I’m not letting Trump ruin my…er…Christmas.

Originally posted on December 17, 2017

pccard

Just like he did with the NFL by making it all about politics (you’re a traitor and a “very bad person” if you “take a knee” instead  of standing for the anthem), Trump has made Christmas a political issue.  Football and Christmas:  two traditions that bring people joy and bring them together regardless of ideology, have now been tainted by Trump turning them into divisive political issues, and that’s a damn shame.

What sane person cares if people say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?  I sure don’t.  It’s trivial and dumb.  Trump’s belief that there’s a “war on Christmas” is just so stupid and wrong, because there was never a war on Christmas.   For as long as I can remember — and that’s a very long time — people have said “Happy Holidays,” a phrase that’s meant to be inclusive and respectful of people who may celebrate Hanukkah or other December holidays.   It’s not a diss on Christmas or Christians, and it’s not anything new either.   Heck, back in the ’60s, my parents used to send out cards that said “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” because they had a lot of Jewish friends and didn’t want to offend them.   No one was offended.  It just wasn’t an issue for anyone.

Trump loves to rail on about political correctness, but he’s a hypocrite because he’s the one getting all bent out of shape about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or not.

Even worse,  now he’s ruined Christmas for a lot of folks by making it political, when it should be anything but.   I’ve heard so many people say they’re afraid to say “Happy Holidays” now because they’re afraid they’ll be perceived by Trump supporters as being rebellious or subversive.  Other people have said they’re afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because they might be mistaken for Trump supporters.

I’m not letting that apricot menace ruin my Christmas.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone!

*****

Further reading:

10 Reasons Why the “War on Christmas” is Bogus 

Football and Christmas: How Trump is Destroying Two American Traditions

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I would not want to have children in today’s America.

mirandalambert

When I was a little girl back in the ’60s, life was good.   There was a sense — even among children as young as I was — that America was a good place: prosperous and powerful, but also with a large, healthy middle class, a strong public school system, an effective safety net and strong labor unions that kept the vast majority of people from falling into poverty, institutions that actually worked, and a sense that the President of the United States would always be a man of high moral character and compassion for others.

Community was important.   Libraries, public schools, the post office, and the infrastructure in general were there to serve the greater good, and they did their job well.   No one questioned their existence.  It was unheard of for people to complain about having to pay taxes to support the community or to have nice things like public schools, fire departments, libraries, safe and well-kept roads, Social Security for the elderly,  federal grants so kids could go to college, poverty-relief programs like Medicaid or food stamps,  and national or state parks.   The rich — of which there were only a few — weren’t that rich:  in the 1950s, the wealthiest 1% paid 91% of their income in taxes (now they pay only 35% and that number is about to drop even more under the Trump tax plan).   If anyone complained, you never heard about it.   Everyone assumed that it was only fair the wealthy pay more in taxes, because the common good was seen as more important than the few wealthy being able to buy  yet another mansion or yacht (or use their vast sums of money to influence politicians and buy votes).

Politicians and leaders were generally seen as trustworthy and benevolent.  A few were not, but they hid it well (or were slapped down quickly) if they weren’t.   If they broke the law (like Nixon with Watergate), there were consequences — and they apologized and gracefully stepped down.  Most seemed to care about the average American.   Both Democrats and Republicans seemed supportive of public institutions that helped everyday people and worked to build things instead of tear everything down.   As the sixties turned into the seventies, measures began to be taken to clean up the environment, and formerly polluted rivers and cities began to heal themselves as new regulations were put into place that put people over profits.  The EPA was established.

When something bad happened, you had faith that the President was someone who was able to comfort and identify with the people’s pain. You could rest assured that whether Democrat or Republican, the president was a person not only of high moral character but also of high empathy.

Where I lived in the New Jersey suburbs, I was pretty much sheltered from all the social changes until the very late sixties or early seventies.   I heard about hippies on the evening news, but they seemed like some sort of fascinating exotic creatures to me, very far from my own sheltered childhood reality of homework, kickball, and Barbie dolls.   The Vietnam War seemed like something happening on another planet,  a terrible but abstract thing I never had to worry about.

