Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blog Reader Appreciation Day


This week Sanctuary for the Abused got it's 778,000th hit. That's 778,000 hits in the 10 years since I opened this site to the public.

I am honored and awed that so many have found resources and answers there. I am moved often to tears by the thank you letters I get from women & men who found the strength and information they needed to reclaim their lives there.

I started this blog in November, 2003 as a way to keep my own personal research on abuse private and out of view from people around me, including an abuser. As a voracious reader and a research junkie... I needed answers and I got them.

Nine years ago I was 'emotionally raped' by a narcissistic sociopath. Someone who I had felt I was friends with for more than 1/2 my life and yet - had no idea of his true nature for those 28 years. Someone who, to this day, tells a very backward, upside-down and twisted version of the truth (projecting all the things he did on to me) I was left feeling very used & alone with no one to trust. Particularly myself. I made a decision to open that site to the public not only for my own therapy - but because the pain I realized so many others were going through was so similar to mine. I was told by to "move on" and "get over it" when psychologists and trauma counselors let me know - that would never be fully possible.

I won't tell anyone what to do about the abuse in their lives. I know I personally turned a blind eye to it for years and even rationalized it away. I learned that one big reason was because I was raised by a pathological parent so had no idea and was brainwashed to accept the unacceptable. I simply put the information out there. You must reach your own decisions.

In the last years many, many painful revelations have come for me. Only through reading, therapy and helping others - has any of what I have personally experienced made any sense at all.

In 2004 after finally getting clarification on one of the more soul-rending experiences I have had with being abused, I decided that only by trying to help others could I be productive and move forward

I know first hand what it is to be taken advantage of, brainwashed, emotionally raped, used, lied to, manipulated, laughed at, slandered, covertly abused, verbally abused, ignored, sexually used, psychologically abused and much more. I spend time seeing where people who visit come from... what groups or links brought them to me.... and what I post there hopefully answers that.

I want to remind all of you that I am trying to make the site a one-stop-shopping place without detracting from anyone's work.  I make no money from this site (in 2012 I made $15 in donations - I keep none of it.  I know only too well victims are often strapped for cash.  My naysayers say I am 'luring' people to this site.  How the work of others & the validation of other's experience for free is luring anyone to anything I fail to understand.)

The sad thing about the site reaching
778,000 hits is that it shows the deep need for validation for victims.

It shows me that abuse, particularly non-physical abuse, is running rampant. Sociopathy and Narcissism are becoming more prevalent in our society. Women, Children & Men are suffering in silence every day for a variety of reasons -- embarrassment, lack of information, feeling alone, etc. And the Internet has opened not only avenues for predators to stalk and prey on the trusting but new pathways for victims to find healing and fellowship.

I believe in the "Bumblebee Effect." The Bumblebee Effect says that in theory - a bumblebee flapping its wings in Italy, can cause an eventual tornado in Toledo, Ohio.

I participate in hands on support of other abused women as I muddle through my own issues.

Ironically, 3/29, the date 10,000 hits was reached by, was the birthdate of my original, first abuser.  A Narcissistic parent. My history has a lot of varying types of abuse in it; abuse that I translated into my personal life - and I am determined that it will stop with me. How about you?

Again, I thank each and every one who uses Sanctuary for the Abused. I want to especially thank 
Shira, Sandra, Nani, Beth, Holly, the late Kathy Krajco, Anna Valerious and my friends who listened to me, and who understood, cried with me and helped me not demonize the computer but turn it into a tool for good.

And most of all, my therapist of 15 years, the late Dr. Kathryn Faughey - who when I showed her the site told me to "Continue!" and gave me advice, support, straight talk and compassion.

I even want to say thank you to my abusers - who forced me to look for ways keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Bless you all -
I remain your humble servant & fellow victim-survivor

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shared by Barbara at 12:21 AM 8 comments


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Videos On Emotional Abuse

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shared by Barbara at 12:40 AM 3 comments


Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Misogynist

Characteristics of a Misogynist
Misogyny (mi-soj'e-ne) n. Hatred of women; a person who hates women.
[Gk. misogunia] - mis'sog'y-nist n. - mi-sog'y-nis'tic or mi-sog'y-nous adj.

