Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Couldn’t Be! Do "Alleged" Abusers Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt?


Rabbi Mark Dratch
JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse Free Environment

Victims of abuse often face great doubts and skepticism when they speak out against their perpetrators. One of the most insidious reasons for these doubts is that abusers are most often people who are well known to their victims and to the family, friends or community officials to whom the revelations are made. The accusations are met with incredulousness. Perpetrators can be anyone: husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and siblings; rabbis and teachers; doctors and therapists; counselors, coaches and neighbors. This familiarity is not only a factor in the reaction of others, but it is a significant obstacle for the victim herself as she contemplates revealing the abuse and asking for the help and support she needs.

At first glance, Jewish law seems to support this approach. The famous Mishnah in Pirke Avot brings R. Yehoshua ben Perahyah’s teaching, “Ve-hevei dan et kol ha-adam le-kaf zekhut—Judge everyone favorably.”1 Likewise, it is forbidden to be hoshed be-kesherim, suspicious of those who have unblemished reputations.2 In fact, we are promised that if we give others the benefit of the doubt, God Himself will act towards us in the same manner.3

The Talmud illustrates the importance of judging others favorably by recounting three innocent situations that might easily have raised concerns of inappropriate behavior. The first is about an employer who did not pay his employee the wages he was owed, claiming that he had no money, no land, no cattle, and no crop. When questioned about this, the employee said that he assumed that his employer had nothing with which to pay him because his employer had invested all his assests, had leased his lands and cattle, and had not yet tithed his produce. The second story is about a prominent rabbi who, after redeeming a young woman who had been taken hostage, had her sleep at his feet on the road home. When questioned, his students related that they did not suspect their teacher of any inappropriate behavior but that they assumed that he did this in order to protect her from those who might take advantage of her. And the third story recounts the activities of Rabbi Yehoshua who entered the home of a Roman matron by himself, closing the door and secreting himself with her. His students assumed that their teacher had important private matters to discuss with her. These generous, innocent and uncritical assumptions proved to be the correct in each of the cases.4

Why Judge Favorably?
There are a number of reasons why it is proper to give people the benefit of the doubt. One is that the biblical injunction “be-tzedek tishpot et ‘amitekhah” which refers to the judicial obligation, “you shall judge your neighbor with righteousness,” also is interpreted to mean “you shall judge your neighbor as righteous.” Society’s interests are served not only by advancing the cause of justice but by furthering the integrity and innocence of each and every one of its members.

Another reason is based on the principle of hazakah, a legal theory that enshrines the status quo and enables us to make certain presumptions about people and their behavior—they are presumed to be as they have always been. Because Jewish law presumes that the status quo continues until it is demonstrated to be otherwise (this is the principle of hazakah), every person has a hezkat kashrut and is to be considered innocent until proven guilty.5 One formulation of this hazakah posits that since people are born guiltless and honest, they continue to be so.6 A second formulation focuses on the established behavior of a good person. His previous behavior patterns have established a presumption that all his actions are good and noble.7 A variation of this argument focuses on a different, yet related, principle. It looks not at the character of this particular person or on his actions, but on the character of Jews in general. Since the rov (the majority) of Jews behave in good and noble ways, the odds are that this person is part of that majority. Thus, we judge him and his actions favorably.8 It is also possible that we are swayed by the rov of a person’s actions. Since he generally behaves appropriately, we must assume that any specific behavior is proper.9

Another approach that explains the requirement of judging others favorably suggests that in considering suspicious behavior we are to assume that we do not know the entire story, that we do not properly understand another’s motivations, or that the unseemly act may have merely been an innocent mistake.10 In fact, we are warned not to judge another “until we have been in his place.”11 And even when we observe unquestionable misconduct by a Torah scholar, a person whose piety and conduct are presumed to be beyond reproach, we must assume that he has immediately repented for his misdeeds.12

Another reason for a person to give others the benefit of the doubt is that this attitude is the key to maintaining good interpersonal relationships. After all, it is not uncommon for those who live in close proximity to each other to say or do things that may be perceived as slights or insults; relationships suffer. Doubt, resentment and suspicion are not uncommon. Unless we are generous in our judgment and forgiving in our dealings, disagreement with our friends and alienation from them are possible. Consequently, giving another the benefit of the doubt ensures the integrity of familial and communal relationships.13 R. Avraham Yitzhak Kook explained that disputes arise because we do not know another person’s thoughts and motivations. However, he writes, by giving others the benefit of the doubt, peaceful relations will result.14

Others see this principle as a means of protecting one’s own moral integrity. Favorable judgment impacts one’s own perspective of the world, training him to see only the good and noble, and denying evil. Such an approach inspires a positive and optimistic world view in which, ultimately, all people are good and all people do good things. This protects him from the pernicious influence of evil activities and immorality.15 Favorable judgment also helps focus a person’s attention not on the failings of others, but on his own weaknesses and flaws, and can serve as a catalyst for introspection, self-growth, and repentance.16

Judging Favorably: Obligation or Meritorious Act?
There is a difference of opinion as to whether one is obligated to judge others favorably17 or whether doing so is just an ethical act.18 Furthermore, there is a dispute as to whether we have to judge everyone in this manner19 or whether our favorable judgment is due only to the religious elite.20 Rambam is of the opinion that, as a matter of law, righteous people must always be given the benefit of the doubt and that wicked people must always be judged negatively, regardless of the apparent nature of any particular action. He applies R. Yehoshua ben Perahyah’s teaching—hevei dan le-kaf zekhut—only to actions of people who are beinonim, neither wicked nor righteous.21 Others apply this principle to strangers, those whose characters are unknown to us and thus we have no context by which to make assumptions about their behavior.22 Maharam Shik and Avodat Yisrael, in their commentaries to Pirke Avot, limit its application to those individuals mentioned in the Mishnah—friends and teachers.

Always?

