Institutionalized soul murder.

handmaids-tale

“If you’ve been following me for some time now, you’ve likely noticed the absence of optimism & hope. While my wife is at work, and my son is in school, I just cry. I’m trying to hide it from them, but they know. I just want to leave this country before I’m destroyed.”  — Twitter user

If you think statements like this are unusual, I can assure you they are not.

Several days ago, Jussie Smollet, “Empire” actor, singer, director, and photographer, was brutally attacked by a couple of Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats (the new KKK hood).  The assailants tied a rope around the man’s neck, yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, and poured bleach on him.    As the assailants left, they yelled “It’s MAGA country now.”   Smollet’s injuries were severe enough to require hospitalization.  This was a hate crime and most likely an attempted lynching.   Trump is doing everything he can to turn back the clock to the Jim Crow days, and we are almost there.

Indeed, Trump emboldens such violent attacks because of his hateful, racist, misogynistic, and neofascist rhetoric, especially at his rallies.   His hostile and bullying bluster contains obvious “dogwhistles” to his supporters, letting them know that attacking or bullying people who are different than they are is just fine in Trump’s America.

Not long before the Smollet attack, four good samaritans left food and water near the Mexican border for tired, hungry migrants (who are almost all women and children, not the caravans of violent MS-13 gang members and drug dealers Trump keeps screaming about).   Police arrested the kindhearted samaritans, and charged all four of them with misdemeanors!   Why misdemeanors?  For showing empathy?  That’s insane.

Meanwhile, homegrown terrorists, neo-Nazis, and high school racists are invited to the White House, are interviewed on TV, and sometimes treated like heroes–or at least their actions are dismissed as “boys will be boys” or “well, some of them are very fine people.”

A Trump supporting politician named Greg Gianforte body slammed a reporter last year for asking him questions.  He  was held up as a hero for attacking a journalist, and even won his state election, while the injured reporter was vilified as an “enemy of the people.”   (Gianforte later apologized).

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who very believably and painfully described the way she had been  sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, was told she was lying by Fox News pundits and Trump’s sycophants.   She was then mocked cruelly by Trump himself at one of his rallies (after Ford said the most painful part of the assault had been the way Kavanaugh and his friends mocked her — I’m sure this was not a coincidence).  Ford’s testimony was dismissed as a bunch of lies, while Kavanaugh, clearly temperamentally unsuited to serve on the Supreme Court, was painted by Trump and the GOP as some sort of misunderstood victim who was being unfairly attacked by lying, spiteful women who just wanted their 15 minutes of fame.   He now sits on the Supreme Court.

Central American children and their parents escaping certain death in their home countries, instead of being instructed in how to apply for asylum (these families are showing up legally at ports of entry) are being caged and forcibly separated from each other by ICE and border patrol agents, then tossed into concentration camps with only a foil blanket for warmth and inadequate food and medical care.   Two children have died in these camps. Unbelievably,  some evangelical Republicans are actually calling these cruel actions “biblical.”  Meanwhile, Democrats and others wanting to see the children reunited with their families and treated with kindness and empathy are dismissed as misguided or even evil.  We are gaslighted and told we just want “open borders,” but that too is a lie.

Undocumented immigrant families are released from detention at a bus depot in McAllen

Photo by Loren Elliott/Reuters

In “The Handmaid’s Tale,”  there is a scene where one of the girls is severely punished and returns with her feet bleeding and barely able to walk.  The other girls feel empathy for her, but don’t dare show it, because if they do, they too will be punished.   The same thing was also practiced in the migrant camps at the border, where siblings and other children were ordered not to hold or comfort each other, even after having been separated from their parents.   I don’t know whether or not they were punished if they broke the rules, but the fact such a rule exists is concerning.  It’s institutionalized cruelty.

There’s a reason for this besides just being cruel.  It’s an effective way populations can be controlled.  If you don’t allow people to comfort or show empathy to each other, they won’t rise up or try to overthrow their oppressors.   Hitler and other dictators were  known for doing this.  It’s also a way to fast track the destruction of human beings.   Don’t allow them any hope or comfort.   It’s an effective form of emotional torture.

