Dammit

Read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/16/they-yelled-coronavirus-first-british-attack-victim-east-asian-man

He must be in so much pain!

He plays alto saxophone, by the way. Won’t be able to do that for a while. He also plays the piano, but as he was lead alto in a jazz band, he probably focuses on that.

I’ve already posted updates to the petitions, have e-mailed Matt Hancock again. I also just contacted Sadiq Khan, but he’s probably already taken some action.

Update: no, he plays mainly piano these days.

Covid-19 response in the UK

I’ve muttered a bit about that in previous posts.

This morning, I read that some hospitals have set up assessment pods, presumably with very clear signage. If they all do that – have a consistent response – it would limit the amount of guessing and waiting to see that members of the public have to do. (“Will they have pods or will I have to go to the ambulance bay?”) But that may not always be doable.

GP practices should have clear posters on their doors to STOP people from walking in if they suspect they have the Covid-19 virus.

What you don’t want, indeed, is to expose people who may have lower immunity, and you find those in higher proportions at A&Es, pharmacies and doctors’ practices. As the virus seems to hit people over 60 the hardest, old folks homes – homes that house older adults – need to take some steps too, but likely already have.

Now all they still might need to do is cover members of the public who do not have access to the internet – because their phone broke or they have no signal – and those who don’t understand English or don’t access English media.

That said, I assume that most people will know what to do now, as most websites now have a link “what to do if you think you have the coronavirus”. This boils down to “stay home and call 111” (though in some areas, you may need to call a different number for whatever reason). (Some of those sites make you wade through a lot of waffling before you get to the important bit, about what to do if you suspect you have the virus. LOL!)  I am sure that it’s been said on TV and radio too.

By the way, should you get this virus and experience shortness of breath when it strikes, then it may help to know that coffee (caffeine) is a bronchodilator. It may help you breathe easier, in other words, and that can help you feel better. Works for about 2, 3 hours, I think, off the top of my head. What better excuse can you think of to have a large mug of delicious coffee while, say, you wait on the phone for advice?

(Tea has a compound that does that too – theophylline – but I suspect that a cup of tea may not contain enough of it, while coffee has many more health benefits.)

 

 

The first local suspected case…

About 500 meters from where I am (and that is all I am saying). 🙂

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/people/coronavirus-health-secretary-has-been-informed-suspected-outbreak-says-portsmouth-north-mp-penny-mordaunt-1741763

It would be REALLY USEFUL if they would say a little more than this. Does it concern a pharmacy worker? A customer? This raises more questions than it answers. Was someone taken into quarantine or not at all? What?

Oh, here is more (I searched the web):
https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/health/coronavirus-suspected-portsmouth-case-came-woman-who-had-been-gatwick-airport-1741740

“The practice manager has urged anyone else who has symptoms to call 111, as per NHS guidelines.”

So, either the news is not getting through or the number is not working the way it should. Been very tempted to test the latter, in the past couple of days, but I reckon they’re busy enough without me calling in to see whether it’s working. 😉

We’ll need a massive local flyering action, then. We can go door to door and put a leaflet with instructions in the letterbox. Heck why not? If we all team up on that, it can be done quickly, and locals know where all the front doors around them are, which helps a lot. (We have some really weird addresses here.)

Is Covid-19 a biological defence mechanism?

If you consider that toxicity in plants and animals is either a defence mechanism or an attack mechanism, and if you consider that our over-the-top attempts to kill certain bacteria have made them resistant and led to superbugs, and consider that many of the new diseases we’re seeing have either an overlap with habitat destruction of another species (us infringing) or with the ruthless exploitation of sometimes quite rare or unusual animals (trading of live animals), you can’t escape the thought that diseases like the Covid-19 virus – for which humans have no immunity yet – could be a biological (natural) defence mechanism.

If so, then there are important lessons to be learned.

The immunity that develops in the animals could then render the combination of such a virus and the animal into a defensive symbiosis.

How scare-mongering works (Covid-19)

16:10 “With two frontline health workers already infected” is a total BS spin because those two contracted the virus on a skiing holiday in France.

Twilight Zone music in the background…

The remark “Washing hands, not exactly cutting edge” is disgusting too, because washing hands and cleaning surfaces touched by hands IS effective. Washing hands very thoroughly is what surgeons do before they head into the operating theatre.

What I find much more concerning is that “self-isolation” is hard in a country that is home to the loneliest people of Europe (possibly of the entire western world) and where so many millions are living in deep poverty and cannot afford to have firms like Ocado deliver supplies.

 

Advantages of being tracked in the digital era

If you know me well, you know that I am not too keen on companies like Amazon tracking and recording every minute of our lives and now adding facial recognition software to that arsenal, wanting to become our bank, our doctor, our police and our insurance company, on top of selling us food, home security and anything else we can think of.

I am even more opposed to the lack of ethics displayed in the ruthless operation of Facebook (read this for details) and I am not too happy with Google and YouTube either.

Yesterday, however, while I attended a webinar on the use of AI in the medical practice, I had to admit that if you were able to track everyone’s whereabouts, you might be able to identify individuals at risk for having encountered the Covid-19 virus much quicker.

Covid-19 was also mentioned at the end of the webinar. (If you want to know more, you’ll need to get in touch with Jon Braun at Children’s Hospital Boston.)

This would need very rigorous legislation, to avoid stigmatization, for example. Don’t balk instantly. Yes, there are obvious downsides to the loss of privacy but there are also upsides. The problem with privacy issues lies in those doing the tracking and using our data having to be 100% transparent.

