Pigs on The New York Trains (part 2)

As promised, my response to Liz Thompson’s post in “Pantsuit Nation”

Whew! What a terrifying experience! And one that, I fear, is becoming more frequent every day our current administration does its best to bring us all down into the pigsty with them. My heart hurts for you, and I, too apologize for what happened to you. Not for the as—-e spewing such hatred into your ear, because I would NEVER excuse or associate myself with such hideous behavior. My apology is for those of us who are witnesses to such provocation and are frozen and unable to act. No, I live in safe, quiet Akron Ohio, and was not on the subway with you that day. I have been practicing–and would hope that I could muster up the courage to speak up and stand up to such bullying, but, who knows–I’m a 60 year old white woman with 7 pieces of metal in my neck holding my head on and a voice that comes out sounding like Minnie Mouse when I’m nervous, so, I’m not always the most intimidating or convincing advocate. I do it–but I’m ever quite sure it helps! 

What I’ve discovered over my many years as an advocate, however, is a very startling & frustrating truth about situations like those you found yourself drawn into and a million others that are the product of bigotry & hate, is that those of us who do not wear brown or black skin have abdicated our responsibility to protect & support our diverse brothers & sisters across the board. I admit, because I was alive & active as a young girl in the civil rights era, and had and have cultivated relationships with (women, mostly) of color, I fell into that hazy, naive mindset that “things” had actually changed–that racism in all of its ugly permutations had been, if not eliminated, at least “shrunken so small it could be drowned in a bathtub”. (THIS is what needs drowning, Mr. Norquist)

My god, what an eye-opening I’ve had since my first days working to get that young senator from Illinois the Democratic nomination for President, and straight on until now, when I read more & more stories like yours! What I’ve come to realize about our racist culture is that even those of us who embrace our friends of color or orientation or ability is that those of us with “privilege”, those never in danger of having our sons arrested or shot for standing with poor posture or who will never be subjected to the terrorism you experienced that day, we cannot continue to operate on the notion that acts of such violence or hate are NOT aberrations, that racism is a “black persons’ problem”, or that things have actually CHANGED for the better. Because, while there have been some advancements in race relations over the decades, at the most fundamental level, not much has changed; mostly, it just got buried. Fortunately, perhaps, it wasn’t so apparent because there still was an ever-fraying thread of decency that made an embarrassment of those harboring racist attitudes,(or who lied, or who admitted that they were out to make as much money as they could, or who got humiliated when they were caught doing something heinous). Obviously, that thread has broken, and decency is a word now used as a club by privileged folks to create fear of those who are not white, wealthy, “religious”, straight, or male and to keep those folks in line. 

As Caucasian women, it is now more important than ever to support our friends and neighbors of color. Putting an end to bullying in schools has become an important part of the curriculum in schools these days, but our resolve to stop bullying of ANY kind does not end at graduation. And now more than ever since the 1960’s, it is incumbent upon white, straight, middle class women to become a part of a global support system every bit as energized or prioritized as that of the elementary or middle-school PTA bully programs in our communities. Because, as shocking as it is for some folks to hear, RACISM IS NOT A BLACK PEOPLE PROBLEM. It’s a problem for ALL people. And if we want to make it out of this administration alive, we need to realize that and speak up about it at every turn. 
(Sorry, Liz Thompson, I got a little soap boxy for such a late hour, but I wanted to respond to your eloquent and disturbing post. This is an issue that has driven me for 50 years or so, and your story reminded me once again of how important it is to recognize the problem, OWN the problem, and work to ease/help/resolve the problem) I hope you never experience such a horror again, but since that may be a silly pipe dream, I hope that if it ever should happen again, you will be surrounded by people of every color, gender, size, age, etc. supporting you and shutting down the vile creature who dares speak to any human being like that! 
Keep talking, keep writing. Your words are powerful and important. And thanks.

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Pigs on The New York Trains (part 1)

This is a post I read recently in “Pantsuit Nation”. It was written by a black woman living in NYC, describing an experience she had on the subway one fateful day. 

I’ve titled this as part one to share her experience with you, because it’s a horrendous story written in a powerful voice, and well worth reading. The “part 2” will be my letter to her after I read her post, in case you’d like to know. (Yes, you already know, just read it for kicks, yeah?)

During the election campaign when the county court clerk, or county clerk employee, called FLOTUS Michelle Obama “an ape in high heels,” I was deeply hurt and offended and I supported those signing a petition to have her removed from her government post. Little could I have known that it would only be 2 months before I was on the receiving end of similar comments. 
At the time of the incident with the county court clerk, it was my view that the issue was not one of free speech, but about a person paid with taxpayers’ funds abusing and discriminating against a person of color. It shook me that someone who held public office, now believed that courtesy was unnecessarily, politically correct and that hate-filled rants and quips were acceptable. If this behavior was allowed, how long would it take before people who held such racists views, refused to provide services for Brown or Black people? I recognized that a tide in public conduct and discourse was turning, from a culture of tolerance to one of open intolerance.

