When we think of cults, we think of creepy chants and sketchy charismatic leaders who victimize vulnerable people. We tend to imagine it as a sinister thing that happens elsewhere and would be impossible for "normal" people in "the real world" to fall into.
We would be terrifyingly wrong.
One Reddit user asked:
And the responses were more than a little disturbing. Everyday people popped up to share their experiences - and almost without exception people seemed to not even know they were in cults when they were active.
Read through, take stock, and seriously consider the things you get yourself involved in.
Obvious Questionsthe office questions GIF Giphy
I was in a doomsday cult for 23 years from my age 13 to 36 (1995-2018). Nothing odd or weird went on. You would genuinely feel good at start. But once we get deep enough you lose any kind of ambition in life and start having a lot of negativity about the present world and people outside the cult. And you're literally waiting for the world to end.
Based on its teachings, this world should have "transformed" by now, into their so-called heaven, and only a bunch of the cult followers should have remained in harmony. I totally believed everything I heard without questioning (probably because I was young and naïve) and followed their "Rules and regulations " to the dot. Like celibacy, food habits, keeping a distance from everyone outside the cult (even close family members) .. etc.
Finally, when some obvious questions started arising in my mind I felt like fool, and totally lost and betrayed. Like 4 years back, I felt like I couldn't meditate or listen to their daily verses. It felt totally off. I had to dig deep inside my mind to find the reason why I am unable to feel anything. That's when I felt that a number of things didn't add up. No outside influence at all.
It took a lot to break free and am still in the process. I'm 38 and married last year. She's a wonderful person. Her love and support helped me move on. I would say I am doing good now.
Confusing and Painful
Confusing and painful.
I was born in a cult and left when I was 18, because I could not bear to live like that any more. They were very hard on women, reducing them to helps who were not allowed to voice opinions.
Leaving was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It took me years to realize the pain I caused my family was actually not my fault.
Also, I felt so alien in the world. I missed the general background that people have, because the world I had lived in was so different. I was trying to fit in, without knowing how to set boundaries to protect myself.
I was lucky to know people on the outside. The group I was in did live amongst non-believers. We were just not allowed to mingle. When I left, I went straight into a relationship with someone from the outside.
Within days I realized I was in a bad situation there too. I stuck around way too long, trying to make it work and thinking I was the reason it was so hard. I did get an education, so I would be able to take care of myself.
After five years I ended the relationship, moved out and have been doing better since.
Once You're Out
I think the funniest thing about living in a cult isn't what you notice living in it. It's what you notice once you're out.
There were some pretty strange things that when you're long removed from it all you're like, "Holy shit that IS messed up." When you're in it it just seems normal.
When I was a young, I was told in the end of days I would be tortured for my beliefs. They would try to get me to deny Christ. I needed to stay strong, and resist. So 8 year old me was 1, afraid of getting tortured, and 2, afraid that I wouldn't be able to withstand the torture and wouldn't end up going to Heaven.
When I was a mid-teen, it was things like when I masturbated I was supposed to imagine having sex with Jesus....that last one I thought was weird even when I was in the cult, but more of a "eww, I don't want to do that" over a " that is some sick and twisted sh*t" kind of thing.
That's the weirdest part. When you ask what it was like, my first response is to go, "Like any other childhood really..." And then I think about it and go...hmmmm okay, not quite. It's funny how accepting minds can be when it's all you know.
Falling In Line
I broke from a cult. I had gotten sucked in during college.
They prey on college kids who are away from home, searching for an identity and desperate for a sense of belonging. At first it was fun. Nonstop activities. People who genuinely wanted me around. Help. Support. It felt good.
But it quickly took over. Then the pressure started. Subtle at first. Give up all other people and activities because they weren't good for me. Spend all my time and energy with the church. They assigned someone to watch me. To report to. To confess to.
At the same time I befriended the cult leader's wife and spent a lot of time with her. I felt privileged. But I started to see things.
I went to catholic school 13 years and I think that was the best inoculation! Then the whole women's role thing really got me steamed. I started arguing with the cult leader's wife about women being equal and I suspect something I said got to her because the cult leader hauled me into a meeting and talked to me for an hour.
