Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, July 01, 2016

Lies Abusers Tell Their Victims



The following is a long list of lies, threats, and insane statements that abusers make in order to keep their victims in line, and in order to keep the blame away from themselves and the abuse cycle going. Note that many of the following do in fact happen -- threats of violence are often carried out, sometimes the police do come, and so on. Sometimes, lies do come true, for victims of abuse.

You're just taking it wrong.

I wouldn't hit you if you weren't so bad.

We could make this relationship great if only you would work harder.

You made me lie by not making it easy to tell the truth.

I only lied to you because I knew you'd be hurt if you found out the truth.

Your mother/sister/My wife won't give me this, and I/men need it.

If you tell anyone about this, I will stop giving your mother her child support and you/she will be homeless and starving.

If you tell, the police will come and take me away.

This is normal in Europe -- I'm doing this so you can be more sophisticated than your peers.

If you don't, I'll do it to your sister/brother.

You know you like it; what are you trying to get from me by resisting?

You're really tense; I can help you relax.

Let me make you feel better.

This is how you show love to people.

Children have to do what their parents tell them.

All [insert your least favorite group here] are going to hell.

If you can be sexy enough men will like you and you can go far in life.

You can make a lot of money as a prostitute.

All you're interested in is sex. That's all that most (teen-agers/women/men) are interested in.

You're not good for anything else anyways so you might as well use what you are good at.

You own nothing, not even yourself. In my house, you are mine.

Your asking not to be touched isn't a good reason for me not to touch you.

In my house you will do what I want you to.

If you tell, I'll kill your cat/child/mother/friend/coworker.

I bought you X, but you owe me because you didn't earn it.

You will ruin our lives.

You're going to be the death of me.

You're going to grieve the loss after I leave you, but not the loss of love -- you're going to feel the loss a junkie feels when she can't get a hit.

I'm finally committed to you. That's why I have to leave you.

I can't live without you.

I know you better than you know yourself.

I was/am the parent/spouse/teacher/authority figure; therefore I know better than you.

This is going to kill your mother/father/teacher.

If you do this, nobody will ever talk to you again.

Your mother/father/sister/spouse wouldn't understand.

You're special, and this is our special secret.

Only true "friends" can be like this.

This is going to teach you about how to handle those horny teenage boys/girls who will be after you.

I have no one else to talk to.

You're the only one who really loves me.

You're too sensitive. I'm sick of you being so hypersensitive all the time!

Why are you so negative?

You're not sorry. If you were sorry, you wouldn't have said it.

You're bad. You're worthless. You're ugly.

You shouldn't feel that way. You shouldn't think that way.

I never did that. It never happened. You're just making it up.

Up to you. If you want to.

I can't believe how selfish you are.

You're self-centered, lazy, and irresponsible.

You shouldn't let it bother you.

That's just the way your [abuser] is. You shouldn't let them bother you.

I'm sick. I need help.

You know I love you/ have feelings for you/ care about you.

What are you mad at me for? I stopped drinking/beating you/abusing drugs, didn't I? What else do I need to do?

I wouldn't tease you if I didn't love you so much.

For a smart person, you sure do some dumb things.

You just remember what you want to remember.

Don't talk about your experience with my drinking/drug use/abuse/sex addiction because it will embarrass me.
Don't tell anyone about this. It's our little secret.
I'll kill you if you tell.

If you tell my spouse/significant other about us, he/she will kill themselves. And it will be your fault.

You'd be a lot prettier if you wore makeup.

You'd be a lot nicer if you weren't such a bitch.

He/She/They are lying/making it up/planted that stuff you found. They are jealous and want to ruin what we have.

I wouldn't do this to you if you weren't such a dirty, bad little girl/boy.

I wouldn't do this to you if you didn't like it.

You're a slut.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself!!
(NOTE: This is one of the most deadly things a person can ever say to a child.)

You only get what you deserve.

You have to forgive your abuser. You have to forgive me. It'll do you good if you forgive me. That's really the best thing for you.

I only have your best interests at heart.

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Why are you so stupid? Why are you so snotty? Why are you so hard to get along with?

Why are you so [insert random meaningless accusation here]??

That's not what you meant. I know what you really meant.

You're overdramatic. You're obsessed.

You made me mad. You provoked me. You made me do it.

I'm not going to talk to you until you apologize.

Your feelings aren't important. Your opinions don't matter. I'm the only one who can be right. I'm the only one who can have feelings and opinions. I'm the only one who counts.

I never treated you that way. You imagined it. You had a wonderful childhood /adolescence/marriage/relationship.

You shouldn't feel like you were abused, because we gave you everything. You're so ungrateful. For all I have to put up with...

You're antagonistic. You're argumentative. You have a way of making people angry.

I can't be nice to you because it wouldn't work.

I can't ask you politely to do something because you wouldn't do it.

You never... You always...

You're just overreacting. You're just making a big deal out of nothing.

You're rude. You're uncooperative. You're unkind. You're just not a very nice person.

Boys don't cry.

Nice girls don't dress that way/have sex/yell/go anywhere alone.

Never hurt anyone's feelings. If you do, you're bad.

Go to therapy as long as you like, but when will you be done?

If you talk about your feelings, you're just whining. That's all they do in those support groups, anyway. They just sit around wallowing in self-pity.

Friends can't be trusted. Your friends are evil.

You're not sensible. You don't think things through.

You're ridiculous. Where did you get that crazy idea?!

Did [random suspect person] put you up to this?!

You're the Good Daughter/Wife/Girlfriend.

You're the Bad Daughter/Wife/Girlfriend.

You just need to try harder. You just need to stop letting your feelings get hurt.

Of course I love you. I wouldn't do this to you if I didn't love you.

Just because I have other partners doesn't mean I'm cheating on you.

Go ahead. Go out with your friends... and leave your family home alone!

You only like history because you're obsessed with the past. Why can't you look to the future, like me?

What's wrong with you?

You don't deserve to be forgiven. I only treat you like this because you deserve it.

I wouldn't treat you this way if you didn't need discipline.

I wouldn't keep dumping you if I didn't have to. I wouldn't keep dumping you if you didn't hurt me so much.

I wouldn't have left you if you weren't so awful.

I'd treat you better if you just tried harder.

It hurts me to love you.

I'm only doing this for your own good.


excerpted source

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

REVICTIMIZATION




© 2009 Pandora's Project
by: Louise

I am a survivor of sexual and other abuse in my childhood, as well as domestic violence and partner rape. As I began to heal, it occurred to me that many of the things I had felt in the abusive relationship were things I had felt much earlier as an abused child.


