Scripting Family Villainy

Happy Halloween! Today I share tips and prompts to screenwriting familial villainy; Every hero needs a villain and in contrast to The Joker villain which I wrote about here, we will take a look at villains hiding in plain sight: family. What’s more terrifying than family trauma? And how do Heroes purge toxic family? Read this 2,000 word post that will strengthen your writing and ideally, the Hero or Heroine inside YOU. 

 


 

The Adventures of Natalee Arteaga are rich in wisdom and full of close encounters, fantastic enemies, incredible mistakes, plentiful missions, brave speeches, and noble battles. Through it all I’ve conquered external and internal foes with Truth, Revelation, Boundaries, and Transparency. My life has been saved exclusively by Curiosity and Imagination, shielding me from total destruction at someone else’s hand or mine own. What saves your hero inside when the going gets the toughest? 

 


 

To tailor your villain, first build your hero or heroine. Who is he? What does she believe in? What are their blind spots? When you build the character of your hero/heroine and their weaknesses, build up their equal opposite (or not, but I love how opposites attract!). 

I watch lots of Christopher Nolan. I watched Inception three times in a row straight before I figured out the ending.

I FIGURED OUT THE ENDING TO INCEPTION ALL BY MYSELF! 

 


 

Honestly, I never saw this coming.

I’ve unearthed a real life family villain. An occurrence I never could have written unless I experienced it first hand. If you’re stuck (and even if you’re not) the first place you should look for inspiration is in your own family and go down the list thinking about every single person and how they treat you and make you feel. Ask yourself, Have they passed the integrity test with me? Is there mostly love with a few character defects here and there or more abuse and harm to you than good times?

 



How could the mind that figured out the ending to Inception take this long to sever this connection to this toxic family member? Every hero has a blind spot! Mind stayed blind for almost 30 years before it could see!

*Peruse the ten links that support severing ties with toxic family here to 1. become familiar with others who have cut ties with overtly and covertly abusive family members and 2. familiarize yourself with other weapons you can use in your story.

You might learn about other forms of abuse that you’ve been subjected to that you had no idea were actually even considered abuse; perhaps it was that normalized. You’ll feel angry about it, and likely ashamed. It’s okay. You didn’t “let it happen” and their abuse on you was NOT your fault! I don’t care what you were told. I’m here with you. We’re okay.

 


 

This is my last communication with someone we will call BARF. I’m publishing this for two reasons:

1. Because she immediately disrespected my boundaries after explicitly asking her to honor them so now I’m sharing with the entire world the truth of how she treated me and how ugly she really is. (At least to me she was)

2. Because I didn’t have these words my whole life (this person has a very strong and manipulative personality and ran roughshod over me pretty much all of our interactions and especially when no one else was around when it was even worse) until right now. If anyone else is out there needing these words, I want you to have them and use them. I support all rawness in your letters because it’s part of healing.  

 


 

My scathing, irate, volatile message below, shortened for brevity:

 

““Barf”. I now fully understand the shocking extent of your efforts in keeping me alienated from family I could relate to and who would love me and accept me for who I am. [plot twist]

All those invitations you were asked to extend to me throughout the past 30 years that never reached me. The past 14 years I’ve been doing family research looking for family as I sat at your mothers kitchen table with you not uttering a word about my relatives living right in Chicago. You watched me spend an entire lifetime pursuing a livable career in the arts and never connected me to my cousins who shared the same passions, knowing it would make a difference in my life to have contemporaries I could relate to. Years of watching your daughters bully me and letting them get away with it. Covertly abusing me yourself with your own style of abusing power: betraying my boundaries, turning yourself into the victim to devalue my own feelings and autonomy, gaslighting, and other sick tricks until I got wise enough to demand the right to my own boundaries. You care so much about how you look to others and that you look like this staunch believer full of righteousness who prioritizes her family and her faith, because underneath you have an ugly heart that’s sad and jealous and an ugly mind filled with deception, cognitive bias, and familial sadism. You’re a liar. You lie.

You withheld a whole reservoir of familial love I have never known and it has made ALL the difference in the quality of life I have lived in every way possible.

