Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, March 31, 2017

Religion and Victimhood

by Kathy Krajco

Religion, especially Christianity, can be sharply criticized for making us feel that we must put up with abuse. That we must forgive even ongoing and unrepented offenses = that we must dociley submit to abuse. As though there is some virtue in victimhood.

Back when I was a Catholic, I was amazed at the disconnect between the actual theology and what we hear in the preaching, whether from the pulpet or from "religious" people telling us what we should do and how we should feel.

For the most part, the actual theology is enlightening and sensible. But on the lips of preachers it gets warped, almost beyond recognition in places. And it DEFIES common sense.

In my opinion, whenever it is being promulgated for show, watch out. That show is either to sell it or to sell the preacher. In that case, what matters is what seems. Not truth and reality.

I discovered Christian theology upon reading Dante's Divine Comedy. That piqued my interest in this fascinating body of thought, so I made it my business to find out what my relgion actually taught.

It was nothing like what I heard on Sunday. For the most part, what we hear on Sunday from the majority of preachers is half-baked. It betrays an amazing lack of understanding. A childish lack of depth in understanding. The result is a picture of Jesus as some long-suffering wimp who chose to sacrifice himself to abuse and whom we're supposed to emulate.

But show me a parable of his that says so. Those parables are nothing but brilliant studies in practical common sense, so where did all that anti-common-sense stuff come from?

Sell copy is just sell copy. It must never tax the prospective customer with the need to think. And religion put on for show is shallow as a puddle too.

In fact, if you check it out, you'll find much preaching today contradicts established doctrine and what people like St. Augustan, St. Thomas Aquinas, and even Jesus himself said. Unfortunately, few know enough about their religion to notice that these days.

For example, take the Christian teaching that punishing an innocent scapegoat for our sins saves us from them. That's what Christianity on this point has been reduced to - a sound bite, the buzzword that "punishing the innocent scapegoat has saved us from our sins."

But how? How could that be, of all things, God's justice? What kind of god would consider that justice? It's a travesty of justice that dooms those who commit it and saves only those so shamed by it that they stop committing it.

Understanding that would require some explaining and mature thinking, but marketers know better than to try to sell anything that way: so it's easier just to believe the doctrine backwards instead.

Similarly, when did "God forgive them" come to mean "I forgive them"? Likewise, how is God praised and honored by your letting others trash what he has made? Didn't he make you too? Then how is he praised or honored by your letting a narcissist trash you?

Common sense, common sense, common sense has gone out the window and virtually made the ultimate good, justice, an evil thing in the heads of the simple-minded. This HURTS the victims of narcissists.

And recent scholarly research on the oldest extant scriptural documents (including the NT), when they were actually written, how apocryphal they all are, how frequently the passages contradict each other, how many passages have gone through so many translations of translations of ancient language that they now amount to gibberish, how often and by how many hands they have been edited over time - all this should sink in already. Where in the Bible does the Bible claim to be authored by God?

Result? Which blurb do you cherry-pick when trying to sound holy? "An eye for an eye" or "Turn the other cheek"?

As a consequence, many victims of narcissists become embittered at religion because of how it made them feel morally obligated to submit to abuse = to give the narcissist permission to abuse them. So, whose side is religion on? Self-righteous holier-than-thous sound holy by using religion to pile on the victim playing the part of Job's Comforters and denying the victim's right to do anything to make the abuser stop it. Anything. They even make it sound evil for the victim to just abandon or divorce the abuser! In other words, they use religion to commit the Sin of Sodom = making the victim bend over for abuse.

In a way, it's a bad rap, because Christian theology isn't really that ridiculous. In fact, even I will say that there is much truth and wisdom in it. But what preachers and holier-than-thous make of it - THAT is a different matter. THAT is garbage.

Then religious leaders wonder why they lose adherants. The blame is not with "society these days." The blame is with THEM. They should do something about the warping of the message, because it's their own fault people find it unacceptable and turn away.


(Note on this post by my friend, the late Kathy Krajco.

Kathy, like myself, was raised Catholic. Some may think this villianizes Christianity. I don't believe it does. I feel it villanizes any religion that convinces a victim MUST stay with an abuser because of "biblical" reasons. I get email every week from Christians struggling with leaving their abuser because of pressure from their pastors, priests or fellow parishioners. Any Christian who is struggling can click here for some help. Never allow anyone to convince you to stay with someone who abuses you and makes you feel bad. No matter what your religion, I don't believe any God wants their creations to be miserable & abused. Even myself.

By the way, anyone who continues to call me a hypocrite or liar regarding leaving your abuser and my own marital situation should talk to me rather than smear me. - Barbara)


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:52 AM 6 comments


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Emotional Terrorist

by Erin Pizzey

From her 1998 book "The Emotional Terrorist & The Violence Prone" 

Those of us working in the field of domestic violence are confronted daily by the difficult task of working with women in problematical families. In my work with family violence, I have come to recognize that there are women involved in emotionally and/or physically violent relationships who express and enact disturbance beyond the expected (and acceptable) scope of distress. Such individuals, spurred on by deep feelings of vengefulness, vindictiveness, and animosity, behave in a manner that is singularly destructive; destructive to themselves as well as to some or all of the other family members, making an already bad family situation worse. These women I have found it useful to describe as "family terrorists."

In my experience, men also are capable of behaving as family terrorists but male violence tends to be more physical and explosive. We have had thousands of international studies about male violence but there is very little about why or how women are violent. There seems to be a blanket of silence over the huge figures of violence expressed by women. Because family terrorism is a tactic largely used by women and my work in the domestic violence field is largely with women, I address this problem discussing only my work with women.

The potential for family terrorism may rest dormant for many years, emerging in its full might only under certain circumstances. I found that in many cases it is the dissolution, or threatened dissolution, of the family that calls to the fore the terrorist's destructiveness. It is essential to understand that prior to dissolution, the potential terrorist plays a role in the family that is by no means passive. The terrorist is the family member whose moods reign supreme in the family, whose whims and actions determine the emotional climate of the household. In this setting, the terrorist could be described as the family tyrant, for within the family, this individual maintains the control and power over the other members' emotions.

The family of the emotional terrorist well may be characterized as violent, incestuous, dysfunctional, and unhappy, but it is the terrorist or tyrant who is primarily responsible for initiating conflict, imposing histrionic outbursts upon otherwise calm situations, or (more subtly and invisibly) quietly manipulating other family members into uproar through guilt, cunning taunts, and barely perceptive provocations. (The quiet manipulative terrorist usually is the most undetected terrorist. Through the subtle creation of perpetual turmoil, this terrorist may virtually drive other family members to alcoholism, to drug-addiction, to explosive behavior, to suicide. The other family members, therefore, are often misperceived as the 'family problem' and the hidden terrorist as the saintly woman who "puts up with it all." )

While the family remains together, however miserable that "togetherness" might be, the terrorist maintains her power. However, it is often the separation of the family that promises to rend the terrorist's domain and consequently to lessen her power. Family dissolution, therefore, often is the time when the terrorist feels most threatened and most alone, and, because of that, most dangerous.

In this position of fear, the family terrorist sets out to achieve a specific goal. There are many possible goals for the terrorist, including: reuniting the family once again, or ensuring that the children (if there are children in the relationship) remain under the terrorist's control, or actively destroying the terrorist's spouse (or ex-spouse) emotionally, physically, and financially.

