Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, October 27, 2016



This information about crazy making is from the out of print book Stop! You're Driving Me Crazy! by Dr. George R. Bach. It fortunately has surfaced again and can be purchased as a used book for a small price at

This is a coping method people use when they are afraid of rejection or confrontation. This results when our rights are not respected or honored. It is based on four basic rights: THE RIGHT TO KNOW, THE RIGHT TO FEEL, THE RIGHT TO HAVE IMPACT and THE RIGHT TO SPACE.

The ways that RIGHT TO KNOW are violated are when we are not given clear information as in underloading, overloading and fogging. In underloading they give us too little information so we are off balance and have shaky confidence about what we are learning to do or the person has left and it is only after they're gone that we realize we don't know anymore than before we asked them the question. At these times it requires the receiver of the information to assume or draw conclusions about the meaning of the incomplete information. This is also a time when mindreading comes into play. In order to survive this walking on eggshells the receiver of the message or silent treatment must use past references to know what the sender of the message might intend. In overloading it is just the opposite problem. The sender gives us too much information and we are in a confused state and a put off balance. We feel so defeated that we do not have the courage to set any boundaries or express any needs for clearer information.

THE RIGHT TO FEEL is violated when we are told how we are feeling i.e. "You're angry aren't you." or how we are going to feel or react i.e. "You're not going to like what I have to say." Or if we are given the message not to feel i.e. "Don't be angry" or "Don't cry". Or we are told what we should or shouldn't be feeling. i.e. "You don't really hate him or her, you just think you do" or You shouldn't feel that way about them.'

THE RIGHT TO IMPACT is where our insanity really shows up. It triggers so many old messages i.e. "You're not important, you're needs are important." And if we played the role of the LOST CHILD it just reinforces our sense of powerlessness and invisibility. We need to have assurance that we exist, that our existence makes a difference to people and situations. We know of our existence when we have IMPACT on others. One thing that really gets to us is when others claim to misinterpret or pick apart what we said in order not to have to comply with our request.

Thinging or objectifying is another way that they treat us as an objects as if we are only a piece of furniture in the room. They can be pictured putting their hand up to their ear and saying "Did I hear someone talking, is there someone else in the room?" COVERTLY HOSTILE or what ? Context-switching and derailing are great avoidance tactics. When you are confronting them on something they did or attempting to set boundaries, they switch the whole focus back to you, and thus put you on the defensive. Now the focus is on you and they slither away. This gets you way off derail track and off balance right where they want you--derailed. Clever huh, unless you are on the receiving end of this CRAZY MAKING. Role-playing is another very common way in which one or both parties avoids asserting themselves. This way the person can hide behind the role they see as the most comfortable, safe and powerful. i.e. referring to yourself as "Mommy" or "Daddy" "Mommy wants you to go to bed" Daddy wants you to come to the table." Or I'm the "boss" I'm the cook--he wife--the husband etc.etc. In this way the other person is put in a position where they almost need to respond in the "subservient" or weak or less powerful position or role i.e. the child, the worker, employer, the hungry one etc.etc.

The final CRAZY MAKING technique is to violate the RIGHT TO SPACE. This right can be violated in so many ways i.e. emotional, time, mental, physical. Without this right being respected we can lose perspective very rapidly and literally feel like we are going crazy. In setting boundaries we set ourselves against the others. It seems that when I am setting boundaries for myself I am violating another's perceived rights i.e. My right to have the radio volume up is a violation to right to have the volume down. My right to deny your request interrupts your right to make a request. It is almost always very MESSY. But our surrender of SPACE is a surrender of our SANITY.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Emotional Manipulator -- Skilled Controller

by Cassandra

Abusers can be masters of disguise and covert operations. He or She hones their skills to expert precision, lest people see through the mask to the ruthless ambition and envy beneath.

Above all, the abuser seeks to keep that mask firmly in place so as not to lose the support of those who’ve been fooled by the outer facade.

This list of characteristics describes abusers and gives an awareness of the techniques used by * Chameleons * who may be male or female.

1. Charming in public – exuding warmth and charm, an abuser smiles and tells jokes, praises and flatters you, outwardly supports you with a show of approval and reassurance, makes you feel valuable and appears to be attentive to your needs.

2. Rumor-monger in private – criticizing you behind your back, he may suggest that you have personal or emotional problems, carefully building a case against you via calculated misinformation passed on to others behind the scenes. He manipulates others into criticizing you and then rewards them for their participation in his plot to undermine your image in every way.

3. Two-faced – He pretends to support you while planning to destroy you; then when you challenge him, he suddenly transforms from supportive to bullying. His soft-spoken manner hides his destructive intentions, his flattering words hide his desire to control you, and his seemingly warm personality hides his take-no-prisoners attitude.

4. Distorts truth and reality – He misleads people by omitting key facts. He’s extremely concerned to preserve an appearance of integrity, all the while withholding significant information. He misleads people by omitting key facts, he quotes hearsay as important and authoritative, then, justifies his opinion by falsely claiming others think the same way.

