Robert Alter On Relationship Problems

Why Fear Is Important To Bullies And Controllers

All bullies seek to increase a target's FEAR and anxiety.

What do they want a target to be afraid of?

>Doing things they enjoy, doing things they like or love.
(Such as caring for animals, wood crafting, creative projects, music, acting, writing, restoring antiques, gourmet cooking, inventing, starting a business, studying our favorite interests, etc, etc.)
When we do what we enjoy, when we do what we love, we feel good inside. When we feel good inside, we are happier. When we are happier, we feel and also exude more confidence. When we feel more confident, we are more independent, and are more able to do more things, and accomplish more. When we exude confidence, we are less socially anxious, and more likely to draw allies.
The bully tries to prevent the first step in this process from happening, thereby preventing the entire process.

>Feeling like they "belong", like they're a full, regular, accepted member of the family or community, classroom, or work place. When one feels accepted and comfortable in "belonging", then one is not self-conscious, and does not suffer self-doubt. When one does not suffer self-doubt and anxiety, then one is much more able to meet goals, make progress, feel happy, and accomplish wonderful things.
Bullies often try to convince a target that they should be worried about what others are thinking about them, and that they should not feel comfortable in the company of others because they are not welcome or wanted.

>Being seen or heard by others.
In groups where bullies are present, targets get singled out, and the things they do and say are magnified and cast in a negative light, no matter what they are. A target's dance lessons will be magnified and cast in a negative light. A target's good grades will be cast in a negative light. The bicycle or car that a target has will be put under a microscope; the target's relationships with others will be scrutinized and twisted; the target's accomplishments, aspirations, and plans will be "faulted". Even the target's hair, clothing, face, body, weight, height, and voice, even facial expressions, will be magnified, scrutinized, and faulted to a ridiculous degree, and the target will be verbally criticized, assaulted, ridiculed, sometimes even threatened. (A person who is NOT a target, who does exactly the same things as the target, or who even does illegal or immoral things, will NOT be scrutinized or criticized.)
It's not about the actual things the target is doing or not doing; it's all about trying to get the target (and those around the target) to believe there's something WRONG with the target, and that this person should be singled out and criticized, and shut down.
(The motives for shutting down a target, for bullies, are always the same; envy, intimidation, fear of exposure, fear of loss of control over others. Sometimes there are other elements: insecurity and fear of abandonment, fear of GETTING bullied and singled out, but that is almost always the result of some kind of trauma in the person's past that they have not healed from or gotten "closure" from).

>Feeling confidence; conducting themselves in a confident manner.
Not OVER-confidence, just normal, healthy confidence; the kind all humans need to have a healthy functioning life. If I feel confident, I show it. When I show it, more people will believe I'm capable and intelligent. More people will like me and listen to what I have to say.
This is human behavior 101; humans gravitate toward those who display confidence and away from those who don't (regardless of whether the person actually knows what they're doing or not.). Humans usually align themselves with those who APPEAR confident, and eschew those who do not appear confident. Humans tend to BELIEVE those who appear confident (regardless of the person's actual knowledge), and tend to DISBELIEVE those who do not (regardless of the person's actual knowledge).
So if a bully can get me to FEAR DISPLAYING CONFIDENCE, or FEAR behaving in a confident manner, then I will have far fewer ALLIES. Not because I don't DESERVE allies, but because of the human tendency to follow those who have an appearance of confidence.
This serves the bully in lots of ways, including knocking me out of what they perceive as a "competition" for allies and admirers. It also serves the bully in their goal for control over me; the fewer allies I have, the fewer people I will have standing up for me against the bully. The fewer allies I have, the fewer eyes there will be who see what's going on, or who will care. It also gets the bully MORE allies, because the bully then appears to be the one who is the most confident, and therefore the one who appears knowledgeable and capable, and innocent of wrongdoing.

>Learning new things.
When we learn new things, and we know that we learned them, our self-confidence increases. We feel stronger, more intelligent, and more independent. When our confidence increases, we feel less dependent on others, and are therefore not as controllable. We also are more likely to believe our own eyes and ears regarding what others are doing.

>Learning how to do certain tasks.
If I know how to cook my own meals, or work on my own car, or repair my own clothes, grow my own vegetables, cut my own hair, repair or build my own house, then no one has LEVERAGE over me who does know how to do these things (or pretends to know). I am not beholden to someone else to do these things FOR me. I will not be fooled by someone who is trying to con me, or who doesn't really know what they're doing. I don't have to wait around for someone else, or pay someone else, or accept a shoddy job. If I know how to cook my own meals, I can feed myself, and I don't NEED anyone else to cook for me, therefore I will be less likely to put up with any untoward behavior from a person who is cooking my meals for me.

>Doing/performing certain tasks.
If a bully sees me changing my own tire, they are very likely to come up to me and do something like criticize me, try to point out "mistakes", or try to take over. They may even try to physically take the tire iron out of my hand without my permission (space invader, controller).
They will NOT simply help me if I request it like they would for someone else who they weren't trying to dominate. In other words, if I ask them to hold the tire iron, they won't do that, they'll just take it and do whatever they want. Bullies want to be "ABOVE" certain others, ALL THE TIME, and they frequently use tasks and jobs as a method to meet this goal. YOU can't know how to change your own tire, only I AND THOSE WHO ARE LIKE ME can do that. It's TOO HARD for YOU, WE'RE the only ones smart enough and strong enough to be able to do that. (Sounds like adolescence because that's the developmental stage it's from.)
So every time a target goes to perform certain tasks or activities (they can be anything at all, from changing a tire to playing guitar to digging a ditch), a bully swoops in and criticizes, micromanages, bosses, sabotages, blocks, puts themselves IN IT somehow and causes the task to become very stressful for the target. Bullies will go to far lengths to block targets from performing certain jobs, tasks, and activities, including physically blocking them from doing it in whatever way they can.
(It's important to note that bullies will also redirect to others, so if a bully who does NOT know how to change a tire were to see me changing mine, they would STILL try to get me to stop by criticizing, trying to point out "mistakes", trying to convince me that I "can't" do it, that I'm not capable. They are even likely to get someone else to help them with their bullying, such as someone who does know how to change a tire~ send the person over to finish the bully-job and get me away from what I'm doing, any way they can. They MUST stop me from completing my task and proving that I am actually capable of it, which might result in increasing my own confidence, and increasing the confidence OTHERS have in my capability.)

>Expressing emotions, thoughts, observations, and opinions out loud, especially where others can see or hear. In groups where controllers are present, a kind of "hierarchy" is created by them. This can be seen in humans and other primates. Freely expressing one's self is actually a PRIVILEGE that only those with high status are "allowed" in such groups. So, even laughing loudly is often "stamped out" by those who are vying for control positions within the group. ALSO~ freely expressing one's self is a DISPLAY of confidence, which, as previously mentioned, draws attention and allies.
Thoughts, observations, and opinions are kept under careful watch and scrutiny, lest someone else hears them and starts thinking for themselves, or seeing that the Controllers are not the only knowledgeable or skilled ones in the group. When several in the group become more aware, any Controllers are more likely to be noticed, and lose their "edge" they have over others.

>Feeling RELAXED.
When a bully notices that a target seems relaxed, they will often immediately do something to disturb the target, trying to cause some form of anxiety or fear either directly, or in the surrounding atmosphere.

A target is often disturbed somehow by nearby Controllers any time they appear to be doing something that requires their full attention, or when they are concentrating intently on something, or when they are trying to accomplish something large or small. Anything from studying, to creative projects, to scientific observation, to business, to conversations with others, to personal accounting (paying bills), or just going out to do something.
It's common for students who are trying to study to be frequently disturbed by either family members or classmates, which can and does cause them to lose their concentration, and costs them on exams and in their education in general.
Controllers will disturb, interrupt, cause crises, sabotage, or bully a target any time they are trying to get something done. Some will even physically damage, ruin, or move, hide, or take something the target is working on or using.
This habitual interruption can also cause health problems for the target, even mental and emotional problems such as stress and memory issues, never mind time, scheduling, and social interaction problems, all of which can result in serious problems at school and work for the target. Therefore the bully's goals are met.

