Feb. 16th, 2018

joreth: (boxed in)
Permanent disclaimer: Almost everything aimed at relationships - communication tools, self-esteem tools, advice, techniques, helpful hints, etc. - do not apply to abusive situations. Abuse changes all the rules.  This goes for everything I say and for all relationship stuff everywhere.

Abusers do not operate in good faith and they fuck up your reality. They take and manipulate all those tools and techniques so that they become weapons instead of tools. This is why regular therapy or "couples therapy" is such an awful idea for those in abusive relationships - it just gives them access to more tools to warp into weapons.

If I'm not talking about abuse specifically, I'm exempting abuse. Abuse is a Game Changer. It changes the game and most of the time, only the abuser even knows that the game has been changed - that's part of the game. It's like that one card game my social group used to play, Mao, where the players aren't told the rules until they break one, and even then they still aren't really told. The person giving the penalty must state what the incorrect action was, without explaining the rule that was broken. Except the Game Changer of Abuse is played with your soul as the stakes.

So if you're in an abusive situation or you have not started or progressed far down the path of recovery, most advice for relationships will not apply to you. Do not try Non-Violent Communication with an abuser. Do not try to trust more. Do not let go of your fears or concerns. Do not open up and be vulnerable. Do not learn their Love Language. Do not respond to their Bids for Attention (or, rather, you probably should for your survival, but it's not to keep the love and respect in the relationship, which are the normal "rules" for BfA).

Don't do anything I say about relationships except to seek the advice of abuse specialists like domestic violence shelters and agencies. I am not qualified to give advice about abuse. At best, I can show you the signs and call out abuse masquerading as other things.

I'm pretty good about recognizing patterns once I've learned that their connections exist. But my abuse warnings and rants are separate from my relationship advice. The only thing I can help with abuse is to point out patterns and say "get yourself safe, then leave". Anything more advanced than that, you need a specialist.

As someone said in my FB comments on this thread, all of my other relationship advice assumes at a minimum good intentions between/among partners. An abusive situation does not meet this minimum standard. Don't do all my other relationship advice in abusive situations, and if you're still recovering, you still need an abuse specialist to tell you how to get from there to where my advice is applicable or possible.
joreth: (boxed in)
I wish they had told me in high school that suicidal people usually *don't* announce to you that they're going to commit suicide, especially when followed by some kind of condition, such as "I can't live if you won't go out with me".

I wish they had told me this was a manipulative, abusive tactic and that the correct response is to immediately call the authorities and warn them that someone is a danger to themself, even and especially if they tell you not to, and let people trained in this help them.

I wish I hadn't spent 5 years worrying about a "friend" just because I wouldn't date him, and then another 10 years feeling like I was a mean person for finally snapping at him and telling him to just fucking do it then, but if he isn't going to, then stop telling me about it. And then yet another 10 years still talking to him, trying to salvage a friendship out of the girlfriendzone he kept putting me in.

I wish they taught the wheel of abuse in middle school, so that I would have been prepared for when I met all the abusive boys and men I let into my life, when I was pressured to be "nice" to them because their behaviour was "romantic", and even if I didn't return their feelings, when I was told that I still owed them kindness just because they "loved" me.

We keep arguing over sex ed in schools and whether or not to teach people who are probably already sexually active what's going on with their bodies, but we almost never talk about what's going on with their minds. I wish we taught kids how to recognize abusive tactics, in others and in themselves, and how to disentangle themselves from abuse.

I wonder who I would be today if anyone had taught me these things?

#TheWindowsWereFineToBeginWith #NotAllLessonsNeedToBeLearnedFirstHand #IBetIWouldBeALotLessAngryToday
joreth: (being wise)
I have to admit, I just saw one of the most responsible things ever in a romantic comedy (Fuller House on Netflix).

A woman had a high school sweetheart. They broke up at the end of high school because they had different college dreams (and in rom-coms, if you go to separate schools for 4 years, your relationship is guaranteed to end anyway). 20 years later, they got back in touch, but she had started dating someone new.

At first, the two men competed for her attention, but then the high school sweetheart started dating someone new of his own (who just happened to be almost exactly like the woman, even down to a similar sounding name).  Now everyone seemed paired up with people who made them happy, so problem solved, right? Each couple even got engaged.  Except they still had feelings for each other. So, first, the high school sweetheart broke up with his fiance, and a few moments later, the woman broke off her engagement with her fiance too.

I want to point out that the show did *not* make either jilted fiance into a villain. There was nothing wrong with either character and no "reason" why each should dump them. They just loved each other (and in monogamy-land, you can only have one). I have to give it points for not villainizing the others, and for the characters just deciding to end it with people when they weren't feeling it. That is a perfectly valid reason to end a relationship (see my other posts on not needing to turn exes into evil villains before we break up with them).

