Sanctuary for the Abused
Friday, March 07, 2014
Are You Being Emotionally Abused?
The married couple worked together as partners in their store, but their partnership definitely was not equal. He called her “stupid” in front of employees, blew up when she made mistakes & kept her in the dark about their finances. He also pushed her around a couple of times.
But what hurt the woman most were her husband’s savage & belittling words. She became depressed, then frightened by what would happen if her husband ever left her. After all, he controlled the money.
There were no marks on her body, says Richard Tolman, an associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan who has worked with perpetrators of domestic violence & their partners. But she was a victim of domestic violence nonetheless.
Every year, an estimated two million to four million women in the United States are victims of domestic violence, a public-health problem that is difficult to track due to the shame & stigma still attached to it. Psychological abuse is even more difficult to quantify. No one goes to the emergency room after being humiliated. It’s difficult to file a complaint with law-enforcement agencies charging that your partner controls the family finances or isolates you from your friends. Further, the victims of psychological abuse may not even realize they are being abused. They may feel bad about themselves or their relationship, says Tolman, but they may not connect that feeling with their partner’s behavior.
Psychological abuse, often called emotional or verbal abuse, is the belittling, humiliation, intimidation or threatening of a partner. Isolating a partner from friends & family & controlling finances are abusive behaviors too, according to domestic-violence experts such as RosaLinda Garcia Gusman, a social worker with the Texas Council on Family Violence. While domestic violence, including psychological abuse, occurs to men & women, women are most often the victims, according to a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Justice.
“You can tell it’s emotional abuse when you start feeling bad about yourself & you’re afraid to say or do anything because it could be the wrong thing,” says Garcia Gusman.Experts such as Garcia Gusman say that emotional abuse & battery share the same root cause: One person desires power & control over another. Often, psychological abuse leads to physical violence or sexual abuse.
A husband or boyfriend who is emotionally abusive often plays games with the victim’s mind — calling her names or telling her she’s a bad mother or a bad person, says Garcia Gusman. He may tell her how to dress, how to wear her hair, how to clean their house & may decide whether she can go to the store. Typically, he criticizes her, degrades her & humiliates her.
“With all these kinds of things, after a period of time when you hear them enough, you come to believe them, so it affects your self esteem,” says Garcia Gusman.Often the abuser monopolizes his partner by making himself the center of her existence. He isolates his partner by being so rude in front of her friends or family that they don’t want to visit, says Tolman.
Withholding affection, approval or companionship is a form of psychological abuse, too, Tolman says. A 1990 study published in the Journal of Family Violence found that 72% of victims reported that emotional abuse, especially ridicule, was harder to bear than physical abuse. “There’s a sense that it gets you where you live when someone who loves you says terrible things & keeps you from your friends & people you care about,” says Tolman.
There’s also a sense of being kept off balance. After all, what is emotional abuse vs. simply a heated argument?
An abusive person uses hurtful words such as “You’re stupid” or “You’re no good” & repeats them again & again, says Anne Ganley, a psychologist in Seattle, Wash., who has worked with abusers & their victims. Typically, an abuser targets areas of a woman’s life that he knows are particularly sensitive, such as her parenting skills, her appearance or her sexual performance, says Ganley.
A person who is verbally abusive, but has not caused the victim physical harm, can still become violent. Ganley suggests that a woman ask herself if her partner has ever used physical force against someone else or property. Has he gotten into fistfights, smashed things or thrown a chair against the wall? These are signs, she says, that he has the potential to become physically or sexually abusive.
Being verbally abused is exhausting & emotionally draining for the victim.
Garcia Gusman calls emotional abuse “in-your-soul abuse” because the harm inflicted isn’t outwardly apparent, like bruises or broken bones. The damage goes much deeper.
A 1999 study published in the journal Violence & Victims showed that psychological abuse, particularly ignoring & ridiculing victims, contributed to depression & low self-esteem. Psychological abuse has also been linked to anxiety, panic attacks & suicidal thoughts. When the abuser has also used physical force, every verbal assault can trigger a response in the victim’s body & mind as if physical danger were imminent, Ganley says.
In relationships marred by both physical & psychological abuse, says Ganley, “Every time the verbal abuse happens, it’s really a double whammy. Even if the physical abuse doesn’t happen that time, it’s powerful. … A dirty look or a particular comment not only has the cut of the words, but it also carries with it the history of being shoved down the stairs.”Each time the abuse begins, the victim’s body gears up as if to fight or to flee, which can result in long-term health consequences including high blood pressure, asthma, cardiac problems, auto-immune & other illnesses triggered by stress (including PTSD), Ganley says. Victims may develop a sense of helplessness & lose the ability to protect themselves. “They may be irritable, hostile & angry a lot of the time under this threat,” Ganley says.
