jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

At some point, my parents of origin decided that they were okay with only one child.

It wasn't me.

(Content note: Mental illness, toxic families, restraints, and spoilers for season three of Steven Universe.)

Mental illness, toxic family stuff, restraints, and SU season three spoilers )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This time, to the children of abusive and narcissist moms. Who have to endure a ton of reminders of their pasts today and somehow explain that no, you aren't grateful to her, and you've already sacrificed enough of your life and your future for her.

Relevant link: http://www.issendai.com/psychology/estrangement/index.html

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This article, on issendai.com, is twice as interesting if you replace the word "narcissist" with the word "corporation."

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Yesterday, I got stranded a long way from home with no way back.

Content note: A longish story about the hidden costs of being poor, the inhumaneness of "personal responsibility" teachings, and how [personal profile] jewelfox learned to be mean to herself from her abusive family of origin. Contains swearing, transphobia, and poverty-shaming.

Read more... )

I'm not writing this because I bear a strong grudge that I haven't let go of (although that may be part of it). I'm writing this because this is stuff that has really affected me, and has changed how I see myself whether I want it to or not.

My family of choice, my real loved ones, don't see what I did as unreasonable, and don't want me to see myself as "irresponsible" and a "burden." I don't want to see myself that way, either. So I have to deconstruct why I feel that way, so that I can maybe move past it.

I hope that this helps someone else, who needs to do the same thing. I hope you can learn to value yourself as a person.





* Willful ignorance is the defining trait of religious and political conservatism, as near as I can tell. It is also the defining trait of evil alignment, IMO.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We've talked about them a lot in our previous posts, but those are kind of scattered through our journal and some of them were written in various states of incoherent rage. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; anger is a sign that your boundaries are being violated, and is as natural and necessary as physical pain is. Expressing it should be a warning to other people to back off, or to help so your pain goes away.

Unfortunately, it also made us hard to understand sometimes, especially when each post usually addressed one particular thing and assumed prior knowledge of what we'd been writing about. So here's the condensed version of why our "family of origin" and "family of choice" are two separate things, and why it would not be healthy or possible for us to change that.

Content note: We don't go into too many details about their physical and emotional abuse, but the ones we do mention might trigger some people. We also talk about their homophobic, transphobic, and sexist religion some, and the things that they've done because of it.

Read more... )

We currently have no contact with our parents of origin, and don't have online contact information for our siblings even if we wanted to talk to them. We don't want to have contact with any of them until they demonstrate self-awareness, and apologize and try to make amends for their behaviour, instead of just sweeping it under the rug and pretending like nothing has happened. Because as long as they think that it's normal and okay to hurt other people the way that they do, but harmful and deviant just for me to exist, they are dangerous.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Author's Note: This story is inspired by Murrquan's Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction. You can still find it on archive.org if you know where to look. If you don't, she's not going to tell you.

The character named Shadow, in this story, is a black cat who had no relation to this Shadow when Murrquan created him in 2000.

Content Note: Contains lots of graphic physical and emotional violence, including some that's inflicted on children. Also discussion of suicide and self-injury, mild profanity, and disturbing imagery, including torture.

* * *

Dear Shadow,

It's Tachyon, your former peregrine "pet." I was a tiercel, but now I'm an actual falcon. And speaking of changes, I'm pretty sure that you're dead, but maybe that will make it more likely that you get to see this. It's not like I knew your mailing address, or anything.

Anyway, do you remember the Eighth? The emerald I can't use the full name of, since it's a memetic trigger for you? Well, it is for me too, now. Because it got to me, the same as it did to you.

It wasn't anything like I thought it would be.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Sexism, descriptions of physical and emotional abuse, some brief strong language towards the end, and descriptions of interpersonal conflict within a family.

There's a good story somewhere in Ender's Game. A child gets taken away to a magical school In Space, and is forced to survive when both teachers and students are literally trying to kill him. In the end, he faces a moral dilemma, and how he responds after everything that he's been through defines who he is as a character.

It resonates with me, because it basically describes a Mormon upbringing.

On the one hand, you're mass produced and depersonalized, especially if you come from one of those Utah families with nine kids. On the other hand, you're told repeatedly that you are a Chosen One, part of a chosen generation of Mormon kids, and your actions and faithfulness will help bring about the second coming of Christ. (Mormons are averse to calling him "Jesus" for some reason.)

