December 31, 2017
by Julie Ann Collins
I don’t make New Years resolutions.
It is my belief that New Years’ resolutions have been designed since time immemorial to set you up for disappointment, and it puts you at a negative starting position. When you’re always trying to achieve past resolutions that you’ve always failed, you fall into this trapped loop, chastising yourself for years of unfulfilled resolutions, and the cycle of failure repeats itself. You can never really start from zero when you’re always trying to catch up to the years of resolutions you’ve neglected.
Instead, I prefer to reflect on what I’ve learned in the past year. And this year, 2017, was all about diagnoses. And what I’ve discovered is a dark diagnosis indeed.
On a personal note, I learned that most people have narcissistic, sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies and they feed this part of themselves with an insatiable lust to destroy others’ emotions, lives, income opportunities, self esteem, trust in humanity, trust in family and even trust in the self. This is done through scapegoating, gas-lighting, projection, triangulation and blame. It is my sincere hope that each and every person reading this researches these terms and learns them as well as you know your alphabet. For it is your future, and you need to know how to diagnose it when it is happening to you.
I made this diagnosis the hard way when Joe Quinn, a self serving judge in San Francisco, slapped me with a restraining order for writing the truth about how San Francisco sets up the disenfranchised to be even more marginalized. I further learned this truth when a long term acquaintance who could gain no possible benefit from lying about me, lied about me after she had stolen my personal property. I further learned the depths of depravity of a person’s human nature when my roommate of seven years conspired with this acquaintance to build a fabricated case against me, for a measly $800.00. Because of these three, for nearly the entirety of 2017, a portion of my freedom was taken away from me. Everywhere I went in the City, I was always looking over my shoulder, worried that one of these three would be there, ready to pounce and accuse me of violating the order against me, and such violations would cost me my actual freedom: up to five years in prison.
In 2017 I was able to diagnose myself with complex post traumatic stress disorder: I hid in closets every single time the apartment door buzzer was pushed (in an apartment building with 12 units, two or three occupants in each unit, you can imagine how many times the buzzer rang for food deliveries, visitors, package deliveries, etc.) thinking it was them, or the capricious judge or even the SFPD to come after me over some fabricated nonsensical, even ludicrous accusations. After all, their outlandish lies had cost me a portion of my freedom. What other fantasy would they concoct to further bully, intimidate and in their wildest hopes and malicious desires, incarcerate me?
In 2017 I also learned what it meant to be the family scapegoat.
At age 7 I was diagnosed with dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disorder that incapacitates muscles, inflames skin and causes the immune system to go into hyper-drive. In 2017, I learned that this diagnosis is due to narcissistic abuse, and trans-generational stress disorders that are left undiagnosed and untreated from the care-giver, or parent. Children are diagnosed with dermatomyositis, never adults. Most likely this disorder, absolutely caused by stress, happened in-utero.
I learned this bombshell of a truth: my childhood diagnosis of Dermatomyositis and subsequent lifetime of treatments from chemotherapy to a range of steroidal treatments, to various surgeries and anomalies in my health were a direct result of the massive amounts of abuse and stress that my parent (mother) was under. Her lifetime of abuse then translated into narcissism and she was always the martyr of the family in her adult years, with no consideration at how her untreated mental and emotional issues directly contributed to my diagnosis. As an infant, my small body went into “flight or fight” mode and inflamed when I took on my single mother’s own tragic, unrealized stress.
Until finally at age 7, I had gone into collapse. Thinking I had a very bad flu, or an allergic reaction of some sort, I was ambulanc-ed to Stanford Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with Dermatomyositis. In my intake interviews I was asked if my parents (at age 2 my mother married the man who raised me, but never adopted me. In truth, the only father I ever knew.) abused me. Looking at the nurse, at age 7 not really understanding what child abuse was, I said “No.”
However, In 2017, I learned that narcissistic abuse, although it leaves no trace of bruising or broken bones, can actually kill a person. Narcissistic abuse almost always comes when the abuser has been abused themselves. A phrase that you hear often in the community of support is “hurt people, hurt people.”
For most of 2017, I was engaged to be married to a man I met in 2012. We married in November 2017. Upon announcing my engagement, my immediate family showed no interest, except mouthing lackluster support with no real indication that they wished to be a part of my happy occasion. This triggered me, their scapegoat, into asking “Why are you not interested?” The “why” question then triggered them into finding an excuse to go on the attack. How dare I ask a question.
I was attacked for asking “Why?”, accused of things that were not true, a veritable firing squad of my supposed treacherous words and deeds peppered me in a letter that seemed as ludicrous and malevolent and preposterous as my former roommate who had lived peacefully with me for seven years, suddenly accusing me, someone who had spent the majority of her life finding it difficult to walk, as being an intimidating hulking physical presence. My own mother sent me a FedEx on my birthday and in the FedEx envelope was a card that read “I won’t be attending your wedding. Wishing you the best.”
In 2017, I learned that most of my family were just as sociopathic, and narcissistic as the various people I’ve in met my entire life who I have allowed to sabotage me at work, thus resulting in me either being let go or forced to quit, I’ve allowed friends and acquaintances to steal everything from my jewelry to large amounts of cash to apartments to various vehicles of transportation. You noticed that I said “who I have allowed to.”
As devastating as it was to come to this realization that I came from and lived in a family that secretly and covertly labeled me the scapegoat, thus setting the tone for a lifetime of incomprehensible tragedy that comes with being a scapegoat, I also realized in 2017 that I allowed it. At first, I was unknowingly complicit in the covert abuse that comes with narcissistic sociopathic parenting. But as I got older, I started to feel an uneasy feeling that my two half brothers were treated with favor, and anytime I brought it up, I was chastised and told that it wasn’t true. Yet, the actions all around me proved that it actually was true. ( I could go into a litany of examples of how my half brothers were treated with favoritism and could seem to get away with anything, while I was punished for the most minor of transgressions but I’ll offer you just one: For instance, I argued with my parents about something when I was a teenager. I imagine I had a good point, and made sense, whatever it was. This infuriated them, so I was forced to eat a bar of soap for an hour. I digress.)
