Calling people with NPD

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a problematic neurological condition. It shows up on brain scans.

You are not deliberately creating it, you have it, and you are not deliberately refusing to cure yourself. I know that.

In your anonymous comments, please leave notes about how society might be able to help you be your best selves and hurt less inside.

Your comments will not be published instantly. That is the standard setting on this site.

(I will likely remove comments from people who do not have NPD, and who need to vent.)

I genuinely want to hear from all of you, that is, read your comments, added from your computer, tablet, or phone, not just from the people who believe that they own me or used to own me in the past).

Have any of you tried medications to do with oxytocin, or Prozac, or something else? Did that work for you? Do you have any other conditions that are related to this?

Have you pretended to be, for example, merely deeply depressed (which you probably often are), in order to receive any support? How did that work out?

Because for you, talking openly about what you need is usually a no no, so you need to do it anonymously.

Because the world is mostly obsessed with the negative aspects of your condition (understandably).

And because to my knowledge, shrinks don’t really know what to do with you, how to support you, either.

Because all of this makes me curious about what we might be able to do that might really make a difference.

Because if you hurt less inside, that will make the world a better place for all of us. Because a lot of what you do says “THIS MUCH is how I hurt inside, but I can’t let myself feel that, so I am making you feel it instead”.

By the way, it is my understanding that reading “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry can help. Because it can help you learn how adults are supposed to behave, I think. But also because it may comfort you.

 

 

 
It is my personal impression that if you have NPD, having friends in your life with a strong zen attitude and a thorough awareness of the condition, and perhaps also particularly someone who can serve as your business manager, depending on your situation, can make a big difference.

If you want to know what Britain is like under the shiny layer of gloss

In many other countries, Britain’s shiny layer of gloss or deceptive image of the “prim, proper and demure” or soft and gentle is accepted as WYSIWYG. But Britain is not WYSISYG. The great Brexit entertainment show surely has made many people abroad cotton on by now. This is Britain as usual, well, most of the time.

Want another example?

People who do not have the British nationality can be grabbed anywhere and at any time, to be locked up indefinitely, for no good reason at all, often making them lose their jobs and homes, even those who’ve been here for fifty years or longer, and sometimes leaving them without documentation/passports (if the Home Office keeps it).

People – Brits – are locked up because they protested peacefully, against fracking or against deportation. And for many years it has already been the case that if Britons show up at a demonstration anywhere, their mere presence can get them into a police file and often tracked and hassled wherever they go in Britain after that. (There’ve been court cases related to the latter. That’s how I know.)

Here is a film about that part of Britain.

You can see what a farce this is because if they really had been considered terrorists, they would have been held on remand, not been left free to roam the country.

They wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the court after the verdict either.

This is about nipping protest in the bud, just like the food bank organizations and the BBC have gotten whistled back to heel so often.

For me, it is heart-warming and so encouraging to see that people like the Stansted 15 exist in Britain.

You see how gutted they are after the verdict. That, that alone, was the aim of this farce. To whip the souls of British citizens back into obedience to the state.

Creepy.

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Asperger’s in practice

I have no experience with autistic people – as far as I know – and have been trying to develop some understanding, very slowly. I just ran into a top artist with Asperger’s and this documentary seems to show a lot of how it works in practice.

People thought she had brain damage. People thought “she couldn’t do much”. People kept telling her that.

The funny thing is that the Asperger’s makes her a “better” or talented artist. It is why she makes audiences cry. That and her musical professionalism.

(I did not know much about her, no, had never watched anything before, other than one short video clip once. I watched another one this evening in which someone talked about her emotional connection to the songs.)

Human diversity occurs along a very broad spectrum, with lots of overlap and variation, and there is still so much we don’t know about that. And all the minuses seem to come with their own pluses, one way or another.

The sadism of people with malignant or sadistic narcissistic personality disorder

As you may have noticed, I’ve been writing a bit about NPD lately. This is common for “victims” of people with NPD.

