Friday, August 26, 2016

Are Your Bills Crushing You? Surviving While Poor

Are your bills crushing you? Mine are. There's three of them above ready to get me! lol Will payment plans keep them at bay?

I want to ask people how do you survive? Hey maybe fill me in here.

My life has become a litany of food pantries and the rest. Last week we went to the soup kitchen, in the inner city. They fed us spaghetti, it was direct, you line up, some people got free loaves of bread. Some of the men in there had "house arrest boxes" around their ankles, well that part wasn't good. It was rather austere but the meal filled us up.

 Some people would be afraid to go down there, but I have lived in ghetto areas long enough to know how to survive in them.  This is life as usual for me, as we have gone to community dinners. My husband went to a food pantry yesterday.  I was cooking all that squash I got and the last of the cabbage was used up on soup last week. Tomorrow is a community church lunch for the poor. Let's hope it's not hot!

 If you were to ask me what did you buy that was "extra" in the last three months beyond base survival, I would say, "One day I bought a chicken burrito for 6.95", and another day, I saw this beef jerky on sale for 3.50 which was half priced, which I bought and snacked on. My card making hobby was shut down, the money for supplies simply vaporized. I haven't made anyone a card in 8 months. Stamp collecting? I haven't bought a stamp even a cheap one in almost a year. Oh I think I went to the nature center on June 6th, that's 3 dollars each to get inside. Clothing? One project friend had her parents buy me two dresses in 2011. I got one dress from another friend as a present in 2010. So yes, many things did get cut to the bone. My husband seriously needs clothes, but finding larger ones in thrift is very hard.

I always thought I was a frugal person but I wonder why even my frugality seems to be failing me. Is life getting this tough for others like this out there? If you have poverty surviving ideas, add them in the comments. 

1. Try and find a Food Co-op [there's ones for middle class people too where they share organic and other foods]
The food co-op I joined is a food bonanza and was a great decision. We won't starve at least though I wish there was more meat. We got more meat then most food pantries though. I got two bags of walnuts, to me that is like a kid in Victorian England getting an orange in 1870. Nuts are expensive. Now I can put some in salads and maybe some bran muffins.

2. Always pay rent first even if it's a boarding house room.

My first advice, is always pay rent first. Stable housing is the make or break in terms of surviving poverty. If your housing is at risk then you always are.

When we run out of food during the month or have to go line up at all these charities, I have said to him, "Shouldn't we give up this apartment?" but then I am caught, I am too sick to deal with rental rooms, and the boarding house life in this condition.   Two life rules I have are--stable housing first and foremost, and second life rule, never live with anyone where you are not the adult in charge. No one is clamoring to have me move into their spare bedroom but since I moved home at 20 before my first no contact this has been my rule.  What I went through was not worth it. I could never do it again. This can be a way for people to save money if they have friendly relatives or friends, but it's risky. Because of my Aspergers, I need peace, quiet and a refuge from social demands.

Most rental rooms are upstairs. Roommates may not have patience with someone who is always home or spending an hour in the bathroom.  We have had this discussion over and over and the "roommate" discussion. We would take this one close friend if he became homeless and others but strangers seem too risky. Maybe we are paranoid or maybe I know not everyone would be understanding. Sometimes I worry we are too risk adverse, but you can see how life made us that way! For many poor who are in better shape and not two old married people set in their ways living with roommates sometimes works out.

3. Don't waste money if you do have it.

Facebook is crazy. Watching the higher socio-economic classes burn money with a lighter in front of my eyes is insane. A few wealthier types have been ordering those companies that put together cooking boxes.  Time is money but they spend around 85 dollars to get FOUR meals. I have fed both of us for an entire week on less then 85 bucks, which is 21 meals. We eat a lot of eggs, cooked vegetables and soup.  One lady repainted her door 4 times, trying to get the "best" color on the front of her suburban home. How much did those cans of paint cost?

It's their business but watching my mother waste money, right in front of my eyes, with her 10,000 glass snow men and shopping was insane. How much did the second vacation home alone cost in money and taxes?  My husband tells me, "Don't worry about being cut out of the will, there's no way nothing is left, she's probably even re-mortgaged the house again.  Past behavior tells you future behavior." I added up once what she spent since she got the big insurance pay outs of 1998. The new cars and house renovation alone would equal half of what she got back then and almost 20 years have passed. I know two government pensions are good, but I don't think they are that good.  She made good money selling her soul counting body bags for the government and Bush's wars even without a college education but there's a limit to everything.

