Sanctuary for the Abused
Sunday, October 26, 2014
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.”
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Trauma: Emotional & Psychological
Trauma. The word brings to mind the effects of such major events as war, rape, kidnapping, abuse, torture, or other similar assault. The emotional aftermath of such events, recognized by the medical and psychological communities, and increasingly by the general public, is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now there is a new field of investigation that is less familiar, even to professionals: emotional or psychological trauma.
What is emotional or psychological trauma?
The ability to recognize emotional trauma has changed radically over the course of history. Until rather recently psychological trauma was noted only in men after catastrophic wars. The women's movement in the sixties broadened the definition of emotional trauma to include physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually abused women and children. Now because of the discoveries made in the nineties known as the decade of the brain, psychological trauma has further broadened its definition.
Recent research has revealed that emotional trauma can result from such common occurrences as the breakup of a significant relationship, a relationship with a pathological person or having a pathological parent, a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience, the discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition, or other similar situations. Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional toll on those involved, even if the event did not cause physical damage.
Regardless of its source, an emotional trauma contains three common elements:
- it was unexpected;
- the person was unprepared; and
- there was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening.
It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the individual's experience of the event. And it is not predictable how a given person will react to a particular event. For someone who is used to being in control of emotions and events, it may be surprising – even embarrassing – to discover that something like a breakup or car accident can be so debilitating.
What causes emotional or psychological trauma?
Our brains are structured into three main parts, long observed in autopsies:
- the cortex (the outer surface, where higher thinking skills arise; includes the frontal cortex( the most recently evolved portion of the brain)
- the limbic system (the center of the brain, where emotions evolve)
- the brain stem (the reptilian brain that controls basic survival functions)
These scans reveal that trauma actually changes the structure and function of the brain, at the point where the frontal cortex, the emotional brain and the survival brain converge.
A significant finding is that brain scans of people with relationship or developmental problems, learning problems, and social problems related to emotional intelligence reveal similar structural and functional irregularities to those resulting from PTSD.
What is the difference between stress and emotional or psychological trauma?
One way to tell the difference between stress and emotional trauma is by looking at the outcome – how much residual effect an upsetting event is having on our lives, relationships, and overall functioning.
Traumatic distress can be distinguished from routine stress by assessing the following:
- how quickly upset is triggered
- how frequently upset is triggered
- how intensely threatening the source of upset is
- how long upset lasts
- how long it takes to calm down
If we can communicate our distress to people who care about us and can respond adequately, and if we return to a state of equilibrium following a stressful event, we are in the realm of stress. If we become frozen in a state of active emotional intensity, we are experiencing an emotional trauma – even though sometimes we may not be consciously aware of the level of distress we are experiencing.
Why can an event cause an emotionally traumatic response in one person and not in another?
There is no clear answer to this question, but it is likely that one or more of these factors are involved:
- the severity of the event;
- the individual's personal history (which may not even be recalled);
- the larger meaning the event represents for the individual (which may not be immediately evident);
- coping skills, values and beliefs held by the individual (some of which may have never been identified); and
- the reactions and support (or lack of...) from family, friends, and/or professionals.
Anyone can become traumatized. Even professionals who work with trauma, or other people close to a traumatized person, can develop symptoms of "vicarious" or "secondary" traumatization.
Developing symptoms is never a sign of weakness.
Symptoms should be taken seriously and steps should be taken to heal, just as one would take action to heal from a physical ailment. And just as with a physical condition, the amount of time or assistance needed to recover from emotional trauma will vary from one person to another.
What are the symptoms of emotional trauma?
There are common effects or conditions that may occur following a traumatic event. Sometimes these responses can be delayed, for months or even years after the event. Often, people do not even initially associate their symptoms with the precipitating trauma. The following are symptoms that may result from a more commonplace, unresolved trauma, especially if there were earlier, overwhelming life experiences:
- Eating disturbances (more or less than usual)
- Sleep disturbances (more or less than usual)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Low energy
- Chronic, unexplained pain
- Depression, spontaneous crying, despair and hopelessness
- Panic attacks
- Compulsive and obsessive behaviors
- Feeling out of control
- Lashing out at friends, family
- Irritability, angry and resentment
- Emotional numbness
- Withdrawal from normal routine and relationships
- Memory lapses, especially about the trauma
- Difficulty making decisions
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Feeling distracted
- Re-experiencing the Trauma
- intrusive thoughts
- flashbacks or nightmares
- sudden floods of emotions or images related to the traumatic event
- Emotional Numbing and Avoidance
- avoidance of situations that resemble the initial event
- guilt feelings
- grief reactions
- an altered sense of time
- hyper-vigilance, jumpiness, an extreme sense of being "on guard"
- overreactions, including sudden unprovoked anger
- general anxiety
- obsessions with death
What are the possible effects of emotional trauma?
Even when unrecognized, emotional trauma can create lasting difficulties in an individual's life. One way to determine whether an emotional or psychological trauma has occurred, perhaps even early in life before language or conscious awareness were in place, is to look at the kinds of recurring problems one might be experiencing. These can serve as clues to an earlier situation that caused a dysregulation in the structure or function of the brain.
Common personal and behavioral effects of emotional trauma:
- substance abuse
- compulsive behavior patterns
- self-destructive and impulsive behavior
- uncontrollable reactive thoughts
- inability to make healthy professional or lifestyle choices
- dissociative symptoms ("splitting off" parts of the self)
- feelings of ineffectiveness, shame, despair, hopelessness
- feeling permanently damaged
- a loss of previously sustained beliefs
Common effects of emotional trauma on interpersonal relationships:
- inability to maintain close relationships or choose appropriate friends and mates
- sexual problems
- hostility (towards the wrong person or thing)
- arguments with family members, employers, friends or co-workers
- social withdrawal
- feeling constantly threatened
- feeling no one understands you
What if symptoms don't go away, or appear at a later time?