Master of the half-truth, he miss-states and belittles your viewpoint, asks questions that demean you, then interrupts before you can fully respond, he changes the subject before you can correct his miss-statements, then he adds new false accusations faster than you can respond to the old ones.

5. Hypocritical – His spoken philosophy and behavior don’t match, his words creating a positive image which does not match his actions. He describes his mistakes as minor, but your mistakes as serious, or ignores his own mistakes while always highliting yours. – He calmly demeans you, but is angry because you don’t respect him. Not respecting him = pointing out the inconguities and inconsistencies between who he claims to be and what he actually does and says.

6. Evasive – He acts confused by any complaint about his behavior and always shifts the focus to others. He acts like he is the one who is being victimized. He tries to make you feel guilty for hurting him, accusing you of behavior that was far worse than his and asserting that you are the cause of his bad behavior (if he ever does admit to behaving badly).

7. Pompous – He acts like a know-it-all and never apologizes, unless to prove how rarely he makes a mistake. He’s a prima donna … condescending in words, tone of voice and mannerisms. Every issue which effects him is high drama and he’ll try to demolish the opposition in every discussion to keep the focus on himself.

8. Self-righteous – In order to disguise his corrupt character, he always claims the moral and ethical high ground. He brags about the goodness of his own character while suggesting that others have dubious motives. He frequently talks of his superior ethical standards, implying that others don’t have his high standards and using distorted examples to prove that others are not nearly as superior as he.

9. Obsessed with image – He believes that his image is more important than reality, so he disguises his true emotions and desires. When you see beneath his persona, he will suggest that your actions have hurt his image. Alternatively, he says that your proposed actions (i.e., exposing him) will hurt your own image.

10. Passive-aggressive behaviour: (Anger Expressed Inappropriately)

* Put-downs
* Sarcasm
* Insults
* Rudeness
* Sabotage
* Intimidation
* Belittling Remarks

11. Pretends to care – While pretending to care about others, he is at his most manipulative and dangerous. Most people are taken in by his apparently positive energy, enthusiasm and charisma, but in reality, they are naively being fooled by an attractive personality which hides a morally and ethically corrupt abuser who is coldly and ruthlessly pursuing his own selfish ends.

His expression of affection is tainted with possessiveness and he compliments you only because it serves his purpose. He has a look of concern, but he doesn’t truly respect you.

He pretends to be your friend while tearing you down, destroying your reputation, weakening your position, and exaggerating the importance of your mistakes.

12. Plays the victim – He exaggerates his pain and suffering, trying to make you feel guilty for causing his pain and claiming that you don’t appreciate him.

He becomes angry and indignant when you try to reason with him, then says he is tired of doing all the compromising.

The above list of characteristics describes abusers and gives an awareness of the techniques used by * Chameleons * who may be male or female.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Obsessive Ex Syndrome

How Obsessive Ex Syndrome Prevents a Normal Break-Up

During a normal break-up, an ex-partner may ask for several more discussions or meetings, to try to regain their loved one. A balanced person will eventually realize that the love relationship is indeed over.

An obsessive ex does not see a break-up the same way.

The Obsessive Ex may not even believe a break-up is in progress.
The Obsessor may think this is simply a more serious argument than usual, and decide they're supposed to keep contacting the partner until the argument is over and the partner takes them back. Even when at the point of stalking, Obsessors often still view themselves as a current partner who is simply waiting for an argument to be over.

2. The Obsessive Ex viewed their partner primarily as an object to support their own self-image, not as a human being.
The Obsessor's approach to the relationship has been what they themselves get out of it -- whether THEY are satisfied with the relationship. If the partner wants to leave, this is inconvenient for the Obsessor! They want the partner around to dominate, to make the Obsessor feel powerful. They didn't particularly care whether the partner was happy with them; they only cared that they preferred to have the partner around.

The Obsessor has an irrational "Sense of Entitlement".
This is the personality type that would park in a handicap spot when they're not handicapped because they believe their temporary convenience is "more important" than the needs of some other person (handicapped). They sincerely believe that their needs are more important than their partner's... more important than their childrens'... more important than anyone else's.

Once the leaving partner decides to value personal individual needs first, the Obsessor is infuriated. The partner's act of "rebellion" does not fit into their world view -- that of the Obsessor as the center.

The Obsessor wants to punish their ex-partner.
Obsessors can't let a connection end completely, because they may believe themselves to have been so wronged that they "need" to punish or seek revenge against the leaving partner. Even in cases where an Obsessor was wronged in some way, their desire for revenge and how long they cling to these emotions (to the detriment of their own life and others lives), is completely out of proportion to what injustices may have occurred.

(This does not apply to relationships where one partner was used & abused and desires closure or justice - but to those who seek REVENGE out of proportion with what occurred.)