There is hope, however. Once a woman seeks treatment, she may begin to realize the problems with her partner are not her fault, says Garcia Gusman. Individual therapy or support groups with other victims can help a woman increase her self-esteem & her ability to recognize potentially abusive behavior.
“As she spends more time in a support group talking to others or working with a counselor,” Garcia Gusman says, “her mental health has a turn around.”
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Rules of Engagement with a Narcissist
1. You don't matter
There is only one person that counts in a narcissist’s life, that is, the narcissist. This is a hard concept to grasp.
Narcissists by nature are takers and the truth is that you probably only ever mattered at the point in time when you could supply 'that thing' the narcissist needed. You may have been taught by parents and friends the concept that giving is better than receiving.
However with a narcissist you will give until you are emotionally and spiritually bankrupt and receive little or nothing in return. If you don't believe this, take a hard look at yourself today and then compare that with your state when you first met your narcissistic partner. I believe you will be psychologically and emotionally worse off. Like all thieves once narcissists have taken all you have to give, you are history.
2. Don’t try to fight a psychological war that you can’t win
Because a narcissist is amoral you cannot engage them in any moral or conscience issues and expect to win. As a general rule narcissists have no sense of guilt or remorse for their actions. There is NO WAY you can shame them into accepting responsibility for their mindless and thoughtless approach to other people especially yourself. If you are looking for revenge then you will never achieve any satisfaction in this arena.
The rules of engagement are simple: keep your distance. Rule 5 has more on this subject.
3. Ignore the insults and deceit
There is an old adage that sums up this commandment, “don’t explain to your friends it’s unnecessary, and don’t explain to your enemies they will not believe you”. It may come as a shock to many people to discover that the narcissist must appear superior and blameless in all situations and to this end will resort to distorted lies to make themselves appear a victim of your supposed vices.
When you discover the full extent of the deceit this will tear at the core of your being. However, no matter how strong your outrage or anger there is only one way to counteract any harm that may occur and that is to act in a manner that disproves the defamation to the people in your life who count.
Although this course of action appears to be a weak response it is true that people cannot ignore the reality of your actions and words especially if these do not fit the picture painted by the narcissist. Believe me, actions still speak louder than words equally their own actions will start to work against them eventually. Be prepared to lose many friends and acquaintances during the early period of separation.
Don’t be overly concerned, as by your actions they will eventually see who is telling the truth. Like all liars narcissists cannot remember their patterns of deceit and eventually are caught out.
Once a narcissist sees that you have finished with them they will have one focus and that is to destroy you. They will stop at nothing to prove to the world (their world) that you are a loser, the cause of any misfortune in their lives and the person who deserves all the blame.
4. Take off your rose tinted glasses
The ‘person’ you cared about, looked after and more than likely loved never existed! Their life is an act. They present themselves in a different guise depending on the situation. The most difficult part is to let go of the image you fell in love with all those years back.
Unfortunately the image you feel in love with had been carefully cultivated to trap you! Taking off those "rose tinted glasses" is a long, slow and painful process; remember you've worn them for a very long time. Do not be tempted to put them back on at all cost.
5. Remember they are sick - not you
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host. Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
6. Stay out of their Pain Zone
If you don’t wish to ride on an emotional roller coaster from hell then tattoo this rule on your forehead! Once you leave the relationship the narcissist doesn’t need you anymore and its more than likely (almost guaranteed) you were emotionally and physically replaced long before the event of actual separation. You are now cannon fodder and as stated in rule 1 they are out to destroy you.
For your own peace of mind & safety stay as physically far as possible away from them, their abode, place of work and recreation. Don’t get into conversations or phone calls or texts or for one moment think they are softening in their approach to you, they are only gaining information for possible use against you.
Remember that you cannot fight and expect to win on their turf; you must carefully pick the place for engagement on your own terms - only when you feel ready; if you engage at ALL!
Lies and deceit are a natural part of the narcissist’s world. The old adage “the best liars lie to themselves first” applies in this case and the lie oft repeated is far more convincing. A narcissist has the amazing ability to believe their own lies even when they fly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Take the position that everything they say to you is a lie and or based on a lie. Warning: DOUBLE CHECK ANY INFORMATION THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN AND SEEK VERIFICATION.
