Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, April 24, 2015

Protective Order Violations

Stalking in Disguise?
From the Newsletter of the Stalking Resource Center, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 2004

Last winter, police found the bodies of a man and his girlfriend. The man had tracked his girlfriend to her cousin's house, broken down the door, shot her as she called 911, and then turned the gun on himself. Next to the woman's body, the police found a court order directing the murderer to have no contact with the victim. The killer had violated that order four times before murdering his victim.

Domestic violence victims often seek protective orders-court orders that direct individuals to refrain from specified conduct-to avoid future violence. In many cases, the court orders succeed in deterring the offenders. Yet abusers often defy the orders-placing victims at high risk for future violence.

Who Gets Protective Orders 
Research suggests that most victims seek orders of protection only after experiencing serious levels of victimization. Most women seeking protective orders have experienced physical assault; threats of harm or death; sexual abuse; threats with a weapon, stalking, and harassment; or assaults on their children.

1 Studies also show that victims usually seek protective orders only after long exposure to abuse.

2 Of the total number of victims of abuse, only a small percentage ever obtain protective orders-16.4 percent of rape victims, 17.1 percent of physical assault victims, and 36.6 percent of stalking victims.

Protective Order Violations 
Violations of protective orders are both common and often associated with significant danger to the victim. One two-year follow-up study of batterers found that almost one-half (48.8 percent) re-abused the victims after the issuance of a protective order.4 Stalking victims, in particular, report frequent violations. A 1998 National Institute of Justice study found that of stalking victims who seek protective orders, 69 percent of the women and 81 percent of the men said their stalker violated the order.5 And in approximately 21 percent of cases, violence and stalking escalate after the protective order is issued.6

Multiple Violations as Stalking

 "In cases with more than one violation of a protective order," says Sergeant Cari Graves, director of the Colorado Springs Police Department's Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT) program, "two things are evident. There is a clear ‘course of conduct' as defined in many stalking statutes. It also shows that the true intent of the perpetrator is to control and intimidate the victim despite the legal restraint placed on him by a judge." With violations of protective orders, the course of conduct may involve repeatedly following or harassing the victim or sometimes abusing another person-placing the victim in reasonable fear of harm. Repeated violations of protective orders, then, constitute stalking. "And even the first violation of a protective order may in fact be stalking," says Stalking Resource Center director Tracy Bahm, "because the original series of events that caused the victim to seek the court's protection may fit the legal definition of the crime."

Yet the connections between protection order violations and stalking violations-and the resulting danger to victims-are not always evident to law enforcement. One possible reason, as retired Lieutenant Mark Wynn of the Nashville Police Department points out, is that law enforcement officers often view protective orders "as a civil issue; something that is involved in divorce, custody or visitation," rather than a criminal matter. Studies show that even when states have mandatory arrest laws for violations of protective orders, law enforcement officers do not always arrest offenders who commit these violations. One study showed that only 44 percent of protective order violations resulted in arrest and that the likelihood of arrest decreased as the number of prior incidents increased.

Another reason these connections are not always clear is that law enforcement usually investigates one offense at a time and does not always look for a pattern of violations. "Law enforcement officers tend to view calls for service in a ‘snapshot' view," says Sergeant Graves. "A single violation of a protection order may seem to involve only a simple investigation and a possible arrest. But if the officer should dig deeper, continues Graves, "she might find that often the victim will disclose previously reported or unreported violations of the same order." In that context, the "single" violation becomes part of a more serious and threatening picture-stalking.

Overlooking the threat posed by protection order violations is unwise and dangerous, Wynn believes. Violations of civil protective orders are criminal offenses and, he says, often a signal to law enforcement "that something worse is about to happen. When offenders thumb their noses at the court, this is an indicator that you've got high lethality on your hands." For this reason some states, such as Florida, have added a provision to their stalking laws that defines more than one violation of a protective order as felony stalking.8

Implications for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors 
Experts agree that law enforcement must take protective order violations seriously. Supervisory Special Agent Eugene Rugala of the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, Virginia, says that "investigators should review protection order violations on a case-by-case basis," paying close attention to the context of the violations and the reason that the order was obtained. Rugala stresses that a pattern of violations can alert police about the perpetrator's intent and the threat of serious harm to the victim. And, he adds, "the presence of the order may even escalate the risk to some victims."

Because of the danger to victims, law enforcement should carefully track violations and consistently arrest violators. Departments that adopt these proactive strategies often notice a drop in homicides. In Orlando, Florida, for example, the Investigations Division of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, systematically tracks stalkers and protection order violators. The division "views all cases involving domestic violence and violations of protective orders as stalking and as potential homicides," says Lieutenant Kevin Behan. The department's well-trained, specialized "Stalking Team," equipped with a broad array of high-tech equipment, conducts surveillance and gains intelligence on stalkers (and suspected stalkers) and their activities. This approach has been effective, helping to reduce the overall rate of homicides related to domestic violence from 34 percent in 1998 to 21 percent in 2003.

Prosecutors who handle these cases should appreciate the dangers involved and take the appropriate precautions. They should obtain full criminal histories of offenders and examine the petitions for protective orders filed by victims, which often include vital details that investigations sometimes miss. Prosecutors should review all other reports of violations of the order as well as the underlying reports for domestic violence. Because protection order violators defy court orders, prosecutors also should seek high bail, or no bail, in these cases. They should charge stalking when possible and use the stalking laws to show judges and juries the entire context (i.e., stalker's previous pattern of conduct) for each violation. Prosecutors should also seek jail time to contain offenders and to deter future violations when possible.

Conclusion

Multiple violations of protective orders are stalking. Law enforcement and prosecutors who understand this connection are better equipped to investigate the context of violations, assess the danger, and prevent serious harm to stalking victims who have sought protective orders.

If you have further insights on the relationship between stalking and protection order violations, the Stalking Resource Center would like to hear from you. Please contact us at src@ncvc.org
.

Endnotes

1 Carol Jordon, "Intimate Partner Violence and the Justice System: An Examination of the Interface," Journal of Interpersonal Violence Vol. 19, No.12 (December 2004): 1423.

2 Ibid., 1424.

3 Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence , (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, 2000), NCJ 181867.

