Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Abuse Victims Engage in Dangerous "Magical Thinking"


Personality disorders are not only all-pervasive, but also diffuse and shape-shifting. It is taxing and emotionally harrowing to watch how a loved one is consumed by these pernicious and largely incurable conditions. Victims adopt varying stances and react in different ways to the inevitable abuse involved in relationships with personality disordered patients.

1. Destructive & Unrealistic Optimism
A form of self-delusion, refusing to believe that some diseases are untreatable. Malignant optimists see signs of hope in every fluctuation, read meanings and patterns into every random occurrence, utterance, or slip. These Pollyanna defenses are varieties of magical thinking.


"The abusers hold such thinking in barely undisguised contempt. To them, it is a sign of weakness, the scent of prey, a gaping vulnerability. They use and exploit this human need for order, good, and meaning - as they use and abuse all other human needs. Gullibility, selective blindness, toxic optimism - these are the weapons of theses beasts. And the abused are hard at work to provide it with its arsenal."

2. Rescue Fantasies

"It is true that he is chauvinistic and that his behaviour is unacceptable and repulsive. But all he needs is a little love and he will be straightened out. I will rescue him from his misery and misfortune. I will give him the love that he lacked as a child. Then his (narcissism, psychopathy, paranoia, reclusiveness, abusiveness) will vanish and we will live happily ever after."


3. Self-recrimination
Constant feelings of guilt, self-reproach, self-recrimination and, thus, self-punishment.

The victim of sadists, paranoids, narcissists, borderlines, passive-aggressives, and psychopaths internalises the endless hectoring and humiliating criticism and makes them her own. She begins to self-punish, to withhold, to request approval prior to any action, to forgo her preferences and priorities, to erase her own identity - hoping to thus avoid the excruciating pains of her partner's or her clueless friend's destructive analyses.

They often take to a glass or 2 of wine, medication and other pursuits to numb reality.

Many of these partners, when they realise their situation (it is very difficult to discern it from the inside), abandon the personality disordered partner and dismantle the relationship. They are often called "bitter" or "hateful" by others who choose to continue to cling to magical thinking.

Others prefer to believe in the healing power of love or God/ Prayer . But here love is wasted on a human shell (the abuser), incapable of feeling anything but negative emotions.

4. Emulation
The psychiatric profession uses the word: "epidemiology" when it describes the prevalence of personality disorders. Are personality disorders communicable diseases? In a way, they are.

"The affected entertain the (false) notion that they can compartmentalize their abusive (e.g., narcissistic, or psychopathic) behavior and direct it only at their victimizers. In other words, they trust in their ability to segregate their conduct and to be verbally abusive towards the abuser while civil and compassionate with others, to act with malice where their mentally-ill partner is concerned and with "Christian charity" towards all others.


They believe that they can turn on and off their negative feelings, their abusive outbursts, their vindictiveness and vengefulness, their blind rage, their "non-discriminating" judgment.


This, of course, is untrue. These behaviors spill over into daily transactions with innocent neighbors, colleagues, family members, co-workers, or customers. One cannot be partly or temporarily vindictive and judgmental any more than one can be partly or temporarily pregnant.


They judge and chide anyone who doesn't go along with their POSITIVE THINKING attitudes or who embraces reality rather than numbing it. Thereby passing on abuse. "To heal is to not feel" is their motto.


To their horror, these victims discover that they have been changed and transformed into their worst nightmare: into their abusers - judgmental, malevolent, vicious, lacking empathy, egotistical, exploitative, violent and abusive."

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shared by Barbara at 12:06 AM


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9 Comments:

OMGosh, this was a very powerful post for me! Everything is so right on.
I feel like I'm been victimized all over again as I choose to move away from my marriage that has been psychologically abusive for 20 years. People that don't understand abuse put a lot of pressure on the abused to fix things, to pray harder, to make amends.
I once read on another blog that when an abused person finally takes the step to end the abusive relationship it becomes the final act of violence towards them. Everyone points their finger at the abused as not having tried hard enough, not caring enough and then the abuser does all they can to make the abused look like the bad person.
I love your website and recommend it to many people I know going through abusive relationships.

12:08 PM  

That is my fear. It's bad enough to fail at marriage, but to have everyone think that it's my fault...and to blame me, which they ALL will. It makes me nauseous thinking about it. I am stunned and numb, dumbfounded at the notion introduced to me at the end of the blog entry, that I may be emulating my abuser...
I'm so scared, confused, & tired.

7:11 PM  

"The abusers hold such thinking in barely undisguised contempt. To them, it is a sign of weakness, the scent of prey, a gaping vulnerability. They use and exploit this human need for order, good, and meaning - as they use and abuse all other human needs. Gullibility, selective blindness, toxic optimism - these are the weapons of theses beasts. And the abused are hard at work to provide it with its arsenal."

