Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


What! Wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice? 
William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

"Self Discipline is Self Esteem"

Abbreviations: N=Narcissist, P=Psychopath, 

D&D = devalued & discarded


Keep them pinned up in a room where you will see them throughout the day, read them frequently to remind you of them.

Tips to Help You Adhere to No Contact

Settle all critical business before you begin no-contact. This means business only... no personal exchanges.

1. To keep my sanity and totally end this relationship, I must maintain NO CONTACT.

2. No contact includes every single form of contact with him/her..

2a. This also includes... do NOT ask friends/family about him/her and do NOT let friends/family tell you about him/her. If need be I will go NC with any friends/family who try to get me to break NC.

3. I will not email him/her. I will not answer their emails. I will block them.

4. I will not call him/her. I will not answer their calls. I will block them and if need be, change my number to a unlisted one (and not give it to anyone who may pass it along to them).

5. I will not send him/her letters, cards for any occasion or notes of any kind. Any flowers, mail or packages they send to me will be refused or marked "delivery refused" and put back into the mail, unopened.  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc)

6. I will not text message, two way, fax or page him/her.

7. If he/she calls me, I will hang up immediately, or not answer the phone at all.

8. If he/she leaves a voice mail or answering machine messages, I will delete it without listening to it. (Anything he/she says is done to draw me back into his/her web of insanity.)

9. If he/she emails me, I will delete the message without reading it or answering it. I will not check his/her Facebook/Tumblr/LinkedIn etc, and I will block them.

10. If he/she mails me a card, letter or note of any kind, I will throw it into the garbage can without opening it or reading it or write DELIVERY REFUSED and put it in the nearest mailbox WITHOUT reading or opening it  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc)

11. If he/she two-ways me, text messages or emails me, I will delete the message or the phone number and not listen to the message or return his/her call.  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT TEXTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc.  USE A  JOURNAL)

12. If I am ever tempted to do anything listed from 1-11, I will call my therapist or a friend immediately and talk about it.

OR replace a hopeful reunion fantasy and toxic hopes that they will "get it" and "change" and apologize with a Clear Memory of a time that he/she insulted me, manipulated me, shamed me, blamed me, abused me, used me, belittled me, made me cry, used my children, friends or family to demean me, embarrassed me in front of co-workers, family or friends or used 'love' as a way to intentionally hurt me.

13. If I feel like I am about to reach for the phone to call him/her, write, email, page, fax or text message him/her, I will count to ten and clearly ask myself silently, why am I doing this? what do I think will REALLY happen?

14. If friends, family or clergy are not supportive of my efforts to remove myself from this relationship, I will not discuss my personal life with them and will ask them sternly not to offer their opinions. My decisions about this are my own. This is My Battle.

15. If I find that the urge to speak to him/her or see him/her has overwhelmed me and I slip off the course, I promise to be kind to myself and patient with the situation, then get right back on to No Contact.

16. I promise to be good to myself, forgive myself and allow myself to move on and not dwell on this for ever.

17. I will stop creating chaos in my mind & environment. I will stop listening to everyone else who doesn't 'get it' or looking for the answer I want to hear, rather than the answer I NEED to hear.

18. I will accept reality - The facts.

19. I will accept others for who they REALLY are. (not what I'd like them to be)

20. My hands are off others responsibilities: I will tend to my own, focus on me.

21. I will refuse to believe any of his/her lies about how wonderful his/her life is now. Basing the truth on the past, I will assume him/her to be lying. I will believe ACTIONS not Words.

22. I will distrust every time he/she has a "change of heart."

23. I will journal all my positive and negative feelings.

24. I must accept my own responsibility for maintaining No Contact. This includes writing a letter to them explaining why I went NC. I will stop expecting them to understand or 'get it.'

25. I will completely stop expecting them to understand or 'get it.' I will keep my children completely away from them no matter what threats they make.

26. We must love ourselves. And get counseling to help ourselves.

27. Take time off, just for me.

28. Find out what we need and go after that in friends that are worthy and have substance, morals, and ethics.

NO CONTACT IS THE END - no loopholes, no excuse, no exceptions. Period.

Accept nothing less for yourself.

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shared by Barbara at 12:04 AM 18 comments


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Emotional Abuser's Trap

by Peace

Psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths are experts at flattery & charm. Although it feels amazing at first, this idealization is actually responsible for just as much damage as the abuse itself. They set a trap, and it's a trap that no unsuspecting victim could hope to escape from.

1) By idealizing you, they can expect this attention & adoration to rebound very quickly. Their love-bombing ultimately results in a very quick bond, one where you fall fast and give back all of the "love" you are receiving. In your mind, this individual truly becomes the most passionate, perfect soul mate you could ever imagine. You feel and express this love on a daily basis.

2) You share your excitement about this relationship with all of your friends and family. Often times, they already have a front row seat for this constant flattery. Sites like Facebook ensure that the mutual idealization is visible to the world. It feels good to have our vanities stroked, ignited by all of this public praise.

3) The emotional abuser slowly begins to back away. At first it's subtle. You can't quite put your finger on it, but something feels different. They don't text/call quite as often, they seem less interested, you start to feel like a chore, and they're always late to see you. However, due to #1 and #2, you are determined to continue the idealization. You ignore the worsening behavior and actually idealize them further, hoping to restore your dream. You don't want to be like their crazy ex. You want to be easy-going & forgiving.

4) You continue to tell your friends, family, and self just how amazing your partner is. Even though the relationship is getting progressively worse, you're sure that enough love and positive energy will fix everything. At this point, the psychopath can do whatever he/she desires, and you will continue to speak highly of them.