I felt then that the creep of hatred, #racism and social alienation can be insidious and unless stopped, there is a danger that it can become institutionalized, accepted, acceptable and mainstreamed and harm the fabric of a country. It is therefore necessary to put our foot down every time behavior like that displayed by the clerk, raises its head.

For a week now I have been mulling over two incidents that happened to me in New York, in this the time of this new president. Barbadians say, “when you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.” The problem with that is, you cannot control the whirlwind, where it goes, who and what it sweeps us and destroys. 

I watched during the campaign as very dangerous rhetoric of race, xenophobic sentiments and attitudes were unleashed and whipped up. I had no doubt that there were people who, if Trump won, would feel that it was open season on Brown and Black people. I have watched since elections and listened to the increase in racist incidents as we go about our daily life. Now it has actually touched me.

Two Thursdays ago, I was standing in #Penn Station next to a column. I was pretty much tucked out of the way as I was making a phone call and I wanted to complete it before I went deeper into the subway and lost connection.

I saw a man walking in my direction with “spinners” suitcases. I was not in his way so I went on with my call and he fell off my radar, until I felt the most intense pain on the toes of my right foot. I cannot say the man ran the suitcase over my foot deliberately. What I can say is that I was not in his path and to reach my foot, he and his suitcases had to veer off their walking line and come to the right, avoid the column that was next to me, which he would have reached first, and still manage to run over my foot. That took a lot of “steering.” 

So let me say, recalling my days as a lawyer drafting and defending legal pleadings, “that the walker with the spinners suitcases, so failed to manage, direct, control, or maneuver, the suitcases that they ran over my right foot resulting in injury to me and damage to my shoe.” The walker did not pause, stop or say sorry, but walked rapidly on, leaving me in shock. The speed with which he walked away suggests that the walker’s actions were not accidental, but maybe that is not an entirely accurate or fair conclusion. He may have been in a hurry and maybe did not feel my toes. 

I finished my business and got the subway to my meeting. There were empty seats on both sides of the train. I chose a block of 3, sitting on the extreme right of the block, leaving 2 empty seats on my left. After about 2 stops, a man got on the train. He chose not only to sit in the same block of seats I had chosen, but of the 2 empty seats next to me, he chose the one on my immediate left rather than the one on the extreme left. 

Those of you who know the NY subway culture would know that if there are 3 empty seats and someone comes on, they generally sit in the one furthest away from a seated passenger and not next to them. You only sit next to people when the train is full and you do not have options. 

Before we could get to the next train stop, the man who is now seated on my left, turned to me and starts to talk loudly. I ignored him. He is asking offensive questions. Then he tells me “Look at you. #Jesus Christ was a White man, but you are a monkey.” I said nothing. He repeated it, laughing and becoming more crude, vile and abusive. I do not turn. I do not look at him. My toes are still hurting from the suitcase being dragged over them. I sit with my eyes ahead. I say nothing. I never turn my body or glance in his direction.

I was actually praying, “Lord this man is talking with his mouth which he is entitled to do, but please do not let this man touch me. This will not end well if he does.” 

The abuse does not stop. At every station people get on and off. The #train is filling up, but no one comes near us. And no one says a word to him. Not “stop it.” Not “leave the woman alone.” Not “behave yourself, this woman has not troubled you.” Not “this is unacceptable.” Not a single word was uttered. No one comes to my defense. 

Passengers look on with sympathy, contempt, amusement, disgust, with apparent support for the man, or support for me, but to the person, they are silent. And my abuser does not stop his tirade. He was clearly trying to goad and provoke me and the fact that I would not even glance in his direction really seemed to annoy him. I thought of telling this man something really scathing, but 16 years ago, when someone tried to harm my father and I had lost my temper, sworn and behaved badly, my Dad said to me, “Liz, always remember who you are.” 

I sit on that train, silent. I remember that I was raised to respect myself and others. I remember what my parents and my country expect of me. I remember that I am a professional, that I have 4 degrees and am a high earning individual. I think, “Liz, you haven’t done badly for a monkey.” 

I remember the stories of racist abuse I have been hearing since elections, directed at good, decent, hard working, law abiding people, who just happen to be Brown or Black. I remember First Lady Obama after all the abuse to which she, the President, and their children were subjected, saying, “when they go low, we go high.” 

 I hear this man’s abuse. He has come so close to me that I can smell his breath, and feel its moisture on my left cheek. Several cutting comments and put downs come to my mind, but I do not let my mouth utter them. 

I remember a quotation from George Bernard Shaw, which I use in my book, “Make Yourself Happy.” It is a wonderful line, “never wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.” I determine that the “man-pig” next to me, will not pull me down into the dirt and nastiness on the sty floor where he is clearly comfortable. 