Once they are before the court, the opinion of R. Yehudah b. Tabbi, Avot 1:8, applies:

Despite the call to judge favorably, there is room for suspicion and for precaution. Another Talmudic dictate instructs, “A person should always consider others as thieves, while honoring them like Rabban Gamliel.”24 An example of this approach is found in a story about R. Yehoshua and how he treated a house guest with great suspicion. After an evening of eating and drinking, R. Yehoshua showed his guest to the roof where he would spend the night. After the guest climbed the ladder, R. Yehoshua, without his guest’s knowledge, removed the only safe exit. In the middle of the night, the guest gathered much of his host’s property and sought to escape “like a thief in the night.” The ladder having been removed, the thief fell off the roof and was injured. When the thief complained about the missing ladder, R. Yehoshua castigated him saying that he should have realized that he would have been under suspicion.25
How do we resolve the tension between the requirement to judge favorably on the one hand, and the need for caution and suspicion on the other?

One answer is to make a distinction between those we know who generally behave appropriately and strangers whose motives and dispositions are unknown to us. The former require our sympathetic assessment, the latter do not.26 Others suggest that one should be wary and suspicious of others, but he must treat them respectfully as if they were innocent.27

Consider the Mishnah, Yoma 18b, which relates how the priestly elders charged the High Priest prior to his officiating in the Temple’s Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. To ensure that he would follow the rituals according to the rabbinic, Pharasaic requirements, and not in accord with the interpretations of the Saduccees. They adjured him, took their leave, as they said to him: “Sir High Priest, we are messengers of the court and you are our messenger and the messenger of the court. We adjure you by He Who made His name to dwell in this house that you do not change anything of what we said to you.” [The High Priest] turned aside and wept and they turned aside and wept.

The Talmud explains that “he turned aside and wept” because they suspected him of being a Sadducee, and they turned aside and wept for having suspected him and not judging him favorably.

Yehudah b. Tabbai said: [A judge] should not play the part of an advocate (i.e., should not suggest to either party a line of argument); while [the parties in a lawsuit] are standing before you, regard them as if they were [both] guilty (and thus you will assess their words critically and appropriately). And when they leave your presence, [after] having submitted to the judgment, regard them as if they were [both] guiltless (i.e., each thought that justice was on his side and comported himself appropriately during the legal procedures).28
Rambam, in his commentary on the Mishnah dealing with the exhortation of the elders of the High Priest before Yom Kippur states that positive presumptions are suspended with regard to strangers when there is a hekhreh gadol, a critical need to do so. Another resolution is offered by R. Moshe Soloveitchik who suggested that in the case of the High Priest and the elders on Yom Kippur, the elders were justified in their actions. He submits that while one may look at a person’s past behavior in a charitable light, such openness is not required, and may be inappropriate, with regard to future actions.

The Rest of the Story
This predisposition to give others the benefit of the doubt is limited in its application. If we accept that argument that it is based either on hazakah (legal presumption of the status quo) or on rov (the majority of his actions), it is important to note that these principles are operative only in cases of doubt and only when it is impossible to otherwise investigate and establish the facts of this case. While one may initially want to reserve final judgment about the allegations, one is obligated to follow through and establish, to the best of his ability, the facts of the case.29

In addition, the hazakah of innocence is a weak one. Although people are born innocent or have established a track record of the same, King Solomon himself reminded us that “There is not a righteous person on earth that does good and that does not sin.” (Eccl. 7:20). We need to be concerned about those failures, especially when they may be harmful to others.


Furthermore, the obligation to judge others favorably, according to the Mishnah, applies to all people, including the accuser. If we are to give others the benefit of the doubt, we must do so for the accuser as well. We are not to assume automatically that the allegations are false, nor are we to assume automatically that the accusations are true. We must treat all parties with deference, as if all were innocent of wrong doing, but we must investigate carefully and thoroughly, and in a timely manner. Of course, as we shall see, we must also act with great prudence, assuring that those who make the accusations as well as other innocents do not come to harm either by further abuse or by retaliation of the accused.

In addition, we cannot let our favorable judgment cause us to ignore possible violations of Jewish law. The Torah obligates us to rebuke those who have sinned30 as well as to protect the safety and welfare of the community.31 Automatically deciding another’s innocence prevents these obligations from being fulfilled.32 And this obligation of rebuke applies even when the one accused of doing wrong is one’s parent or teacher.33 In fact, R. Yehudah was greatly rewarded for calling his teacher, Shmuel, to task.34 A distinction can be made between giving someone the benefit of the doubt and finding him guiltless.35 The former does not require the latter and justice is served when victims are believed, their accusations validated, and they find safety and security.

Justice and Mercy
It is often difficult to believe allegations of abuse. And it is often difficult, even if the allegations are believed, to want to hold the perpetrator responsible. Feelings of compassion and pity for the perpetrator, his reputation, and his family push even well meaning people to minimize the abuse or to minimize the perpetrator’s responsibility and the consequences he must face. But such compassion is misplaced. Denying justice to the victims of abuse denies compassion for the abused. Denying accountability for the perpetrator denies compassion for victims—past, present, and future.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is important for all the reasons discussed in this article; giving victims the justice they deserve, the security they need, and the faith of others they crave is more important. Judging people favorably is important; judging victims favorably whose innocence and self esteem have been violated and whose past and future have been devastated is even more important.
The Midrash taught that “be-tzedek tishpot et ‘amitekhah” means not only that “you shall judge your neighbor with righteousness,” but “you shall judge your neighbor as righteous.” Choosing the right neighbor to call righteous makes all the difference in the world and is an act not only of justice, but ultimately of kindness and mercy to those who need it most.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Are Narcissists Typically Hung Up on "Bad" and "Good?"

by Kathy Krajco

Somebody asked me whether narcissists are "hung up on bad and good," judging everything all the time. It's an intriguing question.

They are extremely judgmental people. I'm sure that's because judging others is THE act of playing God. For, what is a God but a judge of people's worth? He keeps (saves/preserves) those he deems worth keeping and trashes (fires/damns) those he deems not worth keeping. That's what he's there for -- to judge everybody. He judges his creatures like a writer judges hers, deleting any that aren't just right. In fact, in the ancient language of the Old Testament, there's but one word for "god" and "judge" and "king" and "master."

So, it's easy to see why narcissists are so judgmental.

