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Comments for How to get Kicked Off Site

Comments for How to get Kicked off Site

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 13, 2001
Time: 01:24:57 AM

S1

Hi Dr Irene,

That was just the stuff you actually saw! I deleted other stuff including some abusive to the moderator! I just wasn't going to waste your time with it. (Dr Irene gave me permission to do this). Actually if they didn't get a response from you they posted to the moderator! Yes, KittyKat. These were just emails to me. I did not see most of the board posts.

Ah well, and maybe this answers the question of those who wrote worrying that a person using the board would "trigger." It was brilliant practice in NOT doing so. I am so proud of myself I didn't. :) Every cloud... You gave me the chance to learn what I needed to about myself and my ability to still be objective. Exactly why I tell people not to engage. Also why I posted the emails with notes about my thinking. I wanted to show people how I disengaged. I got angry with Wayne too. But, I used my anger as a signal: I got out of the mess; knew it would go nowhere.

Giggle: You have given away my identity! That is fine as I don't have a problem with it. You should be proud of it!

Tell Trubble thanks for his help in untangling the ball of wool, that I want trout not salmon and not frozen! Kittykat Thank you dear KittyKat.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 13, 2001
Time: 09:08:20 AM

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

I don't know if you are wanting comments on your Wayne and Mel article, but you are getting mine! Thanks. Your email, which I posted, is why I attached a board to this article.

WOW! Seeing the whole scenario unfolding like this really opened my eyes! I did want to believe that Wayne was sincere He thinks he is sincere; he's not playing games with anyone other than himself., and I tried to ignore the slightly creepy feeling I got when reading his posts, rationalizing that I was just picking up on others' reactions. And all your reactions were on target! (Old habits die hard)!!!! Yep! That's why I thought posting this stuff would be educational. Also, I felt--and still do--that some posters' responses were out of line in that they were so nasty, and did nothing more than perpetuate the hostilities. I understood the anger of those who'd been e-mailed by him, though; in fact, I stopped including my e-mail address because I was afraid he'd mail me. Yes, some posters were way too nasty. He managed to engage them.

While Wayne's posts creeped me out, Mel's downright offended me. While I understood her support for Wayne (if he TRULY wanted to change), I couldn't understand why she was turning on everyone else, even going so far as to accuse us of being perpetual victims. After reading your article, I'm wondering if Mel, despite her claim that she's made such great progress, isn't STILL letting Wayne off the hook. She clearly lets him off the hook all the time. She also needs to deal with her victim anger. You mention her misplaced empathy, and I think that is what gets us codependents into so much trouble. Yep. We are forever excusing, forgiving, and understanding. I also wondered at the time if she wasn't still desperately holding onto the hope that he was for real this time, and defending him was part of that. Yes.

I see some of my husband in Wayne, and some of myself in Mel. Yes. These two people are not terribly unusual. My husband is a master at being "the one who is offended against," full of self-righteous indignation. He alternates between contrition and defensiveness, sometimes in a matter of minutes. (He will apologize for something, then follow up with a justification of what he's sorry for!) I've tended to try to understand and empathize too much, and so much of my energy has gone into trying to get into his head and "help" him. That is changing, however! I'm more interested in what goes on in MY head! Exactly.

Thanks for the great article. I am glad we have weathered the storm and gone back to supporting, educating and encouraging one another.

I hope it's clear to everyone that Wayne was doing the best he could. He is as sincere as one can be when conning the Self. Mel was also doing as best as she could. She is furious, but she loves him more than she loves herSelf; she can't/won't help falling for his excuses, overlooking his misbehaviors, and displacing her anger towards him on others. 

I harbor no ill will towards either of these people. I do however refuse to participate in their games. I can "explain" until I'm blue in the face, but until they're ready, they won't get it. That's why I stopped replying to Wayne. They got bounced from the boards because Wayne was taking up too much space, detracting others from their own recovery. You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

KittyKat handled it beautifully. Didn't get all wound up in the ball of yarn...

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 13, 2001
Time: 05:44:59 PM

S1

Dr. Irene,

Thank you for your insight into all of this Wayne/Mel drama. As I read it I could not help but think how truly scary it is that someone sick like this can manage to twist reality around to fit his own devious and manipulative agenda. I don't know how it affected others who were posting during all of this, but it made me sick to watch well meaning, and vulnerable women being sucked into his fake "I just want help" routine. It was obvious to me that the man was out for one thing and one thing only; to get his wife back no matter what it took. I still don't believe that he cared one bit about what any of the rest of us thought of him. He had tunnel vision, and the focus for him was all about Mel. The sickest part of all is that it appears his appeals to her worked.

I pray that Mel finds a way to deprogram her mind and heart from Wayne's poisoning for her sake and her children's. I know the entire sad episode has reminded me again that there are a lot of Wayne's out there in the world looking for women who aren't whole. It made me realize just how easy it would be to find a Wayne again, if I don't continue on mending the things that made me so attractive to an abuser.

Thank you again, Dr. Irene

SandyB

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001
Time: 08:58:13 AM

S1

I was so thankful when the posts were being deleted. I had been gone for about a week and then came back to the board, saw what I thought was a cry for help from wpb and innocently replied. His reply to me felt like a kick in the stomach. It gave me that kind of sick feeling I get when my husband's verbal abuse is in full force.

The one good thing about it was- it made me think. I willingly engaged in a discourse with someone I don't know that quickly escalated to abuse. I have no feelings for this person so I was able to recognize it for what it was. Now I could see why I overlooked the abuse I had been receiving because I loved the person dishing it out. Love truly had blinded me for years. I believe that it why everyone got SO offended when wpb was signing of 'love to all'. It felt like a slam in the face. We have been told how much we are loved by our real abusers. Yes. Good for you for mastering this life lesson...

It was a great relief to me that I had progressed to the point where I could recognize the abuse immediately. Only a couple of months earlier, I am sure that I would have been totally engaged by the posts and been outraged. Instead I made a rational decision to 'disengage' like Dr. Irene says. This person had no power over me and was not worthy of my time or effort to try to 'help' him. !!! He obviously had no desire for help. His only desire was for attention. I felt sorry for Mel, but after reading all of her posts, decided that she was far too apologetic and excusing of her husband's behavior to be at the point of sincerely wanting help. I pray for them both. - Jean

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001
Time: 10:55:19 AM

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

Thanks for posting this peculiar series of messages, with your commentary. I have visited your site many times, and, although I never participated in any of the Wayne et al. exchanges, I am always fascinated and educated by your insights into subtle and confusing patterns of abuse. I am the child of a narcissist and recipient of decades of verbal abuse by him and other men, and I am still learning what defines healthy versus abusive interactions. I am like a child with this and need everything explained slowly and clearly (pictures help). Thanks in part to your site, I can now identify and believe my instincts about situations or exchanges that make me uncomfortable, but I often cannot explain or understand WHY. It helps me a lot to have you put a big arrow next to something yukky, and explain the emotional dynamics behind it. I participate in a message board for victims of narcissists, and we sometimes get narcissistic people on there dominating the conversation and trying to intimidate others with their righteousness and grandiosity. It makes me feel weird but I don't know what to do about it except withdraw. Thanks for giving me some pointers!! Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001
Time: 04:44:32 PM

S1

Dr. Irene,

Even though I have written you via E-Mail before, I can not figure out at the moment how to contact you so I am writing you here. Were you aware that someone who claims to be Mel has two responses on a recent post on the Bravenet board? Who knows if it is really Mel or not, but both responses echo what you have attempted to point out in this article. Both responses are filled with denial, denial, denial.