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Monday, October 24, 2016


What! Wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice? 
William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

"Self Discipline is Self Esteem"

Abbreviations: N=Narcissist, P=Psychopath, 

D&D = devalued & discarded


Keep them pinned up in a room where you will see them throughout the day, read them frequently to remind you of them.

Tips to Help You Adhere to No Contact

Settle all critical business before you begin no-contact. This means business only... no personal exchanges.

1. To keep my sanity and totally end this relationship, I must maintain NO CONTACT.

2. No contact includes every single form of contact with him/her..

2a. This also includes... do NOT ask friends/family about him/her and do NOT let friends/family tell you about him/her. If need be I will go NC with any friends/family who try to get me to break NC.

3. I will not email him/her. I will not answer their emails. I will block them.

4. I will not call him/her. I will not answer their calls. I will block them and if need be, change my number to a unlisted one (and not give it to anyone who may pass it along to them).

5. I will not send him/her letters, cards for any occasion or notes of any kind. Any flowers, mail or packages they send to me will be refused or marked "delivery refused" and put back into the mail, unopened.  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc)

6. I will not text message, two way, fax or page him/her.

7. If he/she calls me, I will hang up immediately, or not answer the phone at all.

8. If he/she leaves a voice mail or answering machine messages, I will delete it without listening to it. (Anything he/she says is done to draw me back into his/her web of insanity.)

9. If he/she emails me, I will delete the message without reading it or answering it. I will not check his/her Facebook/Tumblr/LinkedIn etc, and I will block them.

10. If he/she mails me a card, letter or note of any kind, I will throw it into the garbage can without opening it or reading it or write DELIVERY REFUSED and put it in the nearest mailbox WITHOUT reading or opening it  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc)

11. If he/she two-ways me, text messages or emails me, I will delete the message or the phone number and not listen to the message or return his/her call.  (DO SAVE IMPORTANT TEXTS AND ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED FOR 'EVIDENCE' OF STALKING, HARASSMENT, etc.  USE A  JOURNAL)

12. If I am ever tempted to do anything listed from 1-11, I will call my therapist or a friend immediately and talk about it.

OR replace a hopeful reunion fantasy and toxic hopes that they will "get it" and "change" and apologize with a Clear Memory of a time that he/she insulted me, manipulated me, shamed me, blamed me, abused me, used me, belittled me, made me cry, used my children, friends or family to demean me, embarrassed me in front of co-workers, family or friends or used 'love' as a way to intentionally hurt me.

13. If I feel like I am about to reach for the phone to call him/her, write, email, page, fax or text message him/her, I will count to ten and clearly ask myself silently, why am I doing this? what do I think will REALLY happen?

14. If friends, family or clergy are not supportive of my efforts to remove myself from this relationship, I will not discuss my personal life with them and will ask them sternly not to offer their opinions. My decisions about this are my own. This is My Battle.

15. If I find that the urge to speak to him/her or see him/her has overwhelmed me and I slip off the course, I promise to be kind to myself and patient with the situation, then get right back on to No Contact.

16. I promise to be good to myself, forgive myself and allow myself to move on and not dwell on this for ever.

17. I will stop creating chaos in my mind & environment. I will stop listening to everyone else who doesn't 'get it' or looking for the answer I want to hear, rather than the answer I NEED to hear.

18. I will accept reality - The facts.

19. I will accept others for who they REALLY are. (not what I'd like them to be)

20. My hands are off others responsibilities: I will tend to my own, focus on me.

21. I will refuse to believe any of his/her lies about how wonderful his/her life is now. Basing the truth on the past, I will assume him/her to be lying. I will believe ACTIONS not Words.

22. I will distrust every time he/she has a "change of heart."

23. I will journal all my positive and negative feelings.

24. I must accept my own responsibility for maintaining No Contact. This includes writing a letter to them explaining why I went NC. I will stop expecting them to understand or 'get it.'

25. I will completely stop expecting them to understand or 'get it.' I will keep my children completely away from them no matter what threats they make.

26. We must love ourselves. And get counseling to help ourselves.

27. Take time off, just for me.

28. Find out what we need and go after that in friends that are worthy and have substance, morals, and ethics.

NO CONTACT IS THE END - no loopholes, no excuse, no exceptions. Period.

Accept nothing less for yourself.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

10 Commandments of Dysfunctional Families

Sad child Pictures, Images and Photos

The First Commandment:
Thou shalt reinterpret reality to preserve the perfect fantasy.

Sample Situation: This commandment is designed to hide family secrets. If you saw dad stagger and fall down the basement steps because he was drunk, you can't tell the truth. instead, reality must be interpreted into an acceptable fantasy. "Daddy wasn't drunk; he simply lost his balance and tripped. Poor Daddy."

Application: Even if you see it, it's not real. You must have made a mistake. Therefore, reinterpret what you saw to make it nice and respectable. If you don't, people will think you're and we're all crazy. We wouldn't want them to think that now, would we?

Motto: Always believe the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the dysfunctional truth.

The Second Commandment:
Thou shalt always send mixed messages, especially when it concerns relationships..

