Sanctuary for the Abused
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Con Artist = Abuser
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:
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
Monday, January 30, 2017
CYBERSTALKING IN THE 21st CENTURY - Part Three
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.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
CYBERSTALKING IN THE 21st CENTURY - PART TWO
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.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.
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.
"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."
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Cyberstalking in the 21st Century - Part One
PART ONE OF A SERIES
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
Friday, January 27, 2017
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
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Unresolved Trauma = Attracts Dating Predators
Address old wounds before jumping into the dating pool
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.
- A person who shows blatant disrespect by flaking out on plans at the last minute with no reasonable explanation… (testing whether the other person will allow him or herself to be treated disrespectfully)
- A person who asks someone he or she has just met on the internet to “come visit for a weekend” (testing things like impulsiveness and how much the other person is willing to invest in a relationship that has barely begun, which may be a indicator of desperation or low self-esteem)…
- A person who pressures someone into physical intimacy early in a relationship, before trust or safety has been well-established over a lengthy period of time…(testing level of self-respect, impulsivity, desperation, etc.)
*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.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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.
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.)
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.
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."
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
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Communication & the Functional Sociopath
By William Polowniak, Ph.D.
Fritz Perls a famous Jewish psychotherapist known for his founding of Gestalt therapy once said that refusal to communicate is the most toxic human behavior. I am convinced that he is right. Refusal to communicate really means refusal to listen and to enter into dialogue especially when we disagree. Usually people who refuse to communicate live their lives as “functional sociopaths.” That is, they are self-centered, they do as they please with total disregard for others and they indulge in subterfuge, self-delusion and see themselves as persecuted. Their delusions of self-persecution cause them to become angry manipulators.
So why label people in “either or” categories as “toxic” or “nourishing” people? Labels themselves are dangerous and often unfair, but for the wise person they do help us see what to avoid. They help us to invest our energies in more productive ways. When we use labels, however, we must be aware that labeling others without caution is in itself a toxic behavior. Let us “be aware” when we choose to label others or ourselves.
“Action speaks louder than words” Everyone’s mother has probably said this during our childhood more than once. My father used to say “Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.” The typical behaviors of those who refuse to communicate are labeled by psychologists as the “fight?flight” response. Those who refuse to communicate are usually adept at manipulation, they have toxic behavior in general and when confronted by circumstances that proves their position is faulty, they will attack or run away, or they will attack and run away. "Toxic people are adept at pushing our buttons and provoking an over-reaction in others. But the up side of that is that they challenge us to remain centered and be a positive influence even if there is no reward to us directly. Our efforts to not add to the pain and suffering toxic people use to justify their emotional cruelty and brutal behavior is our best strategy. If they do not run they will not listen using a variety of tyrannical behaviors. They begin by raising their voices, then will shout, scream and rant and rave often appearing to be a raving lunatic. They typically indulge in anger, condemnation and blame. They are adept at interrupting and often will not allow their adversary to finish even one sentence. We often see people like this on TV talk shows."
So how does a person deal with those who refuse to communicate? The best defense is listening, in silence, and adopting the posture of a detective. While listening, try to discover what is really at the root of the problem. All the while, if you must communicate, focus on short, simple and clear statements using "I" statements frequently; that is, if your adversary permits any pauses in their onslaught of anger, condemnation and blame. At the very least, actively listening in silence and non-judgment will provide your adversary with needed catharsis, will often defuse their anger and will not add to their fear of retaliation.
Another thing that helps is to rely on trust and the great healer—time. We’ve all heard the biblical quote “Vengeance in mine, sayeth the Lord.” The fact is that time and life will usually bite these kinds of people in the behind when they least expect it. They sabotage their own life by alienating others, when in fact they desperately need and want love and affection.
Another helpful thing to realize is that to the wise person, knowing that “not communicating” can often communicate more than we realize. Not retaliating, not interrupting the interrupter, but listening in silence or basically allowing the adversary to wallow in their own delusions of persecution will ultimately allow the TRUTH to emerge. Reality is the second best teacher. Do you know what the best teacher is? Pain. Very often only pain and suffering can communicate to the person who refuses to communicate.
A final thing that is helpful is to remember that “help is not always helpful.” Recently I tried to help a person who was wallowing in her anger and hostility. Her remark to me was “I don’t need your help.” Often it is wise to avoid unnecessary contact with people who seem to be waiting to pick a fight or to blow up. If communication is really necessary it should be done in writing (and keep a copy) so that it is less likely to elicit a reaction or temper tantrum. And in the worse cases, if a toxic person retaliates and legal action becomes necessary to remedy the situation, what you have in writing may be valuable. In addition if a toxic person acts out threats they will thereby create the proof you will need to legally prosecute for blackmail and malicious mischief. Those of us who believe in community do not like to think of things like legal action or legal defense but the reality is that sometimes legal remedies do in fact create community and can force a more healthy emotional situation to prevail. Legal remedies can show the bully and the emotional tyrant that you are not afraid.
