I’m reading Tom Robbins right now, thankfully, again. He’s talking about what a boy with an imagination, in poverty and neglect, does for entertainment. I read. The Reader’s Digest and the mail order book clubs and the library relieved the grinding boredom of being poor. Not to mention the constant terror of constant abuse. Distraction is a wonderful thing.
Besides reading about the dust bowl depression and the Cannery Row of Monterey where Steinbeck would describe dew on a leaf to make your mouth water, I was exposed to Naked Came I, David Weiss, a novel of Rodin.
I remember him being raised also in poverty, also
shortsighted, being under the kitchen table as a boy, drawing. The rest of the
novel was above my reading level, age 10, but I never put a book down, it was
my marathon reader’s accomplishment to finish it. Having been neglected and
abandoned from birth I was never one to leave a book, a pet, a project a
person. All or nothing took some therapy to resolve, life doesn’t provide
certainty. We have the right to change our minds.
Fast forward to age 18, I’m caught in a prairie thunderstorm, on the streets of Calgary since I was 14, the only shelter was the Glenbow Museum, they were having an opening, and I enter to get out of the punishing rain and hail. There before me was this hand, lifelike, straining describing in 3 dimensions, my life. I cried, I just burst into tears.
Later in life this continued to happen, at art school as an adult student particularly, I would get in front of a work and just start leaking. They called it an aesthetic experience, a spiritual experience, I was ‘sensitive’, all kinds of stuff. I think it was being in front of a work where the artist took great care, exhibited love of his work of his medium, husbanded his resources. A demonstration of the kind of devotion to his creation I didn’t experience as a child from a parent. I say ‘his’ intentionally, as my father, a coal miner, died of lung cancer when I was 2. I was introduced to grief and loss of male love in the womb.
Female love, my mother and likeminded women I subsequently became attracted to, was narcissistic and untrustworthy. They were convincing in their promises of avowed commitment and excellent liars. Took some more therapy to heal that as well.
You must get outrage out? That Based on the notion of balancing the humours For which there is no evidence. Is 16th century mental health Evidence is: Anger is a choice Send out anger Get anger back Send out love Get love back Righteous Indignation Is just anger
street is Duchamp is ready made dada is the celebration of uncertainty is the celebration of life street is line shape colour tone texture rhythm fornicating exposed guilt shame embarrassment anxiety depression rage is that contrived in the studio aspiring to be street
It wasn’t that bad, don’t be such a baby. Don’t worry about it. You are such a worrier. Comments like that from family and parent growing up. It didn’t happen, if it did it wasn’t that bad. This is how I was groomed, youngest child, to be Mom’s little helper for life. A family tradition. Uncle Charlie squelched his needs for communication companionship and sex with booze and A.A. to live with his Mom for life and care for her. Tears are frustration, the frustration of loss. I cried all the time. I left Mom at age 14, older siblings long gone into foster care as young criminals, and hit the street, living in a squalid boarding house, on welfare. My remaining family of narcissists having dumped me, shamed me, guilted me, and threatened me. (FOG fear obligation guilt). My brother became a trained mass murderer with poor impulse control in the military, who once broke into my house, threatened me with violence and stole my camera because he needed it, and tried on another occasion to sleep with my wife. My sister when supposedly consoling me for yet another loss tried to sleep with me when drunk one night, she now runs Tantra Yoga sex groups. My oldest brother refused to come to my Art School degree graduation because a diploma was OK but a degree was just ‘putting on airs’. I mean these are awful awful people, who learned from and were deformed by my extremely conservative British bigoted Mom who grew up being raped by her stepfather and step brother on an island British colony where incest was the national sport. My inevitable narcissist wife, Carol Graham, now a labour lawyer for management, promised love, and said all the right things. You can’t tell it’s bullshit without training in what to look for, withheld sex, then dumped me for protesting it, threatened suicide if I spoke of it, to a counselor, a common manipulation, divorced me because its all my fault, then married a rich banker, not a broke artist. On top of the sexual frustration there was the old family frustration of it’s not that bad. Minimizing and trivializing. I smoked a lot of pot to mellow out between episodes of extreme frustration where I broke a lot of dishes. After Carol dumped me, overvalue, undervalue, dump, I got into yoga to get out of pot, the computer age had arrived, I wanted my mind back. I wanted normal sleeps. It turned out that cult recruitment like yoga seeks smart people in ‘transition’ misery really, and rapes them of their bank accounts, promising self esteem now and in the afterlife. They too, being narcissists, withhold sex, its called brahmacharya, institutionalized inappropriate self sacrifice. They also dumped me as I didn’t have much money, the excuse (again) was I wanted to be an artist, and going to art school was an ‘indulgence in the senses’ as if that’s a bad thing. I went to the hospital, depressed and anxious and saw a family therapist, got deprogrammed and treated with, and trained in, evidence based psychology, be your own therapist. REBT. For free. While researching this I found an paper by its founder, The Case Against Religion, which showed me my sources of frustration with family and religion and faith based organizations even the political ones. Basically, it didn’t happen, if it did it wasn’t that bad, now focus (by disregarding your needs ) on my ( the ashram, the church, the priest, AA, whatever) desires for