Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Resolution (And No, Not a New Year's One - Yet) lol.

As mentioned in the below post, my bank account was hit for an authorized wire transfer of $800, using a fund-transfer app service that I'd never heard of called "Venmo" and my bank debit card. 

 We were scratching our heads, because we still had the old card, and I was using new one, believing the old one had been closed and expired since - well, not so, as it turns out - and therein lies the problem.

As mentioned in the post below, we knew the bank admitted error, in that for whatever reason, they never closed the old card, so that was part of the problem - but we couldn't figure out how the thief was still able to do this without the CVC code on the back of an expired card. 

Well, we now have some answers - not all of them, but most of them. 

The bank has just informed me that the old debit card had likely been "skimmed," using apparatus they attach to card readers at stores and gas stations, that read the magnetic strip on your card and any entries you put in such as pins. 

They surmised it was local because "skimmers" do need the physical card to go into a card reader physically  with their skimmer attached to it.  

"Skimmers" that do this almost never use the card immediately to avoid suspicion, and often during the holidays, when banking is more limited, so the actual skimming was likely done months ago.

The reason they were able to drain my bank account is that Venmo does not request the CVC code on the back of the card, does not verify your identity, does not require full financial institution information, and does not possess bank-level security systems on their platform (though they state they do, but have been sued repeatedly over this claim, I learned today).

Even if Venmo did require the CVC code, the security team explained that particularly sophisticated "skimming" apparatus have the ability to get the CVC code off the back magnetic strip of your card, too.

That just left how it was able to go through despite being expired. 

This mystery is solved as well - as mentioned already, the bank discovered they had never closed the card after issuing me new one upon my request, last June, which they admitted was their error, right? 

Then, because they didn't close the old card, not only did they send me a new one as requested in June, but they also sent a replacement card for the old one in August, as the old one was due to expire.

When we received this, my husband saw it on the counter and erroneously thought I'd ordered a second new card for his use for errands, and put it in his wallet - my fault, I didn't put it away immediately/tell him what it was.

(This is the card I mentioned having in my desk, which I noticed among his cards a few weeks ago and told him it was expired and let me just put it away so as not to accidently try to use it, with him forgetting the reason he put it there to begin with was he thought it was a second card I'd ordered.)

Thus, it was this card that was "skimmed."

The security team member gave us a few extra security tips to avoid being "skimmed":

1) Carry your card in an RFID-safe wallet.  Some skimmers use a handheld magnetic reader and wand, reading it right from your purse or pocket, without ever laying a hand on your card.  RFID-safe wallets have a barrier material that disallows the magnetic strip to be read by skimmers.

2) If using a card reader at the store, gas station, etc., if not locked down (which many stores have already done) shake it a little bit, before you put your card in - no matter how sophisticated the skimmer is, attached likely while the clerk was busy, it should fall off.

3)  If using your card at a gas pump, always use the pump closest to the cashier - skimmers are less likely to have time to attach those there, because the cashier can see what they're doing more easily.

Otherwise, it's been reported to the FBI and it is still their jurisdiction, because the actual unauthorized funds-transfer/crime was committed via the internet/phone app.

Also, the bank has refunded me, the old card has been closed as originally requested, so I'm good - and SO ready for 2021.

I still can't explain why it's always me that shit like this happens to - just lucky, I guess lol - but at least we know what happened, now.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm just about over using on the internet much at all anymore - because there's more BS than ever, but it's still just as lawless as it ever was, decades later - and no one has any intention of fixing these problems, because these problems benefit power abusers the most - the internet continues to enable the worst kind of people, ruining it for everybody else!

Regardless, goodbye, 2020 - you totally suck! lol

In fact, I realize I just spent 2 lengthy posts, this week, talking about dysfunction, denial and pretending  -  and yet at this point,  can I just dig out my old dysfunctional-family card and just pretend 2020 never happened? ;)

Hello, 2021 - and Happy New Year!


PS - I'd never even heard of Venmo until this happened, but I've now gotten the education of a lifetime - and they're pretty shady -so do NOT use Venmo.

If you need to transfer money quickly,  there are plenty of other more reputable and secure financial money-transfer apps out there to use, the best actually being through your bank (usually Zelle or PopMoney), and therefore backed by FDIC, with better security, and bound by federal banking laws that require more ID and financial information than Venmo requires.

And if this happens to you, don't even try working with Venmo, because here's what will happen.

There is no live person to answer calls, they tell you to use chat within the app - which of course, you don't have if you have no account, but someone entered one in your name or skimmed your bank account.

If your bank calls to try to resolve it and hits the prompt button for "bank representative," they, too, will be told there is no live person to speak with, and to have their client contact Venmo directly (which of course, you can't if you don't have an account).  The only option that you have is Venmo has a statement on their site that if you are not a Venmo customer, but a Venmo bank charged showed up on your account, resolve it with your bank or have law enforcement contact them. 

This, of course, leaves them completely responsibility-less for everything, including not asking ID verification or more complete banking information.  (Reminds me of FB, Twitter and all that crap, who act like they carry no responsibility for all kinda lawlessness that occurs on their platforms lol)

Considering the FBI likely has even worse cases, I imagine they'll take the form I submitted, and at most, contact Venmo to inquire in case the events add up to one person, but otherwise, they're likely focused on people who had thousands taken, especially at this time of year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Open Letter To The Person Who Hit My Bank Account for $800, Using Venmo

*This post will be updated with further information as we receive it from my bank cybersecurity/intelligence fraud team, as well as the law enforcement (including FBI, as it was internet/phone app wire-transfer crime of $800).*

It seems when my new debit card was sent to replace the expiring one, four months ago, my bank somehow failed to close out my old card - and even though I still have it here in my desk and haven't used it since, on Dec 28th, my bank account was hit for $800 via some money transfer service called Venmo in New York City?

I do not have Venmo, I have never used Venmo - in fact, I didn't even know what Venmo was, until my bank told me, and that in addition to Venmo being based in NYC, they said the funds transfer was apparently also made in NYC.

I haven't been to New York City since 1986, certainly haven't traveled there during COVID, and I know no one there, except the marketing company I'm a contractor with - and I'm 100% certain it's not anyone associated with them.

I didn't know until this afternoon, as it was the first time I checked my bank account since early Monday morning, when I paid two credit card bills, and I have not made any purchases since; in fact, I hadn't used the card since just before Christmas to buy some gift cards for friends at Starbucks and Macy's ... 

Also, as I mentioned, I still have the old expired card in my desk - so clearly, this was done online somehow, though I haven't used the card in four months since it expired, just the new replacement.

And despite the bank's explanation that whoever issued the new card forgot to close the expired one, I still fail to understand how you could use an old, expired card for anything online - especially without physically having the card and the CVC code on the back - nor why my bank just handed out $800 bucks to you using an expired card, which you didn't even physically have, and without the CVC code -  without even flagging it for possible fraud, like they are supposed to do!

The only thing that I can think of is that Google subscriptions stores all your cards online, new and old -  however - you still need to enter your CVC code on the back when you make a purchase - AND - I just checked to make sure I deleted the old card and I had deleted it! 

Also, as readers will recall, I changed emails two years ago, because the previous company I worked for sent out a mass email reporting that an internal employee mass-hacked our PayPal accounts, which that company demanded we use to deposit our paychecks instead of our bank accounts, and gleaned our financial information that way, stealing thousands.

Thus, I quit (there were other strange, unethical issues already), changed emails, closed my PayPal account, then put a security alert on my bank account.  Since then, I only kept this old email for this blog and retail coupons -  never using it for banking or shopping.  

However, the one thing I didn't do is remove the old expired card from this Google account :(

I also just discovered Venmo is owned by PayPal - and even though I closed my PayPal account two years ago, I don't know if they delete your account information afterwards - is it possibly still related?

Another option is the restaurant delivery services we use, who also store your cards, and with some of them, you can only choose the default rather than delete them (but they do say "expired" on old cards). 

Regardless, my bank has admitted their mistake and is taking care of it, and I will know exactly how it happened soon - and I will update this post once we know more.

So fair warning to whomever did this - just in case you read here, because you obviously got my personal information online somehow - local authorities have been contacted and a formal report will be filed tomorrow after the bank has more information.  Also, I have been advised by the bank that since it was theft of over $300 and the crime happened in another state, the FBI will automatically be involved as part of their investigation - so if they catch you, you're in pretty deep shit.

As you can see, I'm not a rich person - you overdrew me until my next pay -  which won't likely be until late February, because I'm a contractor and January is the haitus month for the company I work for.

The money in there was to pay next month's credit card bills and any emergencies, as I don't allow my husband to pay my personal shopping and credit card bills (many were Christmas gifts which included him), so he won't be depositing any money there (even though he wants to, right now lol).

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too!

But you know what?

Seriously, without sarcasm ... God bless you anyway.

Because if you're that desperate, that you'd steal that much from another non-wealthy human being at Christmas, then you obviously need every little bit of divine blessing you can get - especially if authorities catch you - and I'm happy to ask God for that blessing for you - and still press charges - because there should still always be consequences.

I can only hope you at least spent that $800 you stole from me towards your rent or on your children or family for Christmas :(

Otherwise, readers - I know that I've had a lot of weird shit happen to me online that's difficult to believe, and I'm the common denominator - but all I can tell you is I'm not lying, (as you can see by the screen shot, I live in Kentucky, not New York), I'm more careful online now than I ever was after prior experiences, and I'm NOT doing these things myself.

And in fact, my bank has admitted the old expired bank card was never closed when they sent me the new one, for whatever reason, an oversight or glitch. 

So I don't know why this stuff happens so much to me, I'm not creating the drama, just reacting to it - but the fact is, this is the bank's admitted mistake, not mine, and the prior hack was a former employee of my prior company of several coworkers.

I just don't know why stuff like this keeps happening to me, I've been as safe as I can possibly be, even putting extra security alerts on my bank account. :(

Regardless, I'm seriously considering not writing on here at all anymore, and as for shopping, I don't have much choice with COVID (which online thieves of course know) - but it will be limited.


Updated:  12/31/2020

My bank is refunding the money by day's end.  

The dispute has been verified as fraudulent, and has now been escalated to cybersecurity/intelligence investigation team at my bank.