Years ago, she told one aunt "My children will be rich when I die", but I thought that's gotta be the biggest nonsense going. I was told I was cut out anyway.  The level of money I saw being spent before I walked, I was in shock she had not run out. To be honest, to me it would be the ultimate justice if she ever was poor, but my mother never has gone without a dollar she has wanted.

3. Sometimes you can sell stuff

Yes we have done stuff like collect cans and sell ebay.  More then ten years ago, we sold off books, CDs and records on ebay when ebay was going strong. I don't own much to sell now but if you do own things sometimes if you sell your antiques and other valuables if you have them it will raise money.

 I sold a silver necklace for three dollars once at the gold and silver place needing some gas money. It was thin and light. Some towns if you play an instrument you can busk, make sure they don't require permits. Some towns have flea markets were you can set up a garage sale and if you have your own house, garage sales will work. Living in an apartment makes sales like that too difficult.

4. Begging is probably a bad idea [unless you are so desperate you can't help it].

 We have never begged on the street with the cardboard signs. Been tempted but never have sunk that low thankfully.  I am too visibly disabled and people will pretty much know I have a social security check and may ask what is that woman doing? This town is small enough too, even if we went to the outer highway by the mall, my husband could see people he freelances for. We can't have that. I feel for people in that situation. Some towns have laws against it.

5. If you slide through the cracks medicine wise, there are organizations to help you.

Even now I ask my husband, "What are we doing wrong?" I go up and down the list. I get ideas, "Let's do this, Let's do that". They have us herded and "caged" on every front. One slip up and I could fall through the cracks.  There was a time when he was working and "made too much" for me to get medicine, and that was scary and I did go through the cracks. Fell right through it. His work place insurance had done away with pill coverage. I found a special program and without it, I probably would have died. It was called RX Outreach. If you are poor and can't afford medicine this place will help you out. I also would go to the websites for the Pharmaceutical companies, and many offered special programs for specific medicines. Here is an example of one.

If you ever see diabetics who have had a foot amputation, before you judge them and think "why didn't they take care of their diabetes" know that they have made insulin equal to the price of rent. People like me on disability have a few options many don't have. Diabetes is going untreated  None of the cheap pill programs cover insulin either. Maybe some charities are covering this, I would like to think so. I knew this one lady who walked around for a year and half with a blood sugar over 250 because she didn't have money to go to the doctor and no insurance. 

 See if your town has a free clinic, many do now. Sometimes they are in a church. I spent years going to clinics for the very poor. One thing to be cautious of, they are not good at diagnosis, they are trained to deal with immediate problems. Referring MYSELF to a specialist bailed me out once. My husband uses a local free clinic.

6. Avoid the Lifestyle Trap:

My husband paid 300 a month in gas alone to get to one old job. He reminded me yesterday that while back then there was no soup kitchens and going to food pantries--well I went to one at my old church, we were always just as pressed. That never ended. One thing if you do get money, don't raise your lifestyle, keep it the same and enjoy the feeling of "freedom", that's what I always wanted. If you win the Lotto. just keep your old house, and clean it up a bit. Don't increase everything up a notch and be pressed again. My mother spent money like one of those people who win the Lotto and end up with nothing. One huge mistake people make is increasing the lifestyle when they enter into any money and then the level of demands and stress remain the same.

7 Sometimes moving is a good idea, but sometimes it's a bad one.

 If you are poor, don't make our mistake, of moving around for jobs, hoping to become better off.  I have moved too much and to be frank, it made life more difficult. One time it worked and fixed things, and another time it didn't turn out so well, but I ended up with better medical care.  I moved to avoid becoming homeless so the stable housing rule took precedent a few times. My move to Chicago was to avoid immediate homelessness.

  At a certain age, you won't meet people like you did when you were younger and if you get poor enough or disabled enough, your social life will be dead in the water. If you know you aren't going to reach a certain socio-economic level, it's better to invest in relationships. Better off people can travel to see relatives and old friends. If you are a poor person, moving constantly and distance breaks down relationships but then some of this can be beyond your control, even when I have stayed put, others have moved. I didn't have a decent family all in one place but if you do have a decent family like that, rethink moving away. Consider your support systems. Life without a support system is far harder.

8. Compare prices and always look for deals

Another gym I plan to visit now is a 10 dollar a month one, if I can use any of the equipment. One guy I knew told me why are you going to go to ones you can barely afford and told me this gym could be an option. He's right even for the 45 dollar one, I wondered where was I going to find the money but I will compare them all.  I do compare prices on everything.