I see the face of my dead father in front of me. I hear my Dad in my ear now. He is speaking quietly, gently, urging me to act with restraint. I hear Dad’s voice and I block out the idiot on my left who is loudly calling me a monkey and being as nasty as he possibly can. I know if this man tries to harm me, no one will intervene. I pray it does not come to that.

I sit erect, legs crossed at the ankles, my hand-bag on my lap. In my head, I count down the stops to my destination. Finally, we are at my stop. I remain seated until the last minute. Then, without giving him a lot of time to follow, I head quickly for the door and I am on the platform, away from my tormentor who is still on the train. 

As I leave, I am watched by every eye in that car of the train. I still had not uttered a word to this man or looked at him. To this day, I cannot identify the face of this persecutor, nor the abuser with the #weaponized suitcases.
A young White woman who also got off the train, stops on the platform and comes across to speak to me. “I am so sorry.” She goes on to apologize for this man’s behavior. She says it was unacceptable. She is distressed at what I had to endure. She says she cannot imagine anyone treating her like that. She compliments me on my dignity and restraint. I thank her for her kind words, knowing that she will never be called a monkey or an ape. 
She is truly upset. She makes a critical point, which is that she understands this is not an isolated incident and that she cannot imagine having to face that kind of racism daily. I smile. I know that no-one will ever see her dressed in a business suit in the first class lounge of an airline, assume she was a member of the wait staff and ask her to serve them their meal, as has happened to me. 
I do not waste time asking her why she never said a word to the man while we were on the train. Her heart is in the right place. Hopefully she will encourage friends, relatives, partners, colleagues and her children, to take the high road of justice and equality of all members of the human family. I thank her again and bid her good evening. 
She turns right. I go left. Black and White, each clothed in the skin given by God, skin that some individuals and societies will use to define how Black and Brown people are treated in life and to some extent, their socioeconomic opportunity. 
My foot and my heart hurt. I take a deep breath and head for my meeting. On the way, I walk and wonder what other indignities are in store as the bigots become more comfortable in taking off their masks, believing they have an ally on Pennsylvania Avenue. 
I pray for grace, fortitude and protection in this new climate. I know things are going to get worse. The question is, how much worse and what will have to happen to pull the country back to reasonableness of thought, attitude, action, and conduct? What will the new America be like? Dad said, “remember who you are.” Perhaps America needs to remember that the words of it’s national anthem proclaim that the country stands for “just cause” and the “home of the free.”

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Who really loses? 

This is a post responding to more questions about why Hilary Clinton lost the election. There are plenty of theories and fingers pointing, but IMHO, it all comes down to the Democratic Party themselves. 

Here is a excerpt from a very long thread:

Terry O’Sullivan:   NO EVIDENCE [of Russian hacking causing HRC’s defeat]Denise. Circumstantial, and inconclusive at best that they hacked/leaked those emails, and the intelligence agencies THEMSELVES reluctantly agree. So what evidence do you have, other than corporate media blather from people like Rachel Maddow to “prove” your point. The Democratic party did far more to underhandedly influence that election than anyone, including any hypothetical Russians. You’re being led astray and propagandized by the MSM fake news, my friend.
Terry, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I still maintain that this was a primary election that was decided in 2008, when Barack Obama shocked the shit out of everyone by being more popular than the Dems ever imagined. I’m pretty sure that primary race was set up for Hilary, but Obama’s popularity made the Dem establishment have to rethink their strategy. When it got really contentious, they had to make a decision about who to support. I think they realized that having a black President was at least, or more, important than having a woman, and negotiated a deal with Hilary to bow out, support Obama, and they would make her the one and only Democratic candidate in the next election, as well as Secretary of State. I think they were upended again when Obama was still so popular in 2012–they had been fairly sure he would not be viable as a candidate for a second term–so they pushed Hilary back another 4 years. And then another unthinkable happened—a SOCIALIST Democrat got more popular than anyone expected, but this time, they would not be denied. They did everything they could to discredit Bernie Sanders, which was not only shameful but stupid besides. And then the emails were released, revealing just how low the Dems were willing to go, and those who had written Bernie off as some cranky old socialistic fringe scrambled to find an explanation. Were those emails responsible for her loss? Probably. Was it because of the Russians who were responsible for their release? Who knows? But it wasn’t their release that cost her the election, it was the CONTENT of the emails that killed her run. For those of us who were already convinced that the Democratic hierarchy was trying to be as corrupt as the Republicans, it made the case for not voting at all or voting 3D party. For those undecided or uneducated, it was the perfect excuse not to vote for her, or to confirm for themselves what a lousy human being she is.  

