chriek: (興味ない)
bri ([personal profile] chriek) wrote2017-05-07 01:53 pm
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I have nowhere else to put this so fuck it, here we go.

I really wanted to use this as a more fun journal thing but I guess that shit's not happening. It has to be the way it always was, where I go on and on about shit that pisses me off. In a way, that's cool because that's how it was before and it's familiar and at least I can feel anger again. In another way, what the hell - why doesn't anything change?

It has been years since I've really said anything. Part of that was thanks to Landmark brainwash bullshit but a lot of it was worse shit.

Since I doubt anyone's reading this I'm just going to say it: my father is a sociopath.

Yeah. Weird, huh? Except not really. If you know anything about sociopaths (or are one yourself) then it's been pretty obvious this whole damn time. Problem is that even if I use the s-word, no one really knows what it means. That's annoying as hell. I tried talking to a few people about it when I first started dealing with this and they thought I meant shit like Dexter. I went and skimmed a few episodes - that's not a sociopath.

This is a sociopath.
“When a very small crowd sees a performer up there, there’s a sense of pity and empathy and sympathy that sort of bonds the audience to the artist,” Cleaves says with a chuckle. “It can be a lasting bond.”

Think about it. It's a weird fucking thing to say. You want to permanently bond people to you with pity? No normal person wants that. But no normal person really sits to think about statements like that, either. "Oh, he's a musician. They're eccentric." Deviating from the norm and actively seeking to feed on people's emotional energy ARE NOT ONE AND THE SAME.

If you say "psychopath" or "sociopath" many (if not most) people immediately think of chainsaws and murder. Well, sorry but most sociopaths aren't violent killers. They're entitled assholes who know how to manipulate people in order to cause certain reactions or occurrences. Maybe that sounds innocuous or mildly annoying. "Some people are just bastards." Some people are just bastards. That's not what I'm talking about.

How do you begin to explain to someone what it's like when someone really wants to hurt you? Not because the person is reacting to their own pain or insecurities but for enjoyment. This person is amused by your reactions. Pain, confusion, anger... it's like watching a show you just can't get enough of. It's not revenge or hatred. It's entertainment.

I'm not talking about people you want to see fail because they're assholes. It's seeing someone you know cares and thinking about how to get them to attach to you, then slowly start to mess with their mind and boundaries, see how much you can get away with, and then punch them (metaphorically) with something you know causes them pain.

Then fake apologize. Pretend to reflect, even though you're not actually sorry. Then do it again.

And again.

Shorten the time intervals. Promise less than before. Start to get angry at them instead. Wear them down.

Get bored because they're too broken. Ditch them. Find a new target. Drain them.

Get bored again.

Find the original target - wean them back in by pretending affection and whatever else is necessary to make them think maybe you do care and maybe you are sorry, in your own way. They wouldn't want to write you off (the way you're doing to them) so here you go, another chance.



So, you might ask why anyone would put up with this. I guess I didn't explain the attachment phase that well. I experienced this early in life: my father would shower me with attention, say how proud he was to have me as his daughter, take me somewhere fun (e.g. Disneyland), and so on. I felt good. I thought, "my father loves me! He has fun with me! I'm so happy!!"

Then he'd get bored. Suddenly, he wasn't proud of me. He'd lock the door on me and let me cry outside, begging him to tell me what I did wrong. I learned through repetitions of this not to talk to him if he was ignoring me. After a few days of being ignored, he'd pick me up from school or knock on my bedroom door and say, "hey! Want to go play handball?" This would confuse me.
I'd say, "I thought you were mad at me."
He'd reply, "that's in the past."
"But I don't want to make you mad again."
"I don't want to talk about it. It's in the past! Let's play now!"