Sample Situation: A dominating father tells his child, "I love you. Now beat it and leave me alone."

Application: You don't really know what's true. Either your father loves you or he hates you. Since you never know for sure, you'll never be quite sure if others really mean what they say since those you loved most only spoke in mixed messages. They sounded good, but you couldn't trust them.

Motto: Avoid people and relationships. It's the safe thing to do.

The Third Commandment:
Thou shalt be an adult.

Sample Situation: Children were made to take care of their parents emotionally, physically, or sexually and to meet their parents' "childish" needs for power, attention, sex, and belonging. The children submitted to avoid physical and emotional abandonment by their parents. Children in these environments can't really remember a "childhood." For this reason, children were always expected to be adults.

Application: Being child-like and spontaneous is irresponsible and bad. You must act like an adult at all times and be responsible, even if you're only five years old.

Motto: There's no such thing as child's play. It's all serious stuff.

The Fourth Commandment:
Thou shalt keep secrets from others.

Sample Situation: Daddy has a "secret" that only he and his little girl know. Of course, she can't tell Mommy. If she does, Daddy will hurt you and Mommy might leave and never come back.

Application: A child's most important duty is to protect the image of their parents and family in the community. Watch what you say and be careful not to act funny around other people either. After all, as family we have to protect each other. If you stay quiet, you're loyal. If you can't, we won't love you.

Motto: To really love someone is to show loyalty by protecting their "secrets" at all costs.

The Fifth Commandment:
Thou shalt protect family secrets.

Sample Situation: A member of the family commits suicide. Since this is not acceptable to discuss even in the family, all pictures, memorabilia, and anything else which would indicate that this family member had ever lived here must be discarded. After all, no one in our family would commit suicide, would they???

Application: Our family doesn't have any problems, does it? Even if we did, we don't have to discuss or deal with them. After all, they're not that important. We can simply deny their existence so that we don't have to deal with the grief.

Motto: Life's too painful to have to deal with the pain and the problems. Just ignore them, they'll go away.

The Sixth Commandment:
Thou shalt not feel.

Sample Situation: A child cries because her best friend is moving away. "You shouldn't feel like that. Stop crying!" yells her mother angrily.

Application: Since any display of emotion might betray the family secrets that all is not perfect, all emotions must be repressed and numbed. After all, we're a normal family. We're not like other people who get angry, sad, or afraid.

Motto: Be respectable. After all, respectable people never show their emotions or pain..

The Seventh Commandment:
Thou shalt allow your boundaries to be violated, especially by those who "love" you.

Sample Situation: A child trying to accomplish a task continues to persist and work on it, hoping to gain a sense of accomplishment and approval. "Don't be so stubborn!" mommy says. "Just give up. There' s more important things than that to be done! Now put that stuff away and clean the house so that mommy knows you love her."

Lesson Learned: Anything you want is not worth protecting. Only those you love can tell you what is important and what's not. Quit thinking for yourself and just do what makes everyone else happy..

Motto: Because others are more valuable than you, you don't have the right to maintain your own boundaries or to make decisions.

The Seventh Commandment:
Thou shalt be hyper-vigilant

Sample Situation: A child is constantly reminded how dangerous the world is. People can't be trusted either. Therefore, stay aloof, don't get too close to anybody.

Lesson Learned: The only way to be safe in this world is to be careful and insulate yourself from others. Be careful. Always be on guard They might hurt you. If you need help, don't ask for their help. Do it yourself.

Motto: Always be on your guard. The wise person is always over prepared and distrustful of everyone and everything.

The Eighth Commandments:
Thou shalt not let anyone do anything else for you. Do it all yourself.

Sample Situation: Parents continually remind the child that no one is to be trusted. If they do something for you, they're doing it to manipulate you.

Lesson Learned: Stay aloof and don't make friends with anybody. After all, if you get too close, they'll use, hurt and abuse you. And remember this: nobody does anything for anyone unless they want something from you.

Motto: Do everything yourself.

The Ninth Commandment:
Thou shalt be perfect

Sample Situation: "Just because you got all 'A's on your report card doesn't mean that you couldn't have done better. You're lazy. Now get to work and let's see you get some more 'A+'s'!"

Lesson Learned: If it's not perfect, people won't love you. No matter how good it is, it's never good enough...but keep trying!

Motto: You're only as good as your performance and that's still not good enough!

The Tenth Commandment:
Thou shalt not forgive yourself or others.

Sample Situation: "You're always in my way, child! Why do you keep asking me to play with you? Don't you know I played with you last year? Wasn't that enough?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Go to your room. Don't bother me."

Lesson Learned: The only way I can be forgiven and loved is if I can earn it by being perfect. The guiltier I feel, the harder I must work to gain other's approval. If I make any mistakes, even a small one, they'll reject me or think I'm incompetent or worthless. I'm afraid I will make a mistake, I know I will, I feel so guilty. Therefore, even if I think I can do it, I won't. After all, I could make a mistake and then what would I do? Oh, I could never go back and say I'm sorry!

