Evangelical men need to stop lying about women’s health

This is the website for Refuge, a UK agency “For women and children, Against domestic violence.”

Refuge runs a national helpline for women being beaten by men. They also provide shelters, psychological support for victims, legal advocacy and legal services. These are Good Things.

To attack groups like Refuge, spreading lies about them, is to take the side of abusers and wife-beaters and thugs. This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

Refuge also produces PSAs — advertisements urging the victims of domestic violence to seek help and to avail themselves of the assistance Refuge and other groups can provide.

This is a trigger warning regarding domestic violence for the following link and embedded video.

This is a powerful PSA produced by Refuge.

That video is heartbreaking and stomach-churningly true-to-life. It is a potent, persuasive message to the victims of domestic violence, and it is unambiguously and forcefully opposed to such violence.

This is a trigger warning for the following links regarding hypocrisy, deliberate dishonesty and contempt for women.

This is a LifeNews article lying about that video, about Refuge, and about Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood, like Refuge in the UK, is a vital resource for women who are victims of domestic violence. Planned Parenthood, like Refuge, is unambiguously opposed to domestic violence. And so Planned Parenthood shared the above video from the Refuge, endorsing its message to women suffering such abuse: Don’t cover up, get help.

By attacking Planned Parenthood and Refuge, LifeNews is siding with abusers against the victims of domestic violence. This is a Bad Thing.

This is the Liar Tony Perkins repeating LifeNews’ lie, and embellishing it further to claim that Planned Parenthood and Refuge are promoting domestic violence:

Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. The abortion industry can cover anything up and their latest video proves it. In the footage, Planned Parenthood coaches girls on looking good after they’ve been physically abused. “I’ve had a bit of a rough time,” says a girl with bruises, “but I’m going to be doing a talk today on how to cover-up.”

This is a deliberate lie. This is a deliberate lie that white evangelicals are eager to believe because it allows them to pretend that Planned Parenthood is utterly wicked and therefore that they, by opposing Planned Parenthood, are utterly righteous.

This is a Bad Thing. This is the sin of pride. This is the sin of bearing false witness. This is the sin of siding with abusers against their victims. Don’t do this.

This is another lie that white evangelicals are telling about Planned Parenthood. This one comes from the right-wing website The Christian Post, which provides this dishonest headline: “Planned Parenthood Received $1,622 in Gov’t Funds for Each Abortion.” This is not true.

Planned Parenthood is a vital and irreplaceable provider of women’s health care in the United States. It provides basic health screening and medical services for millions of American women who otherwise could not afford access to such care. In support of this work, Planned Parenthood received $542.4 million in federal funding in 2012.

None of that funding went toward abortion services. The Christian Post knows this, but suggested otherwise anyway. Federal funding is prohibited by law from going toward abortion services. The Christian Post knows this, but suggested otherwise anyway.

This is called lying. This is the sin of bearing false witness. This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

Lest you think that this is “only” the Christian Post, which is a bit of a fringe site and a disreputable corner of the Internet, consider this: This is Ed Stetzer promoting the Christian Post’s lie about Planned Parenthood.

Stetzer is not a fringe character, but a prominent voice in Southern Baptist and white evangelical circles. He’s also a numbers guy who is usually very good at noticing and speaking up when someone is playing dishonest games with numbers.

But not when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

Stetzer knows that repeating the claim “Planned Parenthood Received $1,622 in Gov’t Funds for Each Abortion” makes about as much sense as claiming that “Planned Parenthood received $2.6 million in government funds for every 2012 plate appearance by Wilson Valdez.”

Or saying that Planned Parenthood received $410 in government funds for every copy of Justin Bieber’s Believe sold in 2012.

Or saying that Planned Parenthood received about $12,000 in government funds for every Southern Baptist congregation in the U.S.

Stetzer’s usual standards of honesty and accuracy would not allow him to promote such numerical nonsense about any other subject. But like most white evangelicals, he sets standards of honesty and accuracy aside when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

The Southern Baptists’ interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34 has done men like Ed Stetzer a disservice. “Women should be silent in the churches,” that verse says, “for they are not permitted to speak.” If women in Southern Baptist and other white evangelical churches were not compelled to keep silent, then men like Stetzer might have a better idea of the vital role that Planned Parenthood has played in the health and health care of women in their congregations.

