Why i Believe Christine Blasey Ford Told the Truth, BUT…

Okay, herés the thing. Some 40 years ago I was sexually assaulted while I was on duty at the University of Connecticut’s Poison Information Center, in 1978 (when it was still called that…). I remember without a single shred of doubt who the man was, a dental student with whom I had been friendly when I attended the medical school at UConn. That DI  – his initials- would recall this too, I believe is the case, because I believed him when he said he thought my “No!” meant that I really wanted sex with him. And we talked about his aggression against me afterwards.

 

But I also know that the security guard who heard my  crying out  and my struggles behind the closed locked door of the PIC and knocked to ask if I was all right’ definitely did not believe me when I opened the door and told him I was okay…yes, DI had stopped his assault when the guard knocked on the door, and he did not recommence anything after I Assured the guard that all was well.  He got the point, that I was not interested in the sex he had tried to force on me…

 

But I was also not okay, certainly not with DI’s behavior. I told the guard all was well because I felt to blame, I felt guilty for being female and “bringing DIs attack on myself.” Not guilty for anything I did, but because of my body, because my body was a woman’s body and so that in and of itself made me “seductive”…I felt I deserved what i got.

 

This sexual assault happened, and I know it and who the perpetrator was without a shadow of any doubt and I have always remembered it.  But could I prove it to anyone? I did mention it, later but not immediately. I had no female friends close enough to trust with my shame…but I did speak of it to several people over the years, whether or not they remember my doing so. I played down the attack as “date rape” rather than a “real attack” because I had been taught that attempted rape by a friend was somehow “less serious” than rape or attempted rape by a stranger…Let that sink in, please.

 

i do not know precisely what became of DI nor what sort of person he became after the event I describe, but I have always assumed and hoped that it was, as they say, a one-off Incident and Was not repeated. I assumed and hoped that DI learned from my reaction that No means No. and that he became a better person for knowing  this. I gave him credit for apologizing or at least explaining why he attacked me…and I gave him credit for the ability to change and never do such a thing again.

 

So I KNOW that a woman like Christine Blasey ford would remember such an attack in detail and that her attacker esp if stumbling falling down drunk would have every motivation not to…

 

BUT I must say I did NOT believe Ford’s tearful voice or her tears. I found them utterly fake and rehearsed and it irked me no end. How disgusting that after nearly 40 years she felt it necessary to pretend to be afraid and to fake tears in her voice, high thin and fake fake fake…why would she believe this? Is a woman’s recounting of an assault only credible if accompanied by tears? How disgusting if so. But while I believe her story, i do not believe the tears were real and I found that just as disgraceful, the demands by Democrats that she put on such a fake tearful voice just to convince them of her credibility? Shameful that she could not trust her own words to be comvincing and all those senators and newscasters that fawned and cooed over her tearful voice are the ones who are guilty, forcing her to pretend to be overcome with emotions just in order to be believed that what happened did in fact happen.

Why I QUIT Amazon.com and How You Can Too

I recently sent the letter below to Amazon.com. For those who wonder, I used the name they still had on their account for me, as my new name, Phoebe Sparrow Wagner, was not recognized. In return, I received  a nominal customer service email, but none of the promised (or implied) follow-up after that.

The art posted at top was designed for a stop restraints and seclusion group logo in California, which ended up not using it.

Please feel free to use my words as a model or template for your own.

Solidarity! and in several other languages (chosen mostly at random): Solidarité! Solidarność! Solidaridad! Undod! סאָלידאַרישקייַט, համերաշխությու,სოლიდარობა Mshikamano!Umodzi! Ubumbano! تضامن (tadamun), Dayanışma,солідарність!

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To Amazon.com

After reading about the conditions in your workplaces, and the careless disregard you, as Amazon, have shown for human dignity and the basics of humane treatment of your employees, I have decided to cancel a Prime membership I have had since its inception.  I have shopped at amazon and been a loyal customer since you began. Indeed, you even sent me a coffee mug with your logo that first year. But no more. Not only am I quitting my prime membership but I  will no longer shop at amazon.com or use any “benefits” that amazon claims to offer. Good bye and good riddance.

Sincerely,

Pamela S Wagner
A once extremely loyal customer, leaving In disgust

 

Trauma, And the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Psychiatric Take Down and Restraint

I wrote a version of this in a comment at Linda Lee/lady quixote’s Blog: http://ablogabouthealingfromPTSD.wordpress.com

Hi Linda,

Someone I met here in Brattleboro, really just an acquaintance, maybe 2 or 3years ago said, “get over it!” about the trauma I have experienced, and I found that enormously damaging just in itself. My “guide” Wendy, never tells me such things and she is fully committed to helping people who deal with great traumas. Another thing is that true is that global amnesia, such as I had and still have for a couple of weeks-long hospital stays in their entirety, (and I also have amnesia for other life experiences that were documented as having happened but are lost to my memory,)  this sort of global amnesia cannot be self-induced. You either can remember what happened or you cannot.

What I have found very helpful, and this may not be something you can or even choose to do, is this: I find that when my thoughts erupt or are triggered by something in the present, into a spasm of terrible memories, the resulting emotions and anger etc are so paralyzing and painful that I did consciously decide “I’m not going there, not until and unless it is safe for me to do so.” To that end, when I notice my thoughts turning bad, I immediately find anything to distract myself away from that terrible rut that trauma has clear-cut into my cortex. 