Whenever a person threatens to take me to court and to sue me, my response is that “I love to go to court with people like you. Please sue me. Do it now.” You would be surprised at how this defuses the pompous threats of manipulating tyrants. And, the truth is that I really do love to go to court with people who think that their threats can frighten me into submitting to their demands. In court your adversary will show the judge their irrational behavior and you can force them to listen to reason when it is your turn to speak. You can also ask a judge to admonish your adversary and you can ask for and receive legal costs and punitive damages. But remember, your best defense is to always be honest, fair and loving and kind— especially when it is difficult.
It seems paradoxical but genuine communication begins and ends with listening. Silence is golden. Words are often useless and unnecessary.
I collect quotes. One of my favorites is from the Dhammapada. “Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace.” Another favorite quote states, “Must we waste this moment on words?”
One benefit of silence is that it allows the body and the being to relax into a natural meditative state of being. In this state of mind, we learn to listen to our bodies. More than that, we learn the difference between our cravings and what our body really needs for health.
I hope these thoughts find you well and healthy, and I hope I can learn from my own advice by listening more and improving my communication through active listening. I sometimes forget.
something to think about when your abuser just stops talking to you, says he/she "needs time" or "its no longer a matter for discussion and I am never speaking to you again" and gives you the silent treatment.
Turning their back on you and not allowing you to work thru your hurt and anger with them can be a form of cowardice & sadism.
The behavior also ties into seductive mind-control. Distancing yourself at critical moments makes your 'target' want you more and then the hunter becomes the hunted. (i.e. The Art of Seduction - Greene)
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Why Are Most Judgmental, Critical People So Critical and Judgmental?
Lack of empathy.
Narcissism Victim Syndrome
A new diagnosis?
Do you see a preponderance of middle aged women in your practices with no particular physical disease process, yet a variety of physical and/or emotional complaints, including: insomnia, weight loss or gain, depression, anxiety, phobias, (sometimes but not always, also: broken bones, lacerations, or bruises)? Some may report an overwhelming feeling of emptiness, self-hate or doom. Others may talk about or attempt suicide.
These patients are frequently rather nervous, with a guilt-ridden, anxious look and effect. They may appear restless, worried, and/or demonstrate a fake laugh that seems to hide something else.
In extreme cases they may describe sudden outbursts of rage with accompanying violence. They may have even been arrested for assault on their spouse. A few of them are men.
Who are these patients and how did they get this way? While there may be many situations with similar symptoms, it is important to recognize these may be "Victims of Narcissists" and they need your help. While narcissism itself has been a diagnosis in the DSM - IV, psychiatry's complete reference, little to nothing has been written in the medical literature surrounding those who live with the narcissist … and the torturous lives they live. And there are many of them out there.
Narcissism is a broad spectrum of behaviors. On a scale of 1 - 10, Healthy Narcissism is a one, and Pathological Narcissism, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD) is a 10.
Healthy Narcissism is something we all can use. It's having a healthy self-esteem. It's what makes us pick ourselves up after experiencing failure and going on towards the next goal. It's what gives us the ability to help each other, and to love someone - as we already know how to love ourselves.
Yet, Pathological Narcissism is an ironic twist of this healthy state. Outwardly, it appears that these people love themselves too much - to the exclusion of anyone else. It is as if they are God himself and those around them must recognize their omnipotence, supreme knowledge, and absolute entitlement and power. Rules don't apply to them. They have an unrealistic and overblown sense of self, often without the credentials to match, as well as fantasies of unlimited power, success, and/or brilliance. They are interpersonally exploitive and have absolutely no understanding of empathy or compassion.
They are neither kind nor benevolent gods. And those who live with them end up paying the price.
While there is a range of narcissistic behaviors lying between level 1 and 10 on this scale, one doesn't need to have full-blown NPD to do incredible damage to those in the inner circle.
While victims of Narcissists are generally codependents, most have no idea how they got in this situation, because in the early stages of the relationship the Narcissistic person can be the most charming, Academy Award winning actor or actress (according to the DSM-IV, 50-75% of narcissists are men), of the century.
The early days of the dating is fast, furious, and vastly romantic. Oftentimes marriage proposals come within a few weeks. The "victim" sees the narcissist as the "Perfect Partner". She's never met someone so wonderful in her lifetime and falls head-over-heels in love. The two go on to live happily ever after - or so she thinks - until the "real" partner surfaces. The once wonderful Dr. Jekyll turns into the dangerous Mr. Hyde who quickly instills fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and total confusion to the relationship.
The change can be quick and powerful or slow and insidious.
