Yearly Archive: 2016

The Thing About Trump, or 3 Mistakes People Made With Hitler

Imagine what things must have been like when the Nazi party was first coming to power in Germany. Many people must have seen Hitler’s prancing, screaming and posturing as comical– even his infamous and silly moustache was the one Charlie Chapman made popular. I would venture that a lot of people didn’t take him seriously, and didn’t think he really meant the things he said. Surely many folks couldn’t fathom that legions of fellow human beings would eventually “follow orders” into absolute madness.

But they did.

Comparing Donald Trump to Hitler is becoming uncomfortably easy. Of course Trump is totally ridiculous, with his orange bouffant, his brazen and often bafflingly pointless lies (see Trump Steak-Gate), his pathological narcissism, and his third grade bully mentality. So at first you laugh at his antics because you’re a reasonable human being with a firmly held belief in the good in most of humanity– making you feel pretty confident that nobody would really vote for such a baffoon in this day and age. And then he wins a few states in the Republican primaries. And a few more. And then you read one young kid’s account of going to a Trump rally for the LOLs and instead ends up sickened at all the hate. And then you see violence against protesters on the news, and Trump encouraging it.

And here we are, folks. These are three mistakes I believe a lot of people made with Adolf Hitler that we need to stop making with Donald Trump right now:

1. Being fooled by a comical appearance. Hitler had his Chaplin moustache and Trump has that flamboyant– whatever– on his head. They both pull faces and strut in a way that I find ludicrous. The screaming and practically frothing at the mouth– Who the hell acts like that, except in a bad movie? It is tempting to dismiss them, because most reasonable people would dismiss them. But playing the fool could be a tactic to confuse the opposition. Despite some of the crap that comes out of Trump’s mouth, the man is not a complete idiot. He knows how to manipulate people and get attention. I believe acting a fool is part of his strategy– and it is working.

2. Not taking hateful things he says at face value. Hitler dreamed up the evil genius idea of “The Big Lie,” which is when you make up lies of epic scale and repeat them often so that few will dare doubt them. Trump, whose ex-wife paints him as something of a Hitler fanboy, seems to have taken that idea to heart. It would take pages to discuss this is properly, but suffice it to say that Politifact found that almost none of Trump’s statements they fact checked through 2015 were rated “true” and they awarded him the “Lie of the Year.” So as far as liars go, Trump is a highly accomplished and decorated one. Hitler would be proud.

Some claim Trump’s being allegorical when he talks about building a wall on the border between this country and Mexico. Some say he was joking when he said he would pay your legal fees if you beat up protesters at his rallies. Well, how do we know what he’s serious about? Trump lies and exaggerates so much, even about the stupidest things, that it is tempting to believe some of his more problematic statements are also exaggerations (lies). But this is probably calculated. He’s set the stage so he can say whatever he wants and then claim he was “only kidding” later or, conversely, start deporting Muslims and say, “I told you so.” He’s covered either way, and some people won’t even stop to consider that we maybe shouldn’t have a president who just makes crazy shit up as he goes. Perhaps we’re so used to being lied to by politicians that Trump’s trainwreck spin on it is refreshing?

Hitler blamed the Jews for the collapse of Germany’s economy and Trump blames Mexicans for the woes in ours. In both cases, a scapegoat is cooked up in a fashion that draws in the racist, casually racist, and/or weak-minded supporters like flies– with a little honey promising how great things will be when all those bad ethnic people are gone. Pepper with the laughter of the wealthiest Wall Streeters as they bathe in Cristal. Mix well and enjoy the delicious taste of fascism.

Anyway, it’s not surprising that people are not taking some of Hit– I mean Trump’s– outrageous statements about certain religious or ethnic groups completely seriously because he’s a big fat liar. But one thing I have learned about narcissists is that they will lie– a lot– about many different topics for a lot of completely incomprehensible reasons. That is pretty much a hallmark of a pathological narcissist and there is no sense in wasting energy trying to sort out why. But when they say something horrible– that’s when you should pay attention. That is more likely to be the truth than anything else they say.