While it is important not to subscribe to stereotypes that a certain "type" of person is repeatedly raped or experiences domestic violence, it is known that the risk of revictimization by sexual assault is approximately doubled for survivors of child sexual abuse (1). For example, in Diana Russell's study of women who had experienced incestuous abuse as children, two thirds were subsequently raped (2).

This article discusses revictimization drawing on literature together with my understanding of how it worked for me. It should not be seen as a generalization that only child abuse survivors experience repeated rape or domestic violence - or that survivors of child sexual abuse are sitting ducks for further abuse. Sometimes, even people from stable, loving families are subject to the dynamics of later domestic violence. And it cannot be stated strongly enough that any person can be subject to sexual assault. Nevertheless, child sexual and other abuse can leave us with vulnerabilities that abusers may be quick to exploit. It's important that we see repeated victimization not as a reason to hate ourselves, but as stemming from wounds incurred through no fault of our own and for which we deserve our own compassion.

Read through, and if this fits for you, please know that there is help available.


CHILD SEXUAL / OTHER ABUSE AND REVICTIMIZATION

 
Were you sexually, physically or emotionally abused as a child? Did you experience more of the same when you got older? Have you been in a relationship where you were beaten, raped or otherwise abused? If the answer is yes, you may feel, as many survivors of repeated abuse do, that you have a “sign on your back”, that you “attract” abusers or even that you were born to be the recipient of other people’s abuse. One of the saddest legacies of repeated abuse is that survivors often feel that if it’s happened so often, they must somehow deserve it. Unfortunately, we live in a society that agrees. Judith Herman writes:

The phenomenon of repeated victimization, indisputably real, calls for great care in interpretation. For too long, psychiatric opinion has simply reflected the crude social judgment that survivors “ask for abuse." The earlier concepts of masochism and the more recent formulations of addiction to trauma imply that victims seek and derive gratification for repeated abuse. This is rarely true (3)


So, why does revictimization happen? Before we go on to look at just some of the reasons, a reminder: This is not an exercise in how to blame ourselves more. Even if there`are factors that make some of vulnerable to further abuse,
perpetrators alone are responsible for the abuse they commit.

WHY REVICTIMIZATION HAPPENS - SOME OF THE REASONS


Personalities forged in an environment of early abuse
: Children who are abused by people they are close to learn to equate love with violence and sexual exploitation. They have not learned to create safe and appropriate boundaries with people, and they grow up unable to see themselves as having any right to choice. Their self-image is so damaged that they may see nothing wrong with even extremely abusive treatment of them by others. It is seen as unavoidable and the ultimate cost of love. Some women sexually abused as children may believe that their sexuality is all they have of any worth. (4).

Compulsion to repeat trauma
: Bessel van der Kolk writes, "Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma. These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences (5)". Survivors of earlier rape and abuse may put themselves at risk of further harm, not because they want to be abused or hurt, but because they may be seeking a different, better`outcome, or to have more control. It may also be because they believe they deserve the pain inflicted on them. Often, reenactment has a compulsive and involuntary feel. Survivors may feel completely numb, and unaware of how reenactment is taking place (6). Conversely, it may call forth the same terror and shame as experienced in childhood. van der Kolk further explains,

People who are exposed early to violence or neglect come to expect it as a way of life. They see the chronic helplessness of their mothers and fathers' alternating outbursts of affection and violence; they learn that they themselves have no control. As adults they hope to undo the past by love, competency, and exemplary behavior. When they fail they are likely to make sense out of this situation by blaming themselves. When they have little experience with nonviolent resolution of differences, partners in relationships alternate between an expectation of perfect behavior leading to perfect harmony and a state of helplessness, in which all verbal communication seems futile. A return to earlier coping mechanisms, such as self-blame, numbing (by means of emotional withdrawal or drugs or alcohol), and physical violence sets the stage for a repetition of the childhood trauma and "return of the repressed (7)


The effect of trauma
: It is true that some people may have a series of violent partners, or encounters with rapists. I had a friend who was subjected to rape three times in two years . A family member - echoing typical victim-blame - sneeringly asked me "why she kept leaving herself open to it. - wouldn't you think that if she went through it once, she should have known how to steer clear of creeps?" This reflects a lack of knowledge about the workings of trauma: While some survivors may be overly cautious about everybody, other traumatized people actually have a harder time forming accurate assessments of danger (8). The above question also absolves the perpetrator who falsely seeks to engage the trust of a trauma survivor in order to abuse them.

Traumatic Bonding
: Judith Herman writes about the tendency of abused children to cling tenaciously to the very parents who hurt them (9) Perpetrators of sexual abuse may capitalize on this tendency by giving their victim the only sense of specialness, or being loved, that they have ever had. Bessel van der Kolk tells us that people subjected to trauma and neglect are vulnerable to developing the tendency to traumatically bond with those who harm them. Traumatic bonding is often behind the excuses of battered women for the violence of their partners, and for the repeated returning to a batterer (10).

REVICTIMIZATION AND ME

Unfortunately my adult experiences of rape and battering were not new to me. Being battered by both my parents since infancy and sexually abused throughout childhood and early teens (by non-related perpetrators), and receiving little in the way of protection or belief taught me some powerful lessons, which I brought to an abusive partner. I remember exactly what I felt the first time he hit me. He cracked me across the face, and as I cradled my rapidly swelling cheekbone, I was certainly upset. But there was another, deeper feeling of validation; something went "click" inside me. It was a sense of correctness about what he had done, an utter familiarity which confirmed a bone-badness I had always felt. The first time he raped me, there was a similar - and terribly powerful - sense of meeting with something I seemed destined for. It works differently for different people, but let me share with you some of the specific lessons of childhood that I believe made me fair game for a battering and raping partner - you may identify:

As a woman who lived in a violent relationship; returned to it again and again, loved the abuser and truly cared about him, I have been patronized, had insulting inferences drawn about my intelligence, been branded as "sick", and "masochistic" - that last by a psychiatrist whom I told about the relationship. Many of us will recognize these labels. People who blame you don't understand that layer piled upon layer of trauma may tend to produce a crippling of ability to care for oneself in the ways non-traumatized people would see as commonsense.. Child abuse really is like a cancer; left untreated that malignancy can metastasize into further and possible fatal dangers - indeed, I am lucky to be alive.

But does this need to be the case? Let's look at the next section.


SOLUTIONS AND HEALING

Socially, picking up on children who have been hurt and offering early intervention so that they carry far less damage into adulthood with them would be a great big plus. Not kicking abuse survivors in abusive relationships or who are repeatedly hurt by rape when they're down by branding them "stupid" and abandoning them - thus proving to them again that they're worthless - will also go a long way.

