Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality



Something's just not right in your relationship, and you can't put your finger on it. So here's some help. If your mate is displaying a combination of these behaviors, then you may have a potential batterer on your hands.

1. A PUSH FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on very strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the woman for an exclusive commitment almost immediately. Wants intimacy immediately.

2. JEALOUSY: excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.

3. CONTROLLING: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you're late) about whom you talked to, and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect woman and meet his every need. Idealizes you to the point that you will never meet that reality.

5. ISOLATION: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car or try to prevent you from holding a job. Tells you not to tell certain people about your relationship or him.

6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS AND MISTAKES: The boss, you -- it's always someone else's fault if anything goes wrong.

7. MAKES EVERYONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of, "I am angry" or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you." Less obvious is the claim: "You make me happy."

8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He'll rant about the injustice of things that are just part of life.

9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND TO CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children - emotionally, verbally or physically.

10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting. Kink or sexual things you are not comfortable with are pushed, begged for repeatedly.

11. VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes you, or says blatantly cruel hurtful things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you up with relentless verbal abuse.

12. RIGID SEX ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.

13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in a matter of minutes.

14. PAST BATTERING: Admits hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situation brought it on.

15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Makes statements like, "I'll break your neck," or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way," or "I didn't really mean it." If he has come this far, it is time to get help, or get out!

Only a couple of these need to be present in a personality for them to be a potential abuser.  Your abuser  may be male or female.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

"Get Over It"


By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC

Neuroscientistific research shows that our memory is strongest and lasts the longest when our emotions are heightened. This helps explain why we might remember every nuance of our wedding day or our valedictory speech in college.

It also holds true for our memories of traumatic events such as abuse or even one-time events such as severe accidents.

Trauma and abuse seem etched in people’s memories, while “important” information, such as remembering the Capitols of the states, is more easily forgotten. Often, treatment techniques used in the treatment of PTSD (and other disorders such as depression and anxiety which are sometimes related to painful memories), assume that traumatic memories are the hardest to let go of.

Now, new research seems to show that if you really want to forget a memory—you might be able to. Researcher Gerd Waldhauser from Lund University in Sweden says that we can learn to control our memory in the same way as we can control our motor impulses.

EEG measures of the brain show that the same parts of the brain are activated when we stop our motor impulses as when we suppress a memory. Waldhauser believes that just as we can practice restraining motor impulses, we can also actively train ourselves to repress memories and maybe even forget painful or traumatic events.

In general, science says that some of our less-necessary memories are “erased” when current events or other information need new “space” in which to “write” new memories. But emotionally-charged memories (both positive and negative) seem to stubbornly hang on, and sometimes, as in the case of PTSD, haunt us.

Therapists and their clients know that painful memories can also be suppressed or repressed to the point of near-total forgetfulness. In some cases, patients might have to access these painful memories in order to come to a deeper understanding of why they feel/act the way they do. When uncovering these memories, they sometimes feel so “new” and raw that they can, in effect, be re-traumatized all over again.

Traumatized patients often have a hard time coping with everyday life, let alone the work they need to do in order to uncover and resolve painful memories. That’s why many therapists who work with victims of trauma and abuse prefer to first focus on helping the patient build coping skills before uncovering and exploring the painful past.

Not every inability to cope is linked to a traumatic memory. Sometimes many years of maladaptive conditioning and numerous instances of inappropriate messages from caregivers “build up”.

A tip about trauma, memory, and coping skills: If you are involved in any way (as a family member, friend or even therapist), with someone who seems to be “stubbornly” clinging to a painful memory, there’s a right way and a wrong way to help them.

It comes down to a fine line between gently but repeatedly encouraging someone in their efforts to build proactive coping skills and/or a more positive outlook OR telling them to “get over it” and “move on.” The first is about the needs of the person who is suffering; the second is about your needs.

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is an internationally licensed psychotherapist and addiction specialist with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Most Dangerous Emotion After a Break-Up




by Marcy Miller

Hope is a four letter word. It is the enemy of the newly broken-hearted.

I had two failed marriages and two broken engagements under my belt, but I was fortunate to sit next to the man of my dreams on a flight to the west coast. After bi-coastal dating and then living with him for a year, we married and I practiced law while he was establishing himself in the investment world. After four years, I was stricken with breast cancer. It was a tough year of treatment, but he was there for me throughout my successful battle. His love and support were heroic. Finally, I had found my soulmate.

Or so I thought.

We moved to LA at the end of my treatment and started a new life together. I caught him cheating five years later. I confronted him, hoping that that the prospect of losing me and his comfortable life would jolt him out of his mid-life madness and return him to my arms, wiser and more loving than ever. But there is that pesky word, "hope," rearing its ugly head. As I hung on to the false hope of reconciliation and love evermore, he was playing contrite husband with me and banging her at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Several weeks later, he suggested that we take one last trip to New York to try to mend our relationship and move forward. I hoped (again) that he was sincere and that our ten years together could outweigh this month of deceit. New York held many wonderful memories for us, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to have him to myself in a romantic environment.

He had arrived a few days earlier and checked into the Peninsula Hotel. I was to meet him the evening that I arrived for dinner at Nobu. I breezed into the bar at the appointed hour, dressed for seduction, and proceeded to wait for an hour and a half. There were no calls or texts and he was unreachable. I hoped (again) that he was delayed by important work-related meetings.

Just as I was about to return to the hotel, he burst into the restaurant, breathless and full of excuses. Even though this was an ominous beginning to our reunion, I hoped (!) that he was telling the truth.

