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People who call themselves your friends, but who frequently cancel appointments or turn up late, are toxic

When you claim to be a friend of someone but consistently cancel appointments you have made at the last minute or you delay by hours, you are playing with the other, harming them, by leaving them bereft.

In cases where the other continues to invest in seeing you or seeks to be with you, you are molding an acceptance in the other, that their role is to accommodate themselves to your will.

You are not seeking to create a friendship, in which the two of you work co-operatively, fairly, honestly and openly with the other to create mutually beneficial opportunities to enjoy each other’s company.

You are trying to create a dependency, the premises for ritual humiliation, to feed your sadistic desire for gratification.


Other Reading on this topic

A Man Is Punctual: The Reasons You’re Late and How to Always Be on Time, The Art of Manliness, July 18th 2012

No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish, Firebrand, Ideas Ignition, July 2011

How to Deal With Someone Who Is Always Late, Wikihow



Not living with your parents? You’re not alone

8 million children around the world live in residential care.

So why does it feel so lonely sometimes living in residential care?

Where are the opportunities for children living in residential care to link up with each other to talk about their feelings and experiences?

What does it take to be in a stable loving relationship?

Loving relationships require a certain mindset. In return for regular sex, contact, affection, belongoing, children perhaps, someone to share bringing up the children, the benefits of an economy of scale, one needs to give up the ghost of finding the perfect mate, disengage one’s behaviour from the eternal desire to ‘get the best that I can’ and give up the fight for and dream of constant improvement.


It also means a retirement from promiscuity, from the constant tasting of ‘fresh meat’.


Subduing the desire for better sex, better relationships and a more attractive and entertaining mate, is easier to achieve, if one feels comfortable about the rest of one’s life, and if one feels that one’s long-term future is going to be secure, stable and comfortable. If one feels comfortable about the present and the future with regards to where one is living, what one does for work and the network of family and friendes that one has, then one is consumed less by a desire to improve upon what one has, and to constantly search for better, but rathere conserve and maintain. What I’m saying is that a general sense of well-being and ease is required to have a general sense of well-being and ease with a prospective partner, required for a long-term relationship.


Feeling comfortable without a partner is dependent on how one if juxtaposed familially, socially, on what one has materially, where one lives, one’s income, whether one has the spending power to participate. It is easier to sit back and relax surrounded by a supportive extended family, living in a beautiful house with extensive gardens and a permanent contract in a rewarding post, with a regular and generous income. And one is more likely to be attractive to a person of similar stature in such conditions.


It is less easy to achieve if one is living in a one bedroom flat, with few friends and no job, having just escaped a father and mother, who spent the last six years of your life renting you out for sex to their friends and associates. The desire to better yourself, the constant doubt as to whether someone would make the perfect partner, comes from the stress of isolation, persecution and poverty, from the knowledge that one has a lot of things that need achieving socially, emotionally, materially and philosophically before one can live a life worth living. When one is unsettled, feels insecure about where one is living or where one is working, has no income, finds one’s family undermining rather than supportive, absent rather than present, the emotional and psychological needs for reassurance and security are all that much greater, and often in the first throws of a relationship, too much for any partner in probation to be able to or feel comfortable fulfilling.


When you have a good network of people around you entering into a relationship is much better, because you can get your needs met by a variety of people, and your partner isn’t under so much pressure to meet your demands.


In order to be at ease, the kind of ease that makes establishing a long-term relationship more likely, one also needs a set of relational competencies, required to secure, maintain, enjoy and from time to time, repair a relationship. Some of these competencies are intellectual. One needs to be intelligent and creative enough to identify something that works for both people in a relationship, something good enough, even if perfect for none.


Some are emotional. Some of the emotional competencies concern how to handle stressful situations. Some are communicational. Having understood what a solution might look like which takes into account the emotional dispositions and needs of both one’s partner and oneself, one then needs to have the ability to communicate this information and the possible solution intelligibly. Furthermore one needs to be a negotiator, such conversations are rarely resolved by one party presenting a well thought through plan to the other, and to be a good negotiator one needs to simultaneously consider the emotional and practical needs of one’s partner alongside one’s own, and modulate one’s own emotional tone and a communication of one’s needs into that conversation and dialogue. All this is needed because two people will always have a range of different needs and expectations, there will always be conflict and discontent in a relationship that needs addressing, that comes with the territory.