In any case, I was under the impression that Mel/Wayne was banned from posting, so obviously they have chosen to ignore this ban; at least on the easy to access Bravenet board. I just wanted to draw it to your attention in case you were not aware of it. Hopefully, it is not the start of another problem for the boards and the posters.

SandyB aka SandyBeach Thanks Sandy. 

 

B1: Submit
  Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001
Time: 10:50:06 AM

"How To Get Kicked Off The Site *Again*! "    :)

S1

Wayne, I know you've got to be reading this, so here's a message for you that I wrote a couple of hours ago. The time is an important point.

I'm sure you know how to be diplomatic when you want to be, so why don't you practice it more consistently? Ask yourself what *exactly* you hoped to gain by posting that last message. Which was *zapped*...

If you wanted people to understand and think better of you, to explain that you didn't intend to "create a ruckus," and that you're sorry it happened, then stick to telling them that.

If you wanted to point out that "only a few were opposing you," but those few made more than enough racket for an entire board; and what's more, if you found it hard to function with that unholy row going on, then stick to telling them that.

If you wanted to start a discussion on that topic, I think that's worth talking about. I've complained about this lynch mob behavior before, but this was the most shocking example I've seen by far, with shrieking, soap boxing, hysteria, contempt, and outright insults; in short, shameless abuse. They were the ones making most of the "ruckus"--or inciting it.

To their credit, most people did behave very decently, or wisely stayed out if they felt they had nothing to contribute. That's all the more reason to ask why everyone else couldn't be responsible for their behavior as well, instead of all this acting out.

What should be emphasized is that this all started before you'd hardly opened your mouth on the board, except to announce your presence and to say a sincere "thank you" to a response you got. I wonder how anyone would feel if their very appearance on a board was greeted with a chorus of boos, jeers, and catcalls. It wasn't prompted by anything you said. It was solely because of *who you were*, Agreed. and that's inexcusable. Yes. More to the point, if personal growth calls for a high degree of self-examination and intimate confession, it's hard to see how anyone at all could be expected to do that in such a circus atmosphere, where somebody (if not everybody) was likely to throw anything they said back in their face.

Maybe I'm not being so "diplomatic" myself, but this is certainly what I saw happening. You are very diplomatic and appropriate.  If that was what you wanted to discuss, Wayne, then stick to telling everyone about that. I know many people who'd agree with you.

But it's no use blaming the Doc for the lynch mob, because she didn't start it and she was never in it. She herself disapproves of all this bashing. So if what you wanted was to discuss those issues, why not stick to them? Why must you add insinuations about the Doc's competency, along with a threat? Where's that going to get you? Nobody here is going to sympathize or agree with you on that topic. All you'll do is tick a lot of people off, most of all the Doc herself, and it wouldn't surprise me if she simply removed your post so that nobody will hear your voice at all. [Note inserted two hours later: Now that I'm on line and getting around to posting this, I discover that's precisely what she did. Yep.  It's as predictable as that, Wayne!] She may even remove mine along with it! Nope. So if you wanted a discussion, or sympathy, you won't get it.

But if what you wanted most of all was to tick some people off, or anyway to spray some anger around, then I guess you said the right thing. It won't get you a discussion, sympathy, agreement, or support, but maybe it'll let a bit of that anger out. Even if hardly anyone gets to read it. It all depends on *exactly* what you wanted to get out of it. It's a choice, you know? I can only hope you made the right choice for yourself, and did get what you wanted the most. Take care of yourSelf!

- Gordon Once again, thank you Gordon. 

B1: Submit
  Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001
Time: 11:31:41 AM

S1

I missed an obvious trick just now. I should have titled that last post "How To Get Kicked Off The Site *Again*"! :) No you didn't!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001
Time: 06:23:11 PM

S1

There is another lesson to be learned here: how quick we are to spot in others what we cannot see in ourselves. Mel seems to be awfully invested in making excuses for Wayne; she bends over backward to "understand" him. This is apparent again in her recent Bravenet post, where she seems to lay at least part of the blame for his abusiveness on a physical problem. I'm sure that most of us who read the post rolled our eyes in exasperation, and yelled "Wake up Mel!" at our computer screens.

But here's the truth: if, before I'd married my husband, someone had yelled "Wake up Becky!" I wouldn't have heard them. There were red flags all over the place, but I brushed them aside, excused his "weirdness": he's not used to relating to another person on an intimate level, he mistrusts women because of that broken engagement years ago, he's lived alone so long he doesn't know how to share, compromise, talk things over, etc. Once we're married, he'll learn, and he'll WANT to learn because he wants to marry me, right? Right??????? He's waited so long for me, I must be "the one." Right???????

Yeah, right! Even after we married, I spent years crying rivers and as Dr. I puts it, conning myself--after he reads this book, he'll understand, now that we're in therapy, he'll finally get it, now that he's said he's sorry, this will never happen again, once I learn how to cope with him, things will be better.

So I can't point a finger at Mel. Everyday that passes I wake up a little more, but a part of me holds onto hope, sometimes pathetically so. Letting go is hard to do. Giving up goes against my grain. Sometimes it feels safer to be in denial.  Until you realize the price you are paying...

Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2001
Time: 04:03:47 PM

S1

I've been coming to this site regularly for a year and have yet to see what is referred to as the "lynch mob" mentality toward abusers. What I have seen is an out pouring of sympathy and support for victims and abusers who sincerely seek change. When a poster starts writing rude, abusive, manipulative comments, then of course, other posters will have legitimate complaints. Some will respond with anger, others will choose to ignore the abusive poster after attempts of support fail.

Regarding wpb, why would anyone refer to leg mate complaints as a "lynch mob?" Sure, some of the victims responded with anger and some posts were on the abusive side. I'm sure that wpb has received plenty of angry responses from other people in in his world. If you behave in a rude, disruptive manner, then yes, some people will react in a hostile manner towards you. Yep. As I read Wayne's posts my decision was to ignore him. He clearly was disruptive and manipulative. Like many other abusers, he has learned how to speak in the language of feelings, without being sincere. He tells us about himself only to manipulate. If Dr Irene had been a regular poster instead of the site's owner, would she have been considered to be part of the "lynch mob?" Some regular posters had legitimate complaints about wpb. Legitimate does not equal a lynch mob. Even the posters who wrote hostile remarks to wpb were on target regarding his abusive behavior. Other abusers have posted here and received tons of support ( Bob comes to mind, for example). No "lynch mob" greeted them. They were welcomed with open arms. I have only seen legitimate complaints when an abuser starts behaving badly. Why should we be expected to tolerate bad behavior that is disrupting the site? Wpb and Mel had plenty of chances. Sis Yep. Thanks Sis.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.70
Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001

S1

Now that the site is in business again, Sis, I can make some comments. The crash here was unfortunate, not only for Dr. Irene who (caused it and then) had to deal with it, but also because thoughts pile up in the meantime. So I'm sorry this is so extremely long; maybe it's a record; but you know me, Sis! ;-)

I do agree that legitimate and especially constructive criticism of what somebody is doing wrong is useful, not to say necessary. In fact, I'd like to have seen more people explain to Wayne in a reasonable way what he was doing wrong and why, how it affected them, or what he could do instead. And I know several people did just that. Among others, Jean here for instance told Wayne in a very fair way why his "Don't Make the Mistake I Did" post, which "seemed to be good advice at first glance," was "met with open hostility." I don't know if that was the occasion when you felt so hurt by his response, Jean; I'm sorry that you did, whenever that was. I'll come back to that example later.

