Sanctuary for the Abused
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Understanding personal boundaries is the single most important thing you can do to improve your relationships immediately. This is an explanation and definition of the concept of personal boundaries.
You've heard people say "He's so refined." We think of refined people as having a great deal of "class." What they have if they really are refined is a very refined - a detailed and accurate - understanding of boundaries - or where their rights end and another's begin. Put simply, people who have exceptionally good manners have a much better understanding of personal boundaries than people who don't. They are a pleasure to be around because they have respect for your emotional and physical space. They don't touch you without permission, they don't try to "define" you or make remarks about you or your life or being.
To begin to get a grasp on the concept of boundaries let's start with physical boundaries of each human being.
We can view a human being as having a space around him of about, say, a foot. This is his comfort zone. Step inside this and he is likely to become uncomfortable and step back. This is his physical boundary: his body combined with the space he needs from you to feel comfortable. The size of everyone's physical boundaries are different. Latin Americans have a much smaller comfort zone, they like to talk "in your face."
Stepping inside that comfort zone deliberately, if you know it makes the person feel uncomfortable, is called a boundaries violation, or transgression. You have quite literally "gone over the line."
Most people will get frightened to one degree or another if you violate their physical boundaries. Abuse, by definition, is "boundaries violations." Deliberately stepping inside one's comfort zone, making someone uncomfortable and/or feel threatened, therefore, is defined as physical abuse.
At night, the physical comfort zone of a woman widens considerably, to perhaps yards and yards. If a man walks behind her too closely she will likely feel threatened and may call the police. He has every legal "right" to walk so closely, but "refined" people will understand intuitively that a woman's physical boundaries and her comfort zone are different at night and in unsafe areas, and will respect this and keep a distance, "hang back" just to be respectful.
If you touch a person without permission technically that, too, is a boundaries violation, regardless of how affectionate you intended the gesture to be. Some people don't mind this type of physical boundaries intrusion from a family member but most people feel uncomfortable about it when it comes from anyone else. They may say nothing, but if they do reproach you, know that you are, indeed, at fault. As mother used to say, "Keep your hands to yourself unless invited."
Hugging someone without permission is a boundaries violation, too - a deliberate invasion of that person's personal space. We do it all the time, don't we? It's widely accepted and encouraged. But be warned: many people don't like it, they may avoid you or reproach you and again: it's not your intent that matters, it's the effect the gesture has on the receiver. It technically is a boundaries violation: we have no right to touch another person without their permission.
Obviously, hitting or harming a person's body is a serious boundaries violation and constitutes serious physical abuse.
Becoming aware of people's physical boundaries is an important first step to ending all abusive behavior.
People also have emotional boundaries. This comprises everything about who they are: what they do, what they like, their past, their family and friends, their looks, their personality, where they went to school, the house they live in.
Making remarks about any of these things - anything that has to do with "who a person is" - is an emotional boundaries violation. Intentions don't matter when it comes to trespassing someone's emotional boundaries; only the effect the words had on the person matter.
"Refined" people steer clear of any personal remarks. Even compliments are judgments and judgments and diagnoses (about people's mental health, for example) are serious emotional boundaries violations.
Any remarks that start with "You " are probably trespassing on someone's emotional boundaries. A man in an elevator once said to a stranger, "You should wear short skirts." He may have thought that was nice, he wasn't too "refined". To the woman it felt invasive, personal, like it reduced her personhood to nothing but body parts, it attempted to "define" her by telling her something she "should" be doing with her life and therefore felt controlling. In fact, it was all of these, whether he was consciously aware of it or not. He was, as we say, "out of line."
Language is powerful, words can be destructive. Refining the language you use, is a very important part of learning to respect other people's boundaries.
Boundaries and Family Members
Boundaries tend to be more lax among family members - but, really, should they be? Unless we are asked to comment on something that falls within someone's personal emotional boundaries, we are trespassing on their territory and risk doing emotional damage and causing relationship problems and conflicts when we do. Remember: it doesn't matter what your intention was. If you trespass someone's boundaries they have a right to be upset.
The home is probably the MOST important place to exercise a healthy respect of boundaries. So much of our happiness depends on the smooth functioning of these relationships.
Boundaries and Manipulation and Control
Emotional boundaries violations are verbal and emotional abuse. You can emotionally abuse without OVERTLY trespassing a boundary. In fact, very quiet attempts to manipulate someone are also violations - these are attempts to control someone, someone's emotions or behavior, and therefore constitute "stepping over the line".
"Mind your own business."
"Keep your words to yourself."
"Stay on your side of the road."
"Don't say a word until you've walked in his shoes."
These old sayings are the best things you can do for your relationships.