Over time, even without professional treatment, symptoms of an emotional trauma generally subside, and normal daily functioning gradually returns. However, even after time has passed, sometimes the symptoms don't go away. Or they may appear to be gone, but surface again in another stressful situation. When a person's daily life functioning or life choices continue to be affected, a post-traumatic stress disorder may be the problem, requiring professional assistance.
How is emotional trauma treated?
Traditional approaches to treating emotional trauma include:
- talk therapies (working out the feelings associated with the trauma);
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves changing one's thoughts and actions, and includes systematic desensitization to reduce reactivity to a traumatic stressor
- relaxation/stress reduction techniques, such as biofeedback or breathwork; and
- hypnosis to deal with reactions often below the level of conscious awareness.
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming)
- Somatic Experiencing
- Integrative Body Psychotherapy
Friday, October 24, 2014
I think that often, when a victim says he or she "forgives" someone, they are just pretending that they aren't powerless to make the offender stop it or to get back what he stole.
Talk about "playing Pretend."
The reason I say this is because it's fashionable to forgive all sorts of unforgiveable things, and you hear people doing it every day.
You even hear people claiming to have forgiven a criminal while at the same time testifying against him in a hearing for imposing the death penalty.
How much farce can we take!
The word forgiveness has been totally bastardized by preachers and holier-than-thous. The nearest I can figure, they have all but corrupted it into meaning some kind warm, fuzzy feeling you claim to have toward someone you may nonetheless want to be executed for what he did.
Forgiveness. I know it's three syllables, but is it really that tough a word?
I'm in line with theologians on this (because they tend to think instead of just preach whatever sells). They will be the first to tell you that you cannot forgive an offense in progress, for example. It's bogus.
Can you forgive someone while they're trying to kill you? While they're raping you? While they're breaking into your home? Theologians will be the first to tell that this brand of "forgiveness" ain't real forgiveness and amounts to ALLOWING the offense. It's just bending over for it.
If you live with an abusive narcissist, you cannot forgive him or her. Why? Because they deny what they do to you, let alone that it is wrong. They show no remorse. The don't promise to stop. In fact they make a virtue of doing it and show that they fully intend to keep right on. That is an offense in progress. You cannot forgive it.
All you can do is lie by pretending to forgive it. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact. This is a little mental game you play with yourself to feel you have some control over the situation.
Again, for example, if someone has stolen from you and squandered the money, you may be able to forgive without restitution. But if he has the money in the bank, you cannot forgive him until he gives it back. Because that ain't forgiveness: it's extortion. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact.
It's the same if he stole something even more valuable, like your good name. It must be restored before you can legitimately forgive.
The truth is often painful. But not as painful as fleeing into denial of it. For, it is true: having the courage to know the truth is key, because the truth will set you free.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Leaving a High Conflict Person
by Randi Kreger
It's been tough. After many months or years, you see no alternative but to separate from your high conflict partner (HCP). The process of leaving an HCP is tougher than you may be used to. These guidelines, developed over the years by people who have separated, will help.
Make sure you're ready to leave. Some people leave impulsively. Later, they miss the person or feel guilty. If you've tried a variety of techniques designed for high conflict partners and they haven't worked, or you and your children are suffering, it's time to let go.
No take backs. Once they see you are really going to leave, HCPs usually back off from their abusive tactics. You may receive gifts, flowers, and all kinds of promises to change. Not buying in is tough, because everything in you will desperately want to believe them.
But restructuring a personality takes years. While people with borderline personality can get better, narcissists seldom do. Insist on therapy. You have issues you need to face too, and your own recovery to undertake.
To stay in reality, keep a notebook of all the reasons why you want to leave. List all the ways you've tried to change things, along with their results. Make a list of all the hurtful things your partner did and read it when you feel weak.
Avoid contact. Whether you reach out to your ex or vice versa, the results will be confusing and painful. If you contact them, you might find they've moved on. Don't invite contact or respond to it, no matter how curious you are or how validating you may think it might be.
Now is not the time to tell your ex you think they have a personality disorder. Don't write letters to their therapist or family. Don't tell your ex what to do or continue to try to fix them. It's over. Move on. If you feel guilty about leaving your partner, remember, your partner functioned without you before you met them--as did you.
Take care of yourself. You've been through an extremely stressful experience and you need time to heal. You're probably dropped the habit of caring for yourself, or have developed serious problems with depression--even traits of post traumatic stress disorder. Seek professional help if you haven't already.
Go for a walk. Go to a coffee shop and be open to conversation. If you have hobbies (especially creative and expressive ones) use this new-found time to pursue your interests. Look upon this as a great new beginning. Go back to school. Set some new goals. If you've learned unhealthy coping techniques, like drinking, seek help.
Isolation may be one of your biggest problems. Even if you don't feel like it, make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and reach out to supportive family members. Ask them for what you need. They may say you should have left long ago; on the other hand, they might tell you you're doing the wrong thing. Stay true to yourself. Be specific about what you need and don't need from them.
Continue therapy. Self-awareness is actually one of the "gifts" received from having been in an abusive situation. With enough work, you may actually come out of the experience as a stronger person.
Take time to process this journey. Even if the relationship was bad and you're happy about getting out, you may go through the stages of grief characterized by Dr. Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages don't happen overnight, and you will go back and forth between them. Give yourself time.
Whether you were together for a long time or a short, intense time, you had hopes and dreams. You thought this person was a soul mate and you're convinced you'll never find someone you'll love as much and who will love you. This isn't true. A new relationship may not be intense, but it will be more intimate.You need time to grieve both the loss of what was and what you hoped would be.
If you were married, anticipate a difficult, high conflict divorce. You need the booklet Splitting: Protecting Yourself When Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist by attorney Bill Eddy. (He also has a CD.) There simply is no better source.
