Sanctuary for the Abused
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Brainwashing Agitates Victims Into Submission
Her father, Ed Smart, said Thursday he knows "that she's been through brainwashing," though he has not asked his daughter for details about her nine-month ordeal.
The American view of mind control is more sensational than clinical. The public tends to remember how attorney F. Lee Bailey defended heiress Patty Hearst in the 1970s, claiming she was brainwashed into joining her kidnappers in their crime spree.
But where, exactly, did he get the idea?
"Brainwashing" is one of the few Chinese phrases to have made its way directly into English in translation, thanks to the Korean War. Chinese Taoist temples often displayed the two characters "Xi Xin," pronounced "shee shin," meaning "Wash Heart." It was an adjuration to all those entering to purge their hearts of base thoughts [i.e. Chinese Thought Reform] and desires, and rise to a higher spiritual plane.
The Chinese communists adopted this phrase during political "struggle sessions," in which an erring comrade would be urged by the group to straighten out, fly right, get back in tune with the common goal. The very word for "comrade" in Chinese is tongzhi, meaning "share goal."
Only one slight change was made: Instead of washing the heart, one was urged to wash the brain, "Xi Nao," purify one's thoughts.
During the Korean War, captured American soldiers were subjected to prolonged interrogations and harangues by their captors, who often worked in relays and used the "good-cop, bad-cop" approach, alternating a brutal interrogator with a gentle one. It was all part of "Xi Nao," washing the brain. The Chinese and Koreans were making valiant attempts to convert the captives to the communist way of thought. Soldiers sometimes caved in, sometimes did not. For some reason, sociologists later noted, the Turks proved the toughest to persuade, while Americans were a mixed lot. Some were converted, some actually defected and at least one was living in China as late as the 1980s.
British journalist Edward Hunter translated the term brainwashing in his 1953 book, Brain-Washing in Red China, which described communist techniques for controlling the minds of nonbelievers.
The word gained wide currency, given a powerful assist by the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, which revolved around the plot device of brainwashing. In the film, with the flip of a queen of diamonds card, a pre-programmed and seemingly normal person could be turned into an assassin. The device was revived in a later film, Telefon, starring Charles Bronson.
In 1968, when Michigan Gov. George Romney claimed that the Johnson administration had "brainwashed" him about Vietnam, Sen. Eugene McCarthy quipped that, in Romney's case, "a light rinse would have done." Romney, who was creating excitement in the Republican presidential nomination contest, quickly faded, clearing the way for Richard Nixon.
But it was the 1970s kidnapping of Hearst, 19-year-old heiress to the publishing fortune, that brought brainwashing into the courtroom. Hearst was held in a closet and tortured for several months by the Symbionese Liberation Army, which she then joined and aided in several armed robberies -- changing her name to Tania. Her attorney, Bailey, said she had been brainwashed. The defense didn't succeed. Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison.
The brainwashing defense has recently been tried again to explain the behavior of men arrested for their association with terrorists and terrorism. A friend of John "American Tailbone" Walker's told People magazine that Al-Qaeda had brainwashed Walker. Slate magazine reported that Abd-Samad Moussaoui, the brother of Zacarias "20th Hijacker" Moussaoui, believes that, in Britain, his brother "became prey to an extremist brainwashing cult."
The real soldiers who survived the Korean War and returned to the United States carried with them the stigma and guilt of having been captured and having survived the war and their interrogations. "Survivor's guilt" is a common trait among prisoners of war.
So brainwashing became a pejorative, and the phrase "you've been brainwashed," a term of reproach, as if the prisoner had become addlebrained, or a simpleton, during his captivity.
Sometimes the brainwashing sessions backfired ludicrously. There is the story of one British soldier who, during an interrogation session, was asked how much land his family owned. The Englishman replied that he had only a window box in a flat back in London where he grew geraniums.
The translator didn't understand what a window box was and asked the dimensions of the plot of ground. When the soldier showed him, with his hands, the interrogator brightened immediately.
"Ah, then you should be on our side! Obviously you are a small land owner and have been exploited terribly!" he said.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Be Very Specific in Custody Agreements
A child custody agreement is an extremely important document that will largely influence your life as a co-parent. Child custody agreements essentially lay out how you, your co-parent, and your child will be living your daily lives. For this reason, you and your co-parent must ensure that the rules of raising your child are clearly defined in the document. Including provisions in your custody agreement is a good way to thoroughly cover every aspect of your responsibilities as co-parents.
Before adding provisions to your custody agreementChild custody agreements must be given a lot of time and thought. They must be thorough and include everything that you will need to know as a co-parent for your child. Before adding provisions to your custody agreement there are a few major issues that must be accounted for. A basic child custody agreement should include:
A definition for the type of legal custody that will be
implemented. Legal custody refers to the decisions making
responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to
one or both co-parents.
A definition for the type of physical custody that will be
implemented. Physical custody refers to the day-to-day caretaking
responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to
one or both co-parents.
