Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Smear Campaigns - Part I in Series


One of the clearest indicators you’ve got a mentally unstable person on your hands is smear campaigning. Smear campaigners carefully and strategically use lies, exaggerations, suspicions and false accusations to try destroying your credibility. They hide behind a cloak of upstanding heroism and feigned innocence in an attempt to make as many people as possible think their efforts are based not on their vindictiveness, but on upstanding concern.

As a smeared person, what you are most likely “guilty” of is saying no to someone who is, in some way, failing to respect your boundaries, refusing to follow the same rules as everyone else, or someone who is spreading toxicity and manipulating. Someone entitled. Someone sneaky and vindictive. Someone who is hurting you or taking too much.

While standing up for yourself is the right thing to do, toxic people simply don’t believe you have any right to refuse their mistreatment, and they will set out to “punish” you for having any opinions that differ from theirs.

Virtually all smear campaigners can be counted on to have traits of “Cluster B” personality disorders. Narcissists and sociopaths are among the most virulent smear campaigners, and histrionic and borderline people may also opt to smear those who upset them. Not surprisingly, these four disorders are classified as the “dramatic and erratic” high-conflict personalities.

Narcissists can fly into a vindictive narcissistic rage if questioned instead of receiving compliance with their demands. Sociopaths often have anger management issues and are driven solely by their own wishes, without regard for the rights of others or for consequences. Histrionic people create drama and conflict wherever possible, and they require little to no incentive to do so. People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty controlling their emotional reactions, and may become intensely angered by what others interpret to be minor matters.

Regardless of the reason for the smearing, all smear campaigns work virtually the same way, following a very predictable pattern of the usual dirty tricks and underlying motives. Next, we’ll take a look at the anatomy of the smear campaign.

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Protect Yourself from Victimization by Psychopaths


 Vulnerability and Other Prey of Psychopaths
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. Finally, they were asked to provide verbal rational for their ratings. Overall results confirmed a strong positive correlation between psychopathy scores and accuracy of victim identification. This means that individuals that score higher for psychopathy are better at selecting victims. Statistically significant results for psychopathy traits including interpersonal manipulation, callous affect and antisocial behavior were found.

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.


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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking


From "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, M.D.

1. All-or-nothing thinking - You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, "I've blown my diet completely." This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream.

2. Overgeneralization - You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as "always" or "never" when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the window of his car. He told himself, "Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!"

3. Mental Filter - You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.

4. Discounting the positive - You reject positive experiences by insisting that they "don't count." If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positives takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.

5. Jumping to conclusions - You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion.

Mind Reading: Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.

Fortune-telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, "I'm really going to blow it. What if I flunk?" If you're depressed you may tell yourself, "I'll never get better."

6. Magnification - You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the "binocular trick."

7. Emotional Reasoning - You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly." Or, "I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person." Or, "I feel angry. This proves that I'm being treated unfairly." Or, "I feel so inferior. This means I'm a second rate person." Or, "I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless."

8. "Should" statements - You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, "I shouldn't have made so many mistakes." This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. "Musts," "oughts" and "have tos" are similar offenders.

"Should statements" that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general, lead to anger and frustration: "He shouldn't be so stubborn and argumentative!"

Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn'ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. "I shouldn't eat that doughnut." This usually doesn't work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite. Dr. Albert Ellis has called this " must erbation." I call it the "shouldy" approach to life.

9. Labeling - Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser." You might also label yourself "a fool" or "a failure" or "a jerk." Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but "fools," "losers" and "jerks" do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem.

You may also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: "He's an S.O.B." Then you feel that the problem is with that person's "character" or "essence" instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves very little room for constructive communication.

10. Personalization and Blame - Personalization comes when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulty in school, she told herself, "This shows what a bad mother I am," instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman's husband beat her, she told herself, "If only I was better in bed, he wouldn't beat me." Personalization leads to guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy.

Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways they might be contributing to the problem: "The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable." Blame usually doesn't work very well because other people will resent being scapegoated and they will just toss the blame right back in your lap. It's like the game of hot potato--no one wants to get stuck with it.

Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking

From "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, M.D.


1. Identify The Distortion: Write down your negative thoughts so you can see which of the ten cognitive distortions you're involved in. This will make it easier to think about the problem in a more positive and realistic way.

2. Examine The Evidence: Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, if you feel that you never do anything right, you could list several things you have done successfully.

3. The Double-Standard Method: Instead of putting yourself down in a harsh, condemning way, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you would talk to a friend with a similar problem.

