Care Required

I’m not sure how old the adage is – but liberals should take keen advice from the phrase “only give your side the power you’re not afraid of your enemy having”.

For example, many on the left express worry about the Trump administration stance – hostility – towards the media.

They do this, apparently, forgetting that Trump isn’t doing anything that Obama did and pave the way to:

Criticism of Mr. Obama’s stance on press freedom, government transparency and secrecy is hotly disputed by the White House, but many journalism groups say the record is clear. Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.

Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.

If the left didn’t have double-standards…

…well, you know where this goes, right?

The Trainee Is Obviously Guilty

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Got this email from HR today:

“We are happy to announce that Ellie Krug will be coming to provide a professional development opportunity on “Gray Area Thinking”. Ellie will share her personal story as we learn about human inclusivity. This will be first of a series of professional development opportunities available throughout the year. We value employee development and will make sure opportunities are available for all employees. This is mandatory and all employees are expected to attend one of the sessions.”

Somehow, I missed the mandatory half-day training on how horrible Minnesota white people are, what with having white privilege from slavery and all. I sure hope I can make it to this mandatory two-hour training session so I can learn how horrible straight people are.

It would be a shame if government employees accurately processed paperwork in a timely fashion, without being sufficiently sensitive to the plight of the mentally ill. Wouldn’t it?

Joe Doakes

In a system built on rent-seeking, consultants are going to seek rent.

Whole Lotta NARN

Join me from 1-3PM today on the NARN!

Today on the show:

  • Jim Newberger, US Senate candiate
  • Amy Alkon, author, on her new book Unf**kology.   Yep, I’ll earn my pay this time.
  • My idea for a social counter-movement.

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson is  on “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon

People have told me I march to the beat of a different drummer.  I’ve usually responded “Yes, I do.  He was Keith Moon”.

The right people get the joke.

It was forty years ago today that Keith Moon died – too  young, but also probably later than he should have.

I had just barely discovered The Who at the time.  Pete Townsend was a self-obsessed overdramatic post-adolescent with a flair for the dramatic.  And I was a self-obsessed overdramatic adolescent.  It was a match made in heaven.  Ask anyone I knew in high school – I was a Who fanatic.

And I don’t think I’m overstating it – The Who died forty years ago today.  Townsend’s pompous mini-operas needed the raw, unpredictable, “what’s gonna happen next?” power of Moon’s inimitable style to seem like anything but the caterwauling of a guy griping about getting old without dying first.

Moon had been declining for a while, as his legendarily-dissipate lifestyle had been

Even close to his soggy, saggy, alcohol sotted, drug-sodden end, though, Moon still had distilled blasts of pure brilliance:

And the band onstage desperately needed the comic relief Moon provided.

Townsend, Roger Daltrey and (for another 25 years or so) John Entwistle played on, and even made the occasional good/great song.  And Townsend made a couple of essential solo albums in the next decade and change – but those were written around the styles of different drummers.  Great different drummers – Mark Brzeziczki, Simon Baker, Jason Bonham and a who’s who of other great British sidemen played on Townsend’s solo records, all of them superb in their own way.

But without Moon, The Who always felt like a nostalgia band.

The Kenny Jones edition of the band was the first big-time rock concert I ever attended, in October of  ’82 at the old Saint Paul Civic Center (29th row tickets on the floor, $15).   I loved the show – I loved the event, really – but for The Who, there really was no going back.

 

For Love Or Money

America’s left has jabbered on for decades about one form of “class warfare” (by many names, but the same idea) or another.    And on the issue of gun control, they have one – but they are the patricians, trying to keep the plucky plebeians down.

The passion gap is immense.  The intensity with with Real Americans defend their Second Amendment rights is something Big Left, in its’ infinitely dubious wisdom, mocks and taunts but can’t seem to beat for love, or…

…well, they’re certainly pouring money into it.

Remember all those “spontaneous student activists” that spontaneously popped up moments  spontaneous after the Parkland shooting spontaneous?

They apparently need more spontaneous activists fast, in time for the elections:

My guess – the first round of activists got new video games.

What A Difference Eight Years Makes

2010: Democrats, impatient to pass a 2000 page bill that would nationalize (in effect) a sixth of the United States economy, give Americans the bum’s rush, saying “we will have to pass the bill to see what’s in it”.

2018: Democrats, frantic to stop Donald Trump from empaneling a solid conservative majority on the Supreme Court, claim to have plenty of time to read a purported million pages of documents about Brett Kavanaugh.

A Bit Of A Quandary

I am a firm, firm believer in letting the free market arbitrate political disputes as much as possible.

But sometimes, the free market beats me to it.

Not always: years ago, when liberal social justice and then ease lined up against Chick-fil-A, I was already to go out and grab a bag full. But there were no Chick-fil-As in the Twin Cities at the time. Likewise, last week when a California politician criticized In and Out Burger for donating to Republicans,… Well, not only are there no such restaurants anywhere in Minnesota, but I don’t eat hamburgers anymore.

More to the point, though? Nike has fraudulently cast Colin Kaepernick is a civil rights legend. He’s not, of course – he was riding the bench before he started riding his knee, and he barely had a career to “sacrifice” with his antics.

But I haven’t bought a Nike product of any kind in probably 30 years, because the price for the quality is just too high.

Likewise, earlier this week when Levi Strauss company announced they were forming a gun control group among big businesses, I ordinarily have made a mental note to stop buying their products (as I did with Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell back in the 1990s).

But I haven’t put on a pair of Levi’s in close to 20 years – because when I did buy them, the quality was so shoddy I had to check to see if they have been made in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin wall. That being a time of my life where I had to stretch a block, having pants wear – I kid you not – the crotch ripped out after two months was a big influence on my personal free market, if you catch my drift.