In order to feel at ease, one needs relational competencies, but in order to have relational competencies one needs to have relational value, i.e. one needs to feel that one is valued by others and that one could be valued by others. Relational value, a sense that one is loved and loveable, is required as a cushion against emotionally uncomfortable moments, which occur in any relationship, when one appears to be annoying another, or making another person unhappy in some way, and when one’s partner appears to be rejecting. Relational value then allows one to feel comfortable with disagreement in a relationship, comfortable with discomfort, comfortable with rejection, comfortable with not being liked, comfortable with being disprespected. Relational value is a belief that I will be alright to him or her even if at this moment I am not alright to him or her. Or that, generally I am alright to him or her even though right now and on this issue I am not alright to him or her. Sometimes this is about being able to agree to disagree without worrying that the relationship is threatened by the disagreement.


In the same way one needs relational value to acknowledge one’s own deficiencies and traits, as they are perceived by others as well as oneself, without which it would not be possible to consider compromise and change, for the benefit of the relationship, nor create space in the relationship to make space for those traits to be exercised without damaging the relationship.


Relational value is also needed to believe that one can share vulnerabilities with one’s partner and not be ridiculed or rejected as a result, sharing vulnerabilities provides the information that a partner sometimes needs to modify his or her behaviour, in a way that makes the relationship more workable for you. Relational value also underpins empathy, the ability to suspend one’s concern with one’s own emotional take on a situation, and instead to imagine what it feels like to have the emotional concerns of another. Empathising is in a sense hypnotism it is to be temporarily engrossed in the emotional needs and demands of another, and to enter this state, to become so controlled by another’s emotional state, one needs to feel loved and trust that one will not be taken advantage of. People who have a sharp sense of not having any relational value, will find it difficult to empathise, for at least to the extent that they are unimportant to others, they are putting themselves in the powers of people who are likely, at least in their eyes, to do them harm.


A good sense of relational value is also required to constructively handle disrespectful behaviour in a relationship. If one has relational value than one is able to say to oneself that one is being disprespected but is worthy of respectful behaviour and will be respected in the fullness of time, rather than fearing that being disrespected is inevitable, because one is by one;s very own nature worthy of disrespect, and that one will always be disrespected.


In addition to feeling at ease, and having the relational competencies to negotiate a relationsip, one also needs spare time to invest in a relationship. Relationships are investments, they are built on expenditure of energy. The gravity, which keeps a relationship together is the energy invested in it by both parties, and like the moon slowly drifting out of the gravitational pull of the earth, the two parties in a relationship will gradually drift apart if energy isn’t expended to keep them together. One needs time to listen to the needs of one’s partner, but one also needs time to reflect on one’s own needs, in a way that allows one to articulate verbally what one sometimes only ever feels in quite an abstract sense, the kind of feelings that when one is single one often doesn’t feel the need to articulate. One also needs time to think up solutions that will help meet the needs of one’s partner and oneself, and then think of the form of language and relating, that will help progress the issue and one’s relationship.


All of what is said here about what works for one person to achieve a relationship also works for the other half. In other words, whether you succeed in a relationship is just as much about whether your partner in probation has all of the above, as whether you have it.

Understanding sadistic behaviour

Victims of child abuse can spend hours wondering why other children or adults subject them to such violent, aggressive and nasty behaviour.

Why are people sadistic?

Sadism is an emotion or state of mind that is experienced by everyone from time to time, some people can feel sadistic more often than others, some may be more likely to act on their sadistic feelings, and some may be capable of more injurious forms of sadistic behaviour than others. Sadism occurs in situation where a person feels threatened, injured, pain or humiliation, but feels unable to do anything about this, owing to the fact that they are not able to communicate those feelings or they do not have anyone who would be willing to listen and do something about the situation. In such situations sadistic desire, a desire to quell one’s own fear and distress, owing to maltreatment, by inducing fear, pain, injury or humiliation in another, begins to emerge. Sometimes the sadistic desire is targeted at the source of the sadist’s pain, and in this sense the sadistic desire can be thought of as a desire for vengeance, hurting the person that hurts you, tit for tat.