Prepare for a distortion campaign. An abandoned partner may try retaliating and starting a "smear" campaign or distortion campaign. This consists of making false allegations or exaggerating the negative in things that may have happened years ago. If your partner degraded previous partners, assume the worst.
While you can't prevent this, you can do damage control. Quickly anticipate what your ex might say--think of old arguments and false accusations. Next, have short, informal chats with people who may be on the receiving end. Briefly mention they may hear things and ask them to talk to you to see if they're true.
If you are getting divorced and your spouse is making false accusations and gathering negative allies, you need to respond at once. See Splitting for a step-by-step process on what you must do to protect yourself and your children.
When you start dating again, be aware of red flags.of potentially abusive people. You know this person acted abusively. So why does it hurt so much now that they're gone? Why do you feel almost addicted to the other person, even missing all the drama and intensity of the relationship?
The reasons for this are complex. You brought certain issues into the relationship; so did they. The combination of trauma with intermittent good time creates a strong bond--an unhealthy one. You may be mistaking intensity for intimacy.
People who have patterns dating high conflict people may be trying to resolve issues stemming from important childhood relationships. Explore this with a therapist before getting into another relationship. This is critical.
People can be great at hiding their illness in the beginning of a relationship, but in retrospect, you will see that some early signs were there. Don't rush into any new relationships before you have fully processed the previous bad one.
In the end, you will be amazed that you even allowed yourself to stay in such a relationship, and even more amazed to find that you now have the inner strength and awareness to avoid repeating it in the future.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder
PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE PERSONALITY DISORDER
From Living With A Passive Aggressive Man by Dr. Scott Wetzler
*FEAR OF DEPENDENCY - Unsure of his autonomy & afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs - usually by trying to control you.
*FEAR OF INTIMACY - Guarded & often mistrusful, he is reluctant to show his emotional fragility. He's often out of touch with his feelings, reflexively denying feelings he thinks will "trap" or reveal him, like love. He picks fights to create distance.
*FEAR OF COMPETITION - Feeling inadequate, he is unable to compete with other men in work and love. He may operate either as a self-sabotaging wimp with a pattern of failure, or he'll be the tyrant, setting himself up as unassailable and perfect, needing to eliminate any threat to his power
*OBSTRUCTIONISM - Just tell a p/a man what you want, no matter how small, and he may promise to get it for you. But he won't say when, and he"ll do it deliberately slowly just to frustrate you. Maybe he won't comply at all. He blocks any real progress he sees to your getting your way.
*FOSTERING CHAOS - The p/a man prefers to leave the puzzle incomplete, the job undone.
*FEELING VICTIMIZED - The p/a man protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds. To remain above reporach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.
*MAKING EXCUSES & LYING - The p/a man reaches as far as he can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises. As a way of withholding information, affirmation or love - to have power over you - the p/a man may choose to make up a story rather than give you a straight answer.
*PROCRASTINATION - The p/a man has an odd sense of time - he believes that deadlines don't exist for him.
*CHRONIC LATENESS & FORGETFULNESS - One of the most infuriating & inconsiderate of all p/a traits is his inability to arrive on time. By keeping you waiting, he sets the ground rules of the relationship. And his selective forgetting - used only when he wants to avoid an obligation.
*AMBIGUITY - He is master of mixed messages and sitting on fences. When he tells you something, you may still walk away wondering if he actually said yes or no.
*SULKING - Feeling put upon when he is unable to live up to his promises or obligations, the p/a man retreats from pressures around him and sulks, pouts and withdraws.
A passive-aggressive man won't have every single one of these traits, but he'll have many of them. He may have other traits as well, which are not passive-aggressive.
"Imagine this: You've been invited to a party, but you realize on the day you're pretty sure the party is happening that your not sure what kind of party it is or what time you should arrive. Well, you're smart and you'll give it your best shot.. So you dress in a kind of neutral casual-dressy style and show up at seven.
As you come up the walk, you can hear the sounds of a party: music, laughter and you think, "This is going to be a great party." When you come up the stairs you can smell aromas coming from the house and again you say to yourself, "This is going to be a great party."
You ring the bell and your host emerges wearing a bemused, enigmatic smile... and a tuxedo.
"You're late," he says. "Im sorry. You didn't tell me what time the party was." "I thought you would figure it out" he says. "Well I am here now" you say . Your host looks you up and down. "That may be true, but you are not dressed properly." You look down at your elegant, if casual, clothing and then at his black-tie formal wear. "Yes, that's true. But I'm not that far from home. I can just go and change quickly and be right back."
You desperately think about what's in your closet that would fit with formal wear and how long it will take to press it. You add up the travel time, wonder what you'll have to do to your hair to look right, how to change your make-up.... after all this still seems like it'll be a great party......
Your host shakes his head. "But then you'll be really late." Dinner will be over and I was COUNTING on you to sit right beside me at the head table."
Your heart sinks. Your one chance and you blew it! Inside your head, you say several unflattering things about yourself, your abilities, your intelligence, and your potential, but out loud you declare, "Honest, I'll be back in 45 minutes. I'll be perfect. Can't you wait? You cannot imagine how you'll be back, but you want so badly to be the guest of honor.
Your host shakes his head. "Well, I don't know. But what are you planning to bring to contribute to the dinner? I've told you how much I like those special, individual nineteen-layer cakes you bake. I thought you'd know to bring one for every guest."
Behind him you can still hear the laughter and the music; you can still smell the exotic foods, and you can still see the champagne in his glass. And you still think it's the greatest party ever and you still want to be the guest of honor.
That is what an emotionally unavailable relationship FEELS like. You're just never quite good enough to get admitted to the party. You get seduced by the clear, often indirect and unspoken, message that something is just a little wrong. If you can fix that, the implied promise goes, you'll be the guest of honor and win the door prize: love...
