Reactions to Abuse Victims

Video I’m discussing

Context video

They’re short; I’ll assume you watched them.

The creator also gave more context in a comment:

This was at a Christmas party and they all told me he wasn’t going to be there and I wouldn’t see him. I didn’t go to Christmas this year

From the comments:

It always gotta be the abused person accommodating the family and never the family accommodating (and supporting) the abused🥴

this is the perfect video to describe my situation atm, older brother S/A me as a kid (he’s 10 years older than me–he knew better) and my mom asking why i can’t forgive him

SA = sexual assault

@stephkosteckicooper:And that’s why I refuse to go, because we all know the toxic family member will ALWAYS show up. The family will ALWAYS side with them🥺

Lol then the guilt trips start ab how ur tearing the family apart :crazy_face:

ab = about

ur = you’re

fr my little brother & I haven’t gone to our last 2 family events because we are both so uncomfortable around our older brother and my mom ignores it.

fr = for real

meeee!!! put hands on for the LAST time. my mom wants me to get over it without even an apology on his side.

I go through this every day with my father and I’m the “bitch” cuz I can’t “let things go” don’t force yourself! It’s your trauma!!

bestie if my brother walked in on christmas this year it would’ve been on sight fr

bestie = friendly way to address a stranger, pretending (with no intent to fool anyone) like they’re your best friend. here, bestie refers to the video creator who the comment is replying to

on sight = would physically fight them, with no warning or discussion, if they come within sight of you

Why I won’t tell my family that my cousin SA’d me. Ik they won’t cut him out.

ik = i know

My family with the cousin who SA’d me

I have one of these. Apparently waiting for an apology is too much to ask because “I should get over it”

Wow and I thought it was just me. Everyone is so willing to overlook the problems he caused but I see right through the act

Not picking sides IS picking a side. I will never understand some people

In other contexts, people get mad at Ayn Rand for saying that.

If the family cared they can and will do something about it. My parents banned him from holidays and have defended me tooth and nail

my grandmas exact words were “i believe he did it, but i forgive him”. cut that family out. i promise it’s better without them

The creator responded to that one with:

They all say they don’t want to pick sides but they already proved they have :broken_heart: :woman_shrugging:t3:

"I’m not choosing sides: = “I’m siding with the abuser”

Ugh.

My mom trying to get me to talk to brother on Christmas. “I didn’t know that you weren’t speaking.” No, you know. It’s been like 4 years lol :joy:

The creator replied:

I’m so sorry but it’s even worse when they act like they didn’t know

There are lots more comments saying stuff like “same” or how they relate to this video.

It’s disturbing both how common SA is and how badly other people react to those situations. It’s important information about what society is like that I think many people do not have integrated into their worldview.

My friend explained to me that the social dynamics work this way:

If you victimize one person in your social group, but don’t bother the whole group, then people try to ignore it. If the victim tries to bring it to the attention of the group, they are blamed for harming group harmony.

My friend also explained something similar: sometimes there’s one person in a group who is toxic and everyone dislikes it but tries to ignore it. If you call out some bad behavior, you get blamed for any public fighting that happens.

Dynamics like these are part of why people learn to be passive aggressive or otherwise try to avoid open conflict and learn to take part in covert ways of fighting.

There are parallels with the David Deutsch harassment. Lots of people are unsympathetic to me, the abuse victim, when they see me as trying to bring the issue to wider attention and disrupt group harmony and potentially damage his reputation by speaking out. They want me to just drop it and suffer in silence. I’ve received negative reactions for not dropping it (even though the abusive actions are ongoing right now and disrupting my life on a daily basis), and I’ve received little support or help even from fans.

SA is worse than my situation but some of the social dynamics are similar. And seeing responses to SA helps me understand the responses I get. I found it hard to understand how people were being so awful about my abuse. But tons of people react in bad ways like these for more severe cases. I’ve also seen grossly inadequate reactions, including from the police and courts, to much worse cases of stalking than has happened to me (many women get no help when stalked IRL plus death threatened, whereas I’ve only been stalked online and I haven’t received a death threat).

