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Life Lessons from Pacman…sort of April 16, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Personal, Polyamory.
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Sometimes help comes from the places you are running from

Sometimes help comes from the places you are running from

So, earlier today I was playing some Pacman. I know, that’s like totes retro, but I was doing that shit before everyone else! Actually, I think I played like 3 games before a few weeks ago.  Damn, when did I become such a poser? Whatevs, it matters not because I was totally eating some chumps (that’s what I call eating the ghosts) when I noticed that I totally got distracted by something else and lost a life.

And I was all like damn, that sucks. Now I only have one extra life, I should totally bag this shit and start over. And then it occurred to me.

Dude, you just made a mistake, and you have more life left. Now stop whining and eat some fucking ghosts.

In other words, it’s not over yet, and from here it is all uphill if you manage to get over your shit. Yeah, you done fucked up, fool (he says to himself ironically). Now it’s time to realize that it’s ok to fuck up. Now it’s time to eat some motherfucking chumps.

pacmanchart

So, here’s the thing. I know some of you out there reading this hate me. I don’t care. I don’t hate you. Hate won’t help anything. One of the reasons I was so fucked up over the last couple of years is that I loved you all, at least to some extent, despite my pain that you caused me. And yeah, I know I caused my share of pain too. And I regret that, because I know I made it worse and because I hate hurting people I love. I don’t expect these words to matter to you. That’s not my problem anymore. I’m saying them because they are true, and because the truth matters to me more than looking weak, flawed, or what you’ll say in response.

So, keep calling me a sociopath. Keep calling me an abuser. Keep calling me anything that it feels good to call me. I will not be defined by misdiagnoses or my past mistakes. I’ve already, several times, admitted my own guilt. Everyone knows that I am flawed. But we’ve moved past the damnation of old religion, and we, as people with some wisdom, history, and culture beneath us can realize that deeds may scar us, but they do not cripple us if we learn to heal well.

And not all of us heal well.

And I know there are many of you out there that love me. And believe me, I believe it. For the first time, I actually believe it the vast majority of the time. You know who you are. Some of you I have had some distance from (for good reason), and some have been a daily part of my life. You are all lovely, and I am sorry for being a jerk sometimes and for asking for so much from you when I was not always giving as much back as I could have. I’m working on it.

You are not my strength; my strength is within. But you are the reflections of my strength, and I can only hope to be the reflection of yours.

I want to thank a few people, specifically, because they are all people who deserve some recognition. I cannot name all of you, and so I will use (hopefully amusing) nicknames or initials. I think you should all recognize yourselves.

pactheistD, Holy crap have I known you a long time. Seriously, we dated when I was in 10th grade. I mean, you knew me as a teenager, and you are still around. I’m glad. I hope the best for you, knowing that the next few years couple possibly be hard. But I believe in you (I almost said I had “faith” in you, lol), and think you can finally find true happiness.

N, you and I have known each other for something like 25 years. And getting to know you again, over the last few years, has been amazing. You are truly kind-hearted, brilliant, and perhaps a bit too dedicated. But you are lovely, and I feel honored that you share my affection.

RedPepperLover69, you are more patient, rational, and diplomatic than I could ever be. Your contributions to difficult things I had to write in the last year made me turn in different directions than I would have seen on my own. You are a good friend, and I will look forward to your many concoctions, parties, and your questionable taste in veggies.

My Southern Belle, we’ve had a strange path ourselves.  Distance is hard for me, but I feel like you are worth the patience, extra effort, and work it takes to overcome that. I feel that our similar experiences over the last year drew us together. I am quite glad that we are close, and that you have been so loving. I love you.

Pickle, We’ve had a few rough moments. Man, did we meet each other at the wrong time, perhaps. Or perhaps it was the right time. In any case, you’re energy has led me through some dark months.  I needed a lot of my own time, as you know, but you who were there many times when I had trouble bearing the hard nights. Thank you so much, and I love you.

