Sanctuary for the Abused
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Misdiagnosing Narcissism (BiPolar I)
Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, spins unrealistic schemes, and has frequent rage attacks (is irritable) if her or his wishes and plans are (inevitably) frustrated.
The manic phases of the Bipolar Disorder, however, are limited in time - NPD is not. Furthermore, the mania is followed by - usually protracted - depressive episodes. The narcissist is also frequently dysphoric. But whereas the Bipolar sinks into deep self-deprecation, self-devaluation, unbounded pessimism, all-pervasive guilt and anhedonia - the narcissist, even when depressed, never forgoes his narcissism: his grandiosity, sense of entitlement, haughtiness, and lack of empathy.
Narcissistic dysphorias are much shorter and reactive - they constitute a response to the grandiosity gap. In plain words, the narcissist is dejected when confronted with the abyss between his inflated self-image and grandiose fantasies - and the drab reality of his life: his failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating interpersonal relationships, and low status. Yet, one dose of narcissistic supply is enough to elevate the narcissists from the depth of misery to the heights of manic euphoria.
Not so with the Bipolar. The source of her or his mood swings is assumed to be brain biochemistry - not the availability of narcissistic supply. Whereas the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, even when maximally agitated, the Bipolar often feels that s/he has lost control of his/her brain ("flight of ideas"), his/her speech, his/her attention span (distractibility), and his/her motor functions.
The Bipolar is prone to reckless behaviors and substance abuse only during the manic phase. The narcissist does drugs, drinks, gambles, shops on credit, indulges in unsafe sex or in other compulsive behaviors both when elated and when deflated.
As a rule, the Bipolar's manic phase interferes with his/her social and occupational functioning. Many narcissists, in contrast, reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of narcissistic supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.
The manic phase of Bipolar sometimes requires hospitalization and - more frequently than admitted - involves psychotic features. Narcissists are never hospitalized as the risk for self-harm is minute. Moreover, psychotic microepisodes in narcissism are decompensatory in nature and appear only under unendurable stress (e.g., in intensive therapy).
The Bipolar's mania provokes discomfort in both strangers and in the patient's nearest and dearest. His/her constant cheer and compulsive insistence on interpersonal, sexual, and occupational, or professional interactions engenders unease and repulsion. Her/his lability of mood - rapid shifts between uncontrollable rage and unnatural good spirits - is downright intimidating. The narcissist's gregariousness, by comparison, is calculated, "cold", controlled, and goal-orientated (the extraction of narcissistic supply). His cycles of mood and affect are far less pronounced and less rapid.
The Bipolar's swollen self-esteem, overstated self-confidence, obvious grandiosity, and delusional fantasies are akin to the narcissist's and are the source of the diagnostic confusion. Both types of patients purport to give advice, carry out an assignment, accomplish a mission, or embark on an enterprise for which they are uniquely unqualified and lack the talents, skills, knowledge, or experience required.
But the Bipolar's bombast is far more delusional than the narcissist's. Ideas of reference and magical thinking are common and, in this sense, the Bipolar is closer to the Schizotypal than to the Narcissistic.
There are other differentiating symptoms:
Sleep disorders - notably acute insomnia - are common in the manic phase of Bipolar and uncommon in narcissism. So is "Manic speech" - pressured, uninterruptible, loud, rapid, dramatic (includes singing and humorous asides), sometimes incomprehensible, incoherent, chaotic, and lasts for hours. It reflects the Bipolar's inner turmoil and his/her inability to control his/her racing and kaleidoscopic thoughts.
As opposed to narcissists, Bipolar in the manic phase are often distracted by the slightest stimuli, are unable to focus on relevant data, or to maintain the thread of conversation. They are "all over the place" - simultaneously initiating numerous business ventures, joining a myriad organization, writing umpteen letters, contacting hundreds of friends and perfect strangers, acting in a domineering, demanding, and intrusive manner, totally disregarding the needs and emotions of the unfortunate recipients of their unwanted attentions. They rarely follow up on their projects.
The transformation is so marked that the Bipolar is often described by his/her closest as "not himself/herself". Indeed, some Bipolars relocate, change name and appearance, and lose contact with their "former life". Antisocial or even criminal behavior is not uncommon and aggression is marked, directed at both others (assault) and oneself (suicide). Some Bipolars describe an acuteness of the senses, akin to experiences recounted by drug users: smells, sounds, and sights are accentuated and attain an unearthly quality.
