Sanctuary for the Abused

Sunday, March 15, 2020

How A Narcissist Reacts to a Disaster or Illness in Your Life

 
by Kathy Krajco

Into virtually every life comes disaster. Bankruptcy, serious illness, divorce, getting laid-off or fired, failure of any sort -- you name it, whether through your own fault or not.


How will a narcissist in your life react to the situation?

Add it up: You mean nothing to him or her. You are just an object to exploit for their aggrandizement. They have no human feelings for you (despite the occasional put-on) whatsoever. And now you are more vulnerable than ever.
From what I've observed and heard, I dare say that this is the mistake everyone abused by someone in their immediate family makes: they expect the narcissist to react to a crisis the way a normal human being would. Your plight would tug on a normal person's heartstrings, even if you were an adversary. So, he or she would let up on you under those circumstances. Yes, even adversaries will let up on you, because they see you are no threat to them under the circumstances.

But a narcissist reacts the opposite way a normal human person does.
In this, narcissists are only following the same perverse pattern they always do: instead of being appeased by efforts to appease them, they react with a rage; instead of being drawn to what evokes sympathy, they abominate it and react with contempt; instead of being grateful for favors you've done them, they react with hatred (for this proof that they are not God Almighty in your helping them). In short, they react backwards to everything. So, why should we be surprised when a narcissist exploits some catastrophe in our lives to malign and abuse us with shocking inhumanity?

The victims of narcissists get blind-sided by this because narcissists are from the planet Pluto. They are NOT acting on normal human premises. So, it's not about your plight: it's all about THEIR ego. So, they see this as NOTHING BUT an opportunity to vaunt themselves on you, period. In other words, they aren't acting on normal human premises; they are acting on narcissistic premises. Those are the premises of PREDATORS. They react to vulnerability the way any predator does = by salivating.

If possible, they will make a big show to the rest of the world of being your savior, while behind closed doors they are beating the you-know-what out of you and trying to drive you to suicide -- just because they know you're trapped in the situation.

As I've often said before, I'm convinced that the only reign on their conduct is what they think they can get away with.

And that changes from day to day.


SOURCE

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

NO CONTACT


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

"Self Discipline is Self Esteem"

Abbreviations: N=Narcissist, P=Psychopath, 

D&D = devalued & discarded

 SOURCE



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

Tips to Help You Adhere to No Contact

Settle all critical business before you begin no-contact. This means business only... no personal exchanges.
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1. To keep my sanity and totally end this relationship, I must maintain NO CONTACT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18. I will accept reality - The facts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Take time off, just for me.

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

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

Accept nothing less for yourself.


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Thursday, March 05, 2020

Destroying the Lives of Others



Narcissists expect and demand that the ones nearest and dearest to them, tolerate, admire, love, and cater to their needs. They expect others to be at their immediate disposal. Their behavior is obnoxious, aloof and indifferent and they fully realize this. Narcissists test the mental limits of people's patience. Individuals in a relationship with a narcissist feel something is not “quite right,” and many seek answers to the unsettling experience of day to day contact with a narcissist.

Narcissistic individuals do not tend to be physically abusive although there are some out there that are. Their worst weapon is their mouth. With their mouth they spit verbal negations and dispense emotional abuse. Their vocal cords are their method of attempting to control others.

Narcissists do not have the emotional capacity to provide support or understanding to others. There are numerous defense mechanisms which narcissists use to confuse and unbalance those around them. Organization is unknown to narcissistic individuals and they avoid future plans if it concerns pleasing another for some reason not evident to them.

They do not want anyone thinking highly of them for several reasons. First, their sense of self as special, unique and deserving keeps them grounded at maintenance level in their relationships. Maintenance level is just enough, just in time to keep the folly of the relationship moving forward, but just enough and no more. To expend more energy on the relationship would cause others to feel some degree of predictability in the whole affair. Contributing to the happiness of the ones they already envy for having the ability to feel love is not a an activity in which narcissists wish to participate.

Second, if another thinks highly of the narcissist then there are expectations which that person has that the narcissist must fulfill. The narcissist, however, does not intend to fill anyone's expectations except that of his/her own.

Happiness, joy, and the effort to please others is not normally undertaken by the narcissist except in the beginning or potential ending of a relationship. At either of these points, the narcissist may be charming, helpful, pleasing, and amusing beyond imagination. But, this effort is only used to obtain a new narcissistic supply source or to win back the affection of an important source if abandonment appears eminent. At all other times, the narcissist believes his/her presence, is clearly and abundantly sufficient to maintain the loyalty, trust, affection and respect of those which the narcissist already considers his/her object. So, the narcissist will postpone, withhold or procrastinate the continuing efforts that are essential to maintaining any kind of meaningful relationship. A narcissistic person is unable to fake the emotion of love for another for a long period of time. This impairs the capacity for a committed relationship with a narcissist. Therefore, marital instability and promiscuity are prominent in those with NPD.