The original bank person I spoke with corrected the prior information she had given, that both Venmo headquarters were in New York and the crime had been committed in New York, stating she misspoke - the NY tag on the transaction was, in fact, only referring to Venmo headquarters in NYC. 

Local police advised since the crime has now been confirmed by the bank to have been done through the internet, and it was theft over $300 (being $800), to contact the FBI and gave me the address to file: (

Once the location of the recipient of the funds has been determined, if it is in the U.S., I am to re-contact local police, who will contact authorities in that U.S. area, who will assist the FBI in investigation and prosecution.

If the recipient is in a foreign country, FBI alone will work with authorities in that country to handle the investigation and prosecution.  


Update:  12/31/2020

Screen shot of the complaint filed with the FBI.  

FYI, it is a federal crime to falsely report crime to the FBI, and as you can see, I filed one, so you can see, I'm not making this up and I'm not playing around!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

When Scapegoating Becomes Dangerous: The Cases of Gabriel Fernandez and Sylvia Likens

(Edited x2) 

In my last post, I mentioned the term "scapegoating" and encouraged us, as a society, to avoid scapegoating and blaming just one member of a group or family  - in the Diana and Charles situation OR the Meghan and Harry situation - or in any group situation, actually - because it's a group dynamic.

I also said that I don't believe the royal family killed Diana - in fact,  I think that notion is absurd - for the reasons I stated in the post below. 

However, I didn't mean to minimize dysfunctional group/family scapegoating, because even if minor, it can feel devastating to the person being scapegoated -  and in extremely sick dysfunctional groups and families, scapegoating can actually be dangerous. 

I'm not 100% certain, of course, but I just don't get the impression that the Windsors are mentally ill, narcissists, and/or sociopaths - but I do think all that pretending for appearances and denial has led to an unhealthy level of dysfunction - which is what Diana emotionally reacted to.

However, some group and family systems truly are toxic, even dangerous - and I was reminded of this after seeing a suggested video on YouTube regarding a very different scapegoating horror story, which was made into a documentary on Netflix, called The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, which I haven't actually watched and don't plan to, because it's horrifying, but I know the gist - which I'll talk about a bit more below.

But first, I need to state that scapegoating happens in a lot of dysfunctional groups and families, and there are a lot of dysfunctional groups and families lol - but it's a spectrum.  

There are no perfect groups or families, of course, and unfortunately, dysfunctional groups and families are more common than functional/healthy groups and families - but there aren't always villains and victims.

In fact, any push to see other group members as villains and victims is, in and of itself, often a sign of a member of a dysfunctional group - but sometimes, there really are villains and victims.

And therein lies the problem  -  you never really know how deep the dysfunction, toxicity, or danger goes or can go - and if you are a member of a dysfunctional group or family, then you likely will never see how deep and toxic it is, because you're in denial and too busy helping blame the scapegoat - unless, of course, you are the scapegoat - but even then, you're likely still grappling with blaming you, yourself.

However, if there is a victim, I'd put my money on the person or group everyone's blaming for problems and trying to scapegoat as the "troublemaker," if I were you  - who is often also the whistleblower ;)

But as I said, scapegoating lies on a spectrum of family dysfunction, ranging from minor to deadly.

As for "minor" version, think of the show "Friends" - the Gellar family.

Ross was the golden child, decided by his parents.  He could do no wrong, excuses were made for his mistakes (often blamed on Monica), despite being married three times impulsively - while Monica was always wrong, always blamed for Ross's mistakes and causing stress in his life, despite Monica waiting until her mid-30s to marry, when the right person came along (Chandler).

Thus, who ended up with the teenage weight issue due to "eating her feelings" and obsessive-compulsive neat-freak tendencies?

Monica  ... lol.  Aw :/

Though they made the family dysfunction funny, it's not so funny in real life if you're the scapegoat, even when "minor" scapegoating, right? 

And it's not always families - work groups, clubs, anything can be a dysfunctional group. and an example of less "toxic" group dysfunction is let's say a really terrible mistake is made at work, but no one will admit it.  Or let's say even something intentional, like theft.  

Who is usually the first person to get blamed? 

The newest person lol.

Next blamed is the outsider or "weird guy" at work.

Next blamed is the person who has complained openly about the current dysfunctional work system - or even the person who stood up to bullying, either of themselves or someone else, rather than pile on.   

Either way, this person will be wrongly perceived as "being negative" rather than trying to put an end to dysfunction, and labeled a troublemaker for doing so, despite the fact that no one will admit he or she is actually making some pretty good points that might actually work to make the group more functional, productive, and united.

All of this speculating, of course, is made without any evidence whatsoever, despite it more likely being a person who's been there for years, knows the work flow better than anyone else, and who's gotten too comfortable or lazy - or in the case of actual theft or sabotage, knows the perfect time to do it is when a new person has been hired ;)

Sometimes, members of the group even know it's their friend or family member that made the mistake and even joke about it, but still choose to protect/enable them and allow the blame to fall to a new person that they don't know, the person they don't like, or the scapegoat, to take the fall instead - because the MO with dysfunctional groups is to close ranks, protect the status quo, regardless of how dysfunctional it is.

Regardless, after that scapegoat is gone, there'll be another and another and another, until there are no scapegoats left to blame, and yet unless someone within the original dysfunctional group whistleblows, they're likely to continue to have problems and never look at internal inherent problems until doomsday.

Another "less dangerous" example of group dysfunction would be the person who initiates cyberbullying of someone for because they didn't agree with their politics or is different in some way, is somewhat openly vulnerable or sensitive, jealousy, or they rejected that person romantically or in friendship.

Then lots of people pile on and bully, sometimes someone they don't even know, finding justifications for their doing so, imagining they must deserve it for some reason, often using the sheer amount of people piling on the victim itself as justification, when mob rule rarely makes the mob right.

This is why vigilante justice is outlawed - because there's no proof presented, only suspicion -  and frenzied, angry mobs never behave rationally.

Though these situations are devastating to the scapegoat, more often than not, they are not considered truly "dangerous" - but sometimes they are.  And again,  it's a spectrum - and you just never really know.

Because in more extremely dysfunctional groups and families, scapegoating can become dangerous, even deadly - ranging from leading to suicide of an innocent person falsely accused all the way up to global attempt at race eradication, like Nazis with Jews. 

This more extreme/dangerous group dysfunction typically happens when groups or families are led by either a severely mentally-ill person with narcissistic tendencies, or at least currently is displaying these tendencies as part of the behaviors  that accompany substance abuse/addiction.

Speaking of the Diana situation in my last post, I also mentioned a very different scapegoating situation in the royal family that was much, much worse - the more extreme, dangerous kind.

Not the Windsors, of course,  but within the Mountbatten family - where I do believe there was entirely innocent victim scapegoated for family problems and a villain, and the family accepted the blame-the-scapegoat story for years, but it was thankfully corrected before her death, restoring her relationship with her son, Prince Phillip - and that was Princess Alice.  (For more on that, read the post below.) 

*However* - even in such extreme situations led by truly sick, narcissistic leaders, it is still a group dynamic, with the group itself being nearly as sick as the narcissistic leader - because without a group of enablers and dirty-work doers, the narcissist leader would accomplish nothing.

Example - Charles Manson would've accomplished nothing alone - he needed supporters, enablers, and dirty-work doers. 

The same is true with Hitler and Nazis.  

Neither Manson or Hitler did much killing and torturing themselves, if any - they just ordered and encouraged others to. 

So what causes scapegoating?

There are different theories and different justifications given -  but the common thread seems to be scapegoating is always initiated by a group leader with narcissistic tendencies, attempting to justify their abuse of power on an individual or a group with less power (especially a race), by blaming them for the group's problems.

Why is the scapegoat chosen - are they a trouble-maker, drama queen/king, an hysteric, or crazy?

Sometimes, but usually not - in fact, more often than not, they're completely innocent, and at most, a whistle-blower. 

How and why is the scapegoat chosen?  

Are they ... 

A) The newest member of the group? 
B)  Perceived as being different and inferior to the rest of the group, the most powerless and vulnerable (often the most sensitive), and therefore the easiest to abuse and blame and get away with abusing and blaming?

C) At least one member of the group - often the one with the most power, but not always - is either jealous of all the attention on them or irrationally fears the scapegoat is somehow a threat to their power, their position in the group, or to the group status quo?

D) Feared by the group to either be a whistleblower, or might become a whistleblower,  because they refused to enable the narcissist for something they witnessed the narcissist doing?

 The answer can be A, B, C, or D - and often, all of the above.

It depends on each group member's reaction to the encouraged scapegoat. 

Regardless, it is the most narcissistic member that initially decides who to blame/scapegoat for group problems. 

In more extreme, truly sick dysfunctional families, the scapegoat is  determined by the person with the most power, usually the parent (if not both parents) with narcissistic tendencies, and "splits" into black-and-white thinking, placing everybody around them in either "good" or "bad" buckets with no gray areas, including their own children. 

As a result of "splitting," the parent(s) choose one "good" child who can do no wrong/is the golden child, one child who does everything wrong/the bad child, and any other children are simply - not relevant/not-important. 

In fact, the non-relevant/non-important children have it the next worst to the scapegoat, because they receive no attention at all, good or bad  - but this means they are also the most likely to help the parent or leader to bully and abuse the scapegoat, out of desperately trying to finally get attention and approval from the parent :(

Often this "splitting" or "good/bad" choice isn't actually based on good or bad behavior at all, but instead is based on whether the family member is perceived as being supportive/enabling the family leader or refuses to support them.

In other cases, it may result out of nothing more than chemical imbalance and psychosis - i.e. the news stories we've all heard of, where a parent abuses or kills a child out of actual psychosis, often reflected in religious beliefs, such as that there are demons or snakes inside the child they believe they're freeing them from, etc., with the other parent and rest of the family watching on or turning a blind eye to it.

Now, as for that YouTube recommendation that I mentioned at the top of this post, it's the real crime story of The Murder of Gabriel Fernandez

Now THAT is what an extremely dysfunctional and enabling family system abusing a scapegoat member really looks like - a worst-case scenario - also proving it's not always a white male narcissist as dysfunctional group leader -  although statistically, white male narcissists are the most common, only because white males hold the most economic power and leadership in the world; therefore, people often trust white male leaders more readily than others.

Case in point ... 

