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I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

As anybody who has read even a couple of my recent posts will likely already know, I have been angry lately at all of the faux allies and hetsplainers ~ very angry, in fact, but I must admit that underlying that anger is disappointment, frustration, puzzlement, and sadness.

I won’t rehash all of the drama….if anyone is interested, feel free go back through my tweets and replies to get a just a small taste of the brouhahas. I have also done several recent posts which mentioned the drama.

Anyway, someone on Twitter who also knows me in real life (and has known me for over 20 years), recently said something to the effect of being shocked that so many people were being so rude to me.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that, because I immediately knew exactly what she meant:

In real life, I am, in fact, what most people would consider “nice”.  Meaning: I am typically polite, kind, considerate, giving, etc.; in other words, I get along well with others. (I am always direct and assertive in real life…but I am not aggressive/rude unless it becomes absolutely necessary).

But on Twitter (and to a lesser extent, on this blog), I am quite outspoken…sometimes even outright rude (which occurs, lately with shocking regularity, when I finally reach my maximum frustration tolerance level).

The problem is not just that Twitter is online interaction (meaning: versus in-person), either. I participate regularly on Facebook and LinkedIn and on other various websites/forums/etc., and I get along just fine with people on those, just like I do in real life.

No, I really think it’s specific to Twitter. Somehow, Twitter seems to bring out the worst in me. Actually, perhaps Twitter brings out the worst in everybody, based on my recent observations of various assorted brouhahas that I have NOT been involved in.

I think it’s the combination of the limited characters available to make important points, the fast paced environment, and the discontinuity in threads when multiple people are responding at the same time (which makes it difficult to follow the order of the conversation) that makes Twitter the perfect storm for misunderstandings, anger, hostility, drama, and trouble.

Combine that perfect storm of Twitter with my temperament (I am unwilling to back down — when dealing with a topic which matters to me greatly) and BOOM, it’s Armageddon.

Recently, I have been wondering whether I should just let an ongoing fight with a specific group of mean-girl lesbophobic feminists go…whether I should just walk away and let them stew in their own putrid, poisonous juices.

After all, I do actually believe in karma. People who are mean-spirited and vicious are obviously not happy people.

Also, I truly believe on-going anger and conflict is unhealthy…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And these individuals are certainly not worth my health or my time.

So, I have been wondering:

Why am I having such a hard time letting this particular fight go? 

It’s not just my ego from being personally and viciously insulted by the ringleader, although I am sure that is indeed a part of it.

And it’s not just their shocking lesbophobia and appalling ignorance about Lesbians, although I am sure that is a HUGE part of it also. After all, utter obtuseness appears in many guises, including some very unexpected sources.

After much consideration, I think that (in addition to the above-noted factors) I am reluctant to stand down for 2 reasons:

First, I am truly horrified at the support that these individuals are getting from other straight feminists, so a big part of me wants EVERYBODY to see who these people really are. So, by calling them out and posting screencaps of their copious bigoted nonsense, I have been hoping that the proverbial aha! lightbulb would suddenly and magically appear above somebody’s head…anybody’s head! (I am afraid, though, that this wish is just a pipe dream).

Secondly, and much more importantly, I, Dirt, and the other Lesbians on Twitter who have been standing up to these individuals are all assertive, secure adults with a strong sense of self and a healthy acceptance of ourselves as Lesbians. So we can take their nastiness with a grain of salt. But: what if we were different? What if we were young dykes, just coming out, currently being rejected by family, friends, and society? What if we were vulnerable, scared, alone, confused, maybe even suicidal? What if we were struggling with self-hatred, dysphoria, and/or internalized homophobia? Would the horrid lesbophobic venom directed at us as Lesbians potentially be the last straw for someone like that? I honestly don’t know, and I sincerely hope not, but I cannot in good conscience allow these people to say such horrible, lesbophobic things without calling them out on it.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if these individuals would say such repulsive, vile, hurtful, homophobic things to us, it is a fact that they have the capacity to do it to others.

My crusade may not do any good. I may, at some point, decide to lay down my metaphorical sword and walk away from this riDICKulous battle…

But not today.

Sword

Image: Pixabay: azboomer: Creative Commons CC0

Social Media & Covert Narcissism: How NOT To Let A Few Bad Apples Spoil The Whole Pie

I have previously written from a personal perspective about my own experiences/observations regarding covert narcissism and gaslighting, because I have (unfortunately) dealt with many situations involving various people who display covert narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors, both in real life (starting with my mother) and on social media.

Yesterday, a commenter on my most recent post asked whether I would develop a “cheat sheet” to help identify covertly narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors when on social media.

Before we go any further, please note that ALL of the following disclaimers apply:

I am speaking as a person with personal experience/observations regarding narcissism (rather than as a psychologist). Furthermore, NOTHING written on this blog is ever intended to be professional advice, nor does anything I write ever substitute for professional advice. If you have any mental health concerns regarding yourself or a loved one, you need to seek professional advice from a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or other qualified professional.

The word “narcissist” in this post, as with my previous post, is meant as a descriptor, not as a diagnosis. Please also note that people may exhibit such traits/features/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for diagnosis.

Additionally, it would be inappropriate to diagnose anyone over the internet anyway; thus, these posts are simply to describe the possible warning signs of such traits/features/behaviors; NOTHING said on this blog is ever meant as a diagnosis of anybody.

Also, please note that, as necessary with any broad topic, I am speaking in generalities in this post. It is literally impossible to cover every single example, and there will always be “exceptions to the rule”; so the items listed here may not apply to every example.

Additionally, everybody occasionally exhibiting a couple the behaviors listed below is clearly not a narcissist; so please always remember that everyone can have a bad day and do/say something out of character. So: rather than jumping to conclusions based on limited data, it is very important to always look at the whole picture and to consider a person’s behaviors over time and with different people.

