Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Narcissists & Conflict


by Kathy Krajco
One simple but easy-to-forget thing about narcissists is that, unlike normal people, they don't mind conflict. They enjoy it.

Conflict makes normal people uncomfortable. We try to minimize it in our dealings with others. Oddly, we love it in fiction (Conflict is the gunpowder of fiction, and it's near relative - controversy - is the gunpowder of journalism. Maintaining constant conflict is the secret to storytelling success). But note that this is "safe" conflict. In real life we hate what we love to see characters go through in fiction.

Narcissists have a whole different attitude toward conflict. They use it strategically to manipulate. They seek conflict. They become impossible people, flying into conflict with you over anything you think, say, do, feel, or wear. As if THEY have the right to determine what you say, think, do, feel, or wear.

This isn't just arrogance.
It's a game in which you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, because they are being deliberately impossible to please.
When this is the motive, what happens when you try to defuse conflict, when you try to appease? The narcissist sees that as a sign of weakness, as sign of backing down. It just makes him bolder. This is no testing run at you anymore: now he is serious about running you over.
He sees your "weakness" as REASON to come on stronger = to get madder and even more impossible. It's how he's controlling you.
In other words, trying to smooth it over, trying to appease the narcissist just backfires, making him more aggressive, not less aggressive.

So, don't do it.

This is just one of many examples of how normal human behavior backfires in Wonderland, simply because of a narcissist's alien mentality.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Be Very Specific in Custody Agreements


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

Before adding provisions to your custody agreement

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

Including your own provisions in your custody agreement

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

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

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

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Thursday, July 04, 2019

Invalidation



INVALIDATION

Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. Constant invalidation may be one of the most significant reasons a person with high innate emotional intelligence suffers from unmet emotional needs later in life.(1)

A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. To adapt to this unhealthy and dysfunctional environment, the working relationship between his thoughts and feelings becomes twisted. His emotional responses, emotional management, and emotional development will likely be seriously, and perhaps permanently, impaired. The emotional processes which worked for him as a child may begin to work against him as an adult. In fact, one defintion of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (2)

Psychiatrist R.D. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. (Reference)

Recent research by Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. of Duke University supports the idea that invalidation leads to mental health problems. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)

Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren't like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.

None of this feels good, and all of it damages us. The more different from the mass norm a person is, for example, more intelligent or more sensitive, the more he is likely to be invalidated. When we are invalidated by having our feelings repudiated, we are attacked at the deepest level possible, since our feelings are the innermost expression of our individual identities.


Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.





Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Each persons's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile. A good guideline is:

First accept the feelings, then address the behavior.

One the great leaders in education, Haim Ginott, said this:

Primum non nocere- First do no harm. Do not deny your teenager's perception. Do not argue with his experience. Do not disown his feelings.
We regularly invalidate others because we ourselves were, and are often invalidated, so it has become habitual. Below are a few of the many ways we are invalidated:

You Can't Heal an Emotional Wound with Logic
People with high IQ and low EQ tend to use logic to address emotional issues. They may say, "You are not being rational. There is no reason for you to feel the way you do. Let's look at the facts." Businesses, for example, and "professionals" are traditionally out of balance towards logic at the expense of emotions. This tends to alienate people and diminish their potential.

Actually, all emotions do have a basis in reality, and feelings are facts, fleeting though they may be. But trying to dress an emotional wound, with logic tends to either confuse, sadden or infuriate a person. Or it may eventually isolate them from their feelings, with a resulting loss of major part of their natural intelligence.

Remember:


You can't solve an emotional problem, or heal an emotional wound, with logic alone.

There are many forms of invalidation. Most of them are so insidious that we don't even know what is happening. We know that something doesn't feel good, but we sometimes can't put our finger on it. We have been conditioned to think that invalidation is "normal." Indeed, it is extremely common, but it is certainly not healthy.

I have heard parents and teachers call children:

dramatic, crybabies, whiners, whingers, too sensitive, worry warts, drama queens

I have also heard them say things like: "He cries at the drop of a hat." One teacher said "When she starts to cry, I just ignore her and eventually she stops." Another said, "When one kid's crying is disrupting the lesson, I tell them to go cry in the hall till they can pull themselves back together again."
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Defensiveness and Invalidation
All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack. Repteated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person.

