photography, Self-Portrait, personal

My New Blog Home!

I've been on LiveJournal since May, 2006. It's amusing - my first post says "don't expect too much, I don't have time to keep this updated." Since then, I've gotten ... prolific. But recently LiveJournal moved its servers to Russia (having been bought by a Russian company quite a long time ago). Now, it's subject to Russian laws.

Specifically, it has 1 provision that affects me and 1 provision that could potentially affect me: according to Russian law, any blog or community read by more than 3,000 readers is considered a 'publication' and is subject to State controls on publications, including the provision that the blogger or moderator is legally liable under Russian law for any content posted by any user; and blogs are prohibited from "perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation."

I don't think that I have more than 3,000 readers, so I don't think I'm considered a "publication" by their standards, although I might someday have that many readers, or maybe I do and I'm just not aware of it.  I don't think of myself as being that big of a name. But Russia does have some laws regarding content. The Russian "gay propaganda law" forbids discussion of "sexual deviancy," which includes LGBTQ issues and "propaganda of non-traditional relationships" is forbidden by this law.

Now, I don't think I'm in any real legal danger here. I seriously doubt I'm going to be arrested or sent off to Russia to stand trial or anything. But my LiveJournal blog could just up and disappear someday.  And, frankly, that's been a possibility for a while, although not for reasons of archaic and barbaric "sexual deviancy" laws.

I've been wanting to move away from LJ for some time now, mainly because people keep telling me that it's an outdated platform. Which I think is a shame, because it does everything I ever wanted in a blog. It keeps a running log of my posts, it archives them, it allows comments and gives me control over comments, it gives me design control, it's free, it doesn't take up the limited server space that I pay for on my website, and it also gives me a convenient way to follow the blogs of other people. It's basically Facebook before there was Facebook with more personalization.

But every time I looked into moving my journal over to another platform, I came across technical problems. Until recently, there was no good way to copy everything from LJ (posts, comments, design style, user icons, permissions, etc.) and set it back up on another platform. There were some clunky ways to do it, but I always seemed to hit a wall - this exporter stopped at X number of posts, that exporter didn't get comments, this other platform refused to accept my LJ password even though it's supposed to transfer from one to the other ... stuff like that.

I was able to find an archival service that could back up my posts on my own hard drive, but I had other problems getting that archive to upload somewhere else. And there were a couple of other options that were just above my technical expertise, so when looking at the long set of instructions, my eyes bugged out and I just gave up.

But with this new Russian law thing, I was motivated to look once again and this service was recommended to me. Dreamwidth offered a built-in exporter/importer that grabs all the content I wanted it to grab and actually worked, unlike some other platforms that just kept telling me that my username or password to LJ was incorrect when it wasn't. It's a free service, and it appears to have a similar "friends list" sort of reader for other Dreamwidth users. Not that I really have time to keep up with a blog reader in addition to my FB and Twitter streams (which most people use to link to their blog posts anyway). But still, I like the option.  Which means that if you have a Dreamwidth account, hit me up with it and I can follow you back.

So, for now, Dreamwidth is my new blog home and you can find it at I have it set up to cross-post to LJ, which is also set up to automatically tweet links to new entries. If I can figure out a way to cross-post directly from here to Twitter, I will do that instead of tweeting my LJ.  But comments are turned off on LiveJournal so if you want to comment, you'll have to come to the Dreamwidth site, which uses OpenID so that even people without a Dreamwidth account can still participate (a plus over LJ). If you choose to link to one of my blog posts, please use the Dreamwidth URL from now on. I *think* I have it set to include the Dreamwidth link on the LJ cross-post, but if not, I will.  I still have to go through all my 1,300+ posts and manually update links to LJ posts so that they now go to my DW posts, so that's a long-term project still in the works.

Also, Dreamwidth is still, as of this posting, importing all the comments from my past posts. Their servers have been working overtime lately with the mass exodus from LJ and things are taking longer than normal. As it was, I had to wait in the queue for about 40 hours before the blog posts imported.

As always, my website is and links to my blog and my most commonly used social media can be found there. I have accounts on most social media but I only use Facebook, Twitter, and my blog regularly. But if you want to find me somewhere, search for Joreth, Joreth Innkeeper, or some variation on The InnBetween.

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.
Purple Mobius, polyamory

Physical Touch Love Language And Long Distance #5LoveLanguages

I’ve been writing a lot about Touch Starvation lately. Touch is one of my Love Languages. I have all kinds of baggage wrapped up in it, and, in fact, have been working on an adjacent theory about how emotional trauma affects the expression and repression of Love Languages. But that’s for another time.

