Sanctuary for the Abused
Saturday, March 31, 2018
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,
Thursday, March 29, 2018
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 )
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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)
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
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.
Monday, March 26, 2018
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.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
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.
Saturday, March 24, 2018
"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
Friday, March 23, 2018
Abnormal Cortisol Levels, Depression, Anxiety & PTSD = Signs of Long-Term Abuse & Psychological Trauma
Thursday, March 22, 2018
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, March 21, 2018
Restraining Orders May Restrain Nothing!
Victims & Survivors need to know... RESTRAINING ORDERS ARE NOT THE BE-ALL ANSWER!
Psychopaths & Narcissists as well as other pathologicals often ignore or breach the restraining order -- and police far too often do not follow up!
The increase in stalking cases a result of determined harassers looking for alternative methods to target victims
When it comes to harassment, there is a vast range of behavior. Much of it will not justify (or win) any lawsuits, but this doesn’t change the nature of what it is. And quite a few experts have described categories of harassers, and types of harassment, to help make some sense out of the confusion that most people feel about the issue.
Real harassers are abusers or predators who are out to exploit, and care only about their own needs and agendas.
A real harasser is someone who will continue to try to harass or predate despite sexual or other harassment law, and even after being given education about the seriousness of their actions, or the effects of their actions. In most cases, they will simply blame the victim. They rarely take responsibility themselves. They will just change their tactics so that they can continue to harass and exploit in such a way that the victim/s, or the law, can’t do anything about it.
One method for real harassers is stalking. Most forms of stalking are forms of sexual harassment because they are attempts to force a relationship with someone who is unwilling or unavailable. Stalking is the extreme, but covert, version of refusing to take ”No,” or “Leave me alone!” for an answer–you know, behaviors that were the catalysts for sexual harassment law.
Stalking has always been a problem, but experts will tell you that it is clearly on the rise.
I think the increase in stalking is partially a result of sexual harassment law, and real sexual harassers looking for ways to target their victims without fear of consequence for their actions. Because it is covert, it helps them get around sexual harassment law. It enables them to harass anonymously, and to more easily mask their motives and intentions. It also makes gathering evidence next to impossible for the victim, and without concrete evidence, there is no hope for them to even get an investigation.
On top of this, it makes the victim look paranoid, if not crazy, if they should report the problem to anyone.
In it’s most subtle forms (i.e. surveillance, sending anonymous “love” mail/ emails, hang-up phone calls), stalking can be like a chinese water torture. However, most stalking methods are more extreme, invasive, and destructive. (Breaking and entering, phone tapping, computer hacking, character defamation and slander, obscene mail or phone calls, etc.) Some stalkers will try to organize groups of people to assist them in their harassment campaign – called gang stalking or organized stalking. They usually seek out people in their victim’s community, utilizing the victim’s ”real world” community and/or Internet communities. In fact, stalkers often work to take control of, or destroy, a victim’s support network, resources, and options. This leaves the victim vulnerable, or even dependent on the stalker for survival, at least in the mind of the stalker.
Being stalked is NOT flattering – it is a form of psychological abuse and violence. And while stalking motives are usually sexual (or love obsessional), the stalking behaviors themselves may not be–that is another way real harassers can use it to get around sexual harassment law. (For example, watching someone over an extended period of time isn’t overtly sexual, at least not in of itself.)
Moreover, the psychological damage to the victim can be devastating. One expert writes,
”Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he (or she) has no relationship (or no longer has)….Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).”(Rokkers)
To most stalking victims, being stalked is like being put through a long, slow rape. For gang stalking victims, it’s like a gang rape. (The very insightful judge in the Christina Orozco case referred to her actions as akin to “murder.”)
And being stalked can be very frightening, regardless of whether or not the stalker’s activities are overtly violent. Physical attacks, even murders, can occur after long periods of ”more passive” stalking activities. Often, the violence is precipitated by the stalker’s being forced to face they have been rejected by their target.
Besides suffering the psychological damage, and damage to life, reputation, relationships, and options, most stalking victims live in fear that something will push their stalkers over the edge to physical violence.
Unfortunately, if a state or country recognizes stalking at all, this is mostly in the context of direct/overt violence, or clearly escalating violence. So, if a stalker avoids overtly violent acts, they can pretty much do as they please. In other words, if the stalker does not threaten or attack, a stalking victim is out of luck. They will not even be able to get a restraining order.
As long as they use stalking to disguise their motives, activities, and/or their identities, they are free from worry about being held accountable by sexual harassment law. And as long as they keep their stalking activities from being/seeming overtly violent, they will suffer no consequence from stalking law. Even better (for them), they can operate for as long as they wish.
