Body Dysmorphia & Social Media

Two nights ago I was in a bit of A Mood™️ and I decided to give a little air time to my frustrations on social media.  The responses to my post got me thinking about how we react to people’s bodies, and feelings about their bodies, on social media.  Fair warning: this is not your typical, predictable post about body image and Instagram models.

Understanding My Face

my profile, showing my retracted chin
Come thru, chin defect!

I was born with what’s clinically diagnosed as a “retracted chin”; instead of my chin extending out to match the shape of my forehead and nose, it retreats back under my lips.  It’s a genetic defect and it’s also a feature I share with my Narcissist-with-a-capital-N father.

For most of my young life I could not figure out what was wrong with my face.  I would stare at photos of myself with other friends with non-defected facial structure and I was absolutely stumped as to why my face looked so wrong.  My own dysmorphia and distorted perception of myself made it hard to view my face as “mine”, let alone to understand its individual features.  Discovering that my retracted chin is an actual, diagnosable, defect made me happy.

I wasn’t crazy.  My face was fixable.

In the years since pinning down my facial defect, I have researched doctors.  I am lucky to have a home base in Massachusetts — a state with some of the best medical facilities in the country, possibly the entire continent.  I came close to saving up the roughly $5k that corrective surgery will cost but unfortunately had to spend my savings when the startup company I was working for in NYC could no longer support my salary.

That setback has been devastatingly frustrating in many ways.

Controlling Perception

For the most part, I have kept my plans to get corrective surgery to myself.  We live in a culture that looks down upon people that choose to alter their bodies in many ways.  People who choose cosmetic surgery are seen as vain, people who pierce and tattoo their bodies are seen as freaks, and people who are born transgender and choose to take hormones and/or pursue surgery face discrimination.

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New Year, New Orleans, New Goals

For many of us, January is a time when we reflect on the accomplishments and un-met goals of the previous year and prioritize new goals for the coming year.

In January of 2016, I set two goals for myself: to get in better shape and to travel more.  It’s possible to say I met both of those goals though perhaps not to the extent I hoped.  I lost roughly 45 pounds (5 pounds less than my original goal), I made it to the second-to-last week of Couch to 5k twice (but have yet to actually finish it), and I visited some favorite cities and old friends.  I moved from New York City back to my hometown in Western Mass, I traveled up to Quebec City for the first time in over a decade, and then I moved down to New Orleans.

This January I have found myself planning not only goals for things I want in 2017, but goals that will set up the things I want for 2018 as well.  I think it’s a sign that my 25-year-old brain finally has a fully developed frontal lobe.

Continue reading “New Year, New Orleans, New Goals”

H&M x Balmain Launch: What I Experienced

First off: I never intended to pick up the collection’s most coveted items — the beaded blazer and embroidered dress.  While they are both beautiful, I found them more reminiscent of Balmain in 2012 than 2016.  No shade to anyone who picked them up or admired them, but I think H&M and Balmain chose to re-create some pre-existing designs rather than push new ideas, given that people have already been watching celebrities wear nearly identical pieces for years.  Also the target audience of H&M is not as risk-taking as your average runway show attendees, and familiar silhouettes and design concepts are safer.

Doors opened at 8 a.m.  Around 7:30, having just returned from my morning trip to the gym, I headed down to the 86th Street H&M in Manhattan.  The line stretched down the block towards 3rd avenue, but did not reach the next street corner when I arrived at 7:45.  No doubt the people first in line had been there all night.

By 8:30, I had been given a wristband that would allow me to enter at 9:45.  The wristband guaranteed me a spot in line so I did not have to stand around any longer.  I headed up Lexington to Fika Cafe, enjoyed an almond milk latte and a croissant, and casually walked back around 9:30.

Continue reading “H&M x Balmain Launch: What I Experienced”

City Neighborhood Maps: a new side project

Last year, when some of my friends moved to New York City, a universal concern was learning city geography. In particular, the question of “what neighborhood is this?” came up frequently.  I started creating a map of NYC with neighborhood boundaries drawn on to help them learn (and also to learn them myself).

The initial intention was to fill in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the south Bronx, and near Queens. Eventually I got so into the process that I filled the entire city in.  I figure there are probably other people out there like myself and my friends who would be interested to see the map, and possibly some people who could offer corrections or additions (please send these types of messages here).