As opposed to narcissists, Bipolars regret their misdeeds following the manic phase and try to atone for their actions. They realize and accept that "something is wrong with them" and seek help. During the depressive phase they are ego-dystonic and their defenses are autoplastic (they blame themselves for their defeats, failures, and mishaps).
Finally, pathological narcissism is already discernible in early adolescence. The full-fledged Bipolar Disorder - including a manic phase - rarely occurs before the age of 20. The narcissist is consistent in his pathology - not so the Bipolar. The onset of the manic episode is fast and furious and results in a conspicuous metamorphosis of the patient.
More about this topic here:
Stormberg, D., Roningstam, E., Gunderson, J., & Tohen, M. (1998) Pathological Narcissism in Bipolar Disorder Patients. Journal of Personality Disorders, 12, 179-185
Roningstam, E. (1996), Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Axis I Disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 3, 326-340
Thursday, August 20, 2020
The Most Dangerous Emotion After a Break-Up
Saturday, August 01, 2020
WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OVER A PATHOLOGICAL PARTNER?
Relationships with psychopaths take an unusually long time to recover from. Survivors often find themselves frustrated because they haven't healed as fast as they'd like. They also end up dealing with friends & therapists who give them judgmental advice about how it's "time to move on".
Whether you were in a long-term marriage or a quick summer fling, the recovery process will be the same when it comes to a psychopathic encounter. It takes at least 18-24 months to get your heart back in a good place, and even after that, you might have tough days. I certainly do!
The important thing here is to stop blaming yourself. Stop wishing it would go faster. Stop thinking that the psychopath somehow "wins" if you're still hurting. They are out of the picture now. This journey is about you. If you come to peace with the extended timeline, you'll find this experience a lot more pleasant. You can settle in, make some friends, and get cozy with this whole recovery thing.
So why is it taking so long?
You were in love
Yes, it was manufactured love. Yes, your personality was mirrored and your dreams manipulated. But you were in love. It's the strongest human emotion & bond in the world, and you felt it with all your heart. It is always painful to lose someone you loved - someone you planned to be with for the rest of your life.
The human spirit must heal from these love losses. Regardless of your abuser's intentions, your love was still very real. It will take a great deal of time and hope to pull yourself out of the standard post-breakup depression.
You were in desperate love
Here's where we branch off from regular breakups. Psychopaths manufacture desperation & desire. You probably worked harder for this relationship than any other, right? You put more time, energy, and thought into it than ever before. And in turn, you were rewarded with the nastiest, most painful experience of your life.
In the idealization phase, they showered you with attention, gifts, letters, and compliments. Unlike most honeymoon phases, they actually pretended to be exactly like you in every way. Everything you did was perfect to them. This put you on Cloud 9, preparing you for the identity erosion.
You began to pick up on all sorts of hints that you might be replaced at any time. This encouraged your racing thoughts, ensuring that this person was on your mind every second of the day. This unhinged, unpredictable lifestyle is what psychopaths hope to create with their lies, gas-lighting, and triangulation.
By keeping them on your mind at all times, you fall into a state of desperate love. This is unhealthy, and not a sign that the person you feel so strongly about is actually worthy of your love. Your mind convinces you that if you feel so powerfully, then they must be the only person who will ever make you feel that way. And when you lose that person, your world completely falls apart. You enter a state of panic & devastation.
The Chemical Reaction
Psychopaths have an intense emotional & sexual bond over their victims. This is due to their sexual magnetism, and the way they train your mind to become reliant upon their approval.
By first adoring you in every way, you let down your guard and began to place your self worth in this person. Your happiness started to rely on this person's opinion on you. Happiness is a chemical reaction going off in your brain - dopamine and receptors firing off to make you feel good.
Like a drug, the psychopath offers you this feeling in full force to begin with. But once you become reliant on it, they begin to pull back. Slowly, you need more and more to feel that same high. You do everything you can to hang onto it, while they are doing everything in their power to keep you just barely starved.
There are thousands of support groups for survivors of infidelity. It leaves long-lasting insecurities and feelings of never being good enough. It leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others. That pain alone takes many people out there years to recover from.
Now compare that to the psychopath's triangulation. Not only do they cheat on you - they happily wave it in your face. They brag about it, trying to prove how happy they are with your replacement. They carry none of the usual shame & guilt that comes with cheating. They are thrilled to be posting pictures and telling their friends how happy they are.
I cannot even begin to explain how emotionally damaging this is after once being the target of their idealization. The triangulation alone will take so much time to heal from.