3. Believing he couldn’t possibly rise to power. This belief (along with a little bit of faith in humanity) is being rapidly squashed as Trump continues to nail the Republican primaries. Those of us who are aware and awake no longer have the luxury of hoping that a Trump presidency could not happen in this country. It could definitely happen.

Remember the old saying: The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

I can’t close this without mentioning that Hillary Clinton is not much of a better choice. She is another pathological narcissist– she just holds it together a bit better than Trump. Her lies are (usually) not quite as shocking and her racism and calls to violence are more nuanced (See Clinton’s comments about bringing young black folks “to heel.”). That does not mean that her effect on our future would necessarily differ that much from Trump’s because her motivations are clearly similar– greed for power and riches. As a known war profiteer, Clinton could very well usher in WW3 because it would be good business for herself and her buddies/corporate masters. By the way, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are friends– the web is littered with photos of them hobnobbing together as well as evidence of his fat campaign contributions to her. In short, Trump vs. Clinton is an illusion of choice. The upset in Michigan, with Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic primary against supposedly impossible odds, is proof that people are waking up and realizing that we’ve been lied to for far too long, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

I hope you will join me in making Bernie Sanders the next President of the United States. Let’s make this country great again for real, instead of it being a place from which many of us fantasize about fleeing. Personally, this is the first time I have had a little hope for this cesspool of poverty, racism, injustice, and imperialism. Let our children to go to college for free instead of dying in pointless wars that make the 1% richer. Let us get the money and corruption out of politics. Let us end poverty because we can and because it is the only acceptable course of action. Let us have fair wages and universal healthcare and sound infrastructure. Let our police departments be de-militarized and let profit-making prisons be torn down. Let drug addiction be a healthcare issue, not a criminal one. Let us have the America we were promised. Like Bernie says, these ideas are not radical. Other civilized countries have accomplished these things, and we can too. https://vote.berniesanders.com/

Exposing Narcissist Abuse Tactics

The American Psychiatric Association defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), also referred to as “pathological narcissism,” as:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

Narcissists typically mentally and emotionally (and sometimes physically) abuse their targets, slowly turning them into piles of self-doubting, anxiety-ridden, powerless goo. They do this to make their victims more pliable to their will (and sometimes, seemingly, for amusement). It is heartbreaking that many kind, loving people feel trapped in a relationship with a narcissist who is, in fact, slowly destroying them. The best way to protect yourself against narcissistic abuse is to learn their tactics and be on guard for them. If you are already entangled with a narcissist, once you have realized that fact, it is advisable to seek professional assistance in becoming unentangled.

Be aware that narcissists generally will not show their hand for 2-3 months in a new relationship. In the beginning, they will typically drown the target with love and affection, making the victim believe they share some kind of epic romance. However, sooner or later, usually after the target has fallen in love or made a commitment, the narcissist will start the “devaluation” phase in which they kick over the pedestal and begin their mind control tactics. Listed here are some of the most common of these.

NOTE: I am not a psychologist. I”m a survivor of narcissistic abuse who holds a BA in psychology and has finished the coursework sans thesis for a MA in psychology. Please consult a licensed professional if you need help dealing with/escaping from a person with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Constant and Often Unreasonable Demands

The typical narcissist will run their victim ragged if given half a chance. They will demand the moon, and if you manage to get them the moon, what they really wanted was the whole solar system, and how dare you? If you get them the whole solar system it will be the wrong color and you clearly don’t love them. The key idea here is: Nothing will ever be good enough. They tend to frame their wants as “demands” and often when they get what they wanted, the next thing out of their mouths will be a new demand, not “thank you.” This keeps the victim focused on the narcissist’s needs and not on their own, as well as exhausts them physically, mentally and emotionally.