money, free labour, priest-sex anything but your needs. These are real needs, you die without them, communication companionship and intimacy. People suicide without these things in their lives. You are trained that self esteem is your God, you must aspire to have it, so you can be manipulated by threatening to take it away. If you have self esteem you can lose self esteem. Self esteem is generated by (conditions) how much you give to the organization, how humble you are, by never mentioning it, how honest you are by telling all you shame secrets. Then how fearful you are that they might be revealed. An extortion racket basically. Ruthless isn’t a strong enough word. REBT solves all this by teaching you dump self esteem, it’s a poison. Instead rate your strategies for your own satisfaction. Narcissist cult leaders, wifes, parents etc. hate your own satisfaction. Talk to strangers, ask for what you want, a job, love, friendship, sex the usual satisfactions. The narcissist will leave because they don’t have any of that to offer, they are in it to get, period, and your satisfactions don.t matter. They say they do in the initial love bombing recruitment stage, but they are liars. Just ask for what you want, they will scurry away to their dark holes, no communication, no frank conversation, no willingness to compromise. Walk away, leave the mutual friends, the joint bank account, everything. Choose peace.
Links and References
Yasodhara Ashram Susan Oughtred was my cult recruiter I think she runs the joint now.
REBT Will Ross was my online teacher, while he was dying of liver cancer, stubbornly refusing to upset himself over such a normal life process. He never asked for a dime.
Shrink4Men Tare is my fav rational narcissism educator. Education is free, a fee for counselling services.
I was at the dentist the other day. I felt treated with such care and consideration and empathy. Not the sentimentality that would keep her from removing a tooth if necessary but true compassion. I was able to recognize that same care and compassion, in me, I was able to finally see it, by her example, in myself, too close to it to see it previously, taking my care of others for granted. You see, was constantly panicked and hurt and depressed ashamed and embarrassed and worried from the harm done to me from my parent and siblings. They hate us for our compassion for it makes them look bad, so they attack, the narcissists in my life, my so called family. The knowledge that I can handle life comes with the knowledge that I can give myself this unconditional care and understanding independent of others. My lifelong anxiety and loss was as a child who had never known anything but institutional care, an virtual orphan who needed to ‘be of use’ to have any worth to himself and only conditionally to others. I became free of these emotional consequences when I decided I no longer had to ‘be of use’ as I was no longer dependant on others for care, I am self caring. Both sides of the business contract of love and compassion for hire, thrown in the trash. So my being treated with unconditional care, it an intimate physical way, my mouth, with no expectation of similar return, gave me an example, a reminder, of how to treat myself. I don’t believe that I had ever had a relationship of any kind, professional or otherwise, where there was such obvious care. My typical relationships were like the social worker in the hospital, whose focus was on what an inconvenience I was, how I made life difficult for her, with my situation, conditions of no supportive family, only able to support myself and my art by working hard, none left over to save, not yet old enough for seniors annual income. She said, ‘your body has let you down’, whereas I thought my body had suffered a random injury in my brain, and was busy healing, taking care of it. She scared me, typical of the harsh institutional ‘care’ I had known since birth. When she left, her replacement was even worse, a true conservative sent in to deal harshly with the freeloaders like me. Either get a job or we send you to the single men’s hostel she said. But I can’t walk, and my right dominant arm is flaccid. Doesn’t matter, lots of people in wheelchairs have jobs… My previously agreed upon recovery plan was to apply for government funding for the severely handicapped and stay in hospital continuing to recover and receive treatment till the funding arrived, then see where I was going to go, an institution probably, assisted living, where someone wipes your ass at worst, or set up my own home at best. I mean this nazi social worker hadn’t even read my file, she was a former welfare intake worker whose job it was to reject folks, with a holy zeal. This I knew how to deal with, having grown up in the welfare system. These types of bullies are common and revert to their sycophantic ways in the presence of authority, in this case the Doc who ran the unit, making a proclamation that it wouldn’t be appropriate to send me to the single men’s hostel. He knew me as a professional artist, making me the same class of professional as him, the welfare worker knew me as a labourer, my day gig at the time, self employed courier of meds to patients from the hospital. The system warehoused working class people regularly, on foam mats on the floor, side by side, in neat rows, puking from a nights drinking of Listerine. I first experienced real compassionate care when I met Arlo Guthrie the folk singer. His Mom had started the Huntington’s Society after her husband Woody Guthrie and his siblings and kids died of this genetic degenerative terminal brain disease. His Aunt woke up one day and decided to set the kids on fire. Brain diseases are like that. I knocked on his bus at the folk fest where I was volunteering with my wife with Huntington’s disease. Hi we’re with the Huntington’s Society…C’mon in! Turns out he was mainly an aids worker in NY, touring a bit, and making sure he made time to spend with folks who were lonely and scared and hurting. He wasn’t asking for anything in return, he already had it, he was giving it to himself. And now since that fateful and loving dental appointment, so am I.
