xenologer: (do not even)
TW: just about everything, up to and including me discussing my own internalized ableism toward ppl w/ trauma

My approach to trigger warnings (this link is important) is a little non-standard, even if it results in me agreeing with those who scrupulously use them and their milder cousins the content notes. See, most times feminists and disability activists are using them for reasons of compassion and inclusivity, which are values they are supporting quite well through their actions. However, there are a lot of people who just cannot be reached via appeals to the greater or even small-scale interpersonal good. So I'll go over the compassion arguments, but then I'll give you my reasoning. If the first bit doesn't resonate with you, stick with me, yeah? Maybe you're just not like them. Maybe you're just like me, is all.

Why's this a conversation all of a sudden?

It is to everybody's great misfortune (except Lukianoff and Haidt, obviously) that their essay The Coddling of the American Mind in the Atlantic was the introduction to the matter for many casual readers and shallow thinkers. I don't normally go so far as to condemn entire readerships as shallow because those are strong words, but I hope I can justify them to your satisfaction.

The thesis of Lukianoff's and Haidt's article is that the export of trigger warnings from the internet to Real Academia has given students a way to hide from the kind of real intellectual and emotional challenges that make education and indeed maturity itself possible.

The alternative they present is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a thoroughly reputable therapeutic approach that entails providing patients with predictable, controlled, and moderated exposure to their trauma triggers in a controlled environment under the supervision of a licensed clinician who is familiar with their history and invested in their recovery. The most glaring failure of their proposed solution is that it cannot be achieved by omitting trigger warnings in classroom settings but only by expanding access to mental health services and allowing the priorities of those treatment programs to dictate levels and schedules of exposure to whatever extent can be reasonably managed.

In short, a professor who has chosen not to tell students they're going to be listening to a rape victim's 911 call is not actually gifting their students a free session of cognitive behavioral therapy; statistically they're more likely to be causing at least one student a neurologically uncontrollable response that will hinder the student's ability to engage with the material that could easily have been prevented by just... telling the students on the syllabus to brace themselves before attending that day.

So before we even get into questions of whether omitting trigger warnings is humane, it's worth asking what it achieves. The very first claim we've seen, that it toughens up those flimsy millenials, is starkly undermined by the very writers who most publicly made it. That's why I call the people who share this article around like it supports the omission of trigger warnings as a cure for millenial fragility casual readers and shallow thinkers, because that's Lukianoff's and Haidt's audience: people who can overlook the authors breaking their own thesis in half. It fails on such a fundamental level as a piece of persuasive writing that it's difficult to take seriously because, come on, look what they did to that poor thesis. They argue for eliminating trigger warnings because they make kids these days into big babies who care about racism and sexism and all kinds of nonsense and then advocate for a treatment method that essentially requires absolutely comprehensive use of trigger warnings across not only academia but all aspects of life. That poor poor thesis.

Even so, this terrible terrible essay started a conversation far better than it merited

The conversation that's happening.

One of the biggest bogeymen trigger warnings get turned into is a form of bottom-up censorship, a tyranny of the broken and the oppressed, preventing their stories from being told. By and large, though, a warning is an extra line of content, not a subtraction. Certainly, the way that I use them, I write whatever I like. I add the warnings after I've written whatever I like, tailored to whatever came out. Linear time, being what it is, leaves them no way even to influence my writing.

So if the writing itself isn't being censored, can warnings cause censorship on the other end, on the reader's end? Here's my answer. The people who are likely to be personally traumatized by the content under discussion have already experienced it. Someone who can be triggered by rape already knows reality includes rape. So the warning has hidden nothing from them even should they entirely sidestep the content. We do get to a stickier point when we get to people who haven't been personally traumatized and just are sort of callous and crappy people who don't care what others go through and genuinely don't want to bother to learn.

I had to give some thought to that, and ended up finding an essay that distilled an answer down better than I could, so here you go.
Much of the panic about trigger warnings in classrooms also focuses on the fear that privileged students will avoid material that makes them uncomfortable. So if you put “TW: misogyny, sexual violence” on a syllabus next to an assignment, male students might think, “Ugh, I don’t want to read about that" and avoid it.

But privileged students already avoid material that makes them uncomfortable; that may be one reason you see way too few white students in courses on African-American literature. Trigger warnings might make this slightly easier, but it doesn’t fix the larger, systemic problem of people choosing not to engage with material that challenges their worldview.

Further, avoiding trigger warnings for the sake of tricking privileged students into reading material on racism, sexism, and other unpleasant topics means potentially triggering underprivileged students by refusing to warn them that the upcoming reading assignment concerns traumatic things they may have experienced. People who lack privilege relative to others are constantly being asked to sacrifice their mental health and safety for the sake of educating those others, and this is just a continuation of that unjust pattern.
Basically, your callous douchebags are already being callous douchebags, so please don't sacrifice your more vulnerable students on the altar of trying to de-douche the douches. They'll probably still be douches afterward. 

