Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"I'll Change, I Promise": 6 Signs of Real Repentance

by Bryce Klabunde, Vice President Pastoral Ministries

Many changes come naturally as we mature. Sometimes, though, negative habits form deep ruts, and it seems we can't change, no matter how much we want to. Friends urge us to alter course and warn us of dangers ahead if we don't. We read about God's path of wisdom, and His Spirit awakens our spirit to a new vision of a better life. With tears of determination, we tell ourselves, our loved ones, and our Lord that things will be different. "I'll change, I promise," we say. And we really mean it. We feel a deep sense of sorrow for our sin, even disgust. However, as time passes, the pull of the rut overpowers our most sincere promises, and we fall back into old patterns.

Part of the problem may be our mistake in thinking that sorrow and confession are enough to produce change. Another part is the misunderstanding of the process of change-a process the Bible calls repentance.

Repentance is the process of turning from our sinful way of life and turning to godliness. It is characterized by a change of thinking and a change of behavior.

The path of repentance often leads through dark periods of self-examination and painful surrendering of selfishness and pride. Repentance includes letting go of cherished sinful pleasures and being accountable to others who help us lift our wheels out of the rut as we plow a new course in life. It marks a renewed relationship with God on a revived belief that His way is truly best and His righteousness is life's greatest treasure.

How do you know if you're on the path of repentance? What does the penitent life look like? How can you tell if someone you love is really changing? People who are serious about change tend to display similar behaviors that let you know they are on the right track. Here are a few signs you'll find in a truly repentant person:
1. Repentant people are willing to confess ALL their sins, not just the sins that got them in trouble. A house isn't clean until you open every closet and sweep every corner.

People who truly desire to be clean are completely honest about their lives. They don't ignore, evade or duck questions. No more secrets.

2. Repentant people face the pain that their sin caused others. They invite the victims of their sin (anyone hurt by their actions) to express the intensity of emotions that they feel-anger, hurt, sorrow, and disappointment.

Repentant people do not give excuses or shift blame. They made the choice to hurt others, and they must take full responsibility for their behavior.

3. Repentant people ask forgiveness from those they hurt. They realize that they can never completely "pay off" the debt they owe their victims. Repentant people don't pressure others to say, "I forgive you."

Forgiveness is a journey, and the other person needs time to deal with the hurt before they can forgive. All that penitent people can do is admit their indebtedness and humbly request the undeserved gift of forgiveness.

4. Repentant people remain accountable to a small group of mature people. They gather a group of friends around themselves who hold them accountable to a plan for clean living. They invite the group to question them about their behaviors. And they follow the group's recommendations regarding how to avoid temptation.

5. Repentant people accept their limitations. They realize that the consequences of their sin (including the distrust) will last a long time, perhaps the rest of their lives. They understand that they may never enjoy the same freedom that other people enjoy.

Sex offenders or child molesters, for example, should never be alone with children.

Alcoholics must abstain from drinking.

Adulterers and sex addicts must put strict limitations on their time with members of the opposite sex and account to their partners.

That's the reality of their situation, and they willingly accept their boundaries.

6. Repentant people are faithful to the daily tasks God has given them.
After healing comes living. Repentant people accept responsibility for past failures but do not drown themselves in guilt. They focus their attention on present responsibilities, which include accomplishing the daily tasks God has given them.

One final thought. Repentance is not a solo effort. God doesn't expect us to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. For many people, the first cry of repentance is, "I can't change by myself; I need You, God." Thankfully, those are the sweetest words to God's ear.


This site does not ascribe to any one religious affiliation - this is posted for general information and support only.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

On Evil

"Truly evil people avoid extending themselves. They will take any action in their power to protect their own laziness, to preserve the integrity of their sick self. Rather than nurturing others, they will actually destroy others in this cause. If necessary, they will even kill to escape the pain of their own spiritual growth."

by M. Scott Peck, Psychiatrist, Author People of the Lie

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Safety Nets Often Fail Abuse Victims

This situation is true of far TOO MANY places in North America... not just Seattle.

Domestic Violence Hotline Pictures, Images and Photos


Victims of domestic violence often turn to a neighbor instead of the police, and even if they sought court protection they often weren't given help to stay safe, according to a recent study of domestic violence homicides in Washington.

In addition, women of color were two or three times more likely than Caucasian women to be killed by an intimate partner, according to the report, and often faced cultural and language barriers to escaping an abusive relationship. The same trend was apparent with 43 men who have been killed since the biennial Domestic Violence Fatality Review began in 1997, according to the report.

The report, which was presented Monday by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, looks at trends in domestic violence homicides in an effort to improve the criminal justice system and community response to better protect victims.

Sixty-eight people were killed as the result of domestic violence in the latest two-year period examined, between July 2006 and June 2008. Of those cases, 11 were chosen for an in-depth look.

In six of those cases, victims went to a neighbor or community member instead of calling the police. Private citizens often didn't know what to do and weren't aware of organizations that they could call for advice about how to help a victim of abuse.

In the past, the fatality review mostly focused on improving how police and courts handle domestic violence. This year, the focus shifted more toward how community members could better prepare if someone sought help from them, including how to help without jeopardizing their own safety, she said.

"In general, who do you turn to when in a crisis? I think most go to the people who are closest to us before we go to a stranger," said Kelly Starr, a coalition spokeswoman. "We can't rely on all of these systems as the answer."

The report recommended that block watches and crime-prevention groups learn more about domestic violence resources and share information. It also suggested that the media give contact information about advocacy services when reporting on domestic violence.

"I think the next piece is building the community's capacity to respond to this. We all have to build ourselves up so we're ready," Starr said.

Still, the report found areas where the court system needed improvement. For instance, victims often had no help from advocates when petitioning for court protection orders against their abusers. Without someone helping them make that decision, they could increase their risk in some cases, according to the report. An advocate can help plan where to go or what to do if the abuser retaliates or with deciding whether obtaining an order is the safest option.

One woman was killed last year in Federal Way just three hours after her boyfriend was served with an anti-harassment order.

In King County, the Prosecutor's Office provides a protection order advocacy program that victims have used in 73,000 cases since it was established 20 years ago. Generally, advocates serve about 5,000 cases each year, in addition to 2,500 walk-ins seeking advice, said David Martin, who supervises the domestic violence unit.

"For some folks, these are very difficult decisions to make -- life-altering decisions. There could be children involved, or a long-term relationship," Martin said. "We want people to understand what's going on and to make a good, informed decision."

Most Washington courts that provide protection orders, however, don't offer advocacy services, according to the report.

In those cases, court clerks' offices could consider referring victims to community-based organizations, which wouldn't cost extra money, Starr said.


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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Diagnosis: EVIL

For the Worst of Them,
the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil'


Predatory killers often do far more than commit murder. Some have lured their victims into homemade chambers for prolonged torture. Others have exotic tastes - for vivisection, sexual humiliation, burning. Many perform their grisly rituals as much for pleasure as for any other reason.

