Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, September 25, 2017

Manipulation



In relationships, manipulation can be defined as:

any attempt to control, through coercion (overt or covert),
another person's thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

From this definition, manipulation would seem to have no advantages. However, if you are [trauma bonded] and defined by others, there can be many advantages. When you allow others to control your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and make decisions for you,

-- you do not have to think for yourself;

-- you can avoid taking risks and making difficult decision;

-- you can avoid taking a stand on controversial issues;

-- you can avoid feeling responsible for negative outcomes;

-- you get to blame others when things go wrong;

-- you can believe, when others tell you how to behave, what to think, how to feel and what to decide, that you are "being loved" because they "want what is best for you";

-- you can avoid feeling separate and alone by avoiding conflict;

-- you can avoid the hard work of emotional growth and development.


Appreciating the advantages of not being manipulated is to accept the hard work of living and interacting with others. It is about being willing to grow and develop emotionally.

These advantages can be that,

-- you learn to know who you are, what you like, what you think, and how you feel;

-- you learn to make difficult decisions;

-- you get to take credit for your decisions;

-- you learn to handle risks and uncertainty;

-- you learn to handle differences and conflicts;

-- you get to be in control of your life and know the freedom of personal self-reliance;

-- you get to have an increased sense of self worth by feeling competent and capable of taking responsibility for your life and personal happiness.


Manipulation is usually attempted using power, unsolicited helping, rescuing, guilt, weakness, and/or dependence, in order to achieve a desired outcome. For example,

1) Power - physical, verbal, intellectual intimidation or threats, put-downs, belittling, withholding of things needed or wanted. The goal is to be in a "one up, I am right and you are wrong" position;

2) Unsolicited helping/rescuing - doing things for others when they do not request it, want it, or need it; helping others so they become indebted, obligated, and owe you. The goal is to be in the "after all I have done for you, and now you owe me" position;

3) Guilt - shaming, scolding, blaming others, attempting to make others responsible, trying to collect for past favors. The goal is to be in the "it is all your fault," or "after all I have done for you and now you treat me like this" position;

4) Weakness/dependence - being (or threatening to become) helpless, needy, fearful, sick, depressed, incompetent, suicidal. The goal is to confuse want with need, with the message "if you do not take care of me, something bad is going to happen and it will be all your fault" position.

With manipulation, there is a physical and emotional response, such as a heightened level of anxiety or irritation, although it may not be perceived as such.

Manipulation feels like a struggle or contest, not free communication. The reason is the manipulator is always invested in the outcome of a situation.

This is where boundaries differ from manipulation.

Boundaries (or limits) are statements about our values and where we stand on issues. True boundaries are not threats or about getting the other person to do what we want. True boundaries are not compromised by another's response.

For example, you discover that your spouse has lied to you and has run up a large gambling debt. You discover the problem by chance, get financial and professional help and are back on track. However, there are new signs of trouble. It is time for some hard decisions.

- What is your bottom line?

- What will you tolerate?

- What manipulative tactics do you use to change your spouse's behavior - check up on them constantly, bird-dog them, never let them be alone, hide the credit cards, lie to your creditors, parents, and children?

- How much rescuing, guilt, power plays, threats, and protection do you run on the gambler?

- At what point do you stop trying to change their behavior and let them know your bottom line?


You cannot make them do or not do anything. You can only let them know what your position is and what you are willing to do to protect yourself and those you are responsible for.

The problem with loud, threatening bottom lines, is that they keep getting louder, more threatening, and redrawn lower and lower.

We tend to determine what our position and action is by what the other person does, instead of voicing our true position and then responding accordingly. This is the time for tough decisions and actions.

In another example, a friend asks you for a ride to work because she is having car trouble. This is the time to establish ground rules, such as, how long will she need
your help, pick up times, expense sharing, days off, etc. A boundary or limit is set when you clearly let your friend know what you are willing to do and not do.

Problems arise - she is frequently not on time morning and evening. Do you wait and be late, or do you leave her? Her car has been in the shop six weeks because she cannot afford to get it out. She has not offered to help with the expense, nor does she seem concerned about the arrangement.

Your friend is using weakness to manipulate and be dependent on you. She has transferred her problem to you and you have accepted it by rescuing and not setting boundaries or limits on your participation in her problem. If you refuse to wait when she is late and she has problems as a result, she will blame you and try to make you feel guilty. What we really want are for others to be responsible and play fair; however, when they do not, we either have to set boundaries, or feel manipulated and victimized with the accompanying advantages and disadvantages.

Lastly, often we confuse UNDERSTANDING with AGREEMENT.

This is when people confuse their decisions with wanting the recipient of a decision to like or agree with it. When we make decisions that oppose the desires of others, there is a cost. We usually attempt to minimize that cost by explaining, in exhaustive detail, our rationale for that decision, somehow thinking if they could just understand our position, they would agree.

Applying that scenario to parent and child - if a parent makes a decision based on the best interest of the child, it needs to be made separate from whether the child is going to like it.

When a child knows it is important to the parent that they be happy with a decision, then it will never be in the child's personal interest to be happy with an unwanted
decision.

If a child knows that their happiness with a parental decision is of equal importance to the decision itself, then all a child has to do is be unhappy in order to make their parent uncomfortable and doubt their decision -- after all, it is always worth a try. This same dynamic can apply to interactions among adults also.

