Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, March 23, 2018

Abnormal Cortisol Levels, Depression, Anxiety & PTSD = Signs of Long-Term Abuse & Psychological Trauma

Long-term emotional stress is a well-known culprit in the development of abnormal cortisol levels and consequent damage to the endocrine system of hormone-releasing organs throughout the body, most notably the adrenal glands that produce cortisol itself. Most of the research on this common health problem has been conducted in adults, but it turns out that abused children experience many of the same health effects seen in stressed out adults. Furthermore, studies are showing that chronic abuse can disrupt the balance of the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis for many years or decades.

Child Abuse Triggers Abnormal Cortisol Levels

Researcher Kate Harkness looked at the relationship between cortisol levels and abuse and mental illness in children and found a strong connection. She believes that the high stress levels experienced in many children who are being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused drive up cortisol dramatically. Over time, the high levels of cortisol damage the brain in regions such as the hippocampus and hypothalamus. Chronically elevated cortisol also damages the endocrine system consisting of hormone releasing organs such as the adrenal and pituitary glands. Abnormal levels of cortisol have also been linked as a factor contributing to the development of many other health problems involving metabolic disorders such as diabetes, high levels of blood lipids, and low CoQ10 levels.

From Biological Links Found Between Childhood Abuse and Adolescent Depression:

“This kind of reaction is a problem because cortisol kills cells in areas of the brain that control memory and emotion regulation,” explains Dr. Harkness, a professor in the Department of Psychology and an expert in the role of stress and trauma in adolescent depression. “Over time cortisol levels can build up and increase a person’s risk for more severe endocrine impairment and more severe depression.”

Researchers analyzed measurements of urinary cortisol levels and collecting profiles of the children’s past histories of absence or presence of abuse and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety spectrum disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). They noted that children displaying mild depression symptoms triggered by abuse often have elevated cortisol levels. But those who are severely depressed have often had their endocrine systems collapse and that typically results in low levels of hormones such as cortisol.

Symptoms of depression are usually more than just a low mood. They often include problems with focus and memory, weight changes, sleep and fatigue problems, loss of interest in formally interesting activities, withdrawal from social groups, and chronic pain. Depressive symptoms are often accompanied by high levels of anxiety from frequent worries or a pervasive sense of unease or discomfort all the way up to panic attacks and PTSD flashbacks.

Child Abuse Connected with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The observations of altered hormone levels in abused children is similar to the physiological phenomenon seen with patients suffering long-term pain and fatigue conditions such as fibromyalgia and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome). These people often have pervasive endocrine system damage and low cortisol levels, too.

People who are suffering from chronic pain and fatigue disorders such as fibromyalgia and CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) should look back into their histories to evaluate whether some long-ago psychological trauma may still be impacting them severely today. Counseling or psychotherapy directed at resolving the psychological damage may be helpful in recovering from chronic pain and fatigue.

These conditions are not “all in the head” — there is real physiological damage to the body that is objectively seen via medical tests such as cortisol saliva tests and hormone blood tests. It’s important to realize that many such patients will need far more than just counseling. In particular, many of them need hormonal support for cortisol, pregnenolone, and DHEA via supplements and medications.

Normal Changes in Cortisol Levels Are Short-Term

Cortisol in and of itself is not a damaging hormone. Indeed, it’s normal for there to be short-term elevations in cortisol levels such as during an emergency or as a reaction to the impending birth of a baby or the adaptation to taking care of that baby.

From The Making of a Modern Dad:

The second hormone, cortisol, is well known as a stress hormone, but it is also a good indicator of a mother’s attachment to her baby. New mothers who have high cortisol levels can detect their own infant by odor more easily than mothers with lower cortisol levels. The mothers also respond more sympathetically to their baby’s cries and describe their relationship with their baby in more positive terms. Storey and her colleagues found that for expectant fathers, cortisol was twice as high in the three weeks before birth than earlier in the pregnancy.

Cortisol essentially sends a message to the body to prepare itself for stressful operations and to temporarily shut down or slow down some of the long-term repair mechanisms the body uses to keep itself healthy. The basic reasoning is that if you’re being chased by a lion intent on eating you, you would be better off with your body focusing on running away or fighting than on repairing buildup of plaque inside your arteries. If your cortisol levels spike under dangerous or stressful situations now and then and then fall back to normal levels within a few hours or days, probably there is no lasting damage from that. But when you are chronically stressed and cortisol is high all the time, eventually your body will be damaged in many areas because the normal healthy repair mechanisms slow or shut down.

Eventually, the damage may become so severe that the endocrine system organs responsible for making cortisol that the body simply can’t make much of it any more. The effect is most obvious in the adrenal glands that are making the cortisol, but the hypothalamus and pituitary also have much influence over the production of cortisol and appear to be damaged by long-term high levels of cortisol. So via some mix of damage to these organs, eventually the body isn’t able to muster the burst in cortisol you’d typically see from routine stressors such as waking up for the day or to deal with some pain or injury. As a result, you get aggravated symptoms of chronic fatigue and pain seen in many chronic medical conditions such as adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, and CFIDS. Some elements of this dysfunction may also be involved in other chronic pain and weakness conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Using Pregnenolone, DHEA, and IsoCort or Other Cortisol Supplements

Low levels of pregnenolone, DHEA, and sometimes cortisol are common in people who have experienced chronic stress or abuse. Supplementing DHEA and pregnenolone is quite safe under most circumstances, the main possible exception being patients who are suffering from hormone-dependent cancers. One of the benefits of pregnenolone supplementation is that the body can convert pregnenolone to cortisol or to DHEA as needed. DHEA is needed for production of testosterone and testosterone is needed to make estradiol, one of the most common forms of estrogen.

Pregnenolone and DHEA are particularly helpful for people suffering from anxiety which is very common in those suffering from a history of abuse or stress. You can read more about that in Reducing Sedative and Addictive Side Effects of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc.) with L-Theanine, Pregnenolone, and DHEA.

Cortisol supplementation is a more difficult area to address because it’s important to have an accurate picture of your daily varying levels of cortisol before you try to alter your cortisol levels. High and low cortisol levels both cause some similar symptoms and both can damage the body. So while you can get over-the-counter bioidentical cortisol via supplements such as IsoCort, it’s really important to get the proper tests to figure out where your cortisol levels are before supplementing with cortisol directly.

DHEA supplementation can also help boost low levels of testosterone seen in many people. But some men may still not be able to normalize their testosterone levels to those of the young and healthy because most of their testosterone is being converted to estradiol estrogen. They may need additional bioidentical testosterone or supplements or medications that impede this conversion. Particularly for older men who are overweight, some additional caution is needed regarding hormone supplementation because many of these men are suffering from very high estrogen levels because the fat in their bodies converts much of their testosterone to estradiol via activity of the enzyme aromatase.

