Category Archives: Personal

These are personal blogs that you would read only if you care about what’s going on with me. I’ll try not to post too many of these.

Responding to a former friend’s betrayal

Most Sundays, I attend a weekly secular gathering called Houston Oasis. I go to take pictures for them to use in their marketing. It’s a lot of fun, and I feel like the people really appreciate it. It’s also built up my photography skills a lot. I would go with my girlfriend and her two sons, the older of which has Asperger’s Syndrome like me and their mother.

A few weeks ago, they announced a fundraising campaign, and my girlfriend posted some concerns she had about it on the group’s private Facebook group. Discussion followed, and it was all fine and dandy.

Then a member of the board, Alexis, posted something on her wall basically saying that she was upset about something (she didn’t say exactly what) and she wanted to post something passive aggressive about it. Because that in itself wasn’t passive aggressive. Despite the fact that we’ve had Alexis and her husband over for dinner several times and thought she was a good friend, my girlfriend thought it was about her, so she asked in a comment to it if it was about her. After a bit of prodding, she got a private message that took us completely by surprise. For your reading pleasure, here it is with my rebuttals.

Michelle, I want to explain what happened yesterday from my personal point of view. I was feeling frustrated and wanted to share that frustration without going into detail with friends, so I made a vague post to facebook. If I had responded to your question of “What’s it about?” that would obviously defeat the purpose of not posting details, so I chose not to respond to your question.

Judging by the rest of this message, you were more than just frustrated. You were angry. Decisions made in anger are rarely wise ones, and I’m surprised you think that you can defend posting vague, passive-aggressive things about someone on your friends list. You know how that makes you look, don’t you?

I am under no obligation to explain everything I post to you or anyone else. You then publically demanded an answer, asking if I was annoyed with you.

But it was about her. It turns out that she was actually completely justified in suspecting that it was about her, and she called you out on it. Nobody likes being called out when they’re being idiots, but adults accept it and take it in stride.

Honestly, this is completely unacceptable behavior for an adult.

This from a person who posted something vague to publicly complain about a friend without her knowing it. That’s a nice glass house you’ve got there.

I gave no indication that the post was about you, yet you chose to assume it was and make yourself a victim.

It was about her, and she was the victim! Like I said, you just don’t like your bad behavior being called out, so now you’re projecting your immaturity on her.

Josh and you then both privately messaged me, neither of you apologized, and honestly Josh had no reason to get involved what so ever, you and I are both grown adults.

(I’m Josh. Hi!) My private message read as follows: “I hope everything is all right with you. Michelle didn’t mean to pry.” If you had read it carefully, you would have read it as an apology. At the time, I didn’t think it necessarily was about her, so I thought it was a little inappropriate for her to press so hard for an answer as to whether or not it was about her. I totally had a reason to get involved, because I considered you a friend, and I care about my girlfriend. She is a grown adult, but you are clearly not.

Furthermore, you then once again acted the victim by saying I had hurt your feelings.

Umm you were hurting her feelings, and you’re doing it right now. Do you even care about other people’s feelings? I think you might be some kind of psychopath.

You asked if I was annoyed with you and I am under no obligation to explain why I am frustrated, but you are clearly choosing to make MY post about YOUR hurt feelings.

Alexis, your post was about her. And you’re explaining why you’re frustrated right now. You posted what you posted so that she would see it and be hurt by it, and that’s why you sent her this message. She’s not merely “acting” the victim. She is the victim of your passive aggressiveness and now your direct aggressiveness.

Since you clearly must know why I am frustrated.

Well, she thought you were her friend and she cared about you, so of course she wanted to know. You could have just said that you didn’t want to talk about it.

Yes, I am frustrated with you. Honestly, I found your post regarding the Oasis fundraising campaign offensive on a personal level.

It wasn’t offensive or directed at you personally. You took it personally when you shouldn’t have. All she said was that she wasn’t sure it was the best idea to start pressuring people to donate more than they already do.

Considering that I put in 15-20 hours a week into Houston Oasis, [Alexis’s husband] easily puts in 5-10 hours a week, and I’m assuming Josh puts in roughly the same, not to mention the countless other hours put into podcasts, organization, and childcare.

This is beside the point, but here’s what I think you’re saying. Since you put more time into Oasis than you believe Michelle does, you think that means that she has no right to criticize it.