As for Dumpy’s involvement, who knows? We will find that out, I’m pretty certain. But that kind of thing is really a slight-of-hand to draw our attention away from the very real, very dangerous (and also stupid) crimes that the Trump family has been engaged in for 20+ years with the Russians. That will have far more damaging and humiliating (for the country, not so much for them!) consequences than inviting the Russians to hack Hilary’s emails. Do we think they did that? My response is really–of course they did! Putin is former KGB, and has no problem murdering those who would expose him–what’s a “little” thing like cyber warfare to him? But the real naive thinking is that we aren’t doing–or attempting to do–the very same shit. Our country, and our military especially, has been guilty of overturning (or trying to) democratically held elections in countries all over the world–Iran, Iraq, El Salvador, Argentina, Haiti, just to name a few. Russian interference in OUR election is shocking just for the balls it takes to try to take on a government or country this size. Probably why Dumpy likes Putin so much–it’s like they are planning some sort of corporate merger or corporate takeover, something Dumpy would like to brag that he’s good at. It’s appalling to imagine that this asshat got to be President because of corporate (and selfish) greed all around– and that what it will all boil down to is a crappy mob-inspired money laundering scheme, upon which Dumpy has relied for nearly his entire fortune. As Americans, we’ve become so inured to this kind of shitty corporate behavior that people are rooting for a scab like Dumpy to beat the “guv’ment corporation” because they see HIM as the underdog! Can we get any more screwed up? Sadly, we’re about to find out… 

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Misery: Trump’s a dirty bird

Oh, yes, I believe he is DIRTY…in a lot more ways than one…but I don’t understand the mystery surrounding Trump and Putin and their shenanigans…from my perspective, it’s such an obvious case of money laundering: Putin washes Trump, Trump washes Putin, Trump washes for the Russian mob, who takes care of Trump’s “minions”–and throws in the funerals of anyone in Russia who gets too close to the truth. I think when we think of money laundering in our peanut-gallery, US way, we think of it as a sort of one-way operation–like intimidated accountants who find ways to hide American mob money. But what if your “accountant” was a willing partner? And you both needed some tidying up? It’s not hard to see how this got to be an organized-crime conspiracy to hide money (although, after six months with Dump as President, I’m giving the “organized” parts of it to the Russians!) I think Dumpy has gotten away with it for years–maybe even decades–because he is an unscrupulous bastard out to squeeze every last dime he can get without having to take responsibility or pay to play. He’s gotten away with it because he has absolutely no conscience and will lie through his teeth and bully anyone in his way to worm his way out of any sort of scrutiny. 
Besides, he is just a slick grifter who knows that PTBarnum was right, and he has no problem using other greedy (politicians) to provide cover and distraction for him. Think about it–every magician and carnival barker who ever made a buck knows that whole 3-card-monte rule of distraction–Dump just takes it to an extreme level. (Look here while I take advantage of your distraction to get what I want. OR–watch me throw money around (not MY money, though!) and build casinos that fail and set up fake colleges and parade my pompous ass in front of B-list celebrities and greedy International oligarchs on television and social media, and build my own golf courses and country clubs so I am the one in charge everywhere I go and all the while you are marveling at my “brilliance” I’m getting money from the Russians to do all those things so they can hide their money. And in return, they will keep my successful, rich-guy image intact by keeping me rolling in the dough and hiding that, too, so I don’t have to pay taxes. Snicker behind the scenes about how stupid the American public is, and let the Russians in on a few other crooked, capitalistic ponzi schemers and hidden business deals, and we can have the world by the balls.) 

I know, I may be full of shit; I don’t exactly have a criminal mindset, and my opinion is based on having read a lot of books and observed some shady stuff through my years, not on any legal findings. The thing is, though, that the special investigator, Mr.Mueller, is going to have to wade through enough slime and muck to actually find the legal stuff that he will drown in it, while Putin and Dumpy wait it out, make more dirty money, and Dump will walk away after 4 years and a Presidential self-pardon. 

Thanks a lot, you self righteous, purposely ignorant fools and bigots who thought you would get over on-whoever-by putting this jackass in charge of our country. Now we slide through the slime and muck along with you and your Dumpy hero, and the Russians laugh at our stupidity. 

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US Citizens are in an Abusive Relationship with Donald Trump and Don’t Even Know It!

Another exercise in my effort to try to figure out what, exactly, is going on in the mind of the stooge in the White House, as well as the minds of those who surround him and the citizens who continue to support him. I came upon this article that seems to describe the relationship fairly well, unfortunately. If I were a more responsible writer, I would simply post the article I found and let you decide for yourselves if you see how many of the signs are appropriate to your picture of the current President.  But I’m not that responsible;  I am going to add my own indications of how I see him–the bold or italicized sections are my addition….

11 Signs You May Be Dating A Sociopath

By Macrina Cooper-White

Could that amazing new person you or a loved one is dating actually be a sociopath? It’s not as far-fetched as you might imagine. Roughly one in 25 Americans is a sociopath, according to Harvard psychologist Dr. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door.
Of course, not all sociopaths are dangerous criminals. But they certainly can make life difficult, given that the defining characteristic of sociopathy is antisocial behavior.
Here are 11 RED FLAGS to look out for:

RED FLAG #1. Having an oversized ego. (Well, this is kind of a no-brainer…)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) notes that sociopaths have an inflated sense of self. They are narcissists to the extreme, with a huge sense of entitlement, Dr. Seth Meyers, a clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, wrote for Psychology Today. They tend to blame others for their own failures.

