Family

Responding to Collapse, Part 7: A Team Sport

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on March 18, 2019

Late Winter (Early Spring?) on Lake Huron

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At the end of my first "Preparing for/Responding to Collapse" post , I said that we'd be considering the following subjects in this series:

  • where you want to be—where bad things are less likely to happen
  • who you want to be with—people you know, trust and can work with
  • what you are doing—something that can support you, and allow you to develop the skills and accumulate the resources you will need

 

I think I've given the first one adequate treatment in the last 5 posts (2 to 6 in this series) so now I'm moving on to the second item—who you want to be with.

So, who do you want to be with? The main thing, I think, is that you want to be with people, rather than being alone—to borrow a phrase from Douglas Rushkoff, being human is a team sport. (Here's a podcast with Rushkoff and Naomi Klein that I found interesting. Of course Rushkoff isn't talking about exactly the same thing as me, but it's still good stuff.)

What I am talking about is this: it is in the nature of human beings, and very much to our benefit, to work together in groups. Such groups act as a force multiplier, achieving more than what you would expect from simply adding up the number of people involved. And that's more both in the sense of 1) achieving the group's common goals and 2) enhancing the individual well being of its members. For most of the time that people have existed, we've lived together in small groups (less than Dunbar's number), made decisions largely by consensus, and allocated resources in a sort of "primitive communism"—from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs, if I can be forgiven for quoting Karl Marx.

During the difficult times that lie ahead of us, I think we will need to fall back on this way of living, in order to successfully meet the challenges we face.

But over the last few centuries this sort of thing has gotten a bad name. People have gone from living in small, close knit communities made up of large, extended families to living in isolated nuclear families or as lone individuals, and relating to other people mainly via the formal, money based economy. During the time when this change was happening, the level of affluence in our society continually increased, allowing us to get by just fine more or less on our own. It seems that many people have come to believe that individualism is at least partly responsible for the progress we have experienced, and that our former way of living probably had to be abandoned in order to reap the benefits of that progress.

I would say that such ideas are a long way from reality. So much so that I think we'd better stop here for a closer look at the advantages of living and working together in groups, and follow that up by considering why we have given up on this way of life. Best to be clear on this before going on to the practicalities and pitfalls of forming and working together in groups within your new community.

It's interesting that while today's corporations are intensely capitalistic and competetive, within them people are often organized in teams or crews whose members relate to each other in a very "communistic" way. I'd say that this is a tacit acknowledgement of what actually works best. For much of my career with Hydro One (Ontario's electric transmission and distribution utility) I worked as part of a crew of maintenance electricians. While it is true that there are some jobs that can be done by one person, most of the work we did went much better when done by a small group of people. Once such a crew gets to know each other and the work they are doing, they can organize themselves to do that work more productively and enjoyably than the same number of individuals could do working separately.

Within a crew there is usually a diversity of skills that complement each other, and allow people to focus their efforts on the parts of the job best suited to them. And of course the nature of most work (be it physical or mental) is such that it can be done quicker and more easily if the people doing it help each other.

Teams like this are an excellent learning environment, where you can pick up a great deal from people with more experience or different experience than you. Not just job related learning, but also contributing to your growth as a human being.

Beyond productivity and training, there are many benefits to the members of the crew which are not an intentional part of the situation or necessarily supported by management, but which certainly make for a better work environment— camaraderie, companionship, support (both in times of difficulty, and in growth and accomplishment), and the ability to make the boring parts of the job go quicker with humour, story telling, singing, etc.

As it happened we were also members of a labour union, which did its best to shield us from the worst predations of management. Unions are a pretty clear case of the use of group solidarity in dealing with a situation where the power dynamics would otherwise be completely one sided.

Co-operative efforts of groups of people in organizations like food co-ops and housing co-ops enjoy the benefits of enhanced bargaining power and economies of scale that are not available to nuclear families or single individuals. A group can also provide a safety net for its members in a way that conventional insurance, provided by a company whose main responsibility is to its share holders, can never do.

People working and living together also get to know each other quite well. Because of this the group can effectively discourage its members from shirking their responsibilities and provide them with a strong incentive to contribute to the full extent of their abilities.

And lastly I'll just note that compared to an isolated existence, living in groups with people that care about you and will help when you need it, has considerable psychological benefits.

So, given all these advantages, why have we largely abandoned our extended families and close knit communities?

Certainly, there is some overhead involved in living and working in close knit groups, and you can see why people who have attained a sufficient level of affluence might choose to exercise their independence and strike out on their own.

But the idea that group life is not worth the effort is somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy. Living as we do these days, with a big emphasis on individualism and little opportunity to practice working in groups or learn it from experience people, we have forgotten many of the interpersonal the skills that make primitive communism work so well. And as long as things are going well there is little incentive to really try to make co-operative efforts succeed. We can do just fine on our own, without the trouble of getting along with others. Those whose lives are the most precarious, for whom individualism really isn't working, have come to simply not trust other people, and would never think of working together for their mutual advantage.

But even allowing for all that, I think we also need to keep in mind that isolated people are a lot easier to control and exploit, and this is very much to the advantage of the people who are running things in our society.

Whenever I see people making choices that clearly run counter to their own best interests, I've found that I only have to look a little further to uncover a great deal of effort that is being expended to make them do so. Effort that is being made by those who do stand to benefit from those poor choices. This is certainly the case practically everywhere in the world today, with most countries ruled by oligarchies who at best give only lip service to democracy, and are not of the people, by the people or for the people.

