Sanctuary for the Abused
Friday, July 21, 2017
Anti-Social Emotional Vampire
USED-CAR SALESMEN their drug of choice is putting one over on you.
BULLIES are addicted to the raw thrill of seeing you cry or squirm.
By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Victim Blaming, Codependency, and the Analogy
Here's how I view this idea that the pain I feel in my relationship is "my fault", and stemming from "old wounds" or due to my "codependency".
Let's say when I was three I fell down some stairs and broke my leg. And let's say that I fell down those stairs because someone bigger than me, someone who was supposed to care for and protect me, pushed me.
Let's also say that as a three year old I couldn't get myself to a hospital and no one brought me so my leg never healed right leaving me with a bum leg that I could eventually walk on, but not quite right. In fact, my whole skeletal structure became compromised because I had to favor one leg over the other causing all sorts of other things to get thrown out of alignment. Back problems, neck problems, muscle problems, etc. But I learned to live with it, and I was functional as best I could be.
Years later I meet a man who loves my quirky crookedness and we fall in love. He is kind. He is attentive. He makes me feel good. But then things start going a little awry. Then one day, with not a whole lot of warning, man walks up to me with a baseball bat and nails me on the bum leg, breaking it again.
So I've got a broken leg, a re-broken leg, and I go to the hospital.
Here are two possible scenarios.
What should happen:
At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got a pretty hefty fracture and we're going to have to set the leg and then put a cast on. After 8 weeks in the cast I'm going to want you to do some physical therapy. What I'm concerned with is that you also appear to have an old fracture that didn't heal right, and we're going to have to fix that too. The good news is that the new fracture is on the same line, so by fixing the new fracture, and with intense therapy, you'll be almost as good as new, in fact better than you have been for years. I'm sorry this happened to you. We'll give you something for the pain for a few days, and after that the pain will be bearable enough for you to handle on your own, but you'll be coming in for regular check-ups so we can be sure you're healing properly this time. Also, I think you might benefit from a self-defense class so that once you're healed you'll have a much better chance of keeping yourself safe from harm. Good luck and we'll see you in two weeks."
What happens in the codependent/co-addict model:
At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got an old fracture and that's what caused this new one, so really it's your fault that your leg is broken. As for the pain you're feeling, that's also your fault. Clearly you are focusing on the pain too much and if you could just detach from it you'd realize there's really nothing to fuss about. You're bringing up your old pain and that's simply not the correct way to go about this. You say you were hit with a baseball bat? Obviously you put yourself in a situation to get your leg broken again because you're addicted to getting your leg broken. Look at how many times this has happened to you? Given your history, it's likely your leg is always going to be getting broken, but if you learn to realize that the pain your feeling is just wrong thinking, and as long as you go to a support group for the rest of your life, you'll be able to learn how to not worry or feel pain when your leg is broken. We good here?"
"Abused persons are not co-dependent," writes Lundy Bancroft, "It is the abusers, not victims, who create abusive relationships."
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
What is Projection, Exactly?
Written by Kathi Stringer
Projection is to blame another person for one’s own actions.
Primitive and Infantile Defense
Projection – Action
You made me do it! Ever hear those words from an angry and frustrated child? In essence, the child is projecting the responsibility of his/her actions onto someone else. This child is anxious to rid themselves of the garbage. Projection is to ‘blame’ another. And, the words, ‘you made me do it,’ slip out ever so easily.
My little 5-year-old girl was listening to her grandparents in a tiff. Grandma said, “You made me [do this]!” Grandpa said, “No, you made me [make you do this]!” Finally, K, an intuitive child, shouted in response, “Stop projecting!” She caught them both by surprise. A small child had recognized projection in action.
Example #1: (Action)
Jim is holding an expensive camera. Jane is fumbling with the keys to the door. In the meantime, Jim drops and breaks the camera. Jim screams at Jane, “See what you made me do! I broke it because you didn’t open the door!” Jim blamed Jane for dropping the camera. Jim could have prevented the camera from dropping if he had employed foresight and safety measures..i.e putting the camera band around his neck.