Motto: Since God doesn't forgive me, I can't forgive you either.

The Ten Commandments Of Dysfunctional Families:
A Summary

The First And Great Commandment Is This:

"Be a "good" person: Be blind, be quiet, be numb, be careful, keep secrets, avoid reality, avoid relationships, don't cry, don't trust, don't feel, be serious, don't talk, don't love and above all, make everyone think you're perfect...even if it makes you feel guilty."

The Second Is Like Unto It:

"Since you're worthless and nobody loves you anyway (including yourself), don't try to change yourself. You're not worth the effort and you couldn't do it if you tried anyway. God won't help you either. So get back where you belong. There's nothing wrong anyway so what's your problem! See, I told you that you were stupid."

Thomas F. Fischer



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Saturday, October 22, 2016


Recovering from Childhood -
Four Blind Alleys and Three Clear Paths 
for Unloved Daughters 

by Peg Streep

“It’s still hard explaining what it was like to people who didn’t experience it. I think most people think I’m exaggerating. I’ve gotten to used to it, over time, but it still stings and recovery is mostly a lonely process..”
                        Adele, age 42

“I have ghost images of my mother, most usually when I want a woman to like me, hire me, or include me in her circle. Nothing I ever did pleased my mother and it made me feel nothing I did was ever good enough. I still feel that way when I seek a woman’s approval.”
                        Sarah, age 56

In the years since I wrote Mean Mothers, I’ve talked to many women about the process of healing from the wounds of childhood.  As a layperson who’s been on this journey herself—and who’s sought professional help—my understanding has been enriched by two important insights.
The first is from A General Theory of Love written by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon. In simple terms, they explain that lack of love has both neurological and psychological consequences:

“ Love, and the lack of it, change the young brain forever….as we now know, most of the nervous system (including the limbic brain) needs exposure to crucial experiences to drive its growth… The lack of an attuned mother is a nonevent for a reptile and shattering injury to the complex and fragile limbic brain of a mammal.”

The second is from Deborah Tannen’s book, You’re Wearing that?Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation:

“This, in the end, may be the crux of a parent’s power over a child: not only to create the world the child lives in but also to dictate how that world is to be interpreted.”   

For me, these two insights in combination—the rather literal shaping of the brain in response to the conditions of an individual’s childhood and the super-sized influence a mother has on a daughter’s understanding of how the world works—capture why recovery can be so elusive.

The unloved daughter’s responses, both automatic and conscious, are different in kind from those of a daughter who has an attuned and loving mother. The unloved daughter grows up not trusting her own experience of events and interactions; she may be confused by the very nature of emotional interactions and her neediness—caused by the shattering injury to which Lewis and his co-authors refer—may make it impossible for her to navigate boundaries in relationships. Often, when she challenges her mother, she will be told that she’s wrong, or too sensitive, or, even more destructively, that what she’s talking about didn’t happen. These events create an internal wellspring of doubt which often yields to an incorrect but seemingly inevitable conclusion: “My mother doesn’t love me because I am unlovable. It’s my fault.”

The lack of love and approval leaves a daughter desperate for both. It’s not surprising that the quest to fill that metaphorical hole in the heart—an expression I have heard many times over and have used myself—can include both destructive and constructive behaviors.  Alas, the journey to recovery may be even more complicated for the daughter who seeks comfort in behaviors that ultimately are dangerous blind alleys.

I’ll detail the blind alleys first and then proceed to what I’ll call the clear paths.

Blind Alleys

1.  Unhealthy relationship to food
In most households, it’s the mother who’s in charge of food—both its preparation and serving—which, when a mother is unloving or manipulative, makes eating a potential locus for control. In her groundbreaking book, The Hungry Self. Kim Chernin detailed and explored the primal connections between food and female identity, as well as mothering and emotional hunger. These connections are both subtle and obvious. In response, a daughter may seize on eating or not eating as something she can control, as a way of countermanding her mother’s vision of the world or her place in it. Some daughters will develop clinically disordered eating while others will simply carry their complicated relationships with food and its connection to self-image into adulthood. In her book. When Food is Love, Geneen Roth (the daughter of a physically abusive mother and an emotionally distant father) explains that disordered eating may be an act of self-protection, a way of armoring the self against pain.

Recent studies exploring the connection between insecure childhood attachment and disordered eating more closely have made some interesting discoveries. For example, Jenna Elgin and Mary Pritchard found that while it was true enough that secure attachment was negatively correlated with disordered eating, not every type of insecure attachment was positively correlated. Only the fearful attachment style (which includes both a negative view of self and a negative view of others) was positively correlated with bulimia but neither the dismissive or preoccupied styles were associated with disordered eating.