RabbitDarling, you and I have gone from one side of a spectrum to another. There was a time where you were able to say words that hurt me very deeply, and I know that this hurts you to think about. None of that. You are more than forgiven (as I have said). Since then, you became (to me) to a person who continues to inspire growth, change, and the belief that when we’re out of fucks, sometimes it’s just better to bare ourselves to the world and hope they see us for who we want to be rather than who we sometimes end up being. Thank you.

Wangleschnifter, I do not know how to put in words how wonderful you have been for me. The start of us coincided with the beginning of the bad times. And yet you have the grace, wisdom, and heart to have been one of the central pieces of my life. You make me laugh, you make me smile, and you are lovely beyond measure. I plan on tolerating you for a long time to come, if I am ever so lucky.

And…

What do I call you? You. You know who you are. What are you to me? What are we? I don’t know. But I’m finally getting to the place where I’m not sure it matters much what label there is. You have been the best influence on me that I have ever known. And yet, perhaps in part because of this, you have been the one to teach me that I don’t need that influence from anywhere but within my own damned self (with the occasional re-direction from outside, when something is in my blind spots). I once thought I could not live without you. I now just think that I would strongly prefer not to, because the world is less beautiful without you in it.

And there are others, but there’s too much to say. I’m tired. I should sleep.

And so I need to close this, because my well has run dry for today. I stand before you all, naked, vulnerable, and a little bit scared. However, my fear is not from those who hate me, from people that love me, or even from myself. My fear is from lies I tell myself, and I’m no longer interested in being deceived, either by myself or others. I’m no longer interested in running from my fear.

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

For if you do, you might learn something. If you don’t, any knowledge you gain shall be purely accidental, or at least not earned.

Uninspired April 10, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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I have been unable to write, recently.

Part of it is that I’m going through some transitions, and I’m not quite sure where I stand on some things. I’m finding it hard to articulate nuances and distinctions, because I’m not sure where I stand within their mire.

Part of it is that I’m not sure if I have anything that I want to say. No, that’s not quite right. Part of it is that I’m not sure that I have anything worth reading.

But mostly? Mostly it’s just that I’m worn down.

I’m busy. I work all day, most evenings are full of time with partners, friends, and other activities. On paper, everything is great. I feel like I should have nothing major to complain about, as I have financial stability, excellent health , and I’m moving soon to a place further away from the toxicity that I have been mired in over the last couple of years.

And yet every time I try to write, it falls flat. Usually, when I write the action creates it own energy and the next thing I know an hour or two has gone by and I have written way too much (I edit, usually). These days, I get an idea, I get started, and then about 2 or 3 paragraphs in, it just dies away.

Just like that.

And now I don’t know what to say.

I’m trying, but it’s hard.
I hope to be back soon.

God’s Worst Idea April 2, 2015

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It’s funny… April 2, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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shaunphilly:

I’ve not been writing recently, mostly because I’m in a period of transition and re-consideration of some things. In lieu of writing, I wanted to share this excellent piece by my good friend RabbitDarling. Enjoy!

Originally posted on I could hide my own Easter eggs.:

It’s funny how seeing people publish your private communication without context or permission after a prolonged period of abuse and control makes you guard yourself so closely.  It bleeds into everything, at times.

“Will this person respect that my feelings about xyz in this moment might change?”
“Are my feelings publication-worthy, publication-safe?”
“Can I trust this person?”
“May I express something I don’t fully endorse right now?  That I might not endorse later?”
“Am I free in this relationship?”

Am I free in this relationship.  Free from?  Free to?
Is being fallible permitted? Will it be permitted after the relationship terminates?
Will words uttered in frustration now be used to alienate, control, shame me later?
It’s an excellent isolation technique.  It’s excellent blackmail.  It’s superb at silencing.

It’s extra strange because so much of my communication that was published by third parties was a product of how I was treated.   Of…

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Atlanta Poly Weekend! March 4, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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APWWell, I’ve got my ticket, booked my room, and so I’m headed down to Atlanta in June!

What am I talking about? Well, Atlanta Poly Weekend, of course. I first went when I was living down in Atlanta, and made friends with some of the people involved with it, and have enjoyed my experiences there.