The main question always is: Can the person ever admit when she is wrong and/or take responsibility for her part in a situation? If not, that is a BIG warning sign.

Finally, please note that I will be using “she” in this post for convenience, and since my own personal demons are with females who display covert narcissistic traits; but, of course, please keep in mind that both males and females can/do display these traits/features/behavior.

Moving on from my long list of disclaimers, it is important to note that covert narcissism is much trickier to recognize than the more obvious overt variety. When people typically think of narcissism, most people conjure up the overt narcissist: someone who is obviously “full of herself ” ~ the proverbial “show off”; typically very-well-dressed…often even “flashy”.

But: covert narcissists are much less obvious and therefore, they usually fly under the radar. On the surface, the covert narcissist will likely seem to be friendly, modest, perhaps even “plain”/unadorned in appearance/dress, self-effacing, warm, approachable, etc.  However, these impressions are simply a part of an effective facade that serves its purpose well: to prop up their weak egos, by fooling people and garnering attention/support.

Therefore, the covert narcissist can be more insidiously harmful than her overt counterpart: both because it is easier to be ensnared in her web of lies, and because others are very unlikely to ever see her for what she really is.

Now, let’s look at some of the potential warning signs of a covert narcissist on social media ~ keeping in mind, of course, that any of these factors in and of themselves do not necessarily mean the person is a narcissist; that all of these items will not apply to everyone who exhibits narcissistic traits; that the term “narcissist” is used here a descriptor only (not as a diagnosis); and that this list is not meant to be comprehensive:

  • She may be quite popular on social media. She may have a relatively large number of followers who she doesn’t know in real life (but, nonetheless, she often interacts with them as if she does know them);
  • She may have some special status in real life that inflates her sense of importance on social media (for instance, she may be an actor, singer, author, professor, popular blogger or YouTube star, model, athlete, expert in her field, etc. etc. etc.);
  • She may interact with her followers and others regularly on social media in such a way that she seems to be friendly and approachable. However, these interactions are likely to be superficial and/or sometimes even overly-sugary-sweet. (“Good morning, my delicious treat!”; “Good night, my sweet lambikins”…when talking to people she has never met in real life and who she is not romantically involved with);
  • She maintains her friendly, affable facade very well…that is, until she suffers a narcissistic injury and retaliates. The trigger could be anything from someone simply questioning something she said, to someone disagreeing with her, to someone saying something she perceived to be insulting, etc.;
  • When the covert narcissist feels insulted (and it does not matter whether the “insult” was actually intended, or whether it was completely unintentional), she will react by attacking the person who she feels insulted her (who has now become her target);
  • Instead of continuing the discussion in the original thread, she will often quote what was said on her own account, in order to distract from the fact that she is misrepresenting what was said and in order to get support from her followers;
  • She will often take whatever was said out of context and then twist it to make it seem like her target was the aggressor and that she was inexplicably “attacked” out-of-the-blue by the target;
  • By doing the above, she enlists her numerous followers to defend and support her, thereby propping up her weak ego, while simultaneously tearing down the person she perceives as her opponent;
  • Instead of sticking to the original topic, she will often intentionally throw a number of unrelated “red herrings” into the discussion to confuse the issue and derail the discussion; (Or she will allow her supporters to do so on her behalf);
  • When the drama appears to be finally dying down, she intentionally restarts it, both because she needs the attention and she desires continued revenge against her target;
  • She will often stand back quietly and “innocently” as the drama against her opponent unfolds…but her true feelings/motivations are revealed to anyone who pays close enough attention, because she will “like” statements that are personally insulting and/or untrue about her target;
  • She will never back down, nor will she ever admit she is wrong in any way;
  • She will not take any responsibility whatsoever for her part in the disagreement;
  • She will never “meet someone halfway”, so any olive branches offered by the target will be ignored or thrown back in the target’s face;
  • If the target blocks her after many hours of harassment by her supporters, she will likely intentionally mention that fact to her followers, while stating “innocently” that she has absolutely no idea why she got blocked by the target; which then triggers a new round of attacks on her target;
  • She will “hit below the belt”; which means: instead of sticking neutrally to the original topic, she will engage in personal attacks/insults and/or encourage/condone others to do so on her behalf;
  • She may “sweetly” talk down to her target and/or minimize the target’s education or accomplishments or knowledge (or condone her supporters in doing so);
  • She will demonize her opponent(s) and/or encourage others to do so;
  • She may go back and delete all of her own tweets which might make herself look bad (which further makes her target look bad because the history of the conversation is erased, leaving everything out of context);
  • If confronted, she will say that the target is being silly, sensitive, wrong, mistaken, confused, dramatic, etc.;
  • She is dismissive and/or derisive of others’ genuine concerns, no matter how politely those concerns are stated;
  • She will twist/misrepresent whatever is said by her target; in other words, “intentionally misunderstanding” what happened in order to make the target look bad and/or to garner sympathy for herself;
  • If caught in a lie, she will either outright deny that she said it, or will say that she didn’t mean that by it;
  • She may contact her followers/supporters/friends privately to elicit sympathy and to directly or indirectly encourage them to attack on her behalf;
  • She may have multiple “sock puppet” accounts to use as needed for her own behalf;
  • She enjoys shitstorms on social media, even if she says otherwise, because she becomes repeatedly embroiled in them;
  • If she is famous, she may have spoken out publicly about how she has endured/overcome repeated “bullying” on social media;
  • She makes herself seem like a victim in order to emerge victoriously as a hero who has “conquered bullying”;
  • She may intentionally seek out and start disagreements with strangers, in order to to get attention and keep drama going;
  • Her timeline is a testament to her techniques (often “quote tweeting” someone else out of context with a criticism of what was said; and/or the implication that she is a victim; and/or as an invitation for her followers to pile on);
  • She capitalizes on the attention of the arguments on social media by garnering interviews, giving lectures, doing videos, writing papers/posts, and/or utilizing other means to talk about the horrid “bullying” she has endured;
  • When someone points out to her that she is encouraging her multiple supporters to personally insult the target, she denies it totally, even “modestly” denying that she even has multiple supporters, despite clear evidence to the contrary;
  • She says intentionally provocative and/or offensive things to stir up trouble, then pretends to be shocked and dismayed when a brouhaha ensues;
  • She engages in gaslighting techniques (and similar examples), as described in this post;
  • She may falsely imply the target is a racist, a misogynist, sexist, or any other “ist” (or is somehow otherwise wrong/bad) in order to discredit and distract;
  • She may make false accusations/allegations against her target…again, in order to discredit and distract from the real topic, which is her narcissistic injury. (For example, someone once made the false claim that Dirt had “sexually abused” her on Facebook…which is beyond ridiculous and actually not even possible, but, apparently, both logic and truth are completely lost in these bizarre battles).
  • She may call her target such things as “dangerous”, “crazy”, “biased”, “bigoted” (etc.) in order to demean her target’s credibility and to try to stop anybody from listening to anything the target has to say.