>Autonomy, and behaving like a free adult who does not need permission from others to act or do.
One of the most common Controller tactics is to try to make a target arrange their schedule around others' schedules, often changing plans at the last minute on the target, or not showing up, or saying there were plans when there wasn't, or leaving them out purposely to "teach them a lesson". Controllers also will often try to delay or wreck plans of a target, whether they are included in those plans or not. The Controller's goal is not to DO an activity, but to control the target. The actual activity or plan is secondary; it's a tool, an opportunity to assert control, it's not the goal. Controllers seem to enjoy having a target wait for them, having a target come TO THEM, they will rarely go TO a target; getting a target to do something other than what the target wanted to do; standing a target up completely, and then justifying their behavior. This is all training. We all show others how to treat us, and Controllers are no exception; they are intent on establishing dominance and "higher status" over a target, in the target's mind, and in anyone else's mind who will buy into it~ that is the only way they can stay in control.

Controllers are not interested in equally balanced, give and take, reciprocal, respectful friendships or acquaintances. They may not know how to be in one, they may never had had the opportunity to experience this in their childhoods. They see others as either below them or above them, not as equals who have learned different things and have different and varied abilities. They mostly see others as either a threat to their imagined "status" (which is real if others are playing along), or as someone they can dominate. When we know where they're coming from, we can be more prepared to deal with their behavior, or avoid them.

Authority On What Is Right

Controllers do this fascinating thing where they talk about what THEY do and don't do, and their opinions, in a way that makes it sound like they are THE authority on "right and wrong". They seem to involve gender in everything, perhaps because it's easier to get away with control that way. They apply this "right and wrong" judgment to so many things it's impossible to keep track, so just say pretty much anything.

For example if THEY don't swim in the ocean, then it's "WRONG" to swim in the ocean. If they are a woman, and you are a woman, then you should AGREE that it's "wrong" to swim in the ocean, and any woman who does swim in the ocean is ignorant or stupid, or even a bad person.

Anything THEY do is what OTHER women are "supposed to do" (if they're a woman).
Anything THEY do is what OTHER MEN are "supposed to do" (if they're a man.)

They will also apply this "Supposed To" to the opposite sex as well.

It doesn't matter what it is they do, if THEY do it, it's "GOOD AND RIGHT" or "OKAY".
It doesn't matter what it is, even if it's illegal, harmful, or puts others (including children) at risk. So to them, going to church is good and right and okay, and so is drinking and driving, with a baby in the car... because these are things THEY DO, and they are INNOCENT and have GOOD INTENTIONS all the time... therefore ALL of their actions are excusable...

So if THEY speed on the highway and weave in and out of other cars, follow other cars closely, text and drive, drink and drive, whatever and drive, then it's OKAY... because nothing THEY do could possibly be wrong, and it's NOT dangerous... because nothing THEY do could possibly be wrong... and it doesn't put children or other people's lives at risk... because nothing THEY do could possibly be wrong... And people who don't agree with them are just dumb, or scared, or weak, or not good at driving like THEY are...

If they use illegal drugs, it's OKAY, and only people who "don't get it" or are "prudish" or are "stupid" don't use them too. But anyone who takes Ibuprofen, or drinks water out of plastic bottles, or plays cards at the casino is BAD and stupid and crazy...

If they are a man and have long hair, then it's "manly" to have long hair, but ONLY the kind of long hair THEY HAVE. And they are also the authority on how ALL WOMEN should and should not wear their hair...

If they are a man and have a crew cut, then it's likely that they have decreed that all males who have hair that touches their collar is BAD, STUPID, and WEAK. And they will often, interestingly, have the exact same presumptuous "parameters" that the controller with the long hair had about WOMEN'S hair.

If they are a woman, they will also KNOW EXACTLY how other women "SHOULD" wear their hair, and if they don't they're STUPID and a BAD or CRAZY person. And likewise, same as male controllers, will decree exactly how MEN SHOULD WEAR THEIR HAIR. Especially regarding men they know personally.

Whatever CHURCH they belong to is the RIGHT church... or whatever RELIGION, or spiritual group, or movement. If they belong to an ANTI-RELIGIOUS group, then THAT'S the "right" group.

Whichever Political Party they belong to is the RIGHT one, the righteous one, the smart one; NO ONE in THEIR Political Party is EVER WRONG.

Whatever job THEY have is a "man's job" (if they're a man), whatever job THEY have is a "woman's job" (if they're a woman).
They also actually seem to BELIEVE that "only males can do such and such job" and "only females can do such and such job". Apparently it's fun and feels powerful to make up fantastical presumptions about what OTHER people are capable of and not capable of.
They also apply many of these gender roles to themselves as well, especially the ones that make them feel MORE POWERFUL or MORE INTELLIGENT, or sometimes they assign them to the opposite sex so they can GET OUT OF DOING CERTAIN THINGS.

Controllers are fascinating to watch, not much fun to deal with personally, however, unless you don't actually need to get anything accomplished, or want to do something fun or interesting.

Real Relationship, Or Role Playing?

If you get the feeling you're a surrogate place-holder for someone else in your relationship/friendship (someone's parent, an ex, a sibling) you're probably right. Do they treat you like you're YOU, or do they keep treating you as if you're a completely different person than who you are? Do they treat you with respect and reciprocal friendship and companionship, or do they seem to keep trying to get you to do certain things or be a certain way that may or may not have anything to do with who YOU are? Did they take any time or make any effort to get to know you, to KNOW YOU, or did they seem to assume they already knew all about you, who you are, what you are, what and where you've been, what you think, what your motives are, what your emotions are? Do they show any interest in SHOWING YOU that they care, or do they just keep expecting YOU to show THEM? Do they keep accusing YOU of doing all kinds of things "wrong" that don't even cross your mind, that aren't even a part of your personality? Do they say and do things that are mean or inconsiderate, or dismissive or judgmental, and then accuse YOU of doing those things? Or accuse you of being uncaring because you backed away from them due to their behavior? (Like it's a set up? Like they're TRYING to make you back off JUST SO they can accuse you of abandonment?)
When this seems to be a pattern, it's often because you ARE a place-holder for someone else, someone who they have been carrying around resentment for for a long time, sometimes all the way back to early childhood.

A Job Or A Calling?

Things to ask yourself about your work and motivations:

Would you do your job for no pay?
If you couldn't get any recognition or credit for it?
If it helped others but no one knew you were the one doing it?
If your family and friends thought it was stupid or silly?

If you answered "No", then your motives are not about helping others, they're about your image and your pocket.
If you answered "Yes" to all of the above, then you might be on the right track.
If you answered "Yes" to all of the above and you're actually doing it now, and you have no intention of stopping because you feel you're making some small difference, then keep at it, you may have found your Calling.

Desire For Supremacy

There is only one reason for placing one's self above another:   Desire for Supremacy. 

There are several reasons that humans desire supremacy, but only a few basic reasons, and they are all based in Group Dynamics. Without a group, there is no "Higher" or "Lower", so those who desire Supremacy also desire belonging, and fear being diminished or cast out.

Some basic reasons are: 

~Fear of being seen as "Lesser", and associated with those who are seen as "Lesser", and consequently being denied privileges, attention, and resources (because one has seen this happen and knows it to be a real threat).

~Craving to be associated with, seen as, and thought of as one of those who are Powerful, and therefore automatically cared for and liked by others.

~Craving for control over their environment and over other human beings.

~Fear of humiliation; if one's "Station" is at the top, then no other is allowed to point out their mistakes, failings, or flaws.

~Fear of being judged, ridiculed, or ostracized.

~Fear of being seen as weaker, less knowledgeable, less wise, less powerful, and less deserving, therefore being cast out. 

Humans who crave Supremacy (it's not a rare occurrence) will use absolutely anything to "prove" why they, personally, naturally "deserve" it. 