If you get car repairs, go to poorer areas to get them done if you know you can trust the garages. Try and get word of mouth about who is the best.  Some poor areas use street mechanics, but I have avoided that for now. I know Aspies suck at networking but this is the information about life that helps cut the risks. We once got a radiator fixed for 300 dollars when this other garage on the richer side of town wanted 500. Haggle over the price of things, you CAN save money. I may sound like a cheapskate, but I even have tried to cut deals at thrift stores and garage sales. It has worked.

9. Fighting your way out of poverty doesn't mean you'll never fall back In

My husband says "Maybe we won't be poor forever" but with the declining health and our age, I pretty much have consigned myself to it. Digging one's way out takes good health and neither of us have that.  Anything could happen and I'll be happy then but one has to deal with reality too. We still have some goals we have not let go of. He is still working on another book. I plan to make a zine or something of the comic.

If someone was to ask me, "Don't you know how to dig your way out of poverty?" Sure I do. It takes getting a skill and getting some sort of decent regular employment. That usually takes a degree of health too.  If an ugly man with a beard  in 2007 had not decided that my husband was not a good copy ad writer, my life could have gone completely different.

 I am not some Republican that thinks all poor people are poor from moral failings but if you have bad habits like losing at gambling, drugs or drinking or the rest that cost money or kill employment, then do what you can to get away from them. Whatever the size acceptance delusionists say, being fat is probably one of the biggest money killers in the world. I do think if I had not gotten sick and if the lungs had stayed intact, I may have been okay. Life would have gone a whole other direction.

If you are young and weigh in the mid200s and 300lbs, do everything beyond moving heaven and earth to avoid supersized obesity because once you go beyond the 250lb norm, good jobs unless you are a STEM computer expert will be impossible to get.   If you have health problems and are gaining weight like crazy, demand everyday to get treatment and tests. Don't end up like me. Get diagnosed earlier. Well I tried my best.

The right kind of education can sometimes be a way out. Think practical not liberal arts. Liberal arts stuff, the internet is at our beck and call. One does not need expensive degrees to learn things anymore. The Internet is for the taking. Always live in an area with good libraries. There's two here.

One core component is health. However digging one's way out of poverty is far harder then ever before. They are designing things that way. The jobs are not dependable. We climbed out of poverty once, via a job, from Chicago the rural town, and then we fell back in again moving here, when he lost the job we moved here for.  Sometimes I've had mean types yell at me, and tell me "Well you two need to get yourself out of poverty" with bootstrap lectures. Well we did it once before escaping Chicago. They don't get that. I was still disabled but we did have our life change.

Things could have been worse if he never found his freelance work. So "poverty" even in itself can be relative. There's poverty where you still have an apartment and a level of well semi-dignified living, and then there's homeless poverty where the bottom completely falls out. There's levels a disability check will keep you from. I have been far poorer then now even.

10. Information about homeless shelters

Homeless shelters are not the salvation many think they are either. They can help so don't take me wrong on this but many are FULL and will tell immediately homeless people even poor women, "Sorry there's no room today!".  I have been friends with or known people who have been homeless in the past, they have told me things about that world. I avoided homeless shelters by the skin of my teeth but many people who are new to the fall down the ladder, expect more help then is really there. How do I say this, you can't always expect the calvary to rescue you. I've been in many spots where no calvary was coming and a friend had to rescue me or God Himself had to send strangers to do it. I hate those circumstances, most of the ones I am thinking of are where a natural disaster and fate took me to a bad place.

I suspect many of the homeless are scapegoats from narcissistic families. I had this discussion somewhere on my blog once upon a time, where people always think of the homeless, "Well they must have burned all their bridges!" Some get angry asking "Why doesn't that homeless person have any family to take them in? Look at me, it isn't that hard for a scapegoat to end up with no family. Some of us may have had friends or they died or they lived too far away or are too poor themselves to help. My husbands family except for one sister has literally died off. When I see homeless people now, I think "How many were the scapegoat and cast away or were forced to leave the family behind"?

11. Facing the Fear of Poverty

 Sometimes I do get scared a lot from being poor. The fear is weird to me. My husband has remarked I act like the desert is near, and soon I will be cast out. I know where this comes from, my poorer days in my youth? When I was young, I ironically hoarded money. My narc parents would laugh about how I was a miser. I really was. I probably was thinking of a great escape or something in the back of my mind.

 This week one day when I wasn't housebound, I was at the grocery store, and I thought I had two 20s and only had two tens, I had forgotten about spending other money. I usually know to the dime how much money I have, so this was an unusual slip up for me. I was embarrassed as we had to put food back and lower our bill from 24 dollars to 17. I was buying meat to go with food pantry food. Inner shame rose up in me. I felt scared and angry. Examining these feelings I asked myself, "Why?"