Openness – loss of privacy – also protects against abuse, but only if it’s 100% (not one-sided).

PS
With regard to AI being unable to replace empathy, it can make up for a lack of empathy (stigmatization and ridicule) coming from certain health care professionals and it also will not molest or abuse you the way a handful of medical professionals have done. (There’s a current case in the UK of a doctor who not only molested some patients, but also told some they had cancer when they didn’t and amputated their breasts and, in other cases, deliberately left tissue behind that led to reoccurrence of breast cancer.)

 

How Covid-19 is affecting the local economy

There is a highly popular Chinese eatery here that is always so crowded that I’ve actually never been there.

Yesterday, I walked by twice to see the place almost empty.

It normally seems to get frequented a lot by local foreign students as well as locals.

I don’t know if they do deliveries or are part of Deliveroo etc and can’t tell whether might be an increase in deliveries.

I also walked by a Chinese buffet restaurant. It was closed. That could have been a coincidence.

Who is taking some action with regard to how some businesses will be affected? Does their insurance cover this kind of thing? I doubt it (force majeure, acts of nature), but I hope I am wrong.

Covid-19 and Brexit

Looks like the UK is on its own on that too now, exactly the way it wanted it.

I haven’t seen the UK’s Covid-19 cases mentioned on the foreign media sites that I normally visit.

The EU Health ministers are meeting in Brussels to confer.

Matt Hancock won’t be there because Britain wanted out and Brits wanted Britain back. Okay then.

I applaud Steve Walsh, the “gas salesmen” from Hove near Brighton

A few days ago, I set up a petition to nip any further discrimination of Asian people in the bud here in the UK, after I saw what was happening in my home country the Netherlands.

Of course, nobody’s interested.

Thankfully, Steve Walsh, the unlucky dude – it could have happened to anyone – who went to Singapore and then to France, having no idea he carried the Covid-19 virus – and then came back to England spoke out, which helped. I am very grateful that he did this, this very healthy-looking blond Englishman.

I just read in the Guardian that he is currently

feeling “very harassed” and “scared that [he’ll] become a scapegoat”

 

which he apparently said in the Times, but the Guardian did not link to the article and I haven’t been able to find it yet.

If he does become scapegoated, blame super wimp Matt Hancock who’s always been super-good at super-blaming super-innocent people and spreading lies in a very subtle way.

The wimp – Hancock – should speak up and tell his disciples that his kind of blame game is not on before it gets to that point. But he can’t, can he, because he’d have to quit playing it too, then.

The other problem? The English see themselves as super-calm and in control, but they can actually be total drama queens who love making mountains out of molehills. That’s because of the gossip aspect of the culture, methinks.

 

PS
For the record, this gentleman from Hove works in the area of the supply of gases for scientific use, such as argon, in labs like the ones I used to work in a long time ago etc. He does not go door to door to sell gas for cooking stoves.

The coronavirus – and discrimination of Asian people in the UK

What a misnomer. There is no such thing as “the” coronavirus. Coronaviruses are common and most are harmless.

I am in the tail end of a common garden-variety cold.

That’s also caused by a coronavirus. Nothing to do with the virus that the media are freaking out about.

The Guardian asked for comments. I sent a few. The only thing they did with it was correct a typo I had pointed out and that may well have been pointed out by other people.

In my fifteen years in the UK, I have gotten to know the Brits English as drama queens, in general.

It seems to go with being English.

In Southampton, I was once told with a great deal of fuss that I was in the local newspaper. I bought the paper but couldn’t find anything. What did the big fuss turn out to be about? There was a list of businesses that were going to participate in some event and my business name was included. Nothing more. Duh. Drama queens.

In past decades, too, they have often responded with highly unscientific fearmongering rather than with efficiency to all sorts of health-related issues, also if it only concerned the health of animals and had no potential of affecting the health of humans. The badger cull, for example.

This weekend (9 February), I read

Chinese in UK report ‘shocking’ levels of racism after coronavirus outbreak”

in The Guardian.

This morning, the Department of Health and Social Care declared a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health.

Next, I read that Chinese and Asian people in my home country the Netherlands were also experiencing abuse and that people there had already started a petition to stop this kind of abuse in the Netherlands.

So I too started a petition.

I am hoping to nip this stupid stuff in the bud in the UK before it gets out of hand.

Of course, no one has signed it yet. Because there isn’t enough drama involved?

How would people respond to my stupid cold if I were Chinese?

As it was the Department of Health and Social Care that declared a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health over this particular coronavirus on Monday 10 February 2020, it should also inform the public of THIS.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/coronavirus

 

Do me a favour and sign it, please, not because things are getting out of hand but before they get out of hand.

It’s not true that only rich indigenous Brits are entitled to normal human respect.

The Dutch petition has already been signed 24,000 times:

https://nos.nl/artikel/2322380-online-petitie-tegen-discriminatie-aziaten-vanwege-coronavirus.html

 

In the Netherlands, Matt Hancock’s counterpart has already made a statement and called for the discrimination to stop. This is not what one does in a civilised society, he said. Apologies are being issued.

Is the UK, by contrast, okay with it? Surely not. Sign the petition. Thanks. I’ve also set up a petition on change.org, so now you have no excuse left for not signing.

https://nos.nl/artikel/2321843-minister-roept-iedereen-op-niet-discrimineren-om-coronavirus.html

Challenges of (some areas of) neurological diversity

A few days ago, I saw a neuroscientist whose name I won’t mention tweet about the “dark triad”, which is not an existing condition but an old-fashioned police term that works well in books and films.

He followed it up with a tweet on “snakes in suits”.