4. The Experimental Technique: Do an experiment to test the validity of your negative thought. For example, if during an episode of panic, you become terrified that you're about to die of a heart attack, you could jog or run up and down several flights of stairs. This will prove that your heart is healthy and strong.

5. Thinking In Shades Of Grey: Although this method may sound drab, the effects can be illuminating. Instead of thinking about your problems in all-or-nothing extremes, evaluate things on a scale of 0 to 100. When things don't work out as well as you hoped, think about the experience as a partial success rather than a complete failure. See what you can learn from the situation.

6. The Survey Method: Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic. For example, if you feel that public speaking anxiety is abnormal and shameful, ask several friends if they ever felt nervous before they gave a talk.

7. Define Terms: When you label yourself 'inferior' or 'a fool' or 'a loser,' ask, "What is the definition of 'a fool'?" You will feel better when you realize that there is no such thing as 'a fool' or 'a loser.'

8. The Semantic Method: Simply substitute language that is less colorful and emotionally loaded. This method is helpful for 'should statements.' Instead of telling yourself, "I shouldn't have made that mistake," you can say, "It would be better if I hadn't made that mistake."

9. Re-attribution: Instead of automatically assuming that you are "bad" and blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using up all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty.

10. Cost-Benefit Analysis: List the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling (like getting angry when your plane is late), a negative thought (like "No matter how hard I try, I always screw up"), or a behavior pattern (like overeating and lying around in bed when you're depressed). You can also use the cost benefit analysis to modify a self-defeating belief such as, "I must always try to be perfect."

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Signs To Look For In An Abusive Personality


Many people are interested in ways to predict whether they are about to become involved with someone who will be physically abusive. Below is a list of common behaviors that are seen in abusive people. Many victims do not realize that these early behaviors are warning signs of potential future physical abuse, such as the last four (***) behaviors. If the person has several (three or more) of the first 12 listed behaviors, there is a strong potential for physical violence -- the more signs a person has, the more likely the person is a batterer. In some cases, a batterer may only have a couple of behaviors that the victim can recognize, but they may be very exaggerated (e.g., will try to explain his behavior as signs of his love and concern), and a victim may be flattered at first. However, as time goes by, the behavior becomes more severe and serves to dominate or control the other person.

1. Jealousy: At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love; jealousy has nothing to do with love, it is a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. He will question the other person about whom she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be jealous of the time she spends with her family or friends. As the jealousy progresses, he may call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may refuse to let you work for fear you will meet someone else, or even do strange behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to watch you.

2. Controlling Behavior: At first, the batterer will say that this behavior is because he is concerned with your safety, your need to use your time well, or your need to make good decisions. He will be angry if you are late coming back from an appointment or a class, he will question you closely about where you went and whom you talked to. As this behavior gets worse, he may not let you make personal decisions about your clothing, hair style, appearance.

3. Quick Involvement: Many people in abusive relationships dated or knew their abusive partners for less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together. He comes on like a whirlwind, claiming, “You are the only person I could ever talk to” or “I’ve never felt like this for anyone before. He will pressure you to commit to the relationship in such a way that you may later feel guilty or that you are “letting him down” if you want to slow down involvement or break up.

4. Unrealistic Expectations: Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all their needs; he expects you to be the perfect boyfriend/ girlfriend, the perfect friend or the perfect lover. He will say things like, “If you love me, I’m all you need and you are all I need.” You are supposed to take care of all of his emotional needs.

5. Isolation: The abusive person will try to cut you off from all resources. He accuses you of being “tied to your mother’s apron strings,” or your friends of “trying to cause trouble” between you. If you have a friend of the opposite sex, you are “going out on him” and if you have friends of the same sex, he may accuse you of being gay.

6. Blames Others for Problems: He is chronically unemployed, someone is always waiting for him to do wrong or mess up or someone is always out to get him. He may make mistakes and blame you for upsetting him. He may accuse you of preventing him from concentrating on school. He will tell you that you are at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.

7. Blames Others for Feelings: He will tell you, “You make me mad,” “You are hurting me by not doing what I want you to do,” or “I can’t help being angry.” He really makes the decisions about how he thinks or feels, but will use feelings to manipulate you.

8. Hypersensitivity: An abusive person is easily insulted, and claims that their feelings are hurt when really he is very mad. He often takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks. He will rant about things that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being asked to help others with chores.

9. Cruelty to Animals or Children: This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain and suffering. He may tease younger brothers or sisters until they cry.

10.“Playful” use of Force in Sex: This kind of person is likely to throw you down or try to hold you down during making out, or he may want you to act out fantasies in which you are helpless. He is letting you know that the idea of sex is exciting. He may show little concern about whether you want affection and may sulk or use anger to manipulate you into compliance.