So, now the two high school sweethearts are both single again, and both aware of each other's feelings. But, instead of jumping right into another relationship with each other (usually fading into another wedding scene in most rom-coms), they talk first about what to do.  And they *mutually* agree that they need to process their recent breakups (because they did actually really care for their respective exes) and this new revelation of their feelings for each other.  So they agree to not date each other for a month, to give themselves time to grieve and process first.

This is possibly the most emotionally mature, responsible rom-com plot I've ever seen.

#RelationshipBreaksAreMoreImportantThanWeRealize #HavingFeelingsDoesNotMeanWeNeedToActOnThem #IfTheRelationshipIsThatRealThenItWillStillBeThereWhenTheTimingIsBetter #DoNotMakeImportantDecisionsUnderTheInfluenceOfNRE
joreth: (being wise)
"I apologize for the unintended distress"

"I'm sorry if there were any hurt feelings"

"I regret any pain you might have felt"
These are examples of not-pologies. Notice the lack of any active agent. There is "unintended distress". On whom? Caused by whom or what? "if there were any hurt feelings". Whose feelings? How were they hurt?

Nobody in these not-pologies is taking any responsibility for having *caused* distress, hurt, or pain. There isn't even any acknowledgement of *a cause* for the distress, hurt, or pain, as if the recipient's feelings just magically, spontaneously erupted in a vacuum, not related to anything at all.

"I am sorry for hurting you" - acknowledges an active agent. "I" actively hurt "you".

"I was wrong because..." - lays out exactly why "my" actions were wrong & shows understanding of the wrongdoing.

"In the future, I will..." - accepts accountability by offering reparations and a correction to behaviour to prevent the harm from happening again.

Without these 3 elements, it is not a real apology and the words "I'm sorry" are meaningless. Take responsibility as the agent of harm, show understanding of what that harm was, and make changes to behaviour to repair the harm and prevent its repetition.

"I'm sorry" doesn't mean anything without this behind it. Otherwise, it's just a way to say "your pain is your fault, because I didn't have anything to do with it, your pain just happened, but I feel uncomfortable that your bad feelings are directed at me."

A Better Way To Say Sorry: http://www.cuppacocoa.com/a-better-way-to-say-sorry/

Mistakes Were Made: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistakes_were_made

Non-Apology Apology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apology_apology
joreth: (feminism)
At work a few months back, I passed by a couple of dudes arguing. One guy stopped me and said, "I'm pretty sure JORETH doesn't need a man for anything!"

Without knowing the rest of their conversation, I said "nope! I don't need a man for anything!"

The other guy started rattling off things that people, being part of a social species, need, like companionship, physical touch, love, etc.

I said, "sure, but I don't need to get any of those things FROM A MAN."

He just stopped and blinked at me, like it had never crossed his mind that "companionship", "physical touch", "a support network" are things that A) have nothing to do with penises and B) are not synonymous with heterosexual romantic relationships.

His mouth opened and closed a few times, as he tried to work out how this was possible. Then he just asked me how else I would get them.

So I pointed out that some women are not straight and they seem to get those things from not-men all the time. And some of us have these things called "friends" and "family" who not only provide "companionship", "physical touch", and "support network", but who often provide it better, and with more stability.

As a last ditch effort, he asked about sex, as he learned that I was straight. That's always a sign that someone doesn't know me, when they think they can "gotcha" me on any topic related to sex.

So I said, "honey, I can do it faster and better by myself than any man can do it for me. Out of all those things, that's the LAST thing I need a man for."

He conceded the argument.

(The first guy who roped me into this later came up and apologized for pulling me in - he's a feminist who was trying to make this guy understand but wasn't succeeding and had reached the end of his rope, and since I happened to be walking by, he knew that I'd have some good responses handy)

joreth: (boxed in)
So, about 6-ish years ago, I lost my long-term place to live.  I had been there for years and I was given no notice (there's a legal reason they could do that but it's long & I don't want to go into it).  Because I had no notice, and I was poor, I spent the next 2 years bouncing around.  A friend would take me in with no notice, that situation would become untenable, I'd have to find the first place I could afford, that place would bottom out, another friend would have to take me in, rinse repeat.

In the middle of all this, I applied for low-income housing.  Let me tell you why this is not a solution for people with low incomes.  More than 4 years after I applied, I finally heard something from them today.  And it's not to say that I finally got in.  No, it's to say that one of their properties is changing owners, so I'll have to go on a *separate* waiting list if I want to still be considered for that property.