So, I would like to suggest that what going on here is rather different from the way we are encouraged to perceive it. Maybe, for most people, the growth of individualism was anything but progress. And while it is true that this happened while a lot of progress was happening, you don't want to confuse cause and effect. If you look closely, you can see that much of that progress was basically economic growth, or very closely tied to economic growth, which was largely driven by our switch over to using fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. So I'd say economic growth and the rise of modern capitalism drove the growth of individualism, rather than the other way around.

A excerpt from David Graeber's Debt: the first 5000 years may help clarify:

By the end of World War II, the specter of an imminent working-class uprising that had so haunted the ruling classes of Europe and North America had largely disappeared. This was because class war was suspended by a tacit settlement. To put it crudely: the white working class of North Atlantic countries, from the United States to West Germany were offered a deal. If they agreed to set aside fantasies of fundamentally changing the nature of the system, then they would be allowed to keep their unions, enjoy a wide variety of social benefits (pensions, vacations, health care…), and, perhaps most important through generously funded and ever-expanding public educational institutions, know that their children had a reasonable chance of leaving the working class entirely. One key element in all this was a tacit guarantee that increases in workers' productivity would be met by increases in wages: a guarantee that held good until the late 1970s. Largely as a result, the period saw both rapidly rising productivity and rapidly increasing incomes, laying the basis for the consumer economy of today.

This was the world into which I was born and grew up. Essentially, "setting aside fantasies of fundamentally changing the nature of the system" amounted to abandoning our communities and extended families, in exchange for individual affluence and economic security. Unfortunately, because of 1) a financial system based on interest bearing debt and 2) a growing population, this world required endless economic growth in order to continue fulfilling its promise. In another reality, where planets have infinite resources, this might have been possible, but not here.

After a few paragraphs about how this relates to Keynsian economics, Graeber goes on to say:

When the Keynsian settlement was finally put into effect, after World War II, it was offered to only a relatively small slice of the world's population. As time went on, more and more people wanted in on the deal. Almost all of the popular movements of the period from 1945 to 1975, even perhaps revolutionary movements, could be seen as demands for political equality that assumed equality was meaningless without some level of economic security. This was true not only of movements by minority groups in North Atlantic countries who had first been left out of the deal… but what were then called "national liberation" movements from Algeria to Chile, which represented certain class fragments in what we now call the Global South, or, finally, and perhaps most dramatically, in the late 1960s and 1970s, feminism. At some point in the '70s, things reached a breaking point. It would appear that capitalism, as a system, simply cannot extend such a deal to everyone. Quite possibly it wouldn't even remain viable if all its workers were free wage laborers; certainly it was never be able to provide everyone in the world the sort of life lived by, say, a 1960s auto worker in Michigan or Turin, with his own house, garage, and children in college—and this was true even before so many of those children began demanding less stultifying lives. The result might be termed a crisis of inclusion. But the late 1970s, the existing order was clearly in a state of collapse, plagued simultaneously by financial chaos, food riots, oil shocks, wide spread doomsday prophecies of the end of growth and ecological crisis—all of which, it turned out, proved to be ways of putting the populace on notice that all deals were off.

I would say that the underlying problem causing this failure of capitalism is economic contraction caused by the reduction in the surplus energy available as we've been forced to tap into ever poorer quality and/or less easily accessible fossil fuels. And sadly this is a problem for all economic and political systems. Indeed, it is a problem without a solution, which is bringing about changes that we will just have to adapt to.

I am not certain if Graber agrees with me that the crises we've faced since the 1970s are quite real, but I do agree with him that those in power have certainly used those crises to "put the populace on notice that all deals are off." He is also quite right that this is a "crisis of inclusion"—as the economy contracts the rich and powerful are not about to be excluded, so a great many other people have had to be, in order for the rich to keep a relatively larger slice of a shrinking pie.

But how, you may ask, does this relate to the problem of diminishing community in our modern society? Well, it seems that all the fixes that are available to the excluded majority involve us being separated from our former support systems (family and community in an informal economy) and striving to perform better as competing individuals in the formal economy.

We are told that to secure a good job we need an education, at least a bachelor's degree. This means (in many countries) taking on a significant amount of debt, so that after you graduate, you'll be desperate to get a job and pay off your student loans. This leaves you very little choice in the job you take and little choice about leaving it if it doesn't suit you.

To get that job it is very likely that you'll have to move a long way from where your family currently lives and set up as a lone individual, in a place where you, at least initially, have no support network.

If you meet the love of your life and decide to live together or actually marry, you will both have to go on working to pay off those student loans and make a start on building a family together.

This is a stressful situation, especially since you don't have any sort of support network and I suspect it contributes to marriage breakup. If you do break up you'll be left as a single mother or a lone individual.

Or perhaps instead of seeking higher education, you could go for a job in the trades. As I said earlier, crews of tradesmen are among the best examples of communistic relationships found in today's world. But in most companies there is a strong push to have people working by themselves whenever possible and to have as little contact with their co-workers as possible, lest they organize a union. Unions are in a desperate situation today, with no effort being spared to break them and leave working people completely at the mercy of management.

All this is very convenient for those who are in power. It is easier to exploit people who are not organized, who see each other as competitors rather than comrades. And in the process you can monetize much work that used to be part of the informal economy and make some additional profit out of it, while keeping people conveniently isolated from each other. I'm not saying this is a conspiracy of any sort, just rich people supporting the kind of politicians who will benefit them the most in the short term, and rest of us taking the path of least resistance through our lives.

