Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, May 25, 2015
Sexual Sadism & Sociopathy/ Psychopathy
ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER
These individuals fail to conform to social norms and repeatedly engage in antisocial behaviors that are grounds for arrest, such as destroying property, harassing others, and stealing. Often these antisocial acts are committed with no seeming necessity. People with antisocial personality disorder tend toward irritability and aggressivity, and often become involved in physical fights and assaults, including spouse and child beating. Reckless behavior without regard for personal safety is common, as indicated by driving while intoxicated or getting numerous speeding tickets.
Frequently these individuals are promiscuous, often failing to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than one year. Some marry but do not remain faithful. They do not appear to learn from past experiences in that they tend to resume the same kinds of antisocial behaviors they were punishment for. Finally, they seem to lack feelings of remorse about the effects of their behavior on others. On the contrary, they may feel justified in having violated the rights of others.
Meloy (1992) defines Sexual Sadism as "the conscious experience of pleasurable sexual arousal through the infliction of physical or emotional pain on the actual object."(p.76)
DSM-IV describes Sexual Sadism as follows: Over a period of at least six months: recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving acts ( real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person. These behaviors are sadistic fantasies or acts that involve activities that indicate the dominance of the person over his victim. (not always physical!)
(PLEASE NOTE: not ALL Sexual Sadists are Serial Killers!! Some direct their sadism into mental & emotional torture and psychological rape. - And are rarely seen as the sadists they truly are)
Sunday, May 24, 2015
...and A Small Town Private Practice
The following is a conversation between Michael Zahab, a public relations manager at recovery facility, and the husband-wife team of Paul Hartman, M.S., Marriage & Family Therapist, and Ginnie Hartman, M.A., L.P.C. The Hartmans have worked together in private practice since 1991 at the Healing Center in Spring Lake, Michigan. Paul and Ginnie began their counseling careers in 1981 and 1985, respectively. They recently completed training with Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., for the treatment of sexual anorexia.
Michael Zahab (MZ): Please tell me about your professional background and your current practice.
Paul Hartman (PH): I'm a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, specializing in addiction issues. In many years of working with recovering alcoholics, I've tried to help those people who are physically dry move on to a higher level of recovery by dealing with family of origin issues as well as doing Twelve Step recovery work. Despite seeing much progress in my clients, I've continued to feel that something was missing in my work.
I've discovered in the last couple years that the issue I've seldom, if ever, addressed is sex addiction. So, after training with Pat Carnes, I began to do groups that specifically focused on this area. Most participants have been people who were already in recovery from another addiction-long-term recovery for some-but all were still having relationship problems and experiencing pain in their life. Once I began to address sex addition issues, once I made it the primary thrust of therapy, I began to see a tremendously positive response among some of my clients. I'm very excited about the outcomes I continue to see.
Ginnie Hartman (GH): My work for many years has focused primarily on individual families that have been affected by addiction. I have done a lot of group work on family of origin issues and have seen remarkable progress. After my training with Patrick Carnes, however, I began to look for and talk about sexual anorexia-and I have been amazed by the number of people-women, primarily-who struggle with this problem. I've long believed that when substance addiction is present in a relationship, sexual function is usually distorted. But I never understood the dynamics involved until I worked with Pat [Carnes]. I am so excited as I watch the participants in women's groups that have been together for quite a while bloom as they discover and explore their sexuality for the first time.
MZ: Do you believe that this is a new problem, or is it something that we've simply overlooked for many years?
PH: Awareness has been building for some years, beginning for us with the model Claudia Black developed in the early 1980's when she published, It Will Never Happen To Me. We've also had Pia Mellody's work to draw from. I was familiar with Pat Carnes' work through his books, but it wasn't until training with him that I set up groups explicitly focused on treating sex addiction.
This is an important point. Previously I put all my clients together in groups; I didn't differentiate. Generally, the clients in such groups became, after several months, became good friends. They felt safe enough with one another to disclose family secrets, but what they didn't do was talk about sexual issues. No matter how safe the environment, these issues never seemed to come out mixed groups.
My first (sex addiction) group was composed of men who had at least two of years of recovery and had done a lot of group work. When they came together in a sex addiction group, experiences came out that they had never before talked about. It's been the missing treatment piece for these men.
Frankly, I'm coming to believe more and more that the so-called primary addictions aren't truly primary addictions. I'm seeing more and more men for whom the primary addiction is sex addiction. The other addictions are secondary to sex addiction.
MZ: Spring Lake, Michigan, is not a large community. Has it been difficult to pull together enough people to conduct groups which address sex addiction?
P.H.: When I came back from the training, I wondered about this same question. As soon as word got out around the community that I was doing this, however, people were calling and asking to get in the group. Now I have two groups running concurrently, and could easily do one every night of the week if I had the time.
MZ: Ginny, what was your experience coming away from the training? Are you finding a similar situation among the women with whom you work?
GH: Although I've always treated some sexual dysfunction, I'm now just much more aware of the problem. After evaluating my clients more carefully, I realized that those who were in a relationship with an addict had invariably shut down sexually in some way and disowned their sexuality. Several women, when first approached about sexual anorexia, responded with such comments as, "I'm not sexual, and I could care less if I ever have sex again. I'm fine without it. I don't feel anything is missing." Other were being sexual with their partner, but only for their partner, not for themselves.
Each of these women had done family of origin work, a lot of recovery work, and were in a Twelve Step program. I had to really help them understand that they would not be fully recovered until they could embrace their sensual and sexual being. After announcing the group and suggesting Pat Carnes' book, Sexual Anorexia, I had a group of ten before I knew it. As word spread in the recovering community, I had another group of ten-and now I have people on a waiting list.