And there is nothing the victim can do about it. (Suicides have been reported as victims use this as the only means they have to bringing an end to the harassment.)
It also makes stalking a good retaliation tactic for harassers who have been disciplined (i.e. been demoted, lost job) as many are using this as a way of getting revenge against an harassment target who filed a grievance against them – retaliation laws do not include stalking, either.
In my own situation, I took a course from the female professor who turned out to be a lesbian who quickly became interested in me. (That I’m not a lesbian didn’t deter her as she became obsessed with getting me to “try it” with her.) She began by making a pass, which she clearly saw right off the bat was a mistake, particularly since she did it in front of witnesses. But like most real harassers, she was not willing to give up. She simply revised her methods and began stalking me with an extraordinary determination. It is still amazing to me how far she went, and the depth and breadth or her obsession.
She used classic stalking tactics, such as surveillance and character defamation, the latter enabling her to destroy not only my reputation, but all my relationships and options, both personal and professional. She used cyberstalking extensively in her pursuit and surveillance, using this to watch me and try to interact with me at numerous Internet forums. She even organized groups of people to assist her (gang stalking), enlisting people not only in my “real world” but also in Internet communities I frequented, or she thought I might join. Because she was a department chair and a psychologist, no one questioned her character or motives.
Current stalking laws are woefully inadequate, and don’t even begin to confront the problem, let alone deal with it.
But even if the laws are revised to protect victims from the psychological violence of stalking, real harassers will simply find other ways to abuse. Any stumbling block placed before them, they will get around. It is a game to them. It is in their nature.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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
Monday, March 19, 2018
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a complex of problems that tend to be long-standing. Perhaps the real key to understanding BPD is to realize that the hallmark of this disorder is emotional instability, or even instability in general. This instability is manifest in many areas of a person's life.
1. People with BPD show marked shifts in mood, which often last only hours. One minute the person is apparently happy, the next the person is crying uncontrollably or is totally enraged.
2. Thus, another mark of mood instability is anger that is inappropriate, intense and/or uncontrollable.
3. The instability in behavior is marked by impulsive and often dangerous acts. Self-mutilation or suicidal threats and gestures are common among people with BPD. Many people with BPD say that cutting on themselves or burning themselves provides a sense of relief and calm that they have difficulty finding otherwise.
4. Other indications of instability in behavior is shown by potentially self-damaging impulsive behaviors: alcohol/drug abuse, compulsive spending, gambling, eating disorders, shoplifting, reckless driving, compulsive sexual behavior.
5. In the area of identity, the instability is shown by marked, persistent identity disturbance: self -image, sexual orientation, career choice or other long-term goals; friendships, values. People with BPD often feel they do not know who they are or what they think or what their opinions are. Often they try to be what they think other people want them to be.
6. Such a lack of clear identity often leads to chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.
7. Relationships for the person with BPD are understandably unstable, chaotic, and intense. These relationships are often characterized by what has been called "splitting". Splitting occurs when the self and others are viewed as all good or all bad. People with BPD tend to see the world in black and white terms, never grey. One minute the self or another person is seen as wonderful and the next, the self or the other person is seen as the devil incarnate. It seems like the person with BPD is unable to see the self or others in the full context of life. It doesn't really matter that yesterday you did something good. Only this moment's behavior counts in the evaluation.
8. Because of this inability to see things in context the person with BPD has difficulty seeing that others will continue to be involved with them. As a result, they become frantic to avoid real or imagined abandonment. "Just because you were my friend yesterday does not mean that you will be my friend today." To control these fears of abandonment, Borderlines often alternate between clinging and distancing behaviors. This phenomenon has been called: "I hate you, don't leave me."
Borderlines have a great difficulty in trusting people and themselves. They are hypersensitive to criticism or rejection and often feel they "need" someone else in order to survive. But since they do not trust others to stay and not abandon them, Borderlines show an extreme need for affection and reassurance by the other people in their lives.
Nevertheless, some people may have an unusually high degree of interpersonal sensitivity, insight and empathy, perhaps as a way to stay attuned to the signals given out by others of impending abandonment.
9. When under particular stress, the person with BPD may show transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. In fact, a brief psychotic reaction can occur in which the Borderline experiences delusional thinking and hallucinations. This usually clears quite rapidly.
Other (non-DSM) characteristics:
As noted above, Borderlines typically have a lot of difficulty with what is called "object constancy." This is the realization that what a person was yesterday is a good predictor of what they will be today. Borderlines seem to have trouble seeing this. They do not trust that a person who was nice yesterday is likely to be nice today. It also extends to the concern that just because a person was here yesterday, does not mean they will be here today. As a result, the Borderline has considerable difficulty being alone. If you're not with me 100% of the time, how will I know you will stay with me?"