How do we manage manipulation? By becoming more aware of our interaction with others.

Is the interaction an attempt to communicate or does it feel like a contest?

Are you beginning to feel anxious or irritated?

Do you want to get out of the conversation?

Does the interaction fit into a manipulative style?

Is there an attempt to use power, service, guilt, or weakness to get your cooperation?

Are you a willing participant in your own manipulation? Is it easier not taking responsibility?

Are you attempting to manipulate others instead of setting clear boundaries?

Are you making a distinction between a value and a preference?


Preferences can be negotiated, but values should not.

Our society does not deal well with differences in values and preference. We tend to take it as a personal affront and insult when others disagree with us. We will avoid conflicts at all costs, because it feels like rejection. What we need is to communicate to others, clearly and calmly, our values, preferences, and boundaries. We need to be respectful and dedicated to listening, hearing and appreciating, if not understanding, how we all are different.

Mary Treffert, LCSW, ACSW, is a Licensed, Clinical Social Worker, who is an individual, couple, and family therapist in Baton Rouge, LA.

www.marytreffert.com
This is one of a short serise of articles from VictimBehavior.com   http://www.victimbehavior.com/


You may reprint/reproduce any of these provided you include the entire copy, especially this credit.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

How Friends & Family Can Help an Abuse Victim


HOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN HELP AN ABUSE VICTIM


Family can have a great impact on the recovery of an abuse victim. Here is a brief description of things that family can do to help heal the heaviest of hearts and the deepest of wounds.

LISTEN: Although the thought of addressing an abusive relationship can be a difficult one, an abuse victim needs communication to help heal. Something as simple as letting the abuse victim talk to you and "vent" can make such a considerable difference in their recovery.

THINGS TO DO TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: Be supportive. Really listen and indicate that you care

Help them receive help. See to it that they receive sensitive, concerned, and competent medical attention and/or counseling.

Recognize your own limitations in dealing with the abuse. If the survivor is a person you really care about, you are probably experiencing a number of different emotions from outrage to helplessness. Try to resist the urge to express your feelings to the survivor, especially in those silent periods when she may be crying or find it difficult to talk.

Block the abuser and do not communicate with them: 'Not taking sides' or 'remaining neutral' is anything but.  Block the abuser, support the victim.  Period.

Remember to take care of yourself. It can be emotionally exhausting to be supportive to the survivor, while keeping your feelings bottled up. Find someone you can talk to-your feeling matter too. By talking out your feelings with someone other than the survivor, you will be better able to provide the continuing support that the survivor needs.

Remember to put your frustration and anger where it belongs, not on the survivor. They are not "damaged property"; but instead a person who has been abused and violently mistreated.

Your personal revenge against the abuser will not help, and in fact only make matters worse.

HOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN HURT
How many times have you heard the phrase, "well, why don't you just leave him/her?" Probably more times then you can count. Although the topic of abuse is something that many of us can relate to, there are those out there who don't quite understand. In fact, one of the common reasons that abuse victims stay with their abuser is because of family issues, and fear of their family's rejection.

DENIAL/ MISPLACED BLAMING:
Accepting the fact that you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship is very difficult, and often times we do anything we can to push that possibility away. We would all like to believe that it "can not happen to us/those around us" but unfortunately, it can and it does. A common defense mechanism for friends and family of abuse victims is to pretend that the abuse is not taking place. Friends and family attempt to change the subject, become upset once the topic is unavoidable, and even accuse the victim of lying. Some even say "it was your choice" which it wasn't.  Not at all.

Although this is not the case in every situation, it happens more often then not. Through this system of lack of support or denial the victim becomes more isolated and eventually more connected to their abuser. Once this feeling of isolation has thoroughly sunk in the mind of an abuse victim, it becomes even more difficult to leave. An abuser has a powerful hold on their victim, and without assistance from family or friends, that hold can become almost unbreakable. After all, why leave if there is nothing else to go to?

THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO:
Ask for specifics and details. Allow the survivor to express their feelings, fears and reactions as they choose.

Tell the survivor what they must and must not do. It is their decision whether or not to report the abuse to the police. If they do not decide to report the abuse, still remain supportive and help them in any way possible.

Make the survivor feel guilty. The survivor has already been through an ordeal; try not to make it worse by using statements such as, "Why did you" or "How could you" or "Why didn't you just leave" or "Just forget them" or "move on/ get over it" or "I don't believe that - are you for real?" or "Don't answer the phone/ etc" ? These statements will only make the survivor feel worse, and further isolate them from seeking help.

Tell anyone about the abuse, unless specified by the survivor. If you need to talk out your feelings, that is fine. But please remember that this is a hard time for the survivor, and they do not want any unnecessary people knowing about the abuse, unless it is on their terms. Let the survivor tell people at their own pace, and in their own way.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Different Types of Abuse



The different types of abuse are:

Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Financial Abuse
Social Abuse
Environmental Abuse
Ritual Abuse

If you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help....many women (victims) out there are silently crying for help!
Please note: that in most cases I have referred to the victim as a woman and the abuser as a man for easier explanation.