Anyway, of course we agree, Sis, that the board has given invaluable support to a great many people, including abusers of both sexes. I'm talking about things people could do *better*. To answer another question of yours, I'd never tar the whole board membership with the same brush. It's a collection of separate individuals, many of them very different, and if the majority never chose to launch attacks on Wayne, I certainly can't call them part of a mob. If Dr. Irene had been there, we both know she would have done no such thing. I wish she had been there; her presence would have been made all the difference; but I realize that she hasn't the time to do that.

But of the complaints aimed at Wayne, I don't think many people would claim that such things as labeling him "creepy," rudely ordering him to go away and not come back, referring to him with contempt as if he were an insect who'd just crawled in, calling him names and other insults, comparing him to a "sexual predator," jeering at his supposed "masturbating" and other things, along with significant threats, are legitimate forms of complaint. Correct.

Why do I call this a "lynch mob"? Mainly to draw attention to it *as* a mob phenomenon: the spectacle of several people setting on a single person all at once. I've seen this happen several times on a smaller scale, and as far as I recall the target each time was posting as a victim, not an abuser. If somebody has already had a bad time standing up to abuse by one person--their partner--coming for help and being attacked by a small gang can't be any improvement.

This incident was much larger, with many more participants, and bore additional trademarks that made the metaphor even more fitting. It was not just the collective acts of individuals; there were clear attempts to organize those individuals from the very beginning. Not unusual, unfortunately. Why Ouchhh ended up moderated. Rather than being just an assault, it had a definite goal from the start: if not to launch the target into another world, then at least to send him into some life space other than this one. I also saw the mob behavior of some people cheering one another on as they mounted their attack. AKA, "displaced anger."

I was also reminded of another Lynch--David Lynch--director of "The Elephant Man." Wayne said almost exactly what John Merrick said as the crowd taunted and laughed at him when he was discovered out in public: "I am not a monster. I am a *human being*!" But some people wouldn't treat him like one.

At the same time, let's not forget that this was an excellent *performance*, by an *actor* named, appropriately enough, John *Hurt*. Giggle!

I won't argue about whether or not Wayne belonged on the board; I know there was some confusion at the beginning; but if he didn't, this was no way to go about excluding him. Had he been a truly dangerous person, there was even the risk of provoking real violence in return. I wonder if some of these people are in the habit of taunting fierce dogs as well. Even after Mel made it clear that she wanted him to stay, that she wanted help for him if possible, the sniping at Wayne never stopped. 

Not only were many people rude and abrupt with him, but some of the criticisms were incredibly petty. I'm not even talking about the celebrated "Love to all" complaint. He was picked on for everything under the sun. He was criticized for writing short paragraphs that "took up too much space" on the board. He was told he was "writing in haikus." I was asking myself what he was supposed to do--write in limericks instead?

I am a poor fellow named Wayne, And I didn't come here to raise Cain. Been abusing my wife, And I've ruined my life, So now I am only in pain.

It's not that some of these comments weren't meaningful, even helpful. Someone might have asked him whether he found difficulty getting a flow of words out. And it's not that all of them were bad things to say in themselves. But collectively they gave the impression of people looking for something to pick fault with.

Taken together with the outright abuse, all these petty things only swelled the total negativity toward Wayne. At any rate, by drawing attention to the "mob" phenomenon, I hope to make more people stand back and look at the combined effect of what they're doing collectively to a single target. I hope they'd say "Hold on a minute; is this really the effect I want to see?" But some people seem to do the opposite, as if they're saying to themselves "Lots of other people are doing it, so why shouldn't I join in too?" Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence.

Enough of that for the moment. There's scads of stuff I'd like to say about this incident, though I'll try to stick around two main points. The first point is about button-pushing. People complained that Wayne was rude and manipulative. Manipulative he certainly was, but while he was on the board he was almost never rude. Here I can only speak to what I saw; I understand he was rude afterwards, when the threat of being locked out was becoming real; and whether it's "rude" or not, by the time anyone starts babbling bizarre innuendoes about "network security" as he did in one letter, there's no alternative but to keep him out. Still, I believe I saw most if not all of the board's exchanges with Wayne; too many of them *after* the event, unfortunately, because I only get to the board on and off; but this did include some posts that were later removed. I don't recall the "punch in the stomach" that Jean never deserved, though it may have flown over my head. If it did, that's important to what I'm saying. I didn't see him even hint at any threats, and I only saw him being rude three times. Once was when he told his attackers as a group to "grow up." The other two remarks, both to the same attacker, were comparable; there was even an air of tolerant humor in one of them. And all these remarks, as you said about his detractors' accusations, were "on target." They weren't random abuse. His anger towards me was certainly displaced and inappropriate. He asked for my feedback; got it, ignored it - and then asked for feedback. Wayne had a way of subtly setting himself up to be rejected. Then, he complained about being rejected.

When he did protest, he mostly confined himself to civilized I-statements--"I am shocked at this hostility; quite unexpected," and so on. One time he drew a hysterical reaction to a perfectly calm and reasonable protest. Had this been an ordinary discussion board, nobody could have found cause to throw him off, though a "support board" has different criteria.  

As you said, Sis, some people will respond with anger when we push them; but some of these complainers got openly mad long before Wayne ever did. I think you are missing how Wayne sets himself up: both by what he does and by what he doesn't do. He is excellent at inciting. That is what I was initially trying to call his attention to because he will continue to find himself in the same pickle - until he stops. If anything his occasional touch of rudeness left the impression (at least) of a man struggling to control his temper now and then in the face of an assault, and more or less succeeding. Not at all my impression. I read him as taunting, covertly provoking.

What I saw going on was not just manipulation, plus a touch of rudeness on occasion, but two other things. One was a storm of plain old "victim anger." Wayne wasn't responsible for that. Correct. Other abusers were, and it was there before he ever came. All he had to do was tuck his head down, walk resolutely forward into the storm, and play Elephant Man. And they *let him*. Angry people have been accepted on these boards. Wayne was not accepted in part because he asked for help and ignored it if he didn't like what was said. 