What do you do when Touch is one of your LLs and your partner(s) is/are long distance? The last time I gave my 5LL workshop, someone asked me that question. Because of my baggage, I didn’t have a good answer, so I threw it out to the audience for brainstorming.  One of the proposed solutions that I managed to remember was to wear a shirt for a couple days and then send it to the partner so they could wear something that smells like you and vice versa. Preferably a soft shirt, something with pleasant tactile qualities.

Fast forward some time and after I announced our marriage plans, a metamour started working on a set of beautiful matching quilts for us, so we could have something tangible and symbolic of our relationship while apart. This combined the Touch LL with the Gift Giving LL and threw in some metamour bonding and was related to the theme of our wedding which was about the strength of partnerships being tied to the interconnectedness of the supportive family network.

So now, a couple years later, I find myself in strong NRE with a long distance partner at the peak of some Touch Starvation. I’m operating on a deficit of Touch already and all I want to do is be near him all the time. What to do?

As we’re getting to know each other, I’m slowly learning his LLs and his particular quirks and needs and limitations. The first night after I came home from my first visit to him, he remarked about “my” side of the bed still smelling like me. That stuck in my brain.  And then it hit me. I don’t exactly remember the order of events, did I think of this right then when he said that, or later at the fabric store or somewhere in between?

I came up with Long Distance Pillows. I’m quite sure I’m not the first to think of this. But I’ve never heard of them so someone else probably needs to hear of this too.

I know he likes soft things. I know he likes to sleep with pillows to cuddle. I know we both like Touch and that I, at least, am Touch Starved. I know he notices scent (not everyone does). So I found some very tactile-favorable fake fur material and made 2 small pillows.

two furry pillowsThe pillow of Me is solid black fur with little paw prints running up one edge, because I think of myself as a cranky black alley cat - a little rough around the edges, a little weather-worn, a little dark, but soft and lovable when I choose to be. He does not abstract himself in that way. He does not associate part of his identity with colors or animals or other symbols. So I picked a grey fur that matches my decor for the pillow of Him.

Then I slept with the pillow of Me for a month. When I went to visit him the next time, I revealed my surprise and my plan. He would sleep with Him and I would sleep with Me for the week, getting our respective scents on our respective pillows. Then I would go home, taking Him with me and leaving Me with him.

We could then have something soft to cuddle while we’re apart that reminds us of each other. When we get back together, we’ll swap pillows for the time we’re together and do it again.

A few days after I made the pillows, I was in a store and I found fake fur pillows just like the ones I was making. At first I was a little disappointed that I could have just bought a couple of pillows and saved some time. But then I realized that I like the fact that I hand made ours. In addition to putting in a zipper so they can be cleaned or the inner pillow can be replaced later and the little detail of the paw prints for Me, these are things I made myself with love and intent. That means something to me.

So, here is something that hits my Physical Touch LL, particularly the dialects of tactile sensation, scent, and sleep cuddling (which I like emotionally, but physically I have some challenges with), addresses, in part, some of my Touch Starvation, and hits my Gift Giving LL, particularly the dialects of tangible items representing thoughts I had of the person while apart and of creating which may overlap with Acts of Service as I use my skills to do something useful that I’m good at to meet an unmet need for someone.

So I share this for anyone who might find it a helpful idea. If you are not a crafty person, you can buy a pillow or blanket. If money is an issue, you can send a clothing item that you already own either to give them something with your scent or to have them wear it and send it back - depending on what you have and your individual circumstances.

You can even turn old t-shirts and other clothes into pillows and blankets if you are moderately crafty and want to save money. Some methods don’t even require sewing, you just fill the shirt and tie the openings shut. Check out no sew pillows on YouTube. This might be a good idea for those who have certain sentimental items like a concert shirt you got at a show you went to together or something. Even paper items can be turned into quilt squares (I’m not a quilter so I don’t know how but I’ve seen it done) so, like, love notes or doodles on a napkin or stuff like that.

This post was originally posted at

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Super Tech, strong, feminism

Don't Take Out Your Dislike Of Self-Checkout On The Employees

So, as someone who works in retail, this graphic actually really bothers me.  I've seen this posted at least a dozen times in the last couple of weeks, and I'm getting tired of repeating myself, so I'm just going to post this here.

Retail employers do not hire more people based on the amount of work that needs to be done, they hire people based on the amount of money they bring in.

When the store calls for more cashiers to help manage long lines, that means that people who were assigned floor duty have to put their own floor duties on hold to come and ring up.  When the lines go down, our floor duties (namely, "go-backs" - putting away all the shit that customers leave lying all over the store or return at the register) are still there waiting for us, only now we have less time to complete our tasks - tasks which have continued to build up in our absence (it's not like people *stop* leaving shit all over the store when we go up to the registers).

