Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Con Artist = Abuser



Con artists scam because it gives them infinite pleasure to "put one over" on anyone who stands still long enough.

The compulsion to scam is so strong that a con artist will produce a scam even if he/she gains no money out of it. Con artists even scam each other!


An unusually sick group
Quoting a studies by Richard Blum (Deceivers and Deceived: Observations on Confidence Men and Their Victims, Informants and Their Quarry, Political and Industrial Spies and Ordinary Citizens), Chuck Whitlock points out that most con artists are:

... impulsive, amoral, uncontrolled and detached from normal
The essential feature of Antisocial Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others ...

This pattern has also been referred to as psychopathy, sociopathy, or antisocial/ dissocial personality disorder...

Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder lack empathy and tend to be callous, cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others."

From FRAUD AID

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Monday, January 30, 2017

CYBERSTALKING IN THE 21st CENTURY - Part Three

Tools of the trade
High-tech gadgets give stalkers more power
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

It's a technology with the noblest of uses -- tracking kidnapped children or finding avalanche victims.

But like they've done with computers, stalkers have found a new use for global positioning systems (GPS).

Four recent cases in the U.S. have shown the dark side of the technology, all of them involving men attaching a GPS-enabled device to their exes' vehicles to aid them in their stalking behaviour.

Such gadgets use a constellation of satellites to pinpoint location and, using cellular networks, can send their co-ordinates to wireless handsets or computers.

Misuse of the devices allows a stalker precise information about the location of their target, making it easier to terrorize. Authorities involved in the cases have said the technology has created the brand of 21st century stalking.

Because of that, Pamela Cross of the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children and the Ontario Women's Justice Network in Toronto, said victims' groups, which deal with thousands of people every year, need to be more up to speed about what technology is being used by abusers.

"I would say so -- technology is almost the greatest gift to a persistent stalker," she said.

"The thing you have to remember is you're talking about people who aren't overly concerned that what they're doing is illegal."

She said stalkers are the type of people who will use any means necessary to achieve their goals.

Persistent stalkers, she said, are usually intelligent, manipulative people who seem to find a way to get information from the people who have it.

With the case of technology, the intelligent, persistent stalker manipulates it to his own advantage.

"I think the GPS stories are disheartening -- it's so insidious because even things like MapQuest and other similar services can give you directions right to a person's house," Cross said.

"The other thing that exists that I find quite bizarre are these 'I Spy' software programs that advertise ways to track someone down electronically."

Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Val Campbell, also the co-ordinator of the family violence initiative for Alberta Justice, said technological means are just another way for an abuser to exert control over a victim.

"The GPS thing is pretty frightening," Campbell said, adding it's likely just a matter of time before a Canadian stalker starts using tracking technology.

"For sure, if it isn't happening already."

But Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C., said in all likelihood, there's an obsessed ex somewhere in Canada, watching in real-time his computer monitor.

"I believe strongly that Canadians are incredibly tech-savvy ... it's possibly not being reported," Southworth said.

"When you look at societies that have high technology use, there are going to be situations where technology is used in violent incidents."

Southworth, who started training law enforcement more than four years ago, has co-ordinated her efforts in Washington with Tracy Bahm of the Stalking Resource Centre.

"She and I are seeing lots and lots of technology showing up in stalking and domestic violence cases," Southworth said.

In addition to the GPS cases, tech-savvy stalkers are turning to devices such as spyware to monitor their targets' computer use, and putting hidden video cameras to a wide variety of prying-eye uses, including keeping tabs on who an ex might be inviting into the bedroom.

Australian and British law enforcement agencies are sounding the alarm over camera-equipped cell phones as a new form of stalking, something which would fall under Canada's proposed anti-voyeur law, should it be passed.

"Secret webcams in dorm rooms, upskirt photos and posting photos to the Internet to hurt someone, that's all going to be illegal," said Crown prosecutor Steve Bilodeau, who specializes in cybercrime.

Though the technology is new, GPS devices have been commercially available for about five years and Southworth said every advancement in technology has brought about new misuses by stalkers.

"When caller identification was first introduced, abusers would monitor the caller ID box," she said.

"As technology advances, it's going to be almost impossible for victims to flee and get to safety."

But she said there are always signs.

"Trust your instincts -- if your ex knows too much about your activities or things you only told a few people, you might be under surveillance," she said.

An even stronger sign is if the stalker follows his target to places the victim has never been before.

That was the tip-off for Connie Adams, a Wisconsin woman who in 2002 was stalked by her ex-boyfriend with a real-time GPS tracker.

He showed up while she was at a particular bar for the first time.

"He told me no matter where I went or what I did, he would know where I was," Adams testified at her ex's hearing.

Police say Paul Seidler put a global positioning tracking device between the radiator and grill of Adams' car.

He was handed nine months in jail in 2003 for stalking.

Southworth also said an ex with a history of controlling behaviour and who is fairly comfortable with technology could resort to technology to track and torment.

But sometimes stalkers will identify how they're keeping tabs on their victims.

"Follow the patterns," she said.

"If it's every time you call or e-mail someone your stalker is calling you asking specifics about the conversation you just had, or where you've been, then that's a pretty strong signal.

"That's one of the ways they tip their hand: They taunt their victims with information they're not supposed to know."

For victims who think someone might be using a GPS unit to follow them, or using a camera to secretly videotape them, as long as the device is transmitting a radio frequency, it can can be detected.

The devices that scan for signals can be expensive, but for some, the peace of mind would far outweigh the cost.

People worried about the cost can look at various places on their vehicles, including under the bumper or under the front and rear dashboards.

Southworth's group advises if anything is found, it should be kept, photographed, but not removed from where it is.

That's a task best left to the police, who should be contacted immediately.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

CYBERSTALKING IN THE 21st CENTURY - PART TWO



High-tech intruders

Access to your life a mouse click away
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

CALGARY -- With the advent of high-technology, stalking has become a greater threat than ever before. In our five-part series, the Sun Media's Dave Breakenridge looks at the scourge of stalking in the 21st Century.

It used to be stalkers would have to make personal efforts to get their targets' attention, leaving notes or keeping watch outside their homes.

But now, stalkers are getting their threats right into where their victims live -- volleys of love or hate, or both -- landing squarely and repeatedly in e-mail inboxes, websites, blogs about the victims & their families or instant message windows.

Two-thirds of Canadian homes have a computer, and nearly that many have at least one person using the Internet from work, home or school, making the computer an easy-to-access tool of terror.