Since finishing the neighborhood outlines NYC map, I have started work on a few others with still more on my ‘hopeful’ list.  I also hope to eventually add small blurbs and even photos to each neighborhood.  I’ve started a separate site to keep track of my intermitent progress on all these maps, Cities by Neighborhood.

To see my NYC map, click here.

Marriage Equality, Pride, & Refusing to Be Invisible

NYC Pride as seen looking east on 5th Ave, between 12th and 13th St.

A few weekends ago, a couple friends and I went to the NYC Pride Parade.  It had been ten years since I had been to an LGBT event.  I’m not afraid of being out, nor am I suffering from internalized homophobia, but I do get exhausted by the internal politics of gay culture, and for awhile it was less uplifting and more frustrating to participate.

This year we had more than our usual annual pride.  We saw an undeniably historic SCOTUS decision.  I remember well when gay marriage was legalized in my home state of Massachusetts — I was 12 years old, had recently come out (or rather, been outed), and I ended up writing a paper for my English class on the issue.  At the time of writing said paper, I saw the issue, and the community, as fairly black and white.  Gay people and straight allies were categorically good — it was the kind of immature and dichotomous thinking that is characteristic of young teenagers (and that we see so often in Tumblr-brand slacktivism).  Later that same school year I attended my first pride parade in Northampton.  And it was one of the most depressing days of my young life.  The participants were all very homogenous: butch-adjacent lesbian couples in hiking mandals with young children.  The parade was for gay marriage and gay adoption rights.  It was — and there’s really no other word for it — conservative.

Continue reading “Marriage Equality, Pride, & Refusing to Be Invisible”

Here on my own blog, I write primarily about my favorite topics:

I am interested in the intersection of aesthetic design, human communication, and innovative technology.  I try to define this intersection through my hobbies.  The name of this blog “Our Lady of Self Integration” pokes fun at the wide range of my interests and how I integrate all these parts of myself into one life.

Love Each Other Blushes & Face Powder

The Pet Collection

During mine and Lizzie‘s first year in college, one of our friends who was still in high school stayed over at our dorm so often that we had cave-like bed space under my bed.  Subsequently, we jokingly started referring to our friend as “our pet” and later just “pet” (the nickname may also have been influenced by the amount of binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer we were doing).  So we decided to name our blushes after our Pet!

These blushes are silica-based, which makes them super soft and completely matte!  Kaolin clay keeps them from moving during wear without any trace of cakiness.

leoface

Also featured: Our super soft translucent mattifying finishing powder!  Made with mattifying silica and moisturising kaolin clay, this finishing powder goes on smoothly and minimizes shine without being drying.  I like this powder on foundation, bb cream, and bare skin.

Continue reading “Love Each Other Blushes & Face Powder”

First Love Each Other Cosmetics Co. Eyeshadow Collection

Introducing… our Sensimilla Eyeshadow Collection!

Twelve beautiful mineral eyeshadows in neutrals and brights, and with the exception of our shimmery white shadow, all of these colors are perfectly matte!

loveeachotherwatermarksmall

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • TRICHOMES : pearlescent white
  • DOOB : matte light beige
  • CRUTCH : matte dark beige
  • TOKE : matte taupe
  • CBD : matte rusty orange
  • 420 : matte sunshine yellow
  • STEM : matte yellow-green
  • LEAF : matte blackened green
  • PURP : matte purple with brown undertones
  • PERP : matte purple with grey undertones
  • BLUNT : matte brown with green undertones
  • BOWL : matte charcol black

INGREDIENTS : silica spheres*, titanium dioxide, cannabis sativa seed oil, and mineral pigments (iron oxides, chromium oxide, ultramarines) *Trichomes contains mica in place of silica.

We decided to use hemp oil as a binder in these shadows and have found it works wonderfully — these stay motionless and creaseless all day with a primer.  We let this ingredient choice inspire the names for this collection, including Sensimilla. Sin semilla in Spanish means “without seeds” and this collection is without any seedlike glitter!

 Of these eyeshadows, Trichomes, Doob, Crutch, Toke, CBD, 420, and Bowl are all lip safe!  Stem, Leaf, Purp, Perp, and Blunt are not.

Continue reading “First Love Each Other Cosmetics Co. Eyeshadow Collection”

Why I don’t use Trigger Warnings

I sometimes talk about various kinds of abuse on this blog, but you will never see me mark anything with a ‘trigger warning’ — here’s why:

Triggers are not predictable.