I think that what worked for me was that I at least had a concept of safe, nurturing love - even if I didn't feel I deserved it. Some people don't even have that concept, and I believe I am lucky that I did because it gave me a starting point. My fellow survivor, If you have identified with any of the above, I implore you to seek counselling to overturn those old scars and recognize that you too, have the same place in the scheme of fairness and love as anybody else. All that I learned, and all the ways in which it was reinforced have not, after all, stopped me from growing into a woman who knows that I don't deserve to be the recipient of other people's abuse. It was not my fault; I was not bad, and I can tell somebody with a mind to hurt me to go to hell - I owe them nothing; least of all my soul.


Does such a change in attitude rape-proof us? No, as long as there are perpetrators, we are all vulnerable regardless of what we think about ourselves. To say that somebody is raped because of their self-image is victim-blame - again - it's the perpetrator who takes advantage. But I do believe that the reduction in self-hatred and boundaries that come with healing make us less inclined to accommodate people who are disrespectful and even dangerous. Knowing I deserve to be safe - that I do not deserve to be raped - means that I listen to my gut, put distance between myself and abusive people and reduce my chances, at least for now, of being harmed again. Our safety is
sometimes contingent on how much we value it; healing means changing patterns of devaluing it.

I healed. You can do it too, even if the damage is extensive. You are worth it. You are. You were not abused again and again because you deserve it. You have been traumatized, you were set up and others capitalized on it. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Please feel free to discuss multiple victimization at the
Pandora's Aquarium message board and chat room - we understand, and we value you even if many others didn't.

Please give yourself compassion - you certainly have mine.


SOURCES

    1. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    2. Cited in Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    3. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    4. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    5. Van der Kolk, Bessel A. MD. "The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma: Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism", Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411, June 1989 http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/
    6. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    7. Van der Kolk, Bessel A. MD. "The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma: Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism", Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411, June 1989 http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/
    8. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    9. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    10. Van der Kolk, Bessel A. MD. "The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma: Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism", Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411, June 1989 http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/
    11. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
    12. Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, USA, 1992
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sexual Sadism & Sociopathy/ Psychopathy

Sad Pictures, Images and Photos

ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER
According to the DSM-IV, the essential feature of the disorder is to be found in patterns of irresponsible and antisocial behaviors beginning in childhood or early adolescence and continuing into adulthood. Lying, stealing,truancy, vandalism, initiating fights, running away from home, and physical cruelty are typical childhood signs. In adulthood the antisocial pattern continues and may include failure to honor financial obligations, maintain consistent employment, or plan ahead.

These individuals fail to conform to social norms and repeatedly engage in antisocial behaviors that are grounds for arrest, such as destroying property, harassing others, and stealing. Often these antisocial acts are committed with no seeming necessity. People with antisocial personality disorder tend toward irritability and aggressivity, and often become involved in physical fights and assaults, including spouse and child beating. Reckless behavior without regard for personal safety is common, as indicated by driving while intoxicated or getting numerous speeding tickets.

Frequently these individuals are promiscuous, often failing to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than one year. Some marry but do not remain faithful. They do not appear to learn from past experiences in that they tend to resume the same kinds of antisocial behaviors they were punishment for. Finally, they seem to lack feelings of remorse about the effects of their behavior on others. On the contrary, they may feel justified in having violated the rights of others.

SEXUAL SADISM
Meloy (1992) defines Sexual Sadism as "the conscious experience of pleasurable sexual arousal through the infliction of physical or emotional pain on the actual object."(p.76)

DSM-IV describes Sexual Sadism as follows: Over a period of at least six months: recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving acts ( real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person. These behaviors are sadistic fantasies or acts that involve activities that indicate the dominance of the person over his victim. (not always physical!)

FROM:
http://www.practicalhomicide.com/articles/psexsad.htm

(PLEASE NOTE: not ALL Sexual Sadists are Serial Killers!! Some direct their sadism into mental & emotional torture and psychological rape. - And are rarely seen as the sadists they truly are)

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Painful Incredulity: Psychopathy and Cognitive Dissonance


by Claudia Moscovici

Almost everyone involved with a psychopath goes through a phase (and form) of denial. It’s very tough to accept the sad reality that the person who claimed to be your best friend or the love of your life is actually a backstabbing snake whose sole purpose in life is humiliating and dominating those around him. Rather than confront this reality, some victims go into denial entirely. They aren’t ready to accept any part of the truth, which, when suppressed, often surfaces in anxiety, projection and nightmares.

At some point, however, the evidence of a highly disturbed personality shows through, especially once the psychopath is no longer invested in a given victim and thus no longer makes a significant effort to keep his mask on. Then total denial is no longer possible. The floodgates of reality suddenly burst open and a whole slew of inconsistencies, downright lies, manipulations, criticism and emotional abuse flows through to the surface of our consciousness.

However, even then it’s difficult to absorb such painful information all at once. Our heart still yearns for what we have been persuaded, during the luring phase, was our one true love. Our minds are still filled with memories of the so-called good times with the psychopath. Yet, the truth about the infidelities, the constant deception, the manipulation and the backstabbing can no longer be denied. We can’t undo everything we learned about the psychopath; we cannot return to the point of original innocence, of total blindness. The result is a contradictory experience: a kind of internal battle between clinging to denial and accepting the truth.

Cognitive dissonance is a painful incredulity marked by this inner contradiction in the victim’s attitude towards the victimizer. In 1984, perhaps the best novel about brainwashing that occurs in totalitarian regimes, George Orwell coined his own term for this inner contradiction: he called it doublethink. Doublethink is not logical, but it is a common defense mechanism for coping with deception, domination and abuse. Victims engage in doublethink, or cognitive dissonance, in a partly subconscious attempt to reconcile the contradictory claims and behavior of the disordered individuals who have taken over their lives.

The denial itself can take several forms. It can manifest itself as the continuing idealization of the psychopath during the luring phase of the relationship or it can be shifting the blame for what went wrong in the relationship from him, the culprit, to ourselves, or to other victims. In fact, the easiest solution is to blame neither oneself nor the psychopath, but other victims. How often have you encountered the phenomenon where people who have partners who cheat on them lash out at the other women (or men) instead of holding their partners accountable for their actions? It’s far easier to blame someone you’re not emotionally invested in than someone you love, particularly if you still cling to that person or relationship.

Other victims project the blame back unto themselves. They accept the psychopath’s projection of blame and begin questioning themselves: what did I do wrong, to drive him away? What was lacking in me that he was so negative or unhappy in the relationship? Was I not smart enough, virtuous enough, hard-working enough, beautiful enough, sexy enough, attentive enough, submissive enough etc.