4 A.R. Klein, "Re-abuse in a Population of Court-restrained Male Batterers: Why Restraining Orders Don't Work," in E. Buzawa and C. Buzawa, eds., Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work?, (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996), 192-213.

5 Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey , (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC, 1998).

6 B. Spitzberg, "The Tactical Topography of Stalking Victimization and Management," Trauma, Violence, and Abuse Vol. 3, No. 4, (2002): 261-288. Of 32 studies in this meta-analysis of stalking studies, 9 reported that incidents of violence or stalking followed the issuance of a protective order 21 percent of the time.

7 R. J. Kane, "Police Responses to Restraining Orders in Domestic Violence Incidents: Identifying the Custody-Threshold Thesis," Criminal Justice and Behavior Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000): 561.

8 Fla. Stat § 784.048, (4). Stalking; definitions; penalties . Amended 2004.

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE ABUSERS.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Open Letter to Christian Pastors & Clergy


(can be applied to Imams, Rabbis, Priests, etc)

Pastors, have you ever preached a sermon against domestic violence? Odds are, you haven’t. I’ve listened to approximately 4,000 sermons and have yet to hear a pastor condemn domestic violence from the pulpit.

Southern preachers prefer to pontificate on matters like abortion and homosexuality. Sometimes they rail against feminism. On occasion they preach against pornography, using the occasion to slam churchwomen over immodest attire. In every denomination, pastors preach often enough on tithing, and never fail to pass the plate. Yet they fail at addressing an issue faced by approximately one fourth of their congregation.

Recently a wildly popular pastor shoved the problem of Christian violence into the spotlight when he choked, kicked and stomped his wife in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel. In the South, beating your wife may or may not be a crime. Records show that the most common law enforcement response to domestic violence is “separating the parties.”

V
ictims rarely press charges because they fear reprisal. Law enforcement rarely presses their own charges (though they could and should), essentially treating wife-beating as a “victimless crime.”


Bishop Thomas W. Weeks, III crossed the line that even Georgia will not tolerate: He was wearing shoes when he kicked his wife. That’s a felony. Besides that, he committed the acts publicly and on video surveillance tape. He also threatened to kill her, which is another Georgia felony.

The abused wife, Juanita Bynum, is an internationally acclaimed televangelist and best-selling author who empowers Christian women with her preaching. Church members say that couple of weeks before the attack, Weeks announced that Bynum would no longer be preaching at the church they founded.

Bynum is pressing charges against Weeks and seeking to end the marriage. Attorneys for Weeks say he will contest the divorce on the grounds that she was cruel. The strangest part of this story is not that the man who kicked and stomped his wife is contesting the divorce or fighting the charges; that happens all the time. What is so bizarre is where this man was just a few days after the beating: He was behind his pulpit telling his congregation that the devil made him do it.

Finally, a preacher is talking about domestic violence! If only his congregation had responded with a resounding movement down the aisle – and right out the church door. No one should sit under the teaching of a wife-beater. The elders should have stripped this man of his title and never let him behind the pulpit again.

T. D. Jakes, the famous televangelist who helped bring Bynum to power, condemned violence against women in a written statement two weeks after the attack. He pointed out that every day, four American men murder their wives or girlfriends, resulting in 1,400 deaths per year. That’s an FBI statistic. He also mentioned that over half a million cases of intimate assault are reported each year. Most cases go unreported. According to the most conservative estimates, between 2,000,000 and 4,000,000 women are battered each year. In 1990, the U.S. had 3,800 shelters for animals, and only 1,500 shelters for battered women.

Other Christian leaders even try to blame the victims. Christian author Gillis Triplett claims that there are thirteen traits common to abused wives, including “THEY LOVE THE DRAMA!” (Emphasis his.)

Trait #1. They Don’t Know What Domestic Violence Is
An act of domestic violence takes place every 12 to 15 seconds. It is rare that a week goes by without us hearing about a husband, boyfriend or lover who assaulted or killed his wife or girlfriend. Call any Police precinct and they will tell you the lion’s share of their calls are not related to robberies, drugs or drunk drivers, but to domestic disputes. We hear about domestic violence on Oprah, Court TV, the Channel 5 News and V-103. Every year, the entire month of October is dedicated to this prevalent issue. In Manhattan, New York, one City Councilwoman proposed a bill that would require all newlyweds to receive a brochure on spousal abuse when they receive their marriage license.



Even with all of the public outcry and the private and government agencies that dedicate themselves to domestic violence awareness, amazingly some ladies still don’t know what domestic violence is or that it exists on such a large scale. They don’t comprehend that some men believe they have a God-given right to abuse women. They don’t understand that there are devious misogynistic men who intentionally seek to lure women into domestic nightmares. Due to their lack of knowledge, these ladies become prime targets for abusive men.


Trait #2. They Don’t Know The Warning Signs
In today’s society, every woman actively engaged in dating or seeking a mate should know the warning signs of abusers, but most don’t! At least not until they find themselves booby-trapped in an abusive nightmare. Abusers give off warning signs and they use certain techniques and tricks to lure their victims into their vise-grip like clutches. With domestic violence so pervasive, not knowing the warning signs of abusers is self-annihilation. I advise all ladies not to date until they can identify abusers. Ladies who don’t know or refuse to learn these tell-tale signs are soft, exploitable targets for these hardened men.



According to family therapist, Dr. Torri Griffin, LPC, domestic violence takes on many forms, some of which leave no visible wounds. “Many ladies experience the non-verbal types of abuse from their partners long before experiencing the physical ones. Social isolation, financial deprivation, verbal abuse and emotional abuse are usually present when the physical abuse begins. Most ladies excuse these behaviors as his temperament rather than as serious signs of worse things to come.”


Trait #3. They Intentionally Ignore The Warning Signs
Karen did it again! She covered for her boyfriend’s short fuse and hair trigger temper. They were on their way to a restaurant after leaving church. While stopped at a traffic light, Eric became peeved because the light was taking too long to turn green. When one of the passengers gently reminded Eric that they were on their way to have soup and salad and no one was in a hurry, Eric lit into her with a verbal tirade that shocked everyone in the vehicle; except for Karen. She was used to it! Not to Eric’s outbursts. He scared the daylights out of her with his unpredictable anger. Karen was used to intentionally ignoring the warning signs. She had an abusive man and she knew it. People warned her and pleaded with her to stop dating Eric, but she ignored them. These types of ladies are literal magnets for abusers.