Millions of poor and working-class American women rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health services. Millions of women in Southern Baptist and other white evangelical congregations are poor and working-class.

Millions of those women are the same women.

White evangelical men do not realize this because women are told to be silent in the churches. And because women in their churches have been listening to the enthusiastic and gleeful lies about Planned Parenthood that the men in their churches tell and embellish and re-tell, and they know that the truth as they know it to be true is not welcome in such congregations. Their congregations are not safe places for this truth.

This is a Bad Thing.

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  • Hexep

    When one elects to speak, one should make every effort to make oneself understood. If one willfully gives the listener the wrong impression, then that’s deception, of which misinformation and lying are both subsets. And that’s a wrongful thing to do.

  • PatBannon

    Sociopathy isn’t controlled by an on/off switch. Some people are mostly okay but have a severe lack of empathy that makes it difficult for them to emotionally connect to or understand others, due to a crappy upbringing or what have you. These people could be thought of as sociopaths, because they often act and/or respond in a way that is easily perceived as cold and detached, but I can assure you they get lonely the same as you do.

  • There’s lying, and there’s speaking out of ignorance (which are very different things), and then there’s speaking out of willful, deliberate, carefully cultivated ignorance. I’m prepared to not make much of a distinction between that and lying.


  • Yes, it’s all about purity.

    Human beings, across cultures and
    throughout history, seem to share a few core ethical values, hard-wired
    into our brains by millions of years of evolution as a social species.
    Those values: Fairness, harm and the avoidance thereof, loyalty,
    authority, and purity. (Some think there may be one or two others,
    including liberty and honesty; but those aren’t yet as
    well-substantiated, or as well-studied.)

    Liberals prioritize very
    different values from conservatives. When asked a series of questions
    about different ethical situations, self-described liberals strongly
    tend to prioritize fairness and harm as the most important of these core
    values — while self-described conservatives are more likely to
    prioritize authority, loyalty, and purity.

    Greta Christinia, Why Liberal Values Really Are BetterWhy Liberal Values Really Are BetterTRiG.                     

  • Yes, it’s all about purity.

    Human beings, across cultures and throughout history, seem to share a few core ethical values, hard-wired into our brains by millions of years of evolution as a social species. Those values: Fairness, harm and the avoidance thereof, loyalty, authority, and purity. (Some think there may be one or two others, including liberty and honesty; but those aren’t yet as well-substantiated, or as well-studied.)

    Liberals prioritize very different values from conservatives. When asked a series of questions about different ethical situations, self-described liberals strongly tend to prioritize fairness and harm as the most important of these core values — while self-described conservatives are more likely to prioritize authority, loyalty, and purity.

    Greta Christinia, Why Liberal Values Really Are BetterWhy Liberal Values Really Are Better.TRiG.

  • Okay, so the formatting’s screwed up both times, because Discus hates me, but meh, it’s readable.


  • I think safewords are important for non-consent play (which I don’t get at all), but there’s plenty to BDSM without non-consent play (I don’t get most of that either; might like to try bondage some time if I can find someone I trust enough, but the idea of pain in sex is just confusing).


  • Getting too into sex would be like getting too into beating them at Mario Kart, or outsmarting them in clever conversation. The important thing is the life of the mind, which, in the end, is the only thing that matters – how we order our own thoughts and regard the world around us.

    I guess this is something where our outlooks differ, since I do not see sex as a competitive activity, but a cooperative one.  That is a big part of why talking over with your partner what you want to have happen during a session is seen as such a big part of BDSM culture.  There is a certain negotiation so that everyone gets something that they want out of the experience.  Different partners may want different things, and usually that might be part of the negotiation (an agreement to take turns doing things the other partner wants.)  If one partner wants to do something that the other partner is uncomfortable with, that is the time to make that clear.  

    This kind of negotiation is especially important in BDSM, but I think that it also generalizes well to any given kind of sexual activity.  Or heck, it can generalize further to any given collaborative activity where one partner must implicitly trust the other.  If you are lucky, to paraphrase Doctor Seuss, “When you find someone who’s weirdness matches up with your own, we call that love.”

    Or as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “Vanilla is a spice too.”