It’s important to get a complete picture of your hormone status both before and during supplementation so you can understand if you may need additional supplements or medications to keep the added hormones in their most useful state. Otherwise, some men may find they inadvertently end up boosting their unhealthy estrogen levels even further when this could have been prevented if the appropriate supplements and medications were used along with the added pregnenolone and DHEA.


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rules of Engagement with a Narcissist

1. You don't matter
There is only one person that counts in a narcissist’s life, that is, the narcissist. This is a hard concept to grasp.

Narcissists by nature are takers and the truth is that you probably only ever mattered at the point in time when you could supply 'that thing' the narcissist needed. You may have been taught by parents and friends the concept that giving is better than receiving.

However with a narcissist you will give until you are emotionally and spiritually bankrupt and receive little or nothing in return. If you don't believe this, take a hard look at yourself today and then compare that with your state when you first met your narcissistic partner. I believe you will be psychologically and emotionally worse off. Like all thieves once narcissists have taken all you have to give, you are history.

2. Don’t try to fight a psychological war that you can’t win
Because a narcissist is amoral you cannot engage them in any moral or conscience issues and expect to win. As a general rule narcissists have no sense of guilt or remorse for their actions. There is NO WAY you can shame them into accepting responsibility for their mindless and thoughtless approach to other people especially yourself. If you are looking for revenge then you will never achieve any satisfaction in this arena.

The rules of engagement are simple: keep your distance. Rule 5 has more on this subject.

3. Ignore the insults and deceit
There is an old adage that sums up this commandment, “don’t explain to your friends it’s unnecessary, and don’t explain to your enemies they will not believe you”. It may come as a shock to many people to discover that the narcissist must appear superior and blameless in all situations and to this end will resort to distorted lies to make themselves appear a victim of your supposed vices.

When you discover the full extent of the deceit this will tear at the core of your being. However, no matter how strong your outrage or anger there is only one way to counteract any harm that may occur and that is to act in a manner that disproves the defamation to the people in your life who count.

Although this course of action appears to be a weak response it is true that people cannot ignore the reality of your actions and words especially if these do not fit the picture painted by the narcissist. Believe me, actions still speak louder than words equally their own actions will start to work against them eventually. Be prepared to lose many friends and acquaintances during the early period of separation.

Don’t be overly concerned, as by your actions they will eventually see who is telling the truth. Like all liars narcissists cannot remember their patterns of deceit and eventually are caught out.

Once a narcissist sees that you have finished with them they will have one focus and that is to destroy you. They will stop at nothing to prove to the world (their world) that you are a loser, the cause of any misfortune in their lives and the person who deserves all the blame.

4. Take off your rose tinted glasses
The ‘person’ you cared about, looked after and more than likely loved never existed! Their life is an act. They present themselves in a different guise depending on the situation. The most difficult part is to let go of the image you fell in love with all those years back.

Unfortunately the image you feel in love with had been carefully cultivated to trap you! Taking off those "rose tinted glasses" is a long, slow and painful process; remember you've worn them for a very long time. Do not be tempted to put them back on at all cost.

5. Remember they are sick - not you
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition.  Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host.  Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control.  I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from.  Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear.  They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.

6. Stay out of their Pain Zone
If you don’t wish to ride on an emotional roller coaster from hell then tattoo this rule on your forehead! Once you leave the relationship the narcissist doesn’t need you anymore and its more than likely (almost guaranteed) you were emotionally and physically replaced long before the event of actual separation. You are now cannon fodder and as stated in rule 1 they are out to destroy you.

For your own peace of mind & safety stay as physically far as possible away from them, their abode, place of work and recreation. Don’t get into conversations or phone calls or texts or for one moment think they are softening in their approach to you, they are only gaining information for possible use against you.

Remember that you cannot fight and expect to win on their turf; you must carefully pick the place for engagement on your own terms - only when you feel ready; if you engage at ALL!

Lies and deceit are a natural part of the narcissist’s world. The old adage “the best liars lie to themselves first” applies in this case and the lie oft repeated is far more convincing. A narcissist has the amazing ability to believe their own lies even when they fly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Take the position that everything they say to you is a lie and or based on a lie. Warning: DOUBLE CHECK ANY INFORMATION THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN AND SEEK VERIFICATION.

Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host.

Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.

7. Trust Nothing - Believe Less

8. Your realities are not theirs
The perceptions of the narcissist are truly their reality. If you look back you have never been able to change or influence their perceptions. If you couldn’t effect change living in a close relationship then don’t waste your time and effort trying now. They live in their own world and no matter how false or unreal it appears to you, for them it reality.

This is a constant source of irritation as you become more aware of the fact that much of their entire life is an act.

9. Communicate ONLY in written form
As far as communications go I received an important piece of advice early on. It was to communicate in a way that when read by a judge read the material in question he would agree that you acted in a responsible and prudent manner.

Do NOT under any circumstance use verbal or psychological abuse in your communications. I can guarantee you that this will drive the narcissist up the wall as they are expecting an angry and petulant response from you to their goading.

Keep good record of all correspondence and work on the theory that you will more than likely need them at a later date.

Use the fax, email or snail mail. If you are confronted on the telephone NEVER give an immediate reply. Tell the narcissist that you are busy, engaged or not able to talk at the time. Request that they put what it is they want to say in writing to you and don't respond unless and until they do! This puts the ball back in their court and they learn over time that they cannot use the telephone to abuse you.

10. Always call their bluff

Where you are in possession of evidence that is clearly untrue then use 3rd parties wherever possible to exploit the deceit. More often than not a narcissist will casually manufacture evidence to manipulate people and circumstances.

In these situations ALWAYS confront the people who are quoted or cited with the evidence for corroboration.

Trust me there is one thing that ethical people do not like and that is being misquoted or quoted out of context. This applies especially to government employees, bankers, teachers, accountants and lawyers.

When you use a 3rd party to rebut the narcissists version of reality just watch and wait for their reaction, it actually becomes quite hilarious. You will start to see the real person emerge as they react like a spoiled child and will try anything to squirm out of the situation.

A word of caution, once your narcissist partner realises you are continually throwing reality at them they will be forced to change their game plan. The best outcome of this approach is that they soon learn not to play their silly games with you.

11. Get back in touch with yourself

If you were unlucky to have found yourself with a narcissistic partner it is more than likely you’ve paid the ultimate price for this bad luck. At some stage you start asking yourself the question “was I the cause of the problem”?