Do any of these characteristics sound familiar?

If you or someone you know has 4 or more of these, we encourage seeking help to deal with the issues that have created these characteristics. Behaviors don't come out of a vacuum, there are reasons (not excuses) for this behavior, and it can be dealt with... often by you getting out of the situation.

* A Knight In Shining Armor, "I'll save you."

* Zeros in on a woman; he chooses her.

* Extremely possessive, always wanting to know where you are; who you're with.

* Obsessively jealous, even of your women friends.

* Has first class spending habits; always wanting more.

* Can't stand criticism; always on the defense.

* Exciting, fun, charismatic.

* A product of a dysfunctional family.

* Had a poor relationship with his mother. He had an abusive or passive father.

* Has a distorted view of reality.

* Uncomfortable with feelings; contemptuous of other's weaknesses.

* Has problems with authority figures.

* If you share a secret with him it may be used against you.

* Threats of withdrawal if you don't comply, "If you really loved me, you would…"

* Makes fun of you, calls you names and inflicts little digs; hostile humor.

* You feel awkward and incompetent around him; controlled.

* Embarrasses you in public, or flatters you then cuts you down when alone.

* Is nasty behind the wheel and feels that others' mistakes are directed toward him.

* Wants or demands undivided attention; you are to be available when he wants you.

* Cruelty may be directed toward animals.

* Has a dual personality (Jekyll/ Hyde).

* Has grandiose behavior; is cocky, controlling, self-centered.

* Is preoccupied with sex and is sexually controlling.

* Is competitive; must always win; his way or no way at all.

* As a child, he enjoyed playing with fire; more than curiosity.

* Was or is involved in a violent sport. (What is he doing now?).

*Comes on too strong and/or too fast, love bombing at first.

* Believes in the traditional stereo-type role modeling and roles.

* Is an habitual liar; he twists facts to make it look as if he were the victim.

* Has extreme mood swings (extreme high to low).

* Takes no responsibility for anything; blames others/ things/ circumstances for his behavior.

* Treats you rough at times; twisting your arm, grabbing, shoving.

* Is nice to others, but treats you badly; shows no respect.

* Steals, uses people, cheats them out of their money; always borrowing, never pays back.

* Professes to be religious then attacks YOUR religious beliefs or practices.

* Gives gifts then demands favors.

* Makes jokes and puts women down in front of you then ridicules you for being upset.

* Encourages pity from others; convinces you to feel sorry for him for all he's had to endure.

*Constantly cuts down your family and friends; isolates you. You must account for your time.

* Very impatient and when he gets angry will destroy property; usually yours.

*Overly sensitive and sulks when he doesn't get his way.

* Tells you everything to do; what to do, how to do it, when to do it; what to wear

(how many of these is your significant other?)

(While this is about the male abuser, your abuser may well be FEMALE!)

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shared by Barbara at 12:22 AM 25 comments


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Overcoming the Role of Victim or Martyr

Overcoming the Role of Victim or Martyr

Ten differences between being a martyr or a victim?

1. Martyrs are people who recognize they are being taken advantage of and choose to remain in the situation.

Victims are people who are taken advantage of but are unaware of being treated as such. Once victims recognize that they are being treated unfairly, they have the choice of remaining in the situation or not. If they stay, they risk becoming martyrs.

2. Martyrs are those who recognize that their rights are ignored and abused but choose to remain in the situation and continue to be treated this way.

Victims are individuals whose rights are ignored and abused but were unaware that they would be treated in this manner before they entered the situation.

3. Martyrs are people who let others know how unfairly they are being treated but choose to remain in this unfair position.

Victims are people who let others know they have been treated unfairly. They have the chance to leave or change the situation in which they have been victimized. Victims often suffer silently for long periods of time before they are able to verbalize the unfairness of their life situations.

4. Martyrs often knowingly continue to enable or set up situations in which their rights are violated or ignored. This "setting up'' is like a prediction or prophecy of failure into which, consciously or unconsciously, the martyrs play, fulfilling the prophecy.