And now that I have a real (as in, you know, adult) job, I can do things like spend a weekend in Atlanta, hanging out with a bunch of awesome people and hopefully having a lot of fun without worrying about it too much. After a few years of employment concerns, it’s really nice to have the freedom to be able to do these things, and I appreciate it much more after having struggled for a while, financially.

Also, I’ll get to see Steph while down there, from whom you can get these wonderful PolySkepticthemed gifts (I almost always wear mine, here’s her storefront). Because she’s far away, I don’t get to see her very often (although we talk pretty much every day), and conferences like this allow me to see far-away people.

I’m looking forward not only to the warmer weather which is coming, but trips over the next few months which will allow me to see loved ones, listen to some good talks, and to hopefully make new friends.

If you plan on going, feel free to stop me and say hello. I’m a bit shy, reticent even, but I am friendly.

In any case, I look forward to a great conference this Spring. I hope to see some of you there!

At a Distance February 27, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Personal, Polyamory.
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One of my personal love languages is physical touch, or affection. Being too distant, for too long, from a lover makes it really difficult to maintain the feeling of care, love, and appreciation for some of us. But it’s not impossible for a person who really values physical affection to find love, comfort and appreciation at a distance. Sometimes, it may take a little longer and you may have to shift your expectations and the way you express and accept love a little bit, but it can be done.

Long distance relationships have been difficult for me, over the years, and I really prefer to have people I’m involved with close, so that I can see them fairly frequently. Currently, I’m involved with three people. None of those people live in Philadelphia (where I live). Two of them are within an hour (or so) drive, but one is a few states away meaning that our relationship is maintained primarily through texting, phone conversations, and other forms of telecommunication.

It’s not necessary, I’m discovering, to cohabitate with partners to feel fulfilled (although, ultimately, I will probably want to with someone I’m partnered with). Nonetheless I require, to feel fully happy and loved, regular physical touch from people in my life. With one partner, that’s once a week (Saturday night/Sunday morning, usually), another it’s 1-2 days a week. With the third? Well, that’s a little different.

When someone lives  10 hours away, finding time to see them is more challenging.

Anticipation is a thing. For someone (like myself) who has struggled with patience all of my life, anticipation is a really difficult thing. Knowing that I will not be seeing someone whom I care about for weeks, months, or longer can be a really difficult thing to get through day to day. There are simply some times you want to cuddle with them, and not being able to do so is really difficult, for many of us.

Now, the fact that I have two other people I see regularly helps, but not completely.  Also, most of my relationship with my long-distance partner has been, well, long distance. In fact, we’ve only met once (a weekend last Summer), so I am sort of used to not being able to touch and be touched by them. But now that we are getting closer, trusting each other more, and are identifying as being more significant to one another I am definitely feeling the lack of physical touch more and more.

And I find myself looking forward to seeing her more and more, the closer it gets to our plans to spend a weekend together.

What do do?

So, for a person who might be struggling with this lack of physical presence, what might we do to make it better in the meantime?

Start with finding what kinds of alternative interactions are appreciated by your loved one. If you can’t hug, cuddle, and share physical intimacy with them this week or this month, what will you do?

First, you need to start by knowing how much your partner, lover, friend etc wants to interact with you. Some people are completely comfortable with only occasional interaction. They may be busy with other partners, personal projects, or they just may not need to interact with you as much as you’d like. Make sure that you are not being too needy or negligent, and find an amount of interaction that works for you both.

And keep in mind that sometimes the amount of contact, intimacy, and attachment you have for that partner may not match their desires and needs. It may be OK to occasionally say “hey, I really need to talk with you right now, can we please set aside some time now or soon to do so?” but there will be times when they may not want or have time for your attention. Just be sure to communicate when your needs don’t seem to match up.

Use your words, and know how important those words are to your partner. Express your feelings of appreciation and affection. Whether you’re rapport is periodic, comes in bursts of long conversation, or seemingly never ends, make sure that You are expressing how you feel about them in a way that is both meaningful and appreciated. And remember that not all people respond to words of affirmation in the same way. Some people don’t need to be reminded of how you feel, but others do appreciate hearing those kinds of words.