We talk about this a lot in an academic context, but frankly as much as professors worry about mandatory trigger warnings, they're not... really facing that? I mean, they're seriously not. The ones who're using them are typically doing so because they've come to the independent conclusion that it'll help their students better engage with the material without a lot of trauma from outside the classroom crashing down and interfering with their schoolwork.

Why trigger warnings are compassionate! 

PTSD is bad. I mean, I hope I don't have to get into this, but PTSD is potentially life-shreddingly bad, and while not every potential trigger can be predicted and warned for (anybody who knows anything about PTSD knows this and adjusts for it, including advocates for trigger warnings), there are common ones.

Discussion of rape, child sexual abuse (often abbreviated to CSA), animal abuse, drug use, self-harm (these two can trigger relapses, which yikes bad), racism, misogyny, transantagonism, domestic violence, child death.... I mean, I could go on, but I don't actually have to, because I'm sure you get the idea. You don't have to warn for every imaginable thing like lizards and marshmallows and daisies and hair, so chill. You get a feel for it, and people with super edge triggers aren't as aggressive and uncharitable as you think they'll be. PTSD is bad, and frequently people who've got it feel so friggin unsafe that the fact that you'd even try makes a big difference. So just try. 

I have to reiterate, being triggered isn't about being uncomfortable. It's not about being offended. Offense is crap, and I don't care about offense any more than anyone else with sense. It's about having the past entirely hijack your brain. There's a special sort of helplessness and terror people known to who've almost been killed by their parents, who've seen their friends die in war, who've had to kill an abusive spouse to save their children, there's a special sort of time travel hell that happens in your brain and if you have felt it you've felt it and if you haven't you haven't.

I've hated a few people in my life, but I have never allowed myself to deliberately trigger someone's PTSD, because that is inhumane on a level that I couldn't ever wash off my hands. I've hated people with glaring weak places I could have dug my thumbs into, people I could have hurled back into their pasts. I could have fed them into the furnace of their childhood suffering, passed them backward into the hands of every kind of menace you could imagine. I could have sent them through everything that had ever broken them and watched it break them all over again while I stood safe on the kitchen carpet, watching. And it's the most evil thing I can think of. It's beneath the person I have decided I'm to be.

So understand what it looks like to me when people argue that they are claiming some kind of moral high ground to do this to their students in classrooms in public. Understand what I see when I look inside those people and see the piece of me they're choosing to indulge. Understand what kind of person I know you have to be to not only take advantage of such an opportunity but to feel smugly superior about it. At least I'd have known what I was doing, but there's something particularly slimy about people who convince themselves that doing so makes them uniquely good. The layer of self-aggrandizement just... ech. It's so petty. I don't know how that element of it can bother me so much, but somehow it does.

Now that I've established I'm actually pretty awful...


There is a reason I started off with practical arguments, because I'm going to return to them here. The bare fact of the matter is that I generally find other people's emotional responses pretty tiresome. I'm aware that tolerating and even encouraging them is a pro-social behavior, and because I choose my actions based on building the sort of world I want to live in, I frequently choose not to act on my exhaustion or annoyance. It's there, though. I give people the support they deserve even when I am inwardly rolling my eyes that Feelings are happening. I do a fair imitation of a bleeding heart who feels everybody's feelings and has the pains when people are suffering but really.... I just... would prefer to live in a world where such support happens, because it is the best way to ensure that such suffering is handled humanely and responsibly and thereby minimized.

The realest reason I use trigger warnings (and their milder cousins the content notes)? I use them because people in the grip of PTSD are actually just about the least capable of rationality and careful critical engagement of any human being, because their brains have been hijacked and there is absolutely zero room for me to expect them to be anything but a neurological disaster. And, just... ugh. 

Seriously, ugh. 

Trigger warnings are the fence I put up around my writing that says, "If this content is going to give you Feelings Problems, then honestly just... just make different choices." 

And the miracle of it is... it works! 

And it works by giving people the tools to manage themselves! It works by placing all responsibility on the shoulders of people who need to learn to know and adjust for their own bugs, their own failure conditions, and lets me do whatever the hell I wanna do. I am telling people to take responsibility for their own shit in a way that actually makes it possible for them to do the thing I want them to do! This is great! 

It sounds like such an elementary thing that I don't know how to break it down more without sounding really patronizing, but this is the real reason. I am not qualified to manage other people's mental illness or trauma recovery. I am so beyond not qualified. Nor am I particularly motivated most of the time to participate in that process. If what I want is for people to be responsible for their own recovery rather than spilling it all over me, I can make it more likely that happens, and this is great!

It's like I I was born into a world that was raining torrential failed trauma recovery and it was only when I reached adulthood that the internet handed me the raincoat and umbrella of Nope I Told You What This Was.

