Secrets and Lies. Tools to manipulate.

Disordered individuals keep secrets. They tell a lot of lies. My previous post describes some of the different kinds of lies disordered people use against you. In my new book, People Who Hurt, publication January 23rd, I devote a whole chapter to the various tools narcissists, sociopaths and the like use against you to get you to do what they want.

people hurt

People Who Hurt -abusers and codependants – looking for answers

I’ve used examples from my own personal experience to illustrate the kinds of secrets and lies used against partners of such disordered people but I haven’t included every single instance I encountered myself. I want People Who Hurt to show how commonplace these behaviours are to help others be aware. Writing only about what happened to me would turn the book into a memoir and, although I’m happy to include my personal story, my intention is to give the book a wider audience.

A single voice can sound like one outraged, vindictive woman  seeking revenge. I don’t want that. Tens of thousands of voices saying the same things, describing the same patterns of behaviour carry more gravitas. People will be more prepared to listen.  These tens of thousands are only the ones who are able to speak out. There are many more women and men struggling to understand what has happened to them in their relationships with a disordered partner.

Secrets of hidden abuse

Victims of emotional and psychological abuse often stay silent. Sometimes they don’t realise they are being abused. The confusing tactics employed by covert abusers leaves victims unsure of exactly what’s going on.

secrets and lies, staying silent

staying silent when there’s too much to say

Sometimes victims stay silent out of fear, shame or embarrassment. Maybe they’ve tried to explain to a trusted friend or family member only to be disappointed by the response of disbelief. When victims themselves don’t understand what’s happening how can friends and family help? They have only ever witnessed the false persona covert abusers show to everybody else.

But silence is the abuser’s best ally. It frees them to move along into the next relationship and begin the cycle all over again.

An enormous secret

When I was preparing to leave my home abroad I discovered a secret so big it scared me. I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t tell anybody at first.

secrets staying silent

staying silent

I worried about how this enormous secret would reflect on me. Could I be accused of being complicit? How could I prove I was unaware of it? Once I realised I had  proof of my innocence I had to decide what to do about it. In People Who Hurt I reveal all. Because I possess a moral conscience I did the right thing. My conscience is clear.

secrets and lies

the truth will out

Exposing secrets and lies

The immediate aftermath of a breakup with disordered individuals isn’t the best time to attempt exposing their secrets and lies, in my opinion. In People Who Hurt I explain my reasons. I hope that by sharing my story I can help others see where I  made mistakes so that they may avoid the same pitfalls.

I want to help raise awareness of covert abuse so I’ve priced People Who Hurt at the lowest full price Amazon will allow. Also, following their promotion regulations, I’ll be able to offer it for free every now and then.

Covert abusers know what they’re doing is wrong. That’s why they cultivate their fake persona to make others believe they are honourable, trustworthy people. It’s a mask they wear to hide who they really are. It’s within their closest, more intimate relationships where the mask slips and their true intentions become clear.

You can contact me here or on my People Who Hurt Facebook page. Pre-order for the book is open now.

 

Lies. A passive aggressive tool to control you.

Telling lies is one method passive aggressive people use to control you and others. Dysfunctional individuals and those with personality disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder are pathological liars. It’s what they do. Pretty much all the time. It’s part of who they are.

lies can be pathological

from PsychopathFree

As a result of my own experience and from two years’ research for my book People Who Hurt due for publication in January 2018, I’ve identified different kinds of lies used by pathological liars.

Grandiose Lies

'Big' lies

from Slideshare.net

Overt narcissists in particular use the grandiose lie to create the illusion they’re better, more knowledgeable, more wealthy etc. than they really are. They would like to be superior to you and they brag (often) about their accomplishments. Their boastful lies can be easy to detect.

Grandiose lies cover up the painful truth the  narcissist/sociopath is in denial of hiding: the shameful fear of being inferior. This disordered individual creates a false image of self and continues lying to protect his/her fabrication

Pitiful Lies

Often used by those who choose to play the ‘victim’ card, these lies are designed to elicit sympathy from you.

covert lies

sob story lies

In this category of lies the individual may fabricate a whole host of wrongs inflicted on them by a succession of others including parents, siblings, partners. They use a manufactured sob story to attract empathic partners. More difficult to detect than the loud boastful lying of the overt narcissist, these sob stories are designed to make you feel sorry for their predicament. Before you realise what’s happening the covert narcissist has gained your trust and is manipulating you to his own ends.

