evile: (SBC)
I first met Pam when I was 18 or 19 years old; I had just gotten my first real job (Bookstop!), first apartment, first time living on my own like a real grownup.

Pam was only 10 years older than me but to my naive view, she was impossibly mature and wise; her cynical and witty words on life, relationships, and the world were the words of The Ages.

She had a boyfriend named David who was an on again off again bad dude in her life. An addict, a user, and a liar. He had some story about how he'd stolen some lead from a radiological clinic to sell, melted it down and became sterile but somehow mysteriously got her pregnant after telling that lie. (all of that just to get out of wearing a condom, what a guy.) She didn't keep David's baby. I guess he eventually ended up in jail, prison or dead. I don't remember if she told me what happened to him, or if she knew. She described him as this impossibly beautiful, golden-tongued god of a man...I was disappointed when he came to a party at my apartment behind the bookstore and he was just this stringy hippie. She said he was as smart as she was, but I didn't see it.

The first time I went out to her place (I think she lived out in Lakeway?) I remember she had two cats, a Siamese and an orange tabby. I think the Siamese was named Valentino. Her cats' fur smelled of her perfume. I think I remember him fetching bottle caps. If I don't remember that correctly, then I will just say that I do. Her home was cosy and dark and mysterious, full of her fragrance (YSL Opium) and, it seemed, treasures from many lands and many exotic places lived and loved. Dim lamps draped with silk scarves. I want to remember the quote she gave me about how every woman should have a beaded lamp but I cant, quite.

She drove a Jeep-like car but smaller. Suzuki Samurai? She drove with an open tallboy can of beer in the cup holder and a menthol cigarette between her long delicate fingers, only paying passing attention to silly things like traffic and red lights as the hot Texas wind whipped her long blonde hair around & she shared her wit. She was the most bad-ass woman I'd ever met in my life.

I thought she was the most sophisticated, intelligent, amazing person I'd ever met. I wanted to be Pam when I grew up. Of course, time wore the shine off my infatuation; I quickly learned that Pam had a tendency to pick the worst men, the most self destructive and negative thoughts & behavior...she was a pessimist, a cynic, and yet she always had a perfect literary quote to sum up all the bad times, bad men, and bad choices, and managed to always laugh bitterly at it all.

I remember that laugh, and no one else will ever have it; usually starting with a cough, smoky, snarky, as rich and bitter as the finest cup of coffee.

I remember kissing her at a party; we were drunk as hell.

I remember her imitation of Nancy Spungen from the movie "Sid and Nancy,"--"But Siiiiid, what about the farewell druuuuuuuugs?"

I remember the title of the biography she was always going to write: Why I Hate My Miserable [fucking?] Life By Pamela Miller. It was the refrain for many of her updated tales of male perfidy.

I came back to Austin to visit after I left Bookstop for college in Indiana. I know we hung out a few times. There was always talk of a Bookstop Reunion that never quite happened.

we reconnected some years after my Bookstop Days; I was with the guy who is now my ex and she was with a guy who eventually became her ex, a retired military guy. They lived in a trailer in Dripping springs on some acreage; she ran a little bookstore out of a storage building. Mostly online, I think.

We lost touch again; next time I saw her, she hinted that her retired military ex husband had used her badly, become an addict, and so on and so forth.

She came to my 'throwing out my ex/changing the locks' party. She gave me a CD of music, a playlist for just such an occasion, entitled "Bitch Goddess #1: Music Dealing With Feminine Rage"

Thax and I met her in Austin on Guadalupe one afternoon, "The Drag," where we stood across the street from The Scientology Building in our "Anonymous" masks or bandannas or faces concealed "T-Shirt ninja" style, with silly signs and taunted the khacki & polo-clad Scientology employees as they came and went. Then we got Thai food at Madam Mam's down the street. She paid; she always paid, she was always the one giving, and that was what attracted the users. It was almost as though she felt people wouldn't spend time with her unless she did...I will always feel that money warped her life in some terrible ways.

She had mysterious family out somewhere--wealthy, estranged & dysfunctional, but somehow stil connected; her life seemed to be an attempt to break free of them, but also prove herself to them by making it on her own--waitressing, cashiering, bookstores, banks, whatever--and whenever her life got too upside-down, she could 'always sell some stock' and buy a new car, house, whatever. It was very glamorous but also very sad to me.

I met her brother once or twice; he was quiet and intelligent in that aspie computer guy way. He died of cancer. Her father died of something awful, too, and her mother was last to go. I don't know if she ever felt loved by any of them. She spoke so admiringly of her mother's intelligence, and watching her mom's intellect decline with age really upset and frightened her. She didn't call her mom 'mom'..she called her by her first name.

We reconnected again, via Facebook I guess, and I remember going out to wherever she lived. She had put out a spread of goodies and wine to welcome me; other than the wine none of it was for her--though she loved to cook, she didn't eat much. or sleep much.

I talked her into going on vacation with me and some other folks, a cruise out of Galveston. She brought along a male friend. Another user? At least he was somewhat charming...I had fun, and there are pictures of us dressed up and smiling, but in hindsight I'm not sure how much fun she had. Then...or ever, really.

Friday July 28, she decided to end her stay on planet Earth. On the cruise she'd talked a lot about walking out onto the Glacier so I knew it was on her mind even then. Her dog Nali was the reason she gave to stick around. Nali died a while back. She'd gotten another dog. I guess I hoped that was enough.

