Enlightenment, Anger And Forgiveness by Rick London

Upon my enlightenment of what happened to me (early in my life) up until age 60, I became angry.  That is normal (many scapegoat children-turn-adult) never lose that anger.  Even more,  never even discover what happened to them, as it is “the family secret” and all participants who choose to engage “play a role” and play it well for their own survival.

 One of the main roles is to help “build the hierarchy” of the dysfunctional family model, by helping the parents scapegoat the “weak child”, hence removing responsibility of their own dysfunction and projecting it onto the scapegoat (and if that model scapegoat is created at a young enough age) i.e. vis a vie triangulation, isolation, etc. it works quite simply.

Of course there are numerous downsides to this type “family model” that are far too numerous to mention. One is the deception and manipulation mentioned above.  The family generally then turns to their community and screams, “See what a madman we have?  No wonder our family is in turmoil”.  Of course it is all based on deception and untruths. 

And though it “works”, this model harms a lot of people (even outside the family unit) as well as the children (not only the scapegoat child).   All models from the golden child to the lost child are angry (at whom, they are a bit confused/misguided) but that’s merely a fact of the NPD family model (they all think they are angry at the scapegoat). Sadly they are not.

Mix in a heaping tablespoon of  Autism Spectrum (with which I was born),  didn’t only make life difficult, it made it impossible.   Believe me when I tell you, Clark Kent couldn’t have changed into his Spandex and flown out of there without some heavy duty kryptonite burns.

Jung and Satir’s psychological and psychiatric papers are chock-full of these dynamics which are the “fingerprints” of any NPD family.  Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled) penned his 2nd book “People Of The Lie” on this very family model.  It is much more commonplace than people know.

So how to heal?  I’ve been reading a great deal on that, and consulting with several top professionals in that field.  I am also now hooked into several large networks that allow me support, and the ADA has assured me they would assist in any external issues that might arise while I attempt to begin my life, possibly for the first time;   and of course my wife Lee is a tremendous support.  Together we are walking through this.

Anger and fear are actually healthy responses to “my enlightenment”.  In fact, I’ve learned that had I not had such emotions, I should be worried.  It would mean I had likely gotten to the point of dissociation and void of all feelings (which would put me right back in the mud, wallowing with the narcissists and their“flying monkeys”)  who continue to occasionally pop up (I choose not to engage with them anymore, however; and that is healthier for both sides

As Katy told Boon in “Animal House” when asked to be his date to the toga party, “I’ll write you a note. I’ll say you’re too well to attend”.  And actually, just as promised from various therapists, once I purged the anger and blogged it, the anger subsided. Have I forgiven the culprits yet?  Of course not.  I know, I know, forgiveness is “the solution” to many things, and I agree, and feel I will forgive one day.

 But if I give a “fake performance” (just to show “how spiritual I am”),  and not feel the anger and “loss of innocence” if you will, that’s exactly what it will be, “a fake performance”.  Fake performances were the very foundation of what I had to do in that original family unit to survive. I refuse to be involved in that kind of behavior ever again.

So forgiveness is on my agenda in the future, but not forgetfulness. It is every bit as important to remember who did these deeds to me, and who enabled them (and who continues to enable some of them) and never, ever allow them in my life again.  They do not deserve that honor.  To be forgiven?  Yes one day.  To be forgotten would be naive and myopic.

Will I write a book (and/or screenplay) regarding my life? I have been approached by several very capable people “interested parties”, and am tossing that idea around.  I’d say “probably so” but I don’t want to do so while my moods are still volatile.

First I want to allow those around me who really love me (Lee) to help in the healing, which she has been doing, and that doesn’t go unrecognized, and continue our hikes as I’ve learned late in life that God’s handiwork aka nature is a healer like no other I’ve ever seen.  Lee agrees, and together our hikes are like magic. 


In college, my first time around, I was not a great student. Now of course I understand more clearly as to why.

I could barely read, and, I actually had never read even one entire book cover-to-cover until age 27, and again, now I have a greater comprehension as to why that occurred too.

A combination of struggling with both autism and scapegoatism, hindered my ability to do so. 