RED FLAG #2. Lying and exhibiting manipulative behavior. (I go back and forth between believing he is a pathological liar, has dementia, or is just not very bright. Here’s the professional’s argument for the liar thing)
Sociopaths use deceit and manipulation on a regular basis. Why? “Lying for the sake of lying. Lying just to see whether you can trick people. And sometimes telling larger lies to get larger effects,” Dr. Stout told Interview Magazine.

RED FLAG #3. Exhibiting a lack of empathy. (That has become ever clearer as his administration continues; his “gutting” of health care insurance coverage, his willingness to negate any environmental regulations and destroy sacred tribal lands are just two of the hundreds of other indicators that this man has NO empathy for others.)
“They don’t really have the meaningful emotional inner worlds that most people have and perhaps because of that they can’t really imagine or feel the emotional worlds of other people,” M. E. Thomas, a diagnosed sociopath and author of Confessions Of A Sociopath, told NPR. “It’s very foreign to them.”

RED FLAG #4. Showing a lack of remorse or shame. (Have you ever heard him admit that he was wrong? Or apologize for ANYTHING?)
The DSM-V entry on antisocial personality disorder indicates that sociopaths lack remorse, guilt or shame.

RED FLAG #5. Staying eerily calm in scary or dangerous situations. (Of course, we don’t have much access to this kind of information, so we might be able to gloss quickly over this one.  But I don’t like the image I get of how calm he would at least pretend to be just before he pushes “that” button.)
A sociopath might not be anxious following a car accident, for instance, M.E. Thomas said. And experiments have shown that while normal people show fear when they see disturbing images or are threatened with electric shocks, sociopaths tend not to.

RED FLAG #6. Behaving irresponsibly or with extreme impulsivity. (Leaked information to Russia from Israel, anyone? Making fun of a disabled reporter during a campaign rally? Suddenly firing the director of the FBI “because he is President”and therefore allowed to do it.)
Sociopaths bounce from goal to goal, and act on the spur of the moment, according to the DSM. They can be irresponsible when it comes to their finances and their obligations to other people.

RED FLAG #7. Having few friends.
Sociopaths tend not to have friends—not real ones, anyway. “Sociopaths don’t want friends, unless they need them. Or all of their friends are superficially connected with them, friends by association,” psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, author of the Human Magnet Syndrome, told The Huffington Post.

RED FLAG #8. Being charming—but only superfically. (Another obvious one…think of all of the charm and promises he made to the country before he was elected. Now think of how many of those promises he’s kept, and the violent reaction he has to journalists who try to ask him about any of them.)
Sociopaths can be very charismatic and friendly — because they know it will help them get what they want. “They are expert con artists and always have a secret agenda,” Rosenberg said. “People are so amazed when they find that someone is a sociopath because they’re so amazingly effective at blending in. They’re masters of disguise. Their main tool to keep them from being discovered is a creation of an outer personality.”
As M.E. Thomas described in a post for Psychology Today: “You would like me if you met me. I have the kind of smile that is common among television show characters and rare in real life, perfect in its sparkly teeth dimensions and ability to express pleasant invitation.”

RED FLAG #9. Living by the “pleasure principle.” (Mara Lago, Trump Towers with gilded ceilings and over-the -top luxury in all of his many residences. And just HAVING many residences!)
“If it feels good and they are able to avoid consequences, they will do it! They live their life in the fast lane — to the extreme — seeking stimulation, excitement and pleasure from wherever they can get it,” Rosenberg wrote in Human Magnet Syndrome.

RED FLAG #10. Showing disregard for societal norms. (Grabbing women by their private parts, not releasing his tax information, allegedly colluding with Russian spies and not revealing it, and deciding that the presidency is his ticket to do anything he wants.
They break rules and laws because they don’t believe society’s rules apply to them, psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer wrote in a blog on Psychology Today.

RED FLAG #11. Having “intense” eyes. (Hmmm…I just sort of see him using his gaze as an intimidation technique when dealing with others…refusing to acknowledge the presence of Angela Merkle, for example, or using his famous violent handshake that he uses to try to intimidate others.)
Sociopaths have no problem with maintaining uninterrupted eye contact. “Our failure to look away politely is also perceived as being aggressive or seductive,” M.E. Thomas wrote for Psychology Today.