Projection – Emotional
You make me [feel] so mad! This is a bit more complicated because a degree of transference is involved. Easy speak – Transference = transferring memories from the past, placed onto a different person.
The derivatives of transference in this case transmutes into projection. Meaning, if an individual gets angry beyond the objective meaning of the statement, (reads more into it than intended) then a level of projection is at work. In other words, a person that reminds another individual of their hated father (transference at work – transference is ALWAYS a distortion), and OVERREACTS to a statement from that person based on that memory (triggered), then, that excessive anger would be projection.
Example #2: (Emotion)
Jane said, “Jim, just make a choice. We don’t have all day.” Jim screams back, “Why don’t you just shut your big mouth?” and stormed off. On examination, Jim grew up with an over critical, and impatient mother. When Jane made her remark, Jim regressed into the child that hated his mother. Jim did not see Jane standing there at the moment. He saw his hated mother, in the transference. Now that Jim has a bigger body and is more confident to protect himself, he reacted in defense of the critical mother. It happened in a snap of the fingers. In this case, Jim was projecting out of his transference. Jim had distorted Jane into his hated mother. Remember, transference is always a distortion.
While pointing out that action projection can be funny at times, (Remark: You made me drop the hula-hoop when you spoke! – Response: ha ha projection!), it is dangerous to point out the err of a person’s behavior during an emotional projection, UNLESS YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL. Since the person is caught up in the transference, empowered by the transference, and enraged by the transference, it would be wise to let the transference diminish before discussing the event. To address the distortion in the heat of the moment, can be perceived as minimizing the original trauma. This will lead to an unconscious perception of the invalidated child/victim (How dare you!? It did happen!). Wait until the person cools down and gets a grip back on reality and the transference is held in abeyance.
The superlative therapeutic window to target projection, from the transference, would be in the height of the moment. However, a strong therapeutic alliance and rapport MUST BE established first. Trust is paramount. At this time, the client’s internal closed core objects are ‘hot’ and can be redefined through a new experience. See more on ‘projective identification.’
Projection Keyword Alerts
· ACTION – You made me do it!
· EMOTIONAL – You make me feel this way!
Is transference and projection the same?
No. Some claim they are the same because psych can become convoluted (duh) to the point meanings are no longer clear to the novice. However, on exact examination, projection is ‘caused’ by the transference. Transference is ‘activated in the person, and projection is the release of that transference out of the person. One treater said, “I hope you know, all this anger you are projecting on to me is not my anger, it is YOUR anger.” The client coolly said, “Can you think of anything better to do with it? (Gabbard)
Observe the number of times you can spot projection. Then, in cases of emotional projection, try to objectively determine the extent of the justified response vs. the transference reaction. Is if off just a little? Is it half-and-half? Is it way out there? This exercise can be a powerful indicator for self-awareness, an indicator to seek treatment for self or other.
Psych 101, Unlocking the Secret of Terms – K. Stringer
An Object Relations Approach toProjective Identification and the Borderline – K. Stringer
Star Trek and Projective Identification – K. Stringer
Effective Inpatient Treatment And the Amelioration of the Therapeutic Alliance For Resistive Individuals with BPD – K. Stringer
Transference – K. Stringer
Defense Mechanisms – K. Stringer
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
How They Exploit Others
by Jennifer Copley
Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, comprise 20-25% of the prison population, but 50% of those who have committed serious crimes. However, the majority of psychopaths are not violent — most are users, scam artists and shady businesspeople. There is some evidence that psychopaths may be overrepresented in the fields of business, politics and entertainment.
Targeting the Vulnerable
Psychopaths are good at spotting exploitable vulnerabilities in others. Many psychopathic scam artists seek lonely individuals and promise them a lifetime of love and partnership. Others target the grief-stricken or those who have suffered a recent setback or breakup and are therefore less apt to look closely at what appears to be a compassionate helping hand.