Among themselves, a few forensic scientists have taken to thinking of these people as not merely disturbed but evil. Evil in that their deliberate, habitual savagery defies any psychological explanation or attempt at treatment.

Most psychiatrists assiduously avoid the word evil, contending that its use would precipitate a dangerous slide from clinical to moral judgment that could put people on death row unnecessarily and obscure the understanding of violent criminals.

Still, many career forensic examiners say their work forces them to reflect on the concept of evil, and some acknowledge they can find no other term for certain individuals they have evaluated.

In an effort to standardize what makes a crime particularly heinous, Dr. Michael Welner, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University, has been developing what he calls a depravity scale, which rates the horror of an act by the sum of its grim details.

And a prominent personality expert at Columbia University has published a 22-level hierarchy of evil behavior, derived from detailed biographies of more than 500 violent criminals.

He is now working on a book urging the profession not to shrink from thinking in terms of evil when appraising certain offenders, even if the E-word cannot be used as part of an official examination or diagnosis.

"We are talking about people who commit breathtaking acts, who do so repeatedly, who know what they're doing, and are doing it in peacetime" under no threat to themselves, said Dr. Michael Stone, the Columbia psychiatrist, who has examined several hundred killers at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, N.Y., and others at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, where he consults and teaches. "We know from experience who these people are, and how they behave," and it is time, he said, to give their behavior "the proper appellation."

Western religious leaders, evolutionary theorists and psychological researchers agree that almost all human beings have the capacity to commit brutal acts, even when they are not directly threatened. In Dr. Stanley Milgram's famous electroshock experiments in the 1960's, participants delivered what they thought were punishing electric jolts to a fellow citizen, merely because they were encouraged to do so by an authority figure as part of a learning experiment.

In the real world, the grim images coming out of Iraq -the beheadings by Iraqi insurgents and the Abu Ghraib tortures, complete with preening guards - suggest how much further people can go when they feel justified.

In Nazi prisoner camps, as during purges in Kosovo and Cambodia, historians found that clerks, teachers, bureaucrats and other normally peaceable citizens committed some of the gruesome violence, apparently swept along in the kind of collective thoughtlessness that the philosopher Hannah Arendt described as the banality of evil.

"Evil is endemic, it's constant, it is a potential in all of us. Just about everyone has committed evil acts," said Dr. Robert I. Simon, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and the author of "Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream."

Dr. Simon considers the notion of evil to be of no use to forensic psychiatry, in part because evil is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, shaped by political and cultural as well as religious values. The terrorists on Sept. 11 thought that they were serving God, he argues; those who kill people at abortion clinics also claim to be doing so. If the issue is history's most transcendent savages, on the other hand, most people agree that Hitler and Pol Pot would qualify.

"When you start talking about evil, psychiatrists don't know anything more about it than anyone else," Dr. Simon said. "Our opinions might carry more weight, under the patina or authority of the profession, but the point is, you can call someone evil and so can I. So what? What does it add?"

Dr. Stone argues that one possible benefit of including a consideration of evil may be a more clear-eyed appreciation of who should be removed from society and not allowed back. He is not an advocate of the death penalty, he said. And his interest in evil began long before President Bush began using the word to describe terrorists or hostile regimes.

Dr. Stone's hierarchy of evil is topped by the names of many infamous criminals who were executed or locked up for good: Theodore R. Bundy, the former law school student convicted of killing two young women in Florida and linked to dozens of other killings in the 1970's; John Wayne Gacy of Illinois, the convicted killer who strangled more than 30 boys and buried them under his house; and Ian Brady who, with his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, tortured and killed children in England in a rampage in the 1960's known as the moors murders.

But another killer on the hierarchy is Albert Fentress, a former schoolteacher in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., examined by Dr. Stone, who killed and cannibalized a teenager, in 1979. Mr. Fentress petitioned to be released from a state mental hospital, and in 1999 a jury agreed that he was ready; he later withdrew the petition, when prosecutors announced that a new witness would testify against him.

At a hearing in 2001, Dr. Stone argued against Mr. Fentress's release, and the idea that the killer might be considered ready to make his way back into society still makes the psychiatrist's eyes widen.

Researchers have found that some people who commit violent crimes are much more likely than others to kill or maim again, and one way they measure this potential is with a structured examination called the psychopathy checklist.

As part of an extensive, in-depth interview, a trained examiner rates the offender on a 20-item personality test. The items include glibness and superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, pathological lying, proneness to boredom and emotional vacuity. The subjects earn zero points if the description is not applicable, two points if it is highly applicable, and one if it is somewhat or sometimes true.

The psychologist who devised the checklist, Dr. Robert Hare, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said that average total scores varied from below five in the general population to the low 20's in prison populations, to a range of 30 to 40 - highly psychopathic - in predatory killers. In a series of studies, criminologists have found that people who score in the high range are two to four times as likely as other prisoners to commit another crime when released. More than 90 percent of the men and a few women at the top of Dr. Stone's hierarchy qualify as psychopaths.

In recent years, neuroscientists have found evidence that psychopathy scores reflect physical differences in brain function. Last April, Canadian and American researchers reported in a brain-imaging study that psychopaths processed certain abstract words - grace, future, power, for example - differently from nonpsychopaths.

In addition, preliminary findings from new imaging research have revealed apparent oddities in the way psychopaths mentally process certain photographs, like graphic depictions of accident scenes, said Dr. Kent Kiehl, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale, a lead author on both studies.

No one knows how significant these differences are, or whether they are a result of genetic or social factors. Broken homes and childhood trauma are common among brutal killers; so is malignant narcissism, a personality type characterized not only by grandiosity but by fantasies of unlimited power and success, a deep sense of entitlement, and a need for excessive admiration.

"There is a group we call lethal predators, who are psychopathic, sadistic, and sane, and people have said this is approaching a measure of evil, and with good reason," Dr. Hare said. "What I would say is that there are some people for whom evil acts - what we would consider evil acts - are no big deal. And I agree with Michael Stone that the circumstances and context are less important than who they are."

Checklists, scales, and other psychological exams are not blood tests, however, and their use in support of a concept as loaded as evil could backfire, many psychiatrists say. Not all violent predators are psychopaths, for one thing, nor are most psychopaths violent criminals. And to suggest that psychopathy or some other profile is a reliable measure of evil, they say, would be irresponsible and ultimately jeopardize the credibility of the profession.

In the 1980's and 1990's, a psychiatrist in Dallas earned the name Dr. Death by testifying in court, in a wide variety of cases, that he was certain that defendants would commit more crimes in the future - though often, he had not examined them. Many were sentenced to death.

"I agree that some people cannot be rehabilitated, but the risk in using the word evil is that it may mean one thing to one psychiatrist, and something else to another, and then we're in trouble, " said Dr. Saul Faerstein, a forensic psychiatrist in Beverly Hills. "I don't know that we want psychiatrists as gatekeepers, making life-and-death judgments in some cases, based on a concept that is not medical."