The next morning, he left at the crack of dawn, long before we could have breakfast in bed. As I began to dress for my day of shopping and a Broadway matinee, I noticed a scrap of paper on the desk. While the message was illegible, the bottom of the note contained the St. Regis Hotel monogram.

On a hunch, I called the St. Regis and asked for the room of his mistress. She answered the phone. I hung up, promptly threw up in the trash can, packed my bags and flew home.

So why do I dislike hope so much?

1. It leads to devastating decisions. I knew that the marriage was over, and I still agreed to go to New York. It resulted in one of the most emotionally painful moments of my life, and while I do not blame myself for his abhorrent behavior, I would never have put myself in that position had I not had hope.

2. It halts the healing process. I could have started mourning the loss of my marriage, rather than dreaming of a reconciliation that was never in the picture.

3. It stalls the formulation of exit strategies, such as leasing a post office box, opening a new bank account, locating and preserving records and retaining a divorce lawyer -- engaging in the next steps instead of being mired in a dead relationship.

4. It shuts out important messages from the universe. I knew in my gut that the marriage was over, but I allowed hope to drown out all of the messages that I was receiving to move on.

SOURCE

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Narcissism 101


So you're a psycho and you want to advance your studies? Take Narcissism 101.

Here's a course outline:
1. When your supply runs low - how to get an interim supply, having safe sex, getting a free ride (includes love-bombing women, seeing hookers & bragging about it, and manipulating friends, mind control, seduction and using the net to "be anyone they want you to be")

2. How to find a victim - includes loads of internet dating, hooking the co-worker, using a friend or parent, trolling online for new & old targets (reunion sites, linkedin, facebook). 
(Prostitutes when you want or need are o.k. - they "don't count'. Actually nobody 'counts' - only YOU!)

3. Checking their emotional state - includes psychological profiling. (depressed, alone, divorced, sick, abused, lonely, naive, religious, they believe there's good in everyone, etc...)

4. Finances - how to find a mate with cash, a good income, and property - in case you need someone to take care of you when you screw up. Repeatedly.

5. How to bait them - includes dressing for success, tips on pouring out your tales of woe, how your wife/ S.O. doesn't understand, you don't get enough love or sex, your job is mean to you, your parents abused you... list is endless.

6. Getting them to move in with you - includes how to get their cash and property put into your name, how to write a prep, finding a lawyer, drawing up wills, getting life insurance. Berating them so they keep trying to prove themselves by doing all the chores & heavy lifting will be included.

7. Early stages of living with them - includes going easy at first , etiquette, manners, calling the your 'soulmate', effective use of the word 'love', taking financial control, how to plan your marriage.

8. Managing your mate - includes isolation, brainwashing, coercion and persecution techniques that have a proven track record, plus how to fake a loving relationship and your OWN sanity while around them. Also, you will learn all there is about emotional terrorism.

9. Divorcing your mate - includes lists of lawyers, how to hide your accumulated wealth, having a back-up supply, projection, rallying support of family and friends.

10. Smearing your ex or ex-friends who are on to your game is important - threats, intimidation, bullying or posting lies about them online go hand-in-hand with calling them "crazy, a bitch/ bastard, stupid, obsessed with you, stalkers, scorned, jealous" and telling people they "can't let it go" after you've destroyed their life & crushed their spirit.


11. Moving on with your life - includes analyzing your situation, finding a new source, and getting your house in order all over again.

12. Find new source. Don't get help. Find new source. More than one is preferable.

The only requirement is a sick mind and a complete emotional void.

-anonymous

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Top 10 Wreckers of Relationships


Top 10 Relationship Wreckers
 
1. Neglecting Your Partner (ignoring, workaholism, addictions):
A primary function of a relationship is to provide companionship and to meet each other’s needs. When other activities, interests or preoccupations interfere with our availability, we can wind up short-changing our partner. This can be thought of as absenteeism or being MIA. Taking an inventory and making adjustments in how we spend our time is the first step in correcting this problem. Treat your partner as the important person they are by spending enough quality time together to satisfy each of your requirements in this area and to maintain your connection.

2. Depriving Your Partner (not being attentive, expressive, affectionate, supportive, caring, loving, withholding compliments - affection - intimacy):
Being there physically is not enough. We cannot expect our relationship to thrive if we withdraw emotionally for extended periods of time. In order to be fully present, we must be aware of our partner and be willing to show how we feel both verbally and non-verbally. Expressing love though affection and caring behaviors are crucial to keeping a relationship strong and vibrant. Small regular doses of intimacy will usually suffice, and the most important times of day to communicate positively are upon waking, upon reuniting after a long day, and before going to sleep.

3. Dishonesty & Betrayal (infidelity, lying):
Most people are aware that the foundation of any relationship is T-R-U-S-T. In no relationship is trust more important than in a relationship between mates, except for a parent and dependent child relationship. Cheating and lying breaks down the basis for a relationship, and often results in its demise. A problem of this nature is serious, and resolving it must be a top priority if the relationship is to survive. Couples counseling is highly recommended in order to facilitate the changes that are needed.

4. Attacking Your Partner (blaming, abuse – physical, emotional, sexual):
Aggressive communication is simply unacceptable, especially if the abuse is getting physical. Physical or sexual abuse are deal-breakers in a marriage, and should prompt a permanent separation. The abusive partner needs to get professional help to learn skills in anger management, in order to gain and consistently demonstrate better control over his or her emotions and behavior. Even if the help is sought and progress is made, the risk of recurrence remains high, so in most cases, the abused partner should not return to the relationship. Returning serves to reinforce the abusive behavior, leading to increased severity and frequency of subsequent abuse. Instead, the abused partner should also seek help, and work through issues that have potential to lead one into another abusive relationship. Verbally blaming, accusing, and insulting your partner are less extreme forms of destructiveness, but are not OK either, and assertiveness training can provide the essential skills for healthy communication.

