Sanctuary for the Abused

Sunday, January 17, 2021

How They Exploit Others

(note from site owner: this wonderful description deception & exploitation can also apply to narcissists, sociopaths and other types of abusers)


Modes of Sociopathic Deception and Manipulation

by Jennifer Copley


Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, comprise 20-25% of the prison population, but 50% of those who have committed serious crimes. However, the majority of psychopaths are not violent — most are users, scam artists and shady businesspeople. There is some evidence that psychopaths may be overrepresented in the fields of business, politics and entertainment.

Targeting the Vulnerable
Psychopaths are good at spotting exploitable vulnerabilities in others. Many psychopathic scam artists seek lonely individuals and promise them a lifetime of love and partnership. Others target the grief-stricken or those who have suffered a recent setback or breakup and are therefore less apt to look closely at what appears to be a compassionate helping hand.

Alternatively, psychopaths may exploit someone’s need to be needed, finding a motherly or fatherly soul that they can milk for sympathy and cash. They are also inclined to marry people with low self-esteem and convince them that they are somehow to blame for any abuse they suffer in the marriage.


The Sympathy Ploy
Psychopaths usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the psychopath to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.

While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, psychopaths often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the psychopath’s motives.

Psychopaths say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.

They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, as well as ...abusing them ...


The Dynamic Persona

The psychopath can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Psychopaths often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.

Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.


Because many psychopaths have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.

The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the psychopath said could have seemed so plausible at the time.


The Flatterer
In The Miser, Moliere noted that “People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise.” A common tool of the psychopath is excessive flattery. Most people enjoy receiving compliments, and those who suffer from either low self-esteem ...can be particularly vulnerable to this sort of approach.

Beware of those who tell you everything you want to hear all the time. A compliment or two is nice, but someone who continually peppers the conversation with flattery should be suspect.


Excuses and Empty Promises
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.

Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.


Psychopaths abandon their partners, spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings.

When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.

However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.


SOURCE

(personal thanks to Jennifer Copley!)

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Will the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath Treat the New Victim Better?

by K. Saaed

https://youtu.be/WhILcuoVhgE

Yes, at first he will.

But keep in mind that when a Narcissist is securing new supply, he will love-bomb her; just as he did you in the beginning. For those of you who are just learning about Narcissism, “love-bombing” is the constant bombardment of flirting and flattery from the Narcissist. This includes actions that are over-the-top after you’ve just started dating, such as:

• Splashing your social media with flirty messages, though you’ve only just met
• Sending numerous texts throughout the day
• Calling more than what’s considered normal
• Pretending to miss you when you go out with friends
• If you work in the public eye, showing up at your place of employment
• Sending flowers and gifts, after only one date
• Leaving multiple voice mails
• Offering to take you on vacation
• Pushing for physical intimacy too soon
• Spending hours on the phone with you


Just as we have four seasons, the Narcissist will use these tactics to secure new supply. That’s why he seems so happy with his new partner; you see him doing the above things with her.

Frankly, it coincides rather conveniently with his discarding of you. Since love-bombing is time-consuming, grueling, and involves spending money, the Narcissist is depleted. On the inside, he is feeling grouchy due to all of this exertion. Therefore, his efforts may as well fulfill two purposes:

1) secure the new supply,
2) fulfill his discarding of you.

Hence, you’ll likely get “heartfelt confessions” that he loves this new girl and they’re a match made in Heaven. She understands him like you never could. She accepts him for who he is. She does everything for him…  sound familiar?

Although he and his new supply look as if they’re walking on sunshine, you can bet he is making little jabs here and there. And while you are left feeling that his new partner is much better than you, the truth of the matter is the Narcissist simply wants shelter, food, money, and freedom to do as he pleases. He may feel a temporary giddiness that the new girlfriend doesn’t know him for what he is because he’s extracting copious amounts of adoration from her.

Consider how one typically feels before and during a job interview. There’s a lot at stake so we go out and buy an expensive suit, use our best manners,and tell the interviewer what they want to hear. In essence, we sell ourselves. That’s what the Narc does when he is in pursuit of a new source of livelihood. However, he soon turns into a bad employee who shows up for the paycheck, but doesn’t really do any work.

Reasons Not to Die When the Narcissist Looks Happy with New Supply

1. It’s highly likely that while he is out on the town with a pretty new girl on his arm, he has others who are waiting for his phone call. Why? Just in case. The worst situation for the Narcissist is to be left alone with no supply…which means no one to house him, no one to feed him, no one to make all of his appointments, take care of paperwork, apply for employment of his behalf (assuming he decides to work), etc. Most Narcissists, especially the overt ones, are the equivalent of 7-yr olds running around in adult bodies. They literally cannot fulfill adult responsibilities on their own.

2. Without someone to reflect a positive image back to him, the Narcissist feels worthless. His new girlfriend doesn’t know him like you do, so naturally she is feeding his ego to the nth degree. But rest assured that it will only be a matter of time before she starts noticing the cracks, probably when it’s too late and she’s lost all sense of direction. Everything he did to you will also happen to her.

3. Narcissists are attracted to attractive people, but not for the same reasons we are. Beautiful people make them look good by association.

Besides, because she’s pretty doesn’t mean you’re not…

4. The new girl is not only a new source of supply, she’s a matter of revenge. Since you attempted to establish a boundary, ask for respect and/or fidelity, requested him to find employment, or otherwise pointed out any flaws in him, he has a burning need to show you he can find someone who will accept him as he is. And while he may already have a new partner swooning over his very existence, it won’t last. She doesn’t know he’s an abuser, irresponsible, cruel, or sociopathic. All she knows is what he’s told her, along with the false illusion that he’s a hopeless romantic.