If he was someone’s abused husband, I would have understood, but coming from a scientist who is supposed to be working toward greater understanding and solutions, it was disappointing.

And I haven’t even mentioned yet that he was talking within the context of women and attraction, (not in a scientific way).

“Hollywood here I come” he may have been thinking?

Neurodiversity is a multidimensional space. It includes autism, dyslexia and synesthesia, but also whether you are good at languages or music or maths.

The videos below give you an idea of some of the more challenging aspects of neurodiversity.

There is a TED talk in which a neuroscientist mentions that psychopathy can result from being exposed to too much of certain chemicals (hormones) during pregnancy (in utero). (If someone can tell me which TED talk it is, I’d be grateful. I’ve been trying to find it again. I think it may have had a New Zealand connection or something like that. It was a talk by a man.)

There are also indications that psychopathy can result from severe child abuse.

Some people will read this as an “excuse” and will say that not everyone who has a horrific childhood will go on to do terrible things, which is true, of course.

Repetitive horrific abuse – cruelty – can affect a very young, developing brain. Does not have to.

It is also true that some psychopaths make up that they were abused, scientists who know about this stuff say.

The good news is that we used to think that neurons were not capable of healing or even forming after a certain age (young adulthood). That is not true.

The science and medical knowledge of the brain have lagged behind on the science and medicine of other organs, but are catching up.

That the brain has much greater plasticity than we were aware of may mean that one day we will be able to fix broken brains. Not by stuffing people with pills but by stimulating the brain to do things differently.

We are all our biology. I cannot even order my brain to become a speaker of fluent French or Spanish overnight or turn myself into a composer. I am fairly neurotypical (boring, yes) and I cannot order myself to wake up with a psychopathic brain. So why do we keep expecting the reverse?

There is, however, a lot of great stuff we will learn and be able to do with the brain in the future and that will be good news for all of us.

Warning: These videos contain triggers, notably the fourth one.

This last guy, he intuitively and instantly gives me the creeps. That is not the kind of guy I would ever want to encounter anywhere. That is the kind of condition we clearly urgently need to find solutions for.

Perhaps we will one day be able to diagnose those particular children at birth and coax their brains into forming the parts that contain compassion and “brakes” in neurotypicals.

If you wonder why I talk about this kind of stuff, well, I learned a few things the hard way after I came to the U.K. and I am still learning a lot the hard way, not necessarily always because I choose to but because I have to.

In addition, I’m often driven by scientific curiosity and I like learning more. The more you learn, the more questions you have.

I found that a lot of the problems with some forms of neurodiversity seem to be created by neurotypicals, just like society has created many hindrances for people who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters but also because we have bad mental health hygiene.

We brush our teeth obediently, but we don’t do much for our mental health. If people with narcissistic personality disorders (NPD, which is not the same as being called a narcissist) can knock us off our feet so easily, maybe we neurotypicals could look into how we could become a bit more stable.

People with NPD are always on an emotional seesaw, as far as I can tell. One little thing we say or do can cause them to start lashing out at us verbally because what we did or said undermines their sense of security.

We neurotypicals could learn how not to get flustered by someone else’s verbal torrents, perhaps. We could learn how to observe those verbal torrents as if it were the tide rolling in or out or the breeze making the leaves of a tree rustle.

Instead, we feed the torrent and sustain it and reinforce it.

(You can see this in “I, psychopath”.)

I know that these are very easy words to write but hard to put into practice for most people.

A second type of problem is also created by neurotypicals. If you watch “I, psychopath”, you will eventually get to a section in which Sam Vaknin explains what he did to the son of a holocaust survivor. A child. It was a form of what is known as sadistic stalking.

Even if you’re an adult victim, if you try to explain this kind of experience, you are the one who will be considered the problem. That way, society victimises the victims further and rewards and supports psychopathic behaviours.

Now you may need to watch this:

Newcastle, four-and-a-half years ago

When this is what your life is like, your world shrinks very rapidly, and with it, your opportunities disappear too, and it’s not your fault.

There have been experiments, also in TV series, in which they gave a family £26,000 so that they could finally DO something and turn their lives around. You see people blossom, find jobs, start businesses and keep them going.

Drugs and you

Yesterday, I ran into a video series about Chris van Tulleken getting patients off drugs in a TV series. A very laudable undertaking! During his first morning at a GP practice, 39 of the 40 patients seen by one doctor received a prescription for a drug.

Decades ago, I slowly took myself off meds for an extra heartbeat (ventricular extrasystolia; mainly the sign of a very healthy heart but it can put too much strain on a heart if it is too persistent and I suspect it can for example result from drastically diminished physical activity and from certain solvents used in coffee production). I then showed my surprised and somewhat sceptical doctor that I really no longer needed them. The ECG convinced him.

A minute ago, I ran into this video below.

Wasn’t cocaine initially a pharmaceutical drug too, by the way?

I’ve had “psychiatric drugs” three times in my life. (I am 60ish.)

  1. After I was raped by an intruder in my own home and some days later found I couldn’t sleep and was worried that the sleep deprivation was going to put me into a downward spiral, I talked with my GP. She prescribed 10 pills of Valium. Just a few nights of good sleep was all I needed to keep me afloat. And even half a valium could do the trick. I didn’t use up the prescription.
  2. Many years later, when I was getting into a bit of a burnout, I talked with my GP again, a different one this time, and asked if she could give me a prescription. She did, also for just 5 pills or so. It was enough. I also started sending myself on day trips to relaxing destination and made myself take weekends off. (I was a workaholic for a long time.)
  3. Years after that, I once – one night only – used a “genuine” sleeping pill because I was in a very loud hospital environment; it was not what I wanted but I felt I had no choice. That one pill made me feel scarily depressed – I can’t describe the feeling as it was also very physical as if there was now a pit where my stomach used to be – with a deeper despair and emptiness than I had ever experienced, and also a bit as if I was stuck in the middle of cotton fluff. It scared me. It really scared me. This was the most unpleasant feeling that I have ever experienced (and I’ve seen and experienced quite a bit throughout my life). Never again.