You have encountered pure evil
Everything you once understood about people did not apply to this person. During the relationship, you tried to be compassionate, easy-going, and forgiving. You never could have known that the person you loved was actively using these things against you. It just doesn't make any sense. No typical person is ready to expect that, and so we spend our time projecting a normal human conscience onto them, trying to explain away their inexplicable behavior.
But once we discover psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism, that's when everything starts to change. We begin to feel disgusted - horrified that we let this darkness into our lives. Everything clicks and falls into place. All of the "accidental" or "insensitive" behavior finally makes sense.
You try to explain this to friends and family members - no one really seems to get it. This is why validation matters. When you come together with others who have experienced the same thing as you, you discover you were not crazy. You were not alone in this inhuman experience.
It takes a great deal of time to come to terms with this personality disorder. You end up having to let go of your past understanding of human nature, and building it back up from scratch. You realize that people are not always inherently good. You begin to feel paranoid, hyper-vigialant, and anxious. The healing process is about learning to balance this new state of awareness with your once trusting spirit.
Your spirit is deeply wounded
After the eventual abandonment, most survivors end up feeling a kind of emptiness that cannot even be described as depression. It's like your spirit has completely gone away. You feel numb to everything and everyone around you. The things that once made you happy now make you feel absolutely nothing at all. You worry that your encounter with this monster has destroyed your ability to empathize, feel and care.
I believe this is what takes the longest time to recover from. It feels hopeless at first, but your spirit is always with you. Damaged, for sure, but never gone. As you begin to discover self-respect & boundaries, it slowly starts to find its voice again. It feels safe opening up, peeking out randomly to say hello. You will find yourself grateful to be crying again, happy that your emotions seem to be returning. This is great, and it will start to become more and more consistent.
Ultimately, you will leave this experience with an unexpected wisdom about the people around you. Your spirit will return stronger than ever before, refusing to be treated that way again. You may encounter toxic people throughout your life, but you won't let them stay for very long. You don't have time for mind games & manipulation. You seek out kind, honest, and compassionate individuals. You know you deserve nothing less.
This new found strength is the greatest gift of the psychopathic experience. And it is worth every second of the recovery process, because it will serve you for the rest of your life.
If you're worried that your recovery process is taking too long, please stop worrying. You've been through hell and back - there is no quick fix for that. And what's more, when all is said and done, these few years will be some of the most important years of your life.
from this fantastic site
Labels: bad relationship, cruel, damaged, devalue, discard, get over it, healing, idealize, move on, narcissism, narcissist, no empathy, pathological, psychopath, psychopathy, ptsd, recovery, sociopath, sociopathy
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
Wife Abuse & Child Custody and Visitation by the Abuser
Caesar, P. Lynn., "Exposure to Violence in the Families of Origin Among Wife Abusers and Maritally Violent Men." Violence and Victims , Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, 1988.
Davis, Liane V., and Carlson, Bonnie E., "Observation of Spouse Abuse - What Happens to the Children?" Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 2, No. 3, September 1987, pp. 278-291, Sage Publications, 1987.
Dutton, Donald., The Domestic Assault of Women, Allyn and Bacon, 1988.
Gelles, Richard J. and Strauss, Murray A., Intimate Violence, Simon and Schuster, 1988.
Goodman, Gail S., and Rosenberg, Mindy, S., "The Child Witness to Family Violence: Clinical and Legal Considerations. Ch. 7, pp. 47ff. in: Sonkin, Daniel. Ph.d., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.
Pagelow, Mildred Daley, Family Violence, Praeger Publications, 1984.
Roy, Maria., Children in the Crossfire, Health Communications, Inc. 1988.
Roy, Maria., The Abusive Partner, Van Nostrand, 1982.
Sonkin, Daniel. Phd., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.
Strauss, Murray A., et. al., Behind Closed Doors, Anchor Books, 1980.
Walker, Lenore E.A., and Edwall, Glenace E. "Domestic Violence and Determination of Visitation and Custody in Divorce." Ch. 8, pp. 127ff. Sonkin, Daniel. Phd. Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.
Wallerstein, Judith., Report to the American Orthopsychiatric Association Convention, 1988.
Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse
GREAT SITE FOR PARENTS TRYING TO CO-PARENT
Friday, May 29, 2020
The Differences Between A Sociopath And A Narcissist
When we try to analyze the people we cross paths with in society, it is possible to misinterpret our analysis for lack of a better understanding. For those who have crossed paths with a sociopath and a narcissist (on separate occasions), it may seem like there is little to no difference between the two when in fact one can be mistaken for the other. Both are considered to be social terrorists, however, there are distinguishing characteristics that would imply neither of them are one in the same. Therefore, I would like to explain briefly the differences in character between these two personality disorders…
A Narcissist will
- often let you know up front what they’re about.