  • What concerns me then, about safe words, is that – as I understand from reading on Wikipedia – that the idea is that you’re supposed to choose something innocuous, like ‘apricot.’ The thinking being that in the course of these activities, one will say ‘no’ and the other person is supposed to ignore that, until the ‘real’ safe word comes up, the fantasy breaks, and we’re back to the here and now. Am I correct in my assumption?

    It depends on the people.  For some, saying, “No” or “Mercy” is clear enough, and they don’t want to roleplay a non-consent scene anyway*.  Other people have some elaborate fantasy roleplay scenario in mind, and want to immerse themselves in it, so they need some signal that they’re speaking “out of character” to alert their partner about what’s going on.  The traffic light system has become popular in the BDSM scene:  red for stop, yellow for slow down, green for go ahead.

    You mentioned playing D&D — does your group have any signals meaning “I’m speaking out-of-character right now”?  My old Vampire LARP group used “cover your ankh necklace” for this, and my current RPG group uses “put one hand on top of your head”.

    *This webcomic (probably NSFW) is of that opinion:  http://tryitandlikeit.tumblr.com/image/18236683276

  • Hexep

    I wouldn’t say that I regard sex as a competitive activity, so much as the fact that it’s simply an activity that two people do together, and focusing too much on the act itself – its color, its luster, its divine heaviness – just detracts from the fact that you’re doing it with someone else, and that in this way, you’re sharing part of yourself with them and they’re sharing it with you. Getting caught up on the details is trouble.

    I never mix my passion with my romance. This is why my girlfriends only get to see the songs that I write for them specifically, and never get to see me compose. Some things are best not shared; a man like me needs his space.

  • Hexep

    For us, part of the fun of having your character is to have some kind of affectation, some immediately obvious mannerism – tone of voice, accent, posture – that is obviously not the player’s. Dropping character was as simple as dropping that affectation. My current game is set in something like the Baroque Cycle, using REIGN; my ‘affectation’ is that my character looks down his nose at people. Or, bugs his eyes out slightly. Or, puts on his own affectation, and speaks with an outrageous, fake Greek accent. Just having any sort of affectation at all, any kind of effort to alter your speech or bearing, is usually enough.

    Also popular is just saying, ‘hey, guys, wait a second,’ or just calling someone by their actual name.

    Now, I’m reading your comic, and all of that sounds insanely sensible, don’t get me wrong. But ‘tell people if something’s wrong or you don’t like what they’re doing’ just seems, well… not quite common sense, but rather that, in the last segment at least, it’s not as though those two had some kind of set up where if she’d just said ‘no, no, don’t do that,’ he’d be like, ‘muahahahaha, you are in my power now!’ Those two seem like they’re being themselves, and getting off on the physical rather than on the storytelling. That’s not my scene, but I can understand it, because I have my own scene and, you know, oysters and snails.

    I just cannot get behind the erotic roleplaying. To me, when I go into fantasy, it’s got to be about… something epic. Something large, something meaningful. Gods and kings and triumphs and passions and wars and revenge and empires, heavy things, massive things! If me and my gal are fantasizing about being Christopher Columbus having sex with Queen Elizabeth, well… they’re still just kinda doin’ it.

  • The thinking being that in the course of these activities, one will say ‘no’ and the other person is supposed to ignore that, until the ‘real’ safe word comes up, the fantasy breaks, and we’re back to the here and now. Am I correct in my assumption?

    That is partially true, but for the most part it also is to prevent ambiguity.  When someone says “don’t stop” they might mean “keep doing that” instead of “don’t, stop” meaning “cut that out right now.”  

    As safeword by contrast is unambiguous, hard to misinterpret the agreed upon meaning.  

    Incidentally, there are certain *ahem* semi-private “play spaces” a person can use for this kind of activity in which a supervisor will be present (though never so close as to be intrusive or leering) who has the role of making sure that safewords are observed the degree of physical harm does not cross certain thresholds.  Assuming one is alright with a modest amount of observation (not everyone is) this can actually be a more comfortable setting to explore such experiences in because one is not completely at the mercy of a single other party.  

  •  You know, Savvy Single Christian, your overall message seems to be “I support Refuge’s video! Don’t cover up your abuse! Get help instead!” But you seem to be building your argument out of numerous demonstrating that Women Lie All The Time And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

    I am very, very uncertain about you and your support for abuse victims, given how you seem to want to blame them for all sorts of non-ideal first world upper-middle-class social trends.