I grew up in the California Bay Area around lefty progressive social values and, in short, I thought people actually meant them. I took them seriously. Behavior like this is pretty unthinkable to me. I’m now convinced that it’s just lip service for a lot of people.

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I’m going to tell the story of how the harassment campaign looked from my perspective as an outsider / newcomer, because I think it highlights some of the ways that harassment functions.

I first read your DD harassment articles earlier this year before I had read very much of your writing. My initial impression was that you were an attention-seeking weirdo trying to slice off a piece of DD’s fame, or a “petulant child” (anti-TCS terminology I know, sorry), or something like that. At first, I didn’t even believe you that you had collaborated with DD closely in the past, since in a few years of lurking on CR Twitter I had never seen your name mentioned or your articles linked to (in hindsight, now I see that this actually is part of the harassment campaign). I think I had even done a lot of Google searches for CR-related stuff back when I first discovered FoR/BoI a few years ago, and I don’t remember finding this website (in hindsight, maybe part of the reason was that Google was downranking it because of the right-wing stuff? not sure).

Nonetheless, there were many ways I could have checked that you were indeed telling the truth, but I didn’t care to think critically about it or look into it. I am a huge fan of DD’s physics papers and books, so I just assumed that my (former) hero DD and his associates must have been right and that you must have been lying or “overly sensitive” or something. This was a pretty awful policy in hindsight.

The only reason I did end up looking into it / thinking about it was that I was reluctantly still interested in your articles / blog posts, and as I continued to read them it became more and more apparent that the person who wrote this stuff could not possibly be the weirdo I initially thought he was. I had to check my premises.


I think that the key part of the story is the part that I bolded. Unfortunately, I think that almost everyone commits evasions like that if they can. To me, this explains how the social dynamics legitimizing abuse can continue to exist: I consider myself much more rational than the average person, and yet it’s really easy for me to imagine an alternative reality where I never corrected my mistaken judgement.

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Unfortunately I don’t know what to do about that. I think it would help with that problem if more people promoted me, linked me, challenged DD, etc. But TBH people barely share my stuff on e.g. Reddit with no context of challenging anyone/anything. There’s something broken there but it’s hard to fix. It’s related, in various ways, to our society not being set up for merit to float to the top or go viral automatically just because it’s good (DD used to tell me repeatedly “build it and they will come” – meaning just have merit and the rest will take care of itself – which was wrong, misleading, and not the strategy he used for his own life. But he also, contradictorily, told me to build a reputation by publishing academic papers.)

BTW, I recently spoke with a CritRat who also found and likes my articles who claims it’s too boring to look into the harassment, so he will be neutral … by continuing to hang out with and be publicly friendly with my abusers. He can’t decide who is right between my case that he doesn’t want to read, and their case that they have never written and don’t offer … which maybe shouldn’t even require reading anything to make a judgment about.

Boredom would be a shocking excuse to use in an SA case, but I do think it’s common in SA cases that people aren’t sure someone is guilty and don’t want to see the evidence or hear the arguments to be convinced.

Every regular in the community knew about my relationship with DD (to some extent – I guess many knew only partially but I didn’t recognize the problem much at the time) for years but DD didn’t publicly proclaim it very explicitly or frequently. He did sometimes, e.g. in the BoI acknowledgements. At the time, I didn’t really notice this or see it as important. But now there’s much less record of public proof. That’s one of the reasons I shared quotes of a bunch of things he privately said about it.