Some extremely common reasons that humans have used to try to claim natural Supremacy are:

~Body size
~Fighting skill
~Certificates of education
~Poltical affiliation
~Any affiliation

Emotionally and mentally healthy human groups do not play games of status, power and control, and are focused on the genuine well-being of all members of the group in body, mind, and spirit.  Therefore the desire for Supremacy in such groups is minimal because there is no fear of denial of basic needs or rights, and no fear of favoritism, exclusion, or unfairness. Adults regularly mentor youth in a calm and caring manner, and members of the group exchange accurate, positive feedback on a continual basis. All members are treated as real members of the group. It is the "norm" for all members to be heard by all other members, and it is very abnormal for anyone to be left out, talked over, insulted, or shushed. 
The only "ostracism" that occurs, if it ever does, is when a member would purposely dominate and harm (physically, which includes sexually and mentally) another member (ANY other member). The occurrence of violent/criminal behavior within such a group is rare because there is continual healthy interaction, guidance, mentoring, caring, respect, and accurate, polite, healthy feedback., from all members, toward all members. 
This behavior is learned because it is modeled, and it is modeled because it is comprehended.
The strength of such a group is far beyond groups who are full of power struggles, envy, self-righteousness, hatred, and domination behavior. 

This strong and healthy dynamic does NOT begin on a governmental level, but on the most basic and personal level. It begins in the home, in intimate relationships, in the family, in the neighborhood, and in the community.  


My Party Is The Righteous Party

When we find ourselves using a Political Party, a religion, or any other group as a Clique, or a gang we might want to take a moment to reflect on our underlying emotional issues.

~Why am I seeking to fit in? What am I lacking?
~Why do I feel like I need to be recognized as a "member" of a larger group in order to feel respected and recognized?
~Who am I afraid of? Why do I fear being singled out and rejected? Who is it in my life who singles out and ostracizes people who don't agree with them?
~Do I avoid airing my own point of view for fear of embarrassment or humiliation?
~Do I actually believe that anyone who isn't in my Clique is a lesser kind of human being, and I, along with my fellow Clique members,  know all the answers and are categorically better?

( A Clique is a group where "we" are the "right/good/smart/better ones" and "they" are the "wrong/bad/dumb/lesser ones", and we have no interest in hearing "their" point of view, and reject those who don't belong to our Clique, who don't follow along with us and agree with us.) 

Home Is Where The Heart Is

You're already Home. And wherever you go, you are still Home. We all belong on this Earth, in this World, how can anyone not be Home, wherever they are?

He/She Won't Stand Up For Me

Beware of a friend or partner who does not stand up for you against the disrespect of others.

This is a red flag; it indicates either Narcissism, or it indicates Codependence. Obviously if they're a "Narc", they aren't standing up for you because they LIKE it when others disrespect you. They're just letting someone else do what they want to do, and are probably hoping they won't get noticed that they're not doing anything about it. However if they're Codependent, they may be so used to being surrounded by manipulative Controllers that they react to disrespectful or abusive behavior by sitting down and being quiet.
They may be conditioned to NOT stand up, because they fear reprisal, consequences, retaliation, and this fear may be the only reaction they have to domination and disrespect, especially toward someone else.
"Fight or flight" is not really a complete description of the instinctual reaction to a threat (which includes disrespectful speech and actions, such as treating a person like they don't exist or are "lesser"). "FREEZE" is the third component that is frequently left out. So it's really "Fight, Flight, or Freeze". When your friend, partner, or family member has the reaction of doing NOTHING when someone treats you with dishonor, and especially if this is accompanied by them wanting YOU to do absolutely nothing as well, they may be having this Freeze reaction.
They probably don't realize it's a "reaction", and will most likely rationalize their feelings and their desire for you to be quiet about whatever happened, saying things like "don't rock the boat", or "don't make a big deal out of it".
Actually, not doing anything IS what makes it a big deal. One does not need to have some kind of Histrionic Fit when standing up for someone against disrespect, and in most cases, direct confrontation is not even necessary. However, pretending no one noticed the behavior IS the same thing as condoning it and encouraging it.
Defending the disrespectful or abusive person is an even bigger flag that indicates either Narcissism or Codependence. Which one it is may take further observation, but acknowledge the flag and reinforce boundaries before making that distinction or taking any action. 
Further, the family member or friend who disrespects a person's partner, friend, relative or child IS showing domination behavior and disrespect to BOTH people, not just to one. The dishonor of the relationship between two other people is a very common behavior found in those with Narcissism, with or without another "co-morbid" disorder or mental illness. The reason is simply envy, and fear of losing influence and control over a person.

Narcissists will often try to destroy the relationship between someone they feel ownership toward, even if they aren't very "close" to that person, and a new person such as a love interest, or another family member.  

Their desire for control and ownership over others is part of their disorder, and they will do all kinds of things to prevent the loss of one of their possessions. They can't handle the fact that a person they feel like they own might have a relationship that might take them away, even for a moment, from their control. They also fear that this other relationship will expose them for what they are, and the object of their possession will realize they have been being manipulated for however long it's been.

The most common  incidence of this behavior can be seen when someone finds a new love interest that's apparently serious. The non-Narcissist friends and family will be happy for the couple, and try to get to know the new person, welcoming them and including them warmly. They will of course be interested in the person in a positive way, and they will try to make them feel comfortable.
Narcissistic "friends" and family members, however, will of course feel threatened by this new person. They will often try to drive out the new person with all kinds of behaviors that resemble childhood antics on a school playground, such as ignoring, making snide or sarcastic comments, trying to make them feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. The Narcissistic friend or family member will often try to make the person they feel like they "own" turn against their love interest by pointing out "flaws", by magnifying anything they can use as "flaws", by painting them to be a bad person who's out to hurt or use their "owned" person, by excluding them from activities and events but inviting their "owned" person, by setting up their "owned" person with other people or pointing out other people that would be "better" for them. Narcissistic friends and family members will especially do this if they are worried that the new person can see them for what they are. Unfortunately it often WORKS, because the person is so entrenched in this group and their behavior that they don't realize what's going on, and they can lose what would have been a fantastic relationship.

This same behavior can be seen among family members as well, and in platonic friendships. Anywhere that a Narcissistic person feels ownership and control over another person. Children often do this with adults, pets, and one another, however healthy children grow out of this stage. Those who develop Narcissism do not.

Those who have become acclimated to an abusive/ hostile/aggressive/manipulative environment, especially if they have been the target of direct abuse, can develop Codependence that looks a lot like Stockholme's syndrome, but on a broader level. WHOEVER the "bully" person is, that is who they will "respect", although it's not really respect, it's a conditioned response to Domination Signals. Fear of getting SEEN, of getting SINGLED OUT, of getting attacked, humiliated, slandered, ridiculed, LEFT OUT, etc. is what's really behind this "RESPECT", but this awareness has been buried by the subconscious. It can feel instead like security, acceptance, even like a parental relationship, or like acceptance as a member of an elite or exclusive club over time, so it can be very difficult for a person to break out of the mental conditioning. Atmospheres such as this are easily seen from the outside, and often heavily defended from the inside, including by those who are oppressed within it (Stockholme's Syndrome -like behavior).

In regions, societies and cultures where this is widespread, children often grow up to mimic the adults in some kind of "Hierarchy" that was created by this domination behavior, often originated by criminals and the domination-obsessed who sought control over others in past generations. Such children will become confused early on when they realize that either they, or those they care about deeply, are being treated with dishonor and disrespect for no valid reason. This confusion eventually, unfortunately, often gives way to the desire for acceptance by the group, which is common to most primates, and especially Humans. So if it means being accepted, one will often start to give in to getting treated as a sub-class being, as if they are secondary to others even in their own family.  Or they will give in to allowing others to treat those they care about and respect with this dishonor and disrespect by others, like they are a "lesser" being within the group (such as one of their parents, siblings, or friend; and later, their own child and their partner.)

This is tragic, obviously, but happens in many human cultures and societies all the time. It causes great consequences in the mental health of the entire group, and serious rifts between people. It destroys relationships and families from within, and it undermines the business economy, driving out good business and bringing in black market dealing, governmental corruption, street crime, and sex "trade". There is openly practiced prejudice in such areas, and a large incidence of nepotism and cronyism in business and government. Schools are directly impacted, and it shows dramatically in the performance and behavior of the students.

Unfortunately, the problem grows exponentially, sometimes until the region's economy is completely destroyed, or the rights of citizens are so imbalanced that the economy resembles a medieval kingdom with very wealthy on one hand and struggling serfs on the other, but nothing in between.