And respecting the boundaries of others has the added benefit of making you a much more "refined" person. :-)
You may reprint/reproduce any of these provided you include the entire copy, especially this credit.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
What Victims Call the "DV-PASS-THE-BUCK"
The title of this post describes the one and only process domestic violence organizations/ agencies/ programs seem to use to send victims in, what I call, the "DV run around".
In the past year of trying to reach out and get assistance from state funded DV organizations set up to 'help victims', I have first been ignored, then referred to someone else, then that person eventually passes the buck and sends me in a vicious circle, unable to assist me, never really addressing my issues.
One clear example I can give in my situation is with the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. This agency is a state run office that assists victims and provides referrals. In the past 7 months I have been in contact with a representative from the office who has either ignored my questions, passed me off to someone else who could not assist me in my county, or answered questions I did not ask to change the subject and avoid certain conversations.
The problem is, I am already used to being passed off as a victim of DV, I am used to being ignored, referred to places I already know cannot assist me, and I am used to someone passing the buck, I am used to this circle of re-victimization.
Unfortunately, this is common among DV agencies, the OPDV is not the only organization to blame. Each and every agency is well stocked with pamphlets, they are armed with every last hotline you can think of, they can list shelters off the tops of their heads for victims to run to, they are well versed in safety plans, and exit plans, and warning signs of abuse, and they have great advice like "fill out a Crime Victims Board application!", but to this day, only one small organization has provided me with actual funds so that I could seek medical treatments.
Being a victim of domestic violence, and also an advocate for DV reform at the same time, brings me to a point where I must ask a question. What are these offices providing, what are these organizations providing, besides information I can easily obtain through a simple Internet search?
From being in contact with the Office for the Prevention of DV for 7 months, I have found that most of the work day on their end seems to be an evasion of issues through long email messages back to me. I find this to be true with Coalitions and other DV organizations that "claim" to help innocent victims of DV as well, no one is getting this right.
No one is paying attention to the truth, which is, DV organizations and programs are failing victims.
It's a powerful statement, but from my experience, which has been like pulling teeth, I find this statement to be true. And even when I address this exact issue with DV organizations/ programs that have failed me, they evade the truth and write around my question, again wasting my time and hoping I go away.
When are DV organizations going to stop ignoring, stop referring, stop passing the buck because it's easy?
When are DV organizations going to help victims, by using funding for the victims and not to fund these positions that are unnecessary and not helpful?
I don't need someone listing shelters out of a phone book, giving me hotlines numbers, referring me to agencies that aren't prepared to help me. I need real people helping me tackle real problems, I need real advocates that have one primary goal, which is to stop passing the buck and assist a victim from start to finish.
We are victims and we need help from those who claim to assist, those who are getting paid to help us from start to finish, those who are in positions to make a difference. This process must end, referrals must end, and people from DV organizations must step up and follow up.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THIS ARTICLE & PASS IT ON!!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Poison: Verbal Abuse
"you fat ... ugly ... stupid ... moron ... c**t ... b***h ... whore... lazy ... skank ... slut ... idiot ... crazy ... psycho" (please add every obscene word you can think of here, in case I left any out).
"Shut your f**king mouth" (add any and every other way to tell another person to shut up here)
"No one in the entire world is interested in anything you think or say"
"I can't believe someone so "smart" can be so f***ing stupid"
"worthless piece of sh*t"
"no one would touch you..."
"you're a waste of human space..."
"you don't deserve to be: happy ... to live ... to have a child ... to go to school ..."
"don't you have any dreams??"
"she/he likes phone sex/ swinging/ kinky sex" (said to strangers)
"you got sick/ disabled/ injured on purpose to upset me"
"you have no idea what real work is"
"you used me & this marriage to get what you want"
"the marriage was a set up on your part, right?"
"you are a lousy mother"
"you are a sex maniac"
"you stink in bed..."
"she's obsessed with me... she's a stalker"
"I never loved you"
"I never said that"
"She's a scorned woman/ he's just jealous"
"That never happened"
"She's out to ruin my life..."
Do you think that a NORMAL, RATIONAL PERSON
Don't believe it!
Monday, January 16, 2017
Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist
Publisher: Eggshells Press;
by William A. Eddy, forward by Mike Roe
SPLITTING is designed for anyone facing a high conflict divorce, whether or not your spouse meets the criteria for a Borderline or Narcissistic Personality. Its explanations of WHAT TO EXPECT in Family Court and WHAT TO DO to protect yourself and your children, can be used by anyone, including your attorney, your therapist, your family and others involved in your case.
I wrote SPLITTING after ten years as a divorce attorney representing many fathers (and mothers) whose spouses appeared to have Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders or traits. Since I had been a therapist for the previous decade, I recognized these personality problems -- but I did not realize at first how successful they can be at manipulating and confusing legal professionals.