Meanwhile, as all the floor people leave the floor to manage the registers, all the shoppers in the store looking for an employee to help them find something or ask a question are left bereft.  So this also hurts the other customers.

Making more work for us does not help us.  We don't get more help, we get less time to do more work.

I, for example, am required to help customers who come to my custom framing counter, while also building the frames before their due date, putting away go-backs for the 3 sections of the store closest to my counter, helping customers find things no matter where in the store they are located even if they're all the way across the store in departments that I don't know very well, come up and help at the register when the line gets too long, take out the trash, sweep the floor at night, and now I get to handle "buy online, pick up in store" orders because management decided to get in on this whole internet thing where people don't have the time to actually shop so they order stuff on our website and *we* have to play Personal Shopper and go pull everything for them so that they can just run in and pick it up.

They just keep adding to my duties, but not hiring more people.

If you want retail stores to hire more people, you have to give them more money.  If they have already put in automated registers, we have already lost that company - they do not want to hire more people and making more money will not change their mind at this point, it'll just justify their decision to install self-checkout registers.  You have to give money to companies who have ethical hiring practices and reward them for socially conscious decisions.

Look, you can feel irritated or resentful of companies who are investing in automation at the expense of hiring employees - thanks Capitalism!  You can also feel irritated or resentful at the idea of doing the "work" of an employee "for free".

But this all sounds a lot like the complaints of Oregonians freaking out about having to pump their own gas - the rest of the country pumps our own gas and have for years.  Some drivers have never even known a world where someone else pumps gas for us.  Most of the rest of us thought that the reaction in Oregon to losing their full service at gas stations was ridiculous, pampered, entitled, and elitist.

Maybe we were wrong.  Maybe we should be expecting companies to continue to provide people to do things for us.

Or maybe the entire system is fucked up, and we should be encouraging more automation alongside of better social safety nets so that we develop a culture where automation is sign of wealth and prosperity of the nation, not a complete abandonment of its people.

In the meantime, while we await this magical society that takes care of its people because we can afford to once we have all the robots to do all the jobs for us, giving low-paid, over-worked, menial employees more work to do is not the best form of support for us.  Our employers will not respond to the more work with more help.  They respond by insisting we meet the rising work demands with the staff we have with not even an increase in pay.

So you're not sending any message that anyone who can do anything about it will hear.  You're just making my day that much harder.

This post was originally posted at

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box

When Power Imbalances Masquerade As Priorities, We Accept Our Own Dismepowerment

A comment in a thread that I ought to archive somewhere. I know I've told this story before, but fuck if I can remember where it is now.

This is in response to Person A who is interested in Person B, but Person B is partnered and the partner pre-vetoes Person A. There is this idea that the person who just got vetoed should not have any bad feelings about it because they were never a partner to begin with, and any pre-existing partners should always get priority over people who aren't even partners yet at all.

I've heard this story a hundred times, and, as far as I'm concerned, all it does is serve to train people that their wants and needs are not important, so that when they do finally get into relationships, they are already accustomed to being doormats and can accept second-class citizenship in little bite-sized pieces until they are completely subsumed by an abusive relationship.

First, your wants don't matter because you're not even a partner. Next, your wants don't matter because you just barely started dating (the old "of course a new partner isn't equal to a spouse! You wouldn't sign over the mortgage to someone on a first date, would you?!" response). Then, your wants don't matter because, although you've been dating a while, you're still the "newer" partner. And, of course, your wants don't matter later because you signed up to be a "secondary", so even if you end up dating for a decade, you're still never as important as the "primary", who may actually be "newer" than you.

It's a slippery slope that is not a logical fallacy in this case because it's actually how this mindset plays out. So here is my commentary to that:

That whole "I'm not yet a partner, so it should be OK to prioritize an existing partner over someone who isn't a partner at all" can muddy the waters pretty well.  That's why I take it out of the immediate situation and look more at the patterns and the philosophy.  It's not about how he's treating me, it's about what he thinks is acceptable and what isn't.  He's not just putting *me* on hold in favor of an existing partner, he's putting *himself* on hold in favor of someone else.  He's voluntarily giving someone power over his autonomy *and he thinks that's OK*.

In addition, I have a bias that this particular method is not actually a successful one in terms of building security.  So he'd be doing all this agency-denying crap for no reason, because it doesn't solve whatever problem it's being used to solve.

To give an extreme example, take my abusive ex:

He had such massive insecurity that even the mere thought of his wife being interested in someone else would literally send him into a catatonic panic.  His method of dealing with this insecurity was to infringe on his wife's agency by not allowing her to do specific sexual acts until he desensitized himself to the idea.  He actually used PTSD treatment language, as if him self-diagnosing as PTSD justified this.

