Sanctuary for the Abused
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Triggers are one of the symptoms of PTSD.
A trigger can send a person who suffers from this disorder into the extreme areas of emotional being, such as intense anger, exaggerated sadness, crippling numbness, flashbacks, nightmares, and other areas not mentioned here. A trigger then may be described as a situation, a noise, a smell, a thought, or anything else that puts a PTSD sufferer off into a “dark-area” or sets that person off by reminding them of the original trauma or situation they experienced. Symptoms caused by a trigger can differ from person to person. To help cope with triggers, a person who suffers from PTSD can make a list of the things in everyday life that set them off and then write them down and make a “trigger list”. We can write down some of the more common noises, smells, colors, ex….that cause us distress. Once we are more aware of these triggers, it is easier to cope with the symptoms.
Here is some more information about triggers:
According to the American Psychiatric Association people suffering from this disorder have repeated episodes in which they re-experience the traumatic event. This can be triggered in sudden, vivid memories that are accompanied by very painful emotions and take over the victims attention. The memory can be a flashback - a recollection that is so strong that the individual thinks he/she is actually experiencing the traumatic event again or seeing it unfold before their eyes. In the book PTSD-A Complete Treatment Guide by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D., she talks about the trigger response on page 140 of this book, ” As explained in Chap. 3, PTSD is not only a psychological phenomenon but a biochemical one. The human brain remembers everything; its memory cells store information about every event that occurs to a person, especially unusual events such as traumas,” further on she says,
”Perhaps one of the worst parts of being a trauma survivor occurs when the adrenals are aroused by an event in the present that reminds the survivor of a past event. Long-term memory tracts, in which memories of the traumatic event and secondary wounding experiences are stored, tend to be activated, and the survivor then experiences feelings associated with the past event. These present-day events are often called triggers, because they trigger the emotions associated with the trauma.”SOME Kewl SAYINGS:
A sign-post to healing is knowing its OK to ask for help or support again.
It is normal to be affected by trauma….you are not crazy!
(there is no rush in recovery) Slow recovery is good recovery.
PTSD changes the person, not the other way!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
The Inner Landscape of the Psychopath
The surface of the psychopath, however, that is, all of him that can be reached by verbal exploration and direct examination, shows up as equal to or better than normal and gives no hint at all of a disorder within.
Nothing about him suggests oddness, inadequacy, or moral frailty. His mask is that of robust mental health. Yet he has a disorder that often manifests itself in conduct far more seriously abnormal than that of the schizophrenic.
Inwardly, too, there appears to be a significant difference.
Deep in the masked schizophrenic we often sense a cold, weird indifference to many of life's most urgent issues and sometimes also bizarre, inexplicable, and unpredictable but intense emotional reactions to what seems almost irrelevant.
Behind the exquisitely deceptive mask of the psychopath the emotional alteration we feel appears to be primarily one of degree, a consistent leveling of response to petty ranges and an incapacity to react with sufficient seriousness to achieve much more than pseudoexperience or quasi-experience. Nowhere within do we find a real cause or a sincere commitment, reasonable or unreasonable. There is nowhere the loyalty to produce real and lasting allegiance even to a negative or fanatic cause.
Just as meaning and the adequate sense of things as a whole are lost with semantic aphasia in the circumscribed field of speech although the technical mimicry of language remains intact, so in most psychopaths the purposiveness and the significance of all life-striving and of all subjective experience are affected without obvious damage to the outer appearance or superficial reactions of the personality. Nor is there any loss of technical or measurable intelligence.
With such a biologic change the human being becomes more reflex, more machinelike. It has been said that a monkey endowed with sufficient longevity would, if he continuously pounded the keys of a typewriter, finally strike by pure chance the very succession of keys to reproduce all the plays of Shakespeare. These papers so composed in the complete absence of purpose and human awareness would look just as good to any scholar as the actual works of the Bard. Yet we cannot deny that there is a difference. Meaning and life at a prodigiously high level of human values went into one and merely the rule of permutations and combinations would go into the other.
The patient semantically defective by lack of meaningful purpose and realization at deep levels does not, of course, strike sane and normal attitudes merely by chance. His rational power enables him to mimic directly the complex play of human living. Yet what looks like sane realization and normal experience remains, in a sense and to some degree, like the plays of our simian typist.
In Henry Head's interpretation of semantic aphasia we find, however, concepts of neural function and of its integration and impairment that help to convey a hypothesis of grave personality disorder thoroughly screened by the intact peripheral operation of all ordinary abilities.
In relatively abstract or circumscribed situations, such as the psychiatric examination or the trial in court, these abilities do not show impairment but more or less automatically demonstrate an outer sanity unquestionable in all its aspects and at all levels accessible to the observer. That this technical sanity is little more than a mimicry of true sanity cannot be proved at such levels.
Only when the subject sets out to conduct his life can we get evidence of how little his good theoretical understanding means to him, of how inadequate and insubstantial are the apparently normal basic emotional reactions and motivations convincingly portrayed and enunciated but existing in little more than two dimensions.
What we take as evidence of his sanity will not significantly or consistently influence his behavior. Nor does it represent real intention within, the degree of his emotional response, or the quality of his personal experience much more reliably than some grammatically well-formed, clear, and perhaps verbally sensible statement produced vocally by the autonomous neural apparatus of a patient with semantic aphasia can be said to represent such a patient's thought or carry a meaningful communication of it.
Let us assume tentatively that the psychopath is, in this sense, semantically disordered. We have said that his outer functional aspect masks or disguises something quite different within, concealing behind a perfect mimicry of normal emotion, fine intelligence, and social responsibility a grossly disabled and irresponsible personality. Must we conclude that this disguise is a mere pretense voluntarily assumed and that the psychopath's essential dysfunction should be classed as mere hypocrisy instead of psychiatric defect or deformity?
Let us remember that his typical behavior defeats what appear to be his own aims.
Is it not he himself who is most deeply deceived by his apparent normality?
Although he deliberately cheats others and is quite conscious of his lies, he appears unable to distinguish adequately between his own pseudo-intentions, pseudo-remorse, pseudo-love, and the genuine responses of a normal person.
His monumental lack of insight indicates how little he appreciates the nature of his disorder.
When others fail to accept immediately his "word of honor as a gentleman," his amazement, I believe, is often genuine. The term genuine is used here not to qualify the psychopath's intentions but to qualify his amazement. His subjective experience is so bleached of deep emotion that he is invincibly ignorant of what life means to others.
His awareness of hypocrisy's opposite is so insubstantially theoretical that it becomes questionable if what we chiefly mean by hypocrisy should be attributed to him.
Having no major values himself, can he be said to realize adequately the nature and quality of the outrages his conduct inflicts upon others?
A young child who has no impressive memory of severe pain may have been told by his mother it is wrong to cut off the dog's tail. Knowing it is wrong he may proceed with the operation. We need not totally absolve him of responsibility if we say he realized less what he did than an adult who, in full appreciation of physical agony, so uses a knife.
Can a person experience the deeper levels of sorrow without considerable knowledge of happiness? Can he achieve evil intention in the full sense without real awareness of evil's opposite? I have no final answer to these questions.