So to my fellow disinterested callous selfish jerks:

You don't owe me anything. Obviously! But in a world full of people spilling suffering everywhere, there are things we can do to actively make their recovery less our problem and more under their control. As Sarah Seltzer discusses trigger warnings, they allow the people around us to prepare for what they're about to engage with, prevent the brain-hijacking effects of PTSD, and remain more even and rational and capable. Totally aside from how empowering that is for them... doesn't that sound nice for us, too? It's an extra line of text, just a heads up, and it makes everybody else soooo much less exhausting. 

You don't have to be my brand of selfish. But I hope you can at least see how trigger warnings fit into my brand of self-interest. By helping the people around me take control of their own trauma recovery, I am keeping with my general goal of helping edge the world closer and closer to one I find more comfortable for myself. You don't have to help me, though obviously I hope you will. Maybe at least you understand better.
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: (bye bye)
First things first:

1. Ableism is a real thing. It matters. It is absolutely ableist (and gaslighty to boot) to insist that people should be forcing themselves to experience different feelings than they are actually experiencing.

2. Disability can intersect with white privilege because they coexist without negating each other.

3. Legitimate access needs can conflict without any of the access needs becoming less legitimate as a result.

So, context.

Good Men Project posted White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them, and a giant mass of white disabled people absolutely lost their shit. What they frequently read is, "Your emotions are inappropriate and you are bad to feel them, and you are even worse if anybody sees you cry for any reason, even out of empathy." This is a pattern of misreading and escalation that comes up whenever the phrase "white tears" is used, and it is uncool white people behavior. Possibly not always a preventable false positive, but uncool. It is, in fact, a white supremacist and ableist behavior.

Truly, there is plenty of ableism in assuming that all POC are abled and could fight for their survival and simultaneously take care of all white feelings and would do so infinitely if they weren't so callous and mean. If you indulge this, it becomes easier to see telling white people to be responsible about the impact of our theatrical mourning as yet more abled gaslighting, abuse, and unfair expectations. Considering, though, that you have to completely depart from the reality of the situation into an impossible hypothetical to support that... it's probably a poor hill to die on.

White people whose emotional disabilities reduce the quality of solidarity we are providing are not producing better solidarity and being better allies just because we have a more credible excuse than other white people. This matters, especially when you factor in the possibility of POC also being mentally ill. There are disabled POC in anti-racist spaces who could probably stand to benefit from a little of the emotional work white folks suck up when we assume our every emotional impulse is welcome and anybody who disagrees is ableist. There is only one reason we'd assume a conflict of identical access needs ought always be resolved in favor of the white person: white supremacy.

So here's my personal note to my fellow white neuroatypicals. If any POC want a white neuroatypical in a Pokéball to throw into these discussions, you can send this.

If a white neuroatypical ally's access need is "I need to be free to be as disruptive to POC's grieving process and activism as my every impulse would prompt," I think it's reasonable for people whose access need is to not be disrupted to say, "Okay then please do that elsewhere." I mean, has every defender of white fragility FORGOTTEN that mental disability happens to POC too? White people aren't the first and only ones being asked to consider the impact of our behavior; not even the only disabled people. What about disabled POC who need room in their own spaces? Where the hell are they in this "your access needs are ableist" screed? I get it. They come second. Again. Of course they do, right? But no, that's not y'all's depression or autism that causes you to put them second to yourselves when they have an identical access need to yours. That's white supremacy.

Whatever emotional disregulation or impulse control issues a white person may have WILL be COINCIDING with our whiteness! White people are prone to sucking up the emotional labor even of people they claim they're standing in solidarity with, and that doesn't stop being a destructive and corrosive pattern of white behavior just because some white folks end up reproducing it even when doing their genuine best not to.

It's hard to handle the fact that our allyship is going to be weighed and evaluated by the people with whom we're trying to stand in solidarity. I get that! It's hard! White fragility is a legitimately difficult thing to work past even for the sturdiest of us. And it sucks! And it's gonna be harder and suck more for people whose resilience or impulse control are struggling even with a whiteness-coated experience of the world. That is a fact. But POC need to be freely able to evaluate the job we are doing as allies, and that means not pretending we're producing better solidarity than we are just because our solidarity shortfall is happening for an understandable reason (and our all-important comfort means we need reassurance that they know that and love us anyway).

It is not ableist to say that POC are allowed to have access needs to their own spaces that may exclude people who cannot control their behavior. That is part of truly centering THEM. And remember, white people, for every minute we spend publicly weeping and gnashing our teeth and claiming we cannot possibly control ourselves, there is a disabled POC who has had to bite back their words and shut down their heart and turn away from their own grieving spaces because the WHITE disabled people sucked all the air out of the room and left none for disabled POC.