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host.
Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
7. Trust Nothing - Believe Less
8. Your realities are not theirs
The perceptions of the narcissist are truly their reality. If you look back you have never been able to change or influence their perceptions. If you couldn’t effect change living in a close relationship then don’t waste your time and effort trying now. They live in their own world and no matter how false or unreal it appears to you, for them it reality.
This is a constant source of irritation as you become more aware of the fact that much of their entire life is an act.
9. Communicate ONLY in written form
As far as communications go I received an important piece of advice early on. It was to communicate in a way that when read by a judge read the material in question he would agree that you acted in a responsible and prudent manner.
Do NOT under any circumstance use verbal or psychological abuse in your communications. I can guarantee you that this will drive the narcissist up the wall as they are expecting an angry and petulant response from you to their goading.
Keep good record of all correspondence and work on the theory that you will more than likely need them at a later date.
Use the fax, email or snail mail. If you are confronted on the telephone NEVER give an immediate reply. Tell the narcissist that you are busy, engaged or not able to talk at the time. Request that they put what it is they want to say in writing to you and don't respond unless and until they do! This puts the ball back in their court and they learn over time that they cannot use the telephone to abuse you.
10. Always call their bluff
Where you are in possession of evidence that is clearly untrue then use 3rd parties wherever possible to exploit the deceit. More often than not a narcissist will casually manufacture evidence to manipulate people and circumstances.
In these situations ALWAYS confront the people who are quoted or cited with the evidence for corroboration.
Trust me there is one thing that ethical people do not like and that is being misquoted or quoted out of context. This applies especially to government employees, bankers, teachers, accountants and lawyers.
When you use a 3rd party to rebut the narcissists version of reality just watch and wait for their reaction, it actually becomes quite hilarious. You will start to see the real person emerge as they react like a spoiled child and will try anything to squirm out of the situation.
A word of caution, once your narcissist partner realises you are continually throwing reality at them they will be forced to change their game plan. The best outcome of this approach is that they soon learn not to play their silly games with you.
11. Get back in touch with yourself
If you were unlucky to have found yourself with a narcissistic partner it is more than likely you’ve paid the ultimate price for this bad luck. At some stage you start asking yourself the question “was I the cause of the problem”?
But if you’ve read articles on NPD carefully you would soon realise that this is very doubtful. If you were like me you probably didn’t help the situation by pandering to their whims and not standing up for yourself.
To suffer a long-term relationship with a narcissist you need to contribute by having reasonably low self-esteem or insecurities of your own. Strong personalities would not tolerate a narcissistic partner very long. If you contributed then accept that you did and now set out to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately you have to learn and accept that the psychological and emotional investment you made in a narcissist is valueless. Your relationship is beyond 'Chapter 11' so you have to write the investment off as a bad debt so to speak.
Now you have to concentrate your energies on rebuilding your own life. Take stock of who and what you are and most importantly what you want to be. Without goals of what it is you want to be there can be no roadmap for recovery.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality
1. A PUSH FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on very strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the woman for an exclusive commitment almost immediately. Wants intimacy immediately.
2. JEALOUSY: excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.
3. CONTROLLING: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you're late) about whom you talked to, and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect woman and meet his every need. Idealizes you to the point that you will never meet that reality.
5. ISOLATION: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car or try to prevent you from holding a job. Tells you not to tell certain people about your relationship or him.
6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS AND MISTAKES: The boss, you -- it's always someone else's fault if anything goes wrong.
7. MAKES EVERYONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of, "I am angry" or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you." Less obvious is the claim: "You make me happy."
8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He'll rant about the injustice of things that are just part of life.
9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND TO CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children - emotionally, verbally or physically.
10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting. Kink or sexual things you are not comfortable with are pushed, begged for repeatedly.
11. VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes you, or says blatantly cruel hurtful things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you up with relentless verbal abuse.
12. RIGID SEX ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.
13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in a matter of minutes.
14. PAST BATTERING: Admits hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situation brought it on.
15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Makes statements like, "I'll break your neck," or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way," or "I didn't really mean it." If he has come this far, it is time to get help, or get out!
Only a couple of these need to be present in a personality for them to be a potential abuser. Your abuser may be male or female.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Are You Involved With A Narcissistic Person?
According to the American Psychological Association, people with narcissistic personality disorder display a chronic and pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. The Greek myth has it that Narcissus died enraptured by the beauty of his own reflection in a pool and feel forever in love with his own reflection. The Narcissist displays an operating style that involves extreme self-involvement, and a grandiose sense of self- importance. They exaggerate their achievements and talents, expecting others to recognize them as superior and often appearing arrogant and extremely self absorbed.
Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or beauty, they require the constant attention and admiration of those around them, although they are very choosy about the people and institutions they will associate closely with. They often admit to being snobs and are actually proud of it. They also believe that their problems are unique and can be appreciated only by other “special” high - status people. Despite their charm, the favorable first impression they make, and their wide circle of notable acquaintances, people with this disorder are rarely able to maintain a stable, long-term relationship. With their boastful and pretentious manner, narcissistic persons are seldom receptive to the feelings of others. They show a general lack of empathy, an inability or unwillingness to recognize and identify with your thoughts and needs. Many are often successful, impressively knowledgeable, and articulate, yet bored and doubt ridden as well.
Conversely, healthy narcissism is essential for emotional well-being. We need narcissism to feel confident in ourselves, and to give adequate consideration to others. NOTE: The healthy narcissist does not focus exclusively on themselves, demanding that the world reflect back their false manufactured sense of self and an image of idealized perfection.
If you encounter this personality type, a grasp of the underlying psychology can help you cope more effectively. Lets explore the genesis of the narcissistic personality. As stated above, people with this personality disorder must constantly seek outside support and approval. If they get that support and approval, they feel complete and powerful. Without that support and approval, they feel deprived, exposed, vulnerable, angry, and lonely.
KEY: Early childhood conditioning also plays a part. The child’s real or authentic self has generally been ignored, or the child’s self may have been attacked and assaulted while the parents placed demands on the child to be “perfect.” When that occurs, the type of behavior we associate with a narcissistic disorder is overindulged. Fiercely driven to achieve, children never develop the capacity to consider others’ needs. Enter adulthood, and the same traits naturally carry over.
What To Watch Out For
Most people with this disorder advertise themselves… They seek to be the center of attention. In search of constant approval and praise to reinforce their false grandiose sense of self, they’re “on- stage,” dominating the conversation, often exaggerating their importance.
They lack empathy for others and have an inflated sense of entitlement, requiring others to respond to their demands and grant favors. They need everything for themselves and are envious of others’ accomplishments and possessions.
Criticism or disapproval takes them back to their difficult childhoods, sending them into a defensive fury, since any flaw or mistake means they’re not perfect. Also, when things go wrong, they cannot acknowledge the imperfections implicit in accepting responsibility.
Appearance matters more than substance. Power, wealth and beauty bolster their fragmented self-image.
They may be extremely driven because the “narcissistic fuel” of outside approval is so essential. Many are workaholics. Warning: this personality disorder may not be immediately obvious. The subtle ones won’t show their true colors until “deprived.” Caution: Others may actually pursue and cater to you, if you have something they want, such as looks, money, or status.
Can you change them? Reality check: No. Even constructive criticism is experienced by them as an affront and is met with anger and a sense of betrayal. Placating only results in more demands, not a return of thoughtfulness and consideration. In fact, if you always excuse or rationalize self-absorption and give in to constant demands, you are actually supporting and reinforcing their narcissistic needs and wants.
Here are some tips on how to cope with the person in your life who processes the narcissistic style. Sometimes the best way to deal with extreme narcissistic behavior is to end the relationship. But since this solution isn’t always possible, I can only offer you some survival techniques…
It is important to set boundaries. Decide which demands you can meet or how much approval you’re willing to give to this person, and then stick to your decision. Also, terminate a self-centered conversation if you can, or at least set a time limit on how long you’ll listen.
Support yourself. If your resistance to them draws their anger or blame, refuse to be emotionally blackmailed. Remember that your time and feelings are not important in this person’s eyes. This can help remove your guilt.
Use bargaining chips. If you have something they want, such as a special expertise or solutions to problems—share it sparingly to keep their worst behavior under control. Be aware that when you no longer satisfy them, their old ways will resurface.
Avoid anger. Any confrontation should be conducted quietly and with control. But even a tactful approach may be greeted with anger or sometimes-frightening rage. Very likely, you’ll hear that the difficult situation is your problem and there’s something wrong with you. Arguing will only make you feel like you will want to blow your brains out. Be careful not to expect accommodation from the other person, but do give yourself points for standing up for your rights.