Even if it is used judiciously, other experts say, the concept of evil is powerful enough that it could obscure the mental troubles and intellectual quirks that motivate brutal killers, and sometimes allow them to avoid detection. Mr. Bundy, the serial killer, was reportedly very romantic, attentive and affectionate with his own girlfriends, while he referred to his victims as "cargo" and "damaged goods," Dr. Simon noted.

Mr. Gacy, a gracious and successful businessman, reportedly created a clown figure to lift the spirits of ailing children. "He was a very normal, very functional guy in many respects," said Dr. Richard Rappaport, a forensic psychiatrist based in La Costa, Calif., who examined Mr. Gacy before his trial. Dr. Rappaport said he received holiday cards from Mr. Gacy every year before he was executed.

"I think the main reason it's better to avoid the term evil, at least in the courtroom, is that for many it evokes a personalized Satan, the idea that there is supernatural causation for misconduct," said Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist in Newport Beach, Calif., who examined the convicted serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted of murdering their parents in Beverly Hills.

"This could only conceal a subtle important truth about many of these people, such as the high rate of personality disorders," Dr. Dietz said. He added: "The fact is that there aren't many in whom I couldn't find some redeeming attributes and some humanity. As far as we can tell, the causes of their behavior are biological, psychological and social, and do not so far demonstrably include the work of Lucifer."

The doctors who argue that evil has a place in forensics are well aware of these risks, but say that in some cases they are worth taking. They say it is possible - necessary, in fact, to understand many predatory killers - to hold inside one's head many disparate dimensions: that the person in question may be narcissistic, perhaps abused by a parent, or even charming, affectionate and intelligent, but also in some sense evil. While the term may not be appropriate for use in a courtroom or a clinical diagnosis, they say, it is an element of human nature that should not be ignored.

Dr. Angela Hegarty, director of psychiatry at Creedmoor who works with Dr. Stone, said she was skeptical of using the concept of evil but realized that in her work she found herself thinking and talking about it all the time. In 11 years as a forensic examiner, in this country and in Europe, she said, she counts four violent criminals who were so vicious, sadistic and selfish that no other word could describe them.

One was a man who gruesomely murdered his own wife and young children and who showed more annoyance than remorse, more self-pity than concern for anyone else affected by the murders. On one occasion when Dr. Hegarty saw him, he was extremely upset - beside himself - because a staff attendant at the facility where he lived was late in arriving with a video, delaying the start of the movie. The man became abusive, she said: he insisted on punctuality.

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES - original article click here

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Saturday, October 27, 2018


from this terrific blog

I’ve been asked what to expect once you’ve decided you’re leaving the passive aggressive spouse or partner. Being passive aggressive, they can actually move in two or three different directions, but they are still pretty predictable once you are prepared for all and can figure in which way he/she is moving.

I should warn you that if this is your choice, you should be well prepared ahead of time. The things that are very important to you you should slowly be packing away somewhere so they are easy to move out fast once you break the news. Remember that most stuff is just that, stuff. It can be replaced. Things that belonged to your grandmother cannot. Be real on what you really want and need.

Squirrel some money away. You don’t have to take thousands from the grocery money every month, but $20 here, $20 there, adds up. No matter what they say about “Money not buying happiness” it makes life a whole lot easier if you have some, even if you’re just moving in with family.

If you’re leaving the passive aggressive, you cannot expect him to be co-operative. He may, if he’s the 1st kind I’m going to talk about below, but don’t expect it. He’s used to punishing you for his parents mistakes, he’s certainly not going to be easier on you now that he figures in his mind that you’ve “wronged” him.

1) The first kind of passive aggressive will just pretty basically walk away. Think about it. He was never really connected to you anyway. The reason you’re probably leaving is because there’s no affection any more, no intimacy, not much of anything. It’s a little bruising to our ego that he doesn’t even try to get us back, but it’s the way they are. Even if his heart is breaking inside, you will probably never know it. He would never admit. He’ll not do anything to fix it. He is the victim. This is also one of the ways he figures he can punish you. He just moves on.

2) The second way they can act once you’ve decided you’re leaving the passive aggressive, is actually rather hostile. You’re the bitch, he could never please you, get your stuff and get out, you can take your stuff, but only your stuff and nothing else. If you remember, almost everything in your marriage that went wrong was “your fault” whether he cheated on you, or constantly belittled you, what ever it was, don’t expect that to change. And don’t expect them to co-operate in any way. Many times they will fight for something during the divorce that they don’t even want, just to keep you from getting it. At least when you get the blame this time, it will have a better ending in sight.

3) Then there’s the passive aggressive that is oh, so sorry. He’ll change. He’ll do what ever you want, just come back home (or let him come home). “I wouldn’t have been that way if you had just…” and it’s still all about what you did wrong. If they agree to change, or see a therapist or what ever it is you’re asking of them, it is usually only a temporary ploy. The same kind of temporary ploy they used to land you in the first place. Once they feel they are back on secure ground, all the changes go out the window.

It is not unusual to be talking about what needs to happen with a passive aggressive, you’re to the point that you’re willing to share a house again, and he will turn the tables on you. All of a sudden, he isn’t sure he wants to come back, or he wants you to concede that most everything is your fault and you will change. Remember, the bottom line of almost any passive aggressive is that everything is always someone else’s fault. They rarely take any responsibility for anything going wrong, in their marriage, in their job, in their lives.

If you have children, you can either expect him to fight for custody, and should he win, within a short time you’ll get the kids most of the time anyway, because generally he doesn’t really want them all the time. He just wants to punish you. Or, he will rarely see them, or be late for every visitation, or call frequently to change plans. Really not much different then when you were married to him and he “forgot” to pick up the kids, etc. The only difference now is you don’t have to live with it 24/7. Don’t think he’s going to be any different once you’ve left him than he always was.

I hope this helps a little. Of course each situation is different because each person is different. These are just the basics. If you have any comments or questions, feel free. The one thing I will say about leaving a passive aggressive is that once you are out for good, I haven’t known a whole lot of the “escapees” that would go back.

(NOTE: Passive Aggressive Personality disorder was rolled INTO Narcissistic Personality Disorder a few years ago.  PA is now a component of NPD)


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Friday, October 26, 2018

Verbal Manipulation

#1 "I'm wondering why you're reading this page."

Are you looking at these words trying to figure out how to respond? If so, you just took the bait. Have a look at the words again "I'm wondering why you're reading this page." Notice anything odd?? -- It's not a question!! It's a statement!! Don't answer statements.

Here's another: Your abuser is in the kitchen and says:"I can't find the sugar." Did you jump up to get it for him? If so, then his manipulative tactic worked. He didn't even have to ask you to get it. He only had to state his dilemma. You are being conditioned to respond. He has you pegged as a 'people pleaser' the perfect target.

Abusers hate asking questions because it means they may loose control. So they use the 'disguised question'. Watch for them. They often have a "rING" to them (I'm wondering, hoping, thinking) or "Perhaps you'd ..." "I wish you'd..." "I suppose you're going to..." "I noticed there wasn't..."

