January 11, 2011

The Suicide Of Bill Zeller

BILL-ZELLER-PHOTO.jpg
with respect: he was wrong


I.

I'm writing this for the other Bill Zellers.

II.

Bill Zeller, Princeton grad student and Metafilter regular, committed suicide last week, leaving behind a long suicide note that explained: "My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly."  The note describes growing up in a cold fundamentalist Christian household; being repeatedly molested by someone; and the parents, or at least the father, either not caring or not stopping or the molester.  It's possible that the father did not condemn the molester because he had already been identified as "saved."  I don't know how any mortal would know that about another mortal but I'll admit I don't fully understand "saved."  I guess it means the rape charge doesn't stick.

I'll also admit that my first, reflexive, thought was that he hadn't been raped.  That he made it up.  The story seemed too vague, especially for a note that whose supposed purpose was to make things clearer.  The language reminded me of other similar fabrications, e.g. "my first memories as a child are of being raped."  First?  There were no specifics mentioned; and while there was plenty of rage, there was no trace of the guilt that accompanies so many admissions of childhood abuse. 

In traditional therapy these suspicions are initially irrelevant because the point is present feelings, and whether their origins are real or invented doesn't change the veracity of those feelings.  But ultimately it does matter; a fabrication of molestation may signify that this is the only way they know how to verbal language storyboard the kind of pain they are feeling-- "unless I invent a trauma backstory, no one would appreciate how desperately sad I am."  Or, the fabrication could signal not a pain but an undeservingness of love; the only way they think they can merit love is to be pitied, damaged.  "The only time they held me lovingly is when I fell down and hurt myself."  Different people will connect with either of those; you know who you are, and so I may as well say: this process is not unusual, and you are not Alone.

But looking at the comments on Metafilter, Gizmodo and other places, I was stunned at how many people I "knew"-- regulars on those sites-- admitted to being molested themselves.  That guy??  That girl????  Him, too?  All these people??  I began to wonder if true binary of the world wasn't  men/women or rich/poor but people who had been molested and no one cared or stopped it/ people who had never been molested or someone cared and had stopped it.  Even Freud's idea of the oedipal fantasy was a backpedaling: it couldn't be that all these people were actually molested, right?

But it's hard to argue with the numbers, and the numbers were overwhelming.  Then came my inbox, and it was the same.   I had, as a personal prejudice, not appreciated its prevalence.   Ok.  But when even the news reports blindly accepted the abuse story, I had to ask: how come no one wondered if Bill hadn't made the whole thing up?

III.

If rape was the clear motivation for his suicide, Christian Fundamentalism was the clear motivation for the rape.  George Zeller, his father, is about as hard core fundamentalist as you can get, dissecting the atomic structure of something called Christian Sonship in droning recordings and labyrinthine essays, and if this man is only the assistant to the Pastor then there exists a man on this planet that I am frightened of.   I don't know anything about fundamentalism, but if you pause and look at George's writings not as a religion but as an activity, what you see is George reworking and reworking the ideas over and over and repeating and repeating, nuance after nuance after microscopic nuance, until he gets them "right."  But there is no right; there is only the identification of wrong.  It is an obsessiveness with sterility and removing dirt that doesn't have room for outsiders-- hence his minuscule disagreements with other thinkers blown into theological catastrophes.  He must always be in conflict with another's thoughts not because they're wrong but because their very presence contaminates the lattice he uses to lock down the Anxiety, yes, in the same way watching someone disturb one piece of your hoard means you have to redo the whole pile.  He's hoarding religious minutiae.

George was an easy target, and if the fact of Bill's growing up in a fundamentalist home was brought up by a commenter, it was always brought up as evidence that Bill was raised by an insane man, maybe even evil.

But again, almost no one doubted he was raped.  More than that: many people automatically assumed he was truthful because his parents were Christian fundamentalists, i.e. "I'm not saying all fundamentalists are child molesters but it's damn sure pretty near all of them."  

And then I could see that my doubt of the rape was actually a reaction to their assumption it was true.   I was reacting to their reaction. They had their prejudices, I had mine, and Bill Zeller was the excuse for an ideological battle we had already chosen sides about long before he killed himself.  Ugh.

IV.

Suicide notes are unreliable; they don't convey information, they convey mood.  And if you have ever been on the other wrong end of a suicide note you've probably lost part of your soul trying to decide if they were right, so let me help you: as a rule, they weren't.  What they said isn't the point, it's how they said it.  "I am so angry at _____."   The direct object is a red herring, the subject-verb is the whole truth.

You might say it doesn't matter, ultimately, if the causes of his pain were true, only that he was in pain, and I agree; but the counter is that Bill is dead and his parents are not and now they have to live not only with the death of their son but the popular belief that they caused it. My son is dead, and he thinks I hated him.

I don't know what being molested is like; but the empty, wretched, backwardsness of your child's death, and the subsequent relentless reminder of the wrongness of reality and the impossibility of ever fixing it; the incessant scrutiny of memories, was I nice enough to him?  Did I tell him I loved him?  When he wanted that balloon and we were in a hurry, shouldn't I just have--

-- all that is not something anyone should have to experience.  And yet that unique, infinite, unfathomable limbo is being experienced by thousands of parents a year, forever.  George Zeller didn't believe in purgatory, and now he's in it, waiting for the end to come.  There isn't anything else to wait for.

And I'll say something I almost dread saying:  what if it is true?  What if George himself raped his son repeatedly, when he was 6?  Does that mean that George has lost the right to be devastated by this loss?
 

zellers.jpgnow what 

 
It doesn't much matter whether he has the right or not, whether he should or not.  If he did rape his son, there's a Calvinist hell awaiting him no matter how saved he thinks he is.  But if he didn't, and we blame him anyway because it matches our prejudices, then that hell is waiting for us.

V.


I'd also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they're dead--one with less hatred and intolerance.

Maybe that's the key to the whole note, maybe he made up the rape to bring shame to his parents for abandoning him.  To punish them.

Maybe.  It's obvious he was sad in an unfixable way, not unfixable because there's no fix but because his depression had fiendishly protected itself from fixing, like a bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.   He says he stopped drinking to make this decision with a clear head; but that drinking was a kind of solace, and stopping it was a punishment, you can't even enjoy that.  It was the Depression tricking Bill into thinking that since he wasn't drinking therefore he had a clear mind.

And though he had gone to several doctors, he told no one of his pain-- I don't even mean the molestation, but the emptiness.  And he had devised a workable rationalization: if you tell the doctor, then they will betray your secrets.   But that, as a Metafilter poster named pastabagel observed, is the secret protecting itself; it prefers pain to the unknown.  But what are you afraid of?  That they'll learn your secret, or learn you don't have any secrets that would explain so much misery? 

It's different for everyone.

He could have been helped; I don't know how, I just know yes.  Maybe he needed to be told that nothing in the past defines you.  "Ever since, I haven't been able to ___."  The horrible truth is that you probably still can.  You won't-- this isn't a criticism and I don't blame you-- but you can. 

Or maybe you are helped to figure out the concrete steps that would lessen the rage, from punishing the molester to punishing the ones who turned a blind eye to not punishing yourself.  Or maybe you take it all in and make it part of you, reaction formation that pain into something better.  There are a million possibilities, but he didn't try them.  The Depression doesn't want them to work; it doesn't even want you to think you and it are separable.  It convinced Bill.

VI. 
 

People say suicide is selfish. I think it's selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won't feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it's also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

He's wrong, it's a mind trick, but I can see the seductiveness of this thinking. Only heroes and suicides get to choose the time, and the manner, of their death, a power none of the rest of us will ever possess, of and for that reason they deserve a silent respect.  Rest in peace.


---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych



















Comments

Can someone comment on whet... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 1:50 AM | Posted by Anonymous Skeptic: | Reply

Can someone comment on whether there is any known biological ("organic" in the psych sense) reason why childhood sexual abuse should be specifically more traumatizing than anything else that triggers PTSD? My (completely uninformed layman's) guess is that most of the extra suffering comes from a perception of guilt triggered by being associated, even as a victim, with something widely considered so abhorrent.

I guess what I'm getting at is two things: is sexual abuse really so much worse than anything else that can be done to a child, and if so, is that only because we all agree it is?

(Similar questions can be raised about adult rape, and why women seem more traumatized by it in the age of feminism, not less.)

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why women seem more tra... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:17 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

why women seem more traumatized by it in the age of feminism, not less

What are you basing this on?

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I was sitting in my garden ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:42 AM | Posted by Karen: | Reply

I was sitting in my garden one evening with eight female friends when the subject came to rape through a recent revelation from another friend of ours. Out of the eight sitting there, six had been raped. It had not even entered their heads to prosecute, let alone tell the world about it, because at the time of their rape, not even their friends had believed them.

I once spent an hour arguing with a guy because he would not believe that someone had once groped my boob on a train and I hadn't done anything about it, because I was ashamed, and couldn't believe it was happening. Because I had done nothing at the time, it couldn't have happened.

From talking to friends about the experience of rape, something deep inside you is taken away, your ability to trust, perhaps, or your sense of self worth, the sense of your own sanity - a lot of rapists will be people who know their victims, acting like nothing happened right afterwards and far into the future: they couldn't have possibly done THAT, THEY are not that kind of person - but you are not allowed to grieve for it in public, because no one is going to belive you deserve that mourning.

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About the last quote of his... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:46 AM | Posted by cRob: | Reply

About the last quote of his, the one about how it is selfish to ask someone to live in pain so one does not have to suffer/grieve for a week or two. I find that very interesting.

Suicide is always a sensitive topic. A few years ago, I came to the conclusion that people are way too judgmental about suicides. Suicide is a personal choice, why can't we leave it at that?

How is suicide different from signing a DNR? One is to end mental pain and one is to end physical pain. We can see and easily empathize with someone who is suffering physically. We might even admire him for choosing to die with dignity by signing a DNR.

One the other hand, when someone is suffering mentally to the point where killing themselves seems to be the only way to stop the pain. People seem to be able to find all sorts of reasons to belittle and judge their choice. Most reasons, of course, come from religion and you can NEVER argue with religion.

It's hard to understand or empathize with what we can not see. The first approach to someone who seems to be down is usually feel bad for them. We go out and drink with them, listen to their sorrows and we comfort them. Given some arbitrary time, if they're not "better", here comes the tough love, "Why don't you get your ass up and do something", "Stop being such a baby", and my personal favorites: "Get over it!" and "Deal with it!"

Somehow, I don't think anyone has tried that with a terminal patient, someone who just wants to sign the DNR so doctors will stop shoving tubes down their throats or drugs down their veins.

I really don't want to start a pro-life/pro-choice argument here. I guess what I'm trying to say is, on some level, I think I can understand his argument. I'm curious about what you meant by "He's wrong, it's a mind trick".

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"The horrible truth is that... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:58 AM | Posted by CC: | Reply

"The horrible truth is that you probably still can. You won't-- this isn't a criticism and I don't blame you-- but you can."

Of course it's a criticism. Of course you blame me --if by blame you mean assigning moral culpability for a failing. You are talking about what sounds like, at the least, a sin of omission.

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I have to say, I am shocked... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I have to say, I am shocked that as a psychiatrist you wouldn't be aware of the *real* statistics of abuse.
To me, the minute i started reading his note, I knew it was his father. Why else would it have been so unspeakable?
And granted, you are right: we don't know.

But we live in a world that repeatedly does to victims what you just did in this post: not believe the victim.
Because of this, it is extremely hard to speak out.
Once you take the incredibly hard action of speaking out, then you have people deny your reality and that makes you feel even crazier than you already did.
So why speak out?

I like your blog and have enjoyed reading it (and will continue to do so), but this post is a huge disservice to our community and you seriously need to educate yourself more on the dynamics of abuse, the repercussions and the effects it has on victims.

Find Judith Herman Trauma and Recovery. It's a good start.
We're a backlash right now when it comes to this issue so much of the good writing and good psychological material about it is from the 80's. I'm hoping we can come out of this backlash so that the culture finally acknowledges how much it happens and how incredibly soul crushing it is to the victims.

I hope you find it in your heart to believe Bill as much as I can see you would rather not and rather stay in the comfort of the culture you "think" you live in.

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Oops, was not trying to be ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:47 AM | Posted by Freedom Spice: | Reply

Oops, was not trying to be anonymous in my last post. Clicked before filling out the fields. This is me. I'm a therapist in training and a survivor myself. Thank you.

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I find it interesting your ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:51 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I find it interesting your first thought was to disbelieve him. My first thought, after reading the first paragraph, was to cry.

I entirely believed him. Why wouldn't I believe him? He killed himself. He didn't do anything wrong. He was piecing it together best he could until he made a reasoned decision there was nothing here in this world for him because of the damage done to him. Why wouldn't I believe him?
The fact he avoids gendered pronouns when talking about his partners, speaks volumes of his fear of sex and intimacy.

I suppose Bill Zeller was right about psychiatrists. Useless, unemotional, uncaring, money hungry, untrustworthy. The ironic thing is you fail to realize how you are another symbol of everything in this world that is damaging - a so called healer who actually doesn't care at all, completely untrustworthy, not even a tiny little bit. Not even a fingernail shaving. It's just an insurance payment.

I find it amazing you actually had the guts to admit you didn't believe him, I suppose I can credit you with honesty at least... but the repugnant sort of honesty that Howard stern markets that humans don't want to acknowledge.


No trace of guilt?
All throughout the note he apologizes to everyone, everyone he has "hurt". I walked away with a strong feeling of guilt, but his profound emotional isolation prevents him from expressing it properly.

He comes across as an extremely sensitive, introspective, intelligent, analytical person - the sort of person that looks at problems and thinks of solutions. He has accepted, at least on a logical level, this abuse was something done to him. His brain is not the sort that understands via emotions, it is an emotional person's way of dealing with abuse to blame themselves (because if I did it, I have control and it at least makes sense). It is highly stereotyped to say all victims of sexual abuse blame themselves for the abuse. I would expect a princeton computer programmer to coolly, logically and analytically describe it as something that happened (without any sort of blame/emotional self reproach for it happening to him). I would expect a child, or simple emotionally motivated common person to blame themselves, merge emotional reactions with reason, and have no capacity to logically understand the events.

I know this because I am a dispassionate person who seeks to understand, who does not have the need to necessarily attach emotional tags to everything. I can entirely relate to the way he describes his traumas (detached and analytical), I analyze my own past in a similar way. People who avoid introspection and self reflection are the types to just reflexively blame themselves/someone else without further drive to understand and reason.

On a primal level, his feelings of dirtiness are clear. He cannot connect with anyone. He is totally alone. So, in another way, he does feel guilty - he feels like a void of evil and he cannot enjoy simple pleasures like intimacy any longer because of what was done to him.


Again, alone, I want to make this clear, because you actually are a doctor (i think) and you actually are dealing with people who may have been abused: You need to grow some kind of empathy, because you don't have any. It's sort of sad that you view your patients this way. No wonder mental health treatment is such a failure. If your therapist/psychiatrist isn't even trying to feel anything at all (can't feel? too selfish, self centered?) how can they possibly do any good for you? You are only vindicating everything he wrote in his note. This world is a heap of shit isn't it?

I am so fortunate I have never been raped/molested as a child. Given my organic mental problems and other minor traumas, and how they have damaged me, I couldn't even imagine what it must be like to have been raped as a child. I don't judge these people I just emotionally huddle in a corner and thank god it wasn't me. The minor traumas I have experienced are like a really watered down version of what that must be like and I can't even believe those people get up every day and live.


If even a fraction of what he said in the note about his parents was true, they deserve their guilt. They allowed one of their religious buddies to anally rape their child to the point where using the bathroom was difficult. Fact. They threw him out of the house at 19 (this is easily verified via research). Fact. I believe him, because I can actually feel things for people. If I lose the ability to care, and learn a little bit about what baseline labs are required before initiating seroquel therapy in order to avoid being sued when my patient turns into a fat hibernating bear with diabetes, then I can also be a psychiatrist I suppose. >300mg per day for schizophrenia, less for depression, off label for dementia... it's EZ!


Life isn't fair. He had to live for 23 years with this horrible life, let those douchebags live their golden years with theirs. An eye for an eye works, IMO.

I don't think his father did it. The writing makes it clear. He has no emotion for his father, he has cut himself off. No hint of terror, fear, sadness, hatred. Just disgust mostly. He did love his mother. I suspect his father was instrumental in cutting him out of the family as a teenager.


He stopped drinking because he was focused on killing himself. He is a driven person, it is clear. He focuses on goals and achieves them. This is how he copes with his pain - focusing, achieving, isolating. It was his project to kill himself, to decide if it was right, figure it all out. He needed to stop drinking to do that, much like C. Bale needed to starve himself to become the machinist.

Yea, I'm done. This has personally touched me and your blog entry has offended me.

You would be much more effective in your profession if you felt things. It does not make you cool or radical to behave this way. It just makes you look like a completely incompetent health care worker. I am a nurse, and I am certain you are a shitty doctor.

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I am also curious why it is... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:51 AM | Posted, in reply to cRob's comment, by David: | Reply

I am also curious why it is a 'mind trick'.

Only in our modern, Western society - still in the shadow of Judeo-Christian tradition - do we find this idea that everything must be endured. Suffering is assumed to be a character building experience.

Socrates is clearly not using any mind tricks in the Phaedo; he accurately assesses his situation and weighs his alternatives. There are some things that cannot be 'coped with', at least not without lying to yourself at some level.

This point of view does not fit within the American Ideal. A nation of immigrants who came here looking for second chances does not look kindly on those who decide that they have no better options.


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I read Alone as making a po... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 4:00 AM | Posted, in reply to CC's comment, by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

I read Alone as making a positive statement, not a normative one. The person can, in fact, behave/think/feel how they claim they cannot. There is no necessary normative (i.e. moral) criticism for Alone's statement to be true.

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"our community"Wha... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 4:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"our community"

What community? The abuse community?

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NBA is a magic word that as... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:03 AM | Posted by NBA jerseys: | Reply

NBA is a magic word that associates with numerous dreams. As millions of people are going after NBA matches and NBA stars, they are going after what they wear. It is always said that when you love someone, you'll love his or her dog. It is the same with the case. And NBA jerseys won't let you down in the summer for they will make you feel the existence of your favorite NBA star all the time.

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I think the reason childhoo... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:28 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I think the reason childhood sexual abuse is so much more damaging is that it completely perverts and destroys your capacity to socialize and have normal relationships. It totally fucks up how you think about yourself, how you interact with others, how you can trust, etc etc etc.

On the other hand, other types of traumas - being raped as an adult, or attacked as an adult - most of your personal development has already occurred, you are a defined person, you have established relationships. Traumas, sexual traumas, which occur in adulthood are pure trauma reactions. They do not permanently FUCK UP AND STUNT your development. Rape in adulthood is a trauma/stress reaction. Rape in childhood destroys whoever you would have become. YOu can't have normal interactions, normal relationships, become who you should have been.

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This comment is great.<br /... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:37 AM | Posted, in reply to cRob's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This comment is great.
Yes. We cannot accept suicide, it is deeply ingrained in us to believe "if we can't see it, it isn't real". We are also fooled into believing all adversities can be overcome or coped with, so "giving up" is for cowards/foolish decision.

No. I don't think so. He might have given up too early, but I can easily understand how his type of personality might have been such that this was truly something he could never have overcome. Unless you have been anally raped since you were a little boy, to the point where you were afraid to use the bathroom, to where using the bathroom was difficult, you have no idea the sort of shit that was tormenting him. Reliving constantly. Nightmares. All the therapy and the seroquel in the world wouldn't help that.

Some people find a way to go on in spite of this sort of abuse, but not everyone is up to the task. Sometimes people just choose to end the pain. Maybe he just needed to find the right therapist and tell them about it. I doubt it. Many people with this sort of background end up killing themselves, or alternatively living an extremely self destructive / abusive lifestyle. I think he made a more reasoned, cool choice.

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I was hoping you'd pick up ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 6:15 AM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

I was hoping you'd pick up this note, but it looks like you didn't touch upon the point that had interested me most - I found it interesting that Zeller personified his "darkness":

"I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. [...] I didn't realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship." (et cetera)

I don't know whether this lends credence to your theory that Zeller's memories of molestation were confabulated (either consciously or otherwise) but it seems obvious that he at least wants readers of his note to believe that he was locked in what must have been an epic struggle which drove him to suicide.

A suicide note both broadcast and intended for publication seems awfully narcissistic...

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there are three running iss... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 9:31 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

there are three running issues, and if commentors recognize this, there will be less room to criticize Alone: 1. the seemingly unreasonable disbelief is normal; 2. therapeutically, connecting with the emotion, not the particulars, is generally the optimal therapeutic strategy; 3. some of these reports of childhood abuse are made up, either intentionally or unintentionally.

decently exploring any one of these 3 does not mean Alone or anyone else is uneducated or insensitive about the others.


i have read a great deal abt the false memory syndrome. from the little info here, this guy's situation might fit - false memories of very early childhood sexual abuse likely grow out of time with a tehrapist who believes from jump street that most clients were molested in early childhood, and who believes that therapy is a matter of exploring vague childhood impression-memories until the persuasive therapeutic encounter can be used to develop these memories out of thin air. There used to be a certain cluster of therapists who encouraged each other to operate in this way - "let's keep exploring your dreams and vague memories until we find hat I already believe is there." Hypnosis is often used, and other similar techniques. This "therapy" can be very devastating on clients - obvious to say. They often get suicidal.