One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."

How the other person responds to your emotional honesty will depend upon, and be indicative of:

(a) how much they respect you

(b) how much they care about you and your feelings

(c) how insecure and defensive they are

(d) how much they are trying to change or control you

All of this is information which will help you make decisions which are in your best interest.

Self-Injury and Invalidation
Invalidation has been suggested as one of the primary reasons people cut, burn and injure themselves.

For example this quote is from D. Martinson

One factor common to most people who self-injure, whether they were abused or not, is invalidation. They were taught at an early age that their interpretations of and feelings about the things around them were bad and wrong. They learned that certain feelings weren't allowed. In abusive homes, they may have been severely punished for expressing certain thoughts and feelings.

Martnison also writes:

Self-injury is probably the result of many different factors. Among them: Lack of role models and invalidation - most people who self-injure were chronically invalidated in some way as children (many self-injurers report abuse, but almost all report chronic invalidation).
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Examples of invalidating expressions. -- Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.

"Ordering" You to Feel Differently
Smile.
Be happy.
Cheer up
Lighten up.
Get over it.
Grow up.
Get a life
Don't cry.
Don't worry.
Don't be sad.
Stop whining.
Stop laughing..
Don't get angry.
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Stop complaining.
Don't be so dramatic.
Don't be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop taking everything so personally.

Ordering you to "look" differently
Don't look so sad.
Don't look so smug.
Don't look so down.
Don't look like that.
Don't make that face.
Don't look so serious.
Don't look so proud of yourself.
Don't look so pleased with yourself.

Denying Your Perception, Defending
But of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
I honestly don't judge you as much as you think.

Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I .....
At least you....

Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn't bother anyone else, why should it bother you?

Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can't be serious.
It can't be that bad.
Your life can't be that bad.
You are just ... (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It's nothing to get upset over.
It's not worth getting that upset over.
Using Reason
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way.
Let's look at the facts.
Let's stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it....

Debating
I don't always do that.
It's not that bad. (that far, that heavy, that hot, that serious, etc.)

Judging & Labeling You
You are a cry baby.
You have a problem.
You are too sensitive.
You are over-reacting. You are too thin-skinned.
You are way too emotional.
You are an insensitive jerk. .
You need to get your head examined!
You are impossible to talk to.
You are impossible.
You are hopeless.

Turning Things Around
You are making a big deal out of nothing.
You are blowing this way out of proportion.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Trying to get you to question yourself
What is your problem?
What's wrong with you?
What's the matter with you?
Why can't you just get over it?
Why do you always have to ....?
Is that all you can do, complain?
Why are you making such a big deal over it?
What's wrong with you, can't you take a joke?
How can you let a little thing like that bother you?
Don't you think you are being a little dramatic?
Do you really think that crying about it is going to help anything?

Telling You How You "Should" Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that...
You should be happy that ....
You should be glad that ...
You should just drop it.
You shouldn't worry so much.
You shouldn't let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn't wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn't say that about your father/mother.

Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn't mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.

Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn't true.
You don't mean that. You know you love your baby brother.
You don't really mean that. You are just ... (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)

Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?

Laying Guilt Trips
Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?

Philosophizing Or Clichés
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.

Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can't say anything to her.

Showing Intolerance
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.
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Even when we are happy, unhappy people want to ruin it for us by saying diminishing things like: What are you so happy about? That's it? That's all you are so excited about?

There was an expression I heard when I was growing up. It was "Who put a quarter in you?" A quarter is a 25 cent coin in the USA. It was a coin which was once enough to start music in a juke box. So the implication was the person was acting abnormally happy, excited, lively etc.
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When your awareness rises, you'll begin to notice such comments on a regular basis. Together, they take their toll on us. We wonder if there is something wrong with us for feeling how we do. It seems fair to say that with enough invalidation, one person can figuratively, if not literally, drive another person crazy. This is especially possible, I believe, in the case where one person has long-term power over another. Examples of such relationships are parent/child, teacher/child, "spiritual" leader/follower, boss/employee, spouse A/spouse B. Such a sad scenario appears to be even more likely when the person being invalidated is highly sensitive, intelligent and has previously suffered self-esteem damage.