To take an extreme parable, when it was evident to Adolph Hitler that winning the War was an absolute impossibility, he ordered his remaining troops to destroy Berlin: If he no longer could rule, then he felt it best for his empire to share in his own personal destruction. Similarly, the family terrorist, losing or having lost supremacy, may endeavor to bring about the ruin (and, in some extreme cases, the death) of other family members.

The family terrorist, like the political terrorist, is motivated by the pursuit of a goal. In attempting to "disarm" the family terrorist, it is vital that the practitioner begin intervention by trying to recognize and understand the terrorist's goal.

The source of the terrorist's goal as in the case of the political terrorist, usually can be understood to spring from some "legitimate" grievance. The grievance's legitimacy may be regarded in terms of justified feeling of outrage in response to an actual injustice or injury, or the legitimacy may exist solely in the mind of the terrorist. Whether this legitimacy be real or imagined, the grievance starts as the impetus for the terrorist's motivation. One hallmark of an emotional terrorist is that this motivation tends to be obsessional by nature.

Whence this obsession? Why this overwhelmingly powerful drive? In many cases, that which the terrorist believes to be the grievance against the spouse actually has very little to do with the spouse. Although the terrorist may be consciously aware only of the spouse's alleged offense, the pain of this offense (real or imagined) is invariably an echo of the past, a mirrored recreation of some painful situation in the terrorist's childhood.

I will not describe here in any detail the types of childhood that tend to create the subsequent terrorist. I will say, however, that invariably the terrorist's childhood, once understood, can be seen as violent (emotionally and/or physically). Also invariably, the terrorist can be regarded as a "violence prone" individual. I define a violence prone woman as a woman who, while complaining that she is the innocent victim of the malice and aggression of all other relationships in her life, is in fact a victim of her own violence and aggression. A violent and painful childhood tends to create in the child an addiction to violence and to pain (an addiction on all levels: the emotional, the physical, the intellectual, the neurochemical), an addiction that then compels the individual to recreate situations and relationships characterized by further violence, further danger, further suffering, further pain. Thus, it is primarily the residual pain from childhood — and only secondarily the pain of the terrorist's current familial situation — that serves as the terrorist's motivating impetus. There is something pathological about the terrorist's motivation, for it is based not so much on reality as on a twisting, a distortion, a reshaping of reality.

Because the emotional terrorist is a violence-prone individual, addicted to violence, the terrorist's actions must be understood as the actions of an addict. When the family was together, the terrorist found fulfillment for any number of unhealthy appetites and addictions. When that family then dissolves, the terrorist behaves with all the desperation, all the obsession, all the single-minded determination of any addict facing or suffering withdrawal.

The single-mindedness, the one-sidedness of feeling, is perhaps the most important shibboleth of the emotional terrorist. Furthermore, the extent of this one-sidedness is, for the practitioner, perhaps the greatest measure and indicator of how extreme the terrorist's actions are capable of becoming.

Any person suffering an unhappy family situation, or the dissolution of a marriage or relationship, will feel some pain and desperation. A relatively well-balanced person, however, will be not only aware of their own distress but also sensitive, in some degree, to the suffering of the other family members. For example, reasonably well-balanced parents, when facing divorce, will be most concerned with their children's emotional well-being, even beyond their own grief. Not so the emotional terrorist.

To the family terrorist, there is only one wronged, one sufferer, only one person in pain, and this person is the terrorist herself. The terrorist has no empathy and feels only her own pain. In this manner, the terrorist's capacity for feeling is narcissistic, solipsistic, and in fact pathological.

Again, I will not attempt here to detail the factors in childhood that lead to the creation of an emotional terrorist. What is evident, however, in the terrorist's limited or nonexistent ability to recognize other people's feelings, is that the terrorist's emotions and awareness, at crucial stages of childhood development, were stunted from reaching beyond the boundaries of self, due to a multiplicity of reasons. Later, the adult terrorist went on to make a relationship that was, on some level, no true relationship, but a reenactment of childhood pains, scenarios, situations, and "scripts." Throughout the relationship, the solipsistic terrorist did not behave genuinely in response to the emotions of other family members but self-servingly used them as props for the recreation of the terrorist's programme. And when that relationship finally faces dissolution, the terrorist is aware only of her own pain and outrage and, feeling no empathy for other family members, will proceed single-mindedly in pursuit of her goal, whether that goal is reunion, ruin, or revenge. The terrorist's perspective is tempered by little or no objectivity. Instead the terrorist lives in a self-contained world of purely subjective pain and anger.

Because conscience consists so largely of the awareness of other people's feelings as well as of one's own, the emotional terrorist's behavior often can be described to be virtually without conscience. In this lack of conscience lies the dangerous potential of the true terrorist, and again the degree of conscience in evidence is a useful measure in my work to anticipate the terrorist's destructiveness.

An additional factor, making the terrorist so dangerous, is the fact that the terrorist, while in positively monomaniacal pursuit of her goal, feels fueled by a sense of omnipotence. Perhaps it is true that one imagines oneself omnipotent when, in truth, one is in a position of impotence (as in the case of losing one's familial control through dissolution). Whatever the source of the sensation of omnipotence, the terrorist believes herself to be unstoppable, and unbound by the constraints or conscience or empathy, believes that no cost (cost, either to the terrorist or to other family members) is too great to pay toward the achievement of the goal.

The terrorist, and the terrorist's actions, know no bounds. (The estimation of the extent of the terrorist's "boundlessness" presents the greatest challenge to my work). Intent only to achieve the goal (perhaps "hell-bent" is the most accurate descriptive phrase) the terrorist will take such measures as: stalking a spouse or ex-spouse, physically assaulting the spouse or the spouse's new partners, telephoning all mutual friends and business associates of the spouse in an effort to ruin the spouse's reputation, pressing fabricated criminal charges against the spouse (including alleged battery and child molestation), staging intentionally unsuccessful suicide attempts for the purpose of manipulation, snatching children from the spouse's care and custody, vandalizing the spouse's property, murdering the spouse and/or the children as an act of revenge.

In my experience both men and women are equally guilty of the above behavior, but on the whole, because it is men's dysfunctional behavior that is studied and reported upon, people do not realize that to the same extent women are equally guilty of this type of violent behavior. My working definition, then, of a "family terrorist" or an "emotional terrorist" is: a woman or a man (but for the purposes of this work, I refer only to women) who, pathologically motivated (by unresolved tendencies from a problematical childhood), and pathologically insensitive to the feelings of other family members, obsessionally seeks through unbounded action to achieve a destructive (and, therefore, pathological) goal with regard to other family members.

Of course, this defining profile pertains to individuals in differing degrees. Many people, unhappy within a relationship or made unhappy by the dissolution of a relationship, may lapse into periods of "irrational" behavior. What characterizes the terrorist, however, is that the vindictive and destructive behaviors are consistent; the moments of calm and periods of lucidity are the lapses, temporary lulls in the storm.