- They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake).
- They generally do not tell these stories for any other gain than to hear praises.
- They have an unquenchable desire to be admired, worshiped, and adulated with no real gain from those that respond to them in this way other than to feed their own ego.
- They need to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering.
A Sociopath will
- NEVER let you know up front what they are about, because they wear a mask to hide their true identity.
- They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake, but mostly fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake, but mostly fake).
- They generally tell these stories to appear as a “good person” to gain trust and as a cover-up for their ulterior motives.
- They have the same unquenchable desires as the Narcissist as a result of the power and control they gain over their victims.
- They do not care to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering unless doing so promises to earn them more unsuspecting victims.
Here’s a few more brief distinguishing characteristics:
- A Narcissist can occasionally have a conscience. A Sociopath has no conscience whatsoever, nor do they have any remorse for hurting others intentionally.
- A Narcissist can occasionally be constructive. A Sociopath is always destructive.
- A Narcissist’s world can be built by their own hands. A Sociopath prefers their world to be built by someone else’s hands.
- A Narcissist is self-deceptive. A Sociopath is socially deceptive.
- A Narcissist needs admirers. A Sociopath needs victims.
- A Narcissist lacks empathy in the form of belittling, name-calling, and defaming another’s character. A Sociopath lacks empathy in a criminal or physically violent way.
- A Narcissist exploits themselves in a grandiose manner. A Sociopath pretends to be someone who they are not to hide their hidden agendas.
Both think they are superior to anyone and everyone, both think they deserve special treatment, both process the world differently, and both play to “win”. However, it is possible for both personality traits to be combined into one, which is called a “Narcissistic Sociopath,” and is more dangerous than the two of them separately.
From what I know: All Sociopaths are also Narcissists. Not all Narcissists are/or become Sociopaths.
One can be a Narcissistic Sociopath but NEVER a Sociopathic Narcissist. The spectrum only moves one way. - Barbara
Why PTSD Needs Treatment and Does Not 'Get Better' with Time
I know of no more disagreeable situation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at. - Frank Moore Colby
(Domestic Violence Centers are a good place to contact about counseling if you have no insurance)
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Psychologist Explains the Psyche of Psychopaths
By April Wilkerson
When news broke of the alleged BTK Killer's capture in Wichita, it sparked new discussions and feelings toward a decades-old case: fear, relief, intrigue about such a person.
Public interest in serial killings and psychopaths is always high, says a local psychologist. But her involvement in the field is from a more analytical perspective.
Dr. Sue Stone is a clinical psychologist at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, a position she's held since January. Although her work here is in general psychology and therapy, her specialty area is psychopathy, and she came from three years' work at the Department of Corrections, doing criminal court evaluations, consulting on capital murder cases and more.
Stone says there's an adage in her field: Not all psychopaths are serial killers, but all serial killers are psychopaths. While psychopaths as serial killers are a relatively rare phenomenon, there are people functioning in society who exhibit various degrees of psychopathic behavior in their daily lives, she said.
That makes the term psychopath a relative one, but there are definite characteristics of such people, Stone said.
Psychopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior and an aggressive narcissism -- they use people through charm, intimidation or violence, she said.
"They have a parasitic lifestyle -- they live off people. Their whole mindset is domination over other people," she said. "Psychopaths are not necessarily criminal in their activities, but they are attracted to positions of power. They have no anxiety about their behavior.
"Psychopaths see themselves as wronged. They can be paranoid, feel persecuted, feel a need for revenge. They harbor a lot of persecutory beliefs." (i.e. - They are the victim, not you, in their heads)
There also is a lot of thrill-seeking with psychopathic behavior, Stone said. Over time, there will be an escalation of their behavior because they've gotten sensitized to a certain act, but then have to "up the ante" to capture the thrill they seek, she said.
That may be the case with the alleged BTK Killer, who resurfaced with letters to the media after not being heard from in a while, Stone said.
"Psychopaths have a need for recognition, not just a need for attention," she said. "They have a sense of being invincible, of 'I can outsmart you.' They're taken in by their own narcissism. It's almost like a game."[Sociopaths] often take "souvenirs" from their victims -- pictures, jewelry, lock of hair -- to remind them later, Stone said. "They want to keep that image, the fantasy of that control going," she said.