I don't know what else to say; I wish I remembered more. She was smart, cynical, beautiful, amazingly funny, miserably sad, and so fucking angry. It was a fire under her skin and in her eyes. I always knew she was going to leave this disappointing world on her terms, it was just a matter of timing. She was Intergalactic Royalty and I hope she's found her throne and the love and light she needed in life and couldn't find or allow herself to have.

I listened to the Bitch Goddess #1 CD today on repeat/shuffle. I heard a song I don't remember ever hearing before. Janis Ian's "From Me to You," and it was the perfect goodbye. Wherever she has gone now, I hope it's not a disappointment.
evile: (Liberty)
I had a dream that my friend [livejournal.com profile] feetwilltravel was going back to college for another degree. She was living in a dorm that was for adults going back to school; my friend Keith was there too except he was blind. There was a six legged spider dog that was hanging out in their common room. It freaked me out and I didn't want to pet it. It was growling at me a bit because it could tell I was afraid of it, but then it went right over to Keith, wagging its tail and wanting to be petted.

Then I was at a fraternity/sorority mixer party at the fashion designer Tom Ford's house. He had a new face powder that he was inviting everyone to try on. It gave me glitter freckles, and I said something about how I already had freckles so I didn't really want makeup to make me look like I had more. People were laughing like I'd said something clever, but I felt out of place. I was the only fat person there. I went out to the solarium/sort of a screened in porch thing, there was a young man who had just started as Tom Ford's assistant or apprentice. I asked him how he was enjoying the job. He was trying to be positive, but eventually admitted it was hard and dirty and gross work, because Tom's new collection that he was making for the inauguration was made of uncured animal skins and raw meat. So he had been skinning a lot of snakes and big lizards, which they were then lacing still bloody on to the models to show them, and then having to refrigerate them for shipping.

After that, I was out in the front yard and Tom Ford was showing something to the crowd, something involving two glass bowls on a wooden tray that was made with little indentations to hold the bowls. He handed me the tray and his cigarette to hold, and I dropped the cigarette and it landed in the grass. I picked it up quickly again but he gave me this sort of irritated/disgusted look and I knew he wouldn't be taking the cigarette back. He asked the crowd what they thought of his new collection and people were being flattering and stuff. I told him that he was an artist and that his collection was art more than clothing and furthermore, it was art that was being used to criticize and condemn the people who would be wearing it, that he was making a statement of contempt against the rich people who would be buying his stuff. (I said, as I was taking puffs off his half finished smoke and blowing smoke around) And that the rich people were too conceited and stupid to understand that they were being degraded and mocked by their designer. He got really mad at me for embarassing him in front of all the smiling and applauding and admiring rich people and kicked me out of his party.
evile: (dorothy)
http://lifeasahuman.com/2011/mind-spirit/humanity/what-causes-a-person-to-be-intentionally-cruel/

All of this. But, also in my experience, there's an underlying belief that "Everyone" enjoys hurting other people. So it's a matter of hurting others before they can be allowed to hurt you first. Do it harder, do it worse, so that they can't do it to you.

I find that all very sad.
evile: (july4)
Attention, Citizens.

While we were having a meta moment of political theatre at the theatre, the following items may have escaped your notice:

Russia has a missile that can reach US soil in 12 minutes, that is practically impossible to detect or intercept.
(What are you going to do with the last 12 minutes of your life?)

President Elect(oral college) Trump introduced his daughter Ivanka to Japanese leaders. sending a pretty darn clear message about his intentions to use his place in the White House to enrich his business interests. Too subtle for you? OK, then, he just straigt-up telephoned the President of Argentina to get him to put in a good word on some Trump properties pending down thataway. Oh, that's outrageous! Why didn't the American press report on it? Because they have been bought. Trump better hope his check doesn't bounce....or the press may turn on him like a badly-housetrained Chihuahua. (Ok, so it won't hurt him much, but it will be shrill and obnoxious.)


Trump settled the Trump University fraud lawsuit for $25 million. The one he said he wouldn't ever settle. Seriously, this guy flip flops worse than a hooked fish in a bass boat. He makes waffles look like stable edifices.

Protestors protecting sacred burial grounds, and, more importantly, safe clean water for everyone, were sprayed with water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures.

White supremacists held a rally in DC to support Trump, featuring the Nazi salute, and, hey Tila fuckin Tequila, cuz that's fun.

Steve Bannon, Trump's right hand fella, expressed admiration for Darth Vader, Dick Cheney, and Satan.
I don't know what's worse, the fact that he so strongly identifies with repressive authoritarians who have been widely recognized as 'the enemy' and 'evil' or that two of them are fictional characters.

Texas has introduced a bill that would force educators to out their LGBTQ students to their parents. I fail to see how that has anything to do with education; it seems the only point of the bill is to waste taxpayer time and money, waste teachers' time, and open up closeted children to possible abuse and eviction by clueless bigoted parents.

Meanwhile, the gaslighting continues as the Trumpence war machine continues to insist that their guys didn't say the things they are on record as saying--either video taped, or their own social media comments, and the Trumpence hate machine continues to refuse to take a stance against the violence and hate crimes being committed in the name of the president-elect, refusing to speak against the 'alt right' (read: White Supremacists, read: Trump Supporters, Trump Voters, Trump Followers) perpetrating these crimes.

The alleged 'nice people' who voted for Trump also remain steadfastly silent in the wake of their fellow Trump Voters behaving hatefully and destructively. If you won't speak against them or stand against them, then you are just as guilty, folks.