Denial

lies of denial

heads in the sand

In a previous post I wrote about denial in more detail. As healthy individuals we know denial solves nothing. People with personality disorders have learned that denial works for them in the short term. Denying something they said or did serves to put you off your balance. You want to give the benefit of your doubt.  You prefer them to be innocent of what you suspect. They know if they keep on denying you’re likely to give in.

However, what they are really attempting to fend off is their unwillingness to face the truth of their fears. Their continued denial can lead them into the next category of lies:-

Ridiculous Lies

unbelievable lies

unbelievable lies

These utterances from a cornered narcissist/sociopath are so ridiculous they are completely unbelievable. Even when you hold the proof right under their noses they persevere with their denial. I recently read about an instance where an outraged woman confronted her partner about him taking her mobile phone.

“No, I haven’t,” he said.

She said, “You’ve still got it in your hand.”

“No I haven’t,” he said, the phone clearly in his grasp.

You end up pulling a face as in the image above. It beggars belief that anybody could think they could get away with this kind of lie. When it happens you feel as though you’re looking at an adult who has regressed to childhood.

Lies follow lies. They heap one on top of another and after a stream of ridiculous lies as in the phone lie mentioned above, they’ll deny they lied about it. You”ll likely hear, “I never said that.”

Trying to understand what’s really going on is like banging your head against the proverbial brick wall. That’s why I chose a brick wall image for the cover of People Who Hurt publication January 2018.

people hurt

People Who Hurt -abusers and codependants – looking for answers

These are a few examples of the kinds of lies used by pathological liars. All are destructive. Some are more dangerous than others.

People Who Hurt will be free for five days at publication. Leave a comment here or join my People Who Hurt Facebook page for up to date news of when you can get your free copy.

people hurt

Free in January. People Who Hurt – a new book about covert abuse.

Free book for five days

free book

People Who Hurt -abusers and codependants – looking for answers

Sign up for your free copy of People Who Hurt. Publication date is January 2018. To coincide with the launch I’m offering the ebook free of charge on Amazon on all country platforms. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle. You can download the Kindle app free and read on your tablet, laptop or phone.

(P:S: I’m English so I spell codependant with an ‘a’ it being a noun in the sense I’m using it. Codependent with an ‘e’ is an adjective in British English but I understand this last spelling is interchangeable elsewhere.)

Who is the book for?

Grammar police aside, this book is to help people understand the nature of covert abuse. I do not profess to diagnose anybody. I’m not seeking to influence others’ actions. In sharing my story I hope to reach others to let them know they are not alone in their confusion when experts in the field of personality disorders cannot agree on where the boundary lines lie between the differing disorders.

I am not an expert. I have no qualifications in this field. What I am qualified to say is how certain behaviours made me feel. It turns out these behaviours are so commonplace across the spectrum of disorders they have names of their own. You may already be familiar with some of them: gaslighting, projection, triangulation, silent treatment to name but a few.

Part memoir

People Who Hurt is part memoir, part informational. Using my own experience and data gathered from two years’ research into the subject of hidden abuse this new book shows how insidious passive aggressive behaviours can be. Many victims of this kind of treatment don’t know it is abuse. The abuser follows a pattern of behaviour designed to undermine their partner’s self confidence in order to gain control in the relationship. I give examples of the kinds of behaviour that leave victims confused, doubting and wondering whether the faults all lie with themselves.

Silence is one of the abuser’s best allies. I’ve remained silent long enough. I want to do my bit to raise awareness so I’m owning  my story and standing up to tell it.

You can find my People Who Hurt page on Facebook here and follow the page and/or you can subscribe here on my website for up to date news of publication and the free offer.

Please share the Facebook People Who Hurt page with your friends especially those you think may benefit. Thank you.

Your email remains private. Only I can see it here on my website and I will not share it elsewhere.

Narcissists. Do you really know who they are?