NPD is not a “character flaw” in the classical sense, but related to a brain difference that is visible in brain scans. Shame may be their main negative emotion and gratitude their main positive one, a kind of peacefulness.

Dealing with people with NPD is challenging enough, but dealing with people who have the malignant or sadistic form of the disorder is even harder.

And it can be really scary.

So why do people with malignant or sadistic NPD do things such as go into their targets’ homes or instruct one of the flying monkeys to do so and move things around or destroy something or hurt animals or even kill them?

Apparently, it represents how they feel inside. Except, they don’t allow themselves to feel much of anything and force others to experience their feelings for them.

“This much is how I hurt” is what the sadism supposedly is intended to convey when you find the remains of a dead animal, as I did a few years ago. Envy played a role too. As soon as I uploaded photos of that particular animal to my website, I got a really bad vibe. Unexplainable.

A week or so later, I found the remains of that animal.

(And it was followed up by a message.)

Like a little kid who does not want to eat the vegetables and throws the plate against the wall. “This much is how I hate the vegetables!”

Here is a question. Can you see this like the “peeing all over the place” of a cat with struvite formation? (I’ve had one who did that, initially.) If so, then you can also see that it is a symptom of a condition.

This is just one example of the stuff that’s been going on in my life.

On another stage, the same person goes around spreading myths and fables about me, initially telling everyone whatever sob story he told them (about my supposed mental illness?), and making everyone believe that he is helping me, making everyone admire him and eventually apparently progressing to turning me into some kind of villain or fool who just refuses to learn or whatever story that again will get him lots of sympathy. Jekyll & Hyde. (“Alex” is the negative side of the person I am dealing with, so I understand, who wants total control over everything by any means. “Alex” is the one who needs to rest. He probably needs to feel comforted and safe?)

And underneath it all, people with NPD hate and despise themselves. They see themselves as utterly flawed, even in milder cases of NPD, when what they perceive as serious flaws may not be “flaws” at all. There is no harsher critic of the person with NPD than the person with NPD.

The problem is that society refuses to accept that conditions like NPD exist, so people with NPD have nowhere to turn to other than their victims (who I tend to call targets, as it’s more neutral).

And their victims have nowhere to go to either, because when they talk about what is being done to them, they sound unbelievable. Surely, no sane person would ever do things like that to another human being, and go to such extreme lengths? The victim must be making it up.

So while people with NPD go around causing as much hurt and loss as possible in their targets’ lives, those people have nowhere to go. There is zero support for them and the only support available to them – paradoxically enough – comes from their tormentors.

The only people who understand what is happening are other victims, and some (but not all) of the people with NPD. Some of them prey on the former victims and make money off them, off the victims’ need to understand what happened to their lives.

The best source, in my opinion, for information on NPD is Les Carter (see his practice’s website at drlescarter.com for his professional background and watch his videos on YouTube). A good source for information about malignant/sadistic and grandiose/overt NPD is Sam Vaknin, but as he has the disorder, you have to discern when he is speaking and when the disorder is speaking; his very high IQ enables him to step outside the disorder to some degree. You should watch videos about him as well, such as the documentary “I psychopath” and perhaps also the video fragments of a seminar in which he explains how he inflicts pain in his victims, how he seeks out their pressure points and drills down into the core to do serious harm, as he puts it.

Please keep in mind that the word “narcissist” is also used to express dislike. Calling someone a narcissist is not the same as dealing with a person who has mild or full-blown NPD.

It’s a myth that victims of people with NPD are all empaths and gullible. Sometimes, they merely were in the wrong place at the wrong time, which meant that they literally crossed someone’s path and caught someone’s eye.

I suspect that people with NPD need someone – a professional – who can teach them techniques for dealing with their disorder in a healthy manner, strategies for dealing with the here and now. I have also wondered whether medications like Prozac might help because when people with NPD have emotions, they tend to be overwhelmingly negative. They might also benefit from anything that increases their oxytocin levels. But these are just wild guesses, as some of the neurotransmitter pathways in their brains may be blocked, who knows. I have no idea. I do know that psychopathy apparently can be caused by some of these pathways becoming flooded in early childhood – even in utero – and subsequently ceasing to function properly. (All psychopaths have NPD, apparently, but not all narcissists are psychopaths. Not at all.)