My own personal lessons in having dealt with multiple such situations/individuals now on social media are as follows:

I now truly feel the only way for me to deal with covert narcissistic behaviors on social media is to identify and avoid these individuals whenever possible. (Note to self: Do some basic research on the person’s timeline BEFORE jumping into the fray).

If I do find myself embroiled in an argument with someone who I feel is gaslighting me or otherwise not fighting fair (as described above) in the future, I plan to try to remain cordial and extricate myself as soon as possible. (“Try” is the key word in the previous sentence: I do better with this some times more so than others. It is a learning process that I unfortunately keep having to re-learn).

I always hate to do so, but I will block the individual if necessary, as well as any others who are creating drama on her behalf.

I try to always remember: NOBODY CAN WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH A NARCISSIST and everything I say can and will be twisted and used against me.

Here’s my own personal to-do list for future reference when dealing with such individuals in the future, taken from my most recent post entitled A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed:

MyNarcissistRecommendations

Please also read my previous posts on  covert narcissism and gaslighting for further information, background, examples, and recommendations.

Social media has a lot of positives: to stay in touch with family/friends, to reconnect with old friends, to make new friends, to discuss issues, and to exchange ideas with a variety of people.

However, social media also has many negatives: it can become a free-for-all brawl where normal rules of basic decency often don’t seem to apply. People say dreadful things to each other on social media that they would never dream of saying in person. People often show their worst selves on social media; instead of lifting us up, social media often has a tendency to drag us down.

My vow  for the future is to try to not let these relatively few bad apples spoil the whole social media pie. In the future, I vow to try to not let myself be sucked into a vortex of negativity so that I also end up saying things that are not nice. I vow to take a break when social media feels overwhelmingly negative. As a very wise person said to a friend on Twitter recently, “Go rest. They will still be here when you get back.”

A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed

Before I start discussing my topic today, I wanted to clarify something:

Most of my regular readers know that I have a Ph.D. in school psychology and that I work as a school psychologist as my day job (because, alas, nobody wants to pay me to blog).

I originally noted my Ph.D. and profession in my WordPress and Twitter bios, having added that information to my bios more out of habit than anything else ~ an automatic response to the ubiquitous “Who are you?” question.

I have now removed that information from my bios. I didn’t remove that information because I am ashamed of it in any way, nor am I trying to hide it.

Instead, the reason I removed that information from my bios was two-fold:

1). 99.9999 percent of the time, I am writing as a person/Lesbian, not as a psychologist. In the rare instance when I am writing as a psychologist, I am careful to specify that fact.

2). I’ve found that many people are unduly impressed with a Ph.D. People have a tendency to mistakenly think that because someone has an advanced degree, he/she is somehow better than others who don’t. That’s not true. I most certainly do not feel that way myself, and I decided that by saying I had a Ph.D. in my bios, I might be unintentionally perpetuating that elitist nonsense.

All of the above is to explain my decision to remove that information from my bios at this point (because I have received a few questions about it), and to reiterate to everyone to always assume I am speaking as a person/Lesbian, rather than a psychologist, unless I specify otherwise.

Today’s post is also (very) personal, not professional. Narcissism is a topic that I know a lot about, both as a person and as a psychologist; however, my focus today is solely on the personal, rather than the professional.

Much has been written about narcissism: the symptoms, definition, treatment, and so forth. For those curious about the basics, a simple Google search will garner oodles of results; to get the most reliable information, start with information from a known reputable organization such as the American Psychological Association, the Mayo Clinic, etc.

This post isn’t intended to be a lesson on narcissism or a description of narcissism, but rather a discussion of my own personal observations/reactions.

I do want to clarify that some people may display narcissistic-type features/traits/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Bottom line: We cannot, and should not, diagnose others on the internet anyway, so I will focus on features/traits/behaviors rather than actual or intended diagnoses.

***Therefore, for the purposes of this post, the word “narcissism” will be used as a descriptor rather than a diagnosis. Also, I am using “she” in this post because my own personal demons are with females who have narcissistic traits, but, of course, these traits can be exhibited by either males or females.***

Why do I know so much personally about narcissism?  Simple: Because I am the daughter of a narcissist. I have sort of danced around this fact in my previous posts about my mother, because I was hesitant to say the bald truth publicly. I was raised to never say anything negative about my mother, and old habits die hard. In fact, so hard that I never did speak a word about it until after she was dead.

I won’t go deeply into my personal experience with my mother and the effects on me as her daughter, at least not in this post…I am not quite ready for that yet.

