Sunday, July 2, 2017
Ableism and the ACON: Narcissists and the Disabled
Ableism is a real thing.
From the above: "A set of practices and beliefs that assign inferior value [worth] to people who have developmental, emotional, physical or psychiatric disabilities."
In the old days, if you were different, or had disabilities, you would get shoved away into an institution, and hidden away from society. Some doctors let the visibly disabled die at birth with family acceptance. There were disabled people locked away in basements and attics, and those who even lost their lives. Shunning for the disabled was the societal norm.
Disabled people were seen as those to be pitied and separated from regular society or displayed for entertainment. Even today the disabled are discriminated against and we are plagued with inspiration porn articles where the only "worthy" disabled person is someone who has achieved super-star status, that is another form of the discrimination.
If I lived 50-75 years ago, my fate very well could have been that as a circus fat lady with no other way to gain income in the days before Social Security. Families did lock away and seek to "control" and "hide" their disabled family members. This would have been worse with narcissistic families and those focused on appearances.
Nightmare visions of places like Willowbrook go through one's head and the mental wards especially from the 1950s. There's been a few positive changes in society for the disabled,but I believe these things are regressing, especially under the present Republican administration who has shown it's utter heartlessness towards the disabled. England with it's new austerity plans has followed America in the new "hate on the disabled" schemes. Attitudes seem to be changing to be like the days of old. Inclusion for the disabled is lessening.
As our society grows more narcissistic, this means empathy and inclusion for the disabled is dropping. Hate crimes against the disabled are increasing. I have noticed out and out overt hatred for the disabled becoming "acceptable". Franklin D. Roosevelt raised awareness for the disabled and things changed until the ADA was passed in 1990 but I believe attitudes today are regressing. The disabled are now seen as "burdens", financially and otherwise.
In American Christianity where the prosperity gospel has infused like a sickening poison, and positive thinking in secular society has blossomed, those who are disabled are seen as "God's punished, and cursed, not living and eating right, not trying hard enough and not having positive enough thoughts" Many of the disabled have been told they lack the "right mental attitudes" and that they became disabled or got sick from personal failings or inner wickedness. Remember in narcissistic families if something bad happens to you, it's always your fault and sadly this is true in American society at large! These attitudes are increasing the ableism.
Republicans have eagerly embraced Trump and Paul Ryan's Nazi-like scapegoating of the disabled as cost-cutting efforts to supposedly spare them high taxes. The employment world outside of the few more liberal non-profits, have firmly shut the door even on those with mild to moderate health problems to save on health care costs, rather then including more of the visibly disabled who are able to work.We are in a climate now where hatred for the disabled is shouted from the news everyday. Has anyone noticed that a multitude of other national problems have been ignored for shoveling the ill, disabled and old into the ditch?
Around five years ago, I started attending disability network meetings and having a disability advocate become part of my life. This week, I have joined the Facebook group for ADAPT and plan to find out where the closest chapter is. The disability advocate is a professional in my area that deals with disability discrimination. I had no personal case to bring but I started going to seminars on disability rights and posting about these things. It was important that my education about disability rights began. This was a huge part of my healing as I had been shamed, blamed and put down so long for my physical and emotional differences.
Disability rights showed me a way out. I didn't have to live my life with my head bent down for not being "normal" and not fitting in. I could make something of my life even without employment and being on Social Security. My life was as worthy as any other human beings. I also felt motivated to help other disabled people. As I wrote before my being diagnosed with a rare fat disorder Lipedema stage IV was a vindication of years worth of pain and turmoil. When I told my sociopathic mother about this diagnosis, her response was:
"Don't know what you want as a response as you will perceive it to say something negative from me, nor will you believe anything I say anyway."
That was my last letter to her.