He now treats Lulie in the same way. It’s no secret in the community that she’s something kinda like his righthand man. But he never really actually says that. He avoids committing himself to many public opinions about her, as he did with me previously, and as he also did with his TCS-cofounder. Also a lot of people don’t know that his promotion of Lulie is nepotism, and also many of them don’t seem to notice that she has written only a handful of articles in her life and none for years. She brags about not being self-coerced and TCS skill, but she is a liar who is too coerced to do content creation or to study philosophy. She used to tell me, year after year, how she planned to study TCS and actually learn it, and thought it was really important that she actually do that. But she was too self-coerced to study it. So eventually, after never going through a process of studying and learning TCS, she started claiming publicly to be a TCS expert. Brett Hall is similar – he admitted in writing on the discussion forum that he’s not much of a philosopher and not interested enough to study epistemology more – he thought he should but he still didn’t do it. Then, without fixing that problem, he found that some people (on Twitter and YouTube but not on the TCS/FI/CF forums) would accept him has a philosophical leader and teacher, and he liked that social status and reputation, and leaned into it more and more. He, like Lulie, likes unearned respect. And he, like Lulie and the rest, was never clear about their criticisms of me, reasons for rejecting me, etc. Now they say those reasons in private gossip and do their best to not let me find out what they’re saying about me, for fear I’d refute it, and they’ve kept doing this while knowing severe harassment is taking place and that they’re actively encouraging it.

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Yeah, Google ranks me lower than Bing or DDG does, and right-wing content is my best guess about why. I advise everyone to change their default search engine away from Google.

Note how your Objectivist ideas play a positive role in your story and help you see and overcome some important errors.

After turning against me (years after DD did, and under heavy pressure from DD), Lulie spent a couple years tweeting against Objectivism. She attacked Oism as a proxy for attacking FI (while never naming me or FI) and as a way to separate herself from FI and justify disliking me (I’m bad because I’m Oist). Oism is one of the main wedge issues they use against FI. It’s a major part of FI that they found more possible to turn against and start hating.

Attacking Oism was one of the ways she tried to preemptively poison the CritRat Twitter community against me. If she can get them to hate and scorn Oism, and to reject it without being willing to consider or debate it, then anyone like that won’t give me a chance. The more she flames Oism and teaches her followers that Oism=outgroup, the more it won’t matter if some of them eventually find my stuff. She also tweeted attacks on other FI themes for a few years, without ever naming me or FI, and without any kind of open or honest debate. She’d just attack her own misstatements and misframings of ideas she never named or linked to. She’d keep the stuff she attacked similar enough to my ideas that if someone listened to her, then found me, he’d be likely to recognize that I was making some of the mistakes that Lulie had already explained were really bad. This was largely subtle and would fool pretty much anyone who hadn’t been around the community for years before she left it, since they wouldn’t know her history as well as my ideas well enough to make lots of connections and be confident it’s not a coincidence. She still occasionally posts indirect public justifications for disliking or betraying me – though not as often – and I’m sure she says much worse in private. Somewhat recently she said something in favor of ruthlessly blaming others and hating them without being willing to listen to what they said at all, which was a confession of her attitude towards me.

1388904141049696258 2021-05-02 10:12:06 -0800 @MasterKingStar This is missing a step when it comes to people who were abusive to or traumatising for you: Ruthless blame. In the privacy of your own mind, going over everything they did wrong, everything that hurt you. Caring for past-you. Without this, it can be impossible to truly forgive. | 0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes

With her mindset of “Ruthless blame”, and continually going over in her mind stuff she thinks I did wrong – while allowing no discussion or rebuttal – she’s managed to create a bunch of rationalizations and justifications for hating me. She now considers me an abuser who traumatized her (how? because my philosophical criticism was incompatible with her quest for self-esteem, and she kept lying that she wanted it so I shared more?). That feeds the harassment campaign. Her hostile beliefs are fragile to criticism and argument, but her Twitter following is heavy on yes-men, beta orbiters and simps.

She’s written over 100 tweets about me since she stopped speaking with me. DD doesn’t do that on Twitter, though he did write that smear of Ayn Rand that was actually mostly about me. They pick specific parts of Oism to attack which they associate with me and with their conflicts with me – but they never wanted to debate those issues to my face.

It’s weird. Or maybe not that weird. Messy psychological problems are common. Having a big following like DD’s and then being unwilling to ask them not to harass is reasonably uncommon though. Tons of social media creators ask their followers not to harass over much smaller issues (that’s an example or merit prospering – lots of the people who get popular actually are more responsible and reasonable than their fans).

https://www.tiktok.com/@jessimmar/video/7048364112631450886

You see the people tagging Walmart and complaining? Walmart is going to belatedly fix this (at least like a refund, maybe not actually compensating her for the hassle).