By the end he could see I wasn't going to fall in line and I could finally see him for what he was - a fraud. So he kicked me out. I was banned hard! He was afraid I would infect others. My good friend had to flee in the dead of night and hide in another state. They hunted him. But me - they never even spoke to me again!
Long long ago when I was a preteen I had to stay with some relatives for a while. These relatives were in a 'church' that was run by an openly admitted, formerly imprisoned con man. I was told I had to go to this 'church' too, 3 times a week, or be thrown out of the house with nowhere else to go. Things started off more or less normal-ish and only gradually did it become a fanatical cult.
For the time I was there, I was as sucked in as everyone else and couldn't see that things were messed up. One Wednesday evening I had a bad tummy flu and was left with the neighbors while everyone else went to the church. Friday night rolls around and I'm still too sick and weak to go. Sunday morning comes and I'm perfectly healthy, but no longer want to go. Once again I was left at the house, but with instructions to be gone before they returned. I left and have never regretted it.
What made this 'church' a cult:
- I know of at least one young woman in the congregation that had quietly asked around for help because the 'leader' was hitting on her and not taking no for an answer. She soon disappeared and was never heard from or mentioned again. I have no idea if something happened to her, or she just ran but either way it was bad.
- At any given time in the last year I was there, at least 3 of the most attractive teen girls lived with the 'leader', an unmarried man, with no supervision, and their parents seemed to think this was wonderful.
- The 'leader' would frequently say one thing and then contradict himself in the next sentence, and no one ever noticed or commented on it.
- The 'leader' put a great deal of effort into separating his 'flock' from friends, family and the community at large. All holidays became 'satanic' and the congregation was forbidden to practice anything considered normal for holidays.
- Years later when I was grown and married, a friend from childhood contacted me to tell me the cult was being investigated by, I don't remember now which alphabet agency. I immediately called the number for that agency that was in the phone book, and told them everything I knew. I never heard anything after that, and have no idea what happened.
I left AA in 2011, after ten years of lies, coercive deception, and being intimidated by extreme fear.
Although many may laugh at AA being considered a cult, It has all ten of the 'Sam & Tanner' indicators, that would describe it as such.
As Scientology hides behind it being a religion, AA hides behind its structure of anonymity (at all levels). I was pursued and threatened if I didn't go back, and other members visited my family - at home and at their places of work - to tell them I was going to drink, and soon die if I didn't resume meetings.
As AA promotes the image of an 'altruistic fellowship' the Police are very wary of getting involved. It took me over six years to de-program, and even today, I have troubling thoughts from the incidents I witnessed while a member.
The problem isn't about the twelve step program as writ. The problem is the sick individuals that use Its anonymous status as a hiding place, To sexually predate on the vulnerable, use coercion to control, steal, and intimidate others, use 'sponsorship' to inflate their egos and manipulate.
I could recount dozens of sickening things I've seen and experienced around AA. Thankfully there are now many other legitimate support networks, and alcoholics are seeking them out, and gaining credible results. The 13th stepping, 3%ers, have finally been found out for what they are. I always found it odd, that the sickest conduct was always perpetrated by those with the alleged longest sobriety,
Thank you for sharing this. Indoctrination is scary at many of these meetings. The contradiction and wildly overstepping appropriate boundaries is near constant. I cant imagine AA in it's current state surviving us millenials who question "we do it this way and only this way because we do it this way" and I am forever grateful. Again - thank you.
Dad Was Sent To Save The World
Not sure if it fully qualifies, but my Dad ran my family like a cult.
He was a fundamentalist Christian and believed he was a priest of the Melchizedekan order sent by god to save a bunch of people before the end times. In reality he was mostly just abusive and pathetic. We had a weekly scheduled meeting where he'd tell me, my siblings and my Mom that we were worthless (based on whatever we did he didn't like that week) and he was our only hope for salvation.
He also would lock me in a closet for days on end if I was more than a minute late mowing the lawn and had me dig my own grave twice (once for insulting my sister, which was a dick move...but not really grave digging worthy and the other time for deciding to leave the house after having been grounded for seven months prior.)