MZ: Do the women in group meet the criteria for sexual anorexia more than the criteria for any of the other sexual disorders?
GH: It seems so. The typical woman who has been in relationship with an addict has totally disowned her sexuality. She's decided she doesn't want or need sex any longer. This represents a shift to an extreme; these women have not had a lifetime of sexual anorexia. There are, of course, women who have been shut down sexually most of their lives, but that doesn't seem to be the norm among those I've seen.
MZ: Do the couples or individuals with whom you've worked have sexual or relationship issues, but no other apparent dysfunction?
PH: We occasionally see people like this, but, they're not our typical couple client. Generally speaking, our typical couple is in their late 30's or 40's and has been in Twelve Step recovery for six, seven, or eight years. The husband is an alcoholic with seven to eight years of sobriety and he's been active in A.A. During this time, his spouse has been working a good Alanon program.
When they come to us, we hear such stories as: "We're doing everything the program tells us to do. We're working the Steps; we've got a sponsor; we're not into our addiction, but our relationship is terrible and we're thinking of getting a divorce." After a deeper assessment of such couples, we quickly get into the issue of sexual satisfaction and dissatisfaction-and there it is.
MZ: Among the dysfunctional behaviors, are the Internet and pornography a factor? Tell me about this.
PH: I'd put this right on the top of the list. I continue to be amazed each week as people come in and disclosing the ways they use sexually explicit materials on the Internet for arousal and masturbation and how they go to chat rooms and how they then go out to meet people from the chat rooms. That's got to be one of the top issues we deal with in our marital therapy work. This is something that, two years ago, I never asked about. Now, I ask routinely.
GH: I can't tell you how many women who have come into therapy saying, "My marriage is falling to pieces, I don't know what's happened, my husband is up all night on the computer, on the Internet." They have no idea what's going on. As a therapist, you simply have to be aware of this problem.
MZ: How has the training affected your clinical approach and work?
GH: Understanding the anorexia cycle (preoccupation, distance strategies, sexual aversion, despair) has been so important for us and for our clients. It's so much easier to identify how sexual addiction has affected individuals and their intimate relationships. Previously, I recognized that some kind of cycle was in place, but I didn't have a term for it. The term "sexual anorexia" fit perfectly. Clients understand it, too. They know immediately what we're talking about. Consequently, it's much easier to then help clients see how that cycle had interrupted their own sexual maturity and growth. It's made all the difference.
PH: Our work in addictions has long had this basic premise: all current dysfunction is tied in to dysfunction in the family of origin-and that dysfunction often took the form of child abuse. One way people survive that kind of experience is to shut down emotionally. The focus of our work has been to help people access those repressed feelings and express them, and the result has been healing.
In contrast, whether it's Ginnie's sexual anorexia group or my sex addiction group, we focus explicitly on the sexual issues and the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that accompany them.
The other difference is that every week, the group is focused on something that is explicitly sexual. We really follow the outline we received at the training, starting with denial and going right through that outline, you have a subject and it just builds-it just provides the program.
We have a large population of clients who have been extensive family of origin work, so not all are starting from square one-but some are. Initially, I was concerned abut how I could take two divergent groups and treat them together. I decided to deal with child abuse early in the process. That piece of it was repetitious for some, but they didn't object. And those who hadn't dealt with these issues found it very revealing and helpful.
MZ: How did you implement what you learned in the training?
GH: I began evaluating my clients to discover those who had sexual disorder issues, and gave those who did some of the literature to read. I also checked with clients who had finished family of origin work and suggested they do some reading on the topic, too. Many more than I expected called back immediately asking to be in the group.
PH: It hasn't worked that well for me on the sex addiction side. I typically recommend Out Of The Shadows or Don't Call It Love. For a person who is in denial of their sex addiction, my experience is that those books don't do a lot to bring them out of denial. When reading about the behaviors that Patrick describes, many men focus on what they don't do.
One-on-one therapy, however, has help enormously. Through it, these men begin to understand that if they're spending an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about sex and/or objectifying women-regardless of what acting out behaviors they have-this alone is enough to make the diagnosis of sex addiction.
I also stress that such a diagnosis is important, not to put a label on them, but to help us know how to help. Some of these guys have been all over the mental health community looking for help, but haven't gotten it. They've been treated for anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsion disorder, you name it. Many of them have been on medications, especially the SRI's (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) with some improvement. But after all the treatment and all the Twelve Step experiences, they're still coming back saying, "Is that all there is?"
MZ: As a member of the group progresses, what indications or changes do you see?
PH: These male sex addicts have been carrying an enormous level of shame. I believe now that more shame is associated with sex addiction than any other dysfunction. Because of the shame, there's an extra need for secrecy. In treatment, we work to reduce their level of shame, and that alone has an enormous impact on their lines. As their shame decreases, their self-esteem increases. They start to believe, often for the first time in their lives, that they are valuable people. To me that's been the biggest change that I've seen emerge from this group. These men are beginning to really love themselves. They seem themselves as worthwhile, good men. It's so powerful.
GH: I think one of the changes I see is people rediscovering their passion for life. When you shut down any part of your being-particularly your sexuality-you just lose some of the passion and vitality for life. I see life back in their eyes, color in their face. I see a lot of physical changes in female clients. They move differently, they are able to wear feminine clothes again, and they report learning once again to enjoy touching and being touched.
PH: Ginny and I have seen similarities in progress and healing in both our male and female clients, but we have see one significant difference: the progress women make seems to be quite steady and straight ahead. The men in my group, however, initially made good progress breaking through denial. They could identify their dysfunctional sexual behaviors, and, I believe, genuinely wanted recovery. Yet week after week they came to group talking about slipping-going back to their dysfunctional sexual behaviors. I think what Patrick has learned about this in his research is that it's very typical in the first year recovery from sex addiction.