For me, the saddest part of this goon’s relationship with his supporters is that by using typical abusive partner’s tried and true techniques to manipulate and deceive them– doing something wrong, getting called out for it, and then blaming others or circumstances, claiming he was a victim to illicit sympathy from them.  (Think–O.J. Simpson on steroids!) The sad truth is that people caught up in abusive relationships  are often more afraid of the consequences if they should leave than staying with their abuser. That, perhaps, explains his supporters have dug in their heels and vocally supporting him publicly. Just like a woman who is living with a violent and abusive partner, leaving is often not an option until the level of  misery or injury is greater than they can bear. How long will we tolerate the abuse Donald Trump inflicts upon us?

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Well, of course he’s narcissistic! (Trump psychology, part 2)

This is starting to get ugly…and we are only on the second issue! Yikes! It’s not unusual for a politician to be fairly narcissistic…they are, after all, putting themselves up as someone who knows better than we do what is best for us.  And they  have to sell that to us. What does it mean, though, when the Politician-in-Chief, who is NOT a career politician but an inheritance millionaire is so much worse than the worst politician you’ve ever seen? 

 

9 Things A Narcissist Will Never Do

Looking back, it’s my hopefulness that irritates me most. I kept thinking that he’d see the light, get what was wrecking our relationship, understand that I couldn’t live with his constant manipulation. He’d placate me with promises but I don’t believe he ever intended to behave any differently. Actually, I think he liked jerking me around.

As I can personally attest, it’s not always easy to recognize that the person you’re with is high in narcissistic traits. (I’m using the masculine nouns and pronouns because there are more men at the end of the spectrum but feel free to switch up the gender.) Not everyone is the “Look at Me!” type, full of grandiosity, constantly needing to be the center of attention, and wholly self-referential. The narcissist in your life may be soft-spoken, even a bit shy, but the tip-off to who he really is isn’t so much as what he does but what he doesn’t do.

I didn’t realize it while I was in it but he manipulated me in every discussion I tried to have about the problems in our relationship. He’d either refuse to talk about it outright—by stonewalling or saying something like ‘Not that again. Do we have to cover the same ground over and over? It’s always the same tattoo”—or he’d turn the tables on me, saying I was unhappy because I made myself unhappy. Or he’d deny there was a problem at all. It took me a while to realize that he never took responsibility for anything.  He blamed other people for doing things to him, including me. It was mind-bending.

What the person high in narcissistic traits doesn’t do constitutes a pattern of its own and, in many ways, makes him easier to identify. Once you’ve focused on what he isn’t doing, you can see that what motivates him isn’t the need to connect to you in any meaningful way—which is, of course, what you’ve been hoping for all along—but a very private and specific agenda which is making sure that his vision of himself stays protected and invulnerable.

So, if he’s not doing any of the following nine things—which people who actually want real connections do all the time—you need to wise up pronto.

      1.Own his feelings

Dr. Craig Malkin calls this playing “emotional hot potato” because it’s a common pattern –ascribing whatever he’s feeling in the moment to you which is a form of projection. This becomes a manipulative tactic as well, especially if the narcissist in your life also uses stonewalling and can be emotionally very confusing. (I am speaking from experience here.) Let’s say that you want to talk through a problem and you begin calmly, stating what the problem is. He reacts defensively and he’s clearly getting angry—you can tell by the way he’s folding his arms over his chest, how his jaw muscles are working, and how the furrow between his eyes deepens—and says he doesn’t want to talk about the issue. You start to feel angry and frustrated but you try again and he cuts you off. You ask him why he’s getting so angry and he responds by saying he’s not angry but you are. Yes, that’s the hot potato moment but the fact is that you are angry and getting angrier by the minute. Escalation is built into this and now you’re screaming at him and he looks at you and says, “I’m tired of your anger” and leaves the room.

The truth is that you’ve been played but the likelihood is that you don’t know it. The narcissist is expert at making you feel unsure.

      2. Stop playing games

And it’s not just about emotional hot potato either. People high in narcissistic traits want to be in relationships but only on their terms and they thrive on feeling that they have power and control over their partners, as studies show, and feel autonomous.

So, no, playing games isn’t coming off the menu any time soon.

      3. Care about emotional consequences

It’s widely known that people high in narcissistic traits have impaired empathy but the better way of thinking about it is that they—unlike most people—don’t care about the emotional fallout from their behaviors. Most of us care about being well-thought of and we also like thinking of ourselves as people who don’t hurt others deliberately; we’re more likely to fall into the trap of becoming inveterate pleasers to avoid upsetting others than we are to engage outright war. None of that is true of the narcissist.

If he has to burn every bridge to win and feel good about himself, he’ll grab the kerosene. This is especially important to remember if you are divorcing a narcissist.

      4. Stop one-upmanship

This is closely allied to #2 and #3 but being indefatigable is also a hallmark of the narcissist. As Dr. Joseph Burgo notes in his book The Narcissist You Know, the narcissist is highly vindictive. Burgo believes that what motivates the narcissist is his need to cover unconscious shame and whenever that shame starts rising into awareness, he feels under siege and reacts to deflect the feeling and to wreak revenge.