This is something I am working on. I am not sure where it comes from. Queen Spider did a number on my mind about poverty. She hated herself as the poor farm girl and decided to get money at any cost and did. This hatred was unloaded on me especially as I involuntarily became a poor adult. Sometimes I try to cope with these emotions. I am messed up when it comes to money. Money is the biggest taboo subject in America not sex.

12. Facing the Emotional Stigma of Poverty

Even with my family I believe I would have been cast out for good even if I had not gone no contact. People who are traveling to Europe, and who can afford a new car every two years, don't want someone like me around.

I believe even if I hadn't gone no contact myself, my worsening poverty would have caused the family to cut me off completely anyhow. I was being cut off more day by day.  All of them would travel the world, and buy new furniture and new cars. I am sure now my mother is enjoying her new $35-50,000 dollar vehicle, the second one bought in three years. I only know about it from recent hoovering.

Part of survival while poor is the emotional survival. The world will try and crush you. This is actually more dangerous then any of the physical lacks.  I am working to overcome the damage to my self esteem on so many fronts and money is a big bugaboo for me.  You have to learn to put your own survival first sometimes, and "harden" up to a degree, not in a bad way where you close down your conscience but looking out for your needs.

Even if I had done everything that doctor told me, and not gone on the emergency antibiotics, and waited until Wed when he finally did call, I would have been in the hospital by Monday or Tuesday. It's kind of like that. Same with being poor, you have to protect yourself. When one is vulnerable some toxic people will try and hurt you. You have to find the ones who will help. Don't take advantage of their good will of course. We don't go to the food pantries and community dinners if we can feed ourselves that month, and there are months we don't have to go.

My self esteem during the last 9 years at times took a massive battering. Since working on myself and going no contact with the family, I thought about these issues. Things are improving since the weight of expectations and being called a "failure" got lifted.  They were never there for me in any real way. I even started thinking more about my Chicago years and this may sound like a strange revelation, but my parents weren't the only ones who betrayed me, there were many other middle class and above members of my family, who took the tactic of "just let her die". My eyes were opened wide. My siblings were adults of certain means and knew what circumstances I was in.

A lot of my emotional survival while being a poorer member of society is refusing the judgments of narcissists. If you want to make it, you need to find people who will understand and have compassion. Those of you who are young and healthy enough to make it out of poverty, make sure no one's around you whose drilling a hole in your boat. I tell people on ACON message boards, keep job plans to yourself. Narcissists will do anything to keep a scapegoat especially down. Realize you are a valuable human being no matter your socio-economic status.

If you have any ideas, add yours, or discuss...

Suntopia: Helping People Help Themselves

Fat is Normal Now?

Back in the old days, even in the 1970s did you have to become a bodybuilder and work out for hours a day not to be fat?  Tnation is a bodybuilding and strength building exercise company. Think about that one...and think again about what I am saying about obesity all these years. People didn't wake up and think "I want to be fat" and decided all to become "lazy overeating bums".

The Infection Continues

It seems to be clearing up but the sore is still there.

I am so tired. I have been in bed, though my husband took me down to the beach and I got out of the car today since it cooled down. I have to move around some or I lose stamina FAST. I did not feel ready for a normal walk yet but will have to do one tomorrow even if it's inside here. The beach was very pleasant, very few people were around. I watched some boats go by and basically zoned out while sitting on a bench.

My immune system seems to be toast. I told the nurse, I plan to go to an infectious disease doctor. I did find one locally but plan to call him later when I am less housebound and over this.  Maybe it's the stress, I've had a lot of emotional turmoil lately, regarding where life is going. Having sores bust out from the inside does not bode well for the state of my health. I spent years in panic of the red spots that meant cellulitis, now are non-chafing bulleye boils going to join the party to torture me?

I told the doctor I was tired for the last 3-4 months. Never know why I am not believed or seen as a "malingerer". The default position I guess for a 500lb Aspie is that I am "lazy" and "deserve it all". I cry sometimes seeing people with normal bodies. 20 years of this has taken a massive emotional and other toll.

I do fear even with my diagnoses, they always default to fat hatred and bigotry and see me as "lazy". If I have Dercums instead of just Lipedema IV, that is supposed to cause a propensity to infections and severe fatigue. I show major signs of it. 

One thing depressing me lately and I am going to tell the specialist when I see him, I need MORE, I fear cracking up because my body is not responding the way people say it should. Expectations are too high that they put on me.  Something else is wrong with these infections and my dead immune system. I seriously could fall asleep at any given moment. I lay in bed a lot and can still write, but even just having to do anything wears me out. There's times I sit back or sit down somewhere and just stare and don't move. Is it catonia? No it's just not wanting to move.