Distractions

A friend of the blog writes:

I have friends on all political sides. Most have always focused on tabloid style topics rather than policy, but these days the tabloid talk is even more hyped.

Currently, my liberal friends are busy talking about Nike, and how they pay “slave labor” and that is where the outrage should be. (Nike’s wages in developing countries is not new, so why the outrage now versus three days ago?)

On the other hand, my conservative friends aren’t really talking about politics right now, but those that are fierce supporters of Trump are continuing to sing his praises for his skill of distracting the media.

To both, I try to point to the recent NAFTA negotiations.

Part of the current deal includes regulations that would require 40-45% of auto parts to be made by workers earning $16 per hour. Another part of the deal requires 75% of auto content to be made in NAFTA region. This is up from 62% under the old deal. Both of these changes, if adopted, will have real impact on labor and consumer markets. I can see positives and negatives.

I ask my liberal friends, is this what bipartisanship can look like? I mean, they are constantly campaigning for $15 per hour minimum wages.

I ask my Trump supporting friends if this will actually have the effect of bringing back jobs to the US, as Trump promised? I mean, most countries that are currently producing auto parts may not be able to guarantee $16 per hour wages. But, if auto makers move plants back here, who will buy the new cars at the prices sold needed to support those wages? Seems like used car sales will go up, at least in the short term.

I have always been a believer in businesses operating efficiently, and when they do, it helps the consumer, which in turn keeps the economy going. I am not convinced the government knows how to keep business efficient and positively affect the consumer at the same time.

My liberal friends certainly aren’t going to note anything about Trump is positive or that he may be close to them ideologically at times, so they won’t comment. My Trump friends see him as a businessman who gets things done, so they don’t have a problem. But, some of his foreign policy ideas give me pause. But, by all means, let’s get back to Nike and other distractions.

On the one hand, there are a lot of very substantial things going on under the Trump administration.

The obsessive focus on tabloid news is giving a cover to an off a lot of that. Some of it’s good, and some of it is probably stuff that deserve some attention. And it’s not getting it. Again, for better or worse.

The problem with the government is, even if you like the way things start out, if you don’t pay attention to it for long enough, bad things start to happen.

The Real #Resistance

Silicon Valley – and its various satellites around the country, including whatever software design culture that exists in the Twin Cities – has trended left of center for a long, long time (although not forever; it used to be fairly libertarian – a change that’s been a net loss for everyone).

That’s changed, of course; when James Damore was fired at Google for the high crime of pointing out the patently obvious about Google’s internal political culture – think Arthur Miller’s The Crucible – it surprised absolutely nobody that’d been following the way the Bay Area’s software development culture has been evolving.

An engineer at Facebook has started a conservative group.   Which is big news.  David French notes:

…the internal conservative revolt at Facebook may — just may — represent one of the most consequential news developments of the year. A senior engineer named Brian Amerige posted a short statement on Facebook’s internal message board. It began with words that will ring true to employees at hundreds of major American corporations and academic institutions:

We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.​ We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology. We throw labels that end in ​*obe​ and ​*ist​ at each other, attacking each other’s character rather than their ideas.

We do this so consistently that employees are afraid to say anything when they disagree with what’s around them politically.​ HR has told me that this is not a rare concern, and I’ve personally gotten over a hundred messages to that effect. Your colleagues are afraid because they know that they — not their ideas — will be attacked. They know that all the talk of “openness to different perspectives” does not apply to causes of “social justice,” immigration, “diversity,” and “equality.” On this issues [sic], you can either keep quiet or sacrifice your reputation and career.

Amerige invited colleagues to join a group called “FB’ers for Political Diversity” and — as the New York Times reports — more than 100 employees have joined. It’s a small fraction of the Facebook workforce, but it’s enough that it can’t be easily squelched.

Indeed, the Times reports that angry colleagues have already tried to appeal to Facebook to shut down the group. So far, they’ve failed

This is something I wrestle with daily – at work (I work at a place with a bit of a political monoculture, as luck would have it, and suffice to say I’m not in the majority) and elsewhere in my life (I’ve changed my church affiliation, and the world of dating is rife with people who just can not tolerate the idea of being around someone whose politics challenge their own).  Like most conservatives, I want my politics to stay in my mind, my news, and at the polling station; I don’t want it to eat my entire life.

Which is of course what Big Left wants, and needs; to divide and conquer an inchoate mass of individuals.

And so this is something to follow – and, let’s be honest, emulate in our daily lives.

Much more to come.

Living With An Abusive Half Of The Electorate, Part IV – Gibberish Studies

Up next in our examination of th

3. Nonsensical conversations from hell.
If you think you’re going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is toxic, be prepared for epic mindfuckery rather than conversational mindfulness.

Malignant narcissists and sociopaths use word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient you and get you off track should you ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. They do this in order to discredit, confuse and frustrate you, distract you from the main problem and make you feel guilty for being a human being with actual thoughts and feelings that might differ from their own. In their eyes, you are the problem if you happen to exist.

Spend even ten minutes arguing with a toxic narcissist and you’ll find yourself wondering how the argument even began at all. You simply disagreed with them about their absurd claim that the sky is red and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle choices have come under attack. That is because your disagreement picked at their false belief that they are omnipotent and omniscient, resulting in a narcissistic injury.

Remember: toxic people don’t argue with you, they essentially argue with themselves and you become privy to their long, draining monologues. They thrive off the drama and they live for it. Each and every time you attempt to provide a point that counters their ridiculous assertions, you feed them supply. Don’t feed the narcissists supply – rather, supply yourself with the confirmation that their abusive behavior is the problem, not you. Cut the interaction short as soon as you anticipate it escalating and use your energy on some decadent self-care instead.