These cases where a computer is used to torment are becoming more common, said Det. Brad Martin of the Calgary Police Service technological crimes unit.

"It now happens on a pretty regular basis where the Internet is used to harass, embarrass or make life difficult for people," he said.

"The most common stuff we see is e-mail, instant messages to cell phones, websites hosted with private pictures or personal information and registration at seedy websites in that person's name."

As Canada becomes more plugged in, and computers are used more frequently for everything from keeping in touch to balancing the family books, increased computer use by all kinds of crooks is a natural evolution.

In the case of stalking, Martin said, that includes software originally designed as a safety tool for parents.

Things like spyware marketed for parents to monitor a child's computer use, can be used by a stalker to access information which could further the harassment.

"When they're used, the way they're designed to be used they have an important role in the use of computers," Martin said.

"But the dark side is always there and people are going to use good stuff for bad things."

Despite the perceived anonymity of the computer, Martin said cyberstalkers can be caught.

"The technology is there that whoever you are, your communication can be traced back to the sending computer," Martin said, adding the onus in most cyber-cases rests with the victim.

Technology has become so interwoven with criminality, Martin said his unit could have double its four current members and still have an overflowing case load -- adding half of his cases involve child pornography.

Because they are the target of the communication, victims need to keep as much of it as they can to help build a strong case.


"When you're getting harassed with e-mails, don't reply, and save the e-mails -- if you reply you increase the problem and it sort of encourages the activity to continue," Martin said, adding if the behaviour continues, the police should be contacted. Saving the suspect e-mails is important because it gives the police evidence to work with, Martin said.

He also said Internet service providers are, for the most part, co-operative with law enforcement, some more than others.

While e-mail may be the most common electronic tool for stalkers, Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau -- who specializes in cybercrime -- said there are myriad electronic means for a stalker to harass and torment his victim.

"Cyberstalking can take on whole other aspects ... it can be things like hijacking someone's e-mail password or going into a sex forum pretending to be that person," he said.

Calgary police Det. Gordon Robertson said he's worked a number of cases where a computer was used as part of a pattern of controlling and intimidating behaviour.

One case sticks out in his mind as being particularly frightening for the victim.

Roughly a year after his marriage dissolved, a man went to his ex-wife's house while she was asleep and told his son he'd come over to get something he left at the house.

While there, he installed an insidious trojan program -- used to take remote control of the computer -- on his ex's PC.

The woman then started getting e-mails from her former hubby asking about the new guy she's been seeing -- with quotes lifted right from messages she'd sent friends.

"He'd been monitoring her e-mails and computer activity," Robertson said.

Whether it be data storage, communication, hacking, identity theft, or using the Internet to exploit children, Martin said the misuse of technology is just a natural, but unfortunate, evolution.

"The way that criminality is going is crooks are switched onto technology now
and they are using these communication devices more," Martin said.

"They know what's going on and they're not encumbered by the cost of things because they take the profit from their crimes and they invest it in that cost."

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cyberstalking in the 21st Century - Part One

In recognition of the horrible death of Tyler Clementi - a Rutgers University student who was driven to commit suicide in 2010 when he was secretly taped having sex by his roommate and this tape was subsequently broadcast online.



Every Step You Take
PART ONE OF A SERIES
With the advent of high-technology, stalking has become a greater threat than ever before. In this five-part series, Sun Media's Dave Breakenridge looks at the scourge of stalking in the 21st Century.
~~~~
They used to sit outside their targets' homes -- hiding in cars or bushes -- waiting to follow them.

They used to leave hastily-scrawled notes on their windshields before slashing their tires.

But now stalkers have moved into the 21st century, using modern technology to leave their terrorized victims living in fear.

Satellite technology, such as GPS, makes it possible to follow people in real-time from a remote location.

Threatening e-mails have supplemented the notes, while online background checks allow people access to information victims would otherwise want kept private, such as addresses and places of business.

Police forces across the country deal with thousands of criminal harassment cases every year, and suspects in these incidents are frequently turning to technology as a way of stalking their victims.

Det. Gordon Robertson of the Calgary Police Service, one of Canada's foremost stalking experts, said new technologies provide further tools for a stalker to exert his -- the overwhelming majority of stalkers are men -- controlling behaviour on the victim.

"The technological age has put a whole different spin on even regular stalking -- technology has added a dark twist," Robertson said.

He said the perceived anonymity of e-mail and Internet chat rooms lead to more bold behaviour -- offenders will say and do things on-line they wouldn't in real life. (This is called the "ONLINE DISINHIBITION EFFECT")

The technology is also there for a stalker to monitor a person's computer use, down to a single keystroke, or to get access to their e-mails and personal information.

"For people with the know-how, the computer offers that readily-accessible medium," he said. "You're seeing the computers involved in a lot of these cases."

Because computers and e-mails are increasingly used, Robertson said police are more often turning to search warrants to seize a suspect's hard drive.

Techno-stalking cases add to the workload of technological crimes units, which are already fighting a seemingly endless battle against another technological scourge: online kiddie porn.

"How do you police cyberspace?" Robertson said. "A lot of things are going on in that medium because there is virtually no one watching it."

Technology and stalking have become so linked, groups in the U.S. are designing programs that specifically target the problem.

Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C., said the increase in technology-related domestic violence cases in the U.S. led to the creation of Safety Net: the National Safe and Strategic Technology Project.

"We found there was a fair amount of technological misuse woven in with stalking and domestic abuse," she said, adding the majority of high-tech stalking cases fall within a domestic violence context, as is the case with the low-tech approach.

"We find stalking in general is not very well understood and when you add technology to it, it's even more of a challenge."

But she said old-fashioned measures to track and terrorize a stalking victim have not yet fallen out of style.

"They're still showing up at the house, they're still slashing the tires, but in addition they've added these other tools," she said.

"Because all of these technologies are widely available in the U.S. and Canada ... the more awareness we get out, the more cases we expect to see."

Part of Southworth's job, as is Robertson's, is educating law enforcement about the crime.

Southworth trains police to ask questions which could lead to evidence a stalker or abuser is using technology to facilitate a campaign of terror.

"Police need to start asking questions like 'Does your ex ever e-mail you? Does he seem to know things he shouldn't know about your daily activities,' " she said. (Most police have no clue how to deal with this)

On a positive note, she said, as more technology is being misused for the purposes of stalking and abuse, more groups are focusing on the misuse of that technology. "It's a step in the right direction," she said.

The goal now, Southworth said, is to educate women how to use technology to their advantage, to search out shelters, to log e-mails and to protect their privacy so they're no longer victims.
~~~~~~~

PROJECT CIVILITY AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY




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Friday, January 27, 2017

Never "Good Enough"



Are you never "good enough"?

by Pamela Brewer MSW, Ph.D., LCSW-C


Are you anxious and worried about what will happen when you and your significant other are together? Apart?