5. Scapegoating (taking your anger or frustration out on you partner):
We all know that it’s not right to kick the dog after a hard day at work, so why do it to your partner? Being held responsible for things that are out of our control is the most stressful of conditions, and that is what we do to our partner when we scapegoat them. Rather than hurt the ones you love, do what it takes to meet the real problem head-on, as effectively as you can. If you are unsure of how to address a problem, the strong and mature thing to do is to ask for help and support from trusted sources (i.e., a friend, relative, or therapist).

6. Negativism (nitpicking, nagging, criticizing):
In order to have a good relationship, the positives must outweigh the negatives by a large percentage. If negativity is creeping into your relationship, it is like water seeping into walls, eventually weakening the structure. People usually feel good around others who are upbeat and positive, as well as those who help them to feel good about themselves. Bringing a negative spirit into your relationship crowds out the positive. However, pushing aside or neglecting to address real problems is not the answer either, and can be just as harmful to relationship health as dwelling on the negative. So pick your battles wisely, strive to communicate effectively, and practice cooperative negotiation.

7. Gossiping (telling family or friends about your problems but not addressing them with your partner):
That’s right, if you are talking about the problems in your relationship with friends or relatives but not working on improving the situation, that amounts to gossip. Gossip is not a productive way to handle problems, and can result in additional problems. For instance, your partner may feel betrayed that you revealed sensitive material to others that cause him or her to be embarrassed or uncomfortable around them. Also, if you promote a negative side of your partner or your relationship, others may get a distorted view, and changes in their attitudes and behavior may follow. Others may remember your conflicts long after you and your partner have gotten past them. Instead, work on improving your communication skills. Turn toward your partner, not away. If you need help, seek out the assistance of an objective third party such as a therapist who works with couples. When it comes to your needs, stop complaining and start asking!

8. Controlling Your Partner (“my way” or else, perfectionism, trying to change your partner, possessiveness):
Wanting things to be a certain way and having preferences are completely natural and even healthy. However, when this tendency becomes extreme and starts to encroach on the rights, needs and desires of others, it can cause major havoc. Freedom of will and self-determination are basic needs, and when these are being threatened, negative reactions may include anger, resentment, and/or rebellion. If the need to control is a problem in your relationship, identify the motivations behind it and work towards dealing with those issues rather than acting them out with your partner.

9. Putting Yourself First (self-centeredness, selfishness, entitlement):
It’s not “all about me,” folks. Letting one’s self interests take priority in an unbalanced way can be toxic to a partnership. The other person usually winds up feeling deprived, resentful, and unimportant. Furthermore, the more self-involved you are, the more you take your relationship for granted, the less you appreciate your partner, and the more alone you actually are. So if your relationship is slanted in this way, you also lose out, because you experience less of the joy that a true connection brings. You and you partner both get more from the relationship through reciprocity in giving and receiving.

10. Putting Yourself Last (self-neglect, passivity, self sacrifice):
Martyrs are seldom happy. More often, they are angry, bitter, resentful, depressed and burned out. This is not to say that you should not consider others and be thoughtful in meeting their needs. But having a healthy relationship involves factoring your own needs and desires into the equation. You teach people how to treat you, and if you act like a doormat, you can’t completely blame someone if they wipe their feet on you. Learn how to stand up for yourself, practice assertive communication, ask and allow others to meet your needs, and take care of yourself as much as you take care of your loved ones.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Online Mobbing



What is mobbing? 

The word bullying is used to describe a repeated pattern of negative intrusive violational behaviour against one or more targets and comprises constant trivial nit-picking criticism, refusal to value and acknowledge, undermining, discrediting and a host of other behaviours which are defined on our page 

What is bullying? Bullying is typically perpetrated by one person although others in a workplace may join in, for example by operating legitimate procedures in an inappropriate manner, at the behest of the bully, having an adverse effect on the target. "Bullying" is still an appropriate term to describe what is done to the target. 

"Mobbing" involves a group of people whose size is constrained by the social setting in which it is formed, such as a workplace. It might seem to the target as if many people are involved but in reality the group might be small. The group members directly interact with a target in an adversarial way that undermines or harms them in measurable, definable ways. Mobbing has absolutely nothing in common with a conspiracy theory known as "Gang Stalking" (to which believers also refer as "Community Mobbing", "Community Stalking", "Stalking by Proxy", "Organized Stalking", "Cause Stalking", "Multi-Stalking"). 

The word mobbing is preferred to bullying in continental Europe and in those situations where a target is selected and bullied (mobbed) by a group of people rather than by one individual. However, every group has a ringleader. If this ringleader is an extrovert it will be obvious who is coercing group members into mobbing the selected target. If the ringleader is an introvert type, he or she is likely to be in the background coercing and manipulating group members into mobbing the selected target; introvert ringleaders are much more dangerous than extrovert ringleaders. 

In a mobbing situation, the ringleader incites supporters, cohorts, copycats and unenlightened, inexperienced, immature or emotionally needy individuals with poor values to engage in adversarial interaction with the selected target. The ringleader, or chief bully, gains gratification from encouraging others to engage in adversarial interaction with the target. 

Many people use the word "mobbing" to describe this pack attack by many on one individual. Once mobbing is underway the chief bully foments the mobbing into mutually assured destruction, from which the chief bully gains intense gratification - this is a feature of people with psychopathic personality. 