Trait #4. Some Women Believe They Can Change Abusers
We are in the year 2005 A.D. After watching billions of women over the past two-thousand years, fail at their attempt to convert dishonorable males into honorable men, some women refuse to accept this truth: “Women cannot change men!” Secretly, many of these women have convinced themselves that their physical beauty, sexual prowess, feminine wiles and magnetic personalities are powerful enough forces to magically convert misogynistic men into princes. Abusive males, especially repeat offenders, love these types of women.



Trait #5 They Don’t Know What True Love Is
I once did a survey of 4000 men and women to find out what they believed love to be. All told, they presented me with about forty-four definitions; many of which were very scary. Some believed: Love makes you do crazy things; sometimes love hurts; love makes you do wrong and the much publicized… love is blind. News flash: Love does not hurt and it does not make you do crazy things. Jealousy makes people do crazy things! Abusers, inconsiderate and emotionally callous men and women, intentionally hurt the people they claim to love. People with True Love in their hearts ARE NOT abusers and NEVER will be!



Furthermore, love IS NOT blind! It is the men and women who are naïve or unlearned who are blind! Actually they are not blind. Like Karen, they squint their eyes at the truth. Women who don’t know what True Love is are easy pickings for abusive men. These men will slap a woman in the face and afterwards claim, “I love you!” With those three words, these women display unyielding allegiance to their tormentors.


They tell their family, friends, pastor, concerned neighbors, a judge and the police, “You don’t know him like I know him, he’s really sweet and he loves me!” The hard truth is… the love in his Dr. Jekyll side is not strong enough to control or eradicate the hatred in his Mr. Hyde side. Not knowing what true love is what entraps some women in abuse.


Trait #6. They Have A Hard Time Loving Themselves
Some women act as if they simply do not love themselves. They demonstrate self-hatred, no self-respect and low self-esteem by doing things such as: (a) engaging in promiscuity, (b) becoming chronic victims of abusive men and bad relationships, (c) freely, willingly and knowingly entering into risky relationships and marriages doomed for failure, and (d) otherwise putting themselves in situations with untrustworthy men who gladly jeopardize their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well-being.



It is a fact: women who properly love themselves don’t become or remain victims of abusive men. They refuse to allow hateful and disrespectful males to torment their souls or bruise their bodies.


Trait #7. They Don’t Understand Love’s Booby Traps
Most abusers are smooth… super smooth. They primarily prey on women who don’t know about the love, sex and relationship booby traps. With untrained women, abusive men are capable of easing into their lives with the tactical precision of an F-117 Stealth Bomber. These low lives are masters at short-circuiting women’s intuition—seducing and manipulating their feelings and emotions—and once snared, controlling them with the barbaric weapon of sheer fear.



In today’s society, few women receive training on love, sex, relationship or pre-marital booby traps prior to dating. Consequently, most women have no idea they need this vital training! They know nothing about the engagement ring trick, the desert island trick or the family feud trick. Those are all commonly used tactics employed by abusive men to snare unsuspecting women. Due to their lack of knowledge, these ladies are fair game for any of the predatory males.


Trait #8. Some Women Wear The Scent of Desperation
These women have got to have a man and quite frankly ANY MAN will do! Whatever their reasons; they’re lonely or they need companionship, sex or money, their desperation seeps into the atmosphere as a scent that attracts: thugs, abusers, wife-beaters and sociopathic liars. The scent of desperation is a powerful aphrodisiac for abusive males.



Trait #9. Some Women Choose Men Indiscriminately
To choose a man indiscriminately means to be unselective; it means to choose a man without careful consideration or good judgment; to randomly choose a man. On one hand, women with this mindset give little or no consideration to the men they allow into their lives. On the other hand, their evaluations are superficial. Usually based solely on a man’s material possessions and perceived assets, like the car he drives.



His track record and character are insignificant afterthoughts. In addition, in this day and age, some women boast about their attraction to thugs and hardened criminals. They make no secret about their love for jerks! Some of their boyfriends, lovers and husbands are dead give aways with nicknames and aliases such as: Pimp Juice, I-Murder, Lady Killa and Glock Gotti. Others fall in love with men who are addicted to alcohol, drugs and pornography; not understanding how these hazardous and addictive vices exacerbates violent prone men.


Because of their lack of proper evaluation, some women are easily swayed into relationships by abusers. After tracking over 2600 domestic violence cases and speaking with countless victims, I found multitudes of incidents in which the woman was the second, third and forth victim of a serial offender. Whether these ladies were black or white, college educated or barely made it out of high school, made no difference. Often, their tormentors already had domestic violence convictions, warrants looming, cases pending or restraining orders filed against them by other women. When a woman indiscriminately chooses a mate, she indiscriminately puts herself in harm’s way.


Trait #10. Some Women Love The Drama
If you have a hard time believing that statement, log on to one of the numerous Internet relationship discussion groups on the World Wide Web. Go sit in a beauty or nail salon for a few hours and just listen and observe. Or go to your local bookstore and make a b-line to the romance or relationship section. What you will read and hear about is plenty of DRAMA, DRAMA and more DRAMA! The fact is; some women love drama! Take note: I said, SOME, not all! Please don’t falsely accuse me of making any sweeping generalizations about women.



The women that love drama do bizarre things such as move in with a man they met at church last Sunday; end result: DRAMA! Marry a man they met last month at a bar; end result: DRAMA! Leave their child with a lover they only know by his alias; end result: DRAMA! Get pregnant by a man who has sired five kids by four different women; end result: DRAMA! Fall in love with a crack addict; end result: DRAMA! Although they are clearly in perilous relationships with impudent men, these women still insist on being treated like queens; end result: DRAMA!