4. Blanket statements and generalizations.
Malignant narcissists aren’t always intellectual masterminds – many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that don’t acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives you’ve paid homage to. Better yet, why not put a label on you that dismisses your perspective altogether?

On a larger scale, generalizations and blanket statements invalidate experiences that don’t fit in the unsupported assumptions, schemas and stereotypes of society; they are also used to maintain the status quo. This form of digression exaggerates one perspective to the point where a social justice issue can become completely obscured. For example, rape accusations against well-liked figures are often met with the reminder that there are false reports of rape that occur. While those do occur, they are rare, and in this case, the actions of one become labeled the behavior of the majority while the specific report itself remains unaddressed.

These everyday microaggressions also happen in toxic relationships. If you bring up to a narcissistic abuser that their behavior is unacceptable for example, they will often make blanket generalizations about your hypersensitivity or make a generalization such as, “You are never satisfied,” or “You’re always too sensitive” rather than addressing the real issues at hand. It’s possible that you are oversensitive at times, but it is also possible that the abuser is also insensitive and cruel the majority of the time.

Hold onto your truth and resist generalizing statements by realizing that they are in fact forms of black and white illogical thinking. Toxic people wielding blanket statements do not represent the full richness of experience – they represent the limited one of their singular experience and overinflated sense of self.

5. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.
In the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath, your differing opinions, legitimate emotions and lived experiences get translated into character flaws and evidence of your irrationality.

Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what you’re actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd or heinous. Let’s say you bring up the fact that you’re unhappy with the way a toxic friend is speaking to you. In response, he or she may put words in your mouth, saying, “Oh, so now you’re perfect?” or “So I am a bad person, huh?” when you’ve done nothing but express your feelings. This enables them to invalidate your right to have thoughts and emotions about their inappropriate behavior and instills in you a sense of guilt when you attempt to establish boundaries.

This is also a popular form of diversion and cognitive distortion that is known as “mind reading.” Toxic people often presume they know what you’re thinking and feeling. They chronically jump to conclusions based on their own triggers rather than stepping back to evaluate the situation mindfully. They act accordingly based on their own delusions and fallacies and make no apologies for the harm they cause as a result. Notorious for putting words in your mouth, they depict you as having an intention or outlandish viewpoint you didn’t possess. They accuse you of thinking of them as toxic – even before you’ve gotten the chance to call them out on their behavior – and this also serves as a form of preemptive defense.

Simply stating, “I never said that,” and walking away should the person continue to accuse you of doing or saying something you didn’t can help to set a firm boundary in this type of interaction. So long as the toxic person can blameshift and digress from their own behavior, they have succeeded in convincing you that you should be “shamed” for giving them any sort of realistic feedback.

6. Nitpicking and moving the goal posts.
The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the presence of a personal attack and impossible standards. These so-called “critics” often don’t want to help you improve, they just want to nitpick, pull you down and scapegoat you in any way they can. Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as “moving the goalposts” in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after you’ve provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof.

Do you have a successful career? The narcissist will then start to pick on why you aren’t a multi-millionaire yet. Did you already fulfill their need to be excessively catered to? Now it’s time to prove that you can also remain “independent.” The goal posts will perpetually change and may not even be related to each other; they don’t have any other point besides making you vie for the narcissist’s approval and validation.

By raising the expectations higher and higher each time or switching them completely, highly manipulative and toxic people are able to instill in you a pervasive sense of unworthiness and of never feeling quite “enough.” By pointing out one irrelevant fact or one thing you did wrong and developing a hyperfocus on it, narcissists get to divert from your strengths and pull you into obsessing over any flaws or weaknesses instead. They get you thinking about the next expectation of theirs you’re going to have to meet – until eventually you’ve bent over backwards trying to fulfill their every need – only to realize it didn’t change the horrific way they treated you.

Don’t get sucked into nitpicking and changing goal posts – if someone chooses to rehash an irrelevant point over and over again to the point where they aren’t acknowledging the work you’ve done to validate your point or satisfy them, their motive isn’t to better understand. It’s to further provoke you into feeling as if you have to constantly prove yourself. Validate and approve of yourself. Know that you are enough and you don’t have to be made to feel constantly deficient or unworthy in some way.

7. Changing the subject to evade accountability.
This type of tactic is what I like to call the “What about me?” syndrome. It is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists don’t want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them. Complaining about their neglectful parenting? They’ll point out a mistake you committed seven years ago. This type of diversion has no limits in terms of time or subject content, and often begins with a sentence like “What about the time when…”

On a macrolevel, these diversions work to derail discussions that challenge the status quo. A discussion about gay rights, for example, may be derailed quickly by someone who brings in another social justice issue just to distract people from the main argument.

As Tara Moss, author of Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, notes, specificity is needed in order to resolve and address issues appropriately – that doesn’t mean that the issues that are being brought up don’t matter, it just means that the specific time and place may not be the best context to discuss them.

Don’t be derailed – if someone pulls a switcheroo on you, you can exercise what I call the “broken record” method and continue stating the facts without giving in to their distractions. Redirect their redirection by saying, “That’s not what I am talking about. Let’s stay focused on the real issue.” If they’re not interested, disengage and spend your energy on something more constructive – like not having a debate with someone who has the mental age of a toddler.

8. Covert and overt threats.
Narcissistic abusers and otherwise toxic people feel very threatened when their excessive sense of entitlement, false sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self are challenged in any way. They are prone to making unreasonable demands on others – while punishing you for not living up to their impossible to reach expectations.

Rather than tackle disagreements or compromises maturely, they set out to divert you from your right to have your own identity and perspective by attempting to instill fear in you about the consequences of disagreeing or complying with their demands. To them, any challenge results in an ultimatum and “do this or I’ll do that” becomes their daily mantra.