  •  What would “understanding this stuff” look like?

    That is… OK, non-consent fantasies squick you. That’s fine. When you say you want to understand it, what is it you want? Do you want them to not squick you? Do you want some kind of narrative like “non-consent fantasies squick me because I had thus-and-such experiences”? Do you judge non-consent fantasies morally problematic and feel bad about that judgment? Something else?

  •  Yeah, I’m familiar with the theory. It might even be true; I don’t know enough to judge.

  • Lori

    Ah Fusina, every time you talk about your late MIL I get a combination of a warm fuzzy and sad for you that she’s gone. She was obviously an exceptionally special woman and you were so lucky to have her.

  • Lori


    To mix up misinformation with lies is a Bad Thing, please don’t do this.  

    Continuing to believe that the same person is simply misinformed about the same issues again, and again and again instead of dealing with the fact that he’s a liar is a Bad Thing. Please don’t do this. If you are going to do it, don’t expect the rest of us to play along.

    Note also: being willfully misinformed is no better than lying.

  • Lori


    I’ve never had a serious discussion about sex with such people, so I’m not really sure what factors are in play.  

    IME a deeply sex-negative upbringing.

  • Lori

    But if I was involved with a woman and I found out that she was into that stuff, there would not be another date.  

    If you were involved with a woman who was interested in BDSM and she found out that you feel this way she wouldn’t want another date with you. So, as is generally the case with things based on mutual consent, that works out well.

  • Lori


    But when it comes to a fantasy of being in some situation, patently
    apart from oneself… I should be able to get behind it, because I play
    D&D&them, but I just can’t. Especially if it’s the sort of thing
    where I’m supposed to ignore NO but listen for APRICOT, because I don’t
    want to pretend I’m a rapist and I don’t want anyone else to pretend
    I’m a rapist, either.   

    Having a safe word other than “no” doesn’t mean the activity in question is necessarily a non-consent fantasy. Saying “no” can be sort of reflexive. If you have agreed to play that pushes boundaries you may find “no” slipping out when you don’t really mean “stop”. Using a word other than “no” makes stopping deliberate, a decision rather than a reflex, and ensures that your partner knows that it’s a decision and not a reflex. Safe words are an aid to clear communication, not just an aspect of non-consent fantasy.

    Also, safe words aren’t always words. If a person is gagged in some way* then you can’t clearly say “no” or any other words. If that’s the case then you need a different kind of “safe word”. For example, you may hold something in your hand and dropping it means stop, or you may agree to tap something a certain number of times. Again, it’s an aid to clear communication that allows you to have play that’s not interrupted until you really want it to be, but which stops the moment you want it to.

    And it’s fine if none of this makes any gut level sense to you at all. If it’s not your kink, it’s not your kink. As Dave said, as long as you’re not shaming other people for being into it there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • Hexep

    I believe that I approach the world with a fair amount of clear-sight and discernment; I believe that most people do the same. Thus, I’m always very reluctant to attribute a disparity between myself and another person to something as basic as ‘some folks like this, and some folks like that.’ For some, elementary things, of course, that’s all there is in the world – there’s no rational reason why I find tomato seeds abhorrent, nor any rational reason why others like them. Some things just are.

    But ‘why do people do what they do’ is one of the great questions of human life; it’s probably the only question that really matters. Here is something that is to me repellent, and to others appealing; I want to know how we reached these conclusions; and I don’t want to just call it Chinatown until I’ve absolutely no choice in the matter.

    We are regarding the same phenomena and having very different reactions. What pieces of information are we not sharing, to lead us to these conclusions?

  • banancat

    Here’s my take on sociopathy, from experience:

    My dad is a sociopath.  He is very charming and can convince most people to like him and praise him and admire him for about 4-7 years until he just can’t hide it anymore.  He knows what to do in social situations purely because of clinical, calculating observation.  Here’s an example.  If I see a someone spill something, I will offer a napkin.  I do this because I can empathize and if I were in that situation I would want someone to do that for me.  So I can extrapolate that others might appreciate me doing it for them.  My dad would also offer the napkin, but only because he has soon other people do it an be rewarded with gratitude, or because he has tried doing that in the past and was directly rewarded with gratitude.