I had completely forgotten that I had even applied for low-income housing.  Fortunately, for me, I managed to bust my ass enough to make just enough money to afford this shitty little apartment I found with a landlord who was (at the time) a real person I could talk to and explain things to, and not a management company who has to follow "policy".

Otherwise, I might have spent the last 4 years couch-surfing still (and wearing out my welcome with friends all over town), waiting for the city to get back to me with an apartment I can afford.

This is why poor people stay poor. There are just not enough resources to help them get out of a system that is designed to make them stay in it.
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
http://www.crocs.com/p/womens-busy-day-stretch-lace-up/204760.html

I think my mom didn't realize that I have 2 separate wishlists.  She usually hates buying me clothing because she's afraid it won't fit me, even if I put the size in the instructions (don't ask - it is *very* important to my mom that other people be happy, and she doesn't want me to be unhappy with her choice of gifts). But this year, she *only* bought me things from my clothing wishlist.

2 years ago, I separated my clothing into its own wishlist because she and my dad were getting overwhelmed by the sheer size of my wishlist. So now I have 3 - a clothing one, a gift-card one, and an everything-else one (I also have an "adult" one but mom doesn't need to see that one).  Anyway, mom bought me a pair of shoes I had on my wishlist.  When Crocs first came out, I hated them.  I thought the clogs were the ugliest shoes I'd ever seen and I refused to wear them no matter how comfortable they were (and, it turns out, I didn't find them comfortable either).

Then they started making *shoes*.  A former friend of mine, who is seriously high-femme, was wearing an interesting pair of high heels and I commented on them.  She said they were Crocs and they were so comfortable, that they were the only heels she could wear for an entire weekend at a sci-fi convention, on her feet all day, every day.

I was impressed.  So I went to their website and fell in love with their high heeled wedges and a pair of sandals.  I bought the sandals at a local store, where I could try them on, and they are now the only shoes I'll bother to wear unless close-toed shoes are required for some reason (like work).  I also discovered that I can't bake without wearing them because standing barefoot on the hard kitchen floor for that long hurts my lower back, but the Crocs sandals make it possible to stand and walk for hours without pain.

So I tried the wedges.  I've written before about how comfortable and cute they are. When I go dancing, my dance shoes are floor-exclusive - they cannot be worn off the hardwood dance floor because of their special soles.  So I need shoes to wear to and from the event.  I want to wear my Crocs because, even in shoes made for comfort while dancing, after 4 hours of it, my feet are killing me and I can barely walk.  But my sandals are not attractive.  They're not as ugly as the clogs, but they're not high fashion either, and certainly not suitable for the femme attire I dress up in to dance.

Enter the wedges.  When I am *literally* hobbling off the dance floor, I put my wedges on and stand up, and instantly my feet stop hurting.  I have been known to walk around the block for another 2 hours after dancing, while wearing my Crocs wedges.  So I now have them in 2 colors and a third pair of mary-jane style wedges.

Between my retail job (which believes its employees should never sit down and always look "busy"), and my backstage job (which requires unloading trucks, pushing cases from the loading dock to the room we are setting up, and then staging our storage room across the convention center from the event room), I walk an average of 5-15 miles per day.

Yes, I know it's a big gap, but some days I sit down backstage and only have to walk from the parking lot (a mile away) to my room, and then from my room to the break room (about half a mile away, no I'm not being hyperbolic), so I can get away with about 5 miles of walking.  But make enough .5 mile trips from the dock to the room, and 15 miles comes quick enough.

When I'm not actively lifting heavy things and therefore wearing my steel-toe boots, I wear my Converse high tops with special insoles.  These are very comfortable and helpful.  But after 15 miles, I still wish I could be wearing my Crocs.  So now Crocs has sneakers, and an all-black pair.  So I put them on my wishlist and my mom actually got them for me for Christmas. I've worn them twice now at my retail job AND I LOVE THEM!

They have the squishy, bouncy Crocs sole & insole, and the rest of the shoe is made of something like Neoprene so it's very stretchy and "huggy".  I really wish they made high-tops because I have not worn low-top sneakers since before Reebok high-tops came in fashion back in the '80s.  I'm really not a fan of low-top shoes, but I was willing to try it out for the sake of Crocs sneakers.

If you need a good pair of walking shoes that aren't specially formulated for some kind of exercise or sport that you're doing, I'd recommend trying out one of their styles of sneakers. If you can, visit a Crocs store to try them on first, but if you find Crocs to be comfortable at all, you will probably like these sneakers. They do have other styles, as well.  And for those who wear larger sizes and/or prefer "masculine" styles (not that there's a big difference between the masc and femme styles of tennis shoes), they also have this style they call the Swiftwater Hiker, which I actually like better but they don't make in my small size:  http://www.crocs.com/p/mens-swiftwater-hiker/203392.html

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