Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Endless Criticism Destroys Relationships

                                 [picture source]

Endless criticism destroys marriages, it destroys people. Any one who has either been in a relationship with someone who did nothing but criticize knows what it does to you. It rips you apart. It destroys your spontaneity, it means you are walking on eggshells and always afraid of doing something "wrong"." I am not sure why some people think it is good to reign as judge and jury over other people but sadly it is something I have encountered.

Everyone judges to an extent, we even have to judge people and situations as safe and even criticism can have a place to deal with problems, but there is a point where it gets excessive and becomes a battering ram upon the souls of other people and one is criticized for many things even beyond their control.

What if you feel like nothing you do is right? What if you feel you just can't make anyone happy?
What if people just don't believe you and you are telling the truth? What if you can tell they decided you were a social embarrassment and liability?  My mistake was questioning someone at a group who did not like me. 

One person wiped away an entire social circle. Another believed someone else who didn't like me. Endless criticism destroys relationships.

I have suffered enough losses. Some would say this person probably never was your friend to allow the opinions of others to influence them. I knew the end was beginning when they said to me, "Sometimes it is hard to be your friend, because you are so overweight, others give me problems for it." All sorts of feelings were triggered in me. Will I ever be enough? I have lost almost 40lbs recently too. Inside this felt like a sock to the gut. They knew about my stage IV lipedema diagnosis.  Can people understand the pain of being extremely overweight? Our social status is so low that even supposed friends will turn on us under pressure from others. The pain of this was intense. I told her. I received no empathy.

I made the giant social mistake of telling a couple local people about this blog. ACONs are not understood by the general populace even ones you think are close friends. Please never make my mistake, only tell the closest best friends and even then be careful.

Many of us ACONs were barraged with endless criticism. I grew up being told that everything was wrong with me, I was told I smelled, was too fat, too messy, so forth and so on.  Enough is detailed  here. Sometimes I am unsure how to undo the damage when the world backs up what was said to to me.  The other day someone I thought cared about and liked me decided to criticize me severely. I cared about her deeply too but this was getting worse and worse and hit a high mark. I no longer felt accepted and when acceptance goes out the window then many people just get nervous. It was like she had a list and was reading it off.  I had visions of my mother sitting by her side, as she decided to shred me to bits during our last visit. Talk about being triggered! This friendship predates my going no contact by a few years.

The other day I had this friendship end, because I stood up against criticism. Big mistake? Or lesson learned? I don't have friends to spare in town. Would you be upset if someone decided to rip into you one day and tell you that everything you do is wrong? Would you say something about it? Or would you sit there and take it and then conduct business as usual? There was part of me that thought, "Keep your mouth shut, otherwise you will lose the "friendship". But then another part, the "recovery", "fivehundredpoundpeep" 'stand against abuse' me, said to hell with that! 

I know I am not a perfect person. I weigh 508lbs and weighed 543lbs just a few months ago. I am struggling with some serious sadness upon the decline of my health. Lipedema is a progressive disease. I was faking it to make it so long I lost touch with my own body. People never realized how much pain I was hiding to do anything. People didn't know I was collapsing into bed after doing things. People outside of this blog didn't know or understand how I have been struggling with the loss of the family, the same as if one's whole family went down in a jet airliner but worse because I was rejected and abandoned long ago. One thing I am tired of everyone telling me how to feel. They judge me for feeling the "wrong feelings". I couldn't get a lobotomy to please them all! I am sorry I was slow in "moving on", or "fixing my life" but I was actually trying my best no matter what they think.

In fact my progress is showing, and that I no longer want to take endless criticism. That's progress. I'm done with the measuring up game and people pleasing. It shows now doesn't it? The me of yesterday sadly would have probably sat there and taken the endless criticism and cried and said, "I'll try harder!" and nothing would have been good enough anyway. After all this is what I was trained to do.

I was told by this friend during the criticism-a-thon that ended our friendship that I was "unforgiving" to cut my entire family off. Didn't I write on here, they cut me off before? That no one would visit me, and I hadn't seen many of them for years and it didn't matter? I wrote about trying to fix the relationships. How could any person read about the abuses here and think I should sit around and get few more blows?

My household has struggled for so many years, struggle is the default setting, but why does everyone have to pile on and tell me I am a piece of crap? What am I supposed to do about it? I don't even know HOW to do what they want me to do and/or I lack the resources to get things done.