5) The psychopath's abuse becomes much worse. The triangulation begins. You are punished through silence & criticism. You are called crazy and hyper-sensitive. And eventually, you are abandoned. Throughout all of this, you continue your desperate attempts to save the relationship. You find yourself crying, pleading, and denying reality. This person has become your entire life. You have no one to reach out to for help, because they all believe your relationship to be perfect.

6) After the abandonment, you begin to put the puzzle pieces together. You discover psychopathy through a Google search and start thinking "Oh my god, this is uncanny." The more you learn, the angrier you get. Everything falls into place, you are validated beyond belief, and your truth has changed forever.

7) The trap. No one believes you. After all of your positive enthusiasm about the relationship, it doesn't make sense. How could you have been the victim of abuse? You were happy - you were elated. Your partner was amazing and treated you so well. You said it yourself! If things were really so bad, why were you praising them during #3, #4, and #5? Instead of being a victim, you sound crazy, bitter, and unable to handle rejection.

This is the emotional abuser's trap. They are invincible. They groom you to shower them with praise & adoration, so you effectively checkmate yourself once the abuse begins. Survivors often find their own friends taking the side of their abuser. It's devastating, and this trap is the final nail in the psychopathic coffin.

To avoid this, do not try to defend or explain yourself to anyone. Yes, you need to share you story, but you need to share it with people who know what you've been through. Stick to recovery forums and journals. If you seek out therapy, be sure they understand the mind games of manipulators. They must be familiar with Cluster B personality disorders, otherwise you may just experience more victim blaming. You don't need someone telling you to "get over it" or "breakups are part of life". You need someone who will help you unravel this hell and set you on a path to peace.

You are not crazy. You're not bipolar, insane, hypersensitive, jealous, or needy. You're a survivor of emotional abuse - and you can escape this trap. Just remain calm, patient, and always kind to yourself. Someday you will be able to talk about this experience eloquently and believably. Do not worry about convincing others of your story right now. This is what the psychopath hopes for. By putting you on the defense when you are at your most damaged, you seem guilty & unstable by default.

So say farewell to these games. You are not alone. Share your story with people who get it, and slowly you will find that this nightmare becomes nothing more than a strange, distant memory. The psychopath does not matter. It's the subsequent recovery journey that changes everything.

from this great site

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shared by Barbara at 12:30 AM 2 comments


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Coping With Triggers

If Something is Scary or Upsetting: Coping With Triggers

A “trigger” is something which reminds you of something painful, frightening, dangerous or upsetting. A trigger can also be something which causes you to react or behave in a certain way—like seeing someone else using a drug and then having a more intense craving to use too, or like encountering something which ‘sets you off’—meaning something that makes you feel explosive, panicky, or like you might want to hurt yourself or someone else.
Figuring out how to take care of and protect yourself when you get triggered is a really powerful thing to do for yourself. And you deserve to feel better!

Here are some things which may be helpful to do when you get triggered. If one of these suggestions doesn’t work for you, or makes things worse—it’s okay not to use it! The most important thing is figuring out what helps you.

Separate from the trigger if you need to: If it’s possible, it may be a good idea to move away from the situation, person, or thing which is triggering you, and then figure out what happened or ask yourself “how am I feeling now?” If the trigger is something which is a present danger or threat to you, it’s very important to focus on getting safe. If the trigger is upsetting because it reminds you of something, it may still be a good idea to take a break from it.

Get grounded in the moment: When something is triggering, often it may be because it brings us back to old feelings of danger, pain or fear. If you’re not in a safe environment when you get triggered, it may help to focus on that first—telling yourself, “Okay, I’m getting triggered because I’m not safe here, so my first step is to get to a safer place if I can, and I’m also going to pay a lot of attention to how I’m feeling as soon as I can.” If you are in a safer environment, it can help to remind myself where and when and who you are—knowing what place you’re at, what day or year it is, and some things about yourself, like “I have been sober for 90 days”, or “I am 23 years old and I have my own life”, or “I have become a very strong, good person”. Reminding yourself that you are not in an old situation may help you gain comfort and strength from who and where you are now.

Remember to breathe: Taking a few slow deep breaths from your stomach can help your body know it’s okay to calm down or feel safer. Often when we’re panicked we take shallow breaths in our chest, rather than breathing from our stomach or our diaphragm. Focusing on breathing more deeply may give you a lot of relief.

Focus on things which help you feel safer or calmer: Figuring out what soothes or reassures you may be new to you, or you may already know things which help. Carrying a familiar object or touchstone with you may be helpful. Thinking about a place or person or activity which makes you feel better and safer may also help. Telling yourself kind or soothing things like “I’m safe now”, or “I don’t deserve to be hurt”, or “I don’t have to respond to that person”, or “I have choices” may also be helpful. Some people will do things like hugging your own shoulders or resting your head on your hands for awhile, something which helps you feel, physically, that you’re taking care of yourself.

Give yourself permission to be upset: Although it may be very helpful to focus on calming down, it’s also important not to beat yourself up for getting triggered. Sometimes when we’ve dealt with a lot of violence we get used to feeling like we should be strong all the time to deal with it, or we learn to feel ashamed because we’re in pain or sick or scared—like we should be handling things better, or that we should recover very quickly and not have problems anymore. It can be good to remember that as a survivor, you’ve had to deal with way too much violence and danger—and that it makes a lot of sense that you’ve been affected by that. Even if the trigger seems like it shouldn’t be such a big deal, you can remind yourself that the trauma and pain and violence you’ve had to deal with are a very big deal, and that to have survived at all—you’ve had to be very strong already.