All the victims need to do is focus on their own survival. They need to make sure they stay alive (not get pushed into suicide, for example) and that they stay whole inside, and refuse to let anyone with NPD drive them insane (which some say is the inevitable outcome of dealing with people with NPD, but I don’t like how that plays into the rhetoric about NPD). Adopting a zen attitude can help. (Letting go of labels, or focusing less on how “bad” something is.)

Happy survivors simply go on happily living their lives without dwelling on the past.

Partners cannot fix people with NPD. I know one former partner who associated the song below with the person he used to be with (and gave me well-intended “instructions” for how to support her as well as the responsibility to do so, without telling me what was going on with her, making him the second person who “unloaded” her on me):

 

The irony of the fact that “fixing someone” can also mean “exacting revenge” is not lost on me.

That said, I have seen a video with Sam Vaknin, who has pretty bad full-blown NPD, with his wife Lidija and although people with NPD are supposedly not capable of love in the sense of giving back what they receive, you can definitely see a kind of glow, a gentleness or mildness, like she provides a warm-blanket feeling for him. That may well go on outside his awareness (oh the brain is such a fascinating labyrinth), but I assume that she has a strong stabilizing effect on him. She seems to know exactly what she is dealing with.

Remember, that it’s not all bad. There is a person under the disorder. The trick is to imagine what the person would be like if the disorder wasn’t there.

People with NPD – like everyone else – also have many good qualities. That they don’t really believe that – no matter what they say! – does not mean that we have to overlook what is good about them.

That can turn into a trap, but focusing on the good can also save your sanity at times.

But whatever you do, do not go to police. Contacting police both enrages and empowers “abusers” of any kind and can get you targeted and victimized by police as well. Assuming that police will help is immensely naive. (Police have none of the required knowledge and equipment to deal with anything like this. Police have no interest in dealing with it either. And remember that people with NPD tend to use lots of silly word games and operate an army of helpers who all either believe what they are told – which police will fall for – or have become so embarrassed and/or afraid of being prosecuted that they will never tell police what they were asked to do, and what they did. )

PS
Do not address the source of the pain in the NPD patient’s past. Supposedly, this serves no purpose and risks that he or she falls apart completely, unlike for dissociative identity disorder, which seems to benefit from unearthing the traumatic past. If anyone can deal with this, it would be a highly specialized professional.

PPS 17 January 2019
I would like to get that one individual with this extreme form of NPD professional assistance – and one or more people in his immediate surroundings as well – and I’ve indicated that if he commits to that, then I am willing to offer my support. I am not aware yet of any professionals in Britain who can successfully deal with his condition and help people with this condition manage it, get things under control, but surely someone somewhere does, can and will.

That offer first resulted in him trying to find out whether I had the hots for him – see how much trouble people with NPD have with reality, and with assessing how other people respond to what they do, how other people tick? – and also trying to find out who exactly I am willing to support.

Before, he’s also been hinting that he’s done something, that I have no idea what he’s done and that he feels I possess no empathy because he feels I abandoned him at some point when he really needed me to be there one way or another or something like that. (Probably: Not having provided sex, as he’s obsessed with sex.) And that I will have a very hard time appearing not crazy because nobody will believe me. I have no idea whether it is just words again or if he’s really been up to something and if so, what. I shrug. It doesn’t matter.

I understand that he may have to pretend that he is looking for help with something else. There is a tremendous amount of shame involved in NPD; people with NPD really despise themselves and any professional who does not understand the intricacies of the disorder would not be able to deal with him well, imho.

It is also my understanding that “outing” people with NPD in public is generally accepted much better by them than when you try this in private. When done in public, it gets them a kind of attention they crave, but when done in private, they likely feel it as bitter criticism.