MZ: How is the support community where you practice?
PH: That was another concern I had. We have a very strong A.A. recovery community, but other Twelve Step programs are not widely available. There were no S.A. groups in our area, which meant clients had to drive 45 minutes to less than ideal groups. I'd advise therapists who try this approach to encourage your own clients to start a Twelve Step group-which is what we did. Attendance is typically twelve to sixteen people, and they've just recently expanded to an additional evening night. Both are well-established and well-attended. GH: All of the women I see are in Twelve Step groups, too. Two or three women have sought help for more family of origin issues. And when they finish this group (sexual anorexia) they too will probably go into one of our family of origin groups.
MZ: How critical is to have members of the family of origin geographically close with regard to progress with therapy and recovery?
GH: We have found, since we use experiential and psycho-drama techniques, that it isn't necessary for the family to be physically available.
PH: I agree. Today's treatment techniques enable people to heal whether or not they have direct access to family. A typical dysfunctional response is to cut off relationships-from parents, from siblings, from adult children. I think as long as those severed relationships continue, a certain amount of woundedness lives on inside the person. After they learn how to set boundaries, clients can go back and sustain family relationships-even with a member who has not been through recovery-most, but not all, of the time.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Cyberstalking and Online Harassment
A Real Life Problem
The Internet is a wonderful place to work, play and study. But don't let that fact make you blind to its down side. The Net is no more and no less than a mirror of the real world, and that means it also contains electronic versions of real life problems. Stalking and harassments are problems that many people especially women, are familiar with in real life. These problems can also occur on the Internet, in what has become know as "cyberstalking" or "online harassment".
If you thought that owning a computer and having an Internet account would make a person considerate and respectful; then think again. There are just as many predators in cyberspace as anywhere else. It is only their methods that have changed. Some predators might harass you by trailing around after you in live channels like lovesick puppies; unable to take NO for an answer and pestering you with email messages. In other cases this harassment may become a systematic campaign against you; where your harasser bombards you with threatening messages of hate and obscenities. Although distressful enough, the situation can even escalate to the point where your harasser traces your home address and telephone number; causing you to face not just emotional distress but also physical danger. It should come as no surprise to you that the "bad guys" are making use of this wonderful technology to harass people and prey on the innocent. Why wouldn't they? Not all bad guys are street punks with no education. Some are university graduates with computers.
There have been many examples of cyberstalking crossing over to "IRL" stalking (In Real Life stalking). Sadly, those users who have been victims of cyberstalking, tell a similar story: That no one took the harassment seriously until it became "IRL". Cyberstalking can be a devastating experience for a person online. As they discover that the difference between the "Brave New World" of the Internet and the Real World is that in the real world people listen when you tell them you are being stalked and harassed. In cyberspace people say things like "well just turn off your computer". Such incomprehension is common. "You can't be hurt on the Internet - it's just words" is commonly heard and "If you can't handle it, then you shouldn't be online" is another commonly hear comment. The online stalking is just as frightening and distressing as off-line stalking, and just as illegal.
Men and women may be stalked on-line, but statistics show that the majority of victims are female. Women are the minority of the Internet population which means that their attention is generally a fierce competition between male users. This part of the Internet, resembles crude online single bars, with little in the way of politeness. Unfortunately the immediate and relative anonymity of live chat communications facilities enable users to be rude and insensitive. Cyberstalking and online harassment are also much easier to practice than real life stalking. In cyberspace, a stalker can harass their victim without ever have to leave the comfort of their own home, or have any witnesses to the incidents.
One reason for the lack of successful prosecution of cyberstalkers, is that there usually is a lack of sufficient evidence available for the officials to warrant "probable cause" in order to further investigate. Many law enforcement agencies are Internet illiterate, therefore unaware that the problem could and does exist. To date, the only legislation regarding cyberstalking is the Communications Decency Act, enacted by the US Congress on 2-1-96, and is still being challenged in the Supreme Court. The real life, anti-stalking laws deal with actual attacks, and until such an attack happens, are actually very limited in defending yourself, or preventing any progression of the stalker. There is very little done about threats or harassment in the early stages.
Online users are vulnerable to being targeted as cyberstalking victims in three areas.
1) Live Chats (Facebook, Yahoo, Skype, Messenger) or IRC (Internet Relay Chat): in which a user talks live with other users. This is the most common place for cyberstalking.
2) Message boards, Blogs, Reunion Sites, Support Groups and Newsgroups: a user interacts with others by posting messages, conversing back and forth. Boards for emotional issues such as divorce; death; domestic violence are especially prone. Disordered persons can track others they disagree with for years reeking all sorts of havoc.
3) Email box: a user has the ability to write anything and even attach files to the email.
Example: a user enables your email, via live chat or newsgroup postings, then emails you with obscenities, and attaches porno pictures. A common area regarding cyberstalking is at the "edu" sites, which are educational institutes, such as colleges and universities.
One user might know another user personally and interacts on the Internet anonymously, so starting the cyberstalk. One student can enter the Internet as easily as another student, therefore not letting his true identity be known. And since user names can be unknown alias, who would ever know the identity or be able to prove the identity. In such cases, the stalker usually has the ability to trace the victim's phone number and sometimes the address of his victim. Another includes interpreting a posting you may have made on a message board regarding your opinion as an "attack" if it differs from theirs. The stalker then becomes fixated on proving you wrong.