If you think that's bad, there's more. The times he'd pretend to vanish when we were in public so I'd look for him frantically and start to cry - then he'd show himself and laugh at me. He constantly picked me up late from places, sometimes by hours. When I told him I felt scared, he'd angrily say, "what do you want from me?!" or "I was talking to someone!" Sometimes when I'd be talking to him (especially as an adult) he would get up randomly and walk away, or start a conversation with another person like I hadn't just been telling him something. He made fun of the way I walked, talked, ate, dressed, parked the car - anything you can think of.
"Why are you doing it like that?"
"Do you really think that color suits you?"
"Looks like ~someone~ put on weight!"
"Oh, I see makeup! ~Someone~ is trying to act like an adult!"
(I should note I was in my late 20's when he said the latter to me. I was an adult in all possible senses of the word.)

One of the sick things about sociopaths (among many) is their need to project their own faults onto you. This was done to me constantly. "You're just pretending to feel bad to get me to change." (No, that's you.) "It's always 'my way or the highway' with you!" (Nope, you again.)

This extends to physical things as well. Normally I wouldn't volunteer this information because I respect people's privacy but these things are relevant to my own experiences. Firstly, my father was sexually assaulted when he was young. Sociopaths cannot deal with this kind of stuff being true about them - so I had to be sexually assaulted at a young age. Not by him - he's the type who likes to maneuver others. It was two kids from next door. My father did nothing because, again, I was the one who was supposed to have this "fault". I think the craziest example of this was that my father used to have a slight speech impediment when he first came to America (which he later fixed with speech therapy); in my worst and most beaten-down years (i.e. the Landmark years), I was so suggestible that he tried to convince me I had a speech impediment. Thankfully my friends were like, "NO."

One thing my father really loved doing (in addition to all the spectacular activities already mentioned) was to relive my worst and most painful moments. He liked to remind me that when I was six months old, I almost died (because my mother's feeding didn't provide enough nutrients). He liked to remind me of the time my grandfather walked in on me being molested and how funny it was that my grandfather (who didn't know English") shouted "come here!" to the kid instead of "go home!" He liked reminding me of the time that my stepfather hit me and I shook so hard I couldn't speak for almost an hour afterward.

You know. The good times.

I asked him to stop bringing these things up.
"You're so sensitive!"
"I can't say anything around you!"
"Can't I just talk openly with you? God!"
"I want us to be closer but how can anyone be close to you like this?"

You might ask (as some people typically do) why I put up with this. The short answer is that I didn't know it was abnormal. I never reached out about what I was feeling because my father told me over and over as a kid (and even as an adult) that people didn't really care about me. He said it was all empty words (*cough*talkingaboutyourself*cough*) and the ones who stuck around were just desperate and "they'd take anyone". Whenever I thought I'd made friends with someone growing up he'd usually tell me "people from that culture only care about themselves". (Didn't matter which culture it was, there was always some reason that I could never matter to them.) Or he'd tell me they were too "wild" which in hindsight I think meant he didn't believe he could influence them.

I also put up with it because I started to believe the worst of myself. I couldn't make sense of what was happening and in some way believed that I lacked something or else I wouldn't keep making the mistakes my father accused me of. I wouldn't get so mad at his "jokes" or not want to do things when he asked me suddenly or not always want to share my things or not mess up and "make excuses" for things I thought I needed. In short, I would be 100% agreeable to whatever was wanted of me and make zero mistakes. When I did make mistakes and tried to explain he'd tell me, "someone's making excuses!"

When I said I wish he'd treat me with respect by listening and looking me in the eye when I was talking to him he told me, "you ask for too much of people, that's why no one stays around you."


It's not true, by the way. Enough people tend to want to be around me but I push them away because I feel frightened - that it's a trick, of what they really want, that they won't listen, that they secretly hate me, that I'm not wanted and am making a fool of myself. I get overwhelmed and scared really easily still. A lot of it seems to hinge on worrying that I'm not really worth anything - not worth taking seriously, not worth loving, not worth trying for, not worth keeping around. Take your pick, I hurt and worry over all of them. It's not something another person can convince me of, either - some people have tried that but I've learned no one can undo that pain but me. It's just hard.