A method should be defined for making modifications to the custody
agreement if circumstances are to change in the future and the custody
agreement needs to be changed.
A basic visitation schedule must be created following the
determination of physical custody. This visitation schedule will
determine how the child’s time will be divided among both co-parents.
Including your own provisions in your custody agreementNow that the basic issues of your custody agreement have been defined, you and your co-parent will be able to add your own provisions if you feel that its necessary. These provisions will be useful in saving you and your co-parent a lot of stress and unneeded conflict in the future. The easiest way to come up with these provisions is to reflect on what issues you and your co-parent have currently regarding your co-parenting relationship. You may also come up with provisions by trying to predict and problems that may arise in the future and creating preventative provisions.
The most common types of provisions are used to provide more detail to the issues included in your basic child custody agreement. For instance, if you and your co-parent agree that details need to be added to your legal or physical custody agreements you may do so. Other provisions may also be added regarding separate issues such as how you will allow your child to interact with new partners or how you and you co-parent choose to contact one another. Any stipulation can be created as long as you and your co-parent come to an agreement on it. If you and your co-parent wish to make a provision but you cannot come to an agreement on the situation, you may request that a judge make a determination.
Remember that a judge must approve all provisions. A judge may also request you to state your argument as to why a provision is needed. Be sure to have a valid reason for creating each provision otherwise it is likely that it will not be approved.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Protecting Yourself and Escaping from Abuse
Getting out of an abusive or violent relationship isn’t easy. Maybe you’re still hoping that things will change or you’re afraid of what your partner will do if he discovers you’re trying to leave. Whatever your reasons, you probably feel trapped and helpless.
But help is available. There are many resources available for abused and battered women, including crisis hotlines, shelters—even job training, legal services, and childcare. You deserve to live free of fear. Start by reaching out.
Why doesn’t she just leave?
It’s the question many people ask when they learn that a woman is being battered and abused. But if you are in an abusive relationship, you know that it’s not that simple. Ending an important relationship is never easy. It’s even harder when you’ve been isolated from your family and friends, psychologically beaten down, financially controlled, and physically threatened.
If you’re trying to decide whether to stay or leave, you may be feeling confused, uncertain, frightened, and torn. One moment, you may desperately want to get away, and the next, you may want to hang on to the relationship. Maybe you even blame yourself for the abuse or feel weak and embarrassed because you’ve stuck around in spite of it.
Don’t be trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame. The only thing that matters is your safety. If you are being abused, remember: You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated. You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve a safe and happy life. Your children deserve a safe and happy life. You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.
Making the decision to leave
As you face the decision to either end the abusive relationship or try to save it, keep the following things in mind: If you’re hoping your abusive partner will change... The abuse will probably happen again. Abusers have deep emotional and psychological problems. While change is not impossible, it isn’t quick or easy. And change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for his behavior, seeks professional treatment, and stops blaming you, his unhappy childhood, stress, work, his drinking, or his temper.
If you believe you can help your abuser... It’s only natural that you want to help your partner. You may think you’re the only one who understands him or that it’s your responsibility to fix his problems. But the truth is that by staying and accepting repeated abuse, you’re reinforcing and enabling the abusive behavior. Instead of helping your abuser, you’re perpetuating the problem.
If your partner has promised to stop the abuse... When facing consequences, abusers often plead for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. They may even mean what they say in the moment, but their true goal is to stay in control and keep you from leaving. But most of the time, they quickly return to their abusive behavior once they’ve been forgiven and they’re no longer worried that you’ll leave.
If your partner is in counseling or a program for batterers... Even if your partner is in counseling, there is no guarantee that he’ll change. Many abusers who go through counseling continue to be violent, abusive, and controlling. If your partner has stopped minimizing the problem or making excuses, that’s a good sign. But you still need to make your decision based on who he is now, not the man you hope he will become. If you’re worried about what will happen if you leave... You may be afraid of what your abusive partner will do, where you’ll go, or how you’ll support yourself or your children. But don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a dangerous, unhealthy situation.
Signs that your abuser is NOT changing:
- He minimizes the abuse or denies how serious it really was.
- He continues to blame others for his behavior.
- He claims that you’re the one who is abusive.
- He pressures you to go to couple’s counseling.
- He tells you that you owe him another chance.
- You have to push him to stay in treatment.
- He says that he can’t change unless you stay with him and support him.
- He tries to get sympathy from you, your children, or your family and friends.
- He expects something from you in exchange for getting help.
- He pressures you to make decisions about the relationship.
Help for abused and battered women: Safety planning
Whether or not you’re ready to leave your abuser, there are things you can do to protect yourself. These safety tips can make the difference between being severely injured or killed and escaping with your life.
Prepare for emergencies
- Know your abuser’s red flags.
- Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence.
- Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble brewing.
- Identify safe areas of the house.
- Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.
- Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and the police should be called.
Make an escape plan
- Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked.
- Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly.
- Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).
- Practice escaping quickly and safely.
- Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser.
- If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.
- Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts.
- Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police.
- Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local shelter, and domestic violence hotline.
If You Stay
- If you decide at this time to stay with your abusive partner, there are some things you can try to make your situation better and to protect yourself and your children. Contact the domestic violence/sexual assault program in your area. They can provide emotional support, peer counseling, safe emergency housing, information, and other services while you are in the relationship, as well as if you decide to leave.
- Build as strong a support system as your partner will allow. Whenever possible, get involved with people and activities outside your home and encourage your children to do so.
- Be kind to yourself! Develop a positive way of looking at yourself and talking to yourself.
- Use affirmations to counter the negative comments you get from the abuser.
- Allow yourself time for doing things you enjoy.
Protecting your privacy
You may be afraid to leave or ask for help out of fear that your partner will retaliate if he finds out. This is a legitimate concern. However, there are precautions you can take to stay safe and keep your abuser from finding out what you’re doing. When seeking help for domestic violence and abuse, it’s important to cover your tracks, especially when you’re using the phone or the computer.
- When seeking help for domestic violence, call from a public pay phone or another phone outside the house if possible. In the U.S., you can call 911 for free on most public phones, so know where the closest one is in case of emergency.
- Avoid cordless telephones. If you’re calling from your home, use a corded phone if you have one, rather than a cordless phone or cell phone. A corded phone is more private, and less easy to tap. Call collect or use a prepaid phone card.
- Remember that if you use your own home phone or telephone charge card, the phone numbers that you call will be listed on the monthly bill that is sent to your home. Even if you’ve already left by the time the bill arrives, your abuser may be able to track you down by the phone numbers you’ve called for help.
- Check your cell phone settings. There are cell phone technologies your abuser can use to listen in on your calls or track your location. Your abuser can use your cell phone as a tracking device if it has GPS, is in “silent mode,” or is set to “auto answer.” So consider turning it off when not in use or leaving it behind when fleeing your abuser.
- Get your own cell phone. Consider purchasing a prepaid cell phone or another cell phone that your abuser doesn’t know about. Some domestic violence shelters offer free cell phones to battered women. Call your local hotline to find out more.
Computer and Internet safety
Abusers often monitor their partner’s activities, including their computer use. While there are ways to delete your Internet history, this can be a red flag to your partner that you’re trying to hide something, so be very careful. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to clear a computer of all evidence of the websites that you have visited, unless you know a lot about computers. Use a safe computer.
If you seek help online, you are safest if you use a computer outside of your home. You can use a computer at work, a friend’s house, the library, your local community center, or a domestic violence shelter or agency.
Be cautious with email and instant messaging
Email and instant messaging are not the safest way to get help for domestic violence. Be especially careful when sending email, as your abuser may know how to access your account. You may want to consider creating a new email account that your abuser doesn’t know about. Change your user names and passwords. Create new usernames and passwords for your email, online banking, and other sensitive accounts. Even if you don’t think your abuser has your passwords, he may have guessed or used a spyware or keylogging program to get them. Choose passwords that your abuser can’t guess (avoid birthdays, nicknames, and other personal information).
Protecting yourself from GPS surveillance and recording devices
Your abuser doesn’t need to be tech savvy in order to use surveillance technology to monitor your movements and listen in on your conversations. Be aware that your abuser may be using hidden cameras, such as a “Nanny Cam,” or even a baby monitor to check in on you. Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are also cheap and easy to use. GPS devices can be hidden in your car, your purse, or other objects you carry with you.
Your abuser can also use your car’s GPS system to see where you’ve been. If you discover any tracking or recording devices, leave them be until you’re ready to leave. While it may be tempting to remove them or shut them off, this will alert your abuser that you’re on to him.
Domestic violence shelters
A domestic violence shelter or women’s shelter is a building or set of apartments where abused and battered women can go to seek refuge from their abusers. The location of the shelter is kept confidential in order to keep your abuser from finding you. Domestic violence shelters generally have room for both mothers and their children. The shelter will provide for all your basic living needs, including food and childcare. The length of time you can stay at the shelter is limited, but most shelters will also help you find a permanent home, job, and other things you need to start a new life.
The shelter should also be able to refer you to other services for abused and battered women in your community, including:
- Legal help
- Support groups
- Services for your children
- Employment programs
- Health-related services
- Educational opportunities
- Financial assistance
Protecting your privacy at a domestic violence shelter
If you go to a domestic violence shelter or women’s refuge, you do not have to give identifying information about yourself, even if asked. While shelters take many measures to protect the women they house, giving a false name may help keep your abuser from finding you, particularly if you live in a small town.
Protecting yourself after you’ve left
Keeping yourself safe from your abuser is just as important after you’ve left as before. To protect yourself, you may need to relocate so your former partner can’t find you. If you have children, they may need to switch schools.