There are also women who, suffering chagrin and misery during or after the life spans of a relationship, appear far more self-destructive than destructive to anyone else. For the other partner, contemplating leaving this kind of individual, the very thought of leaving such a person is made difficult and untenable by such frequently uttered protestations as "I cannot live without you," and "Without you, I might as well be dead." To be sure, many women exist, extremely dependent within their relationships, who, probably having suffered severe emotional betrayal during their childhood, genuinely feel that their life outside a relationship would be so lonely as to be unbearable.

It is difficult to leave such a woman, and the man attempting to leave may well feel that, by leaving, he would be responsible for delivering a mortal blow to an already pathetic wretch. Men also, are often kept in their relationships, which can only be likened to "personal concentration camps," by the fact that they feel a genuine feeling of "chivalry" towards their partner. Women tend to put so much more of themselves into their relationships and therefore suffer when these relationships fall apart.

There is a valid question as to whether or not this sort of suicidally-inclined individual may be deemed a terrorist. (To many minds, this kind of individual, no doubt, would seem to fall more within the category of "emotional black-mailer." ) I believe that, sadly, there are people, deeply damaged by their childhood, who genuinely cannot face life by themselves. When dealing with such potential cases, however, I try to make the leaving partner understand that the suicidal inclinations predate the relationship by many years, and that, however tragic the situation, one person simply cannot be held responsible for keeping another person alive.

In some individuals, the authentic (though unhealthy) longing for death is a longing planted within them since early childhood, and there is very little a partner can do to alter the apparently inevitable course of that longing.

Among true terrorists, however, threats of suicide can be seen to serve a largely manipulative role. In short, the terrorist says, "If you can't do as I tell you, I will kill myself." Whether suicide remains only a threat or is realized, the true terrorist uses suicide not so much as an expression of desperate grief but as a weapon to be wielded against others.

In working with clients struggling either in relationships or with the dissolution of a relationship, I am faced with many questions, all relevant to gauging the woman's terrorist potential:

• Will the woman persevere in her efforts to financially ruin her partner?

• Is she sincere when she promises to kill her partner, or have him killed, should he ever become involved in a new relationship?

• Are the threats of suicide genuine or manipulative?

• Will she carry out the promises of using the law to "kidnap" the children in order to hurt the ex-partner?

• Will she brain-wash the children to such an extent that her ex-partner dare not form a new relationship?

Emotional terrorism is by no means confined to the family context. I know an extremely successful woman in the world of fine arts. This woman has been haunted by a former assistant who, vicariously imagining herself to the writer herself, dresses like her, stalks her, and issues public statements that it was she, not the writer, who created the works of art for which the writer is internationally famous. If the writer is to ensure her own safety, then very definite steps must be taken.

In situations of emotional and family terrorism, there are two areas of work to be done: practical measures of protection ("strategies for survival") on the part of family members, and therapeutic work with the terrorist himself or herself. I must reiterate at this stage, that both men and women are capable of terrorist tactics but men tend to behave in a more physically violent manner within the family. Women, as I have shown, use far more subtle tactics, i.e., that of the terrorist as opposed to outright war.

The first step, on the part of other family members, toward limiting the terrorist's destructive potential is to understand the terrorist to be a terrorist. In a recent case, a Mr. Roberts described to me how, during his marriage, he and his children faced a daily onslaught of verbal abuse from his wife. Mrs. Roberts was also physically violent to the children. Now that he has asked for a divorce, she is making use of every weapon in her arsenal. In the children's presence, she has used drugs and drunk alcohol to the point of extreme intoxication. She has staged several unsuccessful suicide attempts in front of the children, threatened over the telephone to "do something stupid," promised to kill Mr. Roberts new partner, and assured Mr. Roberts that when she has finished with him he will not have a penny to his name. To Mr. Roberts, all of this behavior seemed perfectly usual.

After all, he had witnessed this sort of commotion for thirteen years of their marriage. When I suggested to him, "What you endured is emotional terrorism," he suddenly and for the first time was able to see his situation clearly. Now, he realized, his wife's behavior was neither appropriate nor acceptable. No, this was not the treatment that every man should expect from his wife, either in or out of marriage. No, he does not want his children to be subjected to such extreme behavior any longer.

The fact of recognizing a terrorist is the essential first step. Then, because a terrorist is fueled by a feeling of omnipotence and is prepared to behave without bounds, usually encouraged by feminist therapists who insist that their clients suffer from "low self esteem," pragmatic measures must be taken to define clearly the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Unfortunately the legal situation which many divorce agreements mandate is open-ended. Certainly, when both parties to a divorce are reasonably well-balanced, it is entirely fitting for the settlement to be flexible enough to incorporate changing financial circumstances, child-care capabilities, and visitation rights. When, however, one party to the divorce is an emotional terrorist, then both the confrontational divorce procedure and the resultant open-ended divorce settlement provide infinite opportunity for the courts, lawyers, and the entire battery of psychologists called in for evaluations, to be used as the terrorist's weapons. In these cases, the court and the divorce procedure provide no boundaries for the terrorist; instead they allow the terrorist to continue to behave boundlessly.

For this reason, when dealing with a terrorist, it is best for the divorce procedure and final decree to be as swift, as final, as absolute, as unequivocal as possible. Every practitioner or attorney handling divorces is familiar with clients described as "litigious." [ "Tar baby" is a popular term among Colorado lawyers.] Only when "litigiousness" is seen as a manifestation of terrorism can the course to swift and precise legal settlement be steered.

To limit the terrorist's feelings of omnipotence, there are many effective measures. The guiding principle, as in the handling of political terrorists, must be: "There is no negotiating with terrorists." Endless telephone calls, conversations, confrontation, trial "get-back-togethers," correspondence, visitations, gestures of appeasement, and efforts to placate the terrorist's demands, all serve to reinforce the terrorist's belief that she is accomplishing something. Only determined resolution in the face of terrorism shows the terrorist that her power is limited.

Furthermore, for anyone dealing directly with the terrorist, reassurances, "ego boosts," and consolations are lamentably counterproductive. Mrs. Roberts soon found for herself a feminist therapist staunchly supporting the erroneous belief "All feelings (and therefore behaviors) are valid." Mrs. Roberts is told by this therapist that she has a right to feel and to behave in any manner she chooses, in callous disregard for the devastation inflicted upon the children. Such reassurances serve only to fortify the terrorist's already pathological, solipsistic, and eternally self-justifying perspective.

If wishing to undertake the second sphere of disarming a terrorist — personal intervention with the terrorist herself — the therapist must be prepared to be straight, honest and very direct. In my own dealings with women as terrorists, I have found on occasion that one quite simply can point out to the terrorist, "You are behaving like a terrorist. This is what you are doing. This is how you are being destructive. This is the destruction you are heading towards," and the terrorist, seeing themselves clearly for the first time, might be encouraged to reconsider their behavior. More commonly, however, extremely deep therapy is required. For the terrorist's behavior to change, there must first be a solid and fundamental change within the terrorist's physiological constitution.

Usually it is only by an in-depth excavation and resolution of early childhood pain that the terrorist can begin to gain a real, true, and level-headed perception of her own current situation. Direct intervention with a terrorist — like all forms of therapeutic intervention — can hope to achieve change only if the individual concerned wishes to change and possesses that vital yet ineffable quality: the will to health. When the will to health is lacking, there can be no change. If the terrorist cannot or will not change, one can only help the other family members to be resolute, be strong, and, whenever possible, be distant.