PHYSICAL ABUSE

- any unwanted physical attention
- kicking, punching, pushing, pulling, slapping, hitting, shaking
- cutting, burning
- pulling hair
- squeezing hand, twisting arm
- choking, smothering
- throwing victim, or throwing things at victim
- restraining, tying victim up
- forced feeding
- hitting victim with objects
- knifing, shooting
- threatening to kill or injure victim
- ignoring victim's illness or injury
- denying victim needs (eg. food, drink, bathroom, medication etc.)
- hiding necessary needs
- pressuring or tricking victim into something unwanted
- standing too close or using intimidation
- making or carrying out threats to hurt victim
- making her (victim) afraid by angry looks, gestures or actions
- smashing things
- abusing pets
- display of weapons as a means of intimidation


SEXUAL ABUSE
(coercing or "talking her into it" or pretending to love her to get sex from her is a form of psychological sexual force!)
- any unwanted sexual contact
- forcing her to have sex, harrassing her for sex, coercing her for sex
- forcing her to have sex with animals
- uttering threats to obtain sex
- pinching, slapping, grabbing, poking her breasts or genitals
- forcing sex when sick, after childbirth or operation
- forcing her to have sex with other men or women (cuckolding/swinging)
- forcing her to watch or participate in group sex
- knowingly transmitting sexual disease
- treating her as a sex object via coercion, manipulation or force (including cybersex, phone sex, sex with prostitute)
- being "rough"
- pressuring or needling her to pose for pornographic photos/videos
- displaying pornography or sending her pornography that makes her uncomfortable
- using sex as a basis for an argument
- using sex as a solution to an argument
- criticising her sexual ability
- unwanted fondling in public
- accusation of affairs
- threatening to have sex with someone else if she doesn't give sex
- degrading her body parts
- sexual jokes
- demanding sex for payment or trade
- insisting on checking her body for sexual contact

EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Also called "Psychological or Verbal Abuse"
- false accusations
- name calling and finding fault
- verbal threats
- playing "mind games"
- making victim think she/he is stupid, or crazy
- humiliating victim
- overpowering victim's emotions
- love bombing
- disbelieving victim
- bringing up past issues
- inappropriate expression of jealousy
- degrading victim
- putting victim down, not defending her
- blame the victim for things
- turning the situation against the victim
- laughing in victim's face
- silence, ignoring victim
- refusing to do things with or for victim
- always getting own way
- neglecting victim
- pressuring victim
- expecting victim to conform to a role
- comparing victim to others (including past lovers)
- suggested involvement with other women or men
- making victim feel guilty
- using certain mannerisms or behaviour as a means of control (eg. snapping fingers, pointing)
- threatening to get drunk or stoned unless....
- manipulation
- starting arguments
- withholding affection
- holding grudges and not really forgiving
- lying
- threatening to leave or commit suicide
- treating victim as a child
- having double standards for victim
- saying one thing and meaning another
- denying or taking away victim's responsibilities
- not keeping commitments
- insisting on accompanying victim to the doctor's office
- deliberately creating a mess for victim to clean
- preventing victim from getting or taking a job
- threatening her with anything (words, objects)
- refusing to deal with issues
- minimising or disregarding victim's work or accomplishments
- demanding an account of victim's time/routine
- taking advantage of victim's fear of something
- making her do illegal things

DURING PREGNANCY AND CHILBIRTH
- forcing her to have an abortion
- denying that the child is his
- insulting her body
- refusing to support her during and after pregnancy
- refusing sex because her pregnant body is ugly
- demanding or pressuring her for sex after childbirth
- blaming her that the baby is the "wrong sex"
- refusing to allow her to breastfeed


FINANCIAL ABUSE
- taking victim's money
- withholding money
- not allowing victim money
- giving victim an allowance
- keeping family finances a secret
- spending money foolishly
- pressuring victim to take full responsibility for finances
- not paying fair share of bills
- not spending money of special occasions when able (birthdays etc)
- spending on addictions: gambling, sex, alcohol, overeating, overspending
- not letting victim have access to family income


SOCIAL ABUSE
- controlling what victim does, who victim sees, talks to, what victim reads and where victim goes
- put downs or ignores victim in public
- not allowing victim to see or access to family and friends
- change of personality when around others (abuser)
- being rude to victim's friends or family
- dictating victim's dress and behaviour
- choosing victim's friends
- choosing friends, activities or work rather being with victim
- making a "scene" in public
- making victim account for themselves
- censoring victim's mail
- treating victim like a servant
- not giving victim space or privacy

USING CHILDREN
- assaulting victim in front of the children
- making victim stay at home with the children
- teaching children to abuse victim through name calling, hitting etc
- embarrassing victim in front of the children
- not sharing responsibility for children
- threatening to abduct children, or telling victim they will never get custody
- puttin down victim's parenting ability

DURING SEPARATION/DIVORCE
- buying off children with expensive gifts
- not showing up on time for visitation or returning them on time
- pumping children for information on victim's partners etc
- telling children that victim is responsible for breaking up the family
- using children to transport messages
- denying victim access to the children

USING RELIGION
- using scripture to justify or dominance
- using church position to pressure for sex or favours
- using victim, then demanding forgiveness
- interpresting religion or scripture your way
- preventing victim from attending church
- mocking victim's belief's
- requiring sex acts or drugs for religious acts


ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSE
ABUSE IN THE HOME
- locking victim in or out
- throwing out or destroying victim's possessions
- harming pets
- slamming doors
- throwing objects
- taking phones and denying victim access to the phone
- taking computers and denying victim access to a computer





ABUSE IN THE VEHICLE
- deliberately driving too fast or recklessly to scare victim
- driving while intoxicated
- forcing victim out of the vehicle (when angry)
- pushing victim out of the vehicle when it is inmotion
- threatening to kill victim by driving toward an oncoming car
- chasing or hitting victim with a vehicle
- killing victim in a deliberate accident
- denying her use of the vehicle by tampering with engine, chaining steering wheel or taking the keys

RITUAL ABUSE
- mutilation
- animal mutilation
- forced cannibalism
- human sacrifices
- suggesting or promoting suicide
- forcing victim to participate in rituals or to witness rituals

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Although some of these behaviours don't appear to be abusive they are still considered abusive behaviours. Others are in fact illegal.

If you think you are being abused, you more than likely are - if you recognise these behaviours, then YOU ARE being abused.

Remember PLEASE, if you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help.

No one deserves to be treated like this!

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Friday, September 22, 2017

A Crazy Roller Coaster Ride: Life with a Psychopath from Idealization to Devaluation


by Claudia Moscovici

Life with a psychopath quickly turns into a crazy roller coaster ride. Psychopaths usually retain the appearance of calm, even in the face of great duress. However, sharing your life with a psychopath for any significant period of time means living with constant drama and extreme ups and downs. There are four main reasons for this, three of which I’ve alluded to in previous posts and a fourth that I’d like to examine in greater detail today:

1) The psychopath, not being capable of forming deep emotional attachments, is very easily bored. Consequently, he (or she) will need to provoke constant drama in his personal and sometimes even his professional life, for entertainment.

2) The psychopath, aiming for power and control over others, generally becomes involved sexually and romantically with many individuals at once. This in itself will create a lot of mutual jealousy, fighting over him and drama (among those targets that know of each other), once again, entertaining the psychopath and demonstrating his dominance over his victims.

3) A psychopath will engage in arbitrary displays of power, to maintain control over his targets. If he got upset in a rational manner only for legitimate reasons, this would not demonstrate his power nor psychologically and emotionally unhinge those around him. Psychopaths are always tyrants: be it of their small families or of an entire nation. Whether they wield power over few or over many, their behavior is similar, as are their techniques of maintaining control (deceit, brainwashing, isolation, abuse interspersed with small favors and arbitrary displays of power, manifested from anything to physical violence to gaslighting and emotional abuse and, in some cases, to death itself).

4) However, there’s an aspect of the roller coaster ride–the constant ups and downs, the extreme idealization and the bitter devaluation–which is even harder for victims to accept. It’s nearly impossible for victims to understand why somebody who made such a great effort to seduce you; who couldn’t praise you enough; who gave you so many romantic gifts; who said “I love you Baby” more often than “hello”; who seemed to be lost in your eyes could all of a sudden perceive you as a nothing and a nobody; insult your appearance, accomplishments and intellect; criticize and stab you in the back to others and–above all–hate you as the worst enemy of their lives. I believe that this dramatic and seemingly unmotivated shift from high to low regard absolutely stuns victims of psychopaths, leading some of them to wonder what they did wrong to provoke it.


The answer usually is: you did nothing wrong. In some cases, the flattery and gifts were only a ruse the psychopath used to get whatever he may have wanted from you: be it money, sex, or a cover of normalcy. In other cases, however, the flattery was genuine: which, of course, also means genuinely shallow. It was a sign that the psychopath’s pursuit of you was extremely exciting and rewarding to him. You were (for a period of time) a very high priority because of the immediate gratification the relationship with you offered him.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that he didn’t cheat on you, that he didn’t lie to you, or that he treated you well. It only means that he took the trouble to deceive you and hide his secret lives far better because that was the only way to get from you whatever he wanted at the time. He couldn’t have obtained your trust, your love, your commitment, or your wealth without doing everything possible to convince you of the lie that he, himself was capable of trust, love and commitment.

The high in your relationship is therefore explicable in terms of the time required to lure you, to get you to buy the false image and bond to him. The low is explicable in terms of his need to control and dominate you. Later, it’s also the manifestation of the final phase of the relationship–the discard phase–when the psychopath finally exposed himself for what he is. At that point, he either left you or you left him. Usually, however, psychopaths never leave you for good, but return from time to time to probe for more supply and to destabilize your life.

But it seems as if the psychopath’s devaluation of you is so filled with bitterness, hatred and sometimes even violence that it can’t be fully explained in terms of him tiring of you and moving on to other promising victims. Loving couples can grow apart and leave each other for better matches and lives. Non-loving couples can grow apart once they’re no longer useful to one another. But a psychopath takes this process one step further, to discard his ex-lovers with a degree of vitriol and hatred that astonishes his victims and exceeds any boundaries of normality.

This becomes most obvious in those cases when psychopaths kill their ex-partners and dispose of their bodies as if they were a pile of garbage. Fortunately, this only happens rarely: and when it does, we tend to hear about it on the news. However, even psychopaths who don’t engage in such extreme behavior manifest an inexplicably strong vitriol towards their former partners, particularly towards those who left them of their own volition.

