Sexual Assault Victims Advocate:
- Crisis Line Intervention Volunteer
- Sexual Assault Victims' Advocate
- Crisis Intervention Guest Speaker on Mulitiple Sub-Topics:
- Support Group Organizer/Host:
- Adult Male Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Non-Offending Parents of Sexually Abused Children
- Non-Offending Parents of Ritual Abused Children
- Blog Articles on: Jamesfjohnsonblog.com
- Men Without Scars: Finding Support for PTSD in men who
never went to war
- I Dreamed I Was Alive: A brief theory on reality and spirituality
- Biting into the Shiny Red Apple: Surviving in the presence of sociopathic family or friends
- Novel series: Bullies & Allies, by James F Johnson
- Disaster Island
- The Goat Driver
- The Puzzled
- New Novel in-work: I Get Up Again
- How to support the victims of bullying and assault
- Success by Your Own Design
(U.S.Navy Professional Development Seminar)
- Aligning Your Funny-bone: Finding humor in a dry world.
- Champions Shape Their Change: The Richer, Fuller Life Project
- Performed during the 1990s and early 2000s in the Seattle area
Advocate for the Good People
- Survivor of many Anti-Social situations:
Sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissistic jerks
Early Young Adult
1978 - 1983
Once he was out of school and on his own, James’s duality once again became a serious and life-threatening problem. Friends were marrying or leaving for college and he was losing his sense of being loved by anyone again. Still close with his mother, who still didn't approve of his dating, he was now neurotically bouncing from one girlfriend to another. But now the stakes were higher, as these weren’t high school kids’ games, but they were adult relationships that he was repeatedly failing at and walking away from. At twenty, his confusion was spiraling completely out of control. Feeling incompetent at handling adult life, he made two suicide attempts in two weeks. Both failed, and both were a secret from his many remaining friends whom he still loved, but didn’t know how to feel comfortable with. He began showing up to work so depressed that he caught the attention of his worried boss, who was particularly fond of him. Like a father, his boss tried to help by sending him to the HR Employee Assistance Program, who in turn required him to go to outside therapy. Between therapists and medical doctors, James was diagnosed with several seemingly unrelated problems such as Manic-Depression, digestive disorders; sleep disorders, anxiety, chronic headaches, backaches, and ADD. He was subjected to such misaligned fixes as Behavior Modification Therapy, was given several self-help books to read, and was prescribed anti-depressant drugs.
Many of these cures worked temporarily. But nothing seemed to cure him permanently, which launched a new complexity to his confusion. The more failed cures he experienced, the more evidence he had to make him believe he was unfixable and doomed only to get worse.
At twenty years old, after another in a long string of romantic breakups, deep credit card debt and feeling completely out of control, he moved back home to Bothell to be cared for by his parents and closer to his little sister. There in 1981, he stayed with them for only a few months until he’d turned twenty-one, calmed down, paid off his debts, and adopted a newer, much slower paced, quieter lifestyle. He bought himself a brand-new single-wide mobile home near his employer in Everett Washington, stopped calling his friends and committed to working long hours and to living alone from then on.
The problem was that his most toxic sibling had moved to a home not far from him, and used her perceived elder authority over him to manipulate him into making daily visits to her home so he could help raise her kids, paint her house, give her his appliances, etc. Since their mother was pleased with how he “took care of his sister,” James felt trapped and completely obligated to this relationship.
Bullies & Allies is a beautiful and realistic story of the destructive power of Bullying & the healing power of Friendship. It brings light to lifelong Trauma & to lifelong Healing
At thirty-eight, James, by now a manager at Boeing, had built a number of supportive friendships with people who truly loved him, which gave him strength and courage to do more exciting things. Despite his periodic bouts with depression, his overall personality was that of kindness, compassion and humor. With the support of his wife, sons, and his many friends, and still carrying the humor and social joy that he had always been known for, he became an amateur stand-up comedian, working off and on for about two years in the Seattle area. He was particularly funny and was known for his open and honest vulnerability on stage. He used stage performances as a venue for airing his deepest secrets and vulnerabilities in ways that people could relate to and laugh at.
But to his surprise, James didn’t enjoy the hint of celebrity status. Just as he began to feel his private life slipping into the public domain, and as offers for paid gigs started to emerge, he panicked and stopped performing. As much as he enjoys entertaining people, even today, the fear of public attack and the lack of privacy associated with fame is an impasse for him. He enjoys being a writer whose fame isn’t linked with a recognizable face. He can walk about the public with anonymity.
Kyle Rickett is young, attractive, energetic, intelligent and funny. So why is life so difficult for him? Why is he suddenly withdrawn, lonely and even suicidal?