Even if you are fortunate enough to have a good, secure job, it is pretty easy to look around and see than many other people find themselves with no support from family or community and working for minimum wage with no benefits in a job where their schedule can be adjusted and their hours reduced arbitrarily and they can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. And if they end up jobless and homeless, there is a definite tendency to put the blame for this onto them, rather than a system which sees workers as liabilities rather than assets.

No wonder many people are starting to express doubts about the current world order. As BAU continues to collapse it will become more and more clear that there must be a better way to live. Many would tell you that things are more likely to break down into chaos and violence but a closer study human behaviour in disasters shows that when there is trouble, people feel a strong urge to work together to help each other pull through.

Well, that was a lot of words expended in support of a proposition that I originally thought was obvious. I do think it was worth it, but now this post is just about as long as it should be. So I'll wrap things up here and continue next time with a look at the pitfalls and practicalities of forming and working together in groups within your new community.

The Disaster Mythology is a subject that keeps coming up on this blog, and to save explaining it again and again in various posts, I've finally created a page about the subject: The Disaster Mythology. Check it out.


Links to the rest of this series of posts, Preparing for (Responding to) Collapse:

 

Coming Soon to a Laptop Near You on Diner YouTube

Just another day on the Farm with FarmGal

 

 

A mental break…

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Published on The Butterchurn on September 3, 2015

Butterchurn-2

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The Release of the Narcissistic Mother, Dyshidrotic Eczema, Aspbergers Syndrome and other tales of the Deep, Dark and Hollow

I’m sorry for being away so long.

Yes, I’ve been away.

I have awakened from a depression.  A depression is something that no one else can help you with.  You can become medicated, sure…but I chose not to.  I made it.  I survived.  There were moments where I wanted to die.  I wished someone would run me off the road.  I hated myself.

I cut my own bangs on a whim the other day.  I always wanted to do that.  I cut them “Betty Page” style.  Betty Page looks a lot like Morticia Addams.  More about that later.

bangs 2015

Bettie-Page-3853

My husband HATES it.

Your hair can (and should) be used as a canvas to show others who you are.  I didn’t cut my bangs because I hated myself, I just wanted something different.  Something to “wake me up.”  Something to force me to take better care of myself, because I wasn’t doing a very good job.

This is why “current hair fashion” and I never did get along very well. I adore a specific era of hair, but I don’t give a shit what is in style for 2015. I never really gave a shit what was in style my whole life, actually… and I like saying Shit every now and then. Shit! 🙂

I have always tried to be “me” I lost that part of myself for awhile. I became consumed with fear about what others thought about me. Now that part of me is back.

Does this mean I had some sort of mental break in my past? Yeah. Probably so. My Father did put the barrel of a 30-06 in his mouth and pull the trigger just before I graduated college.

I have JUST dealt with this, in my adulthood…11 years later.  I’ll tell this dramatic, backwoods, real life story to you as time goes on.

My husband is an amazing man. He’s really hard to be married to sometimes, because he can be brutally honest. He was just trying to heal me, but I didn’t see it at the time.  I thought he hated me and was just tolerating my presence.  I didn’t believe that he really loved me.  I didn’t think anyone loved me.  I have been programmed, you see, to believe that no one cares about me.  All thanks to the programming that my mother downloaded into me.  It is sort of not her fault, though.  I’m convinced, after talking to her older sister, that their Mother, or Father, perhaps both, had treated them this way their whole life.
“Fuck You!  FUCK YOU, Bitch!  I’m TIRED of the way you treat me!”  – loving words from my Mother, two years ago.

Yeah, that’s just an exert from the story that has been my life during this depression.  My Father (literally) blew his head off in our family’s detached garage.  I watched the hazmat crew clean him up through my parent’s bedroom window.  They told me not to, but I did.  I have seen the contents of the inside of my father’s entire head stuck to buckets and our family bicycles.  I watched two guys in white suits and face masks put him into trash bags.

He wanted to be cremated.  11 years later, he was still sitting on the shelf in my Mother’s living room.  HER living room.  I was sick of waiting.  We were supposed to scatter his ashes off of the Green River bridge.  But no one was talking about that.  In fact, no one EVER talked about it.  All that my Mother ever really said to me about the fact that her husband (whom I doubt she really loved— she just got “KNOCKED UP”(her words–that’s how I’m here) had blown his head off was that his entire head was gone and that there was a piece of his scalp with long grey hair attached to it sitting on the shoulder of his corpse.  This is how she found him.

Granted…yeah, I am glad I didn’t find him.  I know she is still in some state of grief, shock… but no one is helping her.  I tried, but she wouldn’t listen.  We weren’t supposed to talk about our FEELINGS.  She was tired of me trying to get her to deal with it.  To FORCE her to deal with it.  To talk about it.  No one ever really talked to me about it…checked in on me, asked me how I was dealing with it.  No one.

I was tired of waiting for her to be a good mother and talk to her daughters about it.  It is a Horrible situation, eh?

I did take drastic measures, however, to bring the fact that he was still in the urn and that no one was dealing with it into (literally) my own hands.  My family and I drove to my childhood home, took the key, opened up the house, picked up the yellow urn with a Robin sitting on a branch, walked out of the house, locked it, and buckled it up in a seatbelt in my car’s back seat.  I took it home.  Without permission.  Without saying anything.

As soon as we were home, I called my sister’s cell phone.  She didn’t answer, so I left a message.  She began furiously texting me.  I told her that this was not a conversation to be had via text, and that we needed to talk over the phone.  She replied, “Fine then, Don’t talk to me.”  (She was 22 yrs. old @ the time)  Now, she’s a Mother.