Other forms of online harassment:
1) Unsolicited email
2) Live Chat
3) Hostile Postings about you, using a few "facts" to make an untrue picture
4) Spreading vicious, fabricated, untrue rumors about you (as opposed to telling the Truth at exposure sites)
5) Leaving untrue messages on site guestbooks
6) Impersonation of you online
7) Electronic sabotage, (sending viruses, trojans, etc)
8) Threatening phone calls
9) Threatening mail
10) Vandalism of property
11) Physical attack
12) Posing as you on groups, in emails or in postings.
There are many precautions that you can take NOW to protect yourself in advance from the unwelcome attention of a cyberstalker. Remember: The goal of a cyberstalker is CONTROL. Your task is to reverse this situation. Keep control of who you communicate with on the Internet. To do this, you may like to consider the advice below. Remember, the time to deal with cyberstalking is before you become a target.
CYBERSTALKING PREVENTION TIPS
If you are being harassed online by a cyberstalker, the chances are that you are not the first person they have stalked. Cyberstalkers, like other predators, are opportunists. They know what they are looking for and how to get it. "Stalking" is a "power" crime, the stalkers has the power to make you suffer and enjoys that power. Stalkers' self-esteem rises when they attack your self- esteem. The more pain and suffering they can cause, the better they feel about themselves. The best protection against becoming a target of stalking is not to reveal anything personal that you might have in common. Often, stalkers are mentally unstable, paranoid, delusional, and extremely jealous, and have extremely low self-esteem. Stalkers may display selfishness, malice, sadism, be very cunning and arrogant. Most are anti-social, and to put it in layman's terms, be a "control freak", enjoying manipulating other people. They crave power over others, and enjoy the type power that hurts other people. harassment is common enough in live chat on the Internet.
The three most common ways it can start are:
1) sexual harassment (or innuendo);
2) a flame war (argument that gets out of hand);
3)users that show their technological power by attacking innocent users, channels or even networks.
Those who regularly start flame wars online are rude and obnoxious people, often having poor social and communication skills. Their idea of fun is throwing obscene abuse at another just to upset them. These kind of harassers are often loners who don''t have a companion and their attempts to attract your attention is often clumsy and crude. Care should always be taken when turning the away, as the are highly sensitive to rejection and humiliation, and could cause a vendetta to start against you. Understand that although clumsy and crude in most cases, the stalker is not stupid, they are very organized and usually experienced in their war against you.
Stalking is a form of obsession. The difference between a normal cyber harasser and a cyberstalker, is this: harasser moves on to others and forgets you and a stalkers will come back to stalk you another day.
The Internet enables the stalker, his powers, in most cases, merely a knowledge of the technology is all required to have the ability to stalk another user. Most stalkers, having been rejected desire to instill fear in users, therefore, upsetting the normal enjoyment of the Internet.
Note that educated, smooth talking, responsible people also can be stalkers, appearing to be a perfect gentleman or lady with perfect manners. The major "clue" to cyberstalking, is when the stalker pushes for information regarding you personal life, private life, or life away from the net. Rule of thumb, as it may be referred to is: "NEVER GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION ACROSS THE INTERNET!"
Online meetings should stay online, the individuals are, in fact, strangers. Online, the physical warning signs usually in the "body language" are missing. Also the clues of personality within the voice and eyes are missing. All there is to determine a personality is the skill in which they type there messages. There is no code of honor in protecting privacy on the Internet. Each user should therefore take steps to protect their privacy online.
1) never specify gender
2) use neutral-gender names
3) change your password often
4) edit your online profiles often
5) review your email headers and signatures often
6) use secure chat programs that do not permit tracking of your isp#
7) use a good chat network
8) use standard names, passive names to as to not draw attention to you
9) use anonymous remailers
10)use an anonymous browser
11)use encryption to authenticate email
12) discuss privacy with your server.
And last: learn your technology. REMEMBER: PROTECT YOURSELF!
GRAFX-SPECS DESIGN & HOSTING
NOTE FROM BLOG OWNER: Ms. Kester and I have the same cyberharasser.
Friday, May 22, 2015
How They Exploit Others
by Jennifer Copley
Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, comprise 20-25% of the prison population, but 50% of those who have committed serious crimes. However, the majority of psychopaths are not violent — most are users, scam artists and shady businesspeople. There is some evidence that psychopaths may be overrepresented in the fields of business, politics and entertainment.
Targeting the Vulnerable
Psychopaths are good at spotting exploitable vulnerabilities in others. Many psychopathic scam artists seek lonely individuals and promise them a lifetime of love and partnership. Others target the grief-stricken or those who have suffered a recent setback or breakup and are therefore less apt to look closely at what appears to be a compassionate helping hand.
Alternatively, psychopaths may exploit someone’s need to be needed, finding a motherly or fatherly soul that they can milk for sympathy and cash. They are also inclined to marry people with low self-esteem and convince them that they are somehow to blame for any abuse they suffer in the marriage.
The Sympathy Ploy
Psychopaths usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the psychopath to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.
While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, psychopaths often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the psychopath’s motives.
Psychopaths say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.
They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, as well as ...abusing them ...
The Dynamic Persona
The psychopath can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Psychopaths often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.
Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.
Because many psychopaths have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.
The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the psychopath said could have seemed so plausible at the time.
In The Miser, Moliere noted that “People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise.” A common tool of the psychopath is excessive flattery. Most people enjoy receiving compliments, and those who suffer from either low self-esteem ...can be particularly vulnerable to this sort of approach.
Beware of those who tell you everything you want to hear all the time. A compliment or two is nice, but someone who continually peppers the conversation with flattery should be suspect.
Excuses and Empty Promises
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.
Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.
Psychopaths abandon their partners, spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings.
When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.
However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.
(personal thanks to Jennifer Copley!)
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
However, before someone might be classified as being narcissistic, it is important to keep in mind that, like every psychological disorder, narcissistic personality disorder too comes in various degrees. Going to the extreme, we might argue that each of us has somewhere a narcissist in her/himself. It even could be said that a narcissistic tendency is important for survival.