They are judgmental of themselves too. I knew one who would get thoroughly disgusted with himself if he stumbled or made a mistake in front of you. He'd refer to himself with utter contempt in chastising himself for the least little thing -- as if him making a little mistake was a big deal.

Well, I guess God Almighty making an error is a big deal. But for us mere mortals it's not.

This man had to be perfect -- at least when anyone was looking.

I have noticed this morality hang-up in a narcissist I knew very well. She would keep asking me what the "moral" thing to do in this or that matter.

It was strange, and I didn't know what to make of it. Not that it's strange to ever be asked this question by a friend in a real moral dilemma, but when she asked it, it was always a stupid question. I thought she was pimping me -- though I was baffled at why she would do that -- because I just could not believe a grown woman could be so devoid of moral sense that she had to ask such stupid questions.

Often, I'd just reply, "Well, do whatever you want," because it was that kind of matter -- the type where whatever you want to do is fine, because you should have your choice. If you don't want to go to the play, don't go to the play. Who needs to be told that? Who asks what's the moral thing to do about stuff like that?

All she cared about was appearances -- what it would look like to people if she did this or that. Of course, we're all motivated by this to some extent, but she is motivated by it to a bizarre extent. To the point that she views stuff like this as a moral issue. Hence, she makes a moral issue out of things that aren't even remotely a moral issue.

She seemed to view morality as nothing but an impression you want to make on others. Which makes sense, I guess. Everything a narcissist does is for effect. Nothing has any objective reality to them: it's all smoke and mirrors. Imagination. Pretend. They don't even haves selves: they have images instead. They IDENTIFY with this phastasm.

That is such a profound mental virus that it must cross up their thinking on many things. For, to them everything is all about nothing but appearances. Seeming. Looking good.

She should have just asked me what would make her look better, more grand and noble.

So, I think this woman had morality confused with making a good impression on other people. Unfortunately, doing the moral thing often gets you condemned = makes you look bad. No wonder I've never seen a narcissist with the moral courage to ever do that. If they see an opportunity to do something shitty to someone and get called a "good person" for it, look out.

Another thing I've noticed is that everybody's all bad or all good in their eyes. And -- boom -- someone can go from all good to all bad, or vice versa, overnight. For no discernable reason.

In that, again, they are just like little children = they are as mentally immature as little children. We've all seen little children hit a toy and say something like, "Bad toy, bad toy!" (like "Bad dog, bad dog!") for disappointing them in some way.

Narcissists seem to have never developed a more mature idea about what "bad" and "good" mean.

To a baby, Mamma's all good when she's there and all bad when she's not = all good when he's basking in the glow of her mirroring eyes smiling on him and all bad when she's depriving him of that joy she exists to shower upon him.

Narcissists never outgrow that.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dealing With Control Freaks

Angry
OR WOMAN!


by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW


Most all of you have had to contend with control freaks. These are those people who insist on having their way in all interactions with you. They wish to set the agenda and decide what it is you will do and when you will do it. You know who they are – they have a driving need to run the show and call the shots. Lurking within the fabric of the conversation is the clear threat that if you do not accede to their needs and demands, they will be unhappy.

Certainly, it’s natural to want to be in control of your life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well, when you literally can’t rest until you get your way … you have a personality disorder. While it’s not a diagnostic category found in the DSM IV (the therapist’s bible for diagnostic purposes) an exaggerated emphasis on control is part of a cluster of behaviors that can be labeled as compulsive generally characterized by perfectionism, orderliness, workaholic tendencies, an inability to make commitments or to trust others and a fear of having their flaws exposed. Deep down, these people are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. Control freaks take the need and urge to control to new heights, causing others stress so they can maintain a sense of order. These people are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity, and anger. They’re very critical of themselves their lover and their friends, but underneath that perfect outfit and great body is a mountain of unhappiness. Let’s look at what makes control freaks tick, what makes you want to explode, and some ways to deal with them.

The Psychological Dynamics That Fuel a Control Freak

The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety – though control freaks seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they can’t stand imperfection. Needless to say, they are difficult to live with, work with and/or socialize with.

Bottom Line: In the process of being controlling, their actions say, “You’re incompetent” and “I can’t trust you.” (this is why you hate them). Remember, the essential need of a control freak is to defend against anxiety. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are attempting to cope with fairly substantial levels of their own anxiety. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.

Unfortunately for you, the control freak has a lot at stake in prevailing. While trying to hold a conversation and engage them in some way, their emotional stakes involve their own identity and sense of well-being. Being in control gives them the temporary illusion and sense of calmness. When they feel they are prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of them. The control freak is very frightened. Part of their strategy is to induce that fear in you with the subtle or not so subtle threat of loss. Since the emotional stakes are so high for them, they need to assert themselves with you to not feel so helpless. To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed. When a control freak cannot control, they go through a series of rapid phases. First they become angry and agitated, then they become panicky and apprehensive, then they become agitated and threatening, and then they lapse into depression and despair.
Repetition Compulsion
Control freaks are also caught in the grip of a repetition compulsion. They repeat the same pattern again and again in their attempt to master their anxiety and cope with the trauma they feel. Characteristically, the repetition compulsion takes on a life of its own. Rather than feel calmer and therefore have a diminished need to be controlling, their behavior locks them into the same pattern in an insatiable way. Successes at controlling do not register on their internal scoreboard. They have to fight off the same threat again and again with increasing rigidity and intransigence.

Two Types of Control Freaks

Type 1 Control Freaks: The Type 1 control freak is strictly attempting to cope with their anxiety in a self absorbed way. They just want to feel better and are not even very aware of you. You will notice and hear their agitation and tentativeness. They usually do not make much eye contact when they are talking to you.

Type 2 Control Freaks: The Type 2 control freak is also trying to manage their anxiety but they are very aware of you as opposed to the Type 1 control freak. The Type 2 needs to diminish you to feel better. Their mood rises as they push you down. They do not just want to prevail; they also need to believe that they have defeated you. They need you to feel helpless so they will not feel helpless. Their belief is that someone must feel helpless in any interchange and they desperately do not want it to be them. The Type 1 needs control. The Type 2 needs to control you.