Finally, know when to leave. Dealing with this personality disorder can undermine your own sense of self. Ask yourself some questions…Do I continually feel depressed, irritable, devalued and worthless? Does my anger and resentment carry over into other relationships? Have I stopped supporting myself in general, not treating myself well or allowing others to coerce me? Bottom line: If you find yourself answering yes too frequently, you must examine the pay-off or importance of your relationship with this person.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE
Monday, March 03, 2014
Victim Blaming & Control
That women are sexual beyond the ways men wish them to be disturbs a certain kind of man. The fears that once kept female sexuality in check are gradually being eroded by social change and medical advances: fear of ostracism, fear of disease, fear of unwanted pregnancy. But fear of rape remains, and it can be a powerful weapon.
There was one piece of fall-out from the paratrooper incident that I didn't mention. A family member learned that I'd gone back to the camp with a couple of men for sex. He had no reason to think anything non-consensual had happened, but he was horrified all the same. He told me that my behaviour was disgusting and that I should be ashamed of myself. Friends and other family members defended his attitude by pointing out what many people in the other thread pointed out - that I'd put myself at quite some risk.
That explanation failed to convince me. Disgust and shame are appropriate responses to moral wrongdoing, not foolhardy risk-taking. He was horrified that I'd allowed myself to be sexual in an unapproved way; the risk of rape was a justification, not his true motivation.
It shocks some people that I want sex and don't want to submit to male authority. It shocks them even more that these two desires outweigh my fear of rape, so that I dare to gratify both by picking up paratroopers in a pub. The "prudent" suggestions for keeping myself safe always boil down to giving up sex (or at least, the kind of sex I'm interested in) or submitting to male authority.
These "solutions" might well have no effect on my risk of being raped. But even if they were guaranteed to protect me from all risk, they wouldn't be worth it. I think I'd rather be raped than spend the rest of my life turning aside from what I wanted and settling for something less. I know I'd rather take risks than allow fear of rape to control my expression of my sexuality.
In my ideal world, men would not be tempted to commit rape. Sexual encounters would be handled with negotiation, not with one partner's insistence on getting what he wants at the expense of another. Men would respect the desires of women to control what happens to their bodies, whether they've known each other for ten minutes or ten years.
And in my ideal world, the fear of rape could not be used as a justification for slut-shaming.
Posted by Nick Kiddle at Alas, a Blog
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Emotional & Physical Responses to Abuse
- Severe Fatigue or Exhaustion/feeling ‘drained’
- Physical weakness/knees buckling
- Hospitalization, needing assistance with mobility, medication for depressive symptoms
- Migraine and other Headaches
- Breathing Difficulties/Asthma
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint/Pain Disorders, (TM joints attach lower jaw (the mandible) to the skull)
- Teeth Grinding/Pain/Loose Teeth/Jaw Clenching
- Periodontal conditions
- Difficulty Swallowing/Dry Mouth
- Severe Stomach aches and cramps, Gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Weight Gain/Loss (sick at the 'sight' of food)
- Increased use of alcohol/substance abuse
- Visual Disturbances/Worsening Vision/Temporary Blindness
- Bell's Palsy, trigeminal and peripheral neuralgia, numbness, "pins and needles" sensation, loss of hot/cold skin sensation, (all with often lengthy duration)
- Hair thinning/hair loss varying in severity
- Haggard appearance/loss of 'sparkle in our eyes'
- Sleep Deprivation
- 'Night Terrors'/Nightmares
- Sleep time disturbances, sleeping day awake at night
- Skin Itching/Hives/Acne/Rash/Other Skin Problems
- Horizontal Ridges in Fingernails
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Stiff/Sore Neck
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of sexual interest/libido
- Flu-like symptoms/muscle aching
- Cancers/heart ailments
- Paranoia/panic/hypervigilance, nervousness (jumpiness/abnormal startle response)
- Uncontrollable shaking/hand shaking, eye-lid twitching (& other areas)
- Panic Attacks (waking up at night and at other times)
- Sadness/Crying/Worrying/Loneliness/Severe Anger/Anxiety attacks - rollercoaster emotions
- Coping emotionally with good days/bad days and strong and weak times of the day
- Frustration due to Inability to reconcile or mourning a lost relationship with no emotional closure
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Emotional shock at realization we have been in manipulative/abusive situations - often for decades
- Feeling unwarranted embarrassment or shame for involvement
- Self-directed anger. blaming ourselves rather than blaming the abuser
- Feeling “stupid” despite above-average intelligence
- Damaged self esteem/robbed of our 'identity'/feeling 'soiled'
- Developing negative attitudes where previous optimistic ones were normal