If lots of people did that with DD and other CritRats, things would change.

Lots of people tagging Walmart are not even fans of the creator they’re doing it for. They’re just bystanders who are willing to complain about injustice.

For my case, not only do bystanders not complain like that, my fans don’t either.

DD, like Walmart, will only respond to pressure, not reason.

(Tangentially there’s something really screwy about how much most big companies seem to think being seriously hated by a lot of the public doesn’t matter. Partly they are trying not to be hated but they’re bad at it, but I really don’t think they’re trying their best. And everyone seems to think that’s just “capitalism” – putting profits before reputation, decent treatment of employees and customers, etc. But of course being strongly hated is bad for profits and has consequences, including that comment advocating and justifying shoplifting from Walmart, as well as the people who flame your store over the loudspeaker – and post it as a viral video – when they quit.)

Another thing you took seriously is what DD said about his beliefs and preferences about problem solving and truth seeking. You thought he meant them, and you tried to engage with him in the way that he said he preferred and thought was best. But he didn’t actually like that or want that.

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I think a lot of the CritRats think Elliot is lying about how closely associated with DD he was. They think he was just a fan of DD, like how they are fans of DD now.

A lot of those same people have also gotten mad about Elliot sharing private messages and emails from DD. But if Elliot never actually had any kind of close association or relationship with DD (as they claim), then in what way were any of the messages DD sent him really “private”? They would just be emails/messages sent to a fan from a public figure, which doesn’t have an expectation of privacy.

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This made me think of something you said in one of your harassment posts:

Lulie told me that she was scared that David would dump her like he dumped me, and stop speaking to her, helping her with money, or helping her career (and she has no other career prospects besides trying to be the intellectual that David wants). She told me that David promised not to dump her, and said everything was fine, but that she didn’t trust him and was under extreme duress. She said she was unable to rationally discuss the matter with me due to the pressure from David.

Lulie was afraid that DD will drop her, like he did to you. The fact that he never outright endorses her makes that even easier for him to do to her. He could easily just drop her, stop retweeting her or acknowledging her at all, and pretend that they never had any kind of close relationship. And the public record would make it seem unbelievable that they ever did have that kind of relationship, given the way he was treating (ignoring) her now.

So his treatment of her actually makes it more plausible that he could just drop her like that. And then she would look like the “crazy” one to people if she tried to tell them the truth about what happened. She would just seem like some crazy scorned fangirl.

I wonder if she knows this and is still afraid that he might do that to her.

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If she didn’t know before, she might now, since lots of CritRats read my stuff while simultaneously ghosting me (which is unusual).

Some other CritRats don’t read my stuff regularly but are friends with someone who does who talks about me. For example, my best guess is that SFC doesn’t read my stuff regularly (though I don’t really know, these people are obsessed with me enough that she still might after all these years), yet she updated her website to stealth edit her quotes page and remove a misquote within a week of a curi.us comment criticizing her misquote. Curiosity – David Deutsch and Sarah Fitz-Claridge Publish Misquotes I think she removed it because her misquote was a purposeful attempt to sanitize slavery by hiding the racial element (she made her quote inaccurate by deleting the word “negro”), not because she cares about misquotes. Apparently she needs me to tell her that’s bad, and her own community doesn’t point that out, and she uses my help in order to improve her website so her readers think she’s better than she is, but at the same time that she’s using my help to improve her stuff she hates me. It’s similar to how Dennis Hackethal plagiarized me then used my post complaining about the plagiarism to help him figure out some edits to make (without giving me credit – further plagiarism), and he hates me and harasses me and won’t speak to me at all … but he keeps reading me.

Why do people tend to think/assume that? Because they look at the world in terms of social status. They don’t think a high status person would closely associate with a low status person who doesn’t have some way in like being DD’s cousin or dating DD’s high status friend.

In a way, they’re insulting DD. He’s actually better than that. He isn’t only willing to talk to high status people. He partially tries to look at merit.

