Responses to Mr. West Coast’s words.

Yesterday I wrote a post sharing some of the things that Mr. West Coast has said to me in our correspondences. It wasn’t everything. I left out anything that I felt would have been too personal, such as information about where he works or about his family situation. I focused on the things that I found particularly condescending, demeaning, misogynistic, irritating… choose your adjective.

I had full intentions of leaving it alone from there. I thought his words spoke well enough on their own, but some of the responses I’ve gotten have prompted me to discuss it a bit more, though this will be the last of it.

I’ve had people comment that they wanted his number because they liked flowers, and that it was as simple as he was “trolling” me because “he wants attention.”

I even had one person tell me that my sharing the content was somehow like revenge porn… Still not sure how that works exactly, particularly since I didn’t share any personal information and because Mr. West Coast has made comments to the effect that it showed a lack of character on my part for not sharing his words directly. And some of it came from comments he left on my blog, ones that I didn’t let through because of the negative tone they held. In fact the last one, the one in full, was left as a comment.

I could very well have just let the comments through, but due to their length and what I felt was a predominantly negative or manipulative tone, I didn’t. 

words matter

But then I received a response from a Facebook friend of mine, one with whom, as she points out, I’ve only recently become acquainted. It was primarily her response that made me decide that this should be taken one step further… well that and the fear that the lady who said she wanted his number because she liked flowers might actually succeed in getting his attention, and then I would feel particularly guilty if something happened.

I would feel guilty because his comments, his refusal to admit that he might be wrong, his dismissal of my feelings/point of view, and his belittling of women in general are all signs of potential abuse. domestic-violence-verbal-abuse-2

There’s being an alpha, and then there’s being an asshole… we’ve covered this before, but Mr. West Coast takes it to a whole new level.

The core difference between alpha and asshole is not being able to acknowledge when you’re wrong. That is still apparent here, but he takes it a step further by manipulating my words and his own words in order to force the fault on me. Even in that last correspondence (the comment I could have just let through), in which he finally admits that it’s possible he was wrong, he twists the purpose of our entire discourse, which spanned over 20 emails and at least 5 comments, some of which I refused to publish.

Initially, we were merely sharing information about one another, just getting to know each other, but, as I said, on a particularly low day for me, where I was dealing with my own self doubt about my job (which I have discussed on here so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it exists and I certainly didn’t need him to point out that I was in a low place, though he acts like he is solely responsible for bringing it to my attention), on that day I asked him to tell me how to overcome my lack of self-esteem and my fear that I’m in the wrong field of work. I’ve included my original question here so you can see what it was I was asking:

“Sometimes I think it is my fear that perhaps I’m on the wrong path that keeps me from truly achieving my goals. I take the criticism of others as a sign that I’m not as good as I should be instead of (as some others have told me) realizing that they criticize because they fear my method and don’t want to change. I lack the self-confidence of a Howard Roarke or John Galt, and so I run away when enough people criticize my work. How do I overcome that?”

I thought it was a pretty straightforward question. I wanted help in being more self-confident at work, but his response was to tell me how I unrealistic I was in my relationships and that I was flawed for having a spiritual belief, and was incapable of expressing myself because women in general were incapable of logical, cause and effect type conversations…

lowselfesteem2

In earlier conversations we had discussed that he strikes me as a real life John Galt, because of things he has overcome in his personal life and the way in which he would boast of his accomplishments. He even rambled on about some of it, and I told him (contrary to his claim that I told him to not talk about those things and to focus on me) that we had plenty of time to discuss those things.

He had been sending emails longer than my blog posts…about stuff I was unfamiliar with and was actually having to do research to understand. It’s not my field of work, it seems complicated, and yet through his struggles, some of which he shared, he was able to maintain a pride in himself that bordered on arrogance.

So I was asking how did he achieve such a state.

But instead of helping me to raise my self-esteem, his response included the comments from yesterday regarding my being overly idealistic and my insecurities that he saw as being directly related to my faith, which he ascribed to being the traditional Monotheistic, Judeo-Christian faith.