It is pretty much impossible for a person to predict when something will trigger them.  It is then even more impossible for someone to predict what will trigger someone else.  Attempting to predict what will trigger someone, to me, seems to belittle what being triggered actually means.  A flashback, whether emotional or sensory, happens because a traumatic memory is improperly stored and then accessed because of a similar sensory experience in the present.  When the improperly stored traumatic memory is accessed, it is not just remembered as a typical memory.  The traumatic memory is instead re-lived.  Re-experiencing a past traumatic event without warning is extremely jarring and disturbing.  Remembering a past traumatic event when you have been seeking out information on abuse can be very upsetting, but they are two very different experiences.

If being triggered was as simple reading the word ‘abuse’ and remembering being abused, it would be much easier to deal with.  Instead, being triggered means having a small random experience, such as watching a certain quality of light hit the wall, a particular musty smell, or an emotion, and suddenly re-living past trauma.  Flashbacks of this kind are not linguistically connected to their triggers.  It’s impossible to warn someone of when they might be triggered, and I worry that it can sound patronizing to try; as though people are able to and should control their flashbacks and should avoid experiencing flashbacks, as though they are something to be ashamed of.

Trigger warnings aren’t really trigger warnings, they’re content warnings.

Because there is no way to actually predict what can be a trigger for a traumatized person, trigger warnings do not actually provide information about triggers.  They provide information about content.  Just because something contains detailed descriptions of abusive behavior or actions, does not mean it contains triggers for an abused person.  Trigger warnings can make vulnerable people warry of reading things that may be helpful to them.

In my personal experience, I have never had a flashback truly be triggered by reading about trauma or abuse.  Going into a forum, blog, article, or book on the subject, I know what I may encounter.  I find myself remembering uncomfortable things but not reliving them.  There is an important distinction: after remembering an event, if it is properly stored in long-term narrative memory, it is describeable.  Re-experiencing a traumatic event that has not been converted to a narrative memory is very hard to verbalize.*

Content warnings have their place, as some of us like to stay away from particularly graphic descriptions or discussions, but I believe it is important to see upsetting content as very distinct from triggers.

Writers can’t control their reader’s reactions, and it’s weird to try.

While we describe triggers as an outside event causing a flashback, the reality is that the trigger is entirely internal.  The outside event may mimic a sensory or emotional experience of our trauma, but it is our internal reaction to this present event as a part of our past trauma that leads us to be triggered.  The outside world cannot control when traumatized people are triggered.  Even traumatized people may not be able to control when they are triggered, but with patience a traumatized person can come to understand and recognize their flashbacks and reduce their frequency and strength.

Trigger warnings make the writer responsible for the readers’ feelings and reactions.  As a child of a Narcissist, I am warry of any attitude that makes one person responsible for another’s feelings.  We are all responsible for our own actions, reactions, and emotions.  That is not to say people experience triggers and flashbacks on purpose or that it is their “fault” their memories aren’t stored properly, but that we are in charge of understanding our own reactions to our flashbacks.  I’ll write more about this in a different post, but I believe flasbacks can be a gift in disguise.  Flashbacks let us know something bad happened in the past and that it is still effecting us in the present.  Exploring our flashbacks and triggers can be scary, but invaluable.

I can respect that trigger warnings are generally a well-intentioned gesture, and in some contexts, work well as content warning.  I do my best to make it obvious when a post contains such material, and I think it should be apparent that anything in the “Trauma” category of my blog deals with things that are traumatic.  It’s no one’s fault that triggers do what they do, but it’s also impossible to preempt them and can be problematic to try.  I wouldn’t want this to sound like a rant, so I’ll keep it brief and end it here.

the end by leslie knope

Parks and Recreation: Season 4, Episode 6. “End of the World.”

*In fact, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows suppressed activity in Broca’s area when traumatized subjects were asked to recount traumatic events.  In layman’s terms, blood flow in the brain tells us that part of our language center does not function properly when trying to describe our past abuse.  I’ll write more about this in posts about repressed memories and traumatic flashbacks.  

Cult Mentalities vs Personality Disorders

 Mean Girls, 2004.
Karen explains the rules of being in the Plastics.

