Lost a family member — true, she’d stopped speaking to me but I liked and so miss her nonetheless. She’d had the deck stacked against her by those she depended on most and ultimately lost to that struggle in spite of all her many and repeated efforts in life to deny in order to overcome the challenges that beset her and be accepted by those she loved as whatever she believed “normal” to be. Through my own fall from grace, I came to appreciate a deeper understanding from her perspective — though our respective responses to being pushed over that edge has taken different paths.
Lost a salty old friend and colleague but will always keep the scar his dog forever altered my fingerprints with. I shall miss his surly humors — and professional skill set. The world he leaves is poorer without him in so many ways.
In the end we’re all footnotes in time, I suppose. May they both find rest in whatever afterwards there may be.
As one left remaining, it has been an exhausting slog of a year. More so today as though, arbitrary as this day is (my year begins when the days start getting longer again), a collective world-weariness crashes down and me with it.
I happened to tune about halfway through Hugo and Jake‘s live stream the other night, listening to them banter about in the background while I worked a project, when they begin to talk (1h 40m in) about being no contact with toxic family members and narcissism and I overhear Hugo say that, in one of his most productive therapy sessions ever, the therapist tells him that Hugo doesn’t have to entertain his messed up family’s demands of him. Instant validation!
In what myself and other survivors rediscover uncannily often, my own experience with this singular epiphany was nearly identical to Hugo’s. A counselor and psychologist who’s help I’d sought at a local community college told me the same thing that Hugo’s therapist told him and, like Hugo, I marveled that this idea had never occurred to me before. It was like a spell had been broken. A curse lifted. As though someone had to snap their fingers for me to wake up.
Over the years I’ve been gathering information on narcissism since first plugging my symptoms into a search engine and discovering it, I’ve read a lot of articles, watched more than a few videos and browsed numerous online support group forums but this is the first time I’d seen/heard someone else describe this fundamental moment of realization, a sudden paradigm shift in perspective, as I also experienced it. One moment I was on the inside looking out. The next, I was on the outside looking in and wondering how it was I could have ever been on the inside.
The rest of Hugo and Jake’s discussion is delightful, insightful and worth watching for anyone else – well, not Elon Musk fans probably – and especially for those who might be struggling with family estrangement over this family-centric holiday. Celebrate all the people you don’t have to deal with. Cut the toxic people out of your life.
While the trailer did intrigue me somewhat, I didn’t watch this movie. Because, in spite of the novel concepts, there’s no mystery. Nothing to discover. It’s all presented up front, described by exposition and sweeping, perfectly lit, detailed vistas of these monstrous cities on the move.
And, like any good monster movie, they should have been revealed in parts or obscured from being viewable in their entirety from perspectives and situations that emphasized their terrible enormity. Instead, it’s more Skittles-vomit CGI that I, personally, am sick of. Even if that’s what they were intentionally going for, it happens to be competing with any number of animated features this season of it’s opening for which Skittles-vomit is the stock and trade.
Also, all the dialog in the trailer is boilerplate “Hurry!”, “Wait!”, “No!”, “Find them!” generic story-drivel. The 1980s action movie one-liners were cheesy but you remembered them and the characters and movies they were from, seared into your mind forever. But this, meh! Nothing stood out.
Maybe the books this movie is based on are better (as they so often are)?
The machines aren’t coming to harvest energy from us. Killbots aren’t out to murder us before we become an existential threat to them. We’re not being assimilated. Nope. They’re all hawking cheap boner pills, ads for sex with horny ladies in your area, badly pirated movie rips and fuck knows what else (I couldn’t make out the Mandarin, Cyrillic and maybe Farsi lettering) — all on my site.
In what has become something of an annual tradition for me, this years Grinch rendering. A glorious mess of watercolors-warped paper, pencils and ink, doodled on the back of another sketch with no intention of finishing and I was like, “Eh, what the hell!”
People blame the narcissist’s victim before recognizing if ever, much less acknowledging, that they are victims of the narcissist as well.
You gambled on a charismatic if not-very-clever con that sold you a bill of goods and lost. You’d of had better odds at one of his defunct casinos. But that false hope snake oil was so velvety smooth going down your throat, felt so good pumping through your veins that you ignored those who tried to warn you, laughed in our face, insisted that we were fools to resist such manna and shut out everything but the drug itself. And while that’s not entirely your fault – a life-long huckster played you for a fool, preying on your fear and desperation – the responsibility to discern the truth was yours. And now the cost comes due.