But when you "fix" what was "wrong" the first time, something else is a little "wrong." and when you fix that, something else will appear.
Your host HAS NO INTENTION OF MAKING YOU or ANYONE the guest of honor. Your host also has NO ABILITY to make you the guest of honor - or even to open the door to let you in. Your host is suffering form emotional unavailability. This is the inability of a person to reach out and make a heart connection with another person.
What is so unsettling and painful is that you end up with the CLEAR belief that this somehow YOUR fault and that it's YOUR responsibility to fix it by being perfect. If it isn't fixed, you're not perfect enough.
YOU DID NOT BREAK IT... YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIX IT.
You say to yourself that you would never get caught in a situation like that, it seems obvious... until - you are in the middle of it..... IT DOESN'T START OUT WITH UNREASONABLE DEMANDS of perfection. If it did, you'd walk away after the first five minutes. We all get sucked into emotionally unavailable situations because the process is subtle and progressive. The demands move a little at a time, inching you away from your power base, shifting control of the situation to the emotionally unavailable person. This person doesn't want love as much as he or she wants CONTROL. Emotions are unsafe; control gives the illusion of safety.
It is perfectly reasonable to expect an emotional connection with someone with whom you are in a relationship. We expect police officers to enforce the laws, teachers to teach, etc.. These expectations put us into a particular mnd-set when we're around those people.
Over time you expect a relationship to grow and deepen. When your partner turns out not to be making an emotional connection, it causes trauma; THAT IS WHY THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO PAINFUL. The trauma then does further damage as it undermines your expectations about yourself and YOUR abilities to make connections. As illogical as that may seem, it's human nature to look for the flaws in ourselves when things don't go as we expect. We end up being traumatized twice in these relationships; once by the loss and abandonment and again by the loss of our own confidence in ourselves. That is why the end of these relationships can be so much more painful than the end of a fully realized relationship.. We ruminate about what we could have done differently to make it work...."
from the book "EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY" by Bryn C. Collins.
PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE INFORMATION
NOTE: Passive Aggressive Behavior is now known to be a component of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has been eliminated from the DSM-V and combined with NPD.
While written in the male, females can be P-A as well.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Protect Yourself from Victimization by Psychopaths
Vulnerability and Other Prey of Psychopaths
By Marisa Mauro, Psy.D.
Certain personality traits may create better perpetrators and, unfortunately certain cues may create better victims. In a study by Wheeler, Book and Costello of Brock University, individuals who self reported more traits associated with psychopathy were more apt to correctly identify individuals with a history of victimization. In the study, male student participants examined video tapes of twelve individuals walking from behind and rated the ease at which each could be mugged. The men also completed the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale: Version III (Paulhus, Hemphill, & Hare, in press) which measures interpersonal and affective traits associated with psychopathy as well as intra-personal instability and antisocial traits. Finally, they were asked to provide verbal rational for their ratings. Overall results confirmed a strong positive correlation between psychopathy scores and accuracy of victim identification. This means that individuals that score higher for psychopathy are better at selecting victims. Statistically significant results for psychopathy traits including interpersonal manipulation, callous affect and antisocial behavior were found.
Acknowledging that fault always lies with the perpetrator, this research may empower individuals with a history of or concerns about victimization. As for myself, a prison psychologist often dealing with career criminals and individuals with psychopathic traits, I am convinced, in the course of observation alone, that certain personal characteristics are associated with tendency to be on the receiving end of bullying such as harassment and manipulation. I have found that the demonstration of confidence through body language, speech and affective expression, for example, provides some protection. This sense was confirmed by Wheeler, Book and Costello, who found that increased fluidity projected through one's walking gait was associated with less reporting of victimization. With respect to gait, the author's provide five cues of vulnerability originally reported by Grayson and Stein (1981). They state, "potential victims had longer or shorter strides, had nonlateral weight shifts, had gestured versus postural movements and tended to lift their feet higher while walking."
Besides one's walk, individuals can purposefully project dominance thereby potentially decreasing perceived vulnerability by increasing eye contact, decreasing the use of small body movements of the hands and feet, and increasing large body movements or changes in postural positioning. Personally, I have also found that conscious control of changes in affective expression, particularly through control of fear, surprise and embarrassment, as well as the rate, tone and fluency of speech decreases one's likelihood of victimization or bullying. It is recommended that individuals maintain the general projection of confidence via dominant body language even in situations where they feel safe. Potential perpetrators may perceive changes in body language signaling vulnerability and act on this perception.
Wheeler, S., Book, A., & Costello, K. (2009). Psychopathic traits and perceptions of victim vulnerability. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36(6), 635-648.
Monday, October 20, 2014
IS YOUR NARCISSIST/ PSYCHOPATH/ ABUSER PLAYING YOU?
"you are my soul mate" or "this is fate" (came up over 50 times on this poll)
"I'm sorry that you feel that way" (because I'm not taking responsibility for this)
"End of conversation!!!", (when it is your turn to speak)
"I did (whatever BS) because of the medication I'm taking/ forgot to take"
"I'm always supportive of you and your education/career" (but when you're not around, and take the focus off of me, I have to find supply elsewhere, baby)
Cute nicknames: Baby, you are my honey, my sweetie, babe, dear... etc (good for when you have more than one woman on the go; in case you forget her name!)
"You/they made me do (whatever BS). It wasn't my fault. You drove me to it."
"I'm a good husband / father and other women are envious and want to ruin that."
"Don't listen to her (when they get caught by someone) she's in love with me/ obsessed with me/ making it up/ lying/ psycho..."
" I can't control how you feel "
"I'm very literal"
"why do you interpret everything I say"
"I don't feel anything" ( means he doesn't care and truly can NOT 'feel')
"I don't express my emotions well"
"I never said that," (when you repeat something from a prior conversation -- sometimes just an hour ago.)