No matter what you, I or anyone else says, they forge ahead into these chaotic relationships simply because THEY LOVE THE DRAMA! You can plead with them, pray for them, cry over them and scratch your head and go hmmm? You can suggest church, therapy or counseling and you show them the alarming domestic violence statistics, but it will all be for naught! Why? Because THESE WOMEN LOVE THE DRAMA! Although their Hollywood heroines and romance novel divas turn out OK, these women rarely walk from their dysfunctional abusive lovers unscathed.


Trait #11. A Lack of Positive Male Role Models During Upbringing
Women who have had no positive male role models in their lives, (e.g., good father, grandfather, stepfather, uncles, big brothers) have no real (authentic and legitimate) points of reference to help them distinguish between dishonorable doggish males and honorable men. This puts most women at great risk because their views and beliefs about the opposite sex are usually derived from three confirmed totally unreliable sources: (a) the media, music and Hollywood, (b) women who know little or nothing about men, and (c) conniving, ungodly males.



This lack of positive male role models usually leaves the average woman unprepared to properly deal with the male gender: particularly with respect to detecting and rejecting harmful males. Many women with this trait have a pattern of choosing untrustworthy men… again and again.


Trait #12. For Some Women Abuse Is All They Know
These women come from abusive environments. They’ve watched their mother get abused or be an abuser. They’ve been victims of abuse. Some grew up in abusive foster homes or juvenile facilities. I once tracked a 13-year-old girl who was thrust into a state run facility by her heartless parents. After years of maltreatment, (i.e., starvings, beatings and locking her in closets for hours and days at a time) they gave her up. Her new parents; the state, put her into a penal system type dorm with kids who had no semblance of a conscience and no inkling of morals or values. The petrified little girl was attacked numerous times.



She had never known love or what it was like to have someone care for her. From the time she was small, all she had known was persecution. Because of her traumatic childhood, she had come to expect abuse. Sadly, her mindset was, “Cruelty and betrayal comes with all inter-family relationships.” Some women who grow up in these types of environments feel that abuse is par for the course. Consequently, abusive men are drawn to them. It usually takes long-term therapy to help these women develop the proper depictions of true love.


Trait #13. Some Women Are Contentious
These women love to yell, scream, argue and engage in endless debates and fruitless verbal jousting matches with MEN. They have taken the war of the sexes to a new level, albeit dangerous and oftentimes deadly. Their weapons of choice include: name-calling, put downs, curse words, 911 blackmail calls, threats, I dare ya’s, parental alienation, attacks on manhood and their silver bullet: false rape and abuse allegations. Once they find a combatant, (A.K.A., husband, lover or boyfriend) these women get hyped up for war and the conflict is on!



Unfortunately, they unwittingly thrust themselves into a dark hole of retaliation; which leads to abuse, domestic violence and spousal murder. If it sounds like I’m justifying abuse, you are not reading me right. It is an irrefutable fact; some women are contentious, belligerent and combative. They choose to be that way and they have a knack for provoking and inciting men to domestic warfare. Some of these women are known for pushing otherwise easygoing men to their wits end.


SOURCE
Evangelical leaders John MacArthur and James Dobson have both gone on record stating that women must be careful not to “provoke” abuse. In the 1996 printing of “Love Must Be Tough,” Dobson told a story about a woman who was physically beaten by her husband. Dobson concluded that the woman “baited” her husband to hit her so that she could show off her black eye, which he calls her “prize.”

Following the advice and example of such leaders, thousands of pastors regularly dismiss domestic violence and send women back into dangerous situations. With “saving the marriage” as the highest aim, these pastors seek to prevent divorce at all costs.  

Women receive the subtle message that their pain – or even their lives -- are not as important as keeping the marriage intact.

One woman told a victims’ support group how she took her children and fled the state in fear of her life. Her church responded by sending her a letter of ex-communication.


In the introduction to her new book "Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence,” Jocylen Andersen states that "
The practice of hiding, ignoring, and even perpetuating the emotional and physical abuse of women is ... rampant within evangelical Christian fellowships and as slow as our legal systems have been in dealing with violence against women by their husbands, the church has been even slower." The Christian wife abuse cover-up is every bit as evil as the Catholic sex abuse cover-up.
Christian leaders set the stage for domestic violence by perpetuating pop-culture stereotypes of femininity and masculinity. T. D. Jakes claims in his book “Woman, Thou Art Loosed” that all women were created to fulfill the vision of some man. Jakes bases his gender theology solely on the physical characteristics of male and female genitalia, insisting that all women are “receivers” and all men are “givers.” This false dichotomy breaks down quickly when one considers that female sexuality includes giving birth and giving milk. More importantly, Jakes deviates from Scripture in claiming that women and men must operate like their genitalia in every facet of life.

John MacArthur also does his part to set the stage for female subjugation. He calls the women’s movement “Satanic.” In a sermon called “God’s Design for a Successful Marriage: The Role of the Wife” MacArthur blames working women for everything from smog to prison overcrowding. As an antidote, he offers this quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon on the disposition of a godly wife toward her husband: “He is her little world, her paradise, her choice treasure. She is glad to sink her individuality in him.”

Finally, consider Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patterson recently dismissed Hebrew professor Sheri Klouda, simply because she was female. He claims the Bible does not allow women to instruct men. Patterson then launched a new major at the seminary: Homemaking. Only women are allowed to take these courses, which focus on childcare, cooking and sewing -- as well as a woman’s role in marriage. The courses are taught by Patterson’s wife, who is the only surviving female in the school’s 42-person theology faculty.

Considering Patterson’s view of women, we should not be surprised at his response to domestic violence. Participating in a panel on “How Submission Works in Practice,” Patterson tells abused wives to do three things:  

Pray for their husbands, submit to them, and “elevate” them. He admits that this advice sometimes leads to beatings, but also claims that the men eventually get saved. Apparently, it’s only the men that matter.

Pastors who truly want to help people and save marriages should stop attacking feminism. Instead, teach couples never to hit, choke, kick, threaten or verbally batter their spouse.

Preach against domestic violence from your pulpit.

Help abuse victims to escape their batterers – permanently.

Encourage them to press charges so that justice can be served.


Pastors, if you want to defend marriage, set an example of a loving relationship. Instruct couples to live in a way that makes their spouse want to stay with them. It really does not take a six-tape series to teach the number one tool of a successful marriage: the golden rule.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality



Something's just not right in your relationship, and you can't put your finger on it. So here's some help. If your mate is displaying a combination of these behaviors, then you may have a potential batterer on your hands.

