Category: Personal Updates

Violence Can’t Stop Hate

I’m sure I’ll step in a big pile of poop with this post, but I’m going to go for it anyway. PREFACE: I stand against bigotry, sexism, and hate in all of its forms.

The past couple of days, politicians and leaders around the country have been falling all over themselves trying to praise Antifa for their work against the Alt Right. Now, I never even heard of the “Alt Right” until the 2016 election cycle. I didn’t know it was a thing. Sure, I’ve heard of neo-Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists, but never Alt Right.

Alt Right has become an all-encompassing term used to describe “white nationalists,” who are even more loosely defined as “nationalists who happen to be white.” As I’ve written before, nationalists exist of every race and color. However, Alt Right has been defined as a white guy thing.

Nationalism:
noun

  1. patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts
  2. an extreme form of this, especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries
  3. advocacy of political independence for a particular country

Let’s look at that for a minute. Is it possible for non-white people to have patriotic principles or feelings? Is it possible for non-white folks to have a feeling of superiority over other countries? Is it possible for non-white people to advocate for political independence for the country?

So “nationalism” isn’t a bad word. We could debate the merits of nationalism all day long, but it’s not by definition anything racial whatsoever. It’s essentially…. America rocks, other countries suck, and we ought to look out for our own rather than have a global perspective.

There are extremists that really are racists and fascists. We saw this boldly demonstrated by a bunch of chuckleheads in Charlottesville carrying Nazi flags and advocating white superiority. This… and let me be CLEAR…. this is a lunatic fringe at work. Should we counter protest these idiots? OF COURSE.

This is America, and I believe that they have the right the peaceably assemble and say whatever idiotic, bigoted, backwards stuff they want to say. Just as I believed Westboro Baptist Church had the right to picket with their stupid God Hates Fags signs. Just as I believe BLM has the right to march through the streets saying “What do we want? DEAD COPS.” In America, we can say whatever we want and believe whatever we want, no matter how ignorant.

What we CAN’T do is hurt other people. I don’t mean hurt their feelings… people these days have incredibly thin skin. I am talking about physically hurting people. That’s never OK.

So, what I’ve said so far is, pride in country is great, wanting to put America above other countries is… selfish, but not inherently racist, and that lunatics on all sides have the right to say what they want, but not to hurt other people.

Antifa is an anti-free-speech, violent bunch of thugs. They are, ironically, fascists. They want to change the way the 1st Amendment works in America, and that’s not OK. They committed so much violence in Berkeley that Berkeley has essentially blocked any conservative speakers from speaking on campus.

Ben Shapiro, who himself can often be extreme to the right, says it well in his Politico article:

“And so here we stand: On the one side, a racist, identity-politics Left dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate beneficiaries of privilege and therefore must be excised from political power; on the other side, a reactionary, racist, identity-politics alt-right dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate victims of the social-justice class and therefore must regain political power through race-group solidarity.” (Full Article)

Trump was annihilated for condemning “violence on both sides” after Charlottesville. But he is right to do so. The neo-Nazis were demonstrating peacefully (disgustingly, as well, as is their right) and Antifa showed up with bats and masks. If we really want to kill white supremacy and neo-Naziism, we can only do so by doing it the American way – if they have 200 white guys holding Nazi flags, we should have 2,000 white guys across the street peacefully counter protesting.

Violence births more violence. Hate births more hate. So, white guys on the left and the right – when racism and hatred comes to your town, stand up against it. Use your voice and your presence, not baseball bats. If you physically attack these hateful people, you are validating their argument that they are oppressed somehow. You are asking to escalate it into a real race war.

BLM can’t affect these racist idiots. Because the racist idiots see them as sub-human. We white guys have to step up and show them that this isn’t the 40s, it ain’t the 60s, and it ain’t 1860. Time to join the 20th century.

Surviving an NPD Parent

When you have a parent who is a narcissist (imagine Donald Trump), you can never have your own thoughts and feelings. You can only have thoughts that align with that parent, and can only have feelings that mirror what that parent is feeling at that exact moment. Anything else is met with a confusing mix of guilt-tripping, rage, manipulation, and attempts to fill you with self doubt.

I have severe sleep apnea. Before it was treated I was having trouble with short-term memory. I had learned to cope with this by taking lots of notes, and repeating important things in my head over several days. The interesting phenomenon was that I had no trouble at all accessing long-term memories. So with that method, I was able to cope with the day-to-day rigors of a detail-oriented job.

My NPD parent, however, used the fact that I had at one point struggled with memory (not understanding that I wrote down literally everything I ever said to him, and everything he said to me), to convince me at all times that I needed to defer to his memory of how things happened. However, it was totally at odds with what I’d written down about 85% of the time. But he built in the self doubt because it benefited him… he got to “always be right.” I learned as a child not to disagree with him, so instead I allowed him to try and convince me that I was always wrong about my recollection, and he used that to essentially blame me for whatever he wanted to. This led to a pattern of him attributing statements and decisions to me that were actually made by him.