The story of "Cam" of First Person Plural fits this pattern.

So, for this guy, I would be interested to know if he had "discovered" the molestation after he was involved in therapy for a while, versus always knew it, at least to some degree.

I agree on the Judith Herman - one of the best clinical books I have read. Esp. Ch 5.

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I was thinking that as well... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

I was thinking that as well. Though I think terminal illness voluntary euthanasia makes sense, the "libertarian" argument that suicide is no one's business but one's own is ignorant (I mean no one's business morally, not legally--there are many things one ought not to do which should be legally permitted, so that's a separate question). The suicide replaces their own suffering with comparable suffering by *several* other people i most cases. Impaired judgment, narcissism, the distraction of one's own suffering, or, as seems patent in this case, the desire for revenge, are all possible explanations for why someone might do this. Zeller's comment about "two weeks" was transparently self-deceived; his intention was to perform the psychosocial equivalent of "taking the law into his own hands". Whether his victim deserves this is a separate question, but I'd be awfully surprised if, like Loughner, he didn't cause serious harm to innocent bystanders while getting off his shot at his intended target.

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...but the counter is th... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:25 AM | Posted by fraula: | Reply

...but the counter is that Bill is dead and his parents are not and now they have to live not only with the death of their son but the popular belief that they caused it. [...] but the empty, wretched, backwardsness of your child's death, and the subsequent relentless reminder of the wrongness of reality and the impossibility of ever fixing it; the incessant scrutiny of memories, was I nice enough to him? Did I tell him I loved him?

What makes you think his parents actually feel those things? (Honest question - is there an article in which they spoke of their feelings that came across as sincere to you?)

I grew up with a very similar fundamentalist family (but was not molested, at least). Many of the non-molestation events that Bill described, also happened in my childhood. In my own experience, when I nearly died from a burst ovarian cyst, overseas, my mother's first reaction, when she phoned the hospital (from overseas, so paying for the phone call - this was 10 years ago), was: "why didn't you die? God's punishing you for being a whore."

This is the sort of passive-aggressive death wish remark I grew up with my whole life in the church (because I asked questions such as "if Jesus died for all our sins, then why do we need to tell people to come to our church?"). And so I seriously, seriously wonder what makes you think that his parents genuinely regret his suicide, as opposed to a false front for the media. I have friends who grew up in that fundamentalist milieu and who committed suicide. Their parents "grieved" to the outer world, and amongst church folk, sighed with relief to say that the Devil had taken away the sinful temptation and poison. It was fucking frightening to hear that sort of thing. (I do wish Bill had talked to more people. I got out; others got out, we managed to cobble together adult lives.)

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Great, just we need, more o... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:25 AM | Posted, in reply to Freedom Spice's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Great, just we need, more of the sick helping the sick.

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addendum: given what you sa... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:35 AM | Posted by fraula: | Reply

addendum: given what you say about unfamiliarity with fundamentalism, you're probably "just" ascribing normal-scope human reactions to his parents. Fundamentalists are not monsters, indeed, and it's important for people to realize that. But the people who are attracted to fundamentalism are broken in a way that they require absolutes and scapegoats... children are very often their scapegoats. And since it's absolute, their human capacity for empathizing with any child, is totally skewed... empathy will go to "good" children, and death wishes to "bad" children (it's the adults who decide what's good or bad, obviously, and Jesus' words about children be damned).

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I appreciate the callout, a... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:51 AM | Posted by Pastabagel: | Reply

I appreciate the callout, and I've thought about Zeller's note and what it may have meant to him to write it and what it means to other marginally suicidal people out there who read it. I've also gotten a lot of comments about my comment on Metafilter (http://metatalk.metafilter.com/20205/RIP-Bill-Zeller#850503). His name over there was "null terminated" which is sickeningly ironic given the present state of affairs.

"Can someone comment on whether there is any known biological ("organic" in the psych sense) reason why childhood sexual abuse should be specifically more traumatizing than anything else that triggers PTSD?"

This comment is actually related to this comment, in my opinion:

"the point that had interested me most - I found it interesting that Zeller personified his "darkness":"

The reason sex abuse is generally more affective than say violent abuse is because sex is libidinal and violence isn't. If you are a Freudian, and I know we aren't supposed to be because Xanax is totally awesome, you believe that at a very young age, the child constructs their ego to mediate between their desires and drives (their id) and the constraints of physical and social reality. During and after this process, the child internalizes the constraints and demands of their caretakers as the superego.

To the first comment, sex abuse screws up the ego's mediation process-the id demands the pain to stop, the ego utterly fails to do so, and catastrophe. Later on, the id will demand sex, which the ego will try to accomodate based on it's memories and knowledge of social reality - "Ok, you want sex, but I remember that sex is some man raping me anally, Dad says sex is dirty and sinful, TV and friends say sex is when Joanie loves Chachi, so maybe I'm gay or the relationship needs to be about hurting and getting hurt? I don't know what to do here." The ego misinterprets the sex drive as a demand for pain rather than a demand for pleasure based on experience.

On top of all of this is the second comment: "The darkness." If Zeller was abused by someone in authority over him, Zeller took that person in as part of his superego. Abuse isn't usually a silent random event. It's package in a screwed-up social context "I'm doing this because I love you" or "If you tell anyone I'll kill you" etc. That package comes in as the darkness. The darkness is the abuser's agent in the victim's mind. But of course it actually isn't, right? It's all in the victim's mind, the darkness is the victim's superego, or part of it. It's a part of the victims mind so painful that they've objectified it and externalized it even though it is not external. The ego fails to mediate reality for the id because the constraints of the superego are unnavigable. So it constructs a new external thing in reality, The Darkness (as real and external to him as God is to a churchgoer).

What the darkness does exceptionally well is protect itself. It is able to do this because while the victim thinks they've externalized it, they haven't really, so they don't realize that some of the things they do and say are actually from the part of them that they think is isolated as the darkness.

Read Bill's letter again. He never told anyone the secret of his rape, except in this letter which he posts on the internet for the world to see. But he doesn't see the point in naming his abuser. But also he isn't shy about smashing his father.

It doesn't matter what actually happened in Bill's life and what is true or made up, what matters is the text of the letter. The letter describes a darkness caused by the rape by an unidentified person. He writes that he kept the darkness secret his whole life. The letter announces and exposes this secret to the whole world. He writes that he sees no benefit coming from naming the abuser and doesn't. He identifies by name a person he calls his father, who he proceeds to rail against. He then kills himself.

What Bill knew or remembered or felt is all gone. This is what is left. Who won?

The abuser. The abuser is unknown. And remains so. The Darkness is the abuser's imprint on Bill's mind, on his superego. For the entirety of Bill's life, the abuser had a representative in bill's brain covering his tracks.

Bill says, " I need to tell someone my secret." Darkness-Bill responds, "No one will believe you, you can trust anyone, shrinks are liars and assholes." Bill says, "I'm getting really close to this girl but I feel like I'm not being honest with her." Darkness-Bill says, "You will hurt her or she will hurt you, either way, it won't last, so don't get too close."

The bargain Bill struck at the end is that he can reveal the secret with no names in exchange for his life. The abuser warns, "If you tell anyone I'll kill you." The abuser, through the part of him that Bill took into his mind, kept his word.

Now go back up the thread and read the comment about the 6 of 8 girls who were raped and never thought to prosecute.

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I recognize that the media ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:57 AM | Posted by greenpad: | Reply

I recognize that the media keyed some off of his parents' Christian fundamentalism, so you couldn't completely ignore it. That said, would you write about anything else that you admittedly know nothing about with such certainty and vitriol? From a purely academic point of view, it is disappointing to see you write about something without researching it.

"Fundamentalism" defined means Christianity that follows only the Bible. Catholicism and others take a priest's word as divine, etc. Fundamentalism says only the Bible is trustworthy. The Bible does not endorse rape, so the fact that the father was a fundamentalist is irrelevant. Believing in the Bible doesn't automatically make you stop doing things wrong.

I do find it interesting that several comments attack you for even exploring the possibility that he lied about the rape. Are we not to question anything we read? I've heard it said before that suicide is an aggressive attack. "I'll show them". "They'll wish they had loved me more". If this is true, is it possible that this was an attack against the parents that he hated?

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"...you are not Alone."... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 12:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"...you are not Alone."

I don't think Alone wrote this. It just doesn't read like his writing. And I don't think it's a coincidence that this is the first TLP post I couldn't read to the end.

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They probably breathe air t... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 12:59 PM | Posted, in reply to fraula's comment, by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

They probably breathe air too, though I don't have solid evidence of this.

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Disagree. Alone has always... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 1:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Whatever: | Reply

Disagree. Alone has always been compassionate about loss. Probably because it is always real, a part of the objective reality we all live in. That person is no longer here. It's not any kind of cognitive distortion.

You're right though, the tone has been somewhat subdued lately.

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I just read Zeller's note i... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 1:28 PM | Posted, in reply to R. Kevin Hill's comment, by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

I just read Zeller's note itself, and have to clearly retract the remark that the desire for revenge was patent. It's far from clear from the note that he identifies any of the family members he expresses hostility toward with his abuser. This was merely an impression I had gotten from today's post above. It seems more likely that some of his anger toward his family was rooted in a feeling that nothing was done to protect him, but the suicide itself seems rooted in despair rather than anger.

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This may be the best blog e... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This may be the best blog entry of TLP. As much because of the Doctor's perspective on suicide, in general, as addressing the note (moreso, actually).

Dr. Melfi's shuddering when Tony asks if Gloria has been "hanging around".

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I can't believe that 6 out ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:08 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I can't believe that 6 out of 8 girls are raped story

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Bill understandably had pro... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 2:16 PM | Posted by Jack: | Reply

Bill understandably had problems trusting people. But certainly he knew about online communities where people talk about these kinds of experiences anonymously. At least, I hope he did. My point is that he doesn't discuss that type of resource at all, which I think is an odd omission given his experience with technology. Maybe he just didn't think they would help... maybe they don't. I don't rightly know.

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The so-called ‘psychoticall... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:28 PM | Posted by Cosmicomics: | Reply

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire's flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It's not desiring the fall; it's terror of the flame yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You'd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

-David Foster Wallace

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"The person can, in fact, b... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by CC: | Reply

"The person can, in fact, behave/think/feel how they claim they cannot."

I agree. I think LP agrees.

"There is no necessary normative (i.e. moral) criticism for Alone's statement to be true."

I am not sure what you mean. And I concede I may be missing your point regarding the is/should be distinction.

But nevertheless I think I disagree. If the statement is, ""The person can, in fact, behave/think/feel how they claim they cannot," then the person's claim is necessarily false or invalid.

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The reas... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 4:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


The reason sex abuse is generally more affective than say violent abuse is because sex is libidinal and violence isn't.

A bit circular. Sex is libidinal because it's sex. Of, if a base drive, well, there are plenty of folks who say that violence is a fundamental part of the human psyche. Indeed, the urge for sex and death was the mantra of Freudians.

And really, all of this Id, Ego, Suprego stuff. Any evidence? Fine then, but just admit, please, that it's philosophy and not science. It's just as simple to replace all of these labels with the term "the person" or "me." Just because life is about conflict doesn't mean that personality involves separate entities engaged in psychic warfare. The ultimate problem with the Freudian narrative is that anyone can make it say whatever they want.

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The reas... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 4:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


The reason sex abuse is generally more affective than say violent abuse is because sex is libidinal and violence isn't.

A bit circular. Sex is libidinal because it's sex. Or, if a base drive, well, there are plenty of folks who say that violence is a fundamental part of the human psyche. Indeed, the urge for sex and death was the mantra of Freudians.

And really, all of this Id, Ego, Suprego stuff. Any evidence? Fine then, but just admit, please, that it's philosophy and not science. It's just as simple to replace all of these labels with the term "the person" or "me." Just because life is about conflict doesn't mean that personality involves separate entities engaged in psychic warfare. The ultimate problem with the Freudian narrative is that anyone can make it say whatever they want.

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The mind trick of depressio... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:20 PM | Posted by Nadia: | Reply

The mind trick of depression is the worst part. Not only do most people not "believe" in mental illness, they think the person weak or unwilling to perk up.

I've had bouts of depression when changing my birth control. It was unbelievable, not only the mental but physical changes in my body. I became a different person. I thought about stepping in front of cars, I wouldn't go to class or leave my room. I thought my future was hopeless and that nothing would help.

Well, a quick change back to the old OC and I was back to "normal." In school, the faculty argue amongst themselves whether the heart or the kidney is the most important...I think it's the brain. You get trapped in your own head and you think the only way out is death.

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I think age plays a role. C... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I think age plays a role. Child's psyche (brain, neural system, etc) is much more malleable. It's easy to damage a tree permanently when it's small and fragile. It takes much more to take down and oak that had an opportunity to grow strong.

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First of all, the numbers a... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

First of all, the numbers are staggering. It is estimated that (in the US) one in six girls will be sexually violated by their 18th birthday. Likewise, one in four boys will suffer the same fate. Additionally, it is estimated that the rate of child abuse that goes unreported is as high as 30% (translated, the numbers of 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 could be even higher). You're right....the accusations may be totally false. However, it would seem to me if he was trying to truly get back at his parents (and his father in particular) that he would have NAMED his father as the rapist. His message was, to me, that of a tormented child who was never able to escape his past. The real tragedy was that he struggled with this his entire life and never received the help that he needed. Questioning the sincerity, the motivation and the validity of a victim is precisely the reason that victims of such crimes never talk about it and never get the help that they need.

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First of all, the numbers a... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

First of all, the numbers are staggering. It is estimated that one in six girls will be sexually violated by their 18th birthday. Likewise, one in four boys will suffer the same fate. Additionally, it is estimated that the rate of child abuse that goes unreported is as high as 30% (translated, the numbers of 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 could be even higher). You're right....the accusations may be totally false. However, it would seem to me if he was trying to truly get back at his parents (and his father in particular) that he would have NAMED his father as the rapist. His message was, to me, that of a tormented child who was never able to escape his past. The real tragedy was that he struggled with this his entire life and never received the help that he needed. Questioning the sincerity, the motivation and the validity of a victim is precisely the reason that victims of such crimes never talk about it and never get the help that they need.

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Jack: I wouldn't be surpris... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:57 PM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Jack: I wouldn't be surprised if he just lurked at such places and didn't say anything. Not everyone can share online. Particularly if they are Internet-savvy and they know how easy it is to be traced if someone wants to bad enough.

The same applies to the lack of detail about the abuse. A vague description of abuse does not necessarily mean he wasn't. (But I can understand how such vagueness can make people think that about him.)

In my opinion what did him in was not the abuse but the fact that he never told anyone how he felt. There's nothing which can defuse an issue quicker than bringing it out in the open. As a recent article on the subject suggests.

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That's just silly, women we... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 7:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

That's just silly, women were no less traumatized by rape in the past. They just were more likely to hide it (just like people were more likely to hide the fact they were sexually abused). The only difference is that women now publicly talk about the trauma and effect of rape. The same is true for being sexually abused as a child.

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To say, for example, that t... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 8:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by anonymous: | Reply

To say, for example, that there is no empirical evidence for the claim that there is an Id which desires pleasure and a Superego which experiences guilt, and the two systems can be in conflict, but it's perfectly fine to say that a person can feel an inner conflict between their desires and their guilt about their desires, seems odd to me: it sounds like the latter is just a different way of saying the former, and that they are empirically equivalent. A lot of the late Freud topology sounds more like common sense couched in a funny terminology than unprovable speculation. Or perhaps it's that as long as we recognize that "he feels divided" is a metaphor it's OK, but it's not to be taken literally? But that then suggests that anyone ever took it literally in the first place, which I kinda doubt.

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Regardless of whether the n... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 9:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Regardless of whether the note was true or not, I do appreciate you bringing up the possibility that it could have been fake. My initial reaction was to believe it without questioning it. I think people get upset at blogs like this one because they believe that it is like a mirror of reality instead of a lens which can be biased. I appreciate your thoughts and for taking the time to share your lens with us.

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I can't believe that 6 o... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Karen: | Reply

I can't believe that 6 out of 8 girls are raped story

Well done! You've just joined the legions of people who support rape culture!

Rape Culture 101

or to quote one point of many:

"Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as “date rape” by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported."

It also speaks volumes that you called them 'girls' and not 'women'. Also that you read it as 'are raped' and not that in this circumstance this particular group of women had that experience. Life isn't statistically accurate when it comes to the individual. Just look at the use and abuse of the BMI (Body Mass Index).

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"This point of view does no... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:56 PM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by Nik: | Reply

"This point of view does not fit within the American Ideal. A nation of immigrants who came here looking for second chances does not look kindly on those who decide that they have no better options."

I thought this was interesting. I don't know if it actually holds up, but it's an interesting point of view.

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"This point of view does no... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 10:58 PM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by Nik: | Reply

"This point of view does not fit within the American Ideal. A nation of immigrants who came here looking for second chances does not look kindly on those who decide that they have no better options."

I thought this was interesting. People are always upset when others with talent (like a great artist) ignore it and even spurn it. I wouldn't have thought to make that kind of connection in this situation.

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It's so easy to miss one ba... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 11:59 PM | Posted by TheDavid: | Reply

It's so easy to miss one basic point: your life is your own. You have the right to end your life any way you see fit, at any time you choose, for any reason -- or none.

I personally think a suicide note should be as honest, factual and informative as you can, given that you might well not have a chance to correct it or "live it down,"; I have to admit that I too wonder if Zeller was telling the truth about being molested, because he didn't say anything to back that up. If he told the truth who was he protecting by not giving details? Why not give names and dates, at least? I know I would. It's not like they can bring you back and sue you for libel, and any decent "bystander" who'd be hurt by your suicide would be hurt regardless of what your parting words were.

And wouldn't the gist of his suicide note be just as meaningful without that pseudo-specific? "For a long time I've carried something within me that's heavy, ugly and foul-smelling, something I haven't found any other way to get rid of, and I'm sick and tired of all that." That's more than you're obligated to give as it is.

The rest of the note makes sense to me; I might quibble, pointlessly, but I have no quarrel with it. I'll have to defend your right to your choice even if I disagree with what you say about it.

I'll also reserve the right, as your metaphysical equal, to try to stop you, though if I did so I'd have no right to claim it was for your good more than mine. And I'll have to recognize your right to hate me if I do stop you, seeing that I did presume to over-ride your rights with my personal arrogance.

Yes, I've faced this from several sides.

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Grow a brain and s... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:20 AM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Grow a brain and stop regurging what you read here.

Alone is not a god, he's just some 50something year old doctor. Big deal. Narcissism doesn't explain everything, and so far the only person who thinks this story was "confabulated" is him and his followers.

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decently exploring any one... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:32 AM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

decently exploring any one of these 3 does not mean Alone or anyone else is uneducated or insensitive about the others.
>

Look at how everyone is stumbling over their feet to defend their leader.

This is not some 16 year old accusing their parents of child molestation. Yes, many of those claims are fabricated for many reasons (monetary manipulation, emotional manipulation, attention). This is not some borderline little girl with slashed wrists screaming that her father raped her. This is a full grown adult man with a history of behaviors that will easily match up to the claims. Yes, he was thrown out of his house at 19 because his parents are religious psychotics. Yes, he has had relationship troubles and could not connect to people. Yes, he did spend hours and hours and hours in distractions. Everything matches what he said - now he is explaining WHY THESE THINGS HAPPENED. He had troubles connecting because he had been violently raped as a little boy. He is a good programmer because he cannot stand to be with himself because of the rapes.
There is NO REASON AT ALL not to believe him. None. Zero. Everything he says is reasonable. Nothing he said was outrageous. He does not have a history being dramatic, emotional, manipulative. He does not have a history of having crazy outbursts and attention seeking behaviors. He is a quiet reserved isolated type, and he wasn't in any trouble at all. He wasn't a drug addict, a criminal, a thief. He wasn't a psycho borderline nutjob who randomly does random things. There is no reason to assume his suicide is motivated by any other reason than the one he is telling us, and that reason is this: he cannot cope with what happened to him as a child any longer and so he made the choice to end his life.

So please shut the fuck up, all of you people defending alone's blog entry. There was no reason at all to assume he is lying, and IMO the only reason alone thought this is probably because it would be too much effort to feel. It's much easier to just be cynical and cold and tell yourself it didn't really happen, like a fat middle aged american spouting off about how the poor deserve it.

EXCEPT FOR THE FUCKING FACT HE SPECIFICALLY STATES HE HAS NEVER TOLD ANYONE ABOUT THE ABUSE. WOOPS.
Look, guys, this is a shock I know but alone is not god. Everything he spews on his blog does not necessarily need to be honored and examined like the word of god. Sometimes he says stupid fucking shit. This is one of those times.

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""there are three running i... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:33 AM | Posted by first comment didnt post right srry: | Reply

""there are three running issues, and if commentors recognize this, there will be less room to criticize Alone: 1. the seemingly unreasonable disbelief is normal; 2. therapeutically, connecting with the emotion, not the particulars, is generally the optimal therapeutic strategy; 3. some of these reports of childhood abuse are made up, either intentionally or unintentionally.
decently exploring any one of these 3 does not mean Alone or anyone else is uneducated or insensitive about the others.""

Look at how everyone is stumbling over their feet to defend their leader.