The fact that you took this as a personal attack on you and jumped to conclusions without bothering to talk to anyone makes me feel that you want to get as much out of Oasis without giving a damn about the effort anyone else puts in.

That’s an idiotic assumption, not to mention completely out of line. You’re trying to make your outrage into everyone’s outrage. Only you are outraged, Alexis, and you have no good reason to be. Nobody else was offended, because they didn’t have a huge chip on their shoulders. Nobody else is pretending to be her friend and secretly hating her. Everyone else is a decent person.

As a whole and individually, I have felt that we’ve bent over backward to accommodate you.

There you go again presuming to speak for people other than just yourself. You haven’t bent over backward for anyone. Everything you do is for yourself. You volunteer at Oasis for your own ego, and when it’s bruised by someone questioning an Oasis program, you react like a child.

There is a special one on one person in the childcare room every single week for your son. I personally spent 4 or 5 hours one night talking with you and Josh after it came to light that many people were avoiding family friendly happy hour because of you and your kids, and trying to find a reasonable solution.

And we really appreciated all of that. It further cemented my commitment to Oasis, but I guess my contribution doesn’t cover that. Michelle’s older son, as I said before, is on the autism spectrum. He’s high functioning, but he’s had behavior challenges. We addressed the problem, and now he’s much better. Many people acknowledged it. The situation was resolved. Now you’re dragging it up again just to hurt my girlfriend’s feelings, and I don’t appreciate that.

Not to mention how hard we have tried to work with you and [girlfriend’s aspie son] after he has repeatedly injured another child.

That’s an exaggeration. There was some hitting and kicking, and we addressed it. He lost TV for a month. He learned his lesson. Again, you’re only bringing this up to make my girlfriend feel guilty.

In short, I feel Oasis and I bend over backwards for you.

“Oasis and I” You do not speak for Oasis, Alexis. You’re on the board of directors, but this is all you. In fact, this conduct goes against two sections of the code of conduct. You should know better.

I feel you make no effort to reciprocate and then have the nerve to criticize when an organization I put so much of myself into says “here are the facts.”

Your feelings are an idiot. They must have constructed that horrible sentence. Your ego was bruised, so now you’re lashing out like a little kid. That’s all there is to this.

I recognize you have the right to feel how you feel,

No you don’t.

but I have the right to be offended by it.

Again, no you don’t. If you had thought about it for two seconds, you would have realized that you are being totally irrational. My girlfriend didn’t say anything offensive, so you shouldn’t be offended.

I have tried to be your friend, but I don’tappreciate you taking a situation like this and trying to turn it around on me to once again, view yourself as the victim.

She is the victim. You are a bully. We thought you were our friend, but you clearly never were. You were just storing up things to use against her. You’re not a good friend, Alexis.

It is a behavior I have seen repeatedly from you and I am tired of dealing with it. I will continue to be civil with you, however I can no longer deal with the continued repeated drama and victimization you bring.

I don’t think you know what it means to be civil. Bringing up qualms with a program that Oasis is doing is not drama. It’s something every member has a right to do.

If you have an issue with MY feelings, please discuss this situation with me. This is a personal matter between two adults, you and me, and does not need to be posted on the Oasis facebook group. This is not a group issue, this is a you and me issue.

Why don’t you want it posted on Oasis’s Facebook group? Because it makes you look bad? I agree that it does, and that’s why I’m posting it here. It is a group issue, Alexis, because you are a member of the board of directors. You are saying all of this on behalf of Oasis, and you are wrong to do that. That’s why I am going to ensure that other members of the board see it and take appropriate action.

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If anyone wants to read Alexis’s message without my commentary, I’ll post it below.