1. A PUSH FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on very strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the woman for an exclusive commitment almost immediately. Wants intimacy immediately.

2. JEALOUSY: excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.

3. CONTROLLING: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you're late) about whom you talked to, and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect woman and meet his every need. Idealizes you to the point that you will never meet that reality.

5. ISOLATION: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car or try to prevent you from holding a job. Tells you not to tell certain people about your relationship or him.

6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS AND MISTAKES: The boss, you -- it's always someone else's fault if anything goes wrong.

7. MAKES EVERYONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of, "I am angry" or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you." Less obvious is the claim: "You make me happy."

8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He'll rant about the injustice of things that are just part of life.

9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND TO CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children - emotionally, verbally or physically.

10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting. Kink or sexual things you are not comfortable with are pushed, begged for repeatedly.

11. VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes you, or says blatantly cruel hurtful things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you up with relentless verbal abuse.

12. RIGID SEX ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.

13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in a matter of minutes.

14. PAST BATTERING: Admits hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situation brought it on.

15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Makes statements like, "I'll break your neck," or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way," or "I didn't really mean it." If he has come this far, it is time to get help, or get out!

Only a couple of these need to be present in a personality for them to be a potential abuser.  Your abuser  may be male or female.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Anti-Social Emotional Vampire Checklist


LISTENING TO THE CALL OF THE WILD:

True or false? Score one point for each true answer.

1. THIS PERSON BELIEVES THAT RULES WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN OR THAT THEY ARE THE 'EXCEPTION' TO THE RULES.

2. THIS PERSON IS ADEPT AT USING EXCUSES TO AVOID DOING WHAT HE OR SHE DOESN'T WANT TO DO.

3. THIS PERSON HAS HAD LEGAL PROBLEMS.

4. THIS PERSON REGULARLY ENGAGES IN DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES FOR THEIR THRILL VALUE.

5. THIS PERSON CAN TURN ON BRILLIANT BURSTS OF CHARM TO GET HIS OR HER WAY.

6. THIS PERSON IS NOT VERY GOOD AT MANAGING HIS OR HER FINANCES.

7. THIS PERSON SMOKES WITHOUT APOLOGY.

8. THIS PERSON HAS ONE OR MORE OTHER ADDICTIONS.

9. THIS PERSON HAS HAD MORE SEX PARTNERS THAN MOST PEOPLE.

10. THIS PERSON SELDOM WORRIES.

11. THIS PERSON ACTUALLY BELIEVES THAT SOME PROBLEMS CAN BE SETTLED WITH A FIST FIGHT.

12. THIS PERSON SEES NO PROBLEM WITH LYING TO ACHIEVE A GOAL.

13. THIS PERSON JUSTIFIES DOING BAD THINGS TO PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WOULD DO IT TOO IF THEY HAD THE CHANCE.

14. THIS PERSON CAN CONSCIOUSLY THROW A TANTRUM TO GET HIS OR HER WAY.

15. THIS PERSON DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF LOOKING BEFORE YOU LEAP.

16. THIS PERSON BELIEVES IN HAVING FUN FIRST AND DOING THE WORK LATER.

17. THIS PERSON HAS BEEN FIRED FROM A JOB, OR HAS QUIT IMPULSIVELY.

18. THIS PERSON REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH ANY SORT OF DRESS CODE.

19. THIS PERSON REGULARLY MAKES PROMISES THAT HE OR SHE NEVER KEEPS.

20. DESPITE ALL THESE FAULTS, THIS PERSON IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET.


Scoring: Five or more true answers qualifies the person as an Anti-Social Emotional Vampire, though not necessarily for a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality. If the person scores higher than ten, hold onto your wallet, and your heart.

By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Narcissism 101


So you're a psycho and you want to advance your studies? Take Narcissism 101.

Here's a course outline:
1. When your supply runs low - how to get an interim supply, having safe sex, getting a free ride (includes love-bombing women, seeing hookers & bragging about it, and manipulating friends, mind control, seduction and using the net to "be anyone they want you to be")

2. How to find a victim - includes loads of internet dating, hooking the co-worker, using a friend or parent, trolling online for new & old targets (reunion sites, linkedin, facebook). 
(Prostitutes when you want or need are o.k. - they "don't count'. Actually nobody 'counts' - only YOU!)

3. Checking their emotional state - includes psychological profiling. (depressed, alone, divorced, sick, abused, lonely, naive, religious, they believe there's good in everyone, etc...)

4. Finances - how to find a mate with cash, a good income, and property - in case you need someone to take care of you when you screw up. Repeatedly.

5. How to bait them - includes dressing for success, tips on pouring out your tales of woe, how your wife/ S.O. doesn't understand, you don't get enough love or sex, your job is mean to you, your parents abused you... list is endless.

6. Getting them to move in with you - includes how to get their cash and property put into your name, how to write a prep, finding a lawyer, drawing up wills, getting life insurance. Berating them so they keep trying to prove themselves by doing all the chores & heavy lifting will be included.

7. Early stages of living with them - includes going easy at first , etiquette, manners, calling the your 'soulmate', effective use of the word 'love', taking financial control, how to plan your marriage.

8. Managing your mate - includes isolation, brainwashing, coercion and persecution techniques that have a proven track record, plus how to fake a loving relationship and your OWN sanity while around them. Also, you will learn all there is about emotional terrorism.

9. Divorcing your mate - includes lists of lawyers, how to hide your accumulated wealth, having a back-up supply, projection, rallying support of family and friends.

10. Smearing your ex or ex-friends who are on to your game is important - threats, intimidation, bullying or posting lies about them online go hand-in-hand with calling them "crazy, a bitch/ bastard, stupid, obsessed with you, stalkers, scorned, jealous" and telling people they "can't let it go" after you've destroyed their life & crushed their spirit.


11. Moving on with your life - includes analyzing your situation, finding a new source, and getting your house in order all over again.

12. Find new source. Don't get help. Find new source. More than one is preferable.

The only requirement is a sick mind and a complete emotional void.