Alternatively, psychopaths may exploit someone’s need to be needed, finding a motherly or fatherly soul that they can milk for sympathy and cash. They are also inclined to marry people with low self-esteem and convince them that they are somehow to blame for any abuse they suffer in the marriage.
The Sympathy Ploy
Psychopaths usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the psychopath to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.
While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, psychopaths often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the psychopath’s motives.
Psychopaths say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.
They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, as well as ...abusing them ...
The Dynamic Persona
The psychopath can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Psychopaths often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.
Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.
Because many psychopaths have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.
The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the psychopath said could have seemed so plausible at the time.
In The Miser, Moliere noted that “People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise.” A common tool of the psychopath is excessive flattery. Most people enjoy receiving compliments, and those who suffer from either low self-esteem ...can be particularly vulnerable to this sort of approach.
Beware of those who tell you everything you want to hear all the time. A compliment or two is nice, but someone who continually peppers the conversation with flattery should be suspect.
Excuses and Empty Promises
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.
Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.
Psychopaths abandon their partners, spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings.
When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.
However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.
(personal thanks to Jennifer Copley!)
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Top 10 Wreckers of Relationships
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Strange Pathological Behavior
The following behaviors are probably more common amongst pathologicals (narcissists & psychopaths/sociopaths) than non-pathologicals
NOT ALL will apply to any individual pathological. Only a couple are needed!
1. Has no conscience.
2. Manipulates people by "pulling strings" or "pushing the right buttons" .
3. Is perceived to be "sticky", "slimy" or "slippery". Even "charming."
4. Is a "control freak".
5. Is a "serial bully". Has one main bully target at a time. Once he loses control of that bully target, he feels compelled to find another bully target very quickly to sink his claws into.
6. Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, thinking that the world revolves around him. Also that when thwarted - it's a conspiracy against him.
7. Is a "fantasist". (Lives in fantasy world but blends in to the real world)
8. Glares at people with piercing but dead eyes. (Can be mistaken for attraction)
9. Would unexpectedly say very hurtful things. Confuses sarcasm with humor.
10. Consistently apportions blame to others when things go wrong, regardless of how logically an explanation was given - "whipping boy" - "fall guy".
11. Twists and distorts facts to his advantage.
12. Jekyll and Hyde personality. (Incidentally, Robert Louis Stevenson's fictional character was inspired by a real life psychopath that he had met but obviously the fictional character was an exaggerated version.)
13. Applies his distorted sense of reality (psychosis) to others, accusing them of faults and weaknesses that are actually his own. This is known as "projection".
14. Inability to accept responsibility or blame for his actions. He is always "in denial".
15. Can get vicious if cornered. (Narcissistic Rage)
16. Spin a "web of deceit".
17. Has a "hidden agenda".
18. Has a "selective memory" - remembers your mistakes but forgets his own.
19. Seldom plans for the long and medium terms, believing himself to be immune to the consequences of his own actions.
20. Takes the credit for other people's work. Can also claim other's lives & credits as their OWN!
21. Demands absolute loyalty. Only likes you if you do exactly what he wants, therefore attempting to reinforce manipulation.
22. Tries to make you feel guilty ("the guilt trip") if you protest about doing what he wants you to do. For example, saying to you "You are causing me so many problems because of your selfishness."
23. Often exhibits an unusually high level of charm. Commonly uses flattery (love bombing) to win people over so they can be manipulated.
24. May have an impenetrable veneer of charm, or "superficial politeness", that makes it very difficult to ask pertinent or searching questions that would reveal his true self. For example, he may constantly crack jokes or dwell on pleasantries with no substance. A psychopathic veneer of charm may manifest itself in organizations by using glossy brochures and marketing that portrays things in an idealistic way that has little bearing on reality - "charm offensive".
25. Happy to dish out criticism or abuse - not happy to receive criticism or abuse - "do as I say, not as I do".
26. Makes an audible noise when walking around, such as humming, whistling, singing, making duck-noises or clicking fingers.