James F Johnson
James Fredrick Johnson (born, July 19, 1960) is an American Fiction Writer best known for his original novel series, Bullies & Allies, which includes Disaster Island,The Goat Driver and The Puzzled. He lives his life diligently managing Non-Military PTSD and Hypervigilant anxiety disorder. Most of James’s work is aimed at showcasing the private, secret abuse, that many teens and adults deal with alone, including secret sexual abuse, gender abuse, and mob-bullying, which he also calls “aggressive isolationism.” While most novels on the topic of trauma tell you that a character has been traumatized, James's work takes readers on a unique journey through the actual process of a young, happy person, moving toward becoming closed off and suicidal, while their loved ones stand by helplessly unable to figure out why. James’s main character suffers with abuse-induced non-military PTSD, and must learn to find his own sense of strength against a critical world that convinces him he is weak.
Marriage and Children
1983 - Present
During their early years, James once again sought medical and therapeutic help for depression, and was once again diagnosed with such common conditions as manic depression, common anxiety, and overactive thyroid. Once again, the treatments ranged from Behavior Modification Therapy to anti-anxiety medications and, once again, provided only temporary relief. The couple worked together to grapple with James’s dark, emerging memories of childhood sexual abuse at seven years of age during a Christmas season, which fed disastrously into the sexually charged abuse he had taken for most of his tween-adolescent years at Catholic school, and further explained the severity of his ever-worsening emotional duality. The determined couple adopted several positive methods of coping and taking control over the chronic trauma that would otherwise drive him into deep depressions. In 1989, when they believed they had made progress and felt strong enough to share their hard work with others, they both joined a volunteer organization as Sexual Assault Victims' Advocates. There they manned a 24 hour hotline, and worked with Law Enforcement, hospitals, and Child Protective Services (CPS) to provide advocacy for victims of various types of sexual assault. This, along with raising their kids, turned out to be one of the most positive things they’d ever done. As they helped others, they learned about themselves.
In 1990, after a period of intense training, and after having worked crisis intervention for at least a year, they launched several support groups to bring people with similar histories together to share information and provide empathetic support to one other. One of those support groups was designed for adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse, which is where James learned, first-hand, that he was not so different from other male survivors. He wasn't the only man whose life seemed to repeatedly "spiral out of control" and his sudden bouts of feelings of isolation and loneliness were common around all these men. He also saw that they suffered with largely the same suicidality and other symptoms that he himself routinely dealt with, making him wonder if his many diagnoses to date had been wrong. This epiphany later became a cornerstone to his writings.
Living as A Man with Non-Military PTSD Trust ain't easy when you don't know who is on your side
James’s next breakthrough came at forty years of age, when in early 2000, he finally connected with the right therapist and was correctly diagnosed with non-military PTSD. With great success, he and his fifth therapist abandoned all the previous diagnoses and began to work with treatments commonly used for PTSD sufferers, which brought his healing to new and more permanent levels. His following rapid and long-lasting success then prompted James to share his success in public presentations, with other men suffering with similar histories and with a similar sense of isolation as adults. Because of his comedy career and his open vulnerability on stage, he was hired to give some speaking engagements for Professional Development. But to feed his own personal struggle, any attempts to write books or articles sharing his true story ended in a frustrating sense of writer’s block, and trauma-driven dissociation, which then digressed into depressive episodes which would spiral his life out of control again, and would last for days or even weeks after each writing attempt. It seemed by now, that writing would never be a part of his future.
Eight years later, in June of 2008, his life was awesome. His PTSD seemed to be under control. His marriage and his family were flourishing. But then, he was suddenly devastated when his younger sister fell into a deep depression of her own. She had been fielding a strange unexplained barrage of attacks from certain members of their family, and felt no support from the rest of the family. She and James had been working together to find her a good therapist. But a week after she began a new anti-anxiety medication, she drowned inexplicably, alone in her own swimming pool.
James’ PTSD crashed and became worse fast. As he tried to make sense of what was done to her, he relived his own abusive childhood both at home and at Catholic school. He was crushed by remorse that he hadn’t stood more firmly at her side against the toxicity of their family and the traditional lack of support by their parents.
An autopsy was performed but was found to be inconclusive. The coroner’s report showed no sign of struggle and no sign of illegal drugs or alcohol. Her death was not ruled as suicide, but believing it most probably was one, he and his mother were the two people who took her death the hardest. His sister was considered, like James was, to be an exceptionally kind person. An easy person to bully. Her death is considered by many to be the reason his mother gave up on her own life and intentionally let her own health slip and fail quickly. Within only nine months, she deteriorated and died of kidney failure. James believes it is not a coincidence that she died less than ten minutes before Mother’s Day that year.