We are all way too familiar with overt narcissists: those abusive husbands who send thousands of battered women to the emergency room each year. They feel it is their God-given right to beat, abuse, and otherwise threat their partner in whatever method they deem necessary and no one can tell them otherwise.
Then there is the verbally abusive and controlling narcissist … the one who uses emotional abuse as his weapon of choice. He tells his victim who she can see, what time she needs to be home, and when she can go to bed. Or in the case of Jamie, whose husband makes her recite every day, "I'm only worth 29 cents - the price of a bullet," he erodes her self-worth to nothing to keep her under his control.
Who else could possible want such a worthless woman as she? With that belief, she will never leave him for good, although she makes many brief attempts to do so. She always returns. The brainwashing that continues day after day is emotionally exhausting, draining, and vastly unhealthy.
Yet almost worse is the "Stealth Narcissist," so sinister and silent in his ability to drive his partner crazy that she doesn't suspect anything bad is happening until it's too late. He is the master of the little digs … "Honey, why on earth would you cook eggs in butter? NO ONE does it that way. What's wrong with you?" Or, "If you'd only do what I say then we'd both be happy."
He issues the "silent treatment" when he is slighted, punishing his family by ignoring them for hours, leaving them wondering what they did "wrong" to make him act this way. He may "forget" birthday or Christmas presents, year after year. He may show up hours late and his partner is just supposed to understand, with no explanation even offered. He may have another woman on the side and feel quite entitled to do so.
Yet, to those outside his inner kingdom he looks like a saint. He probably is president of the Rotary, volunteers at a food bank, and contributes regularly to charity … all to attain the image of being the admired Superman of his community.
No matter which type of narcissist he is, the end result is the same … a slow, insidious, breaking down of the self-esteem of his victims until there's next to nothing left, at which point, the narcissist will frequently throw his partner out in order to look for someone new and full of life to make his next target. Leaving his victim an emotional wreck wondering what she did to destroy their once "perfect" relationship.
The Narcissist himself rarely changes. After all, if you believe you're God-like, you must be perfect. Why should you change your behavior for anyone else? Yet the biggest secret is that deep inside, he loathes himself, and is desperate that no one find out who the "real" person is inside his tough, outer shell.
Victims are not only spouses. They can be coworkers, employees, children, or friends of narcissists. When the narcissist is the victim's mother, it's a difficult spot to be in, as most children (even grown children) find it almost impossible to leave the relationship. And the abuse continues for years.
However, when the narcissist is your patient's boss, coworker, or friend, it may be wise to counsel the victim to seek a new situation elsewhere to best avoid an emotional roller coaster ride that could lead to extreme health issues down the road.
How can you help those with Narcissism Victim Syndrome? First, by asking questions to determine what is going on in their environment. Health care professionals already know the effect that stress has on so many of us, but the added stress of living with a narcissist is rarely understood or recognized by the victims themselves. Knowledge is power and by asking the right questions about their situation, you might be able to help them begin to better recognize their problem and seek help.
You can help them quit being victims, quit blaming themselves for all that's wrong in their relationships, gain knowledge of this disorder, and regain their personal power. Help them to seek counseling from a therapist knowledgeable about narcissism, (not all are, and few fully understand victim issues at all - see www.helpfromsurvivors.com), in order to rebuild their shattered self-esteem and stop looking and acting like a caged animal.
Help them find hope, before years of stuffing their anger due to this abusive treatment, leads them to venting in unhealthy ways, sometimes leading to domestic violence and police intervention. Help them to stop looking like the sick one in the relationship and to start down the road of being a survivor and no longer a victim. Help them escape symptoms of depression that may, in some cases, lead to suicide.
Learn all you can about the "Narcissism Victim Syndrome". You might light a glimmer of hope for someone who's just barely hanging on for dear life.
Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN is a national speaker, author, columnist and survivor of several narcissistic relationships. Her new book, "When Your Perfect Partner Goes Perfectly Wrong - Loving or Leaving the Narcissist in Your Life" is available at http://www.helpfromsurvivors.com or http://www.outoftheboxx.com. She can be reached at 303-841-7691.
Copyright by Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN
Friday, January 20, 2017
The 10 Most Dysfunctional Things Ever Uttered
(if anyone says these to you, they are dysfunctional - run from them!! even if they are family. - Barbara)
They don’t get worse than these — the ten comments that signify the very most dysfunction possible.
In no particular order:
1. “I did nothing wrong. You’re just oversensitive.”
It’s not that there aren’t people in the world who are highly sensitive. It’s just that even if the person being spoken to were oversensitive, this comment is only going to make them feel much worse! It offers no help, and only rubs salt in the wound.
It is a critical statement of low empathy — there’s no effort to truly understand the other person’s feelings or to consider that maybe the speaker could possibly have done even one small thing a little more considerately to try helping matters.