One aspect of psychopathic bullies is that they home in on Wannabe types - non-psychopathic lesser bullies - and then empower these individuals to gain the positions of power and authority they crave. Once installed, the Wannabe's lack of competence makes them dependent on the chief psychopath, which means they become unwitting but willing compliant puppets. They also make perfect corporate clones and drones. 

A characteristic of the Wannabe is that as well as lacking all the competencies necessary for their position, they also lack the intellect to understand the nature and manner of their compliant subservience. Throughout the mobbing experience, the target is deceived into fighting, blaming and trying to hold accountable the minor bullies of the mobbing group rather than the chief bully. 

The main reason a psychopathic chief bully gets away with his (or her) behaviour repeatedly is that no-one wants to believe that s/he could be the monster s/he is. This is also the reason that many pedophiles and wife-batterers evade accountability and sanction for years, often decades. They appear so charming and plausible to naive, unenlightened and inexperienced people - usually those who haven't experienced bullying themselves. 

Psychopathic chief bullies at work are very likely to have everyone in human resources and management in their pocket, who are then manipulated into further mobbing, victimising and persecuting the target. (In 'support' groups they make covert comments to paint themselves as a victim against anyone who has a difference of opinion or anyone they percieve to be more educated/qualified than they are.)

The golden rule when tackling a mobbing situation is, I believe, to identify and focus exclusively on the chief bully, and concentrate on holding this ringleader accountable. Expect an immediate increase in mobbing activities, and a rapidly-expanding web of deceit to be concocted against you. 

Alternatively, the best solution may be to make a positive decision to leave and refuse to allow these people to continue to ruin your career, your health and your life. In the unlikely event that the psychopathic chief leader is exposed and then leaves, the dysfunction, aggression and negative feelings fostered by him or her are likely to linger for years. 

Links Heinz Leymann's The Mobbing Encyclopedia
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, Davenport, Schwartz, and Elliott, Civil Society Publishing, July 1999, ISBN 0967180309.

BullyOnline.org

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sex & Porn Addiction

Treating Sexual & Pornographic Addictions
Sex & porn addictions require therapists with special training in these areas for patients to have a good chance of recovery. These illnesses are very difficult to treat, with relapses the norm. There are no training programs in traditional medical schools, graduate schools of psychology or social work that deal with this kind of addictive problem. And while this will undoubtedly change in the next few years, anyone now seeking professional help will need to check very carefully the background experience of any therapists that they might choose to treat them.

What you are looking for is a "sex addiction therapist" from any of the mental health healing disciplines who has a good track record in treating this problem & personal values that are reasonably congruent with the patient's values. Suggestions will be given shortly on how to find such a therapist.

In addition to having a competent, qualified sex addiction therapist, the patient will also need to attend regularly - (90% of the time) for two years or longer - weekly meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous (or other similar 12-step support group). These groups (free of charge) meet in nearly every fair sized city in America & their address & location can be found in the business pages of the phone book or by contacting Alcoholics Anonymous, who can give directions to the caller on location & time of meetings of the sexaholic group. It will be at these meetings that patients can inquire of fellow members or attendees the names of competent therapists they are individually meeting with & have found helpful & competent in receiving their own treatment. Another source of referrals is to call the National Council of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, who have a register of most therapists in the U.S. doing treatment in this area: 770-989-9754.

In my experience of 25 years in treating approximately 350 of these patients I find, if married, nearly universally the wives are traumatized by the husbands lies, deceptions, and-out-of-bounds sex behavior, and need treatment, too.

If the wife decides to stay in the marriage for a while longer, I engage her in joint treatment with her husband. I have found that if I successfully heal the husband of his addiction but have an angry, hostile, wounded wife who can never trust or forgive her husband even though she remains in the marriage, it greatly increases the risk of relapse in the husband as he attempts unsuccessfully to placate & deal with major marital turmoil. The wife's wounding has to be addressed as well as have both parties participate in marital therapy. Thus I nearly always attempt to have the wife join with the husband in our therapy sessions. This usually predicts a successful outcome if both stay in the healing program. This program works & is successful if both parties stay with it.

Sometimes the husband will find himself with years of sobriety & feel he's all "cured" & doesn't need to still attend his group meetings or therapy sessions anymore. Why waste time & money when he's doing so well? This can be very risky. And it greatly increases the chances for relapse. What I do when patients start experiencing long-term sobriety is gradually lengthen the time interval between therapy sessions. So eventually we may be meeting once every month, or six to eight weeks or longer.

The specifics of treatment by the therapist will not be presented in detail here other than to mention that we do marital therapy, put the couple in marital communication workshops (such as Marriage Enrichment), do a lot of work with relapse prevention, identify the triggers to acting out & develop strategies to protect them from the triggers, fortify them to deal with the "wave," and help them reduce & eliminate masturbation to pornography, since this increases the power of their addictive illness over them & is the royal road to acquiring new sexual addictions or paraphilias which might be acted out. We also strongly emphasize a "no secrets" rule, and how vital this is to healing.
We treat concomitantly any other addictions which they might have. All have to be treated together, otherwise the patient just shifts back & forth between addictions with no real long-term healing. We teach them the three-second rule to manage & control intrusive thoughts & imagery. We give them a lot of reading to do in the sex addiction area (like the Carnes' books, and the "white book," created by S.A. & filled with successful recovery biographies, plus monographs on many other related topics). We want them to be "world experts" on the nature of sex addiction, its genesis, its course, and helpful treatment procedures.

