Democracy’s courage…

Yesterday morning I wondered what would happen if every time I was told something negative about my choices, behaviors, or words I reflexively answered, THAT’S FAKE NEWS or ALL A HOAX. Even if there were videos, tweets, or recorded phone calls of what I said, I continued to falsely proclaim these are lies fabricated to damage me personally. No accountability ever required.

I have a hunch if I behaved that way my marriage would be over. My children wouldn’t bother talking to me anymore. My friends would distance themselves and likely drop off entirely. My community involvement would be quite unwelcome.

My husband and children might schedule a full psychological evaluation and begin an investigation into the hopeful possibility that an underlying health concern may be at the root of it all…or coronavirus perhaps?

Next, I imagined what if I told people that only my blog and the words of a few people I’ve deemed credible tell the REAL TRUTH and no other source can ever be trusted? I would repeat this often and never let my followers forget.

Unable to sleep, I slipped out of bed in predawn America trying to understand the emotions I felt while watching yesterday’s events unfold in Washington DC, our nation’s capital, and also the city where my daughter attends college. I have to admit, I was and am currently all over the place.

FEAR. SHAME. SORROW. RELIEF. EMBARRASSMENT. FRUSTRATION. GRATITUDE. ANGER. RESOLVE. PRIDE. GRIEF. LOVE?

While I edited yesterday’s post, I suddenly started thinking about Democracy as a woman who finally summoned her courage and decided enough is enough.

She chose to honor her beloved constitution after years of suffering. Democracy began the long process of leaving her abusive relationship by finally asking her parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends in Congress, The Press, and Law Enforcement for help to get her to a place she feels safe and valued once again.

My hope for Democracy and anyone else suffering to come out of the fog (fear, obligation & guilt) of abuse and begin the much-needed healing process.

Examples of Emotional Abuse

Alienation – The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others.

Belittling – Condescending and Patronizing – This kind of speech is a passive-aggressive approach to giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness.

Baiting – A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.

Blaming – The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Bullying – Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

SOURCE: https://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/emotional-abuse

half-written, whole heartedly…

I have so many half-written posts from the last few weeks. I’ve written about democracy, racism. aging, my fears about the state of the world, cults & narcissism, sexism, motherhood, the artist Milton Glaser, the con of 1980s televangelists, kayaking with seals, our intricate vascular systems, humanism, menopause, radical acceptance, letting go, and realists vs. optimists. I haven’t felt like posting anything. Why?

I got curious, then it hit me…I think I have PAYING ATTENTION FATIGUE and I suspect many of you do too. The world is asking us to pay attention to so many things. I don’t need to add to anyone’s electronic burden now.

So, for the summer anyway, I’ll be posting mostly art, photographs, and short quotes…unless I change my mind, of course. The summer is still young.

“What if pain—like love—is just a place brave people visit?”

―Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

oh, how the mind plays tricks…

I found this photo I shot in Amsterdam on my phone this morning, it got me curious and sent me down a research path (rabbit hole) of how our minds get distorted and subsequently exploited.  

Relationships.  Advertising.  Entertainment.  Politics.  Religion.  

Mostly though, I believe the distortion can be how we see ourselves.

Next, I stumbled upon this article on the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website and thought it was worth sharing.  Joe Navarro has studied the life, teachings and behavior of cult-leaders; Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Bhagwan Rajneesh and Warren Jeffs, just to name a few. 

What he said was that these individuals were or are all pathologically narcissistic.

Then I started wondering about the differences between narcissism v. self-esteem.  It’s pretty stark and worth understanding better.  I thought I knew the difference.  I didn’t really.

Here’s a quick guide of the differences.  

n-v-se.jpg

Hey, the more we know, well, the more we know, right?

 

We all possess some narcissistic traits.  I’ve certainly had to take a look at myself.  It wasn’t easy at the time, but I’m grateful I did, and my relationships improved because of more awareness

It’s the extremes of these traits we need to notice.

Healthy narcissism is the characteristic of possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life, as unhealthy narcissists tend to be.

Joe Navarro (former FBI agent):  “From my studies of cults and cult leaders during my time in the FBI, I learned early on that there are some things to look for that, at a minimum, say caution, this individual is dangerous, and in all likelihood will cause harm to others.”

They all have or had an over-abundant belief that they were special, that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered. They demanded perfect loyalty from followers, they overvalued themselves and devalued those around them, they were intolerant of criticism, and above all they did not like being questioned or challenged.

And yet, in spite of these less than charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features.” 

Here are some of the traits to watch out for and avoid if possible.

Link to entire list:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/dangerous-cult-leaders

  1. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
  2. Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
  3. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  4. Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated special at all times.
  5. Is arrogant and haughty in behavior or attitude.
  6. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows them to bend rules and break laws.
  7. Is hypersensitive to how they are seen or perceived by others.
  8. Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
  9. Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
  10. Insisits in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
  11. Doesn’t listen well to others, communication is one-way in the form of dictates.
  12. Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling.
  13. Behaves as though people are objects to be used or exploited for personal gain.
  14. When criticized, lash out not just with anger but with rage.
  15. Refers to non-members or non-believers as “the enemy.
  16. Habitually puts down others as inferior.
  17. Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere them.
  18. The word “I” dominates their conversations, oblivious to how often they reference themself.
  19. Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly – if so, acts out with rage.
  20. Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything, never apologize for their actions.
  21. Believes they possess the answers and solutions to world problems.
  22. Works the least but demands the most.
  23. Highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
  24. Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from believers.
  25. Sees self as “unstoppable”, perhaps has even said so.
  26. Conceals background or family which would disclose ordinary they are.

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

— Aldous Huxley, writer & philosopher