On a larger scale, this problem drastically slows real progress which is clearly demonstrated throughout history; the only things that seem to "progress" in such atmospheres are weaponry; other things creep along slowly, or actually slide backward. It may be difficult to make the connection between "social hierarchy" and halted scientific and civil progress, but that difficulty is actually a symptom and result of the same social conditioning, believe it or not. They are intrinsically intertwined.

(Modern examples of that halting progress are fuel, energy, and fuel efficient motors.)

For Shaaaame!!!

Narcissists will try to make you feel bad, ashamed, and guilty for doing ANYTHING AT ALL. They will try to make you feel like you did something wrong when you saved a starving puppy. They'll imply that you should feel silly about learning a new language. They'll try to shame you for working on a creative project. They'll cast a shadow on any interest, goal, talent, or activity you have or do. They'll imply that all your friendship and acquaintance connections have hidden agendas. They'll try to imply that you're "OUT OF LINE" when you do anything at all that's in the realm of confident or normal behavior, that's in the realm of participating in anything, that's in the realm of learning or accomplishing or achieving anything. They will try to turn your going to the movies into some kind of evidence that you are a "bad person" who can not be trusted, and should be shunned. They'll do it TO you, and ABOUT you to others. Their appetite for control and elevating their own image by trashing others is seemingly endless.

Why Some People Gossip

Why gossip? We humans gossip to deflect it from ourselves. If we are part of circles who gossip, we WILL become a target eventually, unless we find ways to deflect others looking at US, and how we do that is to point AWAY from ourselves, at someone else.

Gossipers are bent on maintaining their approval rating, just like people in the media, and just like politicians, they will use smearing for this purpose.
"Did you see what SHE did? Did you hear what HE did?! Look how he's dressed! Look at her car! Look at that hair! Does he/she even have a JOB?"

Projection usually plays a large part in Gossip dynamics. The person who is judging herself, or feels inadequate, for her housework is the one who is going to gossip about the housework of someone else. The person who is fixated on sex is the one who is going to think about and talk about the sex life of someone else.

Deflecting the judgments of others onto someone else keeps that same judgmental focus off of one's self. When we are the one pointing the finger (away from ourselves, AT someone else), we also give the impression that we are ENTITLED to be one of the finger-pointers, and therefore that we are "above" and one of the "authority people".

Gossipers HATE IT when people talk about gossip and negativity, or stand up against it, because they are heavily invested in keeping blame and negative judgment OFF of themselves. They may be terrified of being seen in a negative light, because they more than anyone are aware of how much harm gossip, slander, and ostracism can cause to a target's life; they don't want to be a target for anything.

There is one main reason people choose a specific person to gossip about; because they're an easier target. Those who are already treated with disdain or disrespect by others for petty reasons, those who others harbor envy toward, those who have already been slandered, and those who are isolated, natural loners, or who simply don't seem to have a large support network due to any reason at all (family lives in another town, friends have moved away, their supports have died, whatever) are easy targets. People who live in another area away from the gossip group are also easy targets.

The gossiper tests the water first to see how their criticism of this person will be accepted. If they find that others also harbor envy and/or disdain toward the person (picture the "fat kid" in school, or the "nerd/smart kid", or the "ugly girl", or the "rich kid" or "poor kid", etc.), they'll continue with their smear campaign, embellishing more and more, trying to provoke an emotional response from listeners. They know they've succeeded when the listener starts agreeing with them, going down the same slander road.

The process is not difficult at all, most of us do the same thing on some level, with all kinds different topics. Sales people often disparage another product to make their own seem more valuable, pointing out the "flaws" of the other product but hiding the flaws in their own. We even point out "flaws" in our own lives to explain why we changed something, such as saying how we "had to" get another car because the other one was flawed in some way (this may or may not be true, but we tend to make a point of saying it whether or not the person asks; we're probably afraid of being judged for buying a new car, ESPECIALLY if we live in a Gossipy area.)

Disparaging others in order to elevate ourselves, either to their face or behind their back, or both, is unfortunately commonly human, as is picking one's nose, eating too much, over-spending, passing gas, and ignoring the real plights of others. One of these things can't be stopped, but can be controlled. The rest of them don't need to happen at all, we choose to do them, which is the same thing as when we don't stop ourselves from doing them. (We can't "help" gas, but we can go in the bathroom. We CAN "help" doing the rest of those things.)

An extra note about gossip, those who do it seem to believe that everyone does it, and that those who don't simply just aren't one of the "in crowd" people, or they're "shy" or have "low self esteem". Those who don't gossip are much more aware of reality, and are much less likely to disparage YOU, or anyone else, because they are not worried about being accepted by the "crowd". They don't gain their sef-confidence from getting a feeling of acceptance or approval from other people, especially from those who disparage others.

Haunted Zain On Abuse Recovery

Healing Recovery But Fewer Friends

A lot of people ask this question:
"How come the healthier I get, the more I recover, the less people seem to like me or want to be my friend?"
If you are, in fact, getting healthier, then your non-verbal communication is changing.
If you are living and working in a region or group that has a large incidence of emotional or mental unhealthiness, then anyone with stronger inner confidence and healthier boundaries will be avoided, even shunned or targeted for gossip.
Why? Because people who live in chaotic or controlling environments don't like those who aren't participating in the game, who aren't submitting to the illusory hierarchy they try to create, who aren't jumping to respond to their social signals. If you aren't acting submissive to the ones who want to be seen as "tough", "powerful", or "leaders", they won't like you. If you aren't fawning over the ones who want to be seen as "Great" or "Beautiful", or "Handsome", they won't like you. If you are not participating in bullying, corruption, or gossip, they won't like you, and if you stand up against any of that, they really won't like you.
It doesn't take much beyond simply not responding to their non-verbal social cues. If you look uninterested in the game they're playing, whichever game it is, they won't want you around.

EXACTLY like... children who don't want their teacher (non-PD teacher) around when they're not playing by the rules, or when they're picking on other kids.

You're "wrecking" their game with your calm and confident demeanor because you aren't following the group~ you don't give extra attention or admiration to the "Cool Kid" in the group, you don't follow the "Leader Kid" in the group, and you aren't picking on the "dumb" or "crazy" or "Loser Kid" in the group, you aren't displaying pity or martyring yourself for the "Martyr Kid" in the group, and you are not allowing anyone to put one of those labels on you. You just treat everyone with the same respect and care as human beings, and your non-verbal cues show that you expect them to do the same. You are showing that you aren't interested in playing the social games. But they are, so they don't want you around if they can't MAKE you play (they will try at first, but then they'll just reject you when it doesn't work).

The only way they will "be your friends again" is if you let them make up the rules, and you play their game.

The good news is, you aren't inside of the game, so you can live your real life. 

Understanding Abusive Behavior

When we are trying to objectively understand the behaviors and causes of behaviors in others, it is not the same as condoning, allowing, or letting them walk on us.

An example of understanding objectively without allowing one's self to be a target can be seen in psychiatric hospitals, and also group homes for the mentally challenged or ill. There are units in psych. hospitals where patients are constantly trying to target doctors and staff members, some of them every minute of every day. A professional worker, whether they're a doctor, nurse, caregiver, counselor or janitor, must maintain objectivity in order to work there and do their job. A patient might throw their food tray at a nurse. Her job effectiveness relies on her ability to not take it personally, and be fully aware that this person is mentally ill, and that there is always going to be a possibility of a "behavior".

One of the main reasons labels are created in the first place is so that those who work with and help patients and clients can be prepared for what they might be dealing with, and modify their own expectations and behaviors regarding the patient/client.

So that nurse would have expected, or at least not have been shocked for that particular patient to hurl the tray if she had objective awareness, and also experience. She would have been on guard around that patient. If it was an unexpected behavior, the next step is to re-visit the patient's diagnostic evaluation, treatment plan and medications, and re-evaluate how staff is protecting themselves from his or her behaviors.
>>>A non-professional staff (and I've seen this happen) would instead engage in a conflict with the patient, try to bully or shame him or her, and then gossip and trash talk about the patient with each other, and subsequently treat the patient with less and less care and treatment. I've seen this go to the point of serious neglect and abuse.