As a result of their failure to acknowledge emotional terrorism or a propensity for violence in their clients, shelters are totally ineffective in dealing with such women. To recognize such behavior in females would violate deeply held convictions and defile feminist dogma. 

A basic human response to such contradictions is an attempt to deny they exist.

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:42 AM 6 comments


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Boundaries & Detachment

Lessons About Emotional Detachment / Boundaries

Part 1: The Incredible Shrinking Relatives
Learning to set boundaries is part of the healing process after any form of abuse. This task can be complicated. It seems there will always be people who want to upset you. They could be family members who deny that abuse took place. They could be the offenders or their allies who are still a part of your life. Their comments, expressions, or attitudes can hurt you and make your life much more difficult.

You handle people like this by using an emotional tool called detachment. Like any other emotional process, it is a skill you can learn. It takes practice. But keep working, and you will diminish the effect these people have on your life.

Let Go
Stock Phrases
Set Boundaries
Handling the Rough Stuff
Take Care of Yourself First
Practice, Practice, Practice
Make Them Smaller

The first step to detachment is to "shrink" the unhealthy person.
Make the person a smaller part of your life by making other parts of your life bigger. Start a new hobby, a job, learn something new, focus on other people, join a club, take a class, have more contact with friends - you get the idea. The only way to reduce someone's power over your life is to fill your time with other people, places, and things to squeeze them out.

This equation in emotional mathematics means adding things to your life automatically reduces the space taken up by unhealthy people and relationships. Expand your horizons. Occupy your mind with new ideas. The unhealthy person will occupy a smaller portion of your mind, and therefore your life.

Let Go
The unhealthy people in your life use guilt to keep you enslaved. When you begin to detach, you are upsetting the status quo, and they will use guilt to bludgeon you back into place.

Resisting this tactic is difficult but not impossible. Learn to recognize the guilt trip. Think about why they are doing this. You are trying to take care of yourself, and some people will go to great lengths to stop you. They want to maintain the status quo.

Accept that these unhealthy people will never grant their approval. This is a vital part of letting go. In fact, withholding approval is a most effective weapon to keep you enslaved.

When you let go, and honestly don't care if they approve of you, they will have a hard time hiding their surprise. Watch as they mentally scramble to think of another tactic to keep you entangled.

Realize that the other person's problem is not yours. One of the hardest lessons to learn is that no matter how hard you try, you can never, ever, ever change how another person acts. The only thing you can change is your reaction to them. You can fight the guilt they inspire. You can take care of yourself.

Stock PhrasesThe unhealthy people in your life often try to catch you off guard, or will try to ensnare you in a hopeless problem. The response to both tactics is to memorize some stock phrases. Some examples: "Hm. Interesting." "Wow, that's too bad." Or my favorite: "Huh. What are you going to do about that?" The last one is very effective, since these people want you to fix their problems. This response turns the tables on them. You express interest without offering to fix the problem, and force them to offer solutions. Then you conclude with, "Well, that sounds like a good plan. Good luck with it!"

When I felt required to fix things for other people, I remember my therapist asking, "Has this person been declared incompetent? Has the state institutionalized them? No? Then they have the ability to act responsibly and fix this by themselves."

This good point inspires another type of stock response: flattery. "You're a smart person. I have confidence in your ability to solve this." How can they argue with that? Are they going to insist that they're not smart?

Part 2: Set Your Boundaries
It is critical to spend less time with the person you are detaching from. You can decline invitations. You can make excuses and stay away. You can claim illness. You can complain about your crowded work schedule, or how busy you are with the kids. Sure, you have been taught that it's wrong to lie. Well, in this case, it's good to lie. Taking care of yourself is more important than showing up every time. Besides, they lie to you all the time, don't they?

Another effective tactic using this point is to complain at length about how busy you are. The person you're detaching from doesn't care about your problems. Often, they want to talk about their problems. If they keep hearing about your problems, they may stop calling.

Handling The Rough Stuff
The person you're detaching from can be very abusive.

Often, the reward they seek is to see the hurt in your eyes and the feeling of power they receive from being the cause of that hurt.

Recognizing this fact will give you unexpected power. The verbal jab is blunted when you know it's only meant to hurt you. And you can deny them the pleasure they seek. Don't debate the point. They want to keep the topic going because they know it's hurting you. Think of the verbal jab as a spitball thrown at you. If you laugh, or pretend you didn't hear it, or do anything else instead of looking hurt, it's the equivalent of ducking and letting the spitball sail by. Shrug off the comment as lightly as possible, and then bring up a topic of your own -- one that you know is distasteful to your tormentor. Doing this will deny them their reward, and give negative reinforcement. Eventually, they will stop attacking you. Bullies like an easy target.

Some examples are in order here. I know a man with verbally abusive parents. He learned to respond -- every time! -- by talking about his brother, who was gay. He described his brother's romantic exploits with enthusiasm, knowing his parents were very uncomfortable with the whole subject.

I know a woman whose uncle was verbally abusive and constantly made comments about her childhood molestation by another uncle. This woman learned to respond by staring at him, appearing distracted (and pretending she wasn't listening), then pointing to a spot on her uncle's face, neck or arms, and asking, "Does that look cancerous to you? Maybe you should get it checked."

Her uncle knew she was saying that as a defense. But he still hated it. And he stopped bothering her.

Take Care Of Yourself
In every life, there are other parts that are good. You have a right and a duty to focus on the good parts. If you have a good husband and child, or sweet pets who adore you, but your mother is making your life a living hell, give yourself permission to focus your time and energy on the good things.

Remember the old phrase, "Listen to your gut?" Don't do that. The unhealthy people in your life use guilt and manipulation to inspire a gut reaction from you. I remember my therapist telling me, "Of course they're good at pushing your buttons! They installed them!" Instead, use your intellect to talk back to your gut feelings. You know that person is no good for you. You know your energies are better spent elsewhere. Take care of yourself. Do what's right for you. Say to yourself over and over again, "Taking care of myself must be my first emotional priority."

There's a book that is very helpful for this step. It's called Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns. Buy it and read it.

Practice, Practice, Practice
When you start this process, realize that you will slip up. You have spent all of your life in your relationship with this person, so give yourself a break. Don't punish yourself if you don't detach perfectly. Learn from every experience and try to do a little better next time. Be patient and persistent.

Detaching is a vital skill to practice on someone you are unable or unwilling to completely shut out of your life. You can even still love that person if you want to, even though you have detached. Your goal is to recognize the relationships that are not good for you, and make them a smaller part of your life. You can still care about unhealthy people, if you choose. But at the same time, you can prevent them from running (or ruining) your life.

Doug Larsen is a trained grassroots women's advocate.

Doug has counseled battered women, rape survivors, handled the Crisis Hotline, and has looked into the eyes of four-year-old molested children. He also chairs a local HIV/AIDS support group.

Doug holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from St. Olaf College and -- almost -- has a Master's in Business Communication from The University of St. Thomas. He just never got around to writing his darned thesis.

From Douglas Larsen:
"I believe that education and communication are keys to preventing abuse and incest. Whether you are a survivor, friend, or family member, you will find resources available for help. You don't have to be alone."