- Self-imposed isolation (hibernating) – often lasing months
- Alienation (from former friends and family)
- Needing to talk about it (or not talk about it)
- Difficulty talking about abuse because other people do not/will not believe us
- Difficulty talking to friends/family because they know nothing about our abuser's disorders
- Feeling isolation due to lack of support/validation/assistance even from people who may witness abuse
- Focusing on or missing the sexual aspect of the abusive relationship
- Cannot stand being touched
- Aversion to certain people who remind us of abusers
- Obsessive Thinking
- Having 'in our head' mental conversations with abuser
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling a need to be in relationship with abusers regardless of abuse inflicted
- Interruption of common-sense, logical thinking, suspension of sound judgement
- Wanting to warn other people/expose the abuser
- Ignoring possible harmful self consequences
- Difficulty realizing/taking in the reality/nature/severity of the abuser's disorder(s)
- Feeling that we may be 'crazy'
- Confusion about recognizing abuse and manipulation
- Knee-jerk rage reaction following witnessing abuse to our children - lack of awareness of consequences of such action
- Depression ranging from mild to severe
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of sense of humour
- Loss of our former 'selves'
- Loss of joy/particpation in former enjoyed activities
- Mental Confusion/Inability to Concentrate/Diminished mental acuity
- Short-Term Memory Loss
- Emotional Numbness
- Feeling ‘frozen’ unable to act (deer caught in the headlights feeling)
- Experiencing temporary adjustment-reaction narcissistic/psychopathic traits in ourselves
- STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases or fear of this)
- Difficulty looking at self reflection in mirror
- Loss of former interest in wanting to look good/pride/dressing up
- Feeling like we’ll never have a love-relationship again/Rejecting other relationships
- Panic and difficulty coping with multiple problems - everything starts going wrong
- Imagining future as hopeless, fear of the unknown, despondency
- Fear of having experienced the feeling of 'evil' in our presence
- Despair/panic/resentment/betrayal over financial losses, lost years/time
- Depression, coping with loss of businesses/careers/livelihood/financial support
- Feelings of wanting justice/revenge/vengeance
- Imagining hostile retaliation to abusers
- Feeling bodily/mental 'dissociation' 'spaciness' - depersonalization/Feeling of 'body part' detachment
- Unreal/surreal concept of relationship.
- Discovery of our previously unknown dependent/co-dependency traits and naive characteristics
- Tendency to see narcissists/psychopaths in everyone around us (seeing them behind every bush)
- Long emotional healing time
- Discovery of having mentally-disordered parents influence in subsequent self esteem and relationship decisions and realization and catastrophic emotional pain of need to end relationships with many people, spouses, partners, parents, children and others due to recognition of abusive situation
- Lack of positive medical results to explain physical symptoms
- Lack of empathy or explanation from physicians/therapists
- Accusations from professionals that we're 'imagining' things
**Arthritic problems/Lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, chronic pain, atypical M.S. (reported by a surprising number of abuse victims) This abstract from pubmed may shed some light on this topic.
With the kind permission ...
"I am remembering too how my body began to react to the stress. I ended up in hospital twice. I had never been in hospital in my life. That is how bad it was. One of the worst memories is of a nurse having to support me as she got me out of the bed and walked me around the hospital corridor (the doctor said I would have to walk a bit each day), and this was not because of medication or anything like that. My knees were actually buckling under me, (weakness no doubt due to not sleeping, not eating, constant panic attacks, fear of the unknown. financial uncertainty and the loss of my home, and my weight had plummeted and kept going down. And I had been a very fit person prior to this happening, so I can imagine the horror of physical breakdown for someone who perhaps was not so fit."
"The relationship lasted for 8 years and it took 7 years of therapy, to undo some of the damage he did to me. I was in bad shape. I do not glorify him anymore. I stopped. It was a terrible experience. In the end, he was afraid of me. As I had helped to raise him up, I also had the power to bring him down. We both understood that. His tears and pleas lost their effect on me. I stopped caring about him and worked on myself, to get past that time and recover my health. I don't even want to be reminded of that time. This is now the only place where I talk about what really happened and how it affected me. I hope it helps others who read, here, if only to know that 'it' comes to an end. There is hope for all."
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Different Types of Abuse
If you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help....many women (victims) out there are silently crying for help!
Please note: that in most cases I have referred to the victim as a woman and the abuser as a man for easier explanation.