But I am sharing this information to illustrate why I not only recognize narcissistic features/traits/behaviors in others, but, more importantly, to explain why I also still occasionally fall into the traps set by female covert narcissists…even now. Yes, even now. Even after getting a Ph.D. in psychology. Even though I am certainly old enough to know better. Even after years and years and years of working to understand the dynamics between narcissists and their targets. Even though I know all about narcissism…well, at least intellectually, that is. Even though I do (or should…?) actually know better than to engage.

As I said, old habits die hard, especially when you are conditioned to respond in a certain way. Sometimes, without realizing it until it is too late, I still unconsciously respond like Pavlov’s dog to the siren call of a female covert narcissist (which only happens online at this point, because I am MUCH better at recognizing and avoiding them in person).

When I do respond, I unwittingly become an active participant in a toxic pas de deux. It is a dance that I recognize all too well. It is a dance that will never end well for me, because there is no winning with a narcissist

But: A narcissist cannot perform her twisted dance without a partner, someone who is primed to dance the specified steps. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and I now find myself finally ready to hang up my dancing shoes permanently.

ballet-2042850_640

Image: Pixabay: Jabore: Creative Commons CC0

For me, the warning signs that I have been sucked into the vortex of a narcissist are as follows:

  • an uneasy feeling of familiarity, even when I am dealing with a complete stranger on the internet;
  • a distinct difference in my response to that specific person which very far from my normally calm self;
  • queasiness, shakiness, fatigue, headache, malaise;
  • a very strong feeling of needing to defend myself and/or my point of view;
  • knowing I should pull away from the situation/argument, but feeling strangely unable to do so;
  • anger and defensiveness, usually way out of proportion to the situation;
  • a seeming inability to disengage without a LOT of conscious effort;
  • losing sleep and a general feeling of unease and restlessness;
  • unable to truly focus on anything else for the duration of the dance;
  • an obsessive, oppressive feeling that I need to fight as if my life is at stake;
  • fight or flight response (rapid heartbeat; tense muscles; etc.);
  • repeated fantasies that everyone else will somehow magically see the narcissist for who she really is;
  • feeling unreasonably threatened (while knowing that the person poses no literal physical threat);
  • strong emotions trumping my knowledge/logic…I can even consciously be aware that the individual is likely a narcissist (or that she at least exhibits some narcissistic features/traits/behaviors), but yet still feel compelled to engage anyway, despite knowing it is a fool’s game to do so.

Of course, everybody will have different ways of recognizing that they are dealing with a narcissist; the above is my own personal list only, based on my own experience.

So, you may be wondering: How can anyone win a battle with a narcissist?

Sadly, you can’t. I can’t. Nobody can.

Let me say that again, because it bears repeating:

NOBODY CAN WIN A BATTLE WITH A NARCISSIST. 

So: If I ever find myself locking horns with a covert female narcissist (my personal Achilles’ Heel) again, I vow to remember the following:

  • Recognize the above signs, preferably sooner rather than later;
  • Remember that any response whatsoever gives the narcissist fuel which she will use to burn me at the stake;
  • Walk away. No matter how hard it is, walk the hell away and keep walking (or, even better, RUN LIKE THE WIND);
  • If the situation occurs on social media, block the narcissist immediately, and block everyone who attacks on her behalf (because she will enlist others to do so);
  • Remember that narcissists are usually incredibly cunning/manipulative and extremely good at fooling people, so most others are not going to be able to see the truth about her (so give up the hope that they will);
  • Refuse to engage with the narcissist, her minions, or even random strangers offering “help”;
  • As much as I may want to defend myself, I need to remember that I don’t need to do so (and, in fact, it will even be counterproductive if I try);
  • Listen to my wife Dirt and to friends I trust ~ they will always be much more objective about the situation/person than I can possibly be at the height of the drama;
  • Remember that I could fight all the female covert narcissists in the whole world, but not only would I not win my battles with them, but, more importantly, fighting with them would certainly never heal any wounds from being the daughter of a narcissist.

Finally, to quote Vizzini from my favorite movie, The Princess Bride:

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia.’ But only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’ Ahahahaha, ahahahaha, ahahaha—-thud”

Another classic blunder to add to Vizzini’s list is: “Never engage in battle with a narcissist”…because I have a better chance of single-handedly winning a land war in Asia than anyone does of winning a battle with a narcissist. 

Lesbians Are Not Mimicking Heterosexuals, Nor Do We Want To. (Duh!)

When hetsplaining Lesbian, one frequent mistake that heterosexual people make is assuming that Lesbian relationships are mimicry of straight relationships, along with the incorrect assumption that Lesbians seek to emulate straight people.

One particularly odious and completely ridiculous trope is that Butch Lesbians have “eschewed femininity” and that they are “trying to be men“, and that Femme Lesbians are playing the “straight woman” in our relationships.

No. Just NO.

It’s way past time for all of the straight people who think/say such things to remove their head from their own egocentric asses.

It is even more bizarre and distressing when such utter nonsense emerges from alleged “feminist allies“.

 Let’s take a look at just a couple of the multiple lesbophobic comments from these faux “feminist allies” about Dirt, and I hope that these examples will expose what these faux “feminist allies” REALLY think about Lesbians and our relationships ~ underneath their FAKE, chipper “But I totally support Lesbians!” rhetoric: 

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Please recall that Harpy is the very same individual who came up with this gem to explain our Lesbian relationship: 

Harpy

Let’s examine exactly what these self-proclaimed “feminist allies” TRULY think/feel about Lesbians underneath their bullshit “support“:

  • They are condescending, rude, hateful, and/or vicious toward us.
  • They clearly don’t understand Lesbians nor our relationships.
  • They don’t TRY to understand Lesbians nor our relationships.
  • They see Lesbians as simplistic heterosexual mimickers/wannabes.
  • They see Lesbian relationships as imitations of straight relationships.
  • They see Butch Lesbians as intentionally/willfully “non-conforming to gender norms”.
  • They think Butch Lesbians are imitating men and that they want to be men.
  • They think Femme Lesbians are imitating straight women/relationships.
  • They think Femme Lesbians are stupid, shallow, vacuous, vain, and dependent. (Which is quite an interesting perception, since they think we are imitating THEM. Think about it.).
  • They think that heterosexual relationships are higher status than Lesbian relationships. (For instance, in other tweets, they talked about our relationship with “marriage” and “wife” in quotation marks!).
  • They think that Dirt’s parents would/should be upset with the fact she is Butch, which shows their own underlying shocking lesbophobia.
  • They think that we are Lesbians because we are damaged in some way (“Would be intriguing to hear about her parents”).
  • They think Lesbians are simply play-acting; that our entire lives are a flimsy choice to mysteriously try to emulate heterosexuality….which doesn’t even make any sense, but apparently logic is optional for these cretins.
  • They see Lesbians only through their own narrow heterocentric lens…which is to say: they don’t really see US at all, nor do they care to.

I could go on and on, but I think that is the general summation of the falsehoods that these false allies TRULY believe about us when you scratch underneath the shiny surface of their “help“.

Once again for the slow learners: Lesbians are NOT “mimicking straight relationships” nor are we “trying to be men” (nor any other obnoxious variation of these lies). WE ARE LESBIANS. Lesbian lives/relationships are IN NO WAY related to these outlandish claims. 

These same individuals will tweet all day about how men are allegedly trying to coerce Lesbians into sleeping with them etc. etc. etc. ~ and some complete fools therefore mistakenly think that means they support Lesbians:

Rya

My message to these hetsplaining hypocritical harpies (and their ilk) and their fawning fan-boy is:

Fuck off.  

Attention Lesbians: These people are not allies to Lesbians, and they are not our friends. Furthermore, Lesbians don’t want, nor need, their “help“. These people are not only NOT helping Lesbians, but they are a HUGE part of the problem themselves by continuing to believe and to spew hateful lies and ignorant misconceptions about Lesbians.

With every hateful and/or ignorant tweet, these people are showing their true lesbophobic colors.

So: Keep it up, harpies & sycophants, because I WANT Lesbians to see the truth, and these folks are proving what Dirt and I are saying with every venomous word.  

Everyday Lesbophobia and How It Harms Lesbians Every Day

As anyone who reads my blog and/or follows me on Twitter already knows that I have been angry lately. Very angry. Heck, let’s just be honest here, I am still angry now.

I am angry at all of the Lesbophobia I see everywhere online and in real life, both overt and covert. I am angry at false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers.

I am angry that nobody but a handful of fellow Lesbians seems to even notice, or care, that Lesbians are being thrown under the proverbial bus left and right.

As of this morning, I became aware of another feeling existing along with the anger:

Sadness.

Sadness is a much less comfortable feeling for me than anger. With anger, I feel “in control”, powerful. With sadness, I feel helpless.

As much as I don’t want to feel sadness, darn it…there it is.

It turns out, underlying my anger and defiance, there is something else lurking much deeper which I am not even fully consciously aware of yet myself. Something that I cannot fully articulate yet; something that I am just now beginning to see the fuzzy outline of through a thick fog of anger.

For some time now, I have been gradually coming to an uneasy realization of the increasingly obvious fact that Lesbians are ultimately on our own. I have been very resistant to this knowledge, because I don’t want to believe it.

I have about a zillion screencaps which would starkly illustrate my points about false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers and the lesbophobia they perpetuate.

But I won’t post those screencaps in this post, because this post is not about proving my point…interestingly and ironically, their own comments prove the very points Dirt and I are making.

Anybody who wants to see specific examples of truly appalling anti-Lesbian sentiments can peruse my Twitter timeline/replies (and the subtweets about myself, Dirt, and other Lesbians) to see the hatred, nastiness, pettiness, and sheer meanness directed at me, Dirt, other specific Lesbians, and/or Lesbians in general.

Instead, this post is about the direct and indirect toll of such lesbophobia on Lesbian lives.

Here is just a small sample of the many possible ways that anti-Lesbian actions/comments take on Lesbians, every second of every minute of every hour of every day FOR OUR WHOLE LIVES:

  • Feeling alone;
  • Feeling misunderstood;
  • Feeling attacked;
  • Feeling sickened, physically and/or emotionally;
  • Feeling chronically angry;
  • Feeling the need to constantly defend ourselves, our partners, and other Lesbians;
  • Feeling hesitant to speak up because it means facing a whole crowd of opponents;
  • Feeling invalidated;
  • Feeling invisible;
  • Feeling anxious;
  • Feeling outnumbered;
  • Feeling different;
  • Feeling hypervigilant;
  • Feeling exhausted from all of the ongoing effort;
  • Feeling a new wave of disappointment every single time someone else lets us down;
  • Feeling offended/invalidated when outsiders tell us to “be nice” or when they try to make us mediate/get along with Lesbian-hating bigots (think about it: would they ask Black people to be nice to the KKK, or Jewish people to be nice to Hitler???!!!);
  • And last on this partial list, but certainly not least: Feeling sad.

I have decided that it’s okay to feel sad today. It’s okay for myself and other Lesbians to feel any/all of the things listed above…and more…because ALL of those feelings are COMPLETELY NORMAL REACTIONS to living in a world in which the BEST case scenario is that we will never be fully understood/accepted and in which the WORST case scenario is that we are murdered, raped, beaten, fired, denied housing/employment/etc., and/or otherwise harmed for simply being who we are.

And my message to all of the false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers (and to all of the simpering sidekicks) who are harming Lesbians with your copious bullshit: Karma is a bitch and she sees what you are doing.

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Image: Used under license with Shutterstock.