This is not some 16 year old accusing their parents of child molestation. Yes, many of those claims are fabricated for many reasons (monetary manipulation, emotional manipulation, attention). This is not some borderline little girl with slashed wrists screaming that her father raped her. This is a full grown adult man with a history of behaviors that will easily match up to the claims. Yes, he was thrown out of his house at 19 because his parents are religious psychotics. Yes, he has had relationship troubles and could not connect to people. Yes, he did spend hours and hours and hours in distractions. Everything matches what he said - now he is explaining WHY THESE THINGS HAPPENED. He had troubles connecting because he had been violently raped as a little boy. He is a good programmer because he cannot stand to be with himself because of the rapes.
There is NO REASON AT ALL not to believe him. None. Zero. Everything he says is reasonable. Nothing he said was outrageous. He does not have a history being dramatic, emotional, manipulative. He does not have a history of having crazy outbursts and attention seeking behaviors. He is a quiet reserved isolated type, and he wasn't in any trouble at all. He wasn't a drug addict, a criminal, a thief. He wasn't a psycho borderline nutjob who randomly does random things. There is no reason to assume his suicide is motivated by any other reason than the one he is telling us, and that reason is this: he cannot cope with what happened to him as a child any longer and so he made the choice to end his life.

So please shut the fuck up, all of you people defending alone's blog entry. There was no reason at all to assume he is lying, and IMO the only reason alone thought this is probably because it would be too much effort to feel. It's much easier to just be cynical and cold and tell yourself it didn't really happen, like a fat middle aged american spouting off about how the poor deserve it.

""i have read a great deal abt the false memory syndrome. from the little info here, this guy's situation might fit - false memories of very early childhood sexual abuse likely grow out of time with a tehrapist who believes from jump street that most clients were molested in early childhood, and who believes that therapy is a matter of exploring vague childhood impression-memories until the persuasive therapeutic encounter can be used to develop these memories out of thin air.""

EXCEPT FOR THE FUCKING FACT HE SPECIFICALLY STATES HE HAS NEVER TOLD ANYONE ABOUT THE ABUSE. WOOPS.
Look, guys, this is a shock I know but alone is not god. Everything he spews on his blog does not necessarily need to be honored and examined like the word of god. Sometimes he says stupid fucking shit. This is one of those times.

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This answer.Yep, r... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:41 AM | Posted, in reply to fraula's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This answer.

Yep, religious people are nuts. Saying that does not make me trendy, it makes me realistic. Religion is a socially accepted form of completely irrational, psychotic thinking. I am tired of pussyfooting around this issue.

If anyone is causing damage to people, it's not suicide, its the widespread madness of religion. 100% OF RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE MORE INSANE FOR THEIR RELIGION, the only question is how badly they are affected. Most people are only slightly affected... they don't literally believe everything their institutions/books tell them but they do tend to believe some crazy shit (like about magical figures and irrational views of others, that they are going to hell for failing to conform to their magical thinking). However, some people are significantly/severely affected such as fraula's parents and probably Zeller's family as well. This type of religious psychosis prevents one from being a healthy functional citizen, a friend, a parent, because their insane way of religion-tainted reasoning destroys logical healthy thought processes and resulting behaviors.

I'm really tired of some counter-counter culture people trying to protect religious psychos from the well deserved anti-religion backlash originating from educated western people. Fuck that shit. Religion is 100% harmful 100% of the time, the question is only in what degree. Everything "good" religion gives can easily be obtained without religion. Crack makes us feel good too, but that doesn't mean it is an acceptable substance to take recreationally and there are much better ways to feel good.

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One of the best comments on... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:48 AM | Posted, in reply to Cosmicomics's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

One of the best comments on this blog.

I think you get it.

Alone, pastabagel, mvt, et al, all fail.

I still can't believe we're doubting this actually happened, and that this was ONLY attacked by myself. What a bunch of cowards and nonthinking sheep you all are.

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I am jealous this only happ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 12:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Nadia's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I am jealous this only happens to you when changing birth control.

I wish I did not have a mood disorder. Fucking bipolar.

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I can't believe th... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 1:36 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I can't believe that 6 out of 8 girls are raped story

And that's probably why they aren't prosecuting. Because people will call them liars.

Let's try some logic. Just for funnsies.

• If women live in a society where they are not believed when they claim that someone has raped them, then many will not press charges when it happens.
• If they do not press charges, that particular rapist is free to keep on raping.
• If it is widely known that rape victims do not press charges, then there is no effective threat of punishment to dissuade potential rapists from raping. Consequently, all those who would be dissuaded by prison/castration/capital punishment/public shaming are no longer held in check. More rapists commit more rapes.

Congratulations, you are succeeding in unofficially obstructing justice.

Each and every time you publicly state that you don't believe women who say that they were raped (not even for any reason... you just figure they're lying...) you help rapists get away with raping women.

Maybe you just don't understand statistics?
Statistics: 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
Source: http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims
Online Data from: National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.

Statistics don't work well when you apply them to small groups. If you take 100,000,000 women, the 1 out of 6 ratio could reasonably be expected to hold true. If you take a group of 6 women, you might end up with 1 person who has been raped, you might end up with 3, you might end up with none, and you might end up with 6—you might even end up with 6 out of whom 2 have been raped more than once.

One other point: any woman you know who has been raped will never tell you because you randomly spout off about how you don't believe rape victims. Maybe she's a sister, maybe she's a friend, maybe she's a cousin, maybe she's a daughter. But she'll never tell you and you'll never know because you broadcast the fact that you can't be trusted not to call her a liar.

(Yes, I know that men and transgendered persons are also raped; however, I am replying specifically to the comment quoted at the top. That comment only addresses women being raped and I've restricted my response accordingly.)

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"I can't believe that 6 out... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 1:54 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I can't believe that 6 out of 8 girls are raped"
"Maybe you just don't understand statistics?"

"Statistics: 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime"


Huh.
Apparently, you just don't understand FRACTIONS.

3/4 =! 1/6

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(Similar questions... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 2:06 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

(Similar questions can be raised about adult rape, and why women seem more traumatized by it in the age of feminism, not less.)

Have you considered that prior to "the age of feminism" they just didn't feel like they could talk about how traumatizing it was? You know, assuming that what you said even holds true; you haven't supported it in any way with evidence.

Consider a subset of rape: spousal rape. In today's America, if women do not want to have sex, their husbands are not legally allowed to forced them to have sex. If they do, it can be prosecuted as spousal rape.

However, until the late 1970s most states figured spousal rape was a-okay. 'Cause, you know, you're married and married people are supposed to have sex; so when you put a ring on it, you give up your right to say no. The law changed. What were women going to publicly complain about before that happened? My husband took his husbandly privileges as is his right even though I didn't want him to and now I can't look at him? You think they were going to openly discuss how traumatic it was when the law says that their husbands did nothing wrong?

North Carolina didn't make spousal rape a crime until 1993. (You know, less than two decades ago. By the by, what year does your "age of feminism" start?)

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Huh.Apparently, y... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Huh. Apparently, you just don't understand FRACTIONS.

3/4 =! 1/6

No... you just showed that you don't understand statistics and can't read. Keep going... I know it's hard...

Statistics don't work well when you apply them to small groups. If you take 100,000,000 women, the 1 out of 6 ratio could reasonably be expected to hold true. If you take a group of 6 women, you might end up with 1 person who has been raped, you might end up with 3, you might end up with none, and you might end up with 6—you might even end up with 6 out of whom 2 have been raped more than once.

Just because 1 out of 6 American women have been raped does not mean that each and every group of women in the country always has exactly 1 woman out of 6 who has been raped. What happens in a group of 8 if everything follows your rule of fractions? 1 and 1/3rd women have been raped? What about in a group of 4? 2/3rds of a woman has been raped?

Maybe you skimmed right through the post that started this discussion. Too many words, right? Here's the part you might find relevant: "I was sitting in my garden one evening with eight female friends...Out of the eight sitting there, six had been raped." No one said that 6 out of every 8 American women had been raped. Karen said that 6 women out of that particular group of 8 women had been raped.

Do you understand how statistics work now?

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I had, as a person... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:13 AM | Posted by Minder: | Reply

I had, as a personal prejudice, not appreciated its prevalence.

Alone, this is one of the things I most appreciate about you: that you admit it when you learn better. To answer the question you ask subsequently:

But when even the news reports blindly accepted the abuse story, I had to ask: how come no one wondered if Bill hadn't made the whole thing up?

Because you were on the right track when you said:

I began to wonder if true binary of the world wasn't men/women or rich/poor but people who had been molested and no one cared or stopped it/ people who had never been molested or someone cared and had stopped it.

Close. There are those whose model of the world includes the horrid commonality of rape and child abuse (even if they, themselves were not assaulted), and those privileged people who are spared that knowledge and function in a happy bubble of ignorance.

The reason so many of us "accepted" Zeller's story "blindly" (as you put it) was because to those of us on the convex side of that bubble, child rape is such a common, banal atrocity. It is no more outre than saying, "I voted for Obama because I'm a Democrat"; you wouldn't say, "Well, we don't know he's a Democrat, right? Maybe he had some other reason." It happens every day; what's to "accept"? Sure, maybe he made it up, but when you hear hoof beats, think you horses not zebras.

That you still ask, that you still react to others' "certainty", i.e. their matter-of-fact acceptance that this is an ordinary horror, means that emotionally, you still haven't come to the terms with how hideously common rape is. You know, now, intellectually, but you are still treating it as an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence, because it still feels to you like a rare thing.

What would it mean to you to, to admit to yourself, emotionally, that such a vast number of people are raped, were assaulted as children? There's a consciousness raising exercise: if one in six (as per above) women are sexually assaulted in their lives, the next time you're in a crowded room look around, count the women, and divide by six. What would it mean to your practice? If it is not the case that one in six of your female patients has divulged a history of sexual assault to you (as a clinician, you should expect the rate of hx of sexual assault, especially childhood sexual assault should be dramatically higher among your patients than the general population) are you not getting the whole story from them? Are you treating (or, as the case may be, not treating) PTSD cases unwittingly?

For that matter, are you treating (or, as the case may be, not) perpetrators unwittingly?

In light of the role of childhood sexual abuse in the cases of so many of my own patients, especially the forensic ones, this seems to me like an incredibly important topic for any mental health clinician to be familiar with. But we can't do that inside the bubble.

And breaking the bubble of comforting ignorance, confronting that lamentably, yes, we do live in a world where rape and child abuse are not incredibly rare aberrations, is something against which most people feel a lot of resistance. It is not very... comfortable... out here. We wish to deny that there is so much violence and hurting in our society, because it's so very scary and upsetting. We make up comforting stories -- that he lied, that it must not be so bad or hurt so much, that she must have been asking for it or it wouldn't have happened -- so as not to have to confront the reality of the numbers.

And maybe that's OK for most people. But I don't think we clinicians get to have that luxury. I think that we have to know, to be able to serve our patients.

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Can someone commen... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:48 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Minder: | Reply

Can someone comment on whether there is any known biological ("organic" in the psych sense) reason why childhood sexual abuse should be specifically more traumatizing than anything else that triggers PTSD?

First and foremost, it isn't exactly. I understand there is research which seems to show that in some cases profound neglect in early childhood (i.e. toddlers locked in closets and starved for weeks) results in some of the same changes in adult brain function and morphology as is observed in some severe childhood sexual abuse cases. Google "Martin Teicher" to hunt down more info.

Secondly, please remember that childhood sexual abuse is sometimes very physically violent or threatening, with the victim being physically overpowered and brutalized, or controlled by threats of violence to self or others. I somewhat suspect from the context of your question that you didn't actually read Zeller's suicide note, which while elliptical, did allude to the fact that the assaults on him were so violent, they left him permanently maimed in ways which impacted his physical health and functioning.

Third, we mammals do this thing called "attachment" in infancy and through childhood. It's a process whereby the young of the species enters into a dependent psychological relationship with a protector/providor adult (usually the parent) that parallels their physical dependency upon that person. Attachment is still largely a mystery in so many ways, but, horribly, we have a pretty good grasp on what happens when it is seriously disrupted: the developmental consequences are dire. Google "romanian orphanages" and "harlow monkey experiment".

Childhood sexual abuse can profoundly disrupt attachment in two ways. When the perpetrator is the object of attachment (e.g. a parent), nothing in the child is prepared to deal with the fact that the person they are biologically programmed to turn to for defense and protection is, in fact, the person hurting them. You can call this a "divide by zero error of the soul"; otherwise normal healthy processes go completely haywire because they are not equipped to handle that conflict of goals (escape assault and take refuge in object of attachment).

When the assailant is not the object of attachment (e.g. parent), but the parent fails to protect the child, as apparently happened in this case, it can happen if the child is old enough (4+) that the child realizes that they are unprotected. Their realization that their attachment object isn't reciprocating the relationship, can be psychologically like their parent died. The realization is that their parent is not functioning as their parent, that they can't turn to their protector for protection, which is an experience of loss of a caregiver. Now, loss of an attachment object isn't necessarily psychologically catastrophic, as in the death of a parent -- if there is someone else the child can attach to (the other parent, a foster/adoptive parent, other guardian, etc.) The problem in the failed-protector scenario is when the child is being sexually abused and stuck with the failed-protector parent, and thus prevented from moving on to attach to someone else. Children who wind up stuck in a situation of having no one they can attach to because they are still under the care of someone who disbelieved or refused or failed to protect them from further assault can find themselves in a psychological and developmental limbo. They need an attachment to grow mentally, in a very basic biological way, and they don't really have one.

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To me, the minute i star... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by A Girl: | Reply

To me, the minute i started reading his note, I knew it was his father. Why else would it have been so unspeakable?

Please, no. No, no, no. Don't do that, please. Don't ever 'know.' As a survivor and a therapist, use your experience to say, 'Look, it can be done.' and leave it at that. Don't ever assume you know.

Why else would it be so unspeakable? Perhaps he took gifts in return? I could think of other reasons, but I wont - but you should try.

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I think the reason it is un... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 5:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think the reason it is unspeakable is largely because of Zeller's temperament (genetic) as well as the sort of environment he was raised in (environment). I don't think religious psychotic nutjobs promote emotional expression very much, it was probably expected Zeller never disobey or at all express any need that was incongruous with the goal of being a perfect religious psycho family.
It also seems as if he comes from a waspy pedigree, these people are emotionally inhibited and have a difficult time connecting in general. Being a male, from a whitebread family that were also crazy religious psychos, and overeducated as well (he went to princeton and speaks of doctors in the family)? Emotional openness does not come to mind here. Major repression probably going on, frontal lobe hyperactivity bigtime.

It was unspeakable because it is expected of him not to speak, and his brain is designed to function and perform and achieve and preserve the structure of the system. You can't ask a dog, with the biology of a beta wolf why it doesn't leave its abusive human master... everything about this creature is designed to follow and serve. The dog will first waste away with obsessive compulsive behavior before it says "fuck you I"m outta here". That is how this organic machine is designed.
The mind of a person like this can only cope with so much and he terminated himself, because there was nothing else he can do. Sharing and expressing wasn't possible, at least spontaneously it wouldn't occur to him and would probably require incredible coaxing , and he would likely never put himself in a situation where he could be coaxed by anyone. He was determined to PERFORM, ACHIEVE as was expected of him, and he pursued it more ferociously as he had more to lose (staying with the darkness).

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"A Girl's" response to this... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 8:59 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

"A Girl's" response to this quote was really cool:

Quote:
"To me, the minute i started reading his note, I knew it was his father. Why else would it have been so unspeakable?"

"A Girl's" response:
"Please, no. No, no, no. Don't do that, please. Don't ever 'know.' As a survivor and a therapist, use your experience to say, 'Look, it can be done.' and leave it at that. Don't ever assume you know."

Exactly. As a therapist, the more helpful attitude is to allow the client to tell the story. If things fall into place, it is possible that, if it were the father, eventually the client might be able to open up and discuss this with the therapist - possibly after finally being able to address it with himself or herself.

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It's not surprising that Ze... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 9:06 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's not surprising that Zeller personifies the "darkness" since he comes from a fundamentalist family. Most religions do this, that's what the devil is...personified and outwardly projected "darkness". Religions tend to divide people into good and bad, they also make the claim that all "good" in human nature actually comes from "god" and all "bad" from the devil. It's innately psychologically divisive and anti-human (in the sense of being an integrated, whole person). So, really, it's not very surprising that Zeller personified his "dark" feelings since that's what religions tend to do, often going as far as to say that someone is "possessed" if they don't behave according to the rules/in a way that pleases the more powerful in the relationship. Another example of this is how children who misbehave are subjected to "exorcisms" (which we mainly hear about when a child is killed in the process) or their parents attempt to beat the devil out of them.

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Alone, I'm surprised you ju... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 9:12 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, I'm surprised you just skipped over this part of the note....

"I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of."

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Hey, Anonymous 12:32am:<br ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 9:17 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Hey, Anonymous 12:32am:
Regarding this:
"This is not some borderline little girl with slashed wrists screaming that her father raped her."

Please explain how we know that this girl in your example is lying and Zeller is not.

How is a "little girl" supposed to act when revealing that her father raped her? Or, are we supposed to dismiss any histrionics produced by girls?

I worked at a treatment center with a girl - middle-school-age - who produced a lot of histrionics. Turns out that, at home, despite parent's story that things were just fine/the girl was the problem, that the parent was severely depressed, and could not cope. This better picture emerged when the the girl cut off the gas to the unlit stove and pulled her parent's head back out of the unlit stove.

Histrionics were the best way she, with her limited life experience and limited power in the situation, had figured out to reveal that things were terrible in her home.

You can be dismissive of histrionics, and or of girls, if you want.

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Ok I have to put this out t... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 10:03 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Ok I have to put this out there and I admit that I only skimmed the comments but I'll try to get back to them:

"This is not some borderline little girl with slashed wrists screaming that her father raped her."
-This statement is horrible for so many reasons, I can dissect if you like because I don't think you meant it to come off as horrible, but it says something rather important about how we think of "mental health patients"


Also if there are so many rapists, isn't it possible we could teach guys and girls about their sexuality? Is it possible that if we taught empathy training and the kind of things taught in the "anti-bullying" program that was recently done... applied that to interactions between men and women as well... that maybe we could help some people ... not rape?

What if a lot of women are experiencing something that feels like rape, and a lot of men are doing this but don't realize/care that that is how the woman experienced it so long as they felt like they didn't use whatever technique in their head makes it "real rape".

What if some of these situations REALLY ARE RAPE?

What if some of these situations may not technically be rape?

People think in binary and it makes these wars circular and unproductive. If a woman felt like she experienced rape and never told anyone...

Guess what, none of us can know if it was actually rape unless we were there?

There is NOT a universal accepted definition of rape.

I wouldn't say that's "THE cause" of rape, but I think it's a huge source of rapists not understanding how the woman is experiencing what s/he's doing.

I think in some people's minds, it's only rape if the instigater MEANT to be a rapist.

If the person doing the instigating didn't MEAN to be raping, it can't be rape, right?

On the "rape is not sexual".... I read a great paragraph about that a long time ago and I wish I coudl remember what book it was in. Something to the degree that in our culture the way we talk about sex and rape are very similar. The guy "scores", if something bad happens to you, you "got fucked",

We tend to think of sex in terms of exploitation. The giver is positively affirmed and the reciever is humiliated.

Often the doubt about rape isn't about whether or not the event happened but whether or not the person claiming they were raped has an accurate perspective of what rape is.

I think firming up societal perspectives on what we believe rape is would help clear up that confusion and the immediate, "the person is falsly crying rape" reaction people have to rape charges.

And in general if you tend to the instigator of sexual activities consider applying for yourself a policy of requesting consent. Even if you aren't doing this for the reciever, do this for yourself. If you think women are wishy washy about sex, make the person commit. Do you want to do this? If you get a yes, go for it. If you get something other than yes or no then say, "I need a yes or a no"

I like the "red light, yellow light, green light" approach. The initiator gets to have a clear go ahead with the yellow and the reciever gets to keep their, "I'm not sure about this but I'm comfirming you can go ahead"

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And on the the child sexual... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 10:16 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

And on the the child sexual abuse doubt, the doubt does stem more from "Did this person make it up entirely either because they created genuine false memories, because they are mentally ill, or because they just want attention?"

All of those things do happen. So it IS worth question where the sexual abuse charge is coming from. It could be coming from a real even or series of events. It could be coming from a mental health issues, or a cry for attention. It could be coming from false memories.

Those are all possibilities and considering the criminal implications to the claimed abuser, we HAVE to ask whether the even really happened or not.

That is a requirement of a just law system. We can't say that anyone who says they were abused as a child must automatically be believed and the person who did it persecuted based on a story that has no confirmation in reality.

for the sake of therapy, the specifics of what actually happened aren't as relevant. But for us to decide, for example, that this guys dad "definately did it" would be wrong.

We can't know this from this letter. I suspect it, and just the fact that most people will forever suspect this guy even if they apply "innocent until proven guilty" he will carry this forever whether he did it or not.

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@david:"Only in ou... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 10:43 AM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

@david:

"Only in our modern, Western society - still in the shadow of Judeo-Christian tradition - do we find this idea that everything must be endured. Suffering is assumed to be a character building experience."