The more sensitive the person, the more serious the damage of invalidation. Invalidation undermines self-confidence because it causes self-doubt. This in turn further diminishes self-esteem. Invalidation is serious violation of one's "true self." I believe it is one of the worst crimes one person can commit against another without ever lifting a finger against them. And yet it is neither illegal, "immoral" by most who consider themselves moralists, nor even widely recognized as a problem.

The high EQ person will never invalidate another person's feelings, especially not the feelings of a sensitive child.
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Below is an article on invalidation which uses some of my thoughts.
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Validation and Invalidation
Excerpts from an article by Cathy Palmer-Scruggs
Recently, I had a few situations to come up that called for some comfort from my friends. I really needed them. A few came through for me in just 'being there'...and others took it as their cue to 'give advice'...and believe me, it only made the situation worse. I did not ask anyone for advice.

I don't make the habit of asking my friends for advice....believe me. I am a 'thinking' person and only need some time and to get things off of my chest. I do not ask my friends to solve my problems. I do not tell my friends about a situation in order for them to come up with ways in which to tell me how to 'get through it' or 'how to think about it' or how to look at it.

No one likes to hear things like "don't let it get to you"...or "don't let her / him get to you"....or "you need to just 'get over' this"....etc. If solutions were that easy, don't you think we'd all do them? And I've also noticed that the very people who tell me this will also eventually deal with frustrating things, and they don't follow their own advice. See, it's different when something happens to THEM.....but not when it's me.

It's easier said than done....how does one not let things get to them? If they are upset, obviously, it's bothering them. They can't just 'dismiss' their feelings on a whim. How do you feel when someone says that to you?

Then there's the other side of the coin...the friends who do not know what to say and do, so, they avoid their friend altogether...the friend in pain. Well, you don't need to say or do anything...just 'be there' for them. They do not expect special words and solutions....they only want to know you care.

They know that not all of their friends are poetic, graceful with words...know 'just what to say'....this isn't a contest of who can make them feel the best. They just want to know you care...that you will merely listen, if they need to talk. And believe me, even if you don't think so at the moment, if you have a hard time facing your friend, you can get a little blank note card and just put the words 'you are in my thoughts' and that is enough...it does show you care. Send it to them. No one ever expects anything 'fancy' or 'just the right thing to say'....please believe that.

Basically, for me, I just need to talk...or type....just 'get it out'...then I can look at it, process it, deal with it, begin the healing, and move on. The very best words a friend can ever say to me is "I'm here for you if you just need to talk". My close friends know that I am not coming to them for answers.....I just need to talk it out ....hear myself say it....

And sometimes, my good friends will 're-state' what I've already said, or re-phrase it....letting me know they 'got it'....they understood me....they heard me. And sometimes they even tell me a similar situation that may have happened in their own lives...and from there, I can glean out some good things that I can take with me. Not everything works for all people. What may have worked for you may NOT work for your friend.

I realize that when our friends are hurting and in pain, our instincts urge us to want to help. None of us want to see our friends hurt. But, especially in my own situation recently, I expected no solutions....no answers...no 'fixes'....no advice....and certainly no philosophical sayings. All I needed was 'validation'....let me feel what I feel. And when my wonderful friends do that, they are deeper into my heart....I feel closer to them and respect them because they respected me and my feelings.

If a person loses a loved one to death, it might not be a good time to say things like "you need to get past that"...or "just don't think of it"....or "you need to get on with your life"....And I've actually had people say this to me.

I don't care how much time passes or what a person tells themselves....you never 'get over' something like this...you merely learn to live with it...live around it....cope with it. No amount of grieving, then or now, will take away the pain or fill the void. Time will allow us to continue our lives while we accept the loss.

Accepting the loss does not mean we are not allowed to grieve from time to time...or cry, when inspired to do so. No one has the right to tell you to put it so far back behind you, that you no longer feel the loss. It will always be there.