To keep your new location a secret:
- Get an unlisted phone number.
- Use a post office box rather than your home address. Apply to your state’s address confidentiality program, a service that confidentially forwards your mail to your home.
- Cancel your old bank accounts and credit cards, especially if you shared them with your abuser.
- When you open new accounts, be sure to use a different bank.
- If you’re remaining in the same area, change up your routine. Take a new route to work, avoid places where your abuser might think to locate you, change any appointments he knows about, and find new places to shop and run errands.
- You should also keep a cell phone on you at all times and be ready to call 911 if you spot your former abuser.
You may want to consider getting a restraining order or protective order against your abusive partner. However, remember that the police can enforce a restraining order only if someone violates it, and then only if someone reports the violation. This means that you must be endangered in some way for the police to step in.
If you are the victim of stalking or abuse, you need to carefully research how restraining orders are enforced in your neighborhood. Find out if the abuser will just be given a citation or if he will actually be taken to jail. If the police simply talk to the violator or give a citation, your abuser may reason that the police will do nothing and feel empowered to pursue you further. Or your abuser may become angry and retaliate.
Do not feel falsely secure with a restraining order!
You are not necessarily safe if you have a restraining order or protection order. The stalker or abuser may ignore it, and the police may do nothing to enforce it. To learn about restraining orders in your area of the U.S., call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or contact your state's Domestic Violence Coalition.
Taking steps to heal and move on
The scars of domestic violence and abuse run deep. The trauma of what you’ve been through can stay with you long after you’ve escaped the abusive situation. Counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you process what you’ve been through and learn how to build new and healthy relationships. After the trauma you’ve been through, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can’t kick. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But treatment and support from family and friends can speed your recovery from emotional and psychological trauma. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.
Building healthy new relationships
After getting out of an abusive situation, you may be eager to jump into a new relationship and finally get the intimacy and support you’ve been missing. But it’s wise to go slow. Take the time to get to know yourself and to understand how you got into your previous abusive relationship. Without taking the time to heal and learn from the experience, you’re at risk of falling back into abuse.
Where to turn for help for domestic violence or abuse
In an emergency: Call 911 or your country’s emergency service number if you need immediate assistance or have already been hurt.
Helplines for advice and support:
In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines, shelters, and crisis centers.
In the US: visit Womenslaw.org for a state-by-state directory of domestic violence shelters in the
U.S. MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO! CLICK HERE FOR MORE
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Married To A Narcissist & Waiting For Good Times To Return?
By Diane England, Ph.D.
When you said your vows, what were you expecting? I suspect if you were like most women, you thought you were entering a partnership. You would enjoy shared power, right?
I bet you’ve discovered something quite different, though. I bet he likes to have power over you, isn’t that so? And to ensure he achieves and maintains this, he might well use emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and even sexual abuse, too.
The thing is, you might not even realize that your relationship with your narcissistic spouse is filled with these forms of abuse. You might feel badly or experience emotional pain much of the time, but still not understand why. You might well believe your narcissistic spouse when he tells you how you are the problem, and if you just changed and did these things he wanted, well, life would be grand.
For him, that is.
He keeps emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse in his marital toolbox because they work for him. Meanwhile, you believe that the two of you have a partnership.
Sorry, but a relationship with a narcissist is not about partnership.
Those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism don’t know what that means. They are self centered. They lack empathy. And more than anything else, they are grandiose. Whether successful or not, they feel entitled to have what they want when they want it.
Rather like the two-year-old.
The narcissistic throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want, too. The difference is, they scream more than how they hate you; those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism are inclined to scream obscenities and other hurtful things. All of them help your self esteem to plunge, plus make the anxiety butterflies swirl, wouldn’t you agree?
Let me back up a minute here, though. Perhaps you might want to argue that your spouse has never been diagnosed with any mental health problems, and especially not Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Please realize, however, that narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic symptoms can occur in varying degrees. So, someone need not be diagnosable as having full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder to display what you’ll see referred to in various internet articles as unhealthy, pathological, or malignant narcissism. However, even lesser degrees of narcissism can be problematic in your relationship.
I might not have to tell you that. Then again, have you ever suspected your spouse’s emotional abuse and sexual abuse, for example, were associated with pathological levels of narcissism?
So, how many of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder must your narcissistic spouse meet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for you to be the victim of his narcissism - which could be fueling his abuse plus perhaps alcoholism or drug addiction?
Sadly, too often, these all come together in one neatly wrapped package.
But back to the question I originally posed; I really can’t answer it.
What I will say, though, is don’t keep you eyes shut because in the beginning, things were so good between the two of you. You might have believed you had finally met your white knight. You might have been so enamored with him because of the whirlwind romance that included flowers, candlelight dinners, outrageously expensive gifts considering the time you’d been together, and romantic getaways that also included great sex.
No, don’t keep thinking if you can only get it right, or do all the things he asks, those days will probably return.