“Michelle, I want to explain what happened yesterday from my personal point of view. I was feeling frustrated and wanted to share that frustration without going into detail with friends, so I made a vague post to facebook. If I had responded to your question of “What’s it about?” that would obviously defeat the purpose of not posting details, so I chose not to respond to your question. I am under no obligation to explain everything I post to you or anyone else. You then publically demanded an answer, asking if I was annoyed with you. Honestly, this is completely unacceptable behavior for an adult. I gave no indication that the post was about you, yet you chose to assume it was and make yourself a victim. Josh and you then both privately messaged me, neither of you apologized, and honestly Josh had no reason to get involved what so ever, you and I are both grown adults. Furthermore, you then once again acted the victim by saying I had hurt your feelings. You asked if I was annoyed with you and I am under no obligation to explain why I am frustrated, but you are clearly choosing to make MY post about YOUR hurt feelings. Since you clearly must know why I am frustrated. Yes, I am frustrated with you. Honestly, I found your post regarding the Oasis fundraising campaign offensive on a personal level. Considering that I put in 15-20 hours a week into Houston Oasis, Gosha easily puts in 5-10 hours a week, and I’m assuming Josh puts in roughly the same, not to mention the countless other hours put into podcasts, organization, and childcare. The fact that you took this as a personal attack on you and jumped to conclusions without bothering to talk to anyone makes me feel that you want to get as much out of Oasis without giving a damn about the effort anyone else puts in. As a whole and individually, I have felt that we’ve bent over backward to accommodate you. There is a special one on one person in the childcare room every single week for your son. I personally spent 4 or 5 hours one night talking with you and Josh after it came to light that many people were avoiding family friendly happy hour because of you and your kids, and trying to find a reasonable solution. Not to mention how hard we have tried to work with you and Isaac after he has repeatedly injured another child. In short, I feel Oasis and I bend over backwards for you. I feel you make no effort to reciprocate and then have the nerve to criticize when an organization I put so much of myself into says “here are the facts.” I recognize you have the right to feel how you feel, but I have the right to be offended by it. I have tried to be your friend, but I don’t appreciate you taking a situation like this and trying to turn it around on me to once again, view yourself as the victim. It is a behavior I have seen repeatedly from you and I am tired of dealing with it. I will continue to be civil with you, however I can no longer deal with the continued repeated drama and victimization you bring. If you have an issue with MY feelings, please discuss this situation with me. This is a personal matter between two adults, you and me, and does not need to be posted on the Oasis facebook group. This is not a group issue, this is a you and me issue.”

Success following my change in attitude

Hey, everybody. I haven’t posted in a while, because everything has been good. Since I pledged to become a more people-friendly person, I’ve found an awesome job editing books, and my photography has begun to take off. I’m finding success doing the things that I like the most, and it’s all because I stopped tilting at windmills.

Some of you might remember those old, negative posts. Some of you might have even been fans of them, seeing the anger that mirrored your own dissatisfaction with life. I liked seeing other people’s anger, too. It made me feel justified in my own negative attitude, and it convinced me that my lack of success in life was the result of outside forces working against me.

There’s no shortage of potential boogeymen, both real and imaginary. It’s very easy for a person to become convinced that the Islamic Illuminati lizard men are out to keep them down. It’s a lot easier than connecting their lack of success to their own behavior and attitudes, because that requires them to take responsibility for wrongs done in moments of anger. Regret can be one of the most long-lasting pains a person can endure. I know I’ll always carry regrets for the way I treated people while I was refusing to act my age. I caused a great deal of pain because I was too immature to let go of anger that was masking pain from my childhood.

But I’ve truly changed, and while my metamorphosis isn’t yet complete and may never be, I am much better off, and so are the people around me. I’m looking forward to a bright future where my talents and work are recognized and appreciated. Anyone can make these changes to their life. It just requires self-honesty and eyes toward the future.

Maintaining control

I’m having a really hard time today keeping my anger in check.  My girlfriend’s son broke my macro tube that I use to get close-up pictures of things, and though I did manage to avoid screaming at him, I’m having a really hard time not flying off the handle now at every other little thing that bothers me in the slightest.  (To be clear, I never scream at him.)  All I can do is stay away from people until this passes.  I don’t like this.  I wish I could stop getting angry like this, but I don’t know if it’s a consequence of the way my brain formed during my childhood or if it’s something that I can overcome with time.  All I can do is hide until Mr. Hyde leaves and Dr. Jeckyll comes back.

Back from the deep end

Let me tell you about the most obnoxious person I’ve ever met.  He liked to argue, and he always had to be right.  He could combine words so well, even clear-thinking people with perfectly sound minds would become unsure of their position.  He was a troll and a bit of a bully, and he was headed down a path that could only end in loneliness.  That person, as you may have already guessed, was me.