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:32 AM 5 comments


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spotting The Emotional Manipulator

Written by Fiona McColl

Emotional manipulators get extra marks for subtlety. A patronizing, mind-f*cker can bend and twist and warp but somehow after a period of time they set off the ol’ bullsh*t meter. An emotional manipulator is smoother. You’ll have to adjust the sensitivity of your bullsh*t meter to escape unscathed.

What is emotional manipulation?
Well, emotional manipulation is a method of using words, body language and behavior for the purposes of provoking a particular reaction, getting a desired response or to just plain ol’ screw you over. If the emotional blackmailer is any good, he’ll having you offering to bend over and be f*cked one more time, "anything you want dear." Lets talk about how an emotional manipulator works and how to recognize the game (because it very much IS a game) so you can reset that bullsh*t meter and safeguard against possible attack.

There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.

An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at.

Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

Crazy making.
Saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses.Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality.

: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullsh*t meter should be flashing steady by now!

Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt.

Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy
An emotional manipulator is a great victim.
They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly.

Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "
well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.

Some would say it is possible with time, a great deal of honesty and communication to work through emotional manipulation. Personally I think life is short and precious - the only worthwhile thing to do when confronted with an emotionally manipulative person is to BROOM THEIR ASS TO THE CURB! A Relationship with emotionally manipulative person is similar to re-exposing yourself over and over and over to a highly toxic and potentially fatal virus. Each brush with it reduces your immunity and weakens your defenses.

It can take more time for someone that has been in an emotionally manipulative relationship (READ: ABUSE) to recover than it does for someone that leaves a physically abusive one

At least you can name that punch that hit you. Emotional abuse is subtle. It is insidious. It is dangerous. If you are in it - walk away and never look back. Make it a rule!

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:02 AM 10 comments


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Huge Hurt: Betrayal

by Ann Bradley

Betrayal, when realized, is a phenomenal existential feeling. Suddenly, your world is no longer the one you believed in. You question reality, but most of all you question yourself. How, you wonder, could I have been so naive, stupid, blind, trusting, unseeing, unknowing?

It may be difficult to believe, but these questions are good. YOU are the normal person, the one who aligns reality (he was so nice to me, he was my friend) with a cognitive belief: he ACTS as if he likes me, he TELLS me he likes me, I see no reason not to believe him because in my past, people who act and speak this way, CAN be trusted. There is congruency. But not now.

Suddenly, you learn that someone trusted - a spouse, lover, family member, close friend - has been putting you down, lying, manipulating others against you, and yet maintaining a stance of intimacy with you. The world is not clear, the ground you stand on is wobbly. You will never feel good about this.

But you CAN get over it. You can do so by realizing that no matter how awful the betrayal, YOU are the normal person and this betrayal comes from rage. This person envies you, is enraged about it, and MUST put you down behind your back. They MUST harm you. They have no choice.

But you do. In the world of normals, after we get over the shock, we can use this experience to become stronger, to help others, to learn to avoid this particular toxin, and to calm ourselves that the higher moral ground is ours. It's too bad this person acted as he did, we wish he did not, but we are NOT diminished by their pathology. Wiser, sadder, but never diminished.


Labels: , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:09 AM 4 comments


Sunday, March 26, 2017


What is courage?

Many "people of courage" say the same thing, it's not the heroic act, the risk of life in an emergency, that defines true courage, although let's not discount that. True courage involves the day to day facing of difficult problems and still getting on with life despite often feeling despairing.

each time you keep going despite your feelings you belong to the ranks of the true heroes.

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

(Ambrose Redmoon)

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:09 AM 1 comments


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Porn Addicts


As men, we carry our pride like a badge of honor. We use it for a shield against anything that might threaten our self-esteem. We hide behind it when other people attempt to offer suggestions which, if followed, would require us to change our courses in life. We know better than anyone else what is best for ourselves. After all, we managed to bring ourselves to the place in life where we are. And we will do a fine job of going on the next step.

Therein lies one of the greatest problems that men who are addicted to pornography face. Because they believe that they know what is best for them, and because they do not want anyone violating their manhood by telling them what to do, they continue blindly down the same road of destruction that brought them to the place where they are. That place may be one where, because of his pornography addiction, his marriage has fallen apart, his financial situation has deteriorated, and worst of all, his spiritual relationship has all but disappeared.

It is crucial that men come to the understanding that they cannot fight this battle alone. Perhaps you are one who considers himself to be a "self-made man," one who has fought his way up the corporate ladder - only to find that you were the only one there when you arrived. If you are a pornography addict, you should consider that by yourself, you managed to crawl all the way to where you are. In the world of pornography use and addiction, the ladder goes down, not up. It goes straight down into a pit that has the ability to totally consume any of us.

Accountability is often discounted as nothing more than a crutch, a place to hide one's own inadequacies. Objections to accountability are usually rooted in pride - that same pride that says you don't need help.

Admitting the need for accountability is not surrendering your manliness. It is not the sign of a weak person. It is not a crutch that might allow one to think he can walk without assistance when in fact, he can't. Instead, it is the sign of a man who is big enough to admit that he cannot do everything. Accountability is one of the most powerful weapons we have in the battle against pornography addiction. The use of that weapon allows us to admit to our friend (our accountability partner) that we have come against something that, at least for a moment was more powerful than we were. It allows us to admit that we need help to fight that enemy, but in a way that brings no reproach. Ultimately, it provides support in a battle that simply cannot be fought alone.

Straight answers to tough questions and excuses.
Accountability is only one part of a successful plan for recovery. There are other factors involved, like getting over the selfishness that characterizes most pornography addicts.

An accountable person... - is not afraid to be vulnerable.
- gladly accepts the availability of such helps as a filtered ISP [or counseling]
- can recognize and admit when he has fallen.
- picks himself back up after a fall.
- can face those they hurt, genuinely apologize and make amends

The Accountability Partner

What they are...

- A friend who cares enough to ask the hard questions.

- One who is willing to be diligent in keeping contact with the addicted person.

- One who is capable of looking beyond the hurts, anger, and frustration that characterizes pornography addiction.

What he is not...

- A person upon whom the addicted one can cast his facade of normalcy.

- One who is to be taken advantage of.

- One whom you should expect to believe your excuse or lies.

- One who 'sticks their head in the sand' and believes the best of you inspite of the truth

- [One who will not o.k. your need to run from the consequence of your actions.]

Labels: , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:20 AM 1 comments


Abusive Stalking Using the Courts

(What you are about to read, was adapted in part from Stalking Through The Courts. Please visit there for more information.)

We learned in depth how many Stalkers think and act on the previous page. This page will go into how some abusers use a different approach to harass their victims. A way that allows them to legally have contact and harass their ex-partner, even with a Restraining Order in force.

Mis-using the judicial system seems to be one of some abusers favorite ways to stalk their ex-partners. If they can’t get you back, they will try to ruin your happiness, by dragging you to Court on countless frivolous filings. Putting the victim in a situation where they are being victimized – again, by their abuser and sometimes by the system also.

This can be on going for years, if gone about it in the “right” way. There are actually web sites devoted to teaching them exactly how and what to do. These sites teach them how to legally stalk, harass, and intimidate victims of Domestic Violence after a Restraining Order has been issued. These sites actually have step by step guides for them to use to learn how to keep the on going harassment, manipulation, intimidation and show how to legally stalk the partner, who has left them. Which in turn keeps the ex-partner their victim causing them immense grief, a financial burden and it wears them out emotionally to the point of total frustration.