Thinking of doing to [my 6 year old niece] what you did to me is chilling and incomprehensible. I could never treat her the way you treated me my whole life for a fraction of a second. I promise to your God that I am wholeheartedly authentically disgusted by your entire being you make humans call “Barf”. Gross.

[Now that I’m an Aunt myself – It is startlingly clear to me she definitely never loved me.] Our relationship could have been so different and it’s painful to think of how close we could have been and how deeply you have betrayed that potentiality.

I don’t care what contributed to the ugly person you are, you made the wrong choice over and over and over and over again for my entire life while smiling at me trying to look like the Good Samaritan who brought the cold washcloths. I know who you really are now. This is our end.

I don’t allow toxic miserable people in my life, so please stay away from me. [Me explaining this message isn’t to engage with her but to end our connection and move on] 

[Me telling her to heed my warning, respect my boundaries, and keep everyone else out of it otherwise I’m going to expose her to other family members and online and more] 

I deserve this boundary with you. Never dealing with you again is a gift I give to myself.

Lastly, I want you to know that you didn’t win; Not only do I still have my integrity intact, I never turned into an ugly hateful sabotaging person like you, and I DID get to have a real family after all. I fall in love with something in each new family member I meet and my life is a zillion times richer since the family reunion.

You’re a horrible miserable loser who lost me forever.

I won because I never let you break my spirit, I never gave up on myself, I never lowered myself to your sick level, and I never gave up on my dream of having a real family who loves me for who I really am.

Though I would hope you choose to heal, I don’t care. Your choices will never effect my life ever again and that’s all that matters.”

 

Her response:

 

“Excuse me Natalee, I will disregard your mis conception and forward this to your dad.”

 


Just so everyone understands incase this happens to you, check out my logical breakdown of what’s happening here. 

 

Firstly, a misconception is a view that is incorrect based on faulty thinking.

All of my reasoning and logic is supported by the facts of the past and what actually happened between us. Not my faulty thinking. You don’t hurt someone and then tell them their pain is just their misconception. Clearly her natural response is gaslighting: manipulating me psychologically into questioning my own sanity by telling me I’M the one who is mistaken. It’s a very simple psychological tool of mental/emotional/psychological fuckery once you get used to it. I didn’t respond to her of course, I blocked her across all platforms including her phone number. #win

Her cognitive bias? (Our thinking has evolved to take shortcuts, but a cognitive bias makes our judgement irrational – there’s a misfiring in the brain causing the person to lose objectivity) Reactance. She reacted in the predictably opposite way as a knee-jerk contrarian. Being uncooperative is her way of taking her power back and therefore, seeing herself as superior over me.

Her illogical reasoning? She’s using an Appeal to Authority. Saying she will “forward this to your dad” tells me her brain’s shortcut to solving her problems are going to be to go to the highest authority she can find and do whatever it takes to manipulate their favor, in this case: it’s my own father. An appeal to authority is not a valid argument, and she completely disregards the empirical evidence I put before her. She’s also now exploiting her relationship with him for unethical favors. She did this to me growing up too.

Using an appeal to authority can be dangerous when that authority is corrupt or wrong, therefore having no bearing upon the argument at hand. She’s taking something completely irrelevant and using it to somehow strengthen her position and intimidate me psychologically. 

Also, it’s incredibly clear in her response her total inability to handle this adult confrontation on her own, still attempting to infantilize me like she’d always done. #boring

What does your family villain do to your hero or heroine psychologically? How does it go down when someone tries to stand up for themselves? How much can they take? Are they ever able to be truly free?

 


 

When I woke up the next morning I felt an entire burden was lifted off my life and I could see clearly and crisply into my future. It shines that much brighter now, every single time I do something great for myself. What feelings have you gone through? What is your hero going through? 

While this is my scathing, irate, and raw message to this person who hurt me so deeply, now that I’ve confronted her and removed her from my entire life FOREVER, I am truly at peace. Meaning, I’m not angry anymore. At all. I put any vitriolic response to her abuse into that message and there is where it stays. All the negativity has left me completely, and I feel truly blessed to now have the grace of peace in my heart. She can’t upset me anymore, not with smear campaigns or anything else. She can’t hurt me. I’m free.