 

I think where you are on target Gordon is in your ability to see where each "side" had a point as well as erred. Lots of button pushing. Lots of mis-behaving. But, have you asked yourself why, you, for example haven't fallen victim to this unmitigated "victim anger?" 

Clearly Gordon, you don't "put" yourself in the center in a provocative way. That is the lesson Wayne needs to learn - if he wants to prevent ostracism in the future. 

The rest was button-pushing. And that's a vast gray area. When one person pushes another's buttons, who's to say if they did it on purpose, or if it was accidental? Especially when they're strangers to one another rather than partners who ought to know one another better. Or in Wayne's case, being who he is, if much of what he was doing was only an Elephant in a China Shop act. Some people have so many buttons sticking out they're like a floating mine. Touch them and they explode. When they do, I'm afraid I have to say that's their own problem. It's going to be a problem in life *for them* no matter whom they're with, until they learn to deal with it. Correct. You are pointing out the same problem I have had in the past when I've intervened in various Boards or email lists asking people to "ignore", "detach", etc.  In fact, I did so here, telling people to pull in their buttons and not give Wayne so much power. Yes, they will have their buttons pushed - until they push those buttons in.

Since I missed taking Mind Reading 101 in school, I can't know everybody's intensions, so I often can't tell whose "fault" these explosions were. Often the answer is "nobody's." It was an accident. Sometimes I can't even see the buttons, even after looking for them. I've seen little incidents on the board where somebody blew up momentarily, and I was left scratching my head wondering "What on earth was all that about?" Usually it's not important because it blows over. Sometimes it's the opposite. I can see the buttons very clearly, and so can other people; but I can also see clear proof that the button-pusher didn't know they were there, while some people can't. Yes: the tendency to assign motivation when angry instead of to accept that so and so is simply angry; let them be. Who cares, by the way, if you meant to hurt me or not. Either way, it's not OK to hurt me, and it's my job to protect myself from you. Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me! One such incident here a while ago began when Flint struck sparks and Tinder flared up. That didn't develop into a full-scale lynching, but that was no thanks to a third person, Wedge, who blatantly took sides and started stirring up trouble. It was certainly headed in that direction until Flint, who was also starting to get heated, wisely chose to sidestep all this, ignoring Wedge completely, and turned to thank a more friendly critic for her advice. Flint, a newcomer also posting as a victim, was getting "a very bad taste" about it all and might otherwise have left the board. As it was, this incident ended ironically, because Flint did happen to benefit by learning something personally very valuable, while Tinder learned nothing that I'm aware of. She ended up plainly baffled.

It may help if I talk about my own reaction to some more obvious examples of Wayne's button-pushing. I could see very well why his "advice-giving" post that Jean spoke to him about struck a wrong note. I agreed with her explanation of it. But that's all it was to me: "off key." It was a trivial irritant, if that much; nothing to get upset about; and in fact I saw it rather differently: I suspected it was really one part of Wayne talking to another part, out loud. Inappropriate in public, perhaps, but never mind; how we choose to think affects what we feel. If he pushed any buttons on my control panel, presumably they have strong springs behind them. It's just too bad that some people's springs have grown weak from repeated pushing, and taken a set. Then as Jean said, they reacted to it "with open hostility." Though some people, like the first poster above, chose to see Wayne as a challenge, rose to the challenge, and won. Good for her!

The same was true of the "love to all" issue that everybody hashed to death. At times this showed up as an incongruity: the same incongruity I saw in Wayne's post (now zapped) containing a denunciation and a threat, and ending "Respectfully." Possibly in Wayne's mind this ending is only a muddled attempt to mollify. It's certainly a red flag to anyone looking for a partner. And if anyone has to live with these behaviors, that's another matter. But on a board we're only interacting, not looking for a partner (usually).

So I simply noted this as incongruous; significant without doubt, but no cause for anger. But if anyone chose to see Wayne's "love to all" as *mocking* them instead, then they reacted with anger. Right. My rewording: Wayne was expert at pushing buttons, though he did not want to look at what he repeatedly did that got him in hot water.  The group was expert at letting their buttons be pushed, though they did not want to look at pulling in their own buttons. Each "side" preferred instead to "blame" the other. As you wisely point out, each "side" will re-experience the same issue again and again - until they put a stop to their own participation. 

Yet I can't tell whether this was obvious to Wayne or not. It was clearly not. It's not only the existence of a button that needs explaining, but also the sheer intensity of the reaction it can trigger. To their credit, some people did try to explain this to Wayne. If he'd gone on doing something anyway after it was explained to him, then we'd know he was playing games. But too many people didn't *articulate* their complaints. I did articulate my position. Wayne made it very clear that he did not want to hear what I had to say. He reacted this way towards me earlier, on the Catbox, as well. I'm sorry, it is *not* enough to complain that "you're 'offending' me," as someone did, just by saying something that everybody else says, like "love to all." In the absence of an explanation, to an average observer--still more so to someone like Wayne--it can appear that it's the complainer who's being "manipulative" by inventing excuses to attack him. Don't you see the problem Gordon: to do that requires that Wayne be made the center of attention of the board. That is not what the board is about. Wayne belongs in a different support forum; probably a BPD support forum would be more appropriate.

To some people, anything Wayne did was "pushing a button" somewhere. If he was sitting on the pity pot (or whatever it is you do with pity pots) because he'd lost his wife and kids, even if it was unproductive, even if it was his own fault, even if he was doing it to manipulate, at least his pain was real. Yes. His pain is very real. Hey, I'd hate to lose my wife and daughter. Very few people chose to acknowledge that. If you lost your wife and daughter, don't you think you'd do anything to get them back? Or, do you think you would pick and choose what advice to "hear?" His pain is real, yet he does everything in his power to ensure he remains in pain - and lets everybody know it! Very attention-seeking. Which is OK, except when the integrity of the Board is affected. Wayne ostracized himself; he was posting to a Board that was not set up to handle the type of problem he has. Everybody was losing because the posters for the most part did not have the skills to handle the Waynes in their life. That would be less likely to happen on a Board set up for people like Wayne.. When people have something to say that's important to them, they usually go on saying it until they know they've been heard--or until they get frustrated, give up, and break the connection. Even computers do the same when they communicate. And irrespective of what anybody knew about anybody else's buttons, lack of acknowledgment played a major role in that flareup I mentioned earlier between Flint and Tinder. They were both poor at this, but Tinder was especially poor; she acknowledged nothing at all that Flint was trying to say. (Her other big mistake was making assumptions of hostility; Flint's big mistakes belonged in the "open mouth, insert foot" category.) Now if more people had chosen to acknowledge Wayne's pain, we might have gotten past that and on to something more productive. Or maybe not, It got me nowhere to acknowledge his pain on Catbox.  but if not we'd know for sure he was playing games, or had an obsession. As it was, no doubt some people saw his expressions of pain *only* as an abuser's attempt to manipulate them with guilt, and reacted to that with anger instead of either ignoring it or dealing with it effectively. Correct. The posters were not healthy enough to recognize that Wayne's problems were Wayne's problems and had nothing to do with them.