However sometimes the sadist chooses a target other than the source of their own pain, this may be the case if the source of the pain is inaccessible or the sadist fears the repercussions of attempting to inflict pain on the source. In these situations the sadist finds a weaker victim to inflict his pain on, to ensure that he is not the only one who feels his pain, he wants equality in the world, a sense of justice, tit for tat, even if the person receiving the tit is not the person who gave the tat.

In both cases, that is to say, whether intending to inflict pain on the source of the sadist’s pain or on some other innocent target, the sadist, by inducing pain in others achieves up to four things. First he communicates his pain to another person and reduces the sadist’s sense of isolation and loneliness, he now knows another person who feels pain like him.

Second it allows them to feel that there is some justice in the world, i.e. I feel pain and so others should too, this makes things fairer. In some ways this is about being overwhelmed by a sense of dominance in the way that he or she is overwhelmed by a pain or fear. In some ways this is also about the sadist projecting on to the subject his or her own pain or suffering, so that he no longer feels any fear or anxiety, and instead is left with a transient sense of dominance and invulnerability.

Third, inflicting injury, terror and fear into a victim is an attractive option because it allows the sadist to achieve an ’empire state of mind’ the mind of someone who feels euphoric, because they feel invulnerable and totally dominant, the mind of the rapist or the totalitarian, and their fear of being subject to pain or suffering, or the memory of pain or suffering is inhibited, temporarily effaced.

Fourth, where the victim is thought, either directly or indirectly, to have some power to stop the sadist’s pain from occurring, either because they are directly responsible for the sadist’s pain or because they can do things that will ease the pain or make the sadist’s life more comfortable, inducing pain in the victim allows the sadist the hope of the victim taking some action to reduce the sadist’s own suffering.

In all four cases, the act of no longer feeling alone with one’s pain, or effacing the pain, and the generation of hope that the victim may take action to reduce the sadist’s own suffering, produces a kind of relief, which may be experienced as invulnerability, power and euphoria.

Chris Packham felt excluded, bonded with animals rather than people, and today dislikes himself too much to have his own children

According to the Daily Express, Chris Packham gave some insights into his struggles to fit in to society, during his interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

According to the Express Packham said that as a student he was obsessed with natural history, and found it hard to fit in. He explained, “I wasn’t part of the gang…  I didn’t go to their parties, I felt excluded.”

Packham made reference to the things he did to cope with this.

One was getting into music. He said of his exclusion, “I was pretty miffed about this and I wanted a separating mechanism, and punk rock was that separating mechanism.”

Packham bonded with animals, in the absence of being able to bond with humans. He said of the time he stole a bird from a kestrel nest, at the age of 14,  “It defined the rest of my life. Because I loved that bird and that was the first time I had learned to love something.”

Today, at the age of 52, Packham says he loathes himself too much to reproduce. He said, “I don’t like myself enough to want to reproduce myself,” he said. When asked what he thought was wrong with him, he replied: “How long have you got? I am very self-critical and I think that is a healthy thing, because I want to continually improve what I try to do. I want to take better photographs, I want to communicate more effectively with my audience in television, I want to learn to write better and to do that you need to be self-critical. It is difficult for me to perceive any success in the things that I do.

Raven Kaliana’s parents took her to a film studio where she was sexually abused in front of cameras

According to the Guardian, at age four, Raven Kaliana’s parents took Raviana to a film studio where she was sexually abused in front of cameras. For most of Raviana’s childhood she was trafficked to the sex industry.

Nuala Calvi of the Guardian reported that Raven responded to the abuse through experiencing dissociative amnesia – where painful experiences are blocked out, leading to gaps in memory. “I started putting things into little rooms in my mind, and it was like: OK, we don’t look in that room,” Raven said. “When there’s no relief, there’s no one stepping in to save you, and it’s clear you’re just going to have to endure something, then your mind just does that. As a child, dissociation is a serious survival advantage, but in adulthood it can become a disability.” According to Calvi, it was at the age of 15 that Raven’s coping mechanisms of denial and dissociation began to break down. “At school, I started getting flashbacks – like remembering being in a warehouse the night before – and I could feel in my body it was true, but it was terrifying because I didn’t want those things to be true.”