No matter what it looks like, the Narcissist’s “happiness” is a facade. What he’s most happy about is that he’s locked down a new place to live with someone who will cook for him, wash his clothes, and pay for everything. Don’t eat the soup he tries to feed you about how great she is. She may very well be a nice person, but the Narcissist doesn’t appreciate her personality past how it benefits him. Once you understand these dynamics, all that’s left to do is feel sorry for his new girlfriend. She doesn’t deserve what’s coming any more than you did.

SOURCE

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

NO CONTACT 101



No Contact Means:


NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear

NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”

NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don't Let Them Know When Or Where You're Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything - including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.

NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can't Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.

NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online. Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.

NO Meetings to "Talk Things Over" Or "Work Things Out".

NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you'll regret it. If you are Co-Parenting seriously consider limiting ALL contact to email only and using software such as OurFamilyWizard to keep records.  Apply the GREY ROCK METHOD.

NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother's Day or Father's Day Cards. Return ALL mail from them UNOPENED with "DELIVERY REFUSED" written clearly on the front. This includes mail or cards to your Spouse or Children.  Returning mail is NOT CONTACT. If you throw the mail out, to An Abuser, that Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, and they ASSUME you read the card/letter/etc. They assume if They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. RETURN ALL MAIL, GIFTS "DELIVERY REFUSED."

NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Reciprocal Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.

NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries

NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits

NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They're Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They're Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children's School To Call The Police If They Show Up.

NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, "Leave Me Alone!" And "Do Not Talk To Me". If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.

NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them.

NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not 110% Loyal To You.

NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.

NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser

NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You. Return Invites "DELIVERY REFUSED."

NO Responding To News That They or You Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead

NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You're Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.

Print Out E-Mails and Keep a notation about All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.

No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them?

You need to do ALL the things on the above list, not just the ones you're comfortable with.  Print this out and post copies around the house or keep them with you for reference.


Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.

No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, you won't feel the need to.

SOURCE

CLICK HERE FOR WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN TOGETHER

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Misdiagnosing Narcissism (BiPolar I)

BIPOLAR I DISORDER

Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, spins unrealistic schemes, and has frequent rage attacks (is irritable) if her or his wishes and plans are (inevitably) frustrated.

The manic phases of the Bipolar Disorder, however, are limited in time - NPD is not. Furthermore, the mania is followed by - usually protracted - depressive episodes. The narcissist is also frequently dysphoric. But whereas the Bipolar sinks into deep self-deprecation, self-devaluation, unbounded pessimism, all-pervasive guilt and anhedonia - the narcissist, even when depressed, never forgoes his narcissism: his grandiosity, sense of entitlement, haughtiness, and lack of empathy.

Narcissistic dysphorias are much shorter and reactive - they constitute a response to the grandiosity gap. In plain words, the narcissist is dejected when confronted with the abyss between his inflated self-image and grandiose fantasies - and the drab reality of his life: his failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating interpersonal relationships, and low status. Yet, one dose of narcissistic supply is enough to elevate the narcissists from the depth of misery to the heights of manic euphoria.

Not so with the Bipolar. The source of her or his mood swings is assumed to be brain biochemistry - not the availability of narcissistic supply. Whereas the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, even when maximally agitated, the Bipolar often feels that s/he has lost control of his/her brain ("flight of ideas"), his/her speech, his/her attention span (distractibility), and his/her motor functions.

The Bipolar is prone to reckless behaviors and substance abuse only during the manic phase. The narcissist does drugs, drinks, gambles, shops on credit, indulges in unsafe sex or in other compulsive behaviors both when elated and when deflated.

As a rule, the Bipolar's manic phase interferes with his/her social and occupational functioning. Many narcissists, in contrast, reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of narcissistic supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The manic phase of Bipolar sometimes requires hospitalization and - more frequently than admitted - involves psychotic features. Narcissists are never hospitalized as the risk for self-harm is minute. Moreover, psychotic microepisodes in narcissism are decompensatory in nature and appear only under unendurable stress (e.g., in intensive therapy).

The Bipolar's mania provokes discomfort in both strangers and in the patient's nearest and dearest. His/her constant cheer and compulsive insistence on interpersonal, sexual, and occupational, or professional interactions engenders unease and repulsion. Her/his lability of mood - rapid shifts between uncontrollable rage and unnatural good spirits - is downright intimidating. The narcissist's gregariousness, by comparison, is calculated, "cold", controlled, and goal-orientated (the extraction of narcissistic supply). His cycles of mood and affect are far less pronounced and less rapid.

The Bipolar's swollen self-esteem, overstated self-confidence, obvious grandiosity, and delusional fantasies are akin to the narcissist's and are the source of the diagnostic confusion. Both types of patients purport to give advice, carry out an assignment, accomplish a mission, or embark on an enterprise for which they are uniquely unqualified and lack the talents, skills, knowledge, or experience required.

But the Bipolar's bombast is far more delusional than the narcissist's. Ideas of reference and magical thinking are common and, in this sense, the Bipolar is closer to the Schizotypal than to the Narcissistic.

There are other differentiating symptoms:

Sleep disorders - notably acute insomnia - are common in the manic phase of Bipolar and uncommon in narcissism. So is "Manic speech" - pressured, uninterruptible, loud, rapid, dramatic (includes singing and humorous asides), sometimes incomprehensible, incoherent, chaotic, and lasts for hours. It reflects the Bipolar's inner turmoil and his/her inability to control his/her racing and kaleidoscopic thoughts.