There is a limited amount of human energy and organizational power in the world. Every space is finite. Every single one. And I would caution all white disabled folks to consider how much time, energy, space, and emotional labor you are willing to wolf down when there are disabled POC who have to settle for whatever crumbs are left after you're satiated.

Signed,

a neuroatypical white person
xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." -- Eric Hoffer

This is a major page in the "destroy your abuser" manual, at least for me.

I remember this when someone tries to isolate their target from me because I am a source of external "influence" (aka support and validation and connection to reality). Losing their victims, their targets, their sources of energy, is the worst thing they can imagine and therefore it's how they punish everyone who steps out of line. I remember this when someone compares me to people who have hurt me, because it's always someone who has matured into their own abuser. I remember this when someone trains their targets to infiltrate the lives of those who've escaped to deal crueler and more intimate damage, because they live in perpetual paranoia that they'll be betrayed first.

This is why none of my parents can control me the way they have learned to control each other. I grew up learning them like their fears were cautionary marks on maps of a minefield, and I can detonate them any time I want from any distance. The real reason I don't punish them is that there's always the slight chance that they'll learn as much about my fears as I have learned from them. It's not a big chance, but it's there. I'd rather they go on trying to control me using their own weaknesses rather than my own, even if it means they live easier lives than they deserve. I'm just too important, certainly moreso than they are. They're not worth sacrificing myself for, so I won't sacrifice myself over them either. Their normal baseline level of self-created misery will do.
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: (cocky Kamina)
It makes me wrinkle my nose when people try to correct my self-image because they think I have some kind of negative messaging tape playing that's making me think wrong things. If I say that my first impulse is not to offer comfort, that is not an opportunity to correct me and tell me I really truly am a good person honest. If I say that I have disdain and contempt for things that I consider unethical to act upon, that is not an opportunity to tell me that I'm loving. There is seldom any actual practical reason to tell me I am being too hard on myself.

Trust. I love myself. I love myself more than I love everybody else in the entire world. You, if you are reading this? I probably like you. I may even love you. But loooooooooool no I come first. Always. I love myself. I am on my own side and I will not betray myself. I will, however, view myself accurately. Anybody who can't handle me doing that is just demonstrating that they aren't ready to participate in or even spectate on my process.

I mean, if you want the truth... some people's brains tend toward anxiety. Some have a hair trigger on guilt. Some have a vast reservoir of fuel for rage to burn and all it takes is a spark a block away. Mine has a reflexive contempt and disgust for weakness. This is a known thing, and when I state it about myself I am not drawing from self-loathing. I am doing the wise and mature thing and staying aware of bugs in my system, of anything that raises the error rate of my thinking.

If I say this, I am taking the risk of allowing someone to get closer to an accurate understanding of what I'm really like. I want people to understand that I have to work harder than many people to achieve something like the same warmth and care that comes so naturally to so many, and when you tell me that you don't believe me when I say that... it makes me not trust you, because there is this gigantic thing that is a big part of why I think I am lovable and worthy that you can't even bring yourself to approach with your eyes open. If you tell me that I am saying things about myself that aren't true, you are telling me way shittier things than I ever tell myself.

1. You're telling me that you are a better evaluator of who I am and what I'm like than I am. And fuck you for that gaslighting horse assery.

2. You're telling me that the version of me you respect is founded on a fundamental misunderstanding--perhaps even willful denial--of what sort of person I am.

3. You're telling me that if you were to find out that I wasn't just talking myself down, that maybe I actually know myself a little, you would stop thinking I am good and have worth.

When I am explaining who I am and I get hit with those three implicit assertions, it does one extra thing. It prompts me to have to distance myself from people I am reflexively prone to consider to be less than I am. Do not encourage me to behave this way. I have to work hard enough thinking of certain kinds of people as being comparable to myself; don't make it harder by drawing a mental map of me that looks like them and arguing with me that yours is better than mine. I do not need your fucking help to see myself as acceptable. I have to work hard enough not indulging in the kind of self-aggrandizement that would actually hinder my moral development, so maybe when I speak honestly about a known bug you should let me do that.

I have a lot of good qualities. My self esteem is one of them. So is my self-awareness. Let me bring both of those to our way of relating and I will. But if you don't let me, I won't show up at all. Because fuck that and fuck you.

xenologer: (one)
Moving around a lot as a kid did damage, def. What it also did was prepare me to lose friends, either by my choice or just circumstances. When friends forget me, tbh I forget them. Many will still accept my help if I offer, but that only happens if I see them post abt needing it. I don't check in w/ "am I useful yet?" So used to thinking of myself as the cold one that I considered whether it was a sign of pathology that I offer to help ppl who forgot me.

When no, that's good human behavior. I am being good. But I'm the 1st one I question w/ this crap bc I'm the one I can adjust. Fact is "someone who ignores you will stop when and if you can be useful to them" is indeed a successful strategy. And I'm ok w/ it, mostly. Most ppl prob don't think that way, but wtf do empaths know abt how to think anyway? Seems their defining trait is protective denial.