Narcissists – not what you might think

The word narcissists gets thrown around willy-nilly. Some people think it describes individuals who are overly vain, boastful and acquisitive. The truth is we all possess some narcissistic traits.

narcissists levels

healthy narcissism exists

Don’t we all enjoy doing well and receiving recognition for it? Isn’t it a good feeling to receive a sincere compliment? It doesn’t make us narcissists. Balanced, healthy people can accept a well-intentioned compliment. They can give one, too. We all look in the mirror from time to time. We take care of our personal hygiene and appearance. Sometimes we might feel a sense of pride at an accomplishment we’re pleased with.

narcissism and pride

healthy pride

But there is a line beyond which self-esteem becomes unhealthy self-interest.  According to the narcissism key above, certain narcissistic traits move an individual out of the healthy category into unhealthy destructive narcissism. At the far end of the spectrum are the pathological behaviours of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and other Cluster B personality disorders.

A spectrum of disorder

The more narcissistic behaviours a person displays the further along the spectrum they may be classified.

But we’re not all experts. We haven’t specialised in the field nor spent years studying the subject. We’re not qualified to call someone a narcissist or a sociopath or even psychopath. He/she might just be incredibly selfish or thoughtless. How can we tell the difference between narcissistic traits which are only a part of someone’s personality and full-blown narcissism which is all of it.

Narcissists often hide

A person who is overtly narcissistic is easy to spot. They are openly boastful and vain. This kind of narcissist shouts his/her demands. They make grand entrances and make sure everybody knows who they are. Most likely they are the first thing people think about if asked to describe how narcissists behave.

But there are people who experts would classify as unhealthy narcissists whose behaviour doesn’t follow this pattern. Known as covert narcissists they at first seem charming and affable, friendly and helpful. They put on a fake front to win your trust. Rather like the wolf in Red Riding Hood (see earlier post), they pretend to be something they are not. The reason they do this is not for your benefit. It’s for theirs. You have something they want from you.

What narcissists want

They always want something from you. They’re not interested in you for your personal qualities. They are interested only in what those qualities will bring to them.

It might be money or a place to stay. Maybe it’s your standing in society or your social circle. They could be looking for someone to take over raising their children or simply a body to impregnate to keep you bound to them. Bound by their own need for validation they look to you for proof they are as special as they want to believe they are. You might say they are as vulnerable as the people they target.

are narcissists vulnerable?

vulnerable narcissist

How did narcissists get that way?

According to experts on the subject of narcissism their unhealthy behaviours are as a result of childhood trauma. Neglect, abandonment, insecure attachment to parent(s) all figure highly in academic studies of this personality disorder. The child looks for ways to prove his/her worthiness. They try to be the perfect child for the parent who is ignoring or abusing them.

narcissists want to be perfect

narcissistic perfectionism

Holding to this pattern the child grows into adulthood still believing he/she can control judgement of him by appearing to be perfect.

This is why they seem so charming at first. They’ve learned how to do that to keep you interested in them.

When their behaviour becomes abuse

One of the problems is narcissists can’t keep up the false image they’ve created. The childhood patterns don’t work when you’re an adult. In close relationships there are always disagreements. The narcissist takes it as an affront when you don’t agree with him/her. Their image is in danger. They will do everything they can to protect their image of themselves and go all out to prove you are the one who is wrong.

Their methods of protecting themselves from exposing the vulnerable child inside involve crushing their opponent. That’s how they see you for questioning their right to be right. They can turn every conversation into a competition which they must win.

By having needs and preferences of your own you have tantamount to offended them. If you can’t continue your one hundred per cent support of the narcissist’s need for validation they believe they have the right to seek it elsewhere.

Recognising abuse

People with empathy care about others’ feelings. They choose not to deliberately hurt others. Narcissists care only about protecting their self image. While we may sympathise with them, that is not to say we must allow them to make us suffer too by the way they seek  control of everything.

Even though we’re not qualified to put an exact name to their behaviour, we are qualified to say how their behaviour makes us feel. Having to be careful about what you say for fear of offending, closing down your own personality to  make yourself smaller is abuse. If you have to account for every penny you spend on the home and family, providing a spreadsheet with receipts for proof, for example, you are being abused. If you are constantly being criticised, belittled, embarrassed, it is abuse.

Not all abuse is physical.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Want to add your thoughts?

Internal CRPS. It can affect internal organs.

Internal organs can be affected by CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). This condition has had so many name changes there’s no wonder many medical professionals have never heard of it. Many sufferers have to wait too long for a diagnosis, wait too long for adequate pain relief, wait too long for answers.