Why fetishize non-Western societies? Enduring suffering is near-universal (viz. 4 pillars of Buddhism, the Hindu perspective on suffering, etc)

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If everyone who considered ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 11:08 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

If everyone who considered running into a room of people and opening fire before killing themselves had this code of ethics, the world would be a better place. All those needless deaths that happen because of crazy people shootings--- yes kill yourself first, don't take a bunch of people with you. I want people who feel this way to have intervention, and I do think there is such a thing as... (help me out here psych folks, what's the word?)-- deviant ideations or whatever that word is. Thoughts that happen that you would never act on that stem from feeling "out of control". But if you really feel on the verge of acting on such things, do take yourself out. And perhaps, if you are having such ideations telling yourself "I know I can keep others safe because I know I will always take myself out first if the feelings really do call me to action" the power of the ideations will lose their hold.

"I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of."

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First of all, the ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 11:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

First of all, the numbers are staggering. It is estimated that (in the US) one in six girls will be sexually violated by their 18th birthday. Likewise, one in four boys will suffer the same fate. Additionally, it is estimated that the rate of child abuse that goes unreported is as high as 30% (translated, the numbers of 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 could be even higher).

This isn't meant to detract from the rest of your statement, but where did you find the figures for 1 in 4? The figures I've seen for male victims are quite different.

Using a definition of rape that includes forced vaginal, oral, and anal sex, the survey found that 1 of 6 U.S. women and 1 of 33 U.S. men has experienced an attempted or completed rape as a child and/or an adult...
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/172837.pdf

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Note that I'm not saying I ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 1:55 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Note that I'm not saying I think Zeller's lying, but that I don't think he gave enough details to back up the claim. Me, I'd have said something like "on Dec. 12, 1987, by Colonel Mustard, in the dining room with a candle stick, after lunch when everybody else was playing croquet in the snow; it was just after I fed Grandma's fallen souffle to her poodle and about an hour before Uncle Bob almost drowned in the punch bowl." I'd want everybody to know exactly what happened, or I wouldn't bother to bring it up. People might still not believe it but at least they'd have "the 5 Ws."


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By the way, Jesus hates ev... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 1:56 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

By the way, Jesus hates everybody. Pass it on.

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"I still can't believe w... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 2:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Pastabagel: | Reply

"I still can't believe we're doubting this actually happened, and that this was ONLY attacked by myself. What a bunch of cowards and nonthinking sheep you all are."

I am not doubting it happened. What I am saying is that we have no idea what happened because there is absolutely no objectively verifiable record of it. You have Bill's statement in his suicide note, and that is all you have. Maybe he made it up, or remembered it wrong, or any of the other myriad of things that happens to reality when its recorded in memory.

Secondly, you do realize that Cosmiccomic's comment was a qutoe for David Foster Wallace, and a man who also killed himself, right? When Wallace talks about the flames, he's doing what Zeller did when he talks about 'the Darkness.' They are both externalizing the internal source of their present pain. Zeller was suffering not because he was raped as a kid, because he is no longer being raped. He was suffering because in the present his mind was in turmoil and conflict. Zeller and Wallace both got it wrong, not me. There is no Darkness. There are no flames. It's just their thoughts in conflict with other thoughts. Is the pain real? Absolutely.


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Past experience is as real ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Past experience is as real as present experience.

Only a sheltered person would say otherwise.

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When I wrote the statement ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:28 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

When I wrote the statement about the hysterical dramatic child making wild accusations against family members, it was intended/implied that the accusations would later be detracted / disproven. It was also implied this individual was unstable/hysterical and has a history of doing outrageous things.

I was thinking of several people I know in real life who have done this. They were absolutely 100% not abused, and I know because one of them is my sister, and I know my father. My sister is mentally ill, probably borderline among other things, and accuses my parents of being child molesters. She does this because she wants to manipulate them. Whenever she is denied something she wants, she starts with the accusation, because she know it hurts them. I absolutely 100% know my sister is lying about this. I grew up in the same house, we slept in the same room, my parents are not molesters at all.

I apologize for making it seem as if we should routinely disbelieve little girls who accuse their parents of molesting them... I was trying to convey a different message, that we should investigate/cautiously doubt claims made by someone who has a history of being histrionic, unstable, dramatic, emotional, impulsive, manipulative, etc.

This man fits none of these categories, everything about his life does speak of someone trying very hard to live and escape and be better - reasonably dealing with an unreasonable expectation (to keep living with horrible damage).

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And MVT, one anecdote of a ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:38 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

And MVT, one anecdote of a histronic kid who was actually having problems at home does not mitigate the fact that most of these types of people are either children behaving extremely immature (will grow out of it) or alternatively crazy motherfuckers, with broken brains, who do random things, and will be crazy their whole lives because they are crazy.

I don't believe so called "personality disordered" people are necessarily traumatized therefore personality disordered; I believe that people who are personality disordered are much more likely to view themselves as victims, feel persecuted, and describe mundane things (or make up things) to feel traumatized about.

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I dont think the dad did it... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:45 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I dont think the dad did it at all. It was evident from the letter the dad DID NOT do it.

This line suggests it was not his father, but rather a member of their religious circle:

"If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were "saved" at some point), that's your choice, but it's fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him."


This sentence suggests the irrational religious-tainted perspectives adopted by their parents. They viewed their morally good grandmother as hellbound, meanwhile they loved the man who was raping their little boy. It also suggests the parents may have had suspicions but ignored them/didn't care because it interfered with their psycho religious craziness.

I think anyone who assumes it is the father is probably projecting their own experiences onto him (unfortunately), or alternatively they are adopting a stereotyped perspective ("A raped little boy? Must be dad").

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I can see why he didnt spec... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 3:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I can see why he didnt specifically name the abuser.


After reading his note I walked away with a sense that this man wasn't just specifically angry with the molester but he was angry with the world in general and what he perceived to be a systematic series of failures of trust in his life.

He describes his parents who hated his grandmother (who was a good person), yet loved this child raping freak, and ignored signs that he was a child raping freak ("their church was more important").

He describes the betrayal of his rotten friends who told everyone he is gay - which is not surprising to me, and matches my experience, people love to hurt people, ridicule them, and gossip about them even about very very sensitive and personal issues, and really do not think about or care what kind of emotional impact it may have on them. "They do whatever they want and justify it later."

He describes the abysmal failure of the mental health system, bored therapists/doctors who skim their notes and dont even relate empathize care about the person in front of them.

I don't think the point of this letter was to get revenge on that specific person. The letter was sort of a manifesto, the product of a life of thinking and understanding and making sense of the long line of failures which made suicide the only possibility for him.

He just wanted to explain, and he explained. It wasn't about revenge I don't think, or else he would have said: "that guy who was babysitting me, your saved christian friend, he permanently mutilated my anal sphincter via violent rape, thanks... didn't you suspect or care why a grown man wanted to be around me so often???".

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"Yep, religious people are ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 4:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

"Yep, religious people are nuts. Saying that does not make me trendy, it makes me realistic. Religion is a socially accepted form of completely irrational, psychotic thinking."

That must be why religious people are happier than the non-religious. And why no civilization has ever arisen without being based on a religion. And why no people anywhere in the world have ever been discovered whose culture does not include religion. (After all, psychosis must be very evolutionary adaptive, right?) And why the first societies in history to become largely irreligious (those of Western Europe) are committing suicide before our eyes (by having far less than replacement birth rates.)

Ah, I love the way atheists are so rational and empirical!

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Hows that staunch catholic ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 4:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hows that staunch catholic repression working out for you, Callahan?

Hows your hypocrisy working out for you? How many "sins" do you commit and justify on a daily basis, yet freely pass out judgment of others?

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"Religions tend to divide p... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 4:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Religions tend to divide people into good and bad, they also make the claim that all "good" in human nature actually comes from "god" and all "bad" from the devil. It's innately psychologically divisive and anti-human (in the sense of being an integrated, whole person)..."

So, really, the world is divided into bad people like the religious, who are divisive and anti-human, and good people like anonymous, who are uniters, not dividers.

I see...

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Ah, so the world is actuall... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 4:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

Ah, so the world is actually divided into repressed, sinning hypocrites like me, who go around harshly judging other, and nice people like anonymous, who would never judge anyone else!

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There is something that str... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 5:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There is something that strikes me off about his explanation of why he was kicked out and rejected by his family.

" I didn't want to go to church for 7 hrs a week..."

That stings him? It sounds to me like he was given an out; that could be inverted: I didn't want to go to church for 7 hrs/wk, so I left.

It sounds like a teenager who's been dumped because "he didn't want to anything but work and it was boring..."

This is not to say that his parents were being fair, loving or rational, but I think he still felt very rejected by them, and in the most significant way: sexually.

Perhaps, he tested the waters and threw drugs or staying out late or dress or whatever, but he hinted at his inclinations and they rejected him.

He hated his sexuality (whatever it was; whatever it was he felt) and felt that he had been sacrificed for his family; he never told the name of the predator to "protect his family", sensing as the victim does that it will upend the family, and it damaged him and they couldn't love him for it. And it's possible that the assailant had only a peripheral, temporary connection to the family.

He hated his family, I'm sure, but I hear in this the voice of a person who first hates himself, his sexuality (it was easier to say he was gay at college, really?) , and his child love of his family was rejected.

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No, silly, the opposite of ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 5:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No, silly, the opposite of being a religious hypocrite is NOT being all good/free of judgment. The opposite of being a religious hypocrite is being a normal fucking person who just takes life one thing at a time, analyzes/thinks about each person and situation and forms their own values and beliefs. They don't say crazy shit like "the non-saved are going to hell" regardless of how good those people actually are.

Clearly you seek this moral perfection and try to find it in religion, too bad you're all wrong and there is no such thing. However it is certain that being religious usually makes people shittier than if they weren't religious, at least in today's world (things might have been different before civilization, religion might have been the better option then; now it is beyond clear religion is just a harmful blight on the world).

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LOL, I think if I had been ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 6:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

LOL, I think if I had been anally raped as a 5 year old by a disgusting male pervert who professed to lub jebus, I WOULD PROBABLY LOSE INTEREST IN GOING TO CHURCH AT 19 AS WELL.

I think it is obvious he wasn't gay, however he is beyond sexually / personally fucked and hates thinking about sex/intimacy. Closeted gays don't operate that way... in closeted homosexuals they usually have (or try to have) relationships with women but often have homosexual indiscretions because their true urges are for men - they look at gay porn, have secretive gay sex. IN a closeted gay person, there is a strong desire for intimacy, but the desire is for people of their own sex. Their repression/avoidance of relationships is exclusively in environments where it is socially observed (when they can hide the encounters they freely gladly and do enjoy intimacy with people of the same sex).

This is not what he experienced. He experienced this desire for women, relationships with women, but he could not have them because every time he tried he felt disgusting/disgusted and thought of being penetrated by a man (which he does describe in his letter). That doesn't sound gay to me, it sounds like someone who has been terminally fucked by being raped as a child.

His profession of being homosexual might have been an elaborate defense against desire - too scary to feel emotions and sexual feelings, so he avoided situations where they would be triggered (women) and felt safer with men (no sexual feelings, no feelings in general, thus less traumatic).

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I would also like to point ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 6:12 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I would also like to point out, again, CHEMICAL CASTRATION could have avoided this.

Odds are this piece of shit had done this to many boys. This vile piece of crap needs to have high dose depot progesterone injected into his body until his testicles shrivel up and his brain loses any memory of sex and sexuality.

Why, why why do we not routinely do this to rapists? Oh, that's right, men control everything and set policies.

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And how would his parents r... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 6:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

And how would his parents rejecting him for not wanting to go to church with people who anally raped him cause the trauma it did? That's the question.

Gay men, closeted gay men do, however, feel safer sexually with men. That kinda strikes me as being what gay is; not necessarily being what you decide gay is.

I love the gay politics that emerge.

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Safety isn't a question for... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 7:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Safety isn't a question for normal people who have never been raped. Safety and desire are two different things. It seems as if he felt desire for women, safety with no one. He was more afraid of intimacy with women (which, I believe, is because he felt things and thus it made his trauma more intense, but thats just my opinion).

Gay politics? I am assuming you might be gay, and it pisses me off when certain gay people try to make EVERYTHING about homosexual stigma. Get over yourself, this isn't about his closeted gayness, this is about what he is saying it is about and I don't know why everyone is doubting him. He spent a year writing the letter.

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Not gay. Not doubting him a... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 7:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Not gay. Not doubting him at all. I was referring to the post at 6:08.

This is certainly about what he is saying. I think his sense of rejection is overwhelming, and how did he feel rejected by his family?

His letter is two pronged: his abuse and his family.

I doubt that is by accident.

His sexuality was affected and in ways that his family might have thought gay and/or unacceptable

His not wanting to go to church and them not liking it seems like a stalemate. This is rejection. They rejected the person he felt he became as a result of the abuse- which they were in some ways, he believes, responsible for.

The post at 6:08 posits a prototypical gay political response because this young man suggests that he wanted sex with women (though, as the original post says: people do lie in these letters...maybe he was in denial about his sexuality to the end; he was straight, but said he was gay is wrapped up too neatly). The gay politic doesn't want to believe this; they want to insist gay men are born that way and not ever created by sexual abuse.

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Ohhh so I see the meat of t... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 7:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Ohhh so I see the meat of the issue is that you are rejecting the position that sexual orientation is innate.

That makes you crazy. It makes you crazy because sexual orientation is clearly innate - and by "orientation", I mean one's reflexive emotional sexual feelings, I am not talking about behavior which can easily be falsified (certainly many straight women pretend to be bisexual for attention and to pique the interest of men; certainly many gay men and women pretend to be straight for conformity).

It is not a question. Sexual orientation is 100% innate, the function of certain brain processes which are either feminized or masculinized before birth. Most people develop normally and are thus heterosexual/gender & sex congruent... but sometimes we get very feminine men and very masculine women and sometimes we get men who like men and women who like women.

You need to educate yourself, you are ABSOLUTELY wrong. This has been studied in animals, scientists can manipulate the sexual orientation of animals by manipulating prenatal hormone environment.

Great but by no means exclusive example of the innateness of sexual orientation:
the sexually dimporphic nucleus of the brain is an area of the hypothalamus which develops differently in fetuses exposed to testosterone, estrogens, and levels of these. If the fetus is exposed to a high level of testosterone it he latter gestational period, this area of the brain expresses enzymes that aromatize testosterone to an estrogen metabolite. This programs the fetus for a male-typical sexual orientation. This high level of estrogen in this specific area of the brain (which is a biological marker for maleness, paradoxically enough) masculinizes the brain, causing differentiation of this area toward sexual attraction to females.

In experiments of rams where prenatal hormones are manipulated (testosterone reduced in the brain)...the rams end up preferring other rams (wanting to mate with males, being attracted to male rams). When the brain is autopsied, the SDN of the brain looks dissimilar to the developmental typical heterosexual rams. In short, the sexual orientation of the ram was feminized by the hormonal manipulation , and this is reflected in the morphology of specific brain structures which are influential to male sexual behavior.


And, you know, I have a question for all the "homosexuality is learned" people in the crowd... if homosexuality is learned, why do we all innately *know* the little boy is gay before he is even old enough to tell us? We can tell when children are gay by their behaviors, the way they speak, move, look... if this is a learned behavior why does it occur so naturally and why is there a big pressure placed on them to conform to gender/sex typical behavior? Are you suggesting ALL HOMOSEXUALS were abused? That makes you insane.

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Forgive me, I'm not a scien... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 8:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Forgive me, I'm not a scientist or anything: I get the sexually dimorphic nucleus and all, but when you cite the "WE can tell children are gay by their behaviors, the way they speak, move, look..." you go way over my head.

Do these rams speak, move, look and butt horns in a way that you can detect is gay? More, do they break into Amanda Wingfield monologues? I think you're onto something, there.

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Really, if homosexuality is... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 8:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Really, if homosexuality is learned, who taught you to get turned on by tits and ass? Seriously, I'm curious. How does one "learn" a reflexive physical reaction of the body? At what point in development do males and females learn which body parts to be attracted to? At what point during development do we learn to be stimulated by either high or deep voices? When does the brain learn to react to male or female pheromones?

I have to assume people who believe it is possible to learn sexual orientation must have no sex drive, either that or they have no capacity to think/reflect on their feelings. For any person who has both a sex drive and a human brain to analyze, the innateness of sexual orientation is obvious. It is a reflex; when presented with a sexy masculine or feminine form, and the brain responds with sexual interest. It is as much of an innate reflex as the feeling of shock/fear we feel in response to a horrified face, or the happiness we feel when we see a smiling face. Our capacity to understand (and react) to facial expressions is biologically real, we do not learn this, it is present at birth. This is how we understand (and react) to masculinity or feminity. Gay men and women react to masculinity with sexual feelings, and gay women and men react to femininity that same way. The brain does this, the brain developed in a partially sexual atypical fashion in gay people.

The social definition of "homosexual" is tied in with political garbage, I will agree with you there. By this I mean various groups of obnoxious people who want to define or redefine things to suit them and their personal ideas. For example, gay activists impede every step of research into understanding the cause of various cases of homosexuality, because they refuse to accept it is ultimately a birth defect. They want the best of both worlds - they take the position it is biological and innate, but they don't want anyone to draw the conclusion that it is a form of abnormal development i.e. a birth defect. This is patently irrational. It is clearly abnormal development for a man to be sexually attracted to men and women to be attracted to women - it doesn't make it wrong or bad but if we can understand and prevent it, why not? I would promote research into preventing other minor birth defects (hey, clef lip sucks, pun not intended, if we can prevent that too I"m all on board). The gay activists need to get over themselves, if we can prevent transsexualism and homosexuality this is clearly a good thing. Why make life more difficult than it needs to be? Life certainly sucks for a boy who wants to wear dresses and feels like a girl, and life sucks for a boy who has impaired relationships because he is sexually attracted to male friends and cannot fully relate to them. Just because one can find a niche in the gay community as a queen doesn't mean life (relationships and development) might have been better for him if he had gender typical behavior/feelings. It is delusional to say our society makes life difficult for gay people - being gay is absolutely difficult because your brain anatomy is incapable of effectively forming normal relationships (friendships with people of the same sex, sexual relationships with people of the opposite sex). This is why gays live in a community - they cannot assimilate to the mainstream culture as a result of their brain development. IT is not a social thing, their brain cannot relate to people normally as a result of biological and brain sex being significantly incongruous.

Anyway, the issue here is how can anyone argue that orientation is learned? Are you a human? Are you an adult with both a functioning sex drive and the capacity for even minor self reflection? How can you make that argument if these conditions are met?

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"Forgive me, I'm not a scie... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 8:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Forgive me, I'm not a scientist or anything: I get the sexually dimorphic nucleus and all, but when you cite the "WE can tell children are gay by their behaviors, the way they speak, move, look..." you go way over my head."

That goes over your head? Oh so now we are being obtuse, are we? So you don't remember that one kid in school everyone called him a fairy, because he was gay? He never told anyone he was gay. He never said "damn brad pitt is a hot piece of ASS". But still, everyone knew he was gay, because he moved like girls, because he spoke like girls, because he preferred friendships with girls, and when he became a teenager or a young man or an adult he finally told everyone he was gay. And everyone said "I already knew, but thanks for confirming".
So this situation is foreign to you? LOL. Please. Most gay people out themselves just by being alive, because their thoughts about sex and gender are obvious. Sure there are some gay people where it's like "oh I had no idea he/she was gay" but most of the time we figure it out, sooner or later, without them ever saying a word. We can tell by how they look (not how they dress/behave but PHYSICALLY their bodies look different and are less sexually congruent than heterosexuals), we can tell by how they speak, we can tell how they move. We all knew rosie o'donnell was gay before she told us. When she told us it was like "oh, wow what a reveal" *roll eyes*. We knew rosie was gay because she moves in a masculine way, her face is masculine, her voice and manner of speech is not very feminine, etc etc etc. When oprah/jodie foster/et al announce it, we won't be surprised either. We knew Ricky Martin was gay, and when he came out it was like - stating the obvious much?

Sure, sometimes you can't tell, but that's really rare. Sexuality is rarely affected in exclusion of other gendered behavior.

"Do these rams speak, move, look and butt horns in a way that you can detect is gay? More, do they break into Amanda Wingfield monologues? I think you're onto something, there."


Funny, except not funny, because your sort of attitude is the kind of attitude that makes life shit for gay people. If you refuse to accept homosexuality is innate, then there remains the expectation one day they can spontaneously change and be heterosexual, which is the foundation for why all our social policies and life in general is so adverse for people born gay.
The orientation of rams is quantified by which gender they attempt to mount , how often, and how many successful ejaculations they have. With that said, there are clearly rams who prefer rams, and rams who prefer females. Developmental typical rams are most sexually aroused (more mounts/ejaculations) by a female in estrous (i.e. a reproductive female), gay developmental atypical rams are most aroused by another ram.

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"However it is certain that... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 8:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

"However it is certain that being religious usually makes people shittier than if they weren't religious..."

Anonymous, every comment you post, you make a bigger idiot of yourself. Keep going!

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Why don't you go oppose gay... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 10:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Why don't you go oppose gay rights/marriage, meanwhile turning a blind eye to the fact that your institution is infiltrated with child rapist pedophiles?

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Anonymous, you're doing a g... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 10:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous, you're doing a great job making you look like a fool all by yourself, I'm almost embarrassed to chime in. But it is kind of funny how, once I made a bunch of rational, empirical points you couldn't refute, you INSTANTLY descended to personal insults. ('Cause, you know, it's religious people who are judgmental and devisive!)