Conversation is a wonderful means towards intimacy and trust. Whether with friends, occasional lovers, or your live-in spouse, conversation can be a really important way to develop and maintain intimacy.  You don’t have to talk every day (and, in fact, many people won’t want to), but make time to talk and stay emotionally connected. When you are distant from each other in space, that conversation becomes the primary vehicle for relationships maintenance.

Make plans. OK, so you are not going to see them for a week, a month, or maybe not until the next conference. But try to make some plans to see each if you can. Knowing exactly when you will be seeing them can act as a focus for your feeling separated, and give some structure to the feelings of absence that you may be having. It gives you a goal to move towards, and (at least for me) the anticipation can be delicious while simultaneously frustrating.

But also be aware that some of us can, sometimes, put too much pressure on ourselves for these things. We create fantasies, ideals, and can also over-plan so that we can’t just let that time together create its own spontaneity. Having said that, I’m also aware that I err on the side of being too spontaneous, and tend to (perhaps) not plan enough. Be sure to communicate about expectations, desires, and activities you’d like to do (aside from just spend the weekend under the covers, lacking sufficient sleep and possibly nutrition….actually that doesn’t sound all that bad….).

Try to build memories and to make the most of that time together when you are there. Because if you are not going to see them for 2 weeks, a month, or 6 months, make sure that when you have that time, you appreciate it and are not getting caught up in concerns about what we are “supposed” to do, but that we are doing the things that we want to do.

Remember that distance can extend the normal NRE experience. New Relationship Energy tends to last anywhere from 6 months to about 2 years (if my memory serves me), depending on various factors I’m not an expert in. But that time can be extended when you don’t see each other as much. This means that there is potential for some of those really wonderful feelings that exist for the beginning of our relationships over a longer period of time with that distant partner.

This, has the possible draw back of making a long-distance relationship harder to maintain in the long run, however. What happens when, after 2-3 years, those visits become less new and shiny? Well, what do you do in any situation like that?

Sometimes, you just have to recognize that those ebbs and flows are going to come and go. Sometimes, you may have to re-discover new aspects of the relationship, and connect in new and different ways. Sometimes, you may just end up drifting apart in ways which are comfortable for both of you.

Sometimes, you may actually decide to re-locate. And then, maybe, that long-distance is not so long.

I’m thinking about all of this because I’m made steps towards becoming significantly closer to someone who lives far away from me. And while I will see her in a few weeks, it may be a while until I see her after that, and so I am simultaneously anticipating the trip, am wondering if 2-3 days will be long enough to stay (I mean, I could just decide to stay an extra day, I suppose), and am wishing that I were seeing her sooner.

And it’s weird, because it’s really rare that a develop feelings for someone at a distance. I think, maybe, that I am learning that affection and sexuality are important aspects of relationships for me, they are not necessarily the strongest altogether.  I’m learning more and more about myself, my capability to love, and what I have to offer is expanding with that understanding.

Three weeks!

Last summer, when we first met IRL

Last summer, when we first met IRL

Follow-up, Response, and a Call for Restorative Justice February 26, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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shaunphilly:

Wes emailed Rabbit Darling, and this was the result.

Originally posted on I could hide my own Easter eggs.:

[Content Warnings: Direct contact with Involved Party, references to manipulation, gaslighting, trauma, shared trauma, misdirection, victim-blaming.  Take care of yourselves, friends]

Preamble
As many of you know, I recently took a huge risk and publicly named my experiences with my former polycule, naming them explicitly, and staking my legal name and reputation on my claims.  I appreciate everyone signal boosting, sending support, and being respectful and careful about how they share my narrative.  It’s everything.

Below, you will see two communications from Wes to me received on 23 February 2015, with his permission to post them in their entirety (see addendum in Part Two, below).  My responses to Wes are engrossed within the body of his communication.  I am choosing to respond to him in the full light of public discourse in part to protect myself.  However, after speaking to the other involved parties (the ones known to me…

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Consent, Community, and the Importance of Leadership (via Frisky Fairy) February 23, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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Frisky Fairy has written up some thoughts about the situation going on with Wes Fenza, his being removed from the PLN, and what leadership requires of us.