In the BTK case, Dennis Rader has been arrested and charged in the killings of 10 people beginning in 1974. His seemingly normal life as a churchgoer and Scout leader has shocked many, but that type of appearance is not unheard-of in psychopaths, Stone said.
"It's a misnomer to think that if we saw a psychopath, he would look odd. Often, that's not the case," she said. "A psychopathic individual can be a chameleon and learn to act a certain way. That advances their opportunity to engage in certain behaviors because who would suspect?"
Often, people think that childhood abuse can create psychopathy in adults, Stone said. Childhood trauma certainly can aggravate psychopathic tendencies, but it's not a cause-effect relationship, she said. Research over the last 10-15 years is supporting the notion that psychopathy is related to a genotype (aka - GENETIC), she said.
Psychopaths also differ in that their intellectual and emotional understanding of things don't match. Stone said psychologist Robert Hare has a saying for this condition: Psychopaths know the words but don't know the music when it comes to emotions.
"They know intellectually what it is to be sad, but their empathy and regard for other people is not there," Stone said. "They can mimic the feeling, but they really can't put words to how they feel because they don't have that internal experience."
There is no known treatment for psychopaths; rather, behavior management is the course of action, Stone said. Psychopaths don't say, "I need help" because they see others as the cause of their problems; they don't have anxiety to prohibit their behavior, she said.
And studies have shown that group therapy not only doesn't work for psychopaths, it makes their behavior worse, Stone said. They use the therapy setting as practice for manipulating people.
One percent of the general population in the United States meets the criteria for psychopaths, Stone said. But the percentage is 15-20 percent in prisons because of the criminal activity psychopaths often engage in.
Instances like the BTK case often create anxiety or spark fears in people, Stone said. But it can be a good time for people to reassess their safety precautions in their homes, cars and when dealing with strangers.
"There's a certain amount of trust that goes into our daily interactions with people," Stone said. "It's important for people to realize when dealing with strangers that they need to take some precautions."Most people want to trust and help others, but that's just the position that Ted Bundy took advantage of, she said. He would act hurt and request assistance from women -- even using props like a cast -- then as soon as they were close enough, he would abduct them, she said.
Simple actions such as locking doors at home and in the car are important, but so is protecting yourself in a vulnerable position, Stone said. It's OK to call the office of a repair company to check a person's credentials, she said, and if a stranger comes to your door asking to use the phone, ask him to step to the curb, then call the police.
"It doesn't mean we need to be suspicious of everybody. We couldn't function in life; we have to have some sense of trust," she said. "The BTK case brings up issues of safety. It's a good time to look at what areas we can be safer in our day-to-day life, while realizing that serial killers are a relatively rare phenomenon."
BUT SOCIOPATHS ARE NOT A RARE PHENOMENON - THE MAJORITY OF SOCIOPATHS EXPLOIT OTHERS BUT DO NOT KILL - CLICK HERE FOR MORE
Friday, May 15, 2020
How Con Artists Choose Their Victims
- any trait will do.
- Law Enforcement Officers,
- Single Moms,
- Sports Figures,
- Blue Collar Workers,
- Physically Challenged,
- Corporate Executives,
- Insurance Agents,
- Real Estate Agents,
- ... You name it!
- Many don't know where to turn, so they don't file a report anywhere.
- Many are so distraught that they contact every agency they can think of, which has no effect at all.
- Many are extremely upset when they try to talk to law enforcement, end up merely sounding hysterical, no clear story emerges, and they give up without having given the police anything to go on.
- Many have been threatened in one way or another by the scammer and are afraid of retribution from either the con artist himself or law enforcement.
- Many have gone to law enforcement only to not be believed or told it was THEIR FAULT.
- And finally, the majority feel themselves to be damn fools and are not about to make it worse by going public. They just can't bring themselves to admit they've made a mistake. They cannot bring themselves to admit that they have been set up by a scammer.
Sunday, May 03, 2020
The Power of the Original Trauma Bond
** Warning: This post may be very triggering to the adult survivors of psychopathic/narcissistic abuse. Please use caution in reading**
While many survivors discover that their partners are psychopathic/narcissistic, many who come from childhood backgrounds of pathology, fail to realize that their parent is the foundation of the original trauma bond. They can leave partners, but continue to engage with the parent. This leaves the stench of pathology in their lives, and makes them vulnerable in continuing the bond into the future with another partner or other people who are pathological.
