Hoovering: The Narcissist’s 4th Phase

INTRODUCTION
In the past, I have written about three primary phases of a relationship with a Narcissist. To review:

  1. Love-Bombing: The Narcissist tells you how wonderful and fantastic you are.
  2. Devalue: The Narcissist declare that you cannot do anything right.
  3. Discard: When they believe they are done getting their Narcissistic supply from you, they throw you in the trash.

But there is a fourth phase that I don’t think I have ever talked about. The reason why I don’t think I talked about it is because it’s a phase that does not always happen.

Today, I will be writing about Hoovering, what it means, and I’ll give two examples.


WHAT IS “HOOVERING?”
In America, Hoover is a popular brand of vacuum cleaner that is used to suck up dirt. The reason why this is named as such is because after the Narcissist throws their victims in the garbage, they might want to get more supply, so they work to suck that person back into their lives.

If the victim goes along with it, then they are once again victimized and discarded.

Narcissists are like drug addicts, except their drug comes in the form of whatever it is that they get from their victims. They feed off your anger, fear, frustration, confusion, and other negative emotions. In a way, they are a lot like psychic vampires.

A Narcissist can drain you in the same way as a Psychic Vampire or Emotional Vampire.

1 of 2: THE BAND NARCISSIST
I do think that I’ve written about this particular story before, but I didn’t really acknowledge the Hoovering.

I had been asked to drum for a singer/songwriter who had moved to LA from Texas. I liked his songs and was interested in being part of his band.

He was/is a major control freak, and would do strange things to assert control. For example, he would tell me that we were rehearsing on Tuesday at 2:00pm. I would show up and he would not be there. I’d call and he’d not answer.

Finally, at around 4:00pm, he would show up. This was accompanied with the complaint that I woke him up and he never gets up before 5:00pm. Not knowing what he was doing, I told him that he should pick a time that works for him, and that I was flexible.

After he did this a few times, I decided that I was going to quit, so I called him.

This was when the Hoovering took place.

I told him that I didn’t think the situation was right for me, and that he should find someone else. He suddenly became this really nice person on the phone.

“Dude, don’t quit. You know, being in a band is like being in a relationship. You have to spend time together and see where things go. You have to give it a chance before you just run. I really want you to be my drummer, so I hope that you’ll stick around.”

After hearing his sales pitch, I decided to go along with it, and I told him that I would give the band some more time.

He sounded very happy about that, thanked me for listening, and we hung up.

It was just one hour later that he called me back.

“Dude, it’s not working out. You’re fired.”

CLICK


2 of 2: THE DRUM FORUM NARCISSISTS
I have struggled with naming the Narcissists in this story. Instead of naming them, I’ll just name the drum forum and let the reader know that the Narcissists in question are the forum owner and their head moderator.

It’s a forum where members PAY to gain access to the forums. I paid to join, and this included a t-shirt from the website.

Circa 2003: Wearing my Drummer Cafe t-shirt.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that the owner, the head moderator, and the majority of their members were Christian drummers. Most of the topics were “P&W,” which means “Praise & Worship.”

Many of the threads were more about religious belief, and just coincidentally contained drumming.

I felt completely out of place. I tried posting a few times about only drumming, before figuring out that I wasn’t really wanted on the forum.

After the head moderator chewed me out, for reasons I will never understand, I decided that the website wasn’t for me, and I quit. Had they let me go without Hoovering me back in, this would be the end of the story, and I probably would never have written about it, since it is so far in the past.

The forum owner and head moderator found me on AIM chat. They told me that they noticed I had quit, and that they were disheartened to know that I was not happy with the website.

They asked what was wrong, and I told them. I tried to be as sensitive as possible, to the point that I blamed not fitting in on myself.

They BEGGED me to return and promised that they’d work to do better. After five minutes of begging, I decided that maybe I should give them another chance.

[Humans are SO predictable!]

So I logged back in a few minutes later and was looking through threads. I don’t recall the precise topic of the thread, but the owner posted something about doing “X” if you wanted to have greater success with the music business in general.

I decided to interact, so I posted a question along the lines of, “I haven’t heard this before, and it sounds great. How does one go about doing this?”

With that, I opened up the door for the owner to go full Narcissist on me, in the forum thread, in front of EVERYONE.

“How DARE you question me, and on MY forum in front of everyone! I have tolerated you on this forum for a long time, and I think that now is the time to tell you that you are being kicked out of the forum and permanently banned. Don’t ever come back!”

The head moderator threw in a few cents’ worth, to get his Narcissistic supply, and then I was gone.

I had no idea what this situation was all about, until one of the forum members contacted me. His name was RJ, and he told me that he was there and present for the entire thing, from them planning what they were going to do to me, to the online chat.

They did this ON PURPOSE! This helped me to understand why they have to keep telling everyone that they’re “good Christians.” Because NOBODY would ever guess it based on what they say and do.

Their religious status is irrelevant because they are Narcissists.


WHY SOME NARCISSISTS DO THIS
I’m certain that you can see both MY predictable patterns, as well as THEIRS. More about that later.

A Narcissist cannot stand someone else to leave them. They view it as being abandoned, because their egos are big and very fragile. They can’t handle abandonment.

It is very much like a baby in the crib with their mother nearby, and then suddenly mom has to leave the room for a minute. They don’t understand what is going on, and so they cry and cry, pitching a fit that inspires mom to return.

They panic. NOBODY leaves the Narcissist! Abandonment is a sensation that comes easily to the Narcissist.

So they call you back [Hoovering] so that THEY can do the honors.


WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT IN THE FUTURE
Suppose that you have an experience with a Narcissist, like the ones I wrote about above. YOU decide that you are leaving, the Narcissist feels like an abandoned baby, and they attempt to Hoover you back.

One option is to cut them off completely. Just disappear. If they write, don’t respond. If they call, don’t answer.

This is not always an option, so there is another avenue that you can pursue. It’s a method known as “gray rock.” In this method, you’ve resumed contact with the Narcissist, but your answers are very, very boring.

With this approach, it is important to have a set of canned responses, and to STICK to them.

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. I don’t know.

The above list is a really good gray rock script. How would YOU feel if someone responded to everything you said with these short, uninspired stock answers? A normal person would probably take a hint that you’re not interested in talking to them, and move on.

With a Narcissist, however, doing this deprives them of the Narcissistic supply that they so desperately need.

Don’t fight. Don’t challenge. Don’t change the tone of your voice beyond a boring, uninspired monotone.


DOES IT WORK?
Not only does it work, but it works VERY quickly. I did this when my ex-wife was harassing me over the phone and email. Anything I would say to her would typically get me some laughter in my face, or a verbal fight of some kind.

My answers for her were:

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Call my lawyer.

At the time that I started this, I was getting several emails and phone calls per day. The contact that I got from her went from several times per day, to one email.

The first year, I got five emails and one phone call.

The following year, I got two emails and no calls.

The year after that, I heard nothing. I’ve not heard anything for years now. She gave up on getting her Narcissistic supply from me because I wasn’t giving it to her. I was being boring and dull, instead of getting upset, asking that she tell me why she was doing the things she was doing, or otherwise squirming.

Narcissists survive on YOUR anger, frustration, and sadness.

[After reading this, I can say that this is also an example of Hoovering, but with a gray rock solution.]


IN THE END
As I noted earlier, this fourth phase doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the Narcissist has a great deal of supply that they can get elsewhere. They will try to Hoover you up if they see you as an easy and compliant source. They try to Hoover you if they think that you’re not smart.

Autistic people are at greater risk of being Hoovered, since we can be easily manipulated at times. When I had no awareness of my Autism, and knew NOTHING about Narcissism, I just wrote things off as that specific person being a jerk.

Now I know that it’s a personality type. I know what to watch for in behaviors. I know how to stand up and nip it in the bud. And I am also aware of my Autism and the weaknesses that can be present with this.

I know their game, and knowing their game gives me the power of NOT playing the game with them.

Hoovering is a behavior that I should have written about when I was writing about the first three behaviors [Love-Bombing, Devalue, Discard]. However, I am glad that I gave Hoovering its own entry because it doesn’t always happen.

The other three phases are 100% guaranteed.

Stay safe out there, and remember to protect yourself. If you are not certain as to what you can do to protect yourself, then please consider subscribing to my blog, as I will do some writing about that in the very near future.

The world is all about surviving, and being a survivor instead of a victim.


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The Need to “Go Somewhere”

INTRODUCTION
One has not truly lived until a person they’re dating turns to them one day and says that they are concerned that they don’t know where things are going.

It’s got to “go somewhere,” they say.

Today, I’d like to explore that idea.

Tibo Bat wonders not where things are going, as all roads lead to snacks, cuddles, and nap time.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
When I used to have jobs, every so often my attempts at working optimistically would get interrupted by a manager who would want to talk with me about my future.

“Am I not doing a good job?” I would ask. They’d tell me that I was doing fine, but that maybe I should consider moving into management.

The last time I got asked this was in 2015. I told him that I wasn’t certain, as “I don’t have 2020 vision.”

It was the only opportunity that I got to use that joke, and I wasn’t about to waste it.

But they didn’t like my serious answers, which involved a vision or plan where I’d do work and keep doing work. I had no interest in getting paid more to talk about the work and babysit adults than the people who actually do the work. I never liked that system, and did not want to be party to it.

The boss, like all bosses, never gave up on the idea that I needed to be “going somewhere.”


ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY?
When I was a young adult, I’d get asked by older relatives when I was going to get married, or when I was going to have kids. To my credit, I resisted asking them when they were going to die.

It got annoying, so I ended up asking them if they could allow me the space to live my own life as I wanted. That got them to stop, for the most part.


MARRIAGE ISN’T FOR ME
I had a few girlfriends who wanted to get married. They kept asking where things were going.

When they told me that they wanted to get married, I had to wonder if they were going to ask me where things were going after we got married.

The next stop is either divorce or death. Divorce is the preferred option if you want to stay out of jail, and if you require a quick answer.

I knew where I wanted things to go after the break-up, and that is far, far away from me.


WHY THIS IS SO PREVALENT
Life is full of uncertainty. It is also full of decisions to be made, and I’ve chosen poorly on many occasions.

The reason why people would be asking me where things were going for me, was because they were seeking out validation for their own choices.

Maybe they did things the way their parents did, or the way in which they suggested. Maybe they did things the way their friends did things.

I once asked an adult relative of mine [from the previous generation] why she got married. She told me, “Well, all of my friends were married by age 19-22, and they had babies. I didn’t want to be left out, so I got married and had children to fit in with everyone else.”

When they ask me where things are going, they are seeking out validation that THEY made the right choices in their lives. So if they moved into management, and I had no desire for it, they might wonder if they made the right decision. But more than likely, they will judge me as being stupid or lazy, and then reassure themselves that they made the right choice.


IN THE END
In the big picture, all of this ends up going to the grave. It’s where we all end up.

Where we take things is not important in the grand scheme of things. However, it IS important to us in the right here, right now.

People want to know where things are going. The answer I gave above is the answer that I live with.

Much like I don’t need to be happy all the time, or need to be wealthy, or anything else that is attractive to humans in general, I also do not have the need to be going somewhere with ANY of this.

All I really need involves simply being, in lieu of going somewhere.

The idea that we’re going somewhere with what we are doing helps people feel good about themselves, for some reason.

I don’t need to be rich. I don’t need to be married. I don’t need to be “on my way up” in any regard.

I only need to be. From there, I deal with what is before me in the moment.

And then, I return to being.


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RIP Shure SRH440 Pro Studio Headphones

The year was 1992, and I had decided that I was in the market for a cassette 4-track multi-tracking recorder. So I went to West LA Music [RIP] and was hanging out in the Pro Audio department.

A salesman in that department was helping Paula Abdul with her home studio. She bought the Yamaha MT120S. I figured if it’s good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me.

The rep put together a great package for me, which included a Shure SM58 mic for free, as well as an XLR-1/4″ jack converter.

My old SM58 microphone eventually found fame and fortune, when it appeared on the back of the comedy album, “Curse of the Drinknif Class” by Chris Neff.

He also gave me a good deal when I added pro headphones to the package. And those headphones were the Shure SRH440 headphones.

I still have the Yamaha MT120S 4-track, although it is being stored for safekeeping until I can afford to spend time and money on reviving it. The microphone is long gone, having fallen victim to the passage of time.

But I was using my Shure SRH440 headphones as late as yesterday afternoon. I used them years before my son was born. I used them during the Ruby Cassidy writing and recording sessions. I used them in my home studio, as well as in a studio that I had helped to build.

They were not just used in pro situations, but also with personal listening. They were my one-and-only for the longest time. I used them until the ear pads wore out, and I replaced them with a new set for about $6.

So WHAT happened to them?

Yesterday, I set them on a little tackle box I have that I used for guitar repair equipment. They then slipped off after the cable was caught on my toe, causing them to fall about 8″ to the floor.

When this happened, a piece of plastic that holds one of the cans onto the entire unit broke. The plastic pieces I found were VERY fragile, which tells me that degradation of the plastic meant that it was only a matter of time.

I hate throwing them out, but I am not in a position to repair them.

But fear not, for I have a replacement already.

Back when I was working and making good money, I invested in a set of brand new headphones. Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT headphones are very similar to the Shure headphones. The difference is that these also have Bluetooth capability, which I use VERY frequently.

Much like the Shure headphones, the one thing that also annoys me about the Sennheiser headphones it that they come with proprietary cables.

I had not used the cable for the Sennheisers in years, and would use the Shure headphones whenever I needed a cable.

Really, I couldn’t find the Sennheiser cable, and assumed it got lost when I moved from LA in 2019.

But I went through a cable box, lo and behold, I found it!

This means that I can use the Sennheiser in a cabled situation as well.

Whew!

Today, I say a fond farewell to my old Shure headphones. They lasted 3 decades, which is not something that can be said about most pieces of gear of this size and type.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May 2019: Using my Shure headphones during my final Noodle Muffin recording session, before moving to Oregon.

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A Big Sign of Healing

This entry isn’t going to have sections, and it could be brief.

After sitting down to write, I remembered that I had some draft writings saved. So I went to check those out, and there were FOUR recently written drafts. They were very long and included some anecdotes to serve as warnings of situations where Narcissistic abuse could potentially occur.

The majority of it was based on personal experience.

As I started reading through the drafts to see what I could do about getting them in a place where they are ready to be posted online, I began to feel this foreign sensation. It was very unfamiliar, yet positive and non-threatening.

I started to realize that I no longer care.

Don’t get me wrong. I care about the topic. Much of what I wrote involved describing the Narcissists and the things they did.

What do I no longer care about? The Narcissists themselves and the things they did to me.

There are various things that happen in the healing process. Because when the abuse first happens, and the damage is done, you go through a good deal of things.

The issues one experiences can include things like self-doubt, where you are convinced that you are not capable of avoiding Narcissists.

There is also the fear that they might return to “Hoover” you back into their lives. This happens VERY often with Narcissistic abuse. In my case, one of the Narcissists is dead. But the other two are of no concern to me.

But wait! There’s more!

Your self-esteem gets knocked into the dirt. Mine was hovering slightly above the dirt at the time, so that wasn’t an impressive feat on their part.

Those are the big ones.

I realized that I am not afraid of them any longer. They have no power over me, and never will again. My self-esteem has been greatly improved, as is evidenced in my attitude and activity.

I’m also not afraid of meeting new people. This is because I trust my boundaries, and made a vow to myself to respect my own boundaries.

The big thing, which is so hard to describe, is that I don’t feel that general darkness hovering over my head. This was the kind of thing that fed my depression, generated irritability, and caused me to not be capable of much.

I don’t care about the Narcissists anymore. I don’t think of them. I don’t dwell. Most importantly, I do not ruminate. Rumination was a major issue for me, and I thank my medication for that. 300mg Bupropion, generic for Wellbutrin.

The reason I mention my meds is that maybe it will encourage others to give them a try.

My concern with taking these meds was that I didn’t want a “happy pill” to make me cheerful while the world is burning down. I don’t want to be in a delusional mindset.

That’s not how it works for me. I can still be sad and feel sadness, as well as other emotions. I can also get into a happy or positive space, which was previously prohibited by my Major Depressive Disorder [MDD].

Having access to a ray of sunshine helps. I can still acknowledge the bad things that are happening, the negative things, or those things that need my attention. No Pollyanna feelings are bouncing around.

The problem was that the dark, the bad, and the negative were getting way too much stage time in my head. They were reinforced in a horrible way.

Negative experiences get stored in the back of the brain’s right hemisphere. They are saved in video format, for lack of a better term. Conversely, positive experiences are stored in the front of the brain’s left hemisphere, and are saved in text format.

A visual representation is always more powerful than a written presentation.

The reason why negative memories are much more powerful is that it’s part of a survival strategy. With regard to survival, remembering that time when I almost got eaten by a Sabre-toothed tiger is by far more valuable than the time we got together for a birthday party.

The upside is that it helps us survive. But the downside is that it can and does generate trauma, and we don’t know how to process that. Until recently, people suffered trauma and just lived with it, until they no longer could. It’s tragic.

Circling back to Narcissistic abuse, most certainly I do need to remember the painful lessons learned. However, I do not need to relive this trauma over and over again in order to survive.

What I do need as part of my survival repertoire, based on life experience, is to make note of the traumatic events, identify what makes it traumatic, figure out what works to help prevent the trauma, implement that, and trust it.

And remember why it’s there. Boundaries are there to protect us. My boundaries are relatively new. Imagine an Autistic man with no boundaries and no filter.

I was a handful. Learning about boundaries, how to create them, how to implement them, how to respect them, and WHY I must respect them, has been more valuable to me than any of what I learned in school.

It’s time to let the healing take over. This means not getting into my old trauma in any great detail anymore. I can still reference it, but I won’t be plotting out the situations. I can keep that high-level and brief.

What this means is that I will no longer be detailing my trauma related to the Narcissistic abuse that I experienced.

I no longer care about the Narcissists who blew through my life, leaving destruction. Instead, I look to the silver linings. There was a great deal of disruption, and while that did damage a few things, it also shook off a large number of negative things in my life.

The greatest example can be found in the number of Facebook “friends” who weren’t real friends. Many only knew me by name. The majority of them knew nothing about me, never talked to me, and didn’t even care to know me. They mostly ignored me on Facebook.

But when a negative bandwagon showed up to burn me at the stake, they joined right in.

Funny how they only got active once they heard a rumor about me. It makes sense that they would wholeheartedly believe it. Meanwhile my real friends who know me and who care saw this and stuck with me. They knew about my character, including my strengths and failings, and stuck by me.

