xenologer: (human monsters)
CN: ableism! abuse!

I'm neuroatypical in, oh, a fair number of ways. Couple of common ways, couple of oddball ways, whatever. Some of these ways can be a drag, and some work in my favor. I'm also someone who has spent a fair span of my life being abused by other neuroatypical people whose neuroatypicality was, uh... we'll say it wasn't incidental to the fact that abuse was happening.

So I want to make it clear that I'm straddling the line a lot of people want to draw between Innocent Disabled Victims and the Cruel Abusive Personality Disordered Monsters who prowl the planet creating drama and more Innocent Disabled Victims. I want to make it clear that that line is not actually a border between two countries, or even two categories. It's a line between people we've decided we're not allowed to draw boundaries with and people we are.

That's fucked up on both counts. But let's back it up a moment. In conversations about the scariest of mental illnesses, the biggies like personality disorders or anything that comes with delusions, what I find entertaining is the inevitable participation of Normal Good People With Empathy who are pointing to people they perceive to have less empathy, declaring them a subhuman menace, and defending their ejection from participation in human society on the grounds that they are a net detriment to the social context they’re embedded in. The so-called high empathy good people say this. You can tell they have plenty of empathy and are therefore safe because they want all the weirdos and the freaks and the crazies down in a cage next to Multiple Miggs.

Every time this topic gets discussed, those good people ride in to save us all from the people with no empathy. They’re reliable that way.

And my goodness, to hear them friggin howl every time a mentally ill person says, "You don't have to give us anything you can't or don't want to, but you also don't have to talk about us like we're not people." You'd think every single one of them checked their Facebook only to learn from their Notifications that they'd woken up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing. You got us, you just barely-recovered desperately-overcompensating ex-codependents! Today we tell you to draw boundaries with the mentally ill WITHOUT dehumanizing us, and then tomorrow we’ll be hanging you on our cars to use as blood bags on the Fury Road!!

You figured out our evil plan.

[cackling intensifies]

In seriousness, though, they're so attached to this strategy, and it's only tonight I really found enough distance to actually give thought to why they're so determined to defend not their right to draw boundaries, but their right to do it this particular way.

When they do this, what are they doing really? What function does this behavior serve? To me, it looks like the pendulum backswing of people who have, like I have, lived that codependency life and are D-O-N-E DONE with it forever. And good for them. Seriously, y'all, codependency: not even once. The way to avoid falling into codependency, in my experience, is learning that just because some people are pitiful doesn't mean they're entitled to me specifically falling on every single one of their grenades.

What I see in these desperate people is an extra step, an unnecessary step, a step that will come back to bite them in the ass sooner or later.

This extra step is a patch to make it easier for them to say no, but all it actually does is narrow the circumstances in which they allow themselves to say no by permitting a boundary to be set only in circumstances where they can justify pre-emptively shitting all over the hypothetical transgressor. This is a good way to get themselves psychically revved-up to do the hard work of policing the boundaries of their own lives, but it comes at a cost both to the people around them and to themselves.

The cost to the people around them is straightforward. They get to deal with someone who, secure in their own impeccable coping, cannot set a boundary without kindling all their pent-up indignation and frustration and anxiety around the feet of the person they're approaching and then lighting them up, because you see they are so healthy and drama-free and just cannot be around any more negativity or manipulation and that is why they require instantaneous compliance with a sudden feelingsbomb that anyone else less ferociously defensive might have simply stated as a two-sentence request, complete with please and thank you.

The cost to themselves is that they have made boundary setting exhausting for themselves, and they've made it very difficult and high-stakes in situations where they don't actually want to heap vitriol all over a loved one whose goodwill they may actually wish to maintain. The cost to themselves is that they have turned advocating for themselves into a fundamentally unsustainable activity, one that can only be done in bursts of crisis. They have robbed themselves of relating as a cooperative activity.

Because, you see, they're done with "crazy," and thought they could leapfrog the part where they attempt to come to some kind of understanding of what it is and how it happens.

I have a lot of personal internalized ableism myself, particularly around borderline personality disorder. In my experience BPD has been like lycanthropy. It’s nobody’s fault if they get bitten, but anybody who’s been bit then has a responsibility as a human being who is equal to other human beings not to pass on the curse by forcing others to warp around their disordered coping.