As indicated before, in other blog posts, for years, I tried to find out what I was dealing with (what was going on) and how to deal with it best. In vain! When someone anonymously starts ripping your life to shreds, you want to get a handle on it. You want to know what on earth is going on, why someone out there is doing this to you and what that person wants from you. You want to know how you should deal with it.

I have contacted a counsellor in Winchester to see if that person may be able to help them (assuming that the message went out and that it went out unaltered; my pc froze while I was writing it and I had to reboot it by flipping the power switch).

 

 

A story about a concentration camp or two

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Britain has a bunch of them too. And people can be in them indefinitely. Kinda like at Guantánamo Bay. An American concentration camp on an island in the Caribbean.

Shit.

The Netherlands used to have them too. (No longer, I think.) When I was still living in Amsterdam, a fire tore through one of them.

Criminalization of brain-based health conditions

Here we see how a young woman’s mental health crisis got her into handcuffs and in front of a judge for having inconvenienced the public.

Police criminalized this woman. That’s how stigmas work.

Now compare that situation with that of, say, a pregnant woman whose waters break in the middle of a supermarket? Or hey, who cramps while driving a car on the way to the hospital, skids, spins and ends up blocking traffic?

If police did not discriminate, the latter woman should be handcuffed and dragged in front of a judge as well.

Would police do that?

And what would police do with a woman who ends up in a diabetic crisis while travelling on public transport?

Or with anyone daring to have a heart attack in public?

 

Overweight air hostesses

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/pakistan-international-airlines-cabin-crew-weight-memo-intl/index.html

Ah, this rings bells too. In 1979 and in 1980 and 1981 or thereabouts, I applied to a few airlines. My mother had always told me I might want to become an air hostess because you get to speak a few languages and get to see a bit of the world that way.

I applied three times and I got three interviews. I think it was December 1980 when I was in a deadhead seat on a flight to Frankfurt. Yes, it must have been December, indeed, because I remember that there was a Christmas market at the airport. There was snow too. It was after my season at Amsterdam’s Tourist Office.

Upon arrival, we were all told to step onto a scale. I normally weighed myself in my underwear. My home scale said my weight was 58 when I sent in my application forms. I was now asked to step onto the scale wearing a blouse, a winter sweater, a lined tweed jacket, a scarf and a heavy lined plaid and pleated winter skirt. Their scale said my weight was 60 or 61. I remember that one guy’s weight was 5 kilos more than his application form had said.

While all of us candidates were in a room at a table, being addressed, the door opened and I was removed from the room. They told me that the weight I had listed on the form had not matched what their scale had said and that I was out of the process.

They treated me like a criminal.

I swore that I would never fly with that airline again from that day (but I relied on them to take me home again).

The guy with the 5 kilo discrepancy got to stay.

In retrospect, it was a good experience because I am pretty sure that I would not have enjoyed being an air hostess at all. Well, for a while, but not for long. Too many aspects about it, certainly in those days, that I would not have liked at all. But I didn’t know that then.

I am five foot seven, by the way.

Peace

It helps tremendously if you can VISUALIZE brain-related conditions for which other people tend to assign blame and make remarks such as that one should be able to grow out of it, admit it and seek help for it, and what have you.

It appears that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) simply lack part of the brain in which empathy is created (though it is not the only part of the brain that is related to empathy, apparently). If you can’t feel empathy for others, you cannot feel empathy for yourself either.

That explains the usual Catch-22 aspects of the condition.

This could also mean that/why people with NPD rely on notably empaths to “create” empathy for them. Symbiosis.

(People with NPD, by the way, lack emotional empathy, not cognitive empathy, apparently, according to a 2010 paper from the same research group.)

So, yes, the brains of people with NPD are wired differently. They did not ask for this, so stop blaming them. Look for what is good in them, and embrace that instead.

They’re like, hey, albinos. Or hey, people who go grey prematurely. Not their fault.

They’re like giraffes that people insist are, say, antelopes.