I have no idea who this guy in the video is, but if you are talking people OFF drugs and taking on big pharma, you have to be one of the good guys.

Not all scientific and technological progress is good

I am currently benefiting greatly from n-acetylcysteine (NAC), a substance that was developed not much later than the drug thalidomide talked about in the video below. NAC was patented in 1960 and launched onto the market in 1968.

Now watch the video. Graphic WWII images. Viewer discretion required.

I am posting this because it is time for everyone to start asking many more questions and developing and spreading their own opinions about the use of techniques like CRISPR, without instantly being called a luddite.

 

 

 

The incident at the Tate Modern

Brain scans in order.

Let’s face it, no people in their right mind – with perfect brain health – would do something like this, knowing fully well they would get arrested and possibly put away for a long time.

Brain-based health conditions carry a huge stigma, but when you think about it that strokes, brain tumors and traumatic brain injuries can alter someone’s personality rather dramatically, you realize that it is the brain that creates any person’s personality and that we have relatively little control over it.

That idea makes us feel uncomfortable and that’s why we prefer to assign blame to other people’s brain-based conditions that make them do bizarre things such as throw a random young boy off a building. It simply makes no sense. Hence, there is some pathology at work here. Period.

Landlords…

Never had any problems with landlords in the Netherlands. Never.

Had three in Florida. The first and the third were fine, but the second one was not and his attorney was rumoured to have mafia ties, I kid you not. But I heard that later. I think it was actually a legal aid lawyer who told me that who I talked with later, long after I’d moved out and his lawyer started pestering me. I’ll spare you the details.

My third landlord was the husband of the person I volunteered with on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. (He was a builder, built huge places, the way they are in Florida. Nice guy. I think he was in the US Army for a while, and they lived in places like Morocco. ) She stopped by one day – to bring me two birds – and was appalled and suggested I move in to one of their places. They owned a small apartment building that was mostly used by snowbirds (people from for example Canada who take winter vacations in Florida).

Some time later, I moved to Britain.

In Southampton, I knew several landlords. (Only one of them was mine.)

One said that only educated people were decent human beings, and I was too shocked to respond. He called tenants who rang him because the washing machine or heating wasn’t working (properly) “bad tenants”. This was not my own landlord, but someone I met within a business context and was friendly with for a while. Wasn’t actually a bad guy at all, strangely enough.

I also knew one who proudly told me how he had tricked an elderly woman with beginning Alzheimer’s out of her flat, I kid you not.

On another occasion, the same guy was talking with me about a new building he was constructing and then added that it did not have to be very good “as it is only for tenants”.

In Portsmouth, I’ve met two who dump rubbish on other people’s front courts and patios. I caught one red-handed and the other one admitted it.

I have principles.

If I can help make things better for people who come after me who are less strong in some way – okay, except physically as I am getting old and I am feeling it – I will try to do that. And that baffles the hell out of (most) Brits. But that is not my problem.

Portsmouth women

Are you a woman in Portsmouth (England) and a target of sadistic stalking?

“Eh, of what ?”

You can find out more about the phenomenon “sadistic stalking”  if you look into the work of forensic psychologist Lorraine Sheridan’s British work, but there is also some information at the bottom of this post.

It concerns a highly manipulative pattern of positive and negative behaviours (which can lead to trauma-bonding, better known as the Stockholm syndrome) and the gradual but steady loss of the victim’s control over almost all areas of her life. It is usually carried out by someone the stalker barely knows or may not even know at all.

Victims of sadistic stalking are generally slowly but very deliberately isolated by their stalkers, their lives often torn to shreds in the course of years.

What does this mean in real life?

That you’re not alone!

There are up to 45 women in Portsmouth right now – maybe more – who are in the same kind of nightmare as you are!

Let me explain how I arrived at that number.

According to National Stalking Advocacy Service Paladin (see this page: https://paladinservice.co.uk/key-facts-and-figures/ ), “data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows up to 700, 000 women are stalked each year (2009-12)”. That could include 90,300 victims of sadistic stalking, then, if 12.9% of those cases concern sadistic stalking, as in Sheridan’s study.

The size of the combined populations of England (53.01 million in 2011) and Wales (approximately 3,063,456 in 2011) was 56,063,456. 700,000 stalked women represent a little over 1% of that total population, but that population also contains minors and men. So let’s say that about 0.5% of women are stalked.

(This excludes stalking that is 100% cyberstalking.)

If I assume that stalking is evenly distributed geographically, which it won’t be as some stalkers are more likely to operate in surroundings that make stalking easier, then I arrive at the following estimate for Portsmouth, where I live.

Portsmouth’s population in 2010 was 207,100. The working-age population was 145,000. If I take 50% of that as the number of women, I end up with up to about 360 stalked women in Portsmouth alone. If 12.9% of those cases concern sadistic stalking, as in Sheridan’s study, then about 45 women in Portsmouth were targeted by sadistic stalkers in 2010/2011.