When one experiences cognitive dissonance, the rational knowledge about psychopathy doesn’t fully sink in on an emotional level. Consequently, the victim moves constantly back and forth between the idealized fantasy and the pathetic reality of the psychopath. This is a very confusing process and an emotionally draining one as well. Initially, when you’re the one being idealized by him, the fantasy is that a psychopath can love you and that he is committed to you and respects you. Then, once you’ve been devalued and/or discarded, the fantasy remains that he is capable of loving others, just not you. That you in particular weren’t right for him, but others can be. This is the fantasy that the psychopath tries to convince every victim once they enter the devalue phase. Psychopaths truly believe this because they never see anything wrong with themselves or their behavior, so if they’re no longer excited by a person, they conclude it must be her (or his) fault; that she (or he) is deficient.

Because you put up with emotional abuse from the psychopath you were with and recently been through the devaluation phase–in fact, for you it was long and drawn-out–you have absorbed this particular fantasy despite everything you know about psychopaths’ incapacity to love or even care about others. But with time and no contact, the rational knowledge and the emotional will merge, and this last bit of illusion about the psychopath will be dissolved.

Cognitive dissonance is part and parcel of being the victim of a personality disordered individual. It doesn’t occur in healthy relationships for several reasons:

1) healthy individuals may have good and bad parts of their personalities, but they don’t have a Jekyll and Hyde personality; a mask of sanity that hides an essentially malicious and destructive self. In a healthy relationship, there’s a certain transparency: basically, what you see is what you get. People are what they seem to be, flaws and all.

2) healthy relationships aren’t based on emotional abuse, domination and a mountain of deliberate lies and manipulation

3) healthy relationships don’t end abruptly, as if they never even happened because normal people can’t detach so quickly from deeper relationships

4) conversely, however, once healthy relationships end, both parties accept that and move on. There is no stalking and cyberstalking, which are the signs of a disordered person’s inability to detach from a dominance bond: a pathetic attempt at reassertion of power and control over a relationship that’s over for good

Cognitive dissonance happens in those cases where there’s an unbridgeable contradiction between a dire reality and an increasingly implausible fantasy which, once fully revealed, would be so painful to accept, that you’d rather cling to parts of the fantasy than confront that sad reality and move on.

Relatedly, cognitive dissonance is also a sign that the psychopath still has a form of power over you: that his distorted standards still have a place in your brain. That even though you may reject him on some level, on another his opinions still matter to you. Needless to say, they shouldn’t. He is a fraud; his opinions are distorted; his ties to others, even those he claims to “love,” just empty dominance bonds. Rationally, you already know that his opinions and those of his followers should have no place in your own mental landscape.

But if emotionally you still care about what he thinks or feels, then you are giving a disordered person too much power over you: another form of cognitive dissonance, perhaps the most dangerous. Cut those imaginary ties and cut the power chords that still tie you to a pathological person, his disordered supporters and their abnormal frame of reference. Nothing good will ever come out of allowing a psychopath and his pathological defenders any place in your heart or mind. The schism between their disordered perspective and your healthy one creates the inner tension that is also called cognitive dissonance. To eliminate this inner tension means to free yourself– body, heart and mind–from the psychopath, his followers and their opinions or standards. What they do, say, think or believe –and the silly mind games they choose to play–simply does not matter.

SOURCE

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Sexual Anorexia



...and A Small Town Private Practice
by Michael Zahab

The following is a conversation between Michael Zahab, a public relations manager at recovery facility, and the husband-wife team of Paul Hartman, M.S., Marriage & Family Therapist, and Ginnie Hartman, M.A., L.P.C. The Hartmans have worked together in private practice since 1991 at the Healing Center in Spring Lake, Michigan. Paul and Ginnie began their counseling careers in 1981 and 1985, respectively. They recently completed training with Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., for the treatment of sexual anorexia.

Michael Zahab (MZ): Please tell me about your professional background and your current practice.

Paul Hartman (PH): I'm a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, specializing in addiction issues. In many years of working with recovering alcoholics, I've tried to help those people who are physically dry move on to a higher level of recovery by dealing with family of origin issues as well as doing Twelve Step recovery work. Despite seeing much progress in my clients, I've continued to feel that something was missing in my work.

I've discovered in the last couple years that the issue I've seldom, if ever, addressed is sex addiction. So, after training with Pat Carnes, I began to do groups that specifically focused on this area. Most participants have been people who were already in recovery from another addiction-long-term recovery for some-but all were still having relationship problems and experiencing pain in their life. Once I began to address sex addition issues, once I made it the primary thrust of therapy, I began to see a tremendously positive response among some of my clients. I'm very excited about the outcomes I continue to see.

Ginnie Hartman (GH): My work for many years has focused primarily on individual families that have been affected by addiction. I have done a lot of group work on family of origin issues and have seen remarkable progress. After my training with Patrick Carnes, however, I began to look for and talk about sexual anorexia-and I have been amazed by the number of people-women, primarily-who struggle with this problem. I've long believed that when substance addiction is present in a relationship, sexual function is usually distorted. But I never understood the dynamics involved until I worked with Pat [Carnes]. I am so excited as I watch the participants in women's groups that have been together for quite a while bloom as they discover and explore their sexuality for the first time.

MZ: Do you believe that this is a new problem, or is it something that we've simply overlooked for many years?

PH: Awareness has been building for some years, beginning for us with the model Claudia Black developed in the early 1980's when she published, It Will Never Happen To Me. We've also had Pia Mellody's work to draw from. I was familiar with Pat Carnes' work through his books, but it wasn't until training with him that I set up groups explicitly focused on treating sex addiction.

This is an important point. Previously I put all my clients together in groups; I didn't differentiate. Generally, the clients in such groups became, after several months, became good friends. They felt safe enough with one another to disclose family secrets, but what they didn't do was talk about sexual issues. No matter how safe the environment, these issues never seemed to come out mixed groups.

My first (sex addiction) group was composed of men who had at least two of years of recovery and had done a lot of group work. When they came together in a sex addiction group, experiences came out that they had never before talked about. It's been the missing treatment piece for these men.

Frankly, I'm coming to believe more and more that the so-called primary addictions aren't truly primary addictions. I'm seeing more and more men for whom the primary addiction is sex addiction. The other addictions are secondary to sex addiction.

MZ: Spring Lake, Michigan, is not a large community. Has it been difficult to pull together enough people to conduct groups which address sex addiction?

P.H.: When I came back from the training, I wondered about this same question. As soon as word got out around the community that I was doing this, however, people were calling and asking to get in the group. Now I have two groups running concurrently, and could easily do one every night of the week if I had the time.