As I’ve discussed before, my faith is more based in a spiritual belief that we all fit and work together. Furthermore, my comments about being on a path were directly in relation to my point about Ayn Rand’s work and how I felt that she created her characters with an idea of destiny in mind: the character of Peter Keating runs from his path, his destiny, his purpose, and it destroys him. Thus my fear of being on the wrong path is basically a fear that I’m lying to myself about the path I’ve chosen for myself, specifically lying to myself to convince myself that I’m better than I actually am… I’ve since dealt with that, in spite of the condescension from Mr. West Coast.

Beside his comments about the inferiority of women in business, I, as I said yesterday, took umbrage at his comments about my person, but only the ones he presented as fact! Remember, he said he could say “for sure” that I was too idealistic, and my belief in a purpose was a further sign of my insecurity…

Instead of offering sound advice in how to help me build myself up, he chose to tear me down further, metaphorically kicking me while I was down.

kickdown

When I got back up (to continue the metaphor), I took a little time to cool off before I responded,  but when I did, I pointed out the flaws in his argument about me, since he was basing everything he knew about me on my blog, and while I put a lot on here, I do not put everything. I tried to give him some background on me, and how I come from a matriarchal family environment, and how I’ve had to be the one to shoulder the burden of not only myself, but on occasion of my family as well. I tried to explain that the reason I wanted an alpha male was precisely because I wanted someone who could help me shoulder the burdens instead of someone who just added to the burden already there.

I also pointed out how I disagreed with some of what he had to say about women. Even though he had presented himself as a proponent for women’s rights, he has consistently made comments to women’s inferiority: their inability to be good leaders, their inability to inspire others, their inability to make decisions, and finally in his latest comment that I shared yesterday (over at least 13 emails/comments later), he expresses that a graceful woman should not correct a man, but let him figure out if he’s wrong on his own and that it is the man’s role to be the provider and warrior, not hers.

Side note: I only “insisted” that he acknowledge that he was wrong after at least 3 emails of him blatantly ignoring my comments where I showed him, complete with evidence, that his judgment of me was wrong… not even specifically wrong, but based on a faulty premise. This was met with him saying that while I gave him something to think on, most of the email made him laugh, because he thinks people who take themselves too seriously are funny, and he was glad I could puff steam at him.

And the first time (of several) that I told him I no longer wished to continue our discussions, this is what he had to say (again I’ve omitted the personal information, but I have not edited the words):

The bottom line is that we are here talking about two ways to approach things, in general: mine and yours. It seems that facts speak for each method’s efficiency and how it impacts the wellbeing of each of us. It appears your methods made you unhappy and insecure relative to your abilities, while also bringing a lot of negativity. You seem deepened in a valley of sadness in which anything that reaches to you is met with a wrist slap.

Listening to you I cannot be anything but happy I was never so sensitive. It seems I was gifted with the capability to ignore – and even be amused by – any attempts to be offended and put down. That seems to be the quality that kept me up and running despite real tragedies I had to live through.

I know you are an intelligent woman and I hope you will find the strength to get over all these negative things that overwhelmed you. Maybe somebody near you will be able to help. I wish you will be able to do it on your own if nobody will help. I wish you will not have to cope with negativity the way my old pal M**** did, with lots of pot, Xanax and spirits. I am not saying you’ll do it, I am saying I wish from all my heart there will be no chance you will. As stereotypical as it may seem, you are a gal of the South and I saw so many instances where that comes in certain shapes and forms.

 I actually treated you as a strong alpha woman you claim to be and spilled what I think as directly and bluntly as I could. In that first blog post I read, there was a claim you wish somebody strong who can tell you what he thinks and puts you in your place. I didn’t try to put you in your place, I tried to be honest. That’s all. And you being upset with my approach wasn’t among my concerns, especially if you are so easily offended.

I don’t want to rehash it all, though some of it needs to be addressed. For instance, his continued assertion that his way is the best way. First of all, he asserts that his way is best, and other than to say it’s better than mine, he never explained what his way was… unless he was talking about how to demean women.

