Sanctuary for the Abused
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
When Those Who are Supposed to Help You Get Out - Don't
(Written by Maria De Santis of the Women’s Justice Center, Santa Rosa, CA)
There’s a seemingly simple little exercise we’ve done dozens of times at workshops on violence against women. The usual responses, however, are anything but simple. They’re confounding and cause for concern.
Recently we repeated the exercise with a conference room full of 70 social workers, advocates, therapists, and mental health workers. “Why don’t some domestic violence victims leave the relationship,” we ask? “Call out the reasons!”
The answers, as always, come fast and freely. “Because she doesn’t think she can make it on her own.” “Not enough money to feed the children.” “She feels obligated to her marital vows.” “It’s learned helplessness.” “She doesn’t believe she deserves better.” “She doesn’t know where to go.” “She wants the children to have a father.” etc.
I jot down the familiar list until the group exhausts their thoughts. And there, again, is the enigma. How, at this date, with this group, - with almost every group - do so many miss the obvious? To be sure there’s truth and need for remedy in every reason given. But the one thing that should top the list, the thing that freezes so many women in place, is not even mentioned at all.
Women often don’t leave domestic violence because they know that when they do leave the danger of more severe violence increases dramatically. Violence, and the sheer terror of it, is one of the principle reasons women don’t leave. And the women are right!
Fact: When domestic violence victims attempt to leave the relationship, the stalking and violence almost always escalates sharply as the perpetrator attempts to regain control.
Fact: The majority of domestic violence homicides occur as a woman attempts to leave or after she has left.
Fact: The most serious domestic violence injuries are perpetrated against women who have separated from the perpetrator.
The women know these dangers. They know them because they’ve already experienced the violent responses when they’ve attempted to assert themselves, even minimally, within the relationship. They know because the perpetrators have usually threatened precisely what they intend to if she does try to leave.
“Instead of Helping Me, They Sunk Me Even More”
The women also know these dangers are heightened still more because so many officials, first responders, and courts are also in denial of the gravity of her situation.
And she’s right again. Despite the modern-day rhetoric about treating domestic violence seriously, the reality is that the critical protections she needs when leaving are still as precarious and unpredictable as a roll of the dice. One responder may help effectively. The next may ignore, mock, underestimate, misdiagnose, walk away, blame her, take her kids, shunt her into social services, arrest her, send her to counseling, or one way or another refuse to implement real power on her behalf, abandoning her to a perpetrator who is now more enraged than ever.
The paths leading up to so many domestic violence homicides are paved with officials’ failures to protect. Just weeks before she was murdered by her estranged husband, Maria hauntingly summed up her own, and so many others’ experiences with officials. “Instead of helping me,” she said, “They sunk me even more.”
You can work tirelessly and compassionately to social work, counsel, and support the victim. But if you ignore this critical piece of making sure the system puts fail-safe brakes on the perpetrator and his violence, it will be for naught. The perpetrator will continue to stalk and terrorize or worse. The victim will still be trapped in the violent relationship no matter where she has moved and how much independence she has attained. In fact, the freer she is, the angrier he gets.
And if you look just a little closer, you’ll see that for domestic violence victims there really is no such thing as leaving, or escaping, until the system does, in fact, step up and effectively stop the perpetrator. There is no Mason Dixon line over which women can run and escape and be home free. The perpetrators can and do hunt her down anywhere.
Domestic Violence! Not ‘Domesticated Violence’, nor ‘Violence Lite’!
It’s interesting. When you do the same exercise, but merely shift to other forms of violent relationships, a group’s responses are dramatically different. “Why doesn’t the field slave,” for example, “Run away from the plantation in the middle of the night while the master sleeps?” The answers are immediate and unequivocal. “Because the slaves know they’ll get hunted down.” “Because they know if they’re caught they’ll get beaten like never before.” “Because they stand a good chance of getting killed.”
The first answers out are never ‘learned helplessness’, ‘low self esteem’, or ‘not enough money’ even though there’s no question these same psycho-social factors are just as much at work. In fact, if one were to lead off their explanations as to ‘why slaves don’t leave’ with the ‘learned helplessness’ or ‘not enough money’ aspect, the insult of it would ring perfectly clear.
Whether you ask the question in regard to slaves, prisoners of war, kidnap victims, concentration camp captives, or residents of violent regimes, etc., the horrific dynamics and dangers of attempting to escape are well understood by everyone. Some victims of these violent relationships do, in fact, make a run for it. Some succeed. Some are killed. Some are recaptured and punished unmercifully.
Most victims, however, never go beyond an initial evaluation of the risks. The obvious dangers are just too great. They stay. Violence works. Violence, and the sheer terrorizing threat of it, has always, everywhere, worked better than anything else to keep victims compliant and pinned in place.
So why the glaring blind spot in regard to domestic violence victims? Why are women denied even the validation of the dangerous dynamics of her dilemma? Why do so many people still hold a view, as cloaked as it may be in paternal tones, that is more in sync with the perpetrator’s stance than with the victim’s? The view that the problem rests with her. That it’s she that needs to be propped up and fixed.