I broke contact with my father three years ago now. I only discovered sociopathy in February of last year and spent the next 2½ months not being able to sleep. I've been through further insomnia, extreme muscle tension, teeth clenching, chest pain, anxiety attacks, nightmares, shooting stomach pangs... a masochist's wet dream, basically. Except for me it was draining and lonely. I thought about suicide a hell of a lot, not really out of a desire to die anymore but because I wanted respite from the perpetual pain. I binged on junk food, spent a few weeks drinking wine when I couldn't cope... I'm still not all figured out but my mind is less hazy and I can vocalize some things better now. I also moved states and shrugged out a few unhealthy friendships. I'm following the typical steps and I've never felt the urge to reestablish contact with my father. Unlike a few others, I've never regretted or questioned my decision. The only thing I felt was guilt for admitting (via my actions) that I didn't want to be around him anymore.

I should mention he's been a stalkerish fuck about it and his antics really got to me in the first year. Sociopaths do not like losing control over their chosen victim. They will stoop to anything to regain control.

Want a fun example?

Something my father did a handful times when he'd told me wanted to "take a break" and I hadn't come back after a month or two was to eat expired food and make himself sick. I'd get a dramatic call from my stepmother about "your father's in the hospital, it might be a heart attack!" The guilt was immediate. He was suffering but I didn't want to see him. I didn't want to be a callous person so I went, even though I was so mad about how he'd treated me.

How do I know he made himself sick?

This is something I've only been able to put together in the past year. The first time my father got sick, he admitted it was food poisoning. That didn't get me over right away because, I mean... you did that shit to yourself and I'm still mad at you, dumbass. The second time he pretended he was sick, I came over to take care of him and we went to the hospital together. I sat and rubbed his back and lavished attention on the stupid asshole - and I was there when the doctor questioned him. She said everything was fine and he was totally healthy - but did he eat something that might have gone bad? Like eggs, or potato salad? Because everything else was fine. I remember thinking: That's weird. I wonder why she's asking about food? He really looks sick and he was having trouble breathing... but I guess I'm just glad he's okay.

The last time he did this I got the frantic call and a demand I call my stepmother right back. These are the bullet points of the story I got told:

- father felt sick Friday, wouldn't go to hospital
- woke up Saturday and went on a FOUR MILE WALK
- didn't take his phone, didn't ask for help, LAID DOWN IN AN ALLEY (?)
- Suffers all day Sunday
- I get frantic call Monday morning from the hospital ("it could be a heart attack!") DEMANDING I come over and take care of him

I had to ask three times "was it a heart attack?" Stepmother kept avoiding the question until she finally answered "no, but he could have one at any time!"

In other words, he's fine.

It was really hard to say I wasn't coming over and to hang up. I knew her story didn't make sense (why did you wait THREE days to take him to the ER?! What the fuck was up with lying in an alley? Bonus pity points? YOU'RE AN ADULT, FUCKING GO TO THE HOSPITAL). But having your emotions played like that... it's low. And I'd already been through it several times before. Not because he was actually sick but because he was willing to make himself physically sick to trigger my guilt which would have me return to him like he wanted.

That's why the sentence "some people are just bastards" doesn't fit experiences like mine. This goes beyond any normal bastardry.

I used to tell people my father and I had a close relationship. It wasn't really like that. I put up with a lot because I felt guilty. I hid the things he was doing because I believed I'd caused them. I let him (and others) treat me how they wanted because I didn't think I was worth anything; some attention was better than none at all. If people treated me badly I assumed or found something I'd done badly to "cause" it.

It makes me sad to write that. But it's accurate, so nothing can be done about it right now.