There is no “off” button as those who’ve been unlucky enough to be the target of the gossip and slurs a narcissist will avail himself of.

      5. Tell the truth

The irony is that the narcissist only recognizes one brand of truth (his own) and it doesn’t really matter whether his version of events is utterly contradicted by facts or even a paper trail. He’s sticking to his guns because you are the liar.

       6. Apologize

Since the narcissist never takes responsibility for his acts, words, or feelings, what’s there to apologize for? He only did what he had to do in response to other people’s actions, after all.

       7. Make peace

Not happening for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is his need to feel superior to others and to be in control; he likes the rough-and-tumble of conflict and discord because it makes him feel powerful.

Second, because he sees himself as merely reactive to slights and provocations by others, he’s not going to yield and look like a weakling.

Third, he’s happy with scorched earth if that’s what’s needed to feel like a winner. This is why divorcing a narcissist is an utter nightmare—don’t count on him to negotiate or meet you in middle—and why co-parenting is an extended one.

       8. Let you go

Not until you’re replaced. The narcissist needs you as a planet circling his sun to feel good about himself so he’s not going to go no contact until he’s geared up and found someone new. He’ll keep on engaging—sending you texts, writing you emails, leaving you voice mail—just to try to keep you in his orbit so he can feel good about himself and winning.

       9. Change

Barring an out-of-body experience or major epiphany of near Biblical proportions, not likely.

 

 

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Is Trump Pathological?

Hello my friends….this is an article I found that reassures me that “it ain’t me” that is losing the marbles…. cannot say the same for the current White House resident. This is the first in a series of examinations of the President and why he acts the way he does.  This could describe any number of people in DC, but is particularly frightening how many of the characteristics fit Mr. Trump….

6 Subtle Characteristics of The Pathological Liar

Pathological lying (PL) has been defined by the Psychiatric Times as a “long history (maybe lifelong history) of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned.” There is no real consensus on what pathological lying is and many people have developed their own definition. Pathological lying is something that has negatively affected many people, even professionals, who are often unaware of the psychiatric instability or personality disorder of the liar.  For example, in one of my previous articles I focused on Judge Patrick Couwenberg, a Superior Court Judge of California, who lied repeatedly while serving the public. The former Judge maintained the lie that he was a Caltech graduate, a wounded war veteran, and a CIA operative in the 1960s. All of these statements were easily identified by his peers as unreliable and inconsistent, but Couwenberg continued to attempt to evade others. He was later removed for “willful and prejudicial misconduct” for lying about attending Caltech. This education was critical to his Judicial position.

 The sad part about this story is not so much that the former Judge lost his job in the end, but that he lacked insight into the fact that his steps could be traced and that many people would ultimately find him out. An appropriate level of consciousness was missing from Couwenberg and is missing in so many other people who are compulsive liars. The very fact that a lie could be found out does not affect the pathological liar. They have an inability to consider the consequences or even fear being found out. It’s as if the pathological liar believes they are smarter than everyone and will never be found out. The very fact that the pathological liars’ work-life, home-life, or reputation could be in jeopardy as a result of the lies, does not phase the liar. Guilt, shame, or regret does not affect the liar. Consequences also do not seem to affect the liar. So then why does the liar engage in such behaviors? 

Multiple research studies have attempted to find an answer to this question to no avail. Trying to understand the mind, behaviors, and intention of the pathological liar is not an exact science. It is very much an inexact science and entails years of study. Humans are complex and trying to understand the reasons for why they do all the things they do takes more than a graduate school degree in psychology and years of work experience. For many mental health professionals and psychiatrists, trying to understand the pathological liar (or sociopath and narcissist who engages in this behavior) will entail a combination of intuition and science. Science alone cannot answer the many questions we have about pathological liars, but experience can offer some clues. We now know that pathological lying is spontaneous and unplanned. Impulsivity is often the culprit. We also know that pathological lying is more likely to occur in certain disorders or among individuals who have certain personality traits. Some diagnoses that might include pathological lying includes but is not limited to:

  1. Personality Disorders:
    1. Antisocial Personality Disorder (better known as sociopathy)
    2. Borderline Personality Disorder
    3. Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder
  2. Behavioral disorders:
    1. Conduct disorder (often diagnosed in children and teens who have criminal-like behaviors or who demonstrate sociopathic traits such as animal cruelty, fire setting, and oppositional behaviors toward authority)
    2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and CD (conduct disorder)
    3. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often combined with ODD or CD

Certain personality traits where pathological lying may occur include:

  1. Narcissism or self-centered behaviors and thought patterns
  2. Selfishness
  3. Abusive attitude
  4. Obsessive, controlling, and compulsive behaviors
  5. Impulsivity
  6. Aggressiveness
  7. Jealous behavior
  8. Manipulative behaviors
  9. Deceptiveness
  10. Socially awkward, uncomfortable, or isolated
  11. Low self-esteem
  12. Tempermentalness
  13. Anger