Lots of the CritRats, as well as my fans, act like I’m super high status, in some ways. They aren’t consistent about it. But there’s a high level of obsession, and treating me as important, and sometimes talking about my ideas as if they are general public knowledge that you’d expect anyone to be familiar with (as if I was a household name, because I’m a big enough deal in their mind to feel like a household name to them, on the order of DD or KP).

LT kept tweeting stuff related to me all the time, for years, after we stopped speaking.

DD is scared of my criticism. He can’t see me as someone who doesn’t matter who no one will listen to. In his mind, my critiques matter so much that it’s hard for him to write anything in public where I could see it and comment. LT told me that this is why he basically hasn’t written anything since BoI. When he tries to write, he thinks of me and what criticism I might say, and he can’t deal with it.

Yeah he literally never was like “ok let’s try to find a common preference about our problem”. He never tried to do CP finding. When I asked explicitly to try to find a common preference, he basically acted like I was trying to control him by making demands.

He also explicitly told me that I could be myself and that he could deal with it fine. He said I had a talent for annoying or alienating people by e.g. arguing logically with them, but that he had a talent for being immune to it so it wouldn’t cause any problems with him. And that seemed to work OK for years.

There were other things he explicitly told me that were relevant. E.g. for the first couple years I was concerned about taking up his time when he had important things to do like write books. I was impressed with him. So I asked him about that several times. I asked if I should leave him alone more, if I was bugging him, if I shouldn’t ask for too much of his time, etc. And every time I brought that up, he told me not to worry about it. He told me that he can make his own choices about how to spend his time. He told me that I’m not bugging him, he likes me, and he’ll respond to what he wants to and not respond to what he doesn’t want to. He told me to keep saying whatever I want to him and that that was not a problem.

DD guided us to have a relationship that operates on explicit requests. E.g. one time he didn’t like something I wrote. His friend told me that. I brought it up. DD told me that he didn’t want to control what I wrote, and that if he’d wanted to make a request of me, he would have said it. He wanted me to go by what he chose to request. He did not want me to guess his feelings and try to take into account unstated preferences. He wanted to choose and control what preferences he expressed to me. (I think in that case he was trying to shield me from his irrationalities, like he advised TCS parents to do with their children. He was also trying to act in accordance with values like free speech.)

BTW this, like most of my other posts in this thread, is from memory, not exact wordings.

Why do people lie that they want criticism when they don’t want it? That’s a recurring problem.

Partly to posture and pretend to be more rational than they are. Partly they are bad at saying what they want in words – that’s a widespread problem people have on all sorts of topics.

But I think a big part of it is a specific dishonesty. They want me to help them fake reality. They want to say “I want your best criticism” and then for me to say “Here is my best criticism” and then give them softballs or praise. They want me to be dishonest for their benefit.

I think DD genuinely didn’t mind my best criticism earlier on when I knew less. It was less challenging or threatening then.

EDIT: At least he was OK with that earlier criticism when it was in private. He purposefully pushed lots of discussions to be private. Even early on, I wanted to talk in public a lot. I didn’t see the point of excluding people. I’d often start discussions by writing an email to a public list – which was meant primarily for DD – and then DD would reply with an off-list email or an email to a less public list, or he wouldn’t reply and I’d ask him about it on IMs and then he’d reply there.

LT’s reaction to that stuff, at the time, was like “oh yeah, I always thought you were more rational than DD”.

You can hide your irrationalities way better over text chat than from someone you spend tons of time with IRL who you have a lot of power over – who’s somewhat like your kid – who has to figure out how to navigate your moods and preferences in order for her life to go smoothly.

Keeping irrationalities out of text chat is partly good and partly bad. For a while, I got to interact with something like a better version of DD. Partly he was sheltering me from his flaws. He tried to put his best face forward and live up to his ideals some using behavior (text communications) that he had more control over than his IRL behaviors. (We talked on video chat and met IRL, but the bulk of our communication was in text.) But it was very misleading about the level of rationality that existed in the world or was available to talk with. It was also very misleading about whether my conversations with DD would continue until he died of old age, or not.