What body parts are affected by CRPS?

It’s well documented that CRPS affects skin, hair, muscle, bone, nerves. Even nails.

inside CRPS nails

image from pain and depression.com

I know patients who cannot bear the lightest touch on their affected arm or leg. Their limbs are swollen, the skin reddened, shiny and swollen as if it were about to burst. You can tell they’re in agony just by looking at their affected body parts.

inside CRPS foot

image from slide player.com

 

Some people stay in this ‘heated’ CRPS condition for a long time. Their skin is badly affected and may develop nasty sores.

I’m past that stage now. My arm and shoulder always feel cold. Extreme cold causes me more pain. I need more pain relief in winter than at any other time.

CRPS cold

image from The Mighty

What about internal body parts you can’t see?

If nerves and skin, muscles and bone are so obviously affected by this painful condition doesn’t it make sense that internal body parts are also affected?

It’s just common sense to me. But then I’m not a medical expert.

In my last post about CRPS I wrote about gastric problems. When I saw my GP I explained what was happening and how I believed there was a connection with CRPS.

internal gastric organs

digestive system

He wanted to eliminate other possible suspects. I told him about the kind of diet recommended by Dr Hooshmand and how I’d already taken that advice on board. Nevertheless, my GP said, we’d have to go through the elimination process: blood tests, scans etc.

I don’t have celiac disease. I’m not diabetic nor even borderline. One by one all tests came back negative so we eliminated other possible causes for my bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. Then I had ultrasound.

I have Gallstones

‘Oh,’ I said to the nurse practitioner. ‘You said that in the plural. How many?’

‘Too many to count.’

internal problems

ultrasound image from ultrasound cases.info

That isn’t me in the image above but you get the picture. Because I don’t have the kind of pain normally associated with gallstones there’s no treatment necessary. Apparently. Yet.

‘There are probably tens of thousands of people walking about with gallstones just like yours who know nothing about it,’ said the nurse practitioner.

That’s all right, then. So what’s causing the vomiting? And the other?

CRPS affects internal organs

It’s official. People with qualifications say so. Here is a link to how I knew that before I went to see my GP.

I don’t blame him. He can’t know everything. Plus, he’s bound by procedures. But, no treatment at all?

I guess that means I just have to put up with it.

In the meantime I stay away from fatty things and don’t eat too much sweet stuff. I try to be sensible but when the CRPS pain flares up I know it won’t be long before I dare not wander too far from the bathroom.

The good news is: red wine is NOT on the list of things to avoid completely.

Thank you for reading. Sign in to my subscription list to receive a brief email to let you know about new posts. Your email remains private. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Author with CRPS signing out now.

Chronic pain and the author. Not enough good days.

In my previous post  ‘A Pain in the Arts’,  I wrote about how chronic pain interferes with creativity. The chronic pain sufferer is tired. All. The. Time. When good days dawn you want to make the most of them. On my own good days I want to write.

chronic pain and writing

on good days I want to write

CRPS chronic pain and writing

I’ve had contact with another CRPS sufferer who wants to write when he feels well enough. We know we have to pace ourselves. There isn’t enough energy to go round all the simple, everyday tasks that we previously undertook without a second thought.

chronic pain of CRPS

what having a god day means

I don’t beat myself up about not being able to do everything I’d like to. So I take it as a measure of success that this year I’ve published two books: my third novel and a second collection of short stories. I work at a much slower pace than I used to. Pain relief medication sometimes dulls the ache but makes me feel groggy.

If you’re reading this as a sufferer of CRPS or some other chronic pain illness you don’t need me to explain the myriad ways it affects you. How can you describe to others what it’s like?

chronic pain descriptions

words to describe pain

All in all it’s TIRING.

2017 – my fourth year of CRPS

This year has been worse than last. I’m disappointed that even during warm weather I sometimes feel knocked out. I have cyclical bouts of vomiting. The following is taken from the article: The Spread of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) by H. Hooshmand M.D and Eric M. Phillips -Neurological Associates Pain Management Centre, Vero Beach Florida.

