Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Recognize the Pattern & Seek Help!

By Mayo Clinic staff

He says he's sorry and that it won't happen again. But you fear it will. Angry outbursts, hurtful words, sometimes a slap or a punch. You may start to doubt your own judgment, or wonder whether you're going crazy. Maybe you think you've imagined the whole thing.

But you haven't. Domestic violence can and does happen to people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. Domestic violence happens to men and to same-sex partners, but most often domestic violence involves men abusing their female partners. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that as many as 4 million women suffer abuse from their husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends or intimate partners in the United States each year.

Domestic violence — also called domestic abuse, intimate partner violence or battering — occurs between people in intimate relationships. It takes many forms, including coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

Without help, abuse will continue and could worsen. Many resources are available to help you understand your options and to support you. No one deserves to be abused.

An abusive relationship: It's about power and control

Though there are no typical victims of domestic violence, abusive relationships do share similar characteristics. In all cases, the abuser aims to exert power and control over his partner.

"A lot of people think domestic violence is about anger, and it really isn't," says Diana Patterson, a licensed social worker and violence prevention coordinator at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "Batterers do tend to take their anger out on their intimate partner. But it's not really about anger. It's about trying to instill fear and wanting to have power and control in the relationship."

But anger is just one way that an abuser tries to gain authority. The batterer may also turn to physical violence — kicking, punching, grabbing, slapping or strangulation, for example. The abuser may also use sexual violence — forcing you to have sexual intercourse or to engage in other sexual activities against your will. Verbal abuse and mental manipulation also count.

In an abusive relationship, the abuser may use varying tactics to gain power and control, including:

Children as pawns. Accuses you of bad parenting, threatens to take the children away, uses the children to relay messages, or threatens to report you to children's protective services.

Coercion and threats. Threatens to hurt other family members, pets, children or self.

Denial and blame. Denies that the abuse occurs and shifts responsibility for the abusive behavior onto you. This may leave you confused and unsure of yourself or make you feel like you're going crazy.

Economic abuse. Controls finances, refuses to share money, makes you account for money spent and doesn't want you to work outside the home. The abuser may also try to sabotage your work performance by forcing you to miss work or by calling you frequently at work.

Emotional (and Verbal) abuse. Uses put-downs, insults, criticism or name-calling to make you feel bad about yourself.

Intimidation. Uses certain looks, actions or gestures to instill fear. The abuser may break things, destroy property, abuse pets or display weapons.

Isolation. Limits your contact with family and friends, requires you to get permission to leave the house, doesn't allow you to work or attend school, and controls your activities and social events. The abuser may ask where you've been, track your time and whereabouts, or check the odometer on your car or hack into your computer.

Power. Makes all major decisions, defines the roles in your relationship, is in charge of the home and social life, and treats you like a servant or possession.

Recognizing abuse: Know the signs

It may not be easy to identify abuse. An abusive relationship can start subtly. The abuser may criticize your appearance or may be unreasonably jealous. Gradually, the abuse becomes more frequent, severe and potentially life-threatening.

"It's important to know that these relationships don't happen overnight," says Patterson. "It's a gradual process — a slow disintegration of a person's sense of self."

However, many characteristics signify an abusive relationship. For example, you may be abused if you:

- Have ever been hit, kicked, shoved or threatened with violence

- Feel that you have no choice about how you spend your time, where you go or what you wear

- Have been accused by your partner of things you've never done

- Must ask your partner for permission to make everyday decisions

- Feel bad about yourself because your partner calls you names, insults you or puts you down

- Limit time with your family and friends because of your partner's demands

- Submit to sexual intercourse or engage in sexual acts against your will or better judgement

- Accept your partner's decisions because you're afraid of ensuing anger

- Are accused of being unfaithful

- Change your behavior in an effort to not anger your partner

Pregnancy is a particularly perilous time for an abused woman. Not only is your health at risk, but also the health of your unborn child. Abuse can begin or may increase during pregnancy.

Breaking the cycle: Difficult, but doable with help

Domestic violence is part of a continuing cycle that's difficult to break. If you're in an abusive situation, you may recognize this pattern:

Your abuser strikes using words or actions.

Your abuser may beg for forgiveness, offer gifts or promise to change.

Your abuser becomes tense, angry or depressed.

Your abuser promises to stop but repeats the abusive behavior.

Typically each time the abuse occurs, it worsens, and the cycle shortens. Breaking this pattern of violence alone and without help is difficult.

"When you live in an environment of chaos, stress and fear, you start doubting yourself and your ability to take care of yourself," says Patterson. "It can really unravel your sense of reality and self-esteem."