One down day I asked for his opinion, and after at least a week or two worth of correspondences, he continues to say that I’m down? And furthermore he finally answers the question I initially asked with some backhanded comment about not being offended as easily as I am?

And that comment about the wrist slap… In that one statement alone he dismissed everything I’d said. Every argument, every piece of evidence I presented as to why he was incorrect in his assessment of me, all of it just gone because I was (in his estimation) so depressed that I didn’t want to accept his help.

Bringing up someone else’s problems with drugs and alcohol? Completely unnecessary, and based on absolutely nothing. I rarely drink, and, other than an unfortunate experience in which an ER doctor misdiagnosed me as a Xanax addict because I once upon a time had a prescription for it and thus knew how it affected my body so asked that he give me that instead of a Valium, I haven’t even spoken of Xanax. Even when I was on it? Half of the lowest dose is all it takes to help me sleep 8 hours. That’s an 1/8th of a milligram… It’s unlikely that I will find my demise there. It was just a way for Mr. West Coast to create fear for future manipulation, or to prove his invalid point.

argumentinvalid

It’s frustrating , and I need to let it go. There’s no reason to let it sit under my skin. As the Boy has pointed out, I need to  just be done with him!

But… what about the people who legitimately don’t see the danger in his words?

I was more than a little shocked at how many people felt that his intentions were good, but that he just didn’t know how to express himself.

Perhaps I didn’t illustrate my point well enough… after all one of the other things he said to me was that I obviously didn’t know how to express myself (of course that was in reference to his comment that women don’t know how to form a proper syllogism… ask the Boy, all my arguments are organized as syllogisms).

That was meant as sarcasm, by the way, before he gets the idea that I am actually agreeing with his point of view there.

sarcasm_font

My main point is that some of the ways he redirects my comments, or blatantly changes what he said (as if I’m too stupid to notice when such a thing happens), is a frightening example of gaslighting. His refusal to acknowledge my logical points as anything other than a typical, irrational (i.e. female) reaction is another dangerous sign of his abusive nature. His way of dismissing everything I said and then twisting the meaning in not only what I said, but in what the entire discussion was supposed to be about is scarily manipulative.

emotional-abuse-2

He presents himself as someone who is trying to help, and then when I refused his help, he immediately responded by telling me how his way was the best, and insinuating that by refusing his help, I was setting myself up for a failure that led to me being alone forever, or worse! My failure to accept his way, his truth, his help could leave me dead from a drunken Xanax overdose.

It is a masterful use of manipulation to be sure, but wholly dangerous. This is a man who wants to mold a woman into precisely what he thinks she should be, and will use any method to do so.

But don’t take my word for it… Here’s a comment that a very concerned friend sent me directly after reading yesterday’s post.

Elizabeth, my dear, we don’t know each other well, which is a problem I hope we will promptly fix. However in light of this post I feel some urgency in replying. Hopefully it will give you some idea of how much I wish you free from such a terrible drain on your life. I would encourage you to do some research on emotional abuse, and see if it fits your relationship with this man. (I bring it up, because I’ve been there). If he consistently dismisses your righteous anger at his comments, his dismissal and derision may amount to abuse. His attempts to continue reaching you after you told him to stop show a lack of boundaries and a need to control you. At the very least, he is most definitely a misogynist of the highest order. I could not get half way through reading his ideas on women without wanting to punch him in the face. That may not be the most rational response, but it doesn’t have to be. Our emotions make us strong, even though it has been proven that women who appear angry are perceived as less competent, while men in the same circumstances are perceived as good leaders. If you want to talk about it feel free to message me.

She makes some valid points, and I think that I hadn’t quite made the mental leap to abuse just yet. I knew his responses bothered me, and scared me a little, particularly when I had responded calmly and he laughed at me for being upset… But they can be warning signs of abuse, which we’ll discuss more about later.