He was religiously popular in all our churches though he hid the whole "saving the world before the apocalypse" thing. I can't say everyone in those churches were bad people like my Dad, but they definitely weren't willing to believe me when I asked for help and were pretty crazy in their own right. My Dad was probably bipolar and a narcissist, I know my Mom was an extreme enabler, though she was abused as well, and I was the black sheep no matter what I did (my sister was the golden child and my younger brother was pretty much forgotten.) We were all, obviously, homeschooled.
I ended up going to a pretty culty fundamentalist university, it's not the one you're thinking of but was just as bad in a more personal way. It was the first time I got a lot of approval, literally had people calling me a prophet. But I realized that I didn't know what the fck I was doing and no one in there right mind should blindly listen to what I was saying and started seriously questioning my faith.
Ended up becoming the first openly non-religious person there. Was harassed, sued and physically assaulted by the campus pastor, personally publicly derided by the campus president and nearly kicked out over a rumor I was Michael Moore's nephew. I was nearly assaulted by a few students over my anti-torture stance, being the straight side of the first gay-straight alliance on campus...and for possibly being Moore's nephew. Was constantly stopped to hear arguments for religion.
Weirdly enough the professors were really good about it all, they disagreed with me but were supportive (I'm still friends with a number of them.) Though they also kind of treated me like a token in the classroom though, constantly asking me to provide the skeptical argument. That was pretty taxing as my entire life became debating religion.
Overall I lost a lot of friend, but some were surprisingly supportive. My Dad obviously hates me even more now. I tried being polite so that I could be there for my brother and I was. A few years back he actually credited me as the top positive influence in his life during an award acceptance speech (that little fcker's way more talented than me.) I didn't speak bad about my Dad until he brought it up during his 18th birthday when I took him out for our tradition Miyazaki film tradition. Prior to that I was just supportive, went nuclear on my parents the times that needed it (they tried to ruin his bugging game programming career in high school...and a lot of other sht,) and giving him old textbooks and computer sht I'd replaced with better so he'd at least have something.
Otherwise my non-religious life has been pretty peaceful and productive. I'm moderately wealthy, have a great career and generally enjoy my life. At the time I thought everyone was like the religious group I was in, but in reality most people don't give a sht. I've explored various other religions but not really found anything. I also tried a lot of psychedelics for a bit, which were kind of the nail in the coffin in explaining away the religious experiences I had as a kid. It's kind of weird how leaving that sht now is just normal (though it took a long time for it to feel that way.)
My Mom died last year from the flu, it kills me she never got away from my Dad. My Dad is a opiate addict, and has been for about two decades. He's also over 800lbs so no one really takes him seriously anymore. I never got an apology from the people I went for help to, though they all speak disapprovingly of my Dad now.
Weirdly enough, despite the sh*t I went through, I'm still friends with the pastors son from my teen years and loosely with the pastor. The son had a better life than me by far but managed to fck it up. The pastor was surprisingly accepting, though disapproving, of my non-religion. Despite being fcking crazy, I'll say that pastor did literally clear his schedule to stay with me while I was waiting in the hospital for my Mom to die - despite my family having left the church for 15 years while their new pastor didn't even show up.
It's weird, it's hard to condemn all the insanity. It's easy to condemn my Dad, but some of the people in that group weren't bad, but just crazy/broken people genuinely trying to do good but hampered by their insanity.
I accepted a job as a traveling salesman once upon a time when I was desperate for income. Had no idea that it was a front for a cult.
We sold waterbeds, but anytime someone would tried to leave the company, management would gaslight you, become mentally abusive and manipulative, and try to use your personal life against you. All the other coworkers were honestly like creepy AF. They all behaved like subservient loyal robots literally.
The cult itself, was centered around the owner. They had subtle wording in their company core values and policies that basically referenced that they were a God, if not the God of humanity. It was weird as fck. I was subjected to some really shtty situations, and trying to tell my family and friends about it they wouldn;t believe me. Thought I was a lunatic, it was just a shitty job etc.
But no, there were death threats, other forms of threats, all sorts of just mindblowing crap from management, including attempted blackmailing, framing etc. Company meetings consisted of people getting hazed, but they called it "trust building exercises".
