Author:Paul Gilmartin

A female listener feels compelled to speak up about women who bully men

I decided to post this email I got from “Julie”, because it’s not the first time I’ve heard of a husband being the victim of a wife’s abuse, and I was touched by the compassion she has for her brother, and feel for someone who not only has to deal with an abusive spouse, but also a court system that is probably skewed to believe a wife more than a husband because men tend to be more violent.

Dear Paul, Thanks you so much for the podcast. I know it means so much to so many of us out here for the basic message that we are not alone. I just finished the Dan Telfer episode and I’m not sure where to begin. I got to see Dan open for one of my other favorite comedian/podcasters this year and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! It just goes to show that we all have secret battles in our heads. I always think that every performer I am impressed with MUST have it “all together.” It also makes me glad that my kids’ school has a zero-tolerance bullying policy. It’s a subject we talk about at our house a lot since our kids are in the minority at their school. We will continue to talk about this issue and support our kids as they get older. I feel really lucky now that the bullying stopped for me when I got to high school.

The other reason I am writing is because you have started to mention violence toward men recently. This is a topic I have been hoping you would be able to talk about since it has impacted my life greatly. I have a sweet, wonderful, funny, caring older brother that I have been pretty close to my whole life. It wasn’t a perfect relationship, but he is really a great person. He and I shared some similar interests and were very involved at our church growing up. (We were also lucky to grow up in an awesome non-judgemental church that taught us a lot about diversity and acceptance.) He is a caring father and adores his two daughters and was a full time parent for several years. That being said it is still very surprising to me all the things that have happened to him and to my family.

Simply put: He married the wrong girl.

I have a great deal of sympathy for her even though she has tried to destroy my family over the past 10 years. No child deserves the things she has had to go through. I’m not sure what all has happened to her, but it includes a parent’s suicide, emotional abuse, probably rape and an eating disorder. This is hard to type because I am also very afraid of her. I always have been. I’m afraid you would read this and she would hear it and launch some sort of attack against me or my family. That’s a lot of “what ifs” but she scares the shit out of me for reasons I can’t even articulate.

My big hearted brother has always been attracted to broken people. Maybe he felt less intimidated by someone who was younger and imperfect. They had a stormy relationship and during an especially stressful time he developed stress-related amnesia. I think that it was an actual “fugue state.” Nevertheless they got married less than a year later. My family was very unhappy about it since she was prone to lying, tantrums and arguments. Everything was DRAMA, something my family had not really gone through before.

We had our problems like any other family, but we were all there for each other and willing to talk stuff out our whole lives. Things went from bad to worse wither her trying to dictate every situation. My other brother decided that he would not put up with her manipulation and just removed himself and his family from any gatherings that included her which was stressful for the rest of us. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I could please everyone if I was just nice enough.

Eventually she had enough.

I don’t know what her motivation was but she saw an opportunity to get rid of my brother and staged an elaborate incident, accused my brother of trying to rape and kill her, and got him arrested. My brother had been brought up on charges for hitting her a few months before and they had separated, but she was still manipulating him even though they had a no-contact order in place.

She would use sex or the kids to get him to do whatever she wanted. Getting him arrested was the final nail in the coffin since our legal system tends to side with a mother and her children.

It’s very hard for me because I usually wouldn’t want it any other way, but my brother got majorly screwed by the legal system. Anyway that’s not even the half of it, but I know I’ve gone on too long.

For the last 5 years I have learned more about the justice system and the department of corrections than I ever wanted to know. I feel like I’m traveling in a foreign country without knowing the language. We have gone through hell as a family just trying to fend off false accusations, attacks, get my brother fair treatment, have visitation with his kids and to just out-last her venom.

What I am hoping to hear on the podcast is about men who have been emotionally and physically abused and the reaction they can have to that. From what I have seen even the most gentle and wonderful man can lash out physically if he has been abused long enough.

I’m trying not to ramble. Thank you to you and all your brave guests that have shared with us. Even little things like a free podcast can make a big difference in our lives.

Much love from the Midwest,

Julie

P.S. I hope to see your stand-up in person someday! Comedy has always been my saving grace!

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Guest Blog by Patti Lynn Henry: Life Taking Shape

This is taken from her blog which appears at www.pattilynnhenry.com

I can’t believe it’s taken me three weeks to write here. Originally l had intended to post weekly about whatever witty topic or revelation crossed my mind that day. However, things haven’t been moving quite that quickly in my brain in the past few weeks – or, well, ever. To say that the last month has been a slow one would be misleading. Despite going through both my usual routine, and instituting a variety of other projects and habits, life for me has felt pretty stagnant.

Is this just a phase? Probably. It’s something I’ve experienced more than once and have always managed to come out of it more aware and richer for the experience. But only in hindsight can I have that sort of clarity and appreciation for the battle that I’ve been fighting daily to get out of bed, off the sofa, out of the house, and out of my own head.

Is this depression? Maybe. It’s a hard thing to define, so I try not to classify myself as “it” or “not it.” I don’tthink I’m depressed though. Sure, some mornings I audibly argue with the world about how badly I don’t want to get out of bed, and throughout each day I sigh heavily and roll my eyes and slump my body into a heap and let my energy pool on the floor around my ankles and watch it, uninterested, as it slithers away – yet I still find myself generally optimistic. I laugh daily, feel intense love for other living things, make plans, experience life, center myself, and enjoy simple pleasures. Those are not the signs of a depressed woman.

So why am I explaining all of this to you? Well, I guess because the reason I started the blog was to let my friends, and anyone else who finds it vaguely interesting, know what’s going on in my world. I’m still deep inside of my introverted hiding space, but I can see the light at the other end now, which is a relief. Even when you put yourself in there, it’s scary to be in the dark by yourself.