I was too young to realize that women did not have many choices or that racial segregation was still being practiced, especially in the South.    As the civil rights movement began to change society, all it meant for me was that my school became more integrated.   Since I lived in an all-white part of town, having a few non-white students around made things more interesting.  If there was any pushback, I wasn’t privy to it.   Gradually, my grade school textbooks began to have photos of black and Hispanic kids in addition to the WASP-y looking people that populated the textbooks of my first and second grade years.   In 1972, we sold our home to a black family, and I found out later the neighbors’ reaction was pretty negative, but we had already moved away by then so their reaction didn’t matter.

As the women’s movement came along and women began to chafe at their limited roles as housewives and mothers, there was a more negative effect on me personally.   As a preteen,  I needed my mother (or thought I did), and her suddenly leaving my dad and spending so much time away from home and embarking on a career made me feel, well, as if she no longer loved me.  Of course, my mother’s narcissism — which was the real problem, not her feminism — has been written about here many times, but this post isn’t about that.

In spite of the problems ’70s-era feminism caused for me (or seemed to cause), as I got a little older I embraced it.   The world seemed wide open with possibilities and choices.   It was exciting to stand on the brink of adulthood and know I could be anything I wanted to be (things didn’t quite work out that way, but again, that’s another topic that has more to do with my individual background and poor choices).  What’s important is that back then, the future seemed like a carnival of brilliant colors and endless possibilities.

In 2017, things are vastly different today than they were forty years ago.    I don’t even feel like this is America anymore.  We are a country under siege by a corrupt group of selfish, compassionless, greedy criminals and their financial donors who pull all the strings to funnel ever more money away from the rest of us and into their own pockets.    They are actively trying to tear down the institutions that made us great and built a strong sense of community back in the postwar years.   Everything that helps families and children is being gutted.   Democracy is a thing of the past.

They are trying to legislate a repressive, authoritarian form of evangelical Christianity that would not only roll back hard-won rights and freedoms of women, minorities, and LGBTQ people, but also marginalize and punish those same people.  It seems like what they really want is a return to the Gilded Age, only with an ISIS-like religious theocracy in place of the Constitution.

Incredibly, they are shoving their oppressive religion down everyone else’s throats and infiltrating the highest reaches of politics in the name of religious freedom.   I’m afraid we are dangling on the precipice of becoming a totalitarian state which wouldn’t look too different from Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale.  At the very least, we are on the brink of civil war between the Trump-emboldened far right Christian extremists and white supremacists and everyone who believes in liberty, justice and freedom for all.   Violence is glorified and even after last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, certain Republicans are actually blaming the victims of the shooting for not doing enough to defend themselves instead of placing the blame where it belongs:  on the need for stricter gun laws.  Talk about gaslighting!

If all that wasn’t bad enough, we are in real danger of being decimated by nuclear war.  Our own government (aided by Russia) has declared war on us from within, but oh no, that’s not our only problem.   Our president — a conman and pathological liar who would have already been in prison 40 years ago — is engaged in a schoolyard pissing contest with North Korea’s dictator, and is threatening and abusing us all by making veiled threats about nuclear annihilation on Twitter.    I cannot trust this president to do the right thing.   In fact, I’m pretty sure his intentions are malicious.  I really do feel like our own president has declared war not only on the most vulnerable Americans, but also on those who still value decency and compassion and community.

It’s ironic to me that Trump is rolling back laws that require employers to cover contraception and women’s healthcare, since Trump’s America is not any place I would want to bring a child into.     If I were of childbearing age, I’m pretty sure today I would choose not to have children.    I worry about my own two kids, who are just starting their adult lives in this new, mean version of America, a collapsing empire now infested by unspeakable evils we couldn’t even imagine a few decades ago.   I actually hope my kids remain childless until (and if) things get better.