Some Coping Strategies

1) Stay as calm as you can. Control freaks tend to generate a lot of tension in those around them. Try to maintain a comfortable distance so that you can remain centered while you speak with them. Try to focus on your breathing. As they get more agitated and demanding, just breath slowly and deeply. If you stay calm and focused, this often has the effect of relaxing them as well. If you get agitated you have joined the battle on their terms.

2) Speak very slowly. Again the normal tendency is to gear up and speak rapidly when dealing with a control freak. This will only draw you into the emotional turmoil and you will quickly be personalizing what is occurring.

3) Be very patient. Control freaks need to feel heard. In fact, they do not have that much to say. They have a lot to say if you engage them in a power struggle. If you just listen carefully and ask good questions that indicate that you have heard them, then they will quickly resolve whatever the issue is and calmly move on.

4) Pay attention to your induced reactions. What is this person trying to emotionally induce in you? Notice how you feel when speaking with them. It will give you important clues as to how to deal with them more effectively and appropriately.

5) Initially, let them control the agenda. But you control the pacing. If you stay calm and speak slowly, you will be in command of the pacing of the conversation.

6) Treat them with kindness. Within most control freaks is a good measure of paranoia. They are ready to get angry and defend against what they perceive is a controlling hostile world. If you treat them with respect and kindness, their paranoia cannot take root. You will jam them up.

7) Make demands on them-- especially when dealing with the type 2 control freak. Ask them to send you something or do something for you. By asking something of them, you will be indicating that you are not intimidated or diminished by their behavior patterns.

8) Remember an old but poignant Maxim: “Those who demand the most often give the least.”

Keep in mind that control freaks are not trying to hurt you – they’re trying to protect themselves. Remind yourself that their behavior toward you isn’t personal; the compulsion was there before they met you, and it will be their forever unless they get help. Understand that they are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.

In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid being bulldozed by a controlling lover, boss or friend. When you are caught up in a truly destructive/controlling attachment, the best response may be to walk out. You have to understand that whatever you do will have a limited effect. These people are angry and afraid to let go of you.

Hence, it is your job to let go of them, protect yourself in the process… and grow
.


 
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

When They "Lie on the Fly"

by the late, forever great - Kathy Krajco

One of my favorite websites on narcissism is by Joanna Ashmun. In fact, hers is what inspired me to do one.


Here's what she writes about the way a narcissist edits reality on the fly.
The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you).

When you ask them which one they mean, they'll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it -- really, how could you think they'd ever have said that? You need to have your head examined!

They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist].

NOTE: Normal people can behave irrationally under emotional stress -- be confused, deny things they know, get sort of paranoid, want to be babied when they're in pain. But normal people recover pretty much within an hour or two or a day or two, and, with normal people, your expressions of love and concern for their welfare will be taken to heart. They will be stabilized by your emotional and moral support.

Not so with narcissists -- the surest way I know of to get a crushing blow to your heart is to tell a narcissist you love her or him. They will respond with a nasty power move, such as telling you to do things entirely their way or else be banished from them for ever.
Because their lying is so bizarre, and unlike normal lying (by people who actually want you to believe what they're saying), the pathological lying of a narcissist is one of the biggest complaints about them.

They don't want you believe their lies: they just want you ACT (for them) as though their lies are true. In other words, they don't want you to do anything contradictory to their fantasy, for that could trigger AWARENESS that its a fantasy. They must keep all knowledge of unwanted truth repressed, and they don't want you doing anything that triggers memory of it.

As for what you think though, they couldn't care less. You are just an object to them, a chess piece. Caring what you think makes no more sense to them than caring what a chess piece "thinks" would make to us.

What Makes Narcissists Tick: 'Lying on the Fly'

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Parental Alienation


Parental alienation varies in the degree of severity, as seen in the behaviors and attitudes of both the parents and the children. The severity can be of such little consequence as a parent occasionally calling the other parent a derogatory name; or it could be as overwhelming as the parent's campaign of consciously destroying the children's relationship with the other parent. Most children are able to brush off a parent's off hand comment about the other parent that is made in frustration. On the other hand, children may not be able to resist a parent's persistent campaign of hatred and alienation.

Parental Alienation: Symptoms of Alienation:

To prevent the devastating effects of Parental Alienation, you must begin by recognizing the symptoms of Parental Alienation. After reading the list, don't get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children.

1. Giving children choices when they have no choice about visits. Allowing the child to decide for themselves to visit, because when the court order says there is no choice sets up the child for conflict. The child will usually blame the non-residential parent for not being able to decide to choose whether or not to visit. The parent is now victimized regardless of what happens; not being able to see his children or if he or she sees them, the children are angry.

2. Telling the child "everything" about the marital relationship or reasons for the divorce is alienating. The parent usually argues that they are "just wanting to be honest" with their children. This practice is destructive and painful for the child. The alienating parent's motive is for the child to think less of the other parent.

3. Refusing to acknowledge that children have property and may want to transport their possessions between residences.

4. Resisting or refusing to cooperate by not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities.

5. A parent blaming the other parent for financial problems, breaking up the family, changes in lifestyle, or having a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc.

6. Refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule in order to respond to the child's needs. The alienating parent may also schedule the children in so many activities that the other parent is never given the time to visit. Of course, when the targeted parent protests, they are described as not caring and selfish.

7. Assuming that if a parent had been physically abusive with the other parent, it follows that the parent will assault the child. This assumption is not always true.

8. Asking the child to choose one parent over another parent causes the child considerable distress. Typically, they do not want to reject a parent, but instead want to avoid the issue. The child, not the parent, should initiate any suggestion for change of residence.

9. Children will become angry with a parent. This is normal, particularly if the parent disciplines or has to say "no". If for any reason the anger is not allowed to heal, you can suspect parental alienation. Trust your own experience as a parent. Children will forgive and want to be forgiven if given a chance. Be very suspicious when the child calmly says they can not remember any happy times with you or they cannot say anything they like about you.

10. Be suspicious when a parent or stepparent raises the question about changing the child's name or suggests an adoption.

11. When children can not give reasons for being angry towards a parent or their reasons are very vague without any details.

12. A parent having secrets, special signals, a private rendezvous, or words with special meanings are very destructive and reinforce an on-going alienation.