In the meantime, out here in the nonpolitical (haha) world, we still need jobs that pay enough to live on. We need health care. We need safe places to live, safe food to eat, and safe water to drink. We need education that we can afford. We need our leaders to listen to the scientific community which tells us that climate change is real and our planet is in crisis. We need our business leaders and political leaders to step up. We need law enforcement to enforce the laws--ie: ARREST a certain CROOKED BUSINESSMAN-TURNED-POLITICAN and HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE for the crimes he has committed (is continuing to commit)!
evile: (dorothy)
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2016/10/emotional-abuse-5-specific-things-to-say-to-take-back-your-power/

Five Things You Can Say to an Emotional Abuser


1. When someone is making decisions for you.





Are you aware that you’re making this decision for me and without asking me what I want to do? I have my own desires and needs. When you assume what is best for me without asking, I feel controlled, which is upsetting. I’d like to play an active and independent role in our decisions. I am my own person and deserve that respect.



2. When someone criticizes you harshly.


When you talk to me in that tone of voice and say mean words, I feel less than. It hurts in ways I don’t think you understand. Do you mean to hurt my feelings? If you really want me to be sad and hurt, then you’ll keep talking to me that way, but I am asking you to stop.


3. When someone ignores you needs or refuses to help.


My needs are legitimate. When you ignore them by refusing to help me, I feel rejected, like you simply don’t care about me. Do you care about me? If you do, then please be responsive when I need something from you. I care about you and expect the same commitment from you in return.


4. When you are being bullied by an emotional abuser.


You’re bullying me right now. Did you know that? I don’t know how you define bullying, but what you’re doing now is an example of bullying to me. And I’m scared. It’s hard to live with someone you’re scared of and I’d like you to understand that. Will you please stop bullying so that I can feel safe around you?


5. When an emotional abuser is berating children. [pets, employees, other partners]


How you’re communicating to our child [pets, employees, other partners] is mean. Do you see the look on his/her face? I don’t know what kind of relationship you want with your kids [pets, employees, other partners] , but the path you’re on will ultimately lead to no relationship at all. One day, your son/daughter [pets, employees, other partners] will reject you wholeheartedly and you may never hear from him/her/them again – and this is directly related to how you are treating him/her/them now. Is that what you want?


It’s a start. These aren’t magic spells and so are likely to be met with resistance. Still, you need to start somewhere. You need mature and thoughtful words, consistently, in order to set your boundaries and possibly break through to the abuser.


Practice. If you think these scripts help (worded in your style) then use them. Words are powerful tools that can change the world. Not all emotional abusers will change, but some do have that capacity and may ultimately turn a corner.


Only you can decide how much to put up with, if and when you will leave the situation for good. In the meantime, learn the right words to use to empower yourself.



=======================

What helped me leave my abusive relationship?

1) I somehow lucked into a good network of friends: HFS, the Austin Poly Group, the folks at No Kidding, and most importantly the SBC. Their love and support, plus my observations into their relationships--both good and bad--helped me to see my own situation clearly for what it was. And was not.

2) I somehow managed to tap into a fundamental truth about myself that I had let myself forget: I am a good person and I don't deserve to be treated like this. Once that realization came to the surface, I was no longer able to tolerate being mistreated, spoken to rudely, ignored, financially abused, and cheated on.

Thank you to my friends and family. Even, or perhaps especially, the ones I'm not on speaking terms with anymore. My love and gratitude you always have, even if circumstances prevent us from being in one anothers lives at this point in time.
evile: (hedgehog1)
Today is my brother's birthday. Over the miles and misunderstandings that separate us, I am still sending all my love, always.

Happy Birthday Eric

evile: (dorothy)




Men and Women can be abused. Men and Women can be abusers. Abuse can occur in a heterosexual relationship, a homosexual relationship, a polyamorous relationship, or a BDSM relationship. Abuse can occur between parents and children, between friends, or between family members.

Abuse can be physical: punching, slapping, kicking, hitting, stabbing, throwing of objects at a person.

Abuse can be verbal : name calling, putdowns, yelling, cursing, threats, or ultimatums.

Abuse can be emotional: this includes verbal abuse, but also includes gaslighting, denying that one is behaving abusively or negating the victim's feelings and perceptions, humiliation, isolating the victim from friends and family, 'the silent treatment', or threats to harm self, children, pets, or loved ones if the abuser's needs are not met.

Abuse can be financial: The abuser may steal money from the victim. The abuser may deny the victim access to bank accounts, checkbook, credit and/or debit cards. The abuser may force the victim to accept work that is below their skill level in order to keep the victim dependent on the abuser financially. The abuser may not allow the victim to work outside the home and possibly only give them an allowance. The abuser may run up debts on the victim's credit cards that the victim feels obligated to pay.

Abuse can be sexual: this includes unwanted or inappropriate kissing or touching, and of course rape, but can also include withholding sexual intimacy, delivering ultimatums related to sexual behaviors, shaming or belittling their partner's sexual desires or sexual performance, or forcing their partner to go without protection during sex. It can also include demanding 'make up sex' after an episode of physical or verbal abuse.