By the time I knew it to be an actual, proven fact that my half brothers were treated favorably I was in my 30’s and you would think this a-ha! moment would have pushed me into a gutsier role, shedding the role of scapegoat and putting a stop to their covert abusive ways. Instead, I did just the opposite. I gave one of the half brothers $1500.00. He continued to treat me with disdain. I paid for my mother to enjoy a trip to Europe and she continued to pretend she was interested in my life, when really I was nothing more than a supply for her narcissistic tendencies. As long as I was around, she could continue to martyr herself. And, I continued to travel the 3200 miles every year to see the family, spending my money I didn’t have just to insert myself into their lives. Once I brought a boyfriend with me. He quite bluntly said, “Your family doesn’t treat you like a daughter or sister. They treat you like a friend they have to tolerate.” Ouch. But still, I ignored even this bold truth. And, they still shunned me. Furthermore, there was always tension when I would visit and I never knew why. I always felt that just because I was breathing and on the planet that I was somehow doing something off-putting in their eyes, so I was constantly scrambling for their approval. The reality is when you show yourself to a group of narcissists and they see your true nature which isn’t as bad as they’ve made you out to be, there’s a tension in the air. At first, I didn’t understand that tension. But now I do. My mere presence was poking holes in their theories about me and they didn’t like it.
For a decade or so, I was complicit in my own abuse. It wasn’t until 2017, that I realized this complicity was the key to my own downfall. I never considered myself a victim, but the victimization that seemed to define me, was taking hold of my life. The only way I could stop this continued victimization was to cut the cancerous connection off. In 2017, I went something called “no contact” with my family.
2017 also brought a larger more broad revelation about society, culture, politics and the world in which we live. In the dawn of 2017, I learned that Barack Obama was one of the most capricious, sociopathic presidents ever. His administration has caused the plight of our society, even the plight of the planet. I learned in 2017, what better way to dis-assemble our Constitution of the United States than to install a Constitutional lawyer as President of the United States to do so.
The austerity programs, the sociopathy, the hubris, the fake persona in front, versus the calculated machinations behind curtains is the perfect platform for two types of people: a kindly democratic socialist who believes when we all do better we all do better, or an engorged reality TV star.
The person in office is the person that reflects the depravity of the American mindset, it’s very consciousness, and corrupted ideology: We are a country of narcissists who don’t have the capacity to self reflect.
2017 brought the sobering reality that everything from personal freedoms to habeus corpus is gone. Our ever increasing militarized police presence on the globe and even in our own American communities was a 2017 revelation that caused every American to suffer extreme anxiety in their daily life. We are gaslighted, lied to, projected upon, manipulated, used, marginalized and splintered.
Throughout this last year, the slow horrifying realization that our splintering is designed to keep us weak, terrified, reactionary and complicit to a very small malicious group that has large swaths of money and power, has been enough of a wake up call for me, one frog in the pot, to jump out of the slow boil of our demise.
This realization has brought about a rapid evolution. Just a few short years ago I was a conservative Christian Republican that believed, for example, the world’s homeless were just lazy. Now I am a non religious non political-identitarian with anarchist leanings, if you have to label me.
In the same way a Barack Obama presidency and all its programs insisted upon and paved the way for Donald Trump, the austerity and psychopathy of Empire paved the way for me me to a necessary radical change and self discovery and an adamant, obstinate refusal to comply to my own abuse, whether at the family dinner table or in the voting booth. I’m not going to partake in a system that gaslights me, gives me false hope, toys with my emotions, wastes my precious resources of time and money and then scapegoats me.
One last revelation in 2017 is one that sits like an uneasy, undigestible cold rock in the pit of my stomach. We are told as children that we are inherently good, that when it comes down to it human beings, if they can get over their isms, or get out of their own way, can come together in a loving, supportive community. In 2017 I realized this inner goodness, this inner light, doesn’t actually exist. But in order for society to remain orderly and not devolve into chaos and ruin, religion and the child-like belief system that there is good in the world had to be a sort of psychological suggestion to keep us compliant, kind and even complicit. This complicity is directly related to the “lesser of two evil” scenarios that we are often faced with in our daily lives. Truth is, we are not good. We are not light. It is in our nature to devour each other and if we didn’t have this pacifying, suggestive idea whispered to us in our childhood it would be mob rule.
In closing, 2018 will come down hard on us like an anvil on our heads. Your reality, as you’ve always known it, is about to change. Your old belief system needs a re-boot, an update, your IDPOL bullshit needs to get tossed. Those that are in charge, whether they are your parents or whether they are someone like Jeff Sessions, or Bernie Sanders, do not care about you. You are a game to them, to toy with, use as a prop for their agenda, scapegoat and force into complicity. Like a narcissistic parent, your birth is not wholly unique or a blessing on the planet. Your birth and existence is nothing more than an extension for their own unrealized capricious agendas.
The hardest thing I had to do was diagnose myself in 2017, and this diagnosis did make me harder, more caustic, less trusting, more cynical, but it also made me see those who are self reflecting and how they too are at least willing to see how we live in a post-good, post-Constitutional, self serving narcissistic world. I can see those people very clearly now where before they were dimly lit in my world view. And the truly despicable people who had bamboozled and swindled me, are dead to me.
And in 2018, my sincerest hope is that they will be dead to you too.