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22 May 2013 @ 08:26 pm
Update: I am revising my memoir entries at another blog I have on wordpress: http://tapati.wordpress.com/

All of my memoir posts and other original posts are copyrighted. You are welcome to provide a link to my posts with a short excerpt to catch someone's attention, just as I do with others' material, but please don't reproduce entire posts. Thank you!

If you have followed the link from my guest posts on the No Longer Quivering blog, you may be interested in my other memoir entries. Please keep in mind that these are rough drafts intended to establish the sequence of events and reveal some of the themes of my writing. The finished product may look very different. I am also not putting everything online for obvious reasons.

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22 May 2023 @ 02:22 pm
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23 January 2017 @ 12:21 pm
[Note: This is a frank discussion of being in relationship with someone whose personality disorder hasn't been treated and I make assumptions about our newly minted president's mental health based on the obvious behaviors he's displayed and the opinions of experts. They might be wrong if his behaviors were only displayed in private but the whole world has noticed some of the most obvious symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My POV is that while I deplore the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness, I've seen what happens when mental illness is ignored because people don't want to talk about it. POTUS works for the American people and his denial of reality among other behaviors is potentially dangerous to others. If we don't call it as we see it and put pressure on our leaders to confront the elephant in the room there is a potential for disaster. Not every person with every mental illness is capable of doing every job--which is no more ableist than to say that I, an older person with heart disease and damaged knee can't run a marathon. A person with his same disorder who learned to manage it well could be very successful as a POTUS. But DJT has been shielded from the consequences of his condition and so never sought the treatment he could have easily afforded. That's the saddest part--he could afford it while so many can't.]

CW: mental illness, politics

I was trying to describe relating to someone with personality disorder (untreated, not managed) to a friend on twitter & came up with an analogy.

Since personality disorders can affect thinking and fundamental world view in a way that is more pervasive than other types of mental illness, it can be disorienting to interact closely with such a person. You think you're both on the same page but their reactions seem off in ways that startle or unsettle you. Sometimes it's closer to what you expect and you think you're approaching a relationship you can be comfortable with--and then it changes suddenly.

My analogy is it's like you're in a play but you have two entirely different scripts and the director has given you different instructions about motivation and the end of the play. You both keep stumbling along trying to assert YOUR understanding of the play (reality) and the words you use mean different things to each of you. Worse, the other person sometimes gets upset out of proportion to what is happening and takes it out on you. These upsets come suddenly like a storm appearing out of a blue sky and when they recede the other person can't understand why you still want to discuss it.

Applying this to Donald Trump, everyone expected him to "pivot" (behave like presidents usually do within a range of variation) and he continues to act out and tweet about every minor slight he perceives. His ego is paper thin, his insecurities are enormous and now the White House press secretary is called upon to shore up his shaky self esteem. Both the press and other politicians don't know how to react to his erratic behavior.

Trump wants to feel and look strong like the authoritarian leaders he admires, and woe unto you if you don't agree that his decisions and even his inauguration audience is HUGE and wonderful. If there is an inconvenient truth that pierces his wished-for identity as awesome leader, it must be denied and his preferred reality re-asserted--even in his own mind. Who are you going to believe, the president or your lying eyes?

You will feel off balance, like you are walking through quicksand. You keep talking with people who agree--yes THIS is reality and what he says isn't. But his lies are repeated constantly and you don't have the megaphone he's been given to dispute them. We rely on the press for this and our president is trying to discredit them every day.

Hold on to your reality and support your friends and family in affirming it. Support your press in challenging his lies and if they try to go along with him, challenge them.

The urge to deny that this problem exists is strong. We want to have a president who is sensible and rational. We want to feel safe. It's tempting to say he's just eccentric. I saw this dynamic in my own family who didn't understand my mom's illness (not much was known about personality disorders and we're still learning a lot). My mother held my half-sister's hands under scalding water and sent her to the hospital and it was swept under the rug. No one seemed to think she might not be able to raise me. (Both my mother and sister had borderline personality disorder.)

Mom admitted later she thought about killing us both. We hasten to say that most people with mental illness don't harm others--and statistically that's true. We don't want you all to fear us (I have depression and PTSD). But we can't deny it when someone DOES have a potential to harm others. Giving an unstable man the nuclear codes and the ability to make decisions that can end lives is a huge risk and we need to talk about it.

As I write this the press secretary is back defending the president's ego and spouting more lies while saying he won't ever lie to the press. His proximity and representation of someone with NPD requires him to take on the reality of the president and substitute it for his own. He has launched into an impassioned speech about how unfairly Donald J. Trump is being talked about by the mainstream media. He's bought into Trump's reality 100%.