"that never happened" (even when the proof is right there)
"Not my fault" (projection)
"Explain that to me, I'm thick" or "I don't get it"
"I told you that" or "that's what I told you"
"I would never lie to you"
"Listen to my words" (as he played his word games)
"I swear on my life/to God..."
"if you really think it's necessary."
"up to you"
"I will do anything to make you happy" (except be honest)
"if that's what you want"
"I am a good man"
"It's not what you think"
"just do me one favor...."
"I/ you never...."
"I/ you always...."
For more click here: YOU ARE A TARGET
These were written the 'male', your abuser may well be female!
Sunday, October 19, 2014
WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OVER A PATHOLOGICAL PARTNER?
Relationships with psychopaths take an unusually long time to recover from. Survivors often find themselves frustrated because they haven't healed as fast as they'd like. They also end up dealing with friends & therapists who give them judgmental advice about how it's "time to move on".
Whether you were in a long-term marriage or a quick summer fling, the recovery process will be the same when it comes to a psychopathic encounter. It takes at least 18-24 months to get your heart back in a good place, and even after that, you might have tough days. I certainly do!
The important thing here is to stop blaming yourself. Stop wishing it would go faster. Stop thinking that the psychopath somehow "wins" if you're still hurting. They are out of the picture now. This journey is about you. If you come to peace with the extended timeline, you'll find this experience a lot more pleasant. You can settle in, make some friends, and get cozy with this whole recovery thing.
So why is it taking so long?
You were in love
Yes, it was manufactured love. Yes, your personality was mirrored and your dreams manipulated. But you were in love. It's the strongest human emotion & bond in the world, and you felt it with all your heart. It is always painful to lose someone you loved - someone you planned to be with for the rest of your life.
The human spirit must heal from these love losses. Regardless of your abuser's intentions, your love was still very real. It will take a great deal of time and hope to pull yourself out of the standard post-breakup depression.
You were in desperate love
Here's where we branch off from regular breakups. Psychopaths manufacture desperation & desire. You probably worked harder for this relationship than any other, right? You put more time, energy, and thought into it than ever before. And in turn, you were rewarded with the nastiest, most painful experience of your life.
In the idealization phase, they showered you with attention, gifts, letters, and compliments. Unlike most honeymoon phases, they actually pretended to be exactly like you in every way. Everything you did was perfect to them. This put you on Cloud 9, preparing you for the identity erosion.
You began to pick up on all sorts of hints that you might be replaced at any time. This encouraged your racing thoughts, ensuring that this person was on your mind every second of the day. This unhinged, unpredictable lifestyle is what psychopaths hope to create with their lies, gas-lighting, and triangulation.
By keeping them on your mind at all times, you fall into a state of desperate love. This is unhealthy, and not a sign that the person you feel so strongly about is actually worthy of your love. Your mind convinces you that if you feel so powerfully, then they must be the only person who will ever make you feel that way. And when you lose that person, your world completely falls apart. You enter a state of panic & devastation.
The Chemical Reaction
Psychopaths have an intense emotional & sexual bond over their victims. This is due to their sexual magnetism, and the way they train your mind to become reliant upon their approval.
By first adoring you in every way, you let down your guard and began to place your self worth in this person. Your happiness started to rely on this person's opinion on you. Happiness is a chemical reaction going off in your brain - dopamine and receptors firing off to make you feel good.
Like a drug, the psychopath offers you this feeling in full force to begin with. But once you become reliant on it, they begin to pull back. Slowly, you need more and more to feel that same high. You do everything you can to hang onto it, while they are doing everything in their power to keep you just barely starved.
There are thousands of support groups for survivors of infidelity. It leaves long-lasting insecurities and feelings of never being good enough. It leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others. That pain alone takes many people out there years to recover from.
Now compare that to the psychopath's triangulation. Not only do they cheat on you - they happily wave it in your face. They brag about it, trying to prove how happy they are with your replacement. They carry none of the usual shame & guilt that comes with cheating. They are thrilled to be posting pictures and telling their friends how happy they are.
I cannot even begin to explain how emotionally damaging this is after once being the target of their idealization. The triangulation alone will take so much time to heal from.
You have encountered pure evil
Everything you once understood about people did not apply to this person. During the relationship, you tried to be compassionate, easy-going, and forgiving. You never could have known that the person you loved was actively using these things against you. It just doesn't make any sense. No typical person is ready to expect that, and so we spend our time projecting a normal human conscience onto them, trying to explain away their inexplicable behavior.
But once we discover psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism, that's when everything starts to change. We begin to feel disgusted - horrified that we let this darkness into our lives. Everything clicks and falls into place. All of the "accidental" or "insensitive" behavior finally makes sense.
You try to explain this to friends and family members - no one really seems to get it. This is why validation matters. When you come together with others who have experienced the same thing as you, you discover you were not crazy. You were not alone in this inhuman experience.
It takes a great deal of time to come to terms with this personality disorder. You end up having to let go of your past understanding of human nature, and building it back up from scratch. You realize that people are not always inherently good. You begin to feel paranoid, hyper-vigialant, and anxious. The healing process is about learning to balance this new state of awareness with your once trusting spirit.
Your spirit is deeply wounded
After the eventual abandonment, most survivors end up feeling a kind of emptiness that cannot even be described as depression. It's like your spirit has completely gone away. You feel numb to everything and everyone around you. The things that once made you happy now make you feel absolutely nothing at all. You worry that your encounter with this monster has destroyed your ability to empathize, feel and care.
I believe this is what takes the longest time to recover from. It feels hopeless at first, but your spirit is always with you. Damaged, for sure, but never gone. As you begin to discover self-respect & boundaries, it slowly starts to find its voice again. It feels safe opening up, peeking out randomly to say hello. You will find yourself grateful to be crying again, happy that your emotions seem to be returning. This is great, and it will start to become more and more consistent.