I don't allow myself to keep/discard ppl based on usefulness, but I still remain aware of the criterion. I know when other ppl act on it. The difficulty w friends w big feelings (or any tbh) is they don't watch themselves while they act. They just do now, think later. Reflex. I mean can u imagine an empath admitting it? "I don't feel motivated to spend time w u but sometimes I need stuff from u. We'll hang then."

This is how I know I actually am delicate w them. If I weren't, they'd know they're on my list of ppl who just wanna get things from me. Probably we couldn't be friends anyway. We're too different. Anyone I have to protect from the truth of our relating is no friend. It's absolutely possible for someone to be too delicate to be a good friend to anyone. I keep these ppl at arm's length bc I'm NOT cruel. I fantasize abt doing a big list purge but I won't rly. They're just on a list. IRL they've purged themselves already. *dusts hands*

If I really wanted empaths to come running, I'd run in circles dragging a broken wing. That's the shit they like, 2nd only to my usefulness.
xenologer: (bye bye)
I am queen of guilt deflection. I explained in a very value-neutral "conflicting access needs" way why I unfriended someone, and when they said, "that hurts" in reply I said "Okay. That's a risk I took knowingly."

I basically came up through the gaslighting and guilt Weapon X Program, so no. Nobody is going to get me with those things.

xenologer: (one)
First off, here's some basic background on psychopathy and how it gets discussed, for those here who don't spend a lot of time and effort on this kind of thing (which it's cool if you don't because we all have to do different stuff so we can come together and pool our data and have that be useful).

In addition, while the terms "psychopath" and "sociopath" are often used interchangeably, not all medical professionals agree that they are equivalent. I'm going to use them interchangeably here because they occupy the same space in what I have to say, but in other contexts the differences can matter quite a bit.

There's also a blog and accompanying message board run by people who are willing to be identified as psychopaths and sociopaths or as having anti-social personality disorder.

To empaths--a term that gets used a lot by diagnosed psychopaths to refer to people whose emotions and cognition are more typical--a psychopath is a frightening monster, because after all... without guilt, who can be good? Without fear, who can be good? Without empathy, who can be good? This is a well-known sort of concept of a psychopath, and I'm not saying I cannot understand why it's so common. Criminal psychopaths have been studied far more extensively than non-criminal psychopaths (to the point that it's actually very difficult for anybody without a criminal record to get a diagnosis), probably because when people commit awful crimes there's a stronger urge than there was before to figure out what makes that person tick.

I think what I'd like to do is give another perspective. I'm not saying it's more correct or that all people should come at things from this perspective, but it seems to me that a lot of empaths are very very bad at considering what they look like to psychopaths, (which I suspect to be because empaths are "normal" and normal people don't have to care what Others think of them because Others aren't really whole valid people, which is a hilariously hypocritical attitude for empaths to have toward psychopaths, but I digress).

So I am gonna speak from a personal perspective here for a moment, so this bit'll just be about my background, my understanding, my perspective, and how I have changed as a person over time. I tend to use both first and third person pronouns when I talk about both sociopaths and empaths (for reasons I am about to explain), but since I am presumably talking to more empaths, that makes empaths more likely to be the "they," as my whole purpose is... sort of to Other the bejesus out of you so that you can walk with me through what that looks like.

Meeeeeeee

Read more... )

Okay so we get it Xeno you're a big giant freak. Why tell us?

Read more... )

Sociopaths vs. ...versus whom, really? Who else is there? What's the actual opposite of a sociopath?

Read more... )

It'd be nice if things were a little different, and even if I am not sure what I'd change, low-empathy individuals wouldn't be the only ones making adjustments.

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: (angel/11)
I had a dream last night that my room I had in high school was so dirty that when we cleaned it we found all these animals.

Like, there was a litter of kittens that had grown up and their mom still lived in there. There was a fox that liked to be petted but the longer I looked at it the more I realized it shouldn't like attention so much; it should be more scared. Then it started looking like the horrifying taxidermy from BadlyStuffedFoxes and I realized it probably had rabies so I should escape while it was still friendly so I got up on my loft bed.

There were a lot of mice, too. I picked up a bunch of trash and felt a stab on my knee at one point in the dream, and as it happened there were a bunch of mice living in/under it or something, and when I moved it one ran up my pant leg, panicked, and bit me. I shook it back down and the mom gather her babies and they fled and I was like O_O

Meanwhile there were more cats. One had one eye with a perpetually-dilated pupil so I was afraid it might have retinal Kellis-Amberlee. One got bitten by a really large spider so this little kitten fucking murderized that spider and another one and then was just pleased as can be again. This one spider-killing sweet affectionate little black kitten looked dark green in the sun so I named him Mr. Green and I was determined to keep him because he already would just appear out of fuckin' nowhere whenever I called "Mr. Green?" and that meant he was part of the family.