My disabilities assigned me inferior worth within my family. This was like a double-barreled shot gun levied at my heart and soul. Scapegoating is bad enough but then imagine yourself a scapegoat where there is very little acceptance or normality in society. Healing comes from that escape and entering "normal world" and gaining confidence in a rewarding career and a new found family of creation, this can be far harder for someone who is disabled. The horizons that exist for a young and fit ACON who escapes are far more narrowed down for a disabled person. Society can replicate one's family's abuse via discrimination against the disabled that is so much apart of our society. I believe the damage of being scapegoated in a narcissistic family while being disabled, can be among the worse abuse anyone can suffer.
There should be a movement to protect the disabled from the narcissists. Disabled children born into narcissistic or sociopath families are standing in the firing line. Some are abused and exploited for narcissistic supply as parents play Manchausen by Proxy games or play "woe is me" martyrs gaining attention through their sick or disabled child. Many disabled children are neglected or don't have physical and other needs met. Some have medical and other needed equipment taken away such as computers, canes for the blind, hearing aids and more. Public school can give out IEP plans and provide somewhat of a barrier, but there's always homeschooling now to hide abuse of a child away. I used to support homeschooling but don't anymore as I saw many with abusive parents using it to hide them away or control them. Instead of helping a child acquire the best education and independence they can, the engulfers control, and the ignorers exploit or abuse.
Medical neglect is a given too. Physical problems are ignored, children and teens aren't taken to doctors. Doctors are lied to with gaslighing:"Don't take that child seriously, she's a hypochondriac.", or "There's really nothing wrong with him or her." For the narcissist, asthma attacks are just not being able to cope and throwing up after every meal is rebellion. Narcissists especially deny, seek to hide and ignore the emotional pain and conditions they often cause. Teens with severe depression, and anxiety disorders from all the abuse, are denied counseling and other treatment and shamed. This creates some disabled people and worsens disabilities and functionality for others. Some may even lose their lives.
Sadly many young severely disabled people especially the wheelchair bound can even today be put away in institutions or nursing homes. They can be denied education even with normal and above average IQs. It is very difficult to find assisted living programs or transitional ones that can provide real independence out of the clutches of a narcissistic family. Futures can be destroyed, when some outside help is needed but kept away. Finding resources is very difficult. I have tried to do this for other severely disabled people. "Family first" nonsense pushed by the professional class, and family promoted as caretakers by states wanting to save money also is another fence binding the disabled up. "Let your mother take care of you!" is what many of these types say imaging a mother with hot soup and loving words, when the reality is you know the stress of living with narcopath would kill you faster then your health problems.
False ideas about family create a hell on earth for many disabled people who are adult children of narcissists as well. Many assume everyone has a family to rescue them. There's many disabled people told to turn to relatives for help after a surgical procedure, or for help in cleaning they can't do. Normal society somehow pictures every disabled person as having a loving family like the Waltons. Maybe this is why getting aides is so difficult. I've known disabled friends seeking help who long ago had to go no contact and were refused help by any relatives, told by social workers and others to go to "their family". Not everyone has one. With Republicans in power, now on full attack for waiver programs and independent living, the disabled are even more vulnerable, and disabled people with narcissistic and sociopathic families are even more so.
Those with psychiatric diagnoses who have had their guardianships taken away, can have narcissistic family members making decisions for them into their late adulthoods even taking away an independent apartment for one scapegoated family member. They can stick them in a group home far away from their friends. While guardianships can at times be necessary for those truly a danger to themselves or others, they are open for abuse by narcissists. Aunt Scapegoat had her guardianship taken away and remained under full control to the day she died.
Many narcissists will play games with disability checks, seizing even young adult children's finances claiming they "can't handle their own finances". Perhaps in some cases this is true, but I believe this is definitely abused, and the disabled aren't the first ones believed by the professional class but their narcissistic parents who may appear as pillars as society and "oh so concerned about their child". The helicopter parents can extend the years of control. Many narcissists and sociopaths, especially wealthy ones, who hold much more political power and status then their fixed income son or daughter, can definitely and easily manipulate and gaslight their way into gaining control over young adults, or even older adults. Narcs know how to play the game to get someone labeled "mentally incompetent". Narcissists in my family have managed this at least twice.