I know there are many people with BPD who weren’t abused whose accounts are also valid and important, but in my family that isn’t how it worked intergenerationally. People just kept getting bit and biting other people and passing it on and passing it on and everybody was both a survivor doing their best and the brutalizer of the next generation. Nobody was to blame for being bitten as children; they were only children. But they grew up and they bit their own children and that was a behavioral choice.

You’d never know I’d been bitten to interact with me. I took Measures. I overcompensated to make myself safer to be around, and as a result have other diagnoses impacting me, but at least I’m not biting anybody. The curse stops with me. But that doesn’t mean I’m the first one in the chain of victims who counts, either. I’m just the first who decided she’d rather be a safe robot than a mad dog, since I never saw humanity in the array of my potential futures. I was a child; I did the best I could, like all children. Which of us is human? All of us? None? For how long? Is there a cutoff age? Who decides when that was?

(I mention BPD more here than antisocial personality disorder because of family experience. Other people who've lived closer to ASPD could give you finer detail than I could.)

The point of my personal divergence here is that there's no intuitive way I can see to separate abusers with personality disorders and their victims with abuse-rooted personality disorders. Maybe some lives look more clear cut. Maybe some people live there, and maybe they can map that territory in a way I'll find comprehensible, but right now I have a clearer mental picture of the skin of Mercury. For me, there is no line. For me, there is no way for anybody to say, "It's okay to draw boundaries with the bad ones, but not the good ones! For them we must give all! The bad ones get nothing!" Because who is that, even? Who is so bad they deserve literally nothing? Who is good enough to deserve anybody's everything?

We don't have to dehumanize anybody or put anybody up on a Perfect Patient Who Seeks Help pedestal to decide whom we get to draw boundaries with. That's lingering codependency brainbad talking; I'm telling you it is. It's telling you that someday the right person'll come along and you'll be ready to turn your soul to mush for them and it'll be awesome and you'll be such a good person finally! And if you can work up the courage to say no, to save yourself, to refuse to let yourself be spaghettified into the black hole of someone else's tragedy, that it must be because they're a Wicked Bad Inhuman Monster and you should Tell Them So, so you'd better beg your codependency brain for an excuse, for an indulgence you don't need!

Consider this.

You’re a person too. Nobody’s sanity needs to come at the cost of your own. That’s not increasing the world’s net sanity; that’s just shifting it around. It isn’t sustainable. You are a person too and you deserve your own compassion.

You can say, “I can’t do it; I can’t be the one,” without saying, “no one should do it because those freaks aren’t human.”

You don’t owe anybody your blood, your kidney, your spinal fluid, or your sanity. You can say no to people and have them still be people. Some particularly desperate recovering codependents don’t seem able to draw boundaries with equals, only with people they’ve depersonalized. That’s what gives me the creeps. But please don’t apply my discomfort to the bare reality of your legitimate right to decide what to give and when. You are a person too, and and slash and burn harvesting doesn’t work any more responsibly in the human heart than it does in a forest. I trust your pace and your right to regenerate and I hope you do too.

And maybe once more people trust their right to say no, they'll stop having to arm themselves up with fear-aggression to saw everybody else down to something less than people before they feel righteous enough by comparison to speak the words.
xenologer: (do not even)
TW: mention of all kinds of bigotry

I was going to write this as a FB comment in reply to a thread, but that would likely have resulted in me losing it forever to the flood of other content. And good gracious, what a waste that'd be. So far I have two parts to this. One is establishing the distinction between "offense" and "harm" that I'll be using. The second is intended to establish that verbal bigotry is itself harmful, rather than merely offensive. Then I'll explain why this even matters to me. There are various subcontentions here, but those are the main points.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Content Warnings: abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, family, harry potter, mental illness, substance abuse

WTF I Just Saw This Wall of Text Why Did You Do This

I know a lot of genuinely good people. Good people often lack a sort of... brutal realism. To put it in the nerdiest possible terms, Hufflepuffs make excellent friends, but they might not spot what a Slytherin does. A Slytherin with any kind of sense of balance will do the right thing and use their cunning and cynicism to watch everybody else's backs.