27. Uses frequent hand movements when talking.
28. Gives you a sense of being "talked at" rather than being "talked to" when engages you in conversation.
29. Inability to understand irony.
30. He can't be trusted. Breaks promises and breaches matters intended to be in confidence.
31. Stabs you in the back. Lies about you to others and vice versa.
32. Fakes sincerity with great conviction. For example he may be profusely apologetic, if he is caught red-handed doing some misdemeanor, but then do the same misdemeanor the next week if he thinks he can get away with it. He is incapable of a sincere apology.
33. Lacks tact.
34. Is not a team player - he acts autocratically.
35. Is two-faced.
36. Hates people who are more talented than he is as it shows up his own inadequacies which he may in turn "project" faults onto that person. (i.e. they are ugly; fat; stupid; liars; etc)
37. Flies into a rage over a small problem - "nit picking".
38. Lacks any kind of personal depth.
39. Has a beaming, charismatic and even messianic smile.
40. Gets others to do his dirty work - "attack dogs" or "hatchet men"
41. Changes the rules frequently but denies the inconsistency.
42. May plunge into detail about something without appreciating that you don't know the context.
43. May express anger because you don't know something that he assumes you know but there is no reason why you should know it and no-one has told you.
44. Interprets criticism of himself (even constructive criticism) as a personal insult or personal attack.
45. Expresses anger at emotional outbursts from others.
46. May use the word "I" or "me" or "my" frequently in conversation and with emphasis.
47. May use expressions such as "I'm just looking after number one" or "I was just following orders" as an excuse to justify abuse.
48. Rarely gets depressed.
49. Is more concerned about the welfare of an inanimate object than a human being. For example, if he witnesses a person colliding with an inanimate object and hurting themselves, he may be more concerned about possible damage to the inanimate object.
50. Likes to find out about or observe other pathologicals. For example, likes to watch Hollywood action films with psychopathic characters or read books about pathological historical characters such as Napoleon.
51. Never remembers his own emotional outbursts or denies having them.
52. Sees things in black or white - something is either all "good" or all "evil".
53. Lectures you endlessly until you agree. For example, think of the tendency of dictators to give speeches that go on for hours - this is "extreme lecturing".
54. Unusual or abnormal sense of direction.
55. Has little interest in making any effort to make you feel comfortable, unless he is manipulating you.
56. They can express remorse when they lose control of someone they are abusing. This is just a form of self-pity as they now have to go to the trouble of finding, "luring" and "grooming" a new target.
57. Makes forced loud laughter - belly laugh
58. Excessive use of makeup. Preening. Excessive touching of hair. Proud of appearance - beard, hair, etc.
59. Often attributes others to saying things about them, for example, "My mother says that I have the most lovely hair." or refers to himself in the third person.
60. Inability to say thank you. Inability to return a compliment. Inability to reciprocate or acknowledge an act of kindness.
61. May make or be seen to make token acts of kindness, for example donations to charity. However these acts are not sincere and are intended just to reinforce their pretense of being a good person or as some form of manipulation.
62. Has an abnormal "startle response" - doesn't jump or startle when we would. This is documented by professionals, but not well known among the public. Rarely do they blush or feel embarrassed.
63. Abnormal sense of smell. Psychopaths may not smell things we can or not as well as we can (olfactory sense). This seems to be verified by research of psychosis variations.
64. Normal people may sense or feel the presence of "evil". It permeates from them. We react with nausea, fear, and we deny & excuse it and often say "Oh, he doesn't mean that". It is often intangible and something we can't really define.
65. Loves giving explicit details of gory operations or violent incidents that he has heard about, for example in films or on TV.
66. Thinks that normal rules of society don't apply to him - he is somehow exempt. He is not concerned with right or wrong for his own actions - only with whether he can get away with doing something without being caught. However he may insist that others adhere to strict rules of his making.