The clock is always ticking and never leaves me alone. Like even now I am thinking you have to get up and make dinner, you have to wash some shorts in the sink to wear for tomorrow and make sure you have a clean dress. I'll do these things but is it normal to have to force yourself to do everything?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mrs. Curses: The Spiritual Abuser

Profile of a Spiritual Abuser

I got caught up in being spiritually abused. It was very painful. I think finally I can talk about it now a little bit. Queen Spider religiously abused me for years with her enforced Catholicism and pretend piety, well another religious abuser came in my life.  I will call her "Mrs. Curses". she was an online friend of many years who got interested in "deliverance work".

Yes it's taken me time to recover from this. I'll be honest, I have dealt with so many wicked people in a very short period of time, I am tired. There's been too many scary betrayals in a short period of time. In real life, I am not socializing very much. Yeah if you deal with enough doozies, you wonder is it "me"?  I don't know maybe it's the "clean-out"taking a long time. 

I could write an entire novel about all these people. Outside some good friends and my husband, my people picker became very broken. Until I can fix it, I am being wary of anyone new. Finding out how many narcissists surrounded me in my life has been a very scary journey. It has hurt a lot. It doesn't escape my notice, this is someone else I cut off at the SAME time I was cutting off other narcissistic family members. 

This spiritual abuser did a number on me as the catfish. This happened a few years ago. I cut her off just some months after going no contact with the main narcissists in my family.  What was ironic about the catfish, is she mirrored me telling me she had gone through the same type of abuse, saying someone in a charismatic church in her real life had served as a false mentor from hell itself. Around the time I cut off "Mrs. Curses", then entered the would be catfish.

I met this online older Christian friend some years earlier. [2002?].  I was newly saved when I found her online Christian writings and started writing her. We shared many interests, she was interested in the same politics and was like me in questioning the false doctrine in churches.  She seemed like a nice person. We could talk about intellectual and religious topics for hours. We did some phone Bible study and prayer together too. I emailed her and had other correspondence with her for 10 plus years without a problem. It was a supportive long distance friendship.  We just emailed for many years and phone contact came in later.  In many ways she was kind, helpful and thoughtful during those years giving me comfort and sharing prayers while I was sick but then things turned "WEIRD", she started telling me I had been cursed. 

We disagreed about this but under severe health challenges and the extreme weight I was not eating for I gave her theories too much attention instead of telling her to shush up about curse topics.  Hey I had read the Stephen King book "Thinner" too, though my life was going the opposite way!  I know part of me wondered if she was "right". Why had my life gone so badly? Why was I so poor? Why had I gone almost deaf? Why did I reach a weight that only 1 in 5 million people had reached? I was vulnerable too, back then, I was very sick. I was getting a leg infection almost every 6 weeks instead of a few times a year. Fear of death ruled rampant, and whose more vulnerable to fake religious healers and charlatans then the desperate?  Also when things got really weird, is after I moved here, and gotten lonely for Christian fellowship. This was after losing my old church and not having found another and during the time I was in the impersonal IFB I left later.  No money ever changed hands, she knew I was broke. Maybe the supply is enough for a few.

Back then around 2009 the doctors told me I may need oxygen soon. I was given 18 months to live from the cardiomyopathy alone. One doctor back then also had a poor bedside manner and told me, I was going to die soon of my cardiomyopathy. She offered no way out but to tell me, "You are going to be dead very soon, you need to start making arrangements'". The next day, I demanded physical therapy and worked my way out from severe cardiac problems which I still have but became far more under control. I think this is around the time Mrs. Curses started working on me. She wasn't bringing out the crazy curses talk yet but talking about finding healing in the Lord, bible studies, and nice neutral sounding topics. She offered me care and concern like a loving friend.

I told her I doubted her theology on curses, but she told me she did "deliverance" work with other people, and I knowing very little bit about deliverance, thought "What harm will more prayer do?" so I said, "Okay you can help me with deliverance".  She told me she had experience helping abused people heal. That was one the biggest mistakes of my life. Spiritually, I was letting someone else step in to be "mediator" between me and God. I do not believe in deliverance ministries today, make sure you leave all the priests behind for the true gospel of grace. In the beginning, some of the prayers made sense, the "deliverance" devolved into fault-finding and unknown sins. I kept some boundaries up, when she got nosy, but the idea of deliverance is like confession. I will shout to people worldwide, if they promise deliverance RUN. The charismatic and pente flavored churches are into this stuff but even some of the independent baptists will promote the underlying ideas.