Ask for help: Sometimes there won’t be safe or helpful people around, or it will feel too hard to reach out, but at other times it may be very helpful to tell someone—“Something made me feel frightened” or “Something made me feel pissed off” or “Something is really making me want to use right now”, and to let that person know how they can be helpful to you. It can be really important to tell them if you know what will or what won’t help you—like saying, “I just want you to listen”, or “I don’t want to talk but I need someone to sit with me for awhile”, or “Can you help me get to a quieter place”, or “I need to be really angry right now, I don’t want to calm down yet”. When you’re triggered, it can be really upsetting if you’re asking for help and someone isn’t responding the way you need—so talking about what will or won’t work can be very important! If there isn’t a friend, loved one, or counselor you can reach out to, remember that you can also call crisis lines or emergency resources if you need to talk someone soon.

How is your body?: Sometimes we can be more emotional or upset because our body is having a rough time—if you haven’t eaten anything healthy, or you need some sleep, or you’re in pain, you may be able to feel a lot better emotionally by paying attention to those needs. When you’re already upset, it’s usually a good idea to stay away from sugar or caffeine or anything that’s going to make your body more agitated or hyper.

Think about your options: One of the tough things about getting triggered is that it often may provoke or push us to want to act out in a particular way because it’s familiar, like using when you feel pain, or lashing out when you feel scared. Sometimes we can forget that we have choices and it can seem like we either have to suppress our feelings, or do whatever we’re used to. Reminding yourself that there are lots of ways to express what you feel may help a lot. Some options might include talking, writing, art, exercise, rest, taking a bath, reading, seeing a movie, or playing with pets or friends. It can help to keep reassuring yourself that you have choices—“I am upset, and I don’t have to use”, “I am angry, and I don’t have to get into it with that person”, “I am scared, and I can do things to protect myself”, “I feel bad, and I can do things to feel better instead of hurting myself”.

Make a self-care plan: Once you’ve gotten some kind of grip on what you’re feeling or what happened, figuring out what you can do to help yourself in the next minutes, the next hour, the next day, the next week can all be important steps. You may want to write down your ideas, or discuss it with a friend or counselor. If you get triggered again, or if you know something may be hard to deal with, it may help you feel stronger to know that you’ve really thought through what to do if things get hard, and you aren’t totally unprepared or powerless.

Drink water: Panic, rage, fear and other painful emotions cause our bodies to release certain kinds of hormones and substances to deal with crisis or emergency. Drinking plenty of water will help your body clean itself out and move through the painful feelings.

Keep paying attention to yourself: Even after you feel calmer or better or less triggered, it can be very important to check in with yourself every now and then, to acknowledge that you had a rough time and need a little extra care and support. Sometimes doing this will let you know if you still need to look for more help or support, or do some things for yourself to recover more.

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shared by Barbara at 12:44 AM 3 comments


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adult Children of Narcissists - Their Struggle for Self

Trapped in the Mirror
by Dr. Elan Golomb
(book available at


"People who are relatively free of narcissistic traits (most of us have some) do not attempt to place themselves above others. They are unconcerned with such comparisons. They stay in touch with their feelings and try to do their personal best. Their standards are internal and realistic since they have a good idea of who they are and what they can accomplish (such objectivity is not insignificant). They are not free of idealistic wishes and dreams.

"Narcissists are wholly different. They unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self-image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self-deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism and to their own roiling sea of doubts.

"This figure of paradox needs to be regarded as perfect by all. To achieve this, he or she constructs an elaborate persona (a social mask which is presented to the world). The persona needs an appreciative audience to applaud it. If enough people do so, the narcissist is relieved that no one can see through his disguise. The persona is a defensive schema to hide behind, like the false-front stores on a Western movie set. When you peer behind the propped-up wall, you find . . . nothing. Similarly, behind the grandiose parading, the narcissist feels empty and devoid of value.

"Because his life is organized to deny negative feelings about himself and to maintain an illusion of superiority, the narcissist's family is forcibly conscripted into supporting roles. They have no other option if they wish to get along with him. His mate must be admiring and submissive to keep the marriage going and his children will automatically mold themselves into any image that is projected upon them.

"Here the tragedy begins. A narcissist cannot see his children as they are but only as his unconscious needs dictate. He does not question why his children are incredibly wonderful (better than anyone else's) or intolerably horrible (the worst in all respects) or why his view of them ricochets from one extreme to another with no middle ground. It is what they are.

"When he is idealizing them, he sees their talents as mythic, an inflation that indicates they are being used as an extension of his grandiose self. When he hates them and finds their characteristics unacceptable, he is projecting hated parts of himself onto them. Whether idealizing or denigrating, he is entirely unaware that what he sees is a projection and that his views are laying a horrible burden on his child."

"The offspring of narcissists grow up fulfilling their assigned roles. They may sense that they are in a state of falsehood, but do not know what to do about feelings of nonauthenticity. They try all the harder to become what they are supposed to be, as if their feelings of uneasiness come from an improper realization of their role. If their parents see them as miserably deficient, from the shape of their bodies to the power of their minds, that is what they become. If they were portrayed to themselves as great muckamucks, especially if they have innate ability to fulfill a powerful role, they become the movers and shakers of society.

"At heart, children of narcissists, raised up or cast down by the ever-evaluating parent, feel themselves to be less than nothing because they must 'be' something to earn their parents' love. Conditional love offers no support for the inner self. It creates people who have no personal sense of substance or worth. Nourished on conditional love, children of narcissists become conditional. They find themselves unreal."

"As a child, the narcissist-to-be found his essential self rejected by his narcissistic parent. The wounds of the parent are a template for the wounding of the child. Each narcissistic parent in each generation repeats the crime that was perpetrated against him. The crime is non-acceptance. The narcissist is more demanding and deforming of the child he identifies with more strongly, although all his children are pulled into his web of subjectivity. How can he accept offspring who are the product of his own unconsciously despised self?

"The narcissist-to-be turns away from a world he perceives as devoid of nurturance and love (since a mother’s care gives the child its first version of the world). He withdraws into grandiose fantasies to shield himself from profound feelings of unworthiness caused by the fact that his mother does not really love him. Grandiosity permits him to believe that he is complete and perfect unto himself, thus shielding him from his secret sense that he is a ravening beast, ready to murder others in order to eat and survive. The food of this beast is admiration.