There is almost no help for these women. The digital age has made it much more expensive and complicated for police to investigate stalking. As sadistic stalking tends to involve one or more unknown stalkers (and is often very subtle and skilled as well as engineered to make the victim sound crazy), police officers cannot afford to allocate resources towards investigating such cases.

Sadistic stalking can go on for decades, and nobody can help you put a stop to it. There is a lot of fancy-talk out there, but in reality, when you are being stalked like this, you are largely on your own.

You may even run into the bullshit opinion that there are no stalked women, only psychotic and hysteric women and attention-seeking women.

It’s not true that only young and attractive women get stalked. You can get stalked because you remind a man of his mother or because you are having a bad hair day.

So in real life, you may find yourself being forced to live a nightmare, on your own, your health likely to decline under the prolonged stress. You can develop things such as skin infections (fungal or bacterial).

You may even suffer a heart attack as you may often be confronted with shocking acts of cruelty.

I am no longer often angry with stalkers because I’ve come to realize that they can’t help what they are doing. It’s complicated. We provide medical care to people with kidney problems, but not to people with brain differences that can, for example, be caused by severe childhood abuse. Apparently, such differences in the brain can result in stalking behaviours like these.

But here is the thing.

If 45 or so women in Portsmouth alone are being targeted by sadistic stalkers, we should be able to make a fist – or rather, a circle of connected hands – and support each other. That way, we could instantly put a stop to one of the key objectives of sadistic stalking – isolating the victim.

You may have been hiding the fact that you are being stalked because when you talk about it, you usually sound like a complete lunatic yet, on the other hand, when people believe you, they often become scared.

Friends and acquaintances disappear and those who don’t disappear by themselves will be pushed away by the stalkers. They may call friends, relatives and acquaintances, pretend to be someone else and give them a reason to stay away from you.

You may feel guilty about being stalked, even though you know that you did nothing to deserve it.

You may feel like you should have been able to prevent it, somehow, even though on a rational level, you know that there is nothing you could have done differently that would have made a difference. It makes you feel incompetent.

You may be experiencing disbelief. “This can’t possibly be happening. So it must be me. Am I merely imagining things? Am I going crazy?”

This may be more common at the start of being stalked, when you notice things that make no sense, things that – so you think – can’t really be true. Such as people taking photos of you, (some of) your postal mail disappearing or the feeling that someone has been in your home, or just a vague indescribable feeling of unease that you can have when someone has been in your home but you don’t realize it.

And if you are a foreigner, you may not even be sure if what is happening could be “British humour” or not. British humour is often slightly sadistic, too, after all. Designed to trigger “Schadenfreude”. Are anonymous people around playing pranks on you, perhaps? You may also find yourself tripped up by British slang that you didn’t recognize as such.

You are bound to feel alone and powerless and you may often walk around with a frown on your face, looking and feeling angry or scared or frustrated or bewildered. You may have become a bit zombie-like – because that is what prolonged powerlessness can do, for various reasons. Some people may think that you’re really odd, for instance, people at supermarket tills.

But you are not alone.

Earlier today, before I started writing this page, I passed a woman on my way to the Aldi and I wondered “Is she one of them?” I looked at her, deliberately, and she looked back and smiled. She was about my age.

A few years ago, the Portsmouth News reported the suicide of a 54-year-old woman in Southsea. I was 55 at the time. I am still wondering if she too was a victim of sadistic stalking. Stalkers may target several people simultaneously. Perhaps it helps obscure what they are doing, makes them look less fixated on one person.

So let’s find each other and start supporting each other. All 45 of us or whatever the number for Portsmouth is in reality, and many of the others too, for instance, those who have delusional fixation stalkers or stalkers who are a mix of these two stalking types, and others as well.

The other two stalking behaviours in Sheridan’s taxonomy (ex-partner stalking/harassment and infatuation harassment) appear to be a bit different, often less secretive, and more clearly to see for others.

With some stalkers, telling them off in a stern tone works, but it can encourage other stalkers.

By the way, the advice to have no contact with a stalker has become meaningless in the digital age. There is no way of knowing that “Carl Patterson” who you don’t know is really, say, “Pete Jefferson” who you do know. And if you suspect that it is, you will sound paranoid as this example is so obvious. If the example is less obvious and someone contacts you and something about it does not feel right, you will still sound paranoid if you talk about it.

Apart from that, you will be trying to make your life work in spite of being stalked and you can’t do that without trying to find out who and what you are dealing with, and finding out whether it might be possible to negotiate a workable situation with the person.

Let’s connect. We could meet every Saturday at 11:00 or 14:00 in the HIVE at the public library in Guildhall Square. I don’t know yet if I will get around to starting this myself in Portsmouth, but if I do, I will post details on this page later.

Women and men in other locations can do this too, of course. Track each other down and start supporting each other.

I am aware of the risk that meeting like this might also attract stalkers or, say, people with narcissistic personality disorder who feel better about themselves when they hear about other people’s misery, but I think those of us who are being stalked and certainly those who have been stalked for many years have learned enough about stalking behaviours to recognize any wolves in our midst. And we could set up a safety net for ourselves, too. Plus, there can be safety in being visible to the public.

Stalkers don’t necessarily mean harm, but it’s impossible to know what is going through the mind of anyone who is stalking you. That creates a big chunk of the problem, of the life-stealing in stalking in general.

Once we join hands, however, we can say “We’ve got this.” and feel strong and in control again, instead of “possibly crazy”, powerless and vulnerable.

I mean, heck, isn’t this an obvious solution?!

That said, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this web page. I cannot protect anyone from anything, nor guarantee anything, and cannot be held liable for the results of any decisions you make or don’t make or steps you take or don’t take.