The Sadly Predictable Stages of Hetsplaining

Note: Please also see Dirt’s post on the same topic: Lesbians: SEEING the Forest because we are Not Trees

Dirt and I have been attacked on Twitter by hetsplaining straight “feminists so many times now, I have discerned a predictable pattern of behavior which delineates the stages of hetsplaining:

Butt in to a conversation uninvited;

Attack viciously; twist everything being said beyond all recognition; falsely claim we are misogynists, racists, etc.; even sometimes stooping low enough to insult us personally by attacking our appearance, our relationship, etc.;

Rage all out of proportion to the situation; using all emotion with no logic whatsoever;

Block us so we can’t see what they are saying;

Incite others to attack;

Enlist others to continue the drama;

Subtweet about us, knowing we cannot see what is being said to defend ourselves (which is quite cowardly).

(Rinse and repeat ad nauseum with each new wave of straight “feminists” who pick up the gauntlet).

You can remember this sadly predictable pattern of hetsplaining by using the acronym BARBIES. The most recent brouhaha involved a Barbie harpy (see below).

And for just ONE example of how these hetsplaining harpies treat Lesbians who don’t kowtow to their straight-privileged BS, here’s just one of many insulting tweets Dirt and I have been subjected to for simply stating our opinion:

Harpy

And people wonder why I say that Lesbians are on our own…but, seriously, with “feminist allies” like this, who needs enemies?

Hymn to a Hetsplainer

Last night, I received a comment that didn’t get published, but I realized that it needs to be addressed, because I believe the wanna-be commenter likely echoes the feelings/thoughts of a lot of women who Dirt and I have been writing about and arguing with lately.

As some background, the situation started on Dirt’s blog with this post/comments, and led to this post/comments.

When Dirt refused to publish some of her comments due her insistence on linking to a particular “gender critical mom” blog, despite being asked not to, she moseyed over here, apparently in the hopes that I would publish her comment including links to said blog.

Sorry, but no. (Will explain further below).

My first instinct was to simply publish the comment and proceed to rip our wanna-be commenter a new one. After all, her rude, and vaguely threatening, comment is riding on the coattails of numerous arrogant hetsplainers who seem to think they know more about Lesbians than actual Lesbians.

To put it simply, I am completely fed up and the gloves have come off, especially in the last few weeks.

nnnl

So, anyway, I was angry, tired, and hungry when I read her wanna-be comment, but wisely (well, at least THIS time, LOL!) followed my own advice and walked away to consider how best to deal with the situation before responding.

I woke up this morning less angry and decided to proceed with a bit more compassion, especially after I saw this tweet.

So this post will address this wanna-be commenter‘s statements, without linking to said blog, and without identifying the commenter.

(Side Note: Heads-up regarding internet safety: Within minutes of receiving this woman’s comment, I was able to ascertain her full name, age, phone number, home address, previous address, email address, LinkedIn profile, place of employment, IP address, Facebook account, etc. I will not publish that information, but I do retain such information when I receive either vaguely or overtly threatening comments/emails. Just be aware that if I can find out all of this information, other people who may not be so considerate can also do it. Be safe, folks.)

Without further ado, here are her comments & my replies: 

1). Comment:

“Based on my personal observations, not only does dirt hate straight women with a vengeance, she hates lifelong lesbians who challenge her particular political views, or question anything she says. If this website is for lesbians, then I should have a right to speak. If LESBIAN. TRUTH. means anything, then let me speak.

As a professional psychologist, I don’t imagine it looks good for your professional career to be associated with a woman who makes these kind of vulgar irrational comments online. See a few examples below.”

My Reply: 

As I have written before, neither Dirt nor I hate straight women.  This commenter, along with many others, is apparently mistaking very direct communication with “hate”.  The two are not the same thing. Even when Dirt and I are rude (and yes, I know we can be), it does not equate to “hate”.

Furthermore, I don’t have to let ANYONE speak; this is my blog and I can, and do, choose what comments get published. If you want to speak unfettered by concerns about whether someone else will publish whatever you want to say, the simple solution is to get your own blog.

Also, the term “lifelong lesbian” is debatable (I will write more on this below).

Most importantly, though, out of this section, the last part sounds vaguely like a threat to my professional status. Perhaps it is not intended that way, but when dealing with angry people, I always have to be alert to such things.

Here’s the thing with her last statement (“I don’t imagine it looks good for your professional career to be associated with a woman…” ~ meaning Dirt, of course):

The United States is a democracy…well, at least it still is for now. Freedom of speech is still allowed in my country…and yes, that right to speak freely even includes psychologists.

It’s neither unethical nor illegal for me to state my opinion on a variety of topics. I never have, and never would, do anything unethical or harmful, and to imply that I have or would is both incorrect and libelous.

In fact, spirited debate about a variety of topics is a healthy part of most professions, including psychology; as well as being a cornerstone of democracy itself.

The most interesting thing about the latter part of this comment is the implication that I should be held accountable for not only my own actions/statements, but also those of my wife.

Um…no. It is not my job to police my wife’s words/actions; I am her wife, not her keeper. Dirt is a fully functioning adult who can, and does, speak/act for herself. So am I. Healthy relationships are not codependent or controlling.

2). Comment:

“Why would people get the impression that dirt and Saye hate straight people? Gee, it couldn’t have anything to do with all the obscene and vulgar “STRAIGHTBIAN/Het Woman, Miss STRAIGHTOTHENEXTDICK” rants that dirt often uses on her blog. Dirt even calls lifelong lesbians who point out some of the ridiculous statements she says on her blog, “STRAIGHTOTHENEXTDICK”. It’s a fact that dirt did call a woman she incorrectly assumed was straight, ‘Miss STRAIGHTOTHENEXTDICK”. No, this doesn’t mean dirt hates straight people. And, these are some of the nicer comments. All we have to do is read some of dirt’s comments.