Facebook friends played a secondary role in the Narcissistic abuse, since most of them functioned as Flying Monkeys. You can click the link to read what I wrote about Flying Monkeys if you need that defined. At any rate, I am glad and relieved to be done with them as well.

What I’ve read seems to be true, in that the average adult has 2-5 true friends. The rest are acquaintances, and I don’t really want them in my business.

That’s why I don’t need Facebook to keep up with friends. I can just text, email, or call them once in a while and we can catch up then. We don’t talk about politics or other things that fill up the pages of Facebook.

We get to choose to leave out the negative things that divide.

The good, real friends who care made a big difference in my ability to reach the positive place where I am right now.

I suppose the best way to end this is by noting what this change will mean to my blog.

What it means is less negativity and injury, and more positivity and healing. I have seriously never been in this type of headspace before, and it is rather invigorating. The world opens up. Yesterday, I did some major housework and found a creative way to get the rest of my studio set up.

I broke an actual sweat, AND I felt good about it.

Indeed, my Narcissism journey has entered a place of healing, where I can pack up that trauma and safely put it away somewhere, merely for the sake of reference when I suspect that I might need new boundaries, or should I wish to review my boundaries.

What topics remain for me include Narcissistic healing, Autism growth, music, media, cats, and more. I may also delve into fiction, which I tried for a while, until my MDD got in the way and shut that down.

With my MDD in check, I was able to get into a place of healing. Again, I attribute this to the meds that I was prescribed by my doctor, after we talked about the issue, as well as competent and productive weekly therapy sessions.

So we will see where all of this takes us. Wherever things end up going, I sense that it will be positive. This is a first for me, so I’m looking forward to sharing that adventure.

Autism: The Myths, the Good, and the Bad of a Late Adult Diagnosis

INTRODUCTION
In late 2017, just before my 53rd birthday, I got tested and received my diagnosis of Level 1 Autism, formerly known as High-Functioning Autism, formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome.

I can’t say why they got rid of the Asperger’s label. As for “High-Functioning,” that label is going away partially because it’s ableist. But it’s also inaccurate, for I am not always high-functioning.

At any rate, when I tried to find information online in an effort to get help, I was met with the hard fact that there is not much out there for Autistic adults. There is a TON of info about Autistic children, followed by info about Autistic women.

Because, in America, men are supposed to be manly and tough it out, I suppose. Along those lines, it would make no sense for an Autistic man to hide it, primarily because we can’t. Autistic men are WAY more open about their emotions. So I don’t know why this is the case.

Today, I’d like to touch upon the positives and negatives of getting a late-in-life diagnosis. I’d also like to go over a few ideas or misconceptions that I’ve learned about.

Of course, this is NOT a replacement for actual therapy, or a proper diagnosis.


AUTISM MYTHS
These are just a few of the myths that I’ve personally heard about Autism, some of which came from people who were unwilling to accept my professional diagnosis.

We are not geniuses: Some might be. I do have some strong memory, spelling, and mathematical abilities. But, no, we are NOT all like Rain Man.

All Autistic people are the same: Nope! There may be some general things. But Autism lives on a spectrum. Given the fact that every person is different, it stands to reason that every Autistic person has a unique experience with their Autism.

Even the experts don’t know it all: I had a NeuroPsychiatrist in 2020 want to evaluate me to confirm my initial diagnosis in 2017. He said that it did match up. However, he had a problem with it when I told him that I’m a multi-instrumentalist musician.

Basically, he told me that was odd, because, “Autistic people are generally NOT creative.”

This sounded strange to me, so I had to reply, “Ah, you mean like Edward Van Halen, or Gary Numan, or Mozart? Are you suggesting that Autistic people might not enjoy the mind-numbing repetition that comes with learning a musical instrument?”

He decided to dismiss his previous comment, and we moved on.

Autism is not a synonym for retardation: I know, this is not a positive word to use. To be fair, I am not using the word as an attack on others, or as an insult or pejorative. But it’s what is implied online, when people use “Autistic” as a slur or personal attack.

TOP: A guitar subReddit on Reddit, where they use “Autism” as a synonym for “Retardation.”
BOTTOM: Me, with this “Autistic” and VERY rare Fender Double-Cut Telecaster.
“Autistic screeching” is represented as “REEEEEEEEEEE!” and is a negative term to represent an Autistic meltdown, which is nothing more than a modified panic attack.

In some cases, an Autistic person has a higher-than-average IQ. Having a decent IQ isn’t enough in our world, where you also have to have charisma, social strength, popularity, and other things that escape the Autistic mind.

It must be understood that Autism and mental retardation are two completely different things.

Social interactions can be VERY awkward. Notice how he tells Alice that he’s waiting “patiently,” as he is doing things physically and audibly that indicate the polar opposite. Even with my level of awareness, it is possible for me to do the same thing.

NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES OF A LATE ADULT DIAGNOSIS
When I first got the diagnosis, and learned just a bit about what it meant to e Autistic, my life suddenly made sense. I understood every bad social situation. I got every bad thing that happened to me in school, but not to everyone else. I understood why I’d not make friends, or why some women would avoid me. I learned why I attract Narcissists and destructive people. I understood why I couldn’t ever keep a job for longer than 3-5 years.

Everything made sense.

I understood why it felt like things were physically boiling beneath my skin in certain situations. I knew why I had stress in situations that don’t bother other people. I figured out why I was so exhausted when at a party meeting people, and why I felt energized when I’d hide in the coat room for a half hour. I learned why I had to do things a certain way.

This personal enlightenment was followed by the hard reality of it all; that it felt like a life wasted. Would my life have been different? Probably. Would it have been better? It’s hard to say. More about that later.

But realizing that early detection is key, that early detection happens by age 3, and that I missed that boat by HALF A CENTURY can be frustrating, angering, and demoralizing.

And NOT ONE person ever said anything to me about it.

Since there is no cure, and I’ve wanted one, my Autism is something that I have to accept and live with. There isn’t much that I can do about any of it.

This is my experience with job interviews. The issue isn’t the rejection, which is expected. Rather, it’s the entire experience. The nightmare.

POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF LATE ADULT DIAGNOSIS
One of those is noted above, in that my entire life suddenly made sense. In my case, my Autism helped me find happiness with music. I would not have had the adventure in life that I’d had without it.

For me, there is also positivity to be found in the fact that an early diagnosis for me would not have turned out well at all.

I watch a guy on YouTube named Vaush. He’s around my son’s age, but he was diagnosed as Autistic when he was very young, after his parents took him to a professional for evaluation. This was in the late 90s, which is important.

His parents were told by the person evaluating [could be a Psychiatrist or NeuroPsychiatrist] that he DID NOT want to give this young man an official diagnosis, because he would be treated differently by the system, and might not get the education that he needs or deserves.

This got me thinking about where I went to school We had Kindergarten thru 12th grade in one building. But there was this trailer in the middle of the U-shaped structure.

This trailer was where they kept the “special needs” kids. There was mental retardation, Down’s Syndrome, and severe troublemakers. Their “education” involved lots of field trips and sitting around, burning time. It was like modified institutional babysitting.

They were the kids on which society had given up.

Had I gotten a proper diagnosis in the late 60s, it would have been worse than what could have been the case for Vaush in the late 90s. In the 60s, they did not know as much about Autism as they do now.

However, considering the “education” that I got growing up, I wonder if that would have made a difference. I have already been able to determine that I would have had a decent enough of a life had I left school at 15.

It was bad enough that in Kindergarten I was almost failed and deemed “retarded” because I wasn’t getting certain coloring projects colored properly. They figured that I was a rebel, or maybe I was stupid.

What they DID NOT consider was that the cruel kids in the class, lead by wealthy elitist Mike Bauner, ripped the labels off of my oversized crayons in Kindergarten. As a result, I struggled with certain colors. It would not be until 2nd grade that I was tested and diagnosed as being partially color-blind.

In regard to proper diagnosis as a child, based on what I know and can guess, it seems that I’ve dodged a bullet. Maybe. That’s the thing about evaluating the past with eyes of the present. One can never really know the outcome of anything like this.

Even though I cannot realistically predict any specific outcome based on the past and “what if,” I suspect that I will have no choice but to accept my late diagnosis. The alternative is to remain upset about the sensation that mine was a life wasted.


IN THE END: A GIFT?
I want to end this particular entry with a word about Autism being a “gift.” I must admit that I got VERY angry when the therapist who tested gave this word a mention.

It was right after I felt relieved about the diagnosis, telling him, “Good. Now that we know the problem, we can fix it.”

He laughed and replied to my statement with, “There is no cure for Autism. Besides, why would you want to cure it, when it’s a gift?”

My response to that didn’t even require thought. “Because it’s a shitty fucking gift that has gotten in the way of friendships, relationships, jobs, opportunities, and EVERY SINGLE THING that I have ever tried to do with my life.”

While it is negative in that regard, it has a positive in that it is probably what drives my brain, as well as my music and my writing. It puts a certain color on the good things.

The problem with all of this, of course, is that American society is HIGHLY judgmental of people who do not have great success in their jobs. I’ve never had a job for long. I never made huge money. I never owned a home or a new car. I have NOTHING in the way of retirement, at all, and have been unemployable for the past six years.

Those are just a few examples of how it gets in the way. But to the point, when a person looks at me, they typically see a loser and a failure because I didn’t achieve financially, and don’t have a flashy title or a position of power.