As opposed to narcissists, Bipolar in the manic phase are often distracted by the slightest stimuli, are unable to focus on relevant data, or to maintain the thread of conversation. They are "all over the place" - simultaneously initiating numerous business ventures, joining a myriad organization, writing umpteen letters, contacting hundreds of friends and perfect strangers, acting in a domineering, demanding, and intrusive manner, totally disregarding the needs and emotions of the unfortunate recipients of their unwanted attentions. They rarely follow up on their projects.

The transformation is so marked that the Bipolar is often described by his/her closest as "not himself/herself". Indeed, some Bipolars relocate, change name and appearance, and lose contact with their "former life". Antisocial or even criminal behavior is not uncommon and aggression is marked, directed at both others (assault) and oneself (suicide). Some Bipolars describe an acuteness of the senses, akin to experiences recounted by drug users: smells, sounds, and sights are accentuated and attain an unearthly quality.

As opposed to narcissists, Bipolars regret their misdeeds following the manic phase and try to atone for their actions. They realize and accept that "something is wrong with them" and seek help. During the depressive phase they are ego-dystonic and their defenses are autoplastic (they blame themselves for their defeats, failures, and mishaps).

Finally, pathological narcissism is already discernible in early adolescence. The full-fledged Bipolar Disorder - including a manic phase - rarely occurs before the age of 20. The narcissist is consistent in his pathology - not so the Bipolar. The onset of the manic episode is fast and furious and results in a conspicuous metamorphosis of the patient.

More about this topic here:

Stormberg, D., Roningstam, E., Gunderson, J., & Tohen, M. (1998) Pathological Narcissism in Bipolar Disorder Patients. Journal of Personality Disorders, 12, 179-185

Roningstam, E. (1996), Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Axis I Disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 3, 326-340

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Most Dangerous Emotion After a Break-Up




by Marcy Miller

Hope is a four letter word. It is the enemy of the newly broken-hearted.

I had two failed marriages and two broken engagements under my belt, but I was fortunate to sit next to the man of my dreams on a flight to the west coast. After bi-coastal dating and then living with him for a year, we married and I practiced law while he was establishing himself in the investment world. After four years, I was stricken with breast cancer. It was a tough year of treatment, but he was there for me throughout my successful battle. His love and support were heroic. Finally, I had found my soulmate.

Or so I thought.

We moved to LA at the end of my treatment and started a new life together. I caught him cheating five years later. I confronted him, hoping that that the prospect of losing me and his comfortable life would jolt him out of his mid-life madness and return him to my arms, wiser and more loving than ever. But there is that pesky word, "hope," rearing its ugly head. As I hung on to the false hope of reconciliation and love evermore, he was playing contrite husband with me and banging her at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Several weeks later, he suggested that we take one last trip to New York to try to mend our relationship and move forward. I hoped (again) that he was sincere and that our ten years together could outweigh this month of deceit. New York held many wonderful memories for us, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to have him to myself in a romantic environment.

He had arrived a few days earlier and checked into the Peninsula Hotel. I was to meet him the evening that I arrived for dinner at Nobu. I breezed into the bar at the appointed hour, dressed for seduction, and proceeded to wait for an hour and a half. There were no calls or texts and he was unreachable. I hoped (again) that he was delayed by important work-related meetings.

Just as I was about to return to the hotel, he burst into the restaurant, breathless and full of excuses. Even though this was an ominous beginning to our reunion, I hoped (!) that he was telling the truth.

The next morning, he left at the crack of dawn, long before we could have breakfast in bed. As I began to dress for my day of shopping and a Broadway matinee, I noticed a scrap of paper on the desk. While the message was illegible, the bottom of the note contained the St. Regis Hotel monogram.

On a hunch, I called the St. Regis and asked for the room of his mistress. She answered the phone. I hung up, promptly threw up in the trash can, packed my bags and flew home.

So why do I dislike hope so much?

1. It leads to devastating decisions. I knew that the marriage was over, and I still agreed to go to New York. It resulted in one of the most emotionally painful moments of my life, and while I do not blame myself for his abhorrent behavior, I would never have put myself in that position had I not had hope.

2. It halts the healing process. I could have started mourning the loss of my marriage, rather than dreaming of a reconciliation that was never in the picture.

3. It stalls the formulation of exit strategies, such as leasing a post office box, opening a new bank account, locating and preserving records and retaining a divorce lawyer -- engaging in the next steps instead of being mired in a dead relationship.

4. It shuts out important messages from the universe. I knew in my gut that the marriage was over, but I allowed hope to drown out all of the messages that I was receiving to move on.

SOURCE

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Saturday, August 01, 2020

WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OVER A PATHOLOGICAL PARTNER?



by Peace

Relationships with psychopaths take an unusually long time to recover from. Survivors often find themselves frustrated because they haven't healed as fast as they'd like. They also end up dealing with friends & therapists who give them judgmental advice about how it's "time to move on".

Whether you were in a long-term marriage or a quick summer fling, the recovery process will be the same when it comes to a psychopathic encounter. It takes at least 18-24 months to get your heart back in a good place, and even after that, you might have tough days. I certainly do!


The important thing here is to stop blaming yourself. Stop wishing it would go faster. Stop thinking that the psychopath somehow "wins" if you're still hurting. They are out of the picture now. This journey is about you. If you come to peace with the extended timeline, you'll find this experience a lot more pleasant. You can settle in, make some friends, and get cozy with this whole recovery thing.

So why is it taking so long?


You were in love

Yes, it was manufactured love. Yes, your personality was mirrored and your dreams manipulated. But you were in love. It's the strongest human emotion & bond in the world, and you felt it with all your heart. It is always painful to lose someone you loved - someone you planned to be with for the rest of your life.