MZ: Ginny, what was your experience coming away from the training? Are you finding a similar situation among the women with whom you work?

GH: Although I've always treated some sexual dysfunction, I'm now just much more aware of the problem. After evaluating my clients more carefully, I realized that those who were in a relationship with an addict had invariably shut down sexually in some way and disowned their sexuality. Several women, when first approached about sexual anorexia, responded with such comments as, "I'm not sexual, and I could care less if I ever have sex again. I'm fine without it. I don't feel anything is missing." Other were being sexual with their partner, but only for their partner, not for themselves.

Each of these women had done family of origin work, a lot of recovery work, and were in a Twelve Step program. I had to really help them understand that they would not be fully recovered until they could embrace their sensual and sexual being. After announcing the group and suggesting Pat Carnes' book, Sexual Anorexia, I had a group of ten before I knew it. As word spread in the recovering community, I had another group of ten-and now I have people on a waiting list.

MZ: Do the women in group meet the criteria for sexual anorexia more than the criteria for any of the other sexual disorders?

GH: It seems so. The typical woman who has been in relationship with an addict has totally disowned her sexuality. She's decided she doesn't want or need sex any longer. This represents a shift to an extreme; these women have not had a lifetime of sexual anorexia. There are, of course, women who have been shut down sexually most of their lives, but that doesn't seem to be the norm among those I've seen.

MZ: Do the couples or individuals with whom you've worked have sexual or relationship issues, but no other apparent dysfunction?

PH: We occasionally see people like this, but, they're not our typical couple client. Generally speaking, our typical couple is in their late 30's or 40's and has been in Twelve Step recovery for six, seven, or eight years. The husband is an alcoholic with seven to eight years of sobriety and he's been active in A.A. During this time, his spouse has been working a good Alanon program.

When they come to us, we hear such stories as: "We're doing everything the program tells us to do. We're working the Steps; we've got a sponsor; we're not into our addiction, but our relationship is terrible and we're thinking of getting a divorce." After a deeper assessment of such couples, we quickly get into the issue of sexual satisfaction and dissatisfaction-and there it is.

MZ: Among the dysfunctional behaviors, are the Internet and pornography a factor? Tell me about this.

PH: I'd put this right on the top of the list. I continue to be amazed each week as people come in and disclosing the ways they use sexually explicit materials on the Internet for arousal and masturbation and how they go to chat rooms and how they then go out to meet people from the chat rooms. That's got to be one of the top issues we deal with in our marital therapy work. This is something that, two years ago, I never asked about. Now, I ask routinely.

GH: I can't tell you how many women who have come into therapy saying, "My marriage is falling to pieces, I don't know what's happened, my husband is up all night on the computer, on the Internet." They have no idea what's going on. As a therapist, you simply have to be aware of this problem.

MZ: How has the training affected your clinical approach and work?

GH: Understanding the anorexia cycle (preoccupation, distance strategies, sexual aversion, despair) has been so important for us and for our clients. It's so much easier to identify how sexual addiction has affected individuals and their intimate relationships. Previously, I recognized that some kind of cycle was in place, but I didn't have a term for it. The term "sexual anorexia" fit perfectly. Clients understand it, too. They know immediately what we're talking about. Consequently, it's much easier to then help clients see how that cycle had interrupted their own sexual maturity and growth. It's made all the difference.

PH: Our work in addictions has long had this basic premise: all current dysfunction is tied in to dysfunction in the family of origin-and that dysfunction often took the form of child abuse. One way people survive that kind of experience is to shut down emotionally. The focus of our work has been to help people access those repressed feelings and express them, and the result has been healing.

In contrast, whether it's Ginnie's sexual anorexia group or my sex addiction group, we focus explicitly on the sexual issues and the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that accompany them.

The other difference is that every week, the group is focused on something that is explicitly sexual. We really follow the outline we received at the training, starting with denial and going right through that outline, you have a subject and it just builds-it just provides the program.

We have a large population of clients who have been extensive family of origin work, so not all are starting from square one-but some are. Initially, I was concerned abut how I could take two divergent groups and treat them together. I decided to deal with child abuse early in the process. That piece of it was repetitious for some, but they didn't object. And those who hadn't dealt with these issues found it very revealing and helpful.

MZ: How did you implement what you learned in the training?

GH: I began evaluating my clients to discover those who had sexual disorder issues, and gave those who did some of the literature to read. I also checked with clients who had finished family of origin work and suggested they do some reading on the topic, too. Many more than I expected called back immediately asking to be in the group.

PH: It hasn't worked that well for me on the sex addiction side. I typically recommend Out Of The Shadows or Don't Call It Love. For a person who is in denial of their sex addiction, my experience is that those books don't do a lot to bring them out of denial. When reading about the behaviors that Patrick describes, many men focus on what they don't do.

One-on-one therapy, however, has help enormously. Through it, these men begin to understand that if they're spending an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about sex and/or objectifying women-regardless of what acting out behaviors they have-this alone is enough to make the diagnosis of sex addiction.

I also stress that such a diagnosis is important, not to put a label on them, but to help us know how to help. Some of these guys have been all over the mental health community looking for help, but haven't gotten it. They've been treated for anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsion disorder, you name it. Many of them have been on medications, especially the SRI's (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) with some improvement. But after all the treatment and all the Twelve Step experiences, they're still coming back saying, "Is that all there is?"

MZ: As a member of the group progresses, what indications or changes do you see?

PH: These male sex addicts have been carrying an enormous level of shame. I believe now that more shame is associated with sex addiction than any other dysfunction. Because of the shame, there's an extra need for secrecy. In treatment, we work to reduce their level of shame, and that alone has an enormous impact on their lines. As their shame decreases, their self-esteem increases. They start to believe, often for the first time in their lives, that they are valuable people. To me that's been the biggest change that I've seen emerge from this group. These men are beginning to really love themselves. They seem themselves as worthwhile, good men. It's so powerful.

GH: I think one of the changes I see is people rediscovering their passion for life. When you shut down any part of your being-particularly your sexuality-you just lose some of the passion and vitality for life. I see life back in their eyes, color in their face. I see a lot of physical changes in female clients. They move differently, they are able to wear feminine clothes again, and they report learning once again to enjoy touching and being touched.

PH: Ginny and I have seen similarities in progress and healing in both our male and female clients, but we have see one significant difference: the progress women make seems to be quite steady and straight ahead. The men in my group, however, initially made good progress breaking through denial. They could identify their dysfunctional sexual behaviors, and, I believe, genuinely wanted recovery. Yet week after week they came to group talking about slipping-going back to their dysfunctional sexual behaviors. I think what Patrick has learned about this in his research is that it's very typical in the first year recovery from sex addiction.