Not only do I have to accept myself and my diagnosis, but the struggle also includes learning how to accept the fact that the majority of people in our society will consistently either misunderstand me, or judge me harshly before dismissing me.

They’ll say I’m stupid or lazy, when neither of these is true. They don’t understand, and they don’t care to understand. Some even call it an “excuse.”

My challenge is to ignore their words, acknowledge their stupidity, and live with being the outcast.

Sometimes I try to have a sense of humor about the situation.
All of the things that this fictional reporter finds intriguing about prison life sound good to me.

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Relationships and Moving Too Fast

INTRODUCTION
I think that everyone has heard the phrase “moving too fast” when talking about relationships. Typically, this is within the context of romantic relationships, with regard to sexual activity.

This is a distraction.

Having sex with someone before you know them is very risky. You don’t know what’s going on with them, and they don’t know you well enough to give a shit about whether or not they infect you with anything, so long as they get what they want. That’s a legitimate concern.

But for today, I’m talking about that thing I do so well: Talking.


BEING AN OPEN BOOK
Before I got my Level 1 Autism diagnosis, I had no idea that I was moving too fast with regard to talking to people who were either friends or romantic interests. Effectively, I was an open book.

This was because I was giving trust to them way too quickly. PS: I know this was a weakness of mine, which is why this and any other issue noted is included here. I refuse to get into any potential current vulnerabilities.


PROJECTING MYSELF
Projecting myself means that I would take my own feelings about the world and then assume the rest of the world felt that way.

01 Nov 1995, New York City, New York, United States — Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin and alligator “Irvine” pose together at the Central Park boathouse. — Image by © Najlah Feanny/Corbis

For example, I would never consider lying to a friend or harming them. From this, I falsely concluded that the other person wouldn’t cause me harm because they also valued friendships or relationships.

This was before I learned about Narcissist, Psychopaths, and Sociopaths, or why they were so dangerous.


WHY ARE THEY SO DANGEROUS?
They don’t possess normal human capacity for emotions. They have no sympathy, empathy, or Humanity.

They also do not view other people as humans who have feelings. Rather, they view other people as things that are there for them to use to their advantage, and then toss away in the trash when they are done.

Don’t take any of it from me. Here’s a chilling interview with a diagnosed Sociopath.

The face of terror can look like a regular college student. This particular Sociopath has a self-awareness about it, and at times talks about it as if it’s a compulsion that he cannot help or control. So he keeps to himself to try to protect potential future victims.
I do not find this to be any less terrifying.

What they do is pay attention at first. They are listening to what you say, and they ‘ll encourage you to say more. You might think they’re lending a friendly ear. But in reality, they’re listening for information that you will give them for later.

This information is something they can use against your or exploit in other ways in the future.

Your hopes and dreams are one thing they can use, but they can also use your fears, concerns, and weaknesses to their advantage.

If they know where you work, they can use that against you.

If they know your significant other, they can use that against you.

If they have access to your friends list, they can use that against you.

ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they can get from you in the way of information is something they can and will use against you later, when it is convenient for them.

This should make you really think about and reconsider your activity on social networking, as well as who you allow to access this information.


A LIFETIME OF MISTAKES
I’ve made the mistake of opening up too quickly with people who are “friends” or otherwise connected to me, because I just didn’t see how any of it could be used against me, or what would happen.

When things did eventually go wrong, I would attribute it to an issue with that specific person. I did not yet know about Narcissist and others with anti-social afflictions that encouraged and guided them to be destructive, terrifying monsters.


MY LAST MISTAKE
This was with a woman whom I had dated back in 1982. We got together again at the end of 2019, just before the pandemic.

Oddly enough, it was opening up about bad situations that I had experienced in the past that ended up being used against me. This person listened to me, and later recreated my horrors from the past, note-for-note. I even noticed and called her out on it.

NEVER call out a Narcissist, especially when they live with you. Learn about those dangers from Dr. Ramani.

Of course, Dr. Ramani also has advice on what to do instead of calling them out. She’s got an entire back-catalog of videos about Narcissists and dealing with Narcissism. Her videos moving forward in 2022 will be about recovery and healing.


A WORD ABOUT MIRRORING
In my last relationship with a Narcissist, another big mistake that I made was to tell her a great deal about me.

For example, I told her that I was still a musician and a songwriter. She replies, “I’m a songwriter, too!” Then she gave me some bad poetry that really wouldn’t even pass as that.

Later on, I told her about my Autism diagnosis. Her response to that was to get on Facebook and tell everyone that she was Autistic.

The last straw with this was when I told her about a strange time in my life when I did open mic stand-up comedy. She replied, “I do stand-up comedy, too. See how much we have in common?”

When I heard that, a wave of terror washed over me. In a panic, I called her out.

“Why are you copying me in every single way? You are NOT a songwriter. Where are your songs? You are NOT Autistic! Where is your diagnosis! And you are NOT a stand-up comedian. Where are your three minutes? Stop being what I am!”

That last statement really said it all. She had mirrored me to the point that after she left, I realized that I knew almost nothing about her.


WHY NARCISSISTS ENGAGE IN MIRRORING
There are at least three main reasons why a Narcissist will engage in this mimicry. The first one is that they simply have no stable identity of their own. In acquiring YOUR identity, they try it on for size.

The second reason why they engage in mirroring is to win you over quickly.

Finally, since the Narcissist lacks the skills to make a genuine connection, and have no real desire to make a genuine connection, mirroring gives them an avenue for faking intimacy.

Overall, mirroring is a quick and easy way for the Narcissist to gain your trust.

This explains why she was married five different times.


THE BENEFITS OF MOVING SLOWLY
The bottom line is that a person can tell you anything about themselves early on. In the case of toxic and destructive entities like Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sociopaths, they start out as very good listeners, because they are taking in the information and figuring out what will be important to them later.

Narcissists have a “tell” in their facial expressions. This expression is known as “duping delight,” which occurs when they believe that they’ve gotten away with something. Narcissists make strange faces. More about that later.

What a person like this cannot do on their own is sustain a lie for an extended period of time. When they have Flying Monkeys to sustain a lie on their behalf, it gives them space to build upon the lie, or to work on new lies.

But I digress.

When you are dealing one-on-one with an individual, it’s a different story.

The best mode of operation is to share information slowly, and start out with light topics. Talk about the music or movies that you like. Just avoid things like things that went wrong in past relationships.


A NARCISSIST’S TELL AND BEHAVIORS
As I noted in the graphic above, Narcissists have a “tell” in their facial expressions. One of those tells is called “duping delight.” This is when the Narcissist believes that they’ve gotten away with it when they’ve told a lie.

Photographs do it no justice, so here’s a video example. This is Diane Downs, after she had shot her three children. In this video, she describes a horrific scene and fails miserably at imitating human emotions. She is very cold and unfeeling as she talks about her bloody, dying children. Then, at the end, you get the Duping Delight.

THIS WILL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES FOR WEEKS.

As you can see in the above clip, she fails at expressing human emotions. It reminds me of a movie [I cannot recall the name], where a Psychopathic woman witnesses a child get hit and killed by a car. She sees the mother holding her dying daughter in her arms, crying.

She stands there, watching and taking mental notes. Then she goes home, looks into the mirror, and starts practicing the expressions.

It is not hype when I say that these people are incapable of many normal human emotions. They have no sympathy, empathy, or Humanity. But beware, because they do have anger and are very vengeful.

Do not rely on Duping Delight to tell you what is going on. The Narcissist [and I’ll use this label moving forward for Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sociopaths] also struggle to express other human emotions.

This time, I ‘ll utilize Donald Trump as an example, and share a post that explains why he makes all of those weird mouth shapes and faces when he talks.

It was important for Donald Trump to TELL his followers that he had a really high IQ, because NOBODY would ever guess it based on what he says or does, or by his very limited and broken vocabulary. This is why he had to say that he “has the best words.”

This is not to slam Trump, although it may be doing that as a secondary effect. My main reason for utilizing him in this entry is because most people are familiar with him, how he talks, how he looks, how he moves, and other things about him. Plus, there are thousands of hours worth of video that you can access, where you can see his broken thought processes, and an inability to form coherent sentences.

With my latest Narcissistic encounter, there were times when this person seemed hollow inside. I even once noted verbally that the way she moved was “as if a teenaged boy took over an older woman’s body and didn’t know how to work it properly.”

I have video of this, but will not be posting it. The point is not to attack or denigrate this unnamed person, but rather to highlight items or issues that can help identify a Narcissist or other dangerous people that you may encounter.


IN THE END
As you can guess, one solution can be found in the opposite of the title of this entry. Moving too fast is something that people like me do. A person who is Autistic may feel motivated to express, explain, and talk up a storm about things that may be of interest when another person is asking to hear about it.

Show discretion. Keep things light. Even if this person seems like they are cool and might make a good friend, or if you’re drawn to them on a romantic level and want to proceed more quickly, remember that they are a complete stranger.

Even in the case of an ex-girlfriend from 1982, I’d not talked to her since then, not until late 2019. In this case, I had built up a false sense of familiarity. The hard truth is that I did not know her at all.

Even worse, after living together for 9-10 months, I still know almost nothing about her. This is because she did not tell me anything about herself, and instead listened to me and then mirrored me note-for-note.

And this was after being in therapy for years, since my 2014 incident with two Narcissists at once. I thought that I was healed enough to get into the world and try again, but I was wrong on that count.