Attempts to interpret the psychopath's disorder do not, of course, furnish evidence that he has a disorder or that it is serious. For reliable evidence of this we must examine his behavior. Only here, not in psychopathologic formulations, can we apply our judgment to what is objective and demonstrable.
Functionally and structurally all is intact on the outside. Good function (healthy reactivity) will be demonstrated in all theoretical trials. Sound judgment as well as good reasoning are likely to appear at verbal levels. Ethical as well as practical considerations will be recognized in the abstract. A brilliant mimicry of sound, social reactions will occur in every test except the test of life itself.
In the psychopath we confront a personality neither broken nor outwardly distorted but of a substance that lacks ingredients without which normal function in major life issues is impossible. [...]
Simon, Holzberg, and Unger, impressed by the paradox of the psychopath's poor performance despite intact reasoning, devised an objective test specifically to appraise judgment as it would function in real situations, as contrasted with theoretical judgment in abstract situations. These workers are aware that the more complex synthesis of influences constituting what is often called judgment or understanding (as compared to a more theoretical "reasoning") may be simulated in test situations in which emotional participation is minimal, that rational factors alone by an accurate aping or stereotyping can produce in vitro, so to speak, what they cannot produce in vivo. Items for a multiple choice test were selected with an aim of providing maximal possibilities for emotional factors to influence decision and particularly for relatively trivial immediate gratification impulses to clash with major, long-range objectives. The same items were also utilized in the form of a completion test. The results of this test on a group of psychopaths tend to support the hypothetical interpretation attempted in this book.
If such a disorder does indeed exist in the so-called psychopath, it is not remarkable that its recognition as a major and disabling impairment has been long delayed. Pathologic changes visible on the surface of the body (laceration, compound fractures) were already being handled regularly by medical men when the exorcism of indwelling demons retained popular favor in many illnesses now treated by the internist. So, too, it has been with personality disorders. Those characterized by gross outward manifestations have been accepted as psychiatric problems long before others in which a superficial appearance of sanity is preserved.
Despite the psychopath's lack of academic symptoms characteristic of those disorders traditionally classed as psychosis, he often seems, in some important respects, but not in all, to belong more with that group than with any other. Certainly his problems cannot be dealt with, medically or by any other means, unless similar legal instrumentalities for controlling his situation are set up and regularly applied.
I believe that if such a patient shows himself grossly incompetent in his behavior, he should be so appraised. It is necessary to change some of our legal criteria to make attempts at treatment or urgently needed supervision possible for him, the most serious objections are primarily theoretical. Perhaps our traditional definitions of psychiatric disability can stand alteration better than these grossly defective patients and those about them can stand the present farcical and sometimes tragic methods of handling their problems.
This is not to say that all people showing features of this type should be regarded as totally disabled. It is here maintained that this defect, like other psychiatric disorders, appears in every degree of severity and may constitute anything from a personality trait through handicaps of varying magnitude, including maximum disability and maximum threat to the peace and safety of the community.
In attempting to account for the abnormal behavior observed in the psychopath, we have found useful the hypothesis that he has a serious and subtle abnormality or defect at deep levels disturbing the integration and normal appreciation of experience and resulting in a pathology that might, in analogy with Henry Head's classifications of the aphasias, be described as semantic.
Presuming that such a patient does fail to experience life adequately in its major issues, can we then better account for his clinical manifestations? The difficulties of proving, or even of demonstrating direct objective evidence, for hypotheses about psychopathology (or about ordinary subjective functioning) are too obvious to need elaborate discussion here.
If the psychopath's life is devoid of higher order stimuli, of primary or serious goals and values, and of intense and meaningful satisfactions, it may be possible for the observer to better understand the patient who, for the trivial excitement of stealing a dollar (or a candy bar), the small gain of forging a $20.00 check, or halfhearted intercourse with an unappealing partner, sacrifices his job, the respect of his friends, or perhaps his marriage.
Behind much of the psychopath's behavior we see evidence of relatively mild stimuli common to all mankind. In his panhandling, his pranks, his truancy, his idle boasts, his begging, and his taking another drink, he is acting on motives in themselves not unnatural. In their massive accumulation during his career, these acts are impressive chiefly because of what he sacrifices to carry them out. If, for him, the things sacrificed are also of petty value, his conduct becomes more comprehensible.
Woolley, in an interesting interpretation of these patients, compared them with an otherwise intact automobile having very defective brakes. Such an analogy suggests accurately an important pathologic defect which seems to exist. In contrast with an automobile, however, the braking functions of the human organism are built into the personality by reaction to life experience, to reward and punishment, praise and blame, shame, loss, honor, love, and so on. True as Woolley's hypothesis may be, it seems likely that more fundamental than inadequate powers to refrain is the inadequate emotional reactivity upon which the learning to refrain must be based.
Even with good brakes on his car, the driver must have not only knowledge of but also feeling for what will happen otherwise if he is to use them correctly and adequately.
Some of the psychopath's behavior may be fairly well accounted for if we grant a limitation of emotional capacity. Additional factors merit consideration. The psychopath seems to go out of his way to make trouble for himself and for others. In carelessly marrying a whore, in more or less inviting detection of a theft (or at least in ignoring the probability of detection), in attempting gross intimacies with a debutante in the poorly sheltered alcove just off a crowded ballroom, in losing his hospital parole or failing to be with his wife in labor just because he did not want to leave the crap game at midnight (or at 3 A.M.), in such actions there seems to be not only a disregard for consequences but an active impulse to show off, to be not discreet but conspicuous in making mischief. Apparently he likes to flaunt his outlandish or antisocial acts with bravado.
When negative consequences are negligible or slight (both materially and emotionally), who does not like to cut up a little, to make a bit of inconsequential fun, or perhaps playfully take off on the more sober aspects of living? Dignity might otherwise become pompousness; learning, pedantry; goodness, self-righteousness. The essential difference seems to lie in how much the consequences matter. It is also important to remember that inclination and taste are profoundly shaped by capacity to feel the situation adequately. A normal man's potential inclination to give the pretty hatcheck girl $100.00 would probably not reach awareness in view of his knowledge that this would result in his three children's not having shoes or in his having to humiliate himself by wheedling from a friend a loan he will never repay.
If, as we maintain, the big rewards of love, of the hard job well done, of faith kept despite sacrifices, do not enter significantly in the equation, it is not difficult to see that the psychopath is likely to be bored. Being bored, he will seek to cut up more than the ordinary person to relieve the tedium of his unrewarding existence. If we think of a theater half-filled with ordinary pubertal boys who must sit through a performance of King Lear or of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, we need ask little of either imagination or memory to bring to mind the restless fidgeting, the noisy intercommunication of trivialities, the inappropriate guffaws or catcalls, and perhaps the spitballs or the mischievous application of a pin to the fellow in the next seat.
Apparently blocked from fulfillment at deep levels, the psychopath is not unnaturally pushed toward some sort of divertissement. Even weak impulses, petty and fleeting gratifications, are sufficient to produce in him injudicious, distasteful, and even outlandish misbehavior. Major positive attractions are not present to compete successfully with whims, and the major negative deterrents (hot, persistent shame, profound regret) do not loom ahead to influence him. If the 12-year-old boys could enjoy King Lear or the Ninth Symphony as much as some people do, they would not be so reckless or unruly. [...]