2. Self-harm
Paradoxically, many emotionally abused or neglected daughters often comment that they wish the maltreatment had been physical because, as one woman put it,” Then, at least, the scars would show and I wouldn’t have to prove their existence to anyone.” It’s been hypothesized that self-harm or cutting is intimately connected to lack of love, another effort both to fill the emptiness and to feel pain which you are able to control. In their book Bodily Harm, Karen Conterio and Wendy Lader write, “ self-injury represents a frantic attempt by someone with low coping skills to ‘mother herself.’ …Bodily care has been transformed into bodily harm: the razor blade becomes the wounding caregiver, a cold but available substitute for the embrace, kiss, or loving touch she truly desires.”  Following up on previous lines of research, Jean-François Bureau and his co-authors looked at specific dimensions of parenting and their relationship to NSSI (non-suicidal self-injury) in young adults. What they found was that among those engaging in self-injury, their descriptions of childhood included portraits of parents who failed to protect them and abdicated their roles as parents, of parents from whom they felt alienated, as well as those who were over-controlling. These parents were generally seen as less caring, untrustworthy, and more difficult to communicate with. Generally, research has confirmed the link between self-harm and emotionally distant or abusive parenting and insecure attachment.

3. Compulsive behaviors
Substance abuse, compulsive shopping, and even sexual promiscuity have been understood as ways of filling the hole in the heart. Unloved daughters may turn to the instantaneous self-soothing and oblivion offered up by alcohol or drugs. In her book, Mothering Ourselves, psychotherapist Evelyn S. Bassoff writes that, “For some, alcohol—which warms, fills, and anesthetizes the inner emptiness or aching—becomes the soothing mother…the alcoholic stupor replaces the sensations of being wafted to a sound sleep in mother’s arms.”  Hope Edelman describes the “emotional hoarding” of those who are unloved and writes, “Back-to-back relationships, overeating, overspending, alcoholism, drug abuse, shoplifting, overachieving—all are her attempts to fill that empty space, to mother herself, to suppress feelings of grief or loneliness, and to get the nurturing she feels she lost or never had.”

4. Hurtful relationships
Research shows that all of us are more likely to choose partners who are more like our parents than not—which is fine if you were raised by loving and attuned parents and not so wonderful if you were not. These relationships are comfort zones—which offer no real emotional comfort but which feel comfortable because we feel the way we did when we were children, living in our mother’s house. They offer no real solace, and, for many unloved daughters, finding ourselves in a relationship like this may prove to be the turning point that propels us to seek help in the form of therapy.

But these blind alleys aren’t the only ways daughters seek to fill the hole in their hearts; many—even those who have been stuck in a blind alley— find the healing they seek and need.

Source: Copyright 2014 Karena Jones
Clear Paths
The hole in the heart can be filled productively with new experiences and voices that tell the unloved daughter that she is worthy, valuable, and lovable. While the experiences of childhood shape us, they need not hobble us and many unloved daughters, by confronting and articulating their past, move into the present and future as loving and loved partners, friends, and mothers. 

1. Earning secure attachment
Even if your upbringing didn’t offer you secure attachment, you can earn secure attachment in adulthood.  Self-understanding is the basis for new interactions and healthy and healing connections to others as various as teachers, mentors, therapists, friends, or lovers. As one woman confided, “My first steps towards healing took place in the company of an older woman, my neighbor, who was kind and understanding. She was the first person in whom I confided my story and by telling her, I broke the silence my mother had imposed me. I heard my voice for the very first time in my conversations with her.”

Being able to make sense of your experience—making it into a coherent and understandable narrative—is the key to earned secure attachment, as posited by Mary Main one of the proponents of attachment theory.  In an important study, Glenn I. Roisman and his co-authors looked at individuals with earned secure attachment in an effort to determine whether or not they were, however, more at risk for depressive symptoms. What they found was that not only were those with earned status (by making coherent sense of their past) involved in romantic relationships of a quality comparable to those with happy childhoods, parented as effectively as those raised in secure environments, but also were at no greater risk for internalizing distress than other secure groups.

2. Re-defining family
For many unloved daughters, creating a “family” on her own terms is part of the journey toward healing; sometimes, it will include distancing herself from her family of origin but not always. More than anything, this is an important act of reinvention, which can take the form of a close-knit circle of friends or getting married and having a child or children herself. In my early twenties, when I was estranged from my mother and single, I made Thanksgiving dinner every year for friends who had nowhere to go or whose families lived far away. Those dinners were one of the first steps I took to claiming earned secure attachment for myself. As one daughter commented: “In adulthood, I have surrounded myself with people I feel safe with. That wasn’t true of my childhood but it is now and it has made a world of difference. This doesn’t mean that everyone always loves everything I do or say, or that no one ever gets critical or ticked off at me. But I always know I am cared for, no matter what.”

3. Mothering the self
Learning how to self-soothe in healthy ways and replace the critical or dismissive maternal voice internalized in your head—the one that tells you that nothing you do is good enough or that you are “less than” a daughter should be—with a message of self-love and an admonition for patience are also important steps toward healing. A therapist can be of enormous help at this juncture. 