So far as this is concerned, if you have a therapist and also have concerned about being ready to re-enter the world, then ask the therapist if they believe that you are ready. Tell them about your concerns. They should understand your concerns based on what is talked about in therapy.

There are other signs to watch for, so this entry is by no means comprehensive. Also remember that I am not a psychiatrist or mental health professional, and instead I am a survivor of Narcissistic abuse.

That’s right. I am a survivor! I refuse to be a victim as a result of these situations. Yes, they caused damage and it resulted in pain.

Healing makes you a survivor. How do you know that you’re healing?

It’s when you no longer wonder what went wrong. You no longer blame yourself. You no longer fear that they might return, or even worse, wonder what they’re doing and end up pining for them to return. It’s when you no longer miss them and have moved on. It’s when you don’t search and seek them out online, or try to be sneaky about where the are now, what they’re doing, and with whom they are doing it.

Essentially, not caring.

As I write this, I feel my sense of self. I am whole. There is no fear, no hatred, no sense of wanting revenge. Instead, I have the very peaceful feeling of NOT CARING.

Not caring is the biggest sign that you are healing and have moved on.

Finally, do NOT take my word for any of this. I am not a mental health professional, but rather someone who has been through lots of therapy, as well as experiences that landed me there, and I have done a great deal of healing.

My contribution to society involves letting people know that these types of people exist in our society, that they are out there, and that they will destroy your life if you are not careful. And when they destroy your life, they won’t care one bit, and will throw you in the trash.

They are pretending to like you. They are pretending to love you. They are pretending to have human feelings.

Be careful out there. And remember to TAKE YOUR TIME. A little bit of caution goes a very long way.


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The Argument for Being Alone

INTRODUCTION
When we are young, we get sold so much garbage from our parents and others in our lives. We absorb these questionable things into our minds, into our psyche, and we then allow those things to run in the background to help us with life’s decisions.

Those untruths build up a narrative. Narratives can make life easier. Hot things are hot, and you shouldn’t touch them or it will burn you. That’s a healthy narrative.

I don’t want to blame my parents for selling me this crap. To be fair, they were sold this crap by THEIR parents, and they never knew better. Hell, my mother doesn’t understand why anyone would talk to a complete stranger about their problems in “therapy.”

All I can say for certain is that the narratives that I was sold ended up truly fucking up my life. With therapy, I have learned new approaches and methods. It requires more brain power to utilize these things, until they become second-nature as part of my internal narrative.

Once more healthy ideas become part of your narrative, then it takes no more brain power or effort than the old garbage that was there before.

Today I’m going to go through THREE types of relationship narratives that are high-level enough that the mess with all of us.

All Hail Tibo Bat, the King of Being Tired

1 of 3: IT IS BETTER TO BE WITH SOMEONE THAN TO BE ALONE
I remember my mother giving me “the talk.” This was after she asked my dad to give me that talk. What he said was so short and useless that it didn’t help me at all.

“Get her pregnant, and I’ll kick your ass.”

Great. Thanks, Dad.

Mom helped with lots of things, like giving me a book set called “The Cycle of Life.” This set has 4 books in it. The neat part is that the end of the 4th book cycles into the beginning of the 1st book, in the same way that life moves.

But not everything that I got was good or useful. Again, this is not to bash or shame her. She didn’t know better, and until now, neither did I.

“One day you’ll meet someone, and then you’ll be happy.”

What’s wrong with this idea, which later became part of my narrative, is that it instilled in my mind [subconsciously] that being with someone is a good thing, and being alone is terrible.

I absorbed this idea into my personal narrative, in spite of the fact that I mostly enjoyed being alone more than being around other people in general.

Ultimately, I ended up owning the idea that I had to have someone else in my life in order to be happy. This might not sound all that bad. But it gets really bad when you end up in a bad relationship, and are considering leaving to save yourself.

It can lead a person who leaves into a state of depression and self-hatred, because they gave up or weren’t interested in working things out, even when things cannot be worked out, and giving up and getting out is the healthier thing to do.

Where things get truly devious is when a spouse says something like, “A man and wife stick together, no matter what,” and then proceeds to be hyper-abusive with their knowledge [or assertion] that YOU are now family, and that makes YOU a fair target for abuse, and you are OBLIGATED to stick around and take the abuse, if you truly love the person dishing it out.

This gets highly dysfunctional VERY quickly.

The healthier place to be is in a mindset where one views themselves as being whole as an individual. From there, a relationship is NOT treated as a “completion,” but rather as an enhancement. It’s a “nice to have” that can either last a lifetime, or until it becomes something that is no longer wanted or needed.

When a split happens, there you will be… a whole person who doesn’t measure their happiness by using their relationship status, or lack thereof, as the standard.


2 of 3: STICK WITH [BIOLOGICAL] FAMILY, NO MATTER WHAT
This one is double-edged. Not only does it suggest that YOU should stick around, no matter what, but that THEY should ALSO stick around, no matter what.

If you don’t stick around because they are unhealthy, then you are instructed by the narrative to feel badly about yourself. And if THEY don’t stick around, for their own reasons, then you are instructed by your narrative to feel badly that they aren’t there.

In both cases, it puts the blame squarely on YOUR shoulders.

I talk to just two family members. As for the rest, it’s a variety of explanations. With some, we just weren’t close or didn’t know each other at all. Others are outright toxic people, and I can’t be around them.

A cousin one scammed me. He’s a Malignant Narcissist who is a pharmaceutical corporation CEO. So, of course he has no human feelings. He never has.

This brought about the end of our relationship, so far as I was concerned. And even though he had wronged me, I still felt badly about cutting ties, because of that family narrative that was running in my background.

I have since built my own family, based on people who care about me as I care about them, and those who want to be around me. Two of them are blood relatives, and the rest are decent people.

We talk on the phone, text, or even email. We don’t have to talk every day, although it’s okay if we have periods where we do, or when we don’t.

This is MY family, which I built. Every day, I hope that I can serve them as well as they serve me. It’s a wonderful thing, and I must NOT feel badly about myself for not allowing those who are destructive into my life.


3 of 3: OLD FRIENDS ARE WORTH KEEPING
I must be clear in that I have old friends who are reading this right now. If you’re an old friend, and we have been talking in RECENT times, then please understand that this is NOT about you.

What this is about is those really old friends, whom I’ve not heard from in years or even decades. I’ll keep them in my heart as friends, and even go so far as to look them up. I did this most recently with a former girlfriend from 1982.

In my mind, they are mostly the same person NOW as they were back THEN. This may or may not be true, as it is als possible that I never really knew them all that well in the first place.

A really good example of this can be found in those college friends. We went to class together, or hung out in the Commons together. Maybe we went to the same house parties. Some were in a band with me.

With many of my college friends from the past, it is true most of the time that I did not really know them all that well. We hung out, but we never had serious discussions where we talked about things that were truly important to us.

I’ve gone more in-depth with co-workers than I did with college friends. And I rarely talk to ANY former co-workers anymore. One former co-worker from the early 90s is probably reading this right now. The rest decided to move on.

The thing is, I should have moved on, too!

Instead of moving on, I romanticized the idea of getting back with them. And getting back together with an old girlfriend from 1982 wasn’t the first time.

I once tried to start up a new band with the singer from my college band. I moved from California to Virginia, after we talked for several months.

When I got there, I found out the hard way that he was a completely different person. Different from who he was back then, and different from who he presented himself as on the phone and in letters.

We did almost nothing music-related, and most of the time he couldn’t be bothered to even say hello to me when he got home from his government job. He was also divorce, which I did not know, and he had a daughter that he’d spend lots of time with, and I also did not know that.

He also suffered panic attacks and other psychological problems that he never told me about. This lie-by-omission was at the crux of what destroyed everything.

This “friend” misled me for reasons that I will never know. Maybe he was feeling nostalgic all the times we talked, but then when it was becoming real he leaned back on his current life, which was by far different from his life in college.

People change. Sometimes is for the better. Other times, not so much.


MORE ABOUT THOSE OLD FRIENDS WHO ARE STILL AROUND
I want to go back to friends from the old days with whom I am still connected, just for a moment, because I feel that this last point can get confusing.

Facebook is where you can find most of these “friends” from the past. In this situation, there are two different ways that a situation or scenario can go.

For example, you could say to them, “We should get on a video chat sometime.” They reply that it would be cool to catch up someday, sometime.

In a SECOND situation, you can say the same thing ,and they reply, “I’m free next week. How about you?

The first scenario is filled with ambiguity. Try to nail them down on a date and time for a video call, and they will do anything and everything they can to weasel their way out of that VERY MINOR obligation.

Is this the behavior of someone who is really, truly your friend? They actually DREAD talking with you!

My old friends who may be reading now come from the late 90s, the early 90s, and even back as far as the high school or grade school days. What these friends have in common [besides all being musicians] is that they actually want to interact with me on some level, in spite of how busy their lives might be.

I enjoy talking with them, and I assume that they enjoy talking with me because we stay in touch on some level.


A WORD ABOUT OLD FRIENDS NOT WORTH KEEPING
Situations with old friends who aren’t worth keeping can be heartbreaking.

There was one old friend; a guy I had met when we were both in grade school. We met back in 1972, when we were 6 years old, during vacation at a lake. His family rented a cottage across the driveway from where we were staying.

We exchanged phone numbers because we had become friends. We had adventures of fishing, rock collecting, swimming, and using a quarter on a string to game a Coke machine.