With numerous influences including several friends, my recently obtained psychologist, several podcasts both serious and light-hearted, a documentary titled “Happy,”and a book by Augusten Burroughs titled “This is How,” my head has been swimming with thoughts – coherent bits of information and topics to analyze and try out, like I’m a child playing with a set of shapes, trying to figure out how to put the square through the square hole, the circle through the circle hole, and the triangle through the triangle hole. Step one is recognizing that the objects I see are solid. I still have a lot of work to do. Sometimes I focus too much on the question of “why?” I spend so much time wondering why the square doesn’t fit through the circle that I get stuck. What I need to do is keep trying new combinations until something fits.

All that said, it’s been a pretty great month. I’ve been journaling and reading more. I’m volunteering. I’m taking yoga classes. I’m meeting new people. I’m setting goals for myself, focusing on my mental and physical health instead of on what I wish I had or didn’t have in my life. Things will continue to get better, and I’m looking forward to the day – hopefully soon but it can’t be rushed – when I can step out of my sheltered head and into the world again.

Patti Lynn Henry is a writer and cancer survivor who lives in rural Minnesota.

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Chris Gore

The author, filmmaker, podcaster and t.v. personality invites Paul to his craft room where they discuss Chris’ OCD, ADD, fear of disappointing people and the unshakeable feeling that he’s not successful enough.  Often described as “The Nerd’s Martha Stewart”,  Chris is the founder of Film Threat magazine, the author of The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, the host of the podcast Podcrash, and a co-host of G4’s Attack of the Show.   He lives in Los Angeles.

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Lauren Weedman

The actress (Hung, True Blood, Date Night, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Reno 911) and solo theatre artist (Bust) opens up about being an adopted child growing up in a family uncomfortable with emotion, her food and weight issues and the manipulative, alcoholic 23 year-old who wouldn’t leave her alone when she was 16.  She also talks about a lie that snowballed out of control and why she had trouble stopping it.

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The Progress I’ve Made – a guest blog by listener Dava Krause

From ages eleven to nineteen, I would fight with my father almost everyday. We would have screaming matches so intense that I would lose my voice for hours afterwards. My mother would say we fought because we were, “too much alike.” I hated him. And because I believed that we were alike, I hated myself. I was lonely, anxious and filled with rage from frustration. The only thing that made me feel any relief was cutting myself. But the cutting would make me feel totally screwed up so I would hate myself even more. When I was diagnosed at eighteen-years-old with depression and anxiety I felt a bit better because what I was feeling actually had a name and could be somewhat regulated by meds. But I was still miserable.

 

There is an amazing project going on right now called It Gets Better. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve. It’s truly inspiring. It made wish that I could fly back in time in a DeLorean and tell twelve-year-old me that it would get better for me too. That I felt helpless because I was living with a father whose mood swings were indulged and whose emotional needs were constantly prioritized over mine. That part of my deep frustration came from my parents refusing to see me for who I really was and not what they wanted me to be. That I would move out and grow up and become an adult who makes her own choices and create a unique life for herself. That I would eventually seek professional help and work on managing my anxiety in ways that didn’t involve yelling or cutting. That although I inherited my father’s depression and anxiety, I was in fact, nothing like him at all.

 

These days, when I feel myself going to that dark, hopeless place, I try and picture future me flying back in time to tell me how I’m on the right path. I try to appreciate what I have instead of what I don’t and believe that I can become the person who I aspire to be inside if I work on it. I also remind myself to moisturize so future me will look pretty damn good for my age.

 

Dava is a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles.

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Dan Telfer

Nerds get bullied – but nerds who are also “spazzes” as Dan describes his younger self, get the worst of it.   The comedian/writer opens up about the abuse he endured as well as the tactics one can employ to minimize it.   He and Paul talk about science, Tycho Brahe, atheism, hostile audiences, the questioning of one’s sexuality and the difficulty in silencing internal messages that were literally pounded in.

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A Day of You The Listener

Paul shares a single day of feeback from the listeners, including various surveys from the website, fears, loves and several emails.   Topics include the cloudiness of depression, a 13 year-old boy who was seduced by two of his friends’ mothers, and a mom who is ashamed at feeling overwhelmed by her disabled child.

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Washington Post article on sexual abuse of boys by women

I think this article highlights the difficulty boys have in getting the help they need after having been assaulted or violated by adult women.   People assume an erection means a green light.   It doesn’t.   Many female sex abuse victims become aroused and even orgasm during crimes against them, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay.    If anything, these boys and girls need additional care because of the confusion that exists.   Their bodies responded one way and their souls another way.    Most people don’t get this.

Our bodies repair themselves but our souls usually need help from others.

No matter how a body responds, when a child is tricked, seduced or coerced into a sexual situation by an adult or a much older young adult a scar is left because deep down the child knows they were objectified and used – made to feel small and powerless which is what the abuser is seeking from the sex.    It is not an act of sharing, it is an act of taking.

If they remain silent,  the victims may not be able to articulate the wound consciously for years, if ever, but  something has been changed inside them that can’t be buried.    Unfortunately most do exactly that and that pain expresses itself in misdirected anger, fear of trust or intimacy, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, panic, extreme promiscuity or sexual withdrawal, depression and thoughts of suicide.

So if you know someone who has been through his, think about this before you high five him.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/cases-of-sexual-abuse-of-boys-by-women-raise-awareness-of-an-uncommon-crime/2012/09/02/dc6eb51a-f06b-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html

 

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