The human spirit must heal from these love losses. Regardless of your abuser's intentions, your love was still very real. It will take a great deal of time and hope to pull yourself out of the standard post-breakup depression.


You were in desperate love
Here's where we branch off from regular breakups. Psychopaths manufacture desperation & desire. You probably worked harder for this relationship than any other, right? You put more time, energy, and thought into it than ever before. And in turn, you were rewarded with the nastiest, most painful experience of your life.


In the idealization phase, they showered you with attention, gifts, letters, and compliments. Unlike most honeymoon phases, they actually pretended to be exactly like you in every way. Everything you did was perfect to them. This put you on Cloud 9, preparing you for the identity erosion. 


You began to pick up on all sorts of hints that you might be replaced at any time. This encouraged your racing thoughts, ensuring that this person was on your mind every second of the day. This unhinged, unpredictable lifestyle is what psychopaths hope to create with their lies, gas-lighting, and triangulation.


By keeping them on your mind at all times, you fall into a state of desperate love. This is unhealthy, and not a sign that the person you feel so strongly about is actually worthy of your love. Your mind convinces you that if you feel so powerfully, then they must be the only person who will ever make you feel that way. And when you lose that person, your world completely falls apart. You enter a state of panic & devastation.


The Chemical Reaction
Psychopaths have an intense emotional & sexual bond over their victims. This is due to their sexual magnetism, and the way they train your mind to become reliant upon their approval.


By first adoring you in every way, you let down your guard and began to place your self worth in this person. Your happiness started to rely on this person's opinion on you. Happiness is a chemical reaction going off in your brain - dopamine and receptors firing off to make you feel good.


Like a drug, the psychopath offers you this feeling in full force to begin with. But once you become reliant on it, they begin to pull back. Slowly, you need more and more to feel that same high. You do everything you can to hang onto it, while they are doing everything in their power to keep you just barely starved.


Triangulation
There are thousands of support groups for survivors of infidelity. It leaves long-lasting insecurities and feelings of never being good enough. It leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others. That pain alone takes many people out there years to recover from.

Now compare that to the psychopath's triangulation. Not only do they cheat on you - they happily wave it in your face. They brag about it, trying to prove how happy they are with your replacement. They carry none of the usual shame & guilt that comes with cheating. They are thrilled to be posting pictures and telling their friends how happy they are.

I cannot even begin to explain how emotionally damaging this is after once being the target of their idealization. The triangulation alone will take so much time to heal from.


You have encountered pure evil
Everything you once understood about people did not apply to this person. During the relationship, you tried to be compassionate, easy-going, and forgiving. You never could have known that the person you loved was actively using these things against you. It just doesn't make any sense. No typical person is ready to expect that, and so we spend our time projecting a normal human conscience onto them, trying to explain away their inexplicable behavior.


But once we discover psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism, that's when everything starts to change. We begin to feel disgusted - horrified that we let this darkness into our lives. Everything clicks and falls into place. All of the "accidental" or "insensitive" behavior finally makes sense.


You try to explain this to friends and family members - no one really seems to get it. This is why validation matters. When you come together with others who have experienced the same thing as you, you discover you were not crazy. You were not alone in this inhuman experience.


It takes a great deal of time to come to terms with this personality disorder. You end up having to let go of your past understanding of human nature, and building it back up from scratch. You realize that people are not always inherently good. You begin to feel paranoid, hyper-vigialant, and anxious. The healing process is about learning to balance this new state of awareness with your once trusting spirit.


Your spirit is deeply wounded
After the eventual abandonment, most survivors end up feeling a kind of emptiness that cannot even be described as depression. It's like your spirit has completely gone away. You feel numb to everything and everyone around you. The things that once made you happy now make you feel absolutely nothing at all. You worry that your encounter with this monster has destroyed your ability to empathize, feel and care.


I believe this is what takes the longest time to recover from. It feels hopeless at first, but your spirit is always with you. Damaged, for sure, but never gone. As you begin to discover self-respect & boundaries, it slowly starts to find its voice again. It feels safe opening up, peeking out randomly to say hello. You will find yourself grateful to be crying again, happy that your emotions seem to be returning. This is great, and it will start to become more and more consistent.


Ultimately, you will leave this experience with an unexpected wisdom about the people around you. Your spirit will return stronger than ever before, refusing to be treated that way again. You may encounter toxic people throughout your life, but you won't let them stay for very long. You don't have time for mind games & manipulation. You seek out kind, honest, and compassionate individuals. You know you deserve nothing less.


This new found strength is the greatest gift of the psychopathic experience. And it is worth every second of the recovery process, because it will serve you for the rest of your life.

If you're worried that your recovery process is taking too long, please stop worrying. You've been through hell and back - there is no quick fix for that. And what's more, when all is said and done, these few years will be some of the most important years of your life.

from this fantastic site

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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Wife Abuse & Child Custody and Visitation by the Abuser


by Kendall Segel-Evans

originally published: ENDING MEN'S VIOLENCE NEWSLETTER, Fall, 1989

I recently read the National Organization for Changing Men's statement on child custody, and the position taken that, in general, sole custody by the previously most involved parent is preferable to joint custody. I would like to elaborate on this position for families where there has been violence between parents (i.e. woman-abuse). The following includes the main points of a deposition I was asked to provide to a lawyer for the mother in a child custody case. I do not believe this is the last or best word on the subject, but I hope that it will simulate useful dialogue about the effects on children of wife-abuse and the treatment of wife-abusers. I also wish to further discussion on the issue of how we are going to truly end men's violence. Clearly, I believe that the treatment of wife-abusers should not only be held accountable to the partner victim/survivors, but also to the children, and to the next generation.