Giving voice to what actually happened in your childhood is part of self-mothering because it gets you out from under the code of denial imposed on you and allows you to develop an inner voice that is truthful, strong, and reliable. Permitting yourself to acknowledge your pain, frustration, and anger with your mother and her treatment of you is a necessary part of the process—both in terms of stilling the critical or dismissive maternal voice and growing your own inner voice. Grieving may be part of the process as well as mourning the loss of what you needed and never had.

Learning to be kind to yourself, as well as patient—as your mother wasn’t—is also part of self-mothering.  All of this takes time—there’s no magic wand to replace the acceptance and love you lacked with a sense of self-acceptance—but it can be accomplished. Talk to yourself as you wish you’d been spoken to by your own mother, and cut yourself slack as necessary. Acknowledge the process, applaud the steps forward, and accept the steps backwards. The hole doesn’t vanish but it gets smaller and smaller, and has a different context.

Copyright© Peg Streep 2014

READ MY NEW BOOK: Mastering the Art of Quitting: Why It Matters in Life, Love, and Work
READ Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt

Lewis, Thomas, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon. A General Theory of Love. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.

Tannen, Deborah. You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. New York: Ballantine Books, 2006.

 Chernin, Kim. The Hungry Self. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Bassoff, Evelyn. Mothering Ourselves: Help and Healing for Adult Daughters, New York; Plume Books, 1992.

Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love: The Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy. New York: Plume Books, 1992.

Conterio, Karen and Wendy Lader. Bodily Harm.  New York: Hyperion Books, 1998.

 Bureau, Lean-François, Jodi Martin, Nathalie Freynet, Alexane Alie Porier, Marie-France Lafontaine, and Paula Cloutier, “Perceived Dimensions of Parenting and Non-suicidal Self-inury in Young Adults, Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (2010), 39, 484-494.

Edelman, Hope. Motherless Daughters. New York: Delta Books, 1994.

 Roisman, Glenn I, Elena Padron, L. Alan Sroufe, and Byron Egeland, “Earned-Secure Attachment Status in Retrospect and Prospect,” Child Development (2002), vol. 73, no. 4, 1204-1219.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Sexual Relationship with a Narcissist

The sexual relationship with the narcissist is most peculiar. Narcissists are exhibitionists and sex is just one further means of being admired to her or him.

Intimacy does not exist and you will frequently feel used. The narcissist will demand that you subdue yourself. Your own sexual preferences will be boycotted or twisted.

Narcissists have a strong tendency to sexually abuse a partner and sometimes children. Here is a list of SOME of these abusive behaviors (these are not true in all cases; nor do ALL have to be present for it to be NPD):

* You are prohibited from masturbating or feel good about your own body under the threat of punishment

* You are being made to watch porn although you don't want to

* You are not allowed any sexual gratification yourself

* The narcissist pretends to be sexual (desirous) for you but is after her/ his gratification only

* Your sexual past is being torn apart or made fun of

* You are being told that all you want is sex (although you know this is not the case, however sex is central to the narcissist)

* The narcissist instigates sex (like telling you erotic things and sending you pictures or emails which are sexual) but then decides last minute that nothing is to take place; or simply demands abusive sex

* The narcissist abuses you while you are asleep (sleep rape)

* You are being raped (coerced verbally or emotionally - includes "I love you") on a regular basis

* You are feeling humiliated and yet the narcissist claims that (s)he has been humiliated

* The narcissist finds it funny when you get hurt and enjoys it when you get hurt, this can be physically or emotionally

* The narcissist instigates and turns everything into a sexual game

* The narcissist demands prolonged sex way above the limit you can handle nor want to

* The narcissist tells you that you want to have sexual relations with everybody -- although the narcissist has a strong tendency to flirt with others and to be infidel

* You are being told off for the fact that you were flirting with someone although you are not flirting at all

* The narcissist makes fun of your sexuality in front of others (e.g. you have a small penis or small breasts)

* The narcissist demands sex when you make it clear that you don't want to

* The narcissist has to try out everything possible

* The narcissist is an exhibitionist and will want sex in public and dresses inappropriately at home and or elsewhere

There is another form of sexual abuse with Narcissists (and other Pathologicals). In fact, so I believe, it is the most common one, and hence it took me so long to get it. This form of abuse comes in four stages:

* Firstly, the victim will be forced to reveal her or his sexual preferences and experiences to the perpetrator.

* Secondly, the perpetrator will condition the victim to direct her or his entire sexuality towards the perpetrator. At this stage, the sexual relationship is intense.

* Thirdly, the perpetrator reduces the intensity of the sexual relationship dramatically, so that the victim is in constant sexual need. (Sexual Hyperarousal)

* Fourthly, the perpetrator grants inproper sexual gratification in order to maintain the sexual need of the victim. Now, the victim, who is (sexually) dependent on the perpetrator, can be humiliated, manipulated and used.