As if this violence that plagues women around the world is a ‘domesticated violence’, or ‘violence lite’!
The Patriarchy Still Rules! And Still Needs to be Upended!
The glaring blind spot is rooted deep in the self-preservation mechanisms of patriarchal rule. If the violent repression of women were to be recognized on a par with other violent repressions it would require nothing short of upending the missions of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and service organizations, and not just the adjustment of rhetoric we have now. The patriarchy.jpgmale-dominated power structure resists implementing its real powers on behalf of women in order to preserve the power for itself. That’s fairly obvious.
But what about the blind spot of so many social workers, advocates, and therapists? Those who care about the women, and dedicate their lives to helping them? Perhaps it’s one more layer of the battered women’s syndrome that needs to be exposed. Because if we ourselves truly recognize the gravity of women’s plight, we, too, have to move beyond the safety zones of the nurturing, supportive roles we find so comfortable.
We will be compelled to step out, challenge, watchdog, fight, demand, and make sure that the powerful, male-dominated institutions are, in fact, upended, and that they, indeed, begin to implement their full powers on behalf of women, and against the perpetrators. Only then will domestic violence victims truly have a real choice to leave.
Feel free to photocopy and distribute this information as long as you keep the credit and text intact.
Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women’s Justice Center,
Monday, February 27, 2017
Why Not Everyone Can Just "Move On" and "Get Over It"
Victim, survivor, victimology, victim abuse... why are victims being told to deny their reality?
You have been methodically and diabolically abused and suddenly you hear "don't be a victim, choose to be a survivor." The concept that a victim can always consciously choose how to proceed, is wrong.
The phrase, "move on with your life" is common. In a commanding, offhand and arrogant tone, those who have fought and lost a custody battle, their home, car and savings, family, job and may be suffering physically (adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, crohn's disease, etc. are common) are stunned to be told, "well, better move on with your life."
The entire infrastructure of a life is often destroyed leaving the victim, stunned, numb, hypervigilant, indigent, betrayed and perplexed as to why they are expected to "choose" to not be a victim. Give them a time machine and this can be done. Give them revictimization abuse and it cannot. They are victims.
It's time to give that word back its status and in doing so, give respect to the abused. Respect comes in the form of providing help. An empowering, compassionate approach to those who have been stripped of dignity through repeated abuse in courts of law, or by their partners, begins with recognizing and defining the situation of the victim.
What is the definition of a "victim"?
According to the dictionary a victim is: One who is harmed by, or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition; a person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of.
The victim of a narcissist or abuser is traumatized. There are biochemical changes in the body and structural changes in the brain. Thought patterns change, memories are lost, immune system strongly affected, brain cells die, there is chest pain, muscle pain, feelings are intense and emotions chaotic. Victimization is never deserved.
Why are victims revictimized?
So why does someone brutalized, abused, and traumatized have to be afraid of the word "victim" ? Because it's politically correct to say, "I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor." Much the same way, people think the capitalist economy gives everyone an equal chance to become wealthy (which of course it does not - if everyone started with the same funding, self esteem, contacts, educational background, health, then that would be true) but when the playing field is not level some have an advantage.
Not everyone who is the victim of emotional, verbal, and narcissistic abuse are the same. Some have more resiliency than others. Some are numb, some are without any resources or support. Many have physiological changes that need to be addressed. And when those who need help come looking for it, instead of being welcomed, they find "helpers" that tell them they are responsible for their healing and they better choose it now or they will always be a victim and never a survivor. These people are revictimizing those they want to help because "choice" is NOT always an option.
Dr. Frank Ochberg, Harvard trained MD and trauma expert, says our culture now disparages, blames, isolates, and condemns someone for being a victim.We must reclaim the word "victim" and renew our commitment to those who are victims. We should examine the role of a victim impact statement and victim advocate for those who are traumatized emotionally as well as from a criminal act.
Are you being victimized again by someone who says, "if you won't stop being a victim. I won't help you"? Maybe your attorney, therapist. siblings, or friends are claiming you can just choose to stop being a victim. Maybe they think you can start a company without money, and buy a house with bad credit. Maybe they don't know what they are talking about.
As a victim of any kind of abuse you deserve:
3. Freedom from therapeutic verbal abuse
4. A support team to open doors to resources
5. A friend, therapist or counselor who can teach you the skills to rebuild your life.
Depending on who you are, this may take a long time or not. Variables include amount and length of abuse, health, supportive family or not, finances, genetic explanatory style (optimism or pessimism), coping skills you may already have and many others. As a victim, you have the right to say, "STOP" to those who blame the victim. An entire self help industry has arisen that believes if you just really really wanted to, you can be happy and healthy and fully functional as soon as you choose to be. A starting point for recovery are post traumatic stress sites. There you will find trained and compassionate support people with articles that explain trauma healing methods.
The Scientific Basis of Healing, Happiness and Recovery
It doesn't matter if you call yourself a victim, survivor or Martian. No one should deny you victim status. It is what is. A victim is not a slothlike creature, nor stupid. Nor is a victim responsible for what happened to her and we must stop worrying about language and start helping. A victim is a person with a life in chaos. What matters is that you get the help you need and the compassionate trained person to give you the skills.