"The narcissistic mother, caretaker of the child’s earliest years, is grandiose, chronically cold but overprotective. She invades her child’s autonomy and manipulates him to conform to her wishes. She rejects all about him that she finds objectionable, putting him in the anxiety-ridden position of losing her affection if he expresses dissatisfaction. She responds to his baby rages and fussing with anxiety, anger, or withdrawal. He becomes unable to cope with the ugly feelings that threaten to erupt and destroy the bond between him and his mother, the bond he depends on for survival.

"His mother’s grandiosity models a way out of his dilemma. She places him on a common throne, sharing the rarefied air of her greatness. By appropriating and embellishing the aura of specialness in which she has enveloped him he can create a grandiose fantasy about himself to escape to. This fantasy eventually crystallizes into a psychic structure we call the grandiose self. A new narcissist is born.

"For all his air of self-sufficiency, the narcissist is full of interpersonal needs. He is more needy than most people who feel they have something good inside of them. If he is to survive, he must find a way to get his needs met without acknowledging the independent existence of the person off whom he wants to feed. To admit that a person is necessary to him gets him in touch with feelings of deficiency, which plummet him into intolerable emptiness, jealousy, and rage. To avoid this experience, he inhabits a one-person world. Either he exists and other people are extinguished or vice versa. In his mind, he is center stage and other people are mere shadows beyond the proscenium. This solution creates a new conundrum: ‘How can I get fed without acknowledging the feeder?’ The solution is to dissect people and to turn them partially into objects, to make them inanimate. A person comes to represent a need-fulfilling function or an organ like a breast, vagina, or penis. There is no overall person to consider.

"Since he is not psychotic and totally out of touch with reality, he is occasionally forced to recognize the presence of a benefactor. The emotional incursion of such an idea is warded off by demeaning the gift or the person who has given it. If a gift is unworthy he doesn’t have to feel gratitude. Not to say that he does not at times proffer thanks. A narcissist can be quite charming when he wishes to impress, but his words are not deeply felt.

"He usually does not see the need to go to such lengths with his family. They belong to him and are supposed to cater to his needs. His children are particularly crushed by his lack of recognition for their attempts at pleasing him since he is the main figure in their world. Adding insult to injury, they can always count on his criticism when what is offered falls below his standards.

"Despite his bubble of grandiosity, the narcissist is remarkably thin-skinned, forever taking offense and feeling mistreated, especially when people appear to have eliminated the extras in their response to him. Less than special immediately implies that someone may be thinking the emperor is naked, precisely what he fears. He is enraged whenever the aching corns of his insecurities are stepped on.

"A narcissist tends to have transient social relationships since few wish to abide by her rules. She has quick enthusiasms, business associates but few friends. Her closest are other narcissists who keep a comfortable distance while exchanging gestures of mutual admiration. Neither makes emotional demands on the other.

"In a mate, if she does not choose a fellow narcissist, she will cohabit with a person who feels inadequate and who needs to hide in a relationship. This suits her well since she doesn't want to recognize the existence of another being. Often, her mate is the child of a narcissist, already indoctrinated to regard exploitation and disregard as love."

"The grandiose narcissist in her automat world may not feel the emptiness of her life, although her narcissistic traits cause suffering in all those with whom she has intimate contact. She only comes to recognize that something is wrong (not necessarily with herself) when the environment no longer supports her grand illusions and she fails to live up to expectations of greatness. At this time she may become depressed and seek psychotherapy to relieve the pain."

"The narcissist attacks separateness in everyone with whom he must have a relationship. Either they fit into his ego-supporting mold or they are extruded from his life. Narcissistic rage and aggression are based on fear. His entitlement to absolute control over others must go unchallenged.

"Although the overall picture of narcissism can be readily understood, small details of [narcissistic] behavior are inexplicable. There is no rational explanation for what a completely self-centered person will do. What they themselves say about it later bears no relation to the original motivation. They often surrender to overpowering impulses based on distorted, one-sided, and limited perceptions."

"Often, an initial move for independence involves joining a group. Membership in a group represents opposition to the parent. A narcissistic parent wants to determine her child’s style and life objectives. Her child wants separation but, fearing to stand alone, joins an all-encompassing group as a halfway move to freedom. He thinks that membership expresses his individuality and cites group laws as buttressing independence from the parent. But such membership often limits his search for a self that needs separation to exist. In order not to be immersed in his parent’s narcissistic net he buries himself in a group that operates like a narcissistic family and requires identity with members’ goals and ethos. It is a style of life that reinforces personal nonbeing."


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shared by Barbara at 12:22 AM 10 comments


Friday, September 26, 2014

The Hoover Maneuver

How to Recognize it and Move Forward

The Hoover maneuver is named after the famous vacuum cleaner. In the language of our community, it describes behavior common among [abusers] and those who have borderline traits. It occurs most often when a victim threatens to leave, or actually leaves, a relationship. The intent of the hoover is to get the victim back into the relationship. This behavior has its roots in the intense fear of being alone or being abandoned that is often at the very core of the abuser's sense of self.

It can also occur when the abuser has left the relationship, and is feeling frightened and alone. Since abusers know which ’buttons or triggers’ to push in their partners, and since victim’s are such dedicated and compassionate people, it is far too often successful.

Those with the disorder use all kings of behaviors to ’suck you back into’ the relationship. This can include through kindness, guilt, apologies, tears, threats of suicide, protestations of eternal love, the list is endless. For instance: "I’ve NEVER loved anyone the way I love you. No one has ever been as good to me as you are." etc. (Remember, the abuser knows all your vulnerabilities, and knows how to use them for their purposes and to meet their needs, not yours. It is always about them, and never about you. Except when it’s ’your fault’.)