Ultimately, you will leave this experience with an unexpected wisdom about the people around you. Your spirit will return stronger than ever before, refusing to be treated that way again. You may encounter toxic people throughout your life, but you won't let them stay for very long. You don't have time for mind games & manipulation. You seek out kind, honest, and compassionate individuals. You know you deserve nothing less.
This new found strength is the greatest gift of the psychopathic experience. And it is worth every second of the recovery process, because it will serve you for the rest of your life.
If you're worried that your recovery process is taking too long, please stop worrying. You've been through hell and back - there is no quick fix for that. And what's more, when all is said and done, these few years will be some of the most important years of your life.
from this fantastic site
Labels: bad relationship, cruel, damaged, devalue, discard, get over it, healing, idealize, move on, narcissism, narcissist, no empathy, pathological, psychopath, psychopathy, ptsd, recovery, sociopath, sociopathy
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Sex Addicts & Religion
The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
by Doug Boudinot
A sexually addicted friend of mine recently told me that his church is the last place he would ever seek help for his addiction. His comment left me wondering why he feels unsafe in his own church? Knowing addicts and addictions as I do, the obvious answer was that he is not in a small group where trust exists between members. Perhaps he is also a cautious man who has trouble trusting anyone. Or possibly he is so certain that he will be rejected he keeps his addiction to himself no matter where he goes.
My friend may or may not have trouble opening up to others, but a deeper problem remains: there is a deep-rooted belief among many who struggle with sexual sins that they must leave their burdens at home on Sunday morning. A question I repeatedly deal with is whether the church is a safe place where even sex addicts can find the love, grace, and healing of Jesus Christ or whether there are some sinners—sex addicts among them—who, after repentance and confession to Christ, still have no safe place in God’s church.
I often consider whether the old adage is true, that Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded. But perhaps your church is not one of those “dog pound” types of environments. Maybe the problem lies not with what you do to your wounded but what you do not do for them. In some cases, apathy or “lukewarmness” may actually be worse than coldness.1
Allow me to make a bold but accurate statement: Sexual addiction is one of the Christian church’s greatest challenges. Sexuality resides at the heart of our humanity, and if that is broken, chances are the rest of us—including our spirits—will be too. Since all cultural indicators tell us that this problem will only get worse, each of us is faced with a dilemma. Will we become part of the problem or part of the solution?
Sadly, we often choose the easier way out and close our hearts to the addicted of our society. Whether it’s out of fear, lack of knowledge or reluctance to follow Jesus’ example, Christians in churches across America are making sex addicts the lepers of our day.
Scripture is clear, we have all sinned and the wages of this sin is death. Addicts know about death. In fact, death is one concept they understand very well—too well. Sexual sin has probably brought about the death of their marriage, their job, financial security, their hope, peace, and sense of self-worth. Rooted deeply in most addicts’ belief systems is the feeling that no matter how successful they may be on the outside, they are really worthless inside. Christian sex addicts are lonely, isolated, and fearful individuals loaded with shame. Adding to these already depressed persons, the trauma of sin breaks our relationship with God. Since only the cross of Christ can bridge this gap—and many addicts are fearful of or distrust the church—their spiritual death seems very near.
Whether it’s out of fear, lack of knowledge or reluctance to follow Jesus’ example, Christians in churches across America are making sex addicts the lepers of our day.
Healing for a sex addict follows the same path used by every sinner. They must find a place to begin telling and living the truth with others in a place where they experience safety and acceptance—something addicts have never known. Addiction recovery programs have a saying, “Truth your way out!” But it all starts with safety. Without safety there is no trust; without trust there is no truth; and without truth there is no hope for grace.
Without grace and compassion there is no comfort2; without comfort in the midst of trouble, there are no sanctuaries established for others to find safety3; without safety there is no movement away from trusting in ourselves toward trusting others4; without trust, there is no walking along the path of truth5; and without truth there is no hope for deliverance and restoration. Simply put, where there is no restorative, liberating power from “deadly perils,”6 there is no healing.
But we know this already, right? It’s what brings us back to church each week. Is there another place in the world more suited than the local Christian church to find the safety so desperately required for healing? Where else can anyone—you, me, the addicted—find true grace alongside accountability, love coupled with firmness, and safe people to tell the truth about who we are?
Correctly answering the question of who we are is the first step to making your church a safe place for addicts and every other kind of sinner. That starts with recognizing that God considers all of us His sheep—lost and stinky creatures that constantly depend on His rescuing hand.
Throughout the Scriptures, one of God’s primary actions is that of rescuing His people, and He doesn’t restrict it to a select few. All of us are in need and God—the Great Rescuer—is always there. In the Psalms, the word ‘rescue’ appears countless times as David, a prime example of an addicted man, is constantly in need of immediate rescue because of his sin. David certainly qualified as a sheep, but did God give up on him? Quite the contrary. He was a warrior and king who “served the purpose of God for his own generation”7 despite his many flaws.
Healing can only come through admitting our faults to God and to His people in community and through praying for one another.
Think also about the people who encountered Christ during His ministry on Earth. Jesus met a woman at the well and in turn she found a safe person to whom she could tell the truth. Similarly, the woman caught in adultery found safety and grace in Jesus as he rescued her from both physical and spiritual death.
As Christ’s disciples are we to do any less? Will we accept the challenge to provide safety for the broken and addicted of our society? James 5:16 reminds believers to “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.”
Healing can only come through admitting our faults to God and to His people in community and through praying for one another. What a radical concept! A Biblical concept! We are called to be Christ’s Body on Earth, a fellowship of safe people who can admit faults to one another and experience forgiveness and healing. We do this because the church is supposed to be where God’s grace is in place. That’s why we sing, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” We sing for the “wretches,” the broken and addicted of our day, you and me!