In a world where tedium demands that the situation be enlivened by pranks that bring censure, nagging, nights in the local jail, and irritating duns about unpaid bills, it can well be imagined that the psychopath finds cause for vexation and impulses toward reprisal. Few, if any, of the scruples that in the ordinary man might oppose and control such impulses seem to influence him. Unable to realize what it meant to his wife when he was discovered in the cellar flagrante delicto with the cook, he is likely to be put out considerably by her reactions to this. His having used the rent money for a midnight long-distance call to an old acquaintance in California (with whom he bantered for an hour) also brings upon him censure or tearful expostulation. Considering himself harassed beyond measure, he may rise from the dining room table in a petty tantrum, curse his wife violently, slap her, even spit on her, and further annoyed by the sudden weeping of their 6-year-old daughter, throw his salad in the little girl's face before he strides indignantly from the room.
His father, from the patient's point of view, lacks humor and does not understand things. The old man could easily take a different attitude about having had to make good those last three little old checks written by the son. Nor was there any sense in raising so much hell because he took that dilapidated old Chevrolet for his trip to Memphis. What if he did forget to tell the old man he was going to take it? It wouldn't hurt him to go to the office on the bus for a few days. How was he (the patient) to know the fellows were going to clean him out at stud or that the little bitch of a waitress at the Frolic Spot would get so nasty about money? What else could he do except sell the antiquated buggy? If the old man weren't so parsimonious he'd want to get a new car anyway!
And why did he (the father) have to act so magnanimous and hurt about settling things last Saturday night down at the barracks? You'd think from his attitude that it was the old man himself who'd had to put up with being cooped in there all those hours with louse-infested riff-raff! Well, he'd thanked his father and told him how sorry he was. What else could a fellowdo? As for that damned old Chevrolet, he was sick of hearing about it. His grudge passing with a turn of thought, he smiles with half-affectionate, playfully cordial feelings toward the old man as he concludes, "I ought to tell him to take his precious old vehicle and stick it up his _____!"
Lacking vital elements in the appreciation of what the family and various bystanders are experiencing, the psychopath finds it hard to understand why they continually criticize, reproach, quarrel with, and interfere with him. His employer, whom he has praised a few hours before, becomes a pettifogging tyrant who needs some telling off. The policeman to whom he gave tickets for the barbecue last week (because he is such a swell guy) turns out to be a stupid oaf and a meddler who can't mind his own business but has to go and arrest somebody just because of a little argument with Casey in the Midnight Grill about what happened to a few stinking dollar bills that were lying on the bar. [...]
It is not necessary to assume great cruelty or conscious hatred in him commensurate with the degree of suffering he deals out to others. Not knowing how it hurts or even where it hurts, he often seems to believe that he has made a relatively mild but appropriate reprimand and that he has done it with humor.
What he believes he needs to protest against turns out to be no small group, no particular institution or set of ideologies, but human life itself. In it he seems to find nothing deeply meaningful or persistently stimulating, but only some transient and relatively petty pleasant caprices, a terribly repetitious series of minor frustrations, and ennui.
Like many teenagers, saints, history-making statesmen, and other notable leaders or geniuses, he shows unrest; he wants to do something about the situation. Unlike these others, as Lindner has so well and convincingly stressed, he is a "rebel without a cause."
Reacting with something that seems not too much like divine discontent or noble indignation, he finds no cause in the ordinary sense to which, he can devote himself with wholeheartedness or with persistent interest. In certain aspects his essential life seems to be a peevish bickering with the inconsequential. In other aspects he suggests a man hanging from a ledge who knows if he lets go he will fall, is likely to break a leg, may lose his job and his savings (through the disability and hospital expenses), and perhaps may injure his baby in the carriage just below. He suggests a man in this position who, furthermore, is not very tired and who knows help will arrive in a few minutes, but who, nevertheless, with a charming smile and a wisecrack, releases his hold to light a cigarette, to snatch at a butterfly, or just to thumb his nose at a fellow passing in the street below. [...]
A world not by any means identical but with some vivid features of both these underlying situations can be found in Huysmans' Against the Grain and in Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea. In the satirical novels of Evelyn Waugh, also, an atmosphere difficult to describe sometimes develops - an atmosphere that may give the reader awareness of attitudes and evaluations genuinely illustrative of deeply distorted or inadequate reactions to life. [...]
The leading characters depicted therein show a peculiar cynicism which is more conscious and directed and purposive than the behavior of the psychopath. But none of the characters presented show even an approximate awareness of what is most valid and meaningful and natural in human beings. A negative response to life itself, an aversion at levels more basic than ordinary morals or the infraconscious foundations of taste and incentive, is conveyed subtly and impressively.
It is difficult to illustrate by incident, by the expressed attitude of the characters depicted, or by any clearly implied evaluation of the authors the specific quality of what is evoked in these novels as the essence of an unhappy, mutilated, and trivial universe in which all the characters exist. The sense of pathology pervades to levels so deep that rational scrutiny cannot reach and meet the fundamental implications; nor can inquiry satisfactorily demonstrate its precise source. If the actual world and man's biologic scope were only that conveyed in these interesting works, it would perhaps be less difficult to account for obsessive illness and for the psychopath's career as reasonable reactions to a situation where no course is possible except one profoundly pathologic in one way or another.
Thoughtful contemplation of what is depicted in these works of fiction suggests a world as fundamentally altered as what Straus presents as the world of the obsessive patient. In the effective and terse implication of general emotional incapacity in these characters, the authors succeed in evoking awareness of a sort of quasi-life restricted within a range of staggering superficiality. This, rather than those aspects of the works that apparently brought them popularity, may deserve high literary appraisal as concise and valuable communications of something that is by no means easy to convey in direct language. Such a superficiality and lack of major incentive or feeling strongly suggest the apparent emotional limitations of the psychopath. [...]
What Straus and Havelock Ellis have brought out is not discernible in the reactions of the psychopath. It is, as a matter of fact, somewhat veiled in the reactions of most obsessive patients. Observation of the psychopath makes it increasingly plain, however, that he is not reacting normally to the surroundings that are ordinarily assumed to exist. I cannot clearly define the specific milieu which such a patient encounters and to which his reactions are related. There is much to suggest that it is a less distinctly or consistently apprehended world than what Straus describes as the inner world of the obsessive patient. It is my belief that it may be a world not less abnormal and perhaps more complexly confusing. We should remember, however, that we have no direct evidence to prove that a deficiency or distortion of this sort exists in the unconscious core of the psychopath. We can only say that his behavior strongly and consistently suggests it. This discussion has been based, of course. on a hypothesis that the psychopath has a basic inadequacy of feeling and realization that prevents him from normally experiencing the major emotions and from reacting adequately to the chief goals of human life. [...]
Beyond the symptomatic acts of the psychopath, we must bear in mind his reaction to his situation, his general experiencing of life. Typical of psychoneurosis are anxiety, recognition that one is in trouble, and efforts to alter the bad situation. These are natural ("normal") whole personality reactions to localized symptoms.