So, my beloved good-hearted Hufflepuffs and straightforwardly honest Ravenclaws and doggedly honest Gryffindors, I'm gonna try to do the right thing and share what I've learned from learning how to... well, "make people useful" sounds bad, so I'll just say "manipulate people." I can't think of too many ways to use that for good except to reveal the social bad guy secrets so they at least won't have the element of surprise. Nobody deserves to be blindsided by some of this crap, and right now I'm gonna focus on one big big big trap in particular. Some of this comes from actual therapist literature, and a whole helluva lot of it comes from needing to develop certain skills to survive that are not ethical to use in the adult world. Other people's mileage may vary but unfortunately... it probably varies less than a lot of people think it does.

Why I Picked Triangulation

We're all from the internet, and one common experience a lot of us have had is that anybody even remotely interesting is broken or at least a little cracked in some kind of a way. Some people can learn what the world really looks like entirely from watching bad things from a distance, but they are few and far between. People with personality tend to develop it from contact with the actual world.

Unfortunately, people who have bad things crash into them or even just near them can pick up bad habits. After all, the habits that help us survive in emotional wartime aren't always the ones that serve us best longterm. I've tended to think about it like lycanthropy; getting bitten is nobody's fault but that doesn't mean it's okay to pass on the curse.

One of the most insidious versions of this is triangulation. More info about this here. The very very short explanation is that crappy families can often shake down to a trio of roles, with members shifting between them. If someone is consistently scary, they become everybody else's Persecutor (and it's not much of a stretch to see how). Scary people often have at least one person attached to them who sees it as their job to moderate or insulate the scary one, and to those who're getting scared, this person might be their Rescuer. And of course, the Victim of all of this is just that: they're the victim and none of this is their fault.

Where this becomes entertaining (in an abstract sort of way, if you can look past the tangled knot of human suffering feeding itself) is that the Persecutor frequently sees themselves as the innocent Victim who is to blame for nothing, and they have the same Rescuer as the people they scare the crap out of. The Rescuer is the Rescuer to everybody, because at some point they decided it was their job to save everybody from everybody else and themselves. (Full disclosure: I have done the Rescuer thing, bigtime.)

Thing is... when the Rescuer is surrounded by people they're just trying to help and... well, rescue... there's nobody to protect them. And since they've bought into the triangle (or they wouldn't have accepted a role within it), they have to identify who's Victimizing them, and who's their best chance at Rescuing them.

(Victim and Rescuer are the roles people tend to want to be in. Persecutor is usually a role they reserve for someone else.)

Common Example (CN: Addiction, Emotional Abuse)

Read more... )
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
TW: abusers, enabling, codependency, etcetera
TW: non-flashy animated gifs

Some people would really have an easier time moving past their childhoods if they chose not to live there any more.

This is not directed at any one of my friends, because I know so many of them that it would be difficult to even say which of them makes me feel this way the most. It's possible that this comes my way so often because I know a lot of people who need to hear a particular kind of "why do you do things you know are bad for you because you complain a lot and then keep doing it" sort of bewildered frustration to reality check their own repetitive thoughts and counter-act some gaslighting coming from other corners. I am open to this possibility.

I just find it really frustrating, and the contempt can be hard to swallow. I don't have contempt for people who stay with an abuser, because often that happens because of financial, social, or safety consequences they are not prepared to endure. Furthermore, a lot of people who're being abused have to convince themselves it's not abuse so that they can adapt to the new normal and stay above water. Additionally, codependency is a helluva drug just in general. All that stuff I know. I also know that it is hella disempowering to offer people advice, feedback, or anything beyond active listening unless they explicitly say that that is what will support them most effectively at that moment.

What I get sick of is friends repeatedly coming to me specifically to commiserate about relatives on whom they are not financially dependent, do not rely upon for access to health care, and therefore contribute literally nothing but toxicity to their lives. Actually, let me refine that. The ones who piss me off the most are the ones who expect me to be somehow onboard with this approach of building abuser-resistant structures to hide in until the worst of the latest tantrum subsides rather than ceasing to go out of their way to include the tantrum-throwing little shit. Because that's the thing. If you do not rely on someone for any of your actual practical needs, and if they do not provide you any emotional or social support, you do not need them; you are going out of your way to include them in a life that doesn't actually use them for anything otherwise.