The good news is that happiness is trainable, resiliency comes back and psychologists are moving from the Freudian model which has dominated psychology for too long and was wrong to boot, to a model that moves from pathology as the dominant scheme. The process of de-traumatization begins with validation. It then moves to retraining explanatory style. Depending on the depth and time of the abuse, it may take a long or short time to process to empowerment and control. IT IS NOT NECESSARY to analyze every event. It IS necessary to be heard and listened to and to tell your story. Validation is critical.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Sticks & Stones Can Break My Bones...
by Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN
We all remember that age-old adage "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Well, I beg to disagree.
As a writer I know the power of words. At the same time, as a facilitator of two support groups and consultant to women (and a few men) who lived in households and relationships where words were used as weapons, let me tell you, those words have held on to many of these people like heat-seeking missiles -- only they're still seeking out their targets even after many, many years.
Try some of these on for size:
"I should have had that abortion instead of having you."In working with many of my clients, they all struggle with the same thing -- those powerful words that they have been psychologically "brainwashed" with have sent some of them on a self-limiting and/or self-destructive path. Even years after the person who originally uttered the emotionally abusive message is gone, the victim may still hear those exact words and phrases in their head, playing on as if the attacker is still in front of them, reciting the mantra every day.
"You are the worst mother on the face of the earth." (From a grandmother to her daughter, in front of her grandchild.)
"Why don't you quit being who you are and grow up?"
"With your grades you'll be lucky if the Army will take you."
"Why can't you be thin like your sister?"
"Why can't you ever do anything right?"
"You're not worth a plug nickel."
"You're the laziest child I've ever met."
Sticks and stones? Many feel that they would have rather been hit than attacked with the nebulous weaponry of brainwashing words. At least a broken arm or a black eye is evidence of wrong doing. But the destructive, stealth behavior of emotional brainwashing is so nebulous that it goes unnoticed until the damage is already done.
Want some specifics I see?
A 50 something-year-old woman who is terrified that her 91 year old mother thinks she's incapable of anything, and, as such -- has considered herself a failure all her life.
Two 50 something-year old twin men whose mother tells them she should have gone dancing instead the night she conceived them -- leaving them still afraid of her after all these years and blaming themselves for all their mother's problems.
A 30-something young gal -- Teri, whose sister Gail attacks her constantly and threatens that God will send her to hell because she is "unpure." (She doesn't worship the way Teri does.)
A 40 something gay guy named Jack, who feels that he'll never find love because for years his father told him God would punish Jack for being gay.
A 40 year old married woman who mourns the loss of never having a child after her first husband told her that "no one in their right mind would ever have a child with you," and he has since had a child with another woman. She, of course, is devastated.
Even teasing is powerful stuff. Saying things like, "Of course, I love you, honey. I don't care what anyone else says," has huge implications that everyone else thinks "honey" isn't up to her dear husband's standards.
Most of us can probably remember the childhood chant the fat kids often got -- "Fattie, fattie, two by four. Can't get through the kitchen door." How would you like to have been an overweight child and listened to that growing up? Words like those stick like glue to the very metal of our soul.
So what's my point? Be careful what you tell your children, your friends, and your family. Yes, even as grown ups we can still be affected by words -- especially if they have any resemblance to those we heard as kids.
Watch your teasing. Watch what you say when you punish your children for their mistakes. Watch your words as you compare your children's skills and weaknesses. "Why can't you be more like your brother? He really tries and you just pretend to work hard."
All are weapons that we may not even be aware of as incredibly destructive. Because if you believe the old adage -- "Sticks and stones -- you know the rest -- you may actually believe that what you say really can't hurt you.
But you'd be so terribly, terribly wrong.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Abusive Narcissistic Parents
For example, a narcissistic father might turn their child down when asked to race, since the parent believes that they alone will win the race. The father might tell the child he won’t race because he will win anyway. This parent might also be very angry should they lose the race; thus, placing blame on their child.
Another example is that of the narcissistic mother. When her child wants to help her in the kitchen or with other chores, the mother might continuously belittle the child and tell them that they can’t do anything right.
How then, does narcissism affect the child? While I have been made aware that not all narcissistic parents are the same, I do believe the child can suffer a great deal with this type of parent, especially if they are not seeking help for the narcissism. The child might feel as though they can do nothing right. They may feel that they continually fail their parent, since that is the message that might be sent by their narcissistic parent. The child might also withdraw inwardly, so that they cannot be barraged with negative comments and statements by their abusive parent.
Children of narcissistic parents that are abusive, must be on guard constantly. They must strive to do their very best in school, for fear of being told how successful their parent was in comparison. A child that struggles with their schoolwork has it hard at home, since the narcissistic parent might go on and on about their own successes, creating a sense of shame for the child.
Another way that narcissism affects the child is that of the emotions. For example, a child that is being bullied at school has a variety of strong emotions they feel. Sadly, the narcissistic parent might not know how to show sympathy or empathy towards their child, since they can be so self-absorbed. Their child is then left to defend themselves and to not show any emotion, since the narcissistic parent might not acknowledge the child’s emotions. This can have huge effects on the child. It is as though their narcissistic parent expects them to not feel. When they do feel strong emotions, they are not accepted by the parent.