It’s as if a psychopath feels doubly betrayed in those cases: not only for being rejected by you, but also for the fact you’re no longer living up to the unrealistic ideal of the honeymoon phase of the relationship. He projects the blame for the diminished excitement in the relationship unto you. What’s wrong with you that you don’t thrill him anymore, as you did in the beginning of his hot pursuit? Is it because you’re not beautiful enough? Is it because you’re not smart enough? Or rich enough? Or sexual and sensual enough? What do you do wrong and how do you fail to meet his needs?

Failing to accept any responsibility for anything in life, a psychopath never really blames himself for any failure in his relationships. Someone else, or circumstances, are always to blame. Like a child who tires of an old mechanical toy and smashes it to the ground when it no longer works, so the psychopath destroys old relationships (along with their positive associations in his mind) after he tires of each of his partners. For a psychopath, it’s not enough to end a dying relationship. He must also demolish that person and what she once represented to him. The higher you were initially idealized by a psychopath, the lower you will fall in his eyes when the relationship inevitably fizzles out. Hatred and contempt will fill the place in his empty heart, which was temporarily filled by shallow admiration and lust.

SOURCE

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

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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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Married To A Narcissist & Waiting For Good Times To Return?


By Diane England, Ph.D.

When you said your vows, what were you expecting? I suspect if you were like most women, you thought you were entering a partnership. You would enjoy shared power, right?

I bet you’ve discovered something quite different, though. I bet he likes to have power over you, isn’t that so? And to ensure he achieves and maintains this, he might well use emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and even sexual abuse, too.

The thing is, you might not even realize that your relationship with your narcissistic spouse is filled with these forms of abuse. You might feel badly or experience emotional pain much of the time, but still not understand why. You might well believe your narcissistic spouse when he tells you how you are the problem, and if you just changed and did these things he wanted, well, life would be grand.

For him, that is.

He keeps emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse in his marital toolbox because they work for him. Meanwhile, you believe that the two of you have a partnership.

Sorry, but a relationship with a narcissist is not about partnership.

Those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism don’t know what that means. They are self centered. They lack empathy. And more than anything else, they are grandiose. Whether successful or not, they feel entitled to have what they want when they want it.


Rather like the two-year-old.

The narcissistic throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want, too. The difference is, they scream more than how they hate you; those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism are inclined to scream obscenities and other hurtful things. All of them help your self esteem to plunge, plus make the anxiety butterflies swirl, wouldn’t you agree?


Let me back up a minute here, though. Perhaps you might want to argue that your spouse has never been diagnosed with any mental health problems, and especially not Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Please realize, however, that narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic symptoms can occur in varying degrees. So, someone need not be diagnosable as having full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder to display what you’ll see referred to in various internet articles as unhealthy, pathological, or malignant narcissism. However, even lesser degrees of narcissism can be problematic in your relationship.

I might not have to tell you that. Then again, have you ever suspected your spouse’s emotional abuse and sexual abuse, for example, were associated with pathological levels of narcissism?

So, how many of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder must your narcissistic spouse meet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for you to be the victim of his narcissism - which could be fueling his abuse plus perhaps alcoholism or drug addiction?

Sadly, too often, these all come together in one neatly wrapped package.

But back to the question I originally posed; I really can’t answer it.

What I will say, though, is don’t keep you eyes shut because in the beginning, things were so good between the two of you. You might have believed you had finally met your white knight. You might have been so enamored with him because of the whirlwind romance that included flowers, candlelight dinners, outrageously expensive gifts considering the time you’d been together, and romantic getaways that also included great sex.

No, don’t keep thinking if you can only get it right, or do all the things he asks, those days will probably return.

I rather hate to tell you this, but you’re probably wrong. Oh, he might act that way now and then to keep you hooked in and believing you’re about to rediscover Camelot, but he is only seducing you - again.

A narcissist is like a leopard; he can not change his spots. Okay, he might be able to change if he really wanted to do so. But if you are in love with a narcissist, you need to understand that you’ll likely be seeking counseling on how to leave a narcissist long before he’s inclined to seek help on how to alleviate himself of his narcissistic tendencies.

If you have a narcissistic husband, listen very carefully: Narcissists seduce you with their charm, the romance, and the great sex. Once they have you hooked, things change - and not for the good.

In fact, is the great sex still so great? Or instead, is it about him and his needs and wants? Also, you might feel he has to give a great performance, and you’re always expected to commend him for a job well done, too. And rather than feeling closer to him, instead, have you felt you’ve become more and more merely an object to him?

There is even a chance the great sex has switched over into sexual abuse. Perhaps the transition has been so gradual, however, that you haven’t actually seen the truth about what was happening - or where you have ended up as a result. But if you stop and think about your sexual relationship with your narcissistic spouse, you might realize you’ve been doing things that don’t appeal to you sexually, but only to him. In fact, they might make you feel degraded.

He not only doesn’t bring flowers anymore, but it is probably worse than that. You’d realize that if you got real about your marriage.

Yes, it is probably hardly a relationship in the sense that you define the word. Are you always worrying about what might please or displease him? And to ensure you do neither, do you do things against your personal values?