Perhaps some people *can't* articulate their complaints. Correct. Articulating is a skill they need to work on. Perhaps they just feel anger, and react in knee-jerk fashion when a button gets pushed, without understanding why. Yes. But I do see this as a broader problem. Because I'm not pretending it's coincidence that Wayne just "happened" to push a lot of different buttons. I can't dispute that he has an "abuser pattern," which many others recognized from too-long experience. Now it's true as you said, Sis, that the board has welcomed some abusers with open arms. Some are like Bob. But I do see "Bob the Babe" as special. He's not just a good guy who's contributed a lot to the board--and I believe with Sandy that he never was a truly "bad" guy--but in this particular space he's every woman's romantic dream: the *Reformed* Abuser! And good for him! But what I'm pointing out is that the board does welcome victims in every stage of recovery, including *just about to start*. It makes allowances for all the inevitable "victim traits." If an abuser is at a similar stage, it makes little allowance for the inevitable "abuser traits," even if he isn't openly abusive. They're going to strike sparks off one another. Wayne is not the first to be ostracized. Terry has been ostracized on the lists. I've bounced her as well as "The Judge" at times. Not because they are terrible people or because they have said awful things per se, but because some of the things they've said had been disruptive to the integrity of the board or list they'd posted to - because the posters, who were there before them, couldn't handle them. I made new email lists to  accommodate the "disparity," making it clear to the original group that they needed to work on the buttons.  I did not offer a new Board option to Wayne because he bit my finger - which shows me Wayne is "high maintenance." Unfortunately, I  don't have the time or the inclination I would need to help him properly.  That I don't have those resources are my deficits, yet, such is what is. Such are the boundaries of this site. There are  places already set up that are better equipped to help Wayne. 

I don't know if that's an insoluble problem or not, but if more of this manipulation and button-pushing could be openly described for everyone to see That's the purpose of this exchange. at least that could help stop abusers from playing the game of "How Was I To Know?" and victims from playing the game of "You Did It On Purpose." The Wayne thing was beyond the scope of ordinary abuser/victim stuff that this site typically addresses. 

The second main point is about the manipulation itself. Wayne announced his entrance with an ad right out of the agony column--which I don't doubt was heartfelt in its way--then he sat on the pity pot, and he postured and hammed it up now and then, and he dodged and weaved and popped up with unexpected diversions, like his discussion of the same topic of "countertransference" that he tried to raise with Dr. Irene. And he had a marvelous way of handling self-improvement suggestions while letting them roll right off him. Whenever anyone passed him that ball, he made motions but never ran with it. Most times he quietly dropped it. That's because he had his eye on another ball entirely. Exactly why I call him "high maintenance" and proclaim myself without the resources I need to help him. Think of it this way: If you go to a restaurant, expect to find food - not a bed. You must seek a hotel if you want a bed. It is not within the scope of the restaurant to provide shelter. The restaurant owner does not have the investment resources nor inclination to turn the restaurant into a proper hotel. So, she asks those wanting a bed to go elsewhere...

A couple of things were not so important to me. It didn't matter so much whether Wayne was sincere about wanting change or not. If he wasn't, that was a pity, but it was his own choice. Right. And, if an individual feels that he is not sincere, it is their prerogative to ignore him; too bad they couldn't.   If he was sincere, which is admittedly hypothetical, then the mob threw huge roadblocks in his way. No doubt as you said, Sis, Wayne has received plenty of angry responses from other people in his world! But many people can deal with those in everyday interactions. Trying to do the kind of soul-searching needed for personal change in the face of such responses is a lot harder. Which is why the Board was also not good for Wayne! Wayne is looking for a hotel, not a restaurant! (And, that's OK!)

And what if he wasn't sincere? What if all he wanted was excuses *not* to change? Excuses to stay in the pity pot, excuses to deflect any true self-examination with complaints about other people's treatment of him, and even in the end to get angry? If that was the kind of defensive war he wanted to fight, the mob was busily handing him ammunition by the caseload.  Ain't that the truth. They were nakedly aiding and abetting one another in keeping each other sick. Yep. I expect it's because it was so hard to stop *that* game from going on that Dr. Irene chose to call time on it with the loss of the minimum number of players. As for the people we lost, it's unclear whether some of them were more upset by the roar of the greasepaint from Wayne, or the smell of the crowd beating him up. Some people, like Marya, said explicitly that for them it was the latter.

If part of the manipulation Wayne was guilty of was trying to make the board feel sorry for him and get them on his side, that was quite transparent. Yes. A number of people were bound and determined that he wasn't going to do that. Some of them were openly angry about it. They wouldn't let him play "Poor Me" for them. But they missed altogether the fact that he was playing "Elephant Man" to a different audience entirely, and winning sympathy there. They let him draw them right into his production as crowd extras. Yes. 

If their only goal was to get him off the board and out of their own hair, while venting a bit of anger along the way, that didn't matter; they won anyway. But many people had another goal, and they lost--because they didn't keep their eye on the ball. They lost the opportunity, as Wayne himself pointed out, to learn to ignore provocation - a task that will follow them until it is mastered.

Surely the original goal of many board members was to *rescue Mel* from the Big Bad Wolf. That was the reason for some of the anger that greeted Wayne's entrance. They were angry at him on her behalf Yes! ; defending Mel. And one complaint was that Wayne was only here because he wanted to get Mel back.  Well, of course he did! Of course! That was another thing that didn't matter to me; not as an objection, anyway. Good, detached thinking. On the contrary, it was the hook that brought him to the board, giving many people an opportunity to speak with him and perhaps influence him. Yes. And at this point in his life, it might be a motivation for change. But, he wasn't quite there yet... But it was important to Wayne, and it was important to others too. Yet very quickly, all eyes swiveled to Wayne and his antics, and some people forgot about Mel entirely. 

Wayne never forgot her, of course. She was who he came here for. He played "I am not a monster" for her, and if the mob he'd coopted to play opposite him ever flagged in their role, perhaps he kept them going with a sly kick under the table, which Mel may not have seen. But he hardly needed to; they were so enthusiastic to act alongside him. He had to be watching Mel's reaction. Too many people weren't. She admired his act, and she didn't like theirs one bit. They never listened to her when she said she wanted help for him. If they'd all treated him like a human being, and if he was still dead set on hanging himself with his own behavior, they should have left him to do that all on his own. Instead, some of them got together to string him up themselves. So Mel turned against them. They should have learned a lesson from some of the cops who attend domestic violence calls and get the same hostility from the victim they're trying to save. Yes... 

As long as Mel was here, she had support that militated against Wayne. So what he performed was a brilliant extraction operation. It was Mission Impossible. He infiltrated the board, split it in half, blew it wide open, drove a wedge between it and Mel, and levered her right out. She went willingly in a way, of course. Yes. Mel "colluded" with Wayne, to her own detriment... We can't rescue people who don't want to be rescued. But he could never have done it without the help of the lynch mob. Yes. He needed them for his Elephant Man act. Some of the very people who had wanted to rescue Mel aided and abetted Wayne's mission and handed him his prize, Mel, on a plate. Yes...