Estrangement To be willing to die for your family is noble. To be willing to die because of your family...foolish.
James’s family, which had already struggled with decades of dysfunction, ugly jealousy, and routine use of sociopathic gossip, lies and isolating techniques to constantly drive wedges between members, went into its greatest turmoil of them all, as two of his siblings and a sister-in-law rallied around their angry, shell-shocked father, now riddled with two types of dementia. They used intimidation, lies and rumors, to push James away from his father. For slightly over two full years, James fought to stay in his father's life, but finally, on the anniversary of his little sister’s death, while unable to accept the blatant betrayals of two of his older siblings and a sister-in-law, James’s fourth and final suicide attempt ultimately proved to him that his soulful connection to his family’s lifelong, but escalating unhealthy behaviors were far too toxic for him to live through.
Having spent most of his life particularly close to his father, the act of his siblings' use of Gaslighting and lies to drive him out of the family finally became too confusing to comprehend. When one of them altered an email, then printed and gave it to their father to convince him James was “trying to kill them” he knew there was only grief in store for staying. While his father screamed "I'm having you arrested!" into the phone, James told him, “I love you Dad. Goodbye” and he hung up. To save his own life, he changed his phone number the next day. He estranged from them all. The act of Gaslighting (use of lies, gossip, and manipulation to discredit a good person), as was done to him for most of his life by members of his own family, was meant to isolate him by turning the rest of the family, including cousins, nieces, nephews, into what psychologists call "Flying Monkeys" who would ultimately help the perpetrators to secure their attachment to whatever it was they'd wanted from their father. Flying Monkeys are the surrounding mob of people who choose to believe the lies and then take the perpetrator’s side. Once they've bought the lies, they then perform the physical destruction for the leader. From decades of experience James knew that the only way to escape the far-reaching lies of his unsavory siblings was to walk away from absolutely everyone they had contact with.
James gave in. He left. That was his final epiphany. He now says that if pain is meant to bring about change then his tolerance for family pain had finally reached its limit, and he finally made the change he wishes he'd have done decades sooner. He now says that being free from his family is the greatest feeling he's ever known. He smiles when he says "my siblings finally became so ugly that even I couldn't love them anymore." The estrangement, at fifty, was to be the beginning of a whole new life for him.
The Writing From the rubble of destruction, a new world can grow and flourish
1978 - Present
James was of particularly high energy and unusually strong. His work ethic had been quickly noticed by his bosses. Working seven shifts a week at the steak house, he was noted as the employee that everyone else should aspire to emulate. Because of his cheerfulness and his work ethic, the restaurant owner and his friends had been routinely hiring James on the side to paint their homes and maintain their yards. James took great pride in that, and money was easy for him to earn in those days. Working day and night, even on weekends, gave James the excuse he needed to stay out of the house and away from his family as much as possible.
Meanwhile, he had tried, many times, to get his parents’ support to allow him to trade his car for a pickup truck, buy some yard equipment, and begin his own landscaping company using the skills his father had spent over a decade teaching to him. But his family had always exercised such strong emotional control over him that their relentless denial of any future plans kept him from ever pursuing any personal goal.
James turned eighteen a month after graduation from Bothell High. On that birthday, his father, who had forbidden him from ever making future plans, stormed into his room and yelled “You’re eighteen now. What are you going to do? You can’t work in restaurants forever!” In a panic to please his father, James got into his car and found a job almost immediately at the Boeing Everett 747 Factory. Within a year he had made enough money to move into an apartment.
Just as he’d done in the steak house, James brought his A game to the Boeing workplace. The constant anxiety added to his already tenacious work ethic and made him into a valued employee almost right away. His eagerness to work hard and fast, plus his entertaining humor and his endearing personality earned him special favors, better jobs, and better overtime money than the average boy his age.
James was born James Fredrick Johnson in St. Paul Minnesota. At the time of his birth, he had three older siblings aged 13, 11 and 8. His father owned and operated an automotive garage, his mother was a housewife.
When he was nine months old, his family relocated to the City of Bothell, WA, just outside of Seattle. Just weeks before his third birthday, his mother gave birth to a fifth and final child. James’s first cognitive memory is of the day she was brought home as an infant. The two, being so much younger than their older siblings, bonded as if they were twins. These two were the only family members who would consider themselves natives of the Pacific Northwest, while feeling as if their elder siblings were more like aunts and an uncle who'd been natives of Minnesota.