Re-read this part of the article again. That they exploit the human need for ORDER and GOOD and MEANING. Guess what? These are the very building blocks of SOCIETY. They undermine us at our very FOUNDATION!

This author found just the right words to describe an evil one and the way that they "feel"/think of others. Contempt, signs of weakness, scent of prey, gaping vulnerability, use and abuse.

"As they use and abuse all other human needs." All other human NEEDS! At our very base, our HUMAN NEEDS, this is where they abuse and destroy us. One of the many ways that they hurt us here is that they make us think that we don't HAVE any. Just the basics like food, shelter etc. They try and tell us any more than that such as love, hope, desire for anything other than worshipping them, is not necessary and that we are being selfish.

Beasts. Another great term the author uses. For those of you who consistantly read this website, are you finally getting the picture?

2 Peter 2:12 "But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute BEASTS, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish." These people will perish but be assured, they will try and take down, keep down, as many as they can before this happens. And for each soul they destroy, it has utterly NO MEANING TO THEM! They don't see others as anything. We are nothing to them. NOTHING! So they destroy our lives, our hope, our love and it means NOTHING to them.

Little ones, will we help each other?

10:03 AM  

"The victim of sadists, paranoids, narcissists, borderlines, passive-aggressives, and psychopaths internalises the endless hectoring and humiliating criticism and makes them her own. She begins to self-punish, to withhold, to request approval prior to any action, to forgo her preferences and priorities, to erase her own identity - hoping to thus avoid the excruciating pains of her partner's or her clueless friend's destructive analyses."

So, for those of us raised by psychopaths, this is what we learn to do. We are PARALYZED by fear, and trained to be fearful, mindlessly obeying, drones. Behave, ignore your feelings, deny your needs, work, work, work, give, give, give and maybe, JUST MAYBE, the psychopath will reward you by not being SO angry today. And nobody seems to notice that we are fearful and abused because we slip through the cracks (as the article states.) Isn't it "easier" for a teacher or parent to ignore a child who is behaving when we are so busy catering to the demads of an obnoxious or violent child? (And I'm not blaming the parents or teachers here either. We are all so afraid of being reported to the authorities if we don't help these ones. The book "When a Nation Forgets God" by Erwin Lutzer addresses this.) It's the tragically sad tale of so many of us. And when we have been brave enough to ask for help or tell someone the truth, so often we are ignored or told to "try harder" or that others have "real" needs or issuses and that we should be "grateful" that we don't have them. Yes, it's SO MUCH EASIER to let the abused continue to abuse themselves.

OR, we could TRULY educate society about psychopathy. The prevalence of it, it's genetic inheritability factor, the fact that it is untreatable and that it displays in a variety of personalities but it ALWAYS harms any human around it that has a conscience.

"They often take to a glass or 2 of wine, medication and other pursuits to numb reality." It took me decades to realize that sometimes alcohol or drug abuse CAN BE A SIGN OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE! We are so often told that it is somehow all our own fault that we do these things. Did you know that EATING DISORDERS too can be a sign of this? Bulimia, anorexia, overeating etc. I ended up doing these things, which I now know can be considered self-abuse. My dad and my sister berated me endlessly for this (they still use it against me today if I see them) and when I was so heavily depressed over the course of two years during my teens, they would come to my bedroom and chide me and berate me for this as well. I couldn't sleep and was so tired and then I became afraid because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, and so rest. I now know this too is a sign of abuse. (Not being able to sleep.)

When did I get help for all these things you ask? Never. Never formally that is. It's only been over the past few years that Jesus has shown me what's been done to me. And it's all been through the beautiful pouring out of broken hearts here on-line. And then the great books that talk about these things. Not one person in my "real life" has helped me. (I've sought help many times but no one even believed that there was anything wrong.) And this is why I continue to share. Because others who've been kind and brave enough to share have so helped me.

One thing I'd like to say though. Anorexia and bulimia can be done by psychopaths too. My aunt was a beautiful (on the outside) psychopath who destroyed many mens lives. (Her childrens as well.) She was stunning to look at and had an amazing personality. She was bulimic and anorexic throughout her life. So here again, we need to screen for psychopathy before treating people for these disorders. Chances are that if a non-psychopath has these eating disorders, they have been abused. Why would a psychopath do it? So that they look good and can more easily be worshipped.

11:08 AM  

Excellent!