When we have someone who is abusive to us in our lives, we need to look at the entire dynamic, including ourselves. Of course it's not healthy to live with someone who is abusive toward us, so we need to make some changes for ourselves. Allowing ourselves to be treated badly should not be an option at all. So we need to change things to make our situation safe again.
Understanding and comprehending what is going on with a person who is abusive or manipulative has nothing to do with letting them continue to do it to us, and is in fact the OPPOSITE of that. When we are able to understand in a more clinical and less personal way about why someone behaves a certain way, we become more UNATTACHED and UNENGAGED in their behavior, not more attached. Understanding their behavior in a more clinical way makes it LESS PERSONAL, and easier to deal with in a healthy way.

To put it another way, if your brother ignored you all the time while you were growing up, if he wouldn't play with you, if he wouldn't respond to you when you asked him questions, and if he became ANGRY every time you tried to play cards or get him to go outside with you, you would probably feel hurt, rejected, angry, and/or sad. You might even end up kind of hating him, and maybe developing anger issues yourself, especially if your parents never tried to correct him or intervene.
But~ if your parents had explained to you about Autism, if you had read about it, learned about it, and came to understand that your brother CAN'T do the things you want him to do, and WILL get angry whenever you or almost anyone else tries to get him to do something, your entire perception of him and of your relationship with him would be completely different. You would not take his anger personally, you wouldn't feel rejected by his introverted demeanor, and you would not be confused about where it's coming from, and you wouldn't harbor so many ill feelings toward him. It would be a healthier environment for both you and him, and you would build and live your life in a different way than you would have in the other scenario.

Choosing Movements

 Why do we do some of the things we do, instead of doing other things that would be better on many or all levels?
Betrayal or stealing often does as much lasting damage to the person who does it than the person it's done to, it is an injury we do to ourselves as well as to another. These injuries can be healed when we are able to see ourselves as human beings who don't know everything, and who want forgiveness, and who want to feel the strength and inner peace that comes with straightforwardness and genuine care for the souls of others and ourselves.

Succeed And Fail, Or Be And Do

"Go beyond the idea of succeeding and failing -- these are judgments. Stay in the process and allow the universe to handle the details."
- Wayne Dyer

Narcissism, BPD, and Stigma

We might need to revisit straightforward Narcissism vs. BPD. There is so much stigma attached to both, which is of course one of the traits of Narcissism, ironically~ labeling people as "loser", "crazy", or "bad". These diagnostic labels are supposed to be tools used for analysis and understanding purposes, not for stamping people with scarlet letters and shunning them. Throughout human history though, as we all are aware, there are always those who find ways to group people as "good ones" (that would be the 'Us' crowd) and "bad ones" (that would be the 'Them' crowd). Mental illness is no different, and most of us who have been abuse targets know exactly what it feels like to be treated like a "Them", so we know it's not helpful at all, and only serves one purpose, someone's agenda.
>>>We might want to do that, even feel we need to, when we are in the middle of dealing with an abuser, and it's understandable, but that's a completely different thing from those who are not dealing with a specific situation attaching stigma, and is especially true for those who are mental health care workers and professionals. A psychiatrist, psychologist, clinician or therapist MUST learn how to view other humans as objectively as possible, without giving themselves "permission" to be judgmental with the excuse that they're "only human". Of course it's hard, it's hard for anyone to be objective about their fellow humans, but it's essential nonetheless.
That being said; some differences between classic Narcissism and basic BPD:

The person with BPD is worried about you liking him or her. The person with NPD is not, they are only worried about whether you'll be a supply or not.

The person with BPD may become very anxious or angry if they feel abandoned, it's one of the common symptoms. The person with NPD doesn't feel "abandoned", they feel like they're being 'disrespected' if someone isn't paying enough attention to them.

The person with BPD may feel angry, humiliated, and defensive when he or she feels like someone is treating them like they're someone who's "loopy" or "dumb" (not so abnormal, is it? it's just that their emotions about it can be much more intense, and can cause serious anxiety, which then makes them appear "loopy", which then invites even more negative judgment, etc~) The person with NPD is the one DOING the judging.

The person with BPD may self-harm and develop addictions due to anxiety, fear, stress relief, belonging, and feeling unwanted and shunned. The person with NPD develops addictions because they were looking for something to make them more powerful than they already think they are in some way (like amphetamines so they can get an "edge" on someone they're competing with, or anabolic steroids.)

The person with BPD may be very upset about something someone did or didn't do on a regular basis, and may have interpreted the other person's actions, words, and motive completely wrong but stay upset anyway; the person with NPD pretty much only displays annoyance and anger (and rage) as genuine emotions, and it's usually because something didn't go their way; if they could HIDE those emotional displays they would, absolutely (hurts their image and agenda, the display itself humiliates them, and they may become even angrier and blame someone else for it.They may do things to distract others or 'escape' when they feel exposed, or an emotional reaction coming on. They may 'turn the tables' as an escape tactic.)

A person who has BPD traits can ALSO have 'Narcissism', but they're not one and the same. There are all kinds of "versions" of BPD, especially since it's only a label for a pattern or cluster of behaviors that was noticed some years ago. The actual CAUSE of an individual's BPD symptoms frequently goes unexplored and ignored, and untreated, by many in the mental health professions. It's common for a person who has been diagnosed with BPD to get prescribed heavy medications but not receive therapy such as DBT, which has shown very postive results. It is common for a person who has been diagnosed with BPD to be singled out as the "cause of the family problems" by mental health care workers, (scapegoated), instead of the other way around, or even as a piece of a larger puzzle. It's common for a family scapegoat to develop BPD symptoms, and also for any children growing up in a Narcissistic environment (caregiver, family, or larger community).

There are a lot of people with BPD symptoms, from mild to severe; it centers around weak, severely weak, and injured boundaries, and a lack of awareness and understanding about boundaries in general. With that, an unclear, wobbly, or skewed sense of self and identity. All of which is frequently caused by abuse, bad behavior modeling, skewed feedback, and/or neglect.

 "The disorder, characterized by intense emotions, self-harming acts and stormy interpersonal relationships, was officially recognized in 1980 and given the name Borderline Personality Disorder. It was thought to occur on the border between psychotic and neurotic behavior.  This is no longer considered a relevant analysis and the term itself, with its stigmatizing negative associations, has made diagnosing BPD problematic. The complex symptoms of the disorder often make patients difficult to treat and therefore may evoke feelings of anger and frustration in professionals trying to help, with the result that many professionals are often unwilling to make the diagnosis or treat persons with these symptoms.  These problems have been aggravated by the lack of appropriate insurance coverage for the extended psychosocial treatments that BPD usually requires.  Nevertheless, there has been much progress and success in the past 25 years in the understanding of and specialized treatment for BPD.  It is, in fact, a diagnosis that has a lot of hope for recovery." 
(Click for page:What is Borderline Personality Disorder)

Tell What You See! Listen To What Others See~

Share your point of view with the world. Remember that only you can see things from where you're standing. You can't see things from where I'm standing, only I can. I can see something you CAN'T, and you can see something I CAN'T, and that person standing on the corner can see something NEITHER of us can see (or feel, hear, or understand), nor anyone else. Each one of us is holding our very own le...ns through which we each experience the world. The only way we can learn what another sees is to listen to what they report from their unique perspective. And the only way for anyone to hear our report from our unique point of view is to tell it. You can't stand in my shoes, it's not possible. You can try, but you can't really. What you can do, however, is stop arguing and judging, trying to tel me what you think I see, or what I "should" see, and just listen. Anyone else who understands will listen to YOU report YOUR unique perspective as well, because they want to know what you see through your own eyes.