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Meanwhile, cruelty is rewarded and applauded.  At the very least, it seems to be tolerated a lot more than it used to be.

Our values have been turned inside and twisted beyond recognition by a group of men (and a few women) whose only goal is absolute power.  Evil is now good, and good is evil.  Lies are the truth, and the truth is fake news.   Kindness and empathy are now bad and diabolical, cruelty and violence are godly and good.  Truthtellers are silenced, and liars are given a voice.

War is peace.  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.  — George Orwell (1984)

The people having the hardest time under the Trump regime aren’t necessarily the poor (as difficult or even impossible as their lives are), but people with high sensitivity, high empathy, high creativity, and people who are critical, independent thinkers.    This regime is threatened by all those things, just as narcissistic parents are threatened and scapegoat the most sensitive, empathetic child or the child who speaks the truth and exposes the family’s dark secrets.

I have heard many people say that since Trump became president,  they feel constantly on edge, suicidal, depressed, cry every day,  have lost interest in things that once interested them, feel like they can no longer cope, want to leave the country, are constantly afraid, feel constantly angry, isolate from others, feel sick all the time, or feel dead and numb inside.  These are all indications of PTSD and C-PTSD.  Trump and his sociopathic, cruel regime has triggered or retriggered these disorders in many (if not most) Americans, but it’s the sensitive, empathic, and creative, artistic types of people who are suffering the most, and are least able to thrive under an oppressive, authoritarian regime.   At the same time, these are the same people who are most likely to be the truthtellers  and whistleblowers we need so badly right now.

What the Trump GOP is doing is institutionalized soul murder.

Enough.

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The incredible shrinking world of the narcissist’s victim.

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When I was still with my ex, I became a recluse, holed up in my small room when I wasn’t at work, never venturing out even into the living room or kitchen. This was because he had taken over the whole house to the point I dreaded leaving the safety of my room, because of how obnoxious, loud, abusive and demanding he was.

He was sleeping on the living room couch (I was “nice” enough to let the parasitic loser crash there for almost 7 years–but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and he was extremely messy, loud and dirty–overflowing ashtrays, trash all over the table, plates left crusted with food or day old coffee, crumbs on the furniture and floor, and he never, ever cleaned anything. His idea of washing the dishes was letting them soak in soapy water and they’d sit there until they began to stink or someone else (usually me) washed them. He also talked loud, discussed inappropriate things with my daughter’s young friends (she was living here too at that time), and blasted his death metal and riot girl music (which he knew I couldn’t stand) just because he knew it would piss me off. Whenever I complained or even politely asked him to stop or turn the music down, he told me (in front of his friends and my daughter and her friends) that I was “crazy.” He’d announce to everyone things like, “oh, well you know Lauren’s a BORDERLINE, so that’s why she acts that way.” He also was deliberately loud when I needed to sleep. I was the only one working at the time, and had to be up early. You think he cared? Ha! Not when he yelled at me for being “emotionally unstable” or “selfish” because I wanted quiet at night when I was trying to sleep.

I couldn’t stand leaving my room because he seemed to be everywhere in that small house. I was too depressed to go out, and didn’t have anyplace to go anyway. See, another thing that happens when you live with a narcissist is that you may not have any money. Some narcissists hide all the money from you, keeping it tucked away in their bank accounts where you don’t have access to it. If you work, they may demand you hand over most or all of your paycheck. Or they simply grind down your confidence in your abilities to the point where you only take jobs that are far beneath your actual ability. Or, in some cases, the narcissist simply refuses to work, while racking up the bills and then expects others to pay. This last type was what my ex was.

For seven years he didn’t work, but freeloaded off my good will and codependency. He was the worst kind of parasite. Yes, I enabled him so that was my fault. But in me, he saw an easy “mark,” someone who was a people-pleaser who could be easily taken advantage of. In the winter, he’d turned the heat register to the highest temperature, so the living room felt like an oven. If I tried to call him on that and remind him that I couldn’t afford to pay a high electric bill, he’d deny it was him. He’d blame his daughter, or even say I was turning the heat up myself and didn’t remember (this was gaslighting of course). I knew he was lying but couldn’t prove he was, because he’d crank up the heat when I wasn’t around. Another thing he did was order movies, sometimes porn, without my knowing and these charges sometimes almost doubled the cable bill. Of course I wound up having to scrape together the money to pay it. When I confronted him about the movies he’d ordered, he denied responsibility, saying it must have been our daughter (she was never home and barely watched TV at all so I knew he was lying).