We also find it most important that they have hope & assured knowledge that the illness is treatable & they can get their free agency back again & have rational control over their previously driven irrational behavior. They see how this is possible as they attend S.A. & see & hear the testimonies of other people who now have long-term sobriety. These were people who were in much worse shape than they when entering treatment.

We deal with spiritual issues in therapy when this is appropriate to the unique circumstances & values of the client. We also deal with deep woundedness arising out of early life traumas which now make them vulnerable to seeking out quick-fix sexual acting out as a solution, which really doesn't work in the long-term. I also give a lot of verbal praise & genuine appreciation in response to even their smallest gains & good behavior. I never criticize or put them down when there are relapses. I just say, "This is exactly why we meet in therapy - to strengthen you & develop new strategies to deal with temptation. Now if this situation were to occur again, what might be a more powerful way to deal with it? To resist it? To remain sober? …etc.,"

Male teenage patients can be quite challenging. Many deny that it is a problem & consistently lie about the details of their involvement with it. Their motivation to change may be nonexistent. They are usually brought in for treatment by an angry and/or sorrowful parent & often tend to be uncooperative & passive/aggressive in dealing with the problem. It may be helpful to consider family therapy & be therapeutically confrontive in dealing with the issues that arise. Fairly drastic limitations on home computer/Internet use may be necessary. If 17 or older, I put them into a regular S.A. group with, possibly, the father also attending to be a support to the son & be someone he can talk with about the various issues as they arise.

Permission to reprint granted by Mark B. Kastelman. Excerpt taken from "The Drug of the New Millennium, The Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain & Body" Chapter 30, pages 308-311. Click the articles to the right to view more writings on sex & porn addiction topics from Mark Kastelman.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Why You Blame Yourself for Bad Relationships — and How to Stop




 by Craig Malkin, Ph.D.

Many years ago, Tina, 28, a bright, hard-working software engineer, came to me for help with persistent feelings of self-doubt and depression. She’d met a man at work, Ken, and fallen madly in love, but as happy as she felt most of the time, she still couldn’t shake the feeling she was doing something terribly wrong.

“He gets into these irritable, bristly moods and I know I should give him space,” she explained. “But I just start worrying maybe he doesn’t even want me around."

 “Has he said anything to suggest he’s upset with you?” I asked.

“Not really” she answered quickly.  But she seemed to be pondering the question. "I’m sure there’s something I must have done. Otherwise he wouldn’t act that way around me.”

“What if it has nothing to do with you?” I challenged.

“I hope not,” she said with a hint of alarm. “Because if  it’s not me, then I can’t ever do anything to make things better!”

Have you ever seen yourself as the problem when things seem to go wrong in your relationship? Or blamed yourself for not feeling happier with your partner? Tina certainly did. She firmly believed she could prevent Ken's moods, or at least avoid making them worse, if she simply changed her own behavior (by being quieter or more patient or less needy—the list went on). And the more she found herself culpable when trapped in the room with his unsettling silence, the more depressed she became. How can we understand her behavior?

It might have something to do with a difficult childhood. The people most prone to self-blame have often been invalidated or even abused in their families. It’s widely observed by researchers and clinicians, alike, that childhood emotional abuse leads to some of the harshest patterns of self-blame—a life long pattern of viewing oneself as the problem. Since the most stressful experiences are the ones we feel we can’t control or predict, no doubt one reason people turn to self-blame after abuse or neglect is that the alternative explanation—my parents or siblings are chaotic, hurtful people and the world is a dangerous place—is simply too terrifying to accept. Imagine being trapped in a home with two (or more) unpredictably cruel people. Better to think you can do something about your mistreatment—even if it means pointing the finger at yourself. In this way, children of abuse often trade their self-esteem for a sense of agency.

But it isn't just people who’ve been emotionally abused who fall prey to this sort of thinking. We all inevitably turn to self-doubt when we're afraid we can't control our experience. Once, for example, one of my daughters, then 9 months, was practicing a precocious (and terrifying) run-walk at the very moment my wife and were straightening a rug. She hit a lump in the carpet and slammed head first into the only one-inch square of exposed wood in our entire baby-proofed living room. It happened just inches away from me, and I played the scene over and over in my mind, searching for the exact moment I could have blocked her fall.

Rationally, of course, I knew there wasn’t anything we could have done differently. But I still blamed myself.  At least if my lack of vigilance was the problem, I could prevent a future tragedy by watching more closely.  But if the accident simply reflected the cold randomness of the universe, that meant something far worse: no planning or foresight could ever prevent bad things from happening to the people I cared about.  Even psychologists have trouble swallowing that pill. So I kicked myself instead. After all, that’s when we all turn to self-blame: at those very moments we can’t accept how helplessness we are to control our fate. Beneath self-blame, there’s often a powerful wish for control.

This is also the key to understanding Tina's behavior. She really doesn't believe Ken can change—nor do most people who blame themselves for a bad relationship.  If we’re not the problem, then our partner’s surly moods or disinterest can only be altered through their efforts. And the less faith we have—as Tina seemed to—that they can ever make those changes, the more we risk finding fault with ourselves. If our hope for a happy relationship lies in our partners’ hands, and they're not up to the task, then the situation truly is hopeless.  And hopelessness is a far worse pain than self-doubt.

Tina, for example, focused most of her efforts on changing herself.  But for all her frantic attempts to be a better partner, she remained afraid or unwilling to ask more of Ken, terrified that he either didn’t care to—or even worse, couldn’t— change for her.  She hid that fear, even from herself,  beneath layers of self-blame. 