The child of narcissistic parents might find themselves feeling as though they want to quit, since they can’t measure up. They might feel as though they are nothing but a failure, since they can’t do as good as their parents supposedly did in school. Some children, as they grow older in this environment, may turn to self-injury.
If you are involved in the life of a child that has narcissistic parents that are abusive, please do all that you can to offer them constant praise and acceptance. Help them to know that they are not the problem in this relationship.
Lastly, report the verbal and emotional abuse to the authorities. There is no form of abuse that is worse than another. Abuse is abuse and the child deserves to receive help.
Narcissists-Suck - written by the child of a Narcissistic Mother
FACEBOOK GROUP for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers (must be totally No Contact )
Friday, February 24, 2017
Emotional & Physical Responses to Abuse
- Severe Fatigue or Exhaustion/feeling ‘drained’
- Physical weakness/knees buckling
- Hospitalization, needing assistance with mobility, medication for depressive symptoms
- Migraine and other Headaches
- Breathing Difficulties/Asthma
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint/Pain Disorders, (TM joints attach lower jaw (the mandible) to the skull)
- Teeth Grinding/Pain/Loose Teeth/Jaw Clenching
- Periodontal conditions
- Difficulty Swallowing/Dry Mouth
- Severe Stomach aches and cramps, Gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Weight Gain/Loss (sick at the 'sight' of food)
- Increased use of alcohol/substance abuse
- Visual Disturbances/Worsening Vision/Temporary Blindness
- Bell's Palsy, trigeminal and peripheral neuralgia, numbness, "pins and needles" sensation, loss of hot/cold skin sensation, (all with often lengthy duration)
- Hair thinning/hair loss varying in severity
- Haggard appearance/loss of 'sparkle in our eyes'
- Sleep Deprivation
- 'Night Terrors'/Nightmares
- Sleep time disturbances, sleeping day awake at night
- Skin Itching/Hives/Acne/Rash/Other Skin Problems
- Horizontal Ridges in Fingernails
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Stiff/Sore Neck
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of sexual interest/libido
- Flu-like symptoms/muscle aching
- Cancers/heart ailments
- Paranoia/panic/hypervigilance, nervousness (jumpiness/abnormal startle response)
- Uncontrollable shaking/hand shaking, eye-lid twitching (& other areas)
- Panic Attacks (waking up at night and at other times)
- Sadness/Crying/Worrying/Loneliness/Severe Anger/Anxiety attacks - rollercoaster emotions
- Coping emotionally with good days/bad days and strong and weak times of the day
- Frustration due to Inability to reconcile or mourning a lost relationship with no emotional closure
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Emotional shock at realization we have been in manipulative/abusive situations - often for decades
- Feeling unwarranted embarrassment or shame for involvement
- Self-directed anger. blaming ourselves rather than blaming the abuser
- Feeling “stupid” despite above-average intelligence
- Damaged self esteem/robbed of our 'identity'/feeling 'soiled'
- Developing negative attitudes where previous optimistic ones were normal
- Self-imposed isolation (hibernating) – often lasing months
- Alienation (from former friends and family)
- Needing to talk about it (or not talk about it)
- Difficulty talking about abuse because other people do not/will not believe us
- Difficulty talking to friends/family because they know nothing about our abuser's disorders
- Feeling isolation due to lack of support/validation/assistance even from people who may witness abuse
- Focusing on or missing the sexual aspect of the abusive relationship
- Cannot stand being touched
- Aversion to certain people who remind us of abusers
- Obsessive Thinking
- Having 'in our head' mental conversations with abuser
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling a need to be in relationship with abusers regardless of abuse inflicted
- Interruption of common-sense, logical thinking, suspension of sound judgement
- Wanting to warn other people/expose the abuser
- Ignoring possible harmful self consequences
- Difficulty realizing/taking in the reality/nature/severity of the abuser's disorder(s)
- Feeling that we may be 'crazy'
- Confusion about recognizing abuse and manipulation
- Knee-jerk rage reaction following witnessing abuse to our children - lack of awareness of consequences of such action
- Depression ranging from mild to severe
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of sense of humour
- Loss of our former 'selves'
- Loss of joy/particpation in former enjoyed activities
- Mental Confusion/Inability to Concentrate/Diminished mental acuity
- Short-Term Memory Loss
- Emotional Numbness
- Feeling ‘frozen’ unable to act (deer caught in the headlights feeling)
- Experiencing temporary adjustment-reaction narcissistic/psychopathic traits in ourselves
- STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases or fear of this)
- Difficulty looking at self reflection in mirror
- Loss of former interest in wanting to look good/pride/dressing up
- Feeling like we’ll never have a love-relationship again/Rejecting other relationships
- Panic and difficulty coping with multiple problems - everything starts going wrong
- Imagining future as hopeless, fear of the unknown, despondency
- Fear of having experienced the feeling of 'evil' in our presence
- Despair/panic/resentment/betrayal over financial losses, lost years/time
- Depression, coping with loss of businesses/careers/livelihood/financial support
- Feelings of wanting justice/revenge/vengeance
- Imagining hostile retaliation to abusers
- Feeling bodily/mental 'dissociation' 'spaciness' - depersonalization/Feeling of 'body part' detachment
- Unreal/surreal concept of relationship.