DD was big on privacy. He told me: On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog (unless you tell them). He thought it was good for kids to hide their ages, people who aren’t conventionally attractive to hide their appearances, etc. (He also thought people who are conventionally attractive should hide their appearance. Partly, he thought someone might say some nasty judgment and then you’ll feel bad and be unable to unhear it. Similar to how he thought it was dangerous to ever take a school test because you might fail and be unable to unknown that judgment that was placed on you.) I presume this applied to other disfavored groups like blacks or jews. And you could get really angry and hide that by not typing it, taking a break, calming down, and saying something totally different later. He thought that people not knowing stuff about you prevented bigotry and other irrational judgments, and also prevented them from knowing about your irrelevant flaws that you could keep out of your writing, and that was great.

There are some positives to that stuff and privacy but also some negatives. Sometimes people hide relevant information or are misleading in bad ways. In retrospect, I see that DD in fact did that to me. He was able to hide his emotions and irrational reactions much more in text than IRL, and he let them escalate to a breaking point – bad enough to motivate a whole harassment campaign – while putting a lot of work into hiding what was going on.

BTW, why didn’t he drop me earlier, before he disliked me so strongly? Why didn’t he just drop me when he disliked me a little bit? So then there wouldn’t be a significant grudge and there’d be no harassment campaign. The reason is that he’s obsessed with me and needy/desperate. He doesn’t know anyone better. He didn’t have anyone else good to have intellectual conversations with. He doesn’t respect e.g. Dawkins or Harris. His access to prestigious people doesn’t give him access to stuff he considers good ideas or good criticism. He saw me as basically his only option and he’s still been pretty much entirely unable to replace me. Also, because he dropped me, he lost access to other people who like me. Even without the harassment, I don’t see how it would have worked well to drop me but keep having discussions with other people from my community. There’s a shortage of rationality to meet and chat with in the world – it’s a hard problem – but my situation in that regard is better than DD’s. There’s something screwy about DD’s attitude. Like he’s intellectually lonely but he wasn’t sending Szasz emails. Why not? I emailed with Szasz a bunch for the year before his death. DD could have been having discussions with Szasz for decades. Similarly, I’ve talked with Reisman some and DD hasn’t. And I had a better conversation with Aubrey de Grey than DD ever did. I also tried to get DD to talk with some of my smart friends and he wasn’t very interested. Maybe he thought I was the only one who was any good, and didn’t think anyone else was worth talking to seriously, and he had given up on everyone else so much he wouldn’t even try. I think he had internal contradictions so there’s no elegant, reasonable explanation to make his choices all make sense.

There’s something screwy about how fragile DD was to judgments (and he thought ~everyone was or something). It’s really weird to think a homeschooler should never ever go take a standardized test (e.g. the SAT for college admissions) because they might do badly and then know about a judgment by society/the-test-creators/authority/etc on them. He seemed to think if you know people disapprove of you or think you’re bad, that’s coercive, so you need to stay ignorant of such negative judgments. This is a really irrational view that contradicts a bunch of other stuff he said. Why can’t we be strong and form our own opinions about any judgments/criticisms/insults/etc and not care about negative opinions that we disagree with?

If I do poorly on a test, I can judge for myself whether I value being good at the stuff that’s tested. And if I do, I can study it and improve. If I don’t, I can not care, even though some other people do care about that test and have low opinions of me. I don’t have to be coerced and scared about this.

Does DD think playground name calling is super coercive and a big deal, and it’s really important to keep your kid out of school so they never once experience it and never find out about mean judgments from other kids? Because once they hear the insults, now they have this big scary problem that they can’t forget? Ugh. People need to be resilient, strong, robust, powerful, able to cope, etc., not scared of everything.

This is an example of the shit people will say to you if they can see what you look like:

https://www.tiktok.com/@riadaaraes/video/7048008183327214895

(My friend coincidentally sent me that link just now. Such things are common enough that it isn’t much of a coincidence.)

There are many other problematic things they will say.

But people get to see you and speak to you IRL, so you better figure out how to cope. Hiding your picture online is not an adequate solution.