But if you’ve read articles on NPD carefully you would soon realise that this is very doubtful. If you were like me you probably didn’t help the situation by pandering to their whims and not standing up for yourself.

To suffer a long-term relationship with a narcissist you need to contribute by having reasonably low self-esteem or insecurities of your own. Strong personalities would not tolerate a narcissistic partner very long. If you contributed then accept that you did and now set out to rectify the situation.

Unfortunately you have to learn and accept that the psychological and emotional investment you made in a narcissist is valueless. Your relationship is beyond 'Chapter 11' so you have to write the investment off as a bad debt so to speak.

Now you have to concentrate your energies on rebuilding your own life. Take stock of who and what you are and most importantly what you want to be. Without goals of what it is you want to be there can be no roadmap for recovery.


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shared by Barbara at 12:20 AM 6 comments


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Restraining Orders May Restrain Nothing!

Restraining Order Pictures, Images and Photos

Victims & Survivors need to know... RESTRAINING ORDERS ARE NOT THE BE-ALL ANSWER!

Psychopaths & Narcissists as well as other pathologicals often ignore or breach the restraining order -- and police far too often do not follow up!


The increase in stalking cases a result of determined harassers looking for alternative methods to target victims

When it comes to harassment, there is a vast range of behavior. Much of it will not justify (or win) any lawsuits, but this doesn’t change the nature of what it is. And quite a few experts have described categories of harassers, and types of harassment, to help make some sense out of the confusion that most people feel about the issue.

Real harassers are abusers or predators who are out to exploit, and care only about their own needs and agendas.

A real harasser is someone who will continue to try to harass or predate despite sexual or other harassment law, and even after being given education about the seriousness of their actions, or the effects of their actions. In most cases, they will simply blame the victim. They rarely take responsibility themselves. They will just change their tactics so that they can continue to harass and exploit in such a way that the victim/s, or the law, can’t do anything about it.

One method for real harassers is stalking. Most forms of stalking are forms of sexual harassment because they are attempts to force a relationship with someone who is unwilling or unavailable. Stalking is the extreme, but covert, version of refusing to take ”No,” or “Leave me alone!” for an answer–you know, behaviors that were the catalysts for sexual harassment law.

Stalking has always been a problem, but experts will tell you that it is clearly on the rise.

I think the increase in stalking is partially a result of sexual harassment law, and real sexual harassers looking for ways to target their victims without fear of consequence for their actions. Because it is covert, it helps them get around sexual harassment law. It enables them to harass anonymously, and to more easily mask their motives and intentions. It also makes gathering evidence next to impossible for the victim, and without concrete evidence, there is no hope for them to even get an investigation.

On top of this, it makes the victim look paranoid, if not crazy, if they should report the problem to anyone.

In it’s most subtle forms (i.e. surveillance, sending anonymous “love” mail/ emails, hang-up phone calls), stalking can be like a chinese water torture. However, most stalking methods are more extreme, invasive, and destructive. (Breaking and entering, phone tapping, computer hacking, character defamation and slander, obscene mail or phone calls, etc.) Some stalkers will try to organize groups of people to assist them in their harassment campaign – called gang stalking or organized stalking. They usually seek out people in their victim’s community, utilizing the victim’s ”real world” community and/or Internet communities. In fact, stalkers often work to take control of, or destroy, a victim’s support network, resources, and options. This leaves the victim vulnerable, or even dependent on the stalker for survival, at least in the mind of the stalker.

Being stalked is NOT flattering – it is a form of psychological abuse and violence. And while stalking motives are usually sexual (or love obsessional), the stalking behaviors themselves may not be–that is another way real harassers can use it to get around sexual harassment law. (For example, watching someone over an extended period of time isn’t overtly sexual, at least not in of itself.)

Moreover, the psychological damage to the victim can be devastating. One expert writes,

”Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he (or she) has no relationship (or no longer has)….Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).”

To most stalking victims, being stalked is like being put through a long, slow rape. For gang stalking victims, it’s like a gang rape. (The very insightful judge in the Christina Orozco case referred to her actions as akin to “murder.”)

And being stalked can be very frightening, regardless of whether or not the stalker’s activities are overtly violent. Physical attacks, even murders, can occur after long periods of ”more passive” stalking activities. Often, the violence is precipitated by the stalker’s being forced to face they have been rejected by their target.

Besides suffering the psychological damage, and damage to life, reputation, relationships, and options, most stalking victims live in fear that something will push their stalkers over the edge to physical violence.

Unfortunately, if a state or country recognizes stalking at all, this is mostly in the context of direct/overt violence, or clearly escalating violence. So, if a stalker avoids overtly violent acts, they can pretty much do as they please. In other words, if the stalker does not threaten or attack, a stalking victim is out of luck. They will not even be able to get a restraining order.

As long as they use stalking to disguise their motives, activities, and/or their identities, they are free from worry about being held accountable by sexual harassment law. And as long as they keep their stalking activities from being/seeming overtly violent, they will suffer no consequence from stalking law. Even better (for them), they can operate for as long as they wish.

And there is nothing the victim can do about it. (Suicides have been reported as victims use this as the only means they have to bringing an end to the harassment.)

It also makes stalking a good retaliation tactic for harassers who have been disciplined (i.e. been demoted, lost job) as many are using this as a way of getting revenge against an harassment target who filed a grievance against them – retaliation laws do not include stalking, either.

In my own situation, I took a course from the female professor who turned out to be a lesbian who quickly became interested in me. (That I’m not a lesbian didn’t deter her as she became obsessed with getting me to “try it” with her.) She began by making a pass, which she clearly saw right off the bat was a mistake, particularly since she did it in front of witnesses. But like most real harassers, she was not willing to give up. She simply revised her methods and began stalking me with an extraordinary determination. It is still amazing to me how far she went, and the depth and breadth or her obsession.

She used classic stalking tactics, such as surveillance and character defamation, the latter enabling her to destroy not only my reputation, but all my relationships and options, both personal and professional. She used cyberstalking extensively in her pursuit and surveillance, using this to watch me and try to interact with me at numerous Internet forums. She even organized groups of people to assist her (gang stalking), enlisting people not only in my “real world” but also in Internet communities I frequented, or she thought I might join. Because she was a department chair and a psychologist, no one questioned her character or motives.

Current stalking laws are woefully inadequate, and don’t even begin to confront the problem, let alone deal with it.

But even if the laws are revised to protect victims from the psychological violence of stalking, real harassers will simply find other ways to abuse. Any stumbling block placed before them, they will get around. It is a game to them. It is in their nature.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Characteristics of a Psychopath/ Abuser

(1. not all Abusers are Psychopaths, but all Psychopaths are Abusers.
2. only a FEW of these need to apply for them to be PATHOLOGICAL)


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Monday, March 19, 2018

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a complex of problems that tend to be long-standing. Perhaps the real key to understanding BPD is to realize that the hallmark of this disorder is emotional instability, or even instability in general. This instability is manifest in many areas of a person's life.