I would like to mention that I will speak of husbands and fathers abusing wives and mothers, because that is the most common situation by far, not because the reverse never happens. It also seems to be true that when there is wife to husband violence it is usually in self-defense and usually does not have the same dynamics or effects as wife abuse. I will use the words violence and abuse somewhat interchangeably, because, in my opinion, domestic violence is not just about physical violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of physical, sexual, economic, social and emotional violence, coercion, manipulation and mistreatment or abuse. Physical violence and the threat of such violence is only the part of the pattern that is most visible and makes the other parts of the pattern difficult to defend against. Once violence is used, its threat is never forgotten. Even when the violence is stopped by threat of legal action or by physical separation, the coercion, manipulation and abusiveness continue (Walker and Edwall, 1987).

Accompanying this pattern of behaviors are common styles of coping or personality characteristics - such as the tendency to blame others for ones problems and impulsiveness - that most batterers share. Almost every man I have worked with has a tendency to see his partner (or his children) as responsible for his pain when he is upset. This leads to seeing his partner (or his children) as an enemy who must be defeated before he can feel better. This is destructive to emotional health even when it does not lead to overt violence.

In my opinion, it would be better, in most cases, for the children of homes where there has been domestic violence not to be in the custody of the abusive parent at all. In many cases it is even advisable that visitation be limited to controlled situations, such as under a therapist's supervision during a therapy session, unless the batterer has been in batterer's treatment and demonstrated that he has changed significantly in specific ways. "Merely" observing ones father abuse ones mother is in itself damaging to children. My clinical experience is consistent with the research literature which shows that children who witness their father beat their mother exhibit significantly greater psychological and psychosomatic problems than children from homes without violence (Roy, 1988). Witnessing abuse is more damaging in many ways than actually being abused, and having both happen is very damaging (Goodman and Rosenberg, 1987). Studies show that a high percentage (as high as 55%) of fathers who abuse their wives also abuse their children (Walker and Edwall, 1987). In my experience, if one includes emotional abuses such as being hypercritical, yelling and being cruelly sarcastic, the percentage is much higher. The damage that children suffer is highly variable, with symptoms ranging from aggressive acting out to extreme shyness and withdrawal, or from total school failure to compulsive school performance. The best way to summarize all the symptoms despite their variety is to say that they resemble what children who suffer other trauma exhibit, and could be seen as a version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Walker and Edwall, 1987).

Equally serious is the long term effect of domestic violence - intergenerational transmission. Children who observe their mothers being beaten are much more likely to be violent to a partner themselves as adults. In one study, men who observed violence towards their mother were three times more likely to be abusive than men who had not observed such violence (Strauss et al., 1980). The more serious the abuse observed, the more likely the men were to repeat it. Being abused also makes children likely to grow up to be violent, and having both happen increases the probability even more.

How children learn to repeat the abuse they observe and experience includes many factors. One of the more important is modeling. When they grow up, children act like their parents did, consciously or not, willingly or not. Several of the boys I have worked with have been terribly conflicted about being like their father, of whom they were afraid and ashamed. But they clearly carried parts of their father's behavior patterns and attitudes with them. Other boys from violent homes idealized their father, and they were more likely than the others to beat their wives when they grew up (Caesar, 1988). Several of the men I have worked with in group have lamented that they told themselves that they would not beat their wives the way their mother was beaten when they were children. But when they became adults, they found themselves doing the same things their father did. One reason for this is that even if the physical abuse stops, if the children still have contact with the batterer, they are influenced by his coping styles and personality problems. As Lenore Walker observes (Walker and Edwall, 1987, p. 138), "There is also reason for concern about children's cognitive and emotional development when raised by a batterer who has a paranoid-like pattern of projecting his own inadequacy and lack of impulse-control onto others." Dr. Pagelow agrees, "It may become desirable to avoid prolonged contact between violent fathers and their sons until the men assume control over their own behavior and the examples of 'manhood' they are showing to the boys who love them, (Pagelow, 1984, p. 256). If the abusive man has not sought out domestic violence specific treatment for his problem, there is no reason to believe that the underlying pattern of personality and attitudes that supported the abuse in the past have changed. There is every reason to believe it will impact his children.

Additionally, in a society where the majority of wife-beatings do not lead to police reports, much less to filings or convictions, it is easy for children to perceive that abusiveness has no negative consequences. (One study, by Dobash and Dobash, found that 98% of violent incidents between spouses were not reported to the police [reported in Pagelow, 1984, p. 437]). Some children, seeing who has the power and guessing what could happen to them if they opposed the power, will side with the abuser in custody situations. Often, children will deny that the abuse ever happened. Unfortunately, the children who side with the abuser, or deny the abuse, are the most likely to be abusive themselves as adults. It is very important that family court not support this by treating a wife-beating father as if he were just as likely to be a good parent as the woman he beat. As Gelles and Strauss point out in their book Intimate Violence (1988), people are violent in part because they believe they can get away with it. Public consequences are important for preventing the intergenerational transmission of violence. Boys, particularly, need to to see that their father's abusiveness leads to negative, not positive results.