"meanwhile turning a blind eye to the fact that your institution is infiltrated with child rapist pedophiles?"

I was not aware of a high incidence of 'child rapist pedophiles' in Mahayana Buddhist institutions. Can you fill me in on where you got these statistics?

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"Past experience is as real... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2011 11:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Pastabagel: | Reply

"Past experience is as real as present experience.

Only a sheltered person would say otherwise."

This statement is idiotic. Present experience is what is happening in the world right now. The present exists outside of you, in the world. Past experience does not exist anywhere. There is no "past". Can you show me where the past is on a map? We construct a notion of the past in the present based on evidence and contexts of the present.

There is no past experience, no experience of the past. There is only present recollection of a past experience. Only the continuing behaviors that were shaped in reaction to the past. I.e. your memory and you personality.

Zeller was not tortured by the past. He was not experiencing the rape over and over again. To say that would be to argue that remembering a rape is as bad as being raped. He was tortured in the present by the thoughts and images conjured up by his mind in the present and he was reacting to them in the present, even if those reactions are according to patterns established in the past.

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this man wasn't just spe... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 12:11 AM | Posted by pastabagel: | Reply

this man wasn't just specifically angry with the molester but he was angry with the world in general and what he perceived to be a systematic series of failures of trust in his life.

He describes his parents who hated his grandmother (who was a good person), yet loved this child raping freak, and ignored signs that he was a child raping freak ("their church was more important").

Just because he says she's good, that doesn't mean she is who at you would consider good. A chronically depressed suicidal person's opinion of who is a good person probably deviates considerably from the norm. All you can do is conclude that he thought she was good (his subjective determination), not tht she was good (and objective statement of fact).

More importantly thought, the systematic series of failures of trust are his, not theirs. He says in the letter that he never told doctors what happened to him, even though he was seeing them for other issues, because of an assumption about doctors in general. He nevers says that the doctors who he';d seen for treatment betray him, simply that he once knew a doctor who betrayed other people's.

So he goes to see a doctor to get help for "other issues" but he chooses to hide from the doctor the gigantic elephant in the room that would explain all those issues and more? So who is the one with the trust problem?

His trust problem is totally understandable, but we have to acknowledge that the trust problem is his and not the rest of the worlds. His assumption that that he couldn't trust anyone is false. He's a computer programmer, right? A logical guy? Well, has he met everyone? So how does he conclude they are all untrustworthy?

These assumptions--I can't trust anyone, doctors don't really know how to help, shrinks only care about writing scripts, etc-all of these are the "darkness" talking, the darkness acting as the abuser's agent. It's a crazy rationalization designed to do one thing, prevent the victim from doing what their instincts are urging them to do-TELL SOMEONE. And while it's true that he was obviously angry at both the abuser and the world, can we non-suicidal people agree that only one of those angers is rational/sensible?

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Every survivor left behind ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 12:53 AM | Posted by Love the Light: | Reply

Every survivor left behind from these acts of selfishness are left with undue guilt and what-ifs? I wonder if all suicide excuses led somehow to a subconscious sexual desire/hate/shame/etc. As a survivor to an egotistic and self-admired friend I know the pain firsthand, and the questions it has evoked within my own life.

Leading up to the end, it's easy now to see the signs. Before the darkness overtook him he too had many days of unfounded sadness and many talks of sexual unhappiness with what he thought was less than his standards of women. In the end, they were. His behavior seemed odd and out of place. He started blaming his parents for most of his unhappiness. He had wonderful hard working parents that had raised four children who had all received professional degrees. Life should had been perfect for him or at least a easier life than most. For him he consider a different party that included hard drugs and a different woman each night or weekend. That life can not sustain an intellectual mind and leaves it twisted with less than appealing sex thoughts. We had many private talks the months leading to his death. Sex was top of his list of woes. By the end he wasn't even introducing his girlfriends that he had for so many years let define his existence. He was one of the most handsome, kind, and loving friends I have ever known and ended his life by being the most selfish, unkind, and most hurtful friend I have ever had.

His parents were Catholic, hard working, hard loving, and crushed in life from the most selfish act they have ever known.

Yes the suicide note must be questioned. Narcissists evoke a maudlin plea and that somehow the survivors are responsible for their stories of woe.

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"There's no reason to doubt... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 2:25 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by You're a moron: | Reply

"There's no reason to doubt [Bill]s note...."


Ummmm... how about because it's implausible? His first memory is of being raped repeatedly? And now his parents are on record not just denying, but being completely incredulous? Sure, they could be lying, but why Bill's word over theirs? Oh, because you hate your parents.

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"God builds the blin... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 2:34 AM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Nadia: | Reply


"God builds the blind bird's nest" we say in Greek and oh dear, Hungary and Finland are not in Western Europe, let alone they are more religious than Western Europe.

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Easily proven: do an autops... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 2:55 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Easily proven: do an autopsy of the guy. If he was violently raped to the point where he cannot use the bathroom normally, there will be scar tissue and such things.

The fact the parents are flat out denying this happened only proves they are the gigantic tools I thought they were. They are defending their religious asshole buddies before they even consider maybe this really happened to their son.

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Everyone is sick.... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 2:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by flee: | Reply

Everyone is sick.

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Did someone here claim that... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 3:20 AM | Posted, in reply to Nadia's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

Did someone here claim that Hungary and Finland are in Western Europe?

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Oh please go ahead a... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 3:28 AM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Nadia: | Reply


Oh please go ahead and name the countries that you have in mind as being Western European, non-religious and committing suicide en masse.

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Minder-- thank you for your... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 3:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Minder's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

Minder-- thank you for your thoughtful comments and the way you addressed things.

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For those doubting the sexu... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 6:12 AM | Posted by inarticulate in the city: | Reply

For those doubting the sexual abuse prevalence or the harm sexual abuse does: I was abused as a kid, twice, by two different people. They didn't rape me, but they fondled me and kissed me in the mouth. For a while I was a child who was harassed and catcalled by men in the street, as if I had some kind of vulnerability that showed.

I grew up to be a person longing to love and be loved, with bouts of depression etc. Only now, in my early 30s, I started making sense of strange behavior shifts in my personality while growing up. Before the abuse, I was an outgoing kid, very sure of myself. All of a sudden I sulked and became extremely introspective. I only made the connection in my late 20s. I had episodes of bed wetting. I had irrational fears. And only now things make sense to me. Why such and such happened, why I felt/behaved in a certain way.

It takes years, decades even, to unravel all the confusion brewing inside of us once we get molested. It is probably the most evil thing you can do to a child, particularly if there's a relation of trust involved.

And I'm not only talking about the person who molested you and who was supposed to look after you: even the people who "enabled" it, the ones who were supposed to protect you, get some of the slack. You may feel angry towards them for a long time, a suppressed anger, or you may turn it inwards. It's not rational; it's not something you realize easily.

Maybe this is also what happened to this young man. Maybe he felt angry at his whole family, he felt betrayed. Make no mistake: his suicide was not only his way of escape; it was also some kind of revenge. He's trying to hurt the compassionate side of his family. Because when it really mattered they were not compassionate or were unaware of what he was going through. It's a very personal hell. Even with therapy he might have come to forgive his family; but deep inside his psyche was so broken that part of him would still want some kind of revenge. The only kind of revenge someone who longs to love and be loved but who is awfully betrayed by those around him is to kill the object of their love.

Some of us "choose" to do it while breathing.

All we can do is show some solemn respect for the kid, like Alone does in the end of his post. And not jump in the bandwagon of hating his family, because we do not know the particulars. Yes, I do believe it was his dad or someone very close to him. Yes, I believe when they'll die they'll still believe nothing really bad happened, because they're "saved" in their fucking cult which is taking over America (I'm a Christian myself, but it's amazing how protestantism is turning into a disease).

But I also realize it's too easy to hate them, to hate people who caused so much pain, and this is the dangerous thing to do. Look at what it did to him.

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"Grow a brain and stop regu... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 10:17 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"Grow a brain and stop regurging what you read here."

If the subtleties of spelling "regurgitating" - or viewing my comments in the broader context of calling Alone out on omnipresent narcissism - elude you, please feel free to keep talking...

... but do sign your comments so I know who I'm laughing at.

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"So, really, the world is d... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 11:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"So, really, the world is divided into bad people like the religious, who are divisive and anti-human, and good people like anonymous, who are uniters, not dividers."

No, that wasn't what I wrote - that's what you seem to want to read into what I wrote however. People are just people, us humans are apes...whether we're apes wearing fancy red hats and condemning each other to burn in hell or apes having a satisfying wank. Religion started out as a rather poor attempt to control/appease/explain nature (and probably an excuse for a rollicking good time). "Gods" were the explanation for everything we didn't understand, then someone who heard imaginary voices claimed to speak to "the one and only god" and was given a position of power and organized religion was created and found to be a good way to control people...particularly if you could convince them that some invisible, omnipotent entity was watching them all the time and judging them for very normal biological urges. God is the panopticon, "he" sees your "sins" and will punish you for them if you don't do penance (like pay the priest an indulgence). Some "sins" relate to rather basic social cohesion stuff (don't kill people, except if they're not of your religion, then most definitely kill them and make their children into slaves, etc). Religious beliefs generally rely upon the idea of an insider (good/saved/godly) and an outsider (bad/damned/ungodly).

Regarding the Catholic sanction against suicide, it was actually introduced to prevent people taking the shortcut to "heaven".

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Nadia:"Germany, th... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 11:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Nadia's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

Nadia:

"Germany, the average woman has 1.4 children, well short of the 2.1 needed to keep the population roughly stable without immigration. In Italy, Spain and Greece, the rate is around 1.3..."

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'"Gods" were the explanatio... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 12:00 PM | Posted by Gene Callahan: | Reply

'"Gods" were the explanation for everything we didn't understand, then someone who heard imaginary voices claimed to speak to "the one and only god" and was given a position of power and organized religion was created and found to be a good way to control people..."

Do you have any idea how often this childish explanation for the origin of religious belief has been debunked? Are you not concerned at all with empirical evidence, and happy just to make shit up in your head as long as it fits your prejudices? It's as though atheism is... a matter of faith for you!

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So you're saying that someo... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 12:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So you're saying that someone born in Germany isn't German if their parents are immigrants? And that choosing to have less children is "suicide"? Since these people are alive and having children, it's obviously not suicide. Do your good vs bad ideas about people extend beyond just religion and into nationality?

One reason religion is anti-birth control (apart from using inculcated shame about sex to try to control both men and women) is because it wants believers to manufacture more believers (that can be used in many ways, cannon fodder to extract wealth from others is a popular one historically speaking).

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'So you're saying that some... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 12:19 PM | Posted by Gene Callahan: | Reply

'So you're saying that someone born in Germany isn't German if their parents are immigrants?'

The Turks are having lots of kids, sure. They aren't irreligious, either.

'And that choosing to have less children is "suicide"?'

Yes, a culture that is having kids at less than replacement rate is obviously killing itself off.

"Do your good vs bad ideas about people extend beyond just religion and into nationality?"

Anonymous, if you look back over the thread, YOU are the one who keeps dividing people into the nasty, anti-human, hypocritical religious folks, and the decent people like yourself.

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So you're afraid of Turkish... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 1:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So you're afraid of Turkish people? And what does whether they're religious or not have to do with your claims of "suicide"? So your big fear is of losing some kind of "culture", it has nothing to do with actual people? What particular German culture are you afraid is dying because German people of non-German descent aren't having litters of children? Are you afraid of Turkish people? Their religion? Do you think they have less right to share the planet and contribute to human culture than this "German" culture you claim is committing suicide? Are you German? Are you busy breeding an army to "save" German culture from the Other?

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BTW, anonymous isn't one pe... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 1:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

BTW, anonymous isn't one person and I haven't divided anyone, I've merely discussed religion and said we're all apes. I'm actually saying we're all the same thing, religion creates the artificial divisions and you seem to be rather concerned about the Other than is taking over. That's your xenophobia showing, I have no idea if it's something you learned through religious indoctrination or not. Do you think your xenophobia and fear of "cultural suicide" is connected to your religious beliefs or you'd be xenophobic even if you weren't religious?

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Callahan -BREEDING a... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 4:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Callahan -
BREEDING and RELIGION all correlate with ignorance and poverty. It's not that religion is so *great**!!! it's that poor stupid motherfuckers believe in magic sky daddies and they also have 8000 kids to help grow crops and such things. Educated western people have this thing called education, and specialized training, and they have some degree of wealth (when compared to the poor religious hordes), and this motivates their lack of interest in breeding as well as their lack of interest in praying. Children were economically a good investment when you're a poor farmer - more hands on deck, produce more in labor than they eat in food.

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Is this blog really written... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 5:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Is this blog really written by a psychiatrist? If so, with all due respect you sound like a smug heartless intellectualizing jerk!! Unspeakably bad things do happen to children. Another thing, Bill Zeller apparently had an older brother..... I got to this site via Google. I definitely won't be back!

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I sense we are dangerously ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 6:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I sense we are dangerously close to invoking Godwin's Law...

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I too was incredulous of th... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 10:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I too was incredulous of the rape claim. The whole point was to explain his actions, shed light upon the darkness ... but then to not name the rapist? And he claims he sustained permanent damage preventing normal bathroom use even as a kindergartener ... It would be really difficult for a parent to be unaware of such a situation.

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I see a lot of talk about t... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2011 11:48 PM | Posted by Some dude: | Reply

I see a lot of talk about things I do not know about and cannot know about, but there is one thing that I do know: sometimes the thing that hurts you hurts because of its absence.

I was extremely depressed for about a 3 year span where I almost destroyed my life. It started slowly then spun out of control. It was because of religious questions I had. I needed to know the answer, or at least to know how to proceed without knowing the answer.
"Aha! Religion is the destroyer of intelligence!"
Maybe so, but half of the problem was simply that I thought the questions would be perceived as too stupid or silly. I was, of course, too ashamed to admit that all of this depression and the problems and failed classes was because of a religious dilemma that most people wouldn't give 5 minutes in their life to think through.

I finally found a priest who took the questions that I had banging around in my head seriously, not seriously enough to go crazy like I did, but seriously enough to at least give me confidence that I was not being merely humored. I have been going to church now for about a year and although the "darkness" or whatever sometimes comes back, I can get through the day fine.

Side note: I discovered this blog around that time too. It greatly helped me. Saving lives while being a pirate, Alone is a paradox. Thanks.

It's strange that what is important to one person may mean nothing to another, and sometimes I think we do a lot of damage by blowing off the topic as useless, transitory, or stupid. It's their fault, hell, half of recovery is realizing it's all your fault, but if you care about someone, don't blow off the subject they want to talk about. It won't make them forget it, or put it out of their minds. It will make them bury it until the night appears and no more distractions are available.

I knew of a girl that killed herself because Yale did not accept her, but Harvard did. Her friends laughed at her when she tried to tell them. Small things will build up quickly in someone's head. Even if everybody around them isn't worried about it? Especially if everyone around isn't worried about it. And time will always build up. And that shit kills.

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@CallahanHo... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 2:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by Nadia: | Reply

@Callahan


Honey, I 'm Greek Orthodox and I 'm a scientist. Not in that particular order but most significantly not in the need to ever define an order for them or resolve a conflict among them. Now if you experience your religion as so mandating as to dictate ethnic purity for societies to be happy, then that's hair-raising and dangerous. Your own personal and hopefully private sense of spirituality has absolutely nothing to do with .. hmm seriously.. with overall happiness. Wake up.

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As a "therapist" all I can ... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 6:17 AM | Posted by Thomas: | Reply

As a "therapist" all I can say is that I wish I could have had a chance to talk to him. One never knows the outcome of simply listening, talking. Sometimes it helps. I worked in the Princeton area and I did spend time speaking with many "patients" such as Bill Zeller. Absent this talking there is nothing that can be said. Depression presents a strange warping of perception that is almost delusional. I understand why our host wondered if there had been abuse- I felt the same way. There is something flat and empty about the way he describes being raped/repeatedly. I wondered about it myself. Suicides often just go in the basement with a belt. I have talked to many "just after" in the er. Most don't know why they finally cracked and did it.

People's accounts of their own intentions are very often way off the mark. We will never know why he did what he did. And please for anyone currently thinking/feeling themselves along this dark path: you also do not know what will come of making the call and talking to someone who may or may not have been in the same spot but knows what to do now. One of the points of Wittgenstein's comment about silence is precisely this:

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Some dude - "I knew of a gi... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 9:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Some dude's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Some dude - "I knew of a girl that killed herself because Yale did not accept her, but Harvard did."

The thing is, that's not why she killed herself. She killed herself because of the meaning she attributed to this event, the story she told herself about it. For her, this event meant something so terrible that she'd prefer death than deal with (taking a guess here) what she perceived as failure.

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I had never heard of Godwin... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 11:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I had never heard of Godwin's Law before. I've just googled it; I wanted to thank you for mentioning it because I find it interesting.

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I have often thought the sa... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 2:14 PM | Posted, in reply to cRob's comment, by Sharon: | Reply

I have often thought the same thing. In fact I think we are more compassionate towards our pets, than toward people. We allow our pets to die in dignity without needless suffering, offering them a painless sleep to end their happy lives. Whereas people near the end of their life, are forced into make agonizing choices as their happy lives begin to spiral into endless suffering due to needless medical interventions on an aged body. The same can be said of those with painful mental illness. The treatment is often worse than the illness, leaving the mentally ill with "breakthrough" symptoms, along with debilitating physical side effects from the medications. Whatever led Bill Zeller to commit suicide, we mourn the loss because he had such a brilliant mind, and such "potential". But none of that matters to the person if they feel miserable all of the time, and see no hope of carving out a future that is anything other than constantly feeling miserable. Miserable from the mental illness itself, or miserable from the medications used to treat the mental illness. Maybe the suicide note should have said "I am miserable, and see no prospect of ever feeling anything other than miserable. Goodnight, and goodbye".

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@Anonymous 9:54AMI... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 2:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Some dude: | Reply

@Anonymous 9:54AM

I'd assume that's true. I didn't go so far in to consider suicide in my case, but it's not like a few questions are all that caused me to be depressed for 3 years. Thomas is also right. It turns into something bigger, gets more vague and encompassing, and the longer it goes on the harder it gets to admit anything is wrong in the first place (what excuse could possibly excuse 3 years?).

I didn't know her that well, so I don't know her story. Maybe she had brought something into it she never told anyone that pushed her decision.

There's always too many damn maybe's. This sounds odd when I say it, but my thoughts were just that even though we may not take the issues themselves that seriously, we should at least take them seriously enough to understand that they take it seriously. Or that they take it seriously enough to push them over whatever edge they may be on.
Or maybe that isn't a good idea, maybe she never wanted anyone to convince her it wasn't worth death, and that would have amplified the problems more or pushed new ones up? I don't know. It probably isn't good to keep stuff that troubles you locked up in your head though.

This stuff sucks and it really is hard to tell when someone is thinking about doing such a thing and it seems like the warning signs are only clear in retrospect. I guess all there is to say is "ugh."

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Some dude - "I didn't know ... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 5:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Some dude's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Some dude - "I didn't know her that well, so I don't know her story. Maybe she had brought something into it she never told anyone that pushed her decision."

I don't know her story either but there's an impersonal truth here - mentally and emotionally healthy people don't kill themselves because they fail or are denied something. Not getting into Harvard (or whatever) isn't the end of the world or so terrible that death is worse than facing the consequences (which would be to be someone who didn't get into Harvard on the first try, that's about image/social prestige since it's not like they can't go to another university or do something else...usually it's the parent that's most invested in the image and has taught the child that the image is more important than they are, which means the consequence for the child is losing parental love/approval). It's pretty clear that this particular event took on much bigger dimensions because it represented something else...what that is she may not even have known. If she didn't really talk about the pressures she was under or how she was feeling, she may not have actually been very aware of where her feelings came from or what they really were (apart from depression/feeling hopeless). Expressing feelings is one way we come to learn and understand the subtleties of our own emotions and where they emerge from. Someone coming from an emotionally repressive, domineering environment where they were taught feelings were to be stuffed down (no idea if that was the girl's case) may well be avoiding certain emotions.

In your case, have you ever considered what led you to ask those questions that haunted you?

And, yes, it can be hard to know if someone is going to kill themselves at the time. And I'm a big fan of speaking the "unspeakable" out loud as a means to start dealing with it. But what has to be spoken about isn't the superficial (like "I didn't get into Harvard") but the deeper feelings and where they come from (like "I feel like a total failure and like nobody will love me because I didn't get into Harvard"). The second requires some professional help, not just friends to talk to (but talking to friends may be a good first step).

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(1) I think the interplay b... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by RC: | Reply

(1) I think the interplay between culture and mental illness is highly involved here, and not some "organic" cause.

(2) There is one thing worse than child sexual abuse, and that's child sexual abuse that goes unacknowledged. My understanding is that children who are molested surprisingly turn out okay if the molester is brought to justice and the molester is not a family member. Of course, that usually is not the case.

(3) I actually think rape is less damaging now than in the past because of feminism. You're forgetting that feminism has made it easier for victims to be vocal about their abuse, but more vocal pain does not mean greater pain.

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I agree with most of your p... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 5:48 PM | Posted, in reply to cRob's comment, by RC: | Reply

I agree with most of your post, except the notion that suicide is "a personal choice." It may or may not be a morally justified decision, but it certainly is a decision that affects other people.