Or, like I wrote before, table lamps of which we demand that they change themselves into coffee makers.

Let go of it… All the frustration etc. It’s futile.

They are right. They are special. It’s part of the neurodiversity we have on the planet. (The brain is a miraculous thing!)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23777939

Now I am done waffling about narcissists in a rather chaotic manner. Continue reading

Happy New Year

This makes a very good New Year’s resolution. Go find the beauty in people. It may be easy to see the ugly in people, but seeing the ugly in people makes nobody happy.

Everyone has beauty.

Once you start seeing that, you’ll likely also start to feel a lot better, about people and about life in general.

Zen says that it is the label we attach to things – whether something is good or bad – that causes a lot of hurt for us, because if something is considered bad, we cannot feel good about it and so it hurts us. Is this an easy thing to do, to let go of such labels, of such judgements? Hell no, but it can help you a lot at times.

And if you can’t do it, simply focus on something else.

Here is a personal experience that I would like to share with young people because it may be useful to them. When I was younger, I used to watch in amazement how slow some slightly older people were, and I mistook it for mental slowness. Now that I am older too, I have learned that it merely has to do with eye sight. it is hard to, say, quickly grab a certain coin from your purse at the supermarket checkout if you can barely discern the coins.

(I am near-sighted, and I had to peek from under my glasses to be able to see the coins when I started getting older because with my glasses on or contacts in, my near sight was no longer as good as it once was and I could hardly take my glasses off or remove my contacts at the supermarket… It really annoyed me, but hey, that’s life. I want to try double-focus contacts one day.)

Once you realize little things like this, life becomes more enjoyable.

Older adults are undoubtedly often perceived as much slower than they actually are. They are often already labelled as slow before they’ve even done a thing, and will often be quickly moved out of the way, literally or figuratively speaking, just in case they turn out to be slow.

How do I know that? Another prejudice, in practice. Women are generally perceived as talking constantly. But when you record and analyse how men and women talk, then it turns out to be men who do the yack-yacking, not women.

If a python can carry toads on its back in a flood, and a cat can have its kittens in the same dog house in which a dog is having her pups (see earlier post), then labels about dangerous pythons and cats and dogs not getting along start to disappear:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/must_see/46720030/australian-cane-toads-hitch-ride-on-python-s-back

Reality is more nuanced than good and bad, black and white, either/or.

THIS I want to share!

There are many resources out there, including by clinical psychologists, who make you feel that you are a complete idiot if your natural tendency is to take the gentle approach of decency and goodness if there is someone in your life who has a narcissistic personality disorder.

Let’s face it, most of us know nothing about personality disorders, so if you find yourself the target of “sadistic stalking” which happened to me or whatever it is that happened to you that made you look into narcissistic personality disorder and then recognize it (it’s how I realized that I have a friend on the other side of the world who has this disorder), you will find that there is no one to advise you and the only thing you have – besides your own inner compass – is what you find on the web. And a lot of that information is, well, crap, practically speaking.

NOBODY chooses to have a personality disorder and if there is one mental health condition that I think the people who have it would do almost anything for NOT to have it, it’s narcissistic personality disorder, because it is my impression that life hurts almost all the time when you have that.

As mentioned, I have a long-time friend who has this disorder and after I began to understand that, and started reading up, I made mistakes. I became afraid of these people. Being afraid is silly. This mistake makes me feel very stupid, in hindsight, but hindsight is always 20/20.

So, don’t repeat my mistake if there is someone in your life who has narcissistic personality disorder.

(By the way, in Britain, people with this condition appear to be revered – and very very common. Why is that? This is something I will want to dive into, eventually. I suspect that Theresa May is a covert narcissist, for example, the way in which she lies, the complete lack of empathy and the way she acts all personally injured at times. Or is it just a public persona that she adopts, because it is revered in Britain?)

Continue reading

Also quintessentially British is this?

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A few years ago, I read a story about a man who was constantly being hassled by British police wherever he went. Turns out that he had once attended some kind of relatively innocent demonstration and that got him into a police data base that got his car or his face flagged wherever he went.