There was also some kind of weird double love triangle going on between some of the coworkers and management. I'm pretty sure the coworkers all fcked each other too. Like you know the movie, what's it called...West World or something? Where all the cyborg robot humans were obviously preprogrammed to act and behave a certain way without fault? That's exactly how my coworkers were.
In the end I realized I had to move across country without warning to get away from them.
Re-Learning The Basics
Having to re-learn basic words, definitions, and thought processes. Oh, Practical Prayer doesn't take up hours of your time? Circular logic is bullshit? Idle hands are NOT the Devil's playground? Being a passive-minded, obsessively-clean, hardworking, frugal SHEEP that gives your blood, sweat, tears, time, and MONEY all to the Church DOESN'T make you a contributing member of society?
Forgive Everyone Everything
Ex-Mennonite here, from a rather extreme branch of it.
I fcking hate how people idolize Amish and Mennonites and have no idea how fcked up it all is. The physical and spiritual abuse that is carried out behind walls; the sickening way they treat animals; how they force victims to forgive, and cover up the crimes of their own.
People were so surprised and admiring when those Amish whose school had been shot up "forgave" the sicko who did it. Missing from the commentary was that we are told from when we are very young that the only way to enter heaven is to forgive everyone everything. And to be doormats for all the violent men in our lives, whether in or outside the community.
How The World Works
Being so completely ignorant of how the world really works was the worst for me. I lived in a bubble just thinking everything outside the religion didn't matter, because soon everything will be destroyed and almost everyone would be dead because they were not Jehova Witnesses.
I had to educate myself when I finally woke up. I read more than 20 books in one year. Trying to comprehend how the outside world really works. But my life has been full of failures because is not the same in theory than in practice. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of it and start succeeding.
Paying Them For The "Honor" of Volunteering
I was in a cult for around 7 or 8 years. It started off great. I was making so many new friends and the congregation was quickly growing... but then after some time I started to notice money go missing from the church coffers. They were always fund-raising to improve upon something for the church, but the amount of money that they would raise never quite added up to what they would do with that money. After a few years they ended up selling the whole church, with the senior pastors adding the profits to their retirement fund... that's just the financial side of things.
They would also take advantage of their staff. They would get people to work for them without paying them. In fact, one of my good friends got roped into doing a 'traineeship' there in which she had to do over 20 hours of 'volunteer work' every week, for which she had to PAY THEM for the honour of completing.
They would also frequently raise money for 'mission / aid work' in third world countries. However, the funds raised for this purpose were always misappropriated on expensive dinners for the pastors and fully paid vacations that they called 'mission trips'.
The worst part about it has the be the brainwashing. They reach you things that are very narrow-minded and they teach you to think a certain way which is very harmful. For example, they put a big taboo around sex.
So yeah, that really only scratches the surface, but that's a bit what it was like. I really had to reprogram the way I thought a lot after I left, after I realized that a lot of what they had taught me was false.
Holidays Are Amazing!
It was difficult. 25 years of not knowing how to think for yourself and suddenly having to, is hard to process. Everything was very routine and once I got out of that routine, I didn't know what to do. Forced myself to meet new people and figure out what "truth" is.
Very happy with who I am now after three years but still learning more about being independent and being open to new ideas and beliefs. Plus, holidays are AMAZING! I love Halloween and Christmas 🎃🎃🎄🎄
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Life is expensive without the extras. However, if you want to do things to enrich your life they don't always have to be costly.
One Redditor that goes by Goatonaflyingpancake brought out some great ideas when they asked:
“What is something people don't realise is actually affordable?"
Seriously, renter’s insurance though!
“Renter's Insurance. Especially if you bundle it with your car insurance. Usually covers replacement of contents and loss of use, so if you rent and right now could not afford to repurchase all of your clothing, furniture, housewares, electronics and medical equipment if you have any, as well as pay for a hotel until you find a place or get back in the one where the fire was, get you some. And take the time to accurately valuate the replacement cost of your possessions to make sure you get enough.”