I wish everyone well, and I wish nobody any harm of any kind.

Some general advice follows, however.

  1. The first thing to do if you have any type of stalker? Secure your home. Change locks, add extra locks, make picking and shimmying the locks take up so much time that it becomes very unattractive.
  2. Second thing to do? Stop posting anything online. Do not share any wishes, hopes and frustrations etc online. No photos of your home etc either. No remarks about friends or relatives.
    • Impossible if you are your own boss. A solution is to hire someone to handle social media for you. Keep that away from your own computers and e-mail addresses. Outsource it. Do not postpone this if you can afford it. It may safeguard your income. Once you’ve lost your income, it’s too late.
    • Another complication is not being able to ignore e-mails etc from strangers if you are your own boss. Here too, outsourcing may help and it is worth the expense. Use one general e-mail address for enquiries and outsource the handling of e-mails to that address.
    • Do the same thing for phone calls. Engage a company that can answer your phone for you. Use one number for general inquiries, and then redirect your calls to that secretarial service. It’s worth the extra expense.
  3. The third thing to do is to make it hard for your stalker to isolate you. As soon as you know or suspect that you are being stalked, tell friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances about it, calmly. (Don’t explain in detail what is going on. Merely say that you have an anonymous stalker. That’s right, even if you have a suspicion of who it might be or know who it is.) Tell them not to pay any attention to anyone contacting them and for example claiming to be a good friend who wants to help you with something behind your back. That way, they don’t end up gaslighting you too, without knowing it, which would be likely to make you distance yourself from them. Tell them to call you – they know your voice – if they receive strange e-mails from you and tell them not to give up if they find it hard to reach you by phone or e-mail. Dead/disconnected line, weird message on phone line, no response to e-mails. Also, if you don’t do this now, the isolation you’ll eventually experience can make you want to share things online, or even vent online, which makes you more vulnerable and gives the stalker more of what he or she wants. If you slip up, delete it as soon as you can. The stalker wants to see that he is having an effect on you. Of course, keeping quite isolates you and if you run a business, you probably have no choice but to be very vocal about it to limit damage to third parties.)

 

PS
(19 March 2019)
If you are looking for legal recourse, you have three options, namely public prosecution, private prosecution or civil proceedings.

You can forget about public prosecution. You need the cooperation of police and CPS for that and you are never going to get that unless you’ve been physically attacked (and/or killed) and by then, it’s too late. Your chances of successful private prosecution are slim as well, as you need permission for that and it’s rarely granted. Civil recovery is your best option. The point? Spare yourself the effort of doing what is usually recommended and the ensuing immense frustration. British police are not going to help you, and a 2017 report by two British watchdogs agrees. Police had failed all the victims in all the cases that the report had looked at.

Please see the disclaimer. I wrote the above on the basis of my personal experiences in Britain. I am not a lawyer.

 

Breaking through the confusion about “narcissists”

In this very clear video, Sam Vaknin explains the distinction between the media’s and many people’s every-day use of the word “narcissist” – often meaning no more than “I don’t like that person” and/or “I am envious of that person” – and the personality disorder and elaborates on the variations of the disorder. (A related word that seems to be often intended to convey disdain is “co-dependent”.)

Sam Vaknin is blessed by his high intelligence, which often allows him to rise above his disorder to a large degree, but when you listen to what he says, in any of his videos, it remains important to discern when his disorder is doing the talking.

It can be quite confusing. Even listening to many of these videos, depending on your own situation (whether you have people with NPD in your life or not), you may start to wonder at some point about your own mental health… maybe because it makes you aware of how vulnerable we all are as humans.

It is always important to monitor your own behaviour in the company of people with NPD, to ensure that you stay grounded and don’t get swept away or pulled under by the effect someone else’s disorder has on you. Most people should be able to do that because they have the ego functions that people with NPD lack… except, when they become aware of the fact that they should have been doing this, they’ve often already been pulled under.

(Comparison that may help: When you are being targeted by a constant barrage of tennis balls from a row of tennis ball cannons, the only thing you are still aware of is the tennis balls and all your activity may become focused on dodging the tennis balls, getting hit, getting hurt and getting angry. The rest of the world drops away. That means that you are no longer grounded. There could be a bus shelter to the left, in which you would be safely shielded from the tennis balls, or you might be able to walk over to the cannons and pull the plug, but you are no longer able to notice that when you are not grounded.)

But Vaknin’s right: there is a lot of complete bullshit out there about the disorder and all it seems to accomplish is that it freaks people out and attracts a lot of angry people. People who feel angry would probably benefit more from going for a run or playing squash – or tennis.

By the way, psychopathy (a step further) appears to be promoted by war situations, by babies being exposed to the effects of war in the womb and when growing up. Brain chemistry. The brain becoming immune to some degree, and parts of the brain not developing. This could indicate that bombing countries in retaliation for terrorist attacks could lead to more terrorist attacks in the future. Something to think about.

The western world pays a lot of attention to attacks taking place on its own soil, for instance at train stations, but considerably much less to events such as Americans accidentally bombing a children’s hospital in, say, Pakistan.

A very complicated topic. What it all seems to boil down to is that the world is in need of more compassion and more empathy (I probably often mix the two up) – and less aggression.

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

I (initially) can’t stop laughing

(Please note that there appear to be two main types with narcissistic personality disorder, grandiose or overt on the one hand and covert narcissism on the other. This post probably mainly concerns the former.)

So, I stumbled upon someone on YouTube who says that he is a sadistic narcissist, that he enjoys deliberately hurting people – which is not admirable – and in spite of that, and in spite of knowing that he feels utterly miserable inside, I can’t stop chuckling because he is an amazing master spinner.