-anonymous

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Emotionally Abusive Mothers


(I started this file a couple of years ago and never posted it because I never finished it to my satisfaction, but I've decided it has enough helpful information on it to post as is. Steve Hein, March 2005)

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Introduction

I started noticing how mothers treated their children and teens around 1994 when I began to make mental notes on a mother in the neighborhood where I grew up. She had a daughter named Zoey. (1) The last time I saw Zoey she was 14 or 15. As a teen she was already more mature than her mother. Zoey and I had long talks about her mother, a single parent. Zoey could see how she acted hypocritically, inconsistently, irresponsibly and irrationally. Among other things, Zoey felt critical of her for the way she drank and acted with men. When Zoey told her mother what she thought of her behavior, the mother only got more defensive. In my 1996 book Zoey's mother was the subject in the following observation:
One day I heard a mother hurling imperatives at the family dog. "Get back here! Get over here! Get inside the house!" A few moments later her teenage daughter came outside and the mother began ordering her around in exactly the same tone of voice she had just used on the dog.
EQ for Everybody, S. Hein, p 125
Since the creation of the EQI website in 1996 I have documented many examples of emotional abuse by mothers. While the organization of these examples is not yet complete, I've decided to publish a summary of what I have so far because I feel a responsibility to share it with the public. In particular, I was motivated by a book titled "Saving Jessie." This is a mother's account of her trying to "save" her daughter from a multi-year heroin addiction which began as a teen. Throughout the book the mother fails to take any responsibility for causing the pain which led Jesse directly to use the drug to try to numb this pain. By the mother's own words we see example after example of emotional abuse. It is the same kind of abuse I have seen in the homes of the suicidal and self-harming teens. But never before have I seen such a detailed account, written by a mother herself, of emotional abuse. The most troubling thing to me is that not only did this mother fail to see what she was doing, but I believe she is representative of most mothers who are convinced their teenagers are growing up in "loving, supportive" families.

I personally believe society has failed to see what is really going on in so many seemingly "good" homes -- homes where the material needs are met, but the emotional needs are not. I further believe society has vastly underestimated the damage done through emotional abuse. My conviction is that only when the prevalence of emotional abuse is recognized and addressed will teen suicide, self-harm and drug addiction be prevented. Till then the teens will simply be in too much emotional pain, pain which comes when their emotional needs are not being met over long periods of time.

It is my hope that my work will make a serious contribution to the body of knowledge on emotionally abusive mothers.

Why mothers?

I've chosen to focus on mothers, rather than fathers, for several reasons.

First, most of the suicidal teens I talk to are being raised by mothers, so I have been able to collect more data on them. Second, more and more children and teens are being raised in single parent homes, where the mother is likely to have primary custody. Third, if there is abuse in the home, the fathers tend to be more physically (and sexually) abusive, while the mothers, though often physically abusive as well, tend to use verbal and non-verbal communication, such as silence, frowns and hate-filled faces, to do the damage. Also, women seem to have a special gift for vicious and toxic emotional attacks. As Shakespeare said, "Hell hath no fury like a women scorned."

What is an "Emotionally Abusive Mother"?

Generally, I don't like to use labels, but in this case the subject is important enough to try to define the term and create a profile of those who might fairly be called "emotionally abusive mothers". There are many degrees of abuse, so it may sometimes be difficult to say someone definitely "is" or "isn't" an emotionally abusive mother. Can a "good" mother sometimes be emotionally abusive? Yes, I believe so. What matters is the overall nature of the relationship with her children/teens. Though it may be difficult to achieve consensus on exactly what qualifies someone as an "emotionally abusive mother," we can at least try to arrive at some common characteristics.

In broad terms I would say an emotionally abusive mother is a mother who uses her son or daughter in an attempt to fill her own unmet emotional needs. This is similar to defining sexual abuse as someone who uses another person in order to fill their own sexual needs.

An emotionally abusive mother is a mother who uses her son or daughter in an attempt to fill her own unmet emotional needs.

By nature, women generally have instinctive needs to raise and nurture children. The fulfillment of these needs is natural and healthy. Emotional abuse occurs only when the mother attempts to use the child or teen to fulfill needs which are not consistent with those of an emotionally healthy adult. Emotional abuse occurs, in other words, when the mother tries to fill those needs of hers which normally would have already been filled during a healthy childhood and adolescence.

It might help to consider the distinction between the emotional needs of a child, of an adolescent and of an adult.

A child has a need to feel loved. A child has a need to feel secure. A child has a need to feel protected. A child has a need to feel approved of.

A teen has a need to feel independent and in control of himself and over his environment.

Both children and teens have a need to feel accepted and respected. Both children and teens have a need to feel appreciated and valued.

For the species to survive, the emotional needs of the adults must compliment those of the children. For example, while the child needs to feel loved, safe, secure, and protected, the adults must need to feel loving, non-threatening, secure, and protective. While the child needs to feel respected and accepted, the adults needs to feel respectful and accepting. While the child needs to feel appreciated, the adult needs to feel appreciative for the gift of nature that is called "their child."

If the mother did not feel adequately loved, safe, secure, protected, appreciated, valued, accepted and respected before giving birth, she will, in all likelihood, attempt to use the child (and later the teen) to fill these needs. If she did not feel adequately in control of her own life as a child and teen, she can be expected to try to control her son or daughter as compensation. This is the recipe for emotional abuse.

To fill her unmet need for respect, a mother might try to demand that her daughter "respect" her. To fill her unmet need to feel loved, the mother might try to manipulate the son into performing what she perceives as acts of love. To fill her unmet need to feel appreciated, the mother might try to spoil her daughter or she might constantly remind the daughter of all the things she does for her and all the sacrifices she makes for her.

Mothers are particularly adept at emotional manipulation. They are skilled in setting up their sons and daughters to fill their unmet emotional needs left over from childhood and adolescence. Ultimately, though, this arrangement fails. It is impossible for a son or daughter to fully meet the unmet childhood and adolescent emotional needs of the parent. A child or teen can not be the filler of someone else's needs when they have their own needs. This is a clear case of role reversal, the consequences of which are very serious.

