Why a relationship is one plus one rather than two

Relationships

Written by: Jeimmer E. Padilla Gamarra

In his poem, Bolero Julio Cortazar said,

So we will never be

the perfect match

the postcard

if we are unable to accept

solely in arithmetic

two comes from one plus one.

Cortazar‘s wording “solely in arithmetic” is of great importance because what he is saying is that a couple (in a relationship), is in essence, one individual: dealing with the other person, the world, and the self (what and who we are as persons), as opposed to two persons dealing these matters from a state of union. 

Thinking of a relationship as two separate and independent individuals contradicts the traditional notion of a couple facing life together and evolving as one. That each partner is capable of fixing the other’s problems, saving the other from their inner demons with the indestructible and ever-resilient power of love.

However, despite the auspices of relationship, it is possible to perceive the “marks” differentiating each individual, and the territory of those matters extending to the core of the partnership; often beyond our consciousness.

“Morality” or society?

In Top Reasons Spouses Stay Faithful, Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. wrote that research pertaining to motivations for faithfulness, ‘indicated factors decreasing the likelihood of straying were religious, female, and married for less time. She surmised that religion represents moral motivations for faithfulness while the female component might be attributed to patriarchal society, the dynamics of which bind women to marriage as society commands them. Furthermore, that gender differences between males and females in the research, originate from the respective perception of benefits and costs, since the “cost of cheating could be potentially higher for women due to their partners’ reactions and the social stigma, (Psychology Today 2019).

As a male, I feel that cheating on women is more despicable for this reason, causing marriages to fall on religion for validation as opposed to interpersonal or society-based institutions like character and agreement.

The essence of the Self

We all know, or at least have heard the story of someone who can’t stop cheating on their partner, while the other blames themselves for not “being enough” explaining that the person was duplicitous from the beginning. Of course, in some instances, this may be true, though it is difficult to envision a person who is a cheater for no reason. In the same article, Patrick states that ‘fear of being alone and a person’s moral standards predicted anticipated faithfulness more than concern for one’s counterpart or effects on children (Patrick, 2019).’ I interpret this to mean that we first think of ourselves as individuals or digress from thinking at all, rather than caring for the other person or the relationship itself.

So, what does this tell us?

There’s debate among professionals as to whether it’s preferable to seek couple vs. individual therapy when it comes to distressed relationships.
And while it is always easier to blame everything but ourselves, science is telling us, and especially where depressive symptoms are present, that we should first become introspective to ascertain if something is plaguing our emotions or personal integrity. Let’s look for a mirror as opposed to binoculars when it comes to romantic relationships.

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Dating With a Mental Illness: Interview

RELATIONSHIPS

Written by: Meagan Hansen

Author Contact: 1 Author Contact: 2 Author Contact: 3

Mental illness is more likely to be suffered by females than males. And despite the fact that one billion worldwide or one in seven people (11-18%) will experience it at some point or another in their lives, it remains a taboo subject (University of Oxford, 2019).

In light of statistics such as the 86 percent increase in child-suicide (U.S. News, 2019), or the 38 percent of American adults battling substance abuse issues (NSDUH, 2017) for example, the impact of mental illness is becoming more apparent. Yet, so many still live with shame and fear that compound the symptoms of their disease.

Women are at greater risk for poor mental health, which is most often linked to societal pressures. One in five women currently live with a mental illness (WomensHealth.gov, 2020), often in the forms of depression and anxiety, and are twice as likely to experience anxiety over men. “Approximately one in nine women 18 and older have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year (American Psychiatric Association, 2017).”

I am going to share the stories of two young women both diagnosed with a mental illness. Each will describe how they survived the dating scene, the way they have viewed themselves during their lifespan, and the maintenance of their current partnerships. It may be interesting to note that both women pursued their partner as opposed to the other way around.

Bear in mind; these are real accounts from two distinct individuals with different stories. To protect the privacy of each person, their names will remain anonymous, being addressed as “Elizabeth” and “Sandra.” 

What have been the biggest barriers for you while having a mental illness?

Elizabeth:

Anxiety, doubting self. I constantly question my own abilities and interests.