I agree, generally, with her post. She is more optimistic than I am about the possibility of Wes’ (in particular) ability to make amends in an appropriate way (especially since he is still harassing and abusing at least one person close to me in the exact same way that we have been describing), but I will still hold out some hope that he will take responsibility for his mistakes, try to genuinely make meaningful amends, and alter his toxic behavior which dominates many of his relationships and interactions with people.

I believe in rehabilitation, restoration, and forgiveness. So far, Wes has shown no capability to even recognize he has done or is continuing to do anything wrong. On the contrary, his behavior has been the exact opposite of that. While I was at the talk, given by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, about Abuse in poly dynamics, I was sitting in the back of the room, while Wes sat directly up front. At some point in the talk, it seemed to me (And not only to me, BTW) that Franklin and Eve were describing him and his behavior to the room, while he sat directly in front of them on his phone (seemingly tweeting about the hashtag #AbuseInPoly, which some of the people he’s hurt took exception to) and chatting with a woman next to him off and on.

Ginnytweet

Ginny’s response to some of Wes’ tweets about #AbuseInPoly

I don’t know what he was talking about with the woman next to him, but he seemed to be flirting. Here we were, talking about abuse, which he had been accused of, removed from the PLN because of those accusations, and he had the myopic temerity to not only be tweeting about #AbuseInPoly during the talk but also to be potentially flirting with a woman next to him while a very difficult and emotional presentation was going on.

What the actual fuck?

It’s like he’s completely incapable of even considering that maybe, just maybe, he’s done anything wrong.

I hope that changes.

Abuse, Exploitation, and Narrative Control in Polyamory February 23, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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shaunphilly:

Here is RabbitDarling’s most recent post, concerning the abusive patterns of people formerly in her life. #AbuseInPoly

[I’m disabling comments for this post. Post comments on the site linked, where RD can control the conversation.]

Originally posted on I could hide my own Easter eggs.:

[Content Warning: Manipulation, abuse, victim grooming, sexual assault, physical assault, mild reference to BDSM themes, toxic relationships, general squick]

[Author’s note: this account, while full, is not exhaustive or replete.  It can’t be.  There are hundreds of moments I could include in this narrative that illustrate and illuminate the dynamics of the relationships I’ve survived, and despite which, have chosen to thrive and flourish.  Comments will remain open, but as always, moderated strictly by me, prior to posting publicly. ]

Being in an abusive or exploitative plural relationship is a lot like falling asleep in the bathtub with the lights out and no map.  Wait.  Let me explain.

Okay, so let me back up.  Have you ever fallen asleep in a hot bath?  I do it with some regularity.  It’s a rather odd experience and feels as close as I can get to describing what it’s like to find yourself…

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Wes Fenza, The Polyamory Leadership Network, and Spinning Tables February 20, 2015

Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
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There’s no good way to start a post like this. This is a difficult post to compose, and a terrifying one to publish. But I don’t feel as if I can leave this unsaid.

I feel as if I must say a few of things about Wes Fenza, because I think it’s worth saying in the interest of people within our community being able to make more informed decisions concerning an individual who seeks to have influence and respected status within our community.

Many people out there like Wes Fenza. Hell, I did at first as well. He’s smart, entertaining, and he throws a pretty good party. Then I lived with him and his family for 18 months or so, and eventually saw beneath the mask he wears for most people and saw him behave abusively to many people, myself included. Later, I found out that he was much more than a mere assclown, but we’ll get to that.
Recently, his family has been painting themselves publicly as the victims of a vendetta and smear campaign, the seeming intention of which is to ruin their reputation, by people formerly close to them.
And what form has this imagined vendetta taken?
Wes was, for a while, a member of the Polyamory Leadership Network (PLN). He isn’t a member any more.
Wes was removed from the PLN due to some people coming out from their various hiding places in order to tell their stories about how he had abused, sexually assaulted, and manipulated them. I don’t know very much about those stories, but what I do know is deeply upsetting to me and all too familiar. From what I know about the people who contacted the PLN, they were offended, hurt, and angry that a person who was so criminally insensitive to boundaries, consent, and the truth was allowed to be in a position of any respect or leadership within our community. If Wes Fenza is to be representative of our community, then we are failing as arbiters and examples of healthy and loving relationships.