- Discovery of our previously unknown dependent/co-dependency traits and naive characteristics
- Tendency to see narcissists/psychopaths in everyone around us (seeing them behind every bush)
- Long emotional healing time
- Discovery of having mentally-disordered parents influence in subsequent self esteem and relationship decisions and realization and catastrophic emotional pain of need to end relationships with many people, spouses, partners, parents, children and others due to recognition of abusive situation
- Lack of positive medical results to explain physical symptoms
- Lack of empathy or explanation from physicians/therapists
- Accusations from professionals that we're 'imagining' things
**Arthritic problems/Lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, chronic pain, atypical M.S. (reported by a surprising number of abuse victims) This abstract from pubmed may shed some light on this topic.
With the kind permission ...
"I am remembering too how my body began to react to the stress. I ended up in hospital twice. I had never been in hospital in my life. That is how bad it was. One of the worst memories is of a nurse having to support me as she got me out of the bed and walked me around the hospital corridor (the doctor said I would have to walk a bit each day), and this was not because of medication or anything like that. My knees were actually buckling under me, (weakness no doubt due to not sleeping, not eating, constant panic attacks, fear of the unknown. financial uncertainty and the loss of my home, and my weight had plummeted and kept going down. And I had been a very fit person prior to this happening, so I can imagine the horror of physical breakdown for someone who perhaps was not so fit."
"The relationship lasted for 8 years and it took 7 years of therapy, to undo some of the damage he did to me. I was in bad shape. I do not glorify him anymore. I stopped. It was a terrible experience. In the end, he was afraid of me. As I had helped to raise him up, I also had the power to bring him down. We both understood that. His tears and pleas lost their effect on me. I stopped caring about him and worked on myself, to get past that time and recover my health. I don't even want to be reminded of that time. This is now the only place where I talk about what really happened and how it affected me. I hope it helps others who read, here, if only to know that 'it' comes to an end. There is hope for all."
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong?
An abusive man ...
* smashes things
* calls you names
* makes you feel ugly and useless
* cuts you off from your friends
* stops you working
* never admits he is wrong
* blames you, drugs, drink, stress etc.
* turns the children against you
* uses the children to control you
* never does his share of the housework
* never looks after the children
* expects sex on demand
* controls the money
* blames you when he gets sick
* blames you when you are sick
* threatens or wheedles you to get his own way
* seduces your friends/ sister/ anyone
* expects you to be responsible for his well-being
A non-abusive man ...
* is cheerful
* tells you you look good
* tells you you're competent
* uses your name
* trusts you
* trusts your judgment
* welcomes your friends and family
* encourages you to be independent
* supports your learning, career etc.
* admits to being wrong
* is a responsible parent
* is an equal parent
* does his share of the housework
* accepts that you have a right to say "no" to sex
* shares financial responsibility
* takes responsibility for his own well-being and happiness
(while this is written in the male gender,
simply change the pronoun if it is a female abuser)
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Book Review: The Five Step Exit — The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.
It’s the New Year. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to really, finally, emphatically, get out of your toxic relationship, once and for all?
If your answer is yes, or even if you’re still just thinking about putting an end to the madness, you need this book
In this slim, wonderful book, Dr. Ault promises to take you, step by step, through the process of disengaging from an abusive partner — and she delivers. This is the most clear, concise and helpful “how to” for breaking away from a toxic person that I have ever read.
The Five Step Exit is a collection of advice, strategies and exercises that will enable you to take your life where you want it to go.
So what are the five steps?
- Contemplation — If you are uncertain about leaving, the exercises in this section will clarify your thinking.
- Preparation —Set priorities, seek assistance and anticipate blowback, so that you can make an effective action plan.
- Execution — Skillful goodbye strategies, tailored to the type of toxic person that you are dealing with.
- Improvisation — How to handle unpleasant, and perhaps even dangerous, reactions from your ex-partner.
- Recovery — A multitude of suggestions for rebuilding your life through “exquisite self-care,” many of which are free.
From the explanations and advice in this book, it is evident that Dr. Ault knows exactly what she is talking about. In the section on “Preparation,” for example, she writes:
Toxic relationships have common dynamics but a wide range of circumstances. In extreme situations, people face physical violence or restrictions on their freedom to leave their homes or contact friends, family, and police. Exiting other situations may involve financial risk, downward mobility, threats of retaliation, and drama that will drag on for awhile. Sometimes, when we’re fortunate, ending a toxic relationship simply does come down to telling the other person that things are over. If you don’t live together, don’t have financial involvements or kids, and the person will be offended enough by your rejection that they won’t contact you again, consider yourself fortunate. Ultimately, only you know the details and dynamics of your particular situation, so you are in the best position to determine what kind of exit plan to make and how to set it in motion when the time comes.Throughout the book, Dr. Ault asks questions to help you crystalize how you can move forward. For example:
What are your priorities? What is at risk? What are you willing to sacrifice? What needs to be protected?Dr. Ault helps you think through all of these situations, and more, so that you are as prepared as you can be for anything that may happen.