Rather than being rational and protective, the Family Court process can be very unpredictable and inadvertently encourages false allegations, aggressive and sometimes violent behavior, and intense blaming of the Non-BP or Non-NP spouse. Many Nons have been unable to protect themselves and their children from abuse by the BP or NP, and instead have found themselves experiencing restraining orders, supervised visitation, financial sanctions and even incarceration, because the courts are often more persuaded by the intense emotions and blaming behavior of a Borderline or Narcissist, than by your honest presentation of the facts. I call them "Persuasive Blamers."
This book explains how the Family Court process interacts with these Persuasive Blamers, and summarizes the lessons I have learned, including: the importance of careful preparations before announcing the divorce, using therapists and experts, avoiding short hearings on important issues, fighting hard at the beginning rather than trying to fix bad decisions later, and how to work most effectively with your attorney.
--William A. Eddy, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Family Law Specialist
Only Available for Order by Clicking Book Image Above
Sunday, January 15, 2017
BLAMING THE VICTIM
by Kathy Krajco
The first thing the victims of narcissists need to know is that they are not to blame.
Not one bit.
In other words, he didn't get mad because dinner was was late. She didn't blow up because you are "too this" or "too that." You didn't "ask for it" by speaking up and saying that you deserved some attention and respect.
The narcissist attacked you just because you are there, period. Don't you have a right to be there?
Let's get real. Narcissists think they have a right to punish you just for being the way you are. Think, don't you have the right to be the way you are? Do you have to be some character in the narcissist's fiction that conforms to his or her specifications?
Does that make any sense? That's as hateful as the crime against humanity of attacking people just for being a certain KIND or nationality.
The narcissist attacks because he or she is a predator, period. Predators attack any vulnerable prey that crosses their sights, period. Therefore, the prey is NEVER the one bit to blame.
It would make as much sense to blame a sheep for getting attacked by a wolf. So what if the wolf says, "I attacked her because she is an obnoxious sheep!" What idiot falls for that line? Yet narcissist sympathizers are doing precisely this and are therefore being irrational.
The narcissist attacked just to do it, and he or she attacks any prey they have some unfair advantage over. They never pick a fair fight. They are bullies, period.
They do it to vaunt themselves on others. It gives them a high. Like as in a high from a hit on drug.
Does this mean you are a saint? Of course not. Does it mean you have never said or done anything in an argument with a narcissist that you should regret? Of course not.
You are like a bank teller who gets shot in a holdup. You are totally innocent of getting shot. Don't let the sloppy thinkers like narcissists and their sympathizers convince you that you are to blame because you were rude, or because you were embezzling, or because you are a drug addict. All that is irrelevant TO HIM SHOOTING YOU.
Of course you should change those things about yourself, but the "intellectual" clowns who make out your character flaws as justifying abuse of you are complete idiots unable to see the relationship between cause and effect.
Being late with dinner is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you. Being "too this" or "too that" for his taste is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you. Demanding decent and respectful treatment is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you.
I don't care how "threatened" any of that makes the poor, twisted narcissist feel. His perverted feelings are HIS problem, not yours. The Narcissist will never run out of twisted excuses to irrationalize his attacks on you, so get off the guilt trip. His perversity is not YOUR vice.
Narcissists attack you just to do it. You are therefore 100% innocent of your victimization. Blow off this absurd "It takes two to Tango" crap.
Doubtless, you will discover that there are certain things you should stop doing. Good. Now you wise up and stop being manipulated in ways that play right into the narcissist's hands. Now you cannot be victimized.
THIS is how you stop being a victim.
But foggy-headed idiots (like those espousing the ridiculous co-dependence theory) try to claim that you stop being a victim by pretending that you have never been made one. That's crazy.
That is magical thinking, like the narcissist's. You HAVE been made a victim. That's a FACT, like it or not. And "victim" is not a dirty word. Though being a victim is nothing to aspire to and is something to avoid, being a victim is NOT a sin. It is nothing to be ashamed of. To the contrary, the most innocent are the most unsuspecting and most easily victimized ... until they have learned the hard way not to assume that other people are good. And these foggy-headed idiots who blame the victim should be able to see that. (Maybe if they stopped thinking in buzzword-laden slogans, like robots, they would.)
You stop being a victim by wising up so that you are never again victimized. It requires nothing beyond COMMON SENSE to realize that.
In some cases, the narcissist has stolen something of value from you, like your job or reputation - something you have every right to get back from the damned thief. You stop being a victim when you win justice and get it back, period.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Why the Victim Stays
Of more serious injury or death
Of trying to make it on her own
Of having a failed marriage
Traditional responsibility for the home rests with the wife (e.g., if she had been a better cook.)