My sister said (through texts) that it was disrespectful of me to take the urn without asking our “Mama” for it.  I felt that I didn’t need to ask permission.  Those were the ashes of my Father.  I didn’t view “him” as a possession.

Next I called my Mother’s cell phone.  She was at work, so she didn’t answer.  Yes, I did plan to go to the house to take the urn while she wasn’t there.  DUH.  A vein might have popped in her head and she could have dropped dead over that.  Seriously, she has some major Anger/Anxiety issues.  (More horrible issues which she also programmed into me, and I have been trying to rid myself of).

Being a Mother, if you’re a good Mother, makes  you take a look at yourself.  I don’t mean in the mirror… I mean REALLY take a look at yourself.  Watching how you react to things.  Taking note when you get angry and asking yourself, “Why?  Why Did I react that way?”  Being HONEST with yourself.  To NOT be defensive about your REAL issues. TO DEAL WITH THEM AND FIX THEM.

I took the urn, because I wanted to deal with my Father’s Suicide.  I NEEDED to deal with it.  It had been too long.  I needed to move on.  I needed to let it go, before I could really live.

This is what I’ve been doing over the past two years.  I feel I have healed.  I mean REALLY healed myself this time…but then again, my Father did Have Bi-Polar Disorder.  I could be on one of my Happy benders.  My husband has called me crazy, but that’s okay, because I’ve called myself that.  I have been crazy.  I don’t want to be crazy.  I don’t take pride in being crazy.  I have been purging a HELL of a lot of CRAZY out of this mind of mine over the past two years, and it has been a boat ride through the swamp without a paddle.  I have worked HARD on my mind, and it needed it.
Damn.  What a ride I’ve been on.

Anyhow, to continue my story, I called my Mother’s Cell phone after I had brought my Father’s ashes into our house.  I intentionally called her when I knew she was working, so that I wouldn’t have to listen to whatever her reaction was.  I let her keep that anger to herself.  I predicted she’d be angry, and BOY OH BOY was I ever right about that.

“Hey.  I’m just calling to let you know that I have Daddy’s ashes.  Don’t worry, don’t freak out, I’m taking good care of them.  I just wanted to let you know where they were and that I have them.”

No, I did not scatter the ashes without my family.  Not all of them 😉

What I did do, before my Mother arrived, was to take a portion of the ashes that I felt was my right as his daughter.  I didn’t need permission to take them.  I still feel that way.  I’m not sorry that I took them.

In fact, it appeared as if someone had already had the same idea.  The lid had been popped off.  It had once been glued on.  The ashes were inside the little yellow ceramic urn (an urn that belonged to my Dad’s Mother).  They were not quite as I expected them to appear, however.  They were inside a thick mil plastic bag.  They had been stapled shut with some industrial stapler.  Yet, someone had poked a hole in the top of the bag, next to the staple.  GASP!  Someone had ALREADY “disturbed” the ashes.  Heal yeah.  (spelling intended), It didn’t have to be me.

SOMEONE had already poked around in the ashes.  Someone had made a silver dollar sized hole in the bag of ashes.  But it wasn’t me.  I felt even more justified in my next action:  I took some of the ashes (by shaking the urn).  I put them in an old metal coffee tin that I’d found at a thrift store.  Someone offered to buy that tin from me, long ago, when I was selling all kinds of things online.  I couldn’t take less than $10 for it, and no one wanted to pay that, so I had kept it.

My husband, who is a HUGE Big Lebowski fan, found it quite hilarious that I had chosen a coffee can.  I seriously did not connect my actions with the movie, but it may have been programmed into me to put ashes into a coffee container after seeing/hearing “The Big Lebowski” over and over during one of his repetitive aspie (and endearing term) benders.

walterwithfolgerscanofdonnysashes
Aaron, my husband, likes to listen to things that he likes over…and over…and OVER…AND OVER again.  It gets to me sometimes, because one of my biggest pet peeves in life is repetition. I can’t stand it, mostly.  An example of some really great musical artists that he has played over and over are:  U2, Pearl Jam, Rebelution, and most currently Heartless Bastards.

Aaron, we’re about 99.9 percent certain, has Aspberger’s Syndrome.  He has not been formally diagnosed by a team of doctors, but he did befriend a doctor online who claimed that if he were his patient, he would say that he was on the high functioning end of the “disorder.”  He may not be “formally” diagnosed, but as his wife, I can say with CERTAINTY that he DOES have it.  There’s no question in my mind.  This is something that I’ll have to study more, so that I can be a better wife.  I’m working on understanding it daily.

Here is a quick description of Aspbergers, from someone with Aspbergers:

Asperger’s can not be cured, it is a genetic condition that can be worked on and mitigated, but can not be cured. Each person has it differently and reacts to the world differently, but here are some basics.

Asperger’s syndrome is, in it’s most basic form, Autism. Autism is broken into two types, Kanner’s and Asperger’s, with the break at the 70 IQ level. If your IQ is 70 or below you have Kanner’s Autism, if your IQ is 71 or above, you have Asperger’s autism. (it is a little more complicated than that in it’s break up, but for a beginner this is good)

The easiest way to describe Asperger’s syndrome to someone who has never heard of it is to describe it as a Social Autism. The person who has Asperger’s grew up not learning the social cues around him/her. The person does not, usually, understand subtle social cues that the normal person takes for granted. Things such as sarcasm, and body language that change the meaning of a statement, are not understood by the asperger person, and taken literally.

