Krak’n’tarctica II: Medusas

This is the tale where we examine what a Medusa actually is, and what it does to its unsuspecting victims…

I have had the misfortune of attracting Medusas – a type of Gorgons with a rather vicious disposition – from a very young age. I am pretty certain that one camouflaged as one of my parents and left me with life-long scars. Parental Medusas have three ways of screwing up their kids, and I shall delve a little more into their evil machinations below. Medusas also have certain personality traits that make them highly dangerous to the Kraken. This is probably why I simply had to become a Krakenologist*: Fighting these Gorgons is in my blood. Being abused by them since childhood means that I have developed a hypersensitivity to spotting them, something like… a Kraken sense. I shall attempt to explain how to spot them, so you can develop your Kraken sense too.

ho was Medusa?

Medusas have been around for a long time, at least since the ancient Greeks. Originally, they were widely known as the chthonic monsters they truly are.

MedusasLater, some (clearly drunk!) poets and artists turned them into ravishing maidens. Although some argue that it was Medusa who was originally hard done by – being raped by Poseidon and then turned into a soul-destroying Gorgon by Athena. Now THAT’s some outrageous victim blaming right there! But then, the Greek gods were never known for their nice demeanours. In fact, they really behaved like a complete bunch of assholes most of the time. So, turning into another, even bigger asshole – whilst understandable – doesn’t really absolve you, Medusa! But I digress.

When they’re at their worst, Medusas can turn their victims to stone. And Freud (naturally!) speculated a whole bunch about Medusa’s “castration complex”:

The terror of Medusa is the terror that is linked to the sight of something (perhaps pertaining to the ‘horror’ of the sight of female genitals?)

But the biggest problem is that there are real-life Medusas too. And these Gorgons – cleverly disguised as humans – have a massively destructive personality disorder, which can really ruin your (and their) life.

hat are real-life Medusas and how do you spot them?

There are signs and symptoms that set Medusas and other Gorgons like the offspring of Narcissus apart from real, ‘normal’ humans. The severity of symptoms vary and I want to make it very clear here that I am not a psychiatrist and thus not qualified to diagnose anyone, Gorgon or human. But, like any victim of their ongoing abuse, I have developed my Kraken sense and learned to spot their signals. To help you develop your own Kraken sense, here’s a list of things to look out for. Gorgons often:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognised as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolise conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognise the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office
  • The worst kind – Medusas – may have snakes on their head.

Illustration by Edward Sorel for Vanity Fair

At the same time, they have trouble handling anything they perceive as the slightest criticism, and then they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behaviour
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation
  • Again, the worst kind – Medusas – may turn you to stone with a glance.

These descriptions may make some of you immediately think of several people – some may be in your own family, or group of friends. Some may be in your workplace, often even in very powerful positions. In fact, one study has even shown that when a group has no leader, it is likely that a Gorgon will step up and take over leadership. And, let’s not ignore the ginormous elephant in the room, namely that there is one very obvious Gorgon – clearly, a Medusa, currently inhabiting the most powerful position on earth.

Image: Cthulhu 4 America

Gorgons manipulate and maim using many techniques: outright bullying and harassment or the more insidious gaslighting, scapegoating, ridiculing and dismissing, and of course, dividing and conquering. Their main trait is a complete lack of empathy for their victims and a wish to inspire utmost devotion from, and power over humanity.

There are 3 main types of Gorgons and their form can depend on their upbringing (more below):

  1. Exhibitionist – they are often the grandiose, look-at-me, I own the World stereotypes (these are often thought to be Narcissus‘ offspring, and they are most commonly males, like my father). They sometimes resemble “Pliny’s Gorgons” (Gorgos stheno) the most and, despite having a toxic bite which can lead to paralysis, they will not turn you into stone.
  2. Closet – they often have different personas, they are passive-aggressive and look to idolise people and often paint themselves as victims (these can also be misdiagnosed as borderliners, especially if they are females). These are also described in cryptozoology as “lesser Gorgons” (Gorgos euryale) and they will not turn you into stone.
  3. Toxic – these are the malignant Medusas that crave chaos and destruction and they really fuck your shit up. Cryptozoologists describe these as the most dangerous “greater Gorgons” (Gorgos medusa) and they can absolutely turn you to stone with a glance… Beware!

here do Medusas come from and how can you get rid of them?