A little bit of hoarding in my Aunt Scapegoat's case which I think had more to do with severe fatigue and being on dialysis, was her vulnerability. My mother had her "in" and with her money and know-how and lies, and pretending to care, she wiggled her way in. The state not wanting to deal with the expense of third party guardians or trustees, is more then willing to believe their lies.
Parents have been given too much power over their children and adult children in need of help. Some young adult children who are severely disabled and want to break away will face financial and other barriers. Social workers are often on the weed out plan. What do I mean by the weed out plan? They will try to send you away unless you are the most desperate or do the loudest appeal, because they have case loads they want to lighten, and budgets they want to save. Charismatic narcissists who are willing to help with the "burdens" are embraced with eager glee.
Disabled people especially are vulnerable to narcissists. My parents made their intentions to shove me away into some kind of institution known, if not for my good grades and quiet nature at school,I believe they would have succeeded. What if I had some severe Aspie melt-downs at school? My fate could have easily been being locked away in some institution. My life 50 years ago displaying too many differences and before the days of disability rights and two doctors required to sign off on any forced mental ward visits definitely could have gone completely different. However even today narcissists have gaslighted and abused adult and teen children into psych wards and gotten psychiatrists and other medical professionals to deem the "child" the problem instead of the sociopath abusing them into C-PTSD and nervous break-downs.
Disabled people face a lot of abuse, according to some studies, people with disabilities are 50 percent more likely to be abused. Power dynamics does influence things in this society. Those with money, and power can bulldoze people even in court. Those who depend on caretakers, may be afraid to speak up against them if they are being abused. They fear not being fed, not getting needed medicine, baths, transportation and more. People who are developmentally disabled are less likely to even understand abuse and may accept things as normal which are anything but, a deaf person may have barriers in communicating to get help and or to escape, and others may have medication problems. With narcissistic parents, some may even lie about conditions that are treatable or not even get treatment that could bring normalcy back to a child's life. Imagine a child not having glaucoma treated allowed to go blind, or a child with severe ear infections allowed to go deaf.
Disabled people are very vulnerable in this society. I fear being put away into a nursing home or a group home if I lose my husband. There isn't anyone to help me but him in my life. Some long distance friends help as they can and I've gotten rides from a couple friends in town, but for day to day care, he's it. In my case, as long as my mind and brain still work, I have enough legal know-how to fight in a court room. One reason I decided to remain in my present community is a health program I qualify for in about 5 years to keep older people independent and out of nursing homes. It is half a mile from my apartment. Because my conditions are progressive, even if I manage to get more weight off, I am weakening with age, and know this program will be necessary. Sometimes one must be realistic about their future.
This is a scary world not to have a family in especially if you are a disabled person. One's need for a loving and caring family is even stronger. Having a toxic family is even worse. Mine often tried to endanger my health forcing me to travel during times when my lungs could not stand up to the pressures. They did not care, they only cared about themselves. My needs meant nothing to them. This is a way that many disabled people can be put in danger. Those who cannot defend themselves or lack strong enough boundaries to put their own survival first, can be put into danger. ACONS in general must learn the art of self-care once they are no contact and healing from narcissists but this is even more imperative for the disabled ACON.
The ruined and denied physical needs and for independence among disabled ACONs is bad enough but then there is the emotional affects of a family that has deemed you "unworthy" a "freak", or a "burden", the emotional pain can be that much worse. One has to be even more careful of a self-loathing that can take root, not only from emotional abuse but from low status and being deemed unworthy in society itself. Our society sadly will back up many negative messages that a disabled ACON has received from an abusive family.
During the last few years, when I was removing narcissists from my life, including the ex-friend who told me my Aspergers and weight embarrassed her, it was one of those pivotal moments. I had been diagnosed with Lipedema by then too and she knew about it. There were times I truly struggled, wondering why I have been born into this body and why did I "deserve" such a life when it seemed at times, I did not deserve anyone's love or respect. Disability can really be a challenge, and this is something that can launch many people into a downward spiral. The hatred shown a disabled person by their families, is often repeated in society. This too was an area where delving into disability rights and exploring the rights and dignity of every person saved me from the fate of what is called internalized oppression.