MZ: How is the support community where you practice?

PH: That was another concern I had. We have a very strong A.A. recovery community, but other Twelve Step programs are not widely available. There were no S.A. groups in our area, which meant clients had to drive 45 minutes to less than ideal groups. I'd advise therapists who try this approach to encourage your own clients to start a Twelve Step group-which is what we did. Attendance is typically twelve to sixteen people, and they've just recently expanded to an additional evening night. Both are well-established and well-attended. GH: All of the women I see are in Twelve Step groups, too. Two or three women have sought help for more family of origin issues. And when they finish this group (sexual anorexia) they too will probably go into one of our family of origin groups.

MZ: How critical is to have members of the family of origin geographically close with regard to progress with therapy and recovery?

GH: We have found, since we use experiential and psycho-drama techniques, that it isn't necessary for the family to be physically available.

PH: I agree. Today's treatment techniques enable people to heal whether or not they have direct access to family. A typical dysfunctional response is to cut off relationships-from parents, from siblings, from adult children. I think as long as those severed relationships continue, a certain amount of woundedness lives on inside the person. After they learn how to set boundaries, clients can go back and sustain family relationships-even with a member who has not been through recovery-most, but not all, of the time.

http://www.sexhelp.com/sa_small_town_practice.cfm

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Toxic Hope




 
 

Three Reasons Your Relationship
Will Never Get Better


L.A. couples therapist featured in Time Magazine uses unique approach to marriage therapy including the acceptance that things won't change.

There are three reasons that your relationship cannot improve, even though you keep thinking it will. These are primary problems that are so influential that they are an obstacle that must be cleared before real progress in the relationship is possible.

#1 Someone is frequently dishonest and that person is unwilling to identify that behavior as an individual problem that he or she wants to work on. An ongoing affair whether it is known or secret.

#2 Psychological or medical disorders that are not treated. (Or personality disorders that are untreatable)

These include: depression, manic depression, or menopause disorders, post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive or post-traumatic stress disorder.  (Include narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy or borderline personality in the personality disorders category)

Post traumatic Stress is often a result of abusive, neglectful or violent experiences in childhood. These can experiences can profoundly affect how someone later experiences issues of trust and conflict in current relationships. If symptoms from any of these illnesses are present and the person is unwilling to get treatment for it then there is a much reduced prospect for significant change in the relationship. First things first.

#3 One partner uses physical violence, verbal abuse, psychological manipulation or emotional intimidation and is unwilling to say that this is their individual problem that s/he wants to work on it separately from the relationship.

Saying, "I'm sorry. It won't happen again." is a good thing to hear from your partner. More importantly though is whether the intimidation ceases. The frequency, intensity or duration should be getting better. If it doesn't then you may have 'Toxic Hope.'

Toxic hope is waiting for someone to change when there is no realistic reason to believe that it will happen. Battered women, or men, who keep hoping something will change, perhaps even when their partner has never even admitted that they have a control problem; are in toxic hope. Even though there is a fair effort made; the frequency and magnitude of the continuing offenses are severe enough that the other partner does not feel safe enough to continue within the relationship.

We emphasize 'progress, not perfection' so the issue isn't that slips or mistakes are made. The important thing is does the person eventually recognize his or her responsibility in the conflict and can the person show some concern for how that affects you. Or, if one person is unable to reasonably follow the guidelines and is not willing to seek further help.

What do I mean when I say "an individual problem that he or she is willing to work on separate from the relationship?" Or what is meant by getting 'further help'? A person can work on the issues they struggle with alone by reading books on the subject of violence or lying but few people are able to do this without the help of others.

Using the help of others could mean going to a professional therapist who specializes in the area that needs work or it can mean going to a self -help group for that particular problem. If physical violence is the problem then my recommendation is to attend a professionally led anger management or domestic violence group. Having worked for ten years in these groups I can say that the men are pleasantly surprised that they can learn useful methods that benefit their relationships. For most of the men it is the first time that they are exposed to the principle that being vulnerable will not result in being hurt.

* One partner refuses to ever consider forgiving the other for some past wrong committed by the other, even when that partner has humbly asked for forgiveness.

* Alcohol or drug dependence or abuse (prescribed medicines too!) Other addictions such as food, sex, spending, gambling or work are huge impediments to progress in a relationship which are sometimes overlooked or simply denied.

* Leaving a psychologically violent or abusive relationship. If you feel scared that you will be hurt, pursued or injured if you leave then trust your feelings and seek help from a women's shelter or hotline before taking action. Talk with them and consider the advice or recommendations that is given to you. The most dangerous time, physically, for the abused wife (or husband) is at the time of separating. There were armchair quarterbacks saying Nicole Brown Simpson should have left O.J. and divorced him. She was leaving him! It was then that she was killed.

If you are physically abused by your partner call 1 800 978-3600 to talk to a domestic violence counselor to learn about resources in your area. You are not alone!

If violence is occuring in your home then break the isolation. And for the person whose anger is out of control, please seek the competent help of anger management specialists. Why wait for a neighbor's phone call to initiate your criminal record? Do something courageous and positive NOW! Seek the help of professionals who can help you. Stop saying "I'm sorry." and take some real steps toward repeating what probably happened in the family you grew up in.

Checklist Before You Leave:
If you have done these things then you can leave knowing that you did everything you could before deciding for sure to leave. These do not apply if there is violence, addiction, continuing adultery or unrepentent lying in the relationship. Things to think about when you consider ending a relationship:

- When your partner apologizes does s/he mention both what s/he did and how s/he's hurt you?

- If any form of physical control, intimidation or violence occurs, does it get justified (ie. "I wouldn't have done it if you didn't....")?

- If apologies are made is there reference made to the person's intention about changing future behavior, or is there further justification for the disrespectful behavior?

- Are you growing in this relationship?

- Does this person have all the signs of having a personality disorder (they can not be fixed or cured)?

- Is the other person growing in this relationship? Is there improvement? It's a process. Is there an expressed willingness to grow? Or are you wishing & assuming your partner wants to change his/her behavior and attitudes. Remember we're looking for 'Progress and not Perfection'.


Marc Sadoff, MSW, BCD
PACIFIC SKILLS TRAINING CO.

Marc Sadoff, MSW, BCD

310 444-1951

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Strange Pathological Behavior


The following behaviors are probably more common amongst pathologicals (narcissists & psychopaths/sociopaths) than non-pathologicals

NOT ALL will apply to any individual pathological. Only a couple are needed!