You probably want to avoid his narcissistic rage. And again, you hope if you’ll only do as he wants, things will be like they were in the early days - when you held hands and made love in a romantic haze.

Again, it is time to get real. That was an act to suck you in. Now, though, if he is walking around being his self centered and grandiose self, engaging in emotional abuse and verbal abuse that causes your self worth to slip away daily, he is nonetheless likely being the man he will continue to be.

You might well be able to somehow survive the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.

You might keep telling yourself that the sexual abuse is not sexual abuse because you actually are okay with what he asks of you - as kinky (and comfortable) as it perhaps has become.


I suspect you might be shut down and out of touch with your feelings, however. You also might be taking pride in your ability to cope with things you shouldn’t have to cope with anyway. And if that is the case, realize you are not the first and last woman to make this discovery. Frankly, I myself have been there; I took pride in my martyrdom. But really, what’s the sense in that?

I decided I didn’t like being in a relationship with a narcissist. I also knew I never wanted to be in a relationship with one again, though I suspect I met one or two along the path on my way to recovery.

Your life is yours to live as you please; you have to make your own choices. I suspect, though, that you give your life - and your narcissistic spouse - a good hard look. You might realize you’ve been bonded to a fantasy that was probably never more than that.

Meanwhile, you stay stuck loving a narcissist while he serves up a mixture of emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse - and some great times, too - to keep you hooked in and doing exactly what he pleases.


Why should you expect differently? Remember, he is self centered, he is self absorbed, and he lacks empathy. And because of his grandiosity, he feels entitled to do as he pleases. In turn, everyone else is here to serve him and meet his needs.

They must be kept in line and under his thumb.

Yes, these are the spots of the narcissist. And no, they probably will not change. So really, is spending your life loving a narcissist the best use of both your love and your time?

I hope your moving your head back and forth.


Dr. Diane England writes for the woman married to a narcissist who is awakening to his narcissism, addictions, and perhaps not only emotional abuse and verbal abuse, but sexual abuse, too. If this is you, and you want to read more article on these topics, plus self development and spirituality or spiritual growth, visit her website at: www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.com

(NOTE: THIS SITE DOES NOT BELIEVE CODEPENDENCY EVER APPLIES IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS OR A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST. The Victim is NEVER EVER to blame in ANY WAY - NOR ARE THEY CODEPENDENT.)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How a Psychopath Conditions His Victims


by Claudia Moscovici

In previous posts I have shown how psychopaths camouflage their real evil identities and bad intentions, to appear normal and even better than normal partners to their victims. What may seem surprising to those who have not experienced personally the psychopathic bond is why their victims put up with it once the bait and switch occurs and Mr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde. There’s no simple answer to this question, since the motivations and personalities of the victims themselves vary. Some stay out of fear, others out of extreme emotional dependency and love addiction, others because they, themselves, suffer from a personality disorder that bonds them to a psychopath. Today I’d like to delve into the question of why even relatively normal and healthy women can stay with psychopathic men after the initial luring phase is over and the relationship becomes overtly toxic.

Psychopaths are extremely skilled not just at pretending to be decent men, but also at dosing. As early as the luring phase of the relationship, when they appear to be loving and normal partners, they make deviant requests, under the guise of romantic love. For instance, they isolate their new partners from those who care about them–family and friends–by claiming that they’re so in love with them that they wish to spend as much time as possible together. If the psychopath’s partner wishes to go out with friends, he spreads gossip about those individuals, claiming that they were critical of her or of their relationship. Or the psychopath may state that he’s so much in love with his partner that he can’t bear to spend time apart from her.

Couched in these positive terms, many women allow their other, healthy, social relationships with family members and friends to slowly but surely deteriorate. The less support they have from others, the more such women invest themselves wholeheartedly in the psychopathic bond. Once he senses his power over her, the psychopath becomes more openly possessive and controlling. Psychopaths have an intuitive relationship barometer that tells them when they have achieved dominance over others and can demand more (and more and more…) from them.

Another way in which psychopaths condition their partners to accept a toxic relationship is by gradually pushing the envelope of deviant requests. Since psychopaths are easily bored and need constant thrills, they may initially ask their targets to make out in public, under the pretense that they’re so attracted to them that they can’t keep his hands off of them. In reality, however, psychopaths are not as attracted to their partners, even at the beginning of the relationship, as to the thrill of crossing the boundaries of public decency and demeaning their partners. Recall from my previous post that psychopaths are extreme narcissists who derive most pleasure from the dominance and victimization of others.

As soon as the victim complies with one perverse request, it becomes normative. After a short while, the psychopath will demand more indecent behavior from her, once again pretending that it stems from their great and special passion. Pretty soon, the victim finds herself complicit with his abnormal behavior, sometimes even addicted to it. Not surprisingly, this technique is often used by pimps to create loyalty and submission in the women and girls they ensnare into prostitution. What begins under the guise of romantic love and passion–something that most women yearn for–ends up being what it always was in reality and in the psychopath’s evil design: a form of sexual slavery.

Even partners who refuse to engage in the psychopath’s transgressive behavior–be it his scams, lies or sexual perversion–are inevitably poisoned by the toxic relationship if they continue to stay with him. The most common way in which a psychopath poisons his partner is to condition her to accept his abusive behavior as normal. This doesn’t have to be under the form of physical violence, although it can be. 