19 December 2018
Here is more: https://rightsinfo.org/mass-surveillance-in-londons-west-end/ (Mass Surveillance In London’s West End As Unmarked Police Vans Scan 18,000 People Per Minute)

Quintessentially British?

This, too: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/kicked-punched-knocked-unconscious-tipped-out-of-wheelchairs-campaigners-describe-repeated-police-targeting-of-disabled-anti-fracking-protesters/

It’s happened before, a few years ago, when people in wheelchairs and pensioners (off the top of my head) protested against their ability to travel being severely cut short. Police hit back hard.

Here is a link:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10922230/Video-shows-pensioner-protesting-against-cuts-to-free-travel-being-restrained-by-police.html

In both situations, people were knocked unconscious by police.

Another opinion

The key to our humanity isn’t genetic, it’s microbial

File 20181211 76977 1euccsw.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The microbes that live in our gut are essential to good health.
Alpha Tauri 3D Graphics/SHutterstock.com

Ian Myles, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

What if the key to perfecting the human species were actually … yogurt?

Continue reading

(My) human rights in Britain

The British (as a nation) tend to see themselves as the human rights champions of the world, and “foreign fucktards” as those who violate human rights.

That’s otherization, explains Kathleen Taylor in her book “Cruelty”. If only “foreign fucktards” commit human rights violation, it follows that you, therefore, don’t.

That it is okay to violate the human rights of “fucktards” (foreign or otherwise) is the other aspect of otherization. Think of the fact that any foreigner can be arrested and detained indefinitely in places like Yarl’s Wood, for example, or the British government deliberately pushing poor people and poor disabled and chronically ill people into even deeper poverty, even causing their deaths.

I took a look at my own human rights situation in Britain. (Okay, make that “Portsmouth” as I did have quite a few more human rights in daily practice when I was still living in Southampton.) This is what my life has more or less looked like for the past ten years.

Continue reading

Rights that protect against socioeconomic disadvantage are long overdue – the UK is already paying the price

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Swingeing changes are overdue.
Peter Gudella/Shutterstock

Peter Roderick, Newcastle University and Allyson Pollock, Newcastle University

In 2018, two anniversaries and a crucial decision loom large in the UK. We saw in the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July, while December 10 marks the 70th birthday of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. On December 11, the UK parliament will also vote on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal deal. The coming together of health, human rights and Brexit, raises questions of huge practical and constitutional significance.

The recent UK visit of Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, highlighted the effects of government policies on austerity and universal credit. Life expectancy rises have stalled, infant and neonatal mortality rates have risen, and 4.5m children are living in poverty.




Read more:
Reality of poverty in Newcastle, England: UN examines effect of austerity


Human rights are constitutionally important in constraining what politicians and public bodies can do, and they can necessitate action. Government must not, for example, interfere with enjoyment of rights and must even prevent third parties, such as private companies, from doing so. In the UK’s system of parliamentary supremacy, human rights can always be taken away. But incorporating human rights into UK law – as the Human Rights Act (HRA) does with the rights to life, a fair trial, and the prohibition of torture, from the European Convention on Human Rights – makes this politically more difficult and controversial.

The HRA itself is not affected by Brexit because the law stems from the Council of Europe, a separate organisation to the EU.

However, Brexit will directly affect other rights. The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes many rights relevant to health and the social determinants of health, and the special emphasis in EU law on the rights of persons with disabilities, will no longer apply. Brexit would also allow parliament to downgrade, for example, the 24 EU-derived employment rights identified by the UK Court of Appeal.

Social rights

Legal recognition of children’s rights has certainly increased but, like general economic and social rights – such as the rights to health, to an adequate standard of living, including food and housing, to social security and to just and favourable working conditions – they have never been guaranteed in UK law as human rights. This is despite the UK having accepted UN treaties recognising these rights in 1976 and 1991, respectively.