Your ex may try to re-engage with you. What are the goals of your toxic ex in these efforts?
What if you get Hoovered, and you fall hook, line and sinker for one of your ex’s ploys to suck you in?
Getting out of the relationship is half of the battle. The other half is to “re-ground yourself in your own life, desires and wellbeing.”
The Recovery section of Dr. Ault’s book is full of healing suggestions to help you create life after the sociopath. She recognizes that some involvements with sociopaths of leave us in financial ruin, so many of her suggestions are free — all they require are your time and attention. These include going outside, journaling and freedom rituals.
Some suggestions are surprising, like social dancing — including ballroom, tango and country. Social dance “lets us make gentle physical and social contact with others in pleasant, affirming environments,” Dr. Ault says. “And it’s a lot of fun.”
All in all, The Five Step Exit is chock-full of sound advice and solid strategies for getting out of the craziness and moving forward to the sane, peaceful and happy life that you truly deserve.
If you want to leave the sociopath, this slender book tells you exactly how to do it. Highly recommended. - LoveFraud
CLICK ON THE IMAGE OF THE BOOK AT THE TOP TO PURCHASE
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Characteristics of a Psychopath/ Abuser
(1. not all Abusers are Psychopaths, but all Psychopaths are Abusers.
2. only a FEW of these need to apply for them to be PATHOLOGICAL)
- superficial charm
- prone to boredom
- deceptive behavior & lying
- conning & manipulative
- little remorse or guilt
- shallow emotional response
- callous lack of empathy
- living off others & predatory
- poor self-control
- sexually promiscuous
- early behavioral problems
- lack of realistic goals
- impulsive lifestyle
- irresponsible behavior
- blaming you for their actions
- short term relationships
- juvenile delinquency
- varied criminal activity
- truly believes their own lies
- insanely jealous
- will turn their friends on you
- enlists others to harass you
- prone to stalking their exes
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Narcissists are Projection Machines
Narcissists really know only a few tricks. One happens to be projection, and they practice it so much that it becomes second nature. Hence narcissists love to commit character assassination by calling the party they're tearing down (to look better than) the narcissist. A joke.
Where is the character assassination coming from? Where is the inflated measure of self importance (grandiosity) coming from? Where is the envy coming from? Where is the grandiosity shamed by needing the other party's help? Where is all the dissing and denigrating coming from? Where is the rage over nothing on a regular basis? Where is the dehumanizing charicature coming from? Who's making all the wild accusations?
That's yer narcissist. Every time. Always a living, breathing Projection Machine. Your first clue? He or she is trashing somebody else.They just cannot get the difference between true greatness and grandiosity. You can tell them a million times that grandiosity is a gross overestimate of importance and greatness. They always get it exactly backwards and accuse the great one (like the great leader or the great inventor or the great builder or the great nation = America) of being "grandiose". It is too complex an idea for them to comprehend that you are not grandiose because you are important: you are grandiose because you're a piss-ant who thinks they're important.
Never expect narcissists to comprehend that.
And who cares more about their fellow human beings than those who spend their blood and treasure saving them? Those who make a virtue out of looking the other way while dictators mass murder their own people would have us think that sacrificing your blood and treasure for others is the very opposite of what it is. They characterize it as, of all things, "selfish" and "brutal".
And the punch line is that they characterize their looking the other way as the "humanitarian" behavior. They keep a perfectly straight face while saying this! They call that (of all things) "loving peace."
Enough to make the head spin.
There is just enough room in the skull for the brain to get twisted all the way around backwards and upside down. All you have to do is arrive at your desired conclusion first, and then think backwards to justify it.
People who just think whatever is popular today will swallow it whole without ever noticing how absurd your "reasoning" is.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
You Are NOT Going Crazy!
Phyliss Chesler, M.D. writes:
We now understand that women and men are not "crazy" or "defective" when, in response to trauma, they develop post traumatic symptoms,including insomnia, flashbacks, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety,depression, dissociation, a numbed toughness, amnesia, shame, guilt, self-loathing, self-mutilation, and social withdrawal.
You have been oppressed and oppression causes bodily changes. These changes make you think you are going crazy. There is a difference between a mental illness and a psychological injury.
Friday, February 17, 2017
"Was It Even Real?"
between the two of you was real
Was that presentation real?
Your partner told you that he/she cared about you and your feelings. But now your partner doesn’t seem to care at all.
Were any of your partner’s words real? Was the passion real? Was the intensity real?
How about the feeling that you were soul mates conjoined for eternity? Was that real?
WAS ANY OF IT REAL?
You probably see your partner’s initial presentation of him or herself as being true and real. You want to find ways to encourage your partner to be that person. In fact you may well feel that if you can bring your partner back to that place, you will be bringing him/her back to reality.
Lets start by telling you that your partner’s initial representation cannot be counted on to be real. It was a sales presentation, no more and no less.