Asperger syndrome is also called “the little professor syndrome”

The Asperger type is usually very literal in what is stated, and what is understood. The normal person usually sees the asperger person as being emotion-less, though this is not true. Emotions are just kept very deep inside and not brought to the surface. The aspie also does not know what to do with another person who is experiencing emotions, and needs to be told what to do in these instances. Phrases like “I need you to hold me now” are very helpful” in a relationship, for the normal (NT) person to say to the aspie.

Aspies tend to like routines. Change is very difficult, and they will be slow to accept it.

Aspies will appear to lack empathy. As stated above, this is not due to lack of empathy, but a lack of knowledge of how to show it.

Aspies tend to have more of a formal use of words than the NT wold or have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age. For example, the aspie may use the word “beckon” instead of “call” or the word “return” instead of “come back.”

ASPIES TEND TO AVOID EYE CONTACT. This is not due to lying or being self conscious. The eyes are very difficult to look at, and cause mental anguish and pain in many aspies. They are unable to think of what they want to say, and look another in the eyes at the same time.

Aspies may have unusual facial expressions or body postures. They may be more formal in the way they stand, or just look out of place. Their facial features may not express the emotions that they are experiencing. They may not frown when they are sad, smile when happy, etc…

Many Aspies are pre-occupied with one or a few subjects of interest and learn everything there is to know about those subjects to the exclusion of all others. They may not want to discuss anything other than those subjects with anyone. When brought into a conversation, they will immediately take the conversation to their chosen subject of interest, and then talk about it non-stop. They will not notice that nobody else wants to discuss that subject.

Aspies tend to have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures. They may only eat certain things, or order foods certain ways. They may not be able to work in rooms with florescent lighting due to the buzz or the flicker, even when nobody else notices. Many different things, for many different people.

 
Source(s): Aspie x 42 years.
 
Note:  Aaron does not completely fit into the mold of the above description.  More about that later, though.
Here’s another helpful link about Aspbergers:  https://prezi.com/po6hyevbwc9n/asperger-syndrome/
 
My Mother claimed that my husband had “messed up my mind”– but what she didn’t take the time to understand about me and the man I love is that he does have some behaviors that are difficult to deal with, because of Aspbergers.  I do not say this to make him feel bad, or to belittle him.  It’s just the truth.  Being the wife of someone with Aspbergers can be very difficult…especially when you have bottled up issues that you haven’t dealt with.  They will SEE those issues and they cannot help but make you aware of them.  They will have no empathy for you once you realize that they’re right, however.  You’re on your own.  I recommend, in retrospect, that you do not do it on your own.  Remember, I was programmed to believe that no one cared about me.  Therefore, I wouldn’t talk to any of my friends about what I was going through.  I had no one to listen to me about my struggles.  No Mother, No Father.  No one was checking in on me, on a regular basis just to ask “How are you?  How are things going? How are you feeling?” and to really mean it.  I do have friends.  I have collected a nice little set of strong women as my friends in my mid-thirties.  All of these friends, except for one, is a mother.  They have husbands and children and a family of their own that they are trying their best to figure out.  I didn’t want to burden them with my Mommy issues.  I had no Mother to check on me.  She thought it was my job, as her daughter, to check in on HER.  What my Mother has failed to see, after almost 60 years of life, is that she is my elder.  She is supposed to help to guide me.  She is my “Mother” but she is not a Mother.  She does not actually seem to care about what is happening in my life.  She is only concerned with herself.  She is the victim.  No one cares about her.  No one asks her about how she’s feeling.  She doesn’t have a Mother either.  Her mother, however, is dead.
 
Sure, I see that I’ve said the same things about myself that I’ve said about my Mother.  That’s part of the “crazy” problem we’ve got going on here, you see?  Am I crazy?  A book that I read once I had the thought that my Mother could be a Narcissist (Aaron had diagnosed her as such) was entitled, “ Youre Not CrazyIt’s Your Mother!: Understanding and Healing for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
 
The author, Danu Morrigan says that as the daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, you’ll most certainly ask yourself, “Am I the crazy one?”  She says that if you are able to ask yourself this, then you can’t be a full blown Narcissist….BUT you CAN have Narcissistic tendencies.

 

http://www.healingselfesteem.com/

http://www.adultchildofalcoholiclifecoach.com/

*Not all of what this lady says in the above video applies directly to my Mother.  My Mother is the “Ignoring” Narcissist.  But the “I don’t want to talk about that” portion of the conversation DID strongly apply to my situation.  She could call and complain about her miserable life and all of the negative things going on in her life for hours.  One time, during a cell phone “conversation” I timed how long she talked without a response from me.  The entire 20 minutes, she was complaining.  I connect with the video that I’ve shared here because I DID tell my Mother, “I am a WOMAN. ” She also bought me many things so that I could “Owe her.”  Classic Narcissist.  The whole, “Adult Children of Alcoholics” plug of her’s at the end?  Yeah, my Dad was an alcoholic too.

Great.  Yeah, that’s right.  One more issue.  One more level of crazy.  Remember, my Mother claimed that my husband had “messed up my mind.”

My mind seems to have plenty to choose from in its array of crazy .