So, his wife started dating someone but she couldn't kiss this new boyfriend until her husband (my abusive ex) first visualized it without going catatonic.  Then she could kiss the new guy but only when her husband was present, until he could watch them kiss without going catatonic.  Finally, she was allowed to kiss her own boyfriend without an audience.

Then, he had to visualize her open-mouth kissing ... and go through the whole process again.  Then he had to visualize the new bf touching his wife's breasts over the clothing ... etc. etc.  They literally built an excel spreadsheet and ranked every single sexual act and sexual position to keep track of what she was allowed to do with her bf and whether she could do it without an audience or not.

The thing is that my abusive ex *did*, over time, get accustomed to each specific act.  So over time, the wife racked up a whole list of specific sex acts that she could do with her bf that didn't send her husband into a catatonic tailspin.

They saw this as "growth" and "improvement".

What they never understood is that the *process itself* was harmful because he *never* reached the point where he recognized that he was denying her agency or imposing on her autonomy.  They both just saw a growing list of specific things that didn't freak him out and said "see? It works? He's getting better! He's becoming more secure!"

But he *wasn't* because *every new thing* still freaked him out and he still had to go through the process every single time.  He never learned security. He learned that infringing on his wife's autonomy was justifiable.

I didn't see this pattern at the beginning because 1) he deliberately kept the details of this method from me when we started dating, and 2) I didn't want that kind of power over anyone and said so, and he insisted that our relationship would be different from the one he had with his wife, and it was ... until it wasn't.

Just by coincidence and the way my own libido works, I happened to not be interested in a new person for the next couple of years, so his wife's relationship with her boyfriend kept "growing", and I didn't have my own new partner to challenge him.  When I finally did develop an interest in someone new, he fell back on old patterns, as one tends to do when one is mired deep in fear.  He tried to insist that, not only he but our *entire network* needed to give approval to any new partner I had before I became sexual with that new partner.  Because the underlying premise never changed - that anyone should have the power to infringe on another person's agency.

That does *not* work for me.

So I resisted. In the ensuing argument, he revealed to me that he had grown interested in this other woman, let's call her Chloe.  Years ago, I had a partner who had tried dating Chloe.  It was a disaster.  She has some of the worst communication skills of anyone I've ever met.

In the early days of our relationship, when we were still getting to know each other and exploring and explaining how we each do things, I had mentioned that I cannot be metamours with her.  I would not tell anyone that they couldn't date her, but if someone that I was dating *did* date her, I could not date them anymore.

So, later, when he became interested in dating her, he chose not to date her in deference to me. He *used* this in our later arguments to convince me that I should defer to him with my new partner.  He insisted that, because he gave up a relationship for me, I should be willing to do the same thing.

I was *horrified* that he would have passed up a relationship that *he wanted*, without even talking to me about it, just because he thought I would say no.

He also brought up another partner that he *did* end up dating, whom I'll call Sierra, pointing out how he waited until he had my approval before dating her.  I told him at the time that I was not giving "approval", that he was free to date or or not as he saw fit.  I thought he understood that he could still choose to date her or not, and that just because I liked Sierra and had no problem with them dating, this was not my "approval", nor my "permission".  But he didn't understand that, because he brought up Sierra, and the fact that he only started dating her because I said it was OK, in this later argument.

So, during this argument, I got mad at him for giving me this power when I explicitly told him that I didn't want it. But especially now because he did this whole self-sacrifice thing without even telling me about it and expected his sacrifice to persuade me to make the same sacrifice in his favor.

Very little infuriates me in a relationship more than "I did this thing for you that you didn't know about and you don't want, so now you have to do the same thing for me!"

So, not only did this whole "put someone else off until security magically appears" not work, it was a sign of a pattern that wove itself very deep into how his relationships work.  The act of denying someone their agency to assuage one's own fears reinforces itself when the fears are temporarily relieved.  All this method does is teach people that denying one's agency is justifiable.  

And it doesn't just teach the people doing the agency-denying either.  It teaches us to accept it from others with small, incremental steps.  Kind of like how abuse works.

This post was originally posted at

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory

An Epiphany About Unicorn Hunters

I just had a minor epiphany.

I was listening to an interview where the straight white dude in the hetero legal marriage who "opened up" (granted, he had an open relationship, but then they closed up when they got "serious" because that's what you're "supposed to do", figured out that didn't work, and opened up again) decided to lecture the poly community on how we treat unicorn hunters.