Regarding sex, narcissists may demand it when the partner is tired, asleep, sick, late for an appointment, or in other situations where sex is difficult or impossible, with absolutely no regard or compassion for the partner’s feelings or needs– and with no apparent awareness that there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes it appears that they specifically want sex to be uncomfortable for their partners or for the act to be less-than-willing, and that may actually be the case. Narcissists feel entitled to sex, which can manifest as anything from them being rapey/coersive to committing actual rape. Many are addicted to pornography. Sexual objectification, ie, viewing a person as merely a set of body parts to be used for sexual gratification, is common. Remorseless– and what could even be called perfunctory– cheating on partners is often standard practice.

Threats of Abandonment for Non-Compliance

When a victim refuses to comply with the narcissist’s often unreasonable demands, threats of abandonment often ensue. These can be subtle, overt, or entail actually leaving (or pretending to). This strikes terror into the heart of the victim, who is usually a gentle-natured soul such as a child, or an adult partner who is particularly empathetic, especially if they had been a victim of other narcissist or borderline personalities as a child. The latter are targeted by narcissists because we are kind-hearted and try to see the best in everyone, and more importantly, we are willing to put up with a ton of absolute horseshit– we may even expect it. Other people would tell the narcissist to fuck off with their outrageous behavior, and the game would be over too soon.

Victims may not even consciously realize they have been threatened with abandonment, because the narcissist may say something like, “Well that’s what I need for this relationship to work.” Of course, encoded in that phrase is the threat of abandonment, and the victim may feel fearful and be more likely to capitulate, even if they don’t realize why. As a power move, a narcissist will sometimes leave the home without specifying where they are going or whether they are coming back, causing anxiety for the victim. Narcissists may leave their victim for real, but usually only once they have exhausted them of everything they can– attention, money, sanity– and have another victim lined up who has more of these resources to offer.

Gaslighting

This is the most insidious mindfuck method out there. It’s named after the play Gas Light (aka Angel Street) in which a husband lowers the gas lights (it’s set in the 1800’s) slightly while telling his wife the rooms are no dimmer than before, until she starts to doubt her sanity. This is a perfect analogy for the tactic narcissists take against their targets.

One of a narcissist’s favourite games is called: I Did Not Say That. Sometimes they will literally tell you they didn’t say something 30 seconds after they said it. This is not a function of them having a poor memory, as they can be observed remembering all kinds of other things in detail– except shitty things that came out of their own mouth 30 seconds ago. A variation of this game is I Did Not Do That. That is where they deny shitty actions they did, no matter how many people observed said actions.

It’s literally insane for them to deny reality like that. But they are trying to make their victim feel insane, and doubt their own perceptions. It’s as if they believe that if they say anything with enough confidence, it will magically become true. Narcissists will utter 190-Proof nonsense with a straight face and total confidence. Healthy people encountering this behavior will steer far, far away from the narcissist. Therefore this tactic works best on children, or on adults who were abused as children.

Children who have been subjected to gaslighting grow to doubt their ability to make sense of the world around them. This is unfortunately the case with myself. Someone could come up to me and say the most absurd thing, like: The sky is not blue, it’s green–

And I will actually stop for a minute to wonder if it’s true, if I’ve somehow made a mistake in my perception of the sky’s color, or if I’ve somehow misinterpreted the popularly accepted data “the sky is blue” in my mind. A person who has not been subjected to narcissistic abuse would of course disregard the statement “the sky is green.” They would rapidly (and correctly) attribute the error to the other person.

This is the thing that my mother did to me. That’s how deep it goes. I doubt my own perceptions on a very basic level. I doubt my own mind. This is what narcissists want: To make you feel crazy. You are easier to control if you feel crazy.

Fortunately, I know now I am not crazy. But I still stop to check myself all the time over the stupidest shit, years later. In the past this had left me vulnerable to abuse by narcissists in relationships– until one day I suddenly realized what was happening. I have heard it described as “waking up from a coma.” That happened to me, and now I can see narcissistic abuse for what it is: A bunch of crazy, unnecessary, stupid, twisted assholery– to put it nicely.