If someone’s reaction to you setting boundaries or having a differing opinion from your own is to threaten you into submission, whether it’s a thinly veiled threat or an overt admission of what they plan to do, this is a red flag of someone who has a high degree of entitlement and has no plans of compromising. Take threats seriously and show the narcissist you mean business; document threats and report them whenever possible and legally feasible.

9. Name-calling.
Narcissists preemptively blow anything they perceive as a threat to their superiority out of proportion. In their world, only they can ever be right and anyone who dares to say otherwise creates a narcissistic injury that results in narcissistic rage. As Mark Goulston, M.D. asserts, narcissistic rage does not result from low self-esteem but rather a high sense of entitlement and false sense of superiority.

The lowest of the low resort to narcissistic rage in the form of name-calling when they can’t think of a better way to manipulate your opinion or micromanage your emotions. Name-calling is a quick and easy way to put you down, degrade you and insult your intelligence, appearance or behavior while invalidating your right to be a separate person with a right to his or her perspective.

Name-calling can also be used to criticize your beliefs, opinions and insights. A well-researched perspective or informed opinion suddenly becomes “silly” or “idiotic” in the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath who feels threatened by it and cannot make a respectful, convincing rebuttal. Rather than target your argument, they target you as a person and seek to undermine your credibility and intelligence in any way they possibly can. It’s important to end any interaction that consists of name-calling and communicate that you won’t tolerate it. Don’t internalize it: realize that they are resorting to name-calling because they are deficient in higher level methods.

Want more writing about the narcissistic sociopath? Read the book POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse by Shahida Arabi.
power-book
10. Destructive conditioning.
Toxic people condition you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, frustration and disrespect. They do this by sneaking in covert and overt put-downs about the qualities and traits they once idealized as well as sabotaging your goals, ruining celebrations, vacations and holidays. They may even isolate you from your friends and family and make you financially dependent upon them. Like Pavlov’s dogs, you’re essentially “trained” over time to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and otherwise toxic people do this because they wish to divert attention back to themselves and how you’re going to please them. If there is anything outside of them that may threaten their control over your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention at all times. In the idealization phase, you were once the center of a narcissist’s world – now the narcissist becomes the center of yours.

Narcissists are also naturally pathologically envious and don’t want anything to come in between them and their influence over you. Your happiness represents everything they feel they cannot have in their emotionally shallow lives. After all, if you learn that you can get validation, respect and love from other sources besides the toxic person, what’s to keep you from leaving them? To toxic people, a little conditioning can go a long way to keep you walking on eggshells and falling just short of your big dreams.

11. Smear campaigns and stalking.
When toxic types can’t control the way you see yourself, they start to control how others see you; they play the martyr while you’re labeled the toxic one. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you won’t have a support network to fall back on lest you decide to detach and cut ties with this toxic person. They may even stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to supposedly “expose” the truth about you; this exposure acts as a way to hide their own abusive behavior while projecting it onto you.

Some smear campaigns can even work to pit two people or two groups against each other. A victim in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded.

Toxic people will gossip behind your back (and in front of your face), slander you to your loved ones or their loved ones, create stories that depict you as the aggressor while they play the victim, and claim that you engaged in the same behaviors that they are afraid you will accuse them of engaging in. They will also methodically, covertly and deliberately abuse you so they can use your reactions as a way to prove that they are the so-called “victims” of your abuse.

The best way to handle a smear campaign is to stay mindful of your reactions and stick to the facts. This is especially pertinent for high-conflict divorces with narcissists who may use your reactions to their provocations against you. Document any form of harassment, cyberbullying or stalking incidents and always speak to your narcissist through a lawyer whenever possible. You may wish to take legal action if you feel the stalking and harassment is getting out of control; finding a lawyer who is well-versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder is crucial if that’s the case. Your character and integrity will speak for itself when the narcissist’s false mask begins to slip.

12. Love-bombing and devaluation.
Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with you. Then, they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired in the first place. Another variation of this is when a toxic individual puts you on a pedestal while aggressively devaluing and attacking someone else who threatens their sense of superiority.

Narcissistic abusers do this all the time – they devalue their exes to their new partners, and eventually the new partner starts to receive the same sort of mistreatment as the narcissist’s ex-partner. Ultimately what will happen is that you will also be on the receiving end of the same abuse. You will one day be the ex-partner they degrade to their new source of supply. You just don’t know it yet. That’s why it’s important to stay mindful of the love-bombing technique whenever you witness behavior that doesn’t align with the saccharine sweetness a narcissist subjects you to.

As life coach Wendy Powell suggests, slowing things down with people you suspect may be toxic is an important way of combating the love-bombing technique. Be wary of the fact that how a person treats or speaks about someone else could potentially translate into the way they will treat you in the future.

13. Preemptive defense.
When someone stresses the fact that they are a “nice guy” or girl, that you should “trust them” right away or emphasizes their credibility without any provocation from you whatsoever, be wary.

Toxic and abusive people overstate their ability to be kind and compassionate. They often tell you that you should “trust” them without first building a solid foundation of trust. They may “perform” a high level of sympathy and empathy at the beginning of your relationship to dupe you, only to unveil their false mask later on. When you see their false mask begins to slip periodically during the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle, the true self is revealed to be terrifyingly cold, callous and contemptuous.

Genuinely nice people rarely have to persistently show off their positive qualities – they exude their warmth more than they talk about it and they know that actions speak volumes more than mere words. They know that trust and respect is a two-way street that requires reciprocity, not repetition.

To counter a preemptive defense, reevaluate why a person may be emphasizing their good qualities. Is it because they think you don’t trust them, or because they know you shouldn’t? Trust actions more than empty words and see how someone’s actions communicate who they are, not who they say they are.