First of all I was not believed even when my husband was backing me up saying he witnessed it too, that someone in the self help group constantly put me down to my face. This friend actually called me "paranoid", even when my husband said, he witnessed these events directly to her. She said this over and over and I felt gaslighted. I got the full brunt of a smear campaign, and it rippled out. Later I would be scapegoated in an email for scaring new people away from the group even though I was gone all winter and only attending one-two times a month instead of every week. People started believing these things. My sins? I questioned the scheduling of the group one time. I got sarcastic once as a brag fest reached a zenith but then listening to people mock people on welfare wasn't too fun when it happened twice.

This friend told me I was selfish, and that I defined myself by my disabilities. What is that even supposed to mean? She doesn't realize I hid a lot of sickness she never knew about. How does one define themselves by their disabilities? Was this projection in that she was telling me she saw me through them? Am I supposed to pretend they never existed? Is the brainwashing for us to be so brave, we are to act like we live in healthy normal bodies? I may write about this later, but there is pressure on us disabled people to always be overcompensating and some still won't be happy.

  Her constant Republican litany about how social security was a "slave system" hurt my feelings but it was something I overlooked for a long time because I avoid political litmus tests for friends. I will admit when someone is really really sick, you can be selfish at times to survive but I still don't know what I did to her if anything in that realm. I thought I was a good friend.

Add to this the failures to "progress", the odd dichotomy that she was allowed to vent, but I was a "complainer" and "she didn't want to hear about it" and "I lived in the past" and "did not move forward". At one point she even asked my husband who defended me in return"How do you deal with Peep?" like I was the most horrible person on earth and she was trying to get him on put me down team. What is ironic to me, is people can tell me their problems and I am okay with this. I consider it part of friendship but why can they vent and I can't? I remember laughing at jokes during our last two visits and doing some cards, maybe my memory is faulty.  What does that even mean? Here too you wonder how many simply don't accept you and befriend you hoping to fix you and looking to the person you will supposedly be in the future instead of today?

I felt not listened to and judged harshly. I answered back to a few of her charges but I then wrote her an email, telling her that it was wrong to criticize me so much. "Why did you rip into me that day?" I even wondered and told her maybe you had a bad day or were worried about some problems but made it a clear boundary that deciding to rip me to shreds was not going to be tolerated. I told her that her standards for people are too high and I am not measuring up to them and not interested in trying to and that I didn't want to be a project. I wrote: "This has taught me a lesson that I need to lay down a new boundary, that people have to accept me as I am presently, warts and all, or just walk on. I can't be hurt anymore being told I am "not good enough" or must "change" to be acceptable."

Once someone is walking on eggshells and worried about what they will say or not say a relationship is already going down the chute. If you can't freely share or have to test everything you say by if it is an "acceptable" topic or not, it means spontaneous sharing is over with. Once someone is telling you what to talk about it. It is a bad deal.  I know now if I feel that way something is wrong. For some months, I was censoring myself around her, knowing that certain topics upset her. Obviously I was not censoring myself here, so that may have created problems too. Losing one's voice is not a good thing.

It is also by my own experiences a bad idea for friends to be in self-help groups together. There is too much boundary crossing as you talk about personal problems. I did make some mistakes in the friendship of that I have no doubt. We may have been even just too different. But I find myself asking why all the criticism? Why all the impetus to "fix" someone? Why all the non-acceptance? Why all the focus on social appearances?

Endless criticism can destroy a friendship. I however have changed, I don't want people around me who want me to measure up and who tell me in endless ways how I am lacking. I don't want someone's love of me based on my "achievement". I had my fill of criticism for a life time. This doesn't mean I think I am perfect or finished but it means refusing the walking on eggshells. 

Culturally I moved to a very reserved and affluent community and it's a "bad fit" in every sense of that phrase. I'm under pressures most don't understand. I made my mistakes, but I think to myself as I sat there, getting reamed out...."Aren't I a person too?" "If I am not valuable to you it's time to walk away". I fear the loneliness but what other choice was there? Why don't these people realize the more you rip people down the more you hurt them? Who wants to live with the judge and jury always ready to do a crack down? I don't.


Monday, May 25, 2015





The neurotypical world remains a befuddled mystery to me full of endless social rules I break. Trust me when people know you have Aspergers, they do not give you a break. You have to measure up to all these standards you always fall short of. The pain of Aspergers are these social troubles and social disconnections I wouldn't wish on my worse enemy. You are either silent and no one knows you, and you stick to the scripts or you actually open your mouth and get in more and more trouble. Some act like they can say anything to you, a long list of critiques, while even a mild critique on your end means instant trouble.