Another trick is 'attributed' statements. "We were wondering" "They said..." "She said...." They "attribute their statements to somebody else or a 'group.' This tactic, of course, places blame elsewhere, and is intimidating as it appears to involve others.

Strategy #1. Answer Questions only, never answer statements -- Train your ears to recognize and distinguish which are comments and which are questions. Learn to ask Yes/No question. Repeat their last 3 or 4 words back to them, in a questioning manner. Be fully aware of any potential for violence, and if so, leave NOW!! Abusive questions like "Are you still beating your wife?" are a common insult. Watch out for these insult and accusation-disguised questions. An abuser's well-worn tactic. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don't dignify it with a response.

#2 "WE were hoping you'd..."
WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE .... "WE" ??? - that's the oldest trick in the book -- that ''WE' they throw out means YOU are being targeted. If all goes well, he takes the credit and, if not you'll be playing receiver in his blame game. Examples "If we could..." "We were hoping..." "We should..."
Strategy #2. Make a fast exit when you hear the 'WE' word.

#3 F O G = Fear, Obligation and Guilt 

Dr. Susan Forward does a fantastic job of describing FOG in her important book Emotional Blackmail. It rolls in slowly and blinds our ordinarily good judgement. Be on the watch for it!!

Examples: "Don't you care if...." "If you loved me..." "Everyone knows that..." "Every decent person..." Don't you think you (we) should..." "Why don't you..." "Wouldn't it be better if..." "Can't you take a joke?" "You could never do..." "I thought that's what you wanted" "Do we all agree..." "It's reasonable to expect..." "We've already...." "I needed to..." "You don't think I you?" "We were counting on you to..." "Aren't you going to..."
Strategy #3. Know your vulnerabilities to 'FOG'. Minimize your exposure to them, and say "No". Ignore their words and be aware of our susceptibility of wanting to reply to their questions/statements. Don't take their bait. Expect them to howl - let them.

#4 Picking a Fight - The Confrontational Choice of Words

"Why do you always..." "Do you expect me to..." "I can't believe you would..." "I thought we were going to..." "Why should I have to..." "I've been told that..." "How could you..." "Why don't you..." "Did you hear me?" "Well, does that mean that I have to...." "I thought you..." "Don't you think you(we) should..." Are you telling me..." "I thought we agreed..." "Only an idiot would..." are examples of verbal attack moves. These are phrases used to put you on the defensive. So, like a good chess player, set up a strategic counter move. Just say "That's my decision", "I know you're unhappy, but that's the way it is" "I'll have to think about that" "You seem upset" "We don't always have to agree." "I prefer it that way" Learn the art and science of not taking the bait. Let some things slide. Don't respond to bad behaviour. It's their confrontational chip-on-the-shoulder that you're seeing now. These confrontational questions are pure bait and he's looking for a fight. Don't take the bait!!

Strategy #4. Be aware of verbal tactics that make you feel you want to defend yourself. Know you do not have to defend yourself. To minimize their ability to 'bait' you it may be best to just agree and say "You're right" and drop the subject. One difficult part of this is to realize it's hard for us to not say "I'm sorry but..." Expect the inevitable hissy-fit rage when they're manipulation is ended, IGNORE THEIR WORDS, simply say something like "We'll talk later when you aren't so upset." Try to avoid saying "I'm sorry but..."

#5 The 'silent treatment' is another form of abuse.

This amounts to a 'Mexican standoff' of whose going to talk first. He wants to find out how long before you'll crack and what issues you'll bring up - That's His Payoff. Simply say "Let me know when you feel like talking". Say nothing else. Act like 'no big deal' and put a smile on your face. If you react now it will become his tactic in future.

Strategy #5. Know this is a control technique. Learn what their 'payoff' is.

#6 PRESUPPOSITIONS - (ASSUMED COMPLIANCE - and other tricks of the conman 'snake-oil' salesman) - "Do you want the red one or the blue one?" "Which do you think...?": (Offer a choice tactic!)

"I was sure you'd want to" "You'll be pleased that ...." "Aren't you happy that...", "What do you think...?" "I know you'll like..." "You'll want to..." "I (we) thought you wanted to..." "I thought you'd like..." "Since I'm the one..." "Perhaps you'd like to..." "You must know that...." "Many people agree that..." "I'm sure it's occurred to you..." "You and I..." "I think you know..." "I've heard that..."

Aren't you just thrilled he's including you? He's controlling you for your own happiness, right? Take a step back Buster!! I'm not falling for that old line. Be prepared with your "I'll let you know", "I'll have to think about that", "No, I don't want to" "I disagree"

Strategy ##6. Watch out for people who make plans for you. It usually benefits them. By appearing to be only a confirmation this amounts to "nothing succeeds like success tactic" and we're expected to be happy to be included!! A common trick of the sleazy salesman.

Pregnant Pause. Abusers are most effective at getting us to help solve their problems. They state their problems (usually very easy to solve) and wait. This waiting is very manipulative. We take up the verbal gap and fill it in with our offer to help.

Strategy: Watch for the pregnant pause in the conversation, it's bait. Watch them use the tempo of conversation. We're programmed to respond at a conversational pause and to offer suggestions or help.

7. The Raging Bull

Now he verbally 'acts out'. Let it die down like a nasty summer storm. Leave the room, or tell him to leave. Don't waste your time getting in this conversation. You may get a chuckle out of their obvious provoking and baiting phrases.
Strategy #7. Ignore his words. We don't have to respond to their comments at all. "I'm sorry you feel that way."often catches them off guard. Raging is part of their disorder. He needs and will work hard to get a reaction from you, so don't take his bait. This is the equivalent of an adult 'tantrum'. Suggested response: "We'll talk about this later when you've calmed down."

8. The 'Sidewinder'

Asking a question of a pathological liar is inviting lies. Fearing loss of control, they'll ricochet around like mad to avoid answering, or asking questions. He'll likely say "Oh well that all depends..."Well, I'm not sure..." or change the subject completely.

Strategy #8. Document and verify any responses. Avoid asking questions and avoid him! Avoid any agreements, including legal ones - even these aren't honoured. Make them be the ones to ask. Don't ask them for anything and don't do anything for them either. Be self-reliant and financially and emotionally free of them. The personality disordered do honour even legal written agreements.

And, the onus of collection and all that goes with that will be your problem.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9. Manipulation 101

Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "Not much, I haven't made any plans yet" (you just got zinged - that's what he was hoping you'd say)

Now try...
Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "What did you have in mind?"
(you successfully blocked by questioning the question and punted the ball right back in his court). We learn these tactics after we've taken the bait a few times.

Strategy #9. The manipulator is wanting something here so don't hesitate to just say "No" -- with absolutely no explanations. If pressed for an explanation, simply say: "That's my decision." or, "I'll have to think about that." or, "If you're not happy with my decision you know where the door is." Remember, you have the right to change your mind and say No, even if you've already taken the bait and said yes -- we may not see some manipulative until we've been trapped. Change your mind -- they'll be less likely to target you in future.