In contrast, the severe psychopath, like those so long called psychotic, does not show normal responses to the situation. It is offered as an opinion that a less obvious but nonetheless real pathology is general, and that in this respect he is more closely allied with the psychotic than with the psychoneurotic patient. The pathology might be regarded not as gross fragmentation of the personality but as a more subtle alteration. Let us say that instead of macroscopic disintegration our (hypothetical) change might be conceived of as one that seriously curtails function without obliterating form. [...]
Let us think of the personality in the psychopath as differing from the normal in some such way. The form is perfect and the outlines are undistorted. But being subtly and profoundly altered, it can successfully perform only superficial activities or pseudofunctions. It cannot maintain important or meaningful interpersonal relations. It cannot fulfill its purpose of adjusting adequately to social reality. Its performance can only mimic these genuine functions. [...]
The persistent pattern of maladaptation at personality levels and the ostensible purposelessness of many self-damaging acts definitely suggests not only a lack of strong purpose but also a negative purpose or at least a negative drift. This sort of patient, despite all his opportunities, his intelligence, and his plain lessons of experience, seems to go out of his way to woo misfortune. The suggestion has already been made that his typical activities seem less comprehensible in terms, of life-striving or of a pursuit of joy than as an unrecognized blundering toward the negations of nonexistence.
Some of this, it has been suggested, may be interpreted as the tantrum, like reactions of an inadequate personality balked, as behavior similar to that of the spoiled child who bumps his own head against the wall or holds his breath when he is crossed. It might be thought of as not unlike a man's cutting off his nose to spite not only his face, but also the scheme of life in general, which has turned out to be a game that he cannot play. Such reactions are, of course, found in nearly all types of personality disorder or inadequacy. It will perhaps be readily granted that they are all regressive. Behavior against the constructive patterns through which the personality finds expression and seeks fulfillment of its destiny is regressive activity although it may not consist in a return, step by step, or in a partial return to the status of childhood and eventually of infancy.
Such reactions appear to be, in a sense, against the grain of life or against the general biologic purpose.
Regressive reactions or processes may all be regarded as disintegrative, as reverse steps in the general process of biologic growth through which a living entity becomes more complex, more highly adapted and specialized, better coordinated, and more capable of dealing successfully or happily with objective or subjective experience. This scale of increasing complexity exists at points even below the level of living matter. A group of electrons functioning together make up the atom which can indeed be split down again to its components. The atoms joining form molecules which, in turn, coming together in definite orderly arrangement, may become structurally coordinating parts of elaborate crystalline materials; or, in even more specialized and complex fashion, they may form a cell of organic matter. Cells of organic matter may unite and integrate to form the living organism we know as a jellyfish. Always the process is reversible; the organic matter can decompose back into inorganic matter.
Without laboriously following out all the steps of this scale, we might mention the increasing scope of activity, the increasing specialization, and the increasing precariousness of existence at various levels up through vertebrates and mammals to man. All along this scale it is evident that failure to function successfully at a certain level necessitates regression or decomposition to a lower or less complicated one. If the cell membrane of one epithelial unit in a mammalian body becomes imporous and fails to obtain nutriment brought by blood and lymph, it loses its existence as an epithelial cell. If the unwary rabbit fails to perceive the danger of the snare, he soon becomes in rapid succession a dead rabbit, merely a collection of dead organs and supportive structures, protein, fat, and finally, inorganic matter. The fundamental quest for life has been interrupted, and, having been interrupted, the process goes into reverse.
So, too, the criminal discovered and imprisoned ceases to be a free man who comes and goes as he pleases. A curtailment in the scope of his functioning is suffered-a regression in one sense to simpler, more routine, and less varied and vivid activities.
The man who fails in another and more complex way to go on with life, to fulfill his personality growth and function, becomes what we call a schizophrenic. The objective curtailment of his activities by the rules of the psychiatric hospital are almost negligible in comparison with the vast simplification, the loss of self-expression, and the personal disintegration which characterize his regression from the subjective point of view. The old practice of referring to the extremely regressed schizophrenic as leading a vegetative existence implies the significance that is being stressed.
Regression, then, in a broad sense may be taken to mean movement from richer and more full life to levels of scantier or less highly developed life. In other words, it is relative death. It is the cessation of existence or maintenance of function at a given level.
The concept of an active death instinct postulated by Freud has been utilized by some to account for socially self-destructive reactions. I have never been able to discover in the writings of Freud or any of his followers real evidence to confirm this assumption.
In contrast, the familiar tendency to disintegrate, against which life evolves, may be regarded as fundamental and comparable to gravity. The climbing man or animal must use force and purpose to ascend or to maintain himself at a given height. To fall or slide downhill he need only cease his efforts and let go. Without assuming an intrinsic death instinct, it is possible to account for active withdrawal from positions at which adaptation is unsuccessful and stress too extreme.
Whether regression occurs primarily through something like gravity or through impulses more self-contained, the backward movement (or ebbing) is likely to prompt many sorts of secondary reactions, including behavior not adapted for ordinary human purposes but instead, for functioning in the other direction. The modes of such reactivity may vary, may fall into complex patterns, and may seek elaborate expression.
In a movement (or gravitational drift) from levels where life is vigorous and full to those where it is less so, the tactics of withdrawal predominate.
People with all the outer mechanisms of adaptation intact might, one would think, regress more complexly than can those who react more simply. The simplest reaction in reverse might be found in a person who straightway blows out his brains.
As a skillful general who has realized that the objective is unobtainable withdraws by feints and utilizes all sorts of delaying actions, so a patient who has much of the outer mechanisms for living may retire, not in obvious rout but skillfully and elaborately, preserving his lines.
The psychopath as we conceive of him in such an interpretation seems to justify the high estimate of his technical abilities as we see them expressed in reverse movement.
Unlike the general with the retreating army in our analogy, he seems not still devoted to the original contest but to other issues and aims that arise in withdrawal. To force the analogy further we might say that the retiring army is now concerning itself with looting the countryside, seeking mischief and light entertainment. The troops have cast off their original loyalties and given up their former aims but have found no other serious ones to replace them. But the effective organization and all of the technical skills are retained.[And utilized destructively.]