13. When a parent uses a child to spy or covertly gather information for the parent's own use, the child receives a damaging message that demeans the victimized parent.

14. Parents setting up temptations that interfere with the child's visitation.

15. A parent suggesting or reacting with hurt or sadness to their child having a good time with the other parent will cause the child to withdraw and not communicate. They will frequently feel guilty or conflicted not knowing that it's "okay" to have fun with their other parent.

16. The parent asking the child about his or her other parent's personal life causes the child considerable tension and conflict. Children who are not alienated want to be loyal to both parents.

17. When parents physically or psychologically rescue the children when there is no threat to their safety. This practice reinforces in the child's mind the illusion of threat or danger, thereby reinforcing alienation.

18. Making demands on the other parent that is contrary to court orders.

19. Listening in on the children's phone conversation they are having with the other parent.

20. One way to cause your own alienation is making a habit of breaking promises to your children. In time, your ex-spouse will get tired of having to make excuses for you.

Provided by Douglas Darnell, Ph.D.

FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE & MORE RESOURCES CLICK HERE

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Abuser Breakdown Tactics


Here are some of the tactics abusers use to break you down and keep you there. How many do you recognize?

Verbal Assaults: Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. Blowing flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

Domination: The abuser wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

Emotional Blackmail: The abuser plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, the “cold shoulder,” or use other controlling fear tactics.

Gaslighting: The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. You know differently. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity. It is this act of abuse which makes you begin to think you are crazy or losing your mind.

Unpredictable Responses: Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.

This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what’s expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person’s next outburst or change of mood.

Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

Abusive Expectations: The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, frequent sex, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don’t fulfill all this person’s needs.

Constant Chaos: The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others. The person may be “addicted to drama” since it creates excitement.

SOURCE

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

WHAT IS EMPATHY?

WHAT IS EMPATHY?

think
"Empathy"… to understand another person's point of view,
emotions, thoughts, feelings
 
Empathy is the most important characteristic in human relationships.

Empathy allows us to listen without judgment to what a person is saying, doing or feeling. It permits us to imagine what someone else is experiencing without having had the experience.

Being empathetic does not mean that we have to agree with the other person or relinquish our point of view. Nor is it about self-sacrifice. Empathy is about standing in another person's shoes without getting stuck in them.

Empathy is a skill that requires understanding — a skill learned over time. It takes years to develop, and deepens and expands as we get older. To have empathy, we must have intellect, listen, and be self-reflective and in touch with our feelings.

Without empathy, there is no compassion. Empathy is the highest level of moral development. A person who totally lacks empathy has no conscience and is capable of committing horrific acts against others —child abuse, serial murder, genocide.

Our children need to learn that empathy is important and that it takes practice. We need to teach them that empathy helps us to relate and care for others. We have to help them learn the requisite skills necessary for developing empathy…

Thinking about ourselves and others

Reflecting on our own behaviors and feelings

Being in touch with our feelings

Listening to another person without anxiety and with minimal judgments

Since developing empathy is a complex process, parents (and teachers) must serve as role model for this behavior by displaying. We need to learn that yelling, threatening, hitting, or saying hurtful things to children is neither emphatic nor is a good foundation for their development.

Empathy is slow to develop and is learned in 10 - 15 year stages.

Developmental Stages for Empathy

Infants: Infants are totally self-directed and only know their own needs.

Toddlers: A child of two notices that other people can feel happy or sad when he or she does not.

10-year-olds: By 10, the child can imagine how he or she would feel in another person's situation, yet does not have the intellectual capacity to know or imagine how the other person is feeling.

Adolescents: In adolescence, young people start to think abstractly and are better able to grasp the concept of empathy.

Empathy, like any other skill, is a life-long learning process. It gets stronger and deeper with age and experience.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Anger isn't always bad - 5 ways that anger is GOOD!



by Ron Huxley


Experience with anger may leave you with the idea that all anger is bad. Yelling at your children for cooperation doesn't leave you feeling very positively. Watching your children fight when they are angry doesn't give you any warm feelings either. But, anger does have it's purpose in our lives and can teach us a thing or two about how to have healthier, happier relationships.

Here are five ways that anger can be a good thing:

1. Anger protects. When your child is in danger your mind will automatically kick into a “fight or flight” reaction that can result in anger. You don't have time to stop and ponder a course of action when your child is in the middle of the street! Anger short cuts our thinking brain to allow us to act quickly. This is nature's way of protecting your family from harm.

2. Anger signals. The purpose of anger is to destroy problems in our lives, not our relationships. When something needs to dramatically change, anger not only lets you know but it gives you the power to do something about it. For example, if your child's doctor won't listen to your concerns, getting angry can stir things up and get a problem diagnosed and solved.

3. Anger rules. Your child left his toys all over the house again! Tired of yelling at your child to get his cooperation. That only reinforces the annoying behavior. Your anger may be telling you that expectations are too high, the rule is not clear enough, or that you are not following through on consequences consistently. Use the energy of your anger to communicate the rule (again) and then follow it up with consistent, age appropriate discipline.

4. Anger talks. What we say to ourselves affects our emotional state. If we tell ourselves we are bad parents then we may act like bad parents. If we tell ourselves we are doing the best we can under stressful circumstances we will react with less hostility and frustration. Practice listening to that little "anger voice" and challenge some of the misperceptions you hold of yourself and your child. Ask some honest friends to help you be objective in your inner inventory. If what you are saying to yourself is true, use this information to make changes in your parent/child relationship.

5. Anger teaches. Our anger management styles are learned from our own parents. If Mom was a yeller, we may follow her example, even if we vowed never to yell at our kids. Fortunately, if you learned one anger expression style you can learn another. Separate the idea that feeling anger is bad. That is natural and unavoidable but what you do with those hot emotions is completely under your control -- with some practice. Allow yourself permission to find new ways to cope with daily parenting hassles by taking a class or reading a book on anger management.