Being able to live with this loss does not mean that you are not allowed to visit those very painful memories. Just because you can still cry about anything does not mean you have not gone on with your life....and that somehow, once you are past the initial hurt and tears, that to re-visit those feelings will be wrong and damaging. And anyone who tells you anything different ...well, they are not being realistic.

Why is it that when a person feels momentarily sad, their friends think it's their cue to stop them from feeling and grieving? Who in the world told them that was healthy? When did they become an expert at how long a person should grieve, and feel, and cry and remember? And just because I do cry from time to time over something, that does not mean that for the rest of my life, each and every day, I will sit and cry, just like this, forever....and that I have ruined my life....forever. Allow me to be sad, just as you would welcome and allow me to be happy....I need it.

My telling someone of an event or something that I am going through, does not mean it's their cue to try to 'solve my problem'...I didn't ask for advice or ask how to grieve.

I have the RIGHT to grieve and cry and 'feel' any emotions I ever have in any event in MY life. No one has the right to rob me of my right to express myself or to grieve....to do what "I" need to do in order to continue on with my life. (note)

If your friend is hurting....if they are angry at someone, if they have to make a decision that they feel is in the best interest of them, LET THEM DO IT....let them feel it....validate what they are going through. Just because YOU can't feel it in the same way or maybe not 'see it' in the same way, does not mean that YOU get to take it away from your friend....who "IS" feeling that way. You need to respect what your FRIEND feels. This does not mean your friend is wrong...'feelings' are not wrong. The feelings are based on your friend's life experiences...not yours.

What if you are the kind of person who is in denial of things around you...trying to look at things through 'rose colored glasses'...and your friend doesn't ....you cannot expect your friend to put on your 'special glasses' and pretend that their pain doesn't exist, or that nothing is wrong, just because it would be easier for YOU to deal with. Maybe that works for you...but I doubt it...it will come out eventually, in one way or another. I try to avoid that by dealing with it now, not later.

And it will still hurt later, but not with the same intensity. That does not mean I didn't do something right...it just means that it was a painful event in my life that I will forever feel....as long as I am alive, just not with the same intensity. You do grow with, and from, your experiences.

If you can't deal with your friend's pain and frustration, then maybe it's best that you say nothing at all....it's certainly better to say nothing than to make your friend feel worse. They probably aren't asking you for a solution anyway. Why hurt them worse?

I'm sure that if your friend needs or asks advice, it would be a different story. I'm just talking about those people who like to immediately step in and tell a hurting person to suppress their feelings.

They see and feel what they see and feel...and unless they have been diagnosed with a mental illness that causes hallucinations and 'voices'....don't be so quick to 'dismiss' them. They may be more grounded in reality than you are....and YOU are the one who may need the advice when it's all said and done. Your friend is trying to deal with reality, what is real...

Please do NOT see it as your cue to 'fix' them or tell them that they "should feel this way" or that they "should not feel that way". They feel as they do because of their own life's experiences....not based on your life's experiences. It does not have to make sense to YOU or even be real to YOU...it does not have to be felt by YOU, in order to validate what your FRIEND is feeling.

Being 'strong' for your friend does not mean you have to solve their problems or give them answers.

Just be there to 'listen'....they may not even need to talk to you about it, but feel close enough to you to share it...and if you give them the hurtful advice that I mentioned on this page, you are going to alienate them from you.

You may help them, upon hearing them explain their situation, to even agree that 'you can understand how and why they would feel that way', even if YOUR OWN thoughts are different...try to understand the way THEY are seeing it.

To your friend, all of what they are feeling is very real and very painful....it's affecting their life.

As a great friend, all you need to do is just lend a listening ear....'be there' for them....don't try to make them look at it differently. If that needs to be done, they will do it on their own, you can't rush it. They have to see their OWN way through.

If you take it as your cue to minimize their situation, 'make excuses' for their enemies, or the ones who are hurting them and causing them grief, what you are now doing is making them feel defensive .....they already feel bad enough, but now they have to further frustrate the situation by defending their feelings and emotions to you.

So, while they try, once again, to tell you why they are hurting, you have just sent them on a detour of the path they are on....now they have to get it all past YOU. And, not only are they upset at the original situation, now they feel alienated and unsupported by you....their friend...the person they just needed to talk to.