1. People with BPD show marked shifts in mood, which often last only hours. One minute the person is apparently happy, the next the person is crying uncontrollably or is totally enraged.

2. Thus, another mark of mood instability is anger that is inappropriate, intense and/or uncontrollable.

3. The instability in behavior is marked by impulsive and often dangerous acts. Self-mutilation or suicidal threats and gestures are common among people with BPD. Many people with BPD say that cutting on themselves or burning themselves provides a sense of relief and calm that they have difficulty finding otherwise.

4. Other indications of instability in behavior is shown by potentially self-damaging impulsive behaviors: alcohol/drug abuse, compulsive spending, gambling, eating disorders, shoplifting, reckless driving, compulsive sexual behavior.

5. In the area of identity, the instability is shown by marked, persistent identity disturbance: self -image, sexual orientation, career choice or other long-term goals; friendships, values. People with BPD often feel they do not know who they are or what they think or what their opinions are. Often they try to be what they think other people want them to be.

6. Such a lack of clear identity often leads to chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.

7. Relationships for the person with BPD are understandably unstable, chaotic, and intense. These relationships are often characterized by what has been called "splitting". Splitting occurs when the self and others are viewed as all good or all bad. People with BPD tend to see the world in black and white terms, never grey. One minute the self or another person is seen as wonderful and the next, the self or the other person is seen as the devil incarnate. It seems like the person with BPD is unable to see the self or others in the full context of life. It doesn't really matter that yesterday you did something good. Only this moment's behavior counts in the evaluation.

8. Because of this inability to see things in context the person with BPD has difficulty seeing that others will continue to be involved with them. As a result, they become frantic to avoid real or imagined abandonment. "Just because you were my friend yesterday does not mean that you will be my friend today." To control these fears of abandonment, Borderlines often alternate between clinging and distancing behaviors. This phenomenon has been called: "I hate you, don't leave me."

Borderlines have a great difficulty in trusting people and themselves. They are hypersensitive to criticism or rejection and often feel they "need" someone else in order to survive. But since they do not trust others to stay and not abandon them, Borderlines show an extreme need for affection and reassurance by the other people in their lives.

Nevertheless, some people may have an unusually high degree of interpersonal sensitivity, insight and empathy, perhaps as a way to stay attuned to the signals given out by others of impending abandonment.

9. When under particular stress, the person with BPD may show transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. In fact, a brief psychotic reaction can occur in which the Borderline experiences delusional thinking and hallucinations. This usually clears quite rapidly.

Other (non-DSM) characteristics:
As noted above, Borderlines typically have a lot of difficulty with what is called "object constancy." This is the realization that what a person was yesterday is a good predictor of what they will be today. Borderlines seem to have trouble seeing this. They do not trust that a person who was nice yesterday is likely to be nice today. It also extends to the concern that just because a person was here yesterday, does not mean they will be here today. As a result, the Borderline has considerable difficulty being alone. If you're not with me 100% of the time, how will I know you will stay with me?"

Boundary issues are also problematic for the Borderline. It is hard to place limits on others for fear of abandonment. The separation between "me" and "not me" are blurred.

Needless to day, because of all this instability in mood, identity, behavior and relationships, the person with BPD often leads a chaotic life.

According to Linehan (1993), the person who develops BPD is born with innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower level of stress. They are temperamentally more reactive than other children. When such reactive children are raised in what she calls " an invalidating environment" the groundwork is set for developing Borderline Personality Disorder. An invalidating environment is one in which the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the child are negated by the adults in his/her life. For example, a child says "I'm sad" but the parent responds "No, you're not." This is an invalidation of the child's feelings. Over time, this leads to confusion in the child about the reality of his or her own perceptions of the world and self.

Many mental health professionals have found that a high number of people with BPD have experienced severe abuse as a child. In fact, some have gone so far as to assume that if a person is Borderline, they must have been severely abused when growing up. This has resulted in much blaming of families/parents. "However, the scientific evidence does not justify the conclusion that the family carries the primary responsibility for the development of borderline personality disorder." (Paris). Research has indicated that while many Borderlines have experienced severe abuse, not all have. It is therefore inappropriate to assume childhood abuse when presented with a person with BPD.

Low serotonin activity has also been implicated in this disorder but medications targeting serotonin levels do not seem very effective. It appears that BPD is more than simply a "chemical imbalance."

Borderline Personality Disorder usually begins in adolescence or youth. Diagnosis at this stage, however, should be done cautiously since many of the indicators of BPD are characteristic of "normal" adolescence.

There is a discrepancy between the rates of BPD in men and women, with 80% of sufferers being women. The reason for this is presently unknown.

One out of ten people with BPD will complete suicide. However, if they live long enough, BPD tends to "burn out" in middle age. Functioning seems to improve by the ages of 35 or 40 with some Borderlines being able to manage a successful career, family life, etc. A minority will continue to be highly symptomatic into middle age.

There is no specific treatment for BPD (PsychCentral). Medications may take edge off impulsive symptoms. Low doses of neuroleptics (antipsychotic medication) may be helpful. However, no pharmacological agent has any specific effect on the underlying borderline pathology.

Psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment. However there is a high drop out rate from psychotherapy. When a borderline does stay in therapy, most of the work in therapy centers around decreasing impulsive behaviors and learning to exercise better judgment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly Linehan's Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, which targets impulsivity and emotional instability has been shown by research to be highly effective at least in the short term (i.e. 1 year).

Since many clinicians believe that BPD is caused by traumatic childhoods, there has been a tendency to focus on uncovering negative events so as to help patients "process" them. "However, there is no evidence that these methods are successful. In fact, there is some reason to suspect they can make patients worse by focusing too much on the past, and not enough on the present. In addition, borderline patients can be particularly prone to develop false memories in psychotherapy"(Paris).

Because of the risk of suicide, clinicians often use contracts to help ensure that the client does not commit suicide. However, hospitalization may become necessary if the risk becomes too great. Hospitalization is typically short-term and focused on reducing the risk of self-harm.

Support groups can also be of benefit for the Borderline. However, care should be taken that the instability of one Borderline does not "feed" the instability of another. This is a phenomenon that has been seen often in hospital settings where one borderline cuts herself and afterwards, several others start doing the same thing.

Final Thoughts
Because of the myriad symptoms shown by a person suffering from BPD, there is a risk that the person will be misdiagnosed. With a focus on the instability of mood, Borderlines are often called "Bipolar." If the focus is on the brief psychotic symptoms, the person may be diagnosed as "Schizoaffective." Such misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate or over-medication by physicians.