Don't say, "You know how you have to X," or, "All you can do is Y," because I think you had better adjust that pronoun. I don't have that attitude. Maybe this is different for people who didn't grow up with at least a couple of contingency plans in case someday they had to kill their parent. Maybe for people whose abusers aren't that bad they can afford to create a fantasy world in which if they just stand still and let themselves be stabbed in the eye enough times, their abuser will learn to regret what they've done enough to... I don't know, stab them someplace less vital in the future. Maybe some people can afford to grow up without ever having seriously considered that what they need is a life without the abuser.

I just don't fucking get that attitude, though. You know why? I couldn't afford it. I couldn't afford to just accept the standards of my abusers and hope that doing so would ensure my survival, because yeah sure that works all the time. "GTFO" was on my to-do list from a very young age because I knew that a space I controlled was the only place where I would ever have a breath of a chance.

And y'know what? I was right.



Of course I was! This shit is obvious!

So! Don't act like what you're doing is all anyone can do. It is what you are doing. Do not presume to know what options I saw and what actions I took just because you clearly never had to look as hard as I did. Do not presume that repeatedly going out of your way to subject yourself to your abuser is just what's done. I don't know whether to feel envy or disgust when it comes to people who never had to learn the hard way that you need to not fucking do that.

There comes a time when I just want to tell them that I'm tired of hearing about problems they must not care about enough to solve. That's a shitty thing to say, but as someone who deserves to be proud of making the correct decisions, I sure as hell think it. If they just came to get my heart bleeding for them whenever they need to feed on my sympathy to refuel for their next deliberate pursuit of being hurt.

This is what finally got me off the codependency schtick.

There is no amount of therapizing or personal work or other emotional heavy lifting that I can do on my end to compensate for the shitty decisions of people like this. They cannot be saved, because you can do every imaginable thing to create a world in which they can live free of their abuser, and I guarantee you they'll have them over for dinner, list them as an emergency contact, or invite them to the wedding. They will undermine you every step of the way because they like where they are and they're gonna stay addicted to the abuser cycle until they decide to get clean.

I can't do it for them, so unless they're gonna come to me for real fucking talk about how incomprehensible it is to me that they are obviously going out of their way to seek out abuse, they can keep their... fuckin'... emotional self-harm nonsense to their damn selves. You cut yourself in the feelings if you wanna; I clearly can't stop you.

What you cannot do is sit down with me and solicit my feedback like there's anything I'm gonna say besides, "Actually no I don't do that thing you are doing. Because it is obviously not working and I stop doing things that are demonstrably bullshit once it is demonstrated that they are bullshit." It doesn't take knowing me that long to expect that I will respond to bullshit like you are feeding me bullshit.

I don't care if you ate it first; I don't want your bullshit.



Now, I have on at least one occasion had someone discuss an abusive situation they're in because they needed someone to not just disagree with the brain weasels, but outright dismiss the brain weasels as inhabiting such an alternate universe of bullshit that their brain weasels are not even saying things that are comprehensible. Some people do eventually appear to benefit from a reality check that rough; some of that set even know this about themselves well enough to solicit it. This is great. I can do that and will happily do it because if support to you looks like "hey tell me this bullshit is bullshit because it is bullshit right?" I am pleased as punch to say, "Yes. It is bullshit for a myriad of reasons that I will happily detail as exhaustively as you like."

What I am not pleased to do is pretend that we all have the luxury to live in fantasy enabler land where if you stick around they'll learn to stop hurting you. What I am not pleased to do is pretend that we all have the luxury to keep hope alive. What I am not pleased to do is hide the sensible, pragmatic, and often merciless decisions I have had to make for my own good which I am proud of because I took care of myself and that makes me fucking awesome because someone I know is cruising for some enabling of their enabling.

No.

Nope.

Get out.

I'm not going to go approach all the people in these situations and tell them my very important opinions on the subject, but I am allowed to post in my very own journal that I am proud not to be them. I couldn't afford to be them, so I wasn't, and I damn well will be proud of that. If anybody has a problem with the fact that I actually chose survival strategies that work and that makes them feel bad, they absolutely can take that messiness elsewhere because I am not here for it.