My wife and I were talking about this recently, and she said “Pete, I know he always told you that your memory sucks and he was always right, but Pete… you actually have a good memory.” It was the first time I’d had that parental commentary challenged by someone who talks to me every single day. If anyone would be aware of my memory failing, it would be her. The fact was, I really was remembering things correctly, and my parent was using his knowledge of my “weaknesses” to push me around.

The notes I was taking were always in stark contrast to what he insisted I had said, and it made me question my own sanity. I simultaneously worried that if I left the business venture in which he and I had engaged, that it would quickly fail. But how could that be, if I was the memory-impaired imbecile that I had been convinced that I had become?

“Perhaps the most commonly shared fear among children and spouses of narcissists is that your efforts to change your situation with the NPD individual will be the cause of his catastrophic self-destruction. You are not only aware of his capacity for rage, but also his deep vulnerability. Even though you have never understood his problems, you have long sensed the presence of some deep wound. You can’t imagine the guilt you would feel if your actions precipitate his deterioration. The dilemma for you has become a growing awareness that survival is coming down to him or you. You may be adhering to the belief that the goodness of love and patience of time will bring change and healing… I will simply say that the NPD person is unlikely to change without the proactive efforts of someone close to him. Much like the dynamics of alcoholism, the NPD individual needs to see the consequences of his narcissism to recognize that he must face his behaviors, if not his inner issues, in order to continue his relationship with you.”

I know this is a sentiment that my entire family felt for years. Eleanor Payson wrote those words in her book “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists.” The book was extremely eye-opening for me as it so perfectly described not only him, but me, my mother and my siblings. The pathology of NPD is so predictable that she is able to perfectly describe my home growing up.

My own pathology is described in three pages of this book, written years before I read it. “Left under siege, this child must tap into her inner self for inventive means for survival and often become resourceful, and determined…. Yet the untold side … is the anger and rage you must feel for the endless insults to your dignity and integrity…. For the “rivaled against” child, this unresolved anger will lead to….a repeating struggle for positive mutual regard in their relationships…. Many “rivaled against” adult children strive to excel in their family business or other enterprise, hoping to surpass the NPD parent’s success in order to gain approval, revenge, or both.”

I hid my true thoughts and feelings because they weren’t wanted. In fact, they were explicitly NOT wanted. I was expected to be a “yes” man, and if I did not, I was either bullied, ignored, or told that I wasn’t smart enough or my memory wasn’t good enough to be right. As a result of my silence, we entered into many terrible business arrangements and honestly hurt good people along the way as a result.

The point of all of this is self reflection. One of the most common things for someone who grew up in my spot is lack of empathy (which I’ve long felt), and often repeating the patterns of the parent. I don’t want to do any of those things, and I certainly don’t want to lack empathy – especially as a father. It’s easy to dismiss a kid’s problem as insignificant, because I know with 39 years of life experience that it really isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things. HOWEVER, to my child, it is significant, and that should be enough for me. Right now, it seems like the biggest thing in the world to her. It’s not silly if it’s important to one of my kids. It matters.

At the end of the day, money, power, status, sex, and whatever selfish pursuits a person can have are completely meaningless. What matters is our spouse and our children.

Pointless Points

To mitigate the seriousness of yesterday’s post, I present to you 50 things about me.