Calvi explained that as Raven got older, her mother, who continued to traffic her, stopped feeding her. Raven’s teacher, noticing that Raven had gotten thinner, started to take an interest. Raven disclosed some of what was occurring at home, but begged the teacher not to inform the authorities, fearing the consequences. The teacher, it seems respected Raven’s wishes, but did help her to move out of home, get a job in restaurant and start saving up for college. 

Once at university Raven broke off relations with her parents, changed her name and started to get counselling. Today as an adult Raven continues to travel along the journey of recovery.  Raven explained to Calvi that “I got into a support group for rape survivors, and it was a great help because all of a sudden I was around other people healing from abuse, too. It also gave me some perspective about how the things that had happened to me were really on the extreme end. I saw people completely devastated by one experience of being raped by a stranger, so it was sobering to realise, ‘Oh, I’ve been raped by hundreds of people… I couldn’t believe how angry I was when I first escaped – so angry. In one support group they let us take a baseball bat to a punching bag and told us to think about a specific abuse event and imagine that we were fighting back against it, and that was very helpful.”

Raven also explained to Calvi that she saw an integrative bodywork therapist, who used touch, guided movement and vocal expression. “Her premise was that post-traumatic stress is a physical reaction in your body, and that reconnecting the symptom to the source helps you let it go, helps you release it, and that you don’t have to talk out every single thing that ever happened to you. It was very helpful for me because there were a lot of strange things that my body was doing. For example, I used to find any kind of physical touch excruciating – even if someone brushed me in the street I would shudder. She told me that was called armouring, which happens when your body makes a shield out of its muscles to protect the bones and internal organs during physical abuse.”

According to Calvi, the therapy made it possible for her to move on and start to enjoy life. “I realised that it is possible to get your life back. I started to gain an appreciation for life and a recognition that I only have so many breaths, so I’ve got to use them well.” But Raven believes she will always need counselling and that her experiences have made it difficult not to fall into a pattern of emotionally abusive romantic relationships.

Calvi reported, “Perhaps surprisingly, sex has not been a significant issue, but love is inextricably connected for her with betrayal, as the people who were meant to love her most as a child were the ones who orchestrated her abuse. Yet, incredibly, she says she felt love for her parents as a child and still does, although she has cut all contact with them. Despite their behaviour, she believes they did love her.”

One interesting question that I take from this discussion is why do people who have been abused more often than not fall ingto emotionally abusive romantic relationships?




The dilemma of a neglected child, now a parent, neglecting their own child

Neglected child

When you are neglected as a child, you get a lot of shit from other kids.

Your parents, for whatever reason, don’t provide you with decent clothes, send you to school dirty, unkempt, maybe smelling a little. At school you get taunted, tortured, by other children, who hate the sight of you, and wish the ground would open up and swallow you hole.

You drift, like a lonely soul for the most part, almost as if you don’t exist, only ever feeling alive, when the playground taunts start, when life becomes a matter of dealing and managing with constant punishment and hostility.

If it continues throughout your childhood, you begin, at a deep level to embrace the fact that you don’t come up to scratch. You have learned to stop caring and stop wanting the warm embrace of others.

You generally avoid contact with others, assuming that you will only attract hostility.

Having built an effective boundary around yourself, protecting you from the emotional communication of others, you begin to find solace in your own company, and you begin to create an inner world of fantasy, trance and imagination. You create your own routines,  make your own rules, and set your own standards, standards of cleanliness and health that make you happy, irrespective of what anyone else thinks.

The problem comes, if and when you become a parent. The cycle begins to repeat. You realize that the standards you have set yourself, which you also set for your child, once again don’t seem to come up to scratch, with those of the people around you. A sickening feeling fills the bottom of your stomach as you realize that your child is about to bear the brunt of all the nastiness and rejection, which shaped who you and turned you into the person you have become today.

You find yourselves with a dilemma on your hand.

Do you maintain your sense of pride but make your child vulnerable?

Or do you expose yourself once again to the critical purview of the outside world, face up to the enormous discomfort of shame that comes with accepting that one is not good enough, and make those changes needed to ensure your child fits in and does not have to go through the same things you did?