Because calling each other would be a long-distance call charge, we got to talk once per year. I typically made the phone call, which was one sign of an issue that flew past me until recently. But we talked once per year every summer, until about 1980.

I had his phone number memorized, even though I only dialed it once per year for 7-8 years, and still do. That’s how I found him, because he has such a generic name, akin to a John Smith type situation [that’s not his name, for the record].

Well, I found him on Facebook. He seemed excited enough to hear from me. But we were on Facebook chatting for only a few minutes, when he typed out, “I gotta deal with something, be right back.”

I sat there and waited for him to return for two hours before giving up.

He eventually got back to me, just over one month later. I knew that he wasn’t being tied up with work, as he is retired. We didn’t have any type of philosophy disagreements that might cause trouble.

This experience informed me that he was an old friend who wasn’t worth keeping.

There was another friend from the mid-80s and we made music together in Los Angeles for about a half year. We lived together, worked hard, and suffered at times. We’d sometimes cry ourselves to sleep because we were so hungry.

I found him on Facebook, and it seemed to be cool to get caught up for a while. Then he pulled the line, “We should get together sometime.”

Now, when I say this, I genuinely mean that I would like to get together with you. But I learned the hard way that when other people use that phrase, it’s akin to saying that they don’t ever want to see you again.

So after he said that, I noted that I was available next week. He shut down and ended up blocking me, eve though all I did was try to firm up plans after HE said we should get together sometime.

I called his bluff by picking a time.

I didn’t understand why he did this at first. Then I remembered what split us apart. He went to visit a girlfriend one night in 1987. He got blackout drunk, beat up his girlfriend, and then raped her friend.

When he woke up, he was in jail. The woman he raped was in the hospital with severe injuries. She later turned up pregnant. The judge in his case gave him the option of either joining the military and marrying the woman he raped [which doesn’t sound like a good prize for her], OR he could spend ten years in prison.

He chose the former, joining the military, marrying his victim, and having a daughter. I don’t know if his victim agreed to this in advance, but that situation sounds like it would be a nightmare to her.

All of this hit me in the face when I saw a picture of him with his daughter, the rape baby, on Facebook. After he blocked me, I saw that picture, and then remembered what happened, I realized that he was an old friend who wasn’t worth keeping.

Had he agreed to meet up with me, I might have completely forgotten about that horrible past.

Really, I don’t even know how he can show his face, let alone smile in a photograph.

Those are two examples of friends from the past who aren’t worth keeping. And it doesn’t have to be some kind of nefarious reason, like the friend turned into a drunken violent rapist.

In the first example, he’s a genuinely good guy, which makes this acknowledgement even more difficult. To me, and I’m just guessing, it seems like more of a case of him simply not being interested.

People can be tricky.


IN THE END
Most of us own a narrative that contains some type of information that is toxic, or otherwise just wrong. The toxic components of our narrative can end up driving us down the same path time and time again, only to suffer time and time again.

We can view this as a failure of character, or bad decision making, when the truth is far more nefarious, in that we’re being driven down these toxic paths subconsciously. Later, when things go horribly wrong, we lead ourselves to believe that WE were wrong, we were bad, we were toxic, and that we’re ultimate social failures.

These toxic narrative avatars are things that we can deal with in therapy. For me, it helps me to understand what is going wrong. I can understand why, without getting too upset, and without necessarily having to blame the other person for anything.

Sometimes they just don’t want to go there, and they might not even know why. It’s truly a case-by-case type of thing.

There are truths to understand.

  1. You don’t need to keep that boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse merely because the alternative of being alone isn’t palatable. If you are afraid of being alone, then I must congratulate you, for you have identified something about yourself that you can work on with a professional.
  2. You don’t have to keep contact or connection with any biological family members who are causing you harm. As we get older, I believe that it’s important for us to build our own family of people who care about us.
  3. You don’t have to keep that old friend in your mind and heart. Chances are good that they’re not doing the same with or for you. People change, and not always for the better. In most cases, keeping the old memories of them is far more important than trying to recreate those good old days.

What is important is investigating one’s own personal life narrative. Do you hold any beliefs that were sold to you as a child, that you’d later question if you thought about it? You might not know, but you can find out if you are brave enough.

Dealing with broken narratives or toxic narrative avatars can help you change in a positive way, where you can run on automatic pilot again and trust that the problems that caused you pain in the past won’t be there to do you wrong today, or in the future.


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My 3 Favorite End-of-the-World Animations

INTRODUCTION
The end of the world is not something that I actively look forward to witnessing. I am convinced that, as I write this, we are bearing witness to the beginning of it.

I say this, not in a religious sense, but in a practical sense. Greed of power and money has ramped up in America’s K-shaped economy and End-Stage Crony Capitalism. It seems that there is nothing that can be done about it, and nobody is standing up for the little people.

In fact, the powers-that-be are encouraging us to hate and fight each other. It’s a good distraction, so that no eyes are on them.

There is a difference in my attitude and that of the religious. American Christians actively look forward to the end of the world and they want it to happen sooner rather than later.

The reason America spends tens of billions of dollars every year to prop up Israel is simply because Israel must exist in order for Christian end-times prophecies in Book of Revelation to appear to be correct. It’s a detail that gives them a little, “See! I told you so!” before all of Mankind perishes.

It’s like Catholics naming every girl Mary, or Muslims naming every boy Mohammed. They do it JUST IN CASE their child is “the one.” There are two guys named Jesus working on my complex lawn right now.

Conversely, I see the end of the world not as some kind of religious signpost, but rather as something that we are doing to ourselves. Most people view the Earth as a stagnant thing, like a rock, when it is actually a living thing. We have been abusing the Earth and our environment for decades, and Earth and Nature are returning the favor with things like COVID-19.

None of this has to be this way. Our lives are being wasted because some people are addicted to power, and fearful of not having money. Money is a mutually-agreed-upon delusion that is the foundation of their power.

We are behaving like a virus, and the Earth is trying to shed itself of us. Certainly, even though there are a few good people here and there, the number is so small as to be negligible.

To be clear, all that I write comes from a place that is not stained with religious belief, or driven by unchecked depression.

The world looks the same as it did when my depression was driving my mind. The burden of depression was lifted with proper prescribed medication, and it did nothing to change how the world looks. It only lifted my depression, and does nothing to change what is actually happening in the world.

But enough about that.

Today, I am sharing my Top 3 favorite End-of-the-World animations, and what they mean to me.


1 of 3: PUNISHED BERNIE, by Aamon Animations
This 10-minute ride is packed full of top-notch animations that blow away anything that has been seen before. Beyond that, a great deal of excellence can be found in the writing, the production, the direction, the soundscape, and the epic soundtrack.

The piece follows Punished Bernie [Sanders] in a post-apocalyptic fantasy.

Many dark players are included in this offering, including Bill Gates, Mitch McConnell, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and even Joe Biden.

The other side of the same dirty coin. His efforts do nothing beyond slowing down our swirling around the toilet bowl, delaying the inevitable.

The more enlightened players include Bernie Sanders and Hasan “Hasanabi” “Haz” Piker, a Socialist YouTuber who is currently under fire by his financial supporters for purchasing a $2.3 million mansion in West Hollywood, California.

The powerful emotion of the script, combined with the epic soundtrack, makes for a unique kind of emotional rush that will blast you into orbit.

The music near the end is what really gets me.

2 of 3: CREAM, by David Firth
This one isn’t so much end-of-the-world, as it is about those who control us and our situation, which are the same people who are bringing out the demise of Humanity.

The story follows a scientist who invents a product called “Cream.” It fixes anything and everything, including death. Broken is no longer an issue or consideration.

Cream threatens to bring about peace and an end to human suffering. However, it also threatens to make money obsolete. The handful of people in power decide to take action to deal with the problems that Cream is causing for them. Screw the rest of society!

But will they succeed?

What would happen if all of our problems were Creamed away? You can watch and find out.

What would happen if all of our problems were solved?

3 of 3: TIMELAPSE OF THE FUTURE: A JOURNEY TO THE END OF TIME, by MelodySheep
This video takes such small and irrelevant things like humans, politics, religion, and other nonsense completely out of the equation.

This video contains some epic animation that shows various events in the solar system and galaxy that will occur as all of it ages.

Of course, most of this will happen long after humans no longer exist. Plus, it will take a long time. For this reason, they double the passage of time every five seconds. So when 100 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years passes, another 100 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years will pass. Then that double-up get doubled again in 5 seconds.

The end of everything takes 30 minutes to achieve with this method. A time counter shows on the screen, up to the point where time is irrelevant, everything is dark, cold, dead, and is stays that way for all of eternity.

Magnificent and Majestic.

IN THE END
I put these in a specific order for a specific reason. The first video highlights those people who are causing Humanity a great deal of grief. The second video focuses on the people, how they would benefit from a healthy society, and how the destructive people will deal with it, thereby dragging all of us down, back into the sewer.

But the third video leaves humans completely out of it. There are no discussions or focus on religion, politics, money, and other nonsense made up by hairless apes. Instead, it shows how Nature is going to take care of all of this for us in the end.

Additionally, the first two are fantasties based on things that are happening or situations we are experiencing. The third one is science-based and does not rely on idiot hairless apes to do anything. It highlights our utter irrelevance.

I do not look forward to the end of the world, or the demise of America, or our rapid social decay. I have loved ones and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them. But it’s going to happen anyway.