As he was talking about how hard it is for the poor newbie unicorn hunters, the thought popped into my head "says the straight het dude who is never the target of these people, telling marginalized people how to react to abuse in their communities!"

After conceding that unicorn hunting is "the wrong way", he started bemoaning how mean it is when we tell them that it's the wrong way, that we need to be nicer to them and hand-hold them gently into learning why what they're doing is wrong, because otherwise these couples are going to leave the community and try to do this all by themselves with no guidance.

So I yelled at my speakers "because it's better to not chase away the toxic abusive unicorn hunters but to instead chase away all the single, bi & pan, female-presenting (or female-assumed) people?!"  Because that's totally what happens. There is NO WAY to explain to unicorn hunters "gently" enough that they're doing it wrong, because they don't want to hear that they're doing it wrong, they want validation that they're doing it right and that they're justified in their approach.

I have this problem with religious debates too.  There is absolutely no way to tell someone "I think your god doesn't exist" without them taking it personally, no matter how "nicely" you say it.  There are no "nice enough" words, because the people who are open to hearing that message are not the problem in the first place.

So any group that tolerates unicorn hunting even a little bit ends up sending all the "hot bi babes" into the Relationship Anarchy groups, even though RA is what polyamory was *always supposed to be* (until the fucking couples with their fucking unicorn hunting found us through Montel Williams and took over - there were always hierarchical couples and unicorn hunters but they were not the majority until we reached mainstream exposure and then hordes of "couples opening up" discovered us en masse).

We get to choose: a community that is tolerant of unicorn hunting with very few hot bi babes and very few advanced, experienced polys (because they all got chased away), or a community of experienced polys and newbies who shut up and listen, all of different configurations and dynamics and orientations who feel safe because of the fostered atmosphere of respect for agency.  Because these two groups are not compatible.

It's like those fucking "coexist" stickers - no, we can't fucking "coexist" because one side is toxic and harmful to the other.  BY DEFINITION, the two camps are fundamentally incompatible with each other.

I've been trying to figure out why this is so fucking difficult for people to get.  Even people who recognize how toxic unicorn hunting is, some of them seem to think that there is room for both sides and get all up on their high horse about how "mean" we are to unicorn hunters and how we should be nicer and softly, gently, quietly lead them into seeing other people as motherfucking human beings, not sex toys.

And it occurred to me that this is basically the same thing as white people telling POC that we need to "understand" the plight of the poor rural white folk who voted for Trump, and men telling women that we need to be less strident when we explain feminism, and gay people to be less in-your-face when we demand equal rights, and atheists need to be less "militant" (funny how most of us are also opposed to violence and the military, but whatevs) when we request space for people of other belief systems.

Because we haven't been absolutely STEEPED in their viewpoint from every angle of society, so being mean to them, obviously we just don't *understand* them!

Here's the epiphany:  People who think we need to be nicer to unicorn hunters (completely ignoring the fact that there is a wide spectrum of people and personality types and argument methods that are actually used in unicorn hunting debates) see the *unicorn hunters* as the "persecuted minority" and the queer, uncoupled femmes (and our supporters) as the oppressive dominant majority.

So when someone who has nearly every axis of privilege stacked against them sees for the umpteenth bajillionth time a mostly het, cis, white couple with legal benefits tearing through their community with their homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and couple privilege, and decides they've had enough and tells that couple "ur duin it rong", that couple feels like the white man being ganged up on and cries "reverse racism!" because someone was mean to him once.

That's why we are talking past each other.  No matter how many times we explain it, people who defend the "just be nice to unicorn hunters / hierarchical / abusive / misogynistic / racist / homophobic / transphobic people in our community" position, those are people who see the cis het usually white, COUPLE as the persecuted minority.  And there is no "nice enough" way to explain to them that they're not, as long as they think they are.

They're just going to have to go through the trial by fire that all the rest of us did when our own privilege finally came crashing down on our heads and we learned how to see it.  Seeing one's privilege for the first time, particularly after believing that one is *not* privileged, is a painful, shocking lesson. It's like having ice water thrown over your head.

Except the water is actually lukewarm, you're just all fired up with your own blustering ego, so it all feels too cold by comparison.  It won't start to feel comfortable until you cool from the inside first.

This post was originally posted at

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Flogging, BDSM

Advanced Relationship Skills

Relationship Negotiation 201 -

Me: As a future local partner, you will be subjected to all kinds of movie marathons, many of which include truly terrible movies. That's just part of the relationship contract of being with me.

I probably ought to have included that in the vows, or the prenup or something.

Franklin: I think I knew that when I signed on. I suppose we could make a deal: I’ll put up with your taste in movies if you put up with the fact that I like sex that’s messy and squidgy.