6:37 PM  

The magical thinking etc. is often perpetuated by those in the mental health field and society. Have you EVER heard a story where someone went to get help and they were told that the first thing they wanted to rule out was psychopathy? Hell to the no! We see endless stories about how someone overcame some crap and it was because one person had believed in them, supported them etc. So non-psychopaths like myself want to make sure that we would be that one person to stick with it. We are taught this in church, in therapy, everywhere really. Yet have you noticed there's not a soul around when WE need that same help? All you hear are some crickets chirping when the non-psychopaths ask for help.

9:15 PM  

My suggestion is that traditional psychiatry which diagnoses mental illness is itself riddled with massive cognitive distortions.

I am also a survivor of a low nurturance childhood. The mental health / medical model of personality disorders/mental illnesses is antiquated and potentially more harmful and dangerous but improving though our understanding of family therapy.

Might i recommend a website that has been of tremendous help to me.

In Congnitive behavioral therapy, we learn that "Labeling" is a form of reality distortion, including labeling certain behaviors associated with things like delusions, grandiosity, limited empathy as a illness and then further "black and white thinking" which labels Sociopaths and Narcissists as BAD or EVIL and other people who presumably aren't this way as good. This worldview propogates the continuation of these hurtful "behaviors" and leads to another reality distortion "Catastrophization" where you say these condition are largely untreatable. There is major research to support DBT (A combination of mindfulness based meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy) as a viable and extremly effective solution for the most extreme type 2 personality disorder, BPD, What used to be called Sociopathy and now antisocial personality disorder along with NPD and HPD has shown promising results.

I have grown to learned that there is a perpetual cycle of inherited psychological wounds (Personality fragmenting, excessive shame and guilt, excessive reality distortions, excessive fear, distrust, and ultimately trouble bonding/ trouble with empathy) Unawareness of these wounds by especially those who endured abuse, neglect, and abandonment continues the cycle from parent to child.
Normal children who endure a low nurturance childhood automatically develop a normal personality fragmentation (the most extreme example being DID but everyone has some degree of disscoiation), where we have numerous subselves with unique ages, abilities, beliefs, and relationships with other parts of our selves. At times when their is a lot of conflict and we aren't aware of these parts of our selves they become false selves and dominate our true self (Anyone who can understand and consider this idea has a true self, a ceo if you will). These false selves make our decisions for us. Most people speak in terms of at least superficially being aware of this idea. Part of me thought about it but i decided to eat ice cream anyways. It is only by doing inner family therapy and bringing the true resident self in charge that we can acknowledge the talented and well meaning subselves (many of whom are protecting scared or shamed inner children in the best way they know how) we can overcome our excessive wounds and live lives of greater joy, meet our own primary needs, and in turn bond with friends, family, and the rest of society and help them met their needs.

Sorry if i seem preachy and ong winded. Perhaps one perspective to offer is that there is so much malevolent information out there about people with personality disorders/ptsd/mental illness/etc and until the language used is more compassionate, people who need healing will read websites like this and cry increasing their excessive shame and increasing the dangerous and hurtful idea that people seeking help for their difficulties bonding are "unchangeable" If their is a more dangerous and "evil" belief, i think it might be just that.

Please see the below free no advertising educational website
I promise it will change your life for the better. It has mine.

http://sfhelp.org/site/intro.htm

3:21 PM  

This article and comments are so helpful. I am in exact agreement with the poster above who wrote about how s/he is healing:

"And it's all been through the beautiful pouring out of broken hearts here on-line. And then the great books that talk about these things. Not one person in my "real life" has helped me. (I've sought help many times but no one even believed that there was anything wrong.) And this is why I continue to share. Because others who've been kind and brave enough to share have so helped me."

Absolutely !!

I identified strongly with this part of the article:

"I can just bury myself in self-help books, family activities (cooking, crafts, the latest diet, exercise, etc) or go out with my friends and I will forget about all this."

wow - this is so me. I work so hard to survive and I've learned so much, but I'm still in the abusive marriage of 31 years now. I appreciate the perspective given in this article - I need it.

Here is a current challenge - my reality is reflected in this part of the article:

"If the person has been abused long enough to develop disability (adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, other chronic autoimmune problems) they & friends may adopt an "ignore it" or "you can just get over it" stance during times when they are feeling good. (They will take a job they can't do, lose it and lose credibility & their insurance when the employer finds out they are actually sick. Advising anyone who is ill to continue to TRY to work is ABUSIVE.)"

I have chronic health issues which I KNOW would improve if I had the time and could be out of the abusive home life. I have tried to "shelter in place" and stay and will most likely continue to stay for now. But I am realizing that my health will remain poor and that I will be tired between work and home. It is good to acknowledge this and stop the denial.

I appreciate all the lucid writing and help to navigate my path toward awareness and healing.

10:54 AM  

Get to your local DV Center. Ask to speak with an advocate. Make a plan. Get out.

3:22 PM  

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