It is important for both abusers and victims to receive help and support so that they can break free of these unhealthy relationship patterns. If you are being abused, please get help. If you are behaving abusively toward people you love, please get help. If your life or emotions feel out of control, dangerous, or scary, please get help.



evile: (Creativity)
So, pretty much everyone I know has gone nutso-go-butso over Pokemon Go. They are reporting miles walked and calories burned, making new friends in the middle of the night on these epic walks, having a great old time. I just can't be bothered with imaginary cartoon animals....cuz I'm a boring old grownup. But, it would be nice to have something that interested me and motivated me to get out an move the old carcass around, get some flab off, etc.....Pokemon Go is not it.

I think Google Glass was too early; we weren't yet used to giving away our privacy so easily. Now, we sign off on various apps that want our location, our media files, our contact lists, no problem, hereyago, just give me that cartoon duck creature!

Now, imagine if you will, thousands of cheeto stained couch potatoes getting off their dead butts to go out walking and collect...virtual diamonds, champagne bottles, roses, designer shoes, books, unicorns, etc.

So...there are dozens, if not hundreds, of health, nutrition, fitness oriented subscription box services ranging anywhere in price from $5 to $50 a month; apparently people like these things. I did a makeup subscription box for awhile for $10/month, it was fun but I can only use so much mascara, so I eventually unsubbed.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of fitness tracking devices (wristband, pedometer, clip on)

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of fitness tracking apps. Many of these apps are partnered with the various devices mentioned above

There are tons of diet tracking apps and websites. Many of which interface with above-mentioned fitness apps and devices.

There are gyms and fitness studios all over the place.

So, how can we roll these together and provide a service?

How about an augmented reality app (Hello, Google Glass? are you looking for a way to revive?) that lets the user find a subscription box that suits their interests.

Sign up for the program. Choose your diet plan that is any/all of the following: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low carb, low fat, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free. Choose fitness activities that interest you: walking, running, climbing, biking, canoeing, swimming, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, yoga, whatever. Input non-fitness hobbies and interests to calibrate type of prizes you wish to receive: reading, music, knitting, travel, beadwork, cooking, parenting, home improvement, cosmetics, shoes, clothing, etc.

Receive a 'basic' box every month that goes with your diet and fitness preferences. Earn upgrades and special prizes related to your interests by using your app to find treasures, take challenges, track miles, calories burned, glasses of water consumed, daily food tracking & staying on goal for calories consumed, calories burned, miles walked, fitness minutes.

Upgrades and special prizes in monthly subscription box can be things like T shirts, water bottles, extra samples of protein bars or meal replacement drinks, snacks, coupons for purchases of specialty foods, activewear & fitness shoes at local retailers.

Local retailers can partner with the app to have check-ins at their store give the user points, and more points for purchases.

Gyms can partner with the app to have joining the gym and regular attendance at the gym give the users points.

Weekly or monthly contests and scavenger hunts to win bigger ticket items such as gift cards from Amazon, Etsy, Southwest Airlines, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney, Home Depot, Massage Envy, etc.

People can make teams and set up weight loss, workout times, or mileage challenges to win team prizes.

Benefits to partners: advertising, data mining, customers in the door, cross promotion between various retailers & service providers.

Benefits to app users: keeps exercise interesting, provides tangible rewards for consistent participation & reaching goals.
evile: (dorothy)
Had an 'interesting' online conversation with a nice older lady who was having conflict with her husband's ex wife and adult children. She proposed training the ex and adult kids as if she was training dogs, which she is apparently an expert dog trainer, with an expert bestfriend who is an experienced expert in training all animals, including marine mammals. I and a few others absolutely could *not* get through to this lady that treating people as if they are animals to be trained is a poor idea. It was 'interesting' to say the least. Boundaries, in her mind, meant that she would say "no cursing in my home" and deliver appropriate punishments if the ex wife or adult children engaged in profanity.

I have struggled, and continue to struggle with appropriate setting and maintaining of boundaries. What I do understand of them, they are not a means of controlling others behavior. They are a means of protecting yourself.

I like what this website has to say about boundaries. The language is simple and easy to understand, but the concepts are very profound. http://www.angriesout.com/DatingAbuse.htm

evile: (Nightmare)
Day 1: 4/12/16
Fly from Austin TX to Houston TX
Fly from Houston TX to Belize City
Taxi from Belize City to Water Taxi station
Water Taxi to Caye Caulker
(whew!) Read more... )

Day 2: April 13
Caye Caulker
Fry Jacks, The Lazy Lizard, Conch Ceviche, Fruity umbrella drinks at the Banyan Tree, new friends (two and four legged), and fish with the heads still on. Read more... )

Day 3: April 14, 2016
Caye Caulker to San Ignacio
Water Taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City
Bus from Belize City to Belmopan
Transfer to bus from Belmopan to San IgnacioRead more... )


Day 4: San Ignacio
Scattered Adventures with a chance of crankypantsRead more... )

Day 5: April 16, 2016
San Ignacio
The Saturday Market & meeting the Goddess Ixcacao Read more... )

Day 6: San Ignacio to Belize City
In which Mel is our hero & finds us an air conditioned, wi-fi equipped comfortable ride back to Civilization. Read more... )

Day 7: April 18, 2016
Belize City
Breakfast, post office trip, dinner with the gang
Read more... )

Last day. April 19, 2016
last minute shopping & serendipity
flying: Belize City to Houston
Houston to Austin.
Home & bed. Read more... )

It was only a week, but I feel like we were gone forever. I went new places, saw new things, did new things, ate new things, drank new things, learned new things..and now I'm forgetting most of them. So I'm glad I got pictures and I'm glad to be writing them all down here. Hope you enjoyed! I know I did.
evile: (Bitchplz)
Here's the entire text of the blog entry I quoted from in my last post. Lots of good stuff here.

