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.

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/.

(What it seems to boil down to is that narcissists etc have trouble learning certain things! There is a lack of connection with the memory part of their physiology. Maybe that is why they can have such a child-like quality.)

By the way, I too did that test once (MMPI or whatever it’s called), and I turned out to be a fairly regular person, pretty ordinary. (I remember feeling slightly disappointed that I was merely ordinary, lol, but there was also something reassuring to it.) The only thing that was potentially different about me, said the psychologist, was a possible touch of PTSD as a result of a pretty rough childhood, but that was probably based on what I told her about my childhood, not on the test results. When we were talking, she told me I was a “survivor!”, at one point, with exclamation mark. Because I manage to keep myself whole through bad experiences. I still remember what I was talking about at the time, and what I said to her that made her exclaim “You’re a survivor” was “I think my dad was trying to destroy everything that he loved (on a particular occasion)”.

I was not too pleased to hear about the possible PTSD that at the time. Now, decades later, in hindsight, no, a touch of PTSD would not have been surprising after my childhood, but it was actually an event that happened when I was still very young that hampered me for a long time because I was not aware of how deeply it had affected me at the time, and only remembered it very vaguely. It appears to have been something incredibly stupid that my parents did when I was a few years old, likely to do with some kind of “old wives tale”, and something about which my mother subsequently stuck her head in the sand, even though she knew that it had affected me badly. Her way of dealing with it was to avoid the topic, which is how the family she grew up in tended to deal with that kind of problems, I think. When I was an older child, I noticed that she avoided a certain topic with regard to me, but not with regard to my sisters, and I thought that that was odd, but I didn’t know what was behind it. When I found out, many decades later, nobody in my family wanted to talk about it or even acknowledge it, also because most of the adults who were around in my early childhood had meanwhile passed away. And it no longer matters now.)

I haven’t watched this video below, but the description fits with what I have learned about – from, through – narcissists:

What narcissistic personality disorders may be like

Like the wrong audio cables are plugged in, and you can’t change them. Creates a lot of noise!

The past ten years have taught me a lot about personality disorders. I still know very little.

Differences in the hard-wiring of the human brain can result in personality disorders, but paradoxically, people with personality disorders are often blamed for them.

While watching a lot of videos on YouTube and thinking about diversity, I am starting to wonder if the line between humans and other species may be even thinner than I already thought.

What do I mean by that? Consider the following, for example.

Francine “Penny” Patterson developed a deep friendship with a gorilla named Koko in the course of decades. It was never the plan. The plan had been a four-year research project for her PhD.

The year was 1972. Gorillas were considered dangerous and wild and Patterson initially was considered crazy by many.

When younger gorilla Michael was added to the household, he ran over to Ronald Cohn, hugged him and then “sank his teeth into” Cohn’s shoulder.

Humans are not supposed to do that, but some sort of do anyway, in their own way.

I have been the subject of a little-understood phenomenon for over ten years. In the eyes of who’s behind it (apparently involving at least one person with a narcissistic personality disorder), I am probably like an animal they keep in a cage in order to find out how it ticks, the way some university researchers keep pigs in their lab to study stress responses in pigs. They try to push my buttons as much as possible.

It’s complicated.

Penny Patterson and Ronald Cohn kept Koko in captivity, and that was accepted. If two gorillas had kept Penny or Ronald in captivity, the response would have been very different.

If you watch this video, you should also take a look at this:

What we can learn

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Quaker parrots do this too. They build humongous condos with separate areas for different activities and offer shelter to other species. Humans have a hard time doing this for their own species – yet consider themselves “superior”…

For the people who live near me

I was the one who changed the name of my phone, to make clear who I am in the local air and what my status is.

(13 January 2019: by the way, it’s helped somewhat. as I haven’t received any spoofed WhatsApp messages since.)

I have been a target of hacking of lots and lots of equipment for more than ten years. It follows me around, from address to address.