Lastly, I would like to point out that joint legal custody is likely to be damaging to children when there has been spousal violence. My experience with my clients is definitely consistent with the research results reported by Judith Wallerstein to the American Orthopsychiatric Association Convention in 1988. The data clearly show that joint custody is significantly inferior to sole custody with one parent when there is parental conflict after the divorce, in terms of the children's emotional adjustment as well as the mother's safety. Most batterers continue their abusiveness after the marriage, into the divorced parent relationship, in the form of control, manipulation and harassment over support payments, visitation times, and parenting styles. The children are always aware of these tensions and battles, and sometimes blame the mother for not just giving in and keeping the peace - or for being too submissive. The batterer often puts the children right in the middle, taking advantage of his belief that she will give in to avoid hurting the children. The damage to the children in this kind of situation is worse because it is ongoing, and never is allowed to be resolved or have time to heal.

Because I work with batterers, I am sympathetic to the distress they feel at being separated from their children for long periods of time. However, the men who truly cared about their children for the children's sake, and not for what the children do for their father's ego, have been willing to do the therapeutic work necessary to change. They have been willing to accept full responsibility for their violent behavior, and however reluctantly, have accepted whatever restrictions on child visitation existed for safety reasons. They have been willing to be in therapy to deal with "their problem." They have also recognized that they were abused as children themselves, or witnessed their mother being abused, or both, and are willing to support interrupting the intergenerational transmission of violence.

Kendall Segel-Evans, M.A. Marriage, Family and Child Counselor

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Caesar, P. Lynn., "Exposure to Violence in the Families of Origin Among Wife Abusers and Maritally Violent Men." Violence and Victims , Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, 1988.

Davis, Liane V., and Carlson, Bonnie E., "Observation of Spouse Abuse - What Happens to the Children?" Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 2, No. 3, September 1987, pp. 278-291, Sage Publications, 1987.

Dutton, Donald., The Domestic Assault of Women, Allyn and Bacon, 1988.

Gelles, Richard J. and Strauss, Murray A., Intimate Violence, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Goodman, Gail S., and Rosenberg, Mindy, S., "The Child Witness to Family Violence: Clinical and Legal Considerations. Ch. 7, pp. 47ff. in: Sonkin, Daniel. Ph.d., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Pagelow, Mildred Daley, Family Violence, Praeger Publications, 1984.

Roy, Maria., Children in the Crossfire, Health Communications, Inc. 1988.

Roy, Maria., The Abusive Partner, Van Nostrand, 1982.

Sonkin, Daniel. Phd., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Strauss, Murray A., et. al., Behind Closed Doors, Anchor Books, 1980.

Walker, Lenore E.A., and Edwall, Glenace E. "Domestic Violence and Determination of Visitation and Custody in Divorce." Ch. 8, pp. 127ff. Sonkin, Daniel. Phd. Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Wallerstein, Judith., Report to the American Orthopsychiatric Association Convention, 1988.

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse


GREAT SITE FOR PARENTS TRYING TO CO-PARENT

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Friday, May 29, 2020

The Differences Between A Sociopath And A Narcissist

by

When we try to analyze the people we cross paths with in society, it is possible to misinterpret our analysis for lack of a better understanding. For those who have crossed paths with a sociopath and a narcissist (on separate occasions), it may seem like there is little to no difference between the two when in fact one can be mistaken for the other. Both are considered to be  social terrorists, however, there are distinguishing characteristics that would imply neither of them are one in the same. Therefore, I would like to explain briefly the differences in character between these two personality disorders…

Narcissist will 

Sociopath will 

Here’s a few more brief distinguishing characteristics:

Both think they are superior to anyone and everyone, both think they deserve special treatment, both process the world differently, and both play to “win”. However, it is possible for both personality traits to be combined into one, which is called a “Narcissistic Sociopath,”  and is more dangerous than the two of them separately.


SOURCE

From what I know: All Sociopaths are also Narcissists.  Not all Narcissists are/or become Sociopaths.
One can be a Narcissistic Sociopath but NEVER a Sociopathic Narcissist.  The spectrum only moves one way. - Barbara

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Why PTSD Needs Treatment and Does Not 'Get Better' with Time


The Time Bomb

Inside every person with PTSD is a time bomb. It is merely a matter of time before symptoms begin to show up. One might exhibit all manner of symptoms in nearly everything s/he does, and still live what appears to be a normal life. However, it doesn’t take much to bring out full-blown symptoms of a full-blown case of PTSD.

Unemployment, Illness, and too much Free Time (and worry) exacerbates PTSD symptoms. Can be acute when untreated.

Additional Stress: Stress kills; we know this. Additional stress in the life of a PTSD sufferer will bring out their PTSD symptoms. Even good stress can increase one’s symptoms; good stress such as a birth, or a new love, or a promotion at work. Anything that wobbles the apple cart — little changes, big changes, good changes, bad changes—will promote PTSD symptoms. 

Then there are the huge stressors; the larger the stressor, the more virulent the PTSD symptoms.

Reminders: anything that reminds the PTSD sufferer of the original trauma will pique symptoms. Additionally, the anniversary of a trauma will cause a rise in PTSD symptoms. 

[i.e. Someone making one mistake can and often does become a target of PTSD sufferer's anger. The PTSD suffer may lay all manner of unrelated or perceived 'slights' at the feet of the person who may have done something wrong in their eyes.] 

If a woman was assaulted near an elevator, elevators will trigger her symptoms. If she remembers the date of her assault, as the anniversary approaches, symptoms increase.


Anger
I know of no more disagreeable situation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at. - Frank Moore Colby

Persons with PTSD hold in a lot of anger. It is a free-floating anger with no real target and very subtle causes. It simmers below the surface and can jump out at inappropriate times, aimed at the wrong person for the wrong reasons (displaced anger).

For instance: following a rape, the rape victim is filled with rage. The specific targets of this rage are quite obvious: the rapist, the system that puts the victim on trial, the doctors for their insensitivity, and the list can go on depending on the ordeal the rape victim endures. However, years later, this anger can still exist, simmering just below the surface.