Wes, as well as his family, seem to think this action was the result of an ongoing campaign by “delusional” people who have been trying to smear his reputation. Nobody has done more to damage the reputation of Wes than he has done through his own actions. Nobody had to make up any stories, all they need to do is talk about their experiences with him and his reputation takes the hit it deserves.

The fact that a growing list of people have started to speak about their experiences is a sign not of a conspiracy to ruin them, but of something much simpler; it’s an attempt to warn people of what he has done, how he responds to people he hurts, and how he tries to control narratives to protect his image.

What people are responsible, according to him? Well, he apparently thinks this is “team Shaun” in action. Let me make something absolutely clear; I had nothing to do with the process to remove him from the PLN.  In fact, I did not know he was a member until I was informed that the process was already initiated to remove him. I did not initiate the complaints nor did I contribute when it was brought to my attention that it was going to happen. I knew about it because some of the people involved informed me, but I decided to keep my distance from the process.

Wes does not know who was responsible for him being removed from the PLN, but that does not stop him and his partners from casting blame and crying “abuse” towards the people he assumes it was. He may have some guesses as to who is responsible (I mean, all he has to do is remember who he abused, right?), but the fact is that this action was not a smear campaign by any “League of Evil Exes.” This was the result of a number of people, unknown to him, sharing their stories with the PLN, and the PLN taking appropriate action.

His pointing blame towards the people who have been abused by him, and calling them “evil,” is nothing more than an attempt to re-frame themselves as the victims; it’s a distraction.  Calling the people who Wes has emotionally abused, sexually assaulted, and manipulated (among other infractions) “evil” is hugely inappropriate at very least.

People have come out, bravely, to share their stories and they are being treated as the aggressors. Let me emphasize this; people who have had the strength of character to stand up against a man who abused, manipulated, and sexually assaulted them are being mocked, dismissed, and attacked publicly for daring to tell their stories–and not only by him! For a person who talks a lot about consent, ethics, and abuse, I find that highly problematic, disturbing, and horrifying.

Speaking only for myself, I wish I could put this all behind me more easily, but a year of actual smear campaigns against me, PTSD caused by the abuse leveled against me, and running into other people with similar experiences has not allowed it to die away. Wes and his family claim to want to be able to move on and not be bothered by others’ “misery and delusional hatred” of them, but those who commit abuse while claiming to want to move on are tragically missing the point.  When you hurt people, you don’t get to simply move on and put it behind you.

Wesley Fenza is not only manipulative and abusive, but when he is confronted with these facts he consistently turns the accusation around and paints himself as the victim. I’ve rarely heard him even directly address the accusations (in fact, when you directly accuse him of hurting you at that very moment, he has been known to ignore it and argue with you more), because he understands that a good offense is better than playing defense. Also, some of his friends and family have flatly denied that there is any reason to take the allegations seriously. The fact is, Wes is not universally abusive, so those who don’t receive it (at least, not often) get to be his choir.

speaking up [edited title]

[edited for clarity and out if respect for privacy]The people Wes has harmed [/edited] have been speaking up over the last year about his behavior, and will continue to do so until he actually takes some responsibility for his actions. Wes and his family can dismiss us, mock us, and ignore his deep flaws and crimes all they want, but we are not “planning attacks”.  To the contrary, we are responding to the toxic, abusive, and unconscionable behavior shown by Wes. Whereas I (for I can only represent myself) have been forthcoming about my mistakes, Wes has never acknowledged his own without blaming someone else for them or simply denying it.

Wes has cultivated credibility both locally and nationally. He likes attention.. That he speaks at conferences and goes about the poly world publicly decrying the behaviors he often practices in his private life is hugely problematic for the people he has hurt, those he seeks to control, and the polyamorous community as a whole. And, to our partial relief, some of that community is listening now.