When dating someone, I ask myself, “Are they gonna ghost me? I think it translates from my fear of abandonment. Especially being left by my father. I saw how it crushed my mom. My dad didn’t/couldn’t spend time with me. 

There’s also the struggle that I’m not good enough. When I get ghosted, I think,” What’s wrong with me?” I question my worth. I forget who I am. It takes longer for me to get over these things.

Sandra:

Trying to cope. I think, “Am I just overreacting? Should I be upset? Is this just my mental health talking, or is it just an issue?”

Have you ever felt discriminated against for your mental illness?

Elizabeth:

By certain people. When I was 21, people saw my intense anxiety, and I had no direction, especially when I was dating older people who had a career. I just wanted to be where these people were at.

Sandra:

No, because I keep it very private. There are sometimes comments, “Oooh you’re bipolar, that’s why you’re angry.” It takes away the validity of your feelings. It’s a double-edged sword, people treat you like a baby, or that you are not capable of much. 

Have you felt any social pressures to be in a relationship? 

Elizabeth:

Oh yea, definitely. Friends around me were in relationships. Personally, I just wanted to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to love on. Personal things mostly, rather than social. It stemmed from my internal insecurities. I felt like my parents gave a lot of hints.

Sandra:

Back [in] high school, more from peers than anyone else. They made it seem like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t get a boyfriend. 

Have you met most of your partners online or in-person? 

Elizabeth:

Online, yes. On Tinder, Bumble, Badoo. I haven’t met many folks in person, although maybe one person? 

Sandra:

I have only dated in person.

Has dating online changed for you in any way? 

Elizabeth:

Yea, I’m not the type who likes confrontation. Dating online took the face away, as well as the intimidation factor. 

Sandra:

Never have dated online.

Have you been in a toxic relationship? If yes, do you think your mental illness had any impact? 

Elizabeth:

Yes. He would ask constantly, “Why don’t you know these things?” in a serious tone. He made me question myself. This guy wanted all the benefits of a relationship, even after all of the questions.

It took me six months to get back up on the horse. It was a blessing he told me no; I realized I had some issues. In the end, it was a catalysis to go to counseling. I had issues I needed to work on, like my self-esteem, trust issues, and fear of abandonment.

Sandra:

Yes, for sure. You wind up wanting to mask it, and you overcompensate. When some of my former friends found out, they would take advantage of my behavior. I had a friend who was using me to clean their house and then suddenly, they would stop talking to me. Basically, people take advantage of me, because I try too hard to please them when they don’t know me well.

What’s your current relationship status? 

Elizabeth:

Engaged. He’s my fiance. I like to call him my partner, better than calling it a relationship.

Sandra:

Married. I call him my husband

How did the relationship start? 

Elizabeth:

Tinder. I messaged first. Our first date was at a brewery and I got drunk. In the beginning, we were both unsure why we stayed together, considering we were both at the thick of emotional healing. I think it was a gut feeling to stay together. It wasn’t tiring for me and we worked on our problems together.

Sandra:

Like every other one. With me pursuing him and getting set up by his friend. 

Did you tell your partner [about the mental illness]? Did you tell them straight away, or did you wait until you felt comfortable with them? How did they respond? 

Elizabeth:

Yes, first thing. I told him when my mom was threatening suicide. That was 4 weeks after we started dating. He stayed and that’s when I told him about my anxiety.

He was empathetic when I told him. He was also in the middle of his own healing, and we bonded over that. 

Sandra:

Right off the bat. We had been together for a couple of months. I told him about my bipolar disorder – and ‘if my feelings take a downturn, or if I overreact, it isn’t because of you.’ I told him as a precaution and as an explanation for how I might act sometimes. 

He responded positively. If he didn’t or treated me differently because of it, I wouldn’t have continued with the relationship. 

Has your mental illness had any impact on your sex life? 

Elizabeth:

Yes. 100 percent. Whenever I am anxious about life, the consistency decreases. My sex drive is directly correlated with anxiety. I can’t get myself going. I get stuck in the anxiety whirlpool: life, feelings, and everything else. Sex is the last thing on my mind. I start thinking he will cheat on me.

