A Comparison Between Emotional Abuse and Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”

The tone of public discourse about politics in our country today alarms a lot of people of different political persuasions. Events in my recent personal history have caused me to educate myself about emotional abuse tactics that others have used against me. I’ve noticed that a lot of these tactics are prominent in social media and the “mainstream” media. It seems to permeate almost all pop culture, entertainment and “news” which is why I avoid most of it and have for many years. I thought it would be interesting to compare emotional abuse tactics that I have personally experienced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and see if there is any overlap.

Here are links to the source documents I used for my comparison:

And here are the results:

My Personal Experience Rules for Radicals
Intended target I was likely perceived as vulnerable because of grieving a deep personal loss and having suffered a recent and extreme career and financial downturn Low-income communities and “have nots”
Gaslighting Ex-boyfriend tried to convince me that I have a lot of illnesses and that my web site gave him a virus. Ex-boss told me I’m not smart enough to learn things in classes I wanted to take. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
Name-calling and put-downs Just in the last week I’ve had the following terms applied to me – “dumb”, “mouth-breathing”, “brain-dead”, “stupid”, “subhuman dwarf”. These were in one-on-one interactions where the people knew exactly who they were addressing.
My ex-boyfriend mocked my physical appearance and gloated and mocked me over signs that I was hurt by his actions.
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also
works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
Isolating you from your support networks My ex-boyfriend put down my family and sabotaged a reunion I had with some friends I hadn’t seen in years.
My ex-boss instructed co-workers not to help me with my projects.
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the
target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Projection – accusing you of doing things they are doing themselves My ex-boyfriend had a lot of debt and I have none but he accused me numerous times of being bad at handling money. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”
They accuse you of being “too sensitive” in order to deflect their abusive remarks When people taunt you and hurt you until you react, they can accuse you of all kinds of things, such as being neurotic and mentally ill. And that’s just the beginning! “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”
They try to make you feel as though they are always right, and you are wrong Abusive people have criticized me for not having enough money then got angry at me for working too hard.
I’ve been put down for taking classes to help me with my career while simultaneously being put down by the same person for my career not being sufficiently successful. I’ve been put down for things that I think are common sense – getting exercise, wearing sunscreen, eating healthy food, losing weight, saving my retirement money for retirement, combining car trips to save on gas. An abusive ex-roommate used to put down my hair color (it was natural then!). There doesn’t seem to be any aspect of my life that is too trivial for someone else to take notice of and attack.
“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance.

Results: there is not a one-to-one correspondence, but there is some overlap. I recommend you read the signs of emotional abuse very carefully – is someone in your personal life using those tactics against you? Is the media using those tactics against you? Are political movements using those tactics against you? I’m not pointing the finger at only one side here – I’ve been abused by people from different political points of view. My goal in writing this is to make you more aware of abuse in your life and inspire you to refuse to tolerate it – no matter who is doing it to you!

How to Raise Mealworms For Your Backyard Birds


Mealworm larva, pupae and adult

Life stages of the mealworm beetle in my hand – one larva, two pupae and one adult

Late winter and early spring are good seasons to attract desirable bird species to your yard. Birds are not brooding eggs yet because they need to wait until later in spring when there is enough insect food to feed their young. However, they are now engaged in, well, getting engaged! In other words many birds are scouting out nest sites and selecting mates if they haven’t done that already. Some of the most sought-after backyard bird species are heavy insect eaters. Raising live mealworms is so easy, I started by accident!

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
How to Raise Mealworms For Your Backyard Birds

Get Hands-On with Journaling

I hope you can join me for a demo this Saturday, March 18 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, Missouri. Try your hand at writing, lettering and embellishing a journal page. We’ll supply you with background paper, a rubber date stamp, stickers and 48 colors of gel pens for you to try out!

A hands-on opportunity to try out some fun products at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts
A hands-on opportunity to try out some fun products at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts

The samples I made will be on display and I’ll be demonstrating in the store while helping you out with your own designs. Take home a personalized page that you can put in a journal, a planner, a memory planner or a scrapbook.

The samples I created using paper, stickers and a rubber stamp by Heidi Swapp, accented with other products sold at JoAnn.
My samples showing journaling techniques with products by Heidi Swapp, accented with other products sold at JoAnn.

If you can’t make the demo in person, go to the JoAnn Facebook page on March 21 at 7:00 pm ET for a live presentation hosted by creativebug.