When my husband met me, he knew that I had issues.  He knew that I had not dealt with my Father’s Suicide…at all.  He knew that I was a barrel of monkeys, per-say…that more issues might keep on rolling out of me, holding furry knuckled phalanges together.  He knew, but he didn’t know.  Neither did I.  (the little professor syndrome)  He was a bartender when I met him.  He enjoyed psychoanalyzing people over the bar.  He had a set of regulars who would come in and tell him their problems.  He actually is pretty damn good at helping people solve their issues…but he will PISS YOU OFF, because he’ll be brutally honest.  He is NOT always right, though, in his diagnosis of what your mind may be thinking at the time.  He just uses logic to deduce where your mind might be, and what it might be thinking.  It’s sort of a mind cuss, actually, because he’s mostly right…so even if you think he’s wrong, you’ll have to ask yourself if he’s right.  There were moments where I would be mad at him for being so smart.  There were moments where I just could not convince him that he was wrong, and that his deduction of where my mind was and what I was thinking was wrong.  Aaron has a very hard time reading emotions and feelings.  He just could not understand why I looked so miserable while I was depressed.  He had no empathy for me, either.  Well, almost none.

Because of all of this, I was left thinking, at times, that I was just an overall shit-bag.  He kept telling me that I liked wallowing in my own misery, just like my Mother.  That I didn’t want to be happy.  I kept asking myself if that was true.  If I was just “Acting out a script” that was programmed into me by my Mother.  Was I just acting like her?  As I reflect on it now, I can say that there were times when I was, and times when I wasn’t.  There were times when I was only depressed and not even thinking about her…but then Aaron would say that I was acting like her.

I was overwhelmed with being a Mother to two.  I was overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to be a good mother to them.  I had no strong female role model in my life to mold myself after when it came to being a Mother.  I often envy other Mothers who have an awesome, supportive and loving Mother of their own.  I don’t know what that is like.  I can imagine it, sure, but I have not lived it.  I am mad about that, off and on.  My Mother (I usually refer to her as Sarah these days) is absent from my life because of my choice to keep her out of it.  That’s my fault, sure.  I told her that I never wanted to talk to her again, and I meant it.  She hurt me to my core.  No Mother should do that to her daughter.  Especially without a breath of regret.

Sometimes Aaron says I’m just like her when I mope and complain.  I try not to complain, I really do.  I’m not writing this blog to feel sorry for myself.  I’m just telling my story.  I’m sharing my feelings.

My Mother once said to Aaron, “I’ve had a shitty life.”  Sometimes he brings up that statement when I start complaining about the negative things in my life.  It pisses me off when he does it, but I must say that a much better approach to correcting my focus on the negative might be to say something with more empathy like, “Wendy, please just try to focus on the good.” instead of “Wendy, you sound just like your Mother.”

“When you don’t know what it is you’re fighting, you can’t possibly know how to deal with it.  I wrestled for years with some unknown presence that seemed to affect every aspect of our relationship.  Those years in the dark, left me with feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and total worthlessness.  I cried many nights, thinking it was something awful about me that caused my husband’s rejection, when in reality, it was AS.”  Source

Aspies.  They’re the smartest, deepest people you’ll ever meet.  When I met Aaron, I was smitten by how completely different he was.  One of the first things he told me on our first date was that women told him he was “too deep.”  My response to him at the time was, “How can you be TOO deep?”   Aaron didn’t give a SHIT about what anyone thought about him(and still doesn’t), and he knew himself better than anyone I had ever met in my life.  He was eons ahead of me when it came to knowing myself, and I knew it.  I didn’t care, though…he was taller than me, he was intriguing, he was weird and dark and handsome and had a U2 tattoo on his chest.  There was no stopping our romance.  From the moment I met Aaron, things continue to happen in my life that are synchronistic about our relationship.  Actually, the night I met Aaron, U2 came on the jukebox at the pool hall/bar where we met.  I can’t recall whether or not I played that song, but chances were good that I had.  I used to pump that machine full of quarters so that it would play songs that I liked so that I could dance and sing and play pool.  When I met Aaron, I was wearing a little red, 100% cotton, ruffled mini skirt.  My “shirt” of choice was a lace, black, spaghetti strapped midriff that was see through on the back and at the waist.  I was out shopping, I suppose 😉 I find it worth mentioning  that the bar in which I met Aaron had a corner room display of Betty Page prints hanging on the wall 😉

I was a virgin when I met Aaron.  Yeah, that’s right.  I was a 22 year old virgin.  This was mostly because my Mother had terrified me about sex.  She made it sound disgusting and degrading.  There was never any “Making love” to be had.  It was all nasty, nasty intercourse.  You were a whore if you had sex. This caused me MANY *almost* relationships of past.  I didn’t understand why I never had a boyfriend before Aaron, either.  I sure do see why now, though.  I was afraid of sex because of my Mother.  This made me VERY sexually awkward.  VERY.

My soulmate found me at just the right time in my life.  I learned how to make love. 🙂

Anyhow, I’m tired of writing for today.  I just started typing out my story this evening.  It came almost out of nowhere, but I’m finding as I write it that it is very therapeutic for me.  I am telling the story of my struggles.  I am writing the story to help myself, and to help others too.  One of the characteristics that I know about myself is that I “like to help.”  Sometimes I can try to help to the point of hurting.  I hope I don’t hurt you, dear reader.  😉

In my next blog, I will continue the story about what happened after my Mother received my voice mail message about the urn.  Her reaction convinced me that she is indeed a Narcissist.

Later, I’ll tell you about my hands.  My oozing, weeping, cracking bleeding hands.  The hands I wielded during my time of turmoil.  If you’d like a little background to that tale, go ahead and read my first blog entry about it at: https://thebutterchurn.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/dyshidrotic-eczema-a-malady-of-concerning-cause-and-effect/

Later, I’ll ramble some more. I’ll share some more about the hurtful words that my own Mother said to me that continue to circulate around in my mind. I’ll talk a bit more about what it is like to be the wife of a husband with Aspbergers. I’ll reminisce about what it has been like to be a Mother who can’t use her hands. I’ll heal some more, through writing.