Dr. Ludger Hofmann-Engl

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bill of Rights for Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic Violence Victim Bill of Rights

* You have the right NOT to be abused.

* You have the right to anger over past abuse.

* You have a right to choose to change the situation.

* You have a right to freedom from fear of abuse.

* You have a right to request and expect assistance from police or social agencies.

* You have a right to share your feelings and not be isolated from others.

* You have a right to want a better role model of communication for yourself and your children.

* You have a right to be treated like an adult.

* You have a right to leave the abusive environment.

* You have a right to privacy.

* You have a right to express your own thoughts and feelings.

* You have a right to develop your individual talents and abilities without harrasssment.

* You have a right to legally prosecute the abusing spouse.

* You have a right not to be perfect.

(Adapted from; Victimology: An International Journal., Vol. 2 1977-78, No. 3-4, p.550)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Narcissists & Psychopaths Cause PTSD for their Victims

by Tim Field

How do the PTSD symptoms resulting from a Narcissist or Psychopath's abuse and bullying meet the criteria in DSM-IV?

A. The prolonged (chronic) negative stress resulting from dealing with a narcissist or psychopath has lead to threat of loss of job, career, health, livelihood, often also resulting in threat to marriage and family life. The family are the unseen victims.

A.1.One of the key symptoms of prolonged negative stress is reactive depression; this causes the balance of the mind to be disturbed, leading first to thoughts of, then attempts at, and ultimately, suicide.

A.2.The target of the narcissist or psychopath may be unaware that they are being exploited, and even when they do realize (there's usually a moment of enlightenment as the person realizes that the criticisms and tactics of control, etc are invalid) - victims often cannot bring themselves to believe they are dealing with a disordered personality who lacks a conscience and does not share the same moral values as themselves.

Naivety is the great enemy. The target is bewildered, confused, frightened, angry - and after enlightenment, very angry.

B.1. The target experiences regular intrusive violent visualizations and replays of events and conversations; often, the endings of these replays are altered in favour of the target.

B.2. Sleeplessness, nightmares and replays are a common feature.

B.3. The events are constantly relived; night-time and sleep do not bring relief as it becomes impossible to switch the brain off. Such sleep as is achieved is non-restorative and people wake up as tired, and often more tired, than when they went to bed.

B.4. Fear, horror, chronic anxiety, and panic attacks are triggered by any reminder of the experience, e.g.receiving threatening letters or email from the narcissist or psychopath or their friends, their family or attorneys. Additionally postings on online boards or sites about the victim by the abuser (often to try to make the victim look like the abusive one!) can add to these triggers and health related issues tremendously.]

B.5. Panic attacks, palpitations, sweating, trembling, vomitting, binge eating or forgetting to eat, ditto.

Criteria B4 and B5 manifest themselves as immediate physical and mental paralysis in response to any reminder of the narcissist or prospect being forced to take action against the narcissist.

C. Physical numbness (toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is emotional numbness (especially inability to feel joy). Sufferers report that their spark has gone out and, even years later, find they just cannot get motivated about anything.

C.1. The target tries harder and harder to avoid saying or doing anything which reminds them of the horror of the exploitation.

C.2. Almost all Victims report impaired memory; this may be partly due to suppressing horrific memories, and partly due to damage to the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to learning and memory.

C.3. the person becomes obsessed with resolving the experience which takes over their life, eclipsing and excluding almost every other interest.

C.4. Feelings of withdrawal and isolation are common; the person just wants to be on their own and solitude is sought.

C.5. Emotional numbness, including inability to feel joy (anhedonia) and deadening of loving feelings towards others are commonly reported. One fears never being able to feel love again.

C.6. The target becomes very gloomy and senses a foreshortened career - usually with justification. Many targets ultimately have severe psychiatric injury, severely impaired health.

D.1. Sleep becomes almost impossible, despite the constant fatigue; such sleep as is obtained tends to be unsatisfying, unrefreshing and non-restorative. On waking, the person often feels more tired than when they went to bed. Depressive feelings are worst early in the morning. Feelings of vulnerability may be heightened overnight.

D.2. The person has an extremely short fuse and is often permanently irritated, especially by small insignificant events. The person frequently visualises a violent solution, e.g. arranging an accident for, or murdering the narcissist; the resultant feelings of guilt tend to hinder progress in recovery.

D.3. Concentration is impaired to the point of precluding preparation for legal action, study, work, or search for work.

D.4. The person is on constant alert because their fight or flight mechanism has become permanently activated.

D.5. The person has become hypersensitized and now unwittingly and inappropriately perceives almost any remark as critical.

E. Recovery from a narcissist experience is measured in years. Some people never fully recover.  Long term and repeated damage by disordered persons become C-PTSD.
F. For many, social life ceases and work becomes impossible.  Many develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic pain or adrenal fatigue and even become totally disabled.

THERAPY can and does help. But it takes a lot of time and work.  The longer you wait to get help & treatment, the deeper the damage and the more difficult to heal or manage.  Hang in there!

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