How to recycle candle scraps and stubs

Votive candles made from scraps of old candles
Votive candles made from scraps of old candles

To learn how to make interesting candles out of old candle scraps and stubs, read my new article on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog – Make Old Wax Candles Into New Candles

One of my jewelry pieces is in the current issue of the Ladue News

ladue_news_coverCheck out page 95 of the 2017 Platinum List Edition of the Ladue News where my jewelry piece “Necklace With Large Striped Image Transfer Beads” is featured in the Art and Soul column.

You can pick up a free copy of the Ladue News at many area stores including Schnarr’s Hardware in Ladue. Or if you don’t live in the area, you can read the article online here: Art & Soul: Carolyn Hasenfratz.

Fun at Perennial – a place, not a plant

Mary with two of her jewelry display boards that she built
Mary with two of her jewelry display boards that she built

Perennial is a non-profit community workshop and store with the mission of building a creative culture of sustainability and turning discarded items into valuable resources. As an artist and craftsperson who already is enthusiastic about using recycled materials, I was delighted when my friend Mary (pictured at top left) invited me to meet her there and try out one of the community workshop sessions.

I met Mary at a Creative Arts Fellowship last year and got to know her better at some subsequent events. Mary’s art and mine have a lot in common – we both like upcyling materials and taking apart old jewelry to make new. I enjoyed teaching a class with Mary recently at one of her Women’s Upcycled Jewelry Jams. I’m looking forward to more opportunities for Mary and I to collaborate. A gifted artist and teacher, Mary creates under the name Sanctified Studios.

I knew I’d love Perennial after being in there for about two minutes! Seeing all the nice work space, supplies and tools was exciting but what really sold me was the console stereo! Clearly my retro-loving, thrift-shopping, dumpster-diving self was going to feel comfortable here.

Look at all those wonderful woodworking tools!
Look at all those wonderful woodworking tools!

At my first work session I cut up some wood for an upcoming class I’m going to be teaching on building garden pollinator houses. Then I put together a wood tray that I’ll be finishing and writing about later.

You can become a member of Perennial to access the work space and use the tools when they hold open sessions. Different levels of membership also give you discounts on classes and other events. Perennial accepts donations of materials. You can trade or purchase some of the materials for what you think is a fair market value. They also make craft kits that are for sale in the shop.

Some of the supply stash on the left and the sewing area on the right.
Some of the supply stash on the left and the sewing area on the right.

Art and crafting can often be lonely activities. Working around other artists is really healthy for social interaction and for the stimulation of being around new ideas. I’m looking forward to many happy times while I enjoy my new membership!

How to Transplant Herbaceous Plants

Root ball of Mums
In the spring it’s fun to see how many of your herbaceous perennials from last year are coming back. Maybe you need to thin or divide some and trade your extras with friends and neighbors, or move some of them to a better spot, or buy some new plants. It’s likely transplanting will be part of your spring gardening activities. Here is how to successfully transplant herbaceous plants.

Read more – How to Transplant Herbaceous Plants.

My New Planner Layout

Awhile ago I wrote about making a planner out of a sketchbook. This helps me keep track of my work because I can take notes and make sketches in the same book that is my planner. I try not to go anywhere without it! I have designed and purchased some rubber stamps to help me incorporate planner pages into my sketchbook.

Over the last several months I have been battling severe depression as the result of an abusive relationship. An ex-boyfriend gradually used emotional abuse techniques to persuade me to think there was something wrong with almost every part of what made me myself – my work, my hobbies, my goals in life, my family, my friends, my financial acuity, my physical appearance, my lifestyle, even how I packed for camping trips. Over time I internalized these criticisms and came to believe I wasn’t worth anything.

I’ve been fighting hard and using lots different tools to combat the depression. One reliable mood-lifter for me has been the acronym G.R.A.P.E.S. Here is what each letter stands for.

  • Being Gentle with yourself
  • Relaxation
  • Achievement
  • Pleasure
  • Exercise
  • Social

I read on a depression support web site that you should try to incorporate at least one activity each day that fits into each of the six letters in G.R.A.P.E.S. I’ve come a long way since I counted making it through a day of work in the Achievement category, but that’s how it was for quite awhile.

I’m doing much better now and surrounding myself with people who support me and seem to think I’m ok the way I am. I want to keep maintaining my progress so I have redesigned my planner page to remind me to schedule activities covered by G.R.A.P.E.S. I also included a line to check them off to track my progress.

Planner page with rubber stamps and letter stickers

On the page shown, the left column is for items that should be done some time during the week. The right column is for appointments and scheduling. I used letter stickers to spell “G.R.A.P.E.S.” at the top. The number stamps and ruled line stamp are by 7gypsies and the month of the year and day of the week stamps are by my own Carolyn’s Stamp Store.