The story of the Elephant and the Blind Men, below, is well known to many, but few seem to remember the meaning of the story and practice it in every day life. What a wonderful, much more peaceful and prosperous world we would have if everyone understood and practiced this. It's not a religious concept so much as logic.  ~I can't see what I can't see, and you can't see what you can't see, so if we argue about what we're seeing it's pretty ridiculous, isn't it? If each of us are standing on opposite sides of a house, we can only tell each other what we're each looking at, we can't actually SEE the other side of the house from where we're each standing. Even if we've stood there before, we still can't see what the other person is seeing, and they can't see what we're seeing, or how we're seeing it.  To some this is an obvious concept, to others it is difficult to comprehend, possibly because they were not taught that other human beings are real people like themselves, or they may have been taught that "reality" is the same for everyone, and therefore if someone else sees something else, they must be mistaken. 
(However, if one examines this further, one will see that those who accuse others of being mistaken or delusional also submit to whomever they have identified as a "Leader", so when this "Leader" says that they see something different, they will listen, and say "ah, he/she is wise", even if the "Leader" says the same thing as another who was called "mistaken" or "crazy". This is still related to the Elephant and the Blind Men; dismissing one person as value-less and then therefore dismissing whatever they say, but exaggerating the value of another and hearing whatever they say as Divine Wisdom. If the Blind Men did this in the story, then everyone would believe that the entire Elephant was ONLY a trunk, or ONLY a tail, etc., depending on which men they dismissed as "lesser", and which men they chose as "Leader".) 

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said."
"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

In Jainism:
The moral of the story is that there may be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and sometimes not because they may have different perspective which we may not agree too. So, rather than arguing like the blind men, we should say, "Maybe you have your reasons." This way we don’t get in arguments. In Jainism, it is explained that truth can be stated in seven different ways. So, you can see how broad our religion is. It teaches us to be tolerant towards others for their viewpoints. This allows us to live in harmony with the people of different thinking. This is known as the Syadvada, Anekantvad, or the theory of Manifold Predictions

Superiority Scanning

Remember that most of those who have Narcissism traits, severe and blatantly abusive or not, are looking to find ways to feel superior to others at all times. Feeling above another is the only way they know how to feel real, and good about themselves. They do this all the time, they're on "scan"; if someone shows anything that they can interpret as a chink, as a flaw, as a weakness, as inexperience or lower "status", they are all over it. That person is now officially lowered in their imagination. They now feel comfortable countering them, condescending to them, shunning them, and questioning and doubting openly everything they do and say.
Showing inner turmoil, showing sadness, anger, frustration or indignation are all "reasons" that a Narcissist may judge a person as "lower'. (They are completely unaware. apparently, of their own emotional displays and complaints, which are often dramatic and tedious.)
Other "reasons" that a Narcissist may find as signs of "lower status", however only when applied to OTHER people, not to themselves:

Not working in a 9 to 5 job (literally, daytime hours)
Not working in a job they judge as "high status"
Not having a regular job, regardless of income (if you are independently wealthy, or if you have income from a non-obvious source, or inheritance, they will STILL judge you for not having a job.)
For GETTING a job if they think you don't "need the money" (same people who judge you for not getting a job.)
For talking about things that bother you.
For talking about being treated unfairly.
For talking about abuse you've experienced.
For standing up for others.
For sharing observations that they don't agree with.
For displaying any kind of emotion whatsoever that does not MATCH THEIRS at the moment.
For sharing any observation or opinion that does not MATCH THEIR point of view.
For being physically larger than them, or smaller.
For getting counseling (even if they've gotten counseling also; actually you would be hard-pressed to meet a human who has not sought counseling from others; a Narcissist will categorize counseling from a friend, relative, coach, clergy, or boss as "different" from counseling from a licensed therapist. It is different, because counseling from personal connections can be hidden and kept secret more easily...)
For being heavy set, overweight, thin, "well endowed", or in "good shape" (regardless of their own body type.)
For being "unattractive" IN THEIR OPINION, or for being "attractive" IN THEIR OPINION. (They believe their opinion is objective fact.)
For asking a question about anything.
For asking for advice about anything.
For sharing personal frustrations.
For sharing personal accomplishments.
For sharing personal experiences, "positive" or "negative".

FOR ASKING THEM FOR ASSISTANCE, HELP, OR PARTICIPATION IN ANYTHING, FOR ANY REASON. (Don't ask a Narcissist to help you get work done, don't ask them to help you move, don't ask them for a loan, don't ask them to pet-sit, don't ask them to participate in a project of yours~ they MIGHT say yes, but they will probably use it as a way to say "NO", so they can feel power. If they say yes, then you are probably in for a power struggle. Either way, you asked them for something, therefore they have something you "need", that you don't have, and are therefore superior to you.)

ANYTHING PERSONAL, basically, at all. As soon as the Narcissist starts thinking of another person as having any kind of "flaw" (flaw defined by their own imagination), they immediately start trying to knock the person down and treat them like they're NOT worthy of respect, or as "valuable" or as smart of a human being as they are. They begin to counter everything the person says, condescend, stop reciprocating communication and respectful behavior, start to judge everything the person does and says as negative, lazy, wrong, crazy, and stupid. Everything the person says and does, no matter what it is, will be seen by them as negative, and that's even if they held the person on a pedestal for the exact same things before.

Non-narcissists don't look for reasons to judge others as lower than themselves because they don't need to compare themselves to others to gain confidence, they aren't looking for a fight in order to get a rush of neurochemicals, they aren't looking to feel self-righteous and above anyone, and they are solution and progress oriented, not self-interest-only oriented. They are also big-picture oriented, so they can see why mutual respect and polite treatment between humans is so important. They can see the problems and drama that Narcissism causes for everyone on so many levels, and don't want to be a part of those problems in the world, in their community, and in their families.

Dwelling On Our Problems... Or Not... Human Behavior

Learning about the behavior and psychology of our own species is a funny thing. Those who are aware of the reality of the human animal's tendency to control and manipulate other members of their group are more likely to see analysis for what it is, but those who are not aware, or who are invested in such control behavior in their daily lives, often react emotionally to discussions about human behavior, and misinterpret it as lamentation, "dwelling in the past", wallowing, and whining. Fascinating, since most humans do not react to discussions about the behavior of OTHER species in this way. Since it's removed from them personally, they can understand that it's observation. So when we talk about the social dynamics of Grey wolves, for example, most people can simply talk about it without reacting with defensiveness or condescension, or projecting "motivation" onto the observer/researcher. They can read and hear about how both Alpha males and females lead packs, how both genders often oversee the behavior of both sexes in the rest of the pack, how they discipline and teach their pups, and how occasionally a wolf will get ostracized, driven out of the pack. They can hear about the general behaviors of Polar bears, or of Elephants, Cheetahs, and simply learn and discuss without assigning some kind of emotional "motivation" to those who study, observe, and write about their observations. They seem to know the difference when it comes to the study of other species.

But when it comes to reading about the behaviors of their own species, many tend to jump to conclusions about anyone who observes and writes about human behavior. This is another form of PROJECTION. They are placing their OWN motivations upon those who observe Human behavior. This projection is somewhat understandable, since many humans take any kind of observation of the species personally, especially when they feel they recognize themselves in the observations. If they don't see themselves in the observations, they may not have a defensive reaction at all, or feel compelled to assign and project an emotional or ulterior motive.

Uncle Bob's Treehouse

Gossip And E Coli

Gossip and slander are the verbal equivalents of defecating in one's own drinking water, and pretending it's Kool Aid.

Misinterpreting Other People

Misinterpreting the intention, meaning, words, motives and emotions of others is common in those with certain disorders. It doesn't mean they can't heal from it, but until they do, this can wreak havoc in personal relationships. This is a form of projection, and also often a kind of transference.
(It's important to note; it's also a natural human trait to assume that someone means what we would mean if we said the same thing. Why so many intelligent people get conned and scammed.)

So when Jim says "Nice job taking out the garbage!" to his nephew Chris, what exactly does he mean? His nephew is going to take it the way he hears it, which might not be the way his Uncle Jim meant it.

Chris hears it as sarcasm, but Jim actually meant it as a genuine, drama-free acknowledgment. So since Chris assumes it was sarcasm, he reacts to Jim according to his incorrect interpretation, and huffs and puffs, and rolls his eyes. Jim, in turn, is frustrated and a little hurt. This kind of thing happens all the time. Chris' father is very sarcastic, controlling and demeaning, but his Uncle Jim is not at all. So Chris, understandably, "hears" the same thing when his uncle speaks. This ongoing dynamic based on Chris' incorrect interpretations, and Jim not knowing what's happening (tough one to figure out), creates more and more tension and leads to an eventual breakdown of the relationship. Which is very unfortunate for both of them.