So you're right, Sis, that the guy has learned about the language of feelings, and he's a star manipulator. But the mob *helped him win* in spite of their own goals. They stood there angry and yelling at him, *playing his game*, while he ran rings round them. And that's one lesson I see. When we lose control of ourselves, *we lose*.

Take care! And thanks for giving me an excuse to comment on all this.

- Gordon  Thank you both. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.58.73.141
Date: Monday, May 07, 2001
Time: 08:41:41 PM

S1

Hi All, Although I feel very strong in my own recovery, and through reading, this site, counseling, etc, I feel confident in my awareness of abuse, I am still left feeling confused about this whole thing. I know that we can all be manipulative and controlling at times, even subconsciously, in an attempt to get our way, but the suggestion that Wayne was manipulative on this board is something that I don't see.   I have been separated from him for over 1 1/2 years, hoping for changes. It was only 6 months ago that I went to the police and he was arrested. The whole year previous, he wanted me to move home and I wouldn't because I could see there were still the same problems. If I was so easily manipulated, I would have moved home in that first year when things were the toughest. The suggestion, that the mob fell into his trap and served me up on a platter to him is insulting in a humourous sort of way. What they did serve was to show me that Wayne had made changes. Unlike many abusers, Wayne was never the type to put on a nice front in public, not that he was miserable, but he certainly was not the type to sit quietly by while he was being taken advantage of or attacked. In fact he would often react with defensiveness even when it wasn't called for. It was of course possible that he was trying a new tactic to reach me, but I was still impressed although cautious. The mob also served to show me that their behavior was no different from Wayne's. Triggered by sincere feelings or expressions of emotions and reacting with ridicule, hostility and insensitivity. Victim rage could be an excuse used by anyone, Wayne included. Victim rage is just a nice way of saying victim turned abuser. And I was just as guilty of that as anyone would be. Of course he speaks the language of feelings, he's lived a life of abuse, why should he be any less in touch with feelings and emotions than anyone else. In fact he's probably been to more therapy, counseling and done more reading than anyone else on the board, trying to heal from the pain of his childhood. Obviously, none of it helped him. He was further abused by his counselors and by the people who were supposed to help him. And yes, he was further abused by this support group.  I believe what finally motivated him to change was 30 days in jail to think about everything, the thought of 3 years no contact with his family and grief beyond comprehension. Hitting rock bottom emotionally, physically, financially etc. has got to have a very profound, spiritual effect on one's personality. If he is to "hang himself with his own behavior", he won't need this board to do that. And you are right Gordon, I don't want to be rescued, I don't need rescuing. I rescued myself when I left him in 1999. Since then I've been healing. I wasn't on the board for rescuing, I was there for support. I was there to consider the opinion of others. I was there to learn from others and to be supportive and helpful whenever I could. But I am still confused by what happened, because so many comments, interpretations, and assumptions have been made that are so far from the truth, I have to wonder why a Dr. would not only condone it but participate. e.g.. the network security email that was sent out of concern for the disappearing posts and the comment that neither of us want to or are able to help ourselves. Now, I'm not bashing anyone for making such assumptions, I am just confused by it as it feels like the crazy-making behavior that abusers dish out. Perhaps, this is a lesson that not all of what we experience is actually abuse. It's not crazy making, it is just someone else's opinion. If I cared what you all thought about me like I care how my partner feels, I would be absolutely crushed to be told I don't want to or am unable to help myself when that is exactly what I want and strive for every day. If I was genuinely trying to help my partner solve a security issue by suggesting possible problems and he accused me of causing the problem, I would definitely be going crazy. But since I can remain somewhat detached from you virtual friends, it just confuses me and concerns me. But I thank you all once again for being there. Even when my posts keep getting erased, I enjoy the opportunity to read others thoughts and to sort my own thoughts out by responding. I just need to learn to save them so I can read them again after they get zapped to try and find out what was so deplorable. (More of those feelings similar to abuse where your partner ignores you, refuses to communicate, no chance to resolve any issues when you don't even know what you did wrong.) But that's OK. I am OK now. Take care... Mel  Take care Mel.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.44.161.180
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2001
Time: 01:55:20 PM

S1

Dear Doc, This is my first time reading the incredible story of Wayne and Mel, whew!!! What a blast!! All the blaming, all the hostility, and the way you called it, was fantastic!! I will come here for advice, and just plain ole' laying on the line kind of stuff that people need to know so they can finally take control of they're own lives, decisions, and be responsible for they're own outcomes!! Truly right on!!!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.36.35.218
Date: Friday, May 18, 2001
Time: 02:23:19 PM

S1

This series of postings and comments reminded me of some of the process of discovery I have experienced in my recovery. I was raised by a manipulative, narcissistic, abusive person. (She was also brilliant, creative, sensitive, talented, and tortured). The point is if it feels familiar, it seems "normal." I honestly did not know until I was in my 30's that I had been abused as a child. Then it wasn't until I was about 40 that I figured out I was being abused by my husband. The people we love tell us that they love us. So we accept that their behavior is loving. Yes...

I remember reading the Alice Miller books more than once. The first time through, it was a little hard to understand how the behavior she was reporting was abusive. Then, after some recovery and healing, I could see it. Much later, I saw how the examples in her books corresponded with examples in my own childhood. The same thing happened with the Patricia Evans book, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship." That took 3 passes, the first to start to understand what verbal abuse is, the second at a time that I had become aware and was VERY ANGRY. The third time through I had empathy for the victims but also felt a bit impatient. I wanted to tell them to wake up, quit putting up with it.

Abusive people have an endless capacity for blaming their victims. They just don't have any empathy. This bears repeating. They don't have any empathy. They don't feel your pain. They don't ACCEPT your pain. You are not real to them. You are not allowed to want what you want, feel what you feel, or ask to be treated with respect. You are supposed to allow yourself to be used in whatever manner they wish to use you. An incident with my former husband remains burned in my mind as the definitive proof that he didn't "get it" and never would. One day we had spent several hours "discussing" a letter I had written him asking for change in the relationship. There was not really any closure, we just both got exhausted, and went to bed together in a state of uneasy truce. We kissed good night and hugged for a few seconds. He then abruptly grabbed my pajama pants and yanked them downwards. I said, in what I hoped was a gentle, light hearted way, "Hey, cut it out." Well, he got all bent about that. I was totally floored. I felt like I was about to be raped, and stopped him, and then he turned on me. He told me he felt like "an abused wife coming back for more." He told me he felt like I was putting a knife in his heart. It didn't get any more rational or reasonable that night, or ever, really. The incident came up several more times in therapy and in letters back and forth between us. At no time, when it happened, or afterwards, did he ever acknowledge that I had a right to say no to something he was doing to me. All his words about it were about him--his feelings, his good intentions, his "needs." He never said he was sorry for lashing out at me for doing nothing more than defining a boundary. I still can't quite fathom how he might think I would want to have sex with him after a day of being berated for asking him to change some of his behaviors, but that's not really the point. The point is that none of it, in his mind, had anything to do with me as a person with rights and feelings and needs separate from his. People are extensions of him. My job in the relationship was to make him feel good. At any time that he perceived me falling short in that role, he punished me. I was not real to him. I was not, in his mind, separate from him. Everything I did or didn't do was, to him, ABOUT him. He "loved" me when my behavior pleased him, he attacked me when it didn't.