Also, I think the "mind tricks" TLP mentions are a reference to the lies we tell ourselves. Whether we're mentally healthy or depressed, we have various tricks, defense mechanisms, etc. that help us get through the day.

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How is this post "a huge di... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 6:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Freedom Spice's comment, by RC: | Reply

How is this post "a huge disservice to our community"? It seems remarkably compassionate.

I think you probably shouldn't be counseling others until you've resolved your own demons from past sexual abuse. It's going to interfere with your ability properly help your patients. SOMETHING has very clearly clouded your mind here.

A good psychologist doesn't make statements like "the minute i started reading his note, I knew it was his father." A good professional approach to this situation involves reading more than one sentence of a biased/unreliable suicide note.

Furthermore, why do you care so much that Alone MIGHT not believe Bill was abused? I don't think TLP made a definitive argument either way, but even if he did… so?

Maybe instead of insisting that everybody automatically believe claims of sexual abuse we should instead empower victims to not give a damn whether or not they're believed.

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Look back at how many times... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 6:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

Look back at how many times you used the word "I" in your comment, then go read some of TLP's posts on narcissism.

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I have often thought the sa... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 6:22 PM | Posted by Sharon: | Reply

I have often thought the same thing. In fact I think we are more compassionate towards our pets, than toward people. We allow our pets to die in dignity without needless suffering, offering them a painless sleep to end their happy lives. Whereas people near the end of their life, are forced into make agonizing choices as their happy lives begin to spiral into endless suffering due to needless medical interventions on an aged body. The same can be said of those with painful mental illness. The treatment is often worse than the illness, leaving the mentally ill with "breakthrough" symptoms, along with debilitating physical side effects from the medications. Whatever led Bill Zeller to commit suicide, we mourn the loss because he had such a brilliant mind, and such "potential". But none of that matters to the person if they feel miserable all of the time, and see no hope of carving out a future that is anything other than constantly feeling miserable. Miserable from the mental illness itself, or miserable from the medications used to treat the mental illness. Maybe the suicide note should have said "I am miserable, and see no prospect of ever feeling anything other than miserable. Goodnight, and goodbye".

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I was waiting for some nont... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 7:14 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I was waiting for some nonthinking tool to say this.

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You're a fool.How ... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 7:23 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You're a fool.

How is it "empowering" to teach a victim it doesn't matter if they are believed or not??? THat's like "teaching" a child it doesn't matter if they have love or not. When someone confesses something as horrible as sexual abuse and NO ONE believes you, that's like being abandoned by everyone you depend on for support. Believe it or not people need support and love to thrive. Not only is it impossible, but it is avoiding the problem in a most cowardly way (the problem being that people would prefer to pretend that child abuse doesn't exist or it is super duper rare, when in reality pedophiles are everywhere and a lot of men are disgusting animals who will rape or screw anything).

ALL OF YOU PEOPLE who are trying to dismiss or downplay the abuse - alone, pastabagel, rc, mvt, etc - all of you are part of the problem. You're cowards who are comfortable in your lives and you would rather pretend this stuff doesn't happen or it's not a big enough deal to ruin a person's life the way it ruined this guy. I personally was never raped but I can totally see ending up like Zeller if I was.

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Anonymous - "the problem be... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 8:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous - "the problem being that people would prefer to pretend that child abuse doesn't exist or it is super duper rare, when in reality pedophiles are everywhere and a lot of men are disgusting animals who will rape or screw anything)."

You assume that all pedophiles are male, this isn't the case. Mothers sexually abuse their sons and female teachers sexually abuse students. You apparently would like to pretend that only men are abusive, apparently you're as much of a part of the denial problem as those you accuse of being in denial. Let's hope you don't actually have any male children.

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Cut the bullshit, almost al... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 9:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Cut the bullshit, almost all pedophiles are male. The few female pedophiles are usually very masculine (male-like) women.

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Not true at all anonymous. ... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2011 11:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Not true at all anonymous. I realize you want to believe that men are the root of all evil but you're being no more realistic than men who want to believe that women are the root of all evil. You, in fact, sound like someone who would physically abuse a small boy due to your intense rage and hatred towards males and total obsession with gender and sex.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/taboo-tolerance/female-sexual-abuse-the-untold-story-of-societys-last-taboo-1767688.html


"In 2004, childline asked each of those callers who were ringing their helpline about sexual abuse to tell them the gender of their abuser. It revealed that over the period of one year, 11 per cent of callers said they were being abused by a woman: a total of 8,637 children, of whom 6,538 were girls and 2,099 boys. The NSPCC also conducted its own research in 2005, the results of which suggest that around 5 per cent of children who suffer sexual abuse in Britain do so at the hands of a woman, which is the number regularly cited by other experts in the field. But as Zoe Hilton, the charity's policy advisor for child protection, suggests: "The true extent of female sexual abuse is still a hidden picture." Furthermore, it is not a picture that many seem in any hurry to clarify."

Because of your hatred towards men you want to deny child sexual abuse by women happens, that makes you into exactly the kind of person you accuse others of being - in denial about the frequency of child sexual abuse. The reality is that you (and I) are not good people just because we're women, the kind of person any of us is - male or female - is defined by our actions. So far on this board your actions are defining you as someone who is abuse. I wouldn't let you near children of any gender considering the poison and hatred you spew. You don't seem interested in protecting anyone, you seem more interested in committing verbal and physical violence against men or anyone who doesn't agree with you.

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Please shut it with your "w... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Please shut it with your "waaa men are soo oppressed" nonsense. It's like you're talking to yourself. Anyone can see that it is much easier to be a man (socially speaking), so when you losers whine about anti-male prejudice it is just funny. Well, no, actually it's upsetting, because the reality is so fucking opposite.

I don't hate men at all, it's just a simple fact they are violent, sex crazed animals. Not all of them, but of the humans who do behave violently, who do try to sexually assault other humans/animals, 95% of the time it's a man. I don't hate men for saying that, its just a fact.

To deny that men are violent and sex crazed is to deny nature. Testosterone does that to animals, and humans are animals. Again, not *all* men are violent and sex crazed, but of those humans who do rape people and kill them in violent ways, usually that individual has a high level of testosterone i.e. is male.

Of the women who are sexually assaulting people, I would wager those women are butch and have abnormally elevated testosterone as well. The problem isn't men, the problem is testosterone. Some women also have abnormally high testosterone and I would fully expect those women to behave more male-like (including assaulting people and raping them).

Again, its not that men are innately bad, it's that tesosterone makes animals aggressive and sex crazed. This is well documented. You are fighting reality.
And your "waaa men are oppressed" shtick is just funny.


I don't hate men, because I also hate women in the unique ways women suck. THey are incapable of leading. They are incapable of taking a stand. THey always err on the side of placidity and agreeableness, regardless of whatever they really think. They will sacrifice their own pleasure and feelings and thoughts just to make others happy, then whine that they are victims. Again, not *all* women, but these traits of being docile and lacking the ability to lead are more common in women. It's the flipside of the lack of aggression/assertiveness related to not having testosterone I suppose.

I hate all people but i hate them in different ways. I fully endorse stereotypes as long as there is a ring of truth to them ;)

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I would also point out your... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:17 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I would also point out your own link supported this - 5% of child abuse victims point a female. That means the other 95% of the time it is a man.

So, out of 20 pedophiles, 19 are men, 1 is a woman.

Who wants to bet that 1 woman is butch and has high testosterone? I do, i do!

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@ Anonymous 7:23 and 8:54<b... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@ Anonymous 7:23 and 8:54


Female and Male Sex Offenders in Washington State, 1985-1992
• Females: 107 (1.6%)
• Males: 6731 (98.5%)

These are totals for all kinds of sex offenses. Look at Table 2 (page 6) for a breakdown:
http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/femsoff.pdf

Both women and men rape children. The study shows 48 women and 2,161 men committed child rape 1, 2, or 3.

Also:


...even if female sex offenders have been underreported, research seems to support the conclusion that most sex offenses, including those against children, are perpetrated by males.

And:
Many female sex offenders committed sex offenses accompanied or coerced by a male partner.

If anyone has better factual information to contribute, throw it in the ring so that the rest of us can be better informed.

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Anonymous male hater - Clea... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous male hater - Clearly you're just here to spread your own hate out into the world and have no interest in protecting innocent children or showing compassion for people who have been abused. Having compassion for all people who are sexually abused (children or adults) is not claiming men are being oppressed. Your mania and obsession, and intense hatred towards men that's continually expressed, makes you come off the same as hate-filled men who want to hurt women. You want to pretend your hate is rational but it's no more rational than that of a male rapist...you apparently are the other side of the coin with your desire to castrate men. (If you're not the woman hater who regularly posts here pretending to be a woman.) Whatever the case, you sound exactly like the violent, hate-filled type of person you claim to be decrying.

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Who wants to bet t... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Who wants to bet that 1 woman is butch and has high testosterone? I do, i do!
What an enthusiastic way of saying, "I have no data to back this up."
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<a href="http://www.canadia... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 12:47 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

http://www.canadiancrc.com/Female_Sex_Offenders-Female_Sexual_Predators_awareness.aspx

"As recently as 10 years ago, it was a common assumption that females did not or could not sexually abuse children or youth. Even some professionals working in the field believed that women represented only about 1% to 3% of sexual abusers at most. However, mounting research evidence about sexual abuse perpetration at the hands of teen and adult females has begun to challenge our assumptions, though these earlier and dated views still tend to predominate.

The percentage of women and teenage girl perpetrators recorded in case report studies is small and ranges from 3% to 10% (Kendall-Tackett and Simon, 1987; McCarty, 1986; Schultz and Jones, 1983; Wasserman and Kappel, 1985). When the victim is male, female perpetrators account for 1 % to 24% of abusers. When the victim is female, female perpetrators account for 6% to 17% of abusers (American Humane Association, 1981; Finkelhor and Russell, 1984; Finkelhor et al., 1990). In the Ontario Incidence Study, 10% of sexual abuse investigations involved female perpetrators (Trocme, 1994). However, in six studies reviewed by Russell and Finkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of abusers. Ramsay-Klawsnik (1990) found that adult females were abusers of males 37% of the time and female adolescents 19% of the time. Both of these rates are higher than the same study reported for adult and teen male abusers."

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Hmmm, unfortunately this si... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hmmm, unfortunately this site seems to be a bit of a "father's rights" site of the kind that's really anti-feminism disguised as concern for child welfare. Like anonymous-man-hater, there's really has no genuine concern for protecting children from abuse. My bad for posting a link before checking the source a bit better.

My point was simply that women sexually abuse children as well, just being male or female doesn't make you into a sexual abuser of children.

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Time for fun with reality!<... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Time for fun with reality!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia

1) 0.4 to 4% of sex offenders (convicted) are female. That means 99.6 to 96% are males.

2) [b]Very few males who sexually assault children are "true" pedophiles[/b], meaning that they do not exhibit the psychological disorder of pedophilia (a strong fixed sexual preference for children). Only 7% of child molesters/rapists are true pedophiles. Most people [men] who sexually exploit children do so merely out of convenience, i.e. they have no preference for the child but they just want to violate and have sex with something/someone. Children are easy targets because they are vulnerable and cannot resist, similar to how some men will rape animals. True pedophilia is much rarer than acts of child sexual assault.

In other words, 93% of men who rape an 11 year old he probably would have preferred an 18-24 year old; its just that it was easier to get the 11 year old since he's a gym coach/teacher/priest/uncle/grandfather and has access to 11 year olds. Besides, adults fight back and stuff.

This is similar to how men rape each other in prison. Prison rape is due to tension/aggression/insufficient outlets for sex and the end result is that the men just rape each other. Weak feminine men are the targets for rape in prison.

This all relates to testosterone whether you want to admit it or not.

Sorry, I know, it is so wrong of me to pick on poor men by pointing out the fact that testosterone drives people to be sex crazed and animal-like. Heaven knows men have been so oppressed by women traditionally, and to this day it is still difficult to be treated with respect and given equal credence to your opinions/work if you happen to be male due to the traditionally female domination of society.

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I wondered whether Zeller h... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:21 AM | Posted by Meat Robot: | Reply

I wondered whether Zeller had descended into a psychotic depression. The pain in the note is hair raising and clearly unendurable, but the personification of darkness, the somatic preoccupation with dirtiness and disordered toileting, the pan-suspicion of all people, especially in the helping professions - all these things really got me wondering whether the poor guy was psychotic in the end. In that context, could there be a delusional memory of rape? Who the hell knows, but it's got to go on the differential.

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anonymous man hater, consid... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

anonymous man hater, considering your cries to castrate all men and hate filled rhetoric, by your own theory you must either be a man or have freakishly high testosterone.

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On testosterone, fetal brai... (Below threshold) Rather than continue to tal... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:42 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Rather than continue to talk to me and accuse me of crazy things that have no basis in reality (that I seek to castrate all men, that I am a man hater)... couldn't you just troll the internet for disgusting porn featuring women pretending to be 14 year old girls having group sexual encounters with anonymous people? I mean isn't that what loser men like you do all day anyway, obsessively troll the internet for the most hard core and disgusting porn available?

See, here's the difference. What I am saying is FACTUAL. Men ARE violent and aggressive , men are hypersexed and sometimes violate people sexually. This is because of prenatal and post natal testosterone. A conservative estimate is that 99-95% of sexual offenders are males.

What you are saying, on the other hand, is pure nonsense. Never did I say I hated men in fact numerous times I said I do not hate men. I also said I recognize and "hate" certain female stereotyped traits. I do not hate women either.

I have no idea why you are accusing me of wanting to castrate men. This is some fantasy on your behalf. Unless, of course, you happen to think being a vile sexually abusive creature is characteristic of men in general (rather than being a male-specific pathology). Some africans get sickle cell anemia; not all africans have sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is an african disorder, however only a small percentage of africans have it.
So it is with violent and sexually violating behavior and maleness.

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Anonymous, you keep assumin... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:51 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous, you keep assuming I'm a man, I'm a woman. (While, as a woman, I'd prefer it if you weren't a woman, I'm aware that women are quite capable of the kind of obsessive hatred that you keep displaying. I wouldn't let you anywhere near a male child since you keep claiming all men are evil and should be castrated, you may not be able to control your hate filled urges.) You seem to want to pretend you're somehow virtuous (and the hatred and abuse you spew is somehow justified and okay) when you're just advocating sexual violence against men en masse. What you are saying is not realistic or factual, it's a distortion of reality based in your own bias. You see men as objects and not individual people, you are no different than any of the rapists you decry. I highly suspect at this point that if you're not a man doing a parody of a violent misandrist that you're simply projecting everything you think and feel onto men and attributing your own urges onto them.

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one reason why childhood se... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Dorna Calkins: | Reply

one reason why childhood sexual abuse has much longer and deeper affects is that the child feel guilt, they feel dirty and they feel like they are bad...those feelings are ingrained deeper and deeper into the thought processes and personality the longer they go untreated, which is so often the case. compare to an old fashioned vinyl record, the grooves of the memories and feelings become deeper ingrained the more they are played over and over in the child's mind. children make good "victims" because they believe what they are told and if they are told they deserve it or no one will believe them or that they are dirty as a result, then it becomes part of who they are. Any kind of abuse is bad, whether it be child abuse, elderly abuse or rape, and the important thing to remember is that each person responds differently, you get people like Zeller who kill themselves, or people who go out and shoot up the McDonalds on the corner...or just grow up to pass on the abuse to the next generation. I think the perception is that abuse is worse when perpetrated on a child because the affects are so long term and so unpredictable. Did you seriously ask is abusing a kid is the worse thing we can do to them? It should be unthinkable to do anything negative to a kid for any reason in any circumstance.

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You should have continued t... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 2:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You should have continued to pretend to be a man. Now I know you are a troll. What woman makes up "misandry" as if it were something that was a real obstacle in our society? Only men make this term up as a way of invalidating any outspoken female.
Of all my time on the interwebz I've only seen "misandry" invoked by extreme losers who were invariably male.

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Misandry is a word that sim... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 2:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Misandry is a word that simply means hatred towards men. Misogyny is hatred towards women (it can be institutional or personal hatred, just as the hatred of men you express seems to be very personal). To speak of misogyny is not the same thing as speaking about patriarchy (systemic oppression of women). You clearly only see what your personal bias allows you to see. Not all women hate men like you do and some of us are realistic about women being human beings as well. The big difference between you and me is that I see human beings as individuals, both men and women. You see men as objects and then try to justify your hate in exactly the same way that misogynists do. If there ever was a prime example of misandry - sexist hatred towards men - you'd be it. I'm still not convinced you're not a man doing a parody of a feminist but I am willing to concede that there are some hate-filled women out there in the real world and you may really be one.

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Besides, since you continua... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 2:53 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Besides, since you continually frequent this comment section simply to promote your hate-filled sexist ideas that have nothing to do with the topic, it's pretty hilarious that you'd call anyone else a troll.

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Excellent!... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 4:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

Excellent!

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No, you're a fool. <... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 5:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

No, you're a fool.

My point was not that being called a liar is no big deal, but rather that empowerment shouldn't be contingent upon having 100% of people believe your claims. This is a reasonable argument.

Unless you have the rape/abuse documented on videotape, that will never happen. You have to find other ways to feel empowered and maintain mental stability, relying on the love and support of those who do believe you. That's an area where therapy can be of help.

Now, just because a person doesn't share your paranoid/schizo worldview in which "pedophiles are everywhere," does not mean that he/she is downplaying the severity of the issue or "would prefer to pretend that child abuse doesn't exist or it is super duper rare." That's a scarecrow argument, the argument of a fool.

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"There are a million possib... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 6:13 AM | Posted by sdf: | Reply

"There are a million possibilities, but he didn't try them."

Now that's a real psychiatrist. Assessing the brain of a dead person.

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Time for fun with ... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 10:09 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Time for fun with reality!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia


If you're going to cite Wikipedia—or anything else—you should at least read the entire article and you shouldn't misrepresent what you read. It's dishonest.

Also from Wikipedia's page on pedophila:
— true pedophile = exclusive pedophile = only attracted to children
— non-exclusive pedophile = attracted to children and adults.
— "According to a U.S. study on 2429 adult male pedophile sex offenders, only 7% identified themselves as exclusive; indicating that many or most offenders fall into the non-exclusive category. However, the Mayo Clinic reports perpetrators who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia offend more often than non-pedophile perpetrators, and with a greater number of victims. They state that approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia."

In other words: only 5% of children are molested by offenders who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophila. Only 12% of child molestation offenders do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.

As for testosterone:
— "Blanchard, Cantor, and Robichaud (2006) reviewed the research that attempted to identify hormonal aspects of pedophiles.[69] They concluded that there is some evidence that pedophilic men have less testosterone than controls, but that the research is of poor quality and that it is difficult to draw any firm conclusion from it."
— "Although what causes pedophilia is not yet known, beginning in 2002, researchers began reporting a series of findings linking pedophilia with brain structure and function: ... They report that their findings suggest that there are one or more neurological characteristics present at birth that cause or increase the likelihood of being pedophilic. Evidence of familial transmittability "suggests, but does not prove that genetic factors are responsible" for the development of pedophilia."

Pedophiles don't attack children because they have too much testosterone. They attack children because they are sexually attracted to children.

Men in prison are not a representative sample of men in general. They are in prison because they have committed crimes. If you take a bunch of male rapists and sex offenders and put them together, do you really think they will act the same way a bunch of male tax attorneys and financial investors will? Do they go about raping each other on the golf course?

By "fun with reality", you must have meant "I'm going to cite randomly and skew everything that I read so that it fits my strange perception of the world".

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"...The damage that was don... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 11:59 AM | Posted by Fred X. Quimby: | Reply

"...The damage that was done to my body still prevents mefrom using the bathroom normally..." - from Bill Zeller's Suicide Note

There should have been an autopsy.

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you don't know shit. Testos... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 1:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

you don't know shit. Testosterone drives men to be animals and criminals... right... question: what the fuck do you know?

You know that there are a thousand possible other causes, right? Like being raised by shitty parents, or by a single mother, or being crazy.

You are just a lunatic, mad person, who has extremely detailed sexual fantasies that, from time to time, emerge in your posts... like the disgusting porn with women pretending to be 14 year old, or the other thread where you described graphically the damage an adult raping an infant would make.

You don't know shit and are probably insane.

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I wonder what Alone would s... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 3:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Francis: | Reply

I wonder what Alone would say

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Everyone who's still arguin... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 6:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Everyone who's still arguing in this thread should he heavily sedated as well as desexed, if not taken out and shot. You are living proof that literacy has nothing to do with intelligence or rationality.

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You've posed an interesting... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 8:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

You've posed an interesting argument for forced sedation and sterilization or execution - I take it you're volunteering?

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I disagree with you anonymo... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2011 8:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by said : | Reply

I disagree with you anonymous, it is unthinkable to be analy raped at that age and no member of his family did not notice nothing?! It is so difficult for the adults in an consensual relationship to have these sexual activities and, believe me, sometimes somebody ends up in the emergency room for rectal tearing and blood! Imagine a 5 years old being rape analy and nobody noticing!!??...,craizy! If you do a quick research, you will find easily information for the signs and symptoms of anal rape. For your information, here are two of many pediatricians that observe signs of anal rape in children: Finkel (1989) reports on seven children who had experienced acute genital and anal trauma in association with sexual abuse. Some of the more superficial manifestations of the trauma (abrasions, superficial lacerations, contusions, and bleeding) were not apparent after four days. In two of Finkel's seven cases, penile-anal penetration was involved. In one case, Finkel described "superficial lacerations of the anal verge tissues in anterior and posterior midline positions each measuring 2 mm circumferentially and 3 mm in length." In the second case he described five mucocutaneous superficial lacerations, some of which extended from the external anal mucosa down into the anal canal.