This country that held so much promise as I entered adulthood has been gutted from within.  All I can see is a dystopian nightmare future.   I would never want to foist it on an innocent child.  I feel very sorry for kids being born today.    I don’t understand how anyone with a soul would want to have a child under this oppressive, toxic, uncaring, hateful, and dangerous regime.  They will never know the same America that I knew.

 

That one annoying commenter you can’t get rid of.

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“Tiny Yapper” — Artwork by Mike Reed

We bloggers probably all have at least one of them.   You know, that one annoying person who seems to disagree with all your opinions and just wants to argue but can’t seem to stay away from your blog no matter how often they are shot down or ignored.

I’m not talking about trolls.   Trolls are abusive and nasty and sadistic.   They seem to get their jollies from angering and upsetting site owners and their readers with abusive, ad-hominem attacks and name-calling.  They can never back up their arguments.  They seem to exist just to upset others.

No, I’m talking about people who have vastly different opinions and beliefs than the prevailing opinions and beliefs on the blogs they read.   They don’t actually abuse, though they can be very sanctimonious and self-righteous. They waste their breath arguing with you and your like-minded commenters, and act as if we’re all wrong and only their belief system is the right one.

I have a commenter like this right now.    This individual is extremely annoying to me.  It’s not even because we have vastly different opinions about most things; it’s that this individual is so self-righteous and smug about it.    I could just delete their comments, but this person does have a right to their opinion, so I approve them anyway, as much as dislike most of them.   I don’t like this person though, so after posting one useless counter-argument, I refuse to engage this person further.   Now I just let the comments stand as they are, without further comment or engagement.  I think that’s more effective than arguing with someone whose mind probably can’t be changed because they’re so sure you’re wrong and they’re just trying to “save” you from your wrong thinking.    I just don’t feel like wasting my time.  I have better things to do.

wrong-internet

I thought my freezing them out might have made this person disappear, but no such luck.  They are still posting comments that seem intended to make me ragey, although I don’t express my annoyance.   This person seems completely oblivious that I’m giving them the cold shoulder by not Liking or commenting on any of their comments.

I don’t understand people like that.   Fine, I can understand a troll’s motives.  Sort of.  They are usually sociopaths and like to stir up trouble.   Upsetting people is entertainment to them. They get off on it.   But “that one commenter” isn’t a troll.  They believe what they are saying.  They are right. You are wrong.  Period.   They don’t name call or use ad hominem attacks.   They are just insufferably smug and self righteous about your wrongness and their rightness.

I don’t understand why someone like that would spend time writing comments on a blog whose prevailing views are so different than theirs.  Why not read blogs where most of the people there will agree with you?    It just seems like a huge waste of time to me.

If you blog, how do YOU handle these kinds of commenters?

The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

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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. Most are crass generalizations made out of ignorance and a refusal to think outside the box or consider that not everything is all black or all white or that all people can be shoved into a box. .   Here are just a few of the things I’ve been accused of.

  1. I have an “agenda” and dishonest motives.
  2. I am not really an abuse victim.
  3. I am being paid off or otherwise compensated  other people (like Sam Vaknin) or psychiatric organizations (like the APA) to promote my “evil” views and blur the lines between Cluster B disorders and complex PTSD caused by abuse.
  4. I’m “evil.”
  5. I’m crazy.
  6. I’m confused.
  7. I only care about being “popular”
  8. As a Borderline, I have “no right” to be writing posts about narcissistic abuse.

To these accusations,  here are my responses:

  1. Um, no.  I’m not clear what “agenda” it is I’d be trying to promote. My only “agenda” is healing for myself, fun (because I love to write), and hopefully, helping a few others along the way.
  2. I guess some people never really read this blog because it’s filled with personal accounts of narcissistic abuse by both my family of origin and my ex-husband.   Oh, that’s right.  I’m just making it all up. 🙄   I couldn’t make up these accounts if I tried.  I try not to dwell too much on the abuse though, because doing that doesn’t help me and only makes me miserable.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, though.
  3. This really makes me scratch my head.   It almost makes me laugh how far a few people are reaching by saying this.  The only monetary compensation I get is about $30 – $40 a month from running ads on this blog.   I still live in poverty and I don’t have any kind of shady business dealings with any organization or person.  I write this blog because I want to.
  4. That’s quite a value judgment there.   You don’t even know me.   I don’t point fingers and call anyone evil unless I have real good reason to, and even then I’m hesitant because I don’t want to be a judgmental person (I can’t stand judgmental people).   I think it’s always better to use the term “evil” for actions, not people.   I guess this idea that I’m evil is because I’m zOMG “Cluster B.”  I’m not a narcissist (even if I do have a few of the traits) and I’m not antisocial and I do have empathy and an almost excessively strong conscience.   But some people have the idea that even if you’re a self-aware borderline who practices mindfulness, you’re still as bad as one of the narcs.  “Sociopath” is another thing I’ve been called but it means pretty much the same thing.
  5. Maybe there’s a bit of truth to this.  After all, I do have four mental disorders–BPD, complex PTSD,  Avoidant PD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I can act pretty crazy sometimes too.   But at least I’m self-aware crazy and can see myself pretty objectively and control my urges to act crazy when they get out of hand. But just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean I’m crazy.  I just have a different opinion than you do.  Deal with it.
  6. There’s also some truth to this.    It is VERY confusing being both an abuse victim and having a Cluster B disorder, even though the Cluster B disorder was caused by abuse!   And like it or not, I DO think BPD and complex PTSD are almost the same disorder.   Of course, this is just my opinion and no one’s paying me off or brainwashing me to “blur the lines.”
  7. No.  My primary motive in blogging is healing myself and helping people.   A secondary motive is fun.    Yes, of course I look at my stats and always get a small thrill when they’re growing, but I don’t write to be popular or famous.  Yes, I’d like to write a book someday and be able to make a living from my writing, but who wouldn’t?   Even if I never make a penny from my writings and even if no one read my blog, I’d still be doing it because it’s something I really like to do.
  8. As a Borderline, I *AM*  victim of narcissitic abuse.  (see reply #6).  ANYONE who was an abuse victim and wants to heal from the damage they endured has EVERY right to blog about it, and yes, that even includes people with self aware NPD!

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“Me and My Evil Crazy Me” (Minecraft image by Sonatathesiren)

I know my opinions are sometimes controversial and won’t sit well with everyone, but unless I’m presented with a convincing argument to discard my personal beliefs and opinions, they aren’t going to change.   I ‘m a critical thinker who likes to explore all angles of an issue and then form my own opinions when I’ve gathered enough information.  I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drummer, rather than mindlessly following what other people tell me I “should” do or believe.   Being a “lone wolf” who walks to the beat of my own drummer and refuses to conform to the “popular” view is one of the biggest reasons why I was ostracized by so many people all my life–including my own family.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  This is who I am and I’m going to keep running with it.     I seriously don’t understand why people who dislike my opinions and views so much keep reading my posts anyway if it’s only going to make them angry.  No one is forcing my opinions on those people. Just hit the backspace button!  It’s easy.

I’m aware some people have a problem with this because it doesn’t fit into the almost cult-like mentality I’ve seen among certain (fortunately only a few) ACON bloggers. If you piss them off, be prepared to be mobbed. Maybe they’ll leave you alone on your own blog but make no mistake–they will be trashing you and your character on their own blogs. At the same time, there are so many more people (and bloggers) who appreciate my reluctance to put people into boxes and think in only black and white terms.  There are many beautiful shades of grey in between the extremes.  That’s one of the best takeaways of moving away from BPD black and white thinking and replacing that with critical thinking and mindfulness.  If that’s evil and crazy, then evil and crazy I guess I will be.   But I really don’t think it is.

balance

Many people have told me my more open-minded approach has been refreshing and has helped them come to terms with the abuse they had to endure and move past the rage and anger they felt coming out of their abusive relationships, or when they went No Contact. At the same time, one of my aims has become reducing the awful stigma against people suffering from BPD. It’s a delicate balance, but I don’t think it’s undoable.