F. L. Wells has expressed things very pertinent to the present discussion. A brief quotation will bring out useful points:
The principle of substitutive reactions, sublimative or regressive in character, has long been known, but Kurt Lewin's (1933) experimental construction of the latter is especially apt, if not unquestionable mental hygiene. A child, for example, continually impelled to open a gate it is impossible for him to open, may blow up in a tantrum, grovel on the ground, till the emotion subsides sufficiently for him to become substitutively occupied, as with fragments of gravel and other detritus he finds there, by which he forgets his distress about the gate. [...] The human personality has the adaptive property of finding satisfactions at simpler levels when higher ones are taken away, fortunately so if this keeps him out of a psychosis, otherwise if it stabilizes him in contentment at this lower level ("going native") or if the satisfactions cannot be found short of a psychosis (MacCurdy, 1925, p. 367). All such cases have the common regressive factor of giving up the higher-level adjustment (opening the gate) with regressive relief at a lower level (playing with the gravel).Another illustration given by Wells emphasizes features of the concept that are valuable to us:
Consider, for example, the group of drives that center about the concept of self-maintenance, the "living standards" of civilization. This means the pursuit of the diverse means to surround oneself with the maximum of material comfort in terms of residence, food, playthings, etc., for the purchase of which one can capitalize his abilities. That the normal individual will do this to a liberal limit is taken in the local culture as a matter of course, probably more liberally than the facts justify. For this pursuit involves a competitive struggle beset also with inner conflicts (e.g., ethical), which by no means everyone is able to set aside. Among regressions specific to this category are those undertakings of poverty common to religious orders, but this regression is quite specific, since these orders often involve their members in other "disciplines" from which the normal individual would flee as far (Parkman, 1867, Chap. 16). It is quite certain, though hard to demonstrate objectively, that many an individual in normal life regresses from these economic conflicts only in less degree. He does not take the vow of poverty like the monastic, nor does he dedicate himself to the simplified life of the "South Sea Island" stereotype, but he prefers salary to commission, city apartment to suburban "bungalow," clerical work to (outside) sales.A thought expressed by William James in 1902 and quoted by Wells deserves renewed attention:
Yonder puny fellow however, whom everyone can beat suffers no chagrin about it, for he has long ago abandoned the attempt to "carry that line," as the merchants say, of Self at all.Something relevant to the points now under consideration may be found also in Sherrington's comment on reactions (or inlaid precautions) against unbearable pain or stress in the human organism. He says:
With no attempt there can be no failure; with no failure no humiliation.
So our self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do. It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our supposed potentialities; a fraction of which our pretentions are the denominator and the numerator our success: thus, Self-esteem = Success/Pretensions.
Such a fraction may be increased as well by diminishing the denominator as by increasing the numerator.
To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them gratified; and where disappointment is incessant and the struggle unending, this is what men will always do.
The history of evangelical theology, with its conviction of sin, its self-despair, and its abandonment of salvation by works, is the deepest of possible examples, but we meet others in every walk of life.
How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young-or slender! Thank God, we say, those illusions are gone. Everything added to the self is a burden as well as a pride.
Again in life's final struggle the chemical delicacy of the brain-net can make distress lapse early because with the brain's disintegration the mind fades early - a rough world's mercy towards its dearest possession.There are, it seems, many ways for this to occur without signs of any change which we yet have objective means to detect, chemically or microscopically. Such changes may occur under the stimulus of agents that do not have direct physical contact with the brain or with any part of the body.
Withdrawal, or limitation of one's quest in living, appears in many forms.
The decision for taking such a step may be consciously voluntary, but it seems likely that many influences less clear and simple may also play a part. In the earliest years of human life a great deal of complicated shaping may occur, with adaptive changes to promote survival by an automatic refusal (inability) to risk one's feelings (response) in the greatest subjective adventures. In adult life such decisions sometimes emerge in clear deliberation.
The activity of the psychopath may seem in some respects to accomplish a kind of protracted and elaborate social and spiritual suicide. Perhaps the complex, sustained, and spectacular undoing of the self may be cherished by him. He seldom allows physical suicide to interrupt it.
Be it noted that such a person retains high intelligence and nearly all the outer mechanisms for carrying on the complicated activities of positive life. It is to be expected then that his function in the opposite (regressive) emotional direction might be more subtle than those of a less highly developed biologic entity.
The average rooster proceeds at once to leap on the nearest hen and have done with his simple erotic impulse. The complex human lover may pay suit for years to his love object, approaching her through many volumes of poetry, through the building up of financial security in his business, through manifold activities and operations of his personality functions, and with aims and emotions incomparably more complicated and more profound than that of the rooster.
When complexly organized functions are devoted to aimless or inconsistent rebellion against the positive goals of life, perhaps they may enable the patient to woo failure and disintegration with similar elaborateness and subtlety. His conscious or outer functioning may at the same time maintain an imitation of life that is uniquely deceptive.
Perhaps the emptiness or superficiality of life without major goals or deep loyalties, or real love, would leave a person with high intelligence and other superior capacities so bored that he would eventually turn to hazardous, self-damaging, outlandish, antisocial, and even self-destructive exploits in order to find something fresh and stimulating in which to apply his relatively useless and unchallenged energies and talents. [...]
The more experience I have with psychopaths over the years, the less likely it seems to me that any dynamic or psychogenic theory is likely to be established by real evidence as the cause of their grave maladaptation.
Increasingly I have come to believe that some subtle and profound defect in the human organism, probably inborn but not hereditary, plays the chief role in the psychopath's puzzling and spectacular failure to experience life normally and to carry on a career acceptable to society. This, too, is still a speculative concept and is not supported by demonstrable evidence.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Centerfold Syndrome & Men
The Centerfold Syndrome
Psychologist Dr. Gary R. Brooks, in his book, The Centerfold Syndrome: How Men Can Overcome Objectification and Achieve Intimacy with Women*, has identified four symptoms of the "centerfold syndrome." As the result of a steady diet of soft-core pornography, men may display one or more of the following symptoms:
Voyeurism-an obsession with visual stimulation that trivializes all other features of a healthy relationship
Objectification-obsessive fetishes over body parts and the rating of women by size and shape
Trophyism-treatment of women as collectibles and property
Fear of intimacy-inability to get beyond glossy, centerfold images of women to have a real relationship
Pornography subtly communicates that the value of a woman is determined by her body, shape, and size. Only those women with a perfect physical appearance are valuable and worthy of being admired, desired, and loved. This can have detrimental effects on how women and girls view themselves.
I often wonder how many young girls who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are unknowingly struggling to measure up to the perfect "10" image projected by the airbrushed centerfold.
I also wonder how many teenage boys, consciously or unconsciously, measure the value of their girlfriends against the "bunny" image.
Pornography's Progressive Pattern of Addiction
Dr. Victor Cline, a clinical psychologist at the University of Utah and a specialist in the area of sexual addictions, has observed a four-step syndrome common to almost all of his clients who have been involved with pornography.
Once consumers of pornography get hooked, they keep coming back for more and more. The sexually graphic material provides the viewer with an aphrodisiac effect, followed by sexual release, most often through masturbation. Pornography gives the viewer powerful imagery that can be recalled and elaborated on with the person's fantasy life. Despite negative consequences, most addicts are unable to rid themselves of their dependence on pornography. Their addiction rules their lives.
Cline describes the second phase as an escalation-effect. The pornography consumer, similar to the drug user, requires more and more stimulation to reach his or her "highs." In fact some viewers prefer the powerful sexual imagery planted in their minds by exposure to pornography to sexual intercourse itself. This nearly always diminishes the viewer's capacity to love and express appropriate intimacy within relationships.
In this phase, material that was originally perceived as unthinkable, shocking, illegal, repulsive, or immoral is now viewed as acceptable and commonplace by the viewer of pornography. Regardless of the deviancy expressed, the viewer perceives the pornography and his or her use of it as legitimate.
Step 4-Acting out sexually.
This last step describes an increased tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in pornography, including things such as: promiscuity, visiting escorts, voyeurism, exhibitionism, group sex, affairs, rape, sadomasochism, cybersex, phone sex, child molestation, and more.
Clearly, this progressive pattern demonstrates how reality and fantasy become blurred for those who are entangled with pornography or when viewing is no longer enough. Early emotional wounding is almost always a factor in pornography addiction.