"When people are targeted, discriminated against, or oppressed over a period of time, they often internalize (believe and make part of their self-image – their internal view of themselves) the myths and misinformation that society communicates to them about their group."
I have confronted my own internalized oppression, which formed a toxic stew with the narcissistic abuse. I was insulted really badly once online, I have a thick skin, come on writing about being 500lbs doesn't earn total love in American society. I'm used to it by now. But this time, it bugged me. It was one of those fat hatred boards, and someone mocked me for saying I was adopted and one wrote, "She ate her genetics.". Those people were complete assholes, but this insult gave me food for though, how could someone have so many things wrong with them? Why did happen? The catfish once mocked me saying, "Maybe you were a product of incest, and that's why you have so many things physically wrong with you". I was able to confront these things and not let them lead to self hatred, because all these people were doing was shaming me for having too many health problems. Now is not the time to internalize their complete and utter garbage.
ACONS in general already have to find the strength inside to not believe the endless false messages given to them by their abusers, but for the disabled this is complicated, because they not only have to learn to screen out the evil of their narcissists, they have to add endless garbage piles from society itself. We have to fight the internalized oppression where the narcissists and sociopaths succeed in making us feel less worthy for being disabled.
It is strange to be out in the world wishing one had a normal body, and there is a depth of pain, when one's own body betrayed one as much as one's own "family". I was rejected pretty early on, and while when I appeared more normal, the undiagnosed Aspergers floated this boat, there was also the fact I was "darker" in skin color, and there was implicit racism among my family as I remember all the self congratulatory worship of the babies who were more "blonde". I was not only the proverbial would be redheaded bastard step child, but the "too dark" child who did not fit in. My mother used to try and scrub "the dark" off, which in my case included quite a bit of very early acanthosis nigricans from my burgeoning endocrine disorders. I would be hit and yelled at for having dark knees, and elbows and "you're so dirty" [those areas were dark from what color I was too which was far darker then her].
Racism is rooted in the same muck as ableism, just another way to make people "the other" and discount and invalidate them.
It occurred to me, some time ago, that my mother refused to be seen in public with me from the time of my severe weight gain [1995-1996] onward to the day I went no contact. She refused to invite me to any family functions at restaurants and/or at public venues. She even suggested a park I could not walk to the area where the event was being held for one family reunion. She held her wedding that had many work friends at it in early January, knowing without a doubt I would be housebound that time of year. I remember suspecting this at the time, but being in the fog, remained in deep denial.
Imagine a mother who avoids being seen in public to the point of telling me not to go into the gas station with her the one time we are together in a car, for more then 20 years. Her embarrassment and disgust would be more then apparent. Once when I went to a party she didn't invite me to but invited a load of her office friends and other family members too, I went uninvited, she ignored me the entire time and pretended I was not there. Her hatred for my body was extreme. This took the scapegoating up a few notches, not only was I hated by my mother for who I was emotionally but also physically. I was a Quasimodo to be hidden away.
Her view of me filtered through the entire family. I was hated for being fat, for looking different, my deafness ignored with no caring if I could hear and put down for being too tall and big, it was strange when I looked back through family photos and how no one resembled me, everyone was so much smaller, so much thinner, so differently shaped. What did I have in common with first cousins who were even thin for average people and had no body qualms at all, in size 2 Bikinis? Blondes and light brown hair people predominated,while I had almost black hair.