    To him, it’s like playing a video game.  He goes through the correct ritual to produce the desired outcome (people liking him), but he has no understanding of why it works this way.  And because he has no actual human feelings, he rarely has any inhibition against following this formula exactly.  So he’s very good at observing and very good at acting like a caring, empathetic person.  He can produce the correct social response at least 90% of the time.  I would almost feel sorry for him being an empty shell of a human if he weren’t so damn abusive and stubborn about it.  He did things that hurt me during childhood, which he did not intend or was even aware of in certain cases.  Later when I tried to talk to him about it, he simply couldn’t understand my hurt.  He said there was no point in focusing on it because he can’t change the past.  I just wanted him to be aware of the pain he caused and maybe feel some minor regret about it even though it wasn’t intentional.  But he can’t actually feel that so at one point he directly asked me what he should specifically say or do to make me happy.  He hadn’t figured out the correct ritual for that scenario yet and he just couldn’t process that saying he was sorry didn’t actually mean anything if he wasn’t actually sorry.

  • Hexep


    I guess I’d better cancel our dinner reservations?

  • *This webcomic (probably NSFW) is of that opinion: 

    I found this particularly hilarious because of the guy in the “FETLYFE 4EVER” shirt.  According to most of my female friends on that social network, they get messages from guys like that all the time, to the point it gets really annoying, like spam.  

    It is like, “Guys, you are not as hot shit as you think you are, and the fact that you clearly did not even read the profile you are messaging demonstrates that.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    There’s no valid reason to be against a group of people who are out there in the trenches, providing healthcare to poor people who need it. 

    So what if they happen to provide one service you disagree with? Not everyone holds your opinion. The law certainly doesn’t. And is that really a reason to completely deny everyone who depends on them for everything else that help? 

    Could you be more self-absorbed? 

  • Lori

    Not necessarily. I’m more of an informed visitor to kinkland than a full-time resident.

  • Matri

    We must not make our opponents look worse than they really are.

    Impossible. No amount of POE-ing, sarcasm, or ridiculous over-generalization can even come close to the amount of fut-nuckkery the right-wing comes up with.

    The Onion reports far more true facts in a day than Fox News does in a month, for crying out loud!

  • Thanks for your honesty, Hexep.  I, like Lori, count myself as more of an informed observer to kinkland than an expert; someone who’s more of an expert might be able to give better advice.

    I’ll start off by saying that your kinks may or may not have anything to do with your abusive childhood.  After all, people with happy, non-abusive childhoods get heavily into BDSM.  So it could be that it’s your mind’s way of handling the abuse, or it could be a completely separate thing.  Either way, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make your kinks a fulfilling part of your life.

    Probably the best things to start off doing would be to look up some 101-type informational sites, and then see if there are sites for any local groups.  If there are, one of them ought to have a “munch” you can go to.  A munch is a low-pressure social gathering, for the express purpose of meeting people who are in the scene and getting to know them in a non-sexual context.

    Aside from that… um… if there’s anyone here who *is* more of a kink expert, perhaps they can offer some advice?

  • I find sole reliance on character affectation to determine whether someone’s in or out of character to be problematic, myself.  It depends a great deal on a person’s roleplaying style — sometimes I might play a character whose mannerisms happen to be pretty similar to my own, for instance.  And it will often take me at least a few sessions for a character to fully gel with me.

    Then there’s the fact that not everyone’s all that great at acting, new players especially.  And while some people really are good at doing things like accents and physical bearing, other people just *think* they are…

  • Fusina

    She accepted me as I was, and didn’t have any expectations of what I would be–I loved her son and that was enough for her. That I gave her two grandchildren was icing on the cake. We had a lot in common–gardening, fancywork (aka embroidery) her son, my kids, cooking–we could talk on the phone for hours about nothing at all.

  • (nods) I’m sorry about your experiences, and doubly sorry that you’re in a place where being open about your state has such consequences. I appreciate your openness here.

    Is creating an anonymous account on a more BDSM-focused discussion site an option for you? I suspect you’re far from the only person in your situation, and there’s probably lots of advice to be had on such a site regarding how to approach it (including but not limited to how to find informed consenting partners and play with them safely) from that community, as well as more general accounts of how people got to where they are.

  • John (not McCain)

    My general rule when lying morons like Juanjc3d start posting bullshit about Planned Parenthood is they get $5 from me for every post.  I wonder how much this particular lying moron will cost me.