Narcissistic Cults

The mentalities behind some personality disorders and cult membership have an interesting amount of overlap.  While the individual members of cults tend to be made up of Narcissistic leaders and Dependent followers, the belief of the members in the righteousness of their cult is parallel to the Narcissist’s belief in their own greatness.  Just as dysfunctional families led by Narcissistic parents can breed Narcissists for children, the constant emotional torment of a childhood with Narcissistic parents can lead to Dependent Personality Disorder.  Growing up in a dysfunctional environment normalizes the dysfunctional relationship when Narcissists and Dependents meet later in life.

Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder feed off of attention, especially from those who enable their grandiose image of themselves.  People with Dependent Personality Disorder need others to enable their state of eternal dependence.  When Narcissists and Dependents meet, they can fall into a dangerous cycle of enabling each other’s disordered beliefs.  Narcissists see the Dependent as less than themself and in comparison, themselves as grand.  The Dependent supports these ideas by believing that they themselves are inadequate, and need someone like the Narcissist to direct them.  They see the Narcissist as the grandiose facade the Narcissist projects, tending to fawn over the greatness of this leader.  The Narcissist, feeding on this attention, allows the Dependent person to continue their self-sabotaging concept of themselves as “less than” others in the world.

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A Mean Microcosm

A microcosm of the relationship between these two disorders (Narcissistic and Dependent) can be seen in the archetypal roles of bullies and their lackeys.  I picked the above screen capture for this post very intentionally: the characters Regina George and Gretchen Wieners from the movie Mean Girls are a sterling example of this relationship.  For those unacquainted with the movie, a 15-year-old girl named Cady, having previously only been homeschooled while her parents studied large cats in Africa, suddenly enters high school in the States.  She is accidentally inducted into “the Plastics” — the group of popular (and mean) girls at the school.

The Plastics go by inane rules such as the above “Wednesdays we wear pink,” and are led by Regina George, who is referred to as “the Queen Bee”.  Regina’s #1 lackey is Gretchen Wieners.  Gretchen truly believes in Regina’s perfection and constantly seeks her approval.  She tells Cady how Regina declared hoop earrings “hers” so Gretchen can no longer wear the ones her parents bought her.  Gretchen repeatedly tries to promote the slang word “fetch” which Regina uses as an opportunity to berate her.  Even at the end of the movie, while the other previous Plastics members find new identities in themselves, Gretchen is only able to move on by finding a new Queen Bee to serve.  

Of course, Mean Girls is a comedy, and the storylines are exaggerated, but sometimes the exaggeration of comedy makes these kinds of behavior patterns visible (it also gives us an opportunity to laugh about people like those who have been mean to us, which can be very healthy!).  Anyone who has been a part of a group like the Plastics can tell you the pattern of Narcissistic leader and Dependent follower is very real.  Any group that has a Narcissistic view of themselves as a whole, such as “we are popular, everyone likes us” or “we are saving people, everyone should thank us”, breeds these dichotomic relationships and falls on the spectrum of cults.  

From Personal Experience

While I was never a “popular” kid in school, I was a member of a martial arts school for 8 years that preached women’s empowerment, yet internally had the exact same social structure as the Plastics.  The name of the school was Valley Women’s Martial Arts* and their tagline was “Institute for Healing and Violence Prevention” — rather funny as they actually prevent healing!  The head instructor was a textbook Narcissist: she expected to be recognized as special, desired constant admiration, secretly envied others, was obsessed with fantasies of spiritual greatness, was largely unempathetic, and extremely arrogant.  She behaved much like a Narcissistic parent, always playing favorites and manipulating her students.  I watched her use karate promotions to get between siblings and scapegoat other instructors into leaving the school.

The school itself paraded an image of righteous empowerment; the followers of the head instructor deeply believing in the good they were doing and the head instructor deeply believing in how wonderful she was.  The mentality of the school was that all women needed to learn physical self-defense because otherwise, they will go to college and they will get raped (there was a news article quoting members of the school stating just this).  I wholeheartedly support teaching self-defense to anyone who wants to learn, as it’s a great life skill, but I can’t stand fear mongering of this sort.  It simultaneously blames potential victims for not being a part of their cult-like world and promotes themselves as the saviors of women.  Being a martial arts school in Western Massachusetts, there was plenty of bastardized Eastern philosophy mixed in with the self-defense lessons.  When discussing my history with this martial arts school with my therapist, we frequently use the phrase “Spiritual Narcissist” to describe the head instructor — I find it to be painfully accurate.