Paul (1990) observes that, even with the use of a lubricant, penile penetration of the anus will almost invariably result in some injury to the anal verge. He stresses the importance of the history, from the child, of severe pain — not only during the abuse, but when the child next attempts to have a bowel movement. He states: "This exacerbation of pain on defecation is an almost invariable 'story' and is so impressed on the child's mind that it is rarely forgotten" (p. 6). The child can have blood, excruciating pain on sitting, super pain on defection, and nobody saw nothing? If anything was done to him, that could have been done at home, and covered by the family! He,easily, could have finished in the hospital from the injuries too!

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Its amazing how people have... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2011 12:18 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Its amazing how people have consistently misrepresented my position on castration for sex offenders.

I NEVER ADVOCATING CASTRATING ALL MEN. Unless yo uare a disgusting deviant and somehow you think disgusting sexual behavior is common to men in general, you have nothing to worry about. The only people suitable for castration are pedophiles and rapists who have chronic recidivism of sexually deviant/harmful behavior. And maybe violent criminals too.

The fact is CHEMICAL CASTRATION IS ALREADY BEING USED AGAINST SEXUAL PREDATORS AND IT IS HIGHLY FUCKING EFFECTIVE. Without chemical castration, a pedophile/rapist is certain to hurt someone again. With chemical castration the rates are like, 1%. Why? Because they have no sex drive, no anger, and physically they cannot use their anatomy to rape effectively. Primarily lack of sexual interest.

I hate humanity so very much. Look at all these angry men and stupid women getting agitated over nothing... as if I randomly made up some crazy idea, as if this wasn't well demonstrated to be effective.


Oh, and the idea that pedophilia is genetic is foolish. It is clearly related to the prenatal factors that cause maleness (i.e. testosterone on the brain) with genetic factors as well, and of course environmental factors. No one thing causes pedophilia, and I did not say testosterone alone causes pedophilia... however testosterone is a crucial factor for both the predisposition and active capacity to be a pedophile. If you eliminate / abnormally reduce testosterone it is not possible to be sexually aroused or function sexually.

If we use haldol to shut off the brain of a schizophrenic, it then it is even more appropriate to shut off the reproductive function of a chronic severe sex offender don't you think?

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For all you people saying i... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2011 12:21 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

For all you people saying it is impossible to be anallly raped and have no one in the family notice... why do you think he hates his family so very much? I could easily imagine a scenario where in which the parents ignored warning signs of rape because it would interfere with their delusional religious fantasy. I think he made it clear in the letter that his parents cared more about their religious circle than anything else. Why do you think he felt that way? Perhaps no one asked him "why are you wincing when you sit?" Perhaps no one, not his mother or his father, cared to ask if he had been hurt. Perhaps when he made up a lie to explain why he was in pain, they didn't give a shit to investigate further. They seem like callous people, after all they disowned him at 19 because he refused to conform to their crazy religion.

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"I NEVER ADVOCATING CASTRAT... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2011 1:03 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I NEVER ADVOCATING CASTRATING ALL MEN."

... and "YOU NEVER IDENTIFYING YOURSELF" so why should anyone believe you?

We are Anonymous.

We don't sign our comments: o the casual observer, we are indistinguishable.

WE THINK CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.

We are legion.

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ok, this sounds more reason... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2011 7:09 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

ok, this sounds more reasonable, but your message in your previous posts was unacceptable. Especially your tirade against testosterone. You said that testosterone CAUSES evilness (I am not quoting verbatim). That's stupid, false, and it is an insult to all men.

So be very careful of how you word your arguments. If you want to castrate pedophiles or rapists just say so, no need to make arguments against manliness and man hormones.

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9 out of ten child molester... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2011 1:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

9 out of ten child molesters being men is not the same as 9 out of ten men being child molesters. So the average man is more likely, though not likely, to so a certain bad thing. The same could be said for black people. Does that make black people the problem? Any sane educated person will tell you the reason so many black people are in jail is not because black skin color is inherently more prone to crime. Perhaps it is the same with men?

Even if men are inherently more likely due to simple maleness, the average man is different from the average woman in regards to strengths and weaknesses. Not superior or inferior. And those averages say nothing about individuals.

Bigotry, in practice, seems to involve expecting one's own kind to be judged as individuals while judging everyone of another kind as responsible for everything everyone who looks like that does.

Furthermore castration is not a solution. It does not take away urges, only makes it hard/impossible to get relief. Meaning it could endanger children even more as the pedos go from being sometimes horny to going more crazy from horniness than a stereotypical 14 year old boy. So not only are you destroying part of the body of innocent people, as innocent people will be mistakenly put through any punishment society is willing to dole out, but it isn't even going to protect children. There is only one reason to support castration: hatred.

I also keep hearing this BS argument that "this would not have happened if we did (insert punishment here)". That only has validity if the pedo or whatever had been caught and convicted before. As far as we know, the one who raped this man never was and never will get in trouble regardless of what punishments are put into place.

Law and punishment is not magic, it won't magically change reality. I'm not saying we should do nothing, just that we need to keep a realistic assessment of what a law/punishment will and will not accomplish. Children will not be saved by enforcing punishments that only cause further suffering and endanger their future. How many children will grow up to be mistakenly convicted of a sex crime and castrated due to our irrationality now? Destroying their future is not protecting them.

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You don't have to tell me t... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2011 6:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You don't have to tell me the difference between 9 out of 10 molesters being men as different than 9 out of 10 men molesting kids. I already pointed this out, again to reiterate:

"Some africans get sickle cell anemia; not all africans have sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is an african disorder, however only a small percentage of africans have it."

Your example of blackness and criminality is irrelevant, as "black" is a social construct. Being from south africa on an ethnic basis is a genetically real phenomenon, but being "black" is something american society made up. "Black" people are poor and ignorant and live in dead end cities, or parts of cities, don't strive for education and self betterment because they are systematically disempowered, having "hoop dreams" instead. They commit crimes because they are hopeless and unsocialized. This is not so much related to having african genes, but rather it is related to social factors where one is "black" in american society and the history of what that means.
But maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is a biological component to black crime. I just tend to think it is entirely a social phenomenon.


Anyway, testosterone is not like "blackness" (social and made up). Testosterone is much more like having south african genes, thus being prone to carrying sickle cell trait. Testosterone absolutely does change brain organization prentally, imprinting on the brain "male" behaviors, and is hypothesized a reason males develop paraphilias, are prone to certain disorders (such as autism for example, aggressive and sexual behavior), whereas women do not.

Testosterone level later in life determines aggressive behavior and sexual drive. When a biological female (transsexual) is given male level testosterone, she feels more aggressive, assertive, and her sexual interest/drive/behavior becomes very high and male like. When a biological male (transsexual) is given estrogen/progesterone/androgen blockers, his sex drive and aggression plummet.


It is 100% A MYTH that sex crimes are not motivated by sex. They are motivated by sex, they are about sex. Men rape women because of their sex drives; men rape children because they are pedophiles. It is about sex. Men rape men in prison because they have no access to women. For men especially violence and sex are often related.

This social myth that sex crimes are about domination and control and power (not sex) only ensures a steady flow of women and children continue to be raped every day. We have the science right now to stop rapists and molesters - chemical castration. This has already been used for pedophiles with a high malignancy to society and it works.

Chemical castration works for a few reasons; one, it destroys sexual interest. Without sexual interest you cannot want to rape a woman or a child. Two, it destroys energy and aggressiveness, which further prevent antisocial behavior. Three, it prevents his anatomy from being an effective tool to rape with. The end result is chemical castration is extremely effective as hindering drive and ability to rape.

It's very simple, we have depot injections of progesterone every few months, just like we have monthly depot injections of neuroleptics for crazy people. The risks of chemical castration are no worse than the risks of depot neuroleptics, and arguably better than the risk to society and the molester himself (if he is in prison, where he is certain to be attacked abused and murdered because no one likes a sex criminal).


You're just flat at wrong that chemical castration does not take away the urges. Testosterone informs sex drive and antiandrogen treatment will eliminate sex drive. In a pedophile or a rapist this means no further sexual deviant thoughts or behaviors. Molesters themselves, some of them advocate this treatment because they do not want to hurt people but are powerless to stop the sexual thoughts.


Also, chemical castration is entirely reversible. If in the future a person is proven innocent, the treatment can be stopped. This is better than leaving him in jail and having him raped/abused by the psychopaths within the jail. I'd rather take progesterone as an outpatient than stay in jail where everyone knows i was arrested on the charge of raping a 13 year old.

Furthermore need I point out that ALL of the legal system runs the risk of accidentally punishing innocent people? At least if the treatment were used (chemical castration) the punishment might be productive. As it stands we throw pedos in jail, where they are abused, release them, where they then abuse people AGAIN because there is no treatment being given to them for their sexual pathology, and then put them back in jail over and over again in a cycle. An innocent person is just as much at risk of false conviction and punishment now as he would be in the future. Chemical castration is relatively mild punishment compared to spending a few years in jail where you are raped by bubba.


It seems to me that most of the contention against chemical castration comes from an origin of ignorance:
Ignorance of how the treatment works (it does not castrate the person physically and is reversible; testosterone DOES regulate sex thoughts/drive and so is an effective cure for sexual criminality)
Ignorance of what pedophilia/sexual crimes are (they are crimes of sex, sexual interest, paraphilias and aggressive behavior, both functions of testosterone).
There are no effective alternative therapies for sexual deviants, however research shows this therapy is highly effective.

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Depression distorts reality... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2011 10:34 AM | Posted by Joe Hone: | Reply

Depression distorts reality - I think you conveyed this simple truth quite well in your blog post. The issue is not whether Bill was molested, or whether his family failed him, or whether his friends failed him, or whether you or I failed him; the issue is that whatever the cause, depression so distorts reality that the sufferer cannot see hope for a future. Ultimately, however, it is up to the individual to seek help, and way too many people like Bill successfully hide their pain, even from those closest to them. Depression doesn't kill, we kill. Any way you look at it, Bill took his own life needlessly.

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That's all very nice Joe, b... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2011 4:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Joe Hone's comment, by RC: | Reply

That's all very nice Joe, but where you stand on the more important issues of whether or not every single male is a pedophile, whether testosterone 100% correlates to rape, and whether all men should be castrated. I think you're missing the point. You're just like Hitler and the Nazis.

*sarcasm*

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Good point and thanks for b... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2011 5:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Joe Hone's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Good point and thanks for bringing this thread back on track. I find it interesting that, according to his note, one of his motivations was that he was afraid he'd kill someone. Of course, the fact that he'd kill himself instead to avoid that fate tends to indicate that he'd rather kill himself than do that (though there, of course, may have been other motivations). That said, the fact that he felt the need to mention it does indicate that he might have been having revenge fantasies and was somewhat worried about his ability to control his anger (which he turned upon himself).

One thing that's worth mentioning is that people (meaning the general public) can tend to downplay psychological abuse (which can be just as damaging in the long run as sexual abuse, which quite often has a psychological component) and may feel that something that's considered as horrible as sexual abuse must have happened for them to feel so fucked up or for their suffering to be taken seriously.

Ultimately our subjective narratives are always a distortion of reality in some ways, it's just that depression (and mania) are extremes that make everything look impossible (or in the case of mania, possible). Hope, even when it's unrealistic hope, is pretty essential for psychological (and total) survival...even if we use cynicism to guard ourselves against disappointment. (Under the skin of every cynic is a failed romantic, realists aren't actually cynical, they're realistic :-)

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January 13, 2011 6... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2011 11:53 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

January 13, 2011 6:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I sense we are dangerously close to invoking Godwin's Law...

January 18, 2011 4:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Joe Hone's comment, by RC: | Reply

[...] You're just like Hitler and the Nazis.


Invoked...

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You keep repeating over and... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2011 11:57 PM | Posted by Icono: | Reply

You keep repeating over and over again that "he's wrong", but present no objective evidence as to why. I don't feel compelled to accept your agenda-laden interpretation of HIS life over HIS OWN interpretation.

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I believe that this blog is... (Below threshold)

January 20, 2011 11:40 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I believe that this blog is facilitated or written by Matthew May. A young psychiatrist working out of Menlo Park who can't tolerate all the "success" by his clients and their significant others.

You are not a pirate - you are a half assed joker who couldn't get the rights to use that character.

Fuck you whoever you are Mr. "last psychiatrist"!" If you are a psychiatrist, you are a pig who should be censored by your whatever professional organization you belong to!!!

Now I'm going to have to cop to my shrink that I was back on this bullshit poisonous blog...

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I was not at all surprised ... (Below threshold)

January 21, 2011 11:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I was not at all surprised that you are in treatment.

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Has anyone seen this:http:/... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2011 8:41 AM | Posted by Libby Cone: | Reply

Has anyone seen this:http://tinyurl.com/4rdanqp

It's an eHow on how to fire a suicidal employee while covering your own ass. It makes no mention of treatment. I think it's monstrous.

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I didn't read all of it bec... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2011 12:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Enough with this mass castration bullshit: | Reply

I didn't read all of it because it is a fucking wall of text. But I don't think you or anyone actually knows exactly what testosterone does.

Some of the stuff that is influenced in men by testosterone, like sexual drive and the desire to compete, is influenced by estrogen in women in the exact same way.

There are studies correlating estrogen levels to aggression in men.

Also, just because a pedophile has testosterone in his system, it doesn't mean that the testosterone CAUSED the pedophilia. Further more, maybe the increase of testosterone is a CONSEQUENCE of consistent antisocial behavior and not a cause.

I think you and we don't know enough about testosterone and how it works. And a shitload of women abuse kids.

I want to conclude by saying that I think you are absolutely insane and that you probably were molested (hence your anti-male tirades and your vast-scale castration fantasies)

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People find it so hard to b... (Below threshold)

February 4, 2011 1:57 PM | Posted by robin: | Reply

People find it so hard to believe that maybe he made the abuse up for the drama at the time of sucide. But would a woman put acid on her own face for the sympathy? Make their own child sick to the point of death, for the attention it would bring them? I don't know this person, and if he suffered this abuse, I am very sorry for him. He seems to have had a successful life in other areas, but not his inner self. Without our inner happiness, we have nothing.

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Alice Miller ("Drama of the... (Below threshold)

February 7, 2011 7:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alice Miller ("Drama of the Gifted Child" and "The Body Never Lies", child abuse expert) writes that ingrained in children, even ones of not essentially religious upbringing, is the fourth ammendment "Honor thy mother and father...). This she believes is one of the greatest influences against the healing of child abuse.Tthe abused child feels responsible for their abusive or neglectful parents, and their shame induces self-destructive behavior and self-hatred.

"The Body Never Lies" cites the works of Proust, Joyce, Schiller and others whose volumes of work are devoted to fighting themselves and their real feelings about their parents.

Zeller no doubt hated his family. But I don't think he felt guilt-free about that. Even the most severe abuse affects a child's generational guilt, Miller writes.

"I would rather suffer these attacks than reveal you." Proust, in a letter to his mother on his epileptic (or ANXIETY) attacks.

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Back in the 80s there were ... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2011 2:45 PM | Posted by Triton: | Reply

Back in the 80s there were a bunch of therapists who said "children never lie" and a modern day Salem witch hunt for child molesters ensued. Many, many innocent people were jailed and brought to trial. Doesn't anyone remember the whole McMartin debacle?

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can false memory syndrome m... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2011 7:11 PM | Posted by kurt: | Reply

can false memory syndrome manifest without a psychiatrist there to "help" things along?

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"I believe that this blog i... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2011 12:01 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

"I believe that this blog is facilitated or written by Matthew May." --I don't think so. Alone is not near California.

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The literary critic George ... (Below threshold)

September 6, 2011 7:28 PM | Posted by Richard Maxwell: | Reply

The literary critic George Steiner once made the trenchant comment:
"Perhaps anyone who focused on the breakdown of moral meaning in
the modern world could not endure to live."

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Old thread...but still I wo... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 10:02 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Old thread...but still I would like to comment. TLP you question whether this guy was really raped because he didn't report it in a typical fashion.

"And though he had gone to several doctors, he told no one of his pain-- I don't even mean the molestation, but the emptiness. And he had devised a workable rationalization: if you tell the doctor, then they will betray your secrets. But that, as a Metafilter poster named pastabagel observed, is the secret protecting itself; it prefers pain to the unknown. But what are you afraid of? That they'll learn your secret, or learn you don't have any secrets that would explain so much misery?"

I know you must think that he would report something like that to doctors, but it is EXTREMELY painful when people don't believe you. I have tried to report my father's abuse in the past, and it's just too hard for me to talk about something like that now. And it is because any time I have told a therapist, doctor, whoever, nobody believed me. In fact, they were downright condescending. And I wonder now if it's because I was really strong. I wasn't screaming and crying and acting stereotypically upset. I remember calling suicide hotline and the guy on the other end being suspicious of whether I was really suicidal or not because I was speaking too neutrally (not upset enough for him) and he got really snarky with me about the pain I was reporting and said "Well what do you want me to do about it?" I have realized now that I'm older that doctors, social workers, etc look for certain things when they try to spot abuse or someone who is seriously considering suicide and if you don't fit that profile they don't take it very seriously (that or they overreact--and that's only in reporting wanting to commit suicide). If you're speaking too rationally and steel yourself and show a lack of emotion then they think you are probably just a narcissist. In fact I notice that when I look at the notes from the time period from doctors, school officials, etc they all noted my "lack of affect" or my "emotionally shallow" nature.

When it's abuse they're not looking for a strong, analytical person who apporaches the issue with cold logic. They look for someone who is weak and not thinking rationally.

I've discovered that gifted learning disabled people have this problem as well. It's damn hard to get that label when your gifted. I swear schools look for people who come off as slightly retarded to label LD. Gifted kids are told they're just aren't trying hard enough because LD is so associated with lower IQ scores. Some gifted ADHD people have this problem too. They don't bomb exams so they don't meet the stereotype and are less likely to get treatment until college or some other major challenge gets in their way. Which sucks for them, but they didn't meet whatever a doctor was looking for in their diagnosis so they just didn't get help.

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"And it is because any time... (Below threshold)

October 21, 2011 2:18 AM | Posted by Sfon: | Reply

"And it is because any time I have told a therapist, doctor, whoever, nobody believed me. In fact, they were downright condescending."

My experience too, and you sound stronger than I. I may actually be crying and weak one moment, but just because I'm not crying at the "therapist" due to being scared stiff of the judgmental bastard they assume I'm a hop away from A-OK. Never even occurs to them that maybe more than one appointment is needed to make me feel safe there, or that some days/moments are different from others.

"In fact I notice that when I look at the notes from the time period from doctors, school officials, etc they all noted my "lack of affect" or my "emotionally shallow" nature."
A sign of trauma/depression to any intelligent person. From my experience therapists learned this sort of thing and can talk about it at length, and yet are incapable of applying that knowledge in practice. It is a weird and frustrating disconnect.

People say to search until you find a good one, but a traumatized person can only do that so much until simply the BS therapists fill their environment with (water sounds, etc.) cause anxiety.

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re: anonsomeone at... (Below threshold)

October 21, 2011 9:48 AM | Posted by noob: | Reply

re: anon

someone at a suicide hotline told you, "Well what do you want me to do about it"?!

that person deserves to be drawn and quartered

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lol noob. Yeah. I had anoth... (Below threshold)

October 23, 2011 6:59 PM | Posted, in reply to noob's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

lol noob. Yeah. I had another friend call once while in distress when he was a teenager. They put him on hold :/ He just hung up.

I really think it was my age. I was young and there aren't many resources for young people. And if there are, no one will refer you to those resources. It's easy to push aside a young person. I really do have a soft spot for young people in their teens and twenties. I've noticed those people are a lot less likely to get referred to resources that could help them--unless they are planning on going to college. Then everyone and their mother-in-law will help those people figure out how to take their SATs or get financial aid. That's why when I see young adults who are on their own and have no clue what to do, I show them how to get Medicaid and offer advice cuz I know how hard it is.

However, even in my adult years, I've noticed people in the helping professions can be kinda shallow. I made an app. with a therapist, and I hadn't done that in years. We really didn't hit it off in the first appointment. I noticed that instead of referring me to another therapist, he actually referred me to some self-help books. He was also very condescending. Considering I was paying for the visit I found that extraordinarily unprofessional. And I've never met a therapist that was like. In fact, the first therapist I ever saw as a child told me I didn't have to talk to her and that I could be referred to a different therapist.

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"why childhood sexual abuse... (Below threshold)

February 24, 2012 6:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Skeptic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"why childhood sexual abuse should be specifically more traumatizing than anything else that triggers PTSD?"