A study of narcissists indicates that you can’t create empathy, or teach it and things like observation of the human body isn’t a magic solution to the problem of caring for another when you only care for oneself.Reading the article it shows that the author has created over-anxiety by extreme self downing. Things like repetitive concentration, yoga, meditation, prayer, drawing, music are good distractions from over-anxiety, though not a cure. When I worked in prisons as a drug counsellor everyone said what good artists the prisons created. But it was all the same, detailed , repetitive concentrated work, a distraction. It wasn’t art unless art is the medication of symptoms of poor mental health. When I worked with suicidal ex-military it was the same, extreme conditional downing of self and others, an objectifying learned and encouraged in order to ignore empathy long enough to kill. Empathy is acceptance without condition of self, others and the universe. It requires using free will and power of choice to accept the randomness of life and the hope and beauty and tragedy contained therein. When I see a show of any kind of art that is highly repetitive, highly skilled, rubber stamp art all traces of humanity removed I know what I’m looking at: mental illness. When I see the opposite, from the cave paintings to Egon Schiele, I am filled with the beauty of the hand made mark an act of acceptance of self, others and the universe. My best art prof Alan Dunning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dunning) said, your work is looking stylized, you’ve gone back to emphasizing fundamentals. Ya, my wife has a terminal genetic brain disease, and I’m freaking out about it. He gave me a A for the honesty of my work.
The weather turned warm and I’m out walking to the store and coffee shop. Takes me 45 min to go the five blocks. Thinking of the intrusive things people say to a total stranger in order to either signify their virtue and thereby subconsciously signal their intent to victimize when you walk slow with a cane. Possible responses. Can I assist you across the street? is the most common one, How ya doing? is #2. As I’m 6’2″ 180 lbs and I work out daily I don’t require assistance, but folks think others should walk briskly and not impede. So there must be a problem, they would like it if I went faster in other words. I like to stroll I always have. I have been on first dates where the woman starts speed walking and doesn’t even look to see if I keep up, to which I just turn around and head back to the car. I know she is signifying her virtue, keeping the rules of sidewalk social order, but I prefer a less authoritarian lover. Can I assist you across the street? 1. Why? (Said to guy trying to impress his date, she rolled her eyes and smiled, she knew he was creepy but it was a free meal.) 2. How? Are you going to carry me? (said with a smile to a nice young church going lady) 3. You just want to cop a feel, I know what goes on…(Said to an attractive to me woman as a banter ice breaker, she looked at me funny…no social skills…) 4. Look at them funny (to the standard religious virtue signaller who is probably raping kids and wants to hide the fact.) 5. Ya,you just want to steal my purse (said with a smile) 6. That’s very kind, I’m good thanks…(said to most folks as that’s why they offered, to hear that they are very kind. I watch them puff their chests with renewed self esteem, and think, man they are more handicapped than I am, panhandling on the street to get their self esteem fix.)
Street survival skills, if they can’t get close to you, they can’t harm you. Predators look for victims that they perceive can’t fight back or defend themselves, because they are cowards, they perceive boundaries as abuse.
They ask if they can help, how are you, and they talk softly so you invite them in close to hear, just like politicians and ministers.They are the reason my Irish walking stick comes with a manual of cane fighting techniques…
How ya doing? said softly by the street junkie person, slithering close, no one else around 7. Take one step closer cocksucker and this cane goes right up your ass…cop voice, cop eyes…
Ah yes, just nice Sunday stroll in the inner city. I love it. It’s my home.
From across the restaurant, “I hear Jerry Blackstock
was arrested for sodomy!”