It is important to keep in mind that there are pathological liars who quite frankly just cannot help telling so many lies. It is almost like an automatic thing for the liar. Their world is much different from our world. But there are also liars who are gratified by telling lies, are good at it, and do not regret anything they have ever said. These individuals are “skillful” liars who attempt to evade and harm everyone they come across in their lives. In fact, these liars would meet diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder (or sociopathy). They also tell truths in ways that give incorrect perspectives. In other words, they tell the truth in a misleading way to cause people to view things in an incorrect fashion. Such individuals enjoy and get much gratification from keeping you confused and believing their stories. It is the experience of watching a “victim” run through the maze of confusion that gives gratification to most liars.

Based on my clinical experience and general research of the profession, I encourage you to keep 6 things in mind as you deal with the pathological liar:

  1. Know that a pathological liar will study you: The goal of the liar may be hidden, but you can count on the fact that the they don’t want you to know the truth. In order to evade someone, you certainly need to study the person and examine what that person might or might not believe. Liars, often sociopaths, are known to “study” the person they hope to take advantage of. In other words, they look for weaknesses.
  2. Don’t forget that the liar lacks empathy: As hard as it is to believe, it is true. The liar does not have any moral consciousness of how the lying behavior may make you feel. The liar does not think before he lies: “oh, I better not say that or I could hurt that person or mislead them.” The liar does not care anything about your feelings and never will. A question many parents of my former clients have asked their child who lies is: “Why don’t you just tell me the truth? Why is that so hard!?” As difficult as it is to believe, it is not that easy for the liar to divulge the truth. The liar lacks the ability to consider what you might feel in response to their lie (which is empathy).
  3. Normal people feel guilty and are relieved when you change the topic or stop asking questions: This was an interesting point that I learned about as I studied forensic psychology as a graduate student some years ago. While working with juvenile delinquents, I found that the pathological liar shows no emotion when lying which makes them believable. A person who is lying and has normal levels of empathy and concern for others, will often show relief when the topic being discussed is changed. For example, if someone told you that they grew up in a concentration camp and experienced a lot of trauma as a result, you would ask questions about it to further understand. If you changed the topic at the point when you observed stress or anxiety in response to your questions, you would see the person relax because they are aware of the consequences of their lying. Most of us will relax when others cease from asking too many questions about a topic we are lying about. A pathological liar is not fazed. You will rarely if ever see emotion.
  4. All liars do not do the common things you think liars do: Believe it or not, liars do not always touch their nose, shift in their seats or from one foot to the next, or even look sneaky when lying. Some really experienced liars are good at giving you direct eye contact, seeming relaxed or “laid back,” and may appear very sociable. The thing to look for is eye contact that feels piercing. Some sociopaths have learned how to evade people with direct eye contact, sociable smiles, and humor. Trust your instincts and discernment. What do their eyes tell you? What does their behavior or laughter tell you?
  5. The most sneaky liars are manipulative: I once heard someone say “we all manipulate.” While this might be true to a certain degree, the liar tends to manipulate more than anyone else and has learned how to become a “pro” at doing it. There is nothing impressive about the dangerous or evil manipulator. They know everything to say and do, they know what you want and don’t want, and again, they will “study” you. In fact, many pathological liars (and sociopaths) use sexual or emotional arousal to distract you from the truth. Proceed with caution when dealing with someone who seems to be directing their attention to you in such a way as to stimulate your arousal to distract you. That arousal could be psychological (peaking your interest), emotional (causing you to feel connected to them), or sexual.
  6. Pathological liars exhibit strange behaviors: Can you remember how you felt, perhaps as a child or teen, after you were caught lying to a teacher, a parent, or friend? Did you feel guilty, sad, or afraid that the other person would no longer accept you? Some research suggests that pathological liars show no discomfort when caught lying, while other studies suggest that liars may become aggressive and angry when caught. The bottom line is that no pathological liar is the same.
 As you can see, trying to understand the liar is as difficult as trying to understand how the world began. It’s something that requires a lot of study, patience, intuition or discernment, and wisdom. Research continues in trying to understand the mind and behavior of the pathological liar. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals continue to research the liar in order to understand why they do what they do and how we can protect their victims.

I wish you well

About Támara Hill, MS, LPC

Támara Hill, MS, LPC, is a licensed therapist and certified trauma professional, in private practice, who specializes in working with children and adolescents who suffer from mood disorders, trauma, and disruptive behavioral disorders. Hill strives to help clients to realize and actualize their strengths in their home environments and in their relationships within the community. She credits her career passion to a “divine calling” and is internationally recognized for corresponding literary works as well as appearances on radio and other media platforms. She is an author, family consultant, and founder of Anchored in Knowledge.com. Visit her at Anchored-In-Knowledge or Twitter.

 

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