And you will pay the price.
Humiliation is only the beginning. Stubborn denial of the terrible truth that you gave yourself over willingly to a charlatan who tossed you aside after he was done wiping his fat, pampered ass with you won’t save you from extinction. Accepting that awful reality gives you back the power that he took from you to change it.
… or have yourself a very Trumpy Christmas and see how righteous indignation keeps you and everything you hold dear warm, nourished and protected in the dead of winter. 🌨️🎄
The closest thing to validation I’ve ever received from a Family member or their extended group of acquaintances (the tribe, if you will) was from Sister. One day she called me and described how she’d witnessed, first hand, Mother shamelessly, repeatedly lying about any small thing, undercutting the parental authority of her husband in regards to their adopted daughter and in spite of confronting her on these untruths. Sister tells me it occurred to her then, “Now I know how Tarraccas must feel.”
And that was it.
I was a little suspicious of her motivations for telling me this but I appreciated that Sister connected a couple dots, attempted to understand and relate to my experience. But she couldn’t know how I felt because Mother wasn’t lying about her. She lies about me. And in spite of almost bonding over this briefly shared awareness, Sister believed those lies. Everyone in the tribe does. It’s more of a cult that way.
They just can’t believe, even with first-hand evidence, that Mother could or would hurt anyone, especially not one of her own children. Perish the thought! Which only leaves me. I must’ve misunderstood or I’m just too sensitive or too angry or too something — they never ask because they apparently don’t care what I actually think or how I really feel. That’s all bullshit. In any case, I need to forgive, forget and get with the program and that’s all there is to it.
[P]eople do not like disrupting the status quo, and if they get information that doesn’t compute with their experience of a person – it’s destabilizing, and it’s easier to doubt your reality then to possibly have to face a new one. Treat this as a wakeup call – don’t take your vulnerabilities to people who do this to you any longer, find more humane listeners who receive your difficult words with compassion.
For anyone who finds themselves betrayed by one’s tribe, those who we trusted to have our back only for them to stab us in it: these are not your people. Find a new tribe.
So the 2018 midterm elections have come and gone the way of Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions the Third (seriously, there were two before him with this name?!) and the touted #BlueWave of Democrats taking government back from a fascist infestation of the white “christian” nationalist variety turned out to be more of a ripple upon breaking against this most resilient #RedHats resistance. And all various the progressive commentators I follow repeat the same refrain (some more despairing than others): how do we reach these people, the Trumpists?
Among these commentators, it is repeatedly agreed that Democrats (and liberals generally) have a messaging problem. And they do. For all the brain smarts that tends to distinguish liberals from conservatives, they just can’t square this circle. And not because they lack the means, but because they lack the moral – or should I say, immoral – fortitude.
Memes. The modern equivalent of cave drawings or leaflets printed and dropped from airplanes now digitized and shat out into the open sewer that is social media saturating our lives, disseminated by smear merchants and armchair propagandists for convenient consumption by an illiterate, incurious or simply exhausted proletariat. And like genes that Prof. Richard Dawkins modeled memes after, they’re remarkably effective at propagating themselves and huffing life everlasting into zombie lies for generations.
I see a lot of these memes when I browse a Facebook page I frequent for local news in my community. Between all the lost pets, lost people, lost property and occasional lost lives there are these shitposters losing their goddamn minds, especially on the weekends when the page admin lets these aggrieved keyboard warriors publicly vent their worst impulses; unabashed hatred, fearmongering and toxic stupidity of every sort — communicated via meme.
Normally, I scroll beyond all this bullshit. But now and again, I get curious and go on internet safari to discover if there’s any truth underpinning some of these. With national anger reaching fever pitch as I write this over Trump’s particularly unseemly Supreme Court nomination and Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card, Brett Kavanaugh, and Dr. Ford escaping his closet full of skeletons to finger him for sexual assault, I’ve selected a couple of these blame-the-victim flavored memes being shared in defense of Trump’s beleaguered pick to break down.
It’s hot this summer. Very hot. And as we let climate change push us further into the dystopian Mad Max Wasteland a nice cold beer would feel so good on our chapped lips, so cool on its way down our burning throats. But not so fast! Thanks to Immortan Trump, that frosty, thirst quenching brew is gonna cost ya.