11. Verbal Abuse: In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen when the abusive person tries to degrade you, curses you, calls you names or makes fun of your accomplishments. The abusive person will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function without him. This may involve waking you up to verbally abuse you or not letting you go to sleep until you talk out an argument.

12. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Many people are confused by their abusive partner’s “sudden” changes in mood -- you may think he has a mental problem because he is nice one minute and the next minute he is exploding. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who are abusive to their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like hypersensitivity.

13. *** Past Battering: This person may say that he has hit girlfriends in the past but the other person “made him do it.” You may hear from relatives or past girlfriends that he is abusive. An abusive person will be physically abusive to any one they are with if the other person is with them long enough for the violence to begin; situational circumstances do not change a person into an abuser.

14. *** Threats of violence: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control you: “I’ll slap you,” “I’ll kill you,” or “I’ll break your neck." Most people do not threaten their partners, but the abusive person will try to excuse his threats by saying, “Everybody talks that way.”

15. *** Breaking or Striking Objects: This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize you into submission. The abuser may beat on the table with his fists, throw objects at or near you, kick the car, slam the door or drive at a high rate of speed or recklessly to scare you. Not only is this a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but there is great danger when someone thinks they have the “right” to punish or frighten you.

16. *** Any Force During an Argument: This may involve an abusive partner holding you down, physically restraining you from leaving the room, any pushing or shoving. He may hold you against the wall and say, “You are going to listen to me.”

Mixed Messages
My partner loves me . . . he didn’t mean to hurt me. (Abuse is about power and control. It is not about love.)

My partner promised to get counseling. (Abusers tend to make promises when they feel they are not in control.)

When you file charges, you have taken control away from your abuser, who is likely to promise anything to get that control back.


It is just that my partner was under a lot of stress . . . or drunk. (You can chose to believe that there are reasons, but there can never be a justifiable reason for your abuse.)

It will never happen again. (It might. Chances are, it will if your abuser is not held accountable.)

It’s really not that bad, we have had great times. (All relationships have good and bad times, but violent relationships are not good for anyone. Healthy relationships are based on caring, equality and respect. They are not about power and control.)

Types of Abuse

EMOTIONAL ABUSE - This is often the first sign of abusive behavior exhibited by someone who batters. In the beginning it may as simple as the silent treatment, but it often progresses to angry words and put downs.

Finding faults in all your friends/family (this is the first step in the isolation process)

Withholding emotions, not talking or sharing, withholding approval or affections

Does not acknowledge your feelings

Continuous criticism

Name-calling, mocking, put-downs

Yelling, swearing, being lewd

Pressure tactics (using guilt trips, rushing you, threats to leave)

Humiliated in public (including outbursts of anger to insults in public)

Manipulation by lies, omitting facts, or telling only portions of the facts

Angry gestures, slamming doors, throwing things, hitting walls or furniture near you

Threats (to harm you, to not pay bills, to not buy groceries, etc.)

Using children (making threats to take them or to call DHS, criticizing your parenting skills)

ECONOMIC ABUSE - Again, this begins in subtle ways and develops into the abuser's dominant control over all economic aspects.

Insisting that you quit your job (saying he will take care of you, sites faults with coworkers and bosses - point out how they "mistreat" you)

Recanting on promises to pay bills (for example, your car payment, insurance, etc.)

Makes you account for your spending with no accounting for abuser's spending

Limiting your access to funds (taking ATM card or removing your name from accounts)

Not paying bills, buying groceries, or taking care of the children's needs

PHYSICAL ABUSE - This is usually first exhibited by getting "in your face" or invading your personal space during an argument and progresses into offensive and harmful touches.
Shouting at you

Invading your personal space

Poke/pinch

Grab/hold

Push/shove

Pull hair

Slap/Punch

Bite/spit

Kick/stomp

Cleaning/displaying weapons

Refusing to let you leave

Being locked in/out of house

Destroying your possessions

Abandoned in dangerous places

Driving recklessly

Disabling car, hiding keys to car

Refusing medical care

Hurtful/unwanted touching of sexual parts

Rape (use of force, threats, coercion, or manipulation to obtain sex)

Intimidating by blocking exit, making threatening gestures

Refusing to let you sleep until he is ready to sleep/or making you go to sleep at the same time he does

Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
Answering the following questions may help you determine whether the relationship you are in is abusive. Check the questions that apply to you:

Does your partner:
Embarrass you in front of people?