Besides the stuff related to skin color, I realized the depths of my rejection for health problems and looking different. My sister avoided being seen in public with me as well, and refused all invites for meals out to lunch even in my own town at places where people were used to me. I never was allowed to meet anyone's friends. No accommodations were ever made for me, every relative bought two story homes, knowing I could not do stairs years before the purchase. Maybe that's too much to ask, I can accept that, you can't decide what kind of house people buy, but it's something I noticed. My sister's house had this double staircase with high ceilings the one time I saw it, I knew seeing the upstairs would be an impossibility for life. You all have heard about the proverbial family annual meeting always held at the coldest time of the year, banning me by default. All of my health problems which I allowed to show, because my general policy was to hide as much weakness as possible, were viewed with disgust, disdain, and annoyance.
She told everyone I was "lazy" and "just laid around" all day, this view showed up multiple times, among multiple relatives, who always remarked how busy they were, the few times I would contact them. The family story became that I was a malingerer who "made things up". I hid being diabetic from every relative except two to the day of no contact. This is not uncommon. I have seen people with severe genetic and other disorders like Muscular Dystrophy told by family members, "It's all in your head." and if you "tried hard enough" you wouldn't be disabled. The disabled are told by narcissistic families they are inferior and then this message can be backed up by society.
Social isolation and ostracism is a problem for many disabled people. There can be a lot of isolation. I'm housebound a lot but I have known people with my disorders who haven't been able to leave the house in a year. Many people avoid "sick" people because we remind them of their own vulnerabilities and of death. One old friend I now suspected to on the narcissistic end of things in my old town actually told me to my face, "It's hard being friends with you because you look like you will die soon." Back then my severe COPD was not being treated properly and yes these problems showed, but this friend showed little support, like the one to come later. These things impact the disabled. There's many a time, for years, I woke in tears, sick with some problem or other, like this week's leg infection, and have thought, "Even my own family doesn't love me, and society doesn't either." This is the kind of stuff when married together that can mess people up.
We are left out of the social weave and warp of society. I manage a few hanger-on activities like book-clubs and I have a husband to do a few things with, but I know I am not an "insider"when it comes to life. I look too different, I am too different, and sadly even on the days when you manage to forget, there will be some person to remind you how you "don't fit in". Some fortunate people manage to find niches in decent drop centers, unlike my own and other programs, but those programs are rare. I always wondered why there were senior centers for the elderly and so little socialization programs for the younger disabled and why aren't the middle aged disabled allowed to join senior centers? We are retired too, just at a younger age.
For the disabled, one huge societal burden is this picture of us being "useless eaters" and "non-productive". It is sickening that human beings have such a view, but many do. They are total utilitarians and mind-slaves to the money-masters who judge every cog by their worth to the economy. Inside as I struggle with some worse health, when I am sick and in bed all day, there's a little voice shouting in my head left over from the narcs, saying "You are so lazy!" Society judges human worth by production especially Capitalist American society. Even with happiness today as a contest, it's about spending yourself into a state of worthiness.
Writing blogs, volunteer work in the past, and doing art work among many isn't considered productive enough. If you don't have a job and pay taxes, they tell you indirectly you are "life unworthy of life" as the Nazis used to put it. Republicans are spreading a message through our society that all disabled people are "deadbeats" who are "irresponsible", and are disabled via poor choices, such as lack of education and immorality. This is why even the evangelical churches have not stood against the growing outcry and cuts against the disabled. They all believe the disabled inside are "lessers". If Republicans actually presented other options for the disabled like more inclusive job programs and accommodations for the disabled then they would not be evil hypocrites. It has nothing to do with saving money and more about kicking a scapegoated class in the face. They do it because they get away with it. On social media, you see them complain about "those who want a free ride."and "mooches".
What am I to think of relatives who believed in their Tea Party way I was supposed to go die in the gutter too? They ranted and raved against disability and government help even as Aunt Scapegoat got her three times a week dialysis treatments she could never have afforded on her own without government help. They certainly weren't going to pay for it.
I think many of these types would rather we did not exist, they want to shun and exclude us into literal non-existence. This happens in the narcissistic families too. Some keep just enough contact to keep us in line. My life changed more emotionally then physically after I went no contact. They really weren't a part of my life to begin with. Disabled people definitely have become a scapegoated group, it is far easier for the powers that be to blame the disabled for all the financial crises instead of the 4.8 billion spent on war, and people go along with it.