1. Has no conscience.

2. Manipulates people by "pulling strings" or "pushing the right buttons" .

3. Is perceived to be "sticky", "slimy" or "slippery". Even "charming."

4. Is a "control freak".

5. Is a "serial bully". Has one main bully target at a time. Once he loses control of that bully target, he feels compelled to find another bully target very quickly to sink his claws into.

6. Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, thinking that the world revolves around him. Also that when thwarted - it's a conspiracy against him.

7. Is a "fantasist". (Lives in fantasy world but blends in to the real world)

8. Glares at people with piercing but dead eyes. (Can be mistaken for attraction)

9. Would unexpectedly say very hurtful things. Confuses sarcasm with humor.

10. Consistently apportions blame to others when things go wrong, regardless of how logically an explanation was given - "whipping boy" - "fall guy".

11. Twists and distorts facts to his advantage.

12. Jekyll and Hyde personality. (Incidentally, Robert Louis Stevenson's fictional character was inspired by a real life psychopath that he had met but obviously the fictional character was an exaggerated version.)

13. Applies his distorted sense of reality (psychosis) to others, accusing them of faults and weaknesses that are actually his own. This is known as "projection".

14. Inability to accept responsibility or blame for his actions. He is always "in denial".

15. Can get vicious if cornered. (Narcissistic Rage)

16. Spin a "web of deceit".

17. Has a "hidden agenda".

18. Has a "selective memory" - remembers your mistakes but forgets his own.

19. Seldom plans for the long and medium terms, believing himself to be immune to the consequences of his own actions.

20. Takes the credit for other people's work. Can also claim other's lives & credits as their OWN!

21. Demands absolute loyalty. Only likes you if you do exactly what he wants, therefore attempting to reinforce manipulation.

22. Tries to make you feel guilty ("the guilt trip") if you protest about doing what he wants you to do. For example, saying to you "You are causing me so many problems because of your selfishness."

23. Often exhibits an unusually high level of charm. Commonly uses flattery (love bombing) to win people over so they can be manipulated.

24. May have an impenetrable veneer of charm, or "superficial politeness", that makes it very difficult to ask pertinent or searching questions that would reveal his true self. For example, he may constantly crack jokes or dwell on pleasantries with no substance. A psychopathic veneer of charm may manifest itself in organizations by using glossy brochures and marketing that portrays things in an idealistic way that has little bearing on reality - "charm offensive".

25. Happy to dish out criticism or abuse - not happy to receive criticism or abuse - "do as I say, not as I do".

26. Makes an audible noise when walking around, such as humming, whistling, singing, making duck-noises or clicking fingers.

27. Uses frequent hand movements when talking.

28. Gives you a sense of being "talked at" rather than being "talked to" when engages you in conversation.

29. Inability to understand irony.

30. He can't be trusted. Breaks promises and breaches matters intended to be in confidence.

31. Stabs you in the back. Lies about you to others and vice versa.

32. Fakes sincerity with great conviction. For example he may be profusely apologetic, if he is caught red-handed doing some misdemeanor, but then do the same misdemeanor the next week if he thinks he can get away with it. He is incapable of a sincere apology.

33. Lacks tact.

34. Is not a team player - he acts autocratically.

35. Is two-faced.

36. Hates people who are more talented than he is as it shows up his own inadequacies which he may in turn "project" faults onto that person. (i.e. they are ugly; fat; stupid; liars; etc)

37. Flies into a rage over a small problem - "nit picking".

38. Lacks any kind of personal depth.

39. Has a beaming, charismatic and even messianic smile.

40. Gets others to do his dirty work - "attack dogs" or "hatchet men"

41. Changes the rules frequently but denies the inconsistency.

42. May plunge into detail about something without appreciating that you don't know the context.

43. May express anger because you don't know something that he assumes you know but there is no reason why you should know it and no-one has told you.

44. Interprets criticism of himself (even constructive criticism) as a personal insult or personal attack.

45. Expresses anger at emotional outbursts from others.

46. May use the word "I" or "me" or "my" frequently in conversation and with emphasis.

47. May use expressions such as "I'm just looking after number one" or "I was just following orders" as an excuse to justify abuse.

48. Rarely gets depressed.

49. Is more concerned about the welfare of an inanimate object than a human being. For example, if he witnesses a person colliding with an inanimate object and hurting themselves, he may be more concerned about possible damage to the inanimate object.

50. Likes to find out about or observe other pathologicals. For example, likes to watch Hollywood action films with psychopathic characters or read books about pathological historical characters such as Napoleon.

51. Never remembers his own emotional outbursts or denies having them.

52. Sees things in black or white - something is either all "good" or all "evil".

53. Lectures you endlessly until you agree. For example, think of the tendency of dictators to give speeches that go on for hours - this is "extreme lecturing".

54. Unusual or abnormal sense of direction.

55. Has little interest in making any effort to make you feel comfortable, unless he is manipulating you.

56. They can express remorse when they lose control of someone they are abusing. This is just a form of self-pity as they now have to go to the trouble of finding, "luring" and "grooming" a new target.

57. Makes forced loud laughter - belly laugh

58. Excessive use of makeup. Preening. Excessive touching of hair. Proud of appearance - beard, hair, etc.

59. Often attributes others to saying things about them, for example, "My mother says that I have the most lovely hair." or refers to himself in the third person.

60. Inability to say thank you. Inability to return a compliment. Inability to reciprocate or acknowledge an act of kindness.

61. May make or be seen to make token acts of kindness, for example donations to charity. However these acts are not sincere and are intended just to reinforce their pretense of being a good person or as some form of manipulation.

62. Has an abnormal "startle response" - doesn't jump or startle when we would. This is documented by professionals, but not well known among the public. Rarely do they blush or feel embarrassed.

63. Abnormal sense of smell. Psychopaths may not smell things we can or not as well as we can (olfactory sense). This seems to be verified by research of psychosis variations.

64. Normal people may sense or feel the presence of "evil". It permeates from them. We react with nausea, fear, and we deny & excuse it and often say "Oh, he doesn't mean that". It is often intangible and something we can't really define.

65. Loves giving explicit details of gory operations or violent incidents that he has heard about, for example in films or on TV.

66. Thinks that normal rules of society don't apply to him - he is somehow exempt. He is not concerned with right or wrong for his own actions - only with whether he can get away with doing something without being caught. However he may insist that others adhere to strict rules of his making.

67. Dislikes plants, gardens, etc.

68. May show an odd or abnormally high fascination with fire, weapons, drugs, sex or alcohol.

69. Throws out items normally kept. Has no items or discards any with only 'sentimental connections'.

70. May have a commanding physical presence.

71. Drives recklessly

72. Homophobic / Racist (angry/protests about gays and other races).

73. Obsession with neatness and even personal cleanliness.

74. May be cruel to animals (for example, stamps on worms)

75. Thinks that it is necessary for someone else to fail for him to succeed. He will often make sure that someone fails by using deceit. A psycho manager may engineer failure in an employee by overloading with work or setting impossible deadlines.