Here's an excellent example of someone who has had great personal and professional success by managing and treating her personality disorder (and coming out about it):

Marsha Linehan, the founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) talks about her own diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

You might also find this interesting: Trump's Lies vs. Your Brain: here’s what psychology tells us about life under a leader totally indifferent to the truth.

Finally, Propane Jane's excellent article from the POV of a professional in the field: Instability-in-Chief
20 January 2017 @ 12:22 pm
All over the internet I see sentiments such as "Give Trump a chance" and "Pray for him to do well."

My faith in prayer is not so robust that I think it will change his plans and ideas and make him more capable, first off, because that would interfere with free will. Donald J. Trump has already told us what he's decided to do with his free will.

I don't WANT him to be a bad president. But if he does the things he planned and swore he'd do, Americans will die. He's already had his staff get rid of the climate change info on the .gov website, as well as the lgbt info and the criminal justice reform info--replaced with a page that seems to indicate that police are supported no matter what they might do because we've been too negative. I guess it's open season on black people pulled over by officers then. I can't let that stand without standing up for vulnerable people and holding officers who use excessive or deadly force accountable.

If he carries out his discriminatory agenda that targets some Americans (Muslims, immigrants and others) I see it as my duty to speak out against what he's planning and putting into action.

He has done nothing but mock and accuse the press of lying (when he lies regularly) and came close to kicking them out of their space in the West Wing to another building. It was people speaking out that nixed that plan for now. At times during his campaign he got his followers so riled up at the press that they felt unsafe and one young woman needed an escort to her car.

It would be awesome if he had an epiphany along the way that he's supposed to honor and protect all Americans including the press. I'd love it if he took responsibility for his sexual predatory behavior. I have seen no evidence that he ever will. He's 70 and unlikely to change.

I also question whether you can do therapy without considering the mechanisms of oppression and how they affect your client (as target or perpetrator).

If it weren't so late I would get into that more but I'll have to come back to it.
27 September 2016 @ 05:52 am
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Wiesel
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As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising.

Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.

The yardsticks I use for measuring a politician’s honesty are pretty simple. Ever since I was an investigative reporter covering the nexus of money and politics, I’ve looked for connections between money (including campaign donations, loans, Super Pac funds, speaking fees, foundation ties) and official actions. I’m on the lookout for lies, scrutinizing statements candidates make in the heat of an election.

The connection between money and action is often fuzzy. Many investigative articles about Clinton end up “raising serious questions” about “potential” conflicts of interest or lapses in her judgment. Of course, she should be held accountable. It was bad judgment, as she has said, to use a private email server. It was colossally stupid to take those hefty speaking fees, but not corrupt. There are no instances I know of where Clinton was doing the bidding of a donor or benefactor.

As for her statements on issues, Politifact, a Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking organization, gives Clinton the best truth-telling record of any of the 2016 presidential candidates. She beats Sanders and Kasich and crushes Cruz and Trump, who has the biggest “pants on fire” rating and has told whoppers about basic economics that are embarrassing for anyone aiming to be president. (He falsely claimed GDP has dropped the last two quarters and claimed the national unemployment rate was as high as 35%).

As I post this, however, several scandals and evidence of fraud have been or are being uncovered concerning Donald Trump. Perhaps he assumes Hillary has behaved the way he would in her place.
05 July 2016 @ 07:28 pm
How welfare reform in the 90s only served to increase poverty: http://nyti.ms/1UfM26H

"Recent research finds that because of welfare reform, roughly three million American children live in households with incomes of less than $2 per person per day, a global metric of extreme poverty. That’s one American child in 25. They would be counted as extremely poor if they lived in Africa, and they are our neighbors in the most powerful nation in the world."
05 June 2016 @ 07:07 am
Years ago I took a moment to reflect on what writing about Mahasraya was like, having to capture how I felt and thought about him in the past versus my more mature understanding as I recovered from the abuse and gained the perspective of greater life experience. Here is the link to that post:

05 June 2016 @ 06:50 am
I found out a few days ago that my first husband died of a blood clot on May 31st. Apparently he had a complication from a surgery and returned to the hospital and was in critical condition before he died. He was 4 years older than I am, born on September 26, 1954.

Given my own health issues I didn't expect to outlive him so I have a lot of mixed feelings. I am feeling my mortality and processing the fact that he will never make amends to my daughter or even validate the truth of her account of abuse. I know there are people who still love him and are grieving, and I feel for them. I have also had flashbacks of the abuse I experienced. He had such an impact on my life, good and bad, so his passing is a huge event even if I haven't been in touch with him for years.

It reminds me that I have to finish the memoir, which I had put on hold mainly because I still have to write about my childhood and that's particularly difficult. But I want to put it all behind me, the writing, the re-living, all of it.

I find myself playing Alive by Sia over and over these past few days.