New Electronic Display Installed At Schnarr’s Hardware Webster Groves Store


Pictured at the right is Mark Rice of Displays That Pay installing the SHOWCloud interactive marketing display at the Schnarr’s Hardware Webster Groves location. I’ve been working with Mark since 2005. I work for both Schnarr’s Hardware and Displays That Pay which gives me an exciting opportunity to experiment with Display’s That Pay’s SHOWCloud marketing communications application to best serve Schnarr’s customers.

If you want to stop by Schnarr’s Webster at 40 East Lockwood to see the new display, it’s located on top of the drinks cooler across from the registers. It’s also been playing for some time toward the bottom of the front page of the Schnarr’s web site – my presentation can be embedded within a web page. That’s one of the things I really love about using SHOWCloud – versatility. A wide variety of devices that have the capability of running a web browser or that have an HDMI port can run my SHOWCloud presentations. Such devices include laptop computers, desktop computers, iPads, smartphones, e-book readers, and flatscreen TV’s. Sometimes when the computer in the paint department at the Schnarr’s Ladue store is not in use I’ll go over to the paint counter and open a window to this url so that paint department customers can see it:
http://www.daasx.com/chasenfratz/ladiesnightpreview

SHOWCloud on a desktop computer monitor
SHOWCloud on a desktop computer monitor

As you might guess from the URL (web address), I started out using this presentation to promote one of Schnarr’s past Ladies’ Night events. Over time the content has changed and will be ever evolving and updating. If needed I can make multiple presentations tailored to different locations or different devices within one store. For example, if a store has different departments there could be different content at each station. The application can show more than just slides – I can add in web pages, video, live content and fun interactive applications.

Any place with access to wireless Internet can display SHOWCloud. Here is a picture of me last fall at Missouri Botanical Garden using an iPad to show a presentation promoting the Master Gardener program and the topics prospective participants would study. If you want to see the slides close up, here is the url:
http://www.myshowcloud.com/chasenfratz/stlmg

SHOWCloud displayed on an iPad
SHOWCloud displayed on an iPad

Below is a picture of me and my Displays That Pay colleague Jason at the Startup Connection 2016 event held in November at Washington University. There are a variety of examples in our booth showing how SHOWCloud can be used on different devices, including a multi-screen variation that gives additional flexibility, functionality and impact.

Displays That Pay at Startup Connection
Displays That Pay at Startup Connection

I can also update these presentations from anywhere that has an internet connection – from home or on the go. That’s very convenient and is a quick way to get timely information to our customers. I’m excited about the possibilities! Stop in to Schnarr’s Webster to see how we’re using this great new tool!

Lots of Activities at the Maplewood, MO JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts Store

I’ve been having lots of fun and keeping busy since I joined the teaching team at the JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts store in the Deer Creek Shopping Center in Maplewood, MO. Last weekend we were having a rubber stamping and paper sale, so I came in to demonstrate how to make greeting cards with rubber stamps. On my demo table I also showed some products that are good for card-making and in the shadow box are samples of upcoming classes that I will be teaching. My upcoming classes include Kid’s Hand Sewn Initial Letter, Kid’s Beaded Wish Bracelets, Make an Art Journal, Easy Button Bracelet and Kid’s Hand Sewn Bee Art. Go to my Classes and Events page for my schedule of classes and demos.

Rubber stamps, making parts for greeting cards, paper crafting products and upcoming classes.
Rubber stamps, making parts for greeting cards, paper crafting products and upcoming classes.

My own sewing skills can always use improving, so I took the Comfy Pants class from instructor Miss Kate. I had a great time and made my first ever handmade clothing item (unless you count the Barbie doll clothes I made when I was young). I did a lot of sewing when I was a kid but I was afraid to use a sewing machine and did not learn how until I was around 40 years old. I have done some sewing on a machine but I sewed simple things made from my own patterns such as table runners, scarves, fabric pouches, laundry bags, pillows and the like. Making clothing from a commercial pattern was something I had never done before and I’m thrilled to learn how to take my sewing to the next level! Kate knows a ton of things about making high-end clothing or simple clothing like my new Route 66 themed pajama pants!

My pants on the left, and on the right Miss Kate examines my stitching to make sure it's ok.
My pants on the left, and on the right Miss Kate examines my stitching to make sure it’s ok.

I hope you can join myself, Miss Kate and the other teachers at our Open House this weekend!

Teacher Open House
Date: February 11 and 12, 2017
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
3200 Laclede Station Rd.
St. Louis, MO, 63143
Join myself and other members of the teaching team at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for an open house! See what projects we’re working on and find out about upcoming classes.