This self-curated series shows that the cruelty that is enacted by those in power is not only selfish, but it is also ultimately meaningless. They are cowards who are hoarding money because they know what’s going to happen.

They know what’s going to happen because they are the ones doing it.

I’m not talking about any conspiracies, either. It’s the rich and powerful taking from us, to enrich themselves. They’re destroying the environment, and the impact on the weather has already begun.

They keep us poor so that we are desperate and will work for cheap. They keep us poorly educated so that we can be more easily scared, and thus more easily controlled.

Planet Earth is tired of being infested with Humans, and is working to rid itself of the infection caused by Mankind.

If a god were watching over us, then I’d say it has a very sick view of morality and Humanity. But there are no gods watching over us. Nobody is driving the bus. The ride will come to an end for each of us individually, but also for the whole of Humanity.

For the billions of billion billion billion trillion trillion quintillion years that represent the survival of the universe, Mankind is present for only a small, insignificant fraction of time.

Certainly, a god would have done things differently. I’m not a god myself, although I do get asked for autographs at time. But if a god created all of this, then I’d think that it would have made us so that we would be able to work together and get along.

And, of course, we could eat pizza and chocolate bars all day and not get sick with Diabetes. That’s my personal fantasy, and I’m sticking to it.

Since there seems to be no gods watching over us, and I can’t think of any clever words to end this, the best I can offer up is some Bukowski. Be kind to each other.

Bukowski says it all. People are not good to each other.

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Betty White Privilege

It was such a shock to hear the news that Betty White had passed away on New Year’s Day. It’s the kind of detail that is typically found in folklore.

2021 was par for the course, so far as our modern deficit of good stories and something to look forward to goes. There really wasn’t all that much happening for those of us who take public health issues seriously.

Betty White was loved by pretty much everyone. She invited everyone to celebrate her 100th birthday with her. Companies all over were planning celebrations. There is a casino less than an hour from me that had a HUGE Betty White birthday party celebration plan.

Now those plans are up in the air. I am going to suggest that they have the birthday party anyway. Betty White wouldn’t want people to be sad.

Check your Betty White Privilege

Last night I got on a New Year’s Eve Zoom call with Noodle Muffin. As we talked about Betty White, someone gave mention to “Betty White Privilege.” Within minutes, someone in our group created an NFT of it. Of course, I instantly took a screenshot and sold it for 420 Ethereum.

Okay, I didn’t actually sell anything. But someone did make this.

It got me thinking: What would Betty White Privilege be?

To understand it, we’ll have to take into accounts the personality traits of Betty White that made her what she was to those who cared about her.

Betty White was kind to everyone: This is evident only in the utter lack of negative news stories about her.

Betty White stood up for people, when very few would: In 1953, a major network threatened Betty White with show cancellation because she had a Black dancer on the show. She stood up for him, and stood up TO them. This was a bold move in 1953, and she did it.

Betty White encouraged civil discussion: Imagine if you met Betty White. What would you say? Would you start railing about politics and conspiracies? My guess is probably not. There is something about her that zaps the mean feelings from the room.

Betty White was a master at playing dumb in acting roles: Betty White is one of those smart women who plays dumb very well, as was the case in Golden Girls. Her expressions and comedic timing were amazing. Along those lines, I also rank Christina Applegate as another who is very good at playing dumb, like her portrayal of Kelly Bundy in Married… With Children.

Betty White was versatile: While she played the wholesome, non-offensive roles like she did in Golden Girls, I loved that she could play mean and demented roles like the one she had in the 1999 horror film, Lake Placid.

Betty White even uses the “F word” in this film, and you believe that it comes from the heart.

Betty White seemed to be a truly wholesome person: Too many people in our society are on a constant campaign to let you know that THEY are a good person. They tell us this constantly, because NOBODY would ever guess it based on what they say and do. But Betty never had to tell anyone who or what she was. All she had to do was show us.

The list goes on, and I suspect that continuing would be a case of preaching to the choir. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about Betty White.

Personally, I would love to encounter more people like Betty White in real life. Wouldn’t the world be a magnificent place if everyone could be more kind?

In America, kindness is often times mistaken for weakness, or even stupidity. This is NOT true. Weakness is weakness, stupidity is stupidity, and kindness is kindness. NEVER mistake Betty White’s kindness for weakness or stupidity, or she just might feed you to a giant gator.

In comedy, that’s called the call-back.

But should I ever encounter someone who is like this, I will thank them for being so kind, and will remind them to, “Check your Betty White Privilege.”


Humor is a great way of dealing with tragedy and loss. I remember how I felt when I was 16 and got word that John Lennon had died. It wasn’t because I felt that I had a parasocial relationship with him, as I’d never had any communications with him, and had never tried. Celebrities were hard to reach back then.

For me, the world felt like a significantly more empty place when he was gone. And he has been gone for longer than he was alive, which blows my mind.

It’s like that friend that you talk with every so often, and then one day you find out that they’re not here anymore. They didn’t even make a daily appearance in your life, and the world still feels a bit more empty because of it.

I am certain there are Betty White fans who are feeling this way, and I understand it, even though I wasn’t really the biggest Betty White fan. All the same, I found her to be adorable and charming, and I appreciated what she contributed to the world with her kindness.

Given the communications abilities of our modern age, I’m sure that some people may have felt a type of parasocial relationship with her. This is where a fan has personal feelings for a celebrity, while the celebrity has absolutely NO idea that the fan exists.

People who experience these sensations might need help to deal with her passing. Therapy goes a long way toward helping people cope with the feelings they have when they experience a loss.

While parasocial relationships are VERY unhealthy and unrealistic, all the same I would recommend taking the impact of Betty White’s passing on them seriously. Help them through it.

Later, they can work on fixing the parasocial thing.

I think that Betty White would want everyone to celebrate her 100th birthday anyway. I mean, everyone who was ready to celebrate has already made plans. They’ve even booked hotel rooms. Yes, it’s that big of a deal to some. And for them, I say, celebrate the life of Betty White and consider yourself fortunate to have experienced a type of person who is so sadly and unfortunately rare in our species.

RIP, Betty White.

Toxic Media: It Is NOT A Wonderful Life

INTRODUCTION
When you spend enough time in therapy, you start to see things in the wild that are of concern when it comes to mental health and engaging in healthy thinking in general.

It’s like buying a new red station wagon, where you drive down the street and you see every single red station wagon. Previously, you had ignored those red station wagons, because they meant nothing to you.

Today, I’ll be going through a few movies to talk about some things I noticed that are worth discussing.


JERRY MAGUIRE AND ROMANCE MOVIES
I did not see Jerry Maguire when it first came out, mainly because I was not the target demographic for that movie. This movie is for people whose hearts melt whenever they encounter romantic notions.

The less healthy, the better.

The thing about romantic movies is that they all carry many of the same unhealthy attitudes and behaviors that one would find in an unhealthy relationship. More to the point, there are individual dysfunctions that are at play in these interactions.

The first thing to recognize is that romance movies happen in an environment that has been artificially created for the purposes of the movie. It’s not an environment that anyone can or will find in real life. People who try to replicate it end up sorely disappointed when reality smacks them in the face.

The characters have personal problems that appear to be mostly minimized, if not completely written off, to focus on the relationship instead of the individuals. If two individuals are not healthy, then there must be no expectation that their relationship is healthy.

There is an unrealistic portrayal of the power of a woman’s essence, which is sexuality, appearances, behaviors, and more. There are women who abuse this power to exploit men or women. My concern is that it shows women that they can “fix” a man or partner by being sweet and sexy. She can also use her status as a single mother who is struggling to inspire a broken rescuer.

Only then will the money-hungry billionaire robber baron recognize the errors of his ways, and sell off everything so that he can be with the Denny’s waitress forever.

This leads to another toxic avatar, which is hypergamy. It’s usually the woman who is poor, and she’s a waitress or prostitute. The man is always the super-wealthy guy who just can’t seem to get it together when it comes to attracting women. It’s a big “win” [or “W,” as the kids say these days] for the woman because she never has to work, ever again. And, of course, he got the Pretty Woman.

Yea, YOU saw what I did there.

Obviously, this story leaves many people behind, such as wealthy women, men who work crap jobs, and those of us who suffer from General Ugliness.

As I said before, I had not seen Jerry Maguire when it first came out, because I am not in the target demographic. But in early 2017, I saw an art installment that captured my curiosity. It was The Jerry Maguire Video Store. It’s basically set up just like a video store, but they have nothing but copies of Jerry Maguire.

Over 14,000 copies of Jerry Maguire.

Yea, I went to the Jerry Maguire video store.

Fortunately, I made a video of the store. During the time that I made this video, the store received over 20 more donated Jerry Maguire tapes and DVDs.

This got me curious enough to actually buy it online and watch it.

Late Summer 2019: In Bend, Oregon with drummer Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz [Weird Al Yankovic] to do some pawn shop drum hunting.
This outtake photo shows my Jerry Maguire video store t-shirt. This is the only photo that I can find of me wearing it.

There is SO much that could be talked about in this movie.

For starters, the movie appears to be Codependency disguised and re-packaged as romance.

Jerry is emotionally unavailable, as we learn in the bachelor party scene early in the movie. Dorothy sees ALL of the red flags and conveniently ignores them. Boy, THAT hits home hard for me, as I used to be the KING of ignoring red flags.