Boundary issues are also problematic for the Borderline. It is hard to place limits on others for fear of abandonment. The separation between "me" and "not me" are blurred.
Needless to day, because of all this instability in mood, identity, behavior and relationships, the person with BPD often leads a chaotic life.
According to Linehan (1993), the person who develops BPD is born with innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower level of stress. They are temperamentally more reactive than other children. When such reactive children are raised in what she calls " an invalidating environment" the groundwork is set for developing Borderline Personality Disorder. An invalidating environment is one in which the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the child are negated by the adults in his/her life. For example, a child says "I'm sad" but the parent responds "No, you're not." This is an invalidation of the child's feelings. Over time, this leads to confusion in the child about the reality of his or her own perceptions of the world and self.
Many mental health professionals have found that a high number of people with BPD have experienced severe abuse as a child. In fact, some have gone so far as to assume that if a person is Borderline, they must have been severely abused when growing up. This has resulted in much blaming of families/parents. "However, the scientific evidence does not justify the conclusion that the family carries the primary responsibility for the development of borderline personality disorder." (Paris). Research has indicated that while many Borderlines have experienced severe abuse, not all have. It is therefore inappropriate to assume childhood abuse when presented with a person with BPD.
Low serotonin activity has also been implicated in this disorder but medications targeting serotonin levels do not seem very effective. It appears that BPD is more than simply a "chemical imbalance."
Borderline Personality Disorder usually begins in adolescence or youth. Diagnosis at this stage, however, should be done cautiously since many of the indicators of BPD are characteristic of "normal" adolescence.
There is a discrepancy between the rates of BPD in men and women, with 80% of sufferers being women. The reason for this is presently unknown.
One out of ten people with BPD will complete suicide. However, if they live long enough, BPD tends to "burn out" in middle age. Functioning seems to improve by the ages of 35 or 40 with some Borderlines being able to manage a successful career, family life, etc. A minority will continue to be highly symptomatic into middle age.
There is no specific treatment for BPD (PsychCentral). Medications may take edge off impulsive symptoms. Low doses of neuroleptics (antipsychotic medication) may be helpful. However, no pharmacological agent has any specific effect on the underlying borderline pathology.
Psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment. However there is a high drop out rate from psychotherapy. When a borderline does stay in therapy, most of the work in therapy centers around decreasing impulsive behaviors and learning to exercise better judgment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly Linehan's Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, which targets impulsivity and emotional instability has been shown by research to be highly effective at least in the short term (i.e. 1 year).
Since many clinicians believe that BPD is caused by traumatic childhoods, there has been a tendency to focus on uncovering negative events so as to help patients "process" them. "However, there is no evidence that these methods are successful. In fact, there is some reason to suspect they can make patients worse by focusing too much on the past, and not enough on the present. In addition, borderline patients can be particularly prone to develop false memories in psychotherapy"(Paris).
Because of the risk of suicide, clinicians often use contracts to help ensure that the client does not commit suicide. However, hospitalization may become necessary if the risk becomes too great. Hospitalization is typically short-term and focused on reducing the risk of self-harm.
Support groups can also be of benefit for the Borderline. However, care should be taken that the instability of one Borderline does not "feed" the instability of another. This is a phenomenon that has been seen often in hospital settings where one borderline cuts herself and afterwards, several others start doing the same thing.
Because of the myriad symptoms shown by a person suffering from BPD, there is a risk that the person will be misdiagnosed. With a focus on the instability of mood, Borderlines are often called "Bipolar." If the focus is on the brief psychotic symptoms, the person may be diagnosed as "Schizoaffective." Such misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate or over-medication by physicians.
Living with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is painful and distressful. Finding a support group or even consulting a mental health professional may be helpful in dealing with this disorder.
CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE HELP OR INFORMATION ABOUT BPD
Linehan, M.M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guildford Press.
Paris, J. "Borderline Personality Disorder" in The Journal
PsychCentral. "Borderline Personality Disorder."
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Communication & the Functional Sociopath
By William Polowniak, Ph.D.
Fritz Perls a famous Jewish psychotherapist known for his founding of Gestalt therapy once said that refusal to communicate is the most toxic human behavior. I am convinced that he is right. Refusal to communicate really means refusal to listen and to enter into dialogue especially when we disagree. Usually people who refuse to communicate live their lives as “functional sociopaths.” That is, they are self-centered, they do as they please with total disregard for others and they indulge in subterfuge, self-delusion and see themselves as persecuted. Their delusions of self-persecution cause them to become angry manipulators.