However, in the same context it must be emphasized that, while a narcissistic tendency is constructive, a fully elaborated or developed symptomatic of NPD is nothing but destructive.
Psychologically there are several criteria which have been applied to this personality disorder. These are:
- The narcissist can not take perspective, hence situations are blown out of proportion
- The narcissist has little or no empathy. This means that (s)he cannot identify with the feelings or thoughts of another person
- The narcissist is preoccupied with her/ his personal distress
- The narcissist cannot accept authority and hence has little concern for morals
- The narcissist feels easily inferior and will try to be seen as superior
- The narcissist is narcissistic hypersensitive, and hence cannot accept any form of critique
- The narcissist is an exhibitionist and needs sexual admiration
- The narcissist is exploitative, vain and not self-sufficient
There is much one can read about the symptoms of NPD and yet exactly this can be more than confusing, and you might find yourself going through a checklist of symptoms in order to arrive at some conclusion. However, the list above should give you some idea. Still, there is another element which is just as important and this quite possibly the most important item for you to look at:
Look at yourself and ask yourself how you feel and whether you are the person you once were and knew. If you live with a narcissist, you will develop a cluster of negative feelings centered around the emotion of fear and an image of inadequacy.The issue is - in a sense - more complicated. Because, all of us have negative feelings and concepts about ourselves even if we never encountered a narcissist. So in this sense, what the narcissist does is to build on the already existing negative self images and enlarge them to a maximum.
This self image of being inadequate then will be due to a change in self perception. This is, it is a cognitive concept that you are not familiar with and which is in contrast to how you used to see yourself. Clearly, such a negative self image will have serious effects on the way you feel and behave.
The dominant feeling is, as alluded to, fear. Fear of doing things wrong and fear of being punished. And thus, the way you behave too will become modified whereby you will watch your every move and where your actions become unnatural to yourself.
The situation is even worse because we are aware of short comings in ourselves. This is where the narcissist is most successful. The narcissist will endeavour to increase these short comings. I may give a personal example: once, I gave up smoking, the narcissist exercised so much pressure on me until I started again (I still smoke sometimes).
However, if you see that you have substantially changed for the worse you can be sure that you are living with a narcissist, and a check list is not necessary any longer.
Still, there is a healing aspect to sharing what actions you suffered and what injustice and cruelty you have been exposed to, and hence sharing experiences and finding reassurance through others can be very important. This is the more the case as, while you are still living with the narcissist or are still in contact with the narcissist, the negative self image gets constantly reinforced.
If you feel that the self check and the characteristics of the narcissist as given above are not sufficient you might want to check your relationship for symptoms of the following kind as given by the check list below. Still, while you are comparing your own experiences with the check list provided here, it is important to remember that maybe only some of these symptoms apply to you or that symptoms which apply to you are not listed. The final criterion will always remain the way you feel about yourself and your self image.
Here now a list of possible symptoms a narcissist might display (not complete or final!):
- Disallowance of your contacts with friends and families
- Extreme jealousy
- Verbal and physical violence
- Sudden withdrawal or disinterest
- Inability to admit wrong doings
- Control over your time
- Threats and intimations (particularly when you call them out on their behaviors)
- Destruction of your things and psyche - physical and non-physical
- Claiming to know your feelings and motivations
- Accusations of infidelity
- Accusations of you behaving in ways you yourself despise
Dr. Ludger Hofmann-Engl
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
We Mistakenly Believe...
if only we didn’t have some inexplicable problem in perception, we wouldn’t take things the wrong way,
if only we weren’t so inadequate—we wouldn’t feel so much pain and hurt,
that he is sincere, that he is the same way with everyone and they don’t make him mad, so there must be something wrong with us,
like he was always saying “this is what I’m talking about ...I just want to be happy — I don’t see us being happy - you make me do this, you make me drink, you’re going to make me drink, you, you, you are the problem.”
That we are suffering needlessly because of some lack or flaw. This lack or flaw is not particularly defined but is instead a general sense of inadequacy derived from countless accusations (which he will reinforce by saying “everyone says”), we mistakenly believe, if only he would find religion, be reborn, born again, stopped doing drugs, got into recovery, worked his steps, bonded with his inner child, dealt with his anger issues, “childhood issues”, intimacy issues, commitment issues, abandonment issues, went to therapy, stopped smoking, started smoking, got a job, got a better job, got a degree, got a better degree, then the tyranny would stop
or if we were: younger, prettier, thinner, smarter, prayed more effectively, better, or right-things would get better, got into recovery, became more religious, more holy, more fervent, more faith filled, were more chaste, celibate, married in a church, renewed our vows, were more self responsible, reasoned with him, asked the Lord to open his heart, more successful, more loving, more understanding, more forgiving, more assertive, more submissive, more in touch with our inner child, changed our thinking, raised our self esteem, stopped creating/ recreating these types of relationships, healed our family tree, stopped enabling, “let go”, got therapy, took antidepressants, dealt with our childhood issues, intimacy, commitment and abandonment issues, forgave our parents, forgave our perpetrators, forgave ourselves, forgave him, stopped being the victim, developed better communication skills, wore bright colors, sat up straight -things would get better- did more for him and others - then the tyranny would stop.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
When Bad People Do Good Things
Monday, May 18, 2015
The Elements of Power & Control
The Power and Control Wheel
Using isolation. One of the most effective ways to begin to overpower another person is to keep her from having contact with others. By systematically severing her relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, the batterer insures that his victim has little support. He becomes her only point of reference, thereby defining and controlling her world. Batterers can isolate their partners in a variety of ways, from excessive jealousy to restricting their access to education and jobs or controlling where they go or with whom they spend their time. For women with disabilities, lesbians, older women, immigrant women, or others who are marginalized by mainstream society, isolation takes on an increased potency.
