On political correctness and the inevitability of offending people

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Blogging isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes it can be a real challenge. I’m beginning to experience a few of these challenges for the first time and at times I even feel like I’m possibly in over my head.

As this blog has grown and become more visible, I’m beginning to face a few of the problems that most blogs and websites are eventually faced with if the subject they focus on has even the slightest potential to be construed as offensive or controversial and the website remains publicly accessible.

A few days ago, a blogger who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) called me out for giving outdated and incorrect information about DID. I do not follow this blog, but the admin was very upset about one of my posts, which no longer exists on this blog. In addition to giving outdated information, I referred to their personalities as “fragmented” instead of entire personalities within the same person that are known as “alters.”

Not being very confrontational and not caring much about that particular post anyway (it wasn’t one of my best and I admit I did not have current information about DID), it was easier to just delete it and not have to go head to head with someone over a post I didn’t even care much about.

Today I found a trackback in my comments folder to an article this same blogger wrote where I was again called out for giving misinformation. I have also been criticized by this person for having a joke page about people with NPD and for writing about a disorder that I do not myself have.

As for the jokes: my intention was never to offend anyone, including people with NPD or any other mental or personality disorder. I put up the joke page not to enrage people with NPD but as a tool we victims of narcissistic abuse can use to lighten our moods. When we read jokes about the types of people who have been abusing us, it makes them seem less threatening and therefore easier to deal with. Personally I’ve always believed laughter is medicine and when we can laugh at what is hurting us, that thing ceases to have so much power over us. Besides, most of the jokes aren’t even my own. They are links to other websites and pages or copies of cartoons other people have made. I think only the “12 Steps of Narcissism” one is my own.

Our MNs and psychopaths have hurt us so often and so badly that sometimes it just feels good to be able to laugh at them (instead of the other way around, which has often been our experience with them). This isn’t to make light of this devastating disorder or to demonize them. I do not hate narcissists, I feel sorry for them.

It may surprise some, but I actually have a great deal of empathy for people with NPD who want to change or who suffer due to their disorder. Those who are aware of their disorder suffer enormously in ways we, as people who do not have NPD, cannot even begin to imagine. As much as they may seem like machines or robots or devils to us, they are still human beings and as some of us have seen for ourselves in the past week right here in this blog, they have very sensitive feelings and do not take jokes at their expense well.

I have said before that I will welcome any narcissist who has enough insight to write honestly about their disorder and/or who is in pain because of it or who wants help. Two days ago I received an email from one that made me cry because I was so happy she was seeking help. So I do care about them. I cannot help them here and am certainly not qualified to give psychological advice to them but I can possibly help point them in the right direction to get help. I do not hate narcissists. I hate what they do and the way they act. But this blog is not intended to help narcissists, even though they may come here. It’s intended to help those of us who have been targets of their actions.

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m going to go around using racial slurs or make sexist remarks. I’m not going to say you’re deluded or mentally deficient or a bad person because of your religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. That’s not cool and pretty much anyone with an iota of respect for others will avoid saying those things.

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As for this blogger’s opinion that I am not qualified to write about NPD because I do not have NPD myself, I call bullshit on that. How many people who have NPD are writing about NPD? Sam Vaknin, and that’s about it. Is only he and mental health professionals allowed to write about NPD? I feel that, having been very close to several malignant narcissists in my lifetime, gives me a unique perspective on the disorder different from that of a sufferer or a mental health professional and makes me every bit as qualified to write about it. There are many of us who write about NPD, a whole community of us, and we are finding healing by writing about what was done to us and how to cope with the narcissists in our lives. For some of us who are still in an abusive relationship with a narc, or who can’t afford therapy, writing about it is the only hope we have.

So I’m also not going to allow one disgruntled blogger (in this case, one who doesn’t even suffer from NPD) to make me fear speaking my mind or keep me from sharing my opinions on a blog that is meant primarily as a form of self-therapy and support for others who have experienced similar situations with their narcissists. I am going to remain completely honest on this blog, about my thoughts, opinions and feelings. Not everyone who reads them is going to like what I have to say, or agree with it. But if I start censoring what I say for fear of offending someone, then this blog ceases to be the haven of honesty and I will have sold out. And selling out is something I simply will not do.