And though many argue that the cues to the anger have changed, that the original incident has softened in the mind of the sufferer, that this, that that—it's all "neither here nor there" because there is no logic, no reasoning with chronic PTSD, everyone and everything is the cause, and the nearest person or object can be the target.

Normal people get warm, then angry, then angrier, and progress to a state of rage if the stimulus to the anger is not abated. A PTSD sufferer can go from A to Z immediately... When anger strikes, it quickly turns to rage.

Anger Management classes are usually prescribed for PTSD patients, however, the patient might still never arrive at the cause of this anger, as the original cause has faded, leaving only the anger. Learning to deal with this anger is much more productive at this juncture than trying to discover its cause or causes. In a good Anger Management class, the PTSD sufferer can learn that one cannot control one’s initial feeling about something aggravating, however, s/he can control her/his reaction.

Being the target, displaced or not, of this anger is one of the major causes of "secondary PTSD," the disorder suffered by those close to the PTSD sufferer. Oftentimes families walk on eggshells to avoid doing anything to upset the PTSD sufferer. Children, wives, friends, neighbors and lovers tend to withdraw and avoid any and all possible confrontation. Partners of PTSD patients must keep alert and note when the anger outbursts increase in intensity and the intervals between them shorten. This is a sure sign that there is something else occurring within the patient and a trip to the therapist is needed.

(Domestic Violence Centers are a good place to contact about counseling if you have no insurance)

excerpted from here

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Psychologist Explains the Psyche of Psychopaths


By April Wilkerson


When news broke of the alleged BTK Killer's capture in Wichita, it sparked new discussions and feelings toward a decades-old case: fear, relief, intrigue about such a person.

Public interest in serial killings and psychopaths is always high, says a local psychologist. But her involvement in the field is from a more analytical perspective.

Dr. Sue Stone is a clinical psychologist at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, a position she's held since January. Although her work here is in general psychology and therapy, her specialty area is psychopathy, and she came from three years' work at the Department of Corrections, doing criminal court evaluations, consulting on capital murder cases and more.

Stone says there's an adage in her field: Not all psychopaths are serial killers, but all serial killers are psychopaths. While psychopaths as serial killers are a relatively rare phenomenon, there are people functioning in society who exhibit various degrees of psychopathic behavior in their daily lives, she said.

That makes the term psychopath a relative one, but there are definite characteristics of such people, Stone said.

Psychopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior and an aggressive narcissism -- they use people through charm, intimidation or violence, she said.

"They have a parasitic lifestyle -- they live off people. Their whole mindset is domination over other people," she said. "Psychopaths are not necessarily criminal in their activities, but they are attracted to positions of power. They have no anxiety about their behavior.

"Psychopaths see themselves as wronged. They can be paranoid, feel persecuted, feel a need for revenge. They harbor a lot of persecutory beliefs." (i.e. - They are the victim, not you, in their heads)

There also is a lot of thrill-seeking with psychopathic behavior, Stone said. Over time, there will be an escalation of their behavior because they've gotten sensitized to a certain act, but then have to "up the ante" to capture the thrill they seek, she said.

That may be the case with the alleged BTK Killer, who resurfaced with letters to the media after not being heard from in a while, Stone said.

"Psychopaths have a need for recognition, not just a need for attention," she said. "They have a sense of being invincible, of 'I can outsmart you.' They're taken in by their own narcissism. It's almost like a game."
[Sociopaths] often take "souvenirs" from their victims -- pictures, jewelry, lock of hair -- to remind them later, Stone said. "They want to keep that image, the fantasy of that control going," she said.

In the BTK case, Dennis Rader has been arrested and charged in the killings of 10 people beginning in 1974. His seemingly normal life as a churchgoer and Scout leader has shocked many, but that type of appearance is not unheard-of in psychopaths, Stone said.

"It's a misnomer to think that if we saw a psychopath, he would look odd. Often, that's not the case," she said. "A psychopathic individual can be a chameleon and learn to act a certain way. That advances their opportunity to engage in certain behaviors because who would suspect?"

Often, people think that childhood abuse can create psychopathy in adults, Stone said. Childhood trauma certainly can aggravate psychopathic tendencies, but it's not a cause-effect relationship, she said. Research over the last 10-15 years is supporting the notion that psychopathy is related to a genotype (aka - GENETIC), she said.

Psychopaths also differ in that their intellectual and emotional understanding of things don't match. Stone said psychologist Robert Hare has a saying for this condition: Psychopaths know the words but don't know the music when it comes to emotions.

"They know intellectually what it is to be sad, but their empathy and regard for other people is not there," Stone said. "They can mimic the feeling, but they really can't put words to how they feel because they don't have that internal experience."

There is no known treatment for psychopaths; rather, behavior management is the course of action, Stone said. Psychopaths don't say, "I need help" because they see others as the cause of their problems; they don't have anxiety to prohibit their behavior, she said.

And studies have shown that group therapy not only doesn't work for psychopaths, it makes their behavior worse, Stone said. They use the therapy setting as practice for manipulating people.

One percent of the general population in the United States meets the criteria for psychopaths, Stone said. But the percentage is 15-20 percent in prisons because of the criminal activity psychopaths often engage in.

Instances like the BTK case often create anxiety or spark fears in people, Stone said. But it can be a good time for people to reassess their safety precautions in their homes, cars and when dealing with strangers.