INTERNAL ORGAN INVOLVEMENT

CRPS invariably involves the internal organs. Usually the skin surface is cold at the expense of increased circulation to the internal organs. This increased circulation can cause osteoporosis, fractures of bone, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, disturbance of absorption of foods with resultant weight loss, water retention with aggravation of premenstrual headaches and depression, persistent nausea and vomiting, as well as severe vascular headaches mistaken for “cluster headache”.

In addition, CRPS can cause the complication of intractable hypertension which responds best to alpha I blockers (Dibenzyline, Hytrin, or Clonodine). CRPS can cause attacks of irregular or fast heart beat, chest pain, coronary artery spasm (angina), as well as disturbance of function of other internal organs. A few examples are frequency and urgency of urination, respiratory disturbance such as dyspnea and apneic attacks, and attacks of severe abdominal pain.

Planning your day

This morning I was woken by pain at 4.30am. Yesterday it was 5 am. The day before 4am. I get up, make a drink and take medication. When the pain eases I use those hours in the early morning to write, research or edit what I wrote last week.

When everybody else is up and about I start on household tasks you can’t do at 4am or you’d wake up the neighbours. There’s no wonder I often don’t feel able to do much more at all in the afternoon.

I can’t commit to definite arrangements. I can’t always agree to be at a certain place at a certain time. People must understand if I don’t make it it’s because I’ve gone back to bed. So I don’t commit to joining groups and clubs. I opted out of the choir I joined until I’m in a good phase again. (See, I’m still hopeful.) I don’t like letting people down.

I’m a member of various social media pages and that works fine because I can join in with discussions at any time. When it’s 4am. here there’ll still be somebody in Denver, Colorado with something to say, or Florida or California. They don’t know I’m sitting downstairs in my pyjamas quietly waiting for the meds to kick in.

Authors put a lot of effort into marketing their work

Unfortunately I don’t. My energy is carefully apportioned. I’d love to build a band of faithful followers of my novels, send out newsletters, join book blog tours and the like. I know improved sales of my books isn’t going to happen by some lucky happenstance.

But I still want to write. Maybe when all my ideas have dried up I’ll find the time and energy to work on marketing but at present I can’t do both. So be it. May we all have a low pain day.

If you’d like to follow my writing journey with CRPS  please subscribe to my blog. Don’t be shy. Send me a comment. Your email remains private.

The Sandman and Mrs Carter, my third novel. Message me when you identify the mystery narrator!

On Kindle from August 12th

Available on Kindle first from August 12th, The Sandman and Mrs Carter promises to mess with your mind.

Sandman domestic drama, psychological mystery

third novel by Celia Micklefield

Click on image to go to Amazon UK.

The Sandman and Mrs Carter

is a psychological domestic drama with more than a touch of mystery.

Five named characters tell Wendy Carter’s story through their viewpoints. But who is the mystery narrator who seems to know everything about everybody?

The mystery voice gives the reader clues and says, “You can never be inside someone else’s head. If you could wouldn’t that mean you’d have to be out of your own and where would that leave you?”

Isn’t that a question and a half?

Stories with layers

I love reading stories with layers. I enjoy the discovery of characters’ foibles. A satisfying read pleases me when it gets me thinking I have it all worked out just before the author throws in another twist and sets me off down a different path. Mostly, I love to be intrigued.

So I suppose it’s no surprise that this is the kind of novel I enjoy writing.

Creative narrative schemes.

I like to be a little different with my narratives. For years we’ve heard all good stories must have a beginning, a middle and an end. While we can’t argue with time itself which never goes backwards we can get creative with the way we present it in novels. Okay, we must have a beginning, middle and end but in books they don’t have to come in that order, do they? Life’s journey isn’t a straight line: there are sidetracks and dark alleys; mountains to climb and oceans to navigate; flights of fancy and tunnels of gloom. As an author I can plan where the sidetracks appear. I can conjure up an unexpected setback or happy accident.

Suffice it to say I love intrigue. In The Sandman and Mrs Carter there’s plenty of it.

‘Hooked’ of Lincoln messaged me on FB to say she intended to read a chapter before turning out the light but went on to chapter ten!

Oooh, she described herself as ‘hooked’. I like that.

Who is the mystery narrator?

Really? Is it? Come on, you don’t expect me to tell you.

All I will say is, you guessed it, you have to read the book! I promise you you’ll think you know and then you’ll think you know again.