Gabriel's mother, Pearl, was awarded custody versus Gabriel's father, admitting privately to friends she only wanted custody of Gabriel for the welfare benefits.  

Despite Gabriel's father's family (and even some members of Pearl's family) reporting Pearl already neglected her other children, many family members chose to support Pearl anyway, because his father was now living in a gay relationship with his male partner, and they assumed Gabriel living with his father and partner was somehow more immoral and dangerous for him :/

Needless to say - they were wrong.  Because though Pearl neglected and abused all of her children, she chose her 8-year-old son, Gabriel, to be the scapegoat to receive the most abuse and actual torture.

She encouraged her boyfriend, Gabriel's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and even Gabriel's brothers and sisters to abuse and torture him, too, as "punishment."

They justified it by saying they believed Gabriel was "too sensitive and likely gay, like his father," was "F-ed up," and "an evil, bad kid." 

The left side of the first picture below was taken by Gabriel's teacher for a school function.  It shows his skin peeling, old cut scars on face, and dark circles under his eyes.

The second picture, on the right, is a suicide note - one of many he wrote before they killed him - which were dismissed by his mother and others of "attention-seeking."

His teachers, like others, initially believed his mother's claims that Gabriel was just "difficult" and that the wounds on him were self-inflicted, because he had written multiple suicide notes which had been previously dismissed as "trying to get attention." 

However, his last teacher became increasingly suspicious and called social workers, when Gabriel asked his teacher, "Is it normal to bleed after you get hurt?" - indicating Gabriel was being blamed and shamed even for bleeding after they abused him. 

The teacher called social services several times. Social services visited several times and noted concerns, but also questioned self-injury, because of his admission of it and his suicidality; regardless, Gabriel was not removed. 

Then a security guard also called social services, risking his own job within the public system.  In the end, over 70 reports were called in on Gabriel's behalf, both identified and anonymous, but Gabriel was not removed from the home and not even counseling was given to Gabriel for his "emotional problems."

Now, remember what I said in my last post about the psychological community only recently beginning to view self-injury and suicidal threats as signs of current or recent trauma experienced, and that the victim is either still currently legitimately trapped in very real trauma, or still feels trapped in the very real trauma, after scores of studies on trauma have been released over the past few years on how trauma affects even previously "normal" human brains, altering the pathways at least temporarily?

Well, this is where persistent outdated attitudes towards self-injury and suicidal gestures always being manipulative and signs of a personality disorder/chronic mental illness may have played a part in delaying Gabriel's removal from the abusive home and receiving physical and mental healthcare.  

Even if Gabriel was or ended up being chronically mentally ill/having a personality disorder -  those are created, they're not born with them - and he needed help and removal from that environment for his best chance at life :( 

Yes, sometimes long-term self-injury and suicidal gestures are manipulative and signs of a personality disorder/chronic mental illness - HOWEVER - no chronic mental-health diagnosis should never be given to anyone before the the age of 26 (when the human brain is fully developed), and certainly not until the person is removed entirely from the traumatic or abusive environment.

Because not only are you pigeon-holing them with a chronic stigma label, but actually enabling the abuse, by contributing to the blame-and-shame aspect of abuse, possibly re-traumatizing the victim and keeping them locked in the trauma cycle; in which case, you should refer them to someone else - because the problem may be that you can't help them - not that they're unhelpable.

Also, trying to teach coping strategies to an abused person while still being actively abused is not only nearly impossible - but makes therapists almost like an enabling parent, who stands by and does nothing, never confronts the abuser, but keeps telling the victim if they'd just do A, B, and C, and "coped better" with abuse, they can control the abuser's behavior and the abuse would stop and they'd feel better - which is, of course, absurd. 

Not until months, even years, after total removal from the traumatic and/or abusive environment and a healthy support system is established should chronic diagnoses be made -  and they should tell you finally feel free and safe, not when you think they should be "over it" and feel free and safe - always remembering that any that contact again with the cause of initial trauma or abuse. or being around similar environments,  can still "trigger" the behaviors to temporarily resurface.

But not always - sometimes, once the old coping thought patterns are gone, they're just gone, because there's been no more stimulus for a long time. Other times, if old thought patterns to behave in old ways do crop up due to contact with the old stimulus or similar new one, employing coping skills they've since learned and practiced in order to deal with old thoughts to behave in certain ways that crop up after exposure, kick in.

Therapy is like being a soldier - your training takes repeat practice conditioning when you're safe, so that you automatically know what to do when you're not :)

Because as an adult, though others could and should help you out of a truly abusive or unsafe situation, no one can actually make you feel safe, nor actually responsible for keeping you safe, but you - that's your job - not your spouse, not your gf or bf, not your therapist, not your friends - you :)

If you still see those behaviors years after complete removal from the trauma, then yes, you are likely dealing with a true personality disorder - HOWEVER - good therapists are sure they're not just saddling them with a label because they're frustrated with their lack of progress in therapy - failing to consider their lack of progress may be the result of their lack of understanding and training with trauma, lack of skill, or that they've even possibly retraumatized them, or simply kept them constantly "bathed" in discussion about their trauma via therapy.

Because as we've now learned with more understanding about trauma, many within the psychological community and have have actually helped further abuse, traumatize, or re-traumatized the victim, often without meaning to, even if they did nothing more than saddling the victim with a chronic mental illness diagnosis, and focusing on how the victim can change behavior within the group dysfunction, rather than focusing on the group/environment dynamic, and helping victim remove completely from the trauma environment.

Back to Gabriel, many in the community dismissed the abuse as self-inflicted injury and attention-seeking -  until his mother, Pearl, and her boyfriend, beat 8-year-old Gabriel to death. 

Upon medical examination, the medical examiner determined blunt-force trauma to the head, and also found signs of malnutrition, cigarette-burn scars, evidence of prior beatings and scars he could not have inflicted on himself - and later tales of his siblings either witnessing or being forced to help them force-feed Gabriel cat and dog feces.

Now read the reasons above for scapegoating again - in this case, letters A, B, and D apply -  Gabriel was the newest member of the family (Pearl was recently given custody), he was very sensitive (labeled gay), and he tried to whistleblow/send signals to others something was wrong, without actually telling anyone about the abuse and without naming who was responsible.

And in case you're the sort who wants to blame race or other irrelevant socioeconomic factors, think again - and consider the Indianapolis of case of Sylvia Likens  - which was even more horrific, with even more people in the community involved in her abuse and torture, directly linked, complicit, or negligent to her abuse. 

 Gertrude Banizewski, legal guardian of both Sylvia and her sister, Jenny, while her father worked out of state, was a person considered in the community to be a "good, God-fearing Christian" - and thus was able to convince her own children, the neighbors and their children, a Baptist minister, and even Sylva's own blood sister, Jenny, that Sylvia was "an evil prostitute," encouraging or forcing all of whom to either physically engage in the torture of Sylvia over several months or turned a blind eye to it, justifying it as Sylvia "deserving it."

Gertrude never abused her own children, and even though Sylvia and Jenny were both somewhat neglected and abused, Sylvia took the brunt of the abuse and actually experienced torture - Sylvia became the scapegoat.

The Banizewskis not only allowed, but actually encouraged,  the neighbor's children to enter the home for the sole purpose of beating and torturing Sylvia, who was chained downstairs. 

This picture was taken of Gertrude years after she was released from prison for "good behavior," and actually hired as a teacher's aide in Iowa.

I'll spare you the absolutely horrific details of what Gertrude, her children, and an entire community either physically did to Sylvia  themselves, or stood by and justified, doing nothing to stop - but you can read more about them in the above link.

However, I forewarn you, I've seen and heard a lot of horrific, brutal crimes in my day, to include Gabriel's - but it was not only how they abused her, but how long it went on and the amount of people who hopped on to help abuse and torture her, or turned a blind eye to it, believing she deserved it - and it will make you literally sick to your stomach, as it did me.

Gertrude justified the torture, encouraging an entire community to help torture her, by telling them she was a lying, sinning, prostitute who made up lies about her and her children (referring to the occasion where Sylvia did try to tell others).

And in fact, any time Sylvia tried to defend herself and fight back, it only enhanced that "bad seed" perception and made their lies seem true, so she just stopped trying.

In fact, Gertrude, her sons, and two neighbor boys took turns carving the inscription, "I'm a prostitute and proud of it" into her abdomen and under her breasts. 

However, the saddest part of this story is that after Sylvia died, upon medical examination, besides the obvious findings of starvation, dehydration, broken teeth, brain swelling, and over 150 wounds and bruises on her body (including in sexual areas that she couldn't have inflicted herself), Sylvia's hymen was found completely intact -   proving her still a virgin :(

This also proved was Gertrude herself was the liar trying to get attention, projecting her behavior onto Sylvia in several ways, as narcissists do - including she was married several times, had children out of wedlock, and several brief boyfriends that came and went, and she took money from men for questionable things - which would actually make Gertrude herself the closest to being a prostitute out of anyone in the entire group. 

Unfortunately, Sylvia being a virgin also exonerated the boys from sexual assault charge.  Sylvia's sister, Jenny, believed they also raped Sylvia, but the boys themselves maintained that though Gertrude encouraged them to rape Sylvia (to get Sylvia pregnant so Gertrude could justify her claims Sylvia was a prostitute), they chose not to rape her and possibly create a child - they just "left surface scratches on her private parts."

Okay, so they didn't rape her or give the final death blow, hooray for them, they weren't guilty of rape?!?

I don't think so - that's still sexual assault - and those are much more than "surface scratches." 

Those are deeply carved letters into human flesh in private areas that would've left lifetime scars that would need to be explained to any future husband prospects - and though they spent some time in prison, they were also released after serving only a short period of time :(

Thus, I'm going to say what most of you are already thinking - had any of these people been black, they'd have been executed in Indiana, who had the death penalty until 2002, or died in prison with a lifetime sentence that was maintained, rather than allowing release for "good behavior."  

In fact, I don't understand release just for "good behavior," regardless of their race or gender.

IMO, "good behavior" should automatically also include "now expresses remorse for crime." 

Gertrude never did express remorse, nor did with most of the others, Gertrude simply saying, "I can't remember what happened."

Nope, sorry - that's not good enough behavior to be released back into society without so much as a probation officer or mental-health services, after what she did, and encouraged an entire community to do, to a child. 