I have to admit that as a lifelong lesbian who has never had sex with a male in my entire life that I’m no expert on straight people. Straight people have always confused me. Most of the time I feel out of place around them. Frankly, I’ve never quite understood heterosexuals, and I’ve never been attracted to males on sexual basis. Ever. Not even once. I love women physically, sexually, and emotionally. I love women from the depths of my soul. Having said this, I don’t hate heterosexuals. In fact, as lesbians we need educated heterosexual as allies.”

My Reply:

Dirt has never pretended to be Miss Manners; if you want Miss Manners, you are looking at the wrong blog.

As noted above, very direct, even rude, language does not equal “hate”. I can see why this would be somewhat puzzling to some people, but there is an important distinction between the two.

Regarding the “lifelong lesbian” portion of this comment, being with women and/or NOT being with men does not necessarily equate to being a Lesbian.

Behavior does not equal orientation. So: a woman can be with another woman for 50 years, but that does not necessarily mean she is a Lesbian.

Conversely, a “later-in-life” Lesbian can marry a man and perhaps even stay married for years, but that doesn’t mean she is straight; because if a woman is truly a Lesbian, she was NEVER straight, no matter how long she was with a man.

Once more in the off-chance that it will finally sink in:

Behavior ≠ Orientation!

Being a Lesbian is much more than who we f**k, or even whether we f**k. Lesbians process information and communicate differently than straight females. And I must say, our wanna-be commenter does NOT act/think/communicate like a Lesbian.

Finally, the comment “as lesbians we need educated heterosexual as allies” shows that the wanna-be commenter is unaware of the sad fact that Lesbians are on our own.

Our seeming “allies” are often shockingly lesbophobic, in both subtle (example: ignoring Lesbian comments, while enthusiastically responding to heterosexuals and Straightbians) and not-so-subtle (example: calling us offensive terms such as gender non-conforming or gender-defiant, which incorrectly implies that Lesbians are willfully defying societal norms).

And those are just a couple of examples.

3). Comment:

Note: This portion is redacted because of the wanna-be commenter‘s insistence on cramming the “gender critical mom’s” blog down our throats, against our will, despite the fact we have made it clear that we feel that such blogs are NOT true Lesbian allies.

The wanna-be commenter goes on to give an example posted on said blog which (allegedly) refutes Dirt’s (correct!) assertion that males who are transitioning are NOT coercing Lesbians into sex with them.

I won’t belabor that particular point again here, since Dirt has already covered it more than once, except to say that I have no doubt that there are males out there who are attempting to coerce females into sexual situations with them.

However, Lesbians are not the ones falling for it. Here’s your first clue, Sherlock: Lesbians don’t do dick.

The problem is, the example given by our wanna-be commenter does NOT, in fact, refute Dirt’s statement.

The example was based on a post by an self-described “detransitioned Butch Lesbian” on said redacted blog. Part of this example included this self-identified “detransitioned Butch Lesbian” revealing that she’d sent nude pics to not just one, but TWO (!?), males, having contacted them herself after seeing these 2 dillweeds posting about being “horny + suicidal”, and how only nude pics would make them feel better.

Um. Wow. How can I say this as nicely as possible?

First and foremost, any adults (regardless of who they are or how they “identify”) who are eliciting/accepting nude pics from any minor need to face severe consequences for their actions.

And any 16-year-old female who seeks out such predatory males herself and proceeds to send them nude pics needs sympathy, empathy, and professional help to examine the reasons why such a bizarre thing happened not just once, but TWICE (!?), and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

But would a LESBIAN do any of that? No.

Actually: Not just no, BUT HELL NO.

Lesbians don’t seek out males of any sort, nor do we send them nude pics of ourselves. Think about it.

Additionally, someone willing to send nude pics is obviously NOT dysphoric.  Think about it.

So, what does our wanna-be commenter‘s example prove? It certainly does NOT prove what she hoped it would.

All it proves is that our gender-critical straight “allies” don’t have a single clue what the meaning of either “Lesbian” or “Dysphoria” is, and continue to pimp out even more misinformation about Lesbian lives, all in the name of “helping” us.

Thanks, but NO THANKS.

4). Comment:

“This (Note: ‘this’ is referring to example discussed above regarding the nude pics) is happening to vulnerable young lesbians, and dirt doesn’t want to hear it. Nothing in this article makes me believe that this young woman is straight. Tomboys who would have grown up to be proud butch lesbians are being harmed.

This is how dirt describes the courageous young woman in this article posted on (REDACTED BLOG). To me, the young woman in the article sounds like a young lesbian who just got caught up in the trans craze. Young women feel intense pressure to identify as trans/queer/nonbinary, and this young woman says there is pressure on young lesbians to date transwomen, or be seen as transphobic. This young woman is now in a romantic relationship with a woman. She is just one of thousands of young lesbians who got sucked into the trans craze.

Dirt says,

“Her proof that Dykes are being duped into dick is a (clearly mentally screwed Het Trans Female) who now and I fucking quote IDENTIFIES as lesbian! Oh WOW! Yeah Mrs Dirt and I are so convinced by this we too are feeling pressured to dick lick! N O T!!!”

(source: http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/2017/06/unstraightening-straight-lies-about.html)

I don’t have any problem with my sexuality, and I don’t care if dirt insults me. Why would dirt insult the courageous and well informed mother who runs (REDACTED BLOG)? Why would dirt insult the young woman in the (REDACTED BLOG) article? To me, this article sounds like a confused young lesbian who got caught up in the trans.”

(NOTE: What follows is several more links from said REDACTED BLOG and comments about how we should LOVE said REDACTED BLOG. Needless to say, I am not going to post all that rhetoric. Let’s just say our wanna-be commenter seems sooooo intent on crawling up this blogger’s butt, we would normally suspect she is a proctologist, but we know she’s not from her LinkedIn profile.)