I rather hate to tell you this, but you’re probably wrong. Oh, he might act that way now and then to keep you hooked in and believing you’re about to rediscover Camelot, but he is only seducing you - again.
A narcissist is like a leopard; he can not change his spots. Okay, he might be able to change if he really wanted to do so. But if you are in love with a narcissist, you need to understand that you’ll likely be seeking counseling on how to leave a narcissist long before he’s inclined to seek help on how to alleviate himself of his narcissistic tendencies.
If you have a narcissistic husband, listen very carefully: Narcissists seduce you with their charm, the romance, and the great sex. Once they have you hooked, things change - and not for the good.
In fact, is the great sex still so great? Or instead, is it about him and his needs and wants? Also, you might feel he has to give a great performance, and you’re always expected to commend him for a job well done, too. And rather than feeling closer to him, instead, have you felt you’ve become more and more merely an object to him?
There is even a chance the great sex has switched over into sexual abuse. Perhaps the transition has been so gradual, however, that you haven’t actually seen the truth about what was happening - or where you have ended up as a result. But if you stop and think about your sexual relationship with your narcissistic spouse, you might realize you’ve been doing things that don’t appeal to you sexually, but only to him. In fact, they might make you feel degraded.
He not only doesn’t bring flowers anymore, but it is probably worse than that. You’d realize that if you got real about your marriage.
Yes, it is probably hardly a relationship in the sense that you define the word. Are you always worrying about what might please or displease him? And to ensure you do neither, do you do things against your personal values?
You probably want to avoid his narcissistic rage. And again, you hope if you’ll only do as he wants, things will be like they were in the early days - when you held hands and made love in a romantic haze.
Again, it is time to get real. That was an act to suck you in. Now, though, if he is walking around being his self centered and grandiose self, engaging in emotional abuse and verbal abuse that causes your self worth to slip away daily, he is nonetheless likely being the man he will continue to be.
You might well be able to somehow survive the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.
You might keep telling yourself that the sexual abuse is not sexual abuse because you actually are okay with what he asks of you - as kinky (and comfortable) as it perhaps has become.
I suspect you might be shut down and out of touch with your feelings, however. You also might be taking pride in your ability to cope with things you shouldn’t have to cope with anyway. And if that is the case, realize you are not the first and last woman to make this discovery. Frankly, I myself have been there; I took pride in my martyrdom. But really, what’s the sense in that?
I decided I didn’t like being in a relationship with a narcissist. I also knew I never wanted to be in a relationship with one again, though I suspect I met one or two along the path on my way to recovery.
Your life is yours to live as you please; you have to make your own choices. I suspect, though, that you give your life - and your narcissistic spouse - a good hard look. You might realize you’ve been bonded to a fantasy that was probably never more than that.
Meanwhile, you stay stuck loving a narcissist while he serves up a mixture of emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse - and some great times, too - to keep you hooked in and doing exactly what he pleases.
Why should you expect differently? Remember, he is self centered, he is self absorbed, and he lacks empathy. And because of his grandiosity, he feels entitled to do as he pleases. In turn, everyone else is here to serve him and meet his needs.
They must be kept in line and under his thumb.
Yes, these are the spots of the narcissist. And no, they probably will not change. So really, is spending your life loving a narcissist the best use of both your love and your time?
I hope your moving your head back and forth.
Dr. Diane England writes for the woman married to a narcissist who is awakening to his narcissism, addictions, and perhaps not only emotional abuse and verbal abuse, but sexual abuse, too. If this is you, and you want to read more article on these topics, plus self development and spirituality or spiritual growth, visit her website at: www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.com
(NOTE: THIS SITE DOES NOT BELIEVE CODEPENDENCY EVER APPLIES IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS OR A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST. The Victim is NEVER EVER to blame in ANY WAY - NOR ARE THEY CODEPENDENT.)
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
When Parents Make Their Children Partners
Covert incest occurs when a child plays the role of a surrogate husband or wife to a lonely, needy parent. The parent's need for companionship is met through the child. The child is bound to the parent by excessive feelings of responsibility for the welfare of the parent. As adults, these children struggle with commitment, intimacy and expressions of healthy sexuality.
There is no physical, sexual contact in this form of incest. Yet, inherent in the relationship is an archetype of feelings and dynamics more comparable to young love than a nurturing parent-child alliance. They become psychological or emotional lovers.
Many books and movies depict these children as heroes and saviors. Surrogate partnerships are romanticized by the culture and seen as a noble journey. Mom's little man, daddy's little girl, the golden boy and princess are a few of the names given to this role. However, there is a tremendous tragedy that befalls these children: the demand for loyalty to the lonely and needy parent overwhelms the child and becomes the major organizing experience in the development of the child's life.
It has also been labeled emotional or psychological incest, but these labels mislead by implying an absence of sexual damage. In fact, the developing sexuality is the major casualty of covert incest. Sexuality is the battlefield where the demand for loyalty to the parent and, the wishes of the developing self, clash.