In regard to the compulsive or addictive nature of pornography, Dr. Cline shares the following: "In over 26 years, I have treated approximately 350 males afflicted with sexual addictions (or sometimes referred to as sexual compulsions). In about 94 percent of the cases I have found that pornography was a contributor, facilitator, or direct causal agent in the acquiring of these sexual illnesses." ii
iCline, Pornography's Effects, 3-5.
iiVictor B. Cline, "Pornography and Sexual Addictions," Christian Counseling Today 4, no.4 (1996): 58.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Dealing With Control Freaks
by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW
Most all of you have had to contend with control freaks. These are those people who insist on having their way in all interactions with you. They wish to set the agenda and decide what it is you will do and when you will do it. You know who they are – they have a driving need to run the show and call the shots. Lurking within the fabric of the conversation is the clear threat that if you do not accede to their needs and demands, they will be unhappy.
Certainly, it’s natural to want to be in control of your life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well, when you literally can’t rest until you get your way … you have a personality disorder. While it’s not a diagnostic category found in the DSM IV (the therapist’s bible for diagnostic purposes) an exaggerated emphasis on control is part of a cluster of behaviors that can be labeled as compulsive generally characterized by perfectionism, orderliness, workaholic tendencies, an inability to make commitments or to trust others and a fear of having their flaws exposed. Deep down, these people are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. Control freaks take the need and urge to control to new heights, causing others stress so they can maintain a sense of order. These people are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity, and anger. They’re very critical of themselves their lover and their friends, but underneath that perfect outfit and great body is a mountain of unhappiness. Let’s look at what makes control freaks tick, what makes you want to explode, and some ways to deal with them.
The Psychological Dynamics That Fuel a Control Freak
The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety – though control freaks seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they can’t stand imperfection. Needless to say, they are difficult to live with, work with and/or socialize with.
Bottom Line: In the process of being controlling, their actions say, “You’re incompetent” and “I can’t trust you.” (this is why you hate them). Remember, the essential need of a control freak is to defend against anxiety. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are attempting to cope with fairly substantial levels of their own anxiety. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.
Unfortunately for you, the control freak has a lot at stake in prevailing. While trying to hold a conversation and engage them in some way, their emotional stakes involve their own identity and sense of well-being. Being in control gives them the temporary illusion and sense of calmness. When they feel they are prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of them. The control freak is very frightened. Part of their strategy is to induce that fear in you with the subtle or not so subtle threat of loss. Since the emotional stakes are so high for them, they need to assert themselves with you to not feel so helpless. To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed. When a control freak cannot control, they go through a series of rapid phases. First they become angry and agitated, then they become panicky and apprehensive, then they become agitated and threatening, and then they lapse into depression and despair.
Control freaks are also caught in the grip of a repetition compulsion. They repeat the same pattern again and again in their attempt to master their anxiety and cope with the trauma they feel. Characteristically, the repetition compulsion takes on a life of its own. Rather than feel calmer and therefore have a diminished need to be controlling, their behavior locks them into the same pattern in an insatiable way. Successes at controlling do not register on their internal scoreboard. They have to fight off the same threat again and again with increasing rigidity and intransigence.
Two Types of Control Freaks
Type 1 Control Freaks: The Type 1 control freak is strictly attempting to cope with their anxiety in a self absorbed way. They just want to feel better and are not even very aware of you. You will notice and hear their agitation and tentativeness. They usually do not make much eye contact when they are talking to you.
Type 2 Control Freaks: The Type 2 control freak is also trying to manage their anxiety but they are very aware of you as opposed to the Type 1 control freak. The Type 2 needs to diminish you to feel better. Their mood rises as they push you down. They do not just want to prevail; they also need to believe that they have defeated you. They need you to feel helpless so they will not feel helpless. Their belief is that someone must feel helpless in any interchange and they desperately do not want it to be them. The Type 1 needs control. The Type 2 needs to control you.
Some Coping Strategies
1) Stay as calm as you can. Control freaks tend to generate a lot of tension in those around them. Try to maintain a comfortable distance so that you can remain centered while you speak with them. Try to focus on your breathing. As they get more agitated and demanding, just breath slowly and deeply. If you stay calm and focused, this often has the effect of relaxing them as well. If you get agitated you have joined the battle on their terms.
2) Speak very slowly. Again the normal tendency is to gear up and speak rapidly when dealing with a control freak. This will only draw you into the emotional turmoil and you will quickly be personalizing what is occurring.
3) Be very patient. Control freaks need to feel heard. In fact, they do not have that much to say. They have a lot to say if you engage them in a power struggle. If you just listen carefully and ask good questions that indicate that you have heard them, then they will quickly resolve whatever the issue is and calmly move on.
4) Pay attention to your induced reactions. What is this person trying to emotionally induce in you? Notice how you feel when speaking with them. It will give you important clues as to how to deal with them more effectively and appropriately.
5) Initially, let them control the agenda. But you control the pacing. If you stay calm and speak slowly, you will be in command of the pacing of the conversation.
6) Treat them with kindness. Within most control freaks is a good measure of paranoia. They are ready to get angry and defend against what they perceive is a controlling hostile world. If you treat them with respect and kindness, their paranoia cannot take root. You will jam them up.
7) Make demands on them-- especially when dealing with the type 2 control freak. Ask them to send you something or do something for you. By asking something of them, you will be indicating that you are not intimidated or diminished by their behavior patterns.
8) Remember an old but poignant Maxim: “Those who demand the most often give the least.”
Keep in mind that control freaks are not trying to hurt you – they’re trying to protect themselves. Remind yourself that their behavior toward you isn’t personal; the compulsion was there before they met you, and it will be their forever unless they get help. Understand that they are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.
In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid being bulldozed by a controlling lover, boss or friend. When you are caught up in a truly destructive/controlling attachment, the best response may be to walk out. You have to understand that whatever you do will have a limited effect. These people are angry and afraid to let go of you.
Hence, it is your job to let go of them, protect yourself in the process… and grow.
Monday, April 17, 2017
by Kathy Krajco
Projection is a new name for an old thing, scapegoating. In this section I just explain it in general terms, with examples. In the next section, we zero-in on how narcissists project and what is unique about the way they do it.
Projection. We find it everywhere. Which should be no surprise. It's actually the oldest trick in The Book. Really. The Serpent pulled it on Eve in the Book of Genesis when, in the very act of lying to Eve, he accused God of being the liar.
Here's how the story goes. The serpent had just suggested that Eve eat the Forbidden Fruit, and she replied that God told them not to because eating it would bring about their fall. The cunning serpent said, "God told you THAT?"
Slick, eh? In the very act of telling a whopper, the sneaky snake left-handedly called God a liar, through the power of suggestion. Thus the Prince of Lies pulled an identity-switch with God.
Moses ritualized a demonstration of projection in the Book of Leviticus as the prescribed rite for the annual Day of Atonement.
In this "atonement" ritual, all the people had to come forward, one by one, and make the scapegoat (a perfect yearling firstborn male to represent someone unblemished and with great potential) take their sins away from them and onto himself. How did they do this? By accusing him of their sins and laying the blame on his head. Then they had to purge themselves of him and make him atone for their sins. How did they do that? By chasing him away into the desert until he gave up trying to follow them back home, and then deserting him there. Which was the sentence worse than death = doom, because he would slowly die of thirst.