If you’re a self-blamer, like Tina, the way out, of course, is to start considering what other people can do to help you feel better. And you can only do that if you accept that your partner not only can, but should change their hurtful behaviors—not because you've tried to do something different (again), but because they care enough about how you feel to do something different themselves (renowned marriage researcher, John Gottman, calls this “openness to influence”).

In other words, the onslaught of self-blame only stops once you realize that your own feelings of disappointment are legitimate enough to be heard. It's when you finally tell someone you feel hurt or upset by their behavior—and exactly what they can do to help you feel better—that you truly learn whether or not they care enough to change what's hurting you. And if they don’t care about that, you need to know as soon as possible. Or you could end up stuck in an unhappy relationship, blaming yourself for feeling bad. And that would depress anyone.

Check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on his book in progress.


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Monday, July 23, 2018

Sociopathy, Antisocial Personality Disorder & Psychopathy


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Hare's PCL-R 20-item checklist is based on Cleckley's 16-item checklist, and the following is a discussion of the concepts in the PCL-R.






But first of all, here is Cleckley's original list of symptoms of a psychopath:

1. Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.

2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking

3. Absence of anxiety or other "neurotic" symptoms considerable poise, calmness, and verbal facility.

4. Unreliability, disregard for obligations no sense of responsibility, in matters of little and great import.

5. Untruthfulness and insincerity

7. Antisocial behavior which is inadequately motivated and poorly planned, seeming to stem from an inexplicable impulsiveness.

7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior

8. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience

9. Pathological egocentricity. Total self-centeredness incapacity for real love and attachment.

10. General poverty ot deep and lasting emotions.

11. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.

12. Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness, and trust.

13. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking--vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.

14. No history of genuine suicide attempts.

15. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life. (i.e. casual sex, sex for sex's sake, no real emotional intimacy)

16. Failure to have a life plan and to live in any ordered way, unless it be one promoting self-defeat.



"...More often than not, the typical psychopath will seem particularly agreeable and make a distinctly positive impression when he is first encountered. Alert and friendly in his attitude, he is easy to talk with and seems to have a good many genuine interests. There is nothing at all odd or queer about him, and in every respect he tends to embody the concept of a well-adjusted, happy person. Nor does he, on the other hand, seem to be artificially exerting himself like one who is covering up or who wants to sell you a bill of goods. He would seldom be confused with the professional backslapper or someone who is trying to ingratiate himself for a concealed purpose. Signs of affectation or excessive affability are not characteristic. He looks like the real thing.

"Very often indications of good sense and sound reasoning will emerge, and one is likely to feel soon after meeting him that this normal and pleasant person is also one with -high abilities. Psychometric tests also very frequently show him of superior intelligence. More than the average person, he is likely to seem free from social or emotional impediments, from the minor distortions, peculiarities, and awkwardnesses so common even among the successful. Such superficial characteristics are not universal in this group but they are very common..."

"...It must be granted of course that the psychopath has some affect. Affect is, perhaps, a component in the sum of life reactions even in the unicellular protoplasmic entity. Certainly in all mammals it is obvious. The relatively petty states of pleasure, vexation, and animosity experienced by the psychopath have been mentioned. The opinion here maintained is that he fails to know all those more serious and deeply moving affective states which make up the tragedy and triumph of ordinary life, of life at the level of important human experience..."









Hare's Checklist

1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims. (can focus on THEIR losses but usually blame others for the results of their actions)
7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS -- expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR -- a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners (prostitutes or people they barely know); the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS -- an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS -- a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE -- a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY -- a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.






What Causes Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Donald W. Black, M.D.

The cause of antisocial personality disorder, or ASP, is unknown. Like many mental health issues, evidence points to inherited traits. Like father, like son. But dysfunctional family life also increases the likelihood of ASP. So although ASP may have a hereditary basis, environmental factors contribute to its development.

The TheoriesResearchers have their own ideas about ASP's cause. One theory suggests that abnormalities in development of the nervous system may cause ASP. Abnormalities that suggest abnormal nervous system development include learning disorders, persistent bedwetting and hyperactivity.

A recent study showed that if mothers smoked during pregnancy, their offspring were at risk of developing antisocial behavior. This suggests that smoking brought about lowered oxygen levels with may have resulted in subtle brain injury to the fetus.

Yet another theory suggests that people with ASP require greater sensory input for normal brain function. Evidence that antisocials have low resting pulse rates and low skin conductance, and show decreased amplitude on certain brain measures supports this theory. Individuals with chronically low arousal may seek out potentially dangerous or risky situations to raise their arousal to more optimal levels to satisfy their craving for excitement.
Brain imaging studies have also suggested that abnormal brain function is a cause of antisocial behavior. Likewise, the neurotransmitter serotonin has been linked with impulsive and aggressive behavior. Both the temporal lobes and the prefrontal cortex help regulate mood and behavior. It could be that impulsive or poorly controlled behavior stems from a functional abnormality in serotonin levels or in these brain regions.

The Environment
Social and home environment also contributes to the development of antisocial behavior. Parents of troubled children frequently show a high level of antisocial behavior themselves. In one large study, the parents of delinquent boys were more often alcoholic or criminal, and their homes were frequently disrupted by divorce, separation or the absence of a parent.

In the case of foster care and adoption, depriving a young child of a significant emotional bond could damage his ability to form intimate and trusting relationships, which may explain why some adopted children are prone to develop ASP. As young children, they may be more likely to move from one caregiver to another before a final adoption, thereby failing to develop appropriate or sustaining emotional attachments to adult figures.