Social stigma, "It's not supposed to happen in families like mine!"
Every time abuser apologizes, the victim wants to believe.
When abuser isn't being abusive, abuser is nice.
If victim could be a better spouse or partner, maybe victim could control abuser's violence.
Abuser controls the money. The checking account and credit cards are in abuser's name only.
The victim may not have a job.
Abuser gives victim an allowance and demands receipts for everything spent.
5. DEPENDENCE ON BATTERER
The more dependent a batterer makes the victim, the less likely the victim will leave.
Batterer may force the victim to give up working outside the home.
Batterer may not allow the victim to go to school.
Batterer may sell or disable the victim's car.
Batterer may isolate the victim from family and friends.
Batterer may disable or remove phones from the house when he is leaving the house.
The victim wants the children to have two parents.
The victim both stays and leaves because of children.
A batterer may threaten or abuse the children as a means of intimidating and controlling the victim's behavior.
People who choose not to report violence may not realize that they risk losing custody of their children.
Abused children may remain silent out of fear that the batterer will retaliate and further abuse their mother, themselves, or their siblings.
Child welfare agencies and domestic violence services routinely function along parallel tracks with no coordination. At times they are in conflict with each other, as child welfare agencies' commitment to keeping victims safe. In the extreme, victims whose children have been abused may be taken to court for failing to protect their children, with no investigation into whether the person may have been abused.
Victim may not stop loving the batterer despite the abuse.
Battering doesn't usually occur every day. About 1 in 5 women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been a victim of a series of at least 3 assaults in the last 6 months. Batterers can at times be very loving and caring, lavishing gifts on the victim, writing personal notes and poems, or doing other things that are very romantic.
8. FAMILY PRESSURE
Lack of family support
"You made your bed, now lie in it."
9. RELIGIOUS REASONS
Marriage is "for better or for worse."
Batterers sometimes use scriptures to justify their actions.
Clergy may be misinformed about the phenomenon of domestic violence or child abuse and may inadvertently send a signal to abused women and children that they should endure the abuse to protect another family member or save the marriage.
10. VICTIMS IN RURAL AREAS
Referral services may be located in towns or cities miles from home.
Victims may be reluctant to make long-distance phone calls that will be listed on the monthly bill.
Public transportation is scarce.
Victims may fear that their batterer will check the mileage on vehicles.
Police officers are often miles from the scene of abuse, and it may take hours for them to respond.
Families residing in rural move less frequently, often staying in the same county, or even the same house, for generations. Physical safety means leaving behind family, friends, and all that is familiar.
Because some adults and children seldom leave the immediate communities in which they live, they may not know that domestic violence and child abuse are crimes.
Close relationships among community members may lead victims and children to seek assistance from family members or friends rather than from police, advocates, or other services. Orders of protection may be issued only at courthouses during limited hours on specified days of the week.
Circuit-riding prosecutors and judges who try and hear cases throughout the district or state may only be available periodically.
Friday, January 13, 2017
How Language is Used to Abuse
"Where the hell do you get off tellin' me your mama said I'm not what you need. If she knows it all, that's where you need to be" --Toni Braxton
If you are still in an Abusive relationship you probably have millions of things running through your head right now. Hopefully, you've left him and you're gaining back your clarity of mind.
Learning how an Abuser uses language to attack and dismantle your self worth can protect you from dating an Abuser again. An Abuser uses language early in the relationship to create or worsen your self esteem issues. His tactics get more devious as time goes on. If you're still seeing one of these guys, get out now. The longer you wait, the harder it is to repair yourself.
Some sites give advice on how to respond to abusive language. I do not. I believe all abusive language should be avoided by leaving the situation. In my mind, there is no reason to argue with an abuser, because there's really no way to win other than to say, "This is not acceptable. If you do it again, I am leaving." When he does it again and he will, leave and stay gone.
An Abuser Uses Language to:
- Create self doubt.
- Create dependency on him and his perception.
- Coerce you into questioning reality. ("crazy making")
- Attempt to make you feel small.
- Convince you your friends are untrustworthy.
- To bring you to tears.
- Ultimately turn your back on your world entirely.
Hallmarks of Abusive Language:
* Outright Language such as name-calling, put-downs or verbal assaults.
(yelling, "Slut!" or "You're a selfish whore!")
* Throwing your past at you.
("Remember when you f*cked up?" or "I can't believe you used to..." or "You should feel lucky I'd even date someone who...")
* Using others as validation for the Abuse.
("You're the dirt on his shoe." or "Your late grandfather would sure hate to see the liar you turned out to be." or "None of your friends care about you.")