The internet (and local library) is filled with free learning tools.Read Open Book GIF by INTO ACTIONGiphy
“Learning -- you don't need formal education to increase your skillset. YouTube is free and there are plenty of other free platforms and tools available. Using YouTube I learned to solve a Rubik's cube, whittling, basic embroidery, and cross stitch in 2020.”
“Many US libraries also give you access to Libby to borrow thousands of free ebooks and Audiobooks. I paid like $30 for a secondhand kindle and have never once paid for a book for it.”
“My library lets you borrow other things, like tools. I've heard of some letting you borrow video games in other cities. Libraries are the best.”
“Don’t buy birds of prey.”
“Birds of Prey in Britain. Sadly, predatory birds are extremely affordable in the UK. A barn owl is around £25. This leads to idiots thinking that owning a bird of prey is a good idea when in actual fact they take a huge amount of work to train and maintain."
“This then leads on to them escaping into the wild and negatively affecting the natural ecosystem. Don't get me wrong, birds of prey are beautiful and seeing them in the wild is an incredible experience however, they will continue to munch their way through all of our small rodents and animals.”
“Alternatively, because they may have been raised by humans from a chick, they fly off into the wild and die of starvation because they haven't had the parental hunting training. Don't buy birds of prey.”
Having decent shoes.
“For people that can't afford high quality shoes-Shoe sole inserts. The cheapest ones at Walmart are made of memory foam-like material and make a world of difference for me!”
“When I first started working as a cook I bought a $25 pair of non slip shoes at Walmart. I did one shift with them and KNEW I needed better shoes, however I could not afford them. I decided to try the inserts out and I ended up wearing those shoes with a $12 pair of inserts for 3 years.”
Don’t wait due to money issues!GIF by INTO ACTIONGiphy
“The Covid vaccines are free. You don't even need insurance. Seriously, if you haven't gotten yours because you're afraid you can't afford it, go get it today.”
Supporting local artists...
“Grocery delivery. I don't have a car, and to take a bus would require walking 10+blocks and then getting off and carrying all my groceries back the same ten blocks. And the bus will cost 3.50. Delivery with instacart (and I'm assuming similar apps) costs about 8 dollars. So I order from them for 4.50 more than what it costs to go to the store, and save myself 4 hours of time. It's great.”
“Side note: I've been experimenting the past few months. Instacart, ubereats, doordash, lyft, all these services for the past 6 months I've been offering the choice between a monetary tip or a gram of some good weed. About 85% of the time they pick the weed. It all started when I was taking a lyft home from the dispensary and the driver commented on how good it smelled. It's been a fun experiment it seems like they've enjoyed it.”
“I used to think camping equipment was very expensive (i would always browse the LLBean catalog growing up) so i would always borrow a tent, sleep on the ground etc, then i looked at the tents at Walmart and got a tent for like $30 and an air mattress for $7.”
“I've tried telling my friends this a million times. You can bring all your food and cook everything cheaply over a fire or a propane stove. Hell you can pack only hot dogs, chips, and a veggie try and have a complete meal right there for an entire family for less than 20 bucks.”
“There's also way more state parks than people think. This might be because I live nearby a ton of them, but I'm willing to bet that most people live within an hours drive of at least one. County parks are even cheaper but I prefer having the guarantee of flushing toilets.”
Spice does NOT mean extra mayo and raisins in the potato salad...Giphy
“AAA membership. If you own a car it's the best $55 you can spend.”
“Ask for the triple A discount everywhere you go once you get your card. The hotel I work for, it can save you $7 to $21 a night, depending on room type. It's one of the best discounts we have for non-members of the hotel rewards program. If you only stay a few nights a year, it's a good deal. You'll definitely get your membership fee back in discounts alone.”
Thankfully while the economy recovers there are still lots of inexpensive things people can do.
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First dates are extremely hard to get right.
We're all trying to put on the best possible version of ourselves when we date. We wear our best clothes, try to pick a unique spot to show how interesting we are, and hope that there's some kind of real connection.
Anyone who's ever been on a first date, though, can attest this does not always go according to plan.
What's your worst first date story?
It's almost impossible to not be awkward on a first date. You're getting to know someone, opening up, and suddenly you say something you maybe shouldn't have. Don't worry, though, because if you play it right you can adapt, own up to it, and bond over the brutal honesty.