Minimizing, denying, and blaming. Batterers often minimize or deny the abuse, or they blame their partners for provoking it. He may minimize the severity of her injuries, or outright deny that he caused them. Unfortunately, "victim-blaming" is prevalent in our society. Sometimes abusers play mind games with their victims trying to make them feel crazy. Often violent behavior towards women is justified by saying things like "she asked for it" or "she needed to be put back in her place." In so doing, the blame and accountability shifts from the abusive behavior of the batterer to the "weakness" of the victim.
Using children. Using children is yet another way that a batterer can instill feelings of guilt and incompetence in his partner, making her feel like a "bad" mother. Some batterers will force children to turn against their mothers, or will threaten to take the children away if the victim were to try to leave. There is also evidence that in homes where there is abuse towards the mother, there is an increased likelihood of abuse towards the children. Girls whose fathers batter their mothers are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by their fathers than are girls from non-violent homes.
Using male privilege. In our patriarchal society, men are often raised to believe that they have been given the right to be dominating and aggressive. Being "tough" and "in charge" are accepted and expected as part of one´s manhood. It is all too often the case that batterers use this gender imbalance as a justification for violent or controlling behavior.
Using economic abuse. By controlling and limiting a woman´s access to financial means, a batterer can assure that his victim will have limited resources if she has thoughts of leaving. She may have to turn over her paycheck, leave her job, or account for every penny spent. Too often women have to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or being thrust into economic ruin or poverty.
Using coercion and threats. Threats are used to control by creating intense fear that can paralyze the victim's ability to act or keep herself constantly on guard in an effort to protect our lives or well-being. Some common threats are suicide, threats to kill her or the children, threats to damage property, etc. The victim may also be coerced into acting in ways that contradict her values, such as prostitution or fraud.
Using intimidation. Abusers will often commit terrifying acts in order to keep their partner in a state of continuous fear. This may include smashing things, killing pets, harassing friends and family, setting fires, driving recklessly, suicide and homicide. Intimidation periodically reinforced with assault, makes violence a daily part of the victim´s reality and, therefore, makes her easier to control.
Using emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is the most common form of control and can often exist in relationships where there is not physical battering. This includes put-downs, insults to the victim´s intelligence and abilities, name-calling, etc. In so doing, the batterer systematically breaks her spirit and self-esteem. She may begin to feel as if the abuse is her fault or that she must deserve it.
These forms of abuse are used in multiple combinations. Constant violence and criticism leaves women uncertain, humiliated, and much easier to control.
(while this was written in the Male, your abuser may well be Female)
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Verbal & Emotional Abuse
DEFINITIONS OF VERBAL & EMOTIONAL ABUSE
- You understand their feelings, but they never attempt to understand yours;
- They dismiss your difficulties or issues as unimportant or an overreaction;
- They do not listen to you;
- They always put their needs before yours;
- They expect you to perform tasks that you find unpleasant or humiliating;
- You "walk on eggshells" in an effort not to upset them;
- They ignore logic and prefer amateur theatrics in order to remain the centre of attention;
- Instead manipulate you into feeling guilty for things that have nothing to do with you;
- They attempt to destroy any outside support you receive by belittling the people/ service/ practice in an attempt to retain exclusive control over your emotions;
- They never take responsibility for hurting others;
- They blame everyone and everything else for any unfortunate events in their lives;
- They perceive themselves as martyrs or victims and constantly expect preferential treatment.
Copyright 2002 Abuse List.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE?
There is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse. Like other forms of violence in relationships, emotional abuse is based on power and control. The following are widely recognized as forms of emotional abuse:
- refusing to acknowledge a person's presence, value or worth; communicating to a person that she or he is useless or inferior; devaluing her/his thoughts and feelings. Example: repeatedly treating a child differently from siblings in a way that suggests resentment, rejection or dislike for the child.
- insulting, ridiculing, name calling, imitating and infantilizing; behaviour which diminishes the identity, dignity and self-worth of the person. Examples: yelling, swearing, publicly humiliating or labelling a person as stupid; mimicking a person's disability; treating a senior as if she or he cannot make decisions.
- inducing terror or extreme fear in a person; coercing by intimidation; placing or threatening to place a person in an unfit or dangerous environment. Examples: forcing a child to watch violent acts toward other family members or pets; threatening to leave, physically hurt or kill a person, pets or people she / he cares about; threatening to destroy a person's possessions; threatening to have a person deported or put in an institution; stalking.
- physical confinement; restricting normal contact with others; limiting freedom within a person's own environment. Examples: excluding a senior from participating in decisions about her or his own life; locking a child in a closet or room alone; refusing a female partner or senior access to her or his own money and financial affairs; withholding contact with grandchildren; depriving a person of mobility aids or transportation.
- socializing a person into accepting ideas or behaviour which oppose legal standards; using a person for advantage or profit; training a child to serve the interests of the abuser and not of the child. Examples: child sexual abuse; permitting a child to use alcohol or drugs or see pornography; enticing a person into the sex trade.
denying emotional responsiveness
- failing to provide care in a sensitive and responsive manner; being detached and uninvolved; interacting only when necessary; ignoring a person's mental health needs. Examples: ignoring a child's attempt to interact; failing to show affection, caring and / or love for a child; treating a senior who lives in an institution as though she / he is an object or "a job to be done."