It also gives these stalkers/abusers a feeling they still have some control and in a sense, they do. Some of the more advanced, of these abusers, will even represent themselves in Court, rather than hire a Lawyer. This Pro Se Defense gives them the opportunity to question their former partner on the stand and legally badger and intimidate them, all the while the judge and others are right there watching and letting it happen. This in itself must boost the abusers self-esteem, thinking they are even controlling the judge and playing the legal system.

Most all of these “Pro Se” abusers have studied the laws, inside and out. They will put a lot of time and effort into these actions. Many will file in different jurisdictions, to avoid becoming too well known to the judges and to keep their victim running around. They will mask their reasoning and make it look as if they are the victims and their rights have been violated.

There are many large and well-known groups, who use and teach these tactics. Most of which will have a cover that seems real and legitimate. Many of them use children’s rights as their cover. They put a lot of money and energy into minimizing domestic violence and it’s effects on the children who lived in a home where abuse occurred. They will give very little support to issues that will actually help children.

These groups true agenda is abolishing abuse prevention legislation and child support laws. They try regaining some control and punishing their partner for leaving them, and they try to do this by controlling the children, by gaining full custody, with visitation or by not paying child support.

Most States have trained their police to recognize abuse and enforce Restraining Orders, funded child protective services, made abuse prevention statues, opened women’s shelters and educated personnel of the dangers of domestic violence. What has not been corrected by legislature is letting abusers use the judicial system as a weapon against their former victims, especially after a Restraining Order has been issued.

These groups have caused the numbers of Pro Se litigation’s to multiply rapidly. Many of their web sites offer how to books, legal forms and packets of motions to file in court. Many of these motions can be refiled over and over just by changing a word or two, the date or going to another jurisdiction. They encourage them to lengthen proceedings with extensive, irrelevant discovery aimed at stalling out the processes.

With a no contact RO, these abusers can not see their victim, send them a letter, call them or come within 100 feet of them, in most States. But, for about a $19.00 fee, this same person can file numerous claims and have hearings in small claims court. If they go into State and Federal Administrative Agencies and accuse their victim of obscure violations, their victim will be subpoenaed. This gives the abuser several legal contacts with their victim, where they can legally harass and badger them with no fear of violating the Restraining Order. If this same abuser/stalker does Pro Se defense, they may even get away with other stalking of their victim, like watching or following them, photographing them, going through their trash, ect. All with the cover of “investigating” their case.

These victims have left their abusers for a reason. They are in fear of them, yet the abuser has found a way to put them in a position, they can not walk away from. They must sit through court proceedings and on going harassment, where they are made to endure their abusers subtle looks and movements, which they know so well and fear.

They will try to make them lose their composure and they will attack their credibility, making this person victimized for the second time but even worst, the abuser puts them on trial in the eyes of the community and the courtroom. They have used a lot of will, to get away from their abusers and usually don’t have the emotional strength to go for hours or even days being questioned on the stand, by their abusers.

The use of courts is most widely know in custody cases, all to many times not with the child’s best interest at heart, but to try to exploit weakness in their ex-partner, to regain control or at the least to manipulate and hurt them as a punishment for leaving. They may try to prove them an unfit parent, digging up or fabricating any type of evidence they can.

A spouse who abuses their partner and parent of their children are twice as likely to try to gain full custody of the children, whether they truly want custody or not. They will often try to mis-use the legal system, through retaliatory legal actions to continue their abuse and harassment. These actions make the victims have to prove themselves to the court, keeping them in the victim role.

While their rights are violated, for the second time around, the abusers/stalkers rights are protected. Is that justice? At the least, victims of domestic violence should have the same Constitutional protections as their abusers, even while they are being stalked and harassed by them with the judicial system.

If our founding fathers that wrote our Constitution and the Bill of Rights (for all people) were inside these courtrooms, I believe they would be horrified at the way our basic human rights are being violated. The laws of our Country are being twisted and used in ways many can not even comprehend.

Victims of terrible crimes are being belittled and torn apart by defense attorneys and Pro Se cross-examinations, on the witness stands on a daily basis. Litigation of a abuser/stalker is different because they know the victim, knows their family, their past, what sets them off, what will hurt them most and especially what frightens them, this brings the adversarial system to new low. These litigations twist our Constitution till it is almost unrecognizable and at the expense of our entire society, protects the rights of the abuser/stalker.

At this time the sad truth is there is nothing that these victims can do, but fight it out in court. It is slowly being recognized as a major problem and there are programs working on ways to end this, in the future.

From the Biden-Hatch Violence Against Women Act of 2000, Title I Section 106, National Stalker and Domestic Violence Reduction Grants Reauthorization, Authorized at $3 million/year through 2005 (fiscal year 1998 appropriation was $2.75 million). This section extends grant programs that help state and local governments improve databases dealing with stalking and domestic violence.

Title I Section 107, Clarify Enforcement to End Interstate Battery/Stalking. This section clarifies federal jurisdiction to reach persons crossing state lines(including foreign travel), and expands federal jurisdiction to include battery used to facilitate the interstate movement of victims. This section also makes the nature of harm uniform for domestic violence, stalking, and interstate travel offenses, and clarifies the "Interstate Violation of Protection Order" section.

Hopefully soon, with the government putting this kind of money into programs involving domestic violence and stalking, we will see an end to this madness in the near future.

Right now, in the these cases where victims have the finances and the emotional strength, they can fight back by filing a civil suit for malicious abuse of the legal system/process, defamation of character and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Other than that, keeping the faith and hope for future changes, is all that we have. It is said that Lady Justice is blind, but she should not be mocked.


Labels: , , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:05 AM 56 comments


Friday, March 24, 2017

Coversational Terrorism

These are the conversational "Zingers" many use against "truth" arguments

All of the techniques listed in this document have actually been witnessed, told to us by someone else, or dreamed up. They are described in first person for clarity of motive.

The intent of detailing and naming these insidious tactics is so that the reader may AVOID USING THEM, to quickly recognize if someone else is using them, and for fun. There is much humor in the way people (consciously or unconsciously) conversationally cheat.

It is hoped that exposing these tactics will help muzzle the growing abuse in our conversational landscape. Give copies to both perpetrators and victims (only NOT for profit use).

The examples are overblown in an attempt to be both clear and funny. Use your imagination to think of how you (perish the thought) and others have used these techniques in the past.

They have been grouped by major category, with the best (worst!) saved for last.

First, we have the Ad Hominem Variants where you attack the person as a way to avoid truth, science, or logic which might otherwise prove you wrong. Next are the Sleight of Mind Fallacies , which act as "mental magic" to make sure the unwanted subject disappears. Then, we move on to Delay Tactics, which are subtle means to buy time when put on the spot. Then, the ever popular Question as Opportunity ploys, where any question can be deftly averted. Finally, we have the Cheap Shot Tactics and Irritants , which are basically "below the belt" punches.

Ad Hominem Variants

I'd like to respond to that, but taking into account your background, education, and intelligence, I am quite sure that you would not be able to understand."