I’ll heal that hurt, but I won’t deal it back.

betty pageLOL.

The Fox Den Endangered

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

Published on Epiphany Now on November 17, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

It’s important to note how crucially important our living in Whoville is to my wife and I’s intentional plan for our lives. When Aunt Bee offered her house to Wendy and I, it was the opportunity I needed to complete the puzzle of how to resign from the Matrix. The main problem for me was figuring out how I could live mortgage free while having a mortgage. Aunt Bee is the reason I was able to resign, because without her there is noway I would have done so with a wife and child. Even so, we took a high stakes gamble by moving in with somebody that neither one of us knew much about. We just knew that the family considered her crazy, but as I have said that means nothing to me because I consider the average person in our society to be completely insane. To me, if you are under the influence of the American Hologram’s thaumaturgy, then you are by definition quite insane. I don’t need to go into an explanation as to what exactly the Hologram is. I’ve blogged about it extensively here at Epiphany Now.

I was a few months into this experiment, dealing with the nuisance of the Whos, when Mordred and Tina LeFay attacked, and it was a serious injury. It called into question the viability of what we were doing in Whoville. As I’ve been illustrating, Whoville is not populated by awakened individuals. The populace of Whoville is not concerned with broadening their awareness or expanding their consciousness. They are not Peak Oil aware and do not care about climate change. PO is not even on the radar and climate change is just liberal conspiracy theory attempting to “fukin’ mess with naescur god daamitt…fukin’ liberals tryin’ to spread that mooslim jibber jabber.” There are non-redneck inhabitants of Whoville, but they are still unaware of the Hologram. This has been the most challenging aspect of living in Whoville for me. Here I am trying to spread Permaculture to a populace that is unaware that there is a problem with the American lifestyle to begin with. I’m at best a fledgling permaculturalists with very limited plant knowledge. I’m in no position to spread anything and need somebody to follow myself. On top of this I am being assaulted by completely retarded Southern Baptist Satan worshipers.
 
What exactly did he mean by “Satan’s Authority”? Was it just his damaged brain spurtin’ out the first thing that came to mind in the heat of our encounter. Is he actually worshiping Jebus in the front of the church and then Satan in the basement of the church with a handful of other ratards after the morning service? I don’t know, and I don’t really care to find out. I just want him to stay the hell away from our homestead because he’s no good for us, or anybody else for that matter…to include himself. Aunt Bee later told me that Mordred had warned her that I had “the Earth spirit in’em.” The “Earth Spirit”!!! What the fuck? No doubt this is some shit he’s heard from his preacher. Apparently this is what he told Bee at their lunch just before he brought his scandaling ooziness to my homestead. They were sittin’ in a Chick-filet (a southern baptist owned fast food joint…no really, you have to be a professed southern baptist to work there) with Mordred reading the bible out loud at the table to Aunt Bee over chicken biscuits. I’m not makin’ this shit up either…it’s non-fiction and being reported as it occurred to me.
 
When Wendy got home, I gave her the entire report of what had transgressed in her absence. She was furious and extremely embarrassed of her relatives. I was still in a state of shock for having been treated in that way by family. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it caused some strain in our relationship as husband and wife, and for no other reason than her guilt over being related to that atrocity of a man, combined with my legitimate fear of her insane family (cause I haven’t even breached the topic of her mom’s crazy ass yet). After this incident I found out that Mordred and Tina were pretty much excommunicated from the Spencer family already for past shenanigans. The eldest brother Randy Spencer (and pretty much the only “normal” member of the Spencer family…at least as far as I’ve been able to determine), and Wendy’s mother Susan, both disliked Mordred from their youth. Mordred stayed in Grandpa’s house until he met Tina in his mid 20’s. He stayed at home because he was lazy and didn’t want to work. He spent his days smoking weed and getting drunk (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that) whenever he wasn’t at church praising Jebus. That’s where he met Tina actually…in church. Tina took the place of Grandpa Spencer for Mordred. I guess he just needs somebody to bitch slap his poor ass around and tell him what to think and do.
 
Aunt Bee was the only Spencer that stayed in touch with Mordred. He kept her around because she gave him money. In fact, just about everybody in Aunt Bee’s life was around because she gave them money. That’s how she has learned to relate to family, and it’s also been a challenge getting her to understand that she doesn’t have to pay for our affection. She doesn’t see a problem with it, and actually enjoys the position it gives her. She likes buying things for people because she likes looking like she’s got money, and she likes the position it puts her in, but also because she really is just a kind individual whom likes helping people.
 
I realize that Wendy and I are also benefiting from Aunt Bee. It’s just that our relationship is a bit more symbiotic and fair. We are not taking her money…at least not directly. We have actually managed to save her money in utilities by getting her to understand that when it’s nice outside you can turn the air off and open the windows, and that when it’s cold outside you can put on clothing in the house and sit under a blanket rather than turning the thermostat up 10 degrees. When we moved in, Aunt Bee would turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees so that she could take a shower. She didn’t like feeling cold when she got undressed to get into the hot shower. We got her a little electric space heater to heat just the bathroom up rather than the 2000 square foot trailer. We got her to stop buying paper towels as we use wash clothes in their place. We hang dry our clothing when we can. We stopped all of the money that was leaving the house for things like fixing leaking toilets, steam cleaning all of the carpet in the house every month, and cutting the dirt and weeds twice a week. If something needs fixin’ or maintenance done, I do it for free. After all, it’s my home now. My point is that we have saved Aunt Bee a lot of money by living the way that we do. Unfortunately I must report that all this has accomplished is to enrich the Matriarch and her conniving brood of vultures. All of the money, and then some, that we have saved Aunt Bee, she has given to the Whos. The Matriach of Whoville has her trained very well. Anytime Aunt Bee has extra money she ends up calling her and coming up with ways she can spend money on the Matriarch. They’ll go out to eat, or get their hair cut, or go shopping. I understand that Bee likes spending money. It’s not just the Whos fault. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they are still taking advantage of her.
 