Living with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is painful and distressful. Finding a support group or even consulting a mental health professional may be helpful in dealing with this disorder.


Linehan, M.M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guildford Press.
Paris, J. "Borderline Personality Disorder" in The Journal
PsychCentral. "Borderline Personality Disorder."

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Communication & the Functional Sociopath

By William Polowniak, Ph.D.

Fritz Perls a famous Jewish psychotherapist known for his founding of Gestalt therapy once said that refusal to communicate is the most toxic human behavior. I am convinced that he is right. Refusal to communicate really means refusal to listen and to enter into dialogue especially when we disagree. Usually people who refuse to communicate live their lives as “functional sociopaths.” That is, they are self-centered, they do as they please with total disregard for others and they indulge in subterfuge, self-delusion and see themselves as persecuted. Their delusions of self-persecution cause them to become angry manipulators.

So why label people in “either or” categories as “toxic” or “nourishing” people? Labels themselves are dangerous and often unfair, but for the wise person they do help us see what to avoid. They help us to invest our energies in more productive ways. When we use labels, however, we must be aware that labeling others without caution is in itself a toxic behavior. Let us “be aware” when we choose to label others or ourselves.

Action speaks louder than words Everyone’s mother has probably said this during our childhood more than once. My father used to say “Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.” The typical behaviors of those who refuse to communicate are labeled by psychologists as the “fight?flight” response. Those who refuse to communicate are usually adept at manipulation, they have toxic behavior in general and when confronted by circumstances that proves their position is faulty, they will attack or run away, or they will attack and run away. "Toxic people are adept at pushing our buttons and provoking an over-reaction in others. But the up side of that is that they challenge us to remain centered and be a positive influence even if there is no reward to us directly. Our efforts to not add to the pain and suffering toxic people use to justify their emotional cruelty and brutal behavior is our best strategy. If they do not run they will not listen using a variety of tyrannical behaviors. They begin by raising their voices, then will shout, scream and rant and rave often appearing to be a raving lunatic. They typically indulge in anger, condemnation and blame. They are adept at interrupting and often will not allow their adversary to finish even one sentence. We often see people like this on TV talk shows."

So how does a person deal with those who refuse to communicate? The best defense is listening, in silence, and adopting the posture of a detective. While listening, try to discover what is really at the root of the problem. All the while, if you must communicate, focus on short, simple and clear statements using "I" statements frequently; that is, if your adversary permits any pauses in their onslaught of anger, condemnation and blame. At the very least, actively listening in silence and non-judgment will provide your adversary with needed catharsis, will often defuse their anger and will not add to their fear of retaliation.

Another thing that helps is to rely on trust and the great healer—time. We’ve all heard the biblical quote “Vengeance in mine, sayeth the Lord.” The fact is that time and life will usually bite these kinds of people in the behind when they least expect it. They sabotage their own life by alienating others, when in fact they desperately need and want love and affection.

Another helpful thing to realize is that to the wise person, knowing that “not communicating” can often communicate more than we realize. Not retaliating, not interrupting the interrupter, but listening in silence or basically allowing the adversary to wallow in their own delusions of persecution will ultimately allow the TRUTH to emerge. Reality is the second best teacher. Do you know what the best teacher is? Pain. Very often only pain and suffering can communicate to the person who refuses to communicate.

A final thing that is helpful is to remember that “help is not always helpful.” Recently I tried to help a person who was wallowing in her anger and hostility. Her remark to me was “I don’t need your help.” Often it is wise to avoid unnecessary contact with people who seem to be waiting to pick a fight or to blow up. If communication is really necessary it should be done in writing (and keep a copy) so that it is less likely to elicit a reaction or temper tantrum. And in the worse cases, if a toxic person retaliates and legal action becomes necessary to remedy the situation, what you have in writing may be valuable. In addition if a toxic person acts out threats they will thereby create the proof you will need to legally prosecute for blackmail and malicious mischief. Those of us who believe in community do not like to think of things like legal action or legal defense but the reality is that sometimes legal remedies do in fact create community and can force a more healthy emotional situation to prevail. Legal remedies can show the bully and the emotional tyrant that you are not afraid.

Whenever a person threatens to take me to court and to sue me, my response is that “I love to go to court with people like you. Please sue me. Do it now.” You would be surprised at how this defuses the pompous threats of manipulating tyrants. And, the truth is that I really do love to go to court with people who think that their threats can frighten me into submitting to their demands. In court your adversary will show the judge their irrational behavior and you can force them to listen to reason when it is your turn to speak. You can also ask a judge to admonish your adversary and you can ask for and receive legal costs and punitive damages. But remember, your best defense is to always be honest, fair and loving and kind— especially when it is difficult.

It seems paradoxical but genuine communication begins and ends with listening. Silence is golden. Words are often useless and unnecessary.

I collect quotes. One of my favorites is from the Dhammapada. “Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace.” Another favorite quote states, “Must we waste this moment on words?”

One benefit of silence is that it allows the body and the being to relax into a natural meditative state of being. In this state of mind, we learn to listen to our bodies. More than that, we learn the difference between our cravings and what our body really needs for health.

I hope these thoughts find you well and healthy, and I hope I can learn from my own advice by listening more and improving my communication through active listening. I sometimes forget.

something to think about when your abuser just stops talking to you, says he/she "needs time" or "its no longer a matter for discussion and I am never speaking to you again" and gives you the silent treatment.

Turning their back on you and not allowing you to work thru your hurt and anger with them can be a form of cowardice & sadism.

The behavior also ties into seductive mind-control. Distancing yourself at critical moments makes your 'target' want you more and then the hunter becomes the hunted. (i.e. The Art of Seduction - Greene)

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Verbal Abuse

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why the Victim Stays

Why the Victim Stays

Of more serious injury or death
Of trying to make it on her own

Of having a failed marriage
Traditional responsibility for the home rests with the wife (e.g., if she had been a better cook.)
Social stigma, "It's not supposed to happen in families like mine!"

Every time abuser apologizes, the victim wants to believe.
When abuser isn't being abusive, abuser is nice.
If victim could be a better spouse or partner, maybe victim could control abuser's violence.

Abuser controls the money. The checking account and credit cards are in abuser's name only.
The victim may not have a job.
Abuser gives victim an allowance and demands receipts for everything spent.

The more dependent a batterer makes the victim, the less likely the victim will leave.
Batterer may force the victim to give up working outside the home.
Batterer may not allow the victim to go to school.
Batterer may sell or disable the victim's car.
Batterer may isolate the victim from family and friends.
Batterer may disable or remove phones from the house when he is leaving the house.