And the more you try to get them to see it a different way, the worse it will get. They have to see those things for themselves, "if" it's something they can ever do to begin with. Again, not on YOUR schedule. They, most likely, know more about the situation than you do, give them the benefit of the doubt.

No one expects you to have a clever saying....no one has the answers or the solutions. Each person has to work through their own pain....they can't hurry things along on YOUR schedule, just because you don't want this to be happening to them. The worst thing you can do is minimize what they are dealing with....that just makes them feel even more isolated. If I really want to get some advice from, I'll ask for it....and so will your other friends.

And this also goes for situations regarding pets. I have friends who have lost pets through a death, or the pet turned up missing, and they have told me of incredibly insensitive things that were said to them. They are grieving a companion...a friend...and a friendship that, through 'unspoken language', grew into a special friendship that they will surely miss. This was a creature, a 'friend', who loved them unconditionally. Who wouldn't miss something like that?

It' s a real pain, whether it's an animal or a human, it hurts. There are memories associated with the pet...a routine....pictures....little treasures that will forever remind them that the pet is gone. Please be respectful of that. Not everyone can rush out and get another pet...some people need time. And when the time is right, they may be able to open their hearts to another pet. Again, this is on THEIR schedule, not yours.

I have lived for 46 years, thus far...and I hardly think I've waited all these years and went through all the things that I've endured, just to have a friend tell me how to 'get through it'....Nothing anyone says will make it go away....nothing will make a friend in pain feel better....except for the words "I'll be right here for you if you need to talk".

Be a friend....
January 20 , 2001 -- Cathy Palmer-Scruggs
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Note: I would say that it is a "need" to grieve. It doesn't make much sense to try to tell someone else that they have no "right" to tell you to get over it. This is invalidating their feelings almost the same as they are invalidating yours. Evidently they feel something which causes them to say "get over it" or whatever. Probably they feel uncomfortable with your pain. They might feel powerless to do anything to help you, so to have some sense of power over the situation they start trying to give you advice or order you around. S. Hein
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Footnotes

1. At the time I first wrote this this was my own hypothesis. Later I was informed of the defintion of "borderline personality disorder" which is based on invalidation. If you are aware of any scientific research on invalidation and the connection between it and later emotional problems, please let me know. See also section self-injury and invalidation.

2. http://www.priory.com/dbt.htm

3. Reference to R.D. Laing is from chapter 1 of Claude Steiner's book Achieving Emotional Literacy

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The Role of Emotion Inhibition in Psychological Distress
Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. , Duke University

Abstract:

Emotion avoidance and inhibition has been implicated as a common feature associated with borderline personality disorder. This presentation will discuss three studies that that have been recently conducted at the Duke Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program. The first study examined 127 participants to evaluate a developmental model in which chronic emotion inhibition mediates the relation between childhood emotional invalidation/abuse and adult psychological distress. Findings indicated that a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms. The second study examined a model in which inhibition of thoughts and emotion was predicted to mediate the relationship between the trait of negative affect intensity and acute psychological distress. Using structural equation modeling hypotheses were supported in both clinical and non-clinical samples, indicating its generalizability. The third study examined the effects of emotion suppression on classical conditioning. Participants were randomized to a suppression (n= 22; show or feel no emotion) or a non-suppression (n = 24; no instruction) condition. Data indicated that discriminative learning (assessed by galvanic skin response) occurred faster and was more robust for suppressors. Suppressors also exhibited less extinction. Results suggest that active attempts to suppress emotion may increase associations to an aversive event, implicating a mechanism by which certain disorders (e.g., PTSD, BPD) retain features associated with greater conditionability. Finally, directions regarding future research from our lab examining borderline personality disorder and a brief overview of a current study examining emotion suppression among suicidal patients will be discussed.


Key Citations:

Lynch, T.R., Robins, C.J., Morse, J.Q., & Krause, E.D. (2001). A mediational model relating affect intensity, emotion inhibition, and psychological distress. Behavior Therapy, 32, 519-536.