There are too many stories, too many people, and to much harm done for those of us who Wes has hurt to remain quiet. Even if I were to stop writing about this, others have their own stories to share. RabbitDarling has shared part of hers here (and elsewhere), previously (and she has more, if she decides to share it). I have written some things too. I have heard the stories of others, and if they decide to share, they will.

We are not delusional and we are not wrong. And we are not afraid to speak about what we know.

Addendum

No doubt that Wes and his family will respond to this, as is their wont. He will invariably try to re-focus the attention on what we have done to hurt his family, which has become their childish “nu uh” narrative. In anticipation, allow me to say one last set of things.

relevant

relevant.

I have been talking with some close friends over the last few days about whether to post this or not. We all know the type of response he will make. We all know that writing such things will not convince them, or anyone they are close to, of anything. I write such a thing knowing what kind of response we have gotten thus far, and that writing this will not likely change Wes’ behavior or his family from crying “we’re being attacked.”

But here’s the thing. Every night this last week, I have not been able to sleep well. Why? Because stepping out of the shadows, being in the same social space as Wes, is terrifying to me. Writing this was terrifying to me. Publishing it is, I believe, necessary, but terrifying. I’m traumatized. Not pretend traumatized, but actually terrified of his lack of scruples or concern for any meaningful self-reflection.

So, why am I speaking? Am I crazy? Am I delusional? Am I maliciously trying to ruin his reputation so that I can “win” (that’s their goal; to “win”)? No. I have had moments when I thought I might be seeing this wrong, but the more I have talked with other people hurt by him, the more I see the pattern of how he inflicts fear, destruction of self-esteem, and unhealthy self-doubt in people. He actually rationalizes his emotionally abusive behavior, in some cases, by saying that he treats people who he trusts and respects that way (they should be so lucky!).

nice, 'stache, bro

nice, ‘stache, bro

The process seems to be to treat some people who gets within his trust/respect sphere like an asshole, and anyone who does not object to being treated like shit? keep them.  If you object, then he argues with you, berates you, and only occasionally is nice to keep you guessing. It’s a bombardment upon self-worth he launches until either you turn out to be able to take some selfish mistreatment (or are equally willing to give it to the same targets), you submissively relent, or you are deposed from the court of Lord Wesselton and labeled as “terrible,” not worth his time, or “abusive” for daring to tell people what he did.

And also to treat the people he knows he won’t get away with that bullshit decently. You know, mostly.

Wes creates, within the people he repeatedly hurts, the fear that has two edges. If you say anything, you know he will respond with his rhetoric and effectively market himself as the victim. If you say nothing, then he can continue to paint whatever narrative he likes, knowing that if you later speak up then he’ll be able to call you “dishonest” for not saying anything sooner, “delusional” because what you are saying does not match the narrative he subsequently manipulated people around him to believe, and “abusive” because playing the victim allows him to turn the tables on those he hurts. No need to actually deny anything, because everyone’s too busy wondering if it’s true that Wes has been judged unfairly.

Arguing with him, when he’s being abusive in the way that many people have seen, is pointless and only seeks to deepen the hurt he’s causing while allowing him to paint his own victimhood and distance himself from addressing how he’s hurting someone. It’s sort of brilliant, is a terrifying way. Power, control, and manipulation at its sociopathic best.

The more I have become convinced that my experiences, feelings, and thoughts about Wes are not only valid, but shared by many others, the more I’m certain that this needs to be said publicly. And yet, I write this knowing I’ll receive more abuse, whining, and counter-narrative from him.

Why would I put myself through this, unless I thought that it was necessary? What do I have to gain by this? There are plenty of people who have hurt me, who I don’t like, and who I would not speak reverently of in private. Why stick my neck out here? Why take this risk? Why expose myself to the inevitable and childish responses?

Simple: he’ll keep doing it.

[images removed. It was wrong for me to include screenshots of private posts not directly relevant to Wes’ behavior]

[RabbitDarling has posted more of her side of the abusive, exploitive, and narrative-controlling aspects of the Fenzorselli home. She talks about things that I could not, and I appreciate her willingness to step forward. She has my full support.]

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