If you are still struggling with this concept, consider that the parable of the Prodigal Son applies to us not only in that we play the part of the son returning to our Heavenly Father, but that we are also called to play the part of the father through our churches to welcome back other lost sons and daughters.
Is your church a safe place to trust your true self, to pray for one another and in turn find the healing God wants to pour into your life? More importantly, are you a safe person for others, even for sex addicts? If not, consider what you are missing. God wraps His loving arms around his lost sheep, enveloping them in grace. He also challenges us to do the same, no matter how ‘stinky’ that next sheep may be!
Hat Tip to Emotional Abuse & Faith
Friday, October 17, 2014
Signs To Look For In An Abusive Personality
1. Jealousy: At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love; jealousy has nothing to do with love, it is a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. He will question the other person about whom she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be jealous of the time she spends with her family or friends. As the jealousy progresses, he may call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may refuse to let you work for fear you will meet someone else, or even do strange behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to watch you.
2. Controlling Behavior: At first, the batterer will say that this behavior is because he is concerned with your safety, your need to use your time well, or your need to make good decisions. He will be angry if you are late coming back from an appointment or a class, he will question you closely about where you went and whom you talked to. As this behavior gets worse, he may not let you make personal decisions about your clothing, hair style, appearance.
3. Quick Involvement: Many people in abusive relationships dated or knew their abusive partners for less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together. He comes on like a whirlwind, claiming, “You are the only person I could ever talk to” or “I’ve never felt like this for anyone before. He will pressure you to commit to the relationship in such a way that you may later feel guilty or that you are “letting him down” if you want to slow down involvement or break up.
4. Unrealistic Expectations: Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all their needs; he expects you to be the perfect boyfriend/ girlfriend, the perfect friend or the perfect lover. He will say things like, “If you love me, I’m all you need and you are all I need.” You are supposed to take care of all of his emotional needs.
5. Isolation: The abusive person will try to cut you off from all resources. He accuses you of being “tied to your mother’s apron strings,” or your friends of “trying to cause trouble” between you. If you have a friend of the opposite sex, you are “going out on him” and if you have friends of the same sex, he may accuse you of being gay.
6. Blames Others for Problems: He is chronically unemployed, someone is always waiting for him to do wrong or mess up or someone is always out to get him. He may make mistakes and blame you for upsetting him. He may accuse you of preventing him from concentrating on school. He will tell you that you are at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.
7. Blames Others for Feelings: He will tell you, “You make me mad,” “You are hurting me by not doing what I want you to do,” or “I can’t help being angry.” He really makes the decisions about how he thinks or feels, but will use feelings to manipulate you.
8. Hypersensitivity: An abusive person is easily insulted, and claims that their feelings are hurt when really he is very mad. He often takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks. He will rant about things that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being asked to help others with chores.
9. Cruelty to Animals or Children: This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain and suffering. He may tease younger brothers or sisters until they cry.
10.“Playful” use of Force in Sex: This kind of person is likely to throw you down or try to hold you down during making out, or he may want you to act out fantasies in which you are helpless. He is letting you know that the idea of sex is exciting. He may show little concern about whether you want affection and may sulk or use anger to manipulate you into compliance.
11. Verbal Abuse: In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen when the abusive person tries to degrade you, curses you, calls you names or makes fun of your accomplishments. The abusive person will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function without him. This may involve waking you up to verbally abuse you or not letting you go to sleep until you talk out an argument.
12. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Many people are confused by their abusive partner’s “sudden” changes in mood -- you may think he has a mental problem because he is nice one minute and the next minute he is exploding. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who are abusive to their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like hypersensitivity.
13. *** Past Battering: This person may say that he has hit girlfriends in the past but the other person “made him do it.” You may hear from relatives or past girlfriends that he is abusive. An abusive person will be physically abusive to any one they are with if the other person is with them long enough for the violence to begin; situational circumstances do not change a person into an abuser.
14. *** Threats of violence: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control you: “I’ll slap you,” “I’ll kill you,” or “I’ll break your neck." Most people do not threaten their partners, but the abusive person will try to excuse his threats by saying, “Everybody talks that way.”
15. *** Breaking or Striking Objects: This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize you into submission. The abuser may beat on the table with his fists, throw objects at or near you, kick the car, slam the door or drive at a high rate of speed or recklessly to scare you. Not only is this a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but there is great danger when someone thinks they have the “right” to punish or frighten you.
16. *** Any Force During an Argument: This may involve an abusive partner holding you down, physically restraining you from leaving the room, any pushing or shoving. He may hold you against the wall and say, “You are going to listen to me.”
My partner loves me . . . he didn’t mean to hurt me. (Abuse is about power and control. It is not about love.)
My partner promised to get counseling. (Abusers tend to make promises when they feel they are not in control.)
When you file charges, you have taken control away from your abuser, who is likely to promise anything to get that control back.
It is just that my partner was under a lot of stress . . . or drunk. (You can chose to believe that there are reasons, but there can never be a justifiable reason for your abuse.)
It will never happen again. (It might. Chances are, it will if your abuser is not held accountable.)
It’s really not that bad, we have had great times. (All relationships have good and bad times, but violent relationships are not good for anyone. Healthy relationships are based on caring, equality and respect. They are not about power and control.)
Types of Abuse
EMOTIONAL ABUSE - This is often the first sign of abusive behavior exhibited by someone who batters. In the beginning it may as simple as the silent treatment, but it often progresses to angry words and put downs.
Finding faults in all your friends/family (this is the first step in the isolation process)
Withholding emotions, not talking or sharing, withholding approval or affections
Does not acknowledge your feelings
Name-calling, mocking, put-downs
Yelling, swearing, being lewd
Pressure tactics (using guilt trips, rushing you, threats to leave)
Humiliated in public (including outbursts of anger to insults in public)
Manipulation by lies, omitting facts, or telling only portions of the facts
Angry gestures, slamming doors, throwing things, hitting walls or furniture near you
Threats (to harm you, to not pay bills, to not buy groceries, etc.)