Sandra:

Yes, totally. When you go into a downward cycle, you don’t have sex, but sometimes I’m the opposite. It ebbs and flows. My libido just slows down for no particular reason. It’s just part of the cycle.

What has been the biggest challenge in your relationship in terms of mental health? 

Elizabeth:

Self-doubt. I doubt myself, ability, and then it causes doubt for my relationship. The biggest thing was when I was struggling in school and in developing my personal direction. I would shut down and wouldn’t communicate with him, and this would create tension between us. My direction in life has been the biggest point of tension in our relationship.

Sandra:

Trying to reason with yourself and talk yourself out of irrational feelings, “Is this rational?” But in reality, it’s not. You learn to deal with the patterns.

What do you think a key component is in maintaining a healthy relationship?

Elizabeth:

Communication, openness, asking questions about who they are as a person, consistency. Are your love languages the same? We never go to bed, angry. We give compliments. Use your emotional intelligence, read their physical body language. Pay attention to their nonverbal more than what they say. 

Trust is also key. Communication complicates trust. If you can’t talk, how can you trust? 

Sandra:

Open communication and trust. The ability to reason with yourself, take a step back and think it might not be your partner’s fault. It’s maybe you. You have to communicate and love each other. You have to let the other person come to terms with your cycles, just like how you would want them to be patient with you.

What advice can you offer someone who might be struggling with a mental illness? 

Elizabeth:

Go to therapy and stick with it. 6 months to a year is not enough. You don’t need to rely on drugs all of your life. You can use it to get over a hump. If you are relying on it, are you truly healing?

Sandra:

Take time to get to know yourself and your mental illness to avoid triggers and bad people.

Conclusion

Mental illness is a severe challenge for people seeking partnerships and these stories are emotionally raw for both women. It took a large amount of bravery to share these intimate experiences. If you know anyone who struggles with mental illness, remember they are just as human as you and deserve all the same kindness and respect one would grant to anyone else.

Zap: The Targeted Justice Movement and Space Development

Activism READ@ www.frompwcd.com

Written by: m.wilson

Harvey Weinstein’s use of a company called Black Cube, reportedly hired to intimidate victims and journalists (FFTI,2020), was probably a rare instance of media exposure to the phenomena addressed by the Targeted Justice Movement. Targeted Individuals (TI’s) also came into public awareness as part of the ongoing investigations into the Church of Scientology and its practices, with its many former members, their families, and friends claiming to have been stalked and harassed by church employees (FFTI, 2020). The Guardian (2018), published a story about a company called K2, a private security firm that infiltrated an anti-asbestos organization by posing one of its operatives as a documentary filmmaker within the establishment for four years.

Electronic Harassment

The Targeted Justice Movement is activism meant to address instances like the cases mentioned above, however, it is probably best known for its ‘crazies,’ or its incidents of targeting via “electronic harassment,” which the organization says is currently “growing out of control.” Citizens Against Harmful Technology, for example, is requesting signatures via Change.org as part of its petition of harassment stemming from ‘cell towers, vehicles, drones, satellites, and numerous other appliances that establish electronic slavery.’

Of course, it would seem somewhat biased to disregard another person’s experience, especially if it is causing the individual pain, no matter how impossible it may seem to be. And in the broader sense, ‘crazy’ is probably best measured in terms of behavior management and basic functionality. While common sense might reference various electronic tools such as X-rays that are invisible to the human eye, but extremely useful to help that same eye penetrate multiple layers of matter and view what’s on the other side. Moreover, it would also be necessary to assume that everyone with access to such technology uses it publicly and in a way that benefits every citizen.

It is possible then that recent outer space events, including massive satellite coverage of every region of the globe and the militarization of space, would be the type of activity to send persons like the author of Satellite Terrorism In America  Dr. John Hall M.D., (who professes first-hand knowledge of illegal intelligence programs), into red alert (Lighthouse, 2017). 

The DPL Electronic Surveillance website cites the 2014 electronic harassment case of Watterson vs Aro, in which neighbor Kathleen Watterson was awarded a temporary restraining order against Mr. Aro due to microwave assault, as one of the movement’s shining victories. Watterson had described her neighbor’s electronic presence as something “like controlling fog (stopgangstalking.com, 2014).” She was awarded the case the judge stated not because he felt Mr. Aro had done the harassment intentionally but instead was the result of negligence related to his satellite equipment.