He did get food stamps, but that was the only way he contributed, and the amount he was getting wasn’t very much. He’d complain about the groceries I bought because they didn’t include expensive steaks, legs of lamb, and condiments that he needed “for his diabetes.” I was trying to stretch the budget, and that meant buying inexpensive foods. These were not to his high standards though. You get the idea.

My job was low paying (and still is). So of course after taking care of all his needs and paying gigantic electric bills thanks to him, and never having anything to eat because he’d eat all the food himself, there was never any money. So I couldn’t go anywhere. Hell, I couldn’t even afford a movie or the $3.00 fee for the community pool, never mind ever being able to get away for the weekend to the beach.

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I also had no friends. He’d convinced me I was so unlikeable and socially inept that I had stopped even trying to make friends. People who approached me in friendship I kept at arms’ length and never accepted their invitations or phone calls. I was afraid if they got to know me, they wouldn’t like me. Being avoidant and terribly shy anyway, socializing was never something that came naturally to me. So any fun activities or getaways I might have gotten involved with through a friend just didn’t happen, because I didn’t allow myself to have friends. I was also too embarrassed to let anyone come to the house because of its filthy and disheveled condition (thanks to him) and the fact there was never any food to eat, not to mention the certainty that this parasitic loser would say something embarrassing or inappropriate in front of any friend I might have brought over. Also, never having enough money to do anything fun, made getting together with friends difficult. I certainly couldn’t expect them to always pay my way!

Some narcissists won’t let their victims have friends. They either forbid it, or manage to turn the victims’ friends against them with their charming triangulating. Mine never actually forbade it, but just made it so uncomfortable and impossible for me to have friends that I gave up on having any.

At age 45, i noticed I was living like an 80 year old, pretty much confined to the house, and dutifully going to my job (which I hated) every day. I had no life at all, no interests, no hobbies, no money, no friends. All I had was TV, my computer and books. So I holed myself up in my little room and read and slept a lot. I didn’t even have the motivation to do something creative, like start a blog. I just vegetated in there, pigging out on junk food and snacks and growing fatter every day. I slept a lot during the day. Not long ago I posted a photo of what I used to look like. I can’t believe the difference–I don’t look like the same person.

That’s what living with a narcissist will do to you: destroy your looks, your motivation, your self esteem, your interest in anything, your pride in your own body and mind, eventually your sanity. I actually thought I had lost all my creativity and intelligence. I thought I had nothing left to offer to anyone, and my sole purpose in life was having to put up with the narc in the house who was sucking me dry like a vampire. He reminded me every day it was his right, and that I had no choice because if I tried to make him leave, he would kill himself and possibly take me with him. I was terrified of that possibility, but I now know he was full of doggy doodoo and just said that to manipulate me because he knew I’d fall for it. That man would never kill himself. That I know. If he was going to, he already would have.

Oh, there was more, so much more, but I’ll stop here before this turns into a book.

Don’t let a narcissist shrink your world and reduce you to living in a self-imposed prison. You deserve better than that. I know if I hadn’t gone No Contact with him last year, I would very likely be dead or very ill by now. They may not kill bodies, but they kill souls, and you die a slow and painful death which could eventually destroy your body too.

MENTAL HEALTH – Shared Psychosis

This is a really great article about the way psychopaths can manipulate others by inducing a “shared psychosis” with their victim(s) — otherwise known as trauma bonding or Stockholm Syndrome. Psychopaths are way too far gone to ever be cured. Don’t try to help one; you can’t. This well written article really drives home the evil and creepiness of psychopathy–and most are not even criminals. They achieve their desire to completely destroy another person or group of people (such as the followers of a cult leader) using perfectly legal means. No Contact is the only way to handle a psychopath (NC here could be expanded to to include malignant narcissists who are just under psychopaths on the narcissism spectrum, most garden variety narcissists, and yes, even a few very sick borderlines too).