Many of these rights were also accepted by the UK as long ago as 1962 in the Council of Europe’s European Social Charter. However, Colm O’Cinneide, former vice-president of the charter’s monitoring body, recently wrote that there were “substantial defects in how the fundamental social rights set out in the charter are implemented within [UK] national law and policy”, with “serious failings … which in some circumstances have persisted for decades”.

In England, a public sector duty to reduce inequalities that result from socioeconomic disadvantage – enacted in the final days of the Gordon Brown Labour government – has still not been brought into effect. Theresa May, when minister for women and equalities, described it in 2010 as “ridiculous”.

Scotland has a slightly better story to tell. The duty was brought into effect there from April 2018. The human right to social security was at least recognised as a principle in June 2018, and recommendations of the Scottish first minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights, due on December 10, are expected to suggest how social rights could be put into domestic law in the country.

The dismantling of the postwar welfare state, and outsourcing of health, social care, water and other public services to private companies has been an incremental process over several decades.

NHS: much valued by the public.
John Gomez/Shutterstock

Policies such as the private finance initiative have brought into sharp focus the transfer of wealth, degrading work conditions and the creation of a two-tier workforce. If economic and social rights had been put into UK law as human rights, then eroding the legal basis for ensuring the social determinants of health would have been much more difficult.

Entrenching these rights would be no panacea – and ultimately parliamentary supremacy would remain in place – but they would be both a check on how politicians and public bodies exercise their power, and would compel politicians to act. As Alston said, legislative recognition of social rights should be “a central part” of reimagining what the UK represents and how it protects its people post-Brexit. Seventy years is too long to have waited to deliver on the promises of the Universal Declaration. In a divided, alienated, backward-looking “austerity” Britain, the time has come to make good on social rights.The Conversation

Peter Roderick, Principal Research Associate, Newcastle University and Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health, Newcastle University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The whiter than white ivory towers

The BBC sent FOI requests to all 24 universities in the Russell Group of highly selective, research-based universities, and 22 responded.

At these universities, the data showed average salaries of:

£52,000 for white academics
£38,000 for black academics
£37,000 for academics from an Arab background

From: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-46473269

Surrogacy

For a while, I’d been wanting to watch the documentary “Big Fertility“, by the Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC), which was released on 17 September 2018. I was mainly curious.

I finally got around to it today. I watched the puzzling trailer this morning – It’s all about the money – and it intrigued me so much that I rented the video from Vimeo.

This documentary features Kelly Martinez, her husband and the director of the CBC as well as Kelly’s doctor during her last surrogacy.

Kelly has earlier addressed the United Nations, as is mentioned in the documentary. This took place on 15 March 2017.

She also went to Spain. I found an article in Spanish newspaper El Pais of 24 February 2017 that mentions her and discusses the problem of gestational surrogacy. It’s not allowed in Spain, but that does not stop people who have lots of money.

My conclusions:
  • The issue of surrogacy needs to be resolved globally, and as soon as possible, as many others have been saying for a long time. Some surrogacies go fine, but many don’t – and the victims are often the babies, for example when they can’t travel from the countries in which they were born or when people who bought a pregnancy change their mind.
  • As Dr Diehl (Kelly’s doctor) explains in the documentary, physicians are currently left in limbo. They are faced with making decisions for which there is (often) no legal framework yet (depending on state/country), which can expose them to lawsuits. An example he gives is the situation that a surrogate does not want vaccinations, while the person who bought the pregnancy does.
  • If it were up to me, surrogacy would be banned altogether. Babies are not products. (Nobody knows what happened to the two boys Kelly produced during her third and final surrogacy.)
  • Thankfully, with the soon expected advent of artificial uteruses – incubation pods for embryos (yes, we will have something like this; there is no doubt in my mind about this and they’ve already been used successfully for sheep – the problem will disappear, at least as far as the surrogates are concerned and to some degree also as far as the babies are concerned.
  • I am reminded of Michael Sandel’s words about the effects of various practices on inclusive solidarity. What’s technologically possible is not by definition mandatory. It is not at all a matter of choosing between nature or science and technology, as some suggest.