Me: um... maybe bad movie watching isn't so important after all?

#WhenOppositesAttract #TheRealSecretsToASuccessfulLongTermRelationship #GiveAndTake #NoSeriouslyNotWatchingTonsOfBadMoviesWithMeIsKindaADealBreaker

Metamour Relations 302 -

Franklin: Eunice suggested this totally evil idea to torture me! She's trouble.

Me: Ooh, that sounds like fun! I think I'd like to help her with that!

Franklin: You’re terrible! That’s a terrible idea! 😮

Me: I dunno, I thought it sounded like an excellent idea. I shall have to commend Eunice on her creativity.

Franklin: ...

Franklin: That also sounds like a terrible idea. The last thing she needs is someone encouraging her.

Franklin: Wait, scratch that. The last thing I need is someone encouraging her!

Me: Positive reinforcement is an excellent bonding tool.

Franklin: Um...I’m not sure we have the same idea of bonding tools.

Me: I thought you wanted all your partners to get along with each other?

Franklin: Well, there’s getting along, and then there’s “getting along,” if you know what I mean.

Me: This is what polyamory is all about! All of your partners encouraging each other, cheering each other on, helping each other out...

Franklin: I don't recall polyamory being all about ganging up on me!

Me: Details! It's the bigger picture that's important here! All your partners like each other, communicate with each other, and cooperate with each other. See? Helping each other torture you is the pinnacle of successful polyamory!

#ThePolyFamilyThatTorturesTogetherStaysTogether #PolyRoleModels #SchemingAndPlotting #JorethControlThem! #IAmTheyAreDoingExactlyWhatIToldThemToDo! #TheAmorphousSquiggle #TheTangle #SquiggleFunTimes #ClosestKnitKitchenTableInclusiveOpenNetworkEver #WhoSaysSoloPolysDoNotHaveCloseTiesWithMetamours? #MetamoursAreTheBestPartOfPolyamory #BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor #WhenAllOfYourPartnersLikeEachOtherItDoesNotAlwaysGoSoWellForYou #OrItGoesVeryWellForYouDependingOnDefinitions

This post was originally posted at

This blog has been moved to due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

Purple Mobius, polyamory

Once Again, Abusers Are Not Cardboard Villains But They Are Still Abusers

I've said this before, but I just woke up and I have to get ready for work, so I don't feel like taking the time to find the post about it.

Reminder:  Not all gaslighters are cardboard, black-hatted villains, twirling their mustachios and stroking their white cats in their uncomfortable looking armchair, plotting the deliberate crazy-making of their intended victims.  I'd even venture to say that *none* of them are.

We are taught that gaslighting is an appropriate method for dealing with intimate connections who do not behave as we wish.  This is not limited to romantic partners either.  The example I use is that of a tired and harried parent trying desperately to get their child to eat their vegetables.  The toddler says "I don't like broccoli!" and the parent says "yes you do, now eat it!"

That's gaslighting.  That parent is attempting to overwrite the child's feelings by telling the child what they feel.  In the grand scheme of things, this one specific example is minor - I wouldn't call the parent "abusive" over this.  But we learn from a very early age that we can tell other people what they feel, and we can insist that we know them better than they know themselves.

We also all have shitty memories.  Yes, even you with the really good memory, you have a shitty memory too.  Our brains suck.  They do not record reality like a video recorder.  They record *feelings* and *impressions* and general concepts.  And then, when you re-tell something later, that re-telling overwrites the original memory and you remember the event as you just re-told it instead of as it was.

If a person has a shitty memory (which we all do) and also has confidence in their memories, a person without malicious intent can be very likely to insist that an event happened in a way that it did not, in fact, happen.  Combine this with an ingrained acceptance of gaslighting as a cultural practice, and I guaran-fucking-tee that every single one of you has gaslighted people before.  Only I would bet that you don't even remember doing it.

My point is that there are some people who are actually abusive with their gaslighting.  They do it habitually, they do it with malice, they do it with forethought.  But the vast majority of people are somewhere between the occasional, minor gaslighting of the parent just trying to get their kid to eat healthy and the dude deliberately trying to send his wife to the asylum to get her money (the movie where the name came from).

I fully believe that my abusive ex, whom I use as a teaching tool frequently, who had me convinced that his victim was the real abuser, genuinely, sincerely feels that he was the victim in the whole scenario and thinks I'm the evil one for accusing him of abuse.  I believe that he, to this day, does not think his demands to control his partners' behaviour with their other partners to manage his own insecurities, was "abuse", or even "controlling".  I believe that, when he had hours-long arguments with his victim that resulted in her recanting her pain and comforting him instead, I believe that he fully believes that he did not change her reality so that she became so twisted up inside that she couldn't tell what reality was.