Narcissists can perform obligations in the global areas of their lives and with strangers quite well. But, with those individuals they have already captured, they find the expenditure of civil treatment taxing to their mental reserve and not really necessary. They routinely display to their captured objects their worst traits. These may include abuse of alcohol, sex, verbal negations or other behaviors that tend to keep people at a distance and not allow any close interpersonal strength to develop. This is evident in the narcissists relationships with their wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, children, brothers, and sisters.

Narcissists will never accept the blame for anything that happens in a relationship. They are quite ready to blame the other person involved. They expect to be the center of attention in a relationship and demand their every wish be fulfilled by their partner.

Don't expect the narcissist to get better with age. By the time they are old they have pushed everyone who has ever tried to care about them away. Their narcissistic characteristics also seem to increase after the death of parents or loss of others that have exerted some type of control over them.

A relationship with a narcissist can at times be fun and invigorating. After the relationship has come to an end, for the non-disordered, there maybe a feeling of let down or boredom. A relationship with a narcissist is like a roller coaster ride--there are extreme highs and lows. Be thankful the relationship has ended. The best advice for anyone who is presently involved with a narcissist is to RUN! The relationship won't get better. Also, it's better to get out before the narcissist snatches away all your self-esteem. Remember, their worst weapon is their mouth.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Why Doesn't the Victim Just Leave?


(Written by Maria De Santis of the Women’s Justice Center, Santa Rosa, CA)

There’s a seemingly simple little exercise we’ve done dozens of times at workshops on violence against women. The usual responses, however, are anything but simple. They’re confounding and cause for concern.

Recently we repeated the exercise with a conference room full of 70 social workers, advocates, therapists, and mental health workers. “Why don’t some domestic violence victims leave the relationship,” we ask? “Call out the reasons!”

The answers, as always, come fast and freely. “Because she doesn’t think she can make it on her own.” “Not enough money to feed the children.” “She feels obligated to her marital vows.” “It’s learned helplessness.” “She doesn’t believe she deserves better.” “She doesn’t know where to go.” “She wants the children to have a father.” etc.

I jot down the familiar list until the group exhausts their thoughts. And there, again, is the enigma. How, at this date, with this group, - with almost every group - do so many miss the obvious? To be sure there’s truth and need for remedy in every reason given. But the one thing that should top the list, the thing that freezes so many women in place, is not even mentioned at all.

Women often don’t leave domestic violence because they know that when they do leave the danger of more severe violence increases dramatically. Violence, and the sheer terror of it, is one of the principle reasons women don’t leave. And the women are right!

Fact: When domestic violence victims attempt to leave the relationship, the stalking and violence almost always escalates sharply as the perpetrator attempts to regain control.

Fact: The majority of domestic violence homicides occur as a woman attempts to leave or after she has left.

Fact: The most serious domestic violence injuries are perpetrated against women who have separated from the perpetrator.

The women know these dangers. They know them because they’ve already experienced the violent responses when they’ve attempted to assert themselves, even minimally, within the relationship. They know because the perpetrators have usually threatened precisely what they intend to if she does try to leave.


“Instead of Helping Me, They Sunk Me Even More”
The women also know these dangers are heightened still more because so many officials, first responders, and courts are also in denial of the gravity of her situation. And she’s right again. Despite the modern-day rhetoric about treating domestic violence seriously, the reality is that the critical protections she needs when leaving are still as precarious and unpredictable as a roll of the dice. One responder may help effectively. The next may ignore, mock, underestimate, misdiagnose, walk away, blame her, take her kids, shunt her into social services, arrest her, send her to counseling, or one way or another refuse to implement real power on her behalf, abandoning her to a perpetrator who is now more enraged than ever.

The paths leading up to so many domestic violence homicides are paved with officials’ failures to protect. Just weeks before she was murdered by her estranged husband, Maria hauntingly summed up her own, and so many others’ experiences with officials. “Instead of helping me,” she said, “They sunk me even more.”

You can work tirelessly and compassionately to social work, counsel, and support the victim. But if you ignore this critical piece of making sure the system puts failsafe brakes on the perpetrator and his violence, it will be for naught. The perpetrator will continue to stalk and terrorize or worse. The victim will still be trapped in the violent relationship no matter where she has moved and how much independence she has attained. In fact, the freer she is, the angrier he gets.

And if you look just a little closer, you’ll see that for domestic violence victims there really is no such thing as leaving, or escaping, until the system does, in fact, step up and effectively stop the perpetrator. There is no Mason Dixon line over which women can run and escape and be home free. The perpetrators can and do hunt her down anywhere.