Are you the subject of name-calling?

Are you the subject of yelling?

Are you the subject of screaming?

Are you the subject of threats?

While these are not all the examples of emotional abuse - they are intended to provide you with a start off point from which to consider your own circumstance. If you determine that you have/are in an abusive relationship - you may wish seek assistance in trying to consider what you should do now. Emotionally abusive relationships can often result in a difficulty with self-advocacy. You have learned at the hands of your abuser to question your self and your value. As you move to make decisions and observations about yourself - you are likely to seek out validation for much of what you think and do.

This is an option you have. You do not have to do this - but you can choose to do this. The most important thing is that you allow yourself the gift and the right to only be in environments that are respectful of you.
 

One of the most difficult things about emotional abuse is what it "looks" like. Unlike physical abuse - there are no visible scars. Unlike sexual assault - it can be difficult to describe or explain. Unlike verbal abuse - it can sometimes be difficult to know what is happening. But just like all abuse - it hurts. It hurts a lot - it can hurt a long time - and it can cause a great deal of damage to the self-esteem. Emotional abuse can almost seem like the mystery hurt - once in it - you can become so much consumed with it and subsumed by it - that you do not even know what is happening. You can certainly have a hard time naming the experience.

Naming the behavior is the first critical step to escaping the behavior - and the trap of low self-regard and hopelessness.

 

Just what is emotional abuse?
It is the ongoing emotional environment created by your abuser for the purposes of control. It's sort of like a search and destroy mission. In this war, the abuser experiences your self-esteem, your individual self, your energy, your ability to feel and question and want and need and be.... as the enemy. Your ability to be separate from your partner - an alive and thinking human being - is what your abuser most fears. At least, that's what it feels like to your abuser. Unable to tolerate you as you are - your abuser sets out to create an artificial self that he/she is then able to mold. The undertow in this dynamic is the abusers low regard for him/her self. His unspoken - intolerable fear the she/he is not "good enough". You are taught to feel and believe all those things the abuser was taught to feel about him/her self.


You become the walking, talking embodiment of fear, anxiety and remorse that she/he has struggled with for much of her/his life.

Here are just a few of the "lessons" an emotionally abusive person can teach:

You are always wrong.

Everything is your fault.

You are of no value in the relationship.

You are intrusive when you ask how your partner's day was. They have every right to know exactly how you spent your day, however.

You are "suspicious" when you question why you have not heard from him/her in the way you usually communicate.

You are so stupid you cannot even _________________ (fill in the blanks).

You are fat, you are stupid, you are ugly, no one wants you, no one likes you or ever will.

You cannot handle life without your partner.

You cannot try anything new.

You would not be anyone if you did not have your partner.

You are nagging or stupid if you disagree.

The affair he/she/you is/are having is your fault.


All types of abuse leave you frightened. The fear may not be limited to a fear for physical safety. The fear can more amorphous. You know you do not feel strong. You do not feel as if you can take risks. You do not even believe it is acceptable to try.

The abuse can start slowly, and perhaps not even feel like abuse - just a simple "it's all your fault" here and there. Be warned that emotional abuse is often the precursor to more.

Consider this example:
"I've been married for 26 years ... at first it wasn't really anything but as the years progress ... everything is my fault ... conversation is 0. K. if I can figure out what kind of answer he is looking for ... he has become increasingly physical ... pinning my arms .. to the point of bruises ... pulling my hair ... making me do things that cause me to cry... it only seems to increase his excitement ... sometimes I am really scared because I am afraid that he will break my neck one day."
This writer tells, unfortunately, a classic tale of emotional abuse, then physical abuse, and then sexual abuse. And typically the cycle is that the abuser, at some point, apologizes for the abuse. Then comes the honeymoon period during which things are relatively fine - and then the abuse starts all over again.

People who have grown up in abusive homes can easily duplicate those experiences in their adult lives. If you grew up in an abusive family, you know how frightening and hurtful the experience was. Do all you can to protect yourself and your children in the way that your family did not or could not when you were a child. If you were the victim of abuse as a child - you know only too well how much that hurt - you do not have to reenact your childhood pain in your adult life. You do not have to treat others as you were treated.

Typically abuse, once begun, only escalates. Unless the abuser accepts responsibility for his/her behavior and seeks professional help - it is quite likely the abuse will continue and worsen.

However, if the abused person demands that the abuser participate in counseling or else - even if the abuser agrees to the counseling, it is likely to be short lived. The abuser will be able to benefit from counseling when the abuser believes and acknowledges that counseling is critical to recovery. Why? Until the abuser owns the behavior and his/her obligation to end the abuse, the behavior continues. Sometimes the courts demand counseling. Sometimes the legal weight of mandated counseling does have an effect. Sometimes the awareness that a loved one will leave the relationship in one way or another will jolt the abuser into an acceptance that the behavior must stop. And sometimes not.

"My husband is a very abusive person, We have been married for eight years now and it doesn't get any better and it doesn't improve. ... He calls me a nut, humiliates me in front of my children".
The emotional abuse, indeed, so often leads to escalating abuse and feelings of hopelessness.

"I could divorce him, but I can not afford to give up my current lifestyle" When the "current lifestyle" includes violence of any kind - emotional, physical, sexual, verbal - you can not afford not to look for healthier alternatives.
There is help. There is support. No one deserves to be frightened, terrorized or helped to feel hopeless and helpless about themselves and their lives.

When you find yourself climbing out of the fog, tentatively at first - or perhaps with a rush of energy long buried, you begin to notice that all the things your abusive partner said you could not do - you can do! You can survive!  You can find a counselor, make a plan and get out! Do try to access the many sources of help available to you ... the bookstore and library are good beginning resources.

Here are a few more:

National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence 1-800-222-2000

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238

National Women's Resource Center - 1-800-354-8824

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unresolved Trauma = Attracts Dating Predators


Address old wounds before jumping into the dating pool
Imagine that your car breaks down in a remote spot known to be close to a Federal prison. Your cell phone isn't picking up a signal, so you are thrust on the mercy of a passing driver. In this scenario, would it be wiser to solicit help from another driver yourself or to sit in the car and wait for someone to notice your state of need and offer to help?  