I feel secure and stable and happy. It hurt to do it, believe it or not, but this is what Heroes do. And this is what your hero needs to do: RISE above the villain.

 


 

In the very end of your story, your heroine or hero MUST RISE ABOVE THE VILLAIN. 

Set your hero or heroine free at the end, not necessarily of the villain if their story continues, but of the ability of the villain to hurt your hero/heroine.

I choose to be Batman every single day. Make no mistake, this is my choice. I don’t want to go low, I want to be Batman! Let me share a story of what happens when YOU or your hero makes the sad choice and let the villain win….

In the Injustice Series the Joker manipulates Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child. Superman, unhinged, goes to kill the Joker and has him by the collar.

The Joker, however, doesn’t plead for his life, or say any witticisms… he just laughs maniacally. This makes Superman angrier and angrier…

The Joker is of course laughing his fucking ass off because he knows he has won over Superman. He has proved his ultimate philosophy and dies cackling in his completely validated illusory superiority!

I can’t let that happen to me! Don’t let it happen to you!

You will have to make these choices for your characters and in your life too!

Choose wisely, let go of toxicity without and within. That’s the secret to elevation of Heroes and Heroines akin. Happy reading and writing for the silver screen. But most of all, Happy Halloween!!!

#MeToo Many Damn Times

A year ago people questioned the efficacy of the Me Too hashtag that spread virally in October 2017. Since then, it has been used by survivors to reveal the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. We live in stirring times— tea stirring times, indeed!

We’ve also been watching our country live through an abusive relationship with it’s narcissist president… which means America is destined to rediscover her self-worth and truly begin practicing self-love through far-reaching reformations, mental health care, and redressing systemic injustice. Here’s why.

Going through a long-lasting and intense period of low self-esteem made me susceptible to walk straight into an abusive relationship. I had been able to successfully steer clear from men who would disrespect me or otherwise act against me until then.

It was during this time that, by trying to help the world (a characteristic of Empaths, which I now realize I am), any protective boundary I had enough self-respect to uphold vanished and with it the last of my confidence.

All of this happened subconsciously, over time. On the outside, I was being love bombed (overwhelming someone with adoration and attraction early on) by a talented manipulator who knew that reflecting my own positive traits back to me (like idealism, a strong sense of justice, and creativity) would create a bond that would endear me to them. I thought they were real traits this person possessed. That love bombing attention would change to multiple forms of devaluation like gaslighting, smear and slander campaigning behind my back, lying, cheating, insulting, blaming… and get much worse from there.

Disrespecting me became normalized, as well as the emotional rollercoaster of breakups and makeups. I stepped onto a rat wheel of ongoing abuse with a convincing liar. Trauma-bonding in a ubiquitous cycle of pain.

Don’t believe half-hearted progress or any short-lived peace. They’re constructed lies to keep you hopeful and idealistic about change and improvements they never intend on actually making.

<insert the breaking point, revolution, escape, & healing here>

It broke my heart to see with open eyes the lack of regard I had for myself, because allowing anyone to hurt me is not who I am.

I was a woman who stood up for themselves every single instance of trespass against her. Who fought bullies, empowered women, marched rallies, and fearlessly defended the marginalized— and I STILL succumbed to an abusive relationship! I was temporarily weak and that’s when it happened. It could happen to you if you’re not vigilant about how you want to be treated.

It doesn’t matter if you’re plain Jane or Halle Berry, they’re out there waiting for bright lights like us to doubt our luminosity so they can take what they’ll never be able to make.

Wisdom costs pain. But as bad as it was, I’ve promised to myself and in this post to not pay the same lessons twice. The lessons that truly test you in the fight for your life.

America is about to learn them too.

Please write: Natalee@NataleeArteaga.com

Update from the Mountain

Hey Babes!!

I’m happily writing and working hard from the road to bring you the fullest digital expression of my creative Self as possible. Imagining futures, recalling memories, reading, traveling, philosophizing, writing it all down– and snacking constantly, I’ve made incredible leaps in understanding regarding my own personal Art of Living.
I will of course share my insights and humor on such things; there’s a considerable amount of additional work I’m very proud to show you when the time comes.