10. The Conman's High-Pressure

Tactic deliberately creates a 'right now' "We need to.." "If we don't act now we'll lose out" "I know a guy..." urgency, immediate gratification, last-minute panic they need us for. Fast talking, gesticulating, panicky masters of presuppositions.

Using "we" and stating some 'snooze you lose' is their game. One of the oldest tricks in the book. The masters of "I smell gas and I can take care of this for us, but I'll need you need to give me $$$ so I can get this fixed for you."

Strategy #10 Run a self diagnostic on your naive meter. Giving money to these guys is like asking a dog to guard your dinner. Say "No", call their bluff and let them fix their own problems. Simply say: "My money is tied up so I'm giving this a miss." We need to be aware of their tactic of getting us to say yes and agree to 3 or 4 things, preconditioning us, all the while circling towards their hidden-agenda objective.

11. The Freudian "Schlep"
The personality-disordered abuser is incredibly gifted at psychologically knowing his target. He will assess your most basic personality - often this is not even known to us and he will know you better than you know yourself, and use it to his advantage.

For example, if the abuser asks you "How's the weather today," you will answer in one of three ways. If you're a visual person, you will probably say "Looks like it's going to rain." If you're an aural person, you might say "I heard that's it going to be a scorcher." But if you're a kinesthetic person, then "It feels pretty cold" will probably be your answer. Now, the verbal abuser will assess your personality. Such as for the visual target "I see," "I get the picture," "show me," "focus on," "beautiful," "brilliant," "seeing is believing," or "keep your eyes peeled." With aurals, words include "I hear you," "fine tune," "sounds good," "tell me," "listen," "hear me out," or "keep your ears open." With kinesthetic individuals, use "I feel," "I sense that," "grasp," "vibrant," "my point is," "makes sense," "out of touch," "hold on," or "get a handle." His uncanny ability to do this creates the 'our soulmate' aspect to hook and manipulate their target.
Strategy #11: Learn the nature of these predators. This technique works equally well on them - know your abuser!! Ask him "How's the weather today?" Be fully aware of your vulnerabilities and how they are being targeted.

12. Lights, Camera, ACTION
Systematically your abuser has conditioned you to accepting his 'action' commands. He hammers you with rapidfire questions, options, statements, observations. They fly like bullets and you're in the trenches. He wants a response and your compliance and he wants it NOW. To confuse you is his objective. He wants you to agree with him, provide his wants, appease him, become his ally, take up his cause. It begins with small easy normal requests and we develop a conditioned acceptance reflex. Soon you're in the middle of Conversational Chaos. Example: "Hey Babe! Is the coffee ready? Can you gimme $20 I didn't get to the bank, and by the way sugarlips, I'll need the oil changed in the car while you're getting my shirts drycleaned. mmmm you look sexy, did you get my pants pressed? By the way, your dog just messed on the floor, you'll need to clean that up, I don't want you to slip in that ha ha ha!!" Your head's spinning with trying to respond and we end up agreeing to it all. Attempts to disagree or challenge bring out the anger, so things get done at his command. This not-so-subtle insidious manipulation is meant to confuse, obscure, gain control and compliance. Failure to comply and his wrath is imminent. When we do notice and recognized this abusive manipulation and 'start to stop it', you can expect some retaliation. This tactic is a favourite technique with abusers.
Strategy #12 Say "No", "No, It's your turn" "You can do that yourself" or, exchange a favour and get something you want. "If you do.... then I'll...." Make sure his part is to be done first. Have your wish-list up to date. Don't get trapped by the multiple command/confusion he's created. Say: "Sorry precious, I didn't hear you. What did you say sweetie?" The verbal finger-poking tactic of repeatedly using our name is often used by these abusers.

Workplace Bully These bullies make a beeline for the vulnerable or the strong. You could be next on his 'hit' list!! The majority of bullies will retract when a group of people blow the whistle on them.

Stage Setting With an audience, the abuser is always in top form. They love to trap us in a social setting where questioning them is inappropriate, or alone in a car and use the 'captive audience'. Abusers are notorious for involving others in their schemes. These 'others' don't know they're being used in the manipulation. It gives the perfect appearance of support they need. Tip:It works for us too!

Gaslighting: "You're just imagining things.", "I/you didn't say that." "You're confused." Strategy: Trust your own perceptions and gut instinct. He's hiding something and deliberately misleading you.

13. The Backpeddler

When challenged, the verbal abuser will "advance to the rear" and try another approach. You may hear..."That's not what I meant" or "You misunderstood" or "I thought that's what you wanted". This will be followed by their endless excuses, blaming, rage or manipulating. Any apology will have you rolling your eyes.
Strategy #13. Say "No". Trying to have a conversation with these jerks is like trying to herd cats and a total waste of our time. This is a good opportunity to keep our mouths shut and watch them try to verbally dig their way out of the hole. Listen carefully - they may tip their hand about their real intentions.

14. Wearing Us Down.
Hooray! You said No. But does it stop? Manipulators are very good at finding new ways to skin a cat. He has anticipated your answer and is ready with more tactics.
Strategy #14. Be prepared for them to come at you with a different angle, a lesser request, altered circumstances, a sad or pitiful situation they tell you they are in. Watch as he takes careful note of what things you react to.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15. "Here's what I'm gonna do for you." The hook.
They appear to be a 'good 'ol boy." Freely dispensing their assistance, talents and labour, money, gifts, souvenirs, samples, freebies, edible treats, free tickets or other miscellaneous offerings. Beware!! One of the oldest tricks of the wolf in sheep's clothing. By appearing to be helpful and kind, generous and considerate, the way you accept their offerings is how they sniff around to detect your resistance, your likes and dislikes. It's how they detect your attraction to forbidden fruit, gather data on your needs and wants, judge your finances, your morals and where you relax those morals and involve you in their misdeeds.

Strategy #15 - "Thanks, but no thanks." Just knowing this tactic you can smell out an abuser in the early stages when they are on the hunt.

16. The Opening Pitch - Their Secret Weapon

"What do you think of..." "I'm wondering if you know..." "Maybe you could tell me..." "I wanted to ask you..." "You might know..." "Would you like..." "I'd like your opinion..." Be watchful for this type of verbal baiting used by the prowling predator. They appear friendly, deferential, non-threatening. They seem to appreciate our willingly-offered help, and we are drawn in by them. He has planned this all along. An abuser will assess and grade any responses. If he finds you targetable, expect to be idealized and cultivated like never before.

Strategy #16. Let others find their own answers and solve their own problems. Be self protective, cautious and suspicious of people's motives. Dire consequences await the naive and trusting who help and please too readily. Watch for someone who matches your voice candence, pitch, elocution and diction styles, your interests, philosophies, goals, or is angered by the same things you are. These are tactics/strategies used by predators. Never offer money. Develop a healthy suspicion of people's motives.