Victims often unknowingly set themselves up for continued abuse and violation of their rights. They are often confused and bewildered as to why this occurs. They lack insight into the actions that bring on this abuse.

5. Martyrs often seek sympathy for their plight. They seek support, advice, and help from others. Yet they seem stuck in their current course of action and seem to be unable to resolve it.

Victims frequently never seek help. They are often frustrated and lost as to what needs to be done to get them out of their current situation. Once victims have been offered help and make a conscious choice to remain stuck in their situation, they become martyrs.

6. Martyrs frequently let the people whom they feel are taking advantage of them know how badly they are being treated. Martyrs often resort to badgering, nagging, scolding, threatening, belittling, antagonizing, and verbally putting down those whom they perceive to be taking advantage of them.

Victims rarely let the people who are taking advantage of them know how they feel about this treatment.

7. Martyrs often believe it is their obligation to remain in their position in life. They would feel guilty if they let go of the current situation. They fear taking the risk to change the situation. They are apparently comfortable, habituated, or submissive to the situation and believe a change would be worse for them and for the others in their lives.

Victims often want a change and are desperate for a solution to their situation. As soon as a victim gives in to a situation, choosing not to resolve or correct it, they become martyrs. The saying, "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem,'' applies to the martyr's state in life.

8. Martyrs have a story line which is stereotypic and habitual. They rarely change their tales of woe. One can meet them several years later and find them still suffering from the fate they were experiencing when you last talked to them.

Victims experience their plight temporarily, get help, and are more apt to get out of the situation. If after getting help and changing, victims experience the same problems later, they could be martyrs at that time.

9. Martyrs often mask their behavior with an aura of willingness and desire for behavioral change in their lives. Usually they are only fooling themselves, since the others in their lives can see by their behavior and attitude that there is no possibility of change.

Victims usually are open and honest about their discomfort and willingly seek behavioral change. Their sincerity is easily perceived by others due to the actions and behavioral changes that take place.

10. Martyrs are "professional'' help seekers. They make the rounds of paid and volunteer helpers, advice givers, counselors, consultants, anyone willing to listen to their tale of woe. Unfortunately, they usually ignore the assistance, advice, or direction they are given. This frequently results in their "helpers'' giving up on them in frustration and discouragement.

Victims, on the other hand, seek help in a "crisis'' only after the pressure of their problems becomes too great for them to bear. They are highly motivated for a ``change'' and are rewarding people to work with as they and their helpers witness the benefits of the help, advice, and direction given.

What are obstacles facing victims and martyrs?
A. Victims often:

Lack the knowledge that they are being taken advantage of by others.

Are so used to a certain way of being treated that they don't recognize it as unhealthy for them.

Lack healthy self-esteem or self-concepts.

Have little belief in themselves.

Come from high-stress families where their rights were never respected; therefore, they lack the competencies, skills, and abilities to stand up for their rights.

Lack information about assertive behavior and have no experience in using assertive behavior.

Lack of "others'' in their lives who can point out alternative healthy solutions to their problems.

Are timid, scared, and suspicious of help being offered to them.

Are skeptical about someone really wanting to help them.

Victims often hold to some of the following irrational beliefs in their lives:

You must be nice to everyone, even if they are not nice to you.

Life is supposed to be filled with unhappiness and uncertainty.

The small guy never wins.

This is the way things are supposed to be.

There are winners and losers in all transactions between people.

My role in life is to be a loser.

Most people are basically selfish, mean, self-centered and disrespectful.

You should never complain.

Take it like a "man'' (woman)!

Be silent with your feelings.

Victims often do not stand up for their rights because they suffer from the irrational fear of:
taking a risk
the unknown
being overwhelmed emotionally and physically
loss of self-respect
making a mistake.

B. Martyrs often:

Are so caught up in their problems that they convince themselves no solution is possible.

Know they are being abused but are so used to it they can't visualize life any differently.

Lack healthy self-esteem and self-concepts.

Lack belief in themselves or in others.