As part of my university training, I have had a bit of UNIX and TurboPascal, I used to write the html and a bit of scripting for very large websites entirely in txt files in NotePad, and 12 or 13 years ago, I built a computer from scratch that worked instantly (to my own amazement). So even though I am old, I am not a complete idiot in this area, although I am hampered in practical ways these days, hence technologically vulnerable. However, some of the access likely was achieved by someone shimmying the locks to my flat when I was out. (Entrance and presence confirmed several times, yes.)

Current access by third parties to my PC is “wired”, via electrical circuit. (Yes, that mode of access has been confirmed for this case.)

It is a complicated situation, with pluses and minuses (and lots of “flying monkeys”, people who get paid to or tricked into messing with my life one way or another). Most of the time, I think of the main people behind all of this as “my siblings”. That also helps keep my stress levels down. They “don’t break the rules, but rewrite them”. It serves no purpose to say more about them because it would mainly make you freak out.

But I have to look after myself, of course.

I’d had a brief respite from the usual interference on Christmas day in the afternoon, and I’d just had another respite, of two days, and it was bliss.

This afternoon, this little pause ended and I decided to grab some control back by posting this and changing my phone’s name.

I will likely get “punished” in some way for this action. So be it. It’s happened before. Usually something is done to my HD.

(They see it as a kind of ping pong game. )

Also, Hampshire Police has known about this for many years, but cannot justify the considerable expense it would take to tackle this (as it would require specialist expertise, possibly from a unit in Netley) and I doubt that it would really solve anything, so no worries, there is nothing anyone can do or has to do.

I am fine!

The Chinese might say that I lead an interesting life. I’d say that I lead a life in which I not only learn a lot, but also learn a lot of different things.

So/and for now, Happy New Year!

 

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.

Five videos for people in the Netherlands

For a long time, the Netherlands has been a highly egalitarian country, but inequality is very slowly starting to increase there, even though most people in the Netherlands still live – in a comparison to make you understand – with caviare and champagne for breakfast and gold taps and door handles throughout the home.

For the past fourteen years, I have been living in a country that has a huge degree of inequality, which is much worse than in all the other EU countries. Yes, all of them. I want you to know what that looks like, at the bottom. So that you can help stop the Netherlands from going into that direction too.

There is a HUGE amount of homelessness here in the UK, for mostly financial reasons.

Yes, the simple lack of sufficient income for people to support their basic needs.

You see that in countries like the US and Australia too. It includes many female older adults and also people like Manda in one of the videos below, who sustained a brain injury with associated nerve damage. (The Hanes corporation decided to help her.) Most of these people never thought in their wildest dreams that they might ever end up homeless. Among the poorest retired women are former nurses and researchers but also many former stay-at-home mothers.

One of the things it sometimes leads to in Britain is a great deal of envy or discomfort when people in poverty see someone who does not appear to be miserable or who appears to be able to support himself or herself financially. It makes them feel like something has been taken away from them, and they often focus those feelings and their energy on the person who is not miserable. As a result, that person may then be pushed into poverty as well. There are no efforts, certainly not by the British government (to the contrary), to pull people out of poverty here.

In Britain, I have learned what it is like to live without hot water, heat and electricity, to sit in your bed all day long, and walk over to a place where they provide a hot meal for you (and where they may treat you as if you are a potentially dangerous wild animal for no other reason than that you are poor). In Britain, I have seen what it is like to live in deep poverty, to stop looking toward the future because you know that you will never get out of that poverty, and become so accustomed to it that you completely forget what a life is like without poverty.

The other side of the spectrum, the crazy consumerism, the drive for higher and higher GDPs, and the accumulation of personal possessions as the only measure of one’s self-worth, the push for ever-increasing industrial production without any concern for the costs of that and the senseless of it all seems to be also pushing a lot of people into deep poverty.

The key word in many developments and environments is balance. Leading simpler lives is generally more fun than pursuing a consumerist lifestyle, but deep poverty is is just as bad as crazy consumerism. And they seem to go hand in hand.