17. Break out the Violins..

Isn't it amazing how abusers are able to con and hoodwink? They can pour out the tales of woe, claim to be the victim, and others rush in offering our money, labour, talents, to help without even being asked! Or, the NP will paint vague pictures of vast booty of future wealth and flocks of people can't wait to dish out their hard-earned money throwing all normal investing caution and common sense to the wind.

Strategy #17: Don't offer to do things when you haven't been asked and make sure saying 'No' is easy for you to do. Protect yourself financially. Seek credible professional financial advice.

18. Planting the Seeds of Failure and Blame.
If I were to tell you that we need a plant and, if you plant a seed for us and water it we will have that plant. So, you select a seed. You plant and water it, but still the plant doesn't grow. What is the logical conclusion?

1. You didn't select/water/plant it correctly.
2. You failed to follow instructions. You didn't meet our needs.
3. The failure is yours. The blame is placed on you.

The truth, however is that your abuser has done nothing but prepare a scenario for him to get the praise of success. He has heard you talk about how you love to garden. You're good at it. All blame, cost, work and responsibility is yours. Look at the bolded words above. This is how the NP places the initial request (need), responsibility and blame for events that happen. Things like "we will never be able to/ should never be together" or "this relationship was doomed from the start" are common phrases. He has programmed you to take the responsibility for success or failure. The success praise all go to him. The responsibility for success was put solely on you. The probability of success was 50/50 but the blame 100% yours.
Strategy #18: Pay close attention to the words of the manipulator. If he feels he 'needs' a plant - let him get it himself. Take note of 'us, I, you, they, we" word choice. Take note of innuendo like - if perhaps, should, might, likely, probably, could, may. Give yourself a chance to think about them. Record them, analyze them from different aspects. And, pay close attention to how you react to those words.

19. "Fetch me the Ruby Slippers"

"I wish I knew how to..." "If only..." "I want..." We feel sorry for him as he shows his inept manner and puzzled words. So we offer our help willingly. But, he's been setting this up deliberately.
You're the one who can fix his problem. He sits back, enjoys his lies and protect himself. He has cultivated you to provide what he will not or cannot do himself. We pity him and willingly offer our talents to help.
Strategy #19. Be alert to feeling sorry for manipulators. Let him fulfill his own needs and solve his own problems. Like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz who orders her winged monkeys to 'fetch me the Ruby Slippers', this manipulator protects himself while letting others do what he cannot or will not do himself.

The power of your Narcissist/Psychopath is little more than the skilful use of cheap word tricks of con artists. How many of these 19 manipulation tactics does your manipulator use? (The male gender was used. Your abuser could be female)

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Abuse is More Than Physical

When the general public thinks about domestic violence, they usually think in terms of physical assault that results in visible injuries to the victim.

This is only one type of abuse.

There are several categories of abusive behavior, each of which has its own devastating consequences. Lethality involved with physical abuse may place the victim at higher risk, but the long term destruction of personhood that accompanies the other forms of abuse is significant and cannot be minimized.

Controlling behavior is a way for the batterer to maintain his dominance over the victim. Controlling behavior, the belief that he is justified in the controlling behavior, and the resultant abuse is the core issue in abuse of women. It is often subtle, almost always insidious, and pervasive. This may include but is not limited to:
Checking the mileage on the odometer following her use of the car

Monitoring phone calls, using caller ID or other number monitoring devises, not allowing her to make or receive phone calls

Not allowing her freedom of choice in terms of clothing styles, makeup or hairstyle. This may include forcing her to dress more seductively or more conservatively than she is comfortable

Calling or coming home unexpectedly to check up on her. This may initially start as what appears to be a loving gesture, but becomes a sign of jealousy or possessiveness

Invading her privacy by not allowing her time and space of her own, reading her mail, computer communications or listening to her phone calls

Forcing or encouraging her dependency by making her believe that she is incapable of surviving or performing simple tasks without the batterer or on her own

Using the children to control the mother by using the children as spies, threatening to kill, hurt or kidnap the children, physical and/or sexual abuse of the children, and threats to call Child Protective Services if the mother leaves the relationship

According to the AMEND Workbook for Ending Violent Behavior, physical abuse is any physically aggressive behavior, withholding of physical needs, indirect physically harmful behavior, or threat of physical abuse. This may include but is not limited to:
Hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking, pushing, pulling, punching, choking, beating, scratching, pinching, pulling hair, stabbing, shooting, drowning, burning, hitting with an object, threatening with a weapon, or threatening to physically assault

Withholding of physical needs including interruption of sleep or meals, denying money, food, transportation, or help if sick or injured, locking victim into or out of the house, refusing to give or rationing necessities

Abusing, injuring, or threatening to injure others like children, pets, or special property

Forcible physical restraint against her will, being trapped in a room or having her exit blocked, being held down

The batterer hitting or kicking walls, doors, or other inanimate objects during an argument, throwing things in anger,destruction of property

Holding the victim hostage

Sexual abuse is using sex in an exploitative fashion or forcing sex on another person. Having consented to sexual activity in the past does not indicate current consent. Sexual abuse may involve both verbal and physical behavior. This may include, but is not limited to:
Using coercion, guilt, or manipulation.

Not considering the victim's genuine desire to have sex. This may include making her have sex with others, have unwanted sexual experiences, or be involuntarily involved in prostitution

Using her circumstances to lure her into an inappropriate relationship

Exploiting a victim who is unable to make an informed decision about involvement in sexual activity because of being asleep, intoxicated, drugged, disabled, too young, too old, in an already abusive relationship or dependent upon or afraid of the perpetrator

Laughing or making fun of anther's sexuality or body, making offensive statements, insulting, or name-calling in relation to the victim's sexual preferences/behavior

Making contact with the victim in any nonconsensual way, including unwanted penetration (oral, anal or vaginal) or touching (stroking, kissing, licking, sucking or using objects) on any part of the victim's body
Exhibiting excessive jealousy resulting in false accusations of infidelity and controlling behaviors to limit the victim's contact with the outside world

Having affairs with other people and using that information to taunt the victim

Making fun of or being judgmental or nasty to the victim during sex

Withholding sex from the victim as a control mechanism

According to the AMEND Workbook for Ending Violent Behavior, emotional abuse is any behavior that exploits anther's vulnerability, insecurity, or character. Such behaviors include continuous degradation, intimidation, manipulation, brainwashing, or control of another to the detriment of the individual(AMEND 3). This may include but is not limited to:
Insulting or criticizing to undermine the victim's self-confidence. This includes public humiliation, as well as actual or threatened rejection

Threatening or accusing, either directly or indirectly, with intention to cause emotional or physical harm or loss. For instance, threatening to kill the victim or himself, or both

Using reality distorting statements or behaviors that create confusion and insecurity in the victim like saying one thing and doing another, stating untrue facts as truth, and neglecting to follow through on stated intentions. This can include denying the abuse occurred and/or telling the victim she is making up the abuse. It might also include crazy making behaviors like hiding the victim's keys and berating her for losing them.