One hardly thinks they enjoyed doing this. Would you?
Wouldn't you instead get Moses' message? More powerful than a sermon, eh? Wouldn't you hang your head a little, thinking, "Jeez, are we that transparent?"
But never underestimate willful obtuseness' power to get things exactly backwards. Soon, people had done just that. Instead of being duly shamed by this ritual reenactment of how they "cleansed" and "saved" themselves (from justice) by scapegoating those who have the most to lose and are the least deserving, they decided that this ritual meant that this despicable behavior is the right thing to do! the way to cleanse yourself of sin!
They didn't get it later, either, when John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth came along and said: "Read our lips: To cleanse yourselves of your sins, don't punish an innocent scapegoat for them! Just R-E-F-O-R-M. Too complex?"
People still managed to just anti-get the message yet again, deciding that this meant they should graduate from animals and sacrifice these two men as the scapegoats to die for/of (in scripture you have this double entente, because the word used can mean either for or of) their sins.
So, then St. Paul gave it a shot. He really tried to make people see that they'd better quit acting stupid and projecting, instead of repenting, their sins. In his letter to the Romans, he basically put it in the plainest terms possible — those of a threat that asked, "Just whom do you think you're fooling?"
You — who steal — preach that other people should stop stealing. You — who commit adultery — preach that others should stop committing adultery. You — who commit sacrilege — preach that others should stop being idolaters. — Letter to the Romans, Chapter 2, verses 21-22How's that for letting the self-righteous know that you know all their finger pointing is just projection/scapegoating?
Ah, but obtuseness is invincible, and twisted thinking can make black white. So, again this simple message went in one ear and out the other. All three peoples of that Book (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) still got it exactly backwards. They all say that the blood of the innocent victim on them "cleanses" them of their sins.
Projection. We see it everywhere. It's a kind of baptism = a mud bath people give their betters, by rubbing themselves off on them. Here's how it works.
Got a guilty conscience? If so, you've certainly been tempted to say to yourself, "I'm not so bad." To prove that, you must look around for an example of someone who's worse. Then you can say to yourself, "Aha! I'm not as bad as So-and-So."
But guess what? You didn't pick a So-and-So who really has that fault and has it worse than you. You picked someone with very little mud on his name, someone who looks cleaner than you, if possible, someone who has the corresponding virtue instead of that fault.
We're all tempted to pull this stunt. Some of us do, and some of us don't.
For example: If you're stingy, look for someone with a reputation for generosity, because generosity in your neighbor puts your stinginess to shame by serving as a foil that (by contrast) makes your stinginess more noticeable. Then smear your vice off on him. Tell everybody that he's stingy. Make everything he does sound stingy.
Thus you kill two birds with one stone: you rid yourself of your stinginess and him of his generosity.
Not. But looks are everything, and Truth doesn't matter, and this fraud makes you look good by comparison with him. Ah, cheating is much easier than freeing yourself of sin the legitimate way, by repentance.
You can see why narcissists highly prize this device called "projection" and become expert in it.
Projection. We see it everywhere. For example, guess who's favorite portrayal of the President of the United States is as "a Hitler" or "even worse than Hitler?" You guessed it, the Germans. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder did it in campaign speeches to turn the tide and get elected. And guess whose favorite and constant characterization of Americans is as "arrogant?" You guessed it, the French. Projection.
Once you catch on to projection, you do recognize it in a vast amount of the badmouthing you hear.
Magicians call this trick "misdirection." With one hand magicians misdirect our attention so we don't see what they're doing with their other hand.
Finger-pointers do the same thing. They direct people's attention (critical attention, negative attention) away from themselves and what they're doing by accusing someone else of doing the same, or essentially the same, thing. Thus they make themselves seem like people who never would dream of doing such a thing themselves — while in the very act of doing it.
Pointing the finger at others is a red flag of malignant narcissism.
The worst examples of this that I personally know of happened in schools. In one case, a teacher (a malignant narcissist in a private school) took indecent liberties with, and sexually abused, pubescent boys he lured into his home while his wife was at work on the night shift. It was later discovered that many people knew that he invited boys to his home on Friday nights. But nobody had seen anything wrong with that. Over time, many school employees had caught him in his classroom alone with a boy — behind a closed, sometimes locked, door and in the back where neither could be seen from hall. Nobody had seen anything suspicious in that. Many people knew this teacher had an explosive temper that he often had to make excuses to a berated student for, but nobody had seen anything abnormal in that. In fact nobody saw anything inappropriate in the inappropriately patronizing and intimate relationship he had with his students. Even when it came between them and their parents.
And nobody thought anything of it when, every few years, he seized any opening in a conversation to pop off with "What? Are you the only one around here who doesn't know? He likes boys," referring to some unmarried teacher. One unmarried teacher after another.
Thus he play-acted the part of his anti-type, a man who was abhorred by homosexual child abuse = certainly NOT the type who might do such a thing himself. Though people saw plenty to view with suspicion in that unmarried teacher, nobody saw anything suspicious in the accuser failing to cite any evidence or report these allegations he was so sure of.
They didn't even see anything suspicious in the accuser glomping onto that unmarried teacher to become his best friend. Even when his doing this became a glaring pattern.
Indeed, every single unmarried teacher who came to that school got assassinated by this, his best friend. And nobody thought anything of it! Satan polished his halo by being a pillar of his parish, a lector and lay communion distributor. And he got away with this for over fifteen years.
A serial killer is less cruel. He doesn't betray a sacred trust by doing it to people who have every good reason to trust him. And even if he tortures them, he doesn't doom his victims to a life-sentence of torture in Hell.
Notice that the "innocent" people he fooled ain't innocent. They committed the Original Sin, believing an obvious lie just because it was juicy. Like Eve.Here's an example of the finger-pointer being guilty of the moral equivalent: Mr. Self-Righteous union-busts to keep the workers in his shoe factory so poor they go barefoot — and shows moral indignation in loudly condemning his neighbor for "muzzling an ox trampling the grain." He gets all fuzzy looking if you try to explain to him that he's doing the same thing, only worse. That's because he views rules, not as guidelines to be followed, but rather as red lines to catch other people with one toe over so he can condemn them. So he ignores the spirit of the law and obsesses over the letter of it.
To wit: It flew in the face of reason for her to think God might be lying. He was her creator. He provided everything for her and Adam. Which means that he had proved he wanted what was good them. He denied them but one thing, telling them that it was for their own good. So, what was she thinking? She had every good reason to believe that he was telling the truth.
Moreover, what credibility is there in a stranger who slithers up to you like a sidewinder? Why not doubt the serpent — someone she had no reason to trust?
Bottom Line: God has high credibility; serpent has about zero credibility. So, Eve wasn't honestly fooled: she just liked serpent's version of the world better, because it made her able to be as God. Adam's reason for swallowing the lie was even worse: he just did it to agree with Eve.
In other words, to please her he prostituted his mind to her. And thus political correctness was born.
Narcissists and political character assassins are dangerous precisely because people do this. If, say, you have known someone for 10 years, you know a lot about him. Doubtless, you have seen his honesty tested and seen that he proved to be an honest man. So, nobody should be able to slither up to you tomorrow and tell you he's dishonest. If you buy that, you are betraying that honest man. To believe that lie, you must annihilate history and 10 years of evidence to the contrary. You are not innocent.