Lynch, T.R., Krause, E.D., Morse, J.Q., Mendelson, T., Crozier, J., & LaBar, K.S. (2001). Role of emotion suppression in classical fear conditioning. In T.R. Lynch (Chair), Experiential avoidance and psychopathology: Recent research and methodological developments. Symposium conducted at the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy 35th Annual Convention, Philadelphia.

Krause, E.D., Mendelson, T., & Lynch, T.R. (in press). Childhood emotion invalidation and adult psychological distress: The mediating role of emotion inhibition. Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.

Krause, E. D., Robins, C.J., & Lynch, T.R. (2000). A mediational model relating sociotropy, ambivalence over emotional expression and eating disorder symptoms. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 328-335.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Blaming the Victim

by Kathy Krajco

The first thing the victims of narcissists need to know is that they are not to blame.

Not one bit.


In other words, he didn't get mad because dinner was was late. She didn't blow up because you are "too this" or "too that." You didn't "ask for it" by speaking up and saying that you deserved some attention and respect.

The narcissist attacked you just because you are there, period. Don't you have a right to be there?

Let's get real. Narcissists think they have a right to punish you just for being the way you are. Think, don't you have the right to be the way you are? Do you have to be some character in the narcissist's fiction that conforms to his or her specifications?

Does that make any sense? That's as hateful as the crime against humanity of attacking people just for being a certain KIND or nationality.

The narcissist attacks because he or she is a predator, period. Predators attack any vulnerable prey that crosses their sights, period. Therefore, the prey is NEVER the one bit to blame.

It would make as much sense to blame a sheep for getting attacked by a wolf. So what if the wolf says, "I attacked her because she is an obnoxious sheep!" What idiot falls for that line? Yet narcissist sympathizers are doing precisely this and are therefore being irrational.

The narcissist attacked just to do it, and he or she attacks any prey they have some unfair advantage over. They never pick a fair fight. They are bullies, period.

They do it to vaunt themselves on others. It gives them a high. Like as in a high from a hit on drug.

Does this mean you are a saint? Of course not. Does it mean you have never said or done anything in an argument with a narcissist that you should regret? Of course not.

You are like a bank teller who gets shot in a holdup. You are totally innocent of getting shot. Don't let the sloppy thinkers like narcissists and their sympathizers convince you that you are to blame because you were rude, or because you were embezzling, or because you are a drug addict. All that is irrelevant TO HIM SHOOTING YOU.

Of course you should change those things about yourself, but the "intellectual" clowns who make out your character flaws as justifying abuse of you are complete idiots unable to see the relationship between cause and effect.
I don't care how "threatened" any of that makes the poor, twisted narcissist feel. His perverted feelings are HIS problem, not yours. Like Osama bin Wanton, he will never run out of twisted excuses to irrationalize his attacks on you, so get off the guilt trip. His perversity is not YOUR vice.

Narcissists attack you just to do it. You are therefore 100% innocent of your victimization.

Blow off this absurd "It takes two to Tango" crap.

Doubtless, you will discover that there are certain things you should stop doing. Good. Now you wise up and stop being manipulated in ways that play right into the narcissist's hands. Now you cannot be victimized.

THIS is how you stop being a victim.

But foggy-headed idiots (like those espousing the co-dependence theory) try to claim that you stop being a victim by pretending that you have never been made one. That's crazy.

That is magical thinking, like the narcissist's.
You HAVE been made a victim. That's a FACT, like it or not. And "victim" is not a dirty word. Though being a victim is nothing to aspire to and is something to avoid, being a victim is NOT a sin. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
To the contrary, the most innocent are the most unsuspecting and most easily victimized... until they have learned the hard way not to assume that other people are good. And these foggy-headed idiots who blame the victim should be able to see that. (Maybe if they stopped thinking in buzzword-laden slogans, like robots, they would.)
As I’ve said in other posts, the victim WILL feel shame for bending over for it, to the extent that he or she failed to resist as much as possible. And, as I’ve said, this is why the victim must never be condemned for fighting back.

But, come on, knuckling under to abuse isn’t the same thing as liking it and wanting it. Normal people may knuckle under. But only sick-in-the-head people could like it and ask for it. So, my hunch is that cases of co-dependence in narcissism are either rare or never occur.