SOURCE

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Beware Disordered Therapists, Gurus and Spiritual 'Teachers'


THERAPY AND COUNSELING CAN BE A VITAL TOOL FOR HEALING IN THE HANDS OF THE RIGHT PERSON. BUT THERE ARE MANY DISORDERED PERSONS OUT THERE WILLING TO SUCK MONEY AND TRUST FROM THE VULNERABLE & DESPERATE. ALWAYS CHECK LICENSES AND CREDENTIALS OUT WITH YOUR STATE.

by Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD

There are a growing number of "spiritual teachers" who are narcissists. They are among the most magnetic and charismatic of individuals. We have a lot of desperate people today with the economic downturn roller coaster ride, the increasing numbers of narcissists in the society who are making life very difficult for everyone else and the persistence of chronic psychological problems.

Coming to the rescue are "narcissistic gurus" who have all the answers. Charismatic, charming, excellent communicators and story tellers, these individuals are offering courses that promise to reshape your life, to calm you down, even to make you rich. Many of them are covert narcissists who convincing pretend to be humble and unmaterialistic. Your state of mind and soul is their first priority---That's what they say. 
 
Narcissistic gurus often come with fine academic credentials. Some are medical doctors or Ph.D.'s. Others call themselves holistic healers, medical intuitives. Their presentations are so smooth that most people are mesmerized by them. Often attractive physically with excellent communications skills, they can captivate any audience within a short period of time. I know of spiritual gurus who travel the world, peddling their packages or retreats which cost $1000 to $3000 for less than a week. The goal is enlightenment----the expensive way. What happens if you don't have any money--That's too bad -- you are out of the spiritual loop. Where do true spirituality and spending a lot of money and attending a five day seminar meet-----NOWHERE! (By the way learning how to meditate and reach levels of calmness and deeper consciousness doesn't cost money. It requires your time and dedication). 

I have watched some of these narcissists for years (Some of them are sociopaths with no conscience whatsoever) When you talk to them at close range, they are cold and dismissive if you are not "yes-ing" them with reverence or breaking a sweat to sign up for their next consciousness raising seminar in some exotic part of the world. Some vulnerable people become addicted to these new age phonies who take your money, speak new age drivel and eclipse your life.

Humble, living simply, empathic---absolutely not! I have seen their self entitled over the top lifestyles, born out of the money that they extract from psychologically vulnerable people. Then you have the spiritual groupies that have to take the latest pseudo spiritual trip to Bhutan or some other corner of the world so that they can brag to all of their friends.

Narcissistic spiritual gurus must be exposed. They are confidence men and women. They don't give a damn about your psychological or spiritual welfare. They live only for themselves, their godlike image and the fruits of their labors---becoming more wealthy and controlling the minds, emotions and psyches of others.

To protect yourself from these pseudo spiritual vipers, study the narcissistic personality disorder in-depth.

SOURCE

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

If He/ She REALLY Wants to Change


There are two main principles to keep in mind when deciding how much potential an abuser has to become a kind, respectful partner in the long run:

1. He cannot change unless he deals deeply with his entitled and superior attitudes. No superficial changes that he may make offer any real hope for the future.

2. It makes no difference how NICE he is being to you, since almost all abusers have nice periods. What matters is how RESPECTFUL and NONCOERCIVE he chooses to become.

Holding on to these fundamental points, you can use the following guide to help you identify changes that show promise of being genuine. We are looking for "yes" answers to these questions.

Has he learned to treat your opinions with respect, even when they differ strongly from his?

Is he accepting your right to express anger to him, especially when it involves his history of mistreating you?

Is he respecting your right to freedom and independence? Does that include refraining from all interference with your friendships and giving up the demand to always know where you are and whom you are with?

Has he stopped making excuses for his behavior, including not using your behavior as an excuse fo his?

Is he being respectful about sex, applying no pressure and engaging in no guilt trips?

Has he stopped cheating or flirting with other women, or using other behaviors that keep you anxious that he will stray?

Does he listen to your side in arguments without interupting, and then make a serious effort to respond thoughfully to your points, even if he doesn't like them?

Have you been free to raise your grievances, new or old, without retaliation from him?

Has he stopped talking about his abuse as if it were an accident and begun to acknowledge the he used it to control you?

Is he actually responding to your grievances and doing something about them (for example, changing the way he behaves toward your children)?

Has he greatly reduced or eliminated his use of controlling behaviors (such as sarcasm, rolling his eyes, loud disgusted sighs, talking over you, using the voice of ultimate authority, and other demostrations of disrespect or superiority) during conversations and arguments?

When he does slip back into controlling behavior, does he take you seriously when you complain about it and keep working on improving?

Is he being consistent and responsible in his behavior, taking into account how his actions affect you without having to be constantly reminded?

Is he acting noticeably less demanding, selfish, and self-centered?

Is he being fair and responsible about money, including allowing you to keep you own assets in your own name?

Has he stopped any behaviors that you find threatening or intimidating?

Has he significantly expanded his contribution to household and child-rearing responsibilities and stopped taking your domestic work for granted or treating you like a servant?

Has he begun supporting your strengths rather than striving to undermine them?

Have you had any major angry argument with him in which he has shown signs fo a new willingness to conduct himself nonabusively?

**************
Clear Signs of An Abuser Who ISN'T Changing

*He says he can only change if you change too.

*He says he can only change if you "help" him change, by giving him emotional support, reassurance and forgiveness, and by spending a lot of time with him. This often means that he wants your to abandon any plans you had to take a break from seeing him.

*He criticizes you for not realizing how much he has changed.

*He criticizes you for not trusting that his change will last.

*He criticizes you for considering him capable of behaving abusively even though he in fact had done so in the past (or has threatened to) as if you should know that he "would never do something like that", even though he has.

*He reminds you about the bad things he would have done in the past but isn't doing anymore, which amounts to a subtle threat.

*He tells you that you are taking too long to make up your mind, that he can't "wait forever", as a way to pressure you not to take the time you need to collect yourself and to assess how much he's really willing to change.

*He says, "I'm changing, I'm changing," but you don't feel it.


Be Straight with Yourself

To use good judgement and make wise decisions about the prospect of change in your abusive partner, you need to be honest WITH YOURSELF. Because you love him, or you have children with him, or leaving would be difficult for other reasons, you may be sorely tempted to get overly hopeful about small concessions that he finally makes.