Her main message to me then mutated into this: that my life was in ruins and God was not healing and blessing me, because I was a very wicked person and was not serving God or obeying His commandments in the right way. I was not giving myself over to the deliverance and trusting God. 

I live a dull life, no drinking, drugs, or cheating, I'm not hanging out in bars or gambling--outside of buying a few occasional desperate Lotto tickets but supposedly my long list of sins, had destroyed my life. Also supposedly if I became "sin-free" and fully delivered from the affects of my abuse, then I would have healing for my health problems.

What I find interesting now, is we both together condemned the prosperity gospel but she was giving me another version of it. The me of today warns stay away from those who claim God will bring blessings in this life or that your sins bring you troubles in this world. Jesus said, we would have tribulations. Those who preach guaranteed miracles, even in more subtle ways are deceivers. This theology is ALL over the churches now, and many push it in a non-direct fashion. Good Christian means "good life", Bad Christian or sinner means "bad life". The Bible doesn't teach this. There is a reason I don't go to church anymore. I am even freeing myself STILL of IFB legalisms since leaving my last independent fundamentalist baptist church. Am I an ex-fundamentalist now? I'm not sure. Some would call my belief in the bible to be that, but all labels seem to be limited. I'm a Christian but analyzing quite a bit. God after all is Who showed me the doorway out away from abuse.

One thing she was right about, was that my family had "cursed" me. Perhaps not in the literal sense but all ACONs discover as narcissists sabotage us especially as victims, we are started off with many "CURSES".  Many narcissistic and sociopathic parents curse us openly. I was told I was "no good", would end up being behind the "shopping cart", and "under the underpass" and then my parents made sure to make sure all these things were carried out to the best of their ability. Yesterday I went to an inner city soup kitchen to eat to cover a delay on getting food, while my family travels to Europe and eats out several times a day, they made sure to set things up for me so poverty would come.

So was there a curse of sorts there, sure, but not in the way Mrs. Curses told me. My health was neglected for today's damaged lungs and damaged "lipo-lymphedema" body.  She did help me opening my eyes to my completely evil family, but then she treated me the same way they did too. I wasn't good enough for her, and was not a valuable friend, I was just a someone to be "fixed". I was not a human being to her. I was a "thing", an "object". She probably is Cluster B herself.  This is why I warn on this blog about how ACONs need to avoid project friends and those who see you as a "fix it project" so adamantly. 

She could have "gotten in" more and done a lot more damage but I kept having dreams about her, dreams where I felt WARNED.  I also knew about cults and spiritually abusive churches and was never the type to obey pastors and do what they told me. I laugh thinking of the time she told me I had the spirit of rebellion near the end. Her mask of nice friendship had slipped by then. 

 I did meet her once in person, our visit went okay, but my concerns about her grew especially feeling certain vibes from her that remained under cover.  Maybe I learned grey rocking too well. There was times I humored her to keep the peace. She didn't know it. I never applied her legalistic rules to my life, some of those were impossible like the fasting. She lived too far away to control me, but she still wiggled into my head way too much. The me of today chooses to be alone rather then around toxic people but being even sicker back then, and housebound, I was taking all comers. In the early stages of this I thought she cared. She too like the catfish told me, she had been a severe abuse victim, bringing my empathy into play. 

I was lonely, she seemed nice, but I let someone very dangerous to my spiritual and mental well-being in the door. She kept hounding on curses, to the point I got scared for her mental health, and thought to be a good friend, I should try and gently lead her away from legalistic theology that focused on Satan and demons to the point they were more in charge then God. I should have worked on protecting myself first.

During the final stages, she called my house telling me a "death curse" had been sent to me.  That's the day I should have cut her off. I remember laughing and saying "God is stronger then that, and I may die of my own body anyway" but inside she made me feel afraid and on edge. I finally found myself wondering if this person was really my enemy. They were. When I cut her off, she had called me to tell me one of my family members had sent me a "death curse". I don't doubt that one in the metaphorical sense, surely Queen Spider has cursed my very name for being the one that got away but I think she used my painful time of going no contact for more pain and to drive the screws in deeper.

 Things got weirder and weirder and in this case I just did a full cut off. No NC letters, nothing. She may see this, she knew of my blog, but I don't care anymore. I hope she has gotten help, and has left the god of legalisms, curses and demons being in charge behind. I cared about her for years but had to face the facts this never was a real friendship. I was too embarrassed to write about this subject though I have mentioned it a few times. I was embarrassed to even admit I allowed someone like this in my life. Sometimes I fear writing about so many relationships gone bad, some will think something is seriously wrong with me instead. I plan to cover these issues very soon with a therapist. My trust of other people has vaporized in one giant going no contact cloud. It frightens me how bad things got with a variety of people. One conspiracy-minded friend even once asked me if I was being gang-stalked or something. I don't want to go to more weirdo places, I just want to deal with the facts. The facts was I had to get the hell away from a LOT of people. 