People ASSUME that the victim wants abuse in their IGNORANCE of the real and understandable reasons why the victim doesn’t fight back or run away.
You stop being a victim by wising up so that you are never again victimized. It requires nothing beyond COMMON SENSE to realize that.

In some cases, the narcissist has stolen something of value from you, like your job or reputation - something you have every right to get back from the damned thief.

You stop being a victim when you win justice and get it back, period.


FOR MORE ON THE FALLACY OF CO-DEPENDENCE CLICK HERE

SOURCE

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

How To Leave a Narcissist



I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I have a background in neuroscience and behavioral sciences and I am currently doing brain research related to these topics in university in my home country. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world. - Maria
___________



In order to free yourself from the emotional "hook" your narcissistic spouse has embedded into your brain you must realize that you are a complete, whole person on your own. You do not need Narcissist to make you happy and worthy, you can create your own happiness. You alone choose how your life will evolve, do not let Narcissist make decisions for you. Once you realize that separation from Narcissist is actually a good thing rather than bad, you have taken a huge step towards the recovery.

In case of a mental disorder such as narcissism, a narcissist can only start to improve his or her behavior towards others after a narcissist has first realized and accepted that he or she has a problem. Also in case of depression, the recovery can truly begin only after person admits that he or she is depressed, stressed or has a burn-out. It is hard to admit that one cannot handle things anymore without help from outside. Often people fail to recognize the early signs of a burn-out and depression and just keep pushing forward until they finally fall.

The recovery after depression or burn-out takes a long time and may even require medication. Same applies to the recovery after a bad relationship. If you feel your life with your narcissistic spouse is taking you to this direction, please continue reading and find out how to stop the process before things go too far.

If you can control your emotions, it will be much easier for you to decide what to do with your relationship with a narcissist. You can start the recovery process today.
We are locked behind the invisible bars our own mind has created

One often fails to see how bad the state of the relationship really is, until the damages are already extensive. This happens because in the beginning the relationship with a narcissist is like living a dream. During this dream-like period, the emotional "hooks" are buried deep into your brain. See article Cheating and the Brain for more details about this process of becoming addicted to a narcissist in the beginning of the relationship.

This addiction is the reason why it is so difficult to let go of the relationship with a narcissistic husband or wife. We do not want to let go, because we believe we have something that we actually do not have. We think we have certain kind of a relationship with a certain kind of person, when in fact our relationship is completely different. We are still living in an illusion that our relationship is special, we believe that under all the dirt we must put up with there is that wonderful person, wonderful life and wonderful relationship.

But reality is that we never had that kind of a relationship. It never existed. The "wonderful" person we fell in love with was just a mask, hiding the true narcissistic personality. The real person is what we now see, and it is not a pretty sight. A narcissist is a hollow, empty and sad figure. When we learn to see Narcissist this way, we are able to free ourselves. When we see Narcissist as he or she really is, we realize that we do not need Narcissist to make us feel "whole". The reality is that we were whole before Narcissist stepped into our life, and we will be whole again after we get Narcissist out of our world. It is Narcissist who is preventing us from being happy. This is the most important thing you must realize. Nothing stands between you and Happiness, Harmony and most of all Freedom, except your narcissistic spouse.

Are you still fooling yourself and believing that you might find happiness with your narcissistic spouse? Do not worry. These things take time to sink in. Eventually you will realize that the path with a narcissist is a dead end. Do not blame yourself if it takes a bit of time for you to break free. You are only human, and these things are not easy. This is the reason I created this website, to help you on your long and difficult path to freedom and away from the dark realms of a narcissist. In the end there will be light, I promise you that!

It is tragic that so many people believe they will be happy if they stay in a burning house (that is, in a relationship with a narcissist) and that they will be sad if they run to a beautiful beach (leave a narcissist). This seems to go completely against all logic. This is an example of the mental traps and prisons we have created in our mind. We are literally the prisoners of our own mind. We will stay behind the invisible bars as long as we fail to see things for what they really are.


Plato and the Cave

From Allegory of the Cave:

"Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of the cave entrance, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners."