Here's another example of projection that camouflages guilt for the moral equivalent. It also shows that even religious institutions are guilty of projection to polish their image.
The Catholic Church points the finger at mothers who have abortions, saying, "What kind of mother does that?" Okay, that position on the issue is reasonable, and it is the type of thing religion is expected to express its opinion on. But why does the Church harp on abortion when it has so little to say about countless other issues?
What issues? Well, for example, why don't we hear the Church crying out against Catholic dictators who mass-murder and torture their own people? You never hear a peep out of Rome about that. Why does the Church declare women who have abortions excommunicated but not these Catholic dictators? Why didn't it condemn the Irish Catholics in the IRA murdering Protestants? Why doesn't it cry out against the Catholic Mafia? Why doesn't it stop taking money from gangsters and burying them as Catholics in good standing? Why don't we hear the Church crying out against the scourge of child-beating and wife-beating, anti-Semitism and other bigotry, drugs, sweat shops, union-busting, exploiting undocumented migrant workers, and so forth? Why don't we hear it preaching against slander and character assassination? Why is it obsessed instead with just gays and women who have abortions?
The answer is obvious. The Church points the finger at others only for "sins" of which IT is guilty. This deflects attention for those sins off itself and onto others. Damage repair for the Church's image. Not to mention misdirection like that of the teacher in the example above.
The Church goes to great lengths to portray an image of itself as our "holy mother," virtually fusing its image with that of Jesus' mother. The harping on abortion is just part of that act. All this holy motherhood posturing tends to make us forget what Holy Mother Church has done to her own children.
Recall how truculently she has waded through her children by the tens of thousands throughout history. She aborted the lives of countless of her children — throughout the 900 years of the episcopal and monastic inquisitions and now by allowing predatory priests and other religious to sexually prey on countless more of her children. She has stonewalled justice, intimidated victims who seek it, and protected criminals — spiriting them off to Rome or to a distant school or parish for a fresh set of unsuspecting prey.
And to be fair, the Catholic Church certainly isn't the only religious institution guilty of using the pointed finger for misdirection to get our attention off its own sins and act like the opposite of what its conduct makes it. In fact, it does at least have something officially on record against many other evils: religious preachers of other denominations don't even seem to know that the other great evils exist.
Paul was in line with the ancient Hebrew scriptures. Scripture has a name for the spirit in which people point the finger at someone crying, "Look what they're doing! It's evil!" The name of that spirit is satan, which means the "finger-pointer," the "name-slayer" (slanderer, character assassin), the "prosecutor/persecutor," or the "accuser." In some places (e.g., the Book of Job) they also call this spirit "the policer of the world."
So, projection is everywhere.
The worst thing about it is that mud sticks best to a clean spot.
I'm sure that people who do this think they're clever, but it's childsplay. Send a muddy child into an unsupervised schoolyard and wait to see what happens. He will rub himself off on every cleaner, smaller child he can find, until they are all crying and he looks good by comparison.
Looks good by comparison. Those are the all-important words. The hypocrite makes himself look good by comparison with others. He does that the easy way — by smearing himself off on others to make them look bad. This is the root of envy. Which is NOT a rare motive for what people say about others. It's an all-too-common motive.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Why Do Abusive Men Abuse?
(we have used the male gender, your abuser could be female)
('battering' can be extended to verbal, emotional & psychological abuse)
Abusive men batter women as a means of power and control, to manipulate, intimidate and rule their intimate partner.
Men who abuse their partners come from all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, areas of the world, educational levels and occupations.
They often appear charming and attentive to outsiders, and even to their partners, at first.
Many batterers are very good at disguising their abusive behavior to appear socially acceptable. Once they develop a relationship with a partner however, they become more and more abusive.
Characteristics of Domestic violence perpetrators:
seek control of the thoughts, beliefs and conduct of their partner.
punish their partner for resisting control.
Men who batter:
minimize the seriousness of their violence.
need to control people and situations.
express feelings as anger.
A batterer covers up his violence by denying, minimizing, and blaming the victim. He often convinces his partner that the abuse is less serious than it is, or that it is her fault. He may tell her that "if only" she had acted differently, he wouldn't have abused her. Sometimes he will say, "You made me do it."
Victims of abuse do not cause violence. The batterer is responsible for every act of abuse committed.
Domestic violence is a learned behavior. It is learned through:
community (peer group, school, etc.).
(Personality disorders, mental illness, and other problems may compound domestic violence, but the abusive behavior must be addressed separately. )
Abuse is NOT caused by:
alcohol and drugs.
behavior of the victim.
problems in the relationship.
Many men blame their violence on the effects of drug and alcohol use.A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a "right" to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.
Alcohol abuse is present in about 50 percent of battering relationships.
Research shows that alcohol and other drug abuse is commonly a symptom of an abusive personality, not the cause. Men often blame their intoxication for the abuse, or use it as an excuse to use violence. Regardless, it is an excuse, not a cause. Taking away the alcohol, does not stop the abuse.
Substance abuse must be treated before or in conjunction with domestic violence treatment programs.
Some ways batterers deny and minimize their violence:
"I hit the wall, not her head."
"She bruises easily."
"She just fell down the steps."
"Her face got in the way of my fist."
Characteristics of a Potential Batterer
Isolation of victim
Blames others for his problems
Blames others for his feelings
Cruelty to animals or children
"Playful" use of force during sex
Rigid sex roles
Jekyll and Hyde type personality
History of past battering
Threats of violence
Breaking or striking objects
Any force during an argument
Objectification of women
Tight control over finances
Minimization of the violence
Manipulation through guilt
Extreme highs and lows
Expects her to follow his orders
Use of physical force
Abusers often try to manipulate the "system" by:
Threatening to call Child Protective Services or the Department of Human Resources and making actual reports that his partner neglects or abuses the children.
Changing lawyers and delaying court hearings to increase his partner's financial hardship.
Telling everyone (friends, family, police, etc.) that she is "crazy" and making things up.
Using the threat of prosecution to get her to return to him.
Telling police she hit him, too.
Giving false information about the criminal justice system to confuse his partner or prevent her from acting on her own behalf.
Using children as leverage to get and control his victim.
Accusing her of stalking him and/or his family
Accusing her of harrassment
Abusers may try to manipulate their partners, especially after a violent episode.
He may try to "win" her back in some of these ways:
Invoking sympathy from her, her family and friends.
Talking about his "difficult childhood".
Becoming overly charming, reminding her of the good times they've had.
Bringing romantic gifts, flowers, dinner.
Crying, begging for forgiveness.
Promising it will "never happen again."
Promising to get counseling, to change.
Abuse gets worse and more frequent over time
Lies Abusers Tell
Abusers often tell lies about their violence to themselves (their partners and society):
"I just need to be understood".
"I had a bad childhood."
"I can't control it."
"I get angry."
"She fights too."
"She pushes my buttons."
"If I don't control her, she will control me."
"My smashing things isn’t abusive, it’s venting."
"I have a lot of stress in my life."
"I just have an anger management problem."
"I just have a problem when I drink or use drugs."