Feelings of entrapment and guilt weave themselves into the developing sexuality. Erotic urges toward a love object other than the parent are experienced as disloyal. Forced to declare loyalty to the needy parent, the developing sexuality is shrouded in feelings of overstimulation, danger, engulfment, rage, ambivalence and shame. In order to survive and function, the child splits-off their sexuality from the developing self.
Many problems arise from the feeling of disloyalty caused by covert incest. Common consequences include:
* difficulty with attaching and separating in relationships
* avoiding relationships
* difficulty making commitments
* premature ending of relationships
* sexual addiction or compulsivity
* sexual dysfunction
* confusion regarding sexual orientation
* absence of sexual feelings or desires
* difficulty identifying personal needs
* being loyal in situations or relationships which are chronically difficult, neglectful or traumatic
* difficulty ending relationships.
Sexually addicted families and other dysfunctional families create a vacuum in functioning that leaves a child vulnerable to being in the role of a surrogate spouse to a lonely, needy parent. Covert incest is an important link in understanding the generational patterns of sexual addiction and incest occurring in families.
For more information on covert incest, refer to the book Silently Seduced: When Parents Make their Children Partners, Understanding Covert Incest, by Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., Health Commuications, Deerfield Beach, FL (1991).
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Narcissists & Conflict
by Kathy Krajco
One simple but easy-to-forget thing about narcissists is that, unlike normal people, they don't mind conflict. They enjoy it.
Conflict makes normal people uncomfortable. We try to minimize it in our dealings with others. Oddly, we love it in fiction (Conflict is the gunpowder of fiction, and it's near relative - controversy - is the gunpowder of journalism. Maintaining constant conflict is the secret to storytelling success). But note that this is "safe" conflict. In real life we hate what we love to see characters go through in fiction.
Narcissists have a whole different attitude toward conflict. They use it strategically to manipulate. They seek conflict. They become impossible people, flying into conflict with you over anything you think, say, do, feel, or wear. As if THEY have the right to determine what you say, think, do, feel, or wear.
This isn't just arrogance.
It's a game in which you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, because they are being deliberately impossible to please.When this is the motive, what happens when you try to defuse conflict, when you try to appease? The narcissist sees that as a sign of weakness, as sign of backing down. It just makes him bolder. This is no testing run at you anymore: now he is serious about running you over.
He sees your "weakness" as REASON to come on stronger = to get madder and even more impossible. It's how he's controlling you.In other words, trying to smooth it over, trying to appease the narcissist just backfires, making him more aggressive, not less aggressive.
So, don't do it.
This is just one of many examples of how normal human behavior backfires in Wonderland, simply because of a narcissist's alien mentality.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Vulnerability and Other Prey of Pathologicals
by Marisa Mauro, Psy.D.
Certain personality traits may create better perpetrators and, unfortunately certain cues may create better victims. In a study by Wheeler, Book and Costello of Brock University, individuals who self reported more traits associated with psychopathy were more apt to correctly identify individuals with a history of victimization. In the study, male student participants examined video tapes of twelve individuals walking from behind and rated the ease at which each could be mugged. The men also completed the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale: Version III (Paulhus, Hemphill, & Hare, in press) which measures interpersonal and affective traits associated with psychopathy as well as intra-personal instability and antisocial traits.
Acknowledging that fault always lies with the perpetrator, this research may empower individuals with a history of or concerns about victimization. As for myself, a prison psychologist often dealing with career criminals and individuals with psychopathic traits, I am convinced, in the course of observation alone, that certain personal characteristics are associated with tendency to be on the receiving end of bullying such as harassment and manipulation. I have found that the demonstration of confidence through body language, speech and affective expression, for example, provides some protection. This sense was confirmed by Wheeler, Book and Costello, who found that increased fluidity projected through one's walking gait was associated with less reporting of victimization. With respect to gait, the author's provide five cues of vulnerability originally reported by Grayson and Stein (1981). They state, "potential victims had longer or shorter strides, had nonlateral weight shifts, had gestured versus postural movements and tended to lift their feet higher while walking."
Besides one's walk, individuals can purposefully project dominance thereby potentially decreasing perceived vulnerability by increasing eye contact, decreasing the use of small body movements of the hands and feet, and increasing large body movements or changes in postural positioning. Personally, I have also found that conscious control of changes in affective expression, particularly through control of fear, surprise and embarrassment, as well as the rate, tone and fluency of speech decreases one's likelihood of victimization or bullying. It is recommended that individuals maintain the general projection of confidence via dominant body language even in situations where they feel safe. Potential perpetrators may perceive changes in body language signaling vulnerability and act on this perception.
Wheeler, S., Book, A., & Costello, K. (2009). Psychopathic traits and perceptions of victim vulnerability. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36(6), 635-648.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
another person's thoughts, feelings or behaviors.