More commonly, however, any person who stays with a psychopath becomes gradually used to bigger and bigger doses of emotional abuse. 

When she catches the psychopath cheating on her for the first time, she may have a normal reaction and break up with him. But if she doesn’t have the strength to move on and later returns to him–since after bouts of promiscuity, a psychopath is likely to act repentant and romantic to lure back his main partner(s)–then the next times she discovers evidence of his cheating (or lying, or fraud), she puts up with it, or pretends she doesn’t know about it.

Denial becomes the shield that absorbs most of the emotional impact of his hurtful behavior. When denial is no longer possible, because his wrongdoings become too frequent and flagrant, she displaces her anger and resentment towards the other women in order to maintain the “integrity” of her relationship with him. If he cheated and lied, it’s the other women’s fault rather than his. She also blames those who point out the psychopath’s pathology rather than him for mistreating her. They’re the bearers of bad news, who expose the hollowness of the life she leads with him: a truth she can no longer face, after becoming so dependent on him. At some point, she becomes more invested in the false image of strength and of a wonderful relationship she has with the psychopath than in facing the dire reality and moving on, to achieve real strength in life and have the chance of having a non-pathological romantic relationship.

Eventually, after a long series of discoveries of infidelities and other kinds of bad behavior, she becomes used to it and finds some solace in the assumption that those flings mean nothing to him. In spite of his consistently unloving behavior, she convinces herself that the psychopath loves her and that she’s the most important woman in his life. His infidelity then becomes open and normative: what he used to do behind her back he does openly, before her eyes. What’s more, since psychopaths are sadists, he relishes seeing her suffer from a combination of jealousy, wounded pride and helpless love.

Any person intimately involved with a psychopath will be harmed. To offer an analogy, the cancer cells that are most dangerous are the few that resist the chemotherapy and multiply quickly in the body, to kill it. Psychologically, the most dangerous aspects of any victim of psychopathic seduction are the ones that survive and adapt to his mistreatment. Once she becomes inured to the constant lies, verbal abuse, cheating, etc, she allows those vices to multiply in the relationship and take over her life.

Just as the most pathological elements of a society adapt to and rise to the top of totalitarian regimes, and just as the most pathological individuals thrive in the life of crime of gangs, so the most pathological parts of a person adapt to and embrace the disorder of a psychopath. A psychopath trains his victim gradually into a form of submission–or acceptance of his deviant behavior–that annihilates everything that’s healthy about her personality and existence. Eventually, if she doesn’t find the strength to leave him, she’s reduced by the psychopath’s gradual poison to the shadow of the strong and healthy person she once was.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Be Very Specific in Custody Agreements


A child custody agreement is an extremely important document that will largely influence your life as a co-parent. Child custody agreements essentially lay out how you, your co-parent, and your child will be living your daily lives. For this reason, you and your co-parent must ensure that the rules of raising your child are clearly defined in the document. Including provisions in your custody agreement is a good way to thoroughly cover every aspect of your responsibilities as co-parents.

Before adding provisions to your custody agreement

Child custody agreements must be given a lot of time and thought. They must be thorough and include everything that you will need to know as a co-parent for your child. Before adding provisions to your custody agreement there are a few major issues that must be accounted for. A basic child custody agreement should include:
Most states require by law that co-parents include these issues in their custody agreement. Be sure to consult with you attorney or a family law professional in your state to determine what needs to be included in your own custody agreement.

Including your own provisions in your custody agreement

Now that the basic issues of your custody agreement have been defined, you and your co-parent will be able to add your own provisions if you feel that its necessary. These provisions will be useful in saving you and your co-parent a lot of stress and unneeded conflict in the future. The easiest way to come up with these provisions is to reflect on what issues you and your co-parent have currently regarding your co-parenting relationship. You may also come up with provisions by trying to predict and problems that may arise in the future and creating preventative provisions.

The most common types of provisions are used to provide more detail to the issues included in your basic child custody agreement. For instance, if you and your co-parent agree that details need to be added to your legal or physical custody agreements you may do so. Other provisions may also be added regarding separate issues such as how you will allow your child to interact with new partners or how you and you co-parent choose to contact one another. Any stipulation can be created as long as you and your co-parent come to an agreement on it. If you and your co-parent wish to make a provision but you cannot come to an agreement on the situation, you may request that a judge make a determination.

Remember that a judge must approve all provisions. A judge may also request you to state your argument as to why a provision is needed. Be sure to have a valid reason for creating each provision otherwise it is likely that it will not be approved.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Liar! Liar!




How to tell when you’re not being told the straight story
By Cynthia Hubert
SACRAMENTO BEE

You think you can tell when he’s lying.

His eyes dart back and forth. He can’t keep his hands still. He stutters and stumbles over his words.

Deception is written all over him, right? Not necessarily.

Nailing a fibber is not nearly as easy or instinctive as most people think, say scientists, authors and other keen observers of the art of deception.

“There is no simple checklist,” says Gregory Hartley, a former military interrogator who applies the techniques he used on enemy combatants in a new book for civilians, “How To Spot a Liar.”

But with a little practice, Hartley insists, you, too, can become a human lie detector.

