I'm not an expert on what happened with Commonmass. I did follow some of his earlier diaries, when I could, especially when he was talking about music. I don't know what happened and after reading some of the diaries the last couple of days I don't feel it would not be safe for me to know more. What I do know, from personal experience, is what bullying, fear, and pain feels like and what it does to you inside. That is something I can talk about and maybe in doing so I can help others understand a bit more about the emotional toll it can take and what happens when you come upon a trigger point.
I grew up independent, hard-headed, and wearing my heart on my sleeve. I was always a giver. My old-fashioned mother could never understand me. I was more interested in education and Star Trek then getting married and having a bunch of kids. She had grown up with a mother who valued the boys over the girls. Her mother was abusive but Mom never could understand that. While she swore she would never be like her Mom she was. I was the only girl among four boys. Mike was her oldest. He was intellectually smart and life stupid at the same time. He always had to compete with me or Dad. I grew up hearing Mom say, "Mike is so smart. If Michele wants to accomplish anything she has to study real hard." I have a Mensa level IQ. I was the first child to graduate from college and I did so with honors. Mike lived with Mom and Dad after his second failed marriage and his inability to keep a job after he retired from the military. If someone wasn't telling him what to do he couldn't make decisions on his own. Naturally I ended up as Mom's caregiver. She did come to appreciate me more in those last few years but it was always apparent that Mike was the favored one.
I married late in life to a man that I thought was everything I wanted. He appeared to be sensitive, appreciate my talents, and was a geek like me. Six years later I got out of Hell because Mom and Dad sent me the money to get away. He tried to alienate me from family and friends. He belittled me every chance he got. He had decided he didn't need the medicine that was keeping the bipolar under control. He was never physically abusive but he did almost let me die. I have C.O.P.D. and went into a severe attack one evening. He let me cough and choke for 15 minutes before he called 911. The ambulance people and the ER doctors were furious. Instead of letting me sleep at home the next day, where I was five minutes away from my family, I had to accompany him to work on a weekend where he bragged about how sick I was the night before. I spent several hours curled up in beanbag chair. The end came when beaten down by his constant emotional attacks I went to see a therapist at Kaiser. She told me flat out I was in an abusive marriage and get out now. She also had a word with his therapist and told me to be very careful because my husband would try and kill me if I left him. There were other events that convinced me she was right. So I made arrangements in secret and had to leave my family and friends in California and move to the Midwest in order to be safe. I endured bankruptcy to get away from him but I didn't care. He threatened to kill my cats and those innocent beings needed to be safe. I know what fear is. I know what it is like to see someone over a foot taller and 200 pounds heavier than you glaring at you and knowing you didn't have a chance if he turned violent. I know what it is to walk on a strange street and see someone who looks like my ex and freeze.
My Dad died a couple of weeks before I left California to go to the Midwest. He was planting a bush and keeled over and was dead before he hit the ground. I watched my Mom wither before my eyes. He was her only love and she wanted to die. Nothing could stave off her grief. It was a grief so deep that rational thought wasn't possible. My impression was that Commonmass had that same sort of grief where nothing would bring him out of the pit of despair. For my Mom it took a little black rascal of a cat named Pixie to bring her back to the world of the living. Pixie became her world and in the five years she had her, in spite of failing health, she was the happiest she had ever been since before we lost my Dad. I understand the bottomless pit of despair. The hardest part of care giving with her was trying to bring her spirits up. She didn't believe in therapy or antidepressants. Many days I went to bed emotionally spent and utterly drained trying to fight to keep despair from taking over her completely.
After Mom's death I moved to North Carolina to be near my niece, Mike's daughter. She needed help with three special need's children, a new husband, and trying to overcome the abuse of her first husband and her fears he would kidnap the children. I was able to be a positive influence on the kids and they are turning out great. My Asperger's boy Tristen followed my love into theater and art and is our computer guru.
I started cleaning out and getting the house ready to be sold before I left and came back for a couple of weeks to do more. The agreement was that Mike was to finish up getting the house on the market and move down to North Carolina. Those of you who followed that saga know that the demons from Vietnam finally caught up with him and he died. I was left to bury him, clean up his financial mess, deal with his only child's grief, his three grandchildren's devastation, and at the age of 65 with severe arthritis and C.O.P.D. getting an old house cleaned out and on the market. I used every cent I had to keep the house going and selling it at below value to get it sold. I never got my money back and every cent I got from the house being sold went to pay bills and help my niece out.
I am now the caregiver for my younger brother Reid. He let his diabetes get out of control. I convinced him to take the money from the sale of the house and come out here to North Carolina from California. I brought him out by train since it was too difficult for him to fly. It resulted in a year of agony with torn tendons in my ankle when I was thrown off my feet when the train lurched suddenly. The plan was for him to have an apartment in this complex. Tristen, his friend John, and I finished cleaning out the apartment he never lived in on Friday and his stuff is in storage. He never spent a single day there. His health is so bad he can not safely live on his own. So I willingly gave up my independence again, as I did with Mom, and am now his care giver.
