Components of Resilience: Creativity and Adaptability

This is part four of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one of this series, I covered tenacity. In part two, I covered affect management and positive frameworks. In part three, I covered support network and discernment.

In this final post, I will cover creativity and adaptability. Compared to most of the other items, these two are fairly self-explanatory. Since I don’t have to focus on giving an overview, I’ll be focusing more on my own experiences this time. Warning: I will discuss parental abuse, including some major privacy violations, and invalidation/gaslighting. I allude to but do not mention other kinds of abuse, but mostly it’s just general trauma/recovery talk. Continue reading

On friendships, part 1: feeling I am not entitled to friendship, and I am a burden

[tw: allusions to sexual violence, domestic violence, religious abuse; descriptions of bullying and abusive friends, invalidation of asexuality. Heavy warning for abandonment trauma.]

On some level, I know other people don’t feel that way about me. That these are just my own insecurities, formed from so much abuse, so many attacks from a lack of understanding both asexuality and trauma, and how they can coexist—how my asexuality is used against me by my abusers, and my trauma is used to invalidate my asexuality.

On some level, I know there are people who really like and respect me, and really do want to be my friend. And yet. Continue reading

Disingenuous, Shallow “Support”

[Warning: contains discussion of sexual and domestic violence, gaslighting, and disingenuous infiltration of communities by abusers (macktivists) co-opting the language of consent; mention of intra-community violence.]

Last week, two articles caught my eye.

First, let’s talk about this:

No More, the NFL’s Domestic Violence Partner, Is a Sham – Diana Moskovitz examines how several brands have decided that the reason why domestic and sexual violence persists is because these issues “don’t have a strong enough brand. So, to help get America talking about these issues, the brands created a brand, and partnered with other brands to promote this brand.” Upon asking their marketing director, Virginia Witt, to estimate how much money No More had raised for non-profits, the answer she received was… well, you can read it yourself at the link, but I think her assessment below says it all:

“Read generously, this is just marketing jargon (“brands … an asset … consumer engagement”) wrapped around an admission that no one has any idea whether or not No More actually does anything tangible for groups fighting domestic violence and sexual assault. Taken at face value, as it probably should be, it suggests that the measure of success for No More isn’t whether it actually directs new funding to, say, hotlines, shelters, and lawyers, but whether those who are already fighting domestic violence use No More branding in their own fundraising operations.

I took the No More pledge on their website. Since then, the only thing I’ve received from them is an email from Randel asking me to please share their advertisement on Facebook.”

Ah, yes. Facebook Activism. Because sharing something on Facebook for others to automatically click “like” without even reading is clearly the most effective way to promote real engagement with anti-violence work, and genuine support to survivors.

The idea that a brand is all that’s needed to get others to care, rather than something that is just there for others to adopt in order to look like they care, is so incredibly vile to me.

There are four lights

A Cardassian torturer famously tried to gaslight Captain Picard. His direct approach didn’t work. Successful campaigns are usually more subtle, and sustained for longer.

Why? Because it’s exactly the sort of thing that makes it easier for abusers to gaslight their victims.

Gaslighting is a tactic of presenting false information with the intent to confuse a person, and convince them that their accurate observations are wrong. Persistent, long-term gaslighting campaigns can really make someone feel like they’re going crazy, and severely cripple their ability to trust their own discernment.

No More’s logo requires absolutely no commitment to actually fighting domestic and sexual violence. Sporting it can make you look more saintly, and probably would make you feel good since it gives you the impression that you’re doing something, but it pretty much means nothing. But looking good—and silencing critics—is all the NFL cares about. This is an intentional marketing strategy meant to keep people just satisfied enough that they won’t dig too deep.

Can we really expect perpetrators—especially those who like football—to just ignore this potential tool for silencing their victims? I think not. I think some will use it to perpetuate. I think they’ll use it to project an image of caring about domestic violence and then turn around and say that what they’re doing can’t be real violence, because a person who “cares” about stopping such violence can’t be a perpetrator of it.

Which brings me to article #2.

This one is titled, What Happens When a Prominent Male Feminist is Accused of Rape? It relates the story of a group of feminists coming together to expose self-proclaimed “male feminist” Hart Noecker. It describes how he co-opted feminist discussion of consent, and used it to gaslight his victims: Continue reading

Giving it a Wide Berth: The Three A’s

As Ily observed in her blog a while ago, asexuals like teetotaling. Although not all of us are teetotalers, many of us are, or have been at one point in our lives, including me. My attitude towards alcohol has changed a lot over the years, from, “That stuff is nasty and horrible!” to “Whatever, just stay away from me when you’re drunk,” to “Okay, so you want vodka and what?”

To understand my changing perspective, it is necessary to understand my background as a survivor of domestic abuse. I won’t go into exhaustive detail, but suffice it to say that my father is an alcoholic, so naturally, for a long time I had a very strong knee-jerk reaction to alcohol of any kind. I could see only its negative effects, just a bunch of people running around stupidly heedless of the damage they were causing. I’m sure it didn’t help that I have such a serious and introverted personality that parties were never my idea of fun to begin with, but of course my terrible experiences of being forced to deal with violent inebriates exacerbated that tendency a thousandfold, to the point that I never wanted to have anything to do with most of my peers, at the age that they all were starting to go out and party. I’m sure there will be some people who would say that these traumatic experiences and the subsequent disidentification with my peers are what “caused” my asexuality, or whatever, but I don’t think the two are related (or rather, not causally related). After all, my sister went through the same experiences, and she’s about as sexual as she can get. Had I felt any sexual attraction, I’m sure I would have felt more of an impetus to get over my disgust in order to act on it. But as it was, the connection between alcohol and sexuality actually turned me farther away from any vague inkling I might have otherwise had to try it.

If abuse laid the foundation of my youthful hatred for alcohol, it was asexuality that poured the cement. I mentioned earlier that in my early teens, I considered myself celibate until further notice. At the time, I did not understand that I was different from my peers in a fundamental way, because I had not yet recognized that they were all developing a kind of interest in others that I didn’t have. I had absolutely no understanding of sexuality, although I did know that sex was something I was supposed to take an interest in at some point. I just thought that point would be far, far in the future (which it was), and I made the decision to focus on other things until I was sure I was mature enough to handle it. I knew because I had no interest that I hadn’t reached that point yet. It didn’t occur to me that perhaps some of my peers were ready for it; I simply thought they were getting themselves into big trouble. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Continue reading