I’ve been paying close attention to the Elliot Rodger incident that happened last weekend.  I’ve seen all of his videos, including the chilling final one where he discussed his “day of retribution”.  As I listen to what he has to say, I can’t help but recognize a little of myself.  I wasn’t as crazy as he was, but who knows what could have happened if I had kept going on the way that I was?

To clarify things a bit to certain people who might be reading this, I no longer label myself an anarchist.  My anti-government ravings were not well thought out and the product of a lot of very misplaced anger.  I wasn’t wrong about everything, but anything I was right about, I was right about for the wrong reasons.  I don’t think totally throwing out the government is a good idea at all.  People need to come together, not split apart.  Peace can only be achieved by people listening to each other.

It’s so easy to go through life without considering yourself from other people’s points of view, and it seems like most people do that.  They react to things without thinking, they misunderstand, they get angry, and they seek satisfaction rather than resolution.  I don’t want to be like that.  I’ve managed to take a look at myself from the outside a few times in my life, and about a year ago, I did it for the first time in quite a while and realized that something was seriously wrong.  I had forgotten to value my relationships.  I saw valuing the opinions and feelings of others as a weakness.  Then Michelle reminded me that only from the outside can you get an accurate overview of what most people see when they look at you.  I silenced my ego, I opened my eyes, and my world changed for the better.

It does you no good to go around hurting people and cutting yourself off from caring about the suffering you cause, because as humans, we need each other’s help to have a happy life.  Societies thrive on harmony.  Productive members of society are the ones who facilitate harmony through peaceful interactions.  That’s what I want to do.

Anger, Insults, and Hurt Feelings

I wrote this quite a while ago.  I think I should listen to myself.  I’ve strayed far from where I was back then.

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I often hear atheists and Christians insulting each other, either as a substitute for arguments or as a supplement. They find it satisfying to try and hurt their target’s feelings, and many members of their audience find vicariously satisfying. In their minds, the target of the insults deserves emotional pain because of something he or she did or said. They think it is just, but what they are really doing when they lash out in this way is revealing something about themselves.

I don’t mean that they are just immature.  That is certainly part of it, but there is more to it. We seek justice when we are hurt. When a person tries to hurt the feelings of another, it reveals that the one on the attack was hurt and is acting out of emotional pain.

Being hurt causes anger, as does seeing the innocent in pain. Anger is satisfied by causing more pain, so by its very nature, anger is hypocritical. It works in combination with pain to propagate itself like a virus. When someone insults you, it is an admission to having hurt feelings. Understanding this, the best response is patience. Unless you are the reason the attacker feels hurt, there is no reason to take anything negative they say personally. They don’t mean it.

To pass harsh judgment on a childlike mind that is incapable of channeling emotional desires is unfair. After all, a penguin can’t be faulted for being unable to fly. It doesn’t matter to them that their whole world isn’t the source of their pain. They only think about themselves. Emotionally, they are no different from young children, and the only thing that will satisfy them is to cause much suffering to others as they can.

Not everyone who casually insults others with little or no provocation is indiscriminate in this practice. In fact, I’d say few are. Only a sociopath would be. Typically, some kind of trigger is required for an individual to become the target of childish taunts by an emotionally damaged person. A difference of opinion on even a trivial issue can be enough. So can a personality traits; a racial, ethnic, or religious identity; a physical feature; or a lifestyle choice. It’s not the same thing as bigotry, but it’s not too different. Of course, the biggest trigger is an insult, whether it was intentional or unintentional. You have to be careful when dealing with emotionally damaged people. If you’ve inadvertently triggered one or more of them, it is very easy to feel the need to retaliate and cause them to feel justified in what they are doing.

To continue radiating unpleasantness, they will sometimes fiercely defend their ignorance by offering excuses like “I’m just a nasty person” or reiterating the trigger and declaring it to be justification for the mistreatment. It feels so good to spread emotional pain, it can be very hard to let go of even the pain. It is psychologically addictive, feeling relief from pain. In fact, relief feels even better than just feeling good.

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I never finished writing it for some reason, but it kinda resonates with what I’ve been going through lately.

An open letter to my parents

(Some names have been altered for the sake of their privacy.  I’ll mark them with funky characters.)

Hi, parents.  I’m writing this to you like this because I know you’ll never read it and that other people will.   I could write more stuff to preface all this, but I don’t want to right now, so I’ll just dive in.