My next point will be so cogent that even you will be able to understand it."

Even you should be able to grasp the next point."

I used to think that way when I was your age."

As you mature emotionally (or mentally, or spiritually), you will grow out of your present way of thinking, and you will eventually come around to my point of view."

You're new here, aren't you?"

Instead of proving a point true or false, this technique tries to imply that the individual's desires have led him/her astray without dealing with the merits of the issue itself. (C.S. Lewis termed this "Bulverism".) Any strong desire can be shown to have tainted a conclusion or clouded objectivity, which casts doubt on the legitimacy of a point. This is very close to the classic ad hominem fallacy: "you say that because you are a man."

You support capital punishment because of a deep-rooted death wish common among those who have suffered emotional traumas during childhood."

You oppose capital punishment because of an irrational suppressed death taboo common among those who have suffered emotional trauma during childhood."

You weren't breast fed as a child, were you?"

Sleight of Mind Fallacies
Instead of dealing with a comment or question directly, the idea here is to focus on some insignificant detail to evade the issue or buy time to think.

We need to define just exactly what you mean by _________."

Your last sentence ended with a preposition. Please restate it properly."

A twisted version of NIT-PICKING, the technique here is to purposely misunderstand some word, phrase, or analogy and shift the focus to it instead of the subject. This ploy will derail the other person into a defense of the word, phrase, or analogy instead of the case at hand.

You said 'feel' instead of 'think'. If you are feeling instead of thinking, I won't be able to convince you with reason."

You said this happened five years before Hitler came to power. Why are you so fascinated with Hitler? Are you anti-Semitic?"

This is a marvelous way to come off as nice while saying things that would otherwise be considered rude.

Have I ever brought up the $523.52 you owe me? Never! Have I ever embarrassed you or made you feel bad over it? Have I ever told you how much I need that money? No, I never have."

I don't care if other people say you're opinionated (or boring or overbearing, or etc.)"

I don't want to spend a lot of time on this, but (blah, blah, blah...)."

My dear congregation, I hate to speak of money matters, but (money, money, money, etc.)."
The intent here is to throw the other person's competence in doubt while at the same time changing the subject. A question is asked that the other person is not likely to know the answer to, destroying their credibility and confidence. To really rub it in, the questioner can give a full answer to his/her own question proving that him/herself to have superior knowledge of the subject.

You mentioned the constitution. Can you quote the preamble for us?"

Do you realize which of the dialectic principles you've just violated?" [ "No."] "I'd be glad to explain them to you, but (branch to OVER YOUR HEAD)."
I have observed that those who disagree with me on the next point tend to be unsophisticated, and those who quickly recognize the validity of the point to be more educated. The point is...."

Of course there is a lot of debate on this subject, but the best scholars believe..."

This technique requires prior knowledge of some embarrassing mistake or painful event in the other person's life. This knowledge can be woven into a comment in a way that agitates the other person without direct reference. A key word or phrase is tossed out like a grenade that embarrasses or humiliates the other person.

What was it your ex-wife used to say?"

Didn't we already have this argument just before you went through the de-tox program?"

This technique asks an obvious question and, by playing on a sense of guilt, demands a predetermined response driven by common sense or decency. The yes or no response is then implied to mean a complete agreement with the asker's point of view.

Family get-together:  
"Doesn't your family mean anything to you?" ["Well, yes!"] "Then I will see you at 10 am."

Support a political movement: "Do you want communism in America? Is that what you want?"

Join a Health Spa: "Don't you care about your own body?"
A rhetorical ploy to give more emotional force to a point or objection than is appropriate. This requires showmanship and involves risk, but when it works it can be quite effective. It is useful to use exaggerated facial expressions and/or pound on any nearby objects to effectively communicate the overreaction.

How DARE you question such an obvious point?"

Honestly! You can't REALLY expect me to believe that?"

A person will likely be off center of the ANALYTICAL/EMOTIVE SPECTRUM (an alternate name for this technique) in any heated exchange. By pointing out which side the other person is on, (either side will do) he/she is obliged to defend his/her temperament instead of the case at hand.

Your cold, analytical approach to this issue doesn't take into account the human element."

Your emotional involvement with this issue obscures your ability to see things objectively."

If a person is making an imaginative or novel point, the approach here is to push the idea to a radical extreme generally agreed to be bad. The extreme can be either real or imagined. The hope here is that the other person will reflexively back off and retreat to a defensive position, thus short-circuiting the progression of the argument.

So you think we ought to just throw out the whole system, then?"

How is that different from classic fascism?"

So you would just like to kill off anyone who disagrees with you, it appears!"

If you can see where the other person's logic is leading, you can make it very difficult along the way by arguing each minute sub-point and example. If the other person can not get past the first point, how will a case ever be made? Most of the techniques listed can be used to achieve this end.

I don't think we can go on until we establish the scientific validity of that last statement."

I don't see any point in discussing this until all the data are in."

This is the opposite of the CUT 'EM OFF AT THE PASS technique. Instead of arguing along the way, agree with all of the sub-points but deny the obvious conclusion. This is very frustrating to the other person because it automatically changes the subject to epistemology (how we know what we know). Generally, the other person will attempt another explanation rather than get into a heavy epistemological discussion, and the technique can simply be repeated.

I don't see how you figure that."

I agree with everything you said except the conclusion. It doesn't make any sense to me, and I can not accept it. I am trying, but your brain must work much differently than mine."

Delay Tactics
If, when put on the spot to answer a question or point, you come up blank, then delay tactics can buy time to dream up a response. These tactics are risky, because if you are not able to think of anything clever during the time you buy, you will be pinned even further.

Give descriptive attributes of the eventual answer, then pause as if expecting a response, while thinking of a real answer. When this technique is repeated the other person will appear to be begging you to give an answer.

I think the answer to your last question will clear up your confusion on this subject. (Long pause) Are you ready?"

Excellent question, and I think the answer will startle you." (Pause, look thoughtfully as if a response is due while thinking up an answer.)

I'm glad you asked. Would you like a long or a short answer?"

Same as above, only here the diversionary shift of focus is on the question.

This question could only come from the confusion of the ______ mind-set."

That is an interesting question coming from you. Interesting, interesting, interesting."
(Pause, as if admiring the other person. )

The question asked, is basically _______, ________, _______." (Restate the questions in various ways, pausing for approval between each, while thinking up an answer.)

A great lead-in for the technique of WISHFUL THINKING, or a method of delay giving yourself time to think of an answer.

Why do you ask that?" / "What makes you ask that?"

What drives you to make such a statement?"
A complex statement that paralyzes the brain.

What you inferred is not what you implied."

Your problem is that you are thinking in a linear versus configurational framework."

I'm not sure if I fail to disagree with that or not."

This is a recipe for sophisticated babbling. Ingredients include: philosophic sounding words and sentence structure, unintelligible Latin terms, banal folk wisdom, jargon, catch phrases, truisms, etc. Sprinkle lightly with a few words that appear to pertain to the subject. This will sound very impressive without really saying anything and will buy time to think of something meaty to say while your lips are flapping. In some circles such machinations can actually be passed off as an answer--or a point!

In view of the federal budget deficit, civil unrest, and international politics, we need to consider that, notwithstanding the mitigating circumstances, this country has got to get back on its feet. Don't you agree?"