* Using imagined others to validate the abuse by using "we", "they" and "everybody."
("Everybody thinks you're pathetic." or "We don't think this conversation is important.")
* Lies that directly challenge what you know to be true.
("You don't care about me." or "You're selfish." or "I was not at the bar last night." or "I never did/ said that" or "that never happened" or "Of course I love you, care about you.")
* Lies about you to friends/family.
("I told my grandmother you cheated on me." or "I told my mother you said..." or "I told everyone you...")
* Usually hints, never asks for information, avoids answering questions. Forces information from you.
("I'm supposed to answer that when you're just a lousy..." or "I know what you did last night. My friends keep tabs on you.")
* Constantly tries to threaten you into doing degrading things to "prove" your worth.
(Says he'll leave if you don't swear on a Bible or take a lie detector test)
* Constantly threatens to leave, hurt you or someone you care about.
("You wait until I find him. He'll never speak to you again." or "Open your mouth again. I dare you." or "If you cry. I'm leaving.")
Once an Abuser has demoralized you, there is nothing you can do to restore your relationship to the false glory it was in the beginning.
Using language, the Abuser tears you apart slowly, until you are so hurt and shattered you don't know which way is up or down.
Seek help and you'll discover your soul, mind and heart have been ravaged by a force stronger than even the toughest of women; the monster rotting the Abuser from the inside out. It is not your job to heal him. It is your job to heal yourself, especially if you have children who need a whole mother.
I say this often, it is never the victim's fault she was Abused, but now that your eyes are open and you realize you are being abused, it is your choice to stay or leave.
For your sake I hope you leave and never, ever look back.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
By John Howard Prin
From ages eleven to fifty-one I lived two parallel existences. Based solely on outward appearances, I looked normal, made a good impression, and was a high-functioning person. The volcanic drama of my hidden addictive life, however, and the ways it gained control over me, made me a Secret Keeper. It also made me ill.
My double life flourished long before I took my first mood-altering drug and it persisted well after I'd established a life of recovery based on abstinence. My experience in the sordid, ugly, slippery domain of double-mindedness was a detour, but I've discovered I was hardly alone. Indeed, I was among the millions of Americans who are secretly addicted and still function in their jobs, in their homes, and with their families.
At the root of double-mindedness—the constant shifting back and forth between two opposing mindsets, "normal-on-the-outside" and "abnormal-on-the-inside" — is addiction. For me, daily life became a burdensome struggle that led to a breakdown, to bottoming out. For 40 years I lived in two worlds, ricocheting between public respectability and private delinquency. They were years I would never choose to repeat, although they taught me invaluable lessons that eventually led me to the joys of whole-mindedness.
Today, as an addictions counselor, I often sit in my office or in group sessions and hear stories from clients who tell of their double lives. Unlike those who practice their addictions openly—such as heroin or crack addicts on the streets—the clients I counsel are sabotaged by their hidden double lives. They have ended up hating their split reality and doing harm to themselves or others.
Consider the hard-working mother with three kids who hides bottles of vodka in the laundry room, then binges when the kids are at school. Or the successful defense attorney who litigates high-profile cases in court by day but devours pornography alone at night to settle his nerves. Occasionally these sufferers show up at a counselor's office, deep into medicating the agony of splintered lives and highly opposing realities within their turn bodies, minds, and souls.
Secrets lead to destructive, violent living
Keeping secrets can make us neurotic. Secrets can be so toxic that a person is driven to self destructive and insane acts. Then come the addictions, the violence, the lying and alibis ... even suicide.
Everyone keeps secrets to one degree or another, often starting with fairly innocuous ones. A young student sneaks a peek at her classmate's test answers and gets a better grade—but tells nobody. An underage driver takes his dad's car out for a joy ride and returns it home safely-but never tells anybody.
Only the Secret Keeper knows what happened. Nobody's harmed. Not really. But keeping secrets creates a guilt pocket, a place where dark knowings accumulate.
Secrets are harmful when they blur our judgment to the point where we start living a double life. Over time, a double life severs us from those we love. It splits us into two personalities: a public, acceptable person and a private, unworthy one. Ultimately, it isolates "me" from "myself." It commonly means acting one way (smiling or cooperating) while feeling another (angry or frustrated). An entrenched double life, resulting from a pattern of secret choices an individual makes for long periods of time, inevitably makes even the best person sick. Numerous normal appearing people are card-carrying Secret Keepers.
A mother to hate and to hide from
One of these was my normal-appearing mother. An attractive and ambitious lady, Ellen Prin made sure her social graces radiated in public. Anyone meeting her could never have guessed she would be anything but charming. In private, though, she was hyper and anxious. Over the years, she went crazy from taking too many prescription drugs. Because my dad was a popular entertainer, it meant he was away from home day and night, six days a week, 50 weeks a year. Dad's absences wore her down. The lonelier she became, the more her pill bottles filled up the medicine cabinet.