If he doesn't budge for five years, or twenty years, and then he finally moves an inch, your ehaustion can make you think, Hey! An inch! That's progress! You may wish to overlook all the glaring signs indicating that his basic attitudes and strategies remain intact. Beware of his deception and your own self-deception.

I have heard such heart-rending sadness in the voices of many dozens of abused women who have said to me, "I wish I could somehow recover all those years I wasted waiting around for him to deal with his issues." Save yourself that sadness if you can, by insisting on nothing less than complete respect.

************************************************
The previous was excerpted from the book "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft, pgs 346-351

(Bancroft wrote this in the male gender.  Your abuser may well be female.)


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mistakes Victims Make




"Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight" -- anon.

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Not paying attention to...
My gut instinct that something was wrong.

Stories that didn't add up, or with different timeframes and characters - 2+2 not adding up.

The patterns forming in his behaviour.


Other people's warnings - believing him when he said they were "crazy" or "jealous."


The difference between what he said what he actually did and believing his lies.


The hatred others had of him.

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Failing to...
Obtain proof of the abuse.


Get independent legal counsel and representation.


Recognize and ignore his verbal bait and not controlling myself better and yelling at him.


Realized I was addicted to a painful relationship, and trauma-bonded and craving contact, I wish that I'd gone to a hypnotherapist or someone to get the strength and support to break away. Instead, I let the insanity go on until I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.


See how emotionally fragile I am.


Acknowledge just how rapidly I could be replaced.


See he really is Mr. Hyde and allow contact still trying to find Dr. Jekyll.


Stay out of the Jerry Springer nightmare of his life, family, Xs, friends, co-workers.

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When he stopped caring about me, I stopped caring about myself too.

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I kept thinking...
Every time he raged would be the last time.

If I loved him enough..........


There was a certain level of behavior below which he would NOT stoop.


Deep down he really did care.


When the chips were down or I needed him, he would come through.


That if I could just explain how I felt or how his behavior was affecting that me he would see it and care.


I wasn't explaining things right to him to make him understand.


It was my fault.


It was something at work or something he would finally tell me about.


That I would find some kind of closure.


I had to be 'nice' to him.


He would put something back in my 'cup' because I had put so much from him.


That I didn't want to cause a 'scene' and felt I didn't have the right words to properly explain what was happening.


That I could get him 'back on track' somehow.


I could help him, that he needed my help. I did everything for him - he never even asked me, I just offered. Boy, did he see me coming.

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more mistakes:
Underestimating/not admitting, even to myself, what horrible and heartless things s/he is actually capable of.

Improperly assessing the potential for physical or psychological danger.


Taking too long to reach 'enough', and making those decisions I wish I'd made sooner.


Trying to rationalize and make sense of the insane endless chaos.


Looking for the litmus test to prove he really was mentally disordered when the signs were right in my face!


Overlooking the early red flags in his statements.


Doubting myself and my assessment of his pathology.


Believing he'd changed.


Minimizing the abuse and focusing on any past 'good' times


Not ending it at the first sign of abuse.


Getting involved and married too early/ too fast.


Not telling people about his abuse because I didn't want people to think poorly of him.


Behaving like my N and treating his next or last target poorly and, wanting to stay out of the situation, failing to provide support when it was needed.


Allowing sex drive to overcome reason.

-------------------------------

When you attempt to push a intellectual narcissist into sex or any type of intimacy, and he gets angry... but you still believe that maybe if you can just survive without intimacy it will all work out ok.


When you have sex with a sexual narcissist, realize that you are a mere object to him, and yet somehow tell yourself, "Maybe this is healthy??
-----------------------------------

Fear of loneliness or believing my life wouldn't be better without him.

Wanting the 'package' deal he offered - the luxuries, trappings and lifestyle were too appealing to turn down - the risks seemed acceptable.


Feeling like I was the special one who could finally make him happy.


Feeling sorry for him, jumping in trying to help with his problems when he seemed to be floundering about.


Taking him back repeatedly.


(snip) We learn various coping tactics and want to try them out and end up in a predator/victim bond wasting our precious time trying to manage a personality disordered person we should be avoiding.
* * * * * *

Not seeing his attempts to isolate me from other people, friends and family.

Buying into his "poor me" routine.


Losing my identity.


Losing my self respect by staying and tolerating what he did.


Believing his lies. Being gullible and naive. Trusting him despite evidence to the contrary.


Wanting to believe he was my soul mate.


Giving in to rages. Not standing up to him and seeing the intimidation.


Not getting my child into therapy ASAP.


Underestimating how convincingly persuasive he could be - I took him back against common sense.


Gaining/losing weight, losing sleep, getting physically ill yet deciding he's still worth it.

When you create a fantasy illusion/idealization of him in your mind, just so you don't have to face the fact that he's NOT AT ALL the same as the idealized version you choose to percieve.


When you see signs he's an abuser, but delude yourself into thinking he's not.


Allowing him to run me down or call me degrading names, even "jokingly."


Allowing him to create self doubt and question myself way too much.


Procrastinating instead of making decisions.


Not using boundaries and limits - I wish I'd done it much sooner.


I stayed because of the children, thinking I could tolerate it until they were adults.


Seeing the objectification of me as he would tell other people his exciting news about himself - not me.


Ignoring the ticking time bomb of his financial irresponsibility.


I should have sought friendship... not the "spark" or "thrill."


Not having my own 'rainy day' money set aside.


Believing him when he said I was crazy, upset, wrong.


Not respecting, finding, using and realizing my own strengths.


Trying to find some logical reason for his bizarre behaviour.


Not insisting on respect, equal treatment.


Letting him live by double and sometimes triple standards.


Being too forgiving.


Asking HIM for forgiveness, and apologizing for things that weren't even wrong.


Falling for the sob stories and pity parties.

* * * * * *

TAKING THE BAIT!!!!
At first it's subtle, hard to recognize. Let them do what they want. They just WANT your reaction. Don't give them the satisfaction. Even if you are upset, don't let them know it. It's what they want. Be upset here. Be upset to your friend. Be upset to your pet. But DO NOT LET THEM SEE IT!!