76. Fascination with body function of bowel movements. Likes jokes about them.

77. Has a thing about cleanliness. They have to be cleaner than clean.

SOURCE

(the male gender has been used but females can also be pathological)

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Traumatic Bonding & Stockholm Syndrome



"Why Do You Stay?" Traumatic Bonding And
The Development Of The Stockholm Syndrome
in Abused Women (and Men)

- by Debra Dixon

We hear the question, "Why do you stay?" ask of battered women over and over. Most of society tired long ago of the answer, "Because I love him." When a battered woman says "because I love him" she is describing the Stockholm Syndrome in the best way that she can. She knows that she has very strong feelings for him and can only attribute those feelings to love because of a lack of information. These victims do not have the information they need to accurately describe the dynamics involved in the bonding process that occurs with abuse and trauma and therefore attribute their intense feelings the best way that they can - love.

Theories on why battered women stay have ranged from "learned helplessness" to masochism to feminist theory regarding status and resources. While some of these issues (learned helplessness and a lack of resources) can be contributing factors it is time we look at the bond created by severe, prolonged trauma.

Traumatic bonding was first recognized and acknowledged during a hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden. Authorities were amazed that the hostages refused to cooperate with them and actually saw law enforcement as the villains. What they were witnessing was the hostage's identification with the hostage taker. Authorities were even more shocked when the hostages refused to testify against their captors and one of the women later married him. While hostages may bond after a matter of hours batterers usually have many years with the victims without any interference or intervention.

This bond occurs because the well being of a child, a hostage or a battered woman depends upon the hostage taker or the batterer. If a batterer has total control over her money, safety, peace and happiness then it is in her best interest to keep him happy. This bond is not only in the best interest of the perpetrator but is, at times, in the best interest of the victim and is frequently necessary for her survival. If a hostage, or battered woman, is argumentative and provocative they are more likely to be injured. If a batterer or hostage taker dislikes the victim their likelihood of injury increases.

We often berate the victim for staying in these relationships and can't understand how it happened. A violent, controlling man does not take a woman out and beat her on the first date. We all put on our best face when we initially meet people and batterers are no different. If he took the woman out and beat her on the first date there would be no second date. She has no history or investment in the relationship and wouldn't tolerate it. His taking control of her is a gradual process.
Battered women, hostages and prisoner's of war will share some of the same experiences. Some of these shared experiences are that they are degraded, debilitated, they experience the constant threat of violence, the violence is intermittent, their are occasional indulgences, the captor demonstrates omnipotence, isolation etc...

The dynamics involved in domestic violence can be demonstrated by what's called The Power And Control Wheel by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). It's interesting because when we compare Bidermans Chart of Coercion by Amnesty International with the Power and Control Wheel they are almost identical. (Bidermans Chart of Coercion is how Amnesty International documented the techniques of the Communist Chinese, KGB, etc. )

There are many types of service providers coming in contact with battered women who are still unaware of why these women stay. These service providers are unable to address the bigger picture due to a lack of information. The inability to address this issue creates many problems. Law enforcement, and much of society, still blames the women for defending their attackers, unaware of the fact that not only is defending the attacker in her best interest but the bond itself reduces her injury. The victims are not given the information they need to deal with the bond they feel and therefore attribute their perplexing feelings to "love." Allowing them, and their children, to continue in traumatic relationships.

While we advise against confrontational behavior we ask that battered women cooperate with law enforcement who can frequently only guarantee her safety for a matter of hours. I am not saying that battered women should not cooperate. I am asking that we rethink our approach to domestic violence based on the fact that a traumatic bond is occurring and that the bond itself must be taken into consideration and dealt with.

For more information contact VJC Inc for a copy of the book Traumatic Bonding and the Development of the Stockholm Syndrome in Battered Women.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Why Do They Stay? Traumatic Bonding

Traumatic bonding may be defined as the development of strong emotional ties between two persons, with one person intermittently harassing, beating, abusing, or intimidating the other.

There are two common features in the structure of trauma bonded relationships:

1. The existence of a power imbalance, wherin the maltreated person perceives him/herself to be dominated by the other person.

2. The intermittent nature of the abuse.


Power Imbalance

Social psychologists have found that unequal power relationships can become increasingly unbalanced over time. As the power imbalance magnifies, the victim feels more negative in her self-appraisal, more incapable of fending for herself, and more dependent on the abuser. This cycle of dependency and lowered self-esteem repeats itself over and over and eventually creates a strong effective (emotional) bond to the abuser.

At the same time, the abuser will develop an overgeneralized sense of his own power which masks the extent to which he is dependent on the victim to maintain his self-image. This sense of power rests on his ability to maintain absolute control in the relationship. If the roles that maintain this sense of power are disturbed, the masked dependency of the abuser on the victim is suddenly made obvious.

One example of this sudden reversal of power is the desperate control attempts made by the abandoned battering husband to bring his wife back into the relationship through threats and/or intimidation.

Intermittent Abuse:

When physical abuse is administered at intermittent intervals (random times) and when it is intersperced with permissive and friendly contact, the phenomenon of traumatic bonding seems most powerful.

The three phases involved in the cycle of violence (tension building, battering and "honeymoon") provide a prime example of intermittent reinforcement. The unpredictable duration and severity of each phase serve to keep the victim off balance and in hopes of change. The "honeymoon" phase is an integral part of traumatic bonding. It is this phase that allows the victim to experience calm and loving feelings from the abuser and therefore strengthens her emotional attachment.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME THEORY
Stockholm Syndrome primarily develops under the following conditions:

Victim perceives the abuser as a threat to her survival, physically or psychologically.

Victim perceives the abuser as showing her some kindness, however small.

Victim is kept isolated from others.

Victim does not perceive a way to escape from the abuser.

Victim focuses on the abuser's needs.

Victim sees world from abuser's perspective.

Victim perceives those trying to help her as the "bad guys" and the abuser as the "good guys."

Victim finds it difficult to leave the abuser even when it is OK to do so.

Victim fears the abuser will come back to get her, even if he is dead or in prison.

Victim shows signs of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) including depression, low self-esteem, anxiety reactions, paranoia and feelings of helplessness, and recurring nightmares and flashbacks.


http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/6537/abuse.html

http://pages.ivillage.com/cl-mizlizzy/recognizinganddealingwithdomesticabuse/id23.html

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