So if you enjoy a book that keeps you guessing you’re going to love The Sandman and Mrs Carter.

Send me a message when you think you’ve worked it out but don’t tell your friends. You wouldn’t want to spoil it for them now would you?

Don’t forget to subscribe for new posts. You can message me here on my website or on my Facebook author page. Also, I’m on Twitter @CMicklefield.

Happy reading!

The Sandman and Mrs Carter is available on all Amazon platforms in Europe, USA, India etc. The paperback version is available very soon.

Denial solves nothing. Don’t do it.

Denial comes in different guises. Usually when we say someone is in denial we think of it in negative terms. There is a person who won’t accept the truth, we think. There is a person who can’t cope.

denial as self defence

denial as defence

You might not want to face the truth about all kinds of things: illness; ageing, addiction, relationships. Some people use denial as a means of self defence. They think by ignoring the facts that everything will somehow improve.

Wrong.

denial never resolves

don’t deny your feelings

I have experience of it. I suppose most of us have at one time or another. But pushing aside problems only has the effect of allowing them to accumulate. Like cancer, they grow. They multiply. They keep on multiplying until your whole system is toxic.

When you know you have a medical problem you do something about it, don’t you? You go and get it fixed. But anything to do with emotions/feelings/fears/anxieties etc etc. we tend to shy away from. In a previous post I wrote about Brené Brown’s ideas on vulnerability. She’s all for coming out with your vulnerabilities and giving them voice. It’s the most courageous thing you can do.

But there are people who not only deny their own feelings: they deny yours too. When you’ve had the courage to make yourself vulnerable and express how someone’s actions make you feel they should acknowledge what you’ve said. If they refuse, they have a problem. They are in denial. And if you allow it to continue you’re the one who’s going to end up with a bigger problem than you had to begin with.

denial is avoiding your soul

face your truth

Yet there is a positive aspect to denial. Consider the following:

Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Self denial is another matter altogether. Abandonment of the needs of self and taking up your share of the suffering of humanity (your cross) is key to being a good human.

All well and good if you’re dealing with other ‘good’ human beings. There comes a point, it seems to me, when you can’t continue giving to others if they are in such a state of denial they prefer to continue hiding behind a false front. Surely that would be time for some tough love. Standing back and allowing someone to experience the error of their thinking might be the lesson they need. Obviously you wouldn’t do that with a child who wants to play with matches but when an adult is making the choice to live in denial all you can do is let them get on with it and remove yourself.

true colours

you can’t live in denial forever

Well, Amen to that.

Anybody like to add their comments? Don’t be shy. You can reach me on my Facebook Celia Micklefield author page and on Twitter @cmicklefield

Thank you for visiting.

 

Queer as Folk. Book Launch

Queer as Folk short stories

stories to give you a giggle, a sigh or a shudder

Queer as Folk

A new collection of short stories launches on 31st March in Kindle format. Pre-order is open now. A paperback version will be available in April. As with her first collection of stories the author focuses on what makes ordinary people do extraordinary things.

The author? The author? Why am I writing in the third person? Weird, huh? Just one example of why we do queer things.

I’m taking over now. First person from now on. Bugger tradition.

In Arse(d) Ends, my first collection, I used words ending in the letters a.r.s.e. as a queer and quirky link with the narrative. In Queer as Folk each story is subtitled by a profound saying, well-known or otherwise.

For example, in January Girl I chose the following:

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

Mark Twain 1835-1910

For the story, Yorkshire Grit I chose:

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950

How queer am I?

Oh, I’m queer. So are we all. Life makes us that way. Maybe our lives are all about following our paths to un-queer ourselves. Perhaps at the end we can count ourselves lucky if we came through having coped with the journey the best we could with whatever resources we possessed.

One of my resources is a particular kind of sense of humour. I have a penchant for dark tales. I mean, I’m into tales of revenge where it backfires or accidental comeuppance for the nasty perpetrator who has made a telling mistake. For me, humour is a way of expressing hope. I want to give my readers a sense of satisfaction at the end of my stories that everything worked out just the way it should.

In Queer as Folk there are 21 stories, 1 poem and a 14 Tweet story I posted live on Twitter (told you I was queer).

As with my first collection some stories are longer than others. I like that variety. Sometimes shorter narratives pack quite a punch. It all depends on the subject matter.