Belittle your accomplishments?

Make you feel unworthy?

Criticize your sexual performance?

Constantly contradict himself/herself to confuse you?

Do things for which you are constantly making excuses to others or yourself?

Isolate you from many of the people you care about most?

Make you feel ashamed a lot of the time?

Make you believe he is smarter than you and therefore more able to make decisions?

Make you feel like you are crazy?

Make you perform sexual acts that are embarrassing or demeaning to you?

Use intimidation to make you do what he wants?

Prevent you from doing common-place activities such as visiting friends or family, or
talking to the opposite sex?

Control the financial aspects of your life?

Use money as a way of controlling you?

Make you believe that you can not exist without him?

Make you feel that there is no way out and that "you made your own bed and you must lie in it?

Make you find ways of compromising your feelings for the sake of peace?

Treat you roughly (grab, pinch, push, or shove you)?

Threaten you (verbally or with a weapon)?

Hold you to keep you from leaving after an argument?

Lose control when he is drunk or using drugs?

Get extremely angry, frequently, and without an apparent cause?

Escalate his anger into violence . . .slapping, kicking, etc?

Not believe that he has hurt you, nor feel sorry for what he has done?

Physically force you to do what you do not want to do?

Do you:

Do you believe you can help your partner change his abusive behavior if you were only to change yourself in some way, if you only did some things differently, if you really loved him more?

Believe that you deserve to be abused or punished?

Find that not making him angry has become a major part of your life?

Do what he wants you to do, rather than what you want to do, out of fear?

Stay with him only because you’re afraid he might hurt you if you left?

If you answered "yes" to many of these questions, you have identified an abusive relationship. If the abuse has occurred during dating, it is very likely to continue after marriage. Once physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and to escalate over time. You cannot change your partner’s behavior. You can only change yourself. It is not necessary to stay in a relationship of fear. You have the right to choose how you wish to live.

Traits And Characteristics Of Violent Offenders

1. Low Frustration Tolerance - Reacts to stress in self-defeating ways, unable to cope effectively with anxiety, acts out when frustrated. Frustration leads to aggression.

2. Impulsive - Is quick to act, wants immediate gratification, has little or no consideration for the consequences, lacks insight, has poor judgment, has limited cognitive filtering.

3. Emotional Liability/Depression - Quick-tempered, short-fused, hot-headed, rapid mood swings, moody, sullen, irritable, humorless.

4. Childhood Abuse - Sexual and physical abuse, maternal or paternal deprivation,
rejection, abandonment, exposure to violent role models in the home.

5. Loner - Is isolated and withdrawn, has poor interpersonal relations, has no empathy for others, lacks feeling of guilt and remorse.

6. Overly sensitive - Hypersensitive to criticism and real or perceived slights, suspicious, fearful, distrustful, paranoid.

7. Altered Consciousness - Sees red, “blanking,” has blackouts, de-realization/depersonalization. ("It’s like I wasn’t there" or "It was me, but not me”), impaired reality testing, hallucinations.

8. Threats of Violence - Toward self and/or others, direct, veiled, implied, or conditional.

9. Blames Others – Projects blame onto others, fatalistic, external locus of control, avoids personal responsibility for behavior, views self as “victim” instead of “victimizer,” self-centered, sense of entitlement.

10. Chemical Abuse - Especially alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, crack, and hallucinogens (PCP, LSD), an angry drunk, dramatic personality/mood changes when under the influence.

11. Mental Health Problems Requiring In-Patient Hospitalization - Especially with arrest history for any offenses prior to hospitalization.

12. **History of Violence** - Towards self and others, actual physical force used to injure, harm, or damage. This element is the most significant in assessing individuals for potential dangerousness.

13. Odd/Bizarre Beliefs - Superstitious, magical thinking, religiosity, sexuality, violent fantasies (especially when violence is eroticized), delusions.

14. Physical Problems - Congenital defects, severe acne, scars, stuttering, any of which contribute to poor self-image, lack of self-esteem, and isolation. History of head trauma, brain damage/neurological problems.

15. Preoccupation With Violence Themes - Movies, books, TV, newspaper articles, magazines (detective), music, weapons collections, guns, knives, implements of torture, S & M, Nazi paraphernalia.