So why label people in “either or” categories as “toxic” or “nourishing” people? Labels themselves are dangerous and often unfair, but for the wise person they do help us see what to avoid. They help us to invest our energies in more productive ways. When we use labels, however, we must be aware that labeling others without caution is in itself a toxic behavior. Let us “be aware” when we choose to label others or ourselves.
“Action speaks louder than words” Everyone’s mother has probably said this during our childhood more than once. My father used to say “Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.” The typical behaviors of those who refuse to communicate are labeled by psychologists as the “fight?flight” response. Those who refuse to communicate are usually adept at manipulation, they have toxic behavior in general and when confronted by circumstances that proves their position is faulty, they will attack or run away, or they will attack and run away. "Toxic people are adept at pushing our buttons and provoking an over-reaction in others. But the up side of that is that they challenge us to remain centered and be a positive influence even if there is no reward to us directly. Our efforts to not add to the pain and suffering toxic people use to justify their emotional cruelty and brutal behavior is our best strategy. If they do not run they will not listen using a variety of tyrannical behaviors. They begin by raising their voices, then will shout, scream and rant and rave often appearing to be a raving lunatic. They typically indulge in anger, condemnation and blame. They are adept at interrupting and often will not allow their adversary to finish even one sentence. We often see people like this on TV talk shows."
So how does a person deal with those who refuse to communicate? The best defense is listening, in silence, and adopting the posture of a detective. While listening, try to discover what is really at the root of the problem. All the while, if you must communicate, focus on short, simple and clear statements using "I" statements frequently; that is, if your adversary permits any pauses in their onslaught of anger, condemnation and blame. At the very least, actively listening in silence and non-judgment will provide your adversary with needed catharsis, will often defuse their anger and will not add to their fear of retaliation.
Another thing that helps is to rely on trust and the great healer—time. We’ve all heard the biblical quote “Vengeance in mine, sayeth the Lord.” The fact is that time and life will usually bite these kinds of people in the behind when they least expect it. They sabotage their own life by alienating others, when in fact they desperately need and want love and affection.
Another helpful thing to realize is that to the wise person, knowing that “not communicating” can often communicate more than we realize. Not retaliating, not interrupting the interrupter, but listening in silence or basically allowing the adversary to wallow in their own delusions of persecution will ultimately allow the TRUTH to emerge. Reality is the second best teacher. Do you know what the best teacher is? Pain. Very often only pain and suffering can communicate to the person who refuses to communicate.
A final thing that is helpful is to remember that “help is not always helpful.” Recently I tried to help a person who was wallowing in her anger and hostility. Her remark to me was “I don’t need your help.” Often it is wise to avoid unnecessary contact with people who seem to be waiting to pick a fight or to blow up. If communication is really necessary it should be done in writing (and keep a copy) so that it is less likely to elicit a reaction or temper tantrum. And in the worse cases, if a toxic person retaliates and legal action becomes necessary to remedy the situation, what you have in writing may be valuable. In addition if a toxic person acts out threats they will thereby create the proof you will need to legally prosecute for blackmail and malicious mischief. Those of us who believe in community do not like to think of things like legal action or legal defense but the reality is that sometimes legal remedies do in fact create community and can force a more healthy emotional situation to prevail. Legal remedies can show the bully and the emotional tyrant that you are not afraid.
Whenever a person threatens to take me to court and to sue me, my response is that “I love to go to court with people like you. Please sue me. Do it now.” You would be surprised at how this defuses the pompous threats of manipulating tyrants. And, the truth is that I really do love to go to court with people who think that their threats can frighten me into submitting to their demands. In court your adversary will show the judge their irrational behavior and you can force them to listen to reason when it is your turn to speak. You can also ask a judge to admonish your adversary and you can ask for and receive legal costs and punitive damages. But remember, your best defense is to always be honest, fair and loving and kind— especially when it is difficult.
It seems paradoxical but genuine communication begins and ends with listening. Silence is golden. Words are often useless and unnecessary.
I collect quotes. One of my favorites is from the Dhammapada. “Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace.” Another favorite quote states, “Must we waste this moment on words?”
One benefit of silence is that it allows the body and the being to relax into a natural meditative state of being. In this state of mind, we learn to listen to our bodies. More than that, we learn the difference between our cravings and what our body really needs for health.
I hope these thoughts find you well and healthy, and I hope I can learn from my own advice by listening more and improving my communication through active listening. I sometimes forget.
something to think about when your abuser just stops talking to you, says he/she "needs time" or "its no longer a matter for discussion and I am never speaking to you again" and gives you the silent treatment.
Turning their back on you and not allowing you to work thru your hurt and anger with them can be a form of cowardice & sadism.
The behavior also ties into seductive mind-control. Distancing yourself at critical moments makes your 'target' want you more and then the hunter becomes the hunted. (i.e. The Art of Seduction - Greene)