Echo the question back or ask the other person a similar or difficult question. (This can be a valid technique if not used merely as a delay tactic.)

What do you think the answer to your question is?"

How 'bout if I ask you a similar question?"

With a sparkle in your eye, start into a long-winded story which presumes to apply to the subject at hand. Continue until the other person calls your bluff, then act insulted and claim that you are not getting equal time or a fair chance to explain you case. Then, thoroughly offended, drop the cover story and start with the real answer (whatever it was you were able to think of while you were babbling).

This reminds me of the time I was in Cucamonga. Let me tell you, it was hot! (Time to think up real answer during dramatic pauses) And we were in a small hotel when a gas leak started. Well! You can imagine how we...."

To give an obvious, over-literal, useless, or pun response to delay with humor.

["What is your first point?"] "My first point is point #1."

[How do you explain the difference between salaries of men and women in this company who are perfoming the exact same jobs?] "I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with gender."

Question As Opportunity
A standard response for politicians is to view any question as an opportunity to say whatever they want. The "answer" does not have to have anything to do with the "question" asked. This practice has all but killed the utility of debate and dialog in politics and, unhappily, it is spreading to other areas of life as well. Following are some inconspicuous techniques that allow a deft shift from the question subject to the desired subject.

Deny that the issue is limited to the question at hand. Redefine the issue to your favorite topic.

It is not a question of (this) or (that), but rather it is an issue of (whatever it is you want to say.)"

["Are you for or against capital punishment?"] "I don't think the issue is being for or against capital punishment. The real issue facing our country is the federal budget deficit. I propose that we.... "

Acknowledges the issue and quickly changes to a new subject.

X is certainly one topic that could be discussed, but Y is another..."

Well, my track record is certainly one issue, but this month's agenda is another. Do you know that in the next five days...."

Cheap Shot Tactics and Irritants
Take this example: suppose you were a person who was incredibly stupid but was trying to come off as intelligent. What would the proper response be if you were me?"

Let's just say that we knew for sure that you were a sexual pervert...."

Why, that is a brilliant question coming from you!"

You're looking less repulsive than usual today."

Who would have thought you had it in you?"

Active listening is where you parrot back what the other person is saying in order to draw them out and to keep them talking. DISTORTED ACTIVE LISTENING parrots back what the other person is saying, but gets it all wrong or makes it sound incredibly stupid. Similar to LUNATIC FRINGE.

If I hear you correctly, your point is... (get it all wrong)."

It sounds as if you are saying that torturing children is a good idea...."
To the feebleminded, if there is a NAME used as a label for IT, then it must be wrong, even if it isn't. The NAME, now a "proof" of sorts, can be used as a sledgehammer if IT comes up again.

The case you just made was first made by Edgar Sullivan in the late 1800s and was quickly disproved. The 'Sullivan Error' inevitably occurs to people when they first start studying the subject."

Your line of reasoning is called the MacGregor Phenomenon."

Why, that's Calvinism!"

A clever and socially acceptable way of denying what someone has said by claiming to know more about what the other person thinks or feels than they do. Believe it or not, this technique is quite commonplace and effective.

That's a cruel thing to say, and I know you don't mean it."

You've made that point well, but ... (1) I know where your heart is; (2) I sense that you're not comfortable with what you're saying; (3) I know what kind of person you are deep down ... and that you cannot continue to hold this position and maintain your integrity."

Johnny, the reason I can't give you permission to go to the party is because I know that deep in your heart you'd rather spend the time here with me."
 To bring up a past event and GET IT ALL WRONG, or even to make up a past event. The intent is to get the other person confused, angry, and defensive.

You never admit defeat. Remember that chess game I beat you in?" (The one you lost.)

But last week (or a minute ago) you said the opposite! Make up your mind!"

Remember last time we had an argument, and you turned out to be wrong and wouldn't admit it? Now we're in the same spot we were last time."

When all else is lost, refer to a phony study that supports your case. This is a bet that the other person will not call your bluff. Does he/she know for certain the study didn't happen? The usual response is "I have not seen or heard of this study", further discrediting the other person as not doing comprehensive study of available source material.

Research at UCLA has proven conclusively...."

I know the idea sounds unorthodox, but a recent study at Harvard has substantiated this view."

The repeated use of an assertion, truism, bad joke, or even physical gesture when used to the point of extreme irritation.

The customer comes first!" ["But what about our profit?"] "The customer comes first! ["But they don't have any money!"] "The customer... (etc.)."

["What do you think?"] "It's crazy." (wave arms while stating) ["What is that supposed to mean?"] (wave arms wildly) ["Huh?"] (repeat as necessary)

I would like to answer your question directly, but considering your past reactions / ability to cope with the truth / emotional instability, I feel that to do so would be a disservice to you at this time." [Other person gets (justifiably) upset.] "See, what did I tell you. You are flying off the handle already!"

After using any of the previous ploys, point out any physical manifestations of the other person's irritation as further proof that they are wrong.

You seem to be sweating a lot. Of course, I would be too if I had to try to support your flimsy position."

Why look, your lips are quivering. You have a hard time admitting defeat, don't you?"

Use an actual, fabricated, or hypothetical statement from some universally credible source.

What would your father say if he could hear you now?"

As it says in the Bible: 'God helps those who help themselves'."

If Albert Einstein were here I think he would agree with me. Didn't he once say 'If an idea does not at first seem absurd, it is probably incorrect'?"

FAST ANSWER:The technique here is to answer so quickly or in such detail that no one could ever doubt the response.

["Do you really think that anyone else agrees with this crazy idea?"] "52.359% of Americans surveyed agreed."

If proven wrong or corrected in any way that you do not like, revenge is the answer here. This can be accomplished by throwing a fit, glowering at the person with a death stare, complete withdrawal or pregnant silence, or some other form of dramatic emotional blackmail as manipulation. The idea is to train people not to correct you in the future by making them pay dearly for correcting you now. Also known as the THAT WILL TEACH YOU technique and/or THE ESCALATION PLOY.

If you're going to be that way about it, then...."

You don't love me (sob!)."

A specific escalation of YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT; make it seem as if the other person is attacking you rather than making a simple point or correction, especially if you suspect that the other party is correct. Rather than staying on the subject, begin to act hurt--as if you have been viciously attacked as a human being--rather than admit you are wrong, or could do better, etc.

I can't do anything right..."

I suppose in your eyes I am just a total failure."

["I think the reason people are honking and gesticulating at you is that the sign says MERGE, not STOP."] "Well, if you think me such a terrible, horrible person...."

Pretend that the reason the other person isn't able to agree with you is that they are not listening, or at least not hard enough.

If you'd just listen you'd have heard me the first time when I said that...."

Since you obviously weren't listening when I said this before, I'm forced to repeat myself."
To take an extraordinary amount of time or go to great technical depth to wear out the other person and get time on your side. The other person is pushed to give up and agree with you rather than endure the torture of hearing you go through another sincere, long-winded answer.

Since you are a true intellectual, I will have to give you a more comprehensive answer than most... Blah, Blah, Blah... (use WORD SALAD technique).

Now that I have answered your point, do you have any other concerns?"
(Repeat until the other person collapses or gives in.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:06 AM 0 comments