67. Dislikes plants, gardens, etc.
68. May show an odd or abnormally high fascination with fire, weapons, drugs, sex or alcohol.
69. Throws out items normally kept. Has no items or discards any with only 'sentimental connections'.
70. May have a commanding physical presence.
71. Drives recklessly
72. Homophobic / Racist (angry/protests about gays and other races).
73. Obsession with neatness and even personal cleanliness.
74. May be cruel to animals (for example, stamps on worms)
75. Thinks that it is necessary for someone else to fail for him to succeed. He will often make sure that someone fails by using deceit. A psycho manager may engineer failure in an employee by overloading with work or setting impossible deadlines.
76. Fascination with body function of bowel movements. Likes jokes about them.
77. Has a thing about cleanliness. They have to be cleaner than clean.
(the male gender has been used but females can also be pathological)
Friday, July 14, 2017
Adult Children of Narcissists - Their Struggle for Self
Trapped in the Mirror
(book available at Amazon.com)
FACEBOOK GROUP FOR DAUGHTERS OF NARCISSISTIC MOTHERS
Thursday, July 13, 2017
What is mobbing?
The word bullying is used to describe a repeated pattern of negative intrusive violational behaviour against one or more targets and comprises constant trivial nit-picking criticism, refusal to value and acknowledge, undermining, discrediting and a host of other behaviours which are defined on our page
What is bullying? Bullying is typically perpetrated by one person although others in a workplace may join in, for example by operating legitimate procedures in an inappropriate manner, at the behest of the bully, having an adverse effect on the target. "Bullying" is still an appropriate term to describe what is done to the target.
"Mobbing" involves a group of people whose size is constrained by the social setting in which it is formed, such as a workplace. It might seem to the target as if many people are involved but in reality the group might be small. The group members directly interact with a target in an adversarial way that undermines or harms them in measurable, definable ways. Mobbing has absolutely nothing in common with a conspiracy theory known as "Gang Stalking" (to which believers also refer as "Community Mobbing", "Community Stalking", "Stalking by Proxy", "Organized Stalking", "Cause Stalking", "Multi-Stalking").
The word mobbing is preferred to bullying in continental Europe and in those situations where a target is selected and bullied (mobbed) by a group of people rather than by one individual. However, every group has a ringleader. If this ringleader is an extrovert it will be obvious who is coercing group members into mobbing the selected target. If the ringleader is an introvert type, he or she is likely to be in the background coercing and manipulating group members into mobbing the selected target; introvert ringleaders are much more dangerous than extrovert ringleaders.
In a mobbing situation, the ringleader incites supporters, cohorts, copycats and unenlightened, inexperienced, immature or emotionally needy individuals with poor values to engage in adversarial interaction with the selected target. The ringleader, or chief bully, gains gratification from encouraging others to engage in adversarial interaction with the target.
Many people use the word "mobbing" to describe this pack attack by many on one individual. Once mobbing is underway the chief bully foments the mobbing into mutually assured destruction, from which the chief bully gains intense gratification - this is a feature of people with psychopathic personality.
One aspect of psychopathic bullies is that they home in on Wannabe types - non-psychopathic lesser bullies - and then empower these individuals to gain the positions of power and authority they crave. Once installed, the Wannabe's lack of competence makes them dependent on the chief psychopath, which means they become unwitting but willing compliant puppets. They also make perfect corporate clones and drones.
A characteristic of the Wannabe is that as well as lacking all the competencies necessary for their position, they also lack the intellect to understand the nature and manner of their compliant subservience. Throughout the mobbing experience, the target is deceived into fighting, blaming and trying to hold accountable the minor bullies of the mobbing group rather than the chief bully.
The main reason a psychopathic chief bully gets away with his (or her) behaviour repeatedly is that no-one wants to believe that s/he could be the monster s/he is. This is also the reason that many pedophiles and wife-batterers evade accountability and sanction for years, often decades. They appear so charming and plausible to naive, unenlightened and inexperienced people - usually those who haven't experienced bullying themselves.