The victim wants the children to have two parents.
The victim both stays and leaves because of children.
A batterer may threaten or abuse the children as a means of intimidating and controlling the victim's behavior.
People who choose not to report violence may not realize that they risk losing custody of their children.
Abused children may remain silent out of fear that the batterer will retaliate and further abuse their mother, themselves, or their siblings.
Child welfare agencies and domestic violence services routinely function along parallel tracks with no coordination. At times they are in conflict with each other, as child welfare agencies' commitment to keeping victims safe. In the extreme, victims whose children have been abused may be taken to court for failing to protect their children, with no investigation into whether the person may have been abused.

Victim may not stop loving the batterer despite the abuse.
Battering doesn't usually occur every day. About 1 in 5 women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been a victim of a series of at least 3 assaults in the last 6 months. Batterers can at times be very loving and caring, lavishing gifts on the victim, writing personal notes and poems, or doing other things that are very romantic.

Lack of family support
"You made your bed, now lie in it."

Marriage is "for better or for worse."
Batterers sometimes use scriptures to justify their actions.
Clergy may be misinformed about the phenomenon of domestic violence or child abuse and may inadvertently send a signal to abused women and children that they should endure the abuse to protect another family member or save the marriage.

Referral services may be located in towns or cities miles from home.
Victims may be reluctant to make long-distance phone calls that will be listed on the monthly bill.
Public transportation is scarce.
Victims may fear that their batterer will check the mileage on vehicles.
Police officers are often miles from the scene of abuse, and it may take hours for them to respond.
Families residing in rural move less frequently, often staying in the same county, or even the same house, for generations. Physical safety means leaving behind family, friends, and all that is familiar.
Because some adults and children seldom leave the immediate communities in which they live, they may not know that domestic violence and child abuse are crimes.
Close relationships among community members may lead victims and children to seek assistance from family members or friends rather than from police, advocates, or other services. Orders of protection may be issued only at courthouses during limited hours on specified days of the week.
Circuit-riding prosecutors and judges who try and hear cases throughout the district or state may only be available periodically.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Law Enforcement & the Abuser



*Denial and Minimization

* Refusing to admit their violent behavior. Makes statements such as:
o "I didn't do anything."
o "She just bruises easily."
o I had my fist out and she ran into it."

* Admitting less than actually happened in the incident or making the assault sound trivial.
o "It was only a love tap."
o "I just gave her a little push."
o "Her ribs are just a little bruised (not broken)."

* Effective Police Response: Inform the offender that he has already broken the law and explain how his/her behaviors met that criteria. Get a detailed account of the scope of the violence by conducting a partner contact interview and by using police reports and hospital records.
*Focusing on Intentions

* Defending one's behavior by pointing to good goals.
o "I was trying to keep her from hurting herself."
o "She was hysterical and yelling nonstop so I slapped her to calm her down."

* Effective Response: Point out the effects of violence: terror, fear, distrust, pain, injury, destruction, etc. Even if his intentions are good, violence not justified and it is illegal.
*Victim Blaming

* Most popular of the excuses, the offender will make the case that the victim is a bad person and the abuse is deserved. The offender hopes you will focus on the victim's behavior rather than abuser misconduct. If you begin to criticize the victim, you become allied with the batterer.
o "I found her with another man."
o "She is a drunk (alcoholic, drug addict, bad mother, thief etc.)."
o "She assaulted me."

* Effective Response: A woman doesn't have to be Betty Crocker (a perfect mother or housewife) in order to deserve not to be beaten. People do not have to earn the right to be free from violence and fear. The act of battering is illegal, just like bank robbery is illegal even if you are very poor.
*Loss of Control

* Batterer doesn't take responsibility for what happened.
o "I exploded but it wasn't really me."
o "I lost it and the next thing I knew, she was down on the floor bleeding and screaming."
o "I saw a white (blue, red, yellow etc.) light and I just blacked out. When I came to she was lying on the ground."

* Effective Response: If you're convinced you have no control, then we should surrender you now since treatment will be totally useless. Do you get violent the same way whenever someone gets you really upset? With your boss? Getting violent with someone is not an automatic response once you get upset with another person.

* The offender claims the other person drove him/her over the edge so they don't take responsibility for what occurred.
o "She made me do it."
o "She knew it was coming and she pushed me into it."

* Effective Response: No one can make you violent. People may hurt, frustrate or anger you but there are many alternative ways to respond that don't involve violence.
*Lack of Time and Money

* Offender cannot attend treatment because of work and cannot afford it.
* States that they have changed, victim no longer feels threatened by them or that the counselor's no longer feel treatment is necessary.

* Effective Response: Most batterer programs have a sliding scale fee system. Reinforce that the abuser must make time for treatment. If you are a probation officer, it is important to communicate frequently with the treatment program and the victim to avoid confusion and manipulation.

* Pretend they are sleeping when the officers arrive.

* Will be apologetic, friendly, polite and very courteous to the officers.

* Will express frustration/sadness over their inability to get the "alcoholic" and/or "drug addicted" victim help for their problem.

* Will attempt to get sympathy by presenting themselves as a "victim" to their partner's nagging and/or verbal abuse.

* Will attempt to get the officers to relate to their situation. For example, "You know how those women are."

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Monday, March 12, 2018

The 'Relationship' Cycle

(this applies not only to Psychopaths, but to many abusers - particularly the Personality Disordered like Narcissism, etc.  Read & Heed!)

Because they suffer from incurable personality disorders, psychopaths repeat over and over the same relationship cycle, no matter whom they’re dating or for how long. Relationships with them are always castles–or, sometimes, marriages–built on sand

Today I’ll describe the entire process of psychopathic seduction, from its seemingly ideal beginning to its invariably bitter end.

In their book on psychopaths in the workplace, entitled Snakes in Suits, Babiak and Hare state that the psychopathic bond follows certain predictable stages: idealize, devalue and discard. This process may take several years or only a few hours. It all depends on what the psychopath wants from you and whether or not you present a challenge to him. If the psychopath wants the semblance of respectability–a screen behind which he can hide his perverse nature and appear harmless and normal–he may establish a long-term partnership with you or even marry you. If all he wants is to have some fun, it will be over within a couple of hours. If he wants the stimulation and diversion of an affair, he may stay with you for as long as you excite him. Despite the differences in timeline, what remains constant is this: eventually, sooner or later, you’ll be discarded (or be led by the psychopath’s bad behavior to discard him) as soon as you no longer serve his needs.
  (or if he keeps you around in order to keep your mouth shut about the REAL him!)