Briefly, here are more tactics for narcissistic abuse:

Raging Out – Where they throw a shit-fit worthy of a three year old high on rock candy. This may shock the victim into compliance or make them feel guilty and send them into a frenzy of trying to make the narcissist feel better. The end result is that the narcissist gets what they want.

Dead Eye Stare – Where they stare at the victim intensely with a look that is almost inhuman, and certainly unfeeling, saying nothing. This is meant to upset and intimidate– it is truly unsettling and not soon forgotten. Normal people cannot imitate this look in my experience.

Silent Treatment – Where they go quiet in the middle of an argument or list of demands. The crazier this makes the victim feel, the more likely they are to do it.

Blame the Victim – This is a perennial favourite of narcissists everywhere. No matter what the narcissist has done– no matter how egregious the offense– it is somehow always the victim’s fault. They will often even (ludicrously) demand an apology. Narcissists are very fond of playing the victim, and will do so to draw in empathetic people ripe for narcissistic abuse.

Side Note: I believe it is important for people like myself to stop pitying people. It doesn’t really help people to pity them– at best it enables them and at worst it puts yourself at risk for narcissistic abuse. That is not to say that I would ever ask anyone to stop being a compassionate person. It’s just important to protect yourself in the process. Speak softly and carry a big stick, as they say. Don’t automatically believe every sob story.

Are narcissists bad people?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. It’s been substantiated that narcissists don’t have the same capacity for feeling that other people do, often pretending or imitating genuine feelings, that they feel rewarded by manipulating people, and most importantly– that they are very, very unlikely to ever change. They are actually cruel in their behaviors. They do actually cause emotional, mental and sometimes physical damage to others without remorse. I hesitate to say that they are bad people– but they definitely do bad things. I think it is possible to live with a narcissist…but I also think, why put yourself through that? There are plenty of other people in the world who would never think of abusing you. It is probably low self-esteem that fuels the fear of finding someone who would love you without trying to hurt you. Fortunately self-esteem can be raised with time and self-care.

Getting Help

If you’re still unsure if the person in your life is a narcissist, check if they fit a significant number of the things on this list: Surviving a Narcissist (NOTE: The author of the list makes the mistake of assuming all narcissists are male and all victims are female–that is definitely NOT the case). If you or someone you love is suffering at the hands of a narcissist, please seek professional assistance and be prepared for the Stages of Recovery. You deserve happiness.

Photo credit: Counselling.

It’s Not a Matter of Trust

There is nothing at all you can do to ensure that someone won’t leave you.

In fact, they will, when they die…unless you die first.

But ignoring that bit of unpleasant reality, there is nothing you can do to ensure they won’t leave you for someone else. Or for more than one somebody else. Or for nobody.

It’s not a matter of trust because nobody can say what the future holds. Nobody can say how they will feel when they meet a new person. Nobody can say how their life might suddenly change. Nobody can say how they will feel about things 5, 10, 15 years from now. I can only make my best estimate of that, and act accordingly.

I can only pay attention to my partners’ needs and meet them to my best ability– as long as doing so does not conflict with my own needs.

The only thing I can say is that I trust that my partner(s) will leave me if they need to, if I no longer meet their needs. There is nothing to blame on anyone if that happens. As long as I tried my best. Though I can’t stop anyone from leaving me and the door will always be open, I will always try to be mindful of ways I can make their lives better with me than without me.

I trust that my partner(s) will do what is best for them, and treat me with kindness in the process. If I can’t trust them with that much, there is really no relationship to speak of in the first place.

Trust is important. But it’s impossible to trust anyone not to leave.

Photo by Unsplash

The price for your freedom is $2350.00, what a bargain

I bet you thought you could, being an Amerikan, walk away and leave this country behind forever, if you chose to do so, being “free” and all. Wrong! It costs $2350.00 to ask “permission” not to be a US citizen anymore, and “they” might (absurdly) “deny” your request. If you make over a certain amount of money per year, you will pay an “exit tax” of potentially thousands more dollars, before you will be free of your bonds to Amerika. Oh George Orwell, you would have found this shit so hilarious. Or terrifying. Or boringly predictable?