A child in this situation feels overwhelmed, facing an impossible burden yet still trying his or her best to do the impossible. The child will necessarily feel inadequate as he fails to do the impossible. By the time the child is a teen, he will feel not only inadequate, but drained and empty. He will feel insecure and afraid of failure, disapproval, rejection and abandonment. The implicit, if not explicit, message has always been "if you don't fill Mother's needs, she will reject or abandon you."

The teenager will have also learned that it is is impossible to make mother happy. No matter what the teen has done to try to make her happy it is never enough. So the teenager starts to feel like a failure, or "failful" as opposed to successful. This shatters his or her self-esteem.

This, briefly, is the danger of the emotionally needy, and therefore, emotionally abusive mother.
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General Characteristics of Emotionally Abusive Mothers

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Slapping

One clear sign of an emotionally abusive mother is slapping the son or daughter in the face. I call slapping is emotional abuse because it is intended to intimidate more than to physically hurt. It leaves an emotional scar, not a physical one. It is usually designed to oppress unwanted opposition. It is, therefore, oppressive. Typically, a mother slaps her son/daughter in the face in response to their spoken words. Here is one example:

"Sally"
"Sally" told me her mother slapped her around age 17. They were arguing about religion. "Sally" was questioning things too strongly and her mother could no longer give answers, so she slapped "Sally" in order to stop the pain of her questions. Perhaps the pain came from the fear that the her whole belief system might be based on myths and lies rather than science and truth. Whatever the case, "Sally"s mother did not want "Sally" to continue using her mind to question things and to search for real answers.

"Sally" is an intelligent woman and has a large need for understanding and to have her own voice and opinions heard. The mother, though, was too insecure with her belief system to help "Sally" fill those needs. Had the mother been more secure, she could have listened to "Sally" without feeling threatened. More than that, she could have helped her in her search for understanding. She also could have helped fill her needs to feel admired and approved of with a simple statement such as, "I don't know the answers to your questions. And honestly, I feel a little threatened by them and a little defensive. But they are good questions and I admire you for asking them. Keep asking questions, honey. It is the best way to learn, and to find out who feels secure enough to either give you real answers or admit that they don't know."

When we are insecure we feel a need to be in control.
"Sally"'s mother felt out of control. She wanted the questions to stop. She needed them to stop. She felt desperate that they stop. And they did... once she slapped her daughter across the face. Clearly, it was her needs, not "Sally"'s, that took priority.

In this incident, we see how the mother's need to feel in control (and safe in terms of her religious beliefs) was not yet filled. The mother was using
"Sally" to try to fill her own unmet childhood/adolescent emotional needs at the expense of her "Sally"'s need for understanding and need to be heard. This is what makes this slap in the face emotional abuse.


"Sally" is a pseudonym

--
Some abusive mothers will call slapping "discipline" or "correcting wrong behavior." Here is an actual story from my travels.

Does Slapping Teach Respect?

I just talked to a mother and father from Ireland. I said, "Since you are parents, I have a question for you about raising children. I just got this email from a friend of mine who is 18. She said her mother slapped her last week. She asked me what gives her mother the right to do this. She said that if she were not happy with someone at the store, she would not be able to reach out and slap the sales clerk. She said this would be illegal. It would be assault. What do you think about this?"

The mother answered by saying, "Well, you need to be able to correct your children." I then said, "I agree, but it seems to me that 18 is a bit old to still be slapping your child. What do you think?"

She said, "Well, yes, I suppose it is. If you haven't been able to teach your child respect by that age then there is probably something wrong."

I then said, "But is it really respect you are teaching, or fear? For example, if you respect me and I ask you to pass me the sugar, you probably will. But if I have been treating you disrespectfully, without respect for your feelings or needs, then you might tell me to get lost. You might even pull the sugar away from me so I can't reach it. On the other hand if I point a gun at you and say, "Will you please pass me the sugar?" you will probably pass me the sugar. But is this because you respect me or because you are afraid of me?"
She seemed to see my point, but said "I suppose you think it is never necessary to slap a child." I said, "I don't know. I don't have children myself." She then said, "Well, you have to teach them right from wrong."
Her teenage daughter was sitting there in silence the entire time. The look on her face told me she was too afraid to even look up from her meal. I suspected that she one of the things she had been "taught" by the mother, was never to voice her own opinion. To do so would be "wrong" and deserving of a slap to the face. In this way the daughter had indeed learned right from wrong, at least according to her mother.

SOURCE

Facebook group for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers who are total No Contact

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blaming the Victim



The most common emotional responses to sexual harassment, verbal & emotional abuse, battering, on & offline stalking, coercion & manipulation and rape are guilt, fear, powerlessness, shame, betrayal, anger, and denial. Guilt is often the first and deepest response. Anger may arise only later; this is not surprising, because as women we often have no sense of a right to be free from these kinds of violence.

What victims are told to believe: "If anything goes wrong, it must be our fault."


We may feel guilty about violence done to us because we are taught that our job is to make men happy, and if they aren't, we--not they--are to blame. Many of us heard from our parents, "Boys will be boys, so girls must take care"--the message being that we can avoid unwanted male attention if only we are careful enough. Blaming the victim releases the man who commits violence from the responsibility for what he has done. Friends or family may blame the victim in order to feel safe themselves: "She got raped because she walked alone after midnight. I'd never do that, so rape won't happen to me" or "She knew what she was doing when she went out with him/ started a relationship with him."

WOMEN ARE NOT GUILTY FOR VIOLENCE & ABUSE COMMITTED BY MEN ON OUR BODY, IN OUR MIND, AND SPIRIT. THIS VIOLENCE HAPPENS BECAUSE OF MEN'S GREATER POWER AND THEIR MISUSE OF THAT POWER.

(We have used the male gender for the abuser - yours may be female!)

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Friday, April 17, 2015

INSIDE THE MIND OF A SOCIOPATH



Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern of the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world. You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences, will most likely remain undiscovered.

How will you live your life? What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)? The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and non-violent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites.