“You got me pregnant ya bastard, I had to have an
abortion because of your herpes!” I yelled back
Lunch with a poet…
Murdock Burnett and I met at poor kids summer camp, we were age 6. His Dad was a drunk and his Mom a codependent abandoning her 11 or so kids for a life in AA. The kids were entirely fucked by their parents narcissism. Murd’s oldest brother became my dearest friend, we had keys to each others homes, shared a place a few times, consoled each other through the repeated loss of our mothers that we kept finding for girlfriends. Addicted to the sun (kids of alcoholics are always cold) and cigarettes, 2 packs a day of comfort for anxiety, he died of skin cancer, living in my camper, my guest room, till he moved to the hospice where he lived without skin, on morphine for months.
Murdock and I shared the Edinburgh abandoned street kid
sense of outrageous sexual imagery humour, learned on the streets of Calgary, it
was still a Scottish immigrant working class town while we were growing up.
‘Cunt’ wasn’t a negative word describing a female body part, it was everything
from a term of endearment to a password of inclusion and acceptance on the
Murd lived off various women, using the narcissists charm,
and writing really awful poetry, for which his various women got him gigs in
the Calgary art scene.
When he got throat cancer from his 2 pack a day habit, he
married his publishers daughter. His publisher was a former high school teacher
at my school, who got punted for sleeping with his students. He started a book
store and imported The Georgia Straight from Vancouver, which I sold on the
streets of Calgary, for food, while living alone in a boarding house, trying to
complete high school. His publishers daughter inherited, then moved them to the
Caribbean, so he’d be warm, where he died.
He was a lot of fun.
In 1988 we had the Olympics in Calgary, my personal Olympics started the
following New Years eve, I quietly had my last drink and toke of booze and pot.
I started to search for other ways to manage lifelong
over-anxiety to be able to learn to be alone in comfort without mind freezing
shame and embarrassment of over-worry.
I tried yoga, meditation, living ‘in community’ aka an
ashram cult in the Kootenays, Taoist Tai Chi.. even living with a woman and
lots of great sex and though all were nice distractions, nothing was a cure
until I went to the hospital, where it took them 10 minutes to diagnose and
Very common condition.
A lot and I mean a lot of kids are emotionally abandoned,
essentially orphans, used like
bargaining chips in a business deal, in order to get welfare money or hang on
to a partner, or generate self esteem, conservative family values, whatever, for
parents who are no more than dependant life long children themselves.
The hospital suggested cognitive therapy, now I use the original form REBT.
Relief from life long over-worry is like being given a million dollars, simply
knowing the evidence of ‘I’ll figure it
out, whatever it is, eventually’.
19 years ago I quit cigarettes.
10 years ago I quit sugar.
8 years ago I quit grains and over use of carbs.
All are self comfort strategies with negative consequences
that are so self defeating they cause slow miserable squalid death.
So I tolerated short term pain for long term gain.
That’s what adults do.
They do this in order to care for children, by caring for
themselves, staying strong and healthy and keep the species going.
It’s an evolutionary imperative.
It takes a lot of over-indulgence in feel good behaviors to
suppress an evolutionary imperative.
An incredible force of will, to kill yourself slowly.
Or the same force of will to tolerate short term pain for
long term gain…
This lifetime light came on then for me, I realized it’s why I prefer artists like Rembrandt and Cliff Eyland. Empathy.
Others who are good technicians, of any discipline, learned a technique and practised it, like anyone can, and that’s their work for life, some get incredibly good at it.
Based on the criteria of art is a record of the human experience, valuing the beauty of the handmade mark for instance, the technician is lost, all he values is technique, which anyone can learn. He is likened to a recording where all trace of the human hand on the strings is removed, like photoshopped breasts, the ‘blemishes’ removed.
The technicians are crafty, clever and manipulative. Con-men. Banksy is a good example for me. An amusing well executed one off. I have no interest in seeing his cartoons more than once.
I could look at Rembrandt’s feathers for days and have. “An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.” – wiki.
Rembrandt never travelled in search of technique to copy. Lastman, Caravaggio and Rubens came to him. Why? Empathy, that made him the real deal, genuine, not a trickster not a scam artist. His personal tragedy was great, losing several children and his wife, eventually all his money as well. This informed his art and his audience with humanity. We have never seen Banksy, that’s part of his scam, like a bank robber we only see an effect.
Why do I value empathy? It’s those who don’t have it who have hurt me. The defining characteristic of sociopaths is their lack of empathy. Narcissists are good at the technique of appearance of empathy, but they hate me for mine. I make them look bad when I call them on the bullshit they use to make themselves appear special, usually by removing any evidence of themselves in their guilt and shame.
I hate bullies who try to make themselves look better by making others look bad. The art critics without empathy specializes in that technique and are my special disgust.