These are not those situations.
Setting Yourself Up For Failure
"The guy insisted on paying for everything, wouldn't let me pay my half."
"At the end of the date, he raged out when I wouldn't stay the night, saying "You women are all the same, you want us to pay for everything, but never give anything in return."
"Never called him again."
Why Would You Even Say That?
"I invited a guy over I met online. When I opened the door, he told me he could kill me if he wanted, and to never meet anyone off the internet again."
"My two male roommates were in the kitchen and heard him. They were not impressed."
Getting An Insider's Reference
"She spent almost the entire time asking me about what I thought about various messages and conversations she was having with her ex and how they could be interpreted."
"She kept apologizing for talking about her ex... only to return to speaking about him two minutes later. She was asking for a male perspective on why her ex didn't want to get back together."
Speaking Your Mind Early On
"Guy came to pick me up at my place and drive us to dinner. On the way to dinner, there was an overweight man jogging on the side of the road. The guy laughed and used a horrific slur regarding his weight AND his skin color."
"I made the guy turn around and drive me home right after that and was prepared to walk home if I had to. He then proceeded to berate me and tell me how ridiculous I was as he took me back to my place."
"Grade A Douch"
Taking What's Not Yours
"I had just got back from backpacking around Europe and needed a ride home from the airport so this guy who I had a crush on and said he had one on me agreed to pick me up. He greeted me with rootbeer and we went to the local diner near my apartment where we had pancakes. We then went back to my place. He said he had a really great time and wanted to see me again. I believed him."
"He actually stole two Beatles records I bought at the Beatles museum in Liverpool that night and ghosted me."
The world keeps happening, even when you're out on a date. Unfortunately, the world can be a cruel place, expanding its tendrils into various aspects of your life. Be ready, as a first date can be halted abruptly by truly tragic circumstances.
"I was on a date with a girl and halfway through getting some dinner her mum phones her, didn't really think anything of it until she started crying get eyes out... The mum had phoned to tell her she had breast cancer."
"My dates crying her eyes out and saying she needs to go everyone's looking at me like I'm an a--hole because they assume I've just broken up with her and I'm sitting there with a blank expression on my face because I'm so confused/ don't know what to do in this situation"
Maybe Clean It Out First?
"Oh this is one of my favorite stories to tell. In my early 20s, I had just moved back home and didn't really know anyone in town anymore. I decided that I would go for someone outside of my "usual" type, and approached a guy. We arranged a date a few weeks after we started talking, and he didn't drive so I was supposed to pick him up at his grandmother's house, where he lived."
"He pretty much ghosted me when it came time for the date, and later explained that he hadn't felt up to it because his ferret had died. I figured that a second chance would be fine, and we made arrangements for the next weekend."
"I showed up at his house, and he showed me to his room. His room consisted of a single full-size mattress on the floor, no sheet, in a sea of empty Dr. Pepper cans. I was hit with the foulest odor I had ever encountered in my life, and he said 'don't mind that smell, that's just my ferret.'"
"Yes, the dead one. From the week before. He left it in the cage, in the corner of the room. For a WEEK."
"The date did not occur, I took myself right on home."
This one takes a turn for the worst.
Settle In For The Worst First Date Story Ever
"We went to the mountain because she's never been and we have an amazing time together! On our way back down, I decided I wanted to get some water from the mountain (best tasting water I've ever had in my life!) for the ride back down and into town. Seeing as how cool and refreshing this water was, I decide to chug about a fourth of the bottle. Mmmm so damn good!"
"It wasn't until we came back down from high elevation that the bubbling in my gut happened. I was gonna sh-t my pants in front of this girl and there was no way for me to stop this brown disaster from happening. At all."
"She sees my face and asks if I'm okay and of course I try to play it off and say I am, but we both know what's going on."
"I stopped at two different places and they didn't have a bathroom (to this day I think they were full of sh-t...semi pun intended) so I drove like Dale Earnhardt trying to get to the next town...but I never made it."