Consistently disregarding, ignoring, or neglecting the victim's requests and needs

Using actions, statements or gestures that attack the victim's self-esteem and self-worth with the intention to humiliate

Telling the victim that she is mentally unstable or incompetent

Telling her its "her own fault"

Forcing the victim to take drugs or alcohol

Not allowing the victim to practice her religious beliefs, isolating her from the religious community, or using religion as an excuse for abuse

Using any form of coercion or manipulation which is disempowering to the victim

Isolation is a form of abuse often closely connected to controlling behaviors. It is not an isolated behavior, but the outcome of many kinds of abusive behaviors. By keeping her from seeing who she wants to see, doing what she wants to do, setting and meeting goals, and controlling how she thinks and feels, he is isolating her from the resources (personal and public) which may help her to leave the relationship.

By keeping the victim socially isolated the batterer is keeping her from contact with the world which might not reinforce his perceptions and beliefs. Isolation often begins as an expression of his love for her with statements like if you really loved me you would want to spend time with me, not your family.

As it progresses, the isolation expands, limiting or excluding her contact with anyone but the batterer. Eventually, she is left totally alone and without the internal and external resources to change her life.

Some victims isolate themselves from existing resources and support systems because of the shame of bruises or other injuries, his behavior in public, or his treatment of friends or family.

Self-isolation may also develop from fear of public humiliation or from fear of harm to herself or others. The victim may also feel guilty for the abuser's behavior, the condition of the relationship, or a myriad of other reasons, depending on the messages received from the abuser.

Verbal abuse is any abusive language used to denigrate, embarrass or threaten the victim. This may include but is not limited to:
Threatening to hurt or kill the victim or her children, family, pets, property or reputation
Name calling ("ugly," "bitch," "whore," or "stupid")
Telling victim she is unattractive or undesirable
Yelling, screaming, rampaging, terrorizing or refusing to talk (the 'silent treatment')
Threatening to take victim's children from her
As long as we as a culture accept the principle and privilege of male dominance, men will continue to be abusive. As long as we as a culture accept and tolerate violence against women, men will continue to be abusive.

According to Barbara Hart in Safety for Women: Monitoring Batterers' Programs:

All men benefit from the violence of batterers. There is no man who has not enjoyed the male privilege resulting from male domination reinforced by the use of physical violence. . . . All women suffer as a consequence of men's violence.

Battering by individual men keeps all women in line. While not every woman has experienced violence, there is no woman in this society who has not feared it, restricting her activities and her freedom to avoid it. Women are always watchful knowing that they may be the arbitrary victims of male violence.

Only the elimination of sexism, the end of cultural supports for violence, and the adoption of a system of beliefs and values embracing equality and mutuality in intimate relationships will end men's violence against women.

Domestic violence is about power and control. A feminist analysis of woman battering rejects theories that attribute the causes of violence to family dysfunction, inadequate communications skills, women's provocation, stress, chemical dependency, lack of spiritual relationship to a deity, economic hardship, class practices, racial/ethnic tolerance, or other factors.

These issues may be associated with battering of women, but they do not cause it. Removing these factors will not end men's violence against women.

Batterers behave abusively to control their partner's behavior, thereby achieving and maintaining power over their partners and getting their own needs and desires met quickly and completely.

There are also many secondary benefits of violence to the batterer. A batterer may choose to be violent because he finds it fun to terrorize his partner, because there is a release of tension in the act of assault, because it demonstrates manhood, or because violence is erotic for him. Violence is a learned behavior and batterers choose to use violence. The victim is not part of the problem.

The victim may accept responsibility for causing the batterer to lose their temper, but the truth is, the abuser must be held accountable for his behavior.

Four widespread cultural conditions allow and encourage men to abuse women. These are:
Objectification of women and the belief that women exist for the "satisfaction of men's personal, sexual, emotional and physical needs" (includes such things as using 'love' as a coercion method; the use of prostitutes; use of guilt; use of marital 'obligation')

An entitlement to male authority with a right and obligation to control, coerce, and/or punish her independence

That the use of physical force is acceptable, appropriate, and effective

Societal support for his dominance, controlling and assaultive behavior. By failing to intervene aggressively against the abuse, the culture condones the violence

Financial abuse is a way to control the victim through manipulation of economic resources. This may include, but is not limited to:
Controlling the family income and either not allowing the victim access to money or rigidly limiting her access to family funds. This may also include keeping financial secrets or hidden accounts, putting the victim on an allowance or allowing her no say in how money is spent, or making her turn her paycheck over to him

Causing the victim to lose a job or preventing her from taking a job. He can make her lose her job by making her late for work, refusing to provide transportation to work, or by calling/harassing/calling her at work

Spending money for necessities (food, rent, utilities) on nonessential items (drugs, alcohol, stereo equipment, hobbies)

Material from Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh Volunteer Training Manual, AMEND, and the AzCADV safety plain Manual were used to develop this section.


(note: women can be just as abusive as men)

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shared by Barbara at 12:23 AM 0 comments


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to Stop Being a "People-Pleaser"

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

People-pleasers “want everyone around them to be happy and they will do whatever is asked of them to” keep it that way, according to Susan Newman, Ph.D, a New Jersey-based social psychologist and author of The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say It—And Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever.

“They put everyone else before themselves,” she said. For some, saying “yes” is a habit; for others, “it’s almost an addiction that makes them feel like they need to be needed.” This makes them feel important and like they’re “contributing to someone else’s life.”

People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,” said Linda Tillman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, GA and assertiveness expert. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence, she said.

They worry how others will view them when they say no. “People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric,” Newman said. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers.

What many people-pleasers don’t realize is that people-pleasing can have serious risks. Not only does it put a lot of pressure and stress on you, Newman said, but “essentially you can make yourself sick from doing too much.” If you’re overcommitted, you probably get less sleep and get more anxious and upset. You’re also “depleting your energy resources.” “In the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up and find yourself depressed, because you’re on such overload because you possibly can’t do it all,” she said.

Here’s a slew of strategies to help you stop being a people-pleaser and finally say no.

1. Realize you have a choice.

People-pleasers often feel like they have to say yes when someone asks for their help. Remember that you always have a choice to say no, Newman said.

2. Set your priorities.

Knowing your priorities and values helps you put the brakes on people-pleasing. You know when you feel comfortable saying no or saying yes. Ask yourself, “What are the most important things to me?” Newman suggested.

3. Stall.

Whenever someone asks you for a favor, it’s perfectly OK to say that you’ll need to think about it. This gives you the opportunity to consider if you can commit to helping them. (Also important is to ask the person for details about the commitment.)

Newman suggested asking yourself: “How stressful is this going to be? Do I have the time to do this? What am I going to give up? How pressured am I going to feel? Am I going to be upset with this person who’s asking?”

Asking yourself these questions is key because, as Newman said, very often after you’ve said yes or helped out, you’re left wondering, “What was I thinking?” I neither have the time nor the expertise to help out.