I’ve heard someone who was spending about 6000 a month describe himself as poor. That’s crazy.

Poor, in the western world, is 6000 a year, or 8000 a year, or 2000 a year.

Poor is having no or limited access to medical care, in the western world.

Poor, in the western world, is having so little income that you have to choose between having a roof over your head and having food in your stomach or having food in your stomach and having food in your children’s stomachs.

One of the videos below features Charlotte, a young British woman who lives on one day a meal and who does not want a sandwich for lunch because eating the sandwich would make her feel hungry the next day. When you have to live on very little food, your metabolism changes, and you will want to keep your body functioning in that mode because it helps you cope. (People who want to stuff people who’ve been living on very little food for a long time, say a year or half a year or one and a half year, and get angry when they don’t want to gorge themselves are simply totally clueless. On the other hand, when your food intake fluctuates, then you will likely want to stuff yourself and may not be able to stop eating when you do get food and may eat 4 plates full of pasta and/or 6 bagels in one go.)

You may also develop nutritional deficiencies.

The medical profession is mostly completely blind to all of this. If you complain about muscle weakness to your doctor, he or she will likely suggest that you join a gym club. Because that is what he or she would do in your place. But these doctors aren’t you. They aren’t poor and haven’t got the foggiest idea what it is like to be really poor.

So instead of buying yet another fancy this or that for your garden or patio and an Alexa or iPhone, you could go to your local Aldi or Lidl, look at how other people are shopping and spend the money you would have spent on your new garden ornament on on that new iPhone on people who would, in a sense, have been paying for your iPhone, Alexa or garden ornament.

Inequality seems to be the result of you not wanting to pay 600 for your new phone but only 400, so that you can spend 200 on your garden ornament. It seems to mean that there are people who get paid very little so that you can get what you want (but don’t need). It seems to mean that there are people who live in environments that have been polluted by the side effects of your consumerism. (It is not healthy to live close to a garbage dump, for example.)

Money and income are not limited resources like oil and gas, but consumerist spending is linked to the depletion of limited resources, and somehow, that results in greater inequality.

Research by universities and the IMF has shown that greater equality makes everyone better off, including those at the top socio-economic levels.

What life is like for a woman in Britain

Some years ago, I wrote a poem about the tearful state of women’s emancipation in Britain.

As you may know, the United Nations inspection a few years ago found Britain possibly the world’s most openly misogynistic country, with sexism worse than in some African countries and countries like Afghanistan. Yes, there is a lot of open hostility and sexism toward women here, with for example “fuckability” and number and frequency of heterosexual sexual service encounters seen as the only indicators of a woman’s worth, with women being taunted as useless, fragile and afraid, and with rape not really seen as a crime and women seen as deserving to be scorned, abused and dismissed. It’s considered so normal that most people in Britain saw nothing wrong with it (which is also why they didn’t recognize themselves in the UN report).

But things are very slowly getting better.

(Not just for women and not just in Britain. It is one of the topics I address in my new course. Did you know that Italy allowed women to go to university much earlier than Britain, that Italy has almost no gender pay gap and that Italy now also allows women “period leave”?)

Shortly after I arrived in Britain at the end of 2004, an accountant I spoke with surprised me greatly by telling me that Chamber of Commerce meetings were “safe for women to attend”. It sounded like something out of a western, to me. I think that worrying about one’s personal safety during business network meetings is no longer a concern for women in Britain these days.
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7 Quotes from the Book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”

1. Be yourself

To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.”

2. Be strong

To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own luminosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.”

3. Getting away allows us to discover ourselves

“While exile is not a thing to desire for the fun of it, there is an unexpected gain from it; the gifts of exile are many. It takes out weakness by the pounding. It removes whininess, enables acute insight, heightens intuition, grants the power of keen observation and perspective that the ‘insider’ can never achieve.”

4. What happens when you don’t love yourself

“Our secret hunger for being loved is not beautiful. Our disuse and misuse of love is not beautiful. Our lack of loyalty and devotion is unloving, our state of separation from the soul is ugly, based on psychological warts, inadequacies, and childhood fancies.” 