Even Noire liked Mr. Green. That meant he was the perfect cat, if even our neurotic cat-hating cat was immediately cool with him.

I love you Mr. Green. You can really fuck a spider up.
xenologer: (bye bye)
Love's Not the Way to Treat a Friend by
Richard Brautigan via greatpoets on LiveJournal.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I wouldn’t wish that on you. I don’t
want to see your eyes forgotten
on a rainy day, lost in the endless purse
of those who can remember nothing.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I don’t want to see you end up that way
with your body being poured like wounded
marble into the architecture of those who make
bridges out of crippled birds.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
There are so many better things for you
than to see your feelings sold
as magic lanterns to somebody whose body
casts no light.




I have known a lot of people who seem to cast no light. They grab at anyone else's that they can see through the trees and they do it for their own survival, but the really frightening thing about them isn't that they suffer so badly. The really frightening thing about them is that they used to be just like you, wandering through the woods with a light until they were mugged and left in the dark. They're scary because unless you have some way to defend yourself from them, they're your future.

No thank you.

So sometimes it means going without that desperate grasping love that reduces the one so desired into a faceless and nameless carrier of lanterns, but I am really not too sorry to miss out. What I can't understand is how many people seem to think that making it through with a little light left of my own would mean I gave nothing. There are more ways to give than to die.
xenologer: (always shine)
TW on this whole entry because I am sure there's gonna be a whole lot of ablist shit in here that not everybody needs to see me wade through and get over. Also .gif action is happening, which I am going to start trying to remember to warn for specifically.



Sometimes holding my shit together has its disadvantages. Sometimes I (briefly) envy the people who don't.

Read more... )
xenologer: (always shine)
Trigger warning for discussion of suicide and self harm. Even so, I think it's important to keep in mind how often we give people the choice of being invincible or being nothing, and what we're really asking them to do with those options, and what they're likely to think of them.


suicidal ideation 2.0, queer community leadership, and staying alive anyway: part one of a work in progress
xenologer: (human monsters)
This sums up basically everything I feel about the nasty impulses I learned from my parents.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Other people do a funny thing that doesn't make much sense to me. See, there are people who want me to fall apart, because apparently me falling apart is part of being friends with them. I can see the reasoning, but it makes me angry.

I know why it happens in at least some cases.

There are people who measure intimacy by how often they see me in moments as weak as theirs. There are people who measure intimacy by how frequently they are permitted to be present during a total breakdown. The only language of love that they understand is being caught in someone else's wreckage; is it any surprise that the best way they know to be a friend to me is to drag me into theirs?

So they wish I'd cry, to assure themselves that if I cried they'd be allowed to see it. They wish I would bleed, to assure themselves that they're the kind of person I'd turn to for help. They want me to need their advice about a situation they can't help me with, because me being let down by their lack of wisdom and perspective is a fair price to pay if it means that they get to congratulate themselves for being someone I'd ask.

When they don't get what they want, when they go for too long without seeing any histrionics, they feel isolated and unwanted and unloved, and so they try to carve out of me what they need to feel included. I'm not saying that it's a constructive response to loneliness to hurt the people who aren't hurting enough where you can see it happening, but I am saying it's a thing people do.

There's a certain intimacy in a good fight. Everything is laid right out and everybody is getting a lot of emotional stimulation and everything in the world besides you, us, this... it all fades. Drama is the only way some people know how to feel connected to other people, to feel engaged, to feel like they are effectual and like the world they're in can touch them with anything meaningful.

Fuck those people.

I find them so distasteful that I'm not even going to focus on them here, because I don't keep them around. I'm primarily talking about your garden variety emotional vampire habit of lashing out at all the people around them to prove that there are living breathing bleeding humans close enough to strike. I'm talking about the usual, "I'm hurting! You need to hurt too!" misery loves company sort of act.

I'm talking about the people who see my armor as a barrier between them and me. But you know what? Maybe it is. If you're going to try to sink your fangs into me and drag me down into your misery with you, you're damn right that the armor is there as a barrier between us. If your only way to feel close to me is damaging to me, you're not going to persuade me that you're the victim here because these steel plates keep catching in your teeth.

I know it's rooted in love, but lots of awful things can be rooted in love and still be awful. I'm not confused about where this is coming from; it's a very real desire for closeness and fellowship with me. I'm just not going to adjust my ways to make people feel loved at the cost of my own stability.