  • Hexep

    When I let the relative safety of Hong Kong, I had a little list of things to do and not do. At the very top of that list is ‘don’t get sent to the asbestos mines.’ If such a thing exists in this country, it’s the domain of high cadres  and the super-rich; such practices are wildly illegal here.

    But I’ll look it up all the same. The police don’t know what’s in my heart, nor do they have the resources to see what I’m browsing. We’ll see what’s out there.

  • Hexep

    But that’s just the thing; I’m not sure I want to. Here is a part of me that is ignoble, that is reprehensible, that is painful to carry and painful to behold. Do I really want to let that out and give it an avenue? Do I really want to live my worst nature?

    I’m fortunate in that I can generally appreciate the traditional Four Bases, as it were. Is it wise to push the boundaries, and get in a situation that could end up badly?

  • Hexep

    I don’t know; all I can say is that the way I’ve tended to do it, it’s usually been obvious from context. My character wouldn’t say ‘hey, pass me the ashtray,’ or ‘let’s order a pizza.’

  • If your (potential) sexual preferences are ignoble, reprehensible, and reflect your worst nature, then certainly you ought not indulge in them… agreed.

    Are they?

    From what you’ve said so far that doesn’t seem to follow, but of course I don’t know all the details (nor am I entitled to know them).

    But let me put it this way: if you were to discover that someone else has all the same sexual impulses that you have, would you judge them to be immoral or disgusting or otherwise bad? On what basis?

    Would you attempt to prevent them from finding consenting sexual partners?

  • Hexep

    If I possessed categorical knowledge that their impulses were identical to mine, then yes, I would regard them as the same that I would regard myself. I subscribe to the (admittedly very paternalistic) notion that there are some acts for which a person simply cannot consent, because the very act of consenting to such acts implies that one is in an unfit mental state.

    If someone is like me, then they have a desire, albeit sexualized, to hurt and destroy people. The safe thing to do would probably be to put them down like a wild animal.

    Who was it that said that every man must want to raise the black flag and start slitting throats? I keep that shit locked down with a hard combination of religious fanaticism and strict self-control, and keep my mind safe through constant exercise, focus, and distraction. And I don’t trust other people as much as I trust myself.

  • So, this rolls back to my original comment about “You get to choose who you date on whatever basis you wish to. As long as you’re not shaming other people who do like it, I’m cool.”

    As you move from making choices about your own desires to judging entire classes of sexuality as ignoble, reprehensible, etc., I become less cool with it.

    My own moral judgments aside, though… well, OK. If what you desire is categorically immoral even with a partner who comes as close to consenting as human limitations allow, then your choices are to behave immorally, to live in constant denial of those desires, or to somehow change those desires.

    The first two suck.

    The third is hard even with professional help; even harder without it. If your environment constrains you from seeking professional help, it might be worthwhile to seek out a less constraining environment.

    You might also find it profitable to think carefully about where your moral judgments about this kind of sexuality are coming from, and whether you continue to endorse them as you come to understand them better. This, too, is easier to do with professional help.

    I wish you luck.

  • phantomreader42

    The title is three words longer than necessary.

  • Hexep

    Four, really, although with a little careful finangle-ing, we could chop it down to all but two – but then it becomes an imperative rather than a statement.


    My dad is a sociopath.  He is very charming and can convince most people
    to like him and praise him and admire him for about 4-7 years until he
    just can’t hide it anymore.  He knows what to do in social situations
    purely because of clinical, calculating observation.

    One of life’s many cruelties is that there are people out there who are pathologically devoid of empathy who can pass as charming and socially ept through pure clinical calculating observation, while at the same time, there are lots of highly intelligent people who are entirely capable of empathy, but go their whole lives without being able to do a passing imitation of a normal human being in social situations.

  • Hexep

    TW: Primitive  mental health care

    You asked me what I’d think about someone identical to me. Not someone similar to me, or bearing a passing resemblance, or someone who could be grouped with me if you squint hard enough, but identical.

    Someone identical to me is not your run-of-the-mill enthusiast or someone who’s made a lifestyle choice. Someone who is identical to me is a monster, or someone who is pretending desperately that they aren’t in the slight hopes that pretending for long enough will make it true.