Psychopathic parents are as toxic, if not more so, than the psychopathic partner.
Trauma bonds to the source of origin (parent) are incredibly powerful and equally as challenging to break. I have broken the bonds with my psychopathic father and biological siblings, and without realizing any of this stuff about trauma bonds, I went no contact with them about five years ago now. Without the break in this bond, I undoubtedly would not have been able to heal completely. This bond was broken just a couple of years prior to my break with the last psychopath in my life.
The psychopathic parent is a ‘special’ kind of ‘crazy’. It’s amazing to me our perspectives when we see other survivors just out of relationships with psychopaths and how horrified we are at the antics of the psychopath when it comes to he and the survivor’s children, particularly if there are custody issues. We are horrified at his contempt and lack of empathy when it comes to his children and his ability to manipulate and/or abuse them. We are appalled at the terrorist-like attempts of the psychopath to undermine his children’s relationship with the survivor through triangulation, by hateful discussion, smear campaigns, triangulations and projections about their mother or using a new victim to separate mother and child. The list is long in how he can implement his tactics. While the survivor who sees these games played out with another survivor’s ex psychopath and children, even with her own, she fails to see this has also played out in her childhood and continues to play out with her parent as an adult. She fails to be as horrified at the antics of her parent upon her, as she is in witnessing it in others situations.
Her lack of appropriate reaction of horror at the actions of her parent, is an indication of how strong the trauma bond is. It has reached a level of extremes in normalizing the highly pathological and abnormal. The lack of reaction that would mean salvation via no contact is not even a consideration for many of these survivors. In my work with survivors of the psychopathic/narcissistic parent, the idea of no contact when presented to them is often met with a vicious or contemptuous response, filled with excuse, fear, obligation, guilt and denial.
The survivor with the psychopathic parent will inevitably, in most cases continue with the bond. The bond is so powerful and so intense due to a lifetime of cyclical abuse. Some of the very same abuses upon the survivor of a psychopathic parent, that are visited upon the survivor as long as there is contact, are the very same visited upon her in a romantic relationship or what she finds appalling in others. The psychopathic parent is manipulative, guilt inducing, degrading, demanding. They triangulate the survivor with siblings and other family members, creating competitions for the parent’s attention and love. Each survivor from these families plays a specific role, which I’ll be discussing in another post, but some of the most familiar roles are scapegoat, golden child and lost child. The scapegoat is the child who is often most sensitive to the parent and equally the most abused. The sins of the psychopathic parent are liberally employed upon the scapegoat and the roles of other siblings are encouraged (especially the golden child) to abuse the scapegoat as well. The scapegoat is usually the most sensitive of the family members and the most intuitive to the abuse. The psychopathic parent knows this and fears this child most because this child is the child who understands exactly what is going on and is most likely to ‘report’ it to others. Ironically, the scapegoat can be healthiest of the family and the psychopathic parent is aware of this. This child will be tested most in weighing the possibilities as to how they can be used by the parent. If the scapegoat does not go along with the ‘plan’ set up by the psychopathic parent, this child’s abuse will be the most extreme.
Even when the scapegoat goes along with the plan, the psychopathic parent still fears this child as the child cannot ‘pretend’ to the psychopathic parents liking, that she doesn’t know what’s going on. She always sees behind the mask and her pretentiousness is caught by the parent. Unfortunately, if the scapegoat manages to survive her childhood, her abuse will be manifested with disorders of her own, from personality disorders to complex PTSD. For the survivor who is gifted with awareness into adulthood in that she does not develop a serious disorder of her own, she will wrestle with her own empathy in her feelings of compassion for the parent and is the child most likely to take on care giving responsibilities, as well as continuing to take the abuse. Her exposure to such intense pathology also makes her vulnerable to more painful relationships with psychopaths into the future, from romantic relationships to friendships, the cycles continue, the desire to ‘repair’ the damage in a repetition complex, compulsive in nature.
Survivors who manage to escape psychopathic partners, initially believe that they have escaped pathology altogether, separating the parent from the inevitable acting out behavior and relationship choices she has made. There is no connection for her in tying her partner selection to the original trauma bond with the parent. In a very odd way, this makes the separation from the psychopath EASIER comparatively because she still has access to the familiar, to pathology.
If she cannot act out with a partner, the parent will continue to provide ample opportunity to continue the trauma bond and addiction to pathology through continued abuse.