For several years while I was taking classes at this school, there was an older girl who violated multiple boundaries of mine.  Her behavior was in the area of verbal and sexual abuse.  She herself had been abused, and was only five years older than myself.  For this girl, I have mostly compassion.  Yes, her behavior was wrong, but it was all she was taught, and I can no longer expend the energy to be angry with her.  She left town after five years of this nonsense, just after I had turned 15.  It took me two years to begin to understand what had happened, and when I did, I attempted to tell the instructors at the martial arts school about it.  At the time, I was looking for support.  It had not occurred to me my experience pointed out a flaw in the attention of the instructors to the behavior of their young students.

In place of support, I received a backlash I couldn’t have imagined.  I was told the abuse was my fault, because at 14 I didn’t report it.  I was simultaneously told I had made the whole thing up.  The head instructor went so far as to attempt to gaslight me about the age of the abusive older girl, as though a slightly smaller age gap changed the situation dramatically.  Her mantra through the ordeal was “there’s my truth, your truth and ‘the’ truth” — I have since heard other Narcissists rationalize their lying in very similar ways, as they are able to undermine the other person and appear humble all at once.

After disclosing my experience, I was isolated from everyone else at the school.  The head instructor directed me not speak to anyone, and to take time off to prove my sanity.  She demanded I go into therapy, requesting reports from my therapist, and expecting written work from myself on the topic of “what it means to be a survivor” to test the truth of my story.  The reaction was so outrageous, violent, and downright abusive that I left the martial arts school.  It was for the best, and hasn’t stopped me continuing to train elsewhere.  As opposed to the compassion I felt for the older girl who abused me, I have nothing but disdain for the head instructor and her reaction to my disclosure.  The damage done by the original abuse does not compare to the damage done by this head instructor.

More than five years after the incident, I had returned to my hometown and was having a conversation with friends at a local coffee shop.  We were discussing broad topics like neurodiversity and I brought up the conversation with my therapist about the martial arts head instructor and the phrase Spiritual Narcissist.  A week later, a very unstable sounding letter was sent to my mother’s house, harassing me for naming the actions of the school as abusive.  Some of the most Dependent lackeys had eavesdropped on my conversation and reported back to their leader.  I was absolutely stunned that half a decade later these people were still actively trying to stop me from speaking honestly about my experience and their behavior.  That is what all abusers work for: silence.  They can continue their abuse as long as it is not known about, and repress their knowledge of themselves as an abusive person as long as it goes unacknowledged.  Maintaining a false belief (e.g. “we are a good group” “I am a good person”) while repressing the truth (e.g. knowledge of their one’s own abusive behavior) is psychologically exhausting, leaving all of the members of the group in an unstable and vulnerable state.

The Downward Spiral

While the individual members of the group develop Narcissistic and Dependent personality traits, the larger mentality of the group about the group is largely Narcissistic.  The “knowledge” that they are a good group doing good things, the excessive rationalizing of the beliefs they know to be unfounded, and repression of anything that contradicts said belief are the same traits possessed by individual Narcissists.  A Narcissist believes they are great, even as they behave horrendously.  The Narcissist believes that since they are a perfect person, all of their actions must be excusable.  Similarly, a cult-minded group shares the belief that they are a good group, with good objectives, and that any means the group chooses must be similarly good.  The group uses this logic to repress feelings of guilt and shame about actions that violate their individual ethics.

Possessing an intense and unrelenting belief in the inherent morality of their group, cult members will go to any lengths to rationalize the mentality and behavior of themselves and the leader.  Just as a Narcissistic parent will blatantly throw a child into a stereotyped role such as “golden child” or “scapegoat”, the Narcissistic cult stereotypes their opponents.  Scapegoated enemies allow the cult to bask in a sense of moral goodness and righteousness, feeling inflated pride in the mission of their group, just as an individual Narcissist will compare themselves to someone they perceive as “less” and take great glee in a sense of superiority.