Domestic Violence! Not ‘Domesticated Violence’, nor ‘Violence Lite’!
It’s interesting. When you do the same exercise, but merely shift to other forms of violent relationships, a group’s responses are dramatically different. “Why doesn’t the field slave,” for example, “Run away from the plantation in the middle of the night while the master sleeps?” The answers are immediate and unequivocal. “Because the slaves know they’ll get hunted down.” “Because they know if they’re caught they’ll get beaten like never before.” “Because they stand a good chance of getting killed.”

The first answers out are never ‘learned helplessness’, ‘low self esteem’, or ‘not enough money’ even though there’s no question these same psycho-social factors are just as much at work. In fact, if one were to lead off their explanations as to ‘why slaves don’t leave’ with the ‘learned helplessness’ or ‘not enough money’ aspect, the insult of it would ring perfectly clear.

Whether you ask the question in regard to slaves, prisoners of war, kidnap victims, concentration camp captives, or residents of violent regimes, etc., the horrific dynamics and dangers of attempting to escape are well understood by everyone. Some victims of these violent relationships do, in fact, make a run for it. Some succeed. Some are killed. Some are recaptured and punished unmercifully.

Most victims, however, never go beyond an initial evaluation of the risks. The obvious dangers are just too great. They stay. Violence works. Violence, and the sheer terrorizing threat of it, has always, everywhere, worked better than anything else to keep victims compliant and pinned in place.

So why the glaring blind spot in regard to domestic violence victims? Why are women denied even the validation of the dangerous dynamics of her dilemma? Why do so many people still hold a view, as cloaked as it may be in paternal tones, that is more in sync with the perpetrator’s stance than with the victim’s? The view that the problem rests with her. That it’s she that needs to be propped up and fixed.

As if this violence that plagues women around the world is a ‘domesticated violence’, or ‘violence lite’!

The Patriarchy Still Rules! And Still Needs to be Upended!
The glaring blind spot is rooted deep in the self-preservation mechanisms of patriarchal rule. If the violent repression of women were to be recognized on a par with other violent repressions it would require nothing short of upending the missions of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and service organizations, and not just the adjustment of rhetoric we have now. The patriarchy.jpgmale-dominated power structure resists implementing its real powers on behalf of women in order to preserve the power for itself. That’s fairly obvious.

But what about the blind spot of so many social workers, advocates, and therapists? Those who care about the women, and dedicate their lives to helping them? Perhaps it’s one more layer of the battered women’s syndrome that needs to be exposed. Because if we ourselves truly recognize the gravity of women’s plight, we, too, have to move beyond the safety zones of the nurturing, supportive roles we find so comfortable.

We will be compelled to step out, challenge, watchdog, fight, demand, and make sure that the powerful, male-dominated institutions are, in fact, upended, and that they, indeed, begin to implement their full powers on behalf of women, and against the perpetrators. Only then will domestic violence victims truly have a real choice to leave.

_ _ _ _ _

Feel free to photocopy and distribute this information as long as you keep the credit and text intact.
Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women’s Justice Center,
www.justicewomen.com
rdjustice@monitor.net

 and more at: dvreform.org

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

INVALIDATION



Introduction

Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. Constant invalidation may be one of the most significant reasons a person with high innate emotional intelligence suffers from unmet emotional needs later in life.(1) A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. To adapt to this unhealthy and dysfunctional environment, the working relationship between his thoughts and feelings becomes twisted. His emotional responses, emotional management, and emotional development will likely be seriously, and perhaps permanently, impaired. The emotional processes which worked for him as a child may begin to work against him as an adult. In fact, one definition of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (2)

Psychiatrist R.D. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. (Reference)

Recent research by Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. of Duke University supports the idea that invalidation leads to mental health problems. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)

Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren't like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.

None of this feels good, and all of it damages us. The more different from the mass norm a person is, for example, more intelligent or more sensitive, the more he is likely to be invalidated. When we are invalidated by having our feelings repudiated, we are attacked at the deepest level possible, since our feelings are the innermost expression of our individual identities.

Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.

Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Each persons's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile. A good guideline is:

First accept the feelings, then address the behavior.

One the great leaders in education, Haim Ginott, said this:

Primum non nocere- First do no harm. Do not deny your teenager's perception. Do not argue with his experience. Do not disown his feelings.

We regularly invalidate others because we ourselves were, and are often invalidated, so it has become habitual. Below are a few of the many ways we are invalidated:

We are told we shouldn't feel the way we feel
We are dictated not to feel the way we feel
We are told we are too sensitive, too "dramatic"
We are ignored
We are judged
We are led to believe there is something wrong with us for feeling how we feel

You Can't Heal an Emotional Wound with Logic

People with high IQ and low EQ tend to use logic to address emotional issues. They may say, "You are not being rational. There is no reason for you to feel the way you do. Let's look at the facts." Businesses, for example, and "professionals" are traditionally out of balance towards logic at the expense of emotions. This tends to alienate people and diminish their potential.