There are survivors who have gone no contact with their parent, such as myself but continued pathology with a romantic partner. Again, the intensity and addiction to pathology is played out with her inability to separate from the partner. In these cases, the ‘bond’ to the partner is even stronger with the loss of the original trauma bond and the relationship loss can feel very devastating as the last intense bond is broken.
She can hang on, even though she wants to let go, eventually because the parent is not there to replace it.
Survivors still tied to the parent are extremely creative individuals. The excuses to hang onto the parent are wide and varied. The almost apologetic statements by survivors on behalf of the insidious and leveling abuse of the parent stands as symbolic to the depth of their denial. Like any psychopath, the parent knows that they have control in this child’s life and no matter how awful the abuse, the child will defend the parent to the detriment of herself and others around her who continue to see her in pain with each engagement with the parent.
There are not different ‘rules’ with the psychopathic parent, anymore than there are with the psychopathic partner. The tactics are the same and just as damaging upon the adult child. The adult child of a psychopathic parent becomes almost child like in her response to the parent, the ultimate authority figure in her life. She overlooks the obvious degradation and the feeling of a knife to her chest with the painful abuse, is almost cathartic, as it underscores what the parent has created for her in that she is a failure, that she is worthless. It is utterly and tragically familiar. The involvement with the parent is the attempt by the survivor to right the wrongs of the abuse, the hopeless and yet prayerful power of wishful thinking for change that will never come.
The adult survivor works every angle, forgives and forgets, while the trauma continues to build over years, cementing her obligation to the parent. The survivor, desperate (although rarely acknowledged) to change the status quo, will often suggest therapy with the parent, or try to find a way to make contact ‘bearable’ while still taking the abuse. The excuses a survivor gives for continued contact are obvious in her inability to let go: “I can’t abandon her/him!”, “There is no one else who will take care of her/him”, “she/he raised me alone! No one else was there for me but her/him!”, “She/he would fall apart without me. I feel sorry for her/him because she/he has no one else but me.” . . .and on and on the merry go round goes. . .
The problem with this is that much of what the survivor wants to avoid is abandonment by the parent, or has an exaggerated fear of what will happen to the parent should they let go, or what will happen to themselves if they do. They fear the parents rage and anger. They feel so sorry for the parents disorder that they are compelled to put up with more abuse. In all of this, the failure to see that no one deserves abuse, not even from a parent, is a foregone conclusion in these situations.
None of what psychopaths are all about and what they do, apply to the parent as far as this child is concerned. Much of this is subconscious, a pattern weaved into the adult child over a lifetime of exposure to pathology and abuse. We automatically act out our roles and are compelled to engage in them by an unspoken, unacknowledged force of extreme evil that wages war upon our high levels of sensitivity, empathy and compassion.
The psychopathic parent is no different than a survivor’s psychopathic partner. With each engagement the parent knows they have control over the survivor. They play their adult children like chess pieces and lack empathy for them as much as they do anyone else, there are NO EXCEPTIONS.
To the adult child of the psychopath/narcissist: Do you want to know why you are so afraid to acknowledge the truth about your Mom or Dad or both? About maybe even your siblings if they are disordered too? Because you know they don’t love you. This truth is the most devastating of all. Acknowledging this truth is the most painful experience you will ever live through. It will call into question your own person hood, your existence. My psychopathic father never loved me. Ever. Not from the day I was born, and not up to no contact. I could not let go because if I acknowledged the truth in that he did not love me, it meant I was truly lost, it meant that no one else possibly could, if the person who was my sperm and egg donor did not and could not love me.
It meant I was anchorless, without purpose and direction, as what is suppose to be the childhood foundations built for us out of LOVE by our parents. It called into question everything I lived. My entire life was a lie. A lie that my psychopathic family told about me and to me. I didn’t exist as a human being to them, worthy of love and respect. My foundation was built on sands washed away by every abusive tide. What in God’s name do you do when your foundation was not built on love from your parent?
This is what I can share with you. YOU are not the lie. YOUR existence is meaningful and your soul and spirit full of energy and love. You were born into a psychopathic family, a tragedy yes, but YOUR life is NOT. This very knowledge can set your feet upon a path of no contact and true and genuine healing, through and through. You are of the most courageous, loving, caring group having survived in a situation where you were NOT LOVED. Your psychopathic parent removed your choices that would reflect in adulthood, a healthy human being, a product of humanity built in a loving home environment. The key to your healing is no contact. The realization that you have the power of CHOICE as an adult to stop the abuse. The realization that you are worth more than continued exploitation by a psychopath.