- Emotional abuse accompanies other forms of abuse, but also may occur on its own;
- No abuse - neglect, physical, sexual or financial - can occur without psychological consequences. Therefore all abuse contains elements of emotional abuse;
- Emotional abuse follows a pattern; it is repeated and sustained. If left unchecked, abuse does not get better over time. It only gets worse;
- Like other forms of violence in relationships, those who hold the least power and resources in society, for example, women and children, are most often emotionally abused;
- Emotional abuse can severely damage a person's sense of self-worth and perception;
- In children, emotional abuse can impair psychological development, including: intelligence, memory, recognition, perception, attention, imagination and moral development; and
- Emotional abuse can also affect a child's social development and may result in an impaired ability to perceive, feel, understand and express emotions.
HOW WIDESPREAD IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE?
Only a few studies provide insight about the prevalence of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is difficult to research because:
- Its effects have only recently been recognized;
- There are no consistent definitions and it is hard to define;
- It is difficult to detect, assess and substantiate; and
- Many cases of emotional abuse go unreported.
- Chronic verbal aggression ranked as the second most prevalent form of mistreatment following material abuse.
FACTS TO CONSIDER
Emotional abuse of children can result in serious emotional and/or behavioural problems, including depression, lack of attachment or emotional bond to a parent or guardian, low cognitive ability and educational achievement, and poor social skills.
One study which looked at emotionally abused children in infancy and then again during their preschool years consistently found them to be angry, uncooperative and unattached to their primary caregiver. The children also lacked creativity, persistence and enthusiasm.
Children who experience rejection are more likely than accepted children to exhibit hostility, aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviour, to be extremely dependent, to have negative opinions of themselves and their abilities, to be emotionally unstable or unresponsive, and to have a negative perception of the world around them.
Parental verbal aggression (e.g., yelling, insulting) or symbolic aggression (e.g., slamming a door, giving the silent treatment) toward children can have serious consequences. Children who experience these forms of abuse demonstrate higher rates of physical aggressiveness, delinquency and interpersonal problems than other children. Children whose parents are additionally physically abusive are even more likely to experience such difficulties.
Children who see or hear their mothers being abused are victims of emotional abuse.
Growing up in such an environment is terrifying and severely affects a child's psychological and social development. Male children may learn to model violent behaviour while female children may learn that being abused is a normal part of relationships. This contributes to the intergenerational cycle of violence.
Many women in physically abusive relationships feel that the emotional abuse is more severely debilitating than the physical abuse in the relationship.
Repeated verbal abuse such as blaming, ridiculing, insulting, swearing, yelling and humiliation has long-term negative effects on a woman's self-esteem and contributes to feelings of uselessness, worthlessness and self-blame.
Threatening to kill or physically harm a female partner, her children, other family members or pets establishes dominance and coercive power on the part of the abuser. The female partner feels extreme terror, vulnerability and powerlessness within the relationship. This type of emotional abuse can make an abused woman feel helpless and isolated.
Jealousy, possessiveness and interrogation about whereabouts and activities are controlling behaviours which can severely restrict a female partner's independence and freedom. Social and financial isolation may leave her dependent upon the abuser for social contact money and the necessities of life.
Emotional abuse can have serious physical and psychological consequences for women, including severe depression, anxiety, persistent headaches, back and limb problems, and stomach problems.
Women who are psychologically abused but not physically abused are five times more likely to misuse alcohol than women who have not experienced abuse.
Senior abuse is still a new issue and there is still little research in this field on emotional abuse.
We do know that senior emotional abuse and neglect can be personal or systemic and that it occurs in a variety of relationships and settings, including abuse by:
- a partner;
- adult children or other relatives;
- unrelated, formal or informal caregivers; or
- someone in a position of trust.
Seniors who are emotionally abused may experience feelings of extreme inadequacy, guilt, low self-esteem, symptoms of depression, fear of failure, powerlessness or hopelessness. These signs may be easily confused with loss of mental capability so that a senior may be labelled as "senile" or "incapable" when in fact she or he may be being emotionally abused.
Abusers may often outwardly display anger and resentment toward the senior in the company of others. They may also display a complete lack of respect or concern for the senior by repeatedly interrupting or publicly humiliating her or him. Not taking into account a senior's wishes concerning decisions about her or his own life is an outward sign of abuse.
DETECTING EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Emotional abuse may be difficult to detect. However, personal awareness and understanding of the issue is key to recognizing it. The following indicators may assist in detecting emotional abuse.
possible indicators of emotional abuse
- low self-esteem;
- severe anxiety;
- failure to thrive in infancy;
- emotional instability;
- sleep disturbances;
- physical complaints with no medical basis;
- inappropriate behaviour for age or development;
- overly passive/compliant;
- suicide attempts or discussion;
- extreme dependence;
- inability to trust;
- other forms of abuse present or suspected;
- feelings of shame and guilt;
- frequent crying;
- overly passive/compliant;
- delay or refusal of medical treatment;
- discomfort or nervousness around caregiver or relative;
- substance abuse; and
- avoidance of eye contact.
Legal intervention in cases of child emotional abuse and neglect is governed by provincial and territorial child protection legislation.
All jurisdictions require that alleged or suspected child emotional abuse or neglect be reported to child protection authorities or the police. In some jurisdictions, failure to report child emotional abuse or neglect may result in a fine or imprisonment.
Emotionally abusive behaviour such as repeatedly following the other person or someone known to her or him; repeatedly communicating, directly or indirectly, with the other person or someone known to her or him; harassing the other person with telephone calls; besetting or watching the other person's house or place of work; and / or engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or a member of her or his family is criminal harassment.
These behaviours must cause a person to fear for her or his safety or the safety of someone she or he knows.