You had too many kids.  I’m very happy to have three awesome sisters, but it was too much for you two.  You handled it very badly.  There were good moments, but there were also many times when we were neglected or abused.  You taught us that yelling is a way to communicate and that physical violence is justified when one is angry.  Worst of all, you know now that it was all wrong, but you’ve never apologized, and  you never will because whenever we bring anything up that you did wrong, you clam up or get defensive.  We can’t talk to you about this, so we can never really forgive you for it.  We all love you both, but we also kinda hate you.  Well, I can’t exactly say that for {{Monique, Estrella, or Sky}}, but it’s true for me.  I could have turned out so much better if you hadn’t used threats and beatings to gain our compliance.

Through your negligence, {{Monique}} and {{Sky}} became the victims of Henry Wolfe’s pedophilia.  They sought your protection, and you failed them.  Through your use of violence to punish us for your anger, you gave me a skewed view of authority, and I’m amazed that I didn’t turn out to be an abuser myself.  You nearly ruined my life, and it will be a struggle to get to a point where I can live a successful and independent life.

There are those who think that you, mom, desire to keep me in a state of perpetual childhood so that you can continue to take care of me and feed your pathological desire to be needed.  You have deep issues that I fear you will never face because you are just too old now and too set in the habits you’ve developed over your life.  You hate {{January}} because she has taken me away from you and is helping me to become an adult.

Dad, it’s easy to see how you got screwed up.  Ten kids in a poor catholic family, it’s a recipe for abuse.  {{Monique}} told me that she once beat your dad at a card game or something and he shoved her into a wall.  What a prick.  I don’t care that he’s dead now.  He was a monster, and he turned you into a monster too.  You still talk about child abuse like it’s a legitimate way to discipline a child.  It’s not.  Hitting a child is wrong.  Using a weapon to hit a child is wrong.

Maybe I’ll write some positive stuff later.  I just wanted to get some of this off my chest.

Striking a better balance

This is something I handwrote more than a year ago.  I read through it a few days ago thinking that it was probably some stupid thing that I don’t agree with any more, but it’s actually quite good.  Here it is.

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For a long time, I have thought of the purpose of my life as being to spread a message.  I thought this even before I really had any idea what that message could be, and I continued to think it when I thought my message was something that I now understand to be incorrect.  I’m not saying that I understand completely what my message is now or even that I think of my life in that same context any more.  What I do know for sure is that I’m ready to share a message, or at least to begin.

I don’t know how long it will take to convey this message, but I won’t rush it.  It’s too important to rush, and I have to figure out how to translate it into a form understandable by anyone.

To sum it up, my message is this: The only true understanding is a logical one.  To explain it, I have to first explain what I understand of emotions.

Emotions are a part of the brain, and all animals have them.  They are necessary for survival on both an individual level and a species level.  Happiness serves as positive reinforcement to cause us to continue behaviors  that help us to survive.  Sadness is negative reinforcement, getting us to discontinue behaviors that hurt our chances to survive.  Fear helps us to escape danger.  Anger helps us fight when we need to.  If we don’t listen to our emotions, we miss out on cues to take actions that are important to our survival.

As advanced and intelligent as we are, human societies are dominated by emotions.  All art is meant to stir or evoke feelings.  When we look at or talk to each other, we can’t help but share how we feel.  Everything we want is to fill an emotional need.  Even the desire to live is an emotional one.  Without feelings, there is no point in living.

To understand the reasons why people behave in manners that they do, one has only to understand the emotions that each behavior stimulates.  All behaviors can be assumed to be geared toward obtaining rewards, avoiding punishments, or both.  Survival itself can fall into either category, but most often it is seen as a reward because only while alive can future rewards be enjoyed.  A life full of nothing but punishments is a punishment in itself.  Anticipation of such a life is a major factor in the decision to commit suicide, though many people have done it in anticipation of rewards in a life beyond the current one, and  many people continue living lives full of punishments due to threats of greater punishments in a life beyond the current one.

In any case, the pattern of obtaining rewards of positive emotions and avoiding punishments of negative emotions can be found at the root of every human action, decision, intention, and reaction.  With this understanding, everything people do makes sense.  But within this explanation are further explanations that allow us to not only understand human behavior but also predict and control it.