The primary drive for a ’hoover’ is the fear of abandonment. It is driven by the abuser’s fear of abandonment, of being alone. See the abandonment/engulfment cycle for more on abandonment. Since the abuser lacks a sense of self and takes that sense of who they are from the person they are with at that moment, they fear being alone almost more than death itself.

During a typical hoovering your abuser reverts to the way they were when you were courting. They may act in loving kind ways, swear he/she will get help, says, promises, vows, that s/he won’t do a particular abusive behavior again, will really change this time, will stop drinking, or using drugs or raging or whatever you are confronting them about.

When the victim believes the hoover and re-enters the relationship, this is referred to as having "been hoovered" . It is important to note that the promises of change won’t last. Often there is an immediate escalation in the raging, splitting, black and white thinking. The longer the relationship continues, the shorter will be the ’honeymoon’ of promised change. And of the most dangerous times for a victim is after a hoover has been successful, the relationship has resumed, and the next rage occurs. It is VERY common for physical violence to begin, or to escalate. No matter what your personal situation, please make a safety plan. IF you are in danger, leave. Go to a shelter, or a friends house. Stay safe.

Now, getting ’sucked back’ into a relationship that you once decided to leave, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When it happens often enough, without any real change, it helps you to make a lasting decision that leaving is the right thing to do. IT may encourage you to seek counseling and therapy. You may feel "stupid" later, but it isn’t necessarily stupid. It’s just part of what you have to do to make sure you are ready to do what you have to do to recover.

Before seeking counseling and therapy, and beginning the long road to recovery, many victims have reported a feeling that ’they’re under the power’ of the abuser... that they have little choice in going back to the relationship. This may be supported by the financial situation of the victim, or threats that the abuser person with the disorder has made. This is also common.

You realize that you are healing when you recognize what’s going on and begin to make an informed decision based on what is truly best for you and your children, rather than the guilt, shame, blame, fear of being alone, or what ever ’hook’ the disordered person uses to pull you back into the relationship with the abuser.

In the final analysis, you make your own doghouse . If you are comfortable in the doghouse, or if the attempted abandonment actually produces better behavior from your significant other, then you may end up feeling better about it all.

All this being said, unless the abuser in your life is getting serious therapy, you can depend on the fact that someday, and probably far too soon, the borderline behaviors WILL repeat. Eventually, you may begin to recognize the hoover in process. This is a close encounter of the hoovering kind.

People do not spontaneously recover from abusive personality disorders simply because they are threatened with abandonment or because the victim goes or stays.

Once you begin to understand abusiveness and how it affects the one you care about, you can use the hoovering episode to create opportunities for healthier boundaries.

For example, you might say, "We can get back together for six months and see if we can make it work. I will only consider this if we agree to enter into a written legal signed agreement regarding joint and individual therapy, care of the children, custody issues, money, or whatever, before doing so.  Otherwise, please start packing and get out in 24 hours."

This type of countermove may introduce healthier and more effective boundaries for you or your children.

Disclaimer: The information on the site ( is based on personal experiences of the authors and members of our e-mail mailing list. It is NOT meant to replace professional advice or take the place of counseling, therapy or additional personal research.

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shared by Barbara at 12:34 AM 11 comments


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depression) is a condition in which a person typically experiences dramatic "mood swings" from periods of extremely elevated moods (mania) to extremely low moods (depression). In most cases, bipolar disorder first appears in young adults, but children and adolescents might also suffer from this disorder.

What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?Bipolar disorder is characterized by two extremes - the polar opposites that give the condition its name.

Signs and symptoms of the manic phase (Bipolar I):

Signs and symptoms of the depressive state:

What is the typical course of bipolar disorder?There is no standard presentation for bipolar disorder. Some people have relatively few or mild episodes. Others may experience rapid cycling (four or more episodes within a year). People can also experience a mixed state, where symptoms of both mania and depression are present at the same time.

What causes bipolar disorder?
Abnormalities in the brain
The cause of bipolar disorder is under investigation, but there are strong indications that it is a brain-based disorder. It seems that several factors act together to produce the illness. Possibilities include:

When an individual is predisposed to bipolar disorder, an episode can be triggered by:

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?There is no specific diagnostic test for bipolar disorder. It is identified by behaviors often first noticed in adolescence and early adulthood. Symptoms of bipolar disorder may be similar to those of other conditions, such as schizophrenia, other anxiety or depressive disorders, or alcohol or drug abuse.

In children, bipolar disorder may appear similar to temper tantrums, ADHD, or oppositional or conduct disorders. A psychiatrist is the most likely medical doctor to determine the correct diagnosis.

An accurate diagnosis is important because the use of the wrong medication sometimes can lead to more serious symptoms. A medical evaluation should include an assessment of thyroid and kidney function.

How is bipolar disorder treated?
The good news about bipolar disorder is that it is treatable. Proper treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes and can help people who have the disorder maintain a good quality of life. Without treatment by a psychiatrist experienced with this condition, however, the symptoms can become more severe. But each person is unique. A treatment that works for someone else may not work for you. Although this can lead to heartbreaking rounds of hit-or-miss therapy, there are so many treatments and combinations to choose from that there is bound to be something that is right for you.

Medications may not be the total answer, but they can get you on your feet again and help prevent relapses. It is best to view them as one part of the treatment and wellness equation.