I can give you a graphic definition of fear. Fear is being on the floor with 911 on the speaker of your cell phone, feeding Kayro syrup to someone whose blood sugar has dropped to 30, who is going into grand mal seizures, and with the door open listening for the ambulance. He needs me and I have to be here for him. There is no one else willing to do it. I now have his diabetes under control. He has put on 30 pounds since January and needs another 15 to satisfy his Doctor. He was told that he is doing terrific and that when the Doctor first saw him he was going downhill fast and he didn't think Reid was going to make it. I can't get him back to the health he was before he was diagnosed with diabetes. He will be in a wheel chair the rest of his life. His hands don't work properly. I will be wiping him, bathing him, cleaning out commodes from now on. I will have to leave this apartment I love so much and find a larger handicapped accessible house for us. I am determined that it will be as loved and decorated as here.
In the process of getting Reid back to health we had to stop the self righteous bullying of our youngest right-wing brother. According to him he is the family's "super Christian". We had to cut him off in order for Reid to be able to be who he really is and believe and express those beliefs he really holds. I encouraged Reid to the point of admitting what he really is and believed and he is finally secure enough out here with me to come out as gay and liberal. He had tried once before to come out gay but this brother pushed him back into the closet. I am afraid I ruined Reid's big announcement. He was so worried about telling me he was gay that my "I know that what do you want for lunch?" was not the response he expected. It meant that he would understand why I want Viggo Mortensen for Christmas preferably with only a red bow around his neck. Reid had secretly been afraid to admit he was gay and liberal. I just showed him the way towards it and made it clear to him if he comes out, he stays out this time.
The youngest brother was always the special child. He was the most intelligent. He was the most beautiful. He was the most sensitive. He was the baby and perfect in every way. He made sure that when he sent cards to Mom and Dad for birthdays, etc. they were the "joke" cards about how he was the perfect one and so lucky they had him. I was the second child and always said that they stopped having girls because Dad had the child he needed to throw baseballs and footballs to. I was and still am a tomboy. Jerry is the only child never to go to college. The rest of us are college graduates. When cleaning out Dad's desk I found a letter he wrote apologizing for lying to him and Mom about the Colombia School of Broadcasting. He quit because he couldn't handle it and wasn't doing fantastic like he claimed.
All the doting from our Mom made him feel entitled. He looks down on everyone. He is "born again" and didn't care for my answer about needing to be born again. I told him I don't need to be born again because Jesus' teachings took effect the first time. He is a rabid tea party Republican who fully supports that whole gang of Limbaugh, Palin, Bachman, Ryan, Cheney, Bush, name a nut he supports them. He sent Mike a talking Ann Coulter doll. Somehow that accidentally got knocked off into a black garbage bag along with the Rush Limbaugh book. He pushed and pulled and manipulated Reid's emotions to keep him in the closet and thinking he was a Conservative. He tried to bully me on my Facebook page mocking and making fun of my political beliefs. He mocked my intelligence for being a Progressive and not understanding how government really worked. He was appalled that I have marched and worked for equality for all people since I was a teenager and at the age of 66 am still fighting the good fight. I've walked and fought for civil rights, farm workers rights, gay rights, women's rights, and now transgender rights. I am working with a group in England fighting against child pornography and abuse.
Jerry tried to force my niece to let him do Mike's eulogy instead of me. I refused. I knew Mike better than anyone. No one was taking that from me. He couldn't afford to come out to the funeral in the end but his telling, not asking, my niece that he was doing the eulogy instead of me was pushing me towards cutting him off completely. Reid has told me he was furious that I did the eulogy. I finally blocked him from my Facebook and showed Reid how to do the same. I don't need his smart ass stress. I have had to literally save Reid's life six times since January. You know the famous saying "Revenge is a dish best served cold"? During the Hell of Mike's death Jerry's Conservative "friends" that he always bragged about were treating him like dirt. Daily Kos made me a Community Quilt.
I have come close to leaving Daily Kos many times. I have had individuals follow my Street Prophets diaries and mock my beliefs and me for actually having beliefs. In fact it was Ojibwa making me an Administrator over on Street Prophets that made me stay. I now had an obligation to stay here that was more than writing the Thursday Coffee Hour and Sunday All Day Brunch. After all Ojibwa blessed my Community Quilt so if he had the faith that I would be a good Administrator I wasn't going to disappoint him. And don't think my friend that I didn't know exactly what you were doing. I may only be part Cherokee but I understood what your cleaver Native American mind was up to and in case I have said it recently "thank you." You got your wish and I stayed.
I have put up with nasty bullies here but I'm not going to name names. The meta wars and screaming at each other and the vitriol has driven me away more than once. There are Front Page writers I will not read because they raise trigger points that can cause me to flash back to fear from being abused and frightened.
What people need to realize is that while you may be safe and hidden behind your screen names and your computer, your words are not. They can be weapons. When you throw insults and hate out in comments and diaries you cannot know what will be a trigger to someone trying to heal from bullying, fear, and pain. That insult you are hurling may not reach your intended victim. It may hit that one innocently walking just ahead. It may trigger the way someone accidentally getting in front of me with their shoulder blocking the door. My ex did that all the time to make sure I knew I wasn't allowed to leave without his permission. He did it until the day I grabbed my cell phone and called the police.
If you are that angry walk away. Write but don't send. Reread and rewrite or delete. Don't be a part of the bullying. Don't contribute to fear. Don't inflict any pain. Don't take the chance that the innocent will be the victim of your momentary anger.