Actually, all emotions do have a basis in reality, and feelings are facts, fleeting though they may be. But trying to dress an emotional wound, with logic tends to either confuse, sadden or infuriate a person. Or it may eventually isolate them from their feelings, with a resulting loss of major part of their natural intelligence.

Remember:
You can't solve an emotional problem, or heal an emotional wound, with logic alone.


There are many forms of invalidation. Most of them are so insidious that we don't even know what is happening. We know that something doesn't feel good, but we sometimes can't put our finger on it. We have been conditioned to think that invalidation is "normal." Indeed, it is extremely common, but it is certainly not healthy.

I have heard parents and teachers call children:

dramatic, crybabies, whiners, whingers, too sensitive, worry warts, drama queens

I have also heard them say things like: "He cries at the drop of a hat." One teacher said "When she starts to cry, I just ignore her and eventually she stops." Another said, "When one kid's crying is disrupting the lesson, I tell them to go cry in the hall till they can pull themselves back together again."

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Defensiveness and Invalidation

All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack. Repteated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person.

One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."

How the other person responds to your emotional honesty will depend upon, and be indicative of:

(a) how much they respect you

(b) how much they care about you and your feelings

(c) how insecure and defensive they are

(d) how much they are trying to change or control you

All of this is information which will help you make decisions which are in your best interest.

Self-Injury and Invalidation

Invalidation has been suggested as one of the primary reasons people cut, burn and injure themselves.

For example this quote is from D. Martinson


One factor common to most people who self-injure, whether they were abused or not, is invalidation. They were taught at an early age that their interpretations of and feelings about the things around them were bad and wrong. They learned that certain feelings weren't allowed. In abusive homes, they may have been severely punished for expressing certain thoughts and feelings.
Martinson also writes:

Self-injury is probably the result of many different factors. Among them: Lack of role models and invalidation - most people who self-injure were chronically invalidated in some way as children (many self-injurers report abuse, but almost all report chronic invalidation.
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Examples of invalidating expressions. -- Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.

"Ordering" You to Feel Differently
Smile.
Be happy.
Cheer up
Lighten up.
Get over it.
Grow up
Get a life
Don't cry.
Don't worry.
Don't be sad.
Stop whining
Stop laughing..
Don't get angry
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Stop complaining.
Don't be so dramatic.
Don't be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop taking everything so personally

Ordering you to "look" differently
Don't look so sad.
Don't look so smug.
Don't look so down.
Don't look like that.
Don't make that face.
Don't look so serious.
Don't look so proud of yourself.
Don't look so pleased with yourself.

Denying Your Perception, Defending
But of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
I honestly don't judge you as much as you think.

Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I .....
At least you....

Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn't bother anyone else, why should it bother you?

Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can't be serious.
It can't be that bad.
Your life can't be that bad.
You are just ... (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It's nothing to get upset over.
It's not worth getting that upset over.

Using Reason
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way.
Let's look at the facts.
Let's stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it....

Debating
I don't always do that.
It's not that bad. (that far, that heavy, that hot, that serious, etc.)

Judging & Labeling You
You are a cry baby.
You have a problem.
You are too sensitive.
You are over-reacting. You are too thin-skinned.
You are way too emotional.
You are an insensitive jerk. .
You need to get your head examined!
You are impossible to talk to.
You are impossible.
You are hopeless.

Turning Things Around
You are making a big deal out of nothing.
You are blowing this way out of proportion.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Trying to get you to question yourself
What is your problem?
What's wrong with you?
What's the matter with you?
Why can't you just get over it?
Why do you always have to ....?
Is that all you can do, complain?
Why are you making such a big deal over it?
What's wrong with you, can't you take a joke?
How can you let a little thing like that bother you?
Don't you think you are being a little dramatic?
Do you really think that crying about it is going to help anything?

Telling You How You "Should" Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that...
You should be happy that ....
You should be glad that ...
You should just drop it.
You shouldn't worry so much.
You shouldn't let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn't wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn't say that about your father.

Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn't mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.

Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn't true.
You don't mean that. You know you love your baby brother.
You don't really mean that. You are just ... (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)

Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?

Laying Guilt Trips
Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?

Philosophizing Or Clichés
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.

Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can't say anything to her.
She is so......

Showing Intolerance
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.

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Even when we are happy, unhappy people want to ruin it for us by saying diminishing things like: What are you so happy about? That's it? That's all you are so excited about?

There was an expression I heard when I was growing up. It was "Who put a quarter in you?" A quarter is a 25 cent coin in the USA. It was a coin which was once enough to start music in a juke box. So the implication was the person was acting abnormally happy, excited, lively etc.