Psychopathic chief bullies at work are very likely to have everyone in human resources and management in their pocket, who are then manipulated into further mobbing, victimising and persecuting the target. (In 'support' groups they make covert comments to paint themselves as a victim against anyone who has a difference of opinion or anyone they percieve to be more educated/qualified than they are.)
The golden rule when tackling a mobbing situation is, I believe, to identify and focus exclusively on the chief bully, and concentrate on holding this ringleader accountable. Expect an immediate increase in mobbing activities, and a rapidly-expanding web of deceit to be concocted against you.
Alternatively, the best solution may be to make a positive decision to leave and refuse to allow these people to continue to ruin your career, your health and your life. In the unlikely event that the psychopathic chief leader is exposed and then leaves, the dysfunction, aggression and negative feelings fostered by him or her are likely to linger for years.
Links Heinz Leymann's The Mobbing Encyclopedia
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, Davenport, Schwartz, and Elliott, Civil Society Publishing, July 1999, ISBN 0967180309.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Sex & Porn Addiction
What you are looking for is a "sex addiction therapist" from any of the mental health healing disciplines who has a good track record in treating this problem & personal values that are reasonably congruent with the patient's values. Suggestions will be given shortly on how to find such a therapist.
In addition to having a competent, qualified sex addiction therapist, the patient will also need to attend regularly - (90% of the time) for two years or longer - weekly meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous (or other similar 12-step support group). These groups (free of charge) meet in nearly every fair sized city in America & their address & location can be found in the business pages of the phone book or by contacting Alcoholics Anonymous, who can give directions to the caller on location & time of meetings of the sexaholic group. It will be at these meetings that patients can inquire of fellow members or attendees the names of competent therapists they are individually meeting with & have found helpful & competent in receiving their own treatment. Another source of referrals is to call the National Council of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, who have a register of most therapists in the U.S. doing treatment in this area: 770-989-9754.
In my experience of 25 years in treating approximately 350 of these patients I find, if married, nearly universally the wives are traumatized by the husbands lies, deceptions, and-out-of-bounds sex behavior, and need treatment, too.
If the wife decides to stay in the marriage for a while longer, I engage her in joint treatment with her husband. I have found that if I successfully heal the husband of his addiction but have an angry, hostile, wounded wife who can never trust or forgive her husband even though she remains in the marriage, it greatly increases the risk of relapse in the husband as he attempts unsuccessfully to placate & deal with major marital turmoil. The wife's wounding has to be addressed as well as have both parties participate in marital therapy. Thus I nearly always attempt to have the wife join with the husband in our therapy sessions. This usually predicts a successful outcome if both stay in the healing program. This program works & is successful if both parties stay with it.
Sometimes the husband will find himself with years of sobriety & feel he's all "cured" & doesn't need to still attend his group meetings or therapy sessions anymore. Why waste time & money when he's doing so well? This can be very risky. And it greatly increases the chances for relapse. What I do when patients start experiencing long-term sobriety is gradually lengthen the time interval between therapy sessions. So eventually we may be meeting once every month, or six to eight weeks or longer.
The specifics of treatment by the therapist will not be presented in detail here other than to mention that we do marital therapy, put the couple in marital communication workshops (such as Marriage Enrichment), do a lot of work with relapse prevention, identify the triggers to acting out & develop strategies to protect them from the triggers, fortify them to deal with the "wave," and help them reduce & eliminate masturbation to pornography, since this increases the power of their addictive illness over them & is the royal road to acquiring new sexual addictions or paraphilias which might be acted out. We also strongly emphasize a "no secrets" rule, and how vital this is to healing.
We treat concomitantly any other addictions which they might have. All have to be treated together, otherwise the patient just shifts back & forth between addictions with no real long-term healing. We teach them the three-second rule to manage & control intrusive thoughts & imagery. We give them a lot of reading to do in the sex addiction area (like the Carnes' books, and the "white book," created by S.A. & filled with successful recovery biographies, plus monographs on many other related topics). We want them to be "world experts" on the nature of sex addiction, its genesis, its course, and helpful treatment procedures.