Had "martyr'' role models in their families of origin and do not see their own behavior as maladaptive.

Lack knowledge of assertiveness and may be either extremely passive or overly aggressive with their antagonists.

Have exhausted all of their outlets of "helpers''

Find "helpers'' hesitant offer assistance; their resistance and "yes-but'' statements are too much for the helpers to overcome..

Manipulate their helpers. At first they are cooperative, open, verbal, and apparently honest in their assessment of their problems. However, once an objective helper begins to point out the martyr's contribution to the problem, they feign newer, bigger, and more complex problems to keep the helper's focus off of them.

Martyrs often hold to some of the following irrational beliefs in their lives:

You must be nice to people no matter how they treat you.

Everyone needs me and they would be lost without me.

I am depended upon.

It is my role to keep everything together, no matter what price I have to pay.

This is the way things are supposed to be.

I can never win in the situation I am in, but I can't leave it.

I must find a way to pay back those who hurt me.

I never get angry; I just get revenge.

My behavior is healthy, OK, but misunderstood by others.

The louder I complain, the greater the chances of being heard.

Martyrs often do not take the action required to resolve their problems because they suffer from the irrational fear of:
letting go
taking a risk
feeling guilty
being blamed for the problem
being seen as the real problem
being ignored in the future
being happy, peaceful, or content
loss of approval
losing the person(s) who are taking advantage of or abusing them

Steps to help you decide if you are a victim or a martyr and how to change your behavior
Step 1: Make an honest assessment: Are you a martyr or a victim in the problems facing you? Study the comparisons and characteristics listed above to help you recognize your behavior. Complete the following statements in your journal:

a. I can honestly say that I am currently functioning as: (1) a victim, (2) a martyr, (3) a little of each, (4) neither of the above, but as a ( ).

b. I know I function this way because:

c. My current problems include:

Step 2: Once you have identified the role you are playing in your current problem(s), identify (in your journal) the obstacles keeping you from moving forward:

a. As a (victim/martyr) I am faced with the following obstacles to correcting my current problem:

b. I have the following irrational beliefs:

c. I have the following irrational fears:

d. Obstacles include the following lack of knowledge, information, behavior, and attitudes:

Step 3: Once you have identified the obstacles, utilize the following skills and principles:

a. Refuting Irrational Beliefs
b. Self Affirmation
c. Risk Taking
d. Guilt Reduction
e. Letting Go [Tools for Handling Loss]

Step 4: If completing Step 3 does not create a change in your behavior, try one of the following alternatives:

a. Ask the people in your life if they see you acting as a victim or martyr regarding your current problem. Share this material with them to help their response. Use their feedback to assist you in clarifying your reactions to your problem. Use their feedback to motivate a change in your behavior.

b. Take an informal poll of people as to which role they would prefer to play in life: victim or martyr. In your poll find out what their perceptions are of the two roles and the differences, if any. Ask them to clarify which role is more respected by others. Finally, have them give you examples from literature, history, TV, movies, or real life of classic victim and martyr role models. Once your poll is completed, review your data. Decide from your findings which role you currently are playing. Use the results of the survey to motivate a change in your behavior.

c. In your journal list the pros and cons of continuing your current course of behavior (be it victim or martyr). Use the list to assist you in deciding to change any unproductive pattern.

d. List those who will be affected if you cease being the victim/martyr. Next to each name, list the positive and negative consequences a change in your behavior will have on their lives. Use this listing to assist you in recognizing that those people will survive your change in behavior. This is designed to motivate you to pursue the necessary changes in your behavior

e. Make a personal inventory up to this very moment in your life as to the benefits and deficits of the pattern of behavior you live, be it victim or martyr. List what you gain from playing this role. Also, list what you lose as a result of playing this role. List what you will lose or gain in the future if you change this role. Use this inventory to stimulate change, since you will have begun to desensitize the fears that are obstacles to change.

Step 5: If Steps 1 through 4 are unsuccessful in motivating a change in your current behavior pattern, you may need to seek professional help. Review Steps 1 through 4 with such a helper.

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shared by Barbara at 12:52 AM 1 comments