When I finally learned how to read properly (using a ruler or other similar object), it made things much easier.  And though I loved some of the great nature/spirituality writers such as Emerson and Thoreau, I didn’t fully comprehend their core message until experiencing it.  In fact I used to snicker at some of it, sadly.  Now I know how much smarter/wiser they were than I will ever even hope to be.

Lee on the other hand is and always was an avid reader and comprehends what she reads.  Using her instincts, one birthday she got us both Kindle Fires.  Suddenly, due to the brilliant background lighting and large font, enabled me to read and absorb the words (without using a flat object to keep the letters from jumping all over the place).

And though I realize the autism will never go away, I am slowly learning to accept it.  It is in fact a gift after all (I had always heard otherwise). It is why I am able to do a lot of the things I am able to do (especially on the creative side).  In my diagnosis, which was done by the top neuropsychologist in Arkansas, (and allegedly one most respected in this whole region) who does most of the neurological evaluations in this state as she is that respected, and has sat on the Ar. State Autism Board about 35 years who wrote a letter to my GP (which is the result of the evaluation).  She says that even my work is autistic in nature.  (I gave her the URL of my web site). 

Ironically, Lee’s guess and later my guess was Asperger’s.  She noticed numerous “Aspie” movements/gestures etc. for several years.  It took time but upon deep assessment, finally so did I.  But we found out I am much deeper on the Autism spectrum than the Asperger’s spectrum. And though Asperger’s is considered a type of autism, not everyone with autism has it.  I got lucky and have both.

As each day passes, I learn just how lucky and blessed I really am.  I have what I need; more than I ever desired.  I am alive and, though on some days struggling with health issues, I have survived and I am strong.

I am a survivor, of things that (I am told) most people don’t survive.  I don’t say that in glee.  I say that because that is one of the main reasons I blog this topic, very different than my cartoon/humorous stuff, which I find equally important.  Laughter was not easy on many days.  I have been writing cartoons for 18 years.

I notice on days I am able to find humor on which I could rely for a laugh, sometimes that is all I needed to make it through the day.

But I also needed information like this (on this topic). 

It is not fun to write, and sometimes it isn’t easy to write. But for me, it is very necessary to write.  I’ve already been told of several families who have been helped.  Young lives who won’t have to go through what I did.

Several families have opted for professional help rather than ego-driven narcissism/power etc. to greet and welcome in life.  To them I say, “God bless you” and please do keep the faith.   All that pain, made this day worthwhile for me, and I hope and pray that in your own journey toward recovery, both of us will be able to look back and say, “Now what was that that was bothering me back in July of 2015? I don’t even remember”. 

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for his Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts which have remained Google #1 ranked since 2005.  He is active in such causes as autism/Asperger’s, animals, children and the environment.

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The Story Behind Brookus Brotherus Cactus by Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons (Rick London)

A little bit behind this cartoons:  See below it…………..

I was fortunate to have neighbors growing up whose parents had retail businesses.  So when I went away to college and needed jobs, I didn’t always have to wait tables, though I often did.  More often than not I found myself working in mens fashion in large department stores in Dallas or later in Washington, D.C. (when I was in between jobs).

One thing I didn’t expect after leaving my tiny little burg of my birth, was the seriousness in which people took their retail merchandise.  The proper mens shirt/tie combination was closer to a deity than “an outfit”.

Others looked at some of the more elaborate brands as if they were created in a lab by Einstein, Hawking or even Al Gore.

I don’t mean to sound haughty or erudite (and of course anyone who uses the word “erudite” obviously is; but I digress.

My point I want to make is, I was in my early twenties.  I liked nice clothes, but I didn’t see a big mystique in something that was made with polyester and/or cotton and a needle and thread.  Correct me if I’m wrong but things happening at NASA aroused my curiosity more so than things happening at Neiman’s.

I spent most of my days after school, or on days I didn’t have classes at Richland College at a downtown Dallas store called Saenger-Harris, which competed with Neiman Marcus, and I think is now defunct, but it was very nice.  But not NASA.

However, it was a Saenger-Harris that I learned about color and how to match ties and shirts and pants and even sports coats or putting them together for displays in suits and how to “pick up the colors and make them shine” in that display window.