Support me or learn from me or ignore me, but get the hell out of my way and don't hate me for doing shit right. I had to. So I did. Try it sometime.
xenologer: (hope)
New Legislation Would Expand Domestic Violence Laws to Include Pets (h/t Feministe)

It looks like both Washington and Iowa are considering legislation that would include family pets under domestic violence protections.  In Washington, the legislation would allow courts to issue restraining orders against abusers that include pets as well as the abused party; and in Iowa, the legislation would not only allow restraining orders to be issued, but would also allow a court to issue an order giving the abused party full custody of the pet(s) without a restraining order.

On the surface, for the uninitiated, this may seem a bit silly, or even trivializing of domestic violence.  But indeed, it’s anything but.  These pieces of legislation aren’t just about protecting animals — who, I would argue, do indeed deserve our protection.  They’re primarily about protecting the abused human.

How?  Because it’s not at all uncommon for abusers to used beloved family pets to get to their victims. They may threaten the safety or life of the pet in order to prevent the abused person from leaving, and may actually do harm to the pet, including torturing and killing it in order to do emotional damage to the human victim.

Any of us who has a pet who they love dearly can easily relate to this.  If someone threatened my cat, who I love more than almost anything?  Yeah, that’d probably work.  And it actually does work in a lot of cases.  People, especially women, have been murdered because they couldn’t stand the thought of harm being done to their animals.

So this legislation is good news.  It has the potential to save both animal and human lives.  And if you live in either state?  You should be contacting your legislators to let them know that you support it.

See Abyss2Hope for more.


xenologer: (hope)
Another run-down of things I'm reading right now. I'm categorizing them again so that "liberal" issues like racism and violence against women are easier for some of you to scroll past.

RACE

The Right Reacts to Powell Endorsement. Turns out Powell just saw a black man and said, "Yeah! That'll do!" I mean, I understand that they have to find a way to disqualify the endorsement of one of the most respected Republicans left in this country, but couldn't they have thought of anything better than simply pointing out that they're both black?

What kind of "Election Day unrest" are we talking about? I can't even summarize this one. But it's worth reading.

White Guys and the Prospect of an Obama Presidency "What I predict will change the most about racism under an Obama presidency is that the white guys wearing the Obama buttons will refuse to take racism seriously." Racism happens. Despite fears from some, that's not going to stop. Jessie points out some measures of racial inequality that won't be changed by Obama's election, but will be easier to ignore (not that people don't do just fine ignoring them already).

McCain supporters reveal racism, and while they're much much worse than Obama's supporters, the latter are not exempt either.

CLASS

Palin: American Taxpayers Aren't Patriotic. Look at Alaska's tax system and tell me she's learned anything useful running it. They don't even pay taxes there, but can run their state on the generosity of oil companies and federal *gasp* earmark dollars.

Higher Ed and the New New Deal. What would happen if public colleges and universities were free?

WOMEN

NY Shelters Will Be Reimbursed For Helping Undocumented Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. I know there are people on my friends list who hate nothing more than they hate the idea of illegal immigrants getting anything from Americans, but some of us are glad of this.

The original article is here. It mentions, "Though there are many economic and psychological reasons women linger with men who beat them, a shadowy immigration status makes it even harder to break away. Five women in the two shelters told me they had feared going to the police, because they worried that that could lead to deportation. Even if they sought to do so, the women said, their companions or husbands would have threatened to betray them to immigration officials."

LAPD allows over 200 rape cases to pass the statute of limitations without testing the rape kits. Fuck you, too, LA. Seriously.

MISC. ELECTION

Socialists: Obama no Socialist. Red-baiting is less effective when real socialists can publicly disagree with you, isn't it?

Be careful. First sociopaths kill animals. Bear cub was shot, and its body left with Obama signs stuck over its head.

Republicans heckling voters. Not politicians. Voters. At least they didn't slash their tires, vandalize any voter registration offices, beat any journalists to the ground, or otherwise attack anybody. No one was lynched in effigy, either. So I suppose we should be grateful that they're only yelling.

The Courts. What the USSC will really look like under Pres. McCain, or Pres. Obama.

Irony Alert: GOP Political Consultant Arrested For Voter Registration Fraud.

SCIENCE!

Do the use of hand gestures slow language learning?

April 2016

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