"There's a certain amount of trust that goes into our daily interactions with people," Stone said. "It's important for people to realize when dealing with strangers that they need to take some precautions."
Most people want to trust and help others, but that's just the position that Ted Bundy took advantage of, she said. He would act hurt and request assistance from women -- even using props like a cast -- then as soon as they were close enough, he would abduct them, she said.

Simple actions such as locking doors at home and in the car are important, but so is protecting yourself in a vulnerable position, Stone said. It's OK to call the office of a repair company to check a person's credentials, she said, and if a stranger comes to your door asking to use the phone, ask him to step to the curb, then call the police.

"It doesn't mean we need to be suspicious of everybody. We couldn't function in life; we have to have some sense of trust," she said. "The BTK case brings up issues of safety. It's a good time to look at what areas we can be safer in our day-to-day life, while realizing that serial killers are a relatively rare phenomenon."


SOURCE

BUT SOCIOPATHS ARE NOT A RARE PHENOMENON - THE MAJORITY OF SOCIOPATHS EXPLOIT OTHERS BUT DO NOT KILL - CLICK HERE FOR MORE


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Friday, May 15, 2020

How Con Artists Choose Their Victims

From the Powerful to the Powerless: No one is immune from a good scammer.

How you are chosen and manipulated
Those whose job it is to fight fraud every day know that no one is immune to fraud, and that there are only 3 kinds of people in the world: those who have been scammed and know it; those who have been scammed and don't know; and those who haven't been scammed yet. In fact, what is an obvious scam to one person looks like a great opportunity to another; and vice versa.

From the National White Collar Crime Center: Only 7% of scam victims contact an enforcement agency

Why don't more victims report fraud crimes? Because con artists are masters at instilling a sense of fear, shame, and guilt in their victims.

They are masters of domination and intimidation, artfully weaving them into their script. And... they are masters at qualifying their prey.

The chosen
Con artists choose you very carefully. They are only interested in those people who can be turned around to believe in them without question, who can be manipulated to believe in their illusions. They don't merely seek out the greedy or the weak or the stupid. Not at all. They seek out the needy. They sniff and snuffle around until they find someone who has an unfulfilled desire that even you yourself may be unaware of until the carrot is dangled in front of your face.

Con artists will stalk anyone whose weaknesses or strengths can be used to advantage. Scan through the character traits below, and you will see the con artist's menu. As far as he is concerned any character trait can be exploited and manipulated once your needs have been established. No one is immune.

Character Traits of Victims:

Who can be Scam victims:

Right from the start
From the very moment a con artist targets you, his entire arsenal of psychological manipulation is brought into play. You are moved from a position of control to one of no control over anything at all. The con artist moves into the position of supreme power, regardless of how powerful you may be in real life.

How can this be? Because you are the only character in the play who hasn't a clue as to what is really happening. No one has given you a script to follow. The only choice given you is to react to what the other players are saying and doing.

Reality is gone, you just doesn't know it - your real world has been completely and effectively replaced with that of the con artist and his cronies. Smoke and mirrors.

You know the game is over when he starts using fear tactics to keep you off balance.

Shame, guilt, and fear
Once a con artist has completed his scam, he will yank the rug out from under you. Suddenly, without warning, you have to come to terms with the fact that you have been taken to the cleaners.

—The effect is devastating - it was planned to be

From the very start of a scam you are kept just slightly off balance so that you feel you must cling to the con artist for support. During the entire manipulation, you are being emotionally positioned so that when the con artist disappears, you will feel as if you have pushed off a merry-go-round. In effect, you were.

You are suddenly left without the rudder in whom you believed with all your heart. To admit you were wrong can be emotionally shattering. You are left reeling and alone with that voice inside your head yelling, "What have I done?!"

Dignity and self-esteem are gone, replaced with shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anger (usually self-directed). You think I'm going overboard with this description? Not really. Not only have I been there, but I get letters from victims every day and that's exactly how they all feel.

Why victims don't report fraud
  1. Many don't know where to turn, so they don't file a report anywhere.
  2. Many are so distraught that they contact every agency they can think of, which has no effect at all.
  3. Many are extremely upset when they try to talk to law enforcement, end up merely sounding hysterical, no clear story emerges, and they give up without having given the police anything to go on.
  4. Many have been threatened in one way or another by the scammer and are afraid of retribution from either the con artist himself or law enforcement.
  5. Many have gone to law enforcement only to not be believed or told it was THEIR FAULT.
  6. And finally, the majority feel themselves to be damn fools and are not about to make it worse by going public. They just can't bring themselves to admit they've made a mistake. They cannot bring themselves to admit that they have been set up by a scammer.

The 10 STEPS all con artists use to set up their victims:

Although script variations are infinite, the basic plot never changes. The best description is found in The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David W. Maurer (page 4).


Edited for Romance/ Psychological Scams:

1. Locating and investigating you, the potential victim, called a 'mark' or a 'target'.
2. Gaining your confidence
3. Steering you (luring, brainwashing, manipulation)
4. Saying 'you're the one/ their soulmate'; they want to 'marry you' (some actually do marry their marks and never stay faithful); offering to 'take care of you.'
5. Determining exactly how much you will give to the relationship (money, sex, emotional investment, etc)
6. Playing games to make SURE you are 'willing'
7. Playing you ("I'm so confused" or "I'm not sure" or "I think you deserve better than me")
8. Making great shows of affection - often publicly (buying you a ring (often a worthless ring), public proposals, flowers to your office, etc.
9. Cheating on you or disappearing while they set up the next mark
10. Forestalling action by law enforcement [by making you promises and by threatening you - reporting you as a 'stalker' or 'harasser' or calling Child Services or Animal Control on you, etc.]

with thanks to FraudAid.com

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