Art critics who care deeply about the human condition, like Paddy Johnson, are my special love, and when they call bullshit, I get a great feeling of satisfaction, and appreciation for the cost of their sacrifice.
People with empathy, like Rembrandt, don’t have what it takes to fuck people over, to be true capitalists and they often die in the poorhouse. I was born there and learned survival there. I’m used to it, so I have less risk in calling bullshit and being alone, and ill without funds. It ain’t pleasant but it ain’t terrible neither. I am not dependant, and overly scared, using people with the technique of charm. I have a very few friends and a few acquaintances, all with empathy, so I am rich beyond measure. It’s like having Rembrandt and his feathers to hang around with. I would rather see the pain in the eyes of his self portraits or the love in those of Emanuela Cau, than the stone coldness of the words of a faked empathy used by a manipulator and a con man.
Using the narcissist stare, these two emulated a mothers love, that unblinking bonding look a mother has for her child, and like my own mother, abusively used it for purposes of manipulation and creating life long dependance.
Those gentle affirmations I saw today in your video on the Ashram site, that you are never quite good enough, but by buying more courses and donating more labour…..
Susan, I saw your video, on the Ashram site telling people that they were losers, and they should send more money and give up more of their lives, to become people of self esteem, as defined by you. This is a formula as old as time to manipulate with fear, obligation and guilt. Simply put, it is a carnival trick to sell snake oil. It goes like this: 1. You are broken, unevolved or whatever. Anything that starts with ‘you’ then describes you negatively is an abuse. 2. I’m going to fix it.Yoga courses or whatever the snake oil du jour is. That’s the power imbalance of the abuser proclaiming her enlightenment or some such magic that you don’t have because of your brokenness. 3. It’s going to cost you money. This is where they start raping your bank account, like any good con artist. 4. You have to keep coming back. That’s the abuse of dependency creation, the money shot as they say. The reason you have to keep coming back is that it doesn’t work.
In fact, as any ruthless leech knows, the victim gets sicker of course, and eventually either dies, I almost suicided, or gets deprogrammed at the hospital where this is well known, and I was smart enough to go and seek treatment.. The treatment is to start seeking evidence for your beliefs that you have been programed in: that you are a broken loser. There never is any evidence.
In fact the health system is the opposite of an abusive cult like Yasodhara Ashram in the following ways. Doctors seek evidence, they are evidence based. They really like it when you don’t come back. It’s called a cure. In my country, initiated (there’s that word) by me and my friends in the Liberal party, this treatment is free. 100% In contrast, your ‘treatments’ (leaching of time and money) cost a lot, hurts people, and they don’t work, based on evidence. They are extremely authoritarian, an attempt to keep control of and demanding inappropriate self sacrifice, such as giving up sex and other fundamental needs of communication and companionship.
People who don’t get their basic needs met for communication, companionship and sex become anxious, and the yoga woo woo (prayer, meditation, chanting etc.) is a good distraction from the intentionally induced anxiety, but not a cure. In fact the distraction from the induced extreme anxiety feels so good it gets called a spiritual experience or enlightenment.
Extreme authoritarianism used to induce this anxiety is also known as fascism. (What was it that Sylvia Hellman did during the second world war in Germany to survive? Another friendly fascist?)
People who don’t get their needs met for communication, companionship and sex become anxious, and people who stay anxious long enough became depressed, and people who stay depressed long enough suicide. All rolled up in a mother’s love, the narcissists stare.
So, this is fair warning, I will be writing and publishing on your cult and my deprogramming, and how I almost died, but got help, barely in time. So, using not only my personal experience with your organization, and you, in classes for several years at Radha House and Yasodhara Ashram, as well as commonly available references on cults and the harm you people do my intent is to break the shame at being conned by you creatures. My art site just past a million views, my work on my publisher’s site just passed 3 million views, my google reviews just passed 11,000 views. In the last six months. My references are:
In a alternate universe Susan, we would have been friends and lovers, a great match in so many ways. Two artists, romantics, who love our cats Dear Jethro, Dear Leopold, and many other compatibilities, our love for music and dance, and for each other, for example.
These were the very things that made us vulnerable to charmingly ruthless, manipulative, competitive, jealous, cult recruiters in the first place. When we were starting to bond as humans do, so Sylvia Hellman sent you to Germany, to get you away, she had plans for you as a recruiter, your desires and your life didn’t matter, she planned to suck your very life away for her purposes. I didn’t matter either, fortunately as it turned out, I couldn’t recreate a mothers love as well as you, I don’t have the narcissist stare; the bait on the hook. Who says the hook doesn’t hurt the fish?
JeraldBlackstock dip. (Alberta University of the Arts), BFA, CPF.