This is the second part of my conversation with psychotherapist Paul Wilson
I have woken up in Dunedin this morning for the first time in 16 years (flew in after work last night).
I loved this city but left with my boyfriend at the time so he could have a fresh start somewhere different. There were 6 years of abuse that followed that move and I have probably been struggling to reconcile that ever since. Any way, made it back! And like some gift from the universe I'm reading this in bed realizing that my ex was a primary psychopath. I'm not saying that lightly. That was him. And I believed everything he told me because I was sad and broken and didn't find value in myself as I had lost my dad a year or do earlier and was suffering from depression.
So two things, first thank you so much for this knowledge. I feel a weight of something lifted that gives me hope my next 3 days will not feel quite so haunted and may even be a bit nice :)
Second, I bought in to one of these people. As a people leader I have the strange gift of being given regular feedback about my personality/ how I come across to others. Subsequently I am pretty confident in saying I demonstrate empathy, intuition and logic above most other things (which i appreciate kind of sound contradictory but it seems to work haha). But, i spent 6 years hiding my experiences, accepting someone else opinions on every aspect of my life as gospel and punishing myself as often as I was punished by my partner. When I finally left after realizing I might die and decided I didn't want to, it still took me years to tell people what had happened and to lose the shame of what I had "allowed" to happen and my effective support of the situation i showed by staying in it.
My best friend "knew" the whole time. Not the magnitude, but the theme of my reality. All she ever said to me was I will always be here and you deserve better. And finally, one day, I said please come and get me and I think so too.
I love that the theme of so much of this forum- articles, comments, community is continuing to try when things feel hopeless. This has always felt so worthwhile to me and today in this burbled post I guess I have realised why. Its what saved me- other people not giving up on me even when I was busy making home in a rabbit hole dungeon.
This interview comes very well-timed for me, as it was only earlier this week that I was finally able to go back and read all of your QAnon posts. To be honest, I'd been avoiding Webworm since the summer when this became a frequent topic for you. Not personal - I also stopped going on Twitter and watching several hours of MSNBC each night, and instead attempted to replace reality with massive amounts of fantasy fiction. I didn't even realize how avoidant I'd become until this week, a few days after the election was called here in the US, when the air seemed to clear and it felt safe to consume the news again. I don't know if you've had other Americans tell you anything similar, but the shift in my state of my mind over the weekend was massive. I'm not even sure where to go from here.
Anyway, after reading all your QAnon stuff, a debriefing like this interview was definitely in order. I'm a psych person, and the professionalism and insight on Wilson's part are to be highly commended. I wish the MSM would talk to psych pros like this.
So I read this when you first posted it (I enjoyed the first half so was waiting) and kind of took my time to process before commenting, and what I’ve been glad of over the past few months is that I’ve discovered webworm! You’re doing really great work and over the past almost year all the conspiracy theories combined with lockdowns have taken a massive toll on my mental health, I stopped sleeping at one point for a few weeks (not fun!) and I’ll be honest because of the lockdown in the UK I went about six months without speaking to another human in the flesh despite having friends, family and a boyfriend, so seeing your coverage of conspiracies has really helped me rationalise and make my anxiety be ok about what’s happening in the world and understand why the people who I know and love may be believing these conspiracies.
You’re doing amazing and I’m loving the site, it’s great to speak to people who see things the same way and have really similar experiences and I’m very grateful!
The only thing that moves the needle toward empathy is being immersed in a society made up of different types of people. When I was on a vacation with my mom in Mexico we met up with Japanese cellist who traveled the world playing in different venues. She asked me about my school and my friends and I mentioned how I had friends from Cuba, Jamaica, Spain, Japan, Ireland, Korea, Colombia, Chile, Jewish friends (I live in Forest Hills, until I was 6 I thought most people were Jewish), and we all got along. She asked me if I went to an international school (they exist: The United Nations has two in NYC) and I said no, I just go to school in Queens. The same thing happened in high school but since it was bigger and pulled from even more neighborhoods, it was even more diverse. You heard different languages in the hallways, you learned about other people's holidays and that acknowledging that Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December is not an attempt to "cancel Christmas" and this was a Catholic school. Having those you perceive as different from you literally be thousands of miles away will always render them as others. You don't get to go into their homes. You don't get to try their foods. You don't see how hard they work or how they love their families. I have no clue how to solve this problem when so much of our country is still so segregated. Even when most kids go off to college, they tend to go to schools that look a lot like their hometowns. I have no clue how to fix any of this but a fun bit of trivia was the Trump (who is from Queens) lost his own Borough bigly.
Omg Paul is amazing!! So well written and compassionate. I'm currently doing my doctorate in clinical psychology and now want to switch to psychotherapy after reading that. I feel like I'll never get to that level. 😭. Was a wonderful read and timely. I've lost a close friend to the conspiracy crowd. I feel like I can't be around her at the moment. I can handle being with people who have different opinions (e.g. national voters). But this is more than a difference of opinion. Its deeper than that. I think it's a difference in values. Anyway thanks Paul, and as always thanks David