When I was eleven, she made an announcement that changed my life. My twin brother, Dave, and I had just crawled under the covers and turned out the lights. Mom came into our bedroom and sat quietly on the edge of our bed. "Boys, I have exciting news. We're moving to a big, new house!" She told us how her dream house would be nestled on the shore of beautiful lakeshore property for all the world to see. Both Dave and I pleaded to stay where we belonged, not go to some unfamiliar suburb, but it became obvious that we were helpless to prevent an already adult-made decision.
Days later we all visited the natural wild beauty of the lake property. Before Dave and I, and our older brother Tommy, could run off and start playing, Mom ordered us to move a grove of birch trees 500 yards to the lake shore, where she would enjoy viewing them someday through the then imaginary picture window. At 10:00 in the morning we started.
The sunny day became hot and we sweated in our T-shirts as we hauled the heavy, sloshing pails of lake water, uprooted dozens of the younger trees, put them in wheelbarrows, dug deep holes, and replanted them—all because "Mom said so." We lifted, we carried, we worked until dark. At last we dropped into our beds in our "real" home and gazed at one another with sunken eyes. Our doubts about the move had materialized and we nursed our misery.
From that day on my double-mindedness became a pattern: outwardly I showed respect for Mom; inwardly I seethed with smoldering anger toward her. I held this secret inside me and began doing what came to be a habit, acting one way while feeling another. My insides slowly stopped matching my outsides.
Over time Mom's projects for us boys multiplied, accompanied by her increasingly bossy orders, and we realized to our chagrin that the house came before anything. Our free time for homework from school classes took a back seat to working for her: tiling floors, painting bedrooms, building shelves, planting flowerbeds. After school. Weekends. Holidays. Even meals hardly mattered; we boys fixed our own while she often pouted.
Her obsessions kindled hatred in me, deep hatred. Life became warped, upside down. Our needs as children were neglected and subordinated to meet hers. School became a refuge, a safe place where the bells announced a sane, predictable world. Tommy, Dave, and I kept the secrets of our home life to ourselves.
Those years of upside-down priorities overwhelmed my ability to cope and led to escapist Secret-KeepingSM behaviors. Dave and I eventually tired of complaining to one another and started playing a new game called "Getting Lost." Evading Mom before she could trap us after school, we ran from the house and stayed out for hours, sometimes until dark. We knew we'd face her wrath when we got home, but soon we became numb to her shrill scoldings.
I struggled to reconcile my love for her with the intense, clashing tensions I harbored toward her in my private world. By my sophomore year in high school, I had to keep buried the biggest secret of all: my thoughts of killing Mom.
For the next several years, I operated at an even deeper level of duality that took great amounts of energy and led eventually to a stomach ulcer, nail-biting, high blood pressure, paralyzing headaches, and alcohol/drug abuse.
Signs of Secret-Keeping
Perhaps my story strikes a familiar chord with you. Maybe you had similar experiences when you were growing up. As I learned, a secret life can start long before addiction to mood-altering chemicals or activities.
If you take a moment to revisit your childhood, you may find evidence of secret keeping. Look for signs such as these in your life, then and now:
• Secret-Keeping depends on acting one way while feeling another—your insides gradually no longer match your outsides.
• Skewed priorities imposed on children set up the conditions for secret lives to fester and grow, at times leading to grossly distorted emotions like hatred or homicidal urges.
• A secret life demands high levels of calculation and hair-splitting between two worlds, especially escaping from the source of pain.
• Secret lives are learned and may take the form of stealing hours away from "reality" by isolating oneself geographically or psychologically from persons we are meant to connect with.
Are you one of these people, too? Perhaps everyone battles the compulsion of double-mindedness to some degree in their lives. There are ways to unlearn secret keeping habits, and to free oneself of the resulting dysfunctions. A great way to start is by attending a good 12 Step group and meeting folks like yourself. You may also wish to seek professional help.
The simple truth? We are as sick as our secrets ... but there's hope!
John Prin works as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor at a treatment center in the Twin Cities. You are invited to send your comments, questions, or insights to him at John@JohnPrin.com or to call him at 952-941-1870. (If you use your real name, your confidentiality will be protected).
This article appeared in The Phoenix, June 2001
You can visit Mr. Prin's TERRIFIC website HERE
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
The Sociopath or Narcissist At Play
Despite common belief, a cyberpath is not always very easily identified, especially since you cannot see the person "in person." The more clever, the more intelligent the cyberpath is, the more you will not become aware of what you are dealing with, until it is too late.