"I could feel the seal breaking. I had exactly 0.3 seconds before I shat my pants so I pulled off the side of the road, opened the doors and did what I had to do...right in front of her. In the middle of this brown betty, I apologized profusely... I was so embarrassed. The look on her face...I will remember forever."
"I asked her for wipes (she has kids so I figured she had wipes in her car for messes) and she gives me the package."
"3 minutes later, I get back in the car. The radio was off and we drove in silence for what seemed like an eternity. I mean, what could I possibly say? Sorry I took a sh-t right in front of you...let's get sushi? I figured I have to say SOMETHING so I look over at her and she has this big a-- grin on her face. She breaks out in hysterical laughter and tells me nobody has EVER done that before. I'm super embarrassed at this point and I tell her. She tells me she would've done the same thing and it's a lot better than sh-tting your pants. She asked me what would I have used if I didn't have wipes and I told her, most likely my socks. She laughs and then replies, "I dunno...that was a LOT of sh-t. I dont think your socks would've worked very well"
"That was almost 2 years ago and we're still together. We still laugh about this as if it happened yesterday."
Open yourself up to someone, try to make a real connection, and understand that everyone is doing their best to come across as best they can. A slip-up or two is forgivable.
Violent, racist, misogynistic language is not.
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The best-written characters are the ones with complex origins stemming from violent histories and broken families.
Villains are often misunderstood and eventually snap when they reach a breaking point after constant ridicule and mockery.
For them, the only way out of an unfortunate situation or deep despair is to take matters into their own hands – at all costs.
To have a nemesis who is just evil in nature and exists for the sake of providing conflict for the protagonist is just lazy writing.
But to have someone you can actually relate to and understand their motives – regardless of their violent methods – is more compelling to watch.
"What villain do you actually agree with/get?"
Comic book villains did not always start off with evil intentions.
"I don't agree with Magneto, but I understand why he would feel the way he does."
"I have the most sympathy for this villain."
A Flawed Perfectionist
"Dr. Doom. He saw all possible futures and the only one that didn't end in humankind dying out was him ruling the world iirc."
"Mr. Freeze, now that Batman: The Animated Series has given him a legitimate backstory. Look, if you're a scientist and your wife is suffering from a rare condition, but you know you can save her if you just have more time, doesn't it make sense to put the love of your life in suspended animation while you do everything imaginable to save her?"
Anyone is capable of giving in to the darkness, especially like these characters who were dealt with unfortunate circumstances.
Sucks Being Widowed
"Dracula in Castlevania. They killed his wife and he said they had a year to get out. It's on them for murder and not believing a murderous vampire."
"Baby Doll from the animated Batman series."
"The way her entire life is ruined based solely on her physical appearance. Her career and relationship with Killer Croc in particular, but the way you can clearly see the mental effects of looking permanently like a child."
Kung-Fu Panda Antagonist
"All he wanted was to impress his adopted father."
": You knew I was the Dragon Warrior! You always knew! But when Oogway said otherwise, what did you do? What did you do? NOTHING!"
"Shifu : You were not meant to be the Dragon Warrior! That was not my fault!"
"Tai Lung : Not your fault? Who filled my head with dreams? Who drove me to train until my bones cracked? Who denied me my destiny?"
"Sandman in Spider-Man 3. There's little I wouldn't do for my kid."
These mean toons have a likeable quality in spite of their nefarious tendencies.
That "Phineas and Ferb" Scientiest
"Dr Doofenshmirtz - come on man, those inventions are awesome!"
"It's his parents who are the real villains."
The Powerpuff Girls' Tetartagonist
"My man was straight up abandoned"
"There's an episode where he actually wins and when he finally rules the world he... Archive the world peace, reverse the climate change, and things like that. So yeah, totally agree with Mojo."
The Mean One
"The Grinch; he just wanted his annoying neighbors to not play their loud holiday music at the crack of dawn."
"The Grinch didn't hate Christmas. He hated people. I think we can all get behind that."
Not So Despicable
"Gru from Despicable Me."
"I too, dream of stealing the moon."
"I might put it back, I might not. Haven't decided yet."
Redditors found a vast number of wicked characters who possess motives they agree with to excuse for their bad deeds.