On a wider level, Chris interprets most people this way. His father's attitude has become a filter through which he views all adults, and is beginning to view others his age through it as well. So Chris hears sarcasm and put-downs directed at him everywhere he goes, and can't discern when a person is not talking down to him anymore.

The implications of this are pretty far-reaching; if one hears disrespect, sarcasm, control and insult whenever others speak, how will Chris be able to make any healthy connections, or learn anything new from others, or get any kind of help for anything he's been through or issues he's dealing with, including this one? He could heal, and then he would be much more clear about the real motivations and emotions of others, but he has to first recognize that he has this issue.

Successful And Happy?

Wonder which kind of community or family flourishes~ (more people are more successful and happy)~ the ones where all the people in it are supportive of each other, or the kind where people in it are always looking for ways to condemn each other in order to make themselves feel better? The ones where people see all the other people in it as valuable as themselves, or the ones where people look for reasons to devalue others? Hmmm... support - , condemn... gosh I can't figure it out, the two are so similar... Which kind of community or family would I want to live in... gosh that's a tough one too...

Anti-Male Bashing... Is That One Of Those Moronic Ox Things?

Amazing how many people twist support forums for abuse and trauma survivors into some kind of anti-male thing... HOW do they manage to rationalize that?! And a better question... WHY?! Why is "anti-male" even in their minds at all, attached to the subject?! Do they NOT want trauma survivors to recover?! Do they think only males are abusive? Do they think ALL males are abusive? Do they think males are never targets? I don't think "Hey that's anti-Pit-Bull!" when someone brings a cat to the vet because it got hit by a car... one has nothing to do with the other. How in the heck do they fabricate the connection?

Not Wearing Pants

Thanks to Ann Althouse for pointing to this video, haven't laughed that hard in several story times~

I AM YOUR FATHER... OR MOTHER... Whichever the case may be...

Hit "Play" first, and then read the article below ~you'll understand.

 (Darth Vader)

Nearly every person on the planet has been metaphorically implanted with a little switch in the back of the head that, when flicked or pushed, causes us to feel less like a confident adult who is quite worthy and mentally sound and more like a  child, and an inept, socially awkward child to boot.

Nearly all of us have it because most of us were pretty normal kids for most of our youths.That switch was installed by the bigger people around us who had the authority to tell us what to do, and punish us when we did something out of line.

Some humans learn about that switch from a Big Person's perspective, and learn how to flick it at will, or at least try to, so they can use it against us. They use it for all kinds of things.

If I want to create the image of authority around myself, but don't necessarily have the brain power, discipline, or knowledge it takes, I can instead use that switch. Instead of actually being experienced or well-studied, I can just ACT like I am, and treat others like they're NOT.

By cranking up the contrast between myself and others, and pressing on their subconscious, I can create this image pretty quickly. This created image will be MUCH more effective at making people see me as highly intelligent and experienced than the impression I would make from actually being intelligent and experienced, because it plays on people emotions and memories, not on the reality of myself.

All I have to do is throw out a few social signals, subtle ones work best, and walk away.

These social signals can be in person, or from a distance, in direct interaction or seen from afar in media. They can be in the form of appearance, like the way I comb my hair, the jewelry I wear, and the clothing I choose. They can be a facial expression, a vocal tone, the words I use, and body language, Behaviors such as refusing to make eye contact and refusing to acknowledge another person's presence, words, or meaning are very effective. Silent treatments, cold shoulders. puffing up, and condescension; all ways of hitting that switch and building the facade. Another currently popular practice that seems to work is personally insulting other people and/or things, continually making criticisms and complaints about everything and anything (look at that stupid car... look at that ugly dress... look at that hair...what a dumb song...), but since it's been taken way too far so many times it has become generally less effective.

Many who are in the "public eye" use this as a way of convincing the public that they do indeed know MORE than the rest of the population, and therefore should keep their very lucrative jobs because no one else can fill their shoes. From politicians to journalists to radio DJ's, this is a common practice; giving YOU signals that you are (or someone else is) an ignorant idiot, and THEY are the authority on everything; their opinion is as close to "fact" as possible... ("Yes, that's right ~  the ocean is 3.5 % saline, dogs are descendants of wolves, the tax rate in Brooklyn is 18.569% if you're Class 1, and Superman CAN, indeed, beat up Batman. And Jimi Hendrix is the best guitar player, not Jimmy Page... I was right about the other stuff, therefore I'm right about everything I say...")

Simply the act of having a "stern face" or a "stern demeanor" can flick the switch in most humans, it looks a lot like the way Mom or Dad, or the teacher, or the coach looked when they were about to deliver some discipline. Doesn't it...?  

What is an actor, a comedian, a blogger, a lawyer, or a radio show host doing with a permanently stern demeanor? What is it that they're so serious about, all the time? Why are they standing, acting, and talking to people like a Mom or Dad, or Officer Flynn, or the elementary school Principal, or an evil Emperor or Queen? 

Why? Because, it works. 

They behave that way, giving signals to our subconscious, and we humans just believe that they know more than someone else does. If Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, and one of these "Image Maker" people were in a room together, talking to us, we would most likely assume that the "Image Maker" person is the "Leader", and the most intelligent person in the group. We would most likely ignore Mr. Hawking and Ms. Goodall, and LISTEN to the "Image Maker", just because they are giving "I AM AN AUTHORITY" signals and the others are not. We don't do fact checking, we don't get to know people first, we just assume that they are an "authority", or intelligent, or NOT, based on the signals they give us.


So that means the most intelligent person on the planet will not be seen as an authority on anything, unless they have some kind of documentation to prove it or someone else in authority saying so, and may even be treated as if they are quite stupid, just because they are not giving "I Am An Authority" signals. And walking right next to them, one of the most obnoxious, self-centered, non-thinking, arrogant wankers on the planet is getting all kinds of attention and followers because he or she knows how to do ONE THING: give "I Am An Authority" signals. And because nearly all of us have that little metaphorical switch, we say "yes yes that person knows what they're talking about... you should listen to them, like we do..."

Of course that is NOT to say that all humans who have been credited with having a clue about something, or being good at something, doesn't deserve it. It's simply that we humans will and do, quite often, FOLLOW one person who does NOT have a clue, and IGNORE another person who DOES, just because of the signals they give or don't give.  

Some other people find the humor in this phenomenon too~:)

Which Point Of View

In any society and region, it is common for one race or sex to be seen as "more powerful", or literally to have more power, due to the usual human control desires in the species. Whichever race or sex has acquired more power in a given region is who's in control, and that's what seems NORMAL to the entire society.

(OBVIOUSLY, the race or sex that holds more power changes from region to region. In many regions, controllers oppress their OWN race or sex. This article uses skin color as a demonstration only, not to represent any specific people, region, or era.)

It's "normal", for example, in a region where the race who has more power is dark-skinned, for dark-skinned people to hold most of the government positions, and for dark-skinned people to dominate the business and educational environment, and make most of the budgeting decisions.

They will CONTINUE to hold these positions because of one simple fact: when one human group acquires power, anyone who can identify themselves as a member of that group will usually claim entitlement to that power.
(If light-skinned people had acquired the power in that region, the roles would be reversed. If polka-dotted people acquired the power in that region, then they would be in the "power" position over everyone else. Physical traits including race and sex are the most common identity factors in human power entitlement belief.)

This means that nearly all of the dark-skinned people in that region will feel completely normal and fine with this feeling of entitlement, and won't think twice about the light-skinned people NOT having the same power. Most of the dark-skinned people will feel like getting any job is NORMAL, and if a person is not getting hired they will say that it's because they're not trying hard enough, they're not smart enough, or they don't have what it takes. They don't seem to be able to grasp that they are being given favoritism by the other dark-skinned people who are in the positions of doing the hiring.

Further, and strangely, the light-skinned people will also be "normalized" to dark-skin people having more power, and tend to have BIAS TOWARD dark-skinned people. Because they grew up in this environment, they subconsciously believe the bias to reflect the NATURAL world. So, hiring a dark-skinned person feels like "common sense" to them, especially since everyone else seems to agree. Their doctor is probably dark-skinned, their lawyer, their government representative. They probably would rather hire a dark-skinned person to fix their home and their car. They were raised to see dark-skinned people as having a natural ability to get things done, and light-skinned people to only be able to do certain things. So, they will not believe that another light-skinned person is really that intelligent or that capable, and they will commonly DEFER to a dark-skinned person for just about anything.