5. Authentic love

“Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back.”

6. Hit rock bottom

“The best land to plant and grow something new again is rock bottom. In that sense, hitting rock bottom, although extremely painful, is also the ground to sow new life on.”

7. Authentic growth

“If we live as we breathe, taking and releasing, we cannot make mistakes.”

Language alters our experience of time


File 20170613 12642 w9091t.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Amy Adams in Arrival.
Paramount Pictures

Panos Athanasopoulos, Lancaster University

It turns out, Hollywood got it half right. In the film Arrival, Amy Adams plays linguist Louise Banks who is trying to decipher an alien language. She discovers the way the aliens talk about time gives them the power to see into the future – so as Banks learns their language, she also begins to see through time. As one character in the movie says: “Learning a foreign language rewires your brain.”

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One last post before the holidays

I don’t know if you are making one of those lists with good intentions for the new year or are entertaining wishes for your Christmas presents, but I hope they’ll all come true.

This morning, I reminded myself that I’ve picked up all sorts of habits over the years, while I moved through various cultures. Mine, for example, does not have a Christmas presents tradition, but you know what? I’d completely forgotten.

[The Dutch do celebrate Christmas, but they give each other presents on St Nicholas Day –  Sinterklaas – at the beginning of December. As Dutch mobile phone provider Telfort gave me free calls at Sinterklaas, I know that the tradition is still going strong in the Netherlands, complete with the soot-faced chimney sweeps, and their hand-held short natural-materials brush called “roe” and their chimney sweep’s beret.

The chimney sweeps descend down the chimney to deliver the gifts while Santa (Sinterklaas) and horse wait on the roof, moon overhead. In the days running up to Sinterklaas, Dutch children place one of their shoes near the chimney so that one of the chimney sweep can leave some candy, if he happens to pass by their house, in exchange for a carrot or some sugar for the horse. Apparently, chimney sweeps bring good luck.]

Today, I received a Christmas parcel from the States. I’ll open it on the evening of the 24th, because I think that’s what I am supposed to do.

It’s gonna be my 15th Christmas in Britain and my 10th in Portsmouth. Same for New Year’s Eve. For the coming year, I have lots of wishes for myself, but I am keeping them to myself.

For the world, I have lots of wishes too, but it feels grandiose to say that. It is not my place to dictate for other people what they should wish (though I can fantasize!). I guess that in reality, those wishes represent what I want for myself to some degree.

The above collage contains a photo of a Christmas wreath I decorated while I was living in Florida in the mid 1990s, with dough-based ornaments and sea shells that I painted and Spanish moss, crops of photos of some of the other ornaments I made back then, and a 2009 Christmas card that I scanned and pasted into the image. Then I added a red mist focus.

Oh, by the way, I saw lots of pale salmon-coloured starfish washing up at Southsea, two or three days ago. Amazing! Brought back memories from my high-school biology class. There was a fierce storm with high waves, and lots of seagulls riding them, feasting on various goodies.

Poverty, women and age

Today, I watched a few videos on YouTube about women in poverty, many of whom are homeless or illegally living in a caravan, particularly if they are pensioners. They may get a small pension, but it’s not enough to live on AND rent a place.

They live in the US, Australia, or New Zealand. (I already know quite a bit about the situation in the UK, where one third of the people live in poverty.) They are 48, 57 or 69 years old.

From reading newspapers, I get the impression that poverty is very slowly starting to creep up in the Netherlands too now. That is where I am from, a country where most people still have incomes with lifestyles that now come across as obscene to me, but that I used to see as normal.

There is not necessarily anything wrong with it – apart from the resource consumption that can be linked to it – but I call it obscene because of the giant contrast with the lives I see around me.

To give a comparison that they may be able to understand, their lives are like having gold taps and gold handles throughout the house and expensive champagne with smoked salmon and caviare at breakfast every day.