Being a borderline and a trauma victim who writes about narcissistic abuse issues as well as my own (and other) cluster B disorders,  it’s sometimes a delicate balance.   But they are not mutually exclusive.   I  feel driven to write  about my disorders as they relate to my abuse and attempt to reconcile them because I need to for my own sanity and healing.

Losing followers.

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As a blogger, I always worry when I lose followers, even if it’s only a few.     For the past few weeks my number of followers has remained steady (and the number of visitors and views keeps going up, thanks to the search engines and continuing popularity of certain posts I wrote a while back), but this week I lost about 4 followers.  Today I have 1314 followers; a week ago I had 1318.

I don’t know who these followers were, and there could be any number of reasons why they’re not following me anymore, including something as impersonal as a WordPress glitch (it’s happened before; in fact it happened to me yesterday:  I had to re-follow Bluebird of Bitterness, who I never knowingly unfollowed).  They could also be spam accounts who unfollowed me.    But I worry just the same, and I always start fretting about what I might have said that may have offended someone.

But what sort of blog would this be if I never offended anyone?  A boring one, probably.   Of course I don’t intentionally try to offend,  but whenever you state an opinion, someone might disagree with you.   It really can’t be avoided.  My blog is so I don’t have to keep my opinions all to myself!   I probably didn’t offend anyone anyway, at least not enough for them to unfollow me,  and even if I did why I am so worried about four followers who I can’t even identify and might have been bogus accounts anyway?

ETA: Twenty minutes after posting this, I gained three followers. 🙂  I don’t know if they’re the same ones or not.

On freaking out.

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I shouldn’t freak out so much whenever I post something I’m embarrassed by or ashamed of or that is very personal.
I always forget how good running naked in public can feel.
The outcome is never bad, and always leads to even more self awareness.
How can that be a bad thing?

I’m not alone in freaking out over stuff like this. It seems to be universal, hardwired into the human brain.
Why is there so much shame in making yourself vulnerable, telling your secrets? Does it mean you’re weak? Is it something we should be ashamed of?
I don’t think so. I think being vulnerable and candid means we have the courage to honest even when it hurts, and that makes you stronger than 100 boxes of Wheaties.

I posted an article earlier I was certain would run off most of my readers, cause my friends to leave me, and basically kill this blog.
But that hasn’t happened.
Everyone’s been so supportive.
And I want to tell everyone thank you. I’m glad I did this now.

#reesesplease @ReesesPBCups and The Hershey Company: stale pbcups are not delicious

No original ideas today, but I stumbled on this article that expresses my sentiments about Reese’s Peanut Butter cups to a tee. I adore them, but refuse to purchase one anymore, because more often than not, the dang thing is stale, and there’s nothing more disappointing than ripping open the orange wrapper to find a stale, tasteless dried out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

leo brown weekly response (2011-2013)

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Whenever the JCC swim team went to Friendly’s after a meet, I ordered the decadent, oozy Monster Mash Sundae. I horde Reese’s. I mash peanut butter cups into ice cream whenever possible. I could go on.

But I’m not here to write about my love, because I know it is hardly unique.

Reese’s cups are almost universally idolized and beloved. Americans abroad have it tough, as Reese’s are virtually impossible to find in most countries, though citizens of the world clamor for a nibble. Here in America, we stow Reese’s in cubicle drawers, pantries, and coat pockets, rewards at the end of a tough day, or just because.

I’ll cut to the chase: Reese’s has a serious problem with quality control. As blissful, as divine as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup can be, too often, the chocolate is coated in a sickly, white film and sticks to the wrapper

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Upgraded stats page: yea or nay?

question

The only thing I like about the upgraded stats page is there’s a button to take you directly back to your site. Otherwise I don’t see much of an improvement if any, and I don’t like the simplified graphs at all. I liked being able to see number of views and number of hits so I can compare them. I don’t see where you can do that with the upgrade.

What do YOU think?