Paperbacks & Kindle books are available at Amazon.com
Public High School Healing can only begin after the abuse stops
1974 - 1978
In June of 1974, James graduated from Catholic school. The following spring, he and his sister both joined their friends in the public school system. James entered ninth grade at Canyon Park Junior High. The fact that his sister was allowed to follow him out of St. Brendan’s Catholic school simultaneously enraged and pleased him—further adding to the confusion of his ever-worsening duality. The unfairness of letting her leave St. Brendan’s early just because she didn’t want to go there, after he had begged on his life for years to be released, enraged and confused him, further proving he was held as having less value than anyone else in the family. His mother’s reason for letting his sister out of St. Brendan’s early was, “because she wants to." When James responded with "so did I!" his mother's response was, "Yeah, but she’s a girl.” As unfair as this was, James loved his young sister so much that he was grateful she had been allowed to escape the place that had nearly killed him.
James flourished at Canyon Park Jr. High, and continued to make inordinate amounts of good, lifelong friends at Bothell Senior High. His new allies, both teachers and students, and both male and female, surrounded him all the time. He also dated a lot. To his surprise, girls became interested in him from day one at Canyon Park. But this didn't set well with his mother. Throughout his next several years, dating became a point of contention at home. He was repeatedly forbidden by his controlling mother from staying with any one girl. She demanded that he not build any relationships beyond one date only. She effectively drove him to break up with every girl he’d ever dated.
During eleventh and twelfth grades, he worked during lunch and after school at the Porterhouse Inn, a steak house in Kenmore Washington, making even more friends. Being that it was too late to learn how to play sports or piano, he joined some school social clubs and went to all the football games, where he and his volunteer peers directed traffic, and spent every game joyfully interacting with the public and with each other, then going out for pizza and hanging out until closing. James’s natural sense of humor, and his ability to draw close to others, paid off so well that he accidentally broke into sobs at his graduation ceremony in 1978 when he realized High School and all its social interaction was over.
Characters in his novels range on the scale from overly empathetic (Kyle) to overly sociopathic (his best friend, Andreo, his sister, Fran and the evil Dr. Krieg). How they interact is described as a demolition derby, where characters crash into each other causing more damage and challenges for one another. His characters each live under varying degrees of traumas, and each of them have different reasons for handling their traumas in their own unique ways. Those who feel supported by empathetic family and friends (allies) handle their traumas much better than those who feel unsupported and utterly alone with their pain. His goal is to help victims of mobbing to realize they aren’t as alone as they seem to be, and to help those who can take sides, to prove their alliances by doing so. He believes that by allowing a peer to be bullied by a mob of other peers, you are, by default, taking the wrong side in the eyes of the victim. Sociopaths' super power is at making the bully victim feel alone, and believing that "Most People" are siding against them. The mob-bullied victim feels alone. Unsupported. Unlovable. If no one says any different, then for the victim it becomes the truth.
James's main character, Kyle is like many victims of mob bullying. He's empathetic and kind. Bully-bait. Somehow he tends to repeatedly attract the opposite. Is it a lesson he needed to learn in life? Or just plain bad luck?
Private Grammar School
James and his younger sister were the only two of the five children to attend a Catholic School. James was enrolled into St. Brendan’s in September 1965, which happened to be the first year the brand-new school was opened. His little sister was enrolled three years later. They were each to attend first through eighth grades.
Catholic school was especially difficult for James, who, at ten years of age, in grade five, experienced a traumatic ostracization from the class, which became full-fledged, horrific mob bullying by most of the people who attended the school, including some of the teachers. In grade five, James’ best friend, who had been especially controlling for several years, began making sexual advances toward him. James, whose sense of humor is especially bright, didn’t understand the seriousness of the advances. Thinking they were common banter between two boys, he laughed them off as jokes. This enraged the boy, who immediately labeled James as gay, and, because this boy had spent a few years slowly isolating James from the other students, found it quite easy to prove James was an outcast who deserved to be treated as less than human. James, who did not happen to be gay, has grown to have an empathetic connection with the difficulties of gay and lesbian teens because he has experienced, first-hand, all out mob-style bullying that LGBTQ teens often experience. The abuse by his peers continued for the rest of his adolescent life at that school. Today he says "It isn't the fact that they're gay that makes kids suicidal. It's how their friends and peers treat them--the way they treated me. Mobbing should be considered a crime as serious as attempted murder. It seems as though every day kids get away with murder on the playground."