So it's important to recognize that you may not be in a position to resolve the situation on your own. You may need outside help, and that's OK. Without help, the abuse will likely continue. Leaving the abusive relationship may be the only way to break the cycle.

Getting ready to leave: Use a safety plan

Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. You're the only person who knows the safest time to leave. Make sure you prepare a safety plan so that you can act quickly when the time is right.

Consider taking these precautions:

* Arrange a safety signal with a neighbor as an alert to call the police if necessary.

* Prepare an emergency bag that includes items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes, important papers, money, extra keys and prescription medications.

*Know exactly where you'll go and how you'll get there, even if you have to leave in the middle of the night.

* Call a local women's shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 to find out about legal options and resources available to you, before you need them.

* If you have school-age children, notify the school authorities about custody arrangements, warn them about possible threats and advise the school on what information to keep confidential.

* As part of a safety plan, avoid making long-distance phone calls from home because the abuser could trace the calls to find out where you're going. And the abuser may be able to intercept your cell phone conversations using a scanner. Switch to a corded phone if you're relaying sensitive information.

* Also, be aware that the abuser may be able to monitor your Internet activities and access your e-mail account. Change your passwords, get a new e-mail account or access a computer at a friend's house or a local library.

Where to find help: Options abound

In an emergency situation, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. If you aren't in immediate danger, consider contacting one of the following resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE or (800) 799-7233. Provides crisis referrals to in-state or out-of-state resources, such as women's shelters or crisis centers.

Your doctor or hospital emergency room. Treats any injuries and refers you to safe housing and other local resources.

Local women's crisis center. Typically provides 24-hour, emergency shelter for you and your children, advice on legal matters, advocacy and support services, and evaluation and monitoring of abusers. Some shelters have staff members who speak multiple languages.

Counseling or mental health center. Most communities have agencies that provide individual counseling and support groups to women in abusive relationships. Be wary of anyone who advises couples or marriage counseling. This isn't appropriate for abusive relationships.

Local court. Your district court can help you obtain a court order, which legally mandates the abuser stay away from you or face arrest. These are typically called orders for protection or restraining orders. Advocates are available in many communities to help you complete the paperwork and guide you through the court process.

"There are many resources available to help you if you are being abused." says Patterson. "You can have and you deserve a peaceful life."

Labels: , , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:25 AM 3 comments


Friday, April 27, 2018

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents (ACONS)

Is Love Enough?
When lay people and professionals alike talk about dysfunctional families, often the question arises: Did the mother love the children? Or, did the father love the children?

Parental love is a very complicated emotion. If a parent compulsively looks after their children's health, insisting they eat only organic food, and natural vitamins, is this a form of love? How about if a parent makes a child come home after school and forbids any socializing until the studies are completed to her satisfaction--because this way the child will get into Harvard. Is this love? If the parent is looking after the child's best interests, then arguably their actions reflect love. But where is the line drawn? Some parents say to their children:
"Everything I did, I did for you--fed you, clothed you, put a roof over your head--all of it for you."
While probably an exaggeration, there is still a bit of truth here. Was there love? Probably. One can usually find a kernel of love towards their children in even the most narcissistic of parents. "I love you because you reflect well on me" is still love, however sullied. (One might argue that love in the service of selfish needs is not really love--but the line between selfish and unselfish love is a fuzzy one indeed.) Furthermore, the tears a narcissistic parent sheds when their child dies are absolutely real.

Simply put, love is too complicated an emotion to be of much use in distinguishing narcissistic and healthy parents. In my experience, if you ask adult children of narcissistic parents whether they were loved, many if not most will say "yes, in a controlling, self-centered way" even after they've completed therapy. Another variable, however, is far more telling. The critical questions are: "Did my parent respect and value what I said, see myself as independent from them in a positive way, and feel that my thoughts and feelings were as important as theirs." In other words, did my parent allow me "voice?" No adult child of a narcissistic parent can answer these questions in the affirmative.

These questions define the critical injury to adult children with narcissistic parents. Interestingly, many such people have no problem finding "love." But deep affection does not satisfy them unless accompanied by the granting of "voice" by a powerful person. As a result, adult children of narcissistic parents often go from bad relationship to bad relationship in search of "voice."

For parents, the implications are clear. Love is not enough. Client after client has taught me this unequivocal lesson:
If you want to raise emotionally healthy children, you must give them the gift of "voice."



Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:20 AM 112 comments


Thursday, April 26, 2018

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


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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, April 24, 2018

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