Using children (making threats to take them or to call DHS, criticizing your parenting skills)
ECONOMIC ABUSE - Again, this begins in subtle ways and develops into the abuser's dominant control over all economic aspects.
Insisting that you quit your job (saying he will take care of you, sites faults with coworkers and bosses - point out how they "mistreat" you)
Recanting on promises to pay bills (for example, your car payment, insurance, etc.)
Makes you account for your spending with no accounting for abuser's spending
Limiting your access to funds (taking ATM card or removing your name from accounts)
Not paying bills, buying groceries, or taking care of the children's needs
PHYSICAL ABUSE - This is usually first exhibited by getting "in your face" or invading your personal space during an argument and progresses into offensive and harmful touches.
Shouting at you
Invading your personal space
Refusing to let you leave
Being locked in/out of house
Destroying your possessions
Abandoned in dangerous places
Disabling car, hiding keys to car
Refusing medical care
Hurtful/unwanted touching of sexual parts
Rape (use of force, threats, coercion, or manipulation to obtain sex)
Intimidating by blocking exit, making threatening gestures
Refusing to let you sleep until he is ready to sleep/or making you go to sleep at the same time he does
Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
Answering the following questions may help you determine whether the relationship you are in is abusive. Check the questions that apply to you:
Does your partner:
Embarrass you in front of people?
Belittle your accomplishments?
Make you feel unworthy?
Criticize your sexual performance?
Constantly contradict himself/herself to confuse you?
Do things for which you are constantly making excuses to others or yourself?
Isolate you from many of the people you care about most?
Make you feel ashamed a lot of the time?
Make you believe he is smarter than you and therefore more able to make decisions?
Make you feel like you are crazy?
Make you perform sexual acts that are embarrassing or demeaning to you?
Use intimidation to make you do what he wants?
Prevent you from doing common-place activities such as visiting friends or family, or
talking to the opposite sex?
Control the financial aspects of your life?
Use money as a way of controlling you?
Make you believe that you can not exist without him?
Make you feel that there is no way out and that "you made your own bed and you must lie in it?
Make you find ways of compromising your feelings for the sake of peace?
Treat you roughly (grab, pinch, push, or shove you)?
Threaten you (verbally or with a weapon)?
Hold you to keep you from leaving after an argument?
Lose control when he is drunk or using drugs?
Get extremely angry, frequently, and without an apparent cause?
Escalate his anger into violence . . .slapping, kicking, etc?
Not believe that he has hurt you, nor feel sorry for what he has done?
Physically force you to do what you do not want to do?
Do you believe you can help your partner change his abusive behavior if you were only to change yourself in some way, if you only did some things differently, if you really loved him more?
Believe that you deserve to be abused or punished?
Find that not making him angry has become a major part of your life?
Do what he wants you to do, rather than what you want to do, out of fear?
Stay with him only because you’re afraid he might hurt you if you left?
If you answered "yes" to many of these questions, you have identified an abusive relationship. If the abuse has occurred during dating, it is very likely to continue after marriage. Once physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and to escalate over time. You cannot change your partner’s behavior. You can only change yourself. It is not necessary to stay in a relationship of fear. You have the right to choose how you wish to live.
Traits And Characteristics Of Violent Offenders
1. Low Frustration Tolerance - Reacts to stress in self-defeating ways, unable to cope effectively with anxiety, acts out when frustrated. Frustration leads to aggression.
2. Impulsive - Is quick to act, wants immediate gratification, has little or no consideration for the consequences, lacks insight, has poor judgment, has limited cognitive filtering.
3. Emotional Liability/Depression - Quick-tempered, short-fused, hot-headed, rapid mood swings, moody, sullen, irritable, humorless.
4. Childhood Abuse - Sexual and physical abuse, maternal or paternal deprivation,
rejection, abandonment, exposure to violent role models in the home.
5. Loner - Is isolated and withdrawn, has poor interpersonal relations, has no empathy for others, lacks feeling of guilt and remorse.
6. Overly sensitive - Hypersensitive to criticism and real or perceived slights, suspicious, fearful, distrustful, paranoid.
7. Altered Consciousness - Sees red, “blanking,” has blackouts, de-realization/depersonalization. ("It’s like I wasn’t there" or "It was me, but not me”), impaired reality testing, hallucinations.
8. Threats of Violence - Toward self and/or others, direct, veiled, implied, or conditional.
9. Blames Others – Projects blame onto others, fatalistic, external locus of control, avoids personal responsibility for behavior, views self as “victim” instead of “victimizer,” self-centered, sense of entitlement.
10. Chemical Abuse - Especially alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, crack, and hallucinogens (PCP, LSD), an angry drunk, dramatic personality/mood changes when under the influence.
11. Mental Health Problems Requiring In-Patient Hospitalization - Especially with arrest history for any offenses prior to hospitalization.
12. **History of Violence** - Towards self and others, actual physical force used to injure, harm, or damage. This element is the most significant in assessing individuals for potential dangerousness.
13. Odd/Bizarre Beliefs - Superstitious, magical thinking, religiosity, sexuality, violent fantasies (especially when violence is eroticized), delusions.
14. Physical Problems - Congenital defects, severe acne, scars, stuttering, any of which contribute to poor self-image, lack of self-esteem, and isolation. History of head trauma, brain damage/neurological problems.
15. Preoccupation With Violence Themes - Movies, books, TV, newspaper articles, magazines (detective), music, weapons collections, guns, knives, implements of torture, S & M, Nazi paraphernalia.
16. Pathological Triad/School Problems - Fire-setting, enuresis, cruelty to animals, fighting, truancy, temper tantrums, inability to get along with others, ejection of authority.
Alan C. Brantley, Traits and Characteristics of Violent Offenders, FBI Academy.