What he (the psychopath) gets he spoils and wastes...
A psychopath, in this instance, the cyberpath, is merely looking for a way to fill in his time with empty exploits. They are highly narcissistic, and the internet provides fodder for them. I have known various cyberpaths, and they move from victim to victim, seeking people to feed their endless need for narcissism. When you've found them out, or they tire of you, they move on to the next victim, or target for narcissistic supply.
Dominance and power are recurring themes in the social relations of psychopaths.
Dominance, power, and having followers are very important to the cyberpath's need for total adulation and control. Cyberpaths absolutely bask in adulation, many using pity, in a most conniving way, to get the attention that they need. Sometimes the way a cyberpath asserts his control is done subtly.
The psychopath often plays jokes and tricks on others to humiliate them or to assert dominance.
Sadly, many are mistaken about the typical cyberpath. A cyberpath is not always looking for money or sex, quite often, he or she is merely interested in taking you along for a ride. I also do not believe that psychopaths/cyberpaths always know that they are hurting you. A psychopath behaves the same way with everyone. Most of them take pleasure merely in playing the rouse, and not much else. A psychopath has no interest in your inner emotional state because they themselves have no empathy. They merely enjoy "pulling one over" on people.
And to put rest to another common myth, very few psychopaths are stalkers, because they have no true emotional connections to anybody. They simply move on to another person who piques their interests. A psychopath cannot truly love and therefore cannot become obsessed with another individual. They are too egocentric, narcissistic, and lack emotional connection to any other human being.
The central theme of Don Juan's (the psychopaths's) seductions is not even the sexual enjoyment, but playing the trick... While he gives no real love, though he is quite capable of inspiring love of sometimes fanatical degree in others...
Again, this quote from Gordon Bank's work, "Don Juan as Psychopath," reveals that the cyberpath is mostly interested in playing tricks with his prey, almost in a playful way. To the cyberpath, such things are not really big deal, while for the victim, however, it becomes a rather big issue indeed.
Many of the victims of cyberpaths enter therapy as a result of this. Many victims believe themselves to be flawed after an experience with a cyberpath. Some of them are harrassed by the family and friends of the cyberpath, which makes matters worse.
He is motivated primarily by the need to dominate and humiliate either the person he is 'taking' or, very often someone connected to another person with whom he is involved.
Cyberpaths relish in another's humiliation, which may appear to us as a certain, perverse quality. They take pleasure in what we find obscene, because they are not like other people, they have no true connection to anybody, and are incapable of feeling real love. Messing with another person's emotions and life is merely a way to pass the time, pulling one over on you is fun and enjoyable.
Most of the crimes psychopaths commit, tend to be "crimes of the heart" and/or "casual cruelty", they are cruel, manipulative people who leave a trail of broken hearts and often broken lives behind them.
Again, most cyberpaths are common internet liars and predators. They are rampant on every single online dating site. Do not be fooled by someone who tells you that there is such a thing as a "harmless liar." A liar is never harmless. A person who lies should never be trusted, and once you find out they've lied to you even once, it's time to break it off.
Once having drained what they can from one source, they turn to others to exploit, bleed, and then cast aside; their pleasure in the misfortune of others is unquenchable. People are used as a means to an end; they are to be subordinated and demeaned ...the pleasure they gain from their ruse often flags once the rewards of deceit have been achieved.
Before long, their true unreliability may be revealed as they "stop working at" their deception or as their need grows to let others know how clever and cunning they have been
A cyberpath may keep you hooked for as long as they need your narcissistic supply. Once you start getting "wise" to them, however, or once he or she begins to tire of you and find that your narcissistic supply is becoming inadequate, you will soon find out, through some subtle manuevers, that your absolutely "perfect" future mate is nothing but a charade.
Some of these con men also relish in playing more expansive games. Once you have fallen in love with him and accepted a marriage proposal, it is not uncommon for this type to sudddenly send an email explaining that he is dying of an incurable disease or that he is an FBI agent and has to move to another country, therefore ending all contact with you. I have heard of this happening to many women.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The Man Vanishes or No Closure
More and more men are perfecting an infuriating alternative to the painful, drawn-out breakup: the disappearing act.
By Amy Sohn
Not long ago, I dated a guy who had a habit of calling from pay phones. He said cell phones were rude and caused brain cancer, and he’d call from loud street corners to murmur intimate things into my ear. One night, I was sitting at home thinking about him when the phone rang. I heard horns blaring. “Dan?” I purred.