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When your awareness rises, you'll begin to notice such comments on a regular basis. Together, they take their toll on us. We wonder if there is something wrong with us for feeling how we do. It seems fair to say that with enough invalidation, one person can figuratively, if not literally, drive another person crazy. This is especially possible, I believe, in the case where one person has long-term power over another. Examples of such relationships are parent/child, teacher/ child, "spiritual" leader/follower, boss/employee, spouse A/spouse B. Such a sad scenario appears to be even more likely when the person being invalidated is highly sensitive, intelligent and has previously suffered self-esteem damage.

The more sensitive the person, the more serious the damage of invalidation. Invalidation undermines self-confidence because it causes self-doubt. This in turn further diminishes self-esteem. Invalidation is serious violation of one's "true self." I believe it is one of the worst crimes one person can commit against another without ever lifting a finger against them. And yet it is neither illegal, "immoral" by most who consider themselves moralists, nor even widely recognized as a problem.

The high EQ person will never invalidate another person's feelings, especially not the feelings of a sensitive child.

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Validation and Invalidation

Excerpts from an article by Cathy Palmer-Scruggs (Full article)

Recently, I had a few situations to come up that called for some comfort from my friends. I really needed them. A few came through for me in just 'being there'...and others took it as their cue to 'give advice'...and believe me, it only made the situation worse. I did not ask anyone for advice.

I don't make the habit of asking my friends for advice....believe me. I am a 'thinking' person and only need some time and to get things off of my chest. I do not ask my friends to solve my problems. I do not tell my friends about a situation in order for them to come up with ways in which to tell me how to 'get through it' or 'how to think about it' or how to look at it.

No one likes to hear things like "don't let it get to you"...or "don't let her / him get to you"....or "you need to just 'get over' this"....etc. If solutions were that easy, don't you think we'd all do them? And I've also noticed that the very people who tell me this will also eventually deal with frustrating things, and they don't follow their own advice. See, it's different when something happens to THEM.....but not when it's me.

It's easier said than done....how does one not let things get to them? If they are upset, obviously, it's bothering them. They can't just 'dismiss' their feelings on a whim. How do you feel when someone says that to you?

Then there's the other side of the coin...the friends who do not know what to say and do, so, they avoid their friend altogether...the friend in pain. Well, you don't need to say or do anything...just 'be there' for them. They do not expect special words and solutions....they only want to know you care.

They know that not all of their friends are poetic, graceful with words...know 'just what to say'....this isn't a contest of who can make them feel the best. They just want to know you care...that you will merely listen, if they need to talk. And believe me, even if you don't think so at the moment, if you have a hard time facing your friend, you can get a little blank note card and just put the words 'you are in my thoughts' and that is enough...it does show you care. Send it to them. No one ever expects anything 'fancy' or 'just the right thing to say'....please believe that.

Basically, for me, I just need to talk...or type....just 'get it out'...then I can look at it, process it, deal with it, begin the healing, and move on. The very best words a friend can ever say to me is "I'm here for you if you just need to talk". My close friends know that I am not coming to them for answers.....I just need to talk it out ....hear myself say it....

And sometimes, my good friends will 're-state' what I've already said, or re-phrase it....letting me know they 'got it'....they understood me....they heard me. And sometimes they even tell me a similar situation that may have happened in their own lives...and from there, I can glean out some good things that I can take with me. Not everything works for all people. What may have worked for you may NOT work for your friend.

I realize that when our friends are hurting and in pain, our instincts urge us to want to help. None of us want to see our friends hurt. But, especially in my own situation recently, I expected no solutions....no answers...no 'fixes'....no advice....and certainly no philosophical sayings. All I needed was 'validation'....let me feel what I feel. And when my wonderful friends do that, they are deeper into my heart....I feel closer to them and respect them because they respected me and my feelings.

If a person loses a loved one to death, it might not be a good time to say things like "you need to get past that"...or "just don't think of it"....or "you need to get on with your life"....And I've actually had people say this to me.

I don't care how much time passes or what a person tells themselves....you never 'get over' something like this...you merely learn to live with it...live around it....cope with it. No amount of grieving, then or now, will take away the pain or fill the void. Time will allow us to continue our lives while we accept the loss.

Accepting the loss does not mean we are not allowed to grieve from time to time...or cry, when inspired to do so. No one has the right to tell you to put it so far back behind you, that you no longer feel the loss. It will always be there.

Being able to live with this loss does not mean that you are not allowed to visit those very painful memories. Just because you can still cry about anything does not mean you have not gone on with your life....and that somehow, once you are past the initial hurt and tears, that to re-visit those feelings will be wrong and damaging. And anyone who tells you anything different ...well, they are not being realistic.