Havana Syndrome

American and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba and later China complained of a variety of health problems beginning in 2016. Later testing, including brain imaging, blood tests, cognitive assessments, and other medical studies of these diplomats, revealed the presence of brain injury but did not diagnose the cause. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that microwave weapons were “a main suspect” (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). Following this physical evidence of brain trauma, was a study published in Neural Computation identifying pulsed radiofrequency and microwave radiation via the Frey Effect (microwave hearing effect), and noted a similar microwave attack documented at the U.S. embassy in Moscow (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). The brain injury itself is described as acquired neurotoxicity with neurological manifestations such as:

multiple functional and structural impairments, including significant spatial memory impairment, abnormal brain-stem evoked potentials, degradation of fibretracts in the fornix and posterior corpus callosum, blood-brain barrier injury to the right basal forebrain and anterior insula, and abnormal paroxysmal slowing events of cortical activity. Subsequent mass-spectrometry and blood analyses documented reduced serum cholinesterase activity and the presence of organophosphates(Temephos) and pyrethroid metabolites(3-phenoxybenzoic acidor 3-BPA).

(Friedman, Alon, et al. “Havana Syndrome Among Canadian Diplomats: Brain Imaging Reveals Acquired Neurotoxicity.” medRxiv (2019): 19007096).

“Edgar Wallenheim” hates my guts…’

Cause Stalking, was defined in a Vice (2017) report as stalking based on a victim’s lifestyle, political orientation, or beliefs. Cause Stalking may entail goings-on as subtle as the filling up of a parking lot just as the victim is arriving or traffic behaviors involving numerous cars, which cause the driver to miss an exit or an appointment. While it may sound rather far-fetched, it would certainly seem possible for anyone at any time to be targeted as an individual by someone who: dislikes them, wants something they have; objects to their race or sexual orientation, etc. – perhaps by a person(s) with the means, time, and/or knowledge required to do so. 

If you feel that you have been targeted, there are many books on the topic written by academics, including “Surviving and Thriving as a Targeted Individual by Cathy Meadows and “Gang Stalking: the Threat to Humanity” by Dr. Corkin Cherubini.

Barrenness Is Acceptable

Letters READ@ www.frompwcd.com

Written by Leah Summers-Milne

Last year I was in my doctor’s office – my legs in metal stirrups, exposing myself to the female nurse in the room. She was making idle chit chat as she lubed up the ultrasound wand, which, in my personal opinion, is far larger than it really needs to be. She had a smile on her face, as she was unusually perky considering she was about to shove a wand in my vagina. The last time I got an ultrasound, I was told to have a full bladder. So I had gone out of my way to drink half a gallon of water before coming into this appointment, only to be told that for an internal ultrasound of my uterus, I’d need an empty bladder. This particular day was obviously, not going to go as planned.

The smiling nurse reassured me that she was just checking to make sure everything was in working order, that I didn’t have any visible issues, and to ensure that my new IUD would go in without a hitch. She was also checking to make certain there weren’t any tumors or general abnormalities in my uterus.

It was a checkup, a basic checkup, and I figured that this appointment would go easy. However, I should have known better. My life has forever been governed by forces outside my control and strictly by Murphy’s Law. This appointment was going to be anything but easy, regardless of what I’d hoped. Anything that could go wrong, would go wrong.

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She inserted the ultrasound wand. It was uncomfortable to say the least. She pushed it in further than I think was really necessary, causing extreme discomfort. Then came the pain… Why was this procedure painful? I’d accepted that part of being a woman is the expectation to cope with high amounts of pain, as well as having nobody believe me when I am in pain. I bit my tongue while the smiling nurse moved the wand inside me as she checked every crevice and canyon that could be displayed on the monitor. It was invasive, uncomfortable; and I was ready for this ‘basic’ appointment to be over.

The smiling nurse shifted, wand still in me, her face turning serious as she stared at the ultrasound screen. From my position, a glint of an object appeared — a shiny something, which the now serious-faced nurse said was my IUD. Something wasn’t right though. Something was deeply wrong.