Wendy was enraged by Mordred. She decided that the best course of action would be to call 911 and report the incident so that we could have them trespassed. I talked her out of calling the police, but she printed up a trespass document online that was supposedly official, had me sign it, and mailed it certified mail to Mordred’s residence. We never got confirmation that he signed for it. I have suspicions that Aunt Bee called and told them what it was so that they would refuse to sign for it. I could care less about the notice because if he ever shows up again, as I have said, the first thing I’m going to do is call 911. The second thing I’m going to do is get my 12 gauge. My suspicions about Aunt’s Bee’s honesty have been proven correct since the attack of Mordred and Tina LeFay. I’ll get into that soon. The next adventure in the Whoville Chronicles involves something as simple as beating back the onslaught of Mother Nature. Of course this aspect of the story will also explore Aunt Bee’s honesty, and therefore ethics, and the issue of how we will be able to meet our unspoken agreement to fulfill the conditions of this arrangement we have entered into with her.
 
The arrangement I’m talking about is our method of payment to her for allowing us into her home, now our home, to live utility and mortgage free. The unspoken agreement is that we will care for her into her “golden years.” We will take care of her financial and medical concerns. We will care for her in old age as if she were our own beloved parent. She has no children, and her husband has passed. You are now qualified to make a biased opinion on how things would work if the Whos were to take charge of these issues for her. It’s not as if the Matriarch required payment to help take care of her dying brother at the end of his life. The fact is, our agreement is just as beneficial to Aunt Bee as it is to us. As free as our mortgage and utility free lifestyle is, it comes at a cost…just not a financial one. In fact, we have been paying the cost of living this lifestyle since the day we moved here. Again, you are qualified to make your own biased opinion on the matter having read up to this point.
 
Before I get into the issue of Mother Nature’s relentless onslaught, and the insane tactic our society uses to combat it, and how the issue of Aunt Bee’s honesty weaves into this, I’ll explore one other aspect of our situation. What we have done…moving in with family like we have, is an option that I imagine is available to a healthy portion of my readers. In fact, it’s probably an option available to a majority of Americans. I’m talking about moving in with family to forgo the rat race. All that is required to drop out of the Matrix, or the American Hologram, is the ability to live mortgage/rent free. If you can manage that, than you can probably manage to not need your own vehicle. If you can live mortgage/rent free, and you don’t require a vehicle, than you can probably get by without working. The only other issue is going to be the one of health insurance. I would say that this is the largest sacrifice my family has made by choosing this option. We are dealing with this now due to our second pregnancy.
 
I’ve written about this topic before. If you have any elders in your family, there is a good chance that they have a home (pending they haven’t been sent to one of our amiable geezer freezers yet). There is a good chance that they spend a lot of money on getting things done around the house that they can no longer do themselves…like having the grass mowed, plumbing, and issues revolving around a houses tendency towards rot and decay. This is a potential opportunity for you…and your family. It’s a way to tell the Hologram to go fuck itself without having money. That is mainly what the Whoville Chronicles are about. This is just one anecdotal report from one individual who is putting everything he’s got into resigning from the Matrix/Hologram/Rat Race (it goes by many names), and doing so with a growing family. Of course there is always the potential option of moving back in with your parents. Naturally you have to grow the ability to not care about what people are going to say about you. Our society wants us to believe that you are not successful unless you have your own home and therefore lots of debt. It’s the game that everybody else is playing. It’s bullshit. The “ownership society,” is how Bush put it. That’s exactly right, as in the Corporatocracy owns your ass, and in perfect double think, you think you own it. What you own is the right to no longer participate.
 
The majority of the world, for the majority of recorded history, has lived with family for generations. A multi-generational household has always been the norm. It’s my opinion that the industrial revolution is largely responsible for changing that fact. This could be boiled down further to our magical petroleum inheritance being responsible for the lose of the generational household. Why do we feel the need to have our own homes? What is wrong with living in a family unit beyond husband, wife, and children? Isn’t this sorta what a tribe is? True, there is a lose of privacy, and? What does that really matter? Is it really that much of a nuisance to hear somebody else taking a shit, or making love, or having an argument? Does it really matter if your family happens to find out your business? Is it that important to be able to run around in your house naked playing grab ass and hide the sausage with your wife (or husband). The point I’m trying to make here is how much privacy do you need? At least privacy from your family. Besides, if you work for a corporation, it’s not as if your ass hole has much privacy, nor the contents of your urine.
 
Living with family has some major challenges. I believe that those challenges can be overcome. The fact is that the world is pretty much finished supplying us with the infinite growth paradigm delusion. Beyond this, refusing to participate in the Hologram is just more authentic and honest no matter who you are. In the next segment of The Whoville Chronicles I’ll be picking up where I left off. I’ll be telling about Admiral Dumpy and how I managed to push her off of Aunt Bee’s financial teat. To be clear, it was not my intention to do so. It just happened that my doing “the right thing” resulted in her being pushed off the teat…but not before she extracted one last bit of Whoville homage.

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