Erratic or inappropriate discipline and inadequate supervision have been linked to antisocial behavior in children. Involved parents tend to monitor their child's behavior, setting rules and seeing that they are obeyed, checking on the child's whereabouts, and steering them away from troubled playmates. Good supervision is less likely in broken homes because parents may not be available, and antisocial parents often lack the motivation to keep an eye on their children. The importance of parental supervision is also underscored when antisocials grow up in large families where each child gets proportionately less attention.

A child who grows up in a disturbed home may enter the adult world emotionally injured. Without having developed strong bonds, he is self-absorbed and indifferent to others. The lack of consistent discipline results in little regard for rules and delayed gratification. He lacks appropriate role models and learns to use aggression to solve disputes. He fails to develop empathy and concern for those around him.

Antisocial children tend to choose similar children as playmates. This association pattern usually develops during the elementary school years, when peer group acceptance and the need to belong first become important. Aggressive children are the most likely to be rejected by their peers, and this rejection drives social outcasts to form bonds with one another. These relationships can encourage and reward aggression and other antisocial behavior. These associations may later lead to gang membership.

Child abuse has also been linked with antisocial behavior. People with ASP are more likely than others to have been abused as children. This is not surprising since many of them grow up with neglectful and sometimes violent antisocial parents. In many cases, abuse becomes a learned behavior that formerly abused adults perpetuate with their own children.

It has been argued that early abuse (such as vigorously shaking a child) is particularly harmful, because it can result in brain injury. Traumatic events can disrupt normal development of the central nervous system -- a process that continues through the adolescent years. By triggering a release of hormones and other brain chemicals, stressful events could alter the pattern of normal development.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Anti-Social Emotional Vampire Checklist


LISTENING TO THE CALL OF THE WILD:

True or false? Score one point for each true answer.

1. THIS PERSON BELIEVES THAT RULES WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN OR THAT THEY ARE THE 'EXCEPTION' TO THE RULES.

2. THIS PERSON IS ADEPT AT USING EXCUSES TO AVOID DOING WHAT HE OR SHE DOESN'T WANT TO DO.

3. THIS PERSON HAS HAD LEGAL PROBLEMS.

4. THIS PERSON REGULARLY ENGAGES IN DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES FOR THEIR THRILL VALUE.

5. THIS PERSON CAN TURN ON BRILLIANT BURSTS OF CHARM TO GET HIS OR HER WAY.

6. THIS PERSON IS NOT VERY GOOD AT MANAGING HIS OR HER FINANCES.

7. THIS PERSON SMOKES WITHOUT APOLOGY.

8. THIS PERSON HAS ONE OR MORE OTHER ADDICTIONS.

9. THIS PERSON HAS HAD MORE SEX PARTNERS THAN MOST PEOPLE.

10. THIS PERSON SELDOM WORRIES.

11. THIS PERSON ACTUALLY BELIEVES THAT SOME PROBLEMS CAN BE SETTLED WITH A FIST FIGHT.

12. THIS PERSON SEES NO PROBLEM WITH LYING TO ACHIEVE A GOAL.

13. THIS PERSON JUSTIFIES DOING BAD THINGS TO PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WOULD DO IT TOO IF THEY HAD THE CHANCE.

14. THIS PERSON CAN CONSCIOUSLY THROW A TANTRUM TO GET HIS OR HER WAY.

15. THIS PERSON DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF LOOKING BEFORE YOU LEAP.

16. THIS PERSON BELIEVES IN HAVING FUN FIRST AND DOING THE WORK LATER.

17. THIS PERSON HAS BEEN FIRED FROM A JOB, OR HAS QUIT IMPULSIVELY.

18. THIS PERSON REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH ANY SORT OF DRESS CODE.

19. THIS PERSON REGULARLY MAKES PROMISES THAT HE OR SHE NEVER KEEPS.

20. DESPITE ALL THESE FAULTS, THIS PERSON IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET.


Scoring: Five or more true answers qualifies the person as an Anti-Social Emotional Vampire, though not necessarily for a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality. If the person scores higher than ten, hold onto your wallet, and your heart.

By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Romantic Sociopath

romance Pictures, Images and Photos

Sociopaths make up roughly 7% percent of the USA population. These are people who seem to lack what might be called a ‘conscience’. They do not seem to have feelings of ‘guilt’ or ‘shame’ for harming others. They are ruthless in getting what they want. They are narcissistic to the point of being insensitive.

But what makes them dangerous – is that although they are emotionally bankrupt at the core – they are masters of creating the “illusion” of having so much to offer.

The Romantic Sociopath…

What makes the Romantic Sociopath so alluring?

They are the “ultimate emotional chameleons” They know how to mimic feelings. If you want someone who is charming, sensitive, assertive, dashing, sensual, intelligent” - they will mirror that back to you. They giving you the sensation you have found that “twin-soul” & your perfect other half.

How can you spot a Romantic Sociopath?

This is not easy to do. But there are some signs.

1. Romantic Sociopaths swing from one relationship to another.
Like a monkey swings from one tree limb to another. Why? Because they do not like to be alone. Remember they are emotionally bankrupt inside and therefore use others for emotional or sexual stimulus. They will stay with one a partner for as long as the emotions are new and run high but few novel. But will move on when things become “routine” or if that person’s emotional well runs dry or things become 'inconvenient' for them.


2. They attach themselves quickly. The romantic sociopath is always on the lookout for a better emotional supplier. (prey) Once they spot a target they move quickly.

They could propose marriage within hours of meeting you. Sweep you off you feet and dazzle you. Then they will tell you why that other relationship isn’t working. (she's crazy, a scorned woman, hell hath no fury, she's a liar, she's a stalker...)