I’m speaking of permanently renouncing US citizenship, which increasing numbers of people wish to do for various reasons, usually after they have acquired citizenship with a saner country or countries. One reason many are leaving is the Big Brother tax situation– unlike most countries, Amerika believes it is entitled to a piece of your income no matter where in the world you live or where you have earned your money. (There are reciprocal agreements with some countries.) Banking abroad can be difficult for Amerikans (and Amerikan dual citizens) because Amerika wants to know your personal business no matter where you live, which is a pain in the ass for foreign banks, especially those with “crazy” ideas like privacy laws meant to protect their citizens.

Another reason that someone might want to renounce their citizenship is– Open your eyes! Some of us just don’t want to be a part of this crazy train anymore. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Amerika is scary, full of sociopaths, full of inequality that breeds hate and fear, full of tainted food and water, poverty for no good reason, stupid policies, stupid “leaders,” police departments being militarized and cops executing people without trials, innocent people being murdered by remote-operated drones in wars that are not mentioned on the news… I could go on for pages but really. More than likely I’m preaching to the choir or talking to a brick wall, in either case I’m wasting my breath.

This country was founded with the idea that we were sovereign individuals with the God/Universe/Nature-given right to live as we wished, which of course would have included the right to abandon one’s citizenship without asking another human for permission to do so. It is absurd to ask another mortal for this kind of permission.

All human beings are equal, therefore who can grant such permission?

To ask such permission is to admit you are not equal or free. Government officials are not gods or kings. They are supposed to be elected representatives of the people and/or hired public servants. How absurd is it to pay a public servant, who is your own employee, $2350.00 for the privilege of your own freedom– No, no, to pay to ASK for the privilege of your own freedom? How can you ask your employee for your freedom? That is unquestionably, unconscionably absurd.

Our constitution was all about laying out our rights as sovereign, self-determining individuals. Now we are more like cattle. What the hell happened?

Modern Amerika is not a democracy– It literally is not. Most scholars will readily admit it’s a republic rather than a democracy. But worse than that, it’s an oligarchy. It’s ruled by a few unelected, very clever people. It’s a prison designed so that most people can’t even see the walls. They have set up a reward system that is extremely effective in getting sociopaths to sign up as enforcers, and that keeps the people distracted with cheap entertainment, cheap goods made by slave labor in China, keeps them sick from bad food and water, and keeps them polluted with drugs that mask symptoms well enough so they can go to work with no energy left over to wonder why they are not happy or free. In a nutshell.

The corporate puppets that we “elect” in that dog and pony show every four years provide the illusion that the people have some sort of control over what is happening in this country (Spoiler Alert: We don’t).

The truth is we have no public servants. We have rulers and sub-rulers. Some take orders and don’t ask questions because they are rewarded by the system with money and real or imagined power over others. Some do so because they have gotten in too deep and can’t figure a way out without having themselves or their families harmed. Maybe that sounds crazy? Look what happened to Edward Snowden. He put his life and family at risk by telling the world about some of the crimes of the Amerikan government, and now most Amerikans believe that he’s a criminal instead of a hero because that’s what the talking heads on the boob tube tell them.

Non-ruling class people are “owned” by the state as evidenced by the fact that you must pay to renounce citizenship. It’s not your natural right, it’s a privilege that costs $2350.00 and the consent of shadowy puppetmasters. It follows that to have been born with US citizenship is a burden. You must pay to have strangers consider freeing you from some kind of slave-like obligation you were unwittingly born into.

I am sorry to report that voting is not going to fix this mess. It’s way deeper that. Would voting have stopped what happened in Nazi Germany? I don’t think so. “Brain drain” has been happening for a while here in Amerika– that is, the smart people are leaving. That is also what happened in Nazi Germany prior to things going from bad to completely apeshit. The writing is on the wall.

Photo by babawawa