The Psychopaths Word Games- Discerning The Motive Of Their Language
Posted on August 8, 2013 by theabilitytoloveRead more... )

Word Salad

Feb. 20th, 2016 07:45 pm
evile: (cookie Cat)
So...there's a thing I'm seeing, both in real life and online and on the political stage, that is a disturbing and seemingly all-pervasive thing. It is an abuse technique in which basically a person uses disjointed words and phrases that 'sound good' in order to hypnotize, lull, confuse, and/or control people. The "Salad-shooter" (if you will) just keeps talking in circles, round and round, up and down, backwards and forwards, either making no sense, or repeating a few central concepts repeatedly until the person listening to them will either a) give up trying to make sense of it and just obey & believe anything they're told or b) get so hypnotized by the cadences and sounds of the words, that they don't see the dagger going for their back.

For me, this explains why so many people have voted for the hateful talking yam; it's not that the yam has put forth any ideas or viable concepts...it's that he keeps repeating the same catchy and upbeat phrases again and again, pounding home the feel-good idea that 'we' are the 'smart' 'winners' and everyone who questions or disagrees with us are 'losers' and 'stupid'...it is dangerous and evil. It is terrifyingly effective. We have seen this before, and we have seen how it goes down. Which is not to say that it won't go down again, in our country, in our lifetime. I'm very worried.

Anyway, if you're interested in how Word Salad works, here are some quotes & articles.

from The Psychopaths Word Games- Discerning The Motive Of Their Language Read more... )
evile: (steambug)
Got home last night from pretty much the best con I've ever been to. We had such a fine time. Met new friends, steampunks and regular folks on the street, danced and drank and goofed around, hugged and laughed and listened to music and shopped and learned to fight with canes or parasols. Learned more about tea duelling and teapot racing, just too much fun.

here are photos. & videos.

And a post from the main organizer, host, MC. Doc Phineas, a gentleman and a scholar, a wonderful human being who made each and every person feel welcome.

I am getting the most beautiful letters emails and phone messages from people tears eyed who do not want the love they...

Posted by Kenneth Kastler on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
evile: (dorothy)
I don't believe in being difficult to love. I don't believe in spending time with people who are difficult to love. If I want your company, I won't be an asshole to you. If you want my company, don't be an asshole to me. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? And yet there are so many 'love stories' in fiction and literature, movies and music, where the person is a complete asshole who is somehow redeemed by being loved enough by the right person. That's not real life. That's not how sane & good people treat one another. Only evil, crazy people set up barriers and tests for people who love them. I'm not gonna prove my love to anyone, and anyone worth loving isn't going to demand it of me.

http://torontosnumber1datedoctor.com/blog/are-you-difficult-to-love-or-easy-to-love/
evile: (coyote)
http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2015/11/abuse-in-polyamorous-relationships.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook




At last February's Poly Living convention, you may remember, Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert spoke and led workshops on abuse in poly relationships — and especially, how poly communities should address it. The subject was hot; the Polyamory Leadership Network had just expelled a popular figure following several complaints of abuse and harassment from his local community.



Hint: If people around you have come to feel that you harass, threaten, or abuse, it's really unwise to apply to the PLN. We urge communities to make space for complainants to be heard safely, to listen to what they say, and to act decisively to ensure safe spaces.



"There was a time, long ago," Franklin said in his keynote at Poly Living, "when I had this naive idea that polyamorous relationships were less likely to be abusive than monogamous relationships. Isolating a person is one of the hallmarks of abuse. So if you’ve got more people in the relationship, it’s harder to isolate someone, right? You have more eyes on a potential problem, right?"



However, said Franklin, he came to realize that because abusers are often influential and charismatic — and because groupthink is such a known bug in human nature — an abuser can sway an entire group against a person he or she is mistreating, belittling, controlling, or gaslighting. (Gaslighting: undermining a person's confidence in their own perceptions and memories.)



Emotional abusers or harassers often turn an accusation of abuse back on the victim and say that they themselves are the victims. Often they believe it! Whole communities sometimes tear apart bitterly over who to believe.



So, how can you and your community discern the truth?



pattern of accusers is pretty damning; think Bill Cosby. But in a recent PLN discussion, Franklin described a tool for seeing through the awful fogs when matters are not so clear or so physical. I'll call his tool The Arrow of Control. He cites Emma Fett's influential formulation and its key sentence:






“I was victimized by acts of control” is not the same as “I was victimized by the other person’s resistance to my control.”





Franklin writes,






Something I would like to see more of in these conversations is a realization that the axis of control often points in the direction from abuser to victim.



It is incredibly common for abusers to assume the mantle of victim. And in every case I’ve seen, looking at the direction in which power and control flows is an incredible tool for helping to figure out what’s going on.



Who is attempting to assert control over the other person? Not control as in “you will not interact with me in this way” [that's boundary setting, which is about oneself  –Ed.], but control as in “I want to tell you what you may or may not do with your body/ your decisions/ your life.”





Now you too have this tool.



The Arrow of Control points to the truth in messy emotional-abuse disputes more clearly than anything I know.





----------------------------------



Since my last roundup on this subject, much has been published. Here's a selection.







● At September's CatalystCon West, Eve, Cunning Minx, Tamara Pincus and William Winters (grouped at right) ran a panel on how to recognize and respond to emotional abuse in relationships. Here's Minx's Storify of their presentation. Here it is as a slide show. Here's the session's handout.