Now, as I posted to Cat Box recently, I know how to "disengage" when an abuser attacks me. I have a teenage child/niece who sometimes behaves exactly like my former husband. Because it is a parent/child relationship and not a spousal relationship (or, more likely, because I have healed and grown and am not so enmeshed) I can detach when it happens. I still sometimes get caught off guard or confused when the blocking and diverting and other verbal abuse tricks are tried, but most of the time I see them for what they are and I don't get sucked in. We learn this stuff in childhood, but we can unlearn it, and we can learn to respond assertively and responsibly. Every time something starts out like one of those nightmares from the past and then turns out OK, doesn't get out of control, doesn't keep me up all night, I get stronger and better. It's been quite a journey. Thank you Amy.

Amy

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 195.232.122.9
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2001
Time: 02:11:40 AM

S1

Thanks very much, Dr. Irene, for your comments. And while I'm at it, I did mean to thank you for your editing of my post back on the 19th of April. It's not every day that somebody rescues us from the "staircase" afterwards and puts us right back in the salon--if you're familiar with that phrase. :)

You did clarify some important points for me. I was glad to have my understanding confirmed that banning Wayne from the board was, and had to be, a largely pragmatic decision. And I realize now that behind that was a larger question I was chewing over in my mind. That is, what are the limits of behavior we can reasonably expect from an abuser on a board like this? That's something I had no experience of at all. The best I could do was try to answer it for myself by comparing it with other points of reference, which included the way lots of "ordinary" people behave on message boards at large (often angry and spouting four-letter words), and the way abusers behave in private (awful at times). I missed completely another point of reference, which is what I've heard about how well many abusers can put themselves across in public. And certainly--I don't mean to suggest there's anything "fake" about this; I know it's perfectly sincere--all the people I've seen posting as "abusers" on this board have behaved very well. So Wayne was pretty disturbed, as you said.

Maybe if some people have the skills to behave well in public, and if they could only carry those skills over consistently into their intimate relationships as well... all right, I know it's never as simple as that, but it's an idea.

I should mention that there was another incident on Bravenet a few days ago in which one lady's ex-partner was thought to be on the board as well. Not that he posted anything. And maybe there were some words going on behind the scenes that I didn't see either. At any rate, we need to get better--maybe we *are* getting better--at handling incidents like this. But maybe too, this guy, unlike Wayne at present, was wise enough to think better of it.

There was a lot to learn from this whole experience; so much I could talk about, but won't waste your time with. I can only echo what the previous poster said: "What a blast!" About my own reaction to Wayne, I think his "provocative" side came out more clearly in the letters you published than it did on many occasions on the board. At the same time, I saw his staccato writing style as "fragmented," and I suspect I was trying to compensate by supplying some of the missing pieces in my own mind--if that makes sense. (Mind you, I still haven't a clue what Lou Gehrig was doing in a "chat room," Eastern or Western hemisphere regardless! :-) Maybe you do?)

Perhaps I don't "put myself in the center in a provocative way," as you said--though now and then I wonder! :) But if I manage to avoid getting the hostile reaction that Wayne got on the board, it seems to me that this has to do with trying to be aware, as I go along, of how I think I'm coming across. One thing that struck me is that I never post anything without reading it through first. But I wonder how many people do. I'll bet many don't. Not that this usually makes an enormous difference. For instance, one lady recently apologized for "rambling" at the end of her post. I didn't think she was "rambling" at all. She clearly had a lot of observations and insights very much together; she herself is "together" in spite of her situation. If she had read her post through afterwards, she shouldn't have found anything that needed changing. But I wonder if Wayne would get some insights into himself by reading through what he's written, and seeing afterwards what various parts of himself had inserted along the way?

Sometimes he seems half-aware of this. After asking about your qualifications, he paused abruptly--as though he'd realized his questions sounded more like a paraphrase of "Vat Duz Dukter Irene No?"--and added "If you don't mind." It suggests a whole pattern of messing up first and apologizing afterwards. But to borrow a thought from Henry Fowler (the "Modern English Usage" guy), if we realize that what we're doing needs apologizing for, isn't it better to abstain from it altogether than to continue forcing it down people's throats with a ramrod of apology? (Or in some cases, of "love to all.")

Take care,

- Gordon Take care.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 195.232.122.9
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2001
Time: 02:14:58 AM

S1

Hi Mel, good to hear from you! :)

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult you or objectify you by describing you as the "prize on a platter." :) Much of this is about different points of view. What I was pointing out was what some people had done *from their point of view*. They didn't want to lose you, Mel. I didn't want to lose you either. Yet they behaved in a way that worked directly against their own goals.

From your viewpoint it's different, and as you said, you didn't want to be "rescued." That was what they wanted, not necessarily what you wanted!

There's a great deal you've said that I agree with, including in previous posts. About the idea that not everything we experience is abuse, for instance, even when it hurts. Yes, some of it is quite unintended, or else an inevitable part of life. If, as you've said, you have some PTSD reaction that predates the time you met Wayne, and if what some people do causes needless fear in you, that doesn't necessarily mean they're "abusing" you. And you're all the stronger if you can overcome those reactions and deal with life as it is. Just don't overlook the contribution of any abuse you get from Wayne, which anyone might find hard or even impossible to live with.

And yes, all of us can be manipulative or controlling at times. At least, if we're not "controlling," we all try to influence people--and must, in order to get our needs met in the natural course of life. Even babies do that by crying, which can be a very powerful behavior. It's just a matter of finding the right balance, and ensuring that there's a fair exchange.

And I agree with what you've said before, that there's far too much blanket broadcasting of ideas that scare people--especially women--and worse still, exploit them. Much of this doesn't help anybody, and even among those who need to be warned of some real danger, terrifying them hinders rather than helps, because it only freezes them into inaction and incompetence.

You've lived with a lot of craziness, a lot of meaningless and destructive noise in your life. This includes early family stuff, living with Wayne later on, plus all those bent counselors who only did more damage instead of repairing it, all that overdone commotion around the arrest, and a certain amount of noise you got from people on this board as well. None of this helped you very much. I'd only add that if your life seems quieter and more peaceful at the moment, that doesn't necessarily mean it is quiet and peaceful enough for you to hear yourself think. It may only be quiet and peaceful by comparison with what's been going on before. So I hope you won't ignore any harmful noise that might be coming your way--from Wayne especially--just because your life is quieter than it used to be. You may never have experienced true peace, and it may be hard to tell when there's still noise you don't have to put up with.

Of course, I can't see exactly what's going on with you right now. But there is one thing you said that struck me. About the "network security email that was sent out of concern for the disappearing posts," and "genuinely trying to help a partner solve a security issue." If you were trying to do that, Mel, is that the letter you would send? Would you send one that was anything remotely like that?