I would crack a bit of a smile if I “did it right” as I knew that put my name on the list of possibly getting a raise (if I did it often enough).  Others (and I’m not making this up) would actually applause, as if the mannequin was a live actor who had just won an Emmy.

Needless to say, I did not end up working in a physical retail store in my adulthood (except on rare occasions when I needed jobs between media and/or writing jobs) which much closer matched my skills (what few I had).

Ironically, I actually am in retail (to a certain degree) though I don’t work with the public. I actually design clothes and gifts, using my imagines and/or concepts that are digitally designed onto clothing, mugs, etc and sold through online retailers.

And again ironically, much of what I learned 40 years ago, is useful today in dealing with wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers who sale my licensed goods.

I’ve come full circle and in many ways I am, again that 20 year old kid, wondering just how I was going to “conquer the world”, something I never quite fully did, but I’ve had a really fun time trying.

Though “Brookus Brotherus Cactus” is now about 15 years old, it remains a very popular gift and tee item for collectors or gift givers.  If you want to see how it looks on one of my items…..

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Cartoon Anniversaries, Obstacles, & Asperger’s Spectrum

Each year I tell myself I’m not going to get excited about anniversaries and other such milestones  (except my wedding one to my beloved wife Lee).  Londons Times Cartoons will be 18 years old Thursday, March 19th.  As most know, I launched it after several false starts in an abandoned aluminum warehouse.  It was not an easy time for me.  But I’ve discussed that often in my blog. 

It seems like every year I end up writing a blog about some of the (what I consider) unique experiences in the founding and eventual launching of Londons Times Cartoons.  That’s fun for me and it reminds me of all the “street education” that occurred (and still occurs) in the management and growth of such a project.  

This time I’m going to take a risk and talk about something a bit more personal.  For some, it may scare them away, for others, it might help them understand; and, hopefully, begin a new growth process, similar to one on which I’m embarking. It’s not what I expected but, that’s life, and I find every day to be a blessing. 

I consider it a compliment when people ask me “How did you know how to do that?”, or “How did you learn that business?”

Truth be told, there isn’t a degree in cartooning unless one attends Ohio State (which also has the largest cartoon collection in the world), and I think a few other colleges now. I didn’t have that luxury. In fact I was a dismal student in my younger days and got a bit better when I went back to school at age 47. But even then I didn’t study cartooning, but learned business and Internet skills that came in handy in the design and marketing of the Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and consequential funny gifts and collectibles. 

I did not learn until about a month or two ago that what most likely helped me a great deal (besides the motivation of my wife Lee) was that I discovered I “most likely” have highly-functional Aspergers”, a form of autism (which I’ve had all my life, but didn’t know it).  To be sure, I took yet another test from the top autism testing centers such as at Psych Central and my score was in the “more than likely has high functioning Aspergers.”

The reason for the “most likely” is that it is impossible to diagnose any form of autism without the help of a trained professional M.D. specializing in the brain sciences.  However, the test will give you a clue if one should see such a trained professional, and also even if it turns out that one “most likely” or “more than likely” has basic autism or another form such as highly-functional Aspergers, they nevertheless may want to see a professional as there are a myriad of other disorders that can be obstructive that may not fall technically into that spectrum, but have similar symptoms and can create issues in ones life that can be less than comfortable. 

At first this scared (and embarrassed me).  Then I learned that often people with this type of autism spectrum can often focus in ways that others cannot.  To me, that kind of focus is “normal” or at times it feels odd that others (unless they have this spectrum) don’t often have that kind of focus).

Oddly it didn’t surprise Lee.  She knew from my vagus nerve stimulator that for my system to function properly, I need “mechanical assistance” (and no, not like Lee Majors).  Her guess was, in fact, high-functioning Aspergers because of my “High level focusing abilities”.  I took that as a compliment.