Why is it that when a person feels momentarily sad, their friends think it's their cue to stop them from feeling and grieving? Who in the world told them that was healthy? When did they become an expert at how long a person should grieve, and feel, and cry and remember? And just because I do cry from time to time over something, that does not mean that for the rest of my life, each and every day, I will sit and cry, just like this, forever....and that I have ruined my life....forever. Allow me to be sad, just as you would welcome and allow me to be happy....I need it.

My telling someone of an event or something that I am going through, does not mean it's their cue to try to 'solve my problem'...I didn't ask for advice or ask how to grieve.

I have the RIGHT to grieve and cry and 'feel' any emotions I ever have in any event in MY life. No one has the right to rob me of my right to express myself or to grieve....to do what "I" need to do in order to continue on with my life. (note)

If your friend is hurting....if they are angry at someone, if they have to make a decision that they feel is in the best interest of them, LET THEM DO IT....let them feel it....validate what they are going through. Just because YOU can't feel it in the same way or maybe not 'see it' in the same way, does not mean that YOU get to take it away from your friend....who "IS" feeling that way. You need to respect what your FRIEND feels. This does not mean your friend is wrong...'feelings' are not wrong. The feelings are based on your friend's life experiences...not yours.

What if you are the kind of person who is in denial of things around you...trying to look at things through 'rose colored glasses'...and your friend doesn't ....you cannot expect your friend to put on your 'special glasses' and pretend that their pain doesn't exist, or that nothing is wrong, just because it would be easier for YOU to deal with. Maybe that works for you...but I doubt it...it will come out eventually, in one way or another. I try to avoid that by dealing with it now, not later.

And it will still hurt later, but not with the same intensity. That does not mean I didn't do something right...it just means that it was a painful event in my life that I will forever feel....as long as I am alive, just not with the same intensity. You do grow with, and from, your experiences.

If you can't deal with your friend's pain and frustration, then maybe it's best that you say nothing at all....it's certainly better to say nothing than to make your friend feel worse. They probably aren't asking you for a solution anyway. Why hurt them worse?

I'm sure that if your friend needs or asks advice, it would be a different story. I'm just talking about those people who like to immediately step in and tell a hurting person to suppress their feelings.

They see and feel what they see and feel...and unless they have been diagnosed with a mental illness that causes hallucinations and 'voices'....don't be so quick to 'dismiss' them. They may be more grounded in reality than you are....and YOU are the one who may need the advice when it's all said and done. Your friend is trying to deal with reality, what is real...

Please do NOT see it as your cue to 'fix' them or tell them that they "should feel this way" or that they "should not feel that way". They feel as they do because of their own life's experiences....not based on your life's experiences. It does not have to make sense to YOU or even be real to YOU...it does not have to be felt by YOU, in order to validate what your FRIEND is feeling.

Being 'strong' for your friend does not mean you have to solve their problems or give them answers.

Just be there to 'listen'....they may not even need to talk to you about it, but feel close enough to you to share it...and if you give them the hurtful advice that I mentioned on this page, you are going to alienate them from you.

You may help them, upon hearing them explain their situation, to even agree that 'you can understand how and why they would feel that way', even if YOUR OWN thoughts are different...try to understand the way THEY are seeing it.

To your friend, all of what they are feeling is very real and very painful....it's affecting their life.

As a great friend, all you need to do is just lend a listening ear....'be there' for them....don't try to make them look at it differently. If that needs to be done, they will do it on their own, you can't rush it. They have to see their OWN way through.

If you take it as your cue to minimize their situation, 'make excuses' for their enemies, or the ones who are hurting them and causing them grief, what you are now doing is making them feel defensive .....they already feel bad enough, but now they have to further frustrate the situation by defending their feelings and emotions to you.

So, while they try, once again, to tell you why they are hurting, you have just sent them on a detour of the path they are on....now they have to get it all past YOU. And, not only are they upset at the original situation, now they feel alienated and unsupported by you....their friend...the person they just needed to talk to.

And the more you try to get them to see it a different way, the worse it will get. They have to see those things for themselves, "if" it's something they can ever do to begin with. Again, not on YOUR schedule. They, most likely, know more about the situation than you do, give them the benefit of the doubt.

No one expects you to have a clever saying....no one has the answers or the solutions. Each person has to work through their own pain....they can't hurry things along on YOUR schedule, just because you don't want this to be happening to them. The worst thing you can do is minimize what they are dealing with....that just makes them feel even more isolated. If I really want to get some advice from, I'll ask for it....and so will your other friends.

And this also goes for situations regarding pets. I have friends who have lost pets through a death, or the pet turned up missing, and they have told me of incredibly insensitive things that were said to them. They are grieving a companion...a friend...and a friendship that, through 'unspoken language', grew into a special friendship that they will surely miss. This was a creature, a 'friend', who loved them unconditionally. Who wouldn't miss something like that?