I know some of Wayne's subtler button-pushing may have gone over my head, but this was so glaring. Whichever way I try to read it, I can't make that mail fit. Even the individual pieces of it are a misfit, like "crazy paving," thrown together. It starts off something like a formal business offer to an unknown prospect--not to a person we already know. Even then, the questions set up a tension that's unresolved. It ought at least to continue: "I can offer assistance with up-to-the-minute security solutions..." Instead, it breaks off and ends bizarrely "Love to all," clashing violently with the earlier formality.

We might ask the questions themselves, more casually, of a friend who was having trouble. But "Madam" and the other stiffness doesn't fit. What's more, asking the questions alone shows the assumption of an ongoing, friendly dialogue where answers might be expected. That dialogue didn't exist at the time. It had been broken off; and Wayne himself was angry about it. A letter like that would deny the existence of the prior conflict. That's something abusers do. They have a row, then act as if it never happened, and leave their partners wondering "Did it happen, or didn't it? Are they crazy, or am I?"

If we had a disagreement with someone, thought better of it, and decided to offer help to them anyway, at least some little preamble of acknowledgment is needed to bridge the gap, like "I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble..." But that's absent. And once again, in an offer of kindness, the formal standoffishness seems totally out of place.

That mail doesn't fit those categories. So what else could it be? It can only look like a jest of some sort. And after the disagreement and the break in communication, any jest that Wayne aimed at Dr. Irene when she's having trouble of that kind can only look hostile. At best it seems like jeering. And because it says "I know all about network security"--and I'm sure boasting was part of its purpose--at worst it suggests that "I caused your trouble myself, ha ha!" or that "I know how to mess up your site any time I want to."

I'm not talking here about what some people *could* read into it. I'm talking about what in my opinion most people, given the circumstances, would almost certainly read into it. It's not Dr. Irene who's twisting it. It's the letter itself that's so twisted. Jay thinks she writes "nutty" stuff at times ("I've been declared sane by a cat that doesn't exist"), but her stuff makes sense to me. It's sincerely funny. Yet as fond as I am of jokes, to me this letter isn't even self-consistent as a joke, not even a hostile one. It's just, well... *weird*. I think I can see what it's made up of; but to me it's the shattered pieces of a shattered personality, in which nothing fits, nothing makes sense.

I'm not saying this personality can't be put back together again; but certainly not that quickly. I'm not pretending you can't see it either. Show it to your friends as well; see what they think. I can't even prove it was totally untrue that Wayne did want to help. Possibly a part of him did want to. But other parts of him wanted to do something else at the same time. He's got to deal with those parts of himself as well, to own them. And when you're with him, you can't avoid those parts either. You have to deal with them too. Somehow.

If you feel you're in shape to do that, after all the craziness you've had to put up with, then all right. But if you're not standing on two feet on solid ground, it's too easy for someone like Wayne, who's tottering, to pull you over. Even then it's a strain to hold him up. If you can see that a piece of him wanted to help, that may be true. He does have the capacity for love. I've seen that myself. But can you see the other pieces of him too, that were only angry, jeering, threatening--or withdrawn, remote, and unreachable? Can you see the way others must see him as well? And can you see yourSelf, your own real needs, your own sanity?

If you can see all those things, Mel, it's not so bad. At least you know what you're dealing with. But if all we can see is that one person says he was trying to help, along with a letter that to most people suggests no such thing, that's as hard to put together as seeing sunshine out of one window and darkness out of another. Things like that could drive us crazy. We'd have to twist our thinking into a pretzel to buy what he said. If that happens, it can be all too easy to get sucked into another person's craziness and stay there.

Take care, Mel! And look after yourSelf!

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.58.73.149
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001
Time: 12:13:03 AM

S1

Gordon, Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your insight.

Dr. Irene, Thank you. Was there something different in my writing last time?  Keep reading...

I admit it is possible that I don't/didn’t see certain things, but I know I see a lot and I still maintain that things went weird, but it wasn't all Wayne's doing (from what I could see). The first reply I got from Dr. Irene about the issue, she agreed he was not out of line. Even when I felt several others were getting out of line, I thought Wayne held it together really well and refrained from engaging. When he spoke to me about it, he wasn't angry with anyone, he felt bad and he was desperately trying to show them that he was there to learn and to help others if he could. When Dr. Irene emailed him that he should reflect on how he was coming across, he was frustrated because a previous counselor had told him he shouldn't ask me to look at how I come across when he perceived that I was rude to him. He was being told he was wrong no matter what side of the fence he was on. (Hence the reference to counter transference) And I still don’t see where he was rude. “Love to all”??? Wayne was simply too self-absorbed to pay attention to how his audience might respond. He always has "reasons" he wants other to "understand." Mel, you get too caught defending his "reasons" and forget that other people, including yourself, count. Even Hitler made sense from Hitler's point of view. He too had those who championed his cause.

I have no problem with a distorted point of view, provided the individual wants help. While I realize Wayne "wants" help, he's more interested in getting others to understand his perspective than in understanding why his is not working. The rest I've explained earlier.

The rest of Mel's post has been deleted for the reason given above. I'm not interested in publishing excuses and explanations and rationalizations for misbehavior. Period, end of story. Sorry you can't see that Mel.    Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.70.149.28
Date: Thursday, September 06, 2001
Time: 08:03:10 AM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.180.126.95
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Time: 09:23:32 AM

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I have to say I have only read a tiny bit of how you reason with people. I thank_you so much for this sit and maybe I don't feel so helpless anymore. And as to wayne forget it they only want to hear only what they can use to put people down just because they need to feel like they are someone. We are all someones and don't need Wayne's help at all thank you! AGAIN THANK_YOU so much for this site

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 207.221.158.184
Date: Monday, April 01, 2002
Time: 01:38:37 PM

S1

I just logged onto the site. that was fascinating to see the different modes of manipulation. But it all boiled down to one thing, not taking responsibility for one's actions and one's life.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.64.223.75
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002
Time: 05:50:04 PM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.64.223.75
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002
Time: 05:51:04 PM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.64.223.75
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002
Time: 05:51:12 PM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.188.120.90
Date: Sunday, December 01, 2002
Time: 08:50:25 AM

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B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.9.51.130
Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Time: 01:12:53 PM

S1

I read with interest the posts from "Wayne". His writing sounds SO much like my ex-husband that I'm still shaking my head in wonder- I never imagined there could be TWO of them!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.202.165.253
Date: Monday, March 10, 2003
Time: 03:53:32 PM

S1

Poor Wayne must be exhausted from all the mental gymnastics. What a miserable way to spend ones life. Very sad.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 66.235.19.136
Date: Sunday, May 25, 2003
Time: 08:21:10 PM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 67.75.142.4
Date: Friday, May 30, 2003
Time: 01:34:01 AM

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.46.177.77
Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Time: 04:03:29 AM

S1

I love me

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 68.100.20.180
Date: Saturday, July 05, 2003
Time: 02:03:36 AM

S1

This seems to be a female dominated site. From all that I have read, men are selected as an example of abuser. I find the dismissal of Wayne, from the emails you posted, honest, sincere, and courteous. Dr. Irene adds comments like giggle? Very chicldish. God Bless You all. I'm moving on.