Ender spends his whole childhood training to be a soldier. Mormon kids spend their whole childhoods training to be either a mom or a missionary. I can't overstate how much these two roles are glorified, or how much the bike-riding, nametag-wearing missionaries are held up as role models to Mormon kids who are assigned the male gender. And all the while, your belief that you're one of the few people that God approves of -- and that everyone else needs to be like you -- is creating this wedge between you and the people around you, which you are encouraged to see as "they hate me because of my righteousness."

Seriously, this is the major theme in the first couple parts of the Book of Mormon. The POV character is a Mary Sue, whose brothers hate him and repeatedly try to kill him because he's so awesome and always does what God wants him to.

The problem with Ender's Game is not that Ender goes through all this. It's that Orson Scott Card did, and is apparently blind to it.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

tl;dr The overheat mechanic from the BattleTech / MechWarrior games is a really good metaphor for being triggered when you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Detailed explanation

BattleTech is a board game played with miniatures which represent BattleMechs, which are basically big walking tanks. It has a whole slew of spinoff games and novels, including the MechWarrior PC and console games, which most people are probably more likely to have heard of.

Most of the games let you customize your mech. The big limiting factor, though, that keeps you from slapping on as many weapons as you want and mashing the fire button, is the fact that firing weapons heats up your mech and can cause it to shut down.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Someone I knew once put twelve fire-linked extended-range large lasers on a single mech chassis, just to see what would happen. As he put it, the "fire" button doubled as the ejection seat switch.

It's an easy mechanic to get the hang of, because it's ludicrously detailed but all the details make intuitive sense. Using energy weapons overheats you faster than using projectile weapons. Operating a mech on a desert planet generates more heat than driving it through the tundra. Standing hip-deep in water while firing weapons helps cool your mech down. And if you want, when building your mech you can skimp on armour plating or advanced electronics and put in a bunch of heat sinks, which work exactly like you'd expect.

How this relates to PTSD

Having your PTSD triggered is not the same as "choosing to be offended," or throwing a fit because you aren't getting your way. (In my experience, the people most likely to accuse others of doing that are narcissists, who all seem to think it's a legit debate tactic or parenting method when it's them doing it.)

PTSD triggers are called triggers because they're reflexive responses, like the ones most people have upon seeing a jump scare or being tapped on the knee with a hammer. They can immediately put someone into "fight or flight" mode. But when you've been socialized not to do either (like in my case), or you "heat up" too much or too rapidly, they can make you just freeze up instead.

Just last night, someone said something that created a huge spike of "heat" during an FFXIV raid, when I already wasn't doing too well, and I shut down just like a BattleMech that overheated. I was watching the fight going on around me, and I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't move. I couldn't talk. I could barely even think. I felt like a deer in their headlights.

I'm having trouble even writing this, because I remember how I felt and I freeze up again.

What you can do

It's not hard to explain how to deal with someone who has PTSD. There are really common triggers to avoid, like rape jokes and anything sexist / cissexist / homophobic. There are signs to look out for, like that deer-in-the-headlights look and someone freezing up and being unable to talk, or suddenly becoming really defensive. And there are things you can do, like say "I'm sorry if that was a trigger" and "it's okay if you need to take a break."

You don't have to understand how it feels to be triggered if you can just think of a mech shutting down, and let the person cool off and get back to "all systems nominal."

Click here if you can't see the video.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

(Content note: Abusive religion and families, depression and self/victim-blaming.)

One of the reasons I still sometimes visit the exmormon Reddit is because it helps to see what I went through from an outside perspective. When you're Mormon and live in an abusive family, everything's supposed to be all smiles and happiness, and you suppress even your memories of the times that they're not.

Part of the reason for this is that you are told, outright, that when you're having hard times it's your fault:

My FIL is a Branch President [Pastor] at the MTC [Missionary Training Center]. He shared an insight that turned my stomach [...]

Every so many weeks there is a set talk that is rebroadcast. The main theme of the message (from one of the 12 [Mormon apostles], I think) is that obedience and worthiness (and work) are the key elements of missionary success. And that there are people prepared in the mission field, prepared for every specific missionary. It is vitally and eternally important that every missionary be worthy of the full guidance of the Spirit™ to ensure they can be led to these people. These nonmembers, these brothers and sisters, are relying on the missionaries to be worthy so as to receive the inspiration to give the nonmembers a chance at the gospel – possibly their only or best chance in this life! The guilt of worthiness is laid on THICK!