We also find it most important that they have hope & assured knowledge that the illness is treatable & they can get their free agency back again & have rational control over their previously driven irrational behavior. They see how this is possible as they attend S.A. & see & hear the testimonies of other people who now have long-term sobriety. These were people who were in much worse shape than they when entering treatment.
We deal with spiritual issues in therapy when this is appropriate to the unique circumstances & values of the client. We also deal with deep woundedness arising out of early life traumas which now make them vulnerable to seeking out quick-fix sexual acting out as a solution, which really doesn't work in the long-term. I also give a lot of verbal praise & genuine appreciation in response to even their smallest gains & good behavior. I never criticize or put them down when there are relapses. I just say, "This is exactly why we meet in therapy - to strengthen you & develop new strategies to deal with temptation. Now if this situation were to occur again, what might be a more powerful way to deal with it? To resist it? To remain sober? …etc.,"
Male teenage patients can be quite challenging. Many deny that it is a problem & consistently lie about the details of their involvement with it. Their motivation to change may be nonexistent. They are usually brought in for treatment by an angry and/or sorrowful parent & often tend to be uncooperative & passive/aggressive in dealing with the problem. It may be helpful to consider family therapy & be therapeutically confrontive in dealing with the issues that arise. Fairly drastic limitations on home computer/Internet use may be necessary. If 17 or older, I put them into a regular S.A. group with, possibly, the father also attending to be a support to the son & be someone he can talk with about the various issues as they arise.
Permission to reprint granted by Mark B. Kastelman. Excerpt taken from "The Drug of the New Millennium, The Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain & Body" Chapter 30, pages 308-311. Click the articles to the right to view more writings on sex & porn addiction topics from Mark Kastelman.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Recovering from Abuse
"Abused women aren’t “codependent.” It is abusers, not their partners, who create abusive relationships."
Excerpt: Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft
Rollercoaster Thinking: Our abuser is sweet one minute and raging out of control with bizarre behaviour the next. If ever there was a situation where we can't see the forest for the trees, this is it. Professional therapy from someone specialized in this field is a good idea.
Stop trying to 'fix' them. They have a problem we can't fix. Only professionals can help them. The prognosis is poor. Working on ourselves is the best fix of all. Let your abuser dial the phone to get help. Reality is knowing this hook to our compassionate nature.
Stop hoping he will return to the "way he was.' This "magical" thinking is normal for us. Abuse gets worse, not better. Take off the rose-coloured glasses.
Physical Exhaustion: Living with an abuser is physically and emotionally draining to the point we may not want to do anything. Get rest. Detach psychologically and physically from the abuser. If we're unable to emotionally detach, react angrily or our tactics aren't working, we may not have had the opportunity to learn the management skills we need to deal with and avoid manipulative abusers.
Substance Abuse: We need to be clear headed. Slow down and stop any use of alcohol/drugs we may be taking to help cope.
Plan in advance to protect your financial base and obtain emotional support. Never stay where there is potential for physical violence -- get out fast. Documentation, proof of abuse are essential. Leaving is a dangerous time. Learn the best ways to leave. Divorcing an abuser can be hell unleashed, your preparation will be critical. Learn to work with the lawyers, and child therapists/evaluators who will be helping you. A calm demeanour, proof and documentation are crucial to success. Having that documentation to refer to keeps us refocused on our decision.
Make a list of what nastiness you have had to endure. Refer to it for reinforcement. Inform other people you know will support you. Avoid those who will not. Expect a smear-campaign from your abuser. Work with the police and your lawyer. We conduct ourseves with Dignity, Integrity and Grace calm, factual, and in control.
Our involvement with them causes a temporary suspension of our otherwise good jugement. We need this time to learn, gain perspective, and heal ourselves. This is our best opportunity to learn why we may have allowed ourselves to remain in abusive situations. We all need to accept ownership of the mistakes we may have made along the way. If we must make contact because of legal/custody arrangements, discuss absolutely nothing else. Don't allow an abuser to bait you.