It would generally be wiser to take an active role in picking the target of your request for help. If you decide to actively request help, you could try to screen for certain factors that might indicate that a particular person would be relatively safe to hail—for example, a man or woman who appears to be riding with his or her young children.  

Even if you picked at random, without looking for indicators of potentially safe helpers, you would be statistically less likely to pick a sociopath relative to the likelihood that a sociopath might pick you when he or she witnesses your obvious state of vulnerability.  

As threat expert Gavin De Becker explains, “the possibility that you'll inadvertently select a predatory criminal for whom you are the right victim type is very remote."* In other words, if you were to wait passively in your car for someone to help you, you would most likely attract one of two types of people—either good Samaritans or opportunistic sociopaths drawn to your state of need.  

For individuals with unresolved traumas, the mate-selection process often carries a double risk. That is, unhealed wounds of past trauma in your life lead to a higher likelihood that unsafe people will pick you, and if you actively pick a partner, it is much more likely that you will end up with an unsafe person.  

In other words, if you have experienced a trauma, it is often true that you will unintentionally emit certain signals and behaviors that chum the water for the psychopathic sharks in the dating pool. Part of the “chum” in this analogy would be body language.

Research shows that there are differences in the body language of those identified by anti-social prisoners to be target victims and those who are not judged to be easy prey.** Anti-social, dominating, power-abusing individuals have a strong radar for those who are impulsive, those who do not respect themselves, those who are desperate to find love at any cost – basically anyone who will play opposite them in a submissive role for any number of reasons. 

I’ve intentionally selected sharks for my analogy here because the behavioral patterns of sharks can show up in interactions between those in the dating pool. That is, before a shark attacks, it first circles and then bumps into its potential prey, feeling out its possible victim before going in for the kill.  

In the same way, sharks in the dating pool will bump up against those they are getting to know, putting out feelers in the form of little tests to gauge the potential for dominating someone. There are many, many forms that these tests can take. Here are three examples… 



A shark gains information about the potential to take advantage of someone by observing how that person responds to these kinds of tests. So, if you’ve ever met a captivating person who suddenly dropped out of your life with no explanation, one possibility is that a shark in the dating pool may have taken a pass because you did not show yourself to be easy prey. 

Even if your goal is to have a healthy love relationship, if you have experienced certain types of past traumas, you may have a difficult time recognizing sharks when they present themselves as suitors because somehow they "feel like home." If we are sometimes drawn like moths to a flame to potentially abusive partners, could there be any logical reason for this pattern?  

Some have argued that we select certain partners in order to re-stage trauma scenarios that mirror what we have experienced in the past, presumably with the hope of getting a different outcome. For example, the son of a verbally abusive mother will often end up with a verbally abusive wife. So, maybe this is an attempt to re-pave over an old trauma in order to emotionally correct a deep psychic wound? Whether or not this is the underlying psychological drive, the end result of picking someone you hope to change almost never leads to greater wholeness and emotional well-being. 

Ultimately, in relationships, as in politics, if you ignore your history, you will tend to repeat it, so if you have not addressed and achieved healing from your trauma experience(s), doing so in a safe relationship with a treating professional is recommended as a first priority. 

*De Becker, G. (1997). The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence. New York, NY: Dell Publishing (a division of Random House, Inc.), p. 65. 

**Grayson, B. and Stein, M.I. (1981) Attracting Assault: Victims' Nonverbal Cues. Journal of Communication 31 (1): 68-75.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Abuser As Slanderer



Narcissistic Abuser as Slanderer

by Kathy Krajco

On their way through life, narcissists leave a trail of trashed good names in their wake. This is a serious problem in the workplace, for narcissists often destroy the careers of their betters. Narcissistic managers and administrators often are serial bullies, who destroy the career and credibility of anyone who doesn't participate in a lynching and therefore is a threat to blow the whistle.

The narcissist is a slanderer partly to get attention. But he is a slanderer mainly because he must be one to create his phony image. He makes himself look good by making others look bad.

Yet narcissists are not the only people who create a false image of themselves. If you want to call it close, virtually everybody does, even that paragon of honesty, Prince Hamlet. In a world that surrounds us with the prying eyes of fault-finders, we would be traitors to ourselves if we were not at least modest about the things we should be ashamed of. Especially insofar as they are none of anybody else's business. In fact, it's a virtue to keep what's private private. It is the moral equivalent of wearing clothes.

Yet narcissists are different: they are hypocrites = for looks only. They think a thing ain't wrong if they get away with it. In other words, they confuse appearances with reality. Consequently, they have no conscience — just an unconscience. That is, they repress their conscience. Hence, what they do in the dark is shockingly different than what they do in the light of day. These are the people who put make-up on their image a little too thick in spots.

....they confuse appearances with reality


....they project instead of repent.

Since it's all about their image, as Hamlet's mother said, they view sin as some kind of taint instead of as moral illness, or spiritual dis-ease. This is what gives them the notion that it can be "washed away" or smeared off. No wonder that, to get rid of it, they project instead of repent.

Projection is the Oldest Trick in the Book.
Magicians call it "misdirection." The Serpent pulled it on Eve when he accused God of being the liar. ("God told you THAT?") Stupid Eve should have looked at the other end of that pointed finger for the liar. As St. Paul does when he says that if somebody condemns others of being [fill in the blank], you can bet your bippy that he is one himself. Sometimes in a different way, but always at least the moral equivalent of one.* Paul was in line with the ancient Hebrew scriptures. Their name for the spirit in which people do this is satan, which means the "finger-pointer," the "name-slayer" (slanderer), the "prosecutor/persecutor," or the "accuser." In some places (e.g., the Book of Job) they also call him "the policer of the world." Which makes me wonder why religious leaders think that condemning these and those for this and that all the time is a good deed. This trick still works great today: I know of one narcissist who was a pedophile and for many years kept people from noticing the glaring warning signs in his own behavior by spreading rumors about one single teacher after another at his school. (He, of course, was married.)

* An example of what I mean by moral equivalence: Mr. Self-Righteous union-busts to keep the workers in his shoe factory so poor they go barefoot — and shows moral indignation in loudly condemning his neighbor for "muzzling an ox trampling the grain."

The rules about projection are in the Book of Leviticus, prescribed in the ritual for the Day of Atonement. Christianity has inherited them. The scapegoat must be the cleanest, most perfect potential victim available, the one with the most potential to do well in the world. (Sloppy thinking has twisted the meaning a full 180 degrees: these ugly demonstrations of the human race in action, symbolically performed by abominable cruelty to an animal, were intended to shame us. Not to prescribe this travesty of justice as the way to purify ourselves and win salvation from justice.)
 