She would write me things like this to give you an example of what I was dealing with. She wrote me when I told her the deliverance was crossing too much boundaries and I was done with it. I told her theologically she was trying to grant herself "priestly powers" in the life of believers. She wasn't too happy with this statement. So this paragraph was from the response I got:

"Deliverance is for the desperate. Only those desperate enough to do what God tells them to do qualify for this miracle. If you are convinced you are doing what God requires of you then I'm not going to say anything about it. The Bible says work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Fasting and praying is how we examine ourselves. If you knew me at all, you would know how often I do this".

How strong can I put this? Be EXTREMELY careful as an abuse victim or ACON in seeking religious help for your feelings of loneliness, depression or sadness. In today's modern churches, which Smakintosh is doing a good job warning about ,even telling a church, "I was abused" is a big no-no. It opens the door to the wolves to come and eat you and there's plenty of them. I was LC during time in my church in my rural community so it was not an issue and in the last one I never mentioned abuse or narcissism. However telling the most recent church I was estranged from my family for religious reasons was enough to earn me pariah status.  The wicked churches of today are more likely to enable the abusers. Just look how so many of them coddle sex abusers. Queen Spider is seen as a "holy Catholic woman". 

Mrs. Curses was far more legalistic then me, about music, eating and other details. Her list of life rules was too intense. Her "God" seemed easily angered and ready to throw one over the side of the boat for the smallest transgression. Her own life was more stable then mine, well what I knew long distance and seeing photographs, she had children and a husband, a home and the husband worked. But even then, my seeing her in the earlier stages as someone to emulate or as a mentor, was a giant mistake. This idea of not feeling secure in myself left me vulnerable to religious abuse. People who join cults often have been abused.

I would disagree with her telling her the bible says "No curses come undeserved" Proverbs 26:2 but she focused on my imperfections more and more and me becoming a better Christian. As I was becoming educated about narcissists and sociopaths, I find myself wondering about her more too. She was never wrong. She was always right. It was not adding up to a pretty picture.

She would tell me I was wicked for not doing certain things fast enough and if I listened to some old music, I would allow demons into my life. The me of today, now asks, "Why did I let this person put themselves as judge and jury over me?" but I am realizing because of my upbringing, I was left vulnerable. Here too I put up with way too much garbage. I am forming boundaries that should have been formed in childhood. This is a lot of personal work.

  Many people who get taken in by cults or spiritual abusers do end up with a feeling of humiliation and embarrassment. I was too embarrassed to write about this until now. Hopefully this will help someone as this is one I post with some hesitation.  At least I was disagreeing and questioning her along the way. I shudder to think of anyone who may come completely under her sway. My own relationship with God and knowledge of scripture helped show me the way out. My healing from being abused by narcissistic parents also helped. I went no contact with her, the same as with my family.

If someone becomes a Christian, while there are true mentors out there, there are people with personality disorders and other problems in the churches. ACONS can be very vulnerable to spiritual abuse.

Profile of A Spiritual Abuser By Pam Witzemann

I am a Christian and my experience with spiritual abuse is in the Christian context. However, spiritual abuse is not limited to Christianity. There are abusers in every faith, religion, and philosophy. Where ever human beings gather, there will be, at least, one abusive person. Spiritual abuse is differentiated from other abuse only by the use of God and the abused’s faith in God being used as a manipulative tool. All abusers want power and control over others and spiritual abusers are no different. This power over others can be used to carry out all kinds of evil and is at the root of the terrorism we experience today. It isn’t the philosophy that does the evil but the power hungry abusive men who lead them. It is impossible to clear all faith organizations of spiritual abusers but there are ways to spot them and follow a course of action in protecting one’s self from them. The following is a profile of those who spiritually abuse.

A spiritual abuser often appears almost angelic. They seem to have their lives and their families in perfect order. They are often popular and will have a following. Sometimes, they are leaders in the church but often, they are lay persons who use the church as a place to build a reputation and a following. They usually have few close friends but the closer one is to them, the more they must maintain control over that person. A spiritual abuser mistakes admiration as love and will do anything to protect and maintain their source of admiration. When they speak of “protecting their testimony” they aren’t talking about the testimony of how Christ is working in their life, they are speaking of their image in the community. The public image they create is highly important in their quest for and obtaining of admiration.