The victims of narcissists are like people in Plato's cave: We do not believe it when somebody tells us there is light and sunshine and beautiful fields outside the cave, if we only take one step towards the right direction. We insist on staying in the darkness of the cave, because that world, regardless of its horrors, has become familiar to us. That is the world we know and even though we are not completely happy living in it, we are afraid to leave. We are afraid that we may not find anything better, that we might be left completely alone. But anything is better than to sit in a dark, cold, wet cave (grave) and just wait for the death. Outside the cave we at list have a chance of survival, we even have a chance to achieve Happiness. Whatever will happen outside the cave, it will be better than to live and die in darkness.

Having said that, let me say that I do understand how difficult it is to leave a narcissistic husband or wife. The mental hooks are buried so deep. I know this very well, because I have been in that situation with my narcissistic spouse. I know how it feels like when your brain is screaming at you "run, get out of here as fast as you can!", but your heart makes you stay. The point will come when you will be strong enough to break free and leave your narcissistic spouse.

Search your feelings and you will realize that your sadness, depression and anxiety are due to the fact that you believe your life will be somehow "empty" and "gray" without your narcissistic wife or husband. You have built yourself an identity as a spouse of your narcissistic partner and now you should rearrange your view of yourself and your life. This process is very painful. But trust me, you will get through it.

There will be light on the other side

It was extremely difficult for me to end the relationship with my narcissistic spouse. If you have, I am sorry to say this, but I must: You should let go of your relationship. It is not going to get better, it will only get worse.

A narcissist can seldom change. You will always carry the negative memories with you and as time goes by, new bad things will most likely happen. All these things will keep piling up until your mind will eventually break. It can happen within months, years or tens of years, but eventually you are no longer able to accept the sick, twisted lifestyle of your narcissistic spouse. For your sake, I wish this process will not take tens of years.

- Maria

If you wish to submit your own story and get feedback and support for your situation or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, send me email to searchforbalancemail@gmail.com


SOURCE

IF YOU NEED TO CHAT WITH SOMEONE ABOUT NARCISSISTS PLEASE SEARCH FACEBOOK FOR ' NARCISSIST'    THERE ARE NUMEROUS GROUPS HERE TO HELP

THIS IS A BLOG NOT A CHAT SITE.  THANK YOU.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

GUIDELINES FOR LEAVING AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP



Planning a safe exit from an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step before breaking the ties with your partner. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests following these steps to improve your chances of leaving safely.

After Leaving the Abusive Relationship
If you get a restraining order, and the offender is leaving:

If you leave:

For more tips on staying safe, click here!
List of local DV Crisis Centers, click here!

For more information, please visit the Web site for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

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Saturday, June 08, 2019

NO CONTACT 101



No Contact Means:


NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear

NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”

NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don't Let Them Know When Or Where You're Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything - including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.

NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can't Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.

NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online. Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.

NO Meetings to "Talk Things Over" Or "Work Things Out".

NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you'll regret it. If you are Co-Parenting seriously consider limiting ALL contact to email only and using software such as OurFamilyWizard to keep records.  Apply the GREY ROCK METHOD.

NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother's Day or Father's Day Cards. Return ALL mail from them UNOPENED with "DELIVERY REFUSED" written clearly on the front. This includes mail or cards to your Spouse or Children.  Returning mail is NOT CONTACT. If you throw the mail out, to An Abuser, that Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, and they ASSUME you read the card/letter/etc. They assume if They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. RETURN ALL MAIL, GIFTS "DELIVERY REFUSED."

NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Reciprocal Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.

NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries

NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits

NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They're Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They're Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children's School To Call The Police If They Show Up.

NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, "Leave Me Alone!" And "Do Not Talk To Me". If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.

NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them.

NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not 110% Loyal To You.

NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.

NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser

NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You. Return Invites "DELIVERY REFUSED."

NO Responding To News That They or You Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead

NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You're Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.

Print Out E-Mails and Keep a notation about All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.

No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them?

You need to do ALL the things on the above list, not just the ones you're comfortable with.  Print this out and post copies around the house or keep them with you for reference.


Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.

No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, you won't feel the need to.

SOURCE

CLICK HERE FOR WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN TOGETHER

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