I have too much shit to do to pretend to be less strong or less wise than I am for the sake of consoling people whom I could only comfort by staging a catastrophe my life doesn't need and handing out tickets to only the most select of audiences. I have too much shit to do. I've got real shit to do, and if anybody can help me it's not these people. I'm not going to apologize to these lampreys for my refusal to speak to them in their dysfunctional love language that requires others to bleed affirmation.
xenologer: (everybody's aunt)
This is a really great post about what we're really doing when we divert attention away from the assholery of junk food corporations onto the people who commit the grievous sin of eating junk food. There are a lot of reasons why it's not particularly helpful to turn discussions of corporate evil into a moral referendum on the dietary habits of others.

This entry is great. It covers the class privilege inherent in failing to account for food deserts. It covers the obstacles for some people to cooking every meal themselves. It covers the use of junk food as comfort food as well as what it means when you say to someone who used to have an eating disorder that they're eating too much of the wrong things and need to pay more attention to their caloric intake. It just covers ALL KINDS of goodness.

The objective scientific reality that some foods are overall more healthful than others doesn't do anything to address issues of access, so for people who want to see others eating better, you'll be a lot more helpful if you acknowledge the complexity of the situation before you act.

naamah_darling on On bad food and bad corporate decisions and stupid things people say.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons: We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here's why. -By Shane Bauer

Solitary confinement is ruinous for human sanity, which makes it a crappy rehabilitation tool. Additionally, you can end up in solitary for pretty shady reasons.

As warden of San Quentin Prison in the 1980s, Daniel Vasquez oversaw what was then the country's largest SHU. He's now a corrections consultant and has testified on behalf of inmates seeking to reverse their validations. As we sat in his suburban Bay Area home, he told me it is "very common" for African American prisoners who display leadership qualities or radical political views to end up in the SHU. (...)

[A] judge ruled that "a prisoner has no constitutionally guaranteed immunity from being falsely or wrongfully accused of conduct which may result in the deprivation of a protected liberty interest." In other words, it is not illegal for prison authorities to lie in order to lock somebody away in solitary.


Read the whole article before you come say something in the comments. Yes, all four pages.
xenologer: (human monsters)
So there have been a lot of suggestions that James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, for those of you who somehow haven't heard, may not have been well. Like, mentally, this may not have been a healthy person. This, according to many, is an ablist inference to make.

Here's one.
So, one more time, because oh my god you just don’t get it, JAMES HOLMES KILLED PEOPLE BECAUSE HE’S A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING, NOT BECAUSE HE’S CRAZY. BECAUSE BEING CRAZY AND BEING A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING ARE NOT. THE SAME. MOTHERFUCKING. THING.


I have seen this linked around as well.
We are the ones who have to live with the stigma you perpetuate. I am at risk of being killed because you tell the population that I am dangerous-despite that I am one of the 97% of developmentally disabled people who has been the victim of non mentally ill, non disabled violent perpetrators. You make the world more dangerous for me every time you do this. You make it more dangerous for my entire community.

We are not your scapegoat, and the trope of the dangerous neurodivergent is not only irresponsible, it is sloppy. Do some real research instead of lazily reaching into the bag of tropes every time someone does something terrible. Statistically speaking, we didn't do it, and spreading the idea that we did has very real consequences that can mean life and death for us.


Here's my vibe on it. I think that unaddressed disordered thinking is a necessary, if insufficient on its own, component of this kind of tragedy. And I am not sure that's ablist. Like, "making unhealthy and even destructive decisions that impair your life and those lives around you" is... um... kind of what disordered thinking results in if nobody does anything; that's why it's bad.

I think for me it comes down to this: the vast majority of mentally ill people are a danger to no one and a few are a danger to themselves at most. The number of mentally ill people who are a threat to others is a vanishingly small portion of the vast and diverse population of people who have (or should have) a diagnosis.

So James Holmes.

Nobody is assuming out of nothing and nowhere with no evidence that Holmes is mentally ill. He has demonstrated grossly disordered behavior, and odds seem good that his behavior seems reasonable to him! Which... means we're probably looking at disordered thinking. The people crying "ablism" say all we know about him is that he massacred strangers and told the cops he's a comic book supervillain. Which is... not nothing. I would say that is actually a very significant thing for us to know here.

I just... you know, it's that he told the cops he's a comic book supervillain. Until then I was riding right along thinking, "This looks like the action of a stable and reasonable individual. I see no evidence of disordered thinking in this massacre," but then he had to go and say he's the Joker.

WAIT NO THAT'S A LIE.

A civilian opened fire on dozens of strangers at a movie premiere. If that is not a mentally ill person, that's a funny goddamn picture of healthy and adaptive thinking. Add in that he claimed to be the Joker and my doubts become very smallish indeed. It's icing, though, really.

Yes, I am aware that there is a stigma against mentally ill people that makes it harder for them to get treatment. I think about that every time I see dissociatives portrayed on TV and in books and in roleplaying/writing communities as having an "evil" personality that hacks people up for funsies. It makes perfect sense to me that most mentally ill people are not violent, nor are most acts of violence pinnable on mental illness.