It' s a real pain, whether it's an animal or a human, it hurts. There are memories associated with the pet...a routine....pictures....little treasures that will forever remind them that the pet is gone. Please be respectful of that. Not everyone can rush out and get another pet...some people need time. And when the time is right, they may be able to open their hearts to another pet. Again, this is on THEIR schedule, not yours.

I have lived for 46 years, thus far...and I hardly think I've waited all these years and went through all the things that I've endured, just to have a friend tell me how to 'get through it'....Nothing anyone says will make it go away....nothing will make a friend in pain feel better....except for the words "I'll be right here for you if you need to talk".

Be a friend....

Cathy Palmer-Scruggs
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Note: I would say that it is a "need" to grieve. It doesn't make much sense to try to tell someone else that they have no "right" to tell you to get over it. This is invalidating their feelings almost the same as they are invalidating yours. Evidently they feel something which causes them to say "get over it" or whatever. Probably they feel uncomfortable with your pain. They might feel powerless to do anything to help you, so to have some sense of power over the situation they start trying to give you advice or order you around. S. Hein
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Footnotes

1. At the time I first wrote this this was my own hypothesis. Later I was informed of the defintion of "borderline personality disorder" which is based on invalidation. If you are aware of any scientific research on invalidation and the connection between it and later emotional problems, please let me know. See also section self-injury and invalidation.

2. http://www.priory.com/dbt.htm

3. Reference to R.D. Laing is from chapter 1 of Claude Steiner's book Achieving Emotional Literacy

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The Role of Emotion Inhibition in Psychological Distress

Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. , Duke University

Abstract:

Emotion avoidance and inhibition has been implicated as a common feature associated with borderline personality disorder. This presentation will discuss three studies that that have been recently conducted at the Duke Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program. The first study examined 127 participants to evaluate a developmental model in which chronic emotion inhibition mediates the relation between childhood emotional invalidation/abuse and adult psychological distress. Findings indicated that a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms. The second study examined a model in which inhibition of thoughts and emotion was predicted to mediate the relationship between the trait of negative affect intensity and acute psychological distress. Using structural equation modeling hypotheses were supported in both clinical and non-clinical samples, indicating its generalizability. The third study examined the effects of emotion suppression on classical conditioning. Participants were randomized to a suppression (n= 22; show or feel no emotion) or a non-suppression (n = 24; no instruction) condition. Data indicated that discriminative learning (assessed by galvanic skin response) occurred faster and was more robust for suppressors. Suppressors also exhibited less extinction. Results suggest that active attempts to suppress emotion may increase associations to an aversive event, implicating a mechanism by which certain disorders (e.g., PTSD, BPD) retain features associated with greater conditionability. Finally, directions regarding future research from our lab examining borderline personality disorder and a brief overview of a current study examining emotion suppression among suicidal patients will be discussed.
Key Citations:

Lynch, T.R., Robins, C.J., Morse, J.Q., & Krause, E.D. (2001). A mediational model relating affect intensity, emotion inhibition, and psychological distress. Behavior Therapy, 32, 519-536.

Lynch, T.R., Krause, E.D., Morse, J.Q., Mendelson, T., Crozier, J., & LaBar, K.S. (2001). Role of emotion suppression in classical fear conditioning. In T.R. Lynch (Chair), Experiential avoidance and psychopathology: Recent research and methodological developments. Symposium conducted at the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy 35th Annual Convention, Philadelphia.

Krause, E.D., Mendelson, T., & Lynch, T.R. (in press). Childhood emotion invalidation and adult psychological distress: The mediating role of emotion inhibition. Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.

Krause, E. D., Robins, C.J., & Lynch, T.R. (2000). A mediational model relating sociotropy, ambivalence over emotional expression and eating disorder symptoms. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 328-335.

ORIGINAL: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE from Steve Hein

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Couples' Counseling & Marriage Counseling Does NOT Work in Abusive Relationships!



If you are struggling with a relationship, some people may advise you to get marriage counseling, or couples' counseling. While this can be good advice in some relationships, it is NOT good for couples where there is emotional, verbal, psychological or physical violence.

In fact, in many cases, couples' counseling has increased the violence/abuse in the home.


Couples' counseling does not work because:

Couples' counseling places the responsibility for change on both partners. Domestic violence is the sole responsibility of the abuser.

Couples' counseling works best when both people are truthful. Individuals who are abusive to their partners minimize, deny and blame, and therefore are not truthful in counseling.

Couples resolve problems in counseling by talking about problems. His abuse is not a couple problem, it is his problem. He needs to work on it in a specialized program for abusers.

A victim who is being abused in a relationship is in a dangerous position in couple's counseling. If she tells the counselor about the abuse, she is likely to suffer more abuse when she gets home. If she does not tell, nothing can be accomplished.