Disabled people too are only included only as much as they are told that they must be fixed. I dealt with this issue with the "Project Friends" article. I faced facts, that I could not accept so many "Fix-It's in my life, where I was told I was not acceptable whatsoever in my present condition. Disabled people worldwide, are told, they will be acceptable the day they are "fixed", "cured", religion can be another battering ram, as the disabled are promised miracles. Faith healing in the religious realm says God will grant the miracle to deem you worthy. I faced this with the spiritual abuser. Benny Hinn and others do it on a more overt level but even your mainstream church will tell you believe and wait for "someday" when you are healed. The sad thing is you want to live today and not wait for some extraordinary day in the future.
Secular healing mandates you drum yourself into every brick wall, with constant fixing and self improvement as your main daily endeavor, I see this with the constant focus on special Diets in the Lipedema world. "Keto will save us now and makes us thin! Special Liposcution will make us thin like everyone else!" Americans are obsessed with perfection and being fixed, it has kept the consumerist society humming. Now imagine being disabled in this milieu, and being told your entire life must be dedicated to fixing your body that grows older and more broken with every year. It's like being told to put a finger in a dam, there is also the spiritual destruction inside...."Never good enough, Never good enough"....
Imagine people with even more serious disabilities being fed this garbage day in and day out. The chemically depressed are told they can conquer depression with a stronger will. The wheelchair bound are told exercise your way out. Everyone with all disabilities is told enough positive thinking will rescue them.
Queen Spider was obsessed with me being "fixed" even though her medical neglect helped to lead me to the place of my present disability. . She was too lazy to actually "do" anything to seek out medical intervention or in helping me get hearing aids, or things I had to learn to do for myself as an adult, but there too, any love or acceptability was taken away for the "day" I may fit in and be "fixed". What weight would have been low enough? I was still hated at 180 as I was at 680 but that too was like a carrot being held out. Escaping this trap of not being enough for her, and not being enough for people I encountered in life, was a big deal for me. Now when people start that "fix-it" crap, I walk.
Eugenics is back in American society in full force. When societies turn fascist, life turns into hell for the disabled. So few get that racist and disability eugenics are running a lot of the present Republican show. They truly believe the rich are rich because they are physically and genetically superior. They truly believe the disabled are inferior specimens.They put people into categories via race, disabilities and other facts as inferior or superior and plan policy accordingly. There is no human mercy in this system of allocation.
"But eugenics, though discredited, has never been abandoned. In fact, the most powerful people in America appear to enthusiastically embrace the idea that humans can be divided into inherently superior and inferior specimens and treated accordingly. “You have to be born lucky,” President Donald Trump told Oprah Winfrey in 1988, “in the sense that you have to have the right genes.” His biographer Michael D’Antonio explained to Frontline that Trump and his family subscribe “to a racehorse theory of human development. They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
Obesity and eugenics works together hand in hand, as the very rich can afford the organic food where the weight stays away and obesity has been made into a class marker for the would be culling. Already this culling has happened when it comes to the work world where to be obese over a certain level cuts one out of employment. The narcissists definitely seek for the disabled to be cut more from society.
My own family had that same Nazi uber alles crap where the thinner and healthier were elevated. Those considered too sick and fat,or who could not or did not procreate were deemed "undesirables" to not be invested in, and to be cut from the gene pool. I often say the macro affects the micro, and these attitudes are filtering down to families. The hatred for the disabled is a growing sign of narcissism and sociopathy in our society.
For those of us who have stared down the double-barreled shot gun of narcissism and disability, its time to stand for our dignity and our rights, and to realize the evil of what happened to us. We must form our self identities outside the domain of the wicked. The disabled definitely need protection from narcissists as well. We must stand up against ableism and escape the trap of internalized oppression.
Centers for Independent Living
Abuse of Persons Who are Disabled