From this definition, manipulation would seem to have no advantages. However, if you are [trauma bonded] and defined by others, there can be many advantages. When you allow others to control your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and make decisions for you,
-- you do not have to think for yourself;
-- you can avoid taking risks and making difficult decision;
-- you can avoid taking a stand on controversial issues;
-- you can avoid feeling responsible for negative outcomes;
-- you get to blame others when things go wrong;
-- you can believe, when others tell you how to behave, what to think, how to feel and what to decide, that you are "being loved" because they "want what is best for you";
-- you can avoid feeling separate and alone by avoiding conflict;
-- you can avoid the hard work of emotional growth and development.
Appreciating the advantages of not being manipulated is to accept the hard work of living and interacting with others. It is about being willing to grow and develop emotionally.
These advantages can be that,
-- you learn to know who you are, what you like, what you think, and how you feel;
-- you learn to make difficult decisions;
-- you get to take credit for your decisions;
-- you learn to handle risks and uncertainty;
-- you learn to handle differences and conflicts;
-- you get to be in control of your life and know the freedom of personal self-reliance;
-- you get to have an increased sense of self worth by feeling competent and capable of taking responsibility for your life and personal happiness.
Manipulation is usually attempted using power, unsolicited helping, rescuing, guilt, weakness, and/or dependence, in order to achieve a desired outcome. For example,
1) Power - physical, verbal, intellectual intimidation or threats, put-downs, belittling, withholding of things needed or wanted. The goal is to be in a "one up, I am right and you are wrong" position;
2) Unsolicited helping/rescuing - doing things for others when they do not request it, want it, or need it; helping others so they become indebted, obligated, and owe you. The goal is to be in the "after all I have done for you, and now you owe me" position;
3) Guilt - shaming, scolding, blaming others, attempting to make others responsible, trying to collect for past favors. The goal is to be in the "it is all your fault," or "after all I have done for you and now you treat me like this" position;
4) Weakness/dependence - being (or threatening to become) helpless, needy, fearful, sick, depressed, incompetent, suicidal. The goal is to confuse want with need, with the message "if you do not take care of me, something bad is going to happen and it will be all your fault" position.
With manipulation, there is a physical and emotional response, such as a heightened level of anxiety or irritation, although it may not be perceived as such.
Manipulation feels like a struggle or contest, not free communication. The reason is the manipulator is always invested in the outcome of a situation.
This is where boundaries differ from manipulation.
Boundaries (or limits) are statements about our values and where we stand on issues. True boundaries are not threats or about getting the other person to do what we want. True boundaries are not compromised by another's response.
For example, you discover that your spouse has lied to you and has run up a large gambling debt. You discover the problem by chance, get financial and professional help and are back on track. However, there are new signs of trouble. It is time for some hard decisions.
- What is your bottom line?
- What will you tolerate?
- What manipulative tactics do you use to change your spouse's behavior - check up on them constantly, bird-dog them, never let them be alone, hide the credit cards, lie to your creditors, parents, and children?
- How much rescuing, guilt, power plays, threats, and protection do you run on the gambler?
- At what point do you stop trying to change their behavior and let them know your bottom line?
You cannot make them do or not do anything. You can only let them know what your position is and what you are willing to do to protect yourself and those you are responsible for.
The problem with loud, threatening bottom lines, is that they keep getting louder, more threatening, and redrawn lower and lower.
We tend to determine what our position and action is by what the other person does, instead of voicing our true position and then responding accordingly. This is the time for tough decisions and actions.
In another example, a friend asks you for a ride to work because she is having car trouble. This is the time to establish ground rules, such as, how long will she need
your help, pick up times, expense sharing, days off, etc. A boundary or limit is set when you clearly let your friend know what you are willing to do and not do.
Problems arise - she is frequently not on time morning and evening. Do you wait and be late, or do you leave her? Her car has been in the shop six weeks because she cannot afford to get it out. She has not offered to help with the expense, nor does she seem concerned about the arrangement.
Your friend is using weakness to manipulate and be dependent on you. She has transferred her problem to you and you have accepted it by rescuing and not setting boundaries or limits on your participation in her problem. If you refuse to wait when she is late and she has problems as a result, she will blame you and try to make you feel guilty. What we really want are for others to be responsible and play fair; however, when they do not, we either have to set boundaries, or feel manipulated and victimized with the accompanying advantages and disadvantages.
Lastly, often we confuse UNDERSTANDING with AGREEMENT.
This is when people confuse their decisions with wanting the recipient of a decision to like or agree with it. When we make decisions that oppose the desires of others, there is a cost. We usually attempt to minimize that cost by explaining, in exhaustive detail, our rationale for that decision, somehow thinking if they could just understand our position, they would agree.
Applying that scenario to parent and child - if a parent makes a decision based on the best interest of the child, it needs to be made separate from whether the child is going to like it.