Human connection is important, isn’t it? We all need this as a life giving source when it is expressed in love and care for one another. The psychopathic parent teaches us that human connection is merely for the sake of feeding off of others, to take, not to give. To act in hate and contempt, not in love. This is not you. This is not who you are. You are no longer a CHILD. You are NOT obligated to a very sick, strategically abusive individual. You are the psychopathic parents favorite target. You are endlessly exploited for the sake of the false glorification of the parent. You are the number one poison container. The psychopathic parent REVELS in their ability to hurt you, to get a rise out of you, any reaction will do. They live to harm you. Your importance to them is not found in what you want so much to believe in that you are loved, but rather that you are not. They know exactly what they are doing.
It is my opinion that a survivor cannot truly heal without going completely no contact with the parent. It simply is not possible. The roles we play are automatic, as in flipping a switch. When we are with them, we are ‘on’. We are not shut off until we are out of range of their targeting. When we get out of range, we obsess about what they said and/or did with the last engagement. We sound like gossipy ole ladies chatting across the fence to anyone who will listen to our martyr status with our parent. We subject ourselves to enabling others as we do our parent. Addiction is a very powerful force and you cannot engage in it in any way and consider yourself completely healed. I would like you to think about something if you choose to ponder the realities of this post: When you see another survivor struggling with her ex psychopath and what he is doing to her children, put yourself in the child’s shoes.
View this survivors ex as your parent. It is the SAME. Ask yourself, why am I appalled by this but not by what my parent is doing to me? Why am I not horrified by the abuse I have taken and continue to take? When you see a survivor in pain about what the psychopath is doing to her child(ren), what makes what your psychopathic parent is doing to you, so different? What is the cost of your involvement in being engaged with someone who does not love you, but is merely using you for their own personal pleasure in causing you further harm? Can you see what the affects of the psychopathic parents abuse is having on you, and others around you while you react to them? If you have children who are exposed to your psychopathic parent, is this what you want for your children to see in how your parent treats you and in how you react to it? Obsess about it? What ties can you connect from a past or current partner to the antics of your parent or anyone else in your life where enabling is allowed, where you fight with your empathy, where you fight with those who are manipulative, exploitive and abusive? Can you feel yourself slipping into the costume of the child in response to any of this, as you would your parent? Do you suddenly feel that, while in the presence of those who are abusive or manipulative, no matter who they are, that you are powerless? Voiceless? Listen to yourself. . .
I know these are hard questions. I know they will provoke anger, but for others they will provoke thought, and yet for others, it will hurt your heart. You are NOT a child any longer. You are NOT beholden to an abuser who cannot love, no matter who it is.
You will never have validation from the parent who created your existence biologically. Ask yourself why you believe this person loves you when it’s clear every time you engage that they don’t? The SAME principles apply to the psychopathic parent that they do ALL psychopaths. Your continued involvement makes you more vulnerable to future psychopaths. Healing from extreme childhood abuse must commence before any changes can happen into our future. This IS the original trauma bond. It must be broken before you can truly heal. The ultimate in re-victimizing yourself is the continued contact and abuse you take out of this person. Ask yourself why your psychopathic, ABUSIVE parent is the exception to the rule.
Putting into practice our awareness will only go so far while we still have abuse in our lives, especially from our parent. The danger in acting out in further relationships is there when we cannot cut ties to the parent. Engaging with the psychopathic parent is to keep the ADDICTIVE quality of the abuse GOING. We are literally practicing our addictions with anyone who is pathological.
Healing from pathology means to remove yourself from it long enough to see what your own behaviors are and have been in response to it. It is incredibly difficult, if not possible to change while engagement is still in active status.
Your psychopathic parent is not ‘different’ than all the rest. This person is the one who set you up to be abused in other relationships and to continue to take it from them. They don’t have a miraculous and just a ‘little bit’ of empathy for you. Hanging onto this belief, and the refusal to deal with and grieve the reality that this person does not love you and never could, hurts you more. Their inability to do so says NOTHING about you as a human being and the gift you were born with: empathy. Compassion for others.
I’m suggesting that you think about this. You don’t deserve abuse. Your parent will continue to apply it liberally to you and your life if you allow it. The no contact rule applies to the psychopathic partner for obvious reasons, as well as any past friendships, bosses, coworkers, children. It also applies to the parent.
I understand how painful it feels to integrate the reality of this into your heart. It is a pain like no other.
Your value and worth is not found in abuse, but a future free of it. Even if the abuser is your parent.
Onward and upward.
Note: This article also applies to men who are survivors of psychopathic women.