14. Triangulation.
Bringing in the opinion, perspective or suggested threat of another person into the dynamic of an interaction is known as “triangulation.” Often used to validate the toxic person’s abuse while invalidating the victim’s reactions to abuse, triangulation can also work to manufacture love triangles that leave you feeling unhinged and insecure.

Malignant narcissists love to triangulate their significant other with strangers, co-workers, ex-partners, friends and even family members in order to evoke jealousy and uncertainty in you. They also use the opinions of others to validate their point of view.

This is a diversionary tactic meant to pull your attention away from their abusive behavior and into a false image of them as a desirable, sought after person. It also leaves you questioning yourself – if Mary did agree with Tom, doesn’t that mean that you must be wrong? The truth is, narcissists love to “report back” falsehoods about others say about you, when in fact, they are the ones smearing you.

To resist triangulation tactics, realize that whoever the narcissist is triangulating with is also being triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist as well. Everyone is essentially being played by this one person. Reverse “triangulate” the narcissist by gaining support from a third party that is not under the narcissist’s influence – and also by seeking your own validation.

15. Bait and feign innocence.
Toxic individuals lure you into a false sense of security simply to have a platform to showcase their cruelty. Baiting you into a mindless, chaotic argument can escalate into a showdown rather quickly with someone who doesn’t know the meaning of respect. A simple disagreement may bait you into responding politely initially, until it becomes clear that the person has a malicious motive of tearing you down.

By “baiting” you with a seemingly innocuous comment disguised as a rational one, they can then begin to play with you. Remember: narcissistic abusers have learned about your insecurities, the unsettling catchphrases that interrupt your confidence, and the disturbing topics that reenact your wounds – and they use this knowledge maliciously to provoke you. After you’ve fallen for it, hook line and sinker, they’ll stand back and innocently ask whether you’re “okay” and talk about how they didn’t “mean” to agitate you. This faux innocence works to catch you off guard and make you believe that they truly didn’t intend to hurt you, until it happens so often you can’t deny the reality of their malice any longer.

It helps to realize when you’re being baited so you can avoid engaging altogether. Provocative statements, name-calling, hurtful accusations or unsupported generalizations, for example, are common baiting tactics. Your gut instinct can also tell you when you’re being baited – if you feel “off” about a certain comment and continue to feel this way even after it has been expanded on, that’s a sign you may need to take some space to reevaluate the situation before choosing to respond.

16. Boundary testing and hoovering.
Narcissists, sociopaths and otherwise toxic people continually try and test your boundaries to see which ones they can trespass. The more violations they’re able to commit without consequences, the more they’ll push the envelope.
That’s why survivors of emotional as well as physical abuse often experience even more severe incidents of abuse each and every time they go back to their abusers.

Abusers tend to “hoover” their victims back in with sweet promises, fake remorse and empty words of how they are going to change, only to abuse their victims even more horrifically. In the abuser’s sick mind, this boundary testing serves as a punishment for standing up to the abuse and also for being going back to it. When narcissists try to press the emotional reset button, reinforce your boundaries even more strongly rather than backtracking on them.

Remember – highly manipulative people don’t respond to empathy or compassion. They respond to consequences.

17. Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes.
Covert narcissists enjoy making malicious remarks at your expense. These are usually dressed up as “just jokes” so that they can get away with saying appalling things while still maintaining an innocent, cool demeanor. Yet any time you are outraged at an insensitive, harsh remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor. This is a tactic frequently used in verbal abuse.

The contemptuous smirk and sadistic gleam in their eyes gives it away, however – like a predator that plays with its food, a toxic person gains pleasure from hurting you and being able to get away with it. After all, it’s just a joke, right? Wrong. It’s a way to gaslight you into thinking their abuse is a joke – a way to divert from their cruelty and onto your perceived sensitivity. It is important that when this happens, you stand up for yourself and make it clear that you won’t tolerate this type of behavior.

Calling out manipulative people on their covert put-downs may result in further gaslighting from the abuser but maintain your stance that their behavior is not okay and end the interaction immediately if you have to.

18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.
Belittling and degrading a person is a toxic person’s forte and their tone of voice is only one tool in their toolbox. Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. If you in any way react to it, you must be “too sensitive.”

Forget that the toxic person constantly has temper tantrums every time their big bad ego is faced with realistic feedback – the victim is the hypersensitive one, apparently. So long as you’re treated like a child and constantly challenged for expressing yourself, you’ll start to develop a sense of hypervigilance about voicing your thoughts and opinions without reprimand. This self-censorship enables the abuser to put in less work in silencing you, because you begin to silence yourself.

Whenever you are met with a condescending demeanor or tone, call it out firmly and assertively. You don’t deserve to be spoken down to like a child – nor should you ever silence yourself to meet the expectation of someone else’s superiority complex.

19. Shaming.
“You should be ashamed of yourself” is a favorite saying of toxic people. Though it can be used by someone who is non-toxic, in the realm of the narcissist or sociopath, shaming is an effective method that targets any behavior or belief that might challenge a toxic person’s power. It can also be used to destroy and whittle away at a victim’s self-esteem: if a victim dares to be proud of something, shaming the victim for that specific trait, quality or accomplishment can serve to diminish their sense of self and stifle any pride they may have.

Malignant narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths enjoy using your own wounds against you – so they will even shame you about any abuse or injustice you’ve suffered in your lifetime as a way to retraumatize you. Were you a childhood abuse survivor? A malignant narcissist or sociopath will claim that you must’ve done something to deserve it, or brag about their own happy childhood as a way to make you feel deficient and unworthy. What better way to injure you, after all, than to pick at the original wound? As surgeons of madness, they seek to exacerbate wounds, not help heal them.