I am also aware that individuals whose mental illnesses are being addressed really are no more dangerous than anyone else. I am also aware that untreated mental illness eats away at the things that make people not just pleasant to be around, but safe to be around, especially in the case of things like personality disorders. Read that link again. Does reality have an ablist bias?

Not all acts of violence are attributable to mental illness, but the denialism surrounding the mere possibility that Holmes's might be is really puzzling to me right now. People without a mental illness commit violence all the time. A lot of that is because of pervasive bullshit like racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, etcetera, and these are sane people who have been fed bullshitbullshitbullshit by society, but unfortunately because it's society telling them "those people don't count" and not a voice in their head, they're sane. They're wrong and they're horrible, but they're sane. If we really must divide it into teams, they're on my "team," much to my dismay.

Because seriously, if we aren't going to say that James Holmes's behavior was influenced by mental illness, then we have to say that he was mentally healthy. We don't have all the evidence, but contrary to some people's assertions, we don't know nothing and what we do know sorta has that "this boy ain't right" smell about it.

We can do the equivalent of "LALALALA HE WAS JUST HORRIBLE SO THERE IS NO EXPLANATION" or "LALALA THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT" but both amount to "we don't like the explanation so let's just pretend there isn't one." We really can begin to venture a guess that Holmes may not be wired particularly well. I am surprised we can't say that without every fucking anxious or depressed person on Tumblr screaming "HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT I AM A MURDERER!"

Joe Scarborough was being ablist, though. It's a little ridic to be like "I think these mass murderers are all a little autistic" because that is so fucking far distant from how autism works that the only reason he could possibly say that is a certain "well all mental illnesses are interchangeable so w/e they're all psycho" sort of thinking that is not useful and is ablist.

But what doesn't seem ablist to me is looking at someone who caused brutal murderous random mayhem in the style of a comic book and movie supervillain he later claimed to the cops to be and saying, "That boy doesn't seem right."

Just like how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, we can say that as a general rule people who re-enact violent large-scale comic book supervillainy are mentally ill without arguing the reverse: that as a general rule mentally ill people re-enact violent large-scale comic book supervillainy.

Going to go out on a limb and say that that kind of thing is probably a fairly reasonable warning sign where mental health is concerned. I mean, it's a red flag by my personal standards. Y'all people on Tumblr are welcome to consider it a non-factor, though. You go ahead and suspend judgement until you get a more obvious sign of his mental problems than... you know, the attempted supervillainy.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
CaptainAwkward #247: Marrying into a family with awful boundary issues, or, secrets of dealing with Highly Difficult People
Here are some underlying principles that might help you in dealing with Alice.

You cannot control Alice’s behavior. You cannot predict Alice’s behavior. You cannot prevent Alice’s behavior. Alice is gonna do what Alice is gonna do, which is cry and shower displeasure and guilt on her family, who will cheerfully pass it onto you, because that’s how they roll.

Alice is going to throw tantrums and be shitty NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. I think that is helpful to know. Keep reminding yourself. Alice will find ways to be shitty and intrusive, because she is a shitty intrusive control freak who needs to make everything about her and who will projectile vomit blame all over everyone.

Also, Alice is not going to get better. She is not going to have a sudden revelation of self-awareness and stop this stuff. She may mellow with age and time, but she is always going to be somewhat like this.

Here’s what’s powerful about realizing this: Once a person shows that they don’t give a shit about the social contract and have no shame about throwing adult temper tantrums in public, it kind of frees you from giving a shit about what they think of you. They hold the threat of their tantrum (displeasure, guilt trip, sulk, whatever) over the family if they don’t get what they want, but you have the power to say “Huh” and not really even acknowledge that it affects you. (...)

When Alice throws a tantrum, she wants you to inventory your behavior and wonder what you’ve done to upset her, and she wants you to walk on eggshells and be worried about upsetting her and to actively try not to upset her (Secret: This will always be a mysterious, moving target and you will never figure out how to prevent upsetting her). Her family wants this too – it’s like they are afraid she’ll turn green and bust out into nothing but purple shorts and wreck the secret flying Avengers lair dining room. Once you figure out “Oh wait, what did I do to cause this…NOTHING, because Alice reacts like this to EVERYTHING” you are free of running that little guilt-game on yourself. Alice, like Hulk, is always angry.

Absolutely.

I will say that the de-escalation techniques that Captain Awkward mention do work. It is a tried and tested way of talking someone down out of the Crazy Tree to continue talking to them like they aren't having a complete shit fit because eventually they will realize that your ruthless sanity cannot be impacted by their childish bullshit, and if they want their way they're going to have to stop throwing feces and sit down on the ground under the Tree with the adults and actually work shit out like a human.

I will also say that this is fucking exhausting, and some people aren't worth it.

Yeah.

Yeah, I fucking said it.

Read more... )

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