He does it so well that it’s very entertaining and his humour is entertaining too. He says that he is a dinosaur and that he was a therapist for a dinosaur once. Then comments “committed suicide”. And you have to laugh, but, yep, he is definitely a sadistic narcissist.

I’ve run into it before. I can’t help it, ya have to laugh. With my apologies to the hurt souls eternally buried inside all narcissists out there for the instances when they are not actually trying to be funny.

(They cannot be healed or fixed. Do not ever for a second think that you can heal someone with narcissistic personality disorder. The only thing you can do – also for the narcissist – is to be your best possible you and remain true to who you are, no matter what. Lead YOUR life.)

This interviewee did not CHOOSE to be this way; his brain is wired this way and he did not create his brain. Remember that.

These days (now that I know about the disorder), I therefore usually try to choose not to be angry at people with narcissistic personality disorder (who sometimes trip over cultural differences and the fact that I am who I am, instead of who they think I am or would like me to be).

I do not apply that same leniency toward so-called flying monkeys. These are mentally well people who do have a choice and who are tricked into or paid to mess with the life of someone they know or the life of a complete stranger. They make the deliberate choice to do that, unquestioningly. (No, dear sadistic narcissists out there, unh uhn. I saw that one coming from a mile away.)

(I’d been wondering why I had been getting all these ads for “Harry’s razors” lately, and vaguely remembered that there was a previous time here in England when I was getting lots of razor ads. Then it clicked. “Harry” was the name of my brother in law and he committed suicide. He was clinically depressed. I won’t say more than that, can’t give too much away to the sadistic narcissists out there. Is this funny? No, of course not, but unlike people with narcissistic personality disorder, I can choose to respond in a healthy way and see it for what it is. It is an immature way of saying something like “this is how bad I hurt inside”, wanting to make you feel the same way, possibly so that you understand how they feel without them realizing that. It is like a kid throwing the plate against the wall because he does not want to eat the veggies, and THIS MUCH is how he hates the veggies.)

Another example. Not being allowed to do any online marketing for any of my business activities – by hijacking my internet access – and then sending me a link about “permission-based marketing”. Translation: “Are you hurting already?”

Anyway, in another video, this interviewee says that narcissists are “frequently targeted by stalkers and erotomaniacs” who are “inevitably rebuffed” by the narcissists.

(That’s called “being delusional”.) ( 5 January 2018: This represents fear, the fear of being unmasked as incomplete or flawed human beings, in the eyes of people with NPD.)

(In an earlier video, apparently now deleted, he said that narcissists are often stalkers.)

He says he was diagnosed as “gifted” at age 9 when it was actually initially thought that he might be retarded, he says, with an IQ of 180. His IQ was reassessed again at age 25 and age 35, he says, and that it is interesting that his IQ went up, whereas it normally decreases with age. He continues to say that it was 185 when he was 25 and 190 when he was 35. “Oh, sorry, the other way around.”

He says he went to university at age 9, was at medical school at age 12. (See footnote.)

His first PhD was in philosophy, he says, and he also has a PhD in physics. His Wikipedia page says that he obtained that in 1982, at a university that did not start until the year 2005, according to Wikipedia. But I don’t know who added those data to Wikipedia. And the page says that that for-profit organization published his thesis, which is not necessarily the same as having done the research there. Oh, but wait, his LinkedIn profile says that he did his PhD in philosophy there. In the 1980s. And I found another website that says that that organization was indeed founded in 2005.

See the tragedy of this condition? See why people who have it are so angry at the world? They have to try to hurt others to be able to feel better about themselves…

Some handle their condition very well, manage to adapt. Many also find a way to contribute to society. Not all of them.

Lots of people, including psychologists, paint people with this condition in a very dark light that does little more than freak “normal” people out. One person with a practical, realistic and very healthy approach is psychotherapist Les Carter, by contrast.

This interviewee who describes himself as a sadistic narcissist, with genuine NPD, says that women tell him that he sometimes gives off the vibe of a machine and sometimes the vibe of a child. He then adds that he thinks that he stopped developing at age 9. That strikes me as insightful, but perhaps he was told this. And he says that for him, everything is geared toward “impressing the living hell out of his interlocutor”.

Elsewhere, he says that empathy is a bad strategy, that it costs too much, that it requires an investment, an investment that may not give you a return. But that is coming from someone who has no idea what empathy is, other than, in his eyes, something he can exploit in others.

Narcissists often do try to be the best they can be because of course, they eventually figure that they seem to have some kind of problem, but this being the best they can be is in the context of who they are, not of who the rest of us are. They cannot change themselves, just like a table lamp cannot decide to be a coffee maker. They are often highly practical people, in my experience. (They are also rarely what or who most people seem to believe they are, in my experience. That said, successful narcissists may have someone who helps them fix the mismatch between reality and what they want reality to be?)

He says that, relative to “normal” humans, people with narcissistic personality disorder are as different as “aliens”, “a form or AI” or “long-necked giraffes”.

Well, to “normal” humans like me out there I say that when caught between a rock and a hard place remember that life is too short to let it ruin your day. It is what it is. We can accept that. People with narcissistic personality disorders can’t. They are caught in views that they cannot release because those views own them, not the other way around.

What I haven’t seen anyone mention yet is that narcissists can also team up in small groups to target people. One may start targeting the person, while pretending to be one of the others, to undermine the target’s credibility. The target may not know of the existence of the other two… so it is impossible for the target to suspect those one or two others. I don’t know if this is always a mix of one grandiose narcissist with one or more covert narcissists, but it seems likely.