Therapy: Perhaps we're attracted to the wrong types, or our urge to help or fix them is strong. If we create 'excuses' to avoid leaving, are terrified of loneliness, have abandonment fears or if we think our abuser is all we have, we need therapy. If we're stuck or unable to progress through the stages of recovery, we need therapy also. Many people face these problems. You are not alone and you are not weak.
If you are in joint therapy, tell the therapist your intention to leave. The therapist should be able to work with your abuser to prepare them. Ethical therapists will not disclose your intentions. A good therapist can help prepare your abuser for the separation.
Don't sweat the wedding vows...As Dr. Phil reminds us "You can't sustain a relationship that is based on deception, lies, infidelity, or other deal-breaking behaviors. This is deal-breaking behavior." When our marriage has turned into lies, treachery, betrayal and abuse that person has destroyed every interpretation of any marriage vows.
How long does recovery take? There's no calculation formula. We all heal at our own pace. You will progress through stages of recovery and grief. Recovery means being aware of how we are changed forever by this experience. We can speed up the process by focusing on 'one step at a time', and all-out ˜self care". It takes time to rediscover the person we were before and shape ourselves into the one we want to be. Grieve your lost relationship. Allow yourself plenty of time to wind down from the stress and abuse, and begin the process of rebuilding your new life. Be good to yourself first and foremost! Expect doubts, second-guessing yourself, nightmares, loneliness, post traumatic stress disorder, exhaustion. Journal and/or participate on a discussion site with others facing the same situation. Brace yourself and be prepared to deal with their emotional sniper's drive-by verbal assault.
We deal with the sadness and regret of our own hurtful words and actions. The nostalgic rememberance of shared intimacies, places, laughs and jokes and the emptiness left by the other person's absence, the lack of any closure in a normal relationship, and the smear campaign hurled at us not only by the abusers but those fools they deceive. We may face betrayal from our own families and friends because of the deception of these abusers. Coping with the end of our hopes and dreams of the relationships continuing, the loss of an anticipated future.
The reality of their lack of conscience is incomprehensible as we grapple with the realization that someone we loved is incapable of loving us in return. The relationships was only a myth. The shock of this new knowledge and reality that we're in love with someone with a mental disorder who can instantly and completely delete us from their memory and attach to a new 'supply source' and appear happier without us is very emotionally painful.
We are shocked, hurt and angry on discovering Jekyll/Hyde. Expect obsessive thinking and fantasies of revenge and justice. As if that horror isn't enough, we become aware of their sadism and misogyny. Expect them to try and draw you back into the relationship. Prepare yourself to deal with this emotionally as we prepare to stop their attempts.
Our "how could I have been so stupid"? feeling, and unwarranted embarrassment and shame as it hits us that everything was a set up in their agenda. The shock that we were targeted and our awareness of our naivete. The discovery of serious mental disorders as we learn the false mask of sanity hides their real nature. Learning the incomprehensible lack of empathy in them. Discovering the deception and lies, our exhaustion, and impaired health. Be aware that we may temporarily seem to be developing the very characteristics of the abuser in ourselves.
Realizing our feelings of protectiveness and pity for them were tools they used to target us. Our awareness of our susceptibility in having our nurturing characteristics turned against us by this disordered person, our hate/hope cycles and the realization that we were quite possibly raised in families which set us up to head in the path towards these types of abusers.
We face not being believed by anyone about what was done, being isolated, cut off from our support networks. The inability to warn or even get others to understand. As we learn about abusers, we feel they are lurking behind every bush.
The residue will be an inability to trust again with the innocence we once had. Our gain - the wonderful discovery of our self reliance and an ability to cope with any abuser who may cross our path and finding grace, dignity and maturity in our self discipline, will power and integrity.
Remember, your abuser has a mental disorder. He is what he is. Our recovery must include compassion, understanding, and our refusal to be an enabler or target any more.
(while this post was written in the male, remember - your abuser could be female! Women abuse too!)