Dorothy quits her job and runs to be with Jerry. It’s impulsive and irresponsible, considering that she has a child. I had a recent experience where a woman did this for me. She divorced her husband of 16 years, bought a one-way ticket to Oregon, and moved herself in.

Whenever someone is willing to dump everything on a whim for someone else, the chances are great that they will be sorely disappointed and ultimately left out in the cold. In my case, she walked out one day and never came back. I wish her the best of luck with all of it.

The Jerry Maguire Video Store card looks JUST LIKE my Blockbuster membership card. Both of these still live in my wallet.

There is not a great deal of emotional maturity in the movie. The behaviors of these people confounds me. Jerry is awkward, and I can relate to that. At the same time, I am capable of picking up on SOME verbal and non-verbal cues, and I am then able to respond appropriately.

Both Jerry and Dorothy’s boundaries are SO horrible that I wonder if consent is even possible. I think that consent is VERY important, because it is permission to engage. My favorite type of consent is ENTHUSIASTIC CONSENT, as it’s a case of the other person showing just how much they want to be intimate with you.

Jerry feels a sense of responsibility for Dorothy losing her job, money, and benefits, even though HE did not make the decision. He did NOT ask her to do that. All the same, he wants to make up for it, so he decides that marrying her is the best thing to do.

If I married everyone in my life who made a bad decision, I’d be like King Solomon, with 300 wives and 700 concubines. Half of those would be me marrying myself, because I have made more bad decisions than the average bear.

To a great degree, both Dorothy and Jerry are engaged in the act of rescuing one another. As a recovered rescuer, I can tell you that being a rescuer is NOT a noble thing. It’s a good way to lose it all to someone who doesn’t care if you live or die.

Dorothy doesn’t love Jerry for who he is inside. Instead, she loves him for his potential.

Her low self-esteem and his immaturity makes for a truly dysfunctional relationship, a bad situation, and codependent lives.

When depression is ruling your day, nothing is as uplifting as going to a video store, except maybe going to the Jerry Maguire Video Store.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
This animated Christmas classic is the kind of thing that I enjoyed as a young child. But when I watched it as an adult who has been through therapy, I found myself torn between watching it for nostalgia purposes, and NOT watching it because it’s full of trauma and dysfunction.

Rudolph was born different. I relate this to myself being different, thanks to my Level 1 Autism. He gets teased by the kids, and neither his parents nor Santa defend him. In fact, THEY ALSO attack him! Santa was SO mean to him.

One scene that got me in particular was when Rudolph’s dad tried to cover his nose with dirt. This is a behavior known as “masking,” and it is difficult and horrific for Autistic people to try to do. It’s basically investing energy into hiding who you are while pretending to be something you are not.

Of course, everyone finds out. That’s what happens when you try to engage in masking.

EVERYONE shuns Rudolph, to the point that he runs away from home and ends up in a series of perilous situations. He ends up joining a group of misfit toys that nobody wants.

“Hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh?” –Hermey

The contempt and outright hatred of Rudolph is staggering because he is a CHILD mostly alone, except for Clarice and Hermie the Elf, who wants to be a dentist. No adult is on Rudolph’s side, which is something that leaves a child feeling abandoned.

The worst part is the ending.

I know what you might be saying. But, DW, the ending shows Rudolph finally being accepted, being hailed as a hero, and being promoted to the front of the pack.”

To that, I would reply that the ONLY reason that Santa accepts Rudolph is because Rudolph has a special ability that Santa can exploit to keep his enterprise rolling. Never mind the child labor violations.

In other words, Rudolph is welcomed into the fold because everyone knows he has an ability that can be exploited by the only employer in town, Jeff Bezos Santa.

The message to me is clear: Society will shun you, unless profits can be made from you. If you are NOT profitable to the corporation, then you are garbage not worthy of keeping around.

A better ending would be an adult Rudolph starting his own business and telling them to take a long walk off a short pier. It is IMPORTANT to distance yourself from toxic people and situations, if you value your own mental and emotional health.


IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
This is a movie with a not-so-subtle Christian influence, and it’s a movie that represents what is/was wrong with me, and how that is exploited by an equally dysfunctional society.

George gives of himself, and seemingly does not receive. He suffers a great deal through it all, to the point that he has decided that he is going to end his life by jumping off a bridge.

George’s desire to end his own life is understandable, as his only purpose in life is to suffer so that others do not have to suffer.

I relate to this in that I felt that I always had to give and sacrifice if I was to expect to keep certain friends around. I did this for a long time, until the Cancer Scammer entered my life. When that happened, and I started focusing my attention on her instead of these “friends,” they turned against me like rabid dogs.

Those are NOT friends.

Back to the movie.

This is when an angel named Clarence talks to George. Clarence needs to “earn his wings,” for some reason. This is the ONLY reason why he is talking to George. Otherwise, he’d be like the rest of the angels, enjoying his wings and not having any concern about mere mortals in a state of ignorant bliss.

What does Clarence do for George? He shows George what the world would be like, had he NEVER been born.

George sees everyone he knows and loves, and they are going through suffering. The reason they are suffering is because George is NOT there to do the suffering for them.

Seemingly, George’s purpose in life is to suffer for others.

Every scene that Clarence shows to George has only two possible outcomes: Either the people suffer, or George suffers for them. This is a rather bold assertion. It’s also a false dichotomy, as it ignores the possibility that other people might step up and fix things, or that another person who has power might move into town and change things up.

Of course, George feels badly about seeing his family, friends, and community suffering. His Codependence, as well as his desire to rescue everyone, drives him to change his mind. He now wants to live, so that he can suffer for everyone else!

I can understand this. One reason why I never wanted to have children, or even get into a serious relationship, was because I didn’t want to have to see them suffer, or possibly die. But this is the nature of Life, and I have to accept it.

The moral of the story is that, in the end, suffering for others is what life is all about. Sure, the community works together at the end to save the day, which is something they should be doing regardless of whether or not George even exists. Their generosity and support and the end was mere acknowledgement from everyone, for the man who was killing himself for them LONG before he considered taking his own life.

But George represents a Jesus-type of savior who will hang on the cross for everyone else. As someone who has done this many times in his own life, I can tell you that this is NOT a healthy thing to do, to suffer so that someone else can avoid it. Hoisting the entire community upon one man’s shoulders is neither healthy nor sustainable.

The hard truth is that suffering is inevitable for everyone. Nobody gets out of this alive, or pain-free. If I can do something to alleviate the suffering of someone, whether they’re close to me or not, and I can do so without harming myself, then I will do it. But I won’t be trying to rescue my entire town.

And I won’t be sending anyone my paycheck for the better part of a year because they cry and need help. I already did that once. It’s embarrassing. It’s also damaging. I lost out on a good deal of money, and also lost my reputation, friends, home, sanity, and self. As for the Cancer Scammer, she died of a drug overdose, thanks to all the money I sent her for her “cancer treatments.”

George Bailey’s attempts to rescue everyone by giving all that he had wasn’t an act of kindness or caring. Rather, it was just a different type of suicide. As my life experience has taught me, you can kill yourself and still be physically alive.


MY CONCERNS ABOUT THIS MEDIA
I’ve heard it said that young men who watch sexual pornography end up having unhealthy expectations when it comes to relationships and sexual encounters. They also reportedly end up with a skewed perspective of women in general.

Romance movies, and institutions like The Hallmark Network, are emotional pornography, and the prime demographic for this type of media is mostly women.

Much in the same way that sexual pornography may distort a man’s view of the world, emotional pornography does the same to a woman’s view of the world. It gives them unrealistic expectations.

All of these unrealistic expectations do not remain contained within the owner, and spill out into society. It affects how people view one another, what they’re willing to do, what they expect, how they interact, and much more.

I suspect that it can prevent people from having healthy, realistic relationships, by giving them unrealistic expectations. A relationship can be healthy ONLY if BOTH people involved are healthy.

Plus, a distorted world view can bring about great sadness, or even depression.


IN THE END
It only takes ONE unhealthy person to destroy a potential relationship. I have been on the giving AND receiving end of this, as have most people. Nobody is perfect.

And while we understand that we’ll never be perfect, we can always strive to be better.

Maybe the intentions of these movies and those involved in the movie AND story might be good. The reality of it all is that these stories are very unhealthy. It is also possible that they are merely exploiting known sociological vulnerabilities.

Dysfunction is part of the human condition, and it’s something where each person has a responsibility to themselves to work to repair and improve their own dysfunctions.

In this entry, I discussed a romantic comedy, a children’s Christmas animation, and a 75-year-old Christmas classic intended to inspire everyone to sacrifice themselves like Jesus if they want to have anything resembling purpose in life.

Each of these pieces of media target different groups of people. Nobody walks away unscathed from toxic media, save for the people who profit from it all.

As I’m thinking of a way to end this, I am reminded of something I forgot to mention about Jerry Maguire. That movie contains lots of catch phrases, such as, “Show me the money!” or “Help me, help you!”

But there is ONe catch phrase that is possibly the worst, which is, “You complete me.”

No, you DO NOT complete me, for I am a complete person on my own. A relationship is NOT a completion of person. It is an enhancement, or a bonus, or maybe an extension. But it is NOT a completion.

It is essential that a person view themselves as being whole and complete if they expect to experience love in a healthy adult relationship. Being made whole is the entire point of therapy.

If I am not already whole on my own, then we can’t have an amazing relationship. This is also true if we’re busy living in a fantasy world with unrealistic expectations and unhealthy behaviors.


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