I feel like I have to be dead inside to survive the neurotypical world. Don't have any feelings about anything. Don't be too enthusiastic. Don't be too attached. Don't expect to have anyone notice you are alive. Don't ever criticize anyone even after they reamed you out to the max. Hide all pain, keep the smile eternally on your face. Don't tell anyone any troubles. Censor any complaints. Censor yourself. Censor your alternative opinions. Don't be yourself that is a recipe for trouble from hell itself. Always appear goal oriented.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Self Improvement and Achievement Queens and Kings

One question every ACON asks themselves and a popular ACON book is even named this, is "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?"

Out in the world the answer to that may be "No".

The world is being taken over by Self Improvement and Achievement Queens and Kings. 

Ableism, classism and elitism can impact some of us. 

So what does one do when they are never good enough and never measure up enough? Walk away. If someone makes you feel like you are not enough, then it is not a good deal. Sadly we have some trends in society now where everything is about clamoring up to the mountain top.

One thing about American society is that you always have to be improving, or healing or progressing to be deemed acceptable. Those who do not progress or "solve all their problems" or "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" are deemed less persons deserving no love. In a land where competition and status rules, those who don't climb the ladder or even who fell off it are considered human "throwaways". Life is all about moving on, status and competition. If you are not "moving on, you are considered "stagnant" and a "bad person." Anyone who has been poor or deemed the "family loser" by narcs knows what this feels like. 

This has been happening to me lately. I will explain further.....but

I am going to lay down a new boundary, that people have to accept me as I am presently, warts and all, or just walk on. I can't be hurt anymore being told that I am "not good" enough and that I must "change my life".  I spent most of my life being told what is wrong with me by my family and needs folks around me who will tell me what is right.  One thing that can happen to a person like me is you can hook up with people who want to FIX you.

But where is the acceptance in that?

And if you end up in that position, you are a "complainer" while they can vent freely. You don't mind them telling you about their problems, in fact to you it is normal sharing. They don't offend you when they do it, so why isn't it mutual? But the emphasis is on "fixing" you and if time has gone by and they don't see progress they expect, well then things go badly.

I am questioning why this happens to me. Some of me wonders if this was born in the crucible of never feeling good enough and my own constant scurrying to be accepted and "liked" by people. This was formed in the fire pit of narcissistic parenting. Also if one is disabled or otherwise "low status" in society one can fall in this group. It's like we fell into this trap where it's like we have to justify our existence on planet earth. I don't even know how to explain how being the weight I have all these years impacts how I am viewed. 

 Perhaps on my end I do overshare or complain too much and need to work on my acceptance of my circumstances but is that enough condemn someone?  I write about many topics and think about them too, and these are not all happy perky topics, obesity is not fun and games and neither is being a survivor of a narcissistic family. Why do I have to worry about being perky to begin with?

Neurotypicals [maybe not all?] seem offended by any complaints, while for us Aspies, we can talk about things freely and not censor everything about it being "negative or positive".  While too much ruminating may annoy people, it's something Aspies do. I never called anyone up at 3:00 in the morning or crossed boundaries though. Us Aspies can show each other pictures of volcanoes at sea or go see antiques and then on the end complain about how much everything hurts or if something sucks, say so. There isn't this bullcrap I see in the  worsening narcissistic world where one has to weigh and measure each word by status and if they are being a successful human being.  

 Sometimes it scares me that with some of these sorts, I already have been trying to rapidly smooth down the rough edges and still ended up failing. Here within is a major problem, once you have to start walking on eggshells and worrying about what you say, trouble is afoot.  Some are nice to me and I don't even realize I have pissed them off just being who I am. This is something I have to change in me, where I no longer seek the approval of others and be careful about who I expose vulnerabilities to. Sadly some of these people I have cared about, but it gets scary when you realize you have failed their expectations. I don't want to be fixed or anyone attempting to fix me anymore. It just hurts. 

 Here is the facts about my life unless God wills a miracle for me, chances are I am not going to have some incredible cure. I have stayed alive far longer then doctors even estimated. I was almost 700lbs at one point in my life and I am one of the few who stepped away from this.

Many people with Lipedema at my stage have trained themselves for years to hide pain to function. This means inside I can be screaming from my legs hurting or even my neck, and say nothing to you with a smile on my face. There is a reason I can be in bed half the day and it's not laziness, it's called pain management.  If someone wants to deem me "selfish" for focusing on health problems too often, sorry I can't help it. Some of us had to become "selfish" to even survive. If they think I go on about my health too much or define myself by it, I write a blog about health problems of course I am going to talk about it. I live in this body. There is still some fun to be had with taking pictures of butterflies or watching a movie but this is my reality. No one should expect me to hide my health problems to love or accept me. Already I hide a lot people do not know about.