So thick, in fact, that every week after this rebroadcast the Branch Presidencies are overwhelmed with missionaries bawling and shaking in dire need to confess to sins so as to be worthy. They are terrified that their past mistakes will condemn someone else. They line up to confess things they hadn’t shared before entering the MTC(fearing they’ll be sent home) or reconfess to perfect strangers sins they already owned up to but are afraid they need to make double/triple sure they have covered so they won’t condemn someone through unworthiness.

Emphasis in the original.

This isn't always the way Mormons handle these things. There's a glurgy song one of them wrote which confronts this viewpoint, and shows how unfair life is. Then it goes on to remind the Mormon listeners that "after the trials we will be blessed, for this life is a test." It's still a bad way of looking at things, and I've seen it used to minimize other people's suffering as being God's will and nothing to complain about. But it at least acknowledges that bad things happen to people who don't deserve them.

What it never quite got around to pointing out is that part of that unfairness is who gets blamed for what happens to them and who doesn't. The 18-year-olds entering the MTC are near the bottom of the Mormon hierarchy, right above women, poor people, and gays. And they're blamed for everything that goes wrong, like getting zero baptisms in a European mission. They usually pay for this privilege, out of their or their families' pockets. Meanwhile, the rich white men doing the blaming -- the Mission Presidents -- live in big houses and have their living expenses, medical expenses, kids' educations, and a lot of other things paid for out of members' tithing.

The biggest revelation I had, when I started reading books like Barbara Ehrenreich's, was that there were people who played by "the rules" and were thrown away anyway. This was such a blow to my system that I don't think I ever recovered. In a way, it helped to find out that not everything was my fault, and that the world was just a scary and unfair place. But knowing that doesn't make the guilt and feelings of worthlessness go away, and doesn't really help me deal with it.

I think that's why a lot of Mormons have this "just world" belief. (TW: Rape) They know, somewhere in their hearts, that they are all play-acting. They put so many things, so much loss and pain, on top of a shaky foundation of belief in their God's will and power, even when it means believing that they must have prevented him from blessing them through their unworthiness. And they know that if they ever stop bracing against it, it will fall down and crush them.

I'd have more sympathy for them if they weren't standing on me while they're doing so, and blaming me for not being a doormat.

I have even less sympathy for narcissists, whatever church they attend. Because what's worse than feeling like everything is your fault, is believing that nothing is.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Conservative pundits and religious leaders seem to have a thing against Facebook and Twitter. Not because of how Twitter can be used to harass women and minorities, or how Facebook's "no pseudonyms" policy excludes anyone concerned for their safety, but because they let people share themselves with the rest of the world.

"Nobody wants to know what you ate for breakfast!" they cry, and accuse people of narcissism for thinking otherwise. I could hear their voices, figuratively speaking, while writing that last entry, about things I find fun (and why I apparently can't stand them).

When I think of narcissists, though, I think of people like them. Shallow, egotistical hypocrites, who at best are extremely un-self-aware, and at worst hate and envy almost everyone else. Who whine about "whiners," complain about "complainers," take offence at people who "choose to be offended," and use force to prevent clergy members from performing marriages (and women from accessing health care) on the basis of "religious liberty."

What they all have in common, is that they seem to think things were much better when no one had the words to describe who they were, how they felt, and how others were hurting them.

That's why my profile, in the sidebar, currently lists the words that I use to describe myself. And why I write so much about what I go through. Because people, including myself, need to be reminded that this is all real. These feelings are real, these experiences really happened, I really am the kind of person for whom it makes sense to do these things and see myself this way. For whom it hurts not to be able to.

That's what it was like, before I knew the words. Before "cis" and "trans," before "allistic" / "autistic," before "fictive" and "therian" / "otherkin." It hurt, and I had no concept of why.

I had feelings for both male- and female-presenting persons, before I knew what "pansexual" was.

I saw humans as other, and identified with animals, before I knew what a "therian" was.

I thought I was demon-possessed, before I knew about multiplicity and trauma splits.

And when I read my stories back to myself, I heard them read in a female voice, in my head.

If someone had taught me the words when I was much younger, I would've been one of those 12-year-olds who wants to take androgen blockers. I would've worn cat ears or a fox tail, past the point where adults stopped seeing it as cute. I would've latched onto everything I saw that reminded me of myself, that struck me as sacred, that seemed real and not made-up like the rest of society.

And I would've written about it sooner, too. Because I need to put things into written words, to explain them to myself ... and because I'm not the only one who needs all these things explained to.

I'm not sure that's so different from writing about what you had for breakfast, either. How else are people going to find the best place to get coffee and French toast?

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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