● Jessica Burde, who is working on her second book The Polyamory Home, is posting a series about the topic on her Polyamory On Purpose website. So far:

    – Abuse in Polyamory

    – What Is Abuse?

    – Is Polyamory Abusive?

    – Types of Abuse

    – Vectors of Control in Abusive Relationships

    – “There’s no right way to do polyamory!” (But, there’re lots of wrong ways)



Her Patreon page.





● By Ginny Brown, at Everyday Feminism: Yes, Abuse Can Show Up in Polyamorous Relationships – Here Are 7 Red Flags to Watch Out For (May 29, 2015). Excerpts:






...For many people, their first mentors in polyamory are also their first partners. And while often this works out fine, as more experienced people help their less-experienced partners navigate the difficult waters, the power imbalance creates the potential for control and manipulation.



And we need to be talking about it.



Here are a few toxic dynamics that seem to come up often when poly people share stories of abuse.



1. “You’re Here to Serve Our Relationship”



A lot of people come to polyamory as part of a monogamous couple opening up.... A Secondary’s Bill of Rights is a good read for anybody involved in hierarchical poly relationships.



2. “I’m Watching for Your Mistakes”



...The key dynamic is that, instead of healthily expressing their hurt and frustration [at something], the abusive partner uses every mistake or perceived mistake as an excuse to shame and control their partner.



3. “You Are Responsible for My Emotions”



...A lot of us carry some “poly guilt” — feeling that by being poly, we’re getting away with something.... Poly guilt can make it easy for a partner to pressure, punish, and coerce us into dancing on eggshells around their negative feelings, even if we haven’t actually done anything wrong.



4. “I Don’t Have to Care About Your Emotions”



The flip side of the above point: Because boundaries and taking responsibility for your emotions are so essential for healthy polyamory, some people will use these principles to justify being indifferent or hostile in response to their partner’s feelings....  In healthy polyamorous (or monogamous!) relationships, all parties are given space to have their feelings heard and considered.



5. “My Way Is Best for You”



You might think that poly people, having broken away from mainstream expectations about relationships, would be immune to the belief that there’s only one right way to do relationships. Alas, it’s not the case....



6. “You Can’t Talk to My Other Partners” (Or, “Everything You Say Will Be Shared with My Other Partners”)



...While the shared partner certainly has a stake in how metamours get along, they shouldn’t be controlling the interactions.



7. “Your Other Relationships Are Inferior”



Regardless of how metamours get along, a baseline of respect and understanding toward the other people our partner loves is fundamental to healthy polyamory. Abusive partners, on the other hand, will sometimes work hard to undercut their partner’s other relationships....



Trust Yourself



...It’s okay to trust your instincts and seek help if you’re unhappy – or if you feel unsafe or controlled. Looking at general resources on abuse in relationships can be very helpful.



...No rationale gives someone the right to control your actions, disregard your feelings and needs, or treat you as disposable in a supposedly loving relationship.







Mo Daviau

● By novelist Mo Daviau: The Polypath! Red flags to watch for if you’re dating a polyamorous narcissist. This was published in November 2014. Recently she updated it with the note, "I’m astonished at how popular this essay has gotten. If you’re struggling with recovery from a relationship with someone with NPD [narcissistic personality disorder], please see my list of resources."






In the interest of protecting the guilty, the innocent, and the integrity of the DSM-5, I have coined the word polypath. (Portmanteau: polyamorous sociopath).



Sociopaths, especially of the narcissist variety (the personality-disordered ones, not just the flagrantly self-absorbed) are usually charming and highly sexual, charismatic, attractive, and fun. They are also [literally] incapable of feeling empathy or compassion for another human being. Yet, because they are charmers, they are very talented at pretending they can. And they are also very talented at sniffing out easy targets. Solid, decent people who are talented and smart, and who are also at a point in their lives where they are vulnerable, such as having recently gone through a break-up, divorce, job loss, sexual assault, or other trauma, are easy targets. I was an easy target....



Narcissists are also, generally, non-monogamous.... The narcs who openly identify as polyamorous are able to adopt the earnest vocabulary, ethics, and norms of the community. However, when you hand these tools to a narcissist they quickly become weapons.... In many instances, the rhetoric of polyamory, while positive and respectful... easily shifts blame to the victim, who is often found beating herself up for being insecure, jealous, or for asking for boundaries....



Here's a handy little list of red flags.



Healthy poly folks do not use poly as an excuse to “trade up.” If you find yourself involved with someone who has never successfully managed multiple relationships, or who overlaps relationships and drops the old one when the new bright ‘n shiny comes around, that’s classic narcissist behavior.



Check the intensity of the relationship early on! If you are being courted, charmed, complimented, and told you are so special after only knowing each other for a short time, this is what the experts call “love-bombing.” We all want to feel loved and special, but too much too soon, with a shocking intensity that only grows hotter after you begin having sex, is Phase One of the classic narcissist Idealize-Devalue-Discard relationship cycle....



Any poly person who cannot come up with at least one ex with whom he maintains friendly relations. [And, I'll add, who you can meet. –Ed.]



If he uses the occasion of introducing his two partners to play one against the other [perhaps behind each others' backs].



If you are being accused of hurting his other partner by asking for boundaries, with no visible concern for your feelings: narcissist! Skilled poly folks know how to make sure everyone feels heard....



Be extremely wary of anyone who says that he hates making compromises. Compromises are necessary in any relationship....