The worst thing about projection is that mud sticks best to a clean spot.

I'm sure that people who do this think they're clever, but it's childsplay. Send a muddy child into an unsupervised school yard and wait to see what happens. He will rub himself off on every cleaner, smaller child he can find, till they are all crying and he looks good by comparison.

Looks good by comparison. Those are the all-important words. The hypocrite makes himself look good by comparison with others. He does that the easy way — by making others look bad. This is the root of envy. Which is not a rare motive for what people say about others. It's a common motive.

In a moment of self awareness, the hypocrite says, "Well, I may not be perfect, but I'm not as bad as others are." Then he instantly looks for somebody to make himself look better than = somebody to rub himself off on. And he's certainly smart enough to pick somebody pretty good to look better than!

So, narcissists are by no means alone in doing this. It's just that they invest so much energy in doing it. They are fixated on their image to the point that it is uppermost in their mind 100% of the time. In contrast, normal people project only when on the defensive. And then they're likely to shake themselves off on whoever happens to be near at the moment. So, their aim is poor, and sometimes they project a flaw off onto somebody who actually has it. But a narcissist's aim is impeccable.
For example, whom does he call a liar? The most honest person around.
Who does he say is dangerous? The savior of the group.
Every single time. His talent for farce is so great that you could mistake him for astute.

Also, normal people have normal, human and loving relationships. So they don't smear themselves off on just anybody. They wouldn't dream of harming those near and dear. And they stick to slander (which has at least some degree of truth in it), rarely engaging in calumny (lies). When they do calumniate somebody, he or she is an enemy. Even then they don't go hog-wild and calumniate somebody so badly and so widely as to destroy them and ruin their lives. Not so with the narcissist. He is a child with no sense of measure or moderation. He loves only himself. He has no normal human relationships. He relates to people as objects. So he will smear himself off on his own children as thoughtlessly as we smear ourselves off on a towel. In fact, he is most likely to smear off on somebody he owes gratitude, because needing help damages his image. So he repays help as though it were an insult. He must devalue it by devaluing the giver of it, as if such a contemptible person is incapable of really helping somebody as grand as he.

he is most likely to smear off on somebody he owes gratitude, because needing help damages his image. So he repays help as though it were an insult.

Since he is a little child, the only reign on a narcissist's behavior is what he feels he can get away with. So, the more he gets away with, the more repressed guilt he has to purge himself of. The bad thing about repressed guilt is that it is an unconscious puppet master. Scripture calls it "the demon lurking at the door." The door being the way out, the escape, through repentance.

This could be why narcissists get worse with age. The load of repressed guilt they keep trying to purge themselves of (in a way that only dirties them more) gets so heavy that the wild accusations they make get viciouser and viciouser. It's as though they get drunk on blood.

They become living, breathing Projection Machines. Projection becomes such a knee-jerk reflex that a narcissist accuses his victim of doing to him the very thing (or essentially the same thing) as he is in the very act of doing to the victim. This creates bizarre scenes that make you wonder whether the narcissist is hallucinating or tripping out on psychedelic drugs. You feel like Alice in Wonderland. You have to pinch yourself and wonder whether "it's me or him that is crazy."

If you've ever thought that, congratulations. It means you're not. The narcissist never thinks that: he just accuses whoever he abuses of being the crazy one. (I said "crazy," not "insane." There's a difference.)

The narcissist never thinks [he's crazy]: he just accuses whoever he abuses of being the crazy one.

Another big difference between narcissists and normal people when they're projecting on you is that narcissists expect you to share their delusion. Yes! You cannot help but perceive this as gaslighting. Narcissists try to make you be what they say you are because, like a psychopath, they view you as an object, not as a human person with perceptions and a mind of your own.* They view you as an extension of themselves (like a tool) to control. It is the moral equivalent of the control a rapist thinks he has over the body of another, whom he views as but an object, an extension of himself, an executioner of HIS will. Psychologists call this bizarre behavior projective identification, a defense mechanism. The narcissist wants you to identify with the image he projects on you. You are a mirror to reflect his fantasy, so he pressures you to behave as though it is real.

* A narcissist's need to conform you to his or her specifications can go to bizarre extremes. For example, I know of one female narcissist who, during an assault on her sister, habitually forced her up against a wall and then spent a long time moving and twisting her sister's arms about to position them grotesquely — thus forcing her sister into different "shapes."

Behave is the key word. Narcissists do not connect with reality: appearances are all that matter in their world. So, you can lay out your grievances to a narcissist in a letter to let him know what you think, but if tomorrow you encounter him and act as though none of it happened, he is perfectly satisfied.

So, though the narcissist's projective identification seems like gaslighting and affects the victim like gaslighting, it is not gaslighting in the strictest sense of the word. For the narcissist only cares how you behave; he does not care what you think. He doesn't think at all about what you think. In fact, you can crash his brain by asking, "What do you think I think about you?" The question does not even compute.

Bottom Line: Anyone who outshines a narcissist diminishes the glow of his glory. So, that person had better be somebody with power that he fears or had better lay low and get away.

ORIGINAL FROM THIS GREAT SITE

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to Identify a Psychopathic Bond


by Claudia Moscovici

The most important self-defense against psychopathic seducers consists of recognizing the initial warning signals so that you can escape the relationship early on, hopefully before you’re seriously harmed. Dr. Joseph Carver has put together a helpful and instructive list outlining the early symptoms of a dangerous relationship with a psychopath, or as he puts it quite aptly, with “a Loser.” 

As we’ve already seen in the previous account of Drew Peterson’s behavior, not all the signs of psychopathic seduction are obviously negative. But, as we’ll see, even the symptoms that seem positive (such as the instant attachment and over-the-top attention, flattery and gifts) are in fact negative. Similarly, Carver notes that the Loser doesn’t have to exhibit all of the symptoms listed below to be dangerous. The presence of even three of these symptoms indicates a potentially harmful relationship. Anything above this number points to not just probable, but certain harm. Carver begins by defining “the Loser”: “‘The Loser’ is a type of partner that creates much social, emotional and psychological damage in a relationship… The following list is an attempt to outline the characteristics of ‘The Loser’ and provide a manner in which women and men can identify potentially damaging relationships before they are themselves severely damaged emotionally or even physically.” (drjoecarver.com)

1. The Loser will Hurt you on Purpose. “If he or she hits you, twists your arm, pulls your hair, kicks you, shoves you, or breaks your personal property even once, drop them,” Carver advises. As we’ve seen, Drew Peterson escalated the abuse of his partners. He began with criticism, went on to name-calling and moved on to physical violence and (probably) murder. It’s very important to get away from a Loser at the slightest hint of violence, including verbal aggression, since abuse usually increases in frequency and severity over time.