“How’ve you been?” he said. We started catching up, and just as I asked him when he wanted to get together, his money ran out. The operator said to insert another dime. “I’m not sure I have one!” he shouted, and then he was gone. I waited a few minutes, calculating the amount of time it would take him to run into a bodega and get change. After five minutes, I decided the first bodega wouldn’t give change so he’d had to walk a few more blocks to a restaurant or a store. A half-hour passed. Then a few hours. After three days, I broke down and left him a message, saying I hoped he hadn’t been hit by a truck. He called back to say his ex-girlfriend had moved back in with him and not to call again. I realized then that she might have moved in weeks before, and that his final pay-phone call had been his cowardly attempt to wriggle out of my life without an official breakup talk. He’d been trying to pull one of the most insidious and common New York City dating practices: a fadeaway.
With the rise of Internet dating has come a new carelessness about dating etiquette, and serial daters are increasingly choosing to beg out of mediocre relationships by cutting off all contact. Generally, it’s the man who pulls the fadeaway, since the onus is usually on him to call. And though most fadeaway victims agree that it’s acceptable after a few dates, what’s surprising is just how many people end long-term relationships this way. It seems the breakup talk is a thing of the past.
Bryan, a marketing executive, 35, is one recent victim: “Last fall, I met this guy out at a bar, and we totally hit it off. He said he had just gotten over a relationship and didn’t want to get in anything serious. I was like, ‘Fine.’ We went out all of September, he went away in October, and we lost a little momentum. Then Thanksgiving came, we each went home and came back, and he would not return my phone call. I was like, ‘You rat bastard! I cannot believe you are trying to do a fadeaway after two months!’ I wrote this scathing e-mail a page long. Of course I received no response.”
He says that in any dating situation, even a short-term one, he would always prefer a courtesy call. “If you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to say, ‘I’m not interested.’ Whatever their reasons are, they can keep them to themselves. But if someone doesn’t call, I’m left in this void that leaves me open to too much speculation. I become more self-critical.”
Heather, 31, who’s in magazine marketing, has had more than a few guys pull fadeaways on her—and says they’re a by-product of an overall lack of courtesy: “People don’t care. It’s a huge problem, especially in this city. It’s so bad that I’m actually waiting for a fadeaway right now. I’ve been on five dates with this guy, and I’m starting to feel like I’m never going to hear from him again. That would be awful, but I’m starting to expect it because it’s happened so often.”
“If you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to say ‘I’m not interested,’ ” says one fadeaway victim.
Chris London, a 41-year-old lawyer, says he’s tried honesty—and it backfired: “I got set up with a friend of a friend, and almost immediately I knew that I didn’t want to sleep with her. We had some drinks and I dropped her off without trying anything. Later, I called her and she said, ‘Do you want to get together again?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t really have a love connection, but I had a really good time with you.’ She said, ‘So let me get this right. You’re fucking calling me because you don’t want to go out? I don’t need any more friends.’ ”
These days, he’s not sure which approach is best: disclosure or avoidance. “In either case, they could be upset,” he says. “When you tell a woman there’s no chemistry, it means ‘I don’t find you attractive.’ Women don’t want to hear that. In some cases, leaving them in the dark is better. Then they can say ‘He’s a player’ and forget about it.”
Disappearing acts may be more common nowadays because in the age of Internet dating, people often get a false sense of intimacy through e-mail before they even meet. The woman who’s thrilled that Kazooguy is so hot in person may not know that he’s furious she posted such an outdated picture.
Some fadeaways happen because the two people really do have an intense connection, and then one of them reflects on it and gets scared. The same guy who asks you to spend the weekend with him on the second date is almost guaranteed to fall off the face of the planet before you ever reach the third. (This means you, Sullivan County Share House Boy.)
Those seeking to avoid fadeaways had better not sleep with a paramour early on, says Anastasia, a writer, 31: “If you sleep with the guy immediately, you almost have to assume he’ll fade away.” Anastasia has had three guys pull fadeaways—all men she met online—and found it infuriating. “I think when a fadeaway really is bullshit is when people start alluding to things down the line,” she says. “I dated this guy who said things like ‘It would be so much fun to take a road trip together.’ We went out four or five times, and then he never showed up to this party I invited him to . . . If men knew how bananas it drove us, they wouldn’t just cut off contact. It’s like that Glenn Close line: ‘I will not be ignored.’ ”
So what’s the mature alternative to disappearing? Anastasia thinks it’s e-mail. “E-mail is cowardly, but it’s so much better than nothing,” she says.
She is now seeing a man she met through mutual friends: “It was only when I started dating this guy who I didn’t meet online that the inconsistency stopped. He asked me out on dates and gave me no doubt about what he felt for me. I feel very lucky right now because he has behaved so well.” She pauses, as though trying to figure out what to make of it. “Maybe it all comes down to timing. Or maybe it’s because he’s Swedish.”