Someone who treats polyamory like an affliction that can’t be helped.



...My narcissist accused me of going on dates with other men to “get back at him for being poly.” He even told me I was “using other men as a weapon against him.” What kind of projection horseshit was that?





A note from me: It's easy to throw around clinical diagnoses like "sociopath," but some of the people who do some of the things above have just bought into bad culture.





● On WikiHow is an excellent, compact resource in outline form with categories and bullet points: How to Address Abuse in Polyamory. It's editable; that's how WikiHow works. It includes many useful links. Here are the top-level categories as of November 11, 2015:










...Polyamory can be especially tricky to navigate. So what happens when abuse comes into play?... Below are examples of issues specific to polyamory, and methods for reducing harm or avoiding it altogether.



Steps:



1. Understand the various manifestations of abuse. Become informed about common (and not so common) ways that abuse can manifest in polyamory....



2. Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for red flags, such as the ones below....



3. Learn as much as you can. Read articles, books, zines, blogs, etc. that speak specifically about abuse in polyamory and open relationships....



4. Find help....



5. Call a hotline if you are in a crisis situation, or even just to talk with someone....



6. Be kind to yourself. Remember these key points....



7. Advocate for abuse survivors. If you feel comfortable, nip dangerous attitudes in the bud....







● From Kai Cheng Thom, a Chinese transwoman writer, poet, and performance artist: 5 Common Ways Our Communities Fail to Address Intimate Partner Violence (September 10).






1. Not Talking About Abuse...

2. Defining Abuse Too Narrowly...

3. Thinking About Abuse as an Individual (Rather Than Collective) Problem...

4. Blaming Everything on a Caricature of ‘Abuser’...

5. Centering the ‘Abuser’ or the ‘Rescuer,’ Rather than the Survivor...




So Let’s Start Talking.... I believe in the courage of our communities to speak.





Her related articles.







● From a black perspective: The Poison Hidden in the Heart of Non-Monogamy (July 28).






...And despite the remarks written in More Than Two about those who’ve been abused, [the experience] in no way diminishes our ability to recognize healthy boundaries. If anything, it makes us all the more sensitive to boundary violations.... Not all survivors of abuse are the same. Those who don’t have healthy boundaries to begin with are more likely to put up with the abuse for a longer period of time, to not recognize certain actions as abusive, and to believe they deserve the abuse. The rest of us develop more awareness of what we can and cannot handle, of who is likely to be an abuser, and are quicker to notice red flags and get the hell out of there. You don’t survive long by putting yourself in danger when you know better.



Additionally, abusers can only take advantage of weaknesses that already exist. But for black women it is not any individual failing that makes us more prone to being the victims of abuse. No, our weakness is tied into our blood, woven there by history itself....







● And at Black Girl Dangerous, 9 Strategies For Non-Oppressive Polyamory by Janani Balasubramanian (October 4, 2013).





10 things I wished I'd known about gaslighting, by Emma Fett (July 15, 2015).





----------------------------------



And, here are resources that I listed with my writeup of February's Poly Living conference:



● Franklin's Some Thoughts on Community and Abuse, reflecting his Poly Living talk. (Feb. 11, 2015).



● Here's the article that he references midstream: The Community Response to Abuse, by Emma Fett (Jan. 30, 2015). This continues to get a lot of buzz.



● That post was a followup to Fett's Abuse in Polyamorous Relationships, including Six Poly Traps (Nov. 22, 2014).



● Here are Eve and Franklin's Resources on abuse in polyamorous relationships that grew out of the weekend. See the interesting comment there, by Liz, that women and men may abuse in similar numbers, but that this is not visible because men are more able to inflict obvious injury, and are more ashamed to admit that they are being abused when they are the victims.



● Also helping to prompt this discussion was Cunning Minx's Polyamory Weekly podcast Episode 418, Emotional Abuse in Polyamorous Relationships (Jan. 23, 2015). Minx says it was a difficult episode to create, months in the making. In it Shannon Perez-Darby, Youth Services Program Manager for The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse, shares her advice on how to recognize abuse of all kinds and how to respond when you or someone you love might be surviving emotional abuse.



● There's a hashtag: #AbuseInPoly



● And here's relationship coach Dawn Davidson's collection of links, with commentary: Abuse in (poly) relationships: A link roundup.
evile: (future)


I often think I'm not doing enough with my life. I paint, I golf, I dabble, but is that enough?

--Abby Warman




Nobody can answer the question posed by Abby but ourselves. The point is, are we content? If we hesitate even a moment before replying, perhaps we need to reconsider how we're spending our time.



The solution to fulfillment is simple: Express only love to the others in our lives. It's not what we do, ever, but how we do it. If focusing on giving only love and acceptance to others gives us pleasure, could we want for anything more?



There is nothing anyone can do that's more important than helping another person feel loved or forgiven, if that's called for. Whether we are working or merely at play, our opportunities are unending. We'll know we have done enough if we have welcomed them.



Today I can offer love to someone quite easily. Both of us will be rewarded.

You are reading from the book:

Keepers of the Wisdom by Karen Casey

Keepers of the Wisdom © 1996 by Karen Casey. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of Hazelden.

evile: (deadmoon)
On September 9, 2015, we lost one of the most amazing, unique, talented, intelligent, warm, LOUD, people in the entire world. Our friend Bart.

I will be joining with thousands of people nationwide this fall to walk in AFSP's San Antonio Walk Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I would appreciate any support that you give for this worthwhile cause & would love to walk with as many of Bart's loved ones as possible, and share Bart Stories and memories of better times.