It is a skill that has challenged us through the ages, says Dallas Denery, a professor of medieval history at Bowdoin College in Maine who is working on a book about the history of lying. “The problem of lies and liars has been with us forever,” he says. “In the Judeo-Christian tradition, history really begins with a lie, with Adam and Eve and the serpent.”

Fast forward to modern times and a 2002 study suggesting that most people lie in everyday conversation. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts observed people talking for 10 minutes and found that 60 percent of them lied at least once, telling an average of two to three fibs. Some of the lies were benign, but others were extreme, including one person who falsely claimed to be a rock star.

“We didn’t expect lying to be such a common part of daily life,” one of the researchers, Robert Feldman, observed after the study was published.

Over the years, CIA agents, police detectives, psychologists, lawyers and others have tried a variety of methods to identify liars, from polygraph machines to “voice stress analysis” to analysis of barely perceptible facial movements that can give away hidden feelings. None of the techniques has been foolproof.

And the search for the truth continues. The science of liars and lying remains a hot topic in research circles, and book after book offers the latest theory about how to tell when a spouse is cheating, a witness is lying in court or a car salesman is overstating the value of a vehicle.

Check out just a few of the titles on the subject at www.amazon.com: “Lies and Liars: Pinocchio’s Nose and Less Obvious Clues,” “Liar! A Critique of Lies and the Act of Lying,” “When Your Lover Is a Liar,” and “The Concise Book of Lying.” It’s enough to shatter your trust in humanity.

John Mayoue, an Atlanta divorce lawyer who has represented famous clients - including Jane Fonda in her breakup with Ted Turner - says lying is rampant in his business.

“In the courtroom, there is no end to the lying, particularly if money is at stake,” Mayoue says. “The more money, the bigger the lies.”

The greatest lie in relationships, he says, is “Honey, I love you but I’m no longer in love with you. That’s someone’s way of saying they’re cheating on you.”

The Internet culture has made lying practically a sport, Mayoue observes. “You just have to assume that you’re in the midst of a liar’s ball when you’re online,” he says. “It’s a fantasy realm. I can’t see you. I can’t look at signals. I can’t test you. There is no verification.”

In court and in daily life, Mayoue believes, a person’s eyes tell the truest story.

“Looking at someone in an unwavering manner and answering the question is very telling,” he says. “When I see eyes shift side to side and up and down, it just causes suspicion.”

Hartley, the former interrogator, agrees that body language can hint at deception. But not always, he says. “Your eyes drift naturally when you’re searching for information,” he says. “I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t move their eyes when looking for details.”

The key to uncovering a lie, he says, is knowing how the liar behaves normally, when he or she is relaxed, and picking up on changes in voice patterns, eye movement and other body language.

“You’ve got to ask the right questions, then observe how that person responds,” Hartley says.

Signs of stress, which may signal that someone is lying, include flared nostrils and audible breathing, shaky hands and elbows moving closer to the ribs, according to Hartley.

“Stress does horrible things to our brains,” he says. “Stress hormones can virtually turn off your brain and make you become reactive.”

For the most notorious liars, the tendency to fib may be biological, suggests a study by researchers at the University of Southern California.

Pathological liars, the scientists found, have structural differences in their brains that could affect their abilities to feel remorse and learn moral behavior and might give them an advantage in planning deceitful strategies, the researchers discovered. Other scientists have suggested that pathological liars owe their behavior to the psychiatric diagnoses known as narcissism or sociopathy, and may truly believe their own falsehoods.

But the average, everyday fibber lies to achieve a goal, says communication expert Laurie Puhn, author of the best-selling book “Instant Persuasion, How To Change Your Words To Change Your Life.” Most people lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to avoid a commitment or a task, to cover up bad behavior or to elevate themselves professionally or personally, she says.

Puhn advises people who suspect someone is lying to ask unexpected questions, look for contradictions in their statements and ask a follow-up question a couple of days later about the suspected lie.

“If someone says they had to work late to deal with a new client and you are suspicious, ask them about it a week later,” she says. “They’re likely to answer, ‘What new client?’ It’s hard for liars to keep their lies straight.”

Bettyanne Bruin, who parlayed her experiences with a former partner into a book and a support group for people who have been deceived, says the first step toward detecting a liar is overcoming denial.

“People tend to ignore the red flags,” says Bruin, author of “Shattered: Six Steps From Betrayal to Recovery.” “Their gut tells them what is going on, but they really do want to believe the best about the person they love.”

The most critical sign that a partner is lying, she says, is defensiveness.

“Liars are very defensive when you question them,” says Bruin. “They will become very resistant and angrier and angrier upon each attempt to probe.” Often, she says, they make their partners feel guilty about questioning them. “They’ll say, ‘You’re being unreasonable,’ or ‘Why are you treating me this way?’ ”

Types of lies

Joseph Tecce, an associate professor of psychology at Boston College who has studied liars and lying, identifies six types of untruths, some more egregious than others.
He classifies them as:

The ‘protective’ lie, which can shield the liar from danger.

The ‘heroic’ lie, created to protect someone else from danger or punishment.

The ‘playful’ lie, such as an angler’s fib about the size of his fish.

The ‘ego’ lie, designed to shield someone from embarrassment.

The ‘gainful’ lie, which somehow enriches the fibber.

And the ‘malicious’ lie, told to deliberately hurt someone else.

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