In this region, those who are actually more emotionally reactive are the dark-skinned people, because they are more used to getting what they want, and to people listening when they speak. When they don't get what they want easily, or when they feel ignored or insulted, dark-skinned individuals are much more likely to react emotionally and with anger or rage than light-skinned individuals, who are acclimated to more obstacles, or being blocked from getting what they want or need by others, and not being listened to when they speak.

Both dark and light-skinned people in a dark-skinned-biased region will raise their children with the same bias, more or less, and will usually "shush" them if they ask any questions about the disparity, or explain it away. When a light-skinned person has a dark-skinned child, they will commonly invest much more of everything into that child than the other children. When the local school system has obvious bias for the dark-skinned children than the light-skinned children, with more budgeting, more classroom interaction, and more encouragement and attention being given, it is not questioned by either dark or light-skinned parents. The dark-skinned parents of course WANT the bias, and the light-skinned parents are either extremely "normalized" or afraid to speak up about it for fear of rejection or retaliation.

No one thinks much at all about how their children are being taught the same bias, whether they're dark or light-skinned. The negative impact this makes on all of the children is not studied but ignored, because those who have the power want to keep it, and those who don't are either so acclimated that they believe the power imbalance to be natural, or they don't want to draw negative attention from retaliators for themselves and their children.

In the newspaper and on TV in this region, much more coverage is given to dark-skinned people than light-skinned people, and that includes children and groups. Much more positive language is used when referencing dark-skinned people than light-skinned by most journalists. It is more common for journalists and others to use an excited and enthusiastic TONE when referencing dark-skinned people; both because of their own bias, and because they want to be LIKED and remembered by dark-skinned people.
When someone points out this disparity, they are shouted down. When a dark-skinned person points it out, they are called names in an attempt to humiliate them into silence. When a light-skinned person points it out, they are attacked by both dark and light-skinned people, and called names that reflect blatant contempt and hatred.

In this region, dark-skinned people seem to constantly make demeaning  jokes and cruel references about light-skinned people, not only with one another, but in public as well. If anyone points out this practice they are immediately dismissed as "oversensitive" and "hyper reactive"...  by BOTH dark and light-skinned people. However! When light-skinned people make any kind of similar demeaning reference about dark-skinned people, they receive huge backlash about how "cruel", "crazy", and "controlling" they are... and that's from both dark and light-skinned people.

The ONLY reason this entire disparity and power imbalance has taken place is because a group of dark-skinned people amassed wealth and weapons a long time ago, and appointed themselves the ones in control of the region. Not ALL dark-skinned people actually have "power" in this area, but they don't fight against the disparity because they MIGHT get power some day, since they ARE dark-skinned, they feel it to be their "birth right". They don't defend their light-skinned coworkers, relatives, or neighbors when they are not treated with fairness or respect, because they kind of WANT things to stay the way they are.

Many want things to stay the way they are because they're afraid of the light-skinned people gaining power; will they retaliate if they gain power? Will they oppress the dark-skinned people? Will they take over?

Many light-skinned people want things to stay the way they are because one of their children is dark-skinned, and they feel that this child brings them power as a parent. They may also not actually want the responsibility that power brings, or they may not want the negative consequences. Some may not want other light-skinned people to achieve much, because it will injure their own ego; they like to think of light-skinned people as a "WE", and "WE can't do this thing or that thing, WE'RE not naturally good at it, WE aren't as clever or as strong as dark-skinned people." So they disparage and help oppress other light-skinned people, even their own family members.

Apply this to any region at all by just changing the groups to what they actually are in that area, it could be race, it could be ancestry within a race, it could be religion or anti-religion, it could be wealth or lack of wealth; it could be sex/gender. It may be more than one of these.

Whichever group believes they are most entitled to power over others in a given region is the group that fights to get and to keep power. And then, whatever group has acquired power is what everyone in the region gets conditioned and acclimated to. No human group has more "natural intelligence" than any other human group, no race and neither sex, and yet the vast majority of societies are controlled by only one group. The only common denominator in all of these regions is the desire for power over others.

A region where there is no power imbalance between groups SHOWS IT, and individuals have no qualms in talking about the subject, there is very little conflict about it, it's a conceptual topic that can be discussed any time without dramatic reactions, defensiveness, or refusal to talk about it, on anyone's part. Regions where there is great power imbalance show it as well, and many or most individuals show a dramatic aversion to talking about it.



Love is 'inclusive'. Love protects, defends, shelters and cares. Love believes the best, love prefers you. Love never gives up on you, doesn't interrupt you, love listens to you and hears you.

Abuse is 'exclusive'. It fails to protect and defend you. Abuse pretends to care, but doesn't. Abuse does not believe the best in you, but rather, brings out the worst in you. Abuse talks over the top of and doesn't ever really 'hear' you.
Abuse will make sure you are excluded and left out if you don't behave how it wants you to. Abuse is fearful and insecure, threatened by your presence. Abuse maintains a sense of perceived power, by deciding who is worthy to be inside the 'inner circle' and who will be kept out. Abuse withholds information and keeps secrets.

Love is inclusive, and doesn't leave others out, everybody's welcome. Love is secure and firm, love is not afraid. Love celebrates others, (not seeing one as better than another), but enjoying diversity and uniqueness in all people. Love will maintain a sense of privacy as a boundary, but doesn't use secrecy as a weapon.

Abuse will keep you stunted, but Love will cause you to flourish.

~S.E. Castelli

Expectations In Relationships; Good Woman, Good Man

Many people grow up expecting any romantic relationship they have to look a certain way, and when the person they choose to be with ends up not filling that expectation, they treat them like they're doing something bad and wrong. So a woman who has preconceived expectations of what her boyfriend or husband is "supposed" to be like may fight with, belittle, and try to shame him for not fulfilling t...he character role in her head.

Classic examples of this in Western culture include a man who does not fix things around the house, or only knows how to fix certain things, a man who's not into the Sports culture, a man who likes to clean or cook, a man who does not make a lot of money, a man who is kind to others outside of the relationship, a man who doesn't try to act "tough" or "run with" other males, or a man who is not obsessed with sex, violence, alcohol, or random rebellion behavior.
A man who has preconceived expectations of what his girlfriend or wife is "supposed" to be like will do the same thing, treating a person as if they're "bad" or "wrong" when they don't fill the character role they hold in their head. Classic examples of this in Western culture are often a woman who doesn't make cooking and cleaning her first priority, a woman who repairs and builds things, a woman who enjoys activities outside the home, a woman who does not defer to other's opinions but treats others as equal persons, a woman who speaks, laughs, and behaves with the same confidence as the men around them. Both men and women who create these roles for others in their minds also often have the way the other person is supposed to look in there as well; their character role they have pictured in their minds is usually pretty fleshed out. Their clothes and their hair is "supposed" to look a certain way, if it doesn't, they're not being a "good person".

Even if there is more than one "version" of the appearance, there will still be obvious similarities between the versions. (For instance a thin Irish woman or a very thin Nigerian woman; the requirement is still "thin". A tall Polish man or a tall Indian man, the requirement is still "tall".)

Those who have preconceived expectations for other people will judge them by how close they match to this character role. They won't be interested in getting to know the person and therefore can not have a genuine relationship with the person. When the person fulfills the role, they are approved of; when they don't because of perfectly normal or even GOOD things, they will be rejected and discarded.

This same character role issue can be seen in other relationships as well, including parents and children (both ways), other family members, friendships, employees, communities, pretty much anything that involves humans. It can be seen on a global scale with citizens of governments (political leaders, presidents and dictators who have this character role issue), religions, and other organizations.

Those with "character role expectations" of others don't care much about another's personhood, their real talents, strengths, or experiences, they have already created their "profile" FOR them. No matter how "good" the other person actually is, no matter what they actually do, they will be judged only on how close they come to filling the role of the character they have been cast in by the other person.