This is my blog, and these are my feelings, and I will continue to write whatever I want about narcissists for as long as the topic is of interest to me. Again, what I write is not intended to offend those with NPD or any other disorder. It’s intended to help US, the victims of abuse. In the process a few toes will be stepped on, and that’s just the way it is.

I will never set this blog up where you will be required to sign in to read posts. I can’t stand that and will usually bypass a website that requires me to sign in. That said, I am beginning to understand why some website owners and bloggers require people to sign in with a password, especially if it’s a topic that is controversial or sensitive. I hope I never have to do that.

I looked to see if I could make the “jokes” page semi-private (where only my followers could see it) but unfortunately there is no way I can do that. I could make it password-protected, but anyone who wanted to read the jokes would have to know the password and that’s simply too difficult to do, so for now, I will leave the page up as a publicly accessible page. Most people have told me they don’t mind the jokes and even find them helpful in making the narcissist seem less dangerous in their minds.

It’s hard for me when I get negative feedback or someone takes offense to something I said. It’s scary as a fairly new blogger whose blog is growing so fast and becoming visible much quicker than I thought it would. But it’s something that I will need to learn to deal with and get used to. No matter how politically correct you try to be, someone is always going to find something to be offended about, especially on a blog that focuses on such a sensitive subject as mental illness and abuse.

Please provide feedback. I would like to hear your thoughts.

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The “War on Christmas”? Bah humbug.

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Certain Christians who celebrate Christmas (not all Christians do) have lately been bellyaching via blogs, bumper stickers, and various memes that there is a “war on Christmas” going on. Even some conservative Christian politicians have been bloviating about this alleged “war on Christmas.” Where are the tiny violins?

I find it all a bit mystifying because if anything Christmas is more in your face today than it ever was before. The holiday season used to start the day after Thanksgiving; now it starts the day after Halloween, and even Thanksgiving has been insidiously taken over by a day celebrating the spirit of greed called “Black Friday”–which now has edged into “Black Thursday,” meaning many stores are now open on Thanksgiving so people can stock up on cheap TVs and other appliances to give their holiday shopping a head start.

You can’t get away from Christmas. Everywhere you turn, it’s buy this, buy that; give this, give that; host a big holiday bash or else; and you’re either a Scrooge or a sucky parent/lover/friend/employee if you don’t blindly obey these messages that are blasted into our ears 24/7 for an entire month or more.

If you don’t have the funds to give extravagant gifts or host lavish parties and holiday dinners with all the trimmings or the time or desire to decorate a 10 foot Christmas tree and bedeck your entire house with exterior lights, you are made to feel defective–and Scroogelike. And it’s getting worse and more in your face every year.

So Christmas itself is having no problems. I don’t see any war against it going on.

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I think what the “war on Christmas” actually refers to is cards, banners, signs, and greetings that say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of the more Christian-centric “Merry Christmas.” Those who complain about the war on Christmas are objecting to the political correctness of those attempting to be all-inclusive–because after all, America is a melting-pot nation that includes Jews, Muslims, atheists and people of other faiths besides Christianity. “Seasons Greetings” is convenient and covers at least the Jews who celebrate Hanukkah and African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa (who probably also celebrate Christmas). In fact, I know a lot of Jews who celebrate both Hanukkah AND Christmas. Christmas has become more of an American holiday than a religious one–and a handy excuse for Big Business to rake in big bucks.

“Seasons Greetings” has been on Christmas cards for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been around quite a while), but it didn’t seem to me that anyone minded that until the past 10-20 years or so. Personally, I think it’s petty and stupid to make such a big deal about it. “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holiday” doesn’t exclude Christians, but for some reason certain Christians think that such a greeting is a sign of hostility against them or Christmas itself. I think there are far more important things for them to be worrying about besides the printed message on a holiday oops Christmas card that will probably be tossed in the trash the week after New Years’ anyway.

Here’s a news flash: There is no “War on Christmas.” It’s all in your head.