- any unwanted physical attention
- kicking, punching, pushing, pulling, slapping, hitting, shaking
- cutting, burning
- pulling hair
- squeezing hand, twisting arm
- choking, smothering
- throwing victim, or throwing things at victim
- restraining, tying victim up
- forced feeding
- hitting victim with objects
- knifing, shooting
- threatening to kill or injure victim
- ignoring victim's illness or injury
- denying victim needs (eg. food, drink, bathroom, medication etc.)
- hiding necessary needs
- pressuring or tricking victim into something unwanted
- standing too close or using intimidation
- making or carrying out threats to hurt victim
- making her (victim) afraid by angry looks, gestures or actions
- smashing things
- abusing pets
- display of weapons as a means of intimidation
(coercing or "talking her into it" or pretending to love her to get sex from her is a form of psychological sexual force!)
- any unwanted sexual contact
- forcing her to have sex, harrassing her for sex, coercing her for sex
- forcing her to have sex with animals
- uttering threats to obtain sex
- pinching, slapping, grabbing, poking her breasts or genitals
- forcing sex when sick, after childbirth or operation
- forcing her to have sex with other men or women (cuckolding/swinging)
- forcing her to watch or participate in group sex
- knowingly transmitting sexual disease
- treating her as a sex object via coercion, manipulation or force (including cybersex, phone sex, sex with prostitute)
- being "rough"
- pressuring or needling her to pose for pornographic photos/videos
- displaying pornography or sending her pornography that makes her uncomfortable
- using sex as a basis for an argument
- using sex as a solution to an argument
- criticising her sexual ability
- unwanted fondling in public
- accusation of affairs
- threatening to have sex with someone else if she doesn't give sex
- degrading her body parts
- sexual jokes
- demanding sex for payment or trade
- insisting on checking her body for sexual contact
Also called "Psychological or Verbal Abuse"
- false accusations
- name calling and finding fault
- verbal threats
- playing "mind games"
- making victim think she/he is stupid, or crazy
- humiliating victim
- overpowering victim's emotions
- love bombing
- disbelieving victim
- bringing up past issues
- inappropriate expression of jealousy
- degrading victim
- putting victim down, not defending her
- blame the victim for things
- turning the situation against the victim
- laughing in victim's face
- silence, ignoring victim
- refusing to do things with or for victim
- always getting own way
- neglecting victim
- pressuring victim
- expecting victim to conform to a role
- comparing victim to others (including past lovers)
- suggested involvement with other women or men
- making victim feel guilty
- using certain mannerisms or behaviour as a means of control (eg. snapping fingers, pointing)
- threatening to get drunk or stoned unless....
- starting arguments
- withholding affection
- holding grudges and not really forgiving
- threatening to leave or commit suicide
- treating victim as a child
- having double standards for victim
- saying one thing and meaning another
- denying or taking away victim's responsibilities
- not keeping commitments
- insisting on accompanying victim to the doctor's office
- deliberately creating a mess for victim to clean
- preventing victim from getting or taking a job
- threatening her with anything (words, objects)
- refusing to deal with issues
- minimising or disregarding victim's work or accomplishments
- demanding an account of victim's time/routine
- taking advantage of victim's fear of something
- making her do illegal things
DURING PREGNANCY AND CHILBIRTH
- forcing her to have an abortion
- denying that the child is his
- insulting her body
- refusing to support her during and after pregnancy
- refusing sex because her pregnant body is ugly
- demanding or pressuring her for sex after childbirth
- blaming her that the baby is the "wrong sex"
- refusing to allow her to breastfeed
- taking victim's money
- withholding money
- not allowing victim money
- giving victim an allowance
- keeping family finances a secret
- spending money foolishly
- pressuring victim to take full responsibility for finances
- not paying fair share of bills
- not spending money of special occasions when able (birthdays etc)
- spending on addictions: gambling, sex, alcohol, overeating, overspending
- not letting victim have access to family income
- controlling what victim does, who victim sees, talks to, what victim reads and where victim goes
- put downs or ignores victim in public
- not allowing victim to see or access to family and friends
- change of personality when around others (abuser)
- being rude to victim's friends or family
- dictating victim's dress and behaviour
- choosing victim's friends
- choosing friends, activities or work rather being with victim
- making a "scene" in public
- making victim account for themselves
- censoring victim's mail
- treating victim like a servant
- not giving victim space or privacy
- assaulting victim in front of the children
- making victim stay at home with the children
- teaching children to abuse victim through name calling, hitting etc
- embarrassing victim in front of the children
- not sharing responsibility for children
- threatening to abduct children, or telling victim they will never get custody
- puttin down victim's parenting ability
- buying off children with expensive gifts
- not showing up on time for visitation or returning them on time
- pumping children for information on victim's partners etc
- telling children that victim is responsible for breaking up the family