As for your partners feelings, remember that that narcissists have a highly evolved sense of drama, but very shallow feelings. All that passion, all that intensity, all those words were more about drama than they were about feelings. So, yes, there was probably an abundance of unreality involved in all the drama.
As for your soul-mate dreams, we don’t want to be harsh, but chances are that these were fanned at least a little bit by your own Hollywood scenarios and fantasies.
The thing to remember is that narcissists are not interested in reality. They may be attracted to it; they may be fascinated by it; and they may pay lip service to its value. But they run from it, creating what can almost appear as studies in perpetual motion.
Many narcissists act as though their very survival is dependent on their continuing to live in a place that is separate from reality. That’s a place where the only image they are really interested in is their own.
from the book: HELP, I'M IN LOVE WITH A NARCISSIST
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Rules of Engagement with a Narcissist
1. You don't matter
There is only one person that counts in a narcissist’s life, that is, the narcissist. This is a hard concept to grasp.
Narcissists by nature are takers and the truth is that you probably only ever mattered at the point in time when you could supply 'that thing' the narcissist needed. You may have been taught by parents and friends the concept that giving is better than receiving.
However with a narcissist you will give until you are emotionally and spiritually bankrupt and receive little or nothing in return. If you don't believe this, take a hard look at yourself today and then compare that with your state when you first met your narcissistic partner. I believe you will be psychologically and emotionally worse off. Like all thieves once narcissists have taken all you have to give, you are history.
2. Don’t try to fight a psychological war that you can’t win
Because a narcissist is amoral you cannot engage them in any moral or conscience issues and expect to win. As a general rule narcissists have no sense of guilt or remorse for their actions. There is NO WAY you can shame them into accepting responsibility for their mindless and thoughtless approach to other people especially yourself. If you are looking for revenge then you will never achieve any satisfaction in this arena.
The rules of engagement are simple: keep your distance. Rule 5 has more on this subject.
3. Ignore the insults and deceit
There is an old adage that sums up this commandment, “don’t explain to your friends it’s unnecessary, and don’t explain to your enemies they will not believe you”. It may come as a shock to many people to discover that the narcissist must appear superior and blameless in all situations and to this end will resort to distorted lies to make themselves appear a victim of your supposed vices.
When you discover the full extent of the deceit this will tear at the core of your being. However, no matter how strong your outrage or anger there is only one way to counteract any harm that may occur and that is to act in a manner that disproves the defamation to the people in your life who count.
Although this course of action appears to be a weak response it is true that people cannot ignore the reality of your actions and words especially if these do not fit the picture painted by the narcissist. Believe me, actions still speak louder than words equally their own actions will start to work against them eventually. Be prepared to lose many friends and acquaintances during the early period of separation.
Don’t be overly concerned, as by your actions they will eventually see who is telling the truth. Like all liars narcissists cannot remember their patterns of deceit and eventually are caught out.
Once a narcissist sees that you have finished with them they will have one focus and that is to destroy you. They will stop at nothing to prove to the world (their world) that you are a loser, the cause of any misfortune in their lives and the person who deserves all the blame.
4. Take off your rose tinted glasses
The ‘person’ you cared about, looked after and more than likely loved never existed! Their life is an act. They present themselves in a different guise depending on the situation. The most difficult part is to let go of the image you fell in love with all those years back.
Unfortunately the image you feel in love with had been carefully cultivated to trap you! Taking off those "rose tinted glasses" is a long, slow and painful process; remember you've worn them for a very long time. Do not be tempted to put them back on at all cost.
5. Remember they are sick - not you
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host. Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
6. Stay out of their Pain Zone
If you don’t wish to ride on an emotional roller coaster from hell then tattoo this rule on your forehead! Once you leave the relationship the narcissist doesn’t need you anymore and its more than likely (almost guaranteed) you were emotionally and physically replaced long before the event of actual separation. You are now cannon fodder and as stated in rule 1 they are out to destroy you.
For your own peace of mind & safety stay as physically far as possible away from them, their abode, place of work and recreation. Don’t get into conversations or phone calls or texts or for one moment think they are softening in their approach to you, they are only gaining information for possible use against you.
Remember that you cannot fight and expect to win on their turf; you must carefully pick the place for engagement on your own terms - only when you feel ready; if you engage at ALL!
Lies and deceit are a natural part of the narcissist’s world. The old adage “the best liars lie to themselves first” applies in this case and the lie oft repeated is far more convincing. A narcissist has the amazing ability to believe their own lies even when they fly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Take the position that everything they say to you is a lie and or based on a lie. Warning: DOUBLE CHECK ANY INFORMATION THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN AND SEEK VERIFICATION.
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host.
Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
7. Trust Nothing - Believe Less
8. Your realities are not theirs
The perceptions of the narcissist are truly their reality. If you look back you have never been able to change or influence their perceptions. If you couldn’t effect change living in a close relationship then don’t waste your time and effort trying now. They live in their own world and no matter how false or unreal it appears to you, for them it reality.
This is a constant source of irritation as you become more aware of the fact that much of their entire life is an act.