I believe that truly altruistic cases or surrogacy will not be stopped by bans but it would curb the predominantly negative instances and effects of gestational surrogacy. In my own family, there is a case of one family giving one or their babies to another couple that could not conceive. It concerned two siblings and their spouses and happened many decades ago.

She’s GOOD!

She raps a poem she wrote to an Iranian-American student repeatedly tasered by police at a UCLA library when he did not want to show his ID when challenged, repeatedly tasered and then told to stand up again. (It was recorded on video.)

And she’s surprisingly good. It’s powerful.

This is 11 years old yet highly current.

When irrational fears on the side of police officers cause deaths, people sometimes get angry…

This concerns my home town of St. Petersburg in the US. I’d just left…

Tyron Lewis was an unarmed teenager. Of course he was black. Hence automatically considered dangerous. And shot. Killed.

I watched the news about it on TV from Amsterdam but for most people around me, it was just another Rodney King story that happened on the other side of the world. It did not concern them.

Particularly for young people (?), the internet – still in its infancy back then, with most people not even using e-mail – enabling like-minded strangers from all over the world to connect has changed this.

(Or has it?)

I knew from my own experiences in St. Petersburg that there were officers in St. Pete who were scared. For their own lives. Expecting the worst. (I once had to ask for police assistance when I came home and found my front door locked from the inside. Seemed a bit peculiar, best to take no risks and let the professionals deal with it. To my astonishment, the officers were much more scared and nervous than I was.)

This video has great sound. One of the reasons why I am posting it.

An afterthought… Britain has its white oppressed and their numbers are growing. There have been deaths, though not from police brutality but through government cruelty.

The government denies almost of all of it. Is that wise?

Highly interesting legal case!

Was this whistleblower’s sacking discrimination?

On paper, whistleblowers are often legally protected, but in practice, well, that’s a different story. Whistleblowers usually end up ruined. It takes guts to take a stand and also often sacrifice.

So a different approach is taken in this case. I shall be following this (to the extent that I can).

Sacked vegan claims discrimination:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46385597

How to reason (not fight) with a narcissist

There is a lot of stuff on the internet, also from professionals, that basically says “narcissists are evil and will destroy you”. That isn’t necessarily true. (In fact, if you believe that, you may end up being the one sending you in a downward spiral, all by yourself!)

I suspect that narcissists often end up in similar downward spirals like the ones they tend to push other people into, with the difference being that they can’t help it, but most of the rest of us can.

So in theory, we can keep at least ourselves from going into a downward spiral, for example by refusing to engage in fights, and possibly also stop them from going into a negative spiral. The other side of that is that it may even be possible to send narcissists in a bit of an upward spiral.

Today, YouTube popped a video into my “suggestions” that I like because this psychotherapist takes a very realistic yet humorous approach and does not push this persistent idea that people with narcissistic personality disorder “are evil and out to destroy you”. Yes, they can “destroy” you, but only if you let them (or maybe if your circumstances are very limited and limiting in practical ways, which can put you at their mercy).

What is also good about this video is that it tells you not to become a “black hole” or echo well. It is very easy to fall into the trap of not saying much of anything any longer or just telling a narcissist what he or she wants to hear (pretending to be weak, stupid and off-balance) because that may even trigger more stuff and it can cost you a lot of energy. It’s also bad for your health.

With regard to fights, let’s put it this way. Their fights are like they’re constantly hitting you with verbal ping pong balls. As long as you keep hitting the ball back into their court, they will keep hitting it back increasingly fiercely. But if you resist the temptation to play and let the ping pong ball rest where it falls, or pick it up and hand it back to them calmly, then you have peace in the house.

Narcissists often have a terrific sense of humour and they can also give you lots of practical, very useful tips that can make your life a lot easier. They can also be very generous. At least, that’s been my two cents’ worth of experience.

Stay grounded. Apparently, one way of accomplishing that is to focus on your toes or feet.

Trouble finding a home to rent in Britain?

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