- using children to transport messages
- denying victim access to the children
- using scripture to justify or dominance
- using church position to pressure for sex or favours
- using victim, then demanding forgiveness
- interpresting religion or scripture your way
- preventing victim from attending church
- mocking victim's belief's
- requiring sex acts or drugs for religious acts
ABUSE IN THE HOME
- locking victim in or out
- throwing out or destroying victim's possessions
- harming pets
- slamming doors
- throwing objects
- taking phones and denying victim access to the phone
- taking computers and denying victim access to a computer
ABUSE IN THE VEHICLE
- deliberately driving too fast or recklessly to scare victim
- driving while intoxicated
- forcing victim out of the vehicle (when angry)
- pushing victim out of the vehicle when it is inmotion
- threatening to kill victim by driving toward an oncoming car
- chasing or hitting victim with a vehicle
- killing victim in a deliberate accident
- denying her use of the vehicle by tampering with engine, chaining steering wheel or taking the keys
- animal mutilation
- forced cannibalism
- human sacrifices
- suggesting or promoting suicide
- forcing victim to participate in rituals or to witness rituals
Although some of these behaviours don't appear to be abusive they are still considered abusive behaviours. Others are in fact illegal.
If you think you are being abused, you more than likely are - if you recognise these behaviours, then YOU ARE being abused.
Remember PLEASE, if you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help.
No one deserves to be treated like this!
Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Abnormal Cortisol Levels, Depression, Anxiety & PTSD = Signs of Long-Term Abuse & Psychological Trauma
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What About My Pets?
Another Reason Women Don't Leave
I recently received an email from someone who reminded me of another reason why women don't leave abusive situations. They are afraid for the lives of their pets. According to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a 1997 study of the largest battered women's shelters in 48 states revealed that workers at 85 percent of those shelters had heard reports from women about incidents of animal abuse. And abusers often torture the human members of the family by hurting or killing pets, right in front of the other members of the family.
In fact, some abusers use animals to 'practice' hurting humans. In these situations the pet often becomes a sort of hostage - it is safe as long as the woman stays and obeys.
In an ideal world, there would be shelters that include pets, or safe places to place pets when anyone flees an abusive situation. Advocates are working with animals shelters and veterinarians to find a solution to this problem.
The priorities in our society make things even worse. There are not enough shelters for battered women in this country, and the prospect for improvement in the immediate future is dim. So the shelters are full, and animals are usually not permitted.
In the last ten years, more attention has been paid to the fact that violent people often manifest themselves first in violence against animals. Many states have passed laws that make cruelty to animals a felony offense. Women's rights advocates will relate, with bitter irony, that being cruel to an animal is a felony, while being cruel to a woman is only a misdemeneanor. But if you can get past that irony, the animal protection laws can be used to a woman's advantage.
The main problem with domestic violence laws is that a batterer can beat up his wife or girlfriend several times before the law gets annoyed. But if the batterer harms the family pet, the batterer can be arrested on a felony charge.
In many ways, our society at the present time values animals more than it values women and children. Humane Societies may be more prevalent in a state than women's shelters, often with more reliable funding. Please understand that I am not denigrating Humane Societies; that's where I get my cats. I am suggesting that the Humane Society can be a valuable ally that can partner with women's shelters.
If you are in a violent situation where your pet is being used as a hostage, the first step is still the same: call a hotline to get help. The advocates you reach will know the laws in your state and can help to find shelter for your pets too.
The Humane Society of the United States has a program called First Strike. There is information at their website for setting up an organization in your community. The woman who reminded me of this problem runs a website called Friends of Pets. And at DMOZ.org, there are thousands of websites listed that can help.
Ask when you call a shelter if they allow pets, or know a program in your area that will take care of your pet until your situation stabilizes. Family members and friends can be a good resource too. There may be county workers that investigate reports of animal cruelty who has ideas about sheltering your pets. I once worked with a women who has dozens of animals, including chickens and a horse. We found another women who had survived battering, had remarried and lived on a hobby farm. This survivor was happy to shelter all the women's animals while the first woman recovered.
Be sure to talk to your advocate about an Order for Protection, which can protect your animals as well as you. And as always, your best source for ideas, support, resources, and brainstorming if your local women's crisis center. The more we publicize issues like this one, the more attention it will receive. And perhaps we'll change the world.