If you suspect you’re dealing with a toxic person, avoid revealing any of your vulnerabilities or past traumas. Until they’ve proven their character to you, there is no point disclosing information that could be potentially used against you.

20. Control.
Most importantly, toxic abusers love to maintain control in whatever way they can. They isolate you, maintain control over your finances and social networks, and micromanage every facet of your life. Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.

That’s why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. That’s why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. That’s why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. That’s why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is.

The more power they have over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and the truth about the abuse you’re enduring. Knowing the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you with the knowledge of what you’re facing and at the very least, develop a plan to regain control over your own life and away from toxic people. TC mark

The Musical Christmas Truce In September

The nation is truly polarized.

And I’ll cop to it; one small part of it is because I’m pretty revolted by what the “other side” in our national debate wants.  It’s not gonna be easy to resolve.  Maybe we can’t.  Who knows?

But if you dig long and hard enough, you can usually find some common ground.

So with me and former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges:

And what the heck – why not celebrate the little things.

So yeah, it ain’t no sin to be glad to talk about something other than politics once in a while:

OK. Back to business.

#Resistance

74 years ago last month, a few tens of thousands of Poles, who’d survived under Nazi occupation for nearly five years, rose up against their occupiers. Armed with weapons they’d cached in 1939, or stolen, smuggled or, in many cases, made in “underground” shops (because the Nazis gave Poland “common sense gun laws!) and not much more outside pure guts, they launched the “Warsaw Uprising”, seizing much of Warsaw from the Nazis. By the way, we’re talking “Nazis” in the “tanks and flamethrowers and machine guns” sense of the term, not the “tiki torch-carrying cartoon” or “every Republican, according to some “progressives”” senses some are so fond of.

Had they not been betrayed by Stalin, it would have worked.

They were a #Resistance.

If you’re someone who’s angry about the last election and tweets / Facebooks about it on the way from pilates to Whole Foods – you’re a lot of things (practitioner of your First Amendment rights, sore loser, someone who may or may not really understand how federalsm and representative government works)…

…but you’re not “the resistance”. Better people than you or I earned that title the hard way – risking, and more often than not losing, their lives and those of their families to boot.

Oh, I know.  It’s a free country.  You can say anything you want about yourself.

Just don’t expect me not to mock and taunt you for it.

I’m only human.

Question For The Ages

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is the photo from Drudge Report. Why is Sarah Silverman sitting behind the nominee?

Heh.

But to to paraphrase the last Billy Maze, “But wait!  There’s more!”

The woman Joe’s referring to is named Zina Bash – and she got fifteen minutes of fame from the deranged left yesterday:

It’s going to be a long couple months, here.

Fauxcahontas

The Boston Glob comes to praise Elizabeth Warren’s “Native American ancestry”...

The Boston Globe ran a massive 3,000 word lead article this morning trying to excuse away Elizabeth Warren’s claim during her professional career to be minority and a woman of color based on supposed Native American ancestry.

The story, which had the cooperation of the Warren campaign, comes just days before the first debate in Massachusetts’ Senate race. Clearly, the Warren campaign is worried after even Native Americans who are Democrats criticized Warren at the DNC in Charlotte, and is attempting to put its story out there through a friendly source.

…and ends up burying it.

Too much stuff to pullquote.  Give it a read.

The Supremes

The attendees at Rapallo, Italy – a collection of civilian and military leaders of the Allies – were understandably nervous on November 5th, 1917.  The Russians appeared on the verge of quitting the war.  The French Army had been nearly crippled in mutiny.  The British were still bloodletting at the Third Battle of Ypres.  And the hosting Italians were in the middle of their disastrous Battle of Caporetto, which was rapidly destroying an entire Italian army.

With most of the significant Prime Ministers of the Allied war effort in attendance, David Lloyd George unveiled his solution to the present crisis – an Allied War Council.  For almost all of the parliamentary-allied nations, a War Council had been created to oversee the conflict, with powers and goals separate from the running of each ally’s domestic affairs.  What George was proposing was a similar structure, staffed by members of each of the prominent Allies (minus Russia and Japan).

By the end of the conference on November 7th, 1917, the Allies had birthed the Supreme War Council.  The blueprint of true, inter-allied cooperation had been created.  But the construction of a workable military alliance would prove a far more difficult project.

The Supreme War Council – the group itself was largely useless, but it’s creation  foundation of inter-Allied cooperation that would win the war


The concept of Allied cooperation was far from new to the members of the Entente in 1917.  Indeed, many of the failings of the alliance over the past three years were the result of diplomatic and military “cooperation.”

The Chantilly Conferences of 1915 and 1916 had been the Entente’s first attempts at coordinating their offensives.  With the first conference including almost all the Entente players at the time – Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Serbia and Russia – the sheer size of the conference, to say nothing of the disparate goals of the participants, made any meaningful conclusions all but impossible.  Holding the carrot of their financial strength and military aid, Britain and France quickly found themselves dictating terms to their allies.  In principle, the Chantilly Conferences were to coordinate the Entente’s 1916 offensives.  In practicality, the conferences solidified Britain and France’s military wishes while holding their allies to the unrealistic terms of launching attacks at London and Paris’ command.    Continue reading

Evergreen

Has there ever been a more perfect Social Justice Warrior headline than this?

I’m not aware that “Climate Progress” is a parody site, long the lines of The Onion or Babylon Bee, although it’d explain a lot.  Either way.

He Who Forgets History…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Al Franken hasn’t ruled out running for office again.  Why not?  In Minnesota, he’s guaranteed 40% of the vote, from people who reflexively vote Democrat regardless of who’s running.  And Name Identification will get him another 5% from the Undecided-Uninformed crowd who look at the ballot and say: “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of him.”  A couple more boxes of ballots from the trunk of the car and he’s back in office.