“This is really odd, your IUD doesn’t appear to be in your uterus,” she said to me, moving her hand over the ultrasound video. “Your uterus is here, and here’s your IUD. It looks like it’s embedded in your cervix.”

She continued to move the ultrasound wand around more, and finally decides she needs to get the doctor. She pulled the wand out, offering me a little reprieve as she excused herself to call him.

The doctor, a man in his late 40s with salt and pepper hair, snapped his gloves on as he took his place between my legs; the nurse standing in the corner with her lips pursed. He inserted the wand again; the discomfort worse than before.Paragraph

“Mrs. Summers,” he begins, “your IUD wasn’t put in correctly. It’s embedded in your cervix and it’s not even in your uterus. I can’t advise you to be having sex right now for fear of getting pregnant. This device is inherently worthless for preventing pregnancy.”

“Ecosystem Services” in The Handmaid’s Tale

ENVIRONMENTAL READ@ www.frompwcd.com

Written by: m.wilson

It could be argued that in Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale, women become the fifth category of “ecosystem services.” The ecosystem (or nature) services report was published back in 2005 by the United Nations. It organizes ecosystems into four categories – provisional, regulating, supporting, and cultural services. Provisioning is – Food, wood, fresh water, etc. Regulating means – climate regulation, water purification, disease regulation, etc. Cultural includes – educational, aesthetic, spiritual, etc.; and Supporting describes – primary production, nutrient cycling, soil formation, etc.

*The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has been substantially developed as a way to ascertain the current health of natural resources due to the rising degradation of (population) demands and human-caused effects that threaten to cripple the quality of life for future generations.* In particular, members seek to subvert the ecosystem degradation expected during the first half of this century (2000); and are evaluating legal and appropriate actions needed to secure human resources endangered as a result of human-caused activities. One of the main points in the Millennium report, for example, explains that interventions specific to food provisioning, due to the continuous growth of demand, have degraded other ecosystem services – and cites losses and degradations that are “substantial and growing.”

What would a radical, religious Right commitment to environmentalism look like?

The Handmaid’s Tale, written by author Margaret Atwood, depicts the religious Right’s attempt to rectify environmental disasters, which has led to the suppression and degradation of all women. The novel is generally referred to as dystopian science-fiction; written during a period of feminist-backlash occurring during the early 1980’s; and following, what some considered to have been, the extreme feminist activism of the 1970’s.

Neuman (2006) discusses the dystopian environment of the Christian fundamentalist Right in the novel; the returning of women to their homes to fulfill their biological duty and partake in Handmaid reproduction. In her review, she refers to the need for critical examinations of “determinant relations” that will alert women to the elements leading to this particular type of victimization.

Ketterer, (1989), offers a male’s perspective of the story, and notes Atwood’s historical development of what lead to the dystopian establishment of the society of Gilead. He states that The Handmaid’s Tale boils down to one big question of survival – how long will humans survive? He also mentions Offred’s question at the novel’s conclusion,“who knows what the chances are out there of survival, yours?” which highlights the absence of choice – women must survive the way they have been forced to survive.

In an identification of determinant relations, it may be required to go beyond the “seeds of sexism,” as Ketterer surmised, to an analysis of how morality prevails in general. It is entirely possible that, similar to the way the abolition of slavery was championed by the religious sect back in the 19th century, a catastrophic degradation of the planet’s resources may be destined to fall, once again, into the hands of the Christian establishment. Indeed, we have begun hearing from the Pope on this matter, and as in The Handmaid’s…, Biblical references and stories are sure to follow.

So where does that leave women?

The extinction rate of species back in 2005 when the Millennium Assessment was published, was 1,000 times higher than the fossil record, and was expected to increase ten times more in the near future. The report also stated that 60% of evaluated ecosystem services were degrading and being used unsustainably. Could it be possible that The Handmaid’s Tale points to the potential drawbacks of demonizing ecological offenses and related policies? On the other hand, what if women were to find themselves caught in some type of over-socialized (and ‘religiously-informed’), left-wing harassment of services? Hopefully, survival is not an utterly misogynist proposition in the secular world…