My Reply:

Again, as I noted above, the example given most certainly does NOT sound remotely like Lesbian behavior, plus the words “identify as a Lesbian” raise a huge red flag of NON-Lesbian status.  (Lesbian is NOT something to “identify as”…you either are, or you’re not, and actual Lesbians know that).

What part of sending nude pics to males is unclear to our wanna-be commenter? “Nothing to suggest she is straight”, huh? Really?

Furthermore, neither Dirt nor I have ever said that Lesbians, young or otherwise, aren’t feeling tremendous pressure to transition and pressure in other ways as well.

QUITE THE OPPOSITE, in fact.

(HELLO!! Anybody home? Knock-knock, reality is calling!)…

Dirt has been writing about these very issues for approximately a DECADE now. She was writing about the pressures on Lesbians long, long, LONG before this new posse of so-called “gender-critical” hets even noticed the trans trend, but in typical straight-privileged fashion, decided that THEY were the experts on the topic, giving ZERO credit to the Lesbians, especially Dirt, who had been voicing the very same concerns, and MORE, for YEARS. Years.

Shaking my head.

Is that the behavior of true allies? No, it is most certainly NOT.

5). Comment:

“I’m a lifelong lesbian who has never had sex with a man, and this is how dirt describes me. I’m a lesbian, and this made me cry. This insult is the worst possible insult to say to any lesbian. It was so over the top offensive. This is the way dirt attacks lesbians who have different opinions, or challenges some of her articles.

‘This comment by Miss STRAIGHTOTHENEXTDICK is an vain attempt at proof she is a Lesbian by describing a litany of known STRAIGHTBIAN behaviours. Lesbian to her is about who you share your pussy with, not whats between your ears. Again, neither Mrs Dirt nor myself have ever said not diddling dick equals Dyke. Plenty O STRAIGHTBIANS have long term relationships with Women and Lesbians, but if you are N O T a Dyke in the womb, you are N O T a Dyke PERIOD!!!

….Clearly Miss I-kissed-a-man-on-the-phone-and-I-liked-it, you thought wrong about me/this blog! If a Woman wrote to me for legitimate help (and many have), of course I would do what was in my power to help them. But this blog and its intentions have/are/and will ALWAYS remain for LESBIANS/ABOUT LESBIANS, not Het Females (regardless of their trans state).

Miss I-flunked-out-of-elementary-school knows what she’s talkin ’bout cuz she spoke to a man pretending to be a Lesbian on a Lesbian dating site where she (Het Woman) was pretending to be a Lesbian!’

(source: http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/2017/06/unstraightening-straight-lies-about.html)

I graduated from the University of California, one of the most respected institutions in the US, and dirt says I’m, ‘Miss I-flunked-out-of-elementary-school’. It’s a miracle that my uneducated mind can even string together a few sentences. So, please forgive my ignorance.”

My Reply:

My first thought is that I can think of about 20 insults, just off the top of my head, that are worse than that, but I will spare us all that list since my intention is honestly NOT to make anyone cry.

My second thought is that both Dirt and I receive insults, even threats, on a regular basis, that are much worse than “Straight-To-The-Next-Dick”, so I have to admit that I am genuinely puzzled why that particular statement would be sooooo upsetting.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect anyone to be happy about it, but I actually cannot imagine being moved to tears over a stranger’s verbal sparring.

My other thought is that neither Dirt nor I “attack someone for having different opinions” nor do we attack all of those that “challenge” us. (If we did, it would be a 24-hour-a-day job).

We do, however, routinely call out people who we feel are misrepresenting Lesbian lives and we do address the myriad ways in which Lesbian is continually bastardized, which is most certainly NOT a simple “difference of opinion”.

6). Comment:

“For the sake of argument, let’s say I’m not a lesbian. Apparently, only dirt and Saye know what lesbian means. I know I’m lesbian, and people who are secure in their sexuality don’t feel the need to explain themselves. At any rate, if I were heterosexual, which I clearly am not, dirt’s incoherent and especially mean spirited rants are proof that dirt has some serious issues with heterosexuals. I mean some serious underlying issues. Dirt and Saye want all of us to believe that calling a woman who they incorrectly perceive as straight, ‘Miss STRAIGHTOTHENEXTDICK’ is not being disrespectful to heterosexuals. Please, get some help for dirt. Aren’t you supposed to be a psychologist?”

My reply:

I’m not “supposed to be a psychologist“, I AM a psychologist. However, to clarify, once again: the huge bulk of the writing I do is speaking as a LESBIAN, not as a psychologist. When I am writing as a psychologist, I am careful to say so.

Regardless, yes, Dirt and I are indeed saying that many, both past and present, who have claimed to be Lesbians are NOT actually Lesbians. And yes, we do know the difference; it is usually quite clear by such data as statements they make (such as “being a Lesbian is a choice” ~  when a real Lesbian would know it’s not). The non-Lesbians we wrote about in the Unstraightening Lesbian series have a huge body of public statements from which to analyze. Plus, there’s a little thing called gaydar.

We didn’t ask our wanna-be commenter to verify her orientation, but for some unknown reason, she seems determined to try to convince us.  As she herself says here, why would anyone feel the need to continue to try to explain herself (as she herself clearly does)? Doth she protest too much?

Also, what Dirt is saying is only “incoherent” to our wanna-be commenter, who clearly doesn’t speak Lesbian.

Finally, and most importantly, our wanna-be commenter is very wrong about her statement that Dirt needs help.

And, yes, I AM saying that both as a psychologist and a Lesbian.

The only “help” Dirt needs is for individuals such as our wanna-be commenter to stop talking long enough to listen; to stop arguing long enough to THINK.

Unless our wanna-be commenter can arrange for that, I must now bid her a not-so-fond adieu.