Wear red shoes if you have 'em!

Here's the official page to join the team or make a donation:

http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=828595

Here is the Facebook event page if you would like to come walk with us.

https://www.facebook.com/events/906009859479249/
evile: (dorothy)
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Many people may ask or wonder or even sarcastically comment that "everyone is AWARE of domestic violence, what's the point of this?"....the point is that many people in abusive relationships may not actually understand that they are being abused. So many media campaigns focus on physical violence, perpetrated by men against women in heterosexual, presumably monogamous, relationships.

And yet this is only the smallest facet, the tiniest percentage of the reality of domestic abuse. A person can be abusive without ever laying a hand on you, a person can be abusive by laying on guilt trips, by keeping you up late at night arguing when you have an important commitment the next day, by crying and pouting when told that the family budget can't accomodate their hobbies or shopping habits, and repeating this manipulative behavior regularly until the family finances are basically in ruins. Abuse can mean being ignored when you ask your partner for what you need. Abuse can mean verbal outbursts that intimidate you into changing your mind about asking for what you need. Abuse can be getting The Silent Treatment until you change yourself to accommodate your abuser's wishes. Abuse can happen between women in intimate partnerships, or between men. Abuse can happen in polyamorous households or within a BDSM relationship. Abuse can even happen between friends.

It's not about physical violence, it's about another person controlling your thoughts, behavior, feelings, relationships and/or finances. It's about another person deciding who you are and what you want, or don't want. It can be a lot more subtle than a slap across the face, and it can keep hurting you for years and years, long after the abuser is gone from your life, because it damages how you think and feel about yourself, and makes you question whether or not you have the 'right' to think, feel, behave the way you do, or want what you want. Long after a bruise would have faded, verbal and emotional abuse can leave you feeling worthless and useless and empty. It can convince you that you're the one who is broken, it's your fault, you deserve the way you are being treated, and that no one will ever treat you any better, so you may as well stay in the relationship you have.

So, yes, it's important to increase awareness of abusive relationships and abusive behaviors, and to always, always ALWAYS be willing to say something when you see it happening. Don't worry if what you are saying is 'the wrong thing'...just the fact that you're willing to say something may be the lifeline that the victim needs to move on.
evile: (Nightmare)
This year has just flown by and I don't feel like I have much to show for it. Time passes faster as you get older, I think....

Our weekend has been pretty laid back. Yesterday was Bart's memorial service & reception in San Antonio. Other than the selected speakers at the memorial, nobody really talked about Bart. The reception was more like a reunion, 'what are you doing these days' kind of thing.....it was nice but I really wanted more Bart stories. I kept a journal of all my times back then but I don't actually remember much off the top of my head. I didn't really know what to say to his mom, sister, and brother, so I didn't say anything. I hadn't seen him in years and years, I just didn't feel like I had the right to say anything. So I stood around awkwardly, talked a little to the two people there I knew, but even that felt wierd and wrong, like I was in the way and keeping them from talking to the people they actually wanted to talk to.

When I got to the memorial, I said hi to Ross and met his wife Jeanne. Ross told me I look exactly the same....which was nice of him. I expected to cry more than I actually did. There was a slide show of photos of Bart from all the times of his life, mixed together. I recognized some. A few made me laugh or at least smile.

The reception was at "The Circle School" just off Broadway near the Witte; it looked like a big old bungalow had been turned into a school. The classrooms had names like "the star room" and "the rainbow room"--if my sister lived in San Antonio, I could totally see my niece going to that school. We got there a little early and helped set up tables and stuff.

Anyway....I didn't stay til the end, we left for home around 6:30. You can't go home again.

Christine C. One of the people I went to HS with, who knew Bart also....went kind of bugnuts and unfriended me in Facebook. Apparently she felt she hadn't been told enough about what was going on when, as far as the memorial service, reception, and graveside ceremony. When I had messaged her the official obituary, she told me she wasn't going to anything, because Bart's sister and her sister are best friends, and she isn't on speaking terms with her sister. Also had some drama with Ross, the main organizer of everything and one of Bart's best friends. So the last post from her I saw before she unfriended me was a lot of cuss words and "Why didn't anyone tell me about the memorial service, Bart was my friend too" and "I hate you!!" Oh, yeah, and her husband posted to let all mutual friends of Chris and Bart that we are pieces of shit. I probably should not have responded at all, but I did. I said something like "I messaged you and posted all teh info I had, I don't know what else I could have done,".....but the thing is....she's an adult, and she DID have all the info she needed in order to make whatever decisions about attending or not attending....so her making things other people's fault or responsibility is just her.....not my responsibility or my problem. Of course I feel like a horrible person and a bad friend, because that's my codependent conditioning at work....but really, this is her grief and anger and sadness needing an outlet and a target and me being the best one, as usual, as always, because that's who I am and that's who she is.

Anyway. :/ I can't say it doesn't bother me or hurt me, but I can at least recognize some of the irrational aspects of the situation and why it shouldn't bother me or hurt me the way it is. So, there's that.

Today has just been sleeping in, hanging out in pjs. Thax made coffee and waffles. Now he's working on various little fix-it projects around the house that he'd been meaning to get to for a while. I haven't done a damn thing. We need to get to the grocery store at some point.

My life feels pretty empty and quiet now that I don't plan (and pay for!) grand group adventures anymore. Oh well.

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