It is easy to feel inferior around someone who appears to be a near perfect Christian. An abuser works hard to engender such feelings of less than and is diligent to maintain them. They are expert in finding the weaknesses of others and seek control over them by pointing out the differences between their victim and themselves. They will offer themselves as a source of advice in overcoming whatever they define as missing in the person they are seeking to control. They will constantly point to themselves as successful in comparison to most others. A spiritual abuser won’t tolerate anyone close to them who does not cow-tow to their point of view. They will also seek to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares to criticize anything about them. To do so is to threaten the false image they have of themselves and portray to the world. Threatening an abuser’s false image will put the person who they once desired to control in danger while the easiest way to remove one’s self from under their spell, is to refuse to give them their needed admiration. If they can perceive no personal benefit to themselves in maintaining a relationship, then they have no use for that person and in their mind, they simply cease to exist.

It may be more difficult to first recognize a member of clergy as a spiritual abuser. Churches expect near perfection in their pastors and ministers and since these people are in a fish bowl, they often feel forced to live under a certain amount of pretence in fulfilling what is expected of them. However, a leadership role in a church is a perfect seat of power for a spiritually abusive person. They have the pulpit as an aid in maintaining control over others and it isn’t uncommon for them to criticize those who see through them or simply disagree with them over some matter from the pulpit. Sometimes, very personal information is shared in this manner. If you are the one who’s personal problem is being announced before the congregation, it doesn’t matter if no one knows who the pastor is talking about. The threat is made clear and in a very public and authoritative way. These kind of preachers will always point out sins but seldom point to Christ as the cure. Instead, they will create and teach rules for their congregations to live by. People who are constantly focused on their short-comings and struggling to maintain rules that often make them stand out in the larger world, are downcast and easy to control. This is when the spiritual abuser steps in between God and the people in his congregation. He takes the place of mediator and bars the way to God for those who don’t comply with his standards. The abuse may go no further than this or it may become more sinister as a means of supplying victims for sexual abuse. They may also use their power to gain monetary wealth from the people they rule over. In the extreme, cults are formed around these kind of leaders. Once completely cut off from the outside world, followers have been led to killing themselves and even murder.

A spiritual abuser is happiest when his/her following offer so much admiration that it borders on worship. They rejoice in being able to control what “their people” wear, watch, listen to, and even eat. They leave no room for the direction of God in others but insist that they themselves be the source of spiritual enlightenment. One sure way to detect these persons is by their attitude toward God. A true believer will have a healthy respect for God and be fearful of crossing God’s boundaries. Spiritual abusers will talk a lot about God but will live their lives by their own pleasure. Their convictions will change with the situation and the person that they desire to control. A true spiritual abuser sees themselves as God and persons who truly believe as foolish and as marks.

As with preventing all abuse, I believe it is important to set boundaries that will protect us from falling under the control of a spiritual abuser. I begin by not expecting out of any human being or group of human beings, what only God can give. I look to God to solve my problems and not the church or leaders in the church. I also refuse to give anyone the power to speak for God in my life. I can pray, I can read the Bible, I can think and I can make my own spiritual decisions. No one else knows God’s plan for my life. That is between me and God. When someone attempts to spiritually abuse me, I speak out against it and remove myself from their presence. These simple boundaries make it impossible for a spiritual abuser to take control of my life. I’ve found that they will seldom persist and will move on.

I am a Christian and I can speak for no other faith but my own. There is a common misconception that when people believe in, Jesus they receive morality. Jesus instead, offers eternal life to those who accept Him by faith. One isn’t immediately transformed into a perfect person. Both believers and nonbelievers often expect more of Christians than they are equipped to give. Christians are just people who believe in Jesus and struggle with the same problems in life that everyone struggles with. If I keep this in mind, I’m not surprised when someone who calls themselves Christian does something that is unchristian. This differs from spiritual abuse as it isn’t wrong-doing for the sake of control. Some well meaning individuals may teach a twisted understanding of a portion of scripture because they have been taught it that way. They may also behave in an unbecoming manner as the faith has been modeled to them wrongly. They too are victims of spiritual abuse and usually, can be corrected and will want to change in order to please God. A true spiritual abuser cares nothing about pleasing God but uses Him as he uses all others, for his own purposes. Spiritual abusers like to think of themselves as gods but they are just frail humans like the rest of us. They can be spotted and it is possible to protect one’s self from them. I always check what I am taught by the Bible and I take time for my own personal study of scripture. I also know that Jesus is my mediator to God and I need no other. I’ve found this the best prevention in protecting myself from manipulative teaching and control by spiritual abusers.

Pam Witzemann

Comic Recreates Autism Spectrum