Maybe you are someone who craves money and power, and though you have no vestige of conscience, you do have a magnificent IQ. You have the driving nature and the intellectual capacity to pursue tremendous wealth and influence, and you are in no way moved by the nagging voice of conscience that prevents other people from doing everything and anything they have to do to succeed. You choose business, politics, the law, banking or international development, or any of a broad array of other power professions, and you pursue your career with a cold passion that tolerates none of the usual moral or legal encumbrances. When it is expedient, you doctor the accounting and shred the evidence, you stab your employees and your clients (or your constituency) in the back, marry for money, tell lethal premeditated lies to people who trust you, attempt to ruin colleagues who are powerful or eloquent, and simply steamroll over groups who are dependent and voiceless. And all of this you do with the exquisite freedom that results from having no conscience whatsoever.

You become unimaginably, unassailably, and maybe even globally successful. Why not? With your big brain, and no conscience to rein in your schemes, you can do anything at all.

Or no - let us say you are not quite such a person. You are ambitious, yes, and in the name of success you are willing to do all manner of things that people with conscience would never consider, but you are not an intellectually gifted individual. Your intelligence is above average perhaps, and people think of you as smart, maybe even very smart. But you know in your heart of hearts that you do not have the cognitive wherewithal, or the creativity, to reach the careening heights of power you secretly dreams about, and this makes you resentful of the world at large, and envious of the people around you.

As this sort of person, you ensconce yourself in a niche, or maybe a series of niches, in which you can have some amount of control over small numbers of people. These situations satisfy a little of your desire for power, although you are chronically aggravated at not having more. It chafes to be so free of the ridiculous inner voices that inhibit others from achieving great power, without having enough talent to pursue the ultimate successes yourself. Sometimes you fall into sulky, rageful moods caused by a frustration that no one but you understands.

But you do enjoy jobs that afford you a certain undersupervised control over a few individuals or small groups, preferably people and groups who are relatively helpless or in some way vulnerable. You are a teacher or a psychotherapist, a divorce lawyer or a high school coach. Or maybe you are a consultant of some kind, a broker or a gallery owner or a human services director. Or maybe you do not have a paid position and are instead the president of your condominium association, or a volunteer hospital worker, or a parent. Whatever your job, you manipulate and bully the people who are under your thumb, as often and as outrageously as you can without getting fired or held accountable. You do this for its own sake, even when it serves no purpose except to give you a thrill. Making people jump means you have power - or this is the way you see it - and bullying provides you with an adrenaline rush. It is fun.

Maybe you cannot be a CEO of a multinational corporation, but you can frighten a few people, or cause them to scurry around like chickens, or steal from them, or - maybe, best of all - create situations that cause them to feel bad about themselves. And this is power, especially when the people you manipulate are superior to you in some way. Most invigorating of all is to bring down people who are smarter or more accomplished than you, or perhaps classier, more attractive or popular or morally admirable. This is not only good fun; it is existential vengeance. And without a conscience, it is amazingly easy to do. You quietly lie to the boss or to the boss's boss, cry some crocodile tears, or sabotage a coworker's project, or gaslight a patient (or child), bait people with promises, or provide a little misinformation that will never be traced back to you.

Or now let us say you are a person who has a proclivity for violence or for seeing violence done. You simply murder your coworker, or have her murdered - or your boss, or your ex-spouse, or your wealthy lover's spouse, or anyone else who bothers you. You have to be careful, because if you slip up, you may be caught and punished by the system. But you will never be confronted by your conscience, because you have no conscience. If you decide to kill, the only difficulties will be the external ones. Nothing inside you will ever protest.

Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all. If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. In fact, terrorism (done from a distance) is the ideal occupation for a person who is possessed of blood lust and no conscience, because if you do it just right, you may be able to make a whole nation jump. And if that is not power, what is?

Or let us imagine the opposite extreme: You have no interest in power. To the contrary, you are the sort of person who really does not want much of anything. Your only real ambition is not to have to exert yourself to get by. You do not want to work like everyone else does. Without a conscience, you can nap or pursue your hobbies or watch television or just hang out somewhere all day long. Living a bit on the fringes, and with some handouts from relatives and friends, you can do this indefinitely. People may whisper to one another that you are an underachiever, or that you are depressed, a sad case, or, in contrast, if they get angry, they may grumble that you are lazy. When they get to know you better, and get really angry, they may scream at you and call you a loser, a bum. But it will never occur to them that you literally do not have a conscience, that in such a fundamental way, your very mind is not the same as theirs.

The panicked feeling of a guilty conscience never squeezes at your heart or wakes you in the night. Despite your lifestyle, you never feel irresponsible, neglectful or so much as embarrassed, although for the sake of appearances, sometimes you pretend that you do. For example, if you are a decent observer of people and what they react to, you may adopt a lifeless facial expression, say how ashamed of your life you are, and talk about how rotten you feel. This you do only because it is more convenient to have people think you are depressed than it is to have them shouting at you all the time, or insisting that you get a job.

You notice that people who do have a conscience feel guilty when they harangue someone they believe to be "depressed" or "troubled." As a matter of fact, to you further advantage, they often feel obliged to take care of such a person. If, despite your relative poverty, you can manage to get yourself into a sexual relationship with someone, this person - who does not suspect what you are really like - may feel particularly obligated. And since all you want is not to have to work, your financier does not have to be especially rich, just relatively conscience-bound.

I trust that imagining yourself as any of these people feels insane to you, because such people are insane, dangerously so. Insane but real - they even have a label. Many mental health professionals refer to the condition of little or no conscience as "anti-social personality disorder," a non-correctable disfigurement of character that is now thought to be present in about 4 percent of the population - that is to say, one in twenty-five people. This condition of missing conscience is called by other names, too, most often "sociopathy," or the somewhat more familiar term psychopathy. Guiltlessness was in fact the first personality disorder to be recognized by psychiatry, and terms that have been used at times over the past century include manie sans délire, psychopathic inferiority, moral insanity, and moral imbecility.

This excerpt is from: "The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless vs. the Rest of Us" by Martha Stout Ph.D. (Broadway Books, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-7679-1581-X).

Martha Stout is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and elaborates on the tales of ruthlessness in everyday life based on her 25 years of practice as a specialist in the treatment of psychological trauma survivors.


SOURCE

TEST: HOW TO SPOT A SOCIOPATH

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