9. Communicate ONLY in written form
As far as communications go I received an important piece of advice early on. It was to communicate in a way that when read by a judge read the material in question he would agree that you acted in a responsible and prudent manner.
Do NOT under any circumstance use verbal or psychological abuse in your communications. I can guarantee you that this will drive the narcissist up the wall as they are expecting an angry and petulant response from you to their goading.
Keep good record of all correspondence and work on the theory that you will more than likely need them at a later date.
Use the fax, email or snail mail. If you are confronted on the telephone NEVER give an immediate reply. Tell the narcissist that you are busy, engaged or not able to talk at the time. Request that they put what it is they want to say in writing to you and don't respond unless and until they do! This puts the ball back in their court and they learn over time that they cannot use the telephone to abuse you.
10. Always call their bluff
Where you are in possession of evidence that is clearly untrue then use 3rd parties wherever possible to exploit the deceit. More often than not a narcissist will casually manufacture evidence to manipulate people and circumstances.
In these situations ALWAYS confront the people who are quoted or cited with the evidence for corroboration.
Trust me there is one thing that ethical people do not like and that is being misquoted or quoted out of context. This applies especially to government employees, bankers, teachers, accountants and lawyers.
When you use a 3rd party to rebut the narcissists version of reality just watch and wait for their reaction, it actually becomes quite hilarious. You will start to see the real person emerge as they react like a spoiled child and will try anything to squirm out of the situation.
A word of caution, once your narcissist partner realises you are continually throwing reality at them they will be forced to change their game plan. The best outcome of this approach is that they soon learn not to play their silly games with you.
11. Get back in touch with yourself
If you were unlucky to have found yourself with a narcissistic partner it is more than likely you’ve paid the ultimate price for this bad luck. At some stage you start asking yourself the question “was I the cause of the problem”?
But if you’ve read articles on NPD carefully you would soon realise that this is very doubtful. If you were like me you probably didn’t help the situation by pandering to their whims and not standing up for yourself.
To suffer a long-term relationship with a narcissist you need to contribute by having reasonably low self-esteem or insecurities of your own. Strong personalities would not tolerate a narcissistic partner very long. If you contributed then accept that you did and now set out to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately you have to learn and accept that the psychological and emotional investment you made in a narcissist is valueless. Your relationship is beyond 'Chapter 11' so you have to write the investment off as a bad debt so to speak.
Now you have to concentrate your energies on rebuilding your own life. Take stock of who and what you are and most importantly what you want to be. Without goals of what it is you want to be there can be no roadmap for recovery.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Protecting Yourself After Abuse
by Jeannette Stingley
When you finally get away from your abuser, it is possible to keep him/her from finding you or ruining your credit. One of the first things you should do if you haven’t already is relocate yourself and your children if you haven’t already. Move across town, across the state, even to another state if you have to. Have your phone number unlisted. There is a small fee for this service in some areas but it is worth it.
Obtain a PO Box to receive your mail at. To prevent him/her from stealing mail and creating accounts in your name, invest in a paper shredder! This is one of the easiest ways to protect you from any kind of identity theft.
There are programs in some states that have what is called an address confidentiality program where victims of crime can receive mail at a confidential address while their actual address is never disclosed.
Create new email accounts and only tell trusted family and friends this new address. Make sure to change passwords to any account online that your abuser may use to track you. It may be hard to avoid sites like FaceBook or online blogging sites. Anything that will give away your identity should be avoided for awhile. You can make anonymous accounts but some places may require you post a picture of yourself. This will make it one step easier for him/her to find you.
Covering Your Internet Tracks - An article that further discusses ways to keep your activities online away from your abuser. This is particularly helpful if you visit sites like this one to find information on leaving and protecting yourself.
For immediate help in making decisions to protect yourself, call any local domestic violence shelter or 1-800-799-SAFE the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
High Conflict Relationships Can Lead to C-PTSD
"[T]hese symptoms linger many years; some for a lifetime. Everyone knows this but it's rarely bought up... During our period of abuse, the brain collects thousands of memories that contain details of our abusive experiences and the feelings (horror, terror, pain, etc.) made at that time. In what we call "traumatic recollection," any similar experience in the future will recall the emotional memory of the abuse, forcing us to relive the event in detail and feeling.
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic violence
- Verbal Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Sexual abuse (especially child sexual abuse)
- Flashbacks-reliving the trauma over and over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating.
- Bad dreams.
- Frightening thoughts.
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
- Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or "on edge"
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts.
- Persistent anxiety, anguish, and depression
- Feeling suicidal
- Exploding with anger / or being unable to express anger.
- Forgetting traumatic events or remembering them in a fragmented way
- Being preoccupied with or reliving traumatic events
- Feeling helpless, powerless
- Experiencing shame, guilt, and self-blame
- Feeling stigmatized
- Feeling different from others; utterly alone
- Accepting the belief system or rationalizations of the blamer
- Experiencing isolation and withdrawal from others or doing things to push others away
- Persistent distrust of others
- Repeatedly failing to protect yourself
- Loss of a faith that used to sustain you
- Having a sense of hopelessness and despair