Also, Gertrude initially claimed Sylvia wasn't dead, she was "faking death to get attention" - the same thing she claimed when Sylvia initially tried to tell others about what was going on - and the same thing she claimed when this carving was found on Sylvia's dead body, that she "did it to herself," and when they all finally did admit doing it, still minimized it as "scratches."

Gertrude never took responsibility for the abuse, never showed remorse, continued to maintain that Sylvia was a bad seed with loose morals that deserved punishment, but said she "couldn't remember" any the events during her life then; and in fact, was released from prison for "good behavior," being a "den mother" to other women in prison, who couldn't imagine how such a fine person could've done what she did - and as I said, actually became a teacher's aide later in life.

In fact, many in the community said she was "too much of a good Christian" to do this - but Sylvia's surviving sister, the neighbors, some of her own children, as well as the neighborhood children admitted being part of the abuse and being convinced specifically by Gertrude, at the time, that she deserved it - and in fact, most still believed Gertrude that Sylvia deserved all of it and continued to justify themselves.  

As for others accused, a couple of them felt remorse, including her blood sister, Jenny, who felt she had no choice but to help abuse her to save herself - but most of them continued to believe she deserved it and brought it on herself. 

So why did did Gertrude choose Sylvia to inflict the most abuse and actual torture on, instead of Jenny?

Some said Gertrude had a boyfriend that took a sexual interest in the pretty young Sylvia, and she blamed Sylvia for it and was jealous.  Other people just said Sylvia was pretty and she was jealous of her - but that was unsubstantiated, though Gertrude did seem to have a strange preoccupation with Sylvia's physical attractiveness and sexual activities (or lack thereof).

However, Sylvia was pretty - and sensitive - and new - and the only one of the two sisters to fight back, at least at first. 

So again, read the above reasons for scapegoating - in this case, A, B, C, AND D will all apply - Sylvia was new, Sylvia was  different in that she was sensitive and fought back, Sylvia tried to whistleblow, and lastly, Gertrude was jealous of her appearance and "exuberant" personality.

In these two cases, considering how horrific they were, and how many people were involved, I hate to say it, but I think in their cases, it was likely better for them to pass on - how do you  ever trust another human being ever again, or have a normal life after that? 

And it just goes to show you how quickly and easily even your community or neighbors door could become like Nazis, following a convincing narcissist and doing their dirty work - and how even two members within the same family's experience with a narcissist can be completely different, one receiving abuse and another not, out of the narcissist's own mental issues. 

Regardless, that is why I say we should all avoid scapegoating - because often, the scapegoat being blamed actually has the least amount of power in the room, and whatever their flaws, they do deserve bullying, neglect, abuse, or whatever else the narcissist-led group decides is appropriate "punishment."


And I'm going to go a bit further, here -  it's pretty clear to the sane set that Trump is a textbook narcissist - but even he cannot be solely blamed for the mess that's been created - because again, Trump would be nothing without a dysfunctional group of supporters, whom he encourages to scapegoat and blame others to deflect off himself, and above all, do the dirty work - which is why I still say we can never just blame one person.

This is why scapegoating is a group dynamic - and though the narcissist may lead the dysfunctional group and choose the scapegoat, they would be nothing without the choices made by the other members of the dysfunctional group - and why I encouraged us all to not scapegoat just one person for an entire group dynamic.


PS - Just wanted to add that another interesting social psychologic dynamic is the scapegoated member often goes on to be a repeat scapegoat in other situations.

This is NOT "proof" they are the "common denominator" and "the problem" or "a troublemaker" - like they believe and they've been told -  all it proves is that they are often drawn to the same dysfunctional type of people and groups as their family of origin - they're repeating a pattern out of familiarity (and sometimes dysfunctional people and groups will choose/prey upon them, too).

But they are still inherently who they are - new, different, sensitive, will whistleblow rather than enable, etc. - and thus, the pattern repeats itself with new dysfunctional groups they choose/or are chosen for, over and over again, until they finally learn how to recognize the warning signs and "unchoose" it and just extricate yourself as quickly as possible.

Case in point - Meghan Markle. 

She came from an extremely dysfunctional family that she was the scapegoat in, and then married right back into a family who, although are not as severely dysfunctional as her own, still has history of scapegoating,  particularly of women for family problems, and now became the scapegoat again.

One more time - can you identify which of the above items in that list of reasons people scapegoat-hate explain the scapegoating of Meghan Markle?

Let me help you - poor Meghan hits "all of the above" on that list of reasons people group-scapegoat hate - every single one - making her a quadruple threat to unwell, dysfunctional-group minds.

1) She's the newest member and has the least power - making her the latest scapegoat in a long line of them.

2) She's different from all of the other group members, first off, for being American and half-black, and therefore considered inferior from the start (which racists are having a field-day of hate and blame with, but trying to act like they hate her for other reasons lol), and she's also more sensitive/vulnerable, getting hurt more easily by the negative attention (obsession) with her.

3) She's outspoken and whistleblower, furthering her difference - politically and otherwise, when she feels passionately about something, and she can fight back when pushed - not airing dirty laundry like Diana, but when some member of the family -  either her own or Harry's, has "jumped the shark" as far as trying to get attention for themselves or publicly scapegoating her by selling a story to the tabloid, etc., and has created such a public furor that she feels she has to explain/address it to calm it down or leave to protect herself, her family and her sanity from it.

   4) Jealousy - she's thin, pretty, smart, and smiley AND she married the last eligible bachelor direct-heir prince, and receives the most attention now (though she'd prefer not to) - many women hate her on sight! 


However, Meghan is lucky in one way, though - unlike Diana, she did not marry the son people consider "the golden child" - instead, she married the scapegoat :) 

*By that, again, I don't mean or believe the Windsor parents are narcissists; I have no idea, but doubt it.* 

However, it doesn't matter if they are or aren't, or what kind of parents they were - because in the case of the royal family, England itself chose who would be the golden child, the scapegoat, and the "unimportant" children in the royal family, centuries ago, based this solely on their birth order - it's been predetermined and "baked in" for a few hundred years :) 

According to England itself, created centuries ago, the golden child always has been, and always will be, the firstborn/first in line to the throne,  the scapegoat will always last born/last in line, and any other children will always be the "unimportant/ignored" children in between :)

(Unless of course you abdicate, like Edward did, and then you lose Golden Child status - which is rare for dysfunctional families to admit because they never receive blame, but this time, they couldn't deny/ignore anymore ;)

In non-royal dysfunctional families, the golden child is chosen by one or both parents, and it isn't always the firstborn - sometimes it's the baby - rarely the middle child, though.  Interestingly, the scapegoat can be in any birth order,  first, middle, or last, but is most often the middle child.

Regardless, never marry the golden child, like the father of my child and married in my first marriage, and like Diana did - trust me lol.  

Not because the golden child is automatically a narcissist (but can be and it's more likely) - but because you'll never be considered good enough/will be blamed by the rest of the group/family for all problems, because the golden child is never at fault.

Also, even though it's more likely, don't automatically assume the chosen golden child will automatically be the next-generation  narcissist ... 

Again, think of Ross on Friends lol.  

Though Ross reveled in being the golden boy with his parents, and was often clueless to how much hurt it caused Monica and failed to defend her to his parents, Ross was definitely NOT  a narcissist lol.

He knew all the parental praise wasn't for the real him but for their own delusions about him, and thus was plagued with insecurity he was very self-aware of, and was still perhaps the most sensitive and empathetic member of Friends, and was still very close to Monica and would do anything for her - except defend her to his parents, fearing losing Golden Boy status, plus if he ever tried, they ignored him and it only solidified his saint status lol.

Sometimes the next-generation narcissist can actually be one of the "non-important" children,  neither golden child or scapegoat - and that is because they go without notice, neither approval nor consequence - and they are the most willing to please the narcissist parent  (which we don't see, in the Gellar family, because they only have two children lol).  

Whether the non-important child did cartwheels or robbed banks for attention, no one is watching to either give approval or rebuke, because all of the focus is on the golden child and the scapegoat child. 

The "unimportant" or ignored children are actually the ones most willing to do anything to please the parent, rather than the golden child, who knows they'll receive it regardless, and they are often jealous of the attention that the golden child and the scapegoat both receive - even if that attention is abuse, it is still attention versus nothing.  Thus why the "non-important" children are the first to jump in and help the parent abuse the scapegoat sibling to receive five seconds of approval from the parent. "

Meghan fortunately at least married another family scapegoat - and she and Harry actually did the healthiest thing for family scapegoats to choose - they walked away and limited contact -  out of the limelight and line of fire :). 

You can see this same dynamic, to a greater extreme, in actual abused children, explaining why they are often drawn repeatedly to abusive relationships and families as adults - familiarity (and some part of them still believing they deserve it), trying to solve an ancient puzzle with new but similar people. 

But that toxic-trap puzzle will never be solved, whether it's a small beehive or raging hornet's nest - it's still toxic to someone already from a hornet's nest, either way.

So best to limit contact or just get out/walk away entirely, if severe,  and learn how to recognize healthier, more functional groups of people to be around/work around.

The thing is, though always wired to gravitate toward the familiar, even if unhealthy, besides therapy, there's another gleam of hope - sometimes, you just get lucky - and instead of an marrying another abuser, you marry another scapegoat instead  - like Harry and Meghan.  Like Johnny and June.  Like myself and my husband.  

It not always a party, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of baggage-shedding - but it's so worth it, in the end :)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Queen's Christmas Message, The Crown, and "You are Not Alone" :)

*Edited/updated x 2

I just finished watching the Queen's Christmas speech, while attempting to ride off too much Christmas food, on my stationary bike lol - and I found it very personally touching, as well as very inclusive of all races and faiths, regarding hope :) 

We've all heard the phrase, "We're all in this together," over the last 9 months, all over the world - but because our nation in particular has been so politically divided on how to handle the crisis, even some denying the virus' existence,  it was difficult to really feel like we really were 'all in this together.' 

Not to mention, this pandemic revealed just how many cracks there really are in both our healthcare system and our broken socioeconomic system overall, with especially poorer people and people of color suffering the worst consequences.

However, there was something about the Queen of England telling us "You're not alone" ... that worked?

Because we forget that even royalty is living the socially-distanced way we are, and that she and Phillip (who reportedly has not been in good health?) cannot see their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, except over Facetime, like the rest of us.