    Revenge. Revenge is my word, and the targets of my revenge – the people who made me thus – are dead and gone and beyond my reach, and yet this anger remains, and it infiltrates every aspect of me – including those that are sexual.  I don’t know what makes other people the way they are, but I know what makes the way I am – the belief, however much I wish it weren’t so, however much I want to simply not believe this, that pain is a river, and that I can wash it off myself by putting someone else downstream.

    Someone whose desires are identical to mine would also be cursed with the inability to separate fantasy from reality – indeed, to find fantasy almost insulting, a half-way measure that pleases none with its tantalizing agony. It is that curse that defines my situation most strongly. A person who is identical to me will not be satisfied with  make-believe; they will either stay strong, or give in. 

    I trust myself not to give in because I have no other choice – it’s pretend, or murder, or suicide, or the cage beds of People’s No.7 Hospital, stinking of feces and filled with the howling of the wounded and the condemned, with medicine administered by cattle prod because thorazine is too expensive. No, I know well what awaits me there, and I won’t let them take me alive.

    Forgive me if I sound histrionic, but I answered your question as you worded it.

  • Hexep

    As flies to wanton boys, are we to the Gods; they kill us for their sport.

  •  (nods) Fair enough. You know your situation far better than I do, of course, and you may well be right that your situation is importantly different than that of the other people I might ignorantly consider in the same class. My apologies for suggesting otherwise.

    My previous suggestions involving seeking out a less constraining environment, and thinking as rigorously as you can manage about where your moral  judgments of yourself come from, still stand.

    And again, I wish you luck.

  •  I’m a sub, do BDSM, and my partner and I don’t use safe words, because we don’t do non-consent scenarios.  If I say no, it means no, and that’s the end.

    So BDSM has many different flavors. 

  • Hexep

    Thank you, I appreciate that. I think we understand each other; I have no more to say on this topic.

  • Carstonio

     While I don’t claim to be highly intelligent, I have that same awkwardness in social situations. I’ve been told that I don’t pay enough attention to how people interact with one another, perhaps focusing too much on how they treat me. A few times I’ve been surprised to learn that someone’s shabby treatment of me is simply typical of hir treatment of everyone, instead of being personal.

  • Again, you know your situation better than anyone else can.  But — if I may be permitted a bit of armchair psychology here — generally speaking, the harder a person tries to bottle something up and keep it down, the more powerful it becomes; and if you don’t create an outlet for it, it’ll create one.

    The “I must have it all or I must have nothing” dichotomy sounds more like something you’ve talked yourself into than an actuality.

  • everstar

    I’m not you and you’re not me, but I’m struggling myself with confronting things I’ve locked down deep inside for what seemed like very good reasons.  Now it’s starting to look like those things are preventing me from becoming a better person, and I’m pondering whether I want to unlock those doors or not.  It’s really scary, because I locked those things away precisely because I don’t know how to deal with them and I didn’t want to.  How do I explore all the anger inside me without getting swept away by it?  How do I rediscover the wish for friends without being drowned in the pain of loneliness?  How do I take risks when I’m so terrified of failing?

    And yet if I’ve discovered anything from working on myself so far, it’s that many, many things I’ve always been afraid of aren’t nearly as big or powerful as I thought they were.  Locking them away and refusing to confront them is what made them terrifying.  I hope and believe this will be the case with my anger as well.

    Elaine Pagels quoted the Gospel of St. Thomas as saying, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”  I know the damage keeping everything inside has caused me; I can only believe that bringing it out will transform it into healing.  At the very least, if it’s out in the open, I can show it to other people who can help me, and not fight on all alone.

    Good luck to you.  You deserve to be saved.

  •  > How do I explore all the anger inside me without getting swept away by it?

    I realize this was kind of meant as a rhetorical question, but I will also say that good therapists can be quite helpful with this sort of thing. Actually, even mediocre therapists can be helpful with this sort of thing.

    I’m reminded of an exchange I had with a therapist a few years ago, after my stroke:
    Me: “I dunno, it’s like whenever I try to engage with X there’s just all this anger, and it gets all over everything and I just don’t know what to do with it.”
    Her: “Is it important to do anything with it?”
    Me: “That is SUCH a fucking… THERAPIST question!!!”
    Her: “Well, yes. It’s an occupational hazard.”

    As often happens with me, when I let myself fully experience anger, I end up by laughing a lot.