The OG Medusa was raped by a Greek God and then turned into a monster by a vengeful Goddess with an extreme victim-blaming fetish. But real-life Gorgons and their worst kind – the toxic Medusas – can arise from several places:

  • Environment ― mismatches in parent-child relationships with either excessive adoration or excessive criticism that is poorly attuned to the child’s experience
  • Genetics ― inherited characteristics
  • Neurobiology — the connection between the brain and behaviour and thinking.

Generally, we think that the environment a Gorgon grows up in has quite a lot to do with their emergence – Gorgons tend to beget Gorgons (though some of that can be genetics, of course). As a parent, you can screw up your kid in many ways: you can be too tolerant, or not enough, too lenient or too strict, too much Apple Pie or too much Mongrel Mob. However, you can tell Gorgon parents because they exhibit any or all of these traits when raising their offspring (and let’s face it – a Gorgon wants to raise another Gorgon): rejecting, ignoring, terrorising, isolating, corrupting and exploiting. They can either completely abandon and neglect a child; constantly hurt and humiliate a child; or – and this one is a kicker, as it often fosters more Gorgon traits in offspring than the others – totally overvalue and overpraise their children. I was the victim of the first two and was saved by an unconditionally-loving person in my life, my Oma. She instilled a strong Kraken heart in me.

Gorgons usually follow stages of ensnaring their victims: they start with love-bombing their victims, then they devalue them more and more, until they finally cruelly discard them. Sometimes they basically turn them into stone, rendering them useless, depressed and suicidal. One big warning sign is that they often triangulate by using their harem of enabling followers (“Flying monkeys“) to further bully and isolate the victim. The impact these enablers have in scapegoating and gaslighting the victim can be just as bad, if not worse than the Gorgon itself – especially when it happens in family situations.

“The typical adult from a narcissistic family is filled with unacknowledged anger, feels like a hollow person, feels inadequate and defective, suffers from periodic anxiety and depression, and has no clue about how he or she got that way.”

—Pressman and Pressman, The Narcissistic Family


Gorgons usually invoke fight, flight, freeze and fawn responses, depending on the characters and backgrounds of their victims. My immediate response setting is FIGHT, for example – as I am a born Gorgon scapegoat. I shall describe what happened when the Medusa and the Krakenologist scapegoat clashed with one another on a tiny ship in the middle of Antarctica, in another Krak’n’tarctica blog post. It’s quite a tale.

Getting rid of Gorgons is extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, especially if they are in your own family. The best way of dealing with a Gorgon is to disempower them by removing yourself from their influence, completely. There are many great books and blogs written about how to survive this kind of abuse and rid yourself of Gorgons in your life – here is a short description for what to do to deal with familial abuse, and here is one about how to deal with Gorgon abuse in the workplace. So, you may ask: What did I do to deal with my various Gorgon abusers?


I shall delve into how exactly, and with what consequences this tale unfolded in the near future. For now, however, I am blessed with a Kraken as my permanent familiar. It is both, a protective armour and a source of strength. It also helps me deal with the fallout of various Gorgon terrors inflicted upon me and so many others. And it does this with humour and by injecting a good dose of absurdity. This is even more so because it also raised and then brought Dread Lord Cthulhu here to my lair. For companionship, apparently, although I have my sneaking suspicions that they are up to more mischief…

To try and see what they get up to in my absence, I left my iPhone lying around one afternoon. Here you can see the Kraken and Cthulhu discussing their particular theory on Gorgons and how they affect humanity. Enjoy.

Make sure to get in touch:

  • If you think that you have a Medusa or other Gorgons in your life,
  • If you want us to help you release the Kraken on them, or
  • To find out how to find your own Kraken familiar as protector.

Most importantly, know that you are not alone and that we believe you. Gorgons are everywhere.

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