The worst pain isn't the fact that my father didn't love me (although that hurt plenty). The worst pain is how he made me feel about myself. It's that he taught me from a young age to only see the worst in me, even when it was him I was seeing and not myself. I'm not saying I haven't made mistakes. This isn't a pity party to absolve me of bouts of normal human shittiness. But even if I've messed up at times it doesn't mean I deserved this. It doesn't mean I deserved to hate myself so much I wanted to die. It doesn't mean I deserved to be made fun of for every last damn fact about myself. I never deserved this level of cruelty. And for what? A power trip. Not even a satisfying reason to have endured the pain. Disappointing to the end, my father.

It's exhausting. It's lonely. I want most of all to feel good about myself and it's so damn hard. Moving states was healthy but overwhelming as fuck. Working in a career I intensely dislike is also not doing me any favors. I want to scream "GODDAMN YOU, I'M WORTH SOMETHING!!" But it's been a long time since I've regularly stood up for myself (thanks, Landmark) that I've forgotten how that goes. Moving states was easier because I didn't need anyone's permission; work involves other people and my confidence shoots right down whenever that's the case. I'm aware some people don't mind me but that's not really the same as feeling like you have the right to belong somewhere. Plus thanks to Landmark I've acted a lot more agreeable than I actually am and I'm afraid that if I stop no one will like me at all anymore. (Beacon of confidence right here.)

I don't want to scramble so hard for love but it's not like I've experienced a whole hell of a lot of it in life. I'm still getting used to the fact that when I ask someone to stop doing something because it upsets me, they actually stop. You don't know how confused I was when that started happening! I remember asking a coworker, "wait, why did you listen to me?" He answered, "because I'm not an asshole." I nearly had an anxiety attack afterward because he was indirectly saying, "the way your father acted with you wasn't okay." The more people tell me in indirect ways that it wasn't my fault, the more it lets me admit how much it hurt - and that's where the anxiety comes. I think to some people it might be weird because my life is admittedly much better than three years ago but some of the good occurrences have resulted in anxiety attacks, even as recent as a few days ago. It's because I'm finally feeling the pain I had to suppress before. When I believed it was my fault I kept it in; when I hear that it wasn't my fault, it all comes out. It's healthy but overwhelming. (That's trauma for you.)

Anyway, I missed updating. I let Landmark get too much in my head about things and I wasn't myself anymore. I want to talk again. I'd like to believe I'm not an asshole. I don't actually enjoy keeping things to myself - especially interests. I started clamming up about that stuff to protect myself but god, did it hurt and stress me out. I even started preemptively putting myself down because I thought... I don't know what I thought. That I'd stave off disappointment somehow? Didn't really work, just felt bad about myself pretty much constantly. I don't want other people's feelings to be my fault. They aren't, but Landmark (like my father) was pretty gung-ho about making sure I blamed myself for shit other people were doing. It gets exhausting even remembering it.

I feel better writing about this. I feel better typing anything at all - that's how much I miss just writing. I've really hated the way I've lived, like all my time and attention goes into this useless shit I could not give two fucks about. It was better when I had an update window open or a notepad file or word document to type into. It was better interacting and doing something with my interests than having some boring laundry list of things to get done to "prove" I was ~responsible~. The fuck do I care about responsible? That's like taking breathing seriously. It's a background function; unless you have a medical issue, do what needs to get done to make sure it's working and then move on to more important shit. What the hell are you trying to waste my time with here...

And telling me my interests aren't big enough? Who the hell are you to judge my interests? I'm sorry, do I somehow owe you for existing? Pretty sure NO. Pretty sure it's not your fucking right to be judging something that has ZILCH to do with you. Pretty sure it's not "impacting" the world or any of your other stupid terms. (This is now a Landmark rant, in case you weren't aware.) Who the hell even said I wanted to save the world? What the hell is with your judge-y attitude towards people who just want to live a good life without any showy shit? "That's fine if you want an ordinary life. We deal in being ~extraordinary~." What you deal with is grammar malfunction. "How you be in the world"? LEARN PROPER FUCKING CONJUGATION.

(I'm aware it's done that way to reprogram how your mind operates. I know, but I'm still going to act like they're incompetent shitwits.)

