me like I was a piece of trash left on the floor. She didn’t even try to be friendly–and to make matters worse, I was asked to train her in everything I was doing. John never told me he planned to make her the new manager, just told me to train her and not ask questions. The woman was slow to catch on to the new computerized equipment, and kept making mistakes when filling the safe. The vendors didn’t like her, nor did the other employees. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew it couldn’t be good. John treated this woman with respect he’d never shown to me or Kathy–probably because she was older than he was.

Mean_woman

Shortly after John brought this woman in, another employee told me John was telling everyone I was “crazy” and “losing my mind” and he would probably have to demote or fire me. He was triangulating and gaslighting against me, but I didn’t know it was called that back then, so I began to question my sanity. He told me directly to my face I had terrible kids who didn’t know how to behave and that if I was a “good mother” I would know how to discipline them properly. What gave him the idea he had any right to criticize my parenting skills–and what did that have to do with my performance of my job?

After another month or so, when John felt this woman was sufficiently trained, he started taking away some of my responsibilities. I knew I was skating on very thin ice and started to look for another job. I hated being bossed around by this hateful woman I myself had trained, and stopped hiding my displeasure. She told John I had a “bad attitude” and everyone else began to believe her too. In fact, I WAS developing a bad attitude. Having my mind played with like a toy for five years was taking its toll and everyone noticed. I felt like a naughty child with mean parents. I’d been devalued and soon would be discarded.

One day in April 2009 I came into work and noticed the weird looks I was getting from a couple of other employees and even a few customers. For a couple of hours, John ignored me completely. My “replacement” was being nicer to me than usual. Something strange was up.

So I wasn’t surprised when, during a slow moment, John called both me and his new protege into his office and closed the door. He told me he was letting me go due to my poor attendance, bad attitude, and the fact “no one liked me” (I know that was a huge lie). My replacement sat there with a self-satisfied smirk on her face and I wanted to reach over and slap it off. He was actually nice about all this though, and promised me a good reference for a future job.

youre-fired

I never did use him as a reference. I didn’t trust him enough.

My five year experience working for John reminded me of an abusive, codependent marriage. The atmosphere in the store was exactly like that of a highly dysfunctional family.

John needed me and sometimes was kind, especially if he knew he’d gone overboard with the abuse and was afraid he’d lose me. He even told me on some occasions how dependent he was on me and how he hoped I’d never leave. On those days he would spoil me–treating me to lunch, allowing me to buy things in the store on credit, or telling me what a great job I was doing. For my birthday one year he bought me a huge bouquet of flowers and treated me to a nice lunch.

But all this manipulative niceness flew in the face of his abuse. I knew his “Jekyll” phases wouldn’t last and soon he’d become “Mr. Hyde” again. He insulted me about everything from my “bad parenting skills” to my “bad attitude” and “lack of social skills.” He even told me I was gaining too much weight when he noticed I was eating a lot of the snack food out of stress. Once he even told me he suspected I was stealing, saying that “assistant managers are the ones you always have to watch out for, because they know how to hide what they steal.” What? I never knew what to expect with John; he kept me walking on pins and needles. Five years of the stress of dealing with John’s unpredictable mood swings and rages was more than enough, and rather than be upset at having been fired, I left the store feeling like I’d been released from prison.