*******************************

Accepting his abusive or controlling behaviour so he wouldn't leave me.

Expecting normal responses, clarity and finally closure.


Putting money into someone's hand who even has the slightest chance of doing the wrong thing - I'll never again do that.


Co-mingling ANY assets. I will not do this again, with anybody.


Writing letters to him - I'll never put anything in writing again and telling him anything about myself - only to see him use it cruelly against me.

* * * * * *

Allowing myself (mind, body, spirit) to become so afraid of him -- literally afraid for my life, more afraid than I had the power to muster to fight back and stand like a soldier. I really fell apart and don't EVER want to do that again. I have vowed that *no* human will every make me that fearful again.

* * * * * *

My most critical error was accepting the second date!!!!
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The male gender is used. Your abuser may well be female.

FROM THIS SITE

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Blogiversary for Sanctuary for the Abused

WOW - 15 years on the net for Sanctuary for the Abused!.
 
I have used this blog in reaching out to help others heal from abuse or pathological relationships. If I helped even one person... mission accomplished.

Thank you to everyone and anyone who ever read or shared even one post!!




anniversary

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Are You Involved With A Narcissistic Person?



by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW

According to the American Psychological Association, people with narcissistic personality disorder display a chronic and pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. The Greek myth has it that Narcissus died enraptured by the beauty of his own reflection in a pool and feel forever in love with his own reflection. The Narcissist displays an operating style that involves extreme self-involvement, and a grandiose sense of self- importance. They exaggerate their achievements and talents, expecting others to recognize them as superior and often appearing arrogant and extremely self absorbed.

Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or beauty, they require the constant attention and admiration of those around them, although they are very choosy about the people and institutions they will associate closely with. They often admit to being snobs and are actually proud of it. They also believe that their problems are unique and can be appreciated only by other “special” high - status people. Despite their charm, the favorable first impression they make, and their wide circle of notable acquaintances, people with this disorder are rarely able to maintain a stable, long-term relationship. With their boastful and pretentious manner, narcissistic persons are seldom receptive to the feelings of others. They show a general lack of empathy, an inability or unwillingness to recognize and identify with your thoughts and needs. Many are often successful, impressively knowledgeable, and articulate, yet bored and doubt ridden as well.

Conversely, healthy narcissism is essential for emotional well-being. We need narcissism to feel confident in ourselves, and to give adequate consideration to others. NOTE: The healthy narcissist does not focus exclusively on themselves, demanding that the world reflect back their false manufactured sense of self and an image of idealized perfection.

If you encounter this personality type, a grasp of the underlying psychology can help you cope more effectively. Lets explore the genesis of the narcissistic personality. As stated above, people with this personality disorder must constantly seek outside support and approval. If they get that support and approval, they feel complete and powerful. Without that support and approval, they feel deprived, exposed, vulnerable, angry, and lonely.

KEY: Early childhood conditioning also plays a part. The child’s real or authentic self has generally been ignored, or the child’s self may have been attacked and assaulted while the parents placed demands on the child to be “perfect.” When that occurs, the type of behavior we associate with a narcissistic disorder is overindulged. Fiercely driven to achieve, children never develop the capacity to consider others’ needs. Enter adulthood, and the same traits naturally carry over.

What To Watch Out For
Most people with this disorder advertise themselves… They seek to be the center of attention. In search of constant approval and praise to reinforce their false grandiose sense of self, they’re “on- stage,” dominating the conversation, often exaggerating their importance.

They lack empathy for others and have an inflated sense of entitlement, requiring others to respond to their demands and grant favors. They need everything for themselves and are envious of others’ accomplishments and possessions.

Criticism or disapproval takes them back to their difficult childhoods, sending them into a defensive fury, since any flaw or mistake means they’re not perfect. Also, when things go wrong, they cannot acknowledge the imperfections implicit in accepting responsibility.

Appearance matters more than substance. Power, wealth and beauty bolster their fragmented self-image.

They may be extremely driven because the “narcissistic fuel” of outside approval is so essential. Many are workaholics. Warning: this personality disorder may not be immediately obvious. The subtle ones won’t show their true colors until “deprived.” Caution: Others may actually pursue and cater to you, if you have something they want, such as looks, money, or status.

Can you change them? Reality check: No. Even constructive criticism is experienced by them as an affront and is met with anger and a sense of betrayal. Placating only results in more demands, not a return of thoughtfulness and consideration. In fact, if you always excuse or rationalize self-absorption and give in to constant demands, you are actually supporting and reinforcing their narcissistic needs and wants.

Coping Tips
Here are some tips on how to cope with the person in your life who processes the narcissistic style. Sometimes the best way to deal with extreme narcissistic behavior is to end the relationship. But since this solution isn’t always possible, I can only offer you some survival techniques…

It is important to set boundaries. Decide which demands you can meet or how much approval you’re willing to give to this person, and then stick to your decision. Also, terminate a self-centered conversation if you can, or at least set a time limit on how long you’ll listen.

Support yourself. If your resistance to them draws their anger or blame, refuse to be emotionally blackmailed. Remember that your time and feelings are not important in this person’s eyes. This can help remove your guilt.

Use bargaining chips. If you have something they want, such as a special expertise or solutions to problems—share it sparingly to keep their worst behavior under control. Be aware that when you no longer satisfy them, their old ways will resurface.

Avoid anger. Any confrontation should be conducted quietly and with control. But even a tactful approach may be greeted with anger or sometimes-frightening rage. Very likely, you’ll hear that the difficult situation is your problem and there’s something wrong with you. Arguing will only make you feel like you will want to blow your brains out. Be careful not to expect accommodation from the other person, but do give yourself points for standing up for your rights.

Finally, know when to leave. Dealing with this personality disorder can undermine your own sense of self. Ask yourself some questions…Do I continually feel depressed, irritable, devalued and worthless? Does my anger and resentment carry over into other relationships? Have I stopped supporting myself in general, not treating myself well or allowing others to coerce me? Bottom line: If you find yourself answering yes too frequently, you must examine the pay-off or importance of your relationship with this person.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

FACEBOOK GROUP for Victims of Narcissists  
(not for discussions of children, support, custody)

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