Babiak and Hare explain that although psychopaths are highly manipulative, the process of idealize, devalue and discard is a natural outgrowth of their personalities. In other words, it’s not necessarily calculated at every moment in the relationship. Overall, however, whether consciously or not, psychopaths assess and drain the use-value out of their romantic partners. (Snakes in Suits, 42) During the assessment phase, psychopaths interact closely with their targets to see what makes them tick. They ask probing questions, to discover their unfulfilled needs and weaknesses. They also commonly lure their targets with promises to offer them whatever’s been missing from their lives. If you’re recovering from a recent divorce, they offer you friendship and an exciting new romantic relationship. If you’ve suffered a death in the family, they appear to be sympathetic friends. If you’re going through financial difficulties, they lend you money to seem generous.

During the manipulation phase, Babiak and Hare go on to explain, psychopaths construct the “psychopathic fiction.” They pour on the charm to hook their victims emotionally and gain their trust. They present themselves as kind-hearted individuals. Of course, in order to do so, psychopaths resort to outrageous lies since, in reality, they’re just the opposite. In romantic relationships in particular, they depict themselves as not only compatible with you, but also as your soul mate. While seeming your complement, they also present themselves as your mirror image. They claim to share your interests and sensibilities. Babiak and Hare observe: “This psychological bond capitalizes on your inner personality, holding out the promise of greater depth and possibly intimacy, and offering a relationship that is special, unique, equal -- forever.” (Snakes in Suits, 78)

Because psychopaths are great manipulators and convincing liars, as we’ve seen, many of their victims don’t heed the warning signals. During the early phases of a romantic relationship, people in general tend to be too blinded by the euphoria of falling in love to focus on noticing red flags. Also, during this period, the psychopaths themselves are on their best behavior. Yet, generally speaking, they get bored too easily to be able to maintain their mask of sanity consistently for very long. The honeymoon phase of the relationship usually lasts until the psychopath intuitively senses that he’s got you on the hook or until he’s gotten bored by the relationship and moved on to other targets. He shows his true colors when he’s got no incentive left to pretend anymore. As Babiak and Hare note, “Once psychopaths have drained all the value from a victim—that is, when the victim is no longer useful—they abandon the victim and move on to someone else.” (Snakes in Suits, 53)

This raises the question of why a psychopath idealizes his targets in the first place. Why do psychopaths invest so much effort, time and energy into giving the illusion of intimacy and meaning in a relationship, given that they never really bond with other human beings in the first place? One obvious response would be that they do it for the sport of it. They enjoy both the chase and the kill; the seduction and the betrayal. They relish creating the illusion that they’re something they’re not. They also enjoy observing how they dupe others into believing this fiction. Moreover, whenever a psychopath expresses admiration, flattery or enthusiasm for someone, it’s always because he wants something from that person. I think, however, that this explanation is somewhat reductive. Many psychopaths experience powerful obsessions that resemble intense passions. Besides, this explanation doesn’t distinguish con men, who fake their credentials and interest in a person, from psychopaths “in love,” who are pursuing their targets for what initially seems even to them as “romantic” reasons.

A broader explanation, which would include both kinds of psychopaths, might look something like this: as research confirms, all psychopaths suffer from a shallowness of emotion that makes their bonding ephemeral and superficial, at best. When they want something–or someone–they pursue that goal with all their might. They concentrate all of their energies upon it. When that goal is your money or a job or something outside of yourself, their pursuit may appear somewhat fake. You’re a means to an end. You were never idealized for yourself, but for something else. But when their goal is actually you–seducing you or even marrying you–then their pursuit feels like an idealization. Temporarily, you represent the object of their desire, the answer to their needs, the love of their life and the key to their happiness. But this feeling of euphoria doesn’t last long because it’s empty to the core. As we’ve observed, once psychopaths feel they have you in their grasp—once your identity, hopes and expectations are pinned on them—they get bored with you and move on to new sources of pleasure and diversion. We’ve also seen in Cleckley’s study that the same logic applies to their other goals as well. Psychopaths tire rather quickly of their jobs, their geographic location, their hobbies and their educational endeavors. But it hurts so much more, and it feels so much more personal, when what they get tired of is you, yourself.

Their loss of interest appears as a devaluation. From being the center of their life, you suddenly become just an obstacle to their next pursuit. Since psychopaths are intuitively skilled at “dosing,” or giving you just enough validation and attention to keep you on the hook, you may not immediately notice the devaluation. It’s as if the psychopath intuitively knows when to be charming again (in order not to lose you) and when to push your boundaries, further and lower. Your devaluation occurs gradually yet steadily. One day you finally notice it and wonder how you have allowed yourself to sink so low. Occasionally, he throws you a bone–takes you out, plans a romantic evening, says kind and loving things—to lead you to dismiss your healthy intuitions that you’re being mistreated. If the psychopath allows himself to treat you worse and worse it’s not only because you’re much less exciting in his eyes. It’s also because he’s conditioned you to think less highly of yourself and to accept his dubious behavior. Because you want to hold on to the fantasy of the ideal relationship he cultivated, you go into denial. You accept his implausible excuses. You put up with your growing fears and doubts. You rationalize his inexplicable absences, his increasingly frequent emotional withdrawals, his curt and icy replies, his petty and mean-spirited ways of “punishing” you for asserting your needs or for not bending to his will.

But at some point, when he sinks to a new low or when you catch him in yet another lie, you slip out of the willful denial which has been your way of adjusting to the toxic relationship. Because he has lowered your self-esteem, you ask yourself why this has happened and what you did wrong. If he cheated on you, you blame the other woman or women involved. The psychopath encourages you to pursue such false leads. In fact, he encourages anything that deflects attention from his responsibility in whatever goes wrong with your relationship. He leads you to blame yourself. He also inculpates the other women. He implies that you were not good enough for him. He claims that the other women tempted or pursued him. But that’s only a diversionary tactic. You have flaws and you made mistakes, but at least you were honest and real. The other women involved may have been decent human beings, the scum of the Earth or anything in between. Think about it. Does it really matter who and what they were? You are not involved with the other women. They are not your life partners, your spouses, your lovers or your friends. What matters to you most is how your own partner behaves. He is primarily accountable for his actions. Not you, not the other women.

Also, keep in mind that psychopaths twist the truth to fit their momentary goals and to play mind games. When you actually pay attention to what they say instead of being impressed by how sincere they may appear, their narratives often sound inconsistent and implausible. What they say about other women, both past and present, is most likely a distortion too. Psychopaths commonly project their own flaws upon others. If they tell you they were seduced, it was most likely the other way around. If they tell you that their previous girlfriends mistreated them, cheated on them, got bored with them, abandoned them, listen carefully, since that’s probably what they did to those women. Their lies serve a dual function. They help establish credibility with you as well as giving them the extra thrill of deceiving you yet again.