When a child knows it is important to the parent that they be happy with a decision, then it will never be in the child's personal interest to be happy with an unwanted
If a child knows that their happiness with a parental decision is of equal importance to the decision itself, then all a child has to do is be unhappy in order to make their parent uncomfortable and doubt their decision -- after all, it is always worth a try. This same dynamic can apply to interactions among adults also.
How do we manage manipulation? By becoming more aware of our interaction with others.
Is the interaction an attempt to communicate or does it feel like a contest?
Are you beginning to feel anxious or irritated?
Do you want to get out of the conversation?
Does the interaction fit into a manipulative style?
Is there an attempt to use power, service, guilt, or weakness to get your cooperation?
Are you a willing participant in your own manipulation? Is it easier not taking responsibility?
Are you attempting to manipulate others instead of setting clear boundaries?
Are you making a distinction between a value and a preference?
Preferences can be negotiated, but values should not.
Our society does not deal well with differences in values and preference. We tend to take it as a personal affront and insult when others disagree with us. We will avoid conflicts at all costs, because it feels like rejection. What we need is to communicate to others, clearly and calmly, our values, preferences, and boundaries. We need to be respectful and dedicated to listening, hearing and appreciating, if not understanding, how we all are different.
Mary Treffert, LCSW, ACSW, is a Licensed, Clinical Social Worker, who is an individual, couple, and family therapist in Baton Rouge, LA.
This is one of a short serise of articles from VictimBehavior.com http://www.victimbehavior.com/
You may reprint/reproduce any of these provided you include the entire copy, especially this credit.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
A Nurturing Soul Does Not Compute with a Sociopath
Many are often shocked to find an otherwise healthy and strong woman in an abusive situation and wonder why and how this happens.
This women is a nurturer. She has nurtured her own soul, conquered herself to find joy in the world.
She meets a man who seems to be so close to winning. He’s almost conquered himself. She finds great pleasure and joy in watching and taking part in the nurturing of other’s souls. She sees how beautiful he is. She wants him to win his inner battles. She wants to be a part of this great battle.
She sees his behavior change from kind and loving, to mean and cruel, and believes she is watching an inner battle of self being waged. She wants him to win the good fight. She sees the worth of his soul, and feels the battle is worth the wages.
This loving, nurturing woman joins the man in his own personal battle as a loving friend and wife.
But she doesn’t understand his swift mood changes from kind to cruel, are not representative of an internal battle over self, but merely manipulative behaviors, designed to gain power over others.
He is not battling over self control, but dominating the souls and hearts of others.
In the end, she finds herself in a painful powerless position having lost herself serving him, loving him, sacrificing for him, in the illusion he will be moved by her love to win.
But their is no battle within him. His heart is not moved. There is no battle to be won. She will lose everything in a quest that never was.
And the devil will rejoice in the crumbling of another soul, that was once previously strong.
Her whole life, her great quest to save her husband, is nothing but a lie.
by Natalie Fleming
Friday, August 12, 2016
Managing Abandonment Depression in Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)
Flashbacks are at the deepest level painful layers of reactions - physiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral - to the reemerging despair of the childhood abandonment depression. One very common flashback-scenario occurs as follows: Internal or external perceptions of possible abandonment trigger fear and shame, which then activates panicky Inner Critic cognitions, which in turn launches an adrenalized fight, flight, freeze or fawn trauma response (subsequently referred to as the 4F's). The 4F's correlate respectively with narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, or dissociative defensive reactions.
Here is a diagram of these dynamics:
Triggered ABANDONMENT DEPRESSION -- FEAR & SHAME -- INNER CRITIC Activation: (Perfectionism & Endangerment) -- 4F's: (Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn Response).
Occasional feelings of enervation and anhedonia are normal and existential - part of the admission price to life. Moreover, depression is sometimes an invaluable harbinger of the need to slow down, to drop interiorly into a place that at least allows us to restore and recharge, and at best unfolds into our deepest intuitiveness. One recurring gift that typically comes cloaked in depression is an invitation to grow that necessitates relinquishing a formerly treasured job or relationship that has now become obsolete or moribund. Overreaction to depression essentially reinforces learned toxic shame. It reinforces the individual's notion that, when depressed, he is unworthy, defective and unlovable. Sadly this typically drives him deeper into abandonment-exacerbating isolation. Deep level recovery from childhood trauma requires a normalization of depression, a renunciation of the habit of reflexively reacting to it. Central to this is the development of a capacity to stay in one's body, to stay fully present to all internal experience, to stay acceptingly open to one's emotional, visceral and somatic experiences without 4F acting out. Renouncing this kind of self-abandonment is a journey that often feels frustratingly Sisyphean. It is a labor of self-love and a self-nurturing process of the highest order, but it can feel like an ordeal replete with unspectacular redundancy - with countless, menial experiences of noticing, naming and disidentifying from the unhelpful internal overreactions that depression triggers in us.