For more, see also this video below. I haven’t watched it yet, but I read the description under the video and so should you.

 

Footnote 3 January 2019:
Research by an English documentary maker back in 2009 confirmed that he was a child prodigy, was at university by age 11, and does have a high IQ. He was taken under the wing of a rich businessman at a young age. He got into business and then landed in jail for securities fraud, at age 24.

See more here (highly insightful!): https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/i-psychopath/.

Here is another one that sounds interesting:

Lauren McCluskey: We need specialized teams with psychologists, psychiatrists, IT specialists and investigators

I have said it many times before.

Police officers are not equipped to deal with cases of stalking and so on, at all. They do not have the knowledge to assess them (and are sadly too often led by their personal bias toward the victims).

It happened in the cases of Shana Grice, Molly McLaren and Bijan Ebrahimi in the UK.

And it happened in the case of Lauren McCluskey in the US as now transpires.

It has happened in many other situations.

Having specialized teams that are not part of the police but of new to be set up organizations and that respond instantly would also often benefit many people who could normally go on to murder someone because they would get the intervention and treatment they need IN TIME.

They too are criminalized and unnecessarily victimized if they are in ill mental health. Instead of saying that they believe they need help but being ignored by police or simply being ignored by police – period – or even being egged on by police after concerns are reported, they would get the help that just might stop them from committing murders, murders like those of Shana Grice, Molly McLaren, Bijan Ebrahimi and Lauren McCluskey.

Police officers often see themselves as superior experts in just about anything but in reality, their level of knowledge is often no different from that of the average homeless meth addict or industrious takeaway owner.

On the other hand, police officers now also waste a lot of time chasing up silly “he said she said” disputes and playing thought police. Silly “he said she said” quarrels and normal breakup situations could quickly be weeded out as representing little danger if there were dedicated teams of specialists to assess these situations.

The need for specialized IT staff on these teams is also made clear by the McCluskey case; see the screen shot below from the case review. (This looks like sadistic stalking to me, by the way. The taunting nature of it, the mix of openly seeming supportive with regard to what he was actually doing too, albeit in the dark, except that sadistic stalking usually occurs on much longer time scales, as far as I know, but it is a complex phenomenon that is almost impossible to escape from if it happens to you.)

The way the situation currently is, contacting police is the worst you can do if you are being stalked and harassed. Why? Because it will enrage your stalker and as police usually do nothing or next to nothing, it will greatly amplify the stalker’s power. At best, it makes no difference.

In addition to this proposed overhaul of police, we also need changes in the medical profession. Police officers and medical professionals are currently among the biggest propagators of mental health stigmas, stopping people who need it from getting treatment.

There appears to be a huge gap between the knowledge about physical health (with mostly physical effects) and the knowledge about brain-related or “mental” health. The fact that there is even a stigma on pain – as pain is not visible and often not directly measurable – indicates that there is a tendency to place stigmas on any health issues that are not visible or hard to show in a visual form. (Even having a brain scan that shows differences can help a lot.) People are being blamed for brain-related health conditions as it is often assumed that all humans have total control over them. The mere fact that personalities can change after a stroke or other type of brain injury already shows that we don’t.

(Hence, I also believe that it is wrong to criminalize people with brain-related health conditions, which is not the same as declaring them “insane”. We need different approaches to mental health and much better care. Genuine professional care. Support.)

 

PS
Years ago, I screamed or cried at police over the phone “What the hell does this guy want from me? Ask him what he wants from me so that I can give him an answer so that he can move on and leave me in peace.” Police thought it was hilarious, but frowned at me. Delusional old cow.

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

When someone is sabotaging your reputation behind your back…

… you may be dealing with someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder.

This is one of the reasons why narcissists like single immigrants who are relatively “fresh off the boat”. They have no local network yet, no local friends yet for emotional support, and nobody who will stand up for them in that environment, nobody who knows them well. Narcissists perceive them as “easy prey”, with less work required.

Don’t hold it against them. Nobody chooses to have a personality disorder. Learning about the disorder is very helpful.

Here is more:

Why Portsmouth should diminish traffic

I wrote an article about it on LinkedIn. If you’re interested, you can find it, and you don’t need me to post the link here. Southampton can’t do anything as drastic as this. Bournemouth can’t. Chichester can’t. London can’t. But Portsmouth can.

And Portsmouth can turn this into a giant plus and use it to boost the economy, but it won’t. Because it is drowning in crap such as bullying and corruption, also at city council level, and likes seeing itself as the powerless whining underdog a little bit too much. There is very little true vision left in this town, where too much of the focus is on traditional capitalism and on the past. The industries of the past are GONE, folks. Quit waffling about that and move forward.

Here are a few links to supporting studies:

All I hear is stupid excuses.

  • The impact of cars on our space

    No space for trams. Sure there is!

  • The people with more than 2 cars will protest and shout very loudly. Wear ear plugs! (What about the 80 or 90% or 95% of the rest of your population? 70% have no car or only 1 car. Many of Portsmouth’s inhabitants hardly ever get out of Portsmouth.)
  • Shop owners will complain. Show them that most of their customers are actually coming from within a small radius and give them decent business support! Most are probably delusional in thinking that their customers come from miles away and may blame traffic measures for their own failures (a certain pet supplies shop owner comes to mind).
  • A certain lawyer will whine. Tell her to shut up. She doesn’t know what she is talking about. (If she makes you feel stupid and ignorant, that’s because she is talking complete rubbish!)

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