 My nurses and doctors have already told me what lies in the future. I wouldn't want my worse enemy to face what I have with these problems and deterioration. The sad thing is too often those who face huge health problems and sickness realize that our culture today says there should be easy fixes. All prayers are good and we all love people praying for us, but no one should have their self worth fixed to the "health" wagon and whether we "recover" [mental or physical].

I was in this self help group for 5 years. It was for many years a very positive and good experience. I did lectures while there and made cards for volunteer projects.  However I noticed a strain of thought in the last year, that deeply concerned me, many people went to this group to have friends to talk to and shared their problems but some people within this group, kept talking about how people were just coming to talk about "their problems" and were not progressing.  Some people were using the group for friendship, what is wrong with that? Here they were influenced too by the self improvement and achievement focus of our culture that is growing worse and I think has been mandated by narcissists who have turned everything into life into a giant check-list of measuring up and "success".

They would say things like this group is meant for people to "move on" and "heal" they were angry people were not solving their problems.  I noticed unless someone had their life steadily improve that there was judgments to be had. It can really bother a person who is down and out to realize some around you are getting angry that you have not fixed your life. That is disturbing on some levels. Here we have the New Age and fantasy delusion beliefs impacting things here where you see more and more that people think bad things happen to people because they are "bad" or that their lives are "bad" because they are.  This ties into the hatred of "victims". Many things lied outside of some people's control like money and health problems. In my opinion, it was wrong to shame people for not "recovering" or "changing" their lives in the way that some judged them on.

 I thought to myself maybe some people just wanted a safe place to come to and share some of their tribulations. The group for some time was a good place to be. They helped me learn about boundaries and overcoming abuse, and in many ways this group was the catalyst in me growing stronger and giving me the ability to break away from my abusive family. The earlier facilitators were kind people as I stated early.

While my depression waxed and waned at different times, I knew it was something I would have to maintain the rest of my life and did in the years before, and they were helpful with this. So I do not regret my time in the group.

This message of recover or else made me sad though, why was everything about people jumping through hoops and why were some so judgmental? Everyone differs even in the mental health world. Some will be able to recover and heal and more power to them while some may have to struggle their whole life and just maintain. I am no longer in this group anymore, but sat and thought about some of these issues.  I disagree and LOATHE this mentality that everyone must be progressing and setting goals and succeeding to be a worthwhile human being to be a valued and loved and acceptable human being. Some of the people who are advancing this stuff, truly WANT to help another person but they can hurt them with this mentality.

Not everyone is going to have easy fixes. Not everything in this world is SOLVABLE. These are some facts that the achievement set ignore. Disabled people know this all too well, that we almost have to overcompensate for our disabilities and appear like we are always brave, smiling and cheerful. Disabled people are seen as "different" and not fitting in. In a world where you are told to "comform" on an endless basis, what does it do? Too many categories of people today are deemed "inferiors".  I am not the first disabled person to be told I am too "negative", or "toxic".

I think the system now being formed in our society is expanding the categories of people who are deemed "inferiors" and "throw-aways", the people who have jumped on the self improvement and achievement wagons have a certain level of health and well-being. You need it especially in this world. Strong social and family support is important too. This is one way society is doing the divide and conquer game, especially here in America, where the social classes are becoming more polarized, racial relations set back by 50 years, and people are divided according to "success" or "non-success". I live in a very affluent community even as a poor person and sometimes it can be very hard. I don't agree with these values. The bankers and 1% are laughing as they make more money and social cohesion breaks up and everyone is running to "keep up with the Jones's" though today it's not just the station wagon in the driveway or the rancher home to keep up with but the personal "achievements" and carrots on the stick as well. In some places, everyone has forgotten how to relax and just "be". Everything is about getting ahead and self improvement. Sorry, but us ACONs are tired of proving ourselves to people. We had enough of that with condemning parents.

What is sad is with many of the measuring sticks today, a great deal of the populace is doomed for failure and the system is designed that way. The achievement people are caught up in this whirlwind, following advertisments--constant ladder climbing brings profit as people buy products that will "enhance" their lives or themselves, media, and oppressive messages and sadly they can not be happy with those who fall off the ladder or even those who threw the ladder on the ground and walked away.

I see this stuff as growing narcissism in our society, where community life is sacrificed on the altar of competition and "proving" yourself. Empathy is affected adversely when one is told achievement is the most important. People who do not heal from a myriad of chronic physical or mental conditions are told they have "failed" and feel even more oppressed and sad. One question to be asked is who are we trying to impress? Must we live life always on the hamster wheel? What is even more disturbing is when you feel like you have to be someone else to please others. Sorry as Popeye said, "I yam what I yam."