  1. Are you a morning or night person? Always been a night owl. I hit my stride about 9 PM
  2. Do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? Salty. If I eat anything sweet, I have to follow it with something salty.
  3. Ninjas or pirates? Ninjas of course.
  4. Autobots or Decepticons? Evil! Decepticons all the way!
  5. What was your favorite childhood television program? MST 3K
  6. Are you a collector of anything? Guns, cameras, kids.
  7. If you could be any animal, what would you be? I’d definitely be a sloth.
  8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Immortality, and the ability to pass it on to people I like. In other words, I’d be a vampire.
  9. What is usually your first thought when you wake up? Oh crap, it’s morning again.
  10. What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? Should I expend the energy to turn off the TV or just leave it on…
  11. What’s your favorite color? Orange
  12. What’s your favorite animal? I want a koala
  13. Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? I think it’s probable that there’s microbial life elsewhere. Intelligent life? I don’t think so.
  14. Do you believe in ghosts? I believe in angels and demons…
  15. Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? Which one(s)? Never. Except maybe Tetris.
  16. If you were given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on? Sake and whores, obviously.
  17. Have any bad habits? Pepsi
  18. Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy? Spit left in the sink.
  19. List 3 of your best personality traits: I don’t have any good traits.
  20. List 3 of your worst personality traits: I’m crass, offensive, and I lack empathy
  21. Have any celebrity crushes? Not since Olivia Wilde started on House
  22. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself: I’d be less chubby. But only if I didn’t have too change my diet or exercise.
  23. Any tattoos or piercings? Lots of tattoos
  24. What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex? Are we being honest here? Definitely the booty.
  25. Whats your dream date? Watching a movie in bed while eating Texas Roadhouse
  26. What personality traits do you look for in a partner? Friendly, happy, steady
  27. What personality traits do you dislike in other people? Manipulative, selfish, arrogant
  28. Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years? I think my wife would object.
  29. Are you mostly a clean or messy person? I keep my own areas clean, but I could care less if anything else is messy.
  30. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? SoCal
  31. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? SoCal
  32. List 3 goals on your life’s to-do list: Raise 4 girls and have them still like me at the end. Move to SoCal sooner not later. Visit Italy.
  33. Name 1 regret you have: Working for my dad.
  34. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid: Absolutely nothing.
  35. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult: I do what I want!
  36. What’s your favorite song of the moment? Music? I hate music.
  37. What’s your favorite song of all time? Music? I still hate music.
  38. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? Watch the Royals.
  39. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Watch the Royals.
  40. Have any hidden talents? I can pee standing up.
  41. You’re about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal? The blood of my enemies.
  42. What would be your dream job? Working for myself.
  43. Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love? I have true love, so I’ll take the money.
  44. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? Healthy kids, Healthy wife, 300 Million dollars
  45. Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? If so, why? Nope, but if I was, I’d take advantage of the perks of batting my eyes to get what I want
  46. Name 1 thing not many people know about you: I am bald.
  47. If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to? Pete Petersen after my grandpa!
  48. Do you believe in the afterlife? Yes
  49. On the topic of abortion, how do you feel about cookies? Sugar cookies are the best, but abortion is the worst.
  50. What’s the second thing you notice about someone of the opposite sex? Teeth. If their teeth are all present, straight, and white, she’s a winner!

Mr. Bozo

  1. Completed only a bachelor’s, but insists people call him Doctor
  2. Founded church where he had all the women greet him by kissing them ON THE LIPS
  3. Lies constantly about “having previous companies in this genre” when he’s actually talking about businesses that didn’t belong to him
  4. Claims a professional license but hasn’t completed a single CEU requirement in the last 30 years
  5. Has a mistress, and a separate house (boom boom shack) for them to hook up at, and sends the mistress to do all of his dirty work
  6. Controls his family by dividing them
  7. Blatantly and happily cheats on his wife, steals from his elderly mother-in-law, and verbally abuses his children

This person is just some fictional guy I made up.

People of the Lie

Today I turn 39. A couple of years ago I read a book called People of the Lie, and I realized that I and my entire family were the subject of the book.

Being in a home with a narcissist while growing up is challenging in ways you can’t fully understand until you are an adult, and in my case, not until I was in my late 30’s. What’s interesting is that my little brother, six years my junior, figured it out 10-15 years before I did.

When you are a person of the lie, you are simply a fixture… you’re not a person. You exist to validate and placate the narcissist, never rocking the boat, never hurting their fragile ego. If you do, you aren’t berated – you are shunned.

As a little kid, you learn that love is conditional, and you’d better not do anything to upset the apple cart. You do everything you can to placate the narcissist to preserve yourself as best you can.

The narcissist will swing back and forth between flattery and bullying. You are puffed up with compliments to keep you hooked, then the rug is pulled back out. It’s a control tactic, and it’s very very effective on spouses and children. People who feel obligated to make it work.

I sat and stared into space during thousands of hours of conversations. I had learned never to disagree, but my conscience wouldn’t let me agree either. I sat silent so that I wouldn’t have to do either. He would press me “Are we on the same page” to which I would continue staring off into space and I’d mumble something incomprehensible. It’s a very strange thing to have learned, and even stranger that the dynamic worked for as long as it did.

As a little kid, you learn that love is conditional.

A narcissist can never self-reflect. The narcissist is “always right,” “always persecuted,” and “always the good, altruistic hero.” If someone rejects their manipulation or challenges their skewed version of reality, not only are they shunned, but they are a “loser” or “crazy” or a “bad person.” They are badmouthed to everyone else stuck in the lie. I saw this happen with each of my siblings, until finally it was my turn.

I’m actually sad that I was the last. I should have figured it out sooner, and I should have tried harder to protect my younger siblings. I knew the damage it was doing to all the members of the family. I just didn’t know how to fix it, and I didn’t want to be on shun island.

Now that I’m on shun island, I feel free. There is no more control, no more manipulation, no more being part of the lie that is his double life. You can’t use people as pawns and against one another if they all communicate directly with each other (something narcissists try like heck to prevent).

So, I got no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m free. No matter what happens in the courts, no matter what happens in my job, it doesn’t matter. I’ll never be part of the lie again.