2. Quick Attachment and Expression. “The Loser,” Carver notes, “has very shallow emotions and connections with others. One of the things that might attract you to the Loser is how quickly he or she says ‘I Love You’ or wants to marry or commit to you. Typically, in less than a few weeks of dating you’ll hear that you’re the love of their life, they want to be with you forever, and they want to marry you. You’ll receive gifts, a variety of promises, and be showered with their attention and nice gestures.” Drew Peterson and other dangerous seducers wouldn’t get any partners, much less attractive young women, if they showed their true colors from the very beginning. Psychopaths generally pour on the romance. They deluge their targets with flattery, promises and gifts at the beginning of the relationship. No matter how promiscuous they actually are, they focus their energies on their most desirable targets. Yet, Carver cautions, this seemingly positive sign is, in fact, also negative. It signals shallowness of emotions rather than strength of love. He elaborates, “Normal, healthy individuals require a long process to develop a relationship because there is so much at stake… The rapid warm-up is always a sign of shallow emotions which later cause the Loser to detach from you as quickly as they committed.” Which is exactly what Drew Peterson (and others like him) did after seducing each of his partners. As easily as he attached to them initially, he later detached from them to pursue his next conquest(s).

3. Frightening Temper. Sooner or later the Loser reveals his hot temper. Carver states that Losers often begin with indirect violence—such as demonstratively hitting the wall with their fist or throwing objects—before they start pushing, punching or hitting their partners. The physical outbursts towards inanimate objects function as a form of intimidation. Through such behavior, Losers show their targets that they’re capable of doing the same thing to them. Such outbursts also train the partners to become gradually habituated to acts of violence.

4. Killing Your Self-Confidence. Losers generally prefer flings and short-term affairs, which provide constant new thrills. They also engage in long-term relationships, however, to gain more lasting control over certain more promising targets. It’s nearly impossible to control strong human beings who have clear boundaries and a healthy self-esteem. This is why psychopaths eventually move from the initial over-the-top flattery to scathing criticism. Once they have secured their chosen partners in their grasp, they put them down to erode their self-esteem. Carver states that, for instance, Losers “constantly correct your slight mistakes, making you feel ‘on guard’, unintelligent, and leaving you with the feeling that you are always doing something wrong… This gradual chipping away at your confidence and self-esteem allows them to later treat you badly–as though you deserved it.” According to Tracy’s and Stacy’s families and friends, after seducing them, Drew undermined both women’s self-confidence. His assertion that he pampered Stacy by indulging her obsession with plastic surgery rings false. By way of contrast, her friends’ and family’s claim that he criticized her to the point that she felt compelled to make constant “improvements” in her physical appearance sounds much more plausible. Stacy’s growing insecurity also placed her under Drew’s power to determine how she felt about herself.

5. Cutting Off Your Support. In the wild, predators isolate their prey from the rest of the herd to better attack and devour it. That’s precisely what psychopaths do to their targets. Losers isolate their partners from their friends, colleagues and families. They may do so through overt criticism and by following them around when they meet with others, as Drew did to Stacy. Sometimes they opt for more subtle manipulation, such as by covertly turning the victim against her own family and friends (and vice versa). As Carver observes, “The Loser feels your friends and family might influence you or offer negative opinions about their behavior… Eventually, rather than face the verbal punishment, interrogation, and abuse, you’ll develop the feeling that it’s better not to talk to family and friends. You will withdraw from friends and family, prompting them to become upset with you.”

6. The Mean and Sweet Cycle. As we recall, Drew Peterson bought his wife a motorcycle and expensive jewelry even during the period of time when he was criticizing her, throwing her up against the wall, isolating her from her loved ones, accusing her of infidelity and calling her pejorative names. If they were consistently mean or violent, psychopaths wouldn’t be able to hold on to their partners. Which is why, as Dr. Carver observes, “The Loser cycles from mean to sweet and back again. The cycle starts when they are intentionally hurtful and mean. You may be verbally abused, cursed, and threatened over something minor. Suddenly, the next day they become sweet, doing all those little things they did when you started dating.” The period of sweetness leads the partners of Losers to cling to the relationship in the misguided hope of finding what psychologist Susan Forward calls “the magic key” that will make the psychopath stay nice to them. That magic key, however, doesn’t exist. The psychopath invariably cycles back to his real, nasty self. Over time, the meanness cycle escalates in severity and increases in duration. It’s interspersed with increasingly fewer “nice” moments, which trap the victim in her own wishful thinking. As Carver observes, “You hang on, hoping each mean-then-sweet cycle is the last one. The other purpose of the mean cycle is to allow The Loser to say very nasty things about you or those you care about, again chipping away at your self-esteem and self-confidence.”

7. It’s Always Your Fault. As we’ve seen, psychopaths never accept blame for anything they do wrong. They deny obvious facts and accuse their victims of wrongdoing. Their spurious logic goes something like this: I didn’t do it, but even if I did, you deserved it. When he didn’t outright deny the domestic abuse, Drew Peterson blamed it on each of his wives for provoking it. According to him, they lied about being hit by him. They also lied about his verbal abuse. They were the ones who were “on edge” and “disturbed,” not him. He never hit them, even if Kathy had to go to the emergency room to recover from his blows. Carver notes, “The Loser never, repeat never, takes personal responsibility for their behavior–it’s always the fault of someone else.”

8. Breakup Panic. Psychopaths need to maintain control of everything in their lives, especially their romantic relationships. When they get bored with one partner or find a replacement, they can leave her on the spur of the moment, heartlessly, often without even bothering to offer an explanation. But they get very angry when the tables are turned and their partners leave them. Drew Peterson didn’t mind cheating on his wives and abandoning them for other women. Yet when they wanted to leave him to escape the misery and abuse, he resorted to violence, threats, bribes and, when none of these strategies worked, (probably) murder. As Carver notes, “The Loser panics at the idea of breaking up–unless it’s totally their idea–then you’re dropped like a hot rock. Abusive boyfriends often break down and cry, they plead, they promise to change, and they offer marriage/trips/gifts when you threaten ending the relationship… Once back in the grasp of the Loser, escape will be three times as difficult the next time.”