I know the emotions stem from the thoughts I think, and they constitute the story about them I tell myself. So if I try to tell a different story, like, for instance, “okay, that was my life then, but I am here now and if I  am happy now then all of my past including the trauma, has brought me here and I would not be here without it all, yes,  even the trauma.” BUT I fully confess that re-telling my story in a more positive way does not work when I am acutely triggered, so that is when distraction plays a huge role. 

In some sense, I understand that I cannot remain attached to my story of abuse and victimization, because in a  real way this will only lead me down that same trauma path, and even “attract further victimization and trauma”..But to explore these things requires a feeling of safety, which is not usually available, so I get relief from the thinking instead, by distractions and doing things with my mind that I love. Like studying or reading French, or listening to songs, because the verbal aspect of both tend to crowd out the insistent trauma memories. 

As Wendy says, it is a practice, like any spiritual practice, to know when your thoughts are headed down an unhelpful path way and to consciously decide not to “indulge” their wish to ruin your day! It does take a lot of practice to do this, and I would be the last to say it is easy. On the other hand, I know there is a safe place for them, for me to experience the memories and even triggers in security, and that is during my sessions with Wendy. She allows these to be as long as necessary for me to get through things, so they are usually 2-2.5 hours every time. But the thing is, knowing I can hold on and let things “in” in a safe place with her allows me to also decide NOT to let them in or to control me at other  times.

I hope this makes sense. It might not be your cuppa tea, and I dunno if you have a safe place/person with whom you could both process memories or at least let them out, but who also, by being a safe person, might allow you to go the distraction route. I myself have found it very helpful…and you know (I know you above all know!) how terribly I have been tormented by my memories of trauma.

The idea that even trauma memories are part of the story of our lives that we write or create and can de-create also helps me. Because I can decide, of, say, someone who brutalized me, well, in their story I was only a bit character, and they likely told and tell themselves something entirely different from my story about it. But I understand that these are all stories, all dramas, that are not really Truth…and if we can retell the story In such a way as to increase ours and the worlds happiness, that should be our aim. 

More to come about blame and being victimized but I have stuff to do and need to distract myself from the pain that even writing about trauma brings on. 

Love to all,

phoebe

Why We Should Not Take Things Personally

Miguel Ruiz in his THE FOUR AGREEMENTS has a lot to say about not taking things personally (TTP) and I have found his explanation immensely helpful. (Btw, This was originally a comment I wrote today on a column about not taking things personally at Psych Central.)

The first thing is to realize and understand that each person, while we are all part of a greater humanity, sees the world from his or her own perspective, the point of view that is utterly individual and conditioned by everything that has happened to that person. We see ourselves in one way, as the Center of our own world and point of view (how could it be otherwise?) but the fact is that others see us differently, because to them we are just a player on the stage of their own drama. When for example I might say to someone, “I love you” and mean it, that person, because of their history and life narrative, could hear it with many other feelings attached, and not hear my simple words as warm and sincere! Say that person had experienced the words “I love you” as a way for a someone to “manipulate them” or even to con them into doing what they did not want? Perhaps then the person I said “I love you” to will experience my words as dishonest, or a preface to a con, or just as manipulative. That does not mean ANYthing about my intent or my words themselves; it just says that for the other person, such words to them are unwanted because he or she had a life history where they were spoken dishonestly or manipulatively. That person’s view point is different from mine, as is everyone else’s and i cannot control either what or how they feel, or their reaction or perception of me and the world.

As a bit player on everyone else’s stage, where they are of course their own “star,” the “I” that I know, that is to say me as that player in their stage, is seen from their point of view and colored or discolored by their personal drama. Of course it is necessary to remember that everyone or mostly everyone is also taking what I say personally, but from a point of view I can neither control nor truly understand, because I am not that person! If they hear my “I love you” as a threat, does it help me or the situation to take their response personally? Of course not. I know I meant the words honestly but I also know that whatever they “heard” is not under my control.

More important though is the necessity (if we want to live happily and in peace in this world) not to take others’ words or behaviors personally even when they are “intended to be personal” ! This is not easy, because as the captain of our own ships, the star of the universe of our own perceptions, we hear and see all from the viewpoint of our dramas too. However, even such an “intentionally hurtful” remark, such as, “You are so stupid!”does not need to be taken as insulting or personal in any way. In fact, I would ask how it helps the situation if we do!

If instead of reacting from the POV that hears an insult, we take that NVC pause that marshall Rosenberg talks about, we could analyse the statement about being stupid and realize that even the intent to be hurtful is neither hurtful nor “personal”. The words, “you are so stupid” have in fact nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the other person’s history, drama, and point of view. What they perceive of me comes from this and I cannot control them or their feelings. Maybe yes, they are just having a bad day, or maybe their words come from a reaction to something they heard or perceived in the past. Or maybe what I did, from their point of view, felt to them somehow “stupid.” I cannot know. I can only know that it will never help me live a happier or more fulfilling life if I get insulted and yell back because I believe they “should” not have said those words. If on the other hand I use NVC to understand that the “you are so stupid” has NOTHING at all to do with reality, but was derived from their POV alone, I can ask myself (and even them) about it without feeling rancor or insulted…

The thing is to inquire whether TTP contributes to life’s value and happiness, which I am convinced it does not.

I am sure I have not done justice here to either Ruiz’ THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, or to Rosenberg’s NVC, but I try to live life without TTP, without taking things personally, because doing so has made me happier, easier to be with, and more productive and creative. What better argument for this than that not taking anything personally makes life, as Rosenberg liked to say, “more wonderful “?

My best to you all,

phoebe