We often forget, though we joke - they're still just a somewhat-dysfunctional family, underneath it all, selfish choices and selfless ones, a mix of good and bad, just like the rest of us - not a single member of the royal family is a saint, by any stretch of the imagination lol.  

(Well, except maybe Philip's mother, Princess Alice, comes the closest - more about her later.) 

And though they've tried and tried to keep their family skeletons in the closet, they somehow keep escaping, because the rest of the world is intent on trying to prove they exist (and often vilify them for it, even though they are often the same problems every family experiences).

Mark and I have been watching The Crown, on Netflix, up until this season midway, which of course, we understand is a dramatization, and that certain liberties were taken.  

However, the one thing the show actually does well is show you all the different perspectives on certain events, by piecing together things the royals have actually said and done publicly, as well as what their critics have said, showing you all possible perspectives to a story and letting you make up your own mind - IMO, the show is very fair.

Because let us never forget, as conditioned and trained as these people are, they are still human.  They make mistakes, have regrets, make the wrong choices, have selfish moments, think they're doing the right thing only for it to turn out to be the wrong thing, or twisted into the wrong thing, by those so inclined. 

In fact, I found myself liking virtually everyone, even feeling sorry for every single one of them, at some point, even my least favorite family members.

However, I will say, as much as I like certain people, at times, I still found myself saying to the screen:

"Philip? I get your off-putting sense of humor, actually your coping skill and an attempt to try to put everyone at ease, but - erm - maybe now is not the time?" 

"No, no, Queen Elizabeth, you really should go to Aberfan, now.  No, really" 

"Margaret, why are you being such a little snot to Margaret Thatcher, and especially Diana, when you of all people should know what it's like to be the rebel and outsider? What's the matter - see yourself somewhere in them?"  

"Charles, get your arse over to your brand-new wife, Diana, instead of hanging out with Camilla all day, geez."

"Diana, you cannot force this family to change, especially not this way, resorting to manipulativeness and vindictiveness.   Charles is not going to suddenly fall in love with you, they're not going to suddenly care about you and show love in the way you think they should, and you're never going to get what you need from them.  They should, but they're not going to - so stop trying to make them, and to counter-control them.  The sooner you accept that, and let you do you, and let them do them, the better off it will be for all."

Though truth be told, in Princess Margaret's defense, Margaret Thatcher was apparently a very strange lady, who often seemed to be a walking contradiction to her own stated politics and ideals, most visibly exhibited by her very dramatic, extremely low curtsey, while at the same time, calling out both royalty and nobility in parliament for being upper-class snobs.  

She also apparently had a very dry sense of humor that sometimes led to her appearing not to have a sense of humor at all?

However, I got the impression that much of this snobbery perception actually came more from Thatcher's own insecurity with feeling uncomfortable around royals, rather than those people actually insulting/bullying/treating her badly, at least in the royal family (though Philip and Margaret didn't help) - especially the Queen, who seemed at first excited to meet her for unparalleled camaraderie - a fellow woman in power in rooms full of men.   In fact, the Queen appeared to repeatedly try to reach out to her in camaraderie, only to be met with with a less-than-enthusiastic Thatcher, who never gave as much effort back.  

Then again, I'm not sure this overly high personal boundary wall was built just for royals - it appears Thatcher had that wall built around her against pretty much everybody but her husband. 

And yet I still have a certain amount of respect for Thatcher, regardless of disagreeing with much of her politics, because of what she was able to accomplish and stand against, at times, right or wrong, when there was no precedent for women set. 

And I gotta say,  even though this was supposedly the season of Diana, Gillian Anderson did an exceptionally good job as Thatcher and upstaged the storyline of the introduction of Diana, whether she was dead on Thatcher's personality or not - Gillian's Thatcher was a natural scene stealer :) 

And in my opinion, though press likes to pit two powerful women against each other, I didn't get that impression, either in real life or the show - I got the impression that they disagreed vehemently on how to handle various political subjects, though supposedly on the same political side, just as men would.

Most notably, the Queen supposedly showed more compassion and support for people of color in South Africa, and supported sanctions on South Africa for apartheid, whereas Thatcher seemed to have no compassion for anybody that protested anything (Thatcher was the only European or U.S. leader to NOT support sanctions for South Africa for apartheid) - even though she herself had a love/hate relationship, with "the establishment."    

This famous disagreement, of course, led to the Queen recommending relatively weak sanctions on South Africa for apartheid,  in comparison with other countries, knowing she did not have the support of Prime Minister Thatcher.

In fact, the only impression of competition or tension between powerful women that I was left with was, Margaret and Elizabeth, at first, and Jackie Kennedy and the Queen, but those fences were apparently mended and chalked up to immaturity, at the time. 

But on the other hand, IMO, in reality, despite the Queen's best efforts for camaraderie, the only thing the Queen and Margaret Thatcher actually had in common was that both were deathly afraid of ever showing emotion as a woman - they clearly felt they couldn't and shouldn't, even showing less emotion than men because people would be looking for it, as a woman - despite the fact that oftentimes, showing emotion in support is appropriate, regardless of your gender. 

I honestly stopped watching shortly after Thatcher, when Diana entered the picture, mostly because I know the story after that, and I already felt I had a pretty fair and balanced view of it - but also the whole thing is just so tragic -  I find that whole story extraordinarily sad and heartbreaking for everybody.  

I honestly don't feel anyone was either a villain OR an innocent victim in the Royals Vs. Diana situation, including Diana herself - although her being a 19-year-old, naive, virgin, would put her the closest to being an innocent victim, at least in the beginning - but in some ways, Charles was somewhat of a victim, too, of this unyielding royal regime. 

Though many people have taken sides, Royals Vs. Diana, let us never forget that it is rarely one person that creates the group chaos, and we should avoid scapegoating, especially the whistleblower on dysfunction as being "the cause" or "the troublemaker."

It's a group dynamic the entire dysfunctional group creates - and I believe they all made choices that were not only not helpful, but made the situation much worse.

Because the truth is, even if Diana was emotionally unstable from the get-go (rather than put in a situation that increasingly fostered/induced it) - they approved her, and in fact pushed Charles to marry her, despite Charles wanting to marry Camilla - and this was absolutely the worst dysfunctional-family-dynamics-in-a-fishbowl situation to put someone emotionally unstable in, that I can think of. 

The royal family are people trained to not show emotion in public from birth, not out of snobbery or coldness, but out of a sense of duty - as a noble way of standing behind events in support, in the background, rather than becoming the story, by showing personality or emotion.

I get that, it's noble - but after a certain point, all of that keeping up false appearances, pretending, and denial can become dysfunctional - even a disastrous, toxic mess - especially for someone not trained that way, not willing to pretend along, and especially someone like Diana, who never felt loved to begin with - especially without anyone cluing her in to certain things, first. 

Now, to be fair to the royals side, we Americans love the idea of a King abdicating the throne for love of an American, but we cannot forget the following three things:  

1)  How much chaos was created by Edward VIII abdicating the throne in 1936 to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson - it nearly undid the monarchy, and regardless of politics, left the country in an identity crisis for quite some time.


2) Edward and Wallis had some questionable Nazi sympathizer ties. 


3) The abdication wasn't as much about love of Wallis, or bucking outdated traditions, as it was love for himself.  Edward (or David as privately known), though likely a very fun person to be around, also clearly loved all the privilege that being royal provided, but without putting in any actual work or carrying any of the responsibility lol.  He lived his entire life for himself, he did whatever he wanted to do, when and however he wanted to do it. 

This, of course, actually worked out well, in the end, because this is not an appropriate attitude for a King (or President of the United States, but I'll stop there ;) - and though George VI (Elizabeth's father) was less showy and charismatic, he knew the importance of duty and service - and though initially a reluctant, unprepared king, won the country's heart back for royals. 

So in this family, at that time, the unselfish thing was denying yourself and your own needs to be dutiful - follow the rules for the sake of Britain rather than living for yourself - but as I said this tradition also led to a lot of pretending, denial, and dysfunction, truth be told - and it also contributed to Margaret's choices, Charles' choices later, and eventually Harry's.

And despite what happened to Margaret and Peter Townsend, and the toll it took on Margaret's own mental state and health, Charles found himself in the exact same dilemma, with the same choice - marry the woman he loved, or deny his own needs to marry a young, polite, shy, never-married, socially acceptable girl within English-noble society that his family wanted him to.

Well, as we have hopefully learned right along with the Queen, with Charles and Diana,  that either choosing duty OR love can both turn out to be the selfish choice  - and in fact, there may be no way to win that game. 

And at this point, I say let them marry who they love, and if they make a mess of it, they do - just like 50% of all marriages do -  but at least there'll be nobody to blame but themselves, rather than traditions or pressure from anybody else.

But at the very least, someone should've clued the very young Diana in that he was still in love and carrying on with Camilla; however, no one did - she found out the hard way.  

IMO, Diana was innocent in the beginning, but later, IMO, she became pretty manipulative and vindictive, and tried to force Charles to love her, force his family to suddenly change who they were and to care about her in the way she wanted and actually deserved, rather than accept this was as much this family was capable of giving her. 

It seems that when she finally figured this out and just let it all go, left this situation that was toxic for her (or more accurately, was finally allowed out), she started coming into her own - and then she died :(

No, by the way -  I do NOT believe the crazy conspiracy theories that Philip or anyone in the royal family had Diana murdered  - I think that's ridiculous.

Not so much because I believe royalty isn't capable of murder, history has shown us otherwise, but because it would've been a stupid move. 

Diana was never more popular than after leaving the family, and killing someone at the height of their popularity would only make a martyr of them - something royalty knows better than anyone.

Plus, I'm pretty sure, at that time, they were still pretty pissed about the BBC interview, two years earlier, and wouldn't have wanted to do anything to give any credence to anything she said during that interview as appearing even remotely true; in fact, they were busy trying to act the complete opposite of how Diana described them - so murdering her would've just been stupid, given a grain of credence to how she described them, and only made them look worse.

In fact,  I think Philip was actually surprisingly the most compassionate towards her, according to personal letters between them, he seemed very fond of Diana and to tolerate her emotionalism - in fact, sometimes seemed to be the calming voice of reason, she listened to him - because let us not forget, once upon a time, it was Philip who was once considered "not good enough" for Elizabeth and was always in trouble for saying and doing the wrong thing lol. 