While the Narcissistic leader buys into their own delusional invulnerability and perfection, the members see themselves as less than the leader, buying into the idea that they somehow need the leader to direct them.  The excessive false love for the self or leader encourages odd and risky behavior to maintain this belief of invulnerability and perfection.  Just as an individual Narcissist rationalizes and represses their bad behavior in favor of their facade of perfection, the collective discounts ideas that could lead to individual members reconsidering their commitment to the group.  The Narcissistic leader aides this repression by rewriting history and facts, spinning a complex web of lies and distortions.  The Dependent Personality Type followers are able to soothe their anxiety-driven need for attention and approval by following the Narcissistic leaders example, being praised by the Narcissist for supporting the Narcissist.  Thus the Dependent followers encourage the Narcissistic leader’s perceived excellence and the Narcissistic leader encourages the Dependent follower’s need for attention.

In the case of the martial arts studio, the members believed so deeply in the larger goal of the organization and the enlightenment of the leader, they were unable to see actions of their leader for what they were.  Not wanting to integrate the knowledge that their school had failed in its mission to help victims and instead had a leader blatantly accusing victims of lying and deserving abuse, most turned a blind eye to the situation.  The cult-like mindset of this martial arts school had most of the members under the impression that simply by being under this instructor, they were receiving some kind of special teaching.  There was an unquestioned belief that the school was inherently moral and that the head instructor would lead them to further enlightenment and empowerment.  A sense that the leader could take them to greatness in a way that they could not teach themselves, because the leader was more than they were.

Prior to any of the aforementioned dramatics at this school, I was involved in a blatant episode of favoritism by the leader.  She did not favor me, instead casting me as the scapegoat, and another young student as the golden child.  She allowed this student to be promoted when she was not capable of performing the required tasks, sometimes skipping levels of promotion that no other students were allowed to skip.  When I wrote a short letter to the head instructor and other primary instructors asking why this was happening, intense pressure was placed upon me to “let it go” and stop discussing it.  I was labeled immature and jealous.  Had I wanted to succeed at that school any longer, it was obvious I would have needed to censor my own thoughts when they deviated from the collective consensus to avoid being pigeonholed.

All of the behaviors and mentalities I have described above, while related to my own experience with a cult-like environment, are accurate for the more extreme “true” cults as well.  One of the things that these more extreme “true” cults have going for them is complete isolation of their members, who are all living in a self-contained environment.  While this martial arts school was not isolated in the same way, it was within an environment in Western Massachusetts that often caters these kinds of “Spiritual Narcissists” and in fact the head instructor was, for a time, celebrated for her work in the community.  Environments that act as magnets for Narcissistic behavior tend to be small self-contained areas with a tendency towards extreme viewpoints.

To increase the feeling of exclusivity and specialness, cult-like groups often use their own terminology.   At the martial arts school, the terminology they chose to use, when not garbled Japanese names for martial arts moves, was largely appropriated from the vocabulary of abuse survivors themselves.  In fact, it was so well appropriated, everyone who walks through their door at first buys the group’s state of vicitmhood.  The extremely dangerous part about this, is that survivors of abuse are vulnerable people and it can be easy for the Narcissistic leader to sell themselves as the good person they pretend to be.

In these Narcissistic cult-like groups, the leader and followers are in an eternal state of depending on and enabling one another.  The Narcissist needs the followers to enforce their grandiose sense of self, and the Dependents needs their leader to fawn over and be directed by.  From the outside looking in on these groups, it would seem as though the followers are the more dependent ones, but as the students in Mean Girls explain, Regina George would be nothing without her “army of skanks” and so wouldn’t every Narcissistic leader be nothing without their followers.  It is large-scale co-dependence.  

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I’ll of course be writing more about Narcissists, Personality Disorders, Complex PTSD, and cultures and places that cater to Personality Disorders.  I may also return to this idea of Narcissistic Cults, and how beliefs and behaviors of Personality Disorders get translated into a group mentality.

I am always interested in hearing other’s stories about Narcissists — if you have had an experience with a crazy leader of a cult-like group (or cult-like family — much of what I have described in this post happens in dysfunctional familes too), please tell it in the comments!  As I mentioned in this post, abusers thrive when their abuse is kept silent.  Survivors of abuse should decide for themselves what they are comfortable sharing, but the more abuse is discussed out in the open, the less people like my Narcissistic martial arts instructor can get away with their actions.

*As stated on my policies page, I am not interested in using this blog as a platform to target anyone, therefore I have not used any people’s names. However, given the severity of the dysfunction at this particular school, I feel it is actually very important to name it. Others seeking a safe space to learn self-defense and find healing and empowerment deserve to know that this school is decidedly unsafe.