What strikes me particularly about the stories of the women in the videos is that they never expected to live in poverty and are totally gobsmacked by the fact that they are.

But here is the thing. It’s not them. They didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. It’s mostly the result of sheer coincidence.

Several of them mentioned the 2008 financial crisis. (Thank you, banks.) Others mentioned a divorce, hence suddenly being without a home.

They grew up in a time when life was still good. For most of them, it was a reasonable expectation that they would not be poor a few decades later.

It’s made me remember that in 2006 or thereabouts, various articles more or less predicted this rise in poverty, this sharpening division in the haves and have-nots. There was a lot of talk about corn, and the price of it. The articles said that we were heading for a time of food insecurity and a lot of poverty. It worried me. It sounded alarming. It made me look into emigrating to countries with much lower living expenses and the kind of climate in which I thrive.

If you thrive, physically, you can do more work. If you live in pleasant surroundings and don’t struggle with paying the bills, you maintain better health, too. All of these factors help.

I seem to recall that those articles also said that knowledge workers would increasingly get into difficulties, but that the opportunities for creatives would likely become much better. Back then, I had no idea what that meant in practice. (Maybe the people who wrote those articles did not know either.) It is starting to dawn on me now.

Once you’re in real poverty, it’s almost impossible to get out of, it seems, unless you have an extraordinary stroke of luck, for most people.

There have to be ways to solve this, stop this from progressing. Yo, creatives, can you come up with some bright ideas?

The focus of the world is shifting. The articles predicted that too. It’s true. The United States no longer run the world.

Some of the women in the YouTube videos solved their homelessness by taking up house-sitting, although that also sometimes meant that they were no longer eligible for social housing. One of the women has MS, the relapsing-remitting version, and no health insurance.

Something else struck me, too. These women were too nice about it all, too accepting, taking their worries and bouts of depression in stride.

“You’ve got to roll with the punches.”

True, but rolling with the punches means that the punches barely touch you and don’t hurt you. When the punches hurt and you never asked for them, never started the fight yourself, you’re entitled to a bit of anger. There are power and energy in certain kinds of anger – but women are still not supposed to get angry.

At least two narcissists run big countries?

Donald Trump appears to be a so-called grandiose or malignant or overt narcissist, and I am starting to suspect that Theresa May is a narcissist as well.

Her behaviour caught my attention off and on over the years, but I thought she was merely being fairly typically British, certainly for a politician. Now I wonder…

She is heartless/without an apparent capacity for empathy, when she does dish out “sweetness” it is almost always faked for effect, she is calculating and obstinate, lies constantly and does not even flinch when she is caught red-handed, as if she thinks it merely shows how smart she is, she occasionally acts all personally injured, it is impossible to have a genuine conversation with her and not replying at all to clear questions is one of her favourite tactics.

The way she smiles in this video, it’s… kinda nuts, but it seems to fit with how a narcissist might respond. She appears to love how powerless and frustrated – exasperated – her blunt refusal to answer makes Jeremy Corbyn.

And this refusal to reply is not about who ate the cookies.

That makes it even stranger.

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It is more or less how Donald Trump would respond too, right? Or am I seeing ghosts?

There has been research into how it would be perceived if a woman said the things that Donald Trump says. It turned out that the public finds it far more acceptable when it comes from a woman. I find that interesting!

Make no mistake, nobody chooses to have a narcissistic personality disorder. It is a brain-based condition and the exasperation that the condition can cause in others is not that different, perhaps, from the exasperation people can feel toward people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, another, albeit different brain-based condition.

Why the NHS does not get enough funding

Because of all the money that goes into bad administration. Bad government.

“The UK has allocated £2bn ($2.5bn) in funding to government departments” to deal with a Brexit worst-case scenario.

“3,500 troops will be put on standby to maintain essential services”

Imagine what the NHS could have done with those TWO BILLION pounds!

The British motto of “never admit defeat” is starting to look pretty ridiculous, fighting an imaginary war that, in reality, is a war against itself.

 

 

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?)

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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:

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)