In fact, they were supposedly very close, the closest of any, until they weren't - but that was her choice.  In Diana's defense, I think by that time, Diana didn't know who to trust, understandably - there was a lot of two-facedness going on.

But to be honest, it seems to me the women in the family seemed to be harder on Diana than the men were, particularly women who themselves also struggled with sentimentality and when it was appropriate to show emotion?

Back to the other members of the royal family, you may be surprised at who I determined were my favorites, at least according to The Crown, piecing together actual events with written letters and interviews.

Princess Alice (Philip's mother) is my absolute favorite family member, though she appeared only briefly - for why, read below, under Philip's story   :)

Other favorites are, in no particular order, Queen Elizabeth (which I'll go into the why's of later), Philip, Margaret, Ann, and Charles and Diana (for different reasons).

Now keep in mind, like I said, they all annoyed me, at one time or another, but that's what this show does well - it shows you the good and the bad and everything in between - it shows you how human people really are, even royals.

Let's start with Philip - though he could be quite a rude arse at times, I still really liked him -  I can't help myself :)

Perhaps because I understood more about Philip than I did most of the other members of the family, and I walked away from this show having a tremendous respect, or at least a deeper understanding for Prince Philip, versus the others, despite antics in his youth.  

Because unlike other royals, this man knew true trauma, from the time he was a baby, and I believe it shaped a lot of his choices, for better or worse.  

Escaping Greece during civil unrest as a baby, his mother, Princess Alice, supposedly started showing signs of "paranoid schizophrenia" - but I'm going to officially call that into question, now. 

Because back in the day,  the "my wife is crazy, I'm putting her away" was a common way for men of privilege to gaslight and discredit a wife who'd caught onto his cheating and/or other immoral antics, and they could pay to have their wives put away - or even siblings or children to put a mother or sister away, to take inheritances ( as even Lincoln's children tried to do with Mary Todd only Mary Todd still had enough money to legally fight back) -  as a way to discredit them and keep anyone from learning the truth about themselves.

We do know that Philip's father was a philandering Nazi supporter, at the exact same time she was hiding Jews  - so I'm doubting she really was ever truly mentally ill - and am wondering instead if things were intentionally twisted in order to get her out of the way and discredit her, so he could continue to be a philandering Nazi and benefit from her dowry anyway, now without sanction.

It seems likely she was at least briefly suffering from PTSD and depression; however, Freud and others saw her and claimed she was "psychotic" because she stated that she felt like God was "sending her a message," that she went through the experiences that she did to train her to understand suffering and help others?  

Yeah, erm - I'm not sure that's psychotic, it depends - lots of people believe God has a purpose for their life and a reason for their suffering, including saints, so?  

I'm not sure God actually speaks to anyone -  he never speaks to me personally, I wish he did lol. 

And I don't believe God has a calling or purpose for every single person, but I understand that most people believe that, actually,  that's not psychotic.

And many charismatics believe God actually does speak directly to them - yet nobody calls them psychotic, because there are so many of them, these days, and they support the "right" politics -  even though sometimes, perhaps some should be called mentally ill?  ;)

But then again, how do we know he doesn't, with some very special people, just because we don't experience it ourselves?  

We don't. 

So I question whether Princess Alice was ever truly mentally ill, because as still exists in our society today, royal or not, when smarter  and more outspoken women do not bow to convention, or whistleblow on dysfunction, they are often labeled "crazy" - medicated and ostracized.

Add to that, we all know how misogynistic Freud was, plus removing a woman's uterus to "cure hysteria" (rather than induce it) was common practice - and was not only absurd, but extraordinarily misogynistic and cruel. 

That is not to say there aren't some crazy B's out there, wreaking havoc -  but I honestly wonder if most of the women labeled "crazy" or "emotionally unstable," at that time, especially in royal families, actually weren't - it was just convenient to label them like this in effort to discredit anything they had to say.

Regardless, Princess Alice was then institutionalized throughout Philip's childhood, and he was angry with her and wanted nothing to do with her for "abandoning" him, not realizing until two years before her death that she had no choice in any of it, and her treatment in these institutions was barbaric - ECT therapy which was unwarranted for her condition and removing her uterus and ovaries to treat "hysteria." :(

Princess Alice had always been an extremely compassionate person, even before they left Greece, often finding herself in hot water for giving much of what she had away to the poor - and especially for having the bravery and compassion to help hide several Jews from the growing anti-semitic/Nazi movement - for which she has now been recognized by Israel's Holocaust Memorial Institution and awarded a posthumous honor of being a "Person of Righteousness."

In fact, during a German raid of her house, though she was partially deaf, she was smart enough to realize quickly that if she faked being fully deaf and mute, she could convince them she didn't understand what they were asking and looking for - and she was successful - and continued to hide more Jews from them LOL!

After finally being allowed to leave the institution as "cured"  - from supposed "paranoid schizophrenia," mind you, for which there is still no cure - she actually became even more compassionate, if you can believe that, forgiving those who wronged her, and established an order of Greek Orthodox nuns who cared for the poor and sick, giving what she had left of her possessions away to the poor, and spent most of her days trying to find ways to keep the the convent afloat. 

So in the end, was she really crazy?

Or was she just smart, outspoken, sensitive and compassionate, and refused to bow to royal and social convention for women, especially during the rise of Nazism in Germany and Austria?

And considering what she accomplished, is it possible that perhaps God really did have a higher purpose for her life?

Who are we to say?  

Maybe she was right.  Or maybe she was crazy.  Or maybe she was both crazy and had a higher purpose.  After all, many "crazy" people with the best intentions have changed the world for the better :)

As for Philip, he spent most of his life believing his mother abandoned him, and his mother being the butt of jokes and a source of shame.

Then his father took up with Nazis, his sisters marrying Nazis. 

Then his favorite sister was killed in a plane crash, apparently giving birth while on the plane, to his nephew, just before the crash, as they found a newborn infant in the wreckage beside her, who also perished.

Later in life, the Queen insisted Princess Alice come and live with them to care for her, despite Philip's protests, and it was Princess Anne who became extremely close to her, and helped facilitate the restoration of Philip and Princess Alice's relationship by revealing the truth (not in the way The Crown showed it being done, apparently, there was no Guardian reporter involved, but yes).

Make no mistake, Philip can sometimes be a tremendous snobby a-hole - making inappropriate, almost bullying jokes sometimes,  especially with the non-athletically-inclined Charles  - but I think that his sense of humor was his coping skill when things were awkward, and he was trying to train Charles to be tough and hide his heart because Philip himself had a big heart he was hiding and that's how he learned to do it ;)

Because let us not forget his capacity for compassion, at times, i.e. Aberfan - and the reason for Philip walking behind Diana's casket was not only out of his love for her, but also to support Harry walking behind it, because Harry didn't think he could handle it, until Philip said he'd walk with him (and you'll notice that Philip kept looking at Harry while they walked). 

I guess what I'm saying is, I can understand Philip's choices, agree with them or not, right or wrong, more than I can some of the others, if that makes sense? 

Also, he was forced to change his name, quit his military career, even not allowed his personal hobby of flying, at times, due to "royal duty," and shunned by much of parliament and the Queen's own supporters for not being of enough respectable and royal background and breeding, not helped by the fact that he often messed up protocol and stuck his foot in his mouth, trying to lighten the tension with jokes.

This couldn't have been easy for anyone, but especially as the "Queen's consort," originally with no other title than that, in an otherwise male-dominated society, at the time - and he admittedly took it very passive-aggressively out on Elizabeth, at the beginning of their marriage. 

But the thing about Philip you'd never suspect, because of the gruff exterior is - all that gruff covers a big heart and a deep thinker, which he appears sometimes ashamed of or tries to hide - but Philip has admitted, over time, and learns from,  his mistakes (unlike some others in that family) :)

Next let's talk about Margaret, who I still feel sorry for and couldn't help liking, even though she could sometimes be quite the little snobby B lol.  

I don't think she ever really got over being forbidden to marry Peter Townsend, after being strung along with promises for years - nor do I think she ever truly fully forgave Queen Elizabeth for pushing off her marriage to Peter for years - perhaps because Elizabeth never gave a real apology

However, in the Queen's defense, this show shows at least the Queen herself was young and naive, and kept following the advice of her father's advisors, who often kept her in the dark about much, including the full actual legal protocol of royal marriage, stringing Elizabeth along, too, by withholding that knowledge from her -  until she learned to stand up for herself and educate herself :)

And yet, I can't help but wonder that because Margaret was actually considered the prettiest, the funniest/most fun, and as having the most personality, if the Queen, consciously or not, made choices so that Margaret would never outshine her.  

However, as the Queen matured, I honestly think she felt guilty for this, and what happened to Margaret, and that this, combined with Diana, has been the biggest reason she allowed Harry and Meghan to do as they wish, to an unprecedented degree. 

Margaret herself was a dichotomy, it seems - she clearly had a love/hate relationship with the deference aspect of being a royal, and of being a royal in general.

She wanted to escape being royal and have people treat her like a normal human being, yet when people didn't and made mistakes following correct deference protocol, she was the first one to call it out and make fun of/judge them.  

She tried to put her life on hold and downplay it, on behalf of her sister and "on behalf of England,"  but grew very tired with doing so, especially after what happened with Peter - and later, she became quite a bit of a partier and wild card, some say even an alcoholic. 

She was apparently extremely witty - absolutely hilarious and fun to be around - and said and did outspoken, outlandish things, sometimes about the family itself, which displeased the royal family to no end, who refused to give her any credit when her personality actually worked in their favor with foreign governments (like ours). 

As far as her partying, apparently she didn't, until after Peter - so you can't help but wonder if those  royal family decisions caused or at least contributed to this behavior?

And after marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones, knowing he would never be faithful, and she wasn't faithful herself - but she became distraught when he appeared to actually fall in love with someone else.  

I guess it's like the old adage, "I don't care if he cheats on me 1 time with 10 different women, but if he cheats 10 times with the same woman, that's it, it's love and the greater wound."

And when she went to her family for support and consolation, apparently, all they could do was sing his praises to her, recounting his good qualities, which only infuriated her further. 

(She and Tony had a nasty divorce, but repaired their differences, being very close friends still at the time of her death.)