Not all my friends thought it was that extreme. Here are some other points made by someone else who was concerned, yet didn’t see quite such malicious intent, but still believed him to be in the wrong:

Okay. I read the whole thing 
So, my initial reaction, as a logical woman, is that I’ve heard this argument before. The idea that all women or most women have to be pidgeonholed into a role of ‘intuition’ based logic rather than factual logic is…well…factually wrong. 
if that were the case, there would be no (or extremely few) female lawyers, scientists or other professions that -require- this particular mindset 
That being said: He accused you of acting without having all the facts and then turned around and said he didn’t have to have all the facts to make a statement. 
which, logically speaking, can be done of course, it just doesn’t make one’s statement correct. 
In the end, I would have told him to stop tipping his fedora, lose the red pill and stay off /pol/

 but those are references that would likely confuse the poor boy.

I did really appreciate her explanations of the fedora thing (apparently fedoras are symbolic of anti-everything except white male… strange since it was just recently the preferred hat of hipsters), and her explanation that she thought it was funny he considered himself a “nice guy” (not included here) made me laugh.

fedora

If you still feel he was really trying to be helpful but just didn’t know how to express himself, I can admit there’s a chance I’m wrong. Maybe we’re just really dealing with an intense difference of opinions and struggling with a language barrier.

I just don’t understand how we got from me asking him how to overcome my self-doubt to him telling me how inept women are in business and that my sense of purpose (the main reason I went into teaching in the first place) was a sign of my inherent insecurities… Or how manipulating his supervisors by sending flowers to them daily (one of which he has since explained got fired, proving he was “right” in his assessment of her ability) until he got his way in anyway addresses the issue at hand.

I guess he was just trying to be a “nice guy” and help me out, right?

niceguy

Actually, the possibility that Mr. West Coast only sees himself as being a nice guy is probably the most dangerous warning sign of all.

So my friend who saw potential signs of abuse? Well, you may not agree with her assessment of the situation (or mine, for that matter), but emotional abuse is a real thing, and it is prevalent in many relationships, especially those among young people. My friend, whose comment is above, has been through it, and so have I. Perhaps that’s why some of Mr. West Coast’s comments struck a nerve…

I was once wooed by a man who liked to present himself as an alpha male who could take care of all my problems. His way of doing that was to isolate me from my friends, to forbid me from getting a real job, to berate me when I didn’t do things exactly how he thought that I should, and when he got to the point of putting a sword to my throat from off his wall, I realized I had to get out of that situation.

Mr. West Coast’s manner of offering advice, but peppering it with misogynist comments about how inferior women are, but spinning it so he’s not saying “inferior,” just different, is worrisome. He all but said that because women and men are different, a woman should just stay at home.

stayathome

I wish I could just post all the emails so that you could see how he peppers the negative comments throughout. I almost feel that because the comments were alone, which I had feared would show them as more anti-feminist, actually made them seem less offensive.

I won’t post the emails in full, though, because they have way too much personal information in them, and sharing information of that sort would be akin to revenge porn.

My purpose was to see if others found his actions as abusive as I did, and hopefully to help him to see how inappropriate his actions were.

Emotional abuse is such a dangerous thing. because it doesn’t leave visible scars, people overlook it a lot. The victim may be seen as someone who overreacts, because outside people don’t get to see the whole situation. Add the fact that most of the time, the abuser doesn’t even realize that he or she is doing anything wrong, and you can see how disheartened victims can become. Eventually the victim quits seeking help and just accepts the abuse as a way of life…

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was in an abusive relationship and was able to get out. And now, I sort of feel like I’ve been able to avoid another scary situation by getting rid of Mr. West Coast.

I was lucky enough to have friends who were there for me, but that’s not always the case either.

If you feel you might be in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, there are sites you can visit for more information, or to talk to someone, or even to take a test to see if your relationship is healthy. Here’s another one that shows 21 warning signs of an abusive relationship. Even though Mr. West Coast and I weren’t dating, I can see at least 4 of these warning signs in our interactions…

While I wasn’t dating Mr. West Coast (and probably never would have given how different our views are), I still want to share this site: Loveisrespect.org It’s the one that I send my students to if they have questions and don’t want to talk to me about it.

loveisrespect

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Responses to Mr. West Coast’s words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s