16. Pathological Triad/School Problems - Fire-setting, enuresis, cruelty to animals, fighting, truancy, temper tantrums, inability to get along with others, ejection of authority.
Alan C. Brantley, Traits and Characteristics of Violent Offenders, FBI Academy.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Covert Incest

Covert incest typically occurs in families where one parent (the shadow parent) does not actively participate in family affairs, thus setting the stage for the other parent (the invasive parent) to turn to a child for emotional support. The invasive parent in effect makes the child a surrogate spouse who is forced to take on the responsibilities of the shadow parent. The roles are essentially reversed; instead of the parent looking after the child, the child is responsible for the parent's well being. This is a terrible burden for a child to carry, as a child is incapable of meeting the emotional needs of an adult.

Relationship problems are endemic amongst covert incest survivors. They often fall for the wrong type of partner—someone who is a replica of their invasive parent. Thus, their emotional needs remain unfulfilled which leads to unhappy relationships.

Because of the conflicting emotions that result from growing up with an invasive parent, survivors usually find themselves both attracted and repulsed by members of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on their sexual orientation and gender of the invasive parent).

In addition, since the atmosphere in which they were raised was sexually charged, it is common for survivors of covert incest to use sex as a means to intimacy. This can result in sexual addiction or other types of dysfunctional behaviors as an adult.

Covert incest can persist all the way into adulthood. As long as one remains in such a relationship, it is impossible to form healthy relationships with others. Unless the close bond with the invasive parent is altered, the parent will continue to interfere in the life of the child, causing problems to arise in relationships.

If the invasive parent refuses to change the nature of the relationship, there may be no other recourse than separation. This separation can be temporary or permanent. What is important is for the child to set firm boundaries which the parent cannot cross. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may even be necessary to permanently separate from the invasive parent.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OVER A PATHOLOGICAL PARTNER?



by Peace

Relationships with psychopaths take an unusually long time to recover from. Survivors often find themselves frustrated because they haven't healed as fast as they'd like. They also end up dealing with friends & therapists who give them judgmental advice about how it's "time to move on".
Whether you were in a long-term marriage or a quick summer fling, the recovery process will be the same when it comes to a psychopathic encounter. It takes at least 18-24 months to get your heart back in a good place, and even after that, you might have tough days. I certainly do!

The important thing here is to stop blaming yourself. Stop wishing it would go faster. Stop thinking that the psychopath somehow "wins" if you're still hurting. They are out of the picture now. This journey is about you. If you come to peace with the extended timeline, you'll find this experience a lot more pleasant. You can settle in, make some friends, and get cozy with this whole recovery thing.

So why is it taking so long?

You were in love

Yes, it was manufactured love. Yes, your personality was mirrored and your dreams manipulated. But you were in love. It's the strongest human emotion & bond in the world, and you felt it with all your heart. It is always painful to lose someone you loved - someone you planned to be with for the rest of your life.

The human spirit must heal from these love losses. Regardless of your abuser's intentions, your love was still very real. It will take a great deal of time and hope to pull yourself out of the standard post-breakup depression.

You were in desperate love
Here's where we branch off from regular breakups. Psychopaths manufacture desperation & desire. You probably worked harder for this relationship than any other, right? You put more time, energy, and thought into it than ever before. And in turn, you were rewarded with the nastiest, most painful experience of your life.

In the idealization phase, they showered you with attention, gifts, letters, and compliments. Unlike most honeymoon phases, they actually pretended to be exactly like you in every way. Everything you did was perfect to them. This put you on Cloud 9, preparing you for the identity erosion.

You began to pick up on all sorts of hints that you might be replaced at any time. This encouraged your racing thoughts, ensuring that this person was on your mind every second of the day. This unhinged, unpredictable lifestyle is what psychopaths hope to create with their lies, gas-lighting, and triangulation.

By keeping them on your mind at all times, you fall into a state of desperate love. This is unhealthy, and not a sign that the person you feel so strongly about is actually worthy of your love. Your mind convinces you that if you feel so powerfully, then they must be the only person who will ever make you feel that way. And when you lose that person, your world completely falls apart. You enter a state of panic & devastation.

The Chemical Reaction
Psychopaths have an intense emotional & sexual bond over their victims. This is due to their sexual magnetism, and the way they train your mind to become reliant upon their approval.

By first adoring you in every way, you let down your guard and began to place your self worth in this person. Your happiness started to rely on this person's opinion on you. Happiness is a chemical reaction going off in your brain - dopamine and receptors firing off to make you feel good.

Like a drug, the psychopath offers you this feeling in full force to begin with. But once you become reliant on it, they begin to pull back. Slowly, you need more and more to feel that same high. You do everything you can to hang onto it, while they are doing everything in their power to keep you just barely starved.

Triangulation
There are thousands of support groups for survivors of infidelity. It leaves long-lasting insecurities and feelings of never being good enough. It leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others. That pain alone takes many people