Treatment of bipolar disorder usually includes a combination of approaches, such as:

One challenge in treating bipolar disorder is that the person often enjoys the excitement of the hypomanic or even the manic state, and does not want to give up those feelings to a medication that will level off moods and may have troublesome side effects. In addition, many people are in denial of the problem, or feel stigmatized about having a "mental illness" and refuse to acknowledge the need for treatment. Education about the cause, consequences, and treatment for bipolar disorder can help these individuals:

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Covert Incest

Covert incest typically occurs in families where one parent (the shadow parent) does not actively participate in family affairs, thus setting the stage for the other parent (the invasive parent) to turn to a child for emotional support. The invasive parent in effect makes the child a surrogate spouse who is forced to take on the responsibilities of the shadow parent. The roles are essentially reversed; instead of the parent looking after the child, the child is responsible for the parent's well being. This is a terrible burden for a child to carry, as a child is incapable of meeting the emotional needs of an adult.

Relationship problems are endemic amongst covert incest survivors. They often fall for the wrong type of partner—someone who is a replica of their invasive parent. Thus, their emotional needs remain unfulfilled which leads to unhappy relationships.

Because of the conflicting emotions that result from growing up with an invasive parent, survivors usually find themselves both attracted and repulsed by members of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on their sexual orientation and gender of the invasive parent).

In addition, since the atmosphere in which they were raised was sexually charged, it is common for survivors of covert incest to use sex as a means to intimacy. This can result in sexual addiction or other types of dysfunctional behaviors as an adult.

Covert incest can persist all the way into adulthood. As long as one remains in such a relationship, it is impossible to form healthy relationships with others. Unless the close bond with the invasive parent is altered, the parent will continue to interfere in the life of the child, causing problems to arise in relationships.

If the invasive parent refuses to change the nature of the relationship, there may be no other recourse than separation. This separation can be temporary or permanent. What is important is for the child to set firm boundaries which the parent cannot cross. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may even be necessary to permanently separate from the invasive parent.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Who Gets Targetted

by Kathy Krajco

Like all predators, narcissists target the vulnerable.

Many things can make a person vulnerable. Being smaller than the narcissist. Having less power in the company. Having dangerous enemies. Having a bad reputation. Being defenseless in any way. Being gentle. Being too moral to get as down-and-dirty as the narcissist does. Loving the narcisist makes you very vulnerable. Being the narcissist's benefactor also makes you vulnerable. (That's because we love those we sacrifice for, because to do otherwise would be to devalue ourselves. We also have good reason to expect goodwill from those who owe us gratitude, so we are trusting -- totally blind-sided by their malice.)

A narcissist targets the small, defenseless, or gentle because he can have the most powerful effect on them. It's more fun to bash something small to smithereens than it is to just dent something big. So your narcissist gets the strongest power rush from abusing the small, defenseless, and gentle.

Hence, for example, he feels best when viciously snarling at his tender four-year-old daughter, because that eviscerates her, whereas it would only wound his wife.

If you carry this anti-logic to its conclusion, he makes himself God almighty by stomping an ant. Right?

Wrong. A baby can stomp an ant. Even a puppy can stomp an ant. Demolishing an ant requires no great power. But destroying a city does. Yet every bully on the planet cheats by destroying something small and then thumping his chest as if that proves him mighty.

Sun Tzu, in his ancient treatise On the Art of War, notices the same thing about bullies:

To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
Yet every narcissistic bully makes the same egregious error of logic. That blasts to smithereens the myth that narcissists are exceptionally intelligent. To the contrary, only a moron makes such an egregious error in logic.

Yet, a minute later, while he's filling out his tax return, the moron is suddenly intelligent enough to do it right.

Therefore his moronhood of a moment ago was just willful stupidity, wasn't it? And who is stupider than somebody who thinks it smart to be stupid?

The Intelligence of Narcissists and Whom They Target

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Monday, September 22, 2014

'Survivor Quotes'

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(a site of insightful quotes from those who have been there & lived to tell the tale)

The Beginning
“I was seeing Mr. Wonderful for a little over a year. The first 6 months or so were... wonderful. He told me he loved me, alluded to our future, was warm and ‘connecting.’ Of COURSE there were flags; he was coming on strong, and I knew he was very intelligent and intuitive and I couldn’t shake the feeling he was letting in under my radar; I hated his flirting and how I’d go for days without hearing from him sometimes; but I trusted him and he was saying things I wanted to hear. Then the splitting started, and I started to unravel. Back and forth, bonding and withdrawing—he never broke us up, but would say he didn’t see how it could last, and he thought we ‘might’ be incompatible, ‘might’ not, he didn’t know. I was bewildered and fought a long time (WAY too long) to figure out what I was doing ‘wrong,’ what was going on, what he was thinking. And then he’d always bond again with persuasive ‘sincerity.’ Finally I told him I meant it—I wanted a commitment or not. I kept some distance for weeks and he never committed OR let go, seemingly ‘proving’ that he loved me even though I wasn’t ‘feeding’ him, though probably I was. About 2 months ago he said some pivotal things and I totally surrendered. LATER THAT DAY he withdrew again. I left.”

“His facade was so polished. Had I not been clouded with my own ego needs I would have recognised a wounded animal that was doing the best he knew how to survive. I was perplexed when he bit at me for no reason, retreated to his cave quite frequently.”

“When we met he portrayed himself as a sensitive new age guy (SNAG) and courted me heavily. I wanted to BELIEVE in his portrayal and enjoyed the courtship so we satisfied each other’s scenarios.”

Buying the Lie
“I chose mates who in the dating phase of the relationship were kind, romantic, fun, funny, seemed to possess good character and insight, intelligence and sensitivity {one was a special-ed teacher and published poet, one was a musician, the hair color N taught seminars in conflict management...'bite me'....} The person you fall for at the start is not the person you wind up living with at the end.”

“Sometimes he is the most caring, generous person I know - those times are few and far in between, but it is at those times that I think he can't possibly be an N. But the fact of the matter is that he is - he is also a gambler, alcoholic, spendaholic and so forth. He definitely lives only for today and it drives me crazy. I have supported him financially for four years now and it still continues. I make his life so easy - no wonder he wants me in it - I have to realize though that I deserve someone who wants me in their life because they actually love me.”