If you think you will benefit from joint counseling, go AFTER he successfully completes a batterer's intervention program and is no longer violent for one full year.

****
Would marriage counseling be better? He won't go for help unless I go with him.

No. Domestic violence advocates strongly advise battered women not to participate in couples counseling, family counseling, and mediation programs. It may not be safe to talk about your feelings in front of someone who could hurt you later and blame his behavior on what you say.

Many battered women say that these kinds of counseling do not stop the violence and often increase their danger. Also, going to counseling together suggests that you share responsibility for his violence.

You are never responsible for his violence. Even if your partner is not willing to change, support and assistance in figuring out what you want to do are available at your local domestic violence program. They can help you plan for your safety.
***

Couples counseling is NEVER an appropriate way to deal with domestic violence. Therapists who offer couples counseling when domestic violence has occurred or is occurring do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence, and are practicing unethical and unsafe services. Men who abuse need to be in group intervention programs with other abusers.

***
Be wary of anyone who advises couples or marriage counseling. This isn't appropriate for abusive relationships. Most communities have agencies that provide individual counseling and support groups to women in abusive relationships.

***
Perpetrator Intervention Programs For Abusers

Abusers can enter voluntarily or be court ordered to Perpetrator Intervention Programs. It is important to note that there are no guarantees that he will change his violent behavior. He is the only one that can make the decision -- and commitment -- to change.

An intervention program should include these factors:

Victim's safety is the priority.
Meets minimum standards for weekly sessions (16 weeks).
Holds him accountable.
Curriculum addresses the root of his problem.
Makes no demand on the victim to participate.
Is open to input from the victim.

What programs teach:

Education about domestic violence.
Changing attitudes and beliefs about using violence in a relationship.
Achieving equality in relationships.
Community participation.

In the program, an abuser should become aware of his pattern of violence and learn techniques for maintaining nonviolent behavior, such as "time outs" "buddy" phone cals, support groups, relaxation techniques, and exercise.

How do you know if he is really changing?


Positive signs include:

He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others
He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong
He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you
You don't feel afraid when you are with him.
He does not coerce or force you to have sex.
You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated.
He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration.
He respects your opinion even if he doesn't agree with it.
He respects your right to say "no."

Am I safe while he is in the program?

For your own safety and your children's safety, watch for these signs that indicate problems while he is in the program:

Tries to find you if you've left.
Tries to get you to come back to him.
Tries to take away the children.
Stalks you.
If you feel you are in danger, contact the National Domestic Violence crisis line.

Six Big Lies

If you hear your partner making these statements while he is in a treatment program for abusers, you should understand that he is lying to himself, and to you.
"I'm not the only one who needs counseling."
"I'm not as bad as a lot of other guys in there."
"As soon as I'm done with this program, I'll be cured."
"We need to stay together to work this out."
"If I weren't under so much stress, I wouldn't have such a short fuse."
"Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding."
***

Questions Women Often Have About Batterers and Batterer Programs

He says that I do things to make him angry. Am I to blame for his violence?

No. Abusive men often blame other people or situations for their violence. Many say their partners provoke them. The truth is that no one can cause another person to be violent. His violence is never justified. How he behaves is his choice and his responsibility. In fact, you can probably think of times where other people made him angry and he chose not to respond to them with violence or abuse.

What is a batterer program?

Not all batterer programs are the same, but some of them include education about domestic violence, and what communities are doing to hold abusers accountable. Depending on the program, the education can include informing your partner that he alone is responsible for what he does, that abuse destroys families and that he can change if he chooses to.

How would my partner get into a batterer program?
Most batterers participate because the court ordered them to do so. Many men say that they would not have gone or stayed in the program if they had not been court ordered. Some men attend without a court order, and others go as a way to convince their partners not to leave or to take them back. Unless a batterer is truly committed to being accountable for his behavior and to stop being controlling, he is unlikely to change his behavior, with or without a batterer program.

Will he stop abusing me if he attends a batterer program?

Any man can stop being violent and abusive if he really wants to stop. Some batterer programs provide good information to participants. However, going to a batterers program does not guarantee that he will stop battering and does not guarantee that you will be safe. In fact, many men who are attending or have attended a batterer program continue to be violent and/or controlling.

To best protect yourself and your children, it is recommended that you keep in contact with your local battered women's services/program, especially while he is attending the batterer program. To find out what options and support services are available to you in your community and to learn more about batterer programs, you can contact your local domestic violence program or shelter.

My partner says he'll get help for his drinking. If he stops drinking, will he stop being violent?

Don't count on it. Alcohol and other drug abuse do not cause domestic abuse, even though batterers often use substance abuse as an excuse for their violence.

Batterers who drink or use drugs have two separate problems that need to be handled independently. Even if your partner stops using alcohol or other drugs, he is likely to continue to be abusive.

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