9. No Outside Interests. To further control their victims, psychopaths don’t just isolate them from other people. They also narrow the range of their interests and activities, leading their partners to focus exclusively on them. Drew Peterson discouraged Stacy from working outside the home. He gave her money and gifts, not out of any real generosity but to keep her financially and emotionally dependent on him. He also followed his wife around everywhere. He wanted to monitor if she was seeing other men. But his stalking made her feel on edge about any kind of activity or pursuit that was external to their relationship. Carver goes on to state, “If you have an individual activity, they demand that they accompany you, making you feel miserable during the entire activity. The idea behind this is to prevent you from having fun or interests other than those which they totally control.”

10. Paranoid Control. Notoriously, psychopaths stalk their principal targets. They suspect other people, including their partners, of being as manipulative, deceptive and unscrupulous as themselves. Although they routinely cheat on their spouses, often with countless sexual partners, they tend to be plagued by the fear that their spouses may be cheating on them as well. Which is why, as Carver observes, “The Loser will check up on you and keep track of where you are and who you are with. If you speak to a member of the opposite sex, you receive twenty questions about how you know them. If you don’t answer their phone call, you are ask where you were, what were you doing, who you were talking to, etc.” Drew Peterson worked as a detective not only in his job on the police force, but also in his dealings with his wife. He followed Stacy around to monitor her.

11. Public Embarrassment. Psychopaths tend to put down their partners not only in private, but also publicly, to embarrass and isolate them. They want to build a psychological, if not physical, prison around their primary targets. They do everything possible to undermine their confidence, reduce their sociability, narrow the range of their interests and eliminate all positive human contact from their lives. Consequently, as Carver observes, “In an effort to keep you under control while in public, ‘The Loser’ will lash out at you, call you names, or say cruel or embarrassing things about you in private or in front of people… If you stay with The Loser too long, you’ll soon find yourself politely smiling, saying nothing, and holding on to their arm when in public.” As we’ll see in the chapter on Pablo Picasso, psychopaths aim to transform strong and proud individuals into their doormats.

12. It’s Never Enough. Psychopaths don’t want to have successful relationships. They want to assert dominance by destroying, at the very least psychologically and emotionally, their partners. In the long run, there’s nothing anybody can do to please a psychopath. Apparently, Drew Peterson flattered both his third and his fourth wives when they were still his girlfriends, which is to say, during courtship. But the honeymoon period ended once they decided to marry him. Nothing they did or failed to do henceforth pleased him for long. According to their families and friends, Stacy and Tracy constantly jumped through more and more hoops, while Drew lifted the bar higher and higher. Through this insidious process, a psychopath wears down his partner’s self-esteem. Eventually, she feels too insecure to leave the abusive relationship. As Carver puts it, “The Loser convinces you that you are never quite good enough. You don’t say ‘I love you’ enough, you don’t stand close enough, you don’t do enough for them after all their sacrifices, and your behavior always falls short of what is expected. This is another method of destroying your self-esteem and confidence. After months of this technique, they begin telling you how lucky you are to have them–somebody who tolerates someone so inadequate and worthless as you.”

13. Entitlement. As we’ve seen, psychopaths feel entitled to do and have everything and everyone they want. Laws, ethics and other people’s feelings don’t matter to them. “The Loser has a tremendous sense of entitlement, the attitude that they have a perfectly logical right to do whatever they desire,” Carver continues. “If you disobey their desires or demands, or violate one of their rules, they feel they are entitled to punish you in any manner they see fit.” In the case of Drew Peterson, even thought crime, or the intention to leave him, was punishable with (probably) murder. His interviews show that he felt entitled to mistreat each of his wives as he pleased. However, he believed that they didn’t have the right to object to his mistreatment or to leave him as a result of it.

14. Your Friends and Family Dislike Him. Psychopaths tend to be pleasant and charming, at least superficially, at the beginning of a relationship. But once they have their partner firmly in their clutches, they proceed to isolate her from her support system. In so doing, they alienate her family and friends. Carver notes, “As the relationship continues, your friends and family will see what the Loser is doing to you. They will notice a change in your personality or your withdrawal. They will protest. The Loser will tell you they are jealous of the ‘special love’ you have and then use their protest and opinion as further evidence that they are against you–not him.” Drew Peterson stalked his wife even when she was visiting with her sisters. Initially, at least some of Stacy’s family members and friends liked Drew and considered him a good match for her. But as he began to isolate and abuse her, they became unanimous in their dislike of him. In the end, they all saw the relationship as seriously damaging for Stacy.

15. Bad Stories. They say that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. There may be exceptions to this general principle. Fortunately, some people can improve their character and behavior with genuine and consistent effort. A psychopath can never be one of those exceptions, however. Generally speaking, if a man cheated on every wife he’s ever been with, it’s highly probable that he’ll cheat on the next one as well. Most likely, the problem isn’t the woman or women he was with, but his underlying lack of character. Similarly, if he abused his previous partners, he’s very likely to abuse the next ones as well. Stacy knew enough about how Drew treated his previous wife to see that he was a philanderer and potentially dangerous. But the intensity and perseverance with which he pursued her blinded her from seeing the same warning signals in their relationship. In addition, since psychopaths don’t find anything wrong with their harmful behavior, they’re likely to boast about it. This also sends out some glaring warning signals. As Carver states, “The Loser tells stories of violence, aggression, being insensitive to others, rejecting others, etc… They brag about their temper and outbursts because they don’t see anything wrong with violence and actually take pride in the ‘I don’t take nothing from nobody’ attitude… Listen to these stories — they tell you how you will eventually be treated and what’s coming your way.”

16. The Waitress Test. Just as how people behaved in the past tells a lot about how they’ll behave in the future, so how they treat others functions as a pretty good indicator of how you’ll eventually be treated. A person who’s uncaring and unethical towards others will most likely also be that way to you when you no longer serve his interests. Carver calls this “the waitress test.” In his estimation, how a Loser treats people who aren’t immediately useful to him reveals how he’ll treat you once your use has expired. “It’s been said that when dating, the way an individual treats a waitress or other neutral person of the opposite sex is the way they will treat you in six months. During the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship, you will be treated like a king or queen. However, during that time the Loser has not forgotten how he or she basically feels about the opposite sex. Waitresses, clerks, or other neutral individuals will be treated badly. If they are cheap–you’ll never receive anything once the honeymoon is over. If they whine, complain, criticize, and torment–that’s how they’ll treat you in six months.” Psychopaths lack consistency in their “good” behavior because for them “goodness” is only a façade. The manner in which they treat someone relates strictly to that person’s perceived use value. When people are useful to them they treat them (superficially) well. When they aren’t, they ignore or mistreat them. By way of contrast, genuinely nice people treat others well regardless of their perceived utility. Carver advises, “If you find yourself dating a man who treats you like a queen and other females like dirt–hit the road.” Pretty soon, you’ll be the dirt he walks on, on his way to conquering other temporary queens.