In addition, it’s most often said by people who are not actually dealing with someone who’s “too sensitive”, but instead, someone who is actually expressing normal dismay about a valid concern.
2. “That’s just the way it is.”
While it’s true there’s no point denying that the sky has always been blue and grass will be forever green, making the above comment in order to shut down someone’s concerns or curiosity about a given situation is a different matter.
Such a comment displays a high level of dysfunctionality, typically related to disempowerment, denial, defensiveness, closed-mindedness and attempts at control of others.
Inflexibility and difficulty with change is common in the personality disorder called OCPD, and in autism spectrum disorders.
3. “Why can’t you be more like so-and-so?”
Trying to tell someone to be more like someone else is self-centered. If you’re dealing with a person who is self-important enough to think that other people should conform to their personal preferences (and need only be asked to do so) you’re likely dealing with someone characteristically narcissistic.
4. “I’m sorry you feel that way/I’m sorry if you…/I’m sorry, but…”
If a person cannot say, “I’m sorry I did that/I’m sorry I hurt you/I’m sorry I was wrong”, and dodges emotional responsibility with the kind of fake apologies and substitutions above, there’s a problem.
Healthy relationships require genuine apologies that are the result of empathy. Inability to truly sense other people’s feelings is at the root of an incredible amount of dysfunction, and unwillingness to admit mistakes is highly dysfunctional behavior.
5. “You always/You never…”
It’s unlikely the person NEVER or ALWAYS does whatever is complained about. It’s more likely it happens a lot. Or, it happens too often for the person’s liking.
Saying “always” or “never” when complaining about someone’s behavior makes them feel as if you aren’t trying to resolve the matter with them — you’re trying to condemn them.
When people have difficult issues they wish they didn’t struggle with, and they’re making very little progress on them, it’s very painful to be told by someone they care about that they “always” or “never” do something. It causes them to lose hope, and more importantly, it causes them to lose hope that you are on their side against the difficulty, and that you do believe in them and see their hard-earned minor improvements.
6. “You’re not smart enough to do that /you’ll never amount to anything /you’re an idiot.”
This one needs no explanation. It’s just abusive, plain and simple. If this has been said to you, remember, it’s projection — people who say this have a tremendous fear that they themselves are the “stupid” one.
Everyone has something to offer. Everyone is good at something, and a comment like this is nothing but a reflection of the speaker’s own insecurities and fears. Typically, abusive people will pick the moment of a mistake to utter this, but everyone makes mistakes, including the person saying it, and their comment means nothing about the listener. People are not their mistakes, and are not necessarily what other people say they are.
7. “I told you so.”
All people have a right to make their own choices, and to disagree with others. People who tell other people what’s supposedly best and then pounce on them if their alternate choice doesn’t work are seeking to gain future control of the independent person by shaming them. Shame fuels dysfunction, and should not be accepted.
8. “You are ‘choosing’ to feel bad about the upsetting thing I did or said.”
This is highly invalidating. The person who says this is not making any effort to empathize, is refusing to take responsibility for the impact of their behavior on others, and is trying to blame the person they have hurt.
Feelings aren’t even processed in the same area of the brain as thoughts. If someone threatens you, you will feel fear. You’re not “choosing” fear; fear is an immediate, natural and healthy response to being in a threatening situation. If someone you love dies, you will feel sad. You are not “choosing” to feel sad about their death. Sadness is a normal, healthy response to the loss of someone. If your sibling, partner or other person you are close to says something insensitive or cruel, you will feel hurt. You’re not “choosing” to feel hurt; it is a natural and healthy response to unkindness.
Telling someone who feels hurt that they have “chosen” to feel hurt is generally a way of avoiding responsibility by making the hurt person retreat in shame that they have done “wrong”. They’re supposed to “choose” properly by letting the person who hurt them off the hook, and instead, focusing on their own “bad choices”.
9. “You wouldn’t understand”.
This kind of dismissiveness and condescension is seen in people who harbor the belief that they are superior and should ideally be the one in control, because of their supposed superiority. The arrogance of such a statement is more than rude and devaluing — it indicates that the person’s intention is to shut you out and shut you down so they can propagate the perception that they are “better” than you.
10. “What they don’t know can’t hurt them.”
If a person hasn’t found out that their spouse is cheating, or that somebody took advantage of them in some way they haven’t realized, it’s true that they won’t feel hurt.
But… the person who says this is a cheater; the person who says this is taking advantage. It’s wise to steer clear of people like this, because they care much more about themselves than other people, and they lack integrity. This is highly characteristic of mentally disordered thinking, and the person who says it will most likely one day be the person who takes advantage of you, too. The presence of a good conscience doesn’t depend on circumstances or individuals present.
If there’s no conscience nagging at them when they take advantage of someone other than you, there will be no conscience nagging at them when it’s your turn to be the one in their way.
from this fantastic blog!