So, when I talk about master gaslighters, I'm not trying to guess their motivations or turn them into said cardboard, black-hatted, mustachioed villains.  They are still people with complexity, and I'm quite sure they do not view themselves as the bad guys in the situations I comment on.  It doesn't change the fact that they are saying things that are not true, though, and what they say is turning people against those they are telling the not-truth about.

How or why they do what they do is not my point.  Sometimes, I may believe that I have some kind of insider information that allows me to comment on the how or why, but mostly, I'm just commenting on the what.  And people, especially those with exposure to the SJW communities, are getting REALLY GOOD at some really shitty things.

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demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box

Gaslighters Just Keep Getting Better And Better

[This is a post I made on FB on May 6, 2018]

Y'all, I'm watching a master gaslighter at work.  I thought my ex, who had me convinced that his victim was the real problem, was good.


I then thought that this Missing Stair, who has left a trail of broken victims throughout her city and somehow managed to stage a coup against me which I caught wind of and yet she still convinced half the online poly community that I was unreasonable and on a power trip because I put a stop to the coup, was good.


It's truly impressive to watch a real pro categorically deny ever having done or said things when there exists actual print evidence that they did, and to see people fall one by one, like dominoes, into the pro's camp.  And there's nothing that can be done.  To speak up after the smear campaign has started is to create "drama".  And Hades forbid we have "drama" in our communities!  To keep quiet to avoid "drama" is to allow the accusations to go unchallenged, which makes them believable.

Any attempt at a defense is met with hostility by people who heard the first accusations and have chosen to "believe the victim" rather than look into the situation.  Remember, abusers often use our sympathy and empathy against ourselves.  In our current subculture climate, they can cry "victim" first, and be automatically believed, setting up their victims for a no-win situation and further traumatizing them. 

As far as I can tell, there is no way to tell the difference between a true victim bravely stepping forward to share their story and prevent future abuse, from an abuser crying "victim" first to win over public approval and support and further traumatize their victim, without a thorough, deep dive into the situation, which most bystanders are not in a position to do. 

And the more gaslighters I have the misfortune to meet, the more and more difficulty I have in telling the difference because I keep meeting better and better gaslighters.  They just keep upping their game. 

This one is fucking *good*. 

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Purple Mobius, polyamory

Many Of My Poly Skills Come From My Hetero Mono Family

*sigh* my sister...

So, my family is, like, totally "normal".  They are what we are told we are "supposed" to be: my dad proposed to my mom at her senior prom, they got married right out of high school, are still married, had 2 kids and a series of dogs and raised us in the suburbs.  My sister was "the jock", I was "the brain", my mom came from a lower class immigrant family and moved into middle class, even sent me to private school.  All we lacked was a literal picket fence.

Even our dysfunctions were "normal":  I dropped out of college to work in manual labor, my sister got pregnant in high school and became a single teen mom, but we both mostly stayed out of real trouble and we love our parents.  So my sister is totally not part of any alt communities.  But she really should be.  She has like the most queer-platonic relationship I've ever seen.  Her best friend is the girl who grew up next door to us and they do *everything* together.

After I moved out, when my oldest nibling was a toddler, my sister and our next door neighbor became really close friends, so the neighbor kinda stepped in as an additional parent when I left.  She just adores my niblings and they adore her.  She is unmarried and has applied for adoption.  Even though she has a boyfriend, she is planning on being a single mother.  Perhaps if her boyfriend becomes a husband, he'll also become the adopted kid's father, but she has been planning to adopt for quite some time and is doing everything under the assumption that she will be the sole parent.

Except for my sister.  As soon as my neighbor announced that the adoption application was approved, my sister immediately teared up and shouted "WE'RE HAVING A BABY?!?!"

Once my neighbor gave the go-ahead for my sister to start telling people, she always said it as "*we* are having a baby", and the neighbor seems to be approving, not just tolerating, this perspective.  My sister will be the secondary parent to her best friend's kids, whether she ever has a spouse or not.

And now, my sister is posting pictures from her honeymoon in Cancun.  Guess who's there?  My sister brought her best friend (and her bf) on her honeymoon.

No, she is definitely not poly or bi.  We've had frank discussions of both, and, while my sister understands and accepts both concepts in other people, she says they're not for her.  But she clearly has "alternative" family structures.  Her bestie is also a co-parent and a life-partner, and apparently neither of their straight male romantic partners mind.