Convince you they are sincere, and swing from the previous bed into yours – never seeming to take a breath.


3. They don’t bring much with them. They seem to have very few long term, genuine friends and family. Instead they quickly absorb into your life.

From the start they 'fit right in.' You share the same the same feelings and they take on the same attitudes, political ideas, hobbies, and social networks that you provide.


4. They are contemptuous and cruel to those they discard. Remember that emotional bankruptcy? Well now that they have no use for you anymore – they have found a new supplier. Then you will begin to see is the real persona. (watch the hate campaign, smear and covert attacks on the old partner(s) and that person's credibility.
Anyone who speaks badly about their ex should be WATCHED! - YOU could be next!)


This might look like a monster. Like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Yyou might wonder "who is this person? Where did the romantic, sensitive, dashing lover go?"

The sad news is they were never there.


What you encountered was the equivalent of an relationship Hit and Run.

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CLICK HERE FOR A GROUP FOR PSYCHOPATH SURVIVORS

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Friday, July 20, 2018

The Many Faces of a Narcissist




Narcissists project different images on different mirrors.

This is partly because any particular acting job may draw a favorable response from one mirror and an unfavorable response from another. For example, liberal-bashing produces a gratifying reflection in a right-wing mirror, while conservative-bashing produces a gratifying reflection in a left-wing mirror. A goody-two-shoes act looks holy in the eyes of religious hypocrites and the pharisaic, while it looks disgusting in the eyes of true believers and atheists.

Another reason why the narcissist projects different images on different mirrors is because he doesn't dare project the most gratifying image of all — the one his ego gets the biggest boost from — on most mirrors. Moreover, like any set of tools, the different people in his world are useful for different purposes.

So, for example, he exploits a powerful, wealthy, sophisticated, or famous person as a source of Narcissistic Supply in a much different way than he exploits the poor or down-and-out. This is only partly because he doesn't dare treat the former as he treats the latter. It's also partly because the flavor of Narcissistic Supply he can extract from the former is the rare and precious "nectar of the gods." So, he drops their names; he brown-noses and sucks-up to them; he shamelessly, even obsequiously, flatters them and courts their favor; no matter what they do, he finds no fault with them, considering them infallible and above reproach. All to aggrandize himself by association with them.

And so, a narcissist doesn't have two faces, he has multiple faces. Faces he can change as suddenly as a mask. Faces so different they seem like multiple personalities. Each is but his way of exploiting a particular source of Narcissistic Supply.

So, for example, he projects a different image of himself in a church than in a bar. Again for example, the reflection he wants from his co-workers is radically different than the reflection he wants from his spouse and children.

by Kathy Krajco

ORIGINAL POST HERE

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Psychopaths Can Be Spotted by their Speech Patterns


Psychopaths are known to be wily and manipulative, but even so, they unconsciously betray themselves, according to scientists who have looked for patterns in convicted murderers' speech as they described their crimes.

The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money.

While we all have conscious control over some words we use, particularly nouns and verbs, this is not the case for the majority of the words we use, including little, functional words like "to" and "the" or the tense we use for our verbs, according to Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University, who discussed the work on Oct. 17 in Midtown Manhattan at Cornell's ILR Conference Center.

"The beautiful thing about them is they are unconsciously produced," Hancock said.

These unconscious actions can reveal the psychological dynamics in a speaker's mind even though he or she is unaware of it, Hancock said.

 

What it means to be a psychopath
Psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and as much as 25 percent of male offenders in federal correctional settings, according to the researchers. Psychopaths are typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion. "In lay terms, psychopaths seem to have little or no 'conscience,'" write the researchers in a study published online in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology.

Psychopaths are also known for being cunning and manipulative, and they make for perilous interview subjects, according to Michael Woodworth, one of the authors and a psychologist who studies psychopathy at the University of British Columbia, who joined the discussion by phone.

"It is unbelievable," Woodworth said. "You can spend two or three hours and come out feeling like you are hypnotized."

While there are reasons to suspect that psychopaths' speech patterns might have distinctive characteristics, there has been little study of it, the team writes.

How words give them away

To examine the emotional content of the murderers' speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the "uhs" and "ums" that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying.

With regard to psychopaths, "We think the 'uhs' and 'ums' are about putting the mask of sanity on," Hancock told LiveScience.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which also included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote.

As they expected, the psychopaths' language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including "because" and "so that," are associated with cause-and-effect statements.

"This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that 'had' to be done to achieve a goal)," the authors write.

And finally, while most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence.

Their analysis revealed that psychopaths used about twice as many words related to basic physiological needs and self-preservation, including eating, drinking and monetary resources than the nonpsychopaths, they write.

By comparison, the nonpsychopathic murderers talked more about spirituality and religion and family, reflecting what nonpsychopathic people would think about when they just committed a murder, Hancock said.

The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Unlike the checklist, which is based on an extensive review of the case file and an interview, the self report is completed by the person in question.

This sort of tool could be very useful for law enforcement investigations, such as in the case of the Long Island serial killer, who is being sought for the murders of at least four prostitutes and possibly others, since this killer used the online classified site Craigslist to contact victims, according to Hancock.

Text analysis software could be used to conduct a "first pass," focusing the work for human investigators, he said. "A lot of time analysts tell you they feel they are drinking from a fire hose."

Knowing a suspect is a psychopath can affect how law enforcement conducts investigations and interrogations, Hancock said.

You can follow LiveScience writer Wynne Parry on Twitter @Wynne_Parry

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