“We fall prey to the seduction, it is irresistible. Then the nightmare of horror begins. The shabby treatment, the avoidance. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. He had been so sincere, so kind. It was Jekyl and Hyde.”

“Friends and family kept warning me of him and what he was doing to me, but I believed that he had been hurt so badly by others that I could “love” him healthy. It didn’t work and wont ever work. A friend gave me a piece of advice that is lifesaving to me ... he said if you keep playing with a snake, eventually it will bite you ... well, I heard it but didn’t take it to heart…”

The Right Victim
“They go for the strongest and the best, but preferably those who are something of rebels within the group...the LEAST controllable. Because if they can crush them, they crush most of the rest at the same time. If they start at the bottom, with the weakest, it’s a long way to work their way up…The ideal target is therefore, strong, smart, rebellious and vulnerable through previous abuse.

“These guys can sniff it out. They know a good person when they see one and use every means, every method to ‘get some’!”

“A caretaker focuses all the attention on others and not themselves, and a N wants all the attention focused on him. The glove fits.”

“…they are so selfish, they just want everything done for them. Some of them are parasites, so who else would they try to latch onto but a caretaker, and bleed them dry.”

Living with them
“It was like trying to raise another kid, but an irrational, mean one at that. One who couldn’t, wouldn’t learn and it was all my fault.”

“At some point in the relationship I realised that my role was no longer ‘partner’... it had evolved to mentor, coach, and at times I felt more like a mother than anything else.”

“That mother-love is so good, so unconditional. I too loved him after he treated me poorly time after time. He loved the Mother-love and he hated it. All children do.”

“He cheated on me endlessly, used women for money and sex, kept telling me it was my fault, and the sorry thing is I believed him because of low self-esteem. So for years I thought that if I tried a little harder, worked harder, pleased him more, did more at our business, then he would wake up and see what a wonderful person I am...but no. He would blame everything that happened to us on me. Said people didn’t respect him as much as they should because I would try to tell people about our home life and it sounded too made-up and crazy... how could this wonderful, charismatic man be so bad?”

“For 23 years he made excuses for her behavior and he hid behind the lies, hoping against all odds, that she would somehow transform herself through his love. She did not, in fact she got worse, not better at all.”

“I knew that his emotional world was comparable to the way a shark feeds. If you study sharks it is a great metaphor for the emotional world of an N. Their whole being, I mean every word, gesture and action is to present a false picture and to supply their insatiable need to avoid emotional contact with others without losing their supply and false sense of perfection. It quite a balancing act for them. And you better believe that they are very good at it because they have been at it since childhood and for them it is a matter of survival.”

“They steal the innocent, harmless fun out of life.......It’s like you find yourself in a position where all the good things and good intentions in the world are somehow blocked from applying to you. As though they poison the sunlight. They try to gag and ban truth... You get to feeling like there is no safety, no hiding place, no-one you can trust...”

“They are trapped in the mind of a two year old, and they possess no cognitive ability to reason, to negotiate, to cooperate, to give and take, to love, to empathize. Rather their lives consist of ultimatums, demands, greed, egocentric thinking, bullying, temper tantrums, and a plethora of ‘I wants’ and ‘Give me’s’ etc.“

"To my experience, a favored technique for Narcissists is to debilitate your identity [personally, I hate the term self-esteem] by levelling false accusations and/or questioning your honesty, fidelity, trustworthiness, your “true” motivations, your “real” character, your sanity and judgement.”

“He has devalued me so much. he has lied, cheated, been a total son of a bitch and has sucked my esteem right out of me - yet I still have hope for him. I can be so damn mad at him that I think I am going to kill him and then he usually says something that makes me forgive him.”

“It will get worse too, if you want to be devaluated all the time whenever he doesn’t get what he wants, and I don’t know if you can be lover, mother, sister, friend, counsellor, financier, etc., all in one with no returns.”

“Ns invade our emotions and our psyche like a virus and it’s hard to get over it. They mastermind our dependency on them (and we cooperate) so that we won’t abandon them—then they abandon us, a sort of pre-emptive strike.

“At our house, he had a candy and sweet stash that the kids weren’t allowed to touch, he would eat in front of them, them be MAD because they begged some from him. He would stop for gas and buy a pop and chips or candy for him and no one else and sit and sat it in front of us and yell at me for letting the kids ask for bites and drinks. He never got how come I thought that was so cruel. He said I didn’t discipline the kids well enough.”

“We don’t exist for them, not really. I’m basically here in the ‘wife’ role, to make his life cook and clean and wash his dirty undies. If I DARE to mention an unfulfilled need of mine, the reaction is always rage. That’s NOT the way a loving husband responds to a wife he loves!”

They’re Sadistic
“One of the sickest aspects is the pleasure they appear to get when they cause pain. Most healthy people back off when they cause others pain. N’s feed on it and even increase and repeat the act to prove they were right in the first place (they can’t ever be wrong) and as a means to denegrate vulnerability. It’s all so unbelievable because it is so irrational that it takes a long time to really get a grip on it.”

“…he was the MASTER of saving up your most personal “confessions” and then using them to tell you why you are so disgusting and sickening.”

“They’re keenly intuitive and know just how to get to us and know we’re giving, and it’s a huge rush for them when we respond even though they treat us badly.”

No Morals
“In the three years I’ve been married to him, I haven’t seen one speck of morals; I just hear a lot of hot air about my morals and the kids if he’s okay in that dept. Delusions, denial, blame, excuses, arbitrary rules for everyone but themselves, it’s all smoke and mirrors to try to hide the empty spot where their soul should be.”

“They are vile, despicable creatures with no conscious. They know right from wrong, they simply don’t care.”