If the person needs an answer right away, “your automatic answer can be no,” Newman said. That’s because “Once you say yes, you’re stuck.” By saying no automatically, “you leave yourself an option” to say yes later if you’ve realized that you’re available. And “you’ve also gotten it off your must-do or don’t-want to do list.”

4. Set a time limit.

If you do agree to help out, “limit your time frame,” Newman said. Let the person know that “I’m only available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.,” for example.

5. Consider if you’re being manipulated.

Sometimes, people are clearly taking advantage of you, so it’s important to watch out for manipulators and flatterers, Newman said. How do you spot them? She said, “Often the people who flatter you will say [statements like], ‘Oh you’re so good at baking cakes, would you make a cake for my child’s birthday?’ or ‘I don’t know how to put this bookcase together, but you’re so handy, can you help me out?’”

A classic line is “Nobody does this better than you do,” she said. Also, these people “will either coax you into doing something or try to tell you what your availability is or what your time frame is.” Basically, before you know it, they make the decision for you.

6. Create a mantra.

Figure out a mantra you can say to yourself to stop you from people-pleasing. It can even be a visual as simple as a big “No” flashing when a certain friend who “can always talk you into something” approaches you, Newman said.

7. Say no with conviction.

“The first no to anyone is always the hardest,” Newman said. But once you get over that first bump, “you will be well on your way to getting off the yes treadmill.” Also, remember that you’re saying no for good reasons. “You get time for yourself and for the people you really want to help,” she said.

8. Use an empathic assertion.

Some people initially think that being assertive means “stepping all over people,” Tillman said. Instead, she explained that “assertiveness is really about connection.”

Using an empathic assertion “means that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes as you assert yourself,” Tillman said. So you let the person know that you understand where they’re coming from, but unfortunately, you can’t help. “People need to feel heard and understood,” and this is a respectful way of asserting yourself and saying no.

9. Consider if it’s worth it.

When asserting yourself, Tillman suggested asking yourself, “Is it really worth it?” It’s probably not worth it to tell your boss about his annoying habit, but it is worth it to tell your friend that you can’t do lunch because you’re super busy.

10. Don’t give a litany of excuses.

It’s tempting to want to defend your decision to say no to someone so they understand your reasoning. But this actually backfires. According to Newman, “As soon as you start explaining, you give the other person lots of wiggle room to come back and say, ‘Oh, you can do that later,’ ‘You can adjust your schedule’ or ‘That’s not as important as what I’m asking.’”

11. Start small.

“Everything we learn how to do we learn through a process,” so take baby steps, Tillman said. Instead of barging into your boss’s office to ask for a raise, talk with your immediate supervisor first about how to prepare yourself for the talk, she said.

12. Practice successive approximation.

Successive approximation means taking “one step in the direction you want to go” and rewarding yourself for getting that far, Tillman said. If your neighbor’s dog’s barking is driving you crazy, make efforts to confront the person by first saying “Good morning,” as you’re both leaving the house, she said. Another time, you might mention how noisy the neighborhood has been. If he doesn’t get the hint, you can knock on his door and use an empathic assertion.

It can help to write down “how you get from A to Z,” Tillman said. This also helps you gain courage to confront the person, she added.

13. Don’t apologize — if it’s not your fault.

People-pleasers tend to be serial apologists, Tillman said. Pay attention to when you’re apologizing and consider if you’re really at fault. Ask yourself if you’re responsible for the situation, she said. Usually, the answer is no.

14. Remember that saying no has its benefits.

As Newman said, “you as a person are entitled to your time and you need to rest and rejuvenate to be there for the people you want to help out.” Look at saying no as an opportunity to spend your time doing what you value in your life.

15. Set clear boundaries — and follow through.

“We all have physical or emotional limits,” Newman said, and because of these limits, we have to set boundaries. Ask yourself what you’re willing to do, and don’t go beyond these limits. Also, be clear in communicating your boundaries. Say what you’re thinking and what you want.

Letting someone step over your boundaries without voicing your frustrations can lead you to “bottle up this negative feeling about a person…to the point when you have a blowup and really hurt someone’s feelings or end the relationship” completely,” she said.

For instance, you might “have a friend who’s just so emotionally needy and negative that she calls you all the time with her problems and wants you to listen,” Newman said. But “even just listening is asking a favor…[and] every time you hang out, you’re miserable and she feels better.” Respect your boundaries, and at some point, say to her, “I can’t help you,” Newman said.

There also are subtle ways to respect your boundaries. You might “start taking every other call and wean yourself off of her.” You can do the same thing with a person who calls you at your busiest time of day. You might say, “I can’t be available for you at 2:30 because I’m at the office; let’s set up a particular time to talk,” she said. When setting up the time, offer one that works best for you.

Setting physical boundaries might mean telling a person that they can’t just pop over when they want to or borrow your things without asking, she said.

16. Don’t be scared of the fallout.

People-pleasers often worry that after they say no, the fallout will be catastrophic. But as Newman said, “the fallout is never as bad as we think it is.” In fact, “it’s usually very insignificant.” Why? For starters, “people are not thinking about you as much as you think.” Usually after you say no, a person is more focused on who they’ll be asking next to help them than your so-called betrayal, she said.

Even a significant request such as being the maid of honor at your friend’s wedding isn’t disastrous. Being the maid of honor “takes a lot of time, energy and money,” which you may not have. You saying that “I’m really honored and this means so much to me, but I won’t be able to do it,” “isn’t going to ruin the wedding,” Newman said. “If you have a solid friendship, this isn’t going to end it.”

17. Consider who you want to have your time.

Newman suggested asking yourself, “Who do I really want to help?” As she put it, “Do you want to be there for your parents or some friend from college who lived down the hall who you partied with a lot who’s back in your life and really demanding?”

18. Self-soothe.

Using positive self-talk is “like being a good mother to yourself,” Tillman said. You can use this to remind yourself of your priorities and boundaries. For instance, you might say “I can do this,” “I have the right to park in this parking spot,” “I made the decision that’s right for me” or “My values are more important than saying yes in this situation.”

19. Recognize when you’ve been successful.

Many people-pleasers tend to focus on what went wrong, Tillman said. Counteract this tendency by keeping a journal with the times you handled a situation well, such as when you were assertive or didn’t apologize. In fact, you might be surprised at “how many more times you’re responding confidently,” she said.

20. Keep a confidence file.

Since a lack of confidence can cause your people-pleasing ways, keep a file with positive and praising emails, cards or anything else, Tillman said. (For instance, Psych Central associate editor Therese Borchard keeps a self-esteem file.) It can even come in handy when asking for that raise. Tillman suggested printing out any emails or letters of praise you’ve received from co-workers or higher-ups and taking them to your boss as another reason why you deserve a raise.

21. Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone.

Again, people-pleasers want to make everyone happy. While you might make someone happy temporarily, Newman said, it doesn’t work long term. And you can get hurt in the process. “People who preserve their time and energy and don’t say yes to everyone also realize that they can’t make other people happy,” she said. People-pleasers must realize that the only thoughts and feelings they can change are their own.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor at Psych Central


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