I hope you enjoy this new collection. Here’s a link to my author page on Amazon UK.

Don’t forget to keep in touch. I love to hear from you.

 

Funny. What makes things humorous?

We’ve all got a funny bone

Actually it isn’t a bone. It’s the ulnar nerve. So why do we call it the funny bone?

There are two main ideas about that. One says it’s a pun on anatomy because the nerve runs along the humerus, which sounds like “humorous.” The other claims the nerve got its nickname because of the  odd (funny peculiar) feeling you experience after you hit it.

funny bone

funny ‘bone’

But humour hasn’t anything to do with your elbow unless when you bang it you make other people laugh. So . . .

What makes things funny?

Where do we register humour in our brains? Scott Weems tells us there’s been plenty of research into laughter.

His book Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why explains in detail. But what about studying what it is that makes us laugh? Why do some of us find certain kinds of comedy funny but others don’t?

funny for life

humour is life enhancing

Humour appreciation appears to be based in the lower frontal lobes of the brain, a location associated with social and emotional judgment and planning according to imaging research. That might explain why people who have suffered strokes involving the lower frontal lobes of the brain may have alterations of personality which include loss of their sense of humour. Also why psychopaths whose brains are wired differently tend to have an infantile sense of humour.

Different types of funny

There are different kinds of humour including the following:

Affiliative humour – the style of humour used to enhance one’s relationships with others in a benevolent, positive manner. This style of humor is typically used in a benevolent, self accepting way. Individuals often use this kind of humour as a way to charm and amuse others, ease tension and improve relationships.

Self-enhancing humour is a style related to having a good-natured attitude toward life, having the ability to laugh at yourself, your circumstances and the idiosyncrasies of life in a constructive, non-detrimental manner.

Aggressive humour is a style potentially detrimental towards others. This type of humour is characterized by the use of sarcasm, put-downs, teasing, criticism, ridicule used at the expense of others. Aggressive humour often disregards the impact it might have on others. Prejudices such as racism & sexism are considered to be  aggressive humour.  At times it may seem like playful fun but sometimes the underlying intent is to harm or belittle others.

Self-defeating humour is characterised by the use of potentially detrimental humour towards the self in order to gain approval from others. Individuals high in this dimension engage in self-disparaging remarks where laughter is often at their own expense. Self-defeating humour often comes in the form of pleasing others by being the “butt” of the joke.

Does funny have a reason for being?

So what is the purpose of humour?

we need funny

what would life be without something funny?


Airing social taboos

If we can laugh at difficult subjects might we make it easier to discuss them? In my first collection of short stories Arsed End(s) I wrote about sexual harassment, boring relationships, funerals, infuriating hobbies and the end of the world. I’m a fan of dark humour. I think it has its place in this sub-category.

Social criticism

We can take a poke at local and national government, even specific ministers or presidents, corporations and institutions like Big Pharma or the police. George Orwell set his social criticism novel in a farmyard in Animal Farm. We could laugh at Napoleon the pig whereas in 1984 I don’t remember there being anything funny.

Consolidation of group membership

Jokes about one political party to confirm your allegiance to another. Humour based on the ‘easy’ life of a hospital consultant to establish membership of the junior doctor group. One football team against another. You get the picture.

Defence against fear and anxiety

Turning fears and anxiety into something to laugh about makes them less frightening: death, funerals, impotence, fear of flying, bad drivers etc.

Intellectual play

Clever sayings, puns and other plays on words. Witty reposts and dry one-liners. As Einstein said, creativity is intelligence having fun.

And that’s where I’d like us to leave it. Having fun. All this analysis of what makes things funny and how we assimilate that humorous information takes the shine off the fun, in my opinion. You have to wonder what the ancients laughed at. When some young blood cut his finger on his own sword in the Bronze Age you can bet the others didn’t sit around analysing what kind of funny they were sniggering at.

The oldest recorded joke in the history of mankind dates back to 1900 BC Sumeria:

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap”

It seems even the ancient Sumerians had a lavatorial sense of humour. I don’t get this ancient quip. I don’t find it at all funny. But I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter why. I obviously haven’t found all the answers yet to my questions about humour.

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Cheers! Have fun. Laugh a lot.

write from the heart