17. The Reputation. Psychopaths tend to have polarized reputations. Their victims often describe them, in retrospect, as Janus figures (since they’re two-faced) or as Jekyll and Hyde personalities (since they switch from nice to mean). We’ve seen that for a psychopath the Jekyll side is a mask he constructs to attract, fool and use others. The Hyde side represents his true identity, which becomes increasingly dominant over time. To his buddies, Drew Peterson appeared to be an easy-going, nice guy. But that’s because they only saw one side of him, the jovial facet he wanted them to see. To his wives and their families– which is to say, to anyone who had extensive intimate contact with him–Drew exposed another, much more menacing side of his personality. Any sign of independence from his partners meant escaping his control: something he couldn’t tolerate and which he punished through abuse and (probably) murder. Carver states, “As mentioned, mentally healthy individuals are consistent in their personality and their behavior. The Loser may have two distinct reputations–a group of individuals who will give you glowing reports and a group that will warn you that they are serious trouble.” In addition to paying attention to what others say, trust your own intuition and powers of observation. Pay close attention to how your partner treats you over time and in different circumstances. Be particularly attuned to how he responds when you express different needs or opinions. Psychopaths can’t tolerate any real assertion of independence from others. They also can’t treat those they’re intimately involved with well for long. Although some psychopaths may consistently maintain the mask of charm in superficial interactions with their buddies, colleagues and acquaintances, their real controlling, selfish and aggressive natures tend to show through in extended intimate contact.

18. Walking on Eggshells. During the course of their marriages to Drew Peterson, at least two of his wives reported losing their self-confidence as a result of his emotional and physical abuse. While they both entered the relationship with Drew feeling desirable, in love and valued, by the end they were overpowered and intimidated by him. When involved with a psychopath, over time, his partner finds herself walking on eggshells. She fears that anything she does or says might trigger his emotional detachment, hostility or abuse. Carver observes that, “Instead of experiencing the warmth and comfort of love, you will be constantly on edge, tense when talking to others (they might say something that you’ll have to explain later), and fearful that you’ll see someone you’ll have to greet in public.”

19. Discounted Feelings/Opinions. For psychopaths, their fundamental callousness and capacity for evil stems from their absolute selfishness and inability to respect other individuals, as fellow human beings with independent needs and desires. That’s why those involved with a psychopath, following the initial stage when he praises everything they do and say, come to realize that their feelings, needs and opinions don’t matter to him. The Loser’s narcissism is, as Hervey Cleckley’s study of psychopathy concluded, absolute. Carver elaborates, “The Loser is so self-involved and self-worshiping that the feelings and opinions of others are considered worthless… The Loser is extremely hostile toward criticism and often reacts with anger or rage when their behavior is questioned.” Narcissists and psychopaths flatter others only to use and manipulate them. They lack genuine consideration for others.

20. They Make You Crazy. According to her friends, Kathy Savio felt overcome by rage, jealousy and anger when Drew cheated on her with Stacy. While her emotional response was perfectly understandable under the circumstances, Drew depicted Kathy to others as “insane” to justify his mistreatment of her. In some ways, however, this statement isn’t far removed from the truth. Sometimes, psychopaths quite literally drive their partners crazy. They lie to them to the point where they start doubting their knowledge of reality. They discourage and belittle them to the point where they lose their self-confidence and become reclusive. They mistreat them to the point where they’re overcome with rage. As Carver goes on to explain, “The Loser operates in such a damaging way that you find yourself doing ‘crazy’ things in self-defense… You become paranoid as well–being careful what you wear and say… While we think we are ‘going crazy’–it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as ‘normal behavior’ in a combat situation. Rest assured that your behavior will return to normal if you detach from the Loser before permanent psychological damage is done.” When involved with a psychopath, you may, unlike Drew Peterson’s misfortunate wives, escape alive. But unless you end the relationship in its earliest stages, you’re not likely to escape unharmed.


What do these warning signs indicate? They show that psychopathic seducers can fake decency and love convincingly in the beginning of a relationship. That’s how they manage to attract so many potential partners. But they can’t sustain their mask of sanity over time in intimate contact, since it’s fake and instrumental. If you remain vigilant, you’ll be able to see red flags early on in the relationship with a psychopath despite his veneer of charm and extravagant romantic words and gestures.
 
As psychotherapist Steve Becker indicates on his website, powercommunicating.com, most of his clients recognized the warning signals in their relationships with exploitative partners. They just minimized those red flags or downright ignored them. They preferred to focus on their romantic fantasies rather than face an unpleasant reality. According to Becker, the most difficult challenge isn’t noticing the red flags, but actually heeding them. He states,

“I find that many of my clients were in fact cognizant of odd, disconcerting behaviors/attitudes that their exploitative partners were reckless enough to reveal (or incapable of concealing). They may have even felt troubled by them. But in their intense need to want the relationship, and the partner, to be the elusive fit they so hungrily sought, they found ways to suppress their uneasiness: to ignore and/or minimize the significance of these signals; and rationalize the alarms their instincts triggered.” (powercommunicating.com)


If you encounter a man who is aroused primarily by the circumstances surrounding your relationship—especially the perverse and forbidden ones—rather than by you, yourself, run. If you encounter a man who does a bait and switch to gain your trust only to violate his promises or raise the bar higher and higher, run. If you encounter a man who behaves in a despicable manner towards any other woman, no matter what he says about her, examine his behavior carefully since that’s how he’ll eventually treat you and, needless to say, run.

Truth is not a convenient fiction. Similarly, love is not a power game for anyone capable of this emotion. It’s the deepest and most significant bond human beings form with one another and the foundation of our lives. If you encounter a man who gives any signs that he regards love as a game and you as a “prize” to be won, fold your cards and quickly leave the table. Or, better yet, refuse to engage with him at all. Any intimate relationship with a psychopath is a gamble where you risk losing everything and from which you have nothing to gain.

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