Based on having survived incest and absolutely nothing else-no research, no shrink feedback, nothing---sexual abuse was hard for me because I didn't have words to describe it with. The fact that I didn't even know, at the time, the correct words for my own anatomy....saying you were sodomized is different if you even have an objective term rather than trying to describe it.
Also, for me, when later I tried to talk about it I was reliving it. It wasn't voluntary, it was just what happened; talking about it made it more real. My mother had never said one word to me about sexual abuse or what to do about it. There were no guidelines. And in my family, even talking about your ‘fanny’ (my mother’s collective term for all ‘down there’ parts---my mother who finds the word ‘pee’ abhorrent, ‘butt’ is abhorrent, you get the idea) would be frowned upon. I didn’t know the word for penis. How do you describe one if you don’t know the word?
I seem to have a vague memory of having some idea that if I told my mother she might make me and my brother (the molester) talk about it. That was my fear. Talking about it made it real. Curiously enough, my brother also used to threaten to kill me, not on the condition of me telling or not telling, he just used to randomly say he was going to kill me ‘someday’ or ‘when you’re 16’ or ‘when you’re 21.’ It never even occurred to me to think about that, be afraid of that. I mean, I was afraid of even talking.
I have observed a couple kids who have experienced sexual abuse, and when kids don’t know how how to talk about it, or don’t want to talk about it directly but they are talking about it, they start saying things like “Darth Vader came into my room and burned my feet.” (That is literally what a little girl said to me). Some adults would let that go. This reminds me of an overall lesson: the lies people, especially children, tell are meaningful, don’t dismiss it just because you know it to be untrue. It means *something.* In my family a lie like that would have gotten me branded a liar, and my family wouldn’t likely have treated that as a one-time offense, it likely would have become a characterization and a reason to never listen to me.
And finally, childhood sexual abuse likely occurs in a family is invested in denying it happened or is happening. I told my mother finally when I was about 17. She said ‘it was your fault, you wanted it, he wasn’t that much older/bigger than you.’ I don’t remember how old I or he were. I think it was, I was under 7, because my parents divorced around then and my brother ran away from home. But I think he’s about 5 years older. I do still remember that certainly he seemed big enough. Maybe he was even older than 5 years. I don’t know. He seemed like a grown man, and actually I did fight.

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I've been trying on the int... (Below threshold)

February 26, 2012 6:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I've been trying on the internet, and I can't find anything on how children express child abuse, verbally, when they've been abused. This is bothering me---I can see why it might be a tough order, hard evidence to compile, but still. If anyone has anything, please write in. Even if it is anecdotal and personal.

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You got some stones speakin... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2012 4:24 PM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

You got some stones speaking up for fundies.

The theologically novel thing about George Zellers writings are the degree to which they conform God to the image of humanity. I'm a dirty papist, but I have plenty of Protestant friends who would pick that out as WRONG in a heartbeat. So not only is the guy obsessed, but he's obsessed with an awful dogma. He does what Muslims accuse all Christians of doing when they refer to God as Father. They get excited, but if what Zeller believed was what orthodox Christians believed they would have good reason.

I have no idea how many people that actually think about these things believe what he does, but I feel confidant that it is a vanishingly small number, for which we can all give thanks, because it means the only man you're scared of will probably be Alone.

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"Bill understandably had pr... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 1:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack's comment, by Who?: | Reply

"Bill understandably had problems trusting people. But certainly he knew about online communities where people talk about these kinds of experiences anonymously. At least, I hope he did. My point is that he doesn't discuss that type of resource at all, which I think is an odd omission given his experience with technology. Maybe he just didn't think they would help... maybe they don't. I don't rightly know."

Or maybe he didn't trust that they were actually anonymous

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"Bill understandably had pr... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 1:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack's comment, by Who?: | Reply

"Bill understandably had problems trusting people. But certainly he knew about online communities where people talk about these kinds of experiences anonymously. At least, I hope he did. My point is that he doesn't discuss that type of resource at all, which I think is an odd omission given his experience with technology. Maybe he just didn't think they would help... maybe they don't. I don't rightly know."

Or maybe he didn't trust that they were actually anonymous

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Note that I'm not saying I ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 2:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Who?: | Reply

Note that I'm not saying I think Zeller's lying, but that I don't think he gave enough details to back up the claim. Me, I'd have said something like "on Dec. 12, 1987, by Colonel Mustard, in the dining room with a candle stick, after lunch when everybody else was playing croquet in the snow; it was just after I fed Grandma's fallen souffle to her poodle and about an hour before Uncle Bob almost drowned in the punch bowl." I'd want everybody to know exactly what happened, or I wouldn't bother to bring it up. People might still not believe it but at least they'd have "the 5 Ws."

I don't know of many abuse victims who want to recount "the 5 Ws". To do that is to relive it. I don't think a lack of details makes it less believable.

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yes, talking about it does ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 10:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Who?'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

yes, talking about it does feel like reliving it. For me.
I have heard for some people talking about it diminishes it's power eventually. Supposedly they are starting to use graphic retelling with PTSD victims. I saw it on tv, don't know how useful it is.
I've been reading a bit lately about something called accomodation. They say sex abuse survivors get it, but it seems to me it would apply to other things, like psychological abuse, as well. It addresses what happens when victims tell, what the typical reactions from others might be, and then it addresses how that can lead a child to retract what they said, because life is or seems harder for them and their families after they tell. Obviously it's a bit more complex than that, but I thought it did a good job of explaining the difficulties of telling. If anyone has any information about accomodation and how it applies to things or any decent criticism of the idea I'd love to know.
One of the things that is the most difficult, as a victim, for me, is explaining and clarifying and, in short, remembering things because I want to be believed. It just gets exhausting. Whenever one talks about it, theres me, the story, and dealing with other people's reactions to it...the latter is the hardest at this point. When people respond badly it does feel like a kind of re-victimization sometimes, maybe it shouldn't but it does. This is true even with a professional therapist. Lately I've begun to wonder if this is stupid, if I wouldn't be better off just forgetting about the whole childhood and, actually, adulthood filled with tragedy thing. I wonder if it is dumb to reach back and try to straighten it out now. Like is it self indulgent or futile or too late.
The other weird thing is, therapists always say they know about trauma, they learned it in school. They seem very confident. But often they say things I know I'd never say to an abuse survivor---ever. It's weird. Just a very pervasive sense of this-person-does-not-get-it. And even though I live in a big city, I look on the computer for trauma specialists and there isn't a lot, or they don't take my insurance. If nothing else, I have an appointment at what is the most auspicious hospital I'll ever visit, so what they have to say might be interesting. Part of me doesn't want to bother to go.

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Plenty of people agree with... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 11:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Plenty of people agree with you, more or less. I've heard lots of people, when the conversation turns to child molesters (convicted ones) say, "Give 'em a choice, a knife so they can cut the thing off or life in prison," etc. The difference between you and them is, they usually don't try to back it up with theories about testoserone or anything else; the perps are child molesters, enough said.

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This whole chemical castrat... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 1:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This whole chemical castration thing, probably viewed as the most crackpot post in a series of crackpot posts, is bothering me. I know the woman is sincere, and I know she's posted elsewhere on this blog.

First of all, I think---as I said above---that people really don't care if child molesters are selectively castrated, chemically or otherwise. Some people just don't want testosterone in particular implicated as a contributing/causal agent of sexual violence. I would like to suggest these are two separate issues. I'm not taking sides, I'm just saying. That's where your argument falls apart-ranting about testosterone, when it is an unnecessary element to make your case.

If chemical castration becomes a topic for public debate, *it'll never happen.* If they are doing it to one extent or another already, (as you said somewhere) and you want it done, you might consider keeping your mouth shut about it. Just like any controversial health issue: euthanasia, abortion, sterilizing mentally ill or intellectually disabled people or other helpless/incapacitated people, whatever, it might be better to leave it up to the discretion of professionals who might actually know what they're doing, because once it hits the media it turns into a heated debate, involving legislation, significant amounts of money invested either for or against, every religious nut in the world, appeals, and whatnot. Oh, and special rights groups. A lot of fuss, all of which will lead to it not happening. If I'm wrong, tell me where this is currently being done in the world with the knowledge and explicit endorsement of the rest of the citizens, because I'd love to know.
I'm not endorsing, but I'm not against it, either. Just saying.
The idea of chemical castration involving hormones makes me nervous though. I don't know much about testosterone, other than what everybody else knows, which is that it is thought to contribute to sex drive. And I think hair loss. That's all I know.
But I do know a lot about estrogen and progesterone, more than the average bear. And the thing is, estrogen, arguable testosterone's "female" counterpart---although technically both men and women have it---does a lot besides just give women sexual characteristics. Estrogen is not just some fluffy cosmetic hormone designed to get us knocked up and keep us fertile. Take away estrogen completely and there are problems. I bet a lot of people have heard about decreased estrogen and bone health issues, for example. So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know about altering someone's testosterone, and I know I don't know, and since I'm not about to whip out an endocrinology text to find out, (even if I was a self-taught expert, I don't visualize anybody exactly dying to get behind me for such a weird cause), I'm keeping my mouth shut.

And of course, if you castrate anybody, that opens the door for things like sterilization of "defective" people and other kinds of radical things. Since you seem (?) in an earlier post to have a problem with just forcing some mentally ill people to take their meds, I'm not sure you would want to go there, either.

Physicians used to euthanize people at their discretion (not wholly alone; nurses had to distribute the meds) and quietly, abortions used to happen and people figured it was nobody's business. I'm not saying it was better, but I can't say it was worse either. I'm also basing that statement, I have to say, on anecdotal evidence gathered from nurses, so maybe it isn't accurate enough.

I may be totally wrong, but at least in principle I think these sorts of things should be up to medical discretion and not subject to scrutiny. Same thing with castration.

I'd welcome comments though.

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Sorry so many comments. </p... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 1:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sorry so many comments.

I did a quick search and easily found information on castration of sex offenders in Germany. It's even current (February 2012). What I said about castration becoming an endless expensive debate appears to be true. They do surgical castrations in Germany, which are 100% VOLUNTARY for offenders. Despite the voluntariness, some people are calling for an end to the practice as they call it "degrading." (More degrading than having molested a child)? Get this, people who haven't even undergone the VOLUNTARY procedure themselves think they have the right to speak for/ "protect" the sex offenders by outlawing the procedure.

In other words, to some people, sex offenders have human rights just like everybody else as long as those rights conform exactly to what the "humanitarian" rights activists say. !!!

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I wish that I could speak m... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 1:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Who?: | Reply

I wish that I could speak more frankly. I do not know how to address the issue that some people may make false accusations. However, for those who are telling the truth, for them to tell their story and not be believed or to even suggest that it might not be credible - well the case of Ashley Billasano illustrates what happens. And there are many, many more such cases.

To "The Last Psychiatrist" - congratulations on a successful career. You have just killed your patient.

I think every therapist and psychiatrist out there will tell you they are qualified to treat victims of sexual abuse. They absolutely are not. "The Last Psychiatrist" is one of these. I do hope that he does not attemp to treat anyone dealing with this issue.

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On the issue of castration ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 2:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Who?: | Reply

On the issue of castration - I loathe the idea of maiming anyone for any reason. I also do not believe it would be effective. The issue of sexual abuse, in my opinion, goes much, much deeper than simple sexual drive. Take away the sexual drive and you will still have a person who is cruel, sadistic and self centered. They will still have the desire to have power over a victim. Perhaps a labotomy would be more effective - not that I am suggesting that we should head in that dark ages direction.

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If it makes you feel any be... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2012 3:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Who?'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If it makes you feel any better, TLP doesn't do therapy, anyway. At least he wrote that once. His posts on children are often insightful and quite touching. Enough to make me think he could be good at trauma if he wanted to be. i don't know about his post on Elizabeth Smart though. I just don't know.

I'm not sure it does much good to tell people to believe, (trauma survivors or anyone else) either. Have you ever had a shrink who was a faker? Fake empathy? I've seen it. It's as damaging as anything else.

I think it would be nice for there to be a trauma certification maybe. Maybe there already is one. Or many. I like specialization.

In Illinois, there is a certification given by the state for mental health "consumers" (i.e. patients) that can be earned for the purpose of gaining crediblity/working in the mental health field as someone who has been there and is working on their own recovery as well as aiding others. Maybe there should be one for survivors of trauma as well. It is true that consumers have more on the ball than any shrink I've ever had personal experience with. Ever! Sorry, shrinks.

Lobotomies are fairly recent btw- not a dark ages phenomenon.

I was very surprised how many countries are using castration methods.

Re: fakers. I live in Chicago. People have been known to fake/exaggerate domestic violence claims to get help with housing. Just like getting pregnant will also expedite services. I've met people who faked mental illness. My psychiatry book said every illness has secondary benefits to it: help with housing, free bus passes, whatever.

It never occurs to people who do it that they're taking food from someone else's mouth, I've noticed.

This is just random stuff. I just thought I'd mention it. I haven't a clue about any answers except specialization, which people may be moving away from. There's a movement in Illinois to have psychologists prescribe psych meds. I think this is the worst idea ever. If many of them can barely handle doing therapy but still try at the patient's expense, what makes anyone think they can prescribe medication? Can they adequately differentiate between psych symptoms and other medical symptoms? The answer is no, even doctors can have a hard time with that. Even if they could do it adequately, isn't it better for the patient's good to have "two sets of eyes"---a psychiatrist and a psychologist---overseeing their care? That's how nurses usually approach things: that's why there is often both a nurse and a CNA taking care of the patient.

Illinois Psychologists Association (or something like that) endorses this whole meds thing, but even for reasons of protecting oneself from liability it helps to have two sets of eyes, you'd think. Watch, they're probably saying it is better for patient care. I don't see how. It may be cheaper for the system though.

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Explore 200+ Auto Repair To... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 11:11 PM | Posted by intraoral camera: | Reply

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First -- you're wrong. I do... (Below threshold)

July 15, 2012 10:00 AM | Posted by A.: | Reply

First -- you're wrong. I don't know what letter you read, but the one I read was consumed with guilt and sadness. The darkness? What do you think that was? It was the presence of evil - guilt. I am an abuse survivor, and while I'd not express it as a darkness, it is an ever-present force in my life.

Second -- your past does not define you? Perhaps "define" is too strong a word, but our pasts most assuredly do influence and affect us throughout our lives. Even you ... your childhood allows you to stand in smug superiority over those of us who are forever damaged and broken by our abuse.

I am saddened by Zeller's choices, but he did what he felt was necessary. That "darkness"? It isn't merely depression. It isn't merely a sadness. IT NEVER GOES AWAY. Just like your memories never go away. It is always there, always in the back of your mind. The only way to escape it is to literally escape it. It simply got too overwhelming for him.

If you really are a psychiatrist, maybe working on your empathy will help.

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I'm not so sure. I mean, I ... (Below threshold)

July 15, 2012 10:44 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm not so sure. I mean, I was abused a lot in my life. In honesty, I'd havee to say my entire family, although I hate to sound like I see abuse under every rock. Sexuual, physical, psychological, the whole thing. Financial, educational, I can expound on methods of abuse beyond really anyone I've met except maybe my current shrink 9ad yeah- i think trauma therapists are better than regular ones for trauma). But I feel okay. Sometimes it gets really bad and I check myself into a psych unit. (Last time was Febrruary, I think). But sometimes also I think of things i know or understaand that I wouldn't, otherwise; I figure it may have have made me a better person in some ways. And sometimmes i believe i do feel as happy as f ii'd had any other kind of life, maybe happier. Against odds, itt turned out okay.

The people I know who are the most preoccupied with their abuse are either holding onto that pain because it is what they know and they have paradoxically become safe/comfy with it, or are still in abusive situations. Obviously either one of those would naturally have that effect. And sometimes therapy or meds are hard to afford or have time for. I can see why doing therapy literally for years (in my case, about three/four straight years, sometimes nearly full-time, always a huge priority) can be necessary. I was extremely fortunate to get to do that.

It is sad that the abuse victimizes, the depression victimizes yet again. And to feel the emotions sometimes it'js like letting some pretty raw pain happen while you just have to sit there and feel it-for me that's the worst. Also I can't talk when I cry to much- I'll sound psychotic, and I know it, and it's a drag.

I think that part of the reason people might not get better is that is hard to do while, paradoxically, trying to get better. That is true for me; you learn the skills to stabilize yourself (eat, sleep, meds, outside of house for a portion of every day, DBT for me, etc) and that's necessary but to really cry---*really* cry---sometimes it helps (me) to let myself get pretty off-center, pretty not-grounded, not trying to hold it together or be stabilized. Then i get the really strong emotion; not so much when I'm preoccupied with appearing or even being stable, but that's me. Perhaps it requires also God, or a reasonable facsimile in the form of an excellent shrink, or luck, or jjust a really safe psych unit...it must be a whole lot of tthings, really, that can help.

Anyway, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I wanted to say I think with work and effort and also some good old-fashioned emoting people can get better, maybe even *better* than 'better.' And the darkness can go away.

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I don't mean to say that th... (Below threshold)

July 15, 2012 1:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by A.: | Reply

I don't mean to say that that feeling is always present and always oppressive. My life can be as happy as anyone else's at times (I suppose -- never having lived theirs, it's merely a guess on my part.) But I always, always have those memories in the back of my head, the spectre of things that once were. And unless I have some sort of lobotomy that takes that part of my brain out, I always will. And of course, that's not feasible, nor would I want that to happen. It would take all my good memories with my bad.

I do bristle against the suggestions that people make that abuse somehow has made me stronger (I don't argue that you may feel it has made you a better person). I AM a very strong person. I have strong opinions, a strong will, and a strong mind. But I have NO idea of the kind of person I'd have been had it not been for my abusers. My abuse started so early that it forever altered my life. They robbed me of something so precious that I can never have it back. If I sound bitter -- well, perhaps I am. But I would have liked to have had a life free of their staining influence, a life where I could have learned to love and trust free of their poison.

But no, my memories never go away. They haunt my sleep, and they pop into my mind unbidden when I am triggered by events outside my control. Please don't tell me what I "should" do. I have therapy, I have medication, and I take good care of myself. I have an excellent support system and a loving family. I'm not a teenager who is aimless, depressed and searching. I'm almost 40, and I will die haunted by these memories.

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I always hear about rape vi... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 9:54 PM | Posted by Atarii: | Reply

I always hear about rape victims blaming themselves, but I still do not comprehend it. Maybe it is because rape does not happen how people imagine it happens: He punches you, and as you stumble away, he pushes your back, between your shoulder blades and you slam face-first into a chain-link fence. You start to turn, but he hits you again; this time you remain, fingers clutching at the links of the fence as his body presses against yours.

It doesn't work that way, I suppose-- it's more of an emotional stunting. You "let" him do it, but only in fear or some complex mixing of emotions so that when it's done, you cannot even say you fought bravely until the end.

I don't know.

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Bill Zeller was raped sever... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2013 3:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Karen's comment, by Adam: | Reply

Bill Zeller was raped several times at the age of 6. Someone groped your tits on a crowded train. Tell me about how difficult your life is.

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Where in the hell did you g... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2013 4:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Adam's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Where in the hell did you get the impression she was comparing herself to bill? Other than from your[sic] own idiocy and lack of reading comprehension.

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Yeah a girl in my class tol... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2013 3:04 AM | Posted by J: | Reply

Yeah a girl in my class told me she was born into a cult. Tennessee...

She's 28 or so and just getting her BA. She's smart and quirky, but you get this sense that she's extremely guarded--she'll snicker then immediately straighten her entire body as though she's sitting in a hard-back chair.

As a gay man I'm pretty disgusted with fundamentalism and anything approaching it. Southern Baptists... I guess the Methodists are okay. But. Those. Baptists.

Villains.

Lot of the drunks/druggies I know seem sexually promiscuous in a way that suggests it isn't because the chemicals make them "loose" but that they're doing the chemicals to cover up some sexual shame. Repeating cycle. Some of it's probably due to childhood trauma of some sort.

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A couple of comments here:<... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2013 3:15 AM | Posted by J: | Reply

A couple of comments here:

"You know that there are a thousand possible other causes, right? Like being raised by shitty parents, or by a single mother, or being crazy."

Lot of the people I know raised by single mothers are fine. Crazy as anyone else. Poor though. Like the rest of us. The shitty parent*s* is more destructive than living in some destroyed nuclear family. Surprise. The nuclear family doesn't exist. That too is a product of a certain economic formation extending back a few centuries into the european middle ages and into ancient Rome. Considering how many slaves weren't allowed to live with their families I'd say the paterfamilias structure of the upper-crust Roman family isn't exactly a universal model of human development.

"Second -- your past does not define you? Perhaps "define" is too strong a word, but our pasts most assuredly do influence and affect us throughout our lives. Even you ... your childhood allows you to stand in smug superiority over those of us who are forever damaged and broken by our abuse."

One of the things that helps me is deconstructing the language used to refer to yourself. "Damaged" and "broken" refer to objects, objects are damaged and broken. You're a subject. You were always-already decentered anyway. Pain is one thing but self-concept is another.

You can do enormous things in your head with philosophy. More than you can do with a pill.

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Alone's objection to suicid... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2014 8:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone's objection to suicide - that's it's hurting others - lose its power when you consider that as a narcissist you're hurting people and breaking their spirit already and will continue to do so.

"At least you can change": I'm part of the cohort, why would I believe I'll be among the minority that escape it and do something wit their lives?

At least with suicide the story gets an ending, just like advised. If I'm most likely too stupid and self-absorbed to make a good human being, why bother trying?

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as soon as you start trying... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2014 8:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

as soon as you start trying to change, you escape that cohort and enter into a new one. Sure, the change is not complete, but at least you're trying, whereas there are plenty of people that are content staying self-absorbed and miserable. Suicide is not the answer, dude. You may need help.

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