James did not understand what had happened. His family was unsupportive by nature. His father, a WWII vet was unusually strong physically, but was also quiet, emotionally detached, and, for some reason, often blamed his problems and his unhappiness on James. Today’s medical community might diagnose Mr. Johnson with shell-shock, or PTSD, but in those days, WWII vets were just seen as “being like that.” While Mr. Johnson would never strike his children, his angry outbursts were frightening enough that many members of the family “lived on eggshells” hoping to keep from igniting his rage. His mother had been near death multiple times in her childhood with chronic kidney disorders. As an adult, she expressed a constantly precarious level of anxiety, which the family also knew could ignite at any moment. Because of her multiple near-death experiences, today’s medical community might also diagnose her with non-military PTSD. While the family was tightly bonded, they were also toxically dysfunctional. James and his young sister were so afraid of causing explosions, or being blamed for the unhappiness of their elders, that they each found psychological ways to hide in their heads in order to deal with the constant level of family distress.
From birth, James had always been particularly pursuant of his father’s attention. He spent much of his childhood, as well as his young adult life, at his father’s side, maintaining the home, carpentering or rebuilding cars. From nine years old on, the two spent their weekends together in the woods, clearing land, carving driveways into hill sides, and cutting trees into firewood, all with just their muscles, a chainsaw, an ax, a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a pickup truck. Just like his father, James rapidly became unusually strong for his size. His father had taught him how to maintain a productive work ethic which has stayed with James for his whole life, making him always willing to work as hard as needed until any job was completely done.
But by seventh grade, at twelve years old, James's life had become so confusing that he had finally become seriously suicidal. Today he credits his young sister for being the one stable person who stood at his side no matter what, and for giving him the motivation to fight against the urges to kill himself. Unable to convince his mother that things at school were as bad as they were, he learned instead to split off in his mind, go into dissociative trances, and let whatever happened at school remain at school. While it’s quite normal for a teen to live a dual life; the one his parents know about, and the one his friends know about, James’s duality became a life-long debilitating problem—almost two completely opposing personalities. At that time, he could no longer stay engaged in class. His grades had tanked to straight Ds and his ability to trust anyone—especially family or close friends—became pretty much impossible.
His family had a sense of toxicity that he couldn’t fight against, but because he loved them, he also couldn't leave them. All five children were discouraged from wanting to go on to college. Their father would say that “College was just a kid trying to milk his old man for four more years of childhood.” As a boy or a teen, any time James attempted to plan any kind of future for himself, (announcing "what he wanted to be when he grew up"), most of his elders in the family would laugh at him and tell him he could never be anything at all. During his early years in school, he tried to gain permission to join some ball teams, or take ski and piano lessons, but in every case, the permission was predictably denied. With nobody willing to teach him how to play a ball game, throw, catch or shoot hoops, the social gap between himself and other kids progressively grew wider and more difficult to bridge. Because of a toxic and unsupportive family, and a toxic and violent school, James was systematically being turned into an isolated loner.
To James's surprise, once separated from his family’s dysfunction as well as their constant, relentless criticism of everything he said or did, his lifetime of dissociative writer’s block immediately ceased as if by flipping off a switch. In November 2011, on a weekend alone on a Pacific Coastal beach, his first book began to gush from his heart and mind so fast he could barely write it fast enough for his fingers to keep up.
For the next six years, he learned, and studied and wrote until in November 2017 when all three books were ready to be published. Much of the genius of the fictional Bullies & Allies story is from his own life. But much of it is also from the lives of his clients from his years as a Sexual Assault Victims Advocate. All the characters are realistic compilations of multiple people he’s known to varying degrees, and all of his thoughts come from his empathetic connection to having walked in the shoes of his characters. But no one in any book is a direct description of any one person.
At twenty-two years of age and living on his own in Everett, James met Colette. The two fell in love quickly. Fearing his family would intentionally undermine their relationship, as they had all his previous relationships, the two took a strategic, but risky move and married in secret only four weeks after their first date, not allowing family the time to interfere. The secret wedding created an expected stir of anxiety and anger throughout the family. Some family members, including the sibling who felt she had lost her “servant” gave insulting wedding gifts just to show their disrespect for what he’d done. But to their misfortune, and his great fortune, the marriage, unsanctioned by his family, worked, despite them. To this day, James hails Colette as being the most honest person he's ever known. Given his trust issues, he knows he couldn't survive anyone less honest than her. Also despite his lifelong affliction with mood swings and poor self-esteem, Colette has always loved him deeply. She's often been heard saying “He’s worth the trouble.”
During their first ten years, Colette gave birth to two sons. The family purchased a larger house in 1989 where they could raise the boys from start to finish in the Everett School District.
Email Contact: James@JamesFJohnson.com
We all have our paths to follow. Why do I keep following the SOCIO-paths?