So why were you discarded? you may wonder. You were devalued and discarded because you were never really valued for yourself. As we’ve seen, for psychopaths relationships are temporary deals, or rather, scams. Analogously, for them, other human beings represent objects of diversion and control. The most flattering and pleasant phase of their control, the only one that feels euphoric and magical, is the seduction/idealization phase. That’s when they pour on the charm and do everything they possibly can to convince you that you are the only one for them and that they’re perfect for you. It’s very easy to mistake this phase for true love or passion. However, what inevitably follows in any intimate relationship with a psychopath is neither pleasant nor flattering. Once they get bored with you because the spell of the initial conquest has worn off, the way they maintain control of you is through deception, isolation, abuse, gaslighting and undermining your self-confidence.

That’s when you realize that the devaluation phase has set in. You do whatever you can to regain privileged status. You try to recapture the excitement and sweetness of the idealization phase. You want to reclaim your rightful throne as the queen you thought you were in his eyes. But that’s an impossible goal, an ever-receding horizon. Every women’s shelter tells victims of domestic violence that abuse usually gets worse, not better, over time. For abusers, power is addictive. It works like a drug. The dosage needs to be constantly increased to achieve the same effect. Control over others, especially sexual control, gives psychopaths pleasure and meaning in life. To get the same rush from controlling you, over time, they need to tighten the screws. Increase the domination. Increase the manipulation. Isolate you further from those who care about you. Undermine your confidence and boundaries more, so that you’re left weaker and less prepared to stand up for yourself. The more you struggle to meet a psychopath’s demands, the more he’ll ask of you. Until you have nothing left to give. Because you have pushed your moral boundaries as low as they can go. You have alienated your family and friends, at the psychopath’s subtle manipulation or overt urging. You have done everything you could to satisfy him. Yet, after the initial idealization phase, nothing you did was ever good enough for him.

It turns out that he’s completely forgotten about the qualities he once saw in you. If and when he talks about you to others, it’s as if he were ashamed of you. That’s not only because he lost interest in you. It’s also the instinctive yet strategic move of a predator. If your family, his family, your mutual friends have all lost respect for you–if you’re alone with him in the world–he can control you so much easier than if you have external sources of validation and emotional support. Psychopaths construct an “us versus them” worldview. They initially depict your relationship as privileged and better than the ordinary love bonds normal people form. This is of course always a fiction. In fact, the opposite holds true. An intimate relationship with a psychopath is far inferior to any normal human relationship, where both people care about each other. Such a relationship is necessarily one-sided and distorted. It’s a sham on both sides. Being a consummate narcissist, he loves no one but himself and cares about nothing but his selfish desires.

If and when he does something nice, it’s always instrumental: a means to his ends or to bolster his artificial good image. Dr. Jekyll is, in fact, always Mr. Hyde on the inside. And even though you may be capable of love, you’re not in love with the real him–the cheater, the liar, the manipulator, the player, the hollow, heartless being that he is–but with the charming illusion he created, which you initially believed but which becomes increasingly implausible over time. From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.

But pretty soon, when you find yourself alone with the psychopath, you see it’s not us versus them, your couple above and against everyone else. It’s him versus you. He will act like your worst enemy, which is what he really is, not as the best friend and adoring partner he claimed to be. If he criticizes you to others–or, more subtly, fosters antagonisms between you and family members and friends–it’s to further wear you down and undermine your social bonds. Once he tires of you, he induces others to see you the same way that he does: as someone not worthy of him; as someone to use, demean and discard. Before you were beautiful and no woman could compare to you. Now you’re at best plain in his eyes. Before you were cultured and intelligent. Now you’re the dupe who got played by him. Before you were dignified and confident. Now you’re isolated and abject. In fact, right at the point when you feel that you should be rewarded for your sacrifice of your values, needs, desires and human bonds–all for him–the psychopath discards you.

He’s had enough. He’s gotten everything he wanted out of you. Bent you out of shape. Taken away, demand by demand, concession by concession, your dignity and happiness. As it turns out, the reward you get for all your devotion and efforts is being nearly destroyed by him. Ignoring your own needs and fulfilling only his–or fulfilling yours to gain his approval–has transformed you into a mere shadow of the lively, confident human being you once were.

He uses your weaknesses against you. He also turns your qualities into faults. If you are faithful, he sees your fidelity as a weakness, a sign you weren’t desirable enough to cheat. Nobody else really wanted you. If you are virtuous, he exploits your honesty while he lies and cheats on you. If you are passionate, he uses your sensuality to seduce you, to entrap you through your own desires, emotions, hopes and dreams. If you are reserved and modest, he describes you as asocial and cold-blooded. If you are confident and outgoing, he views you as flirtatious and untrustworthy. If you are hard working, unless he depends on your money, he depicts you as a workhorse exploited by your boss. If you are artistic and cultured, he undermines your merit. He makes you feel like everything you create is worthless and cannot possibly interest others. You’re lucky that it ever interested him. After the idealization phase is over, there’s no way to please a psychopath. Heads you lose, tails he wins. But remember that his criticisms are even less true than his initial exaggerated flattery. When all is said and done, the only truth that remains is that the whole relationship was a fraud.

The process of the psychopathic bond is programmatic. It’s astonishingly elegant and simple given the complexity of human behavior. Idealize, devalue and discard. Each step makes sense once you grasp the psychological profile of a psychopath, of an (in)human being who lives for the pleasure of controlling and harming others. 

1) Idealize: not you, but whatever he wanted from you and only for however long he wanted it. 
2) Devalue: once he has you in his clutches, the boredom sets in and he loses interest. 
3) Discard: after he’s gotten everything he wanted from you and has probably secured other targets.

For you, this process is excruciatingly personal. It may have cost you your time, your heart, your friends, your family, your self-esteem or your finances. You may have put everything you had and given everything you could to that relationship. It may have become your entire life. For the psychopath, however, the whole process isn’t really personal. He could have done the same thing to just about anyone who allowed him into her intimate life. He will do it again and again to everyone he seduces. It’s not about you. It’s not about the other woman or women who were set against you to compete for him, to validate his ego, to give him pleasure, to meet his fickle needs. He wasn’t with them because they’re superior to you. He was with them for the same reason that he was with you. To use them, perhaps for different purposes than he used you, but with the same devastating effect. He will invariably treat others in a similar way to how he treated you. Idealize, devalue and discard. Rinse and repeat.  

This process was, is and will always be only about the psychopath for as long as you stay with him.


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shared by Barbara at 12:02 AM 16 comments