We all have suffered challenges and obstacles – some we never overcome – but we don't necessarily go on a killing spree because of unresolved issues.
Maybe that's why some of these villains resonate with us on various levels.
Watching these misunderstood or wronged characters wreak havoc on society could be a manifestation of something hopefully most of us aren't inclined to do but feel a sense of satisfaction after watching destruction take place in worlds of fantasy.
The human body may be responsible for providing us with animated life and the unique wonders of human consciousness, but that doesn't mean we know what the heck is going on in there.
In fact, so many of the human body's inner workings are unknown to us who own and use that complicated apparatus every moment of every day.
We have, of course, made some real strides in understanding those inner workings over the last couple thousand years. We may have plenty more to learn, but at least we have a general lay of the land.
Curious to learn about the lesser known-processes of our complex physical selves, Redditor Zenssei asked:
"What is a fact about the human body that not many people know about?"
For complexity, look no further than the human brain. Redditors had no shortage of facts and tidbits about that one-of-a-kind organ.
"Most reflexes never make it to your brain. The sensory aspect travels to the spinal cord and the spinal cord itself sends the muscle movement signals to your limbs."
Keep On Kicking
"Your brain continues to try to revive the body long after the heart has stopped. In some cases 30 hours later there has been found brain activity trying to make repairs to bring the body back."
"This is used to indicate time of death in murder victims."
Filling In the Gaps
"Your brain likes stimulation, if it doesn't get any it will make some up, some people are more susceptible to it then others, the colors you see before you fall asleep are a common mild occurrence..."
"...there are several classes of these hallucinations, closed-eye visuals, which are caused by leaving your eyes closed for a long time, hypnagogia, which is caused by the onset of sleep, prisoners cinema, which is caused by looking into a dark place for a long time, ganzfeld effect, which is caused by blocking out all external stimuli, and Charles bonnet syndrome, caused by sight loss."
"Most are these are simple phosphenes but some can be whole imagined scenes, or more abstract fractal-like imagery"
Others reminded us that not all bodies are the same. They pointed out the anomalies that some people experience, but on average do not describe the typical human body.
"Apparently about 20% of people have a bony ridge on the roof of their mouth. Most people's pallettes are smooth with a very slight ridge."
"The 20% like me have an exaggerated and more pronounced ridge. Apparently it's most common in women and Asian folk, and I'm neither so that's neat. I always thought it was totally normal."
A Reason Not to Move
"People who live in 'extreme' conditions for generations adapt in extreme ways. For example people that live in high elevations often have larger lungs and different blood makeup."
"Or my favorite is the Bajau people that live on the water and spend a lot of their time diving, their spleens have become 50% larger in order to store more blood."
"I drunkenly tripped off the curb and into the road after a Halloween party in college. Turns out I broke off a piece of my elbow that night."
"It ended up getting encased in what ever the human body used to trap floating bone chunks in. Now I've got a chunk of bone gift wrapped by my own body's wrapping paper floating around, right against where it broke off from." -- Tur8z
And others felt the thread was a good place to share the truly bizarre, random facts they knew about the body. Read a few of these and you'll realize just what a mystery it all is.
Shake It In to Place
"When doing surgery were the doctors have to take out some organs, when placing them back, they dont have to be put back In the exact position there meant to be, your body kind of just, moves the organs into the correct position after the surgery"
"There are tiny cilia that spin in a certain direction. If they spin in the opposite direction while you're developing in the womb early on, that is how you get organs transposed onto the opposite side of your body."
"Your stomach is surrounded by more brain cells (half a billion neurons) than the brain of a cat contains in total."
"It's your enteric nervous system. It controls digestion, operates autonomously, has its own memory, can handle its own reflexes, it has its own senses even."
"It's thought to have come about because of the blood-brain barrier and the main brain being locked away in the skull, a spinal column and nerves away from the critical action of nutrition."
"Your eyes have a separate immune system from the rest of your body and in a lot of occasions if your body's immune system finds your eyes, they will assume they are a foreign body and blind you."
So next time you think you have a good idea of all that's going on under the hood, just remember that whole layer of microscopic processes that seem to be playing by their own rules entirely.
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