“It never ceases to amaze me at the N’s ability to continually use and abuse people with no sense of right or wrong. It is as if they feel the world owes them something, they are ENTITLED to anything they want.”

“What is incredibly scary to me is that N’s do not see ANYTHING wrong at all with taking from people, it is as if they are entitled to all the luxuries that money can buy.”

“Are most usually found, like small puppies, or dinky toys, EXACTLY where you next intend to tread...”

“As far a boundaries go, I was the one who didn’t have clear, defined, well-established boundaries on what I would permit, not permit during the dating experience with my N (soon to be divorced). If I had the boundaries, I would have booted his butt out the door on the first date!”

“If I’m not nice of course, then I’m a bitch and “protest too much” my ex N said. Of course when I went along a few times in his opinion of other people to see how he would react, a very mean opinion, very cold, he loved it. He wanted me to join with him in his hate toward the world. He was brainwashing me from the very first time we spent together. Telling me I was no different than him, turning me into a monster like him. He knew I was a caring person and said, “…you mean we aren’t going to be Bonnie and Clyde”?…how sick! He said all men are like him, they just lie to me and he is being the honest one. That we had a bond and would be friends forever.”

Instant Gratification
“They are filled with their own set of fears and really can’t persevere in a relationship. Everything is “instant gratification” for them. Either they want what they want, NOW - or they will move on to someone else to get it.”

Idealised Love
“He didn’t want to try. He didn’t want understanding. He didn’t want to “work through” anything. All he wanted was his own idealized version of love and since I didn’t fulfil the 110 qualifications for a relationship - he moved on. Forget the fact that I did fulfil about 99 of them. I wasn’t perfect. he goes to find another “perfect” love.”

They talk out of both sides of their mouths - mine did it all the time - one minute he would say let’s get a bigger house with a garage, etc, then the next he would say we needed to downsize to save money! I learned not to put any hope into anything he said and that’s no way to live.”

“An incredible actress, she can suck people dry and they are left having no clue as to what just happened. She thinks nothing of lying, as a matter of fact I am not sure she even knows the difference between fact or fiction.”

“They are absolutely the world’s best manipulators, liars, and fabricators of truth. They do so convincingly because they believe their own lies. After all their life is nothing but a lie, a sham, how can we possibly assume they know anything different.”

“Mine borrowed money from me constantly - I mean were talking in the 10’s of thousands. I actually had to file bankruptcy because he ran up my credit cards so high. Of course, it didn’t affect him any - he has repaired his credit and is on his way to getting credit again while I sit with a public record on my credit report.”

“I couldn’t believe that some people couldn’t change. But beware of an N, this one goes to Church when he is in trouble or need, he has even gone into rehabilitation centers, during times of failure and great need. But up and at em, don’t be fooled, he always reverts to his old self, false, or true…the nasty N self. He even enrolled in school telling me he would change and got a job there, 5 weeks later, back to his old binging and behavior, I think it is admiration, sometimes they try to comply for approval and admiration, but there isn’t a True Self with morals and beliefs that actually do it. So be careful, of being misled about their ability to change.”

“My therapist says that it is virtually impossible for him to change because he is an N and why would he want to? He gets everything he wants from whichever dumb girl he is with at the time, he feels no attachment to anyone so he doesnt have to deal with a painful breakup and he thinks the world spins around him, so why would he want to change?”

"He never would take responsibility for anything. It was always some one elses fault, or mostly mine. He would say he was just reacting to my behaviors and if I wanted him to change, all I had to do was change me, so I tried for years and years and then I woke up one day and said “my God, he will never change, no matter how much I change or how much I do, it will never be enough” so that was my breaking point.”

“My husband describes personality disorders like this - (he uses an apple as an example) when someone has a neurosis it is like a bruise in an apple, you cut it out and the rest of the person is fine; however when someone has a personality disorder it is as if the core is rotten!!! The apple is bad! You cannot simply cut out the core, impossible. He was married to one for 23 years and she will NEVER change. She is a very nasty person, a control freak, a manipulator, and a pathological liar! She sees absolutely no harm in her ways and she NEVER will.”

“…you can just bet this person will never commit. And it is hard to accept if you are attracted and pulled in. Or if you have a need to change him…Forget it, it’s a waste of time. You can just bet he has others NS supplies on the side and other women. That fear of life, he is not going to take a chance that only one person is there for him, even if he is never there for anyone.”

“Don’t fantasize he will change either. He needs someone there, and the fact he needs someone makes him hate himself and everyone else, and they are so needy, it won’t be just one NS supply. Believe me. It can be male or female, but a hoard of friends, friends, friends, and relationships. Be careful of venereal disease or STDs.”

“I have finally come to the conclusion that they cannot change, so all we can do is to refuse to participate in their sick drama and leave the stage.”

“These people are not reachable....!!!!!! They dont love you...they use you. They dont appreciate you...they abuse you.”

Moving on to New Victims
“I don’t hate him, I feel the way you would about a disease or an injury you had that long... I guess I have always wished that people like him never got born... All they ever do is make hurt, pain and trouble in this world, if not for me then for someone else just as important and valuable. I cannot bear that either...”

“For obvious reasons she is going to paint a glorious picture of love and happiness with this new ‘partner’, the last thing she would want is for you to get ANY satisfaction that the relationship is just as miserable as all of her previous relationships (yours included).”

“While I do not know positively, I think we can presume that there is not one Narcissist out there, that magically transforms themselves when the right one comes along. There are no right ones, because they are incapable of recognizing one if it hit them in the face. Just supplies and as long as it lasts, they’ll stay.”

“And it doesn’t matter how many people tell them they are F----- Up, they will just go on the search for those they can manipulate. Unfortunately there are a lot of vulnerable people with a lot of unmet needs and they are just sitting ducks for N’s.”


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