She was, in fact, perhaps the original Diana, only less openly emotional and affectionate - instead, she just drank and smoked herself to death privately, instead of airing her dirty laundry publicly (though many times, she did, at parties).

You would think that Margaret would've been the most sympathetic to Diana, but instead,  it was Margaret who was the hardest on her - especially after Diana "outted" the royal family with her perspective of events in the famous BBC interview of 1995.

As for that interview, I understand why Diana did it - to tell her side of things, to be better understood -  because no one was on her side, back then. 

Considering all of the praise for her now, we sometimes forget how merciless the press was with Diana, long before they turned her into Saint Diana.  

Regardless, the BBC interview didn't help the situation - either her looking less emotionally unstable OR her relationship with the royals - and it appeared as airing her dirty laundry, which is something Royals never do. 

(In fact, I recall a very cruel SNL parody of that Diana interview, with Anthony Edwards playing Diana, basically making her look like a lunatic, but you won't find a clip of it anywhere now ;)

 I don't know if I would've done the same, and yet I get it and why she did.

Now, you would've thought of all people, Margaret would get that and understand Diana the most, considering similar histories -  but as mentioned earlier, Margaret was actually the hardest on her about it, and supposedly never forgave her, even after Diana's death. 

Which leaves me wondering if perhaps the reason Margaret was so hard on her was she saw parts of herself in Diana she didn't like, her own struggles with trying to subdue a penchant for sentimentality when she was younger,  saying things that got her into trouble (including making jokes about her family), and chasing evasive love?

I think this is often the case, when one person is especially hard on another member of the family, or even a random stranger - people are often cruelest to people that exhibit the issues that they secretly struggle with themselves, they see the parts of themselves that they don't like, but won't admit it - and you can see this in Margaret with Diana, and even Philip with Charles. 

Then there's Anne.  Anne says exactly what she thinks, when she thinks it, crass or not, just like her father - only unapologetically and not caring what the press says about it lol. 

She just keeps working hard riding her horse, whatever happens - super gruff and tough, but you can't help but like her brutal honesty.  She clearly was close with Charles, coming close when she sensed he was down, just not capable of tenderness in giving him advice - it's a bit odd that she came out the tough one as opposed to Charles, isn't it?  But that was the Windsor hand dealt, I guess :)

As for her relationship with Diana, though she initially really liked her, later comments made it seem she was somewhat jealous of Diana -  because no matter what Anne said or did or accomplished,  including being an Olympic equestrian, she was always ignored and overshadowed and upstaged by either her brothers or Diana, regardless of the fact that they didn't mean to, and Charles and Diana really didn't want that much attention.

 Not helping, of course, was how the press initially compared them as "Anne, Princess Grumpy and Frumpy" versus "Diana, Pretty, Pretty and Smiling Princess." 

Then, of course, the press turned on Diana and hounded her every move mercilessly, becoming England's joke - which Anne then reveled in, and yet still, this never resulted in Anne's elevation to the same status, as she'd hoped ;)

Later, I think she simply didn't understand what Anne construed as Diana's "weakness" and "hysteria" - she didn't have much patience for emotional women, it seems.

Are you seeing the running royal family theme of women struggling desperately with never showing emotion or sentimentality, being harder on other women for showing emotion or being sentimental than the men were on them - ignoring their own emotion-laden missteps a time or two themselves, especially in their youth?

Good - because I think that IS the running dysfunctional theme with all of the women in this family, they seem to be obsessed with/be terrified of natural emotions for some reason - and I think it affected Diana the most. 

As for Charles, he actually had his own small public rebellions against Mummy and England, after spending time in Wales, but realized quickly that publicly displeasing Mum was actually the last thing he wanted to do, and that doing so was pointless  - it only came back on you looking like the bad guy, if you ever did.  

Charles also appears actually very thoughtful and sweet and somewhat sensitive, growing up, often being bullied for being this way, much to the dismay of Philip - and I think spent much of his young adulthood trying to prove himself otherwise, but not succeeding, in the end. 

And I do think there were a lot of people - especially his father's brother, his uncle, Lord Mountbatten - who engaged in various manipulations and machinations to keep Charles and Camilla apart - and marry someone they wanted him to marry, because they would personally benefit.  

Marrying Diana seemed to please Mummy and Daddy, Lord Mountbatten, and even Anne (because of her own efforts to distance herself from Parker-Bowles, Camilla's then husband, because she apparently had a purely sexual relationship with him while he was still courting Camilla), as well as the whole of UK the most, so he did it - and we have to remember the enormous pressure he had on him not to pull an Edward.  

In fact, at least this show makes it appear that they hardly knew each other before he proposed - and that Diana spent most of her time at Buckingham in preparation for the wedding - completely alone.  It was as if the fantasy took on a life of its own, rather than the reality, and she were nothing more than a cardboard cutout of a princess rather than an actual person.  

Now, the Queen brought her there to avoid the hounding press, as an act of compassion, letting the originally Shy Di gradually get her feet wet slowly, with the press. 

However, once she arrived, apparently the Queen, and everyone else - avoided her completely -   a thing which I still defies explanation.

The only thing I can come up with is that nobody wanted to deal with the reality of this situation, of Charles' continuing relationship with Camilla, and have to face Diana, knowing that truth - so they just avoided it and avoided Diana, to keep pretending the fantasy was reality, as dysfunctional families often do - thus initially failing to treat Diana as an actual person, in the beginning.

Unfortunately, IMO, this appears to be when Charles began to actually  embrace "the cold life," as he'd been encouraged to do - by both his father, and especially his great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, whom he considered a father figure -  who also allegedly advised him to marry a sweet woman for appearances, but do what you want anyway in private - right up until the day he he died via bomb.  In fact, Charles had been angry with him over that advice - but then after he died, you have to wonder if he felt guilty for being angry with him, and instead took his uncle's advice?

In fact, so much did he begin to embrace this advice, that apparently even his mother, the Queen, apparently said what all would've said and tried to set him straight - sat him down and reminded him that his duty was not just keeping up appearances, but also included attending to his pregnant wife at home, rather than running around behind her back with Camilla and other actions, clearly just avoiding her and reality.  (Go Queen Elizabeth!)

IMO, Charles should've already learned this lesson long ago - never ever listen to Lord Mountbatten about how a man should live his life lol.  

I'm sorry he died in the way he did, but he was clearly mostly an a-hole, even more than Philip's dad was. 

But in the end, let us not forget, it was Charles' idea to walk behind the casket, he absolutely insisted upon it and giving her a royal funeral despite her divorce. 

And in my opinion, despite efforts to adhere to his lifelong training, in this instance, he couldn't hide it all - you could still see the devastation, anguish and guilt written all over his face, and the concern for his boys ... 

Still one of the saddest things I've ever seen in live TV.  In fact, my grandfather and I watched the funeral together, we were the only ones who did.  

I still remember saying, "Oh my gosh, Pap, look at that, look at what they're doing for her! Oh my God, those poor boys, that is absolutely heart-wrenching to see." 

... and my grandfather saying ...

"Now, look at that, ain't that something to see?  They did right by her, in the end, that's good.  They ain't so bad.  Good on 'em" ... wiping away a lone tear.  

Until that day, I had no idea my grandfather even cared about what happened in the royal family, but apparently he had a special affinity for Diana. 

In fact, he woke me up early on the morning she died, by sitting on my bed and saying sadly, "Princess Diana died, last night.  She was killed in a car accident."

This surprised me, and in fact, I wasn't sure why he did that, because I personally didn't have any particular feelings for Diana myself, at the time, other than feeling sorry for her occasionally, at times, and I never knew he did; but clearly, he had taken to her and I never knew it, and I still don't know why. 

Then we woke my older sister, who was visiting for a week before Labor Day, a couple hours later (at about 10 a.m. as she liked to sleep in very late back then), who sat straight up and said, "WHAT?" 

At the time, my older sister had very strong feelings about Diana - just not good ones.

In fact, once awake, I think she came into the kitchen and said something like ...

K:  "So what, did she finally off herself?  Why the F did you wake me up for THAT? What is wrong with everybody?!?  It was probably an accident, while she was trying to manipulate people again, that went wrong. Well, she finally succeeded, creating the maximum drama to get the world's attention." 


To which the rest of us just sat there blinking, stunned, with this display of cruelty. 


Me"I'm sorry, we just thought you'd want to know.  Pap woke me up early with the news - and it's 10:30 a.m.?" 


"And no, it was a car accident, the paparazzi press chasing her car into a tunnel at high speed - WHILE ACTUALLY TRYING TO ESCAPE ATTENTION!?! lol. 


"GEEZ,  K, really?  The woman just died, what a nasty thing to say about a woman we don't even know, can't even imagine the fishbowl she lived in."  

"So you're going to do the lack of compassion thing on this one? I don't think it was public attention that she was after, she clearly didn't enjoy it - in fact, she died trying to escape it. I think she just wanted the family's private attention and love, however poorly she went about trying to get it."

K:  "Well, I'm only saying what the rest of the world is thinking. I'm not giving her any more attention by watching her funeral, she's created enough drama in that family"


Me:  "Wow. Yeah - what the cruel half of world is thinking, and has said repeatedly.  Gee, I wonder why she often felt suicidal and hurt herself, it's a mystery, isn't it? Because she lived in a vacuum, I guess, and was just crazy." 
"Meanwhile, the rest of us are just sad -  not just for her, but all of them, for the whole family. And  there's nothing wrong with us being sad about a world tragedy." 
"And I'm not sure she created the drama so much as she publicly emotionally reacted to behind-the-scenes drama, things people shouldn't have been doing.  But then of course, we don't know, we weren't there.  Knowing us, we probably would've overreacted, and even worse lol." 
"Why do you hate her so much, you don't even know her or what really went on?  But whatever, suit yourself.  I think it's extremely sad for everyone involved, especially for those boys. Maybe things will change for the better now, who knows?  If nothing else, she clearly adored those boys, and by all accounts, even the royal family said she was a wonderful mother."


K:    "Well, they're better off without her as a mother."


Me: "Oh, well, you would know what's best for children, of course -  considering you can't stand children and thus decided not to have children.  Do you think her boys are feeling that way?" 