My embarrassment diminished when I started researching it and learned that the very man who gave me the most advice about the business and world of cartooning, Charles “Sparky” Schulz also had it, as did Alfred Hitchcock according to reports from autism/Asperger’s Asperger’s support sites

Upon further research I also  learned some other notable names who most likely have or had it during their lives are/were Stephen Spielberg, Bill Gates, Dan Aykroyd, Thomas Jefferson, Jane Austen, and Isaac Newton  Albert Lim Kok Hooi, M.D. Doctor of Oncology reported in the Feb. 24, 2011 issue of The New York Times that most historians believe others who had it were Beethoven, Mozart, Mark Twain, Isaac Newton, Michaelangelo, and Darwin.

Also on that list is Jim Henson, Isaac Asimov and Bob Dylan and many others.   It’s worth a view of the list.  If you find you have it, I believe you’ll realize you’re in good company. 

At this point, I can only imagine you thinking, “Is Rick so delusional he thinks he is in the categories of those master craftsmen and women?”

No, and that is the reason I am writing this blog instead of one of my gratuitous ones that repeatedly notes the most “fascinating history in my mind” of my story of entering the world of cartooning and product designing. 

Not in the least.  But I take the time to document them, to remind myself that the disease is not just a disease, but a blessing/gift as well, and, anyone can have it, and it is should cause no shame, in fact, if anything, one might even say it is something in which to take pride.

In 1995 or so, I read a best-selling nonfiction book titled “EQ – Emotional Quotient” by Dr. Daniel Goleman.  

He was diagnosed with autism back in the days when those diagnosed with it were kept out of school, I guess so as “not to infect others with it”.

When he reached adulthood, given his own research, he was able to prove IQ was not the only measurement of intelligence, and in fact EQ was not only another, but much more important than IQ in making ones way in the world.  It is the emotional process of using ones intelligence.

He took the GED with no education at all and aced it.  He later went to Yale and Amherst and finally received his PhD.

Goleman co-founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at Yale University’s Child Studies Center which then moved to the University Of Illinois at Chicago where he co-directs the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers.  He sits on the board of the Mind & Life Institute.    Here is a very interesting TED Talk he gave on EQ not long ago. 

After reading “EQ”, I took a chance and called him and explained my life and fear of education because I was so dismal at it.  He chuckled and told me (in a nutshell) that it is possible in adulthood to work on one’s EQ and raise it to the level.

I stumbled through much of his direction and programs as I possibly could over the years and returned to college at age 47.   I did fairly well on scholarship and even aced advanced math (I had failed all math growing up and in early college days.  

I also had launched Londons Times Cartoons Gifts and later Rick London Quote Gifts, but several serious health issues hit (seemingly all at once) and I was forced to stop college as I was falling behind.  That was heartbreaking as I was finally enjoying the learning process.  By the same token, the college (and I) were a very good match, and I learned a great deal about running a business using the Internet.  I even learned how to digitally design products (which I still do on a daily basis).

I then got married to my wonderful wife, and we both spend days doing what we love, hiking, nature and wildlife photography (she’s teaching me) and growing our business.  I am what you might consider a happy person as is Lee.

Finally, there is a common thread, I can see, in all my “anniversary blogs”. That thread is, “It is never too late to begin chasing ones dream”; and “it’s a shame if you don’t when you really can”.  I don’t mean necessarily “quit the day job” and jump in.  I found great pleasure in chatting with various masters including Charles Schulz learning how the cartoon business works.  I got joy in reading books on the topic and as the Internet grew, reading websites that “taught” various aspects of it.

With the advent of the Internet, we can all chase our dreams, beginning as hobbies, as most of them do, and enjoy the ride and the path as it becomes more clear on a daily basis.  It grows and changes and so do we.  I wish you the greatest success in whatever journey you decide to choose (or have chosen). Nothing, really, can stand in your way, if you choose not to let it. 

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Rick London is an animal and nature-lover and supports both causes.  He is a writer, musician, cartoonist, and designer.  He is best known for his offbeat comic Londons Times Offbeat Comics & humor gifts.  He is married to nature wildlife photographer Lee Hiller-London who operates the highly-visited nature blog Hike Our Planet and designs her own line of designer gifts

Here are a few of our Londons Times Cartoons created over the past 18 years.  Hope you enjoy.  Sincerely, Rick

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