Other forms of emotional abuse such as insulting, isolating, infantilizing, humiliating, and ignoring, although serious, are not criminal behaviours and cannot be prosecuted.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you are being abused, remember:
-You are not alone;
- It is not your fault;
- No one ever deserves to be abused; and
- Help is available.
if you suspect/know someone is being abused
- Let the person know about available support services; and
- Report suspected or known child abuse or neglect to a child welfare agency or the police.
if you are a service provider:
Work with other organizations to:
- Increase awareness of emotional abuse;
- Address the needs of those who have been or are being emotionally abused; and
- Keep informed of resources and materials relating to intervention and prevention of abuse.
- 24 hour help-line or distress line;
- transition house or shelter;
- social service agency;
- child welfare or family services agency;
- legal aid service;
- health professional (e.g., nurse, doctor, dentist);
- community health centre;
- public health department;
- community counselling centre;
- home support agency;
- seniors' centre;
- community living association;
- friendship centre;
- religious/spiritual organization.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ABUSIVE MEN
72% of American suicides are committed by white males; black men prefer homicide. (This suggests white men blame themselves and black men blame others: white neurotics, black psychotics.) Prisons overflow with men, and juvenile detention centers teem with boys; remedial readers are, in 90% of cases, male, as are those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, substance abusers, and the violent. Rates of injury are three times as high for males. The lives of men are eroded by frustration inhibition perversion.
A white collar drug addict remarked: My work is so boring that it's really hard to do it if you're not hung-over in some way. My friend tried to not do drugs for a while and he was, like, "This is a nightmare! I have to sleep eight hours a day! I'm tired all the time! I wake up and it takes me three hours to get up, and then I'm tired in the afternoon."
Men are dying of loneliness, and no one knows.
- from The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide by Antonella Gambotto
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Will the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath Treat the New Victim Better?
Yes, at first he will.
But keep in mind that when a Narcissist is securing new supply, he will love-bomb her; just as he did you in the beginning. For those of you who are just learning about Narcissism, “love-bombing” is the constant bombardment of flirting and flattery from the Narcissist. This includes actions that are over-the-top after you’ve just started dating, such as:
• Splashing your social media with flirty messages, though you’ve only just met
• Sending numerous texts throughout the day
• Calling more than what’s considered normal
• Pretending to miss you when you go out with friends
• If you work in the public eye, showing up at your place of employment
• Sending flowers and gifts, after only one date
• Leaving multiple voice mails
• Offering to take you on vacation
• Pushing for physical intimacy too soon
• Spending hours on the phone with you
Just as we have four seasons, the Narcissist will use these tactics to secure new supply. That’s why he seems so happy with his new partner; you see him doing the above things with her.
Frankly, it coincides rather conveniently with his discarding of you. Since love-bombing is time-consuming, grueling, and involves spending money, the Narcissist is depleted. On the inside, he is feeling grouchy due to all of this exertion. Therefore, his efforts may as well fulfill two purposes:
1) secure the new supply,
2) fulfill his discarding of you.
Hence, you’ll likely get “heartfelt confessions” that he loves this new girl and they’re a match made in Heaven. She understands him like you never could. She accepts him for who he is. She does everything for him… sound familiar?
Although he and his new supply look as if they’re walking on sunshine, you can bet he is making little jabs here and there. And while you are left feeling that his new partner is much better than you, the truth of the matter is the Narcissist simply wants shelter, food, money, and freedom to do as he pleases. He may feel a temporary giddiness that the new girlfriend doesn’t know him for what he is because he’s extracting copious amounts of adoration from her.
Consider how one typically feels before and during a job interview. There’s a lot at stake so we go out and buy an expensive suit, use our best manners,and tell the interviewer what they want to hear. In essence, we sell ourselves. That’s what the Narc does when he is in pursuit of a new source of livelihood. However, he soon turns into a bad employee who shows up for the paycheck, but doesn’t really do any work.
Reasons Not to Die When the Narcissist Looks Happy with New Supply
1. It’s highly likely that while he is out on the town with a pretty new girl on his arm, he has others who are waiting for his phone call. Why? Just in case. The worst situation for the Narcissist is to be left alone with no supply…which means no one to house him, no one to feed him, no one to make all of his appointments, take care of paperwork, apply for employment of his behalf (assuming he decides to work), etc. Most Narcissists, especially the overt ones, are the equivalent of 7-yr olds running around in adult bodies. They literally cannot fulfill adult responsibilities on their own.
2. Without someone to reflect a positive image back to him, the Narcissist feels worthless. His new girlfriend doesn’t know him like you do, so naturally she is feeding his ego to the nth degree. But rest assured that it will only be a matter of time before she starts noticing the cracks, probably when it’s too late and she’s lost all sense of direction. Everything he did to you will also happen to her.
3. Narcissists are attracted to attractive people, but not for the same reasons we are. Beautiful people make them look good by association.
Besides, because she’s pretty doesn’t mean you’re not…
4. The new girl is not only a new source of supply, she’s a matter of revenge. Since you attempted to establish a boundary, ask for respect and/or fidelity, requested him to find employment, or otherwise pointed out any flaws in him, he has a burning need to show you he can find someone who will accept him as he is. And while he may already have a new partner swooning over his very existence, it won’t last. She doesn’t know he’s an abuser, irresponsible, cruel, or sociopathic. All she knows is what he’s told her, along with the false illusion that he’s a hopeless romantic.
No matter what it looks like, the Narcissist’s “happiness” is a facade. What he’s most happy about is that he’s locked down a new place to live with someone who will cook for him, wash his clothes, and pay for everything. Don’t eat the soup he tries to feed you about how great she is. She may very well be a nice person, but the Narcissist doesn’t appreciate her personality past how it benefits him. Once you understand these dynamics, all that’s left to do is feel sorry for his new girlfriend. She doesn’t deserve what’s coming any more than you did.