I keep saying how all of my alt-family philosophies and skills come from my Christian, hetero, monogamous upbringing.  I also keep saying that very little about polyamory is specific to polyamory.  My sister is proof of both.  She's not poly at all, but she still applies very poly relationship skills and traits to her het-mono life.

Considering that we hated each other as children, have *nothing* in common except a few bands that we like, and are not related by genetics, I think this supports my assertions that there is little about poly that is poly-specific and the sheer diversity of mono families can produce some healthy relationship lessons so that you don't have to be poly to still have decent relationships.

If you just look at a snapshot of our respective lives, my sister actually looks more like the "alternative" one.  I live alone and hardly ever see my partners, so if you only peek at a slice of my life, I would seem to be just a quiet, spinster aunt, while she's the one with tattoos, kids that are not much younger than herself, and what looks like a poly quad and multiple co-parents.

#SeeingPicsOfMySisterPartyingInMexicoApparentlySendsMeOnAPolyPhilosophyTangent #QueerestPolyestStraightMonoWomanEver #ILoveMyFamily #WellMostOfTheTime

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Purple Mobius, polyamory

I'm Just A Jealous Person

Him:  I just don't get how you all keep track of everyone!

Me:  The same way I keep track of all my siblings and cousins. I know who they all are and what I've done with each.

Him:  But it's different when you have a real intimate connection. Then there's jealousy that you don't have with friends or family.

Me:  See, this is what I hate about emotional labor.  You guys are socialized to have women do your emotional labor for you and to only view your sexual partners as "intimate".  Women are socialized to have many intimate connections.  I can have several platonic girlfriends who are all deeply intimate connections, so I know that it feels the same as the connection I have to my romantic partner, sometimes it's a deeper intimacy, even.  If you could develop intimate connections with anyone other than your lover, you'd know that jealousy and all the other emotions exist whether there is sex or not and monogamy doesn't prevent them.

Him:  but don't you all feel sexual jealousy?

Me:  1) yes, but 2) not being poly doesn't prevent anyone from feeling sexual jealousy either.

Him:  But for me, sexual jealousy is this primal, internal, instinctual thing.

Me:  Yeah, all jealousy is like that.  Babies feel jealousy about parents and siblings.  You just happen to attach your feelings of jealousy to sexual activity, but it's still the same jealousy that everyone feels over anything.  Think of it like anger.  Jealousy is just an emotion.  Anger is just an emotion.  Some people are pretty laid back and don't really get angry or upset over much.  Some people get angry over very specific things but they're ok most of the time.

And some people are just Angry.  They see red.  Their anger is primal, and always there.  It's a part of who they are, it's in their identity, they are an Angry Person.

People who get angry have a few choices.  They can choose to only date people who never do anything to make them angry.  They can have random bouts of anger and that's just how a relationship with them goes.  Or they can try and learn some anger management skills and learn how to deal with their anger without making other people responsible for managing them.

But no matter which option they choose, the anger never "disappears".  There is no world in which anger is gone.  People who choose to date only people who never make them angry never lose their anger, they just don't have it triggered very often (but inevitably, *something* will, because nobody is perfect at managing other people's emotions).

People who choose anger management never lose their anger, they just learn how to manage their own emotions and, more importantly, how to choose reasonable behaviours in response to their emotions.

Now imagine that society said that the Angry Person is the default, that this is just how things are, that anger is immutable and fixed, and that all relationships should alter themselves to avoid triggering anger at all costs, and any relationship that allows the kind of behaviour that might make someone feel angry are "weird", "abnormal", and even "immoral", even if the people in those relationships are OK with having that kind of behaviour in their relationships and even if that behaviour doesn't actually trigger any anger in them at all.

Poly people are just normal people with the same range of angry feelings as everyone else but who said "I don't buy that, I think some anger is learned and angry behaviour is excused, and I think that there is a better way to feel and deal with anger."

Him:  See, that's why I admire you poly people.  I'm just a jealous person, so I couldn't do that.

Me:  #FacePalm That's the thing, you *could* if you wanted to.  But society is set up to support you in not addressing your jealousy, in just accepting it.  As long as you think it's "too hard" or you can't do it, you won't be able to because society will support you in not trying, and will actively work against you if you do try.  You could change this about yourself.  But only if you want to.

Poly people aren't special or better at any of this, we're just more deliberate about our relationships.  Anyone *could* do it, it's whether they *want* to overcome the hurdles that society has put in their way.  For some people, it's not worth the effort.  If you do not *want* to, then don't do it.  Don't come into my communities kicking and screaming and not wanting to be there.  You'll just fuck things up for all of us.

Just know that you're a making a choice. Your jealousy doesn't have to dictate your relationships, if you don't want it to.  It only does because you choose to let it.


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