Right now I’m traveling for relationships: investing my time and energy visiting with old family, new family, old friends, new friends, good friends, far friends, while checking in with my business partners making sure we all get enough quality face time, and lastly meeting new people and building new relationships.

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I write constantly, manage my finance portfolio from the road, and take bigger life decisions into deep consideration while traveling between everyone. It’s been the breather I need after excitedly coming off of a substantial writing project. I need to organize all my thoughts and news and projects so I can share it fully with you, and I am so looking forward to it!  I’ll still be traveling for the rest of the summer and early Fall before settling down at my place, so check back mid-August for the next level of this website to enjoy everything along with me, in step!

Yours,
Natalee

Earth Day 2016 | Earth Day Every Day

 

It’s a capitalists’ mistake not having fully incorporated nature as part of capital.

Until now, and in the worst way.

From 1970 to 2008, the earth system has lost 30 percent of its biodiversity. In tropical areas, the loss has even been as high as 60 percent. This is the result of an economic system that monetizes nature as a “thing”, objectified as this forever-flowing resource to be exploited, sold, transformed, and profited from.

So let’s take a closer look at “green economy”, which looks a little bit (I mean, a lot) like transnational corporations promoting more capitalism under the ambiguous moniker.

Back to biodiversity; We’re in a great struggle to preserve biodiversity, but how do we put a price on the free services that plants, animals, and ecosystems offer humanity? Back up a sec, what do you mean, “put a price on”?

Specific functions of ecosystems and biodiversity that can be priced and then put out into a global market are being identified as “Natural Capital”.

The following is an excerpt from a report by Ecosystem Marketplace of what motivates Green Economy advocates:

Given their enormous impact on our daily lives, it’s astounding that we don’t pay more atten¬tion, or dollars, to ecosystem services. Ecosystems provide trillions of dollars in clean water, flood protection, fertile lands, clean air, pollination, disease control – to mention just a few. These services are essential to maintaining livable conditions and are delivered by the world’s largest utilities. Far larger in value and scale than any electric, gas, or water utility could pos¬sibly dream of. And the infrastructure, or hard assets, that generate these services are simply: healthy ecosystems.

So how do we secure this enormously valuable infrastructure and its services? The same way we would electricity, potable water, or natural gas. We pay for it.

Next steps are privatizing functions and processes of nature and then labeling them “environmental services”, setting a price and putting it out on the market. The report also includes estimates of annual values of these “environmental services”.

REDD(Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)’s purpose is to isolate one of the functions of the forest, like it’s ability to capture and store carbon, and then measure how much CO2 it can capture. Once the value of the potential carbon storage of the forest has been estimated, carbon credits are issued and sold to wealthy countries and behemoth corporations who buy/sell these credits as polluting permits in the carbon markets.

If Indonesia has a deforestation rate of 1,700,000 hectares per year  and only deforests 1,500,000 next year, it’ll be able to sell in the REDD market the carbon credits for teh amount of CO2 that’s stored by the remaining 200,000!

Corporations purchasing the credits still release CO2 into the atmosphere, as they’ve essentially bought polluting permits for the rich. (Kind of like how some religious organizations will sell “free passes” to commit wrongs under many guises and names, methinks)

Big deal: Only countries that REDUCE their deforestation will be able to put carbon credits in the REDD market. So if a place has always preserved its forest, they won’t be able to sell any carbon credits from reduction of deforestation. Results include countries that are cutting down trees with the purpose of increasing deforestation later, so that in the future the “reduction of deforestation” will be higher and they’ll be able to put more carbon credits onto the market.

That’s just the “green economy” for forests: the entire system is about monetizing nature and cheating everyone.

You can see where this will lead.

Lots of market-based solutions require monetizing nature and that just plalys into the paradigm of commercialization.

Dr. Vandana Shiva says in her book ‘Making Peace with the Earth’,

“Green economics needs to be an authentic green, it cannot be the brown of desertification and deforestation. It cannot be the red of violence against nature and people, or the unnecessary conflicts over natural resources”.