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it feels so GOOD to get angry! It's been so long since I've put anyone down and these shitfaces deserve it! Do you know what an awkward insecurity I've had over my own personality? Do you know how many times people took a preference of mine personally? I'm surprised I didn't end up with an ulcer after all of that frustrating codependent stupidity.

For all that I've been called "sensitive" I have to say that people in Landmark reeeeeeeeeally can't take the word "no". They tout the rape-y attitude, "no is just no for now." Um? Gross? No means no. N-O. Two letters, one clear message. You aren't actually owed an explanation for it, either.

It was so mindfucky and uncomfortable when people would keep acting as if you hadn't just said no to them - or acting as if you were actively preventing them from making your life better (as only Landmark could do). I got told (more than once): "You're not letting me be a contribution to you!" It makes you want to ask, "what the fuck are you talking about? Do you hear yourself? You contribute to PBS or environmental groups. I AM NOT A CHARITY, KINDLY AND QUICKLY FUCK OFF."

The only way to deal with these people is to stop talking to them and walk away. Same for sociopaths, really.

More than likely, I have more to say on this subject. Putting up with mind noise for 6½ years will build up some long-overdue grumpiness. I dealt with more condescension in those years than you can reasonably ask someone to tolerate without swearing up a goddamn storm. And the way they try to control your speech! Every has to talk the exact same! "The possibility I'm inventing for myself and my life is the possibility of..." And they'd stop you if you said even one word differently! Jesus Christ, the level of control in those rooms... eugh.

(If you're thinking, "gosh, there seem to be some marked similarities between what you said about your dad and what you're talking about with this Landmark group" - DING DING DING! Steven Pressman's book Outrageous Betrayal paints a very familiar portrait of "Werner Erhard", the founder of est/Landmark. And by familiar I mean sociopathic. But I'm sure I'm just a ~transformation~ hater. Everything is only black or white, "coachable" or "on it". I hate that I know what those terms mean... what a fucking waste of my life.)

I'm hoping that with time, I'll be able to write stories or something like that. For now, I think I'm content to spew all my long-held feelings out into the open. I'm not a negative person by nature (typically I move along with my life about most things) but having people whine at you like you're sticking them with needles when all you said is "I don't want to join Mensa" is like... you know. Annoying. "Bri's a tough cookie, hahaha!" I will rip out your spine and set it on fire.

The anger builds up. You can't help it. Too much stupid shit gets said to you for too long. And when you give up what you love because of it... life gets to feeling so pointless. In the end, what I want is to be the person before all this happened. Not completely; some things can't go back to how they were. But the me who would give the middle finger when necessary - her, I want back.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable writing something like this. I've tried several times the past three years and couldn't get it out - couldn't bring myself to say what I really wanted to say or let people see it. It's not about having what I say be remarkable. It's about feeling like I had the right to say it at all without giving fifty different apologies.

So it's clear: I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry for my decisions to leave Landmark or permanently break contact with my father. I'm not sorry for posting about it or outing him. If I feel sorry for anything, it's only for putting myself through so much unnecessary pain by not making these decisions sooner.


Yeah. I needed this rant.

PS Finally got a tattoo last week. It's peeling and gross at the moment but I feel good that I got it. I want more but that'll have to wait till I have the budget for it since the next piece is going to be bigger and costly/detailed. Not going to talk about what it is till I get it but the one I got already is the heart pirates logo. It was mostly because I needed something small I could test for pain and the design is on the creepier side (i.e. my preference). Tattoos do hurt but more in a flinch-inducing way than an OH MY GOD THE PAIN STOOOOOOOOOOOOP way. Well, I say that but there was a guy getting a tattoo in the same place as me (inner arm) and was wincing up a storm. I felt bad but I laughed. Watching her do my tattoo distracted me from the pain so I didn't have as hard a time with it. Anyway, tattoo ゲット!! so... (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و