"You imagine you know the inner workings of other people's lives and what's best, after taking your quarterly bird's-eye-view peek into them, with dirty glasses on,  then instructing everyone on how they should be living their lives (despite no one asking), assuming that anyone at all wants to see the world and behave like you do, and then actually have the audacity to demand we all appreciate you for it. " 


My grandfather stifled a laugh, with his hand over his mouth.

(He loved all of us equally, but both he and my grandmother both once told me he actually admired my boldness, as the only one in the family to ever stand up to my older sister or my mom and shut them up, especially with humor.  My grandfather specifically advised me that he learned long ago to stay quiet with those two, because you can't win - it only makes things worse, and you'll look worse, because they'll make themselves the victims of the entire thing; to which I responded, "But then they assume everyone agrees with them and that it's okay to be mean."   However, looking back, he was right - let them think everyone agrees with them and just stay quiet, lest there be hell to pay on everybody  ;)

My grandmother cowered, then changed the subject, trying to keep the peace.

My brother-in-law just sat there, staring at the table.

(My mother and younger sister weren't there, and my daughter, thank goodness, was playing in the other room.)

But my sister stormed off, demanding her husband come with her, playing the victim, of course.

And later went hiking, during the funeral, demanding her husband go, too, of course, rather than "waste time" watching Diana's funeral - VERY weird.

So then my grandmother didn't watch it, just to please her/keep the peace and so she wouldn't be able to discuss it, when they got back.

Thus, just my grandfather and I alone watched it, with my daughter watching some, but not understanding, then going to visit her dad, as it was a Saturday and Labor Day weekend.

And neither my grandfather or myself ever mentioned it to anyone afterwards, even each other, ever again. 

Weird, the memories you have attached to certain things, isn't it?

Also weird that even a different country away, Diana somehow evoked such intense feelings about her, one way or the other.

Regardless, back to the royal family, I think Diana's death woke Charles up to himself, who he'd become - and just how far away from who he initially was - realizing that despite Philip and Lord Mountbatten's teasing/bullying/horrible old-school royal advice, there was nothing wrong with who he used to be and who he really is  -  and if he'd just stood up to others arranging things for him out of some misguided sense of duty, and been open and honest with Diana from the get-go, none of this ever would've happened. 

As for the other two boys, Andrew and Edward - they weren't shown much - but I get the impression, and always have had the impression - that they were/are overly entitled little snots, abusing their privilege. 

Then of course, there's Diana herself - who despite her fragility, emotionality, and her later manipulative/vindictive tactics - was also a very sweet, very compassionate, very empathetic person and wonderful mother, who was actually selfless and sacrificial, when it came to those boys, who apparently never saw the other stuff, and in whom she ingrained a sense of compassion and service to others, and  a woman who couldn't understand not showing affection for those she loved :)

And you'd never know it now, because how quickly we forget, the press only became favorable of her only shortly before her death -  and of course after she died - but back in the day, Diana could not seem to get a break.  

She couldn't get the royal protocol right,  no matter how hard she tried, making her not only a family joke, but England's joke - the press was absolutely merciless and heartless to her.  

At the time, we Americans showed a bit more compassion, as did many of the UK's poorer people, realizing we'd probably mess it up too, which is why she became "The People's Princess." 

(Unfortunately, I wonder if America hasn't become worse as far as cruelty, but at the very least, we're even when it comes to falsehoods and cruelty.)

As for her bulimia and other suicidal and self-injurious behavior and threats, it's difficult to tell which of her self-injurious behaviors were "gestures" to manipulate/force others around to stop avoiding her and care about her as a person, or whether she did these things out of genuine self-hatred - my guess is, likely a combination of both.  

Because eating disorders, much like other self-injury, are ways of punishing the self and an outcropping of being trapped in a situation you can't control -  your eating habits and other forms of self-injury being things you can control. 

It's a way of saying ...

"I'm trapped in this life, where I have no voice and no control, and I'm not allowed to have feelings even privately as the lowest member on the totem pole, but they can - I'm a non-person.  Everyone constantly puts me down and blames me for everything, and I do keep messing up, so they must be right, I have no value.  I'm not good enough, I'm not normal, I can't live up to being what they want me to be - I'm not like them and I never will be - and I'm not sure I want to be like them.  So I hurt and punish myself, at least that's something I can control, I can control my weight and my pain, hurting nobody but myself. "

"I know it's not healthy, but I can't live like they do, I can't pretend, numb myself, whether with alcohol or otherwise.  I can't hide my feelings as well as they can, I wish I could." 

"Part of me is ashamed of feeling like this, and doesn't want anyone to know, but the other half of me wants someone to notice and care - to teach me how to not be like this, because I sincerely cannot see a way out." 

"Part of me really believes dying is the only way I'll ever get out of this trap, and that everyone would be better off without me - but I'm too much of a chicken shit to just do it." 

"But I really don't want to live anymore, not like this - so I don't know what to do about it.  Can you teach me a better way to cope and live than this?"

Unfortunately, however, people who do this can't articulate it like that, at least at that time - especially very young teenage girls, or those amidst a truly traumatic or abusive situation - but that's what those behaviors are really saying.

It's often really just a matter of learning new coping skills, or just finding a way to get themselves the F out of the trap lol.

Above all, vilifying and further shaming them, for these behaviors, is NOT going to help -  either them or you - and will likely only make the drama worse.  

So if you know someone around you exhibiting these behaviors, especially a teenage girl, realize that what the above is what they're actually trying to tell you - and find a therapist that understands trauma and is willing to help teach new, appropriate coping skills rather than judge them, and how to get themselves out of legitimately being, or feeling, trapped :)

Unfortunately, until fairly recently, these behaviors weren't well understood, even by the  psychological community -  and they were often called "suicidal gestures" and seen as a selfish manipulation and personality disorder,  instead of being what they should at least first be regarded as, before jumping to more chronic diagnoses conclusions, especially for still-developing young teenage brains  - a telltale sign of that person genuinely trapped in an traumatic, abusive, or extremely stressful situation, which is or was beyond their control. 

In fact, this perspective didn't change until the psychological community began seeing male soldiers return from the Middle East with PTSD exhibit the same suicidal/self-injurious gestures and behaviors ;)

Of course a traumatic childhood makes you more susceptible for post-traumatic stress - but it's not exclusive to people with rough childhoods.

Thus, the true test is whether the person still exhibits those behaviors once completely removed from the stress and finds a normal, healthy, non-toxic, more functional support system.

If the behaviors dissipate over time, or even disappear altogether, the further and longer they are  removed from the precipitating event or toxic culture  -after finding a healthy social support system, which is a very important piece of it - then likely the person isn't chronically "emotionally unstable" or "personality disordered" at all.

As for Diana, no one knows whether she would have exhibited these behaviors, had she not been trapped in a toxic situation for her.

However, interestingly, Diana's neurotic, hysterical, self-injurious behavior did seem to dissipate, once she left that family (or more accurately, was allowed to leave).

She did seem much more confident, happier, and she dove headfirst into causes she believed in - and all of that bulimia and self-injurious stuff seemed to just dissipate and disappear - and her popularity skyrocketed.

So was she truly "emotionally unstable" overall, or was she just a very sensitive person who had "hypersensitive" emotional reaction to an extremely difficult situation she was genuinely trapped in?

Unfortunately, we will never know :(

Regardless, she deserves our compassion - but so does the rest of the family deserve our compassion, for trying to find a balance between duty and love that perhaps doesn't exist, trying desperately to please ... us. 

And lastly, there's Queen Elizabeth - the rock solid glue holding everybody together.  If nothing else, the queen is consistent, and the rock for everybody else falling apart.  In fact, I don't know how she does it.  

I know everyone else was trained in the same way, but everyone else seems to at least publicly or privately emotionally stumbled a time or two, whether publicly or privately - but Elizabeth virtually never does, it's kind of amazing - and leaves you believing the crown likely fell on the right head - though had Edward not abdicated, it never would have  :)

Those times we perceived her as cold were actually her trying to not make the story about herself, in fact - but she realized over time, doing so only actually increased the "cold and uncaring" perception of her rather than her just trying to stay out of the way.

That is not to say she never made mistakes - she has publicly claimed not visiting Aberfan sooner as being the single biggest regret of her life. 

And she initially made remarks which did sound uncaring - but you know what I suspect was the real reason?

I think she knew she'd break and cry, and not be able to help herself - I think she feared losing control of her emotions for the world to see, with so many children dead?

Thus, I think this was part of a very important ongoing life lesson, for her - that there are times when it's appropriate to let down the guard and show emotion, the public may need that from you, to show your support. 

I also think in her youth, she was of course new at it and very naive, and for a time, allowed the men around her to advise and tell her what to do - but after a time, after she felt she wasn't being told everything and realized her education on went so far and she had been mostly limited to certain queenly knowledge that others felt appropriate, she started taking up for herself and becoming more comfortable as queen - and so she decided to seek outside private education with university professors, while queen, mind you, so she could decide what she thought of issues herself and speak with any dignitary rather than changing the subject to polite chatter :)

I think people underestimated her, just as they did her father - both her intelligence and her willingness to get tough when need be, both of which she's hinted at showing, when the situation called for it, just like her father ended up doing. 

I also think she's a very devoted Christian and student of Christ, in the true compassionate sense of the word - and I understand her to be very understanding to guests making deference and nervous mistakes when meeting her - that it wasn't ever her that judged and laughed at mistakes made in her presence, it was often other family members or the people around her or press that did.

In fact, apparently, she is the first to distract from these social gaffes by never showing on her face there was a mistake made, changing the subject with skill and grace, and making excuses for these mistakes by being very understanding nervous mistakes made in her presence - which is, IMO, a very kind thing to do :)

Is she clueless about what life is like for the common people?

I wouldn't say clueless - but she does have to be told, she wasn't raised like we were. 

However, that doesn't automatically make her a snob, it makes her ignorant to what life is life for others, but willing to learn - and actually, she does have empathy and compassion, and she learns fast, appearing to have finally learned from even her own mistakes in times past :)

Her greatest lesson in life being, IMO, learning the balance between when it's appropriate to stand in the background and let others or the story shine out of nobility versus when they need you to see you feel - as well as the balance between following effective tradition and when it may be time to put dysfunctional traditions away, to make room for even better ones. 

Regardless, in the end - they are people, just trying to get through this life and pandemic, just like us - but I, for one, appreciate this Queen's nod our way, acknowledging the inherent equalization in this situation :)