 

It’s sad, really.  The American political system was intended for citizen-legislators to briefly meet to handle problems, then resume their daily lives.  Professional politicians have no daily lives.  When they’re forced out of office, they’re like those 70’s bands that routinely filled the stadium in their heyday but now hope to get booked at the Medina Ballroom.

Joe Doakes

Watching the Attorney General primary on the GOP side – where perennial candidate and, er, colorful personality Sharon Anderson, who is not the former Channel 5 personality got over 30% of the vote – I hate to say, this isn’t just a Democrat phenomenon.

Although with Sharon Anderson it’s a laughing matter.  With Stuart…

.

 

Unpacking Peggy McIntosh

About a year and a half ago, I wrote one of my favorite pieces in the history of this blog – Unpacking the Invisible NPR Tote Bag, which spelled out the ideal of “Urban Progressive Privilege.

I described the phenomenon if “Urban Progressive Privilege” by tracing a line from the document from which the term “White Privilege” sprang – Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by one Peggy McIntosh:

Urban Progressive Privilege is like an invisible weightless NPR tote bag of special permissions, immunities, secret handshakes, Whole Foods gift cards, a virtual echo chamber accompanying everyone who has that privilege, filtering out almost all cognitive dissonance about political, social or moral questions, and a virtual “cone of silence” immunizing them from liability for anything they say or do that contradicts the group’s stated principles.  As we in Human studies work to reveal Urban Progressive Privilege and ask urban progressives to become aware of their power, so one who writes about havingUrban Progressive Privilege must ask, “having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?”

It was, to a degree, satire – and, like a lot of satire, it was simultaneously journalism.    Privilege does exist in our society – but social, economic, educational and geographic class at the end of the day count for (I’ll be charitable) every bit as much as race.   Can anyone say that Clarence Thomas is held in lower regard (by people other than Ryan Winkler, anyway) than John Roberts?

I wrote the piece originally because the ideal that “whiteness” – whatever that means, as if a “race” that simultaneously includes Norwegians and Armenians, Slavs and Spaniards, has any actual ethnic meaning – conveys so much privilege by itself that a white house painter in Spooner Wisconsin has social, cultural, financial and legal advantage over Oprah Winfrey or Sarah Jeong is so comically absurd.

So absurd, I thought, that it had to have been written by someone who was so detached by class privilege that they hadn’t the foggiest idea what life was like outside of their class bubble.

Lo and behold, I was right.

William Ray digs into Peggy McIntosh’s knapsack in this brightly illuminating piece in Quillette.

When I say “I was right” – well, I was being modest:

Peggy McIntosh was born Elisabeth Vance Means in 1934. She grew up in Summit, New Jersey where the median income is quadruple the American national average—that is to say that half the incomes there are more than four times the national average, some of them substantially so. McIntosh’s father was Winthrop J. Means, the head of Bell Laboratories electronic switching department during the late 1950s. At that time, Bell Labs were the world leaders in the nascent digital computing revolution. Means personally held—and sold patents on—many very lucrative technologies, including early magnetic Gyro-compass equipment (U.S. Patent #US2615961A) which now helps to guide nuclear missiles and commercial jets, and which keeps satellites in place so you can navigate with your phone and communicate with your Uber driver. Means is also recorded as the inventor of a patent held by Nokia Bell in 1959 known as the Information Storage Arrangement. This device is the direct progenitor of ROM computer memory, and is cited in the latter’s patent filed in 1965 for IBM. So, long before Peggy McIntosh wrote her paper, her family was already having an outsized effect on Western culture.

Elizabeth Vance Means then attended Radcliffe, a renowned finishing school for the daughters of America’s patrician elites, and continued her private education at the University of London (ranked in the top 50 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings), before completing her English Doctorate at Harvard. Her engagement to Dr. Kenneth McIntosh was announced in the New York Times‘s social register on the same page as the wedding of Chicago’s Mayor Daley. McIntosh’s father, Dr. Rustin McIntosh, was Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at Columbia University. His mother was President Emeritus of Barnard College, an institution in the opulent Morningside Heights district of Manhattan, famous since 1889 for providing the daughters of the wealthiest Americans with liberal arts degrees…[husband] Kenneth McIntosh was himself a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy, which boasted alumni including Daniel Webster, the sons of Presidents Lincoln and Grant, and a number of Rockefeller scions. He later completed his elite education at Harvard College and the Harvard Medical School. By the time of his marriage to Elizabeth, Kenneth McIntosh was a senior resident at the prestigious Brigham Hospital in Boston, founded by millionaire Peter Bent.

In other words, Peggy McIntosh was born into the very cream of America’s aristocratic elite, and has remained ensconced there ever since.

So Peggy McIntosh is the scion – scienne?  Scionette? – of a family that is in the top fraction of the top 1% of people in this country in terms of social, educational (or at least “Educational Affiliation”), financial and cultural stature.

And this leads up to a summation that could soon become a Berg’s 7th Law corollary:

Her ‘experiential’ list enumerating the ways in which she benefits from being born with white skin simply confuses racial privilege with the financial advantages she has always been fortunate enough to enjoy.

And – I’d add, from my position as an observer – it provided cover for the vastly more toxic “Urban Progressive Privilege”.   Ray says nearly as much:

All of which means that pretty much anything you read about ‘white privilege’ is traceable to an ‘experiential’ essay written by a woman who benefitted from massive wealth, a panoply of aristocratic connections, and absolutely no self-awareness whatsoever. This alone calls into question the seriousness and scholarly validity of the derivative works, since they are all the fruit of a poisonous tree. But McIntosh’s hypothesis was eagerly embraced nonetheless, because it served a particular purpose—it helped to mainstream a bitter zero-sum politics of guilt and identity. This dark epistemology has quietly percolated through the universities and the wider culture for two decades now. It has had the effect of draining attention from a massive and growing wealth gap and it has pitted the poor against one another in public spectacles of acrimony and even violence.

“Progressivism” has ended up on the “wrong” side of the class war it has always espoused: they are the patricians, and have been for over a century now.

Idenitymongering – and the firehose of “privilege” allegations that are one of its weapons – is one way of dividing the unruly plebes against each other, as Ray points out:

A school board in British Columbia even thought it would be a good idea to greet its poor and working class white middle school students with this poster reminding them of the guilty burden they bear on account of their skin:

No, it’s not a flyer for a community theater production of “1984”. Yet.

I grew up a very poor white kid. By which I mean, single-mother-on-welfare-in-Alberta poor. As a child, I remember feeling utterly hopeless about ever making any sort of life for myself. If I were at school in British Columbia today, I would now have to deal with seeing this admonition every morning as well. One wonders why Teresa Downs doesn’t simply step down from her $200,000 a year job and pass it to a person of colour since she acquired it unfairly. Is her public declaration of culpability supposed to be compensation enough? Presumably, like Peggy McIntosh, she has convinced herself that human well-being will be better served by shaming the children of people whose average annual income is around $23,000.

I suggest you read the whole thing; as much as I pullquoted, there is so much more.

Gun-Grabber Hilarity: Part MCMCCCLXXXVIII

Moms Want Action sent out a photomeme to their troops yesterday:

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One wonders what bill they defeated in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

But not as much as one wonders what “guns in schools” bill they “defeated” in Minnesota.

Hint:  There was none.

When the gun grabber movement fabricates not only “facts”, but victories, it reminds me of something.

But…what?

Oh, yeah – this:

The gun grabber movement has never once made a single statement that is simultaneously substantial, original and true.

The Racket Strikes Back

A friend of the blog writes:

It used to be people would go out for a night of fun and one person would have to be the designated driver. A majority didn’t even think to use cabs and public transit would often not run regularly enough at bar close.

Now that we have Uber and Lyft, I have heard many, many stories of people using those services when going out. I know some people who no longer drive under the influence because of the affordability of Uber.

So, of course, when people get real options that are reliable and affordable, those in the government who think their jobs are as social engineers have a problem.

Of interest locally, I found this link through a Tweet that declared Minneapolis/St Paul should consider this next. Why?

They can try to limit all they want, but there will still be people in cars and ride sharing will still happen. For example, the other day, I was approached by a man on the street who was trying to start his own ride share business, offering lower rates than Uber by about $2. I also have the number of a taxi driver who moonlights as a personal driver for those of us with his business card. He pretty much places himself on call for us.

So, yes, there will be options, which makes it even more aggravating that city governments get involved in private business that actually works for the people.

In a system built on rent-seeking, people will seek rent.

And for the government permission racket to survive, it’s gotta deliver the rent.

The Big Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Visa and Mastercard won’t service conservative businesses.  They are intentionally discriminating on the basis of political viewpoint.

It’s completely legal, of course, under freedom of association.  It’s the same reason I don’t shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods, the America-hating social justice suck-ups who won’t sell Black Rifles, and the reason I won’t spend money in any store that bans guns on the premises to provide a sanctuary for criminals.  I disagree with their political viewpoint so I won’t support it.

Customers have a right to discriminate against merchants based on their political viewpoint.  Should merchants have a right to discriminate against customers based on their political viewpoint?  Tough question.

I’m on the side of the wedding cake decorator who doesn’t want do gay cakes.  I’m against Visa who doesn’t want to facilitate gun sales.  I could use some help from SITD readers.  How do we balance the rights?

Joe Doakes

I’ll throw this out to my audience, who are inevitably much smarter than I am.

My two cents:  it takes two to balance.  The other side wants nothing to do with “balance”.    I think we are inevitably sliding into two different economies (at best) or complete dissolution as a nation ,one way or the other.

Thoughts?

Life With An Abusive Half Of The Electorate – Part III

This week, I started going over the political and social aspects of various personality disorders, viewed through the lense of Shahida Arabi’s excellent piece,  “20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You”.

Yesterday it was “Gaslighting” – the narcissistic abuser’s way of trying to convince you not to trust your own lying perceptions, mind and memories.

Today, it’s the trait that helped put this blog on the map: Projection:

Berg’s Seventh Law Is In DSM-V.  Sort Of:   Arabi’s second point is “Projection”; she describes it:

One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability.

Sound familiar?

It’s another term for Berg’s Seventh Law;  “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds.”.

While we all engage in projection to some extent, according to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, the projections of a narcissist are often psychologically abusive.

Like, for example, fretting about an “oncoming wave of right-wing violence” (perhaps by tiki-torch-carrying cartoon figures) while ignoring or cheering on gas-mask-clad “Anti”-fa thugs destroying property and beating up peaceful event-goers.

So yeah – of course it sounds familiar:

Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, malignant narcissists and sociopaths opt to dump their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and excessively cruel. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, they would prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.

And yes, it has resonance in the world of Trump (or Bush, or Reagan) Derangement syndrome:

Narcissistic abusers love to play the “blameshifting game.” Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything that’s wrong with them. This way, you get to babysit their fragile ego while you’re thrust into a sea of self-doubt. Fun, right?

Fun – and the status quo in our society.  Especially here in MInnesota.

Solution? Don’t “project” your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and don’t own any of the toxic person’s projections either. As manipulation expert and author Dr. George Simon (2010) notes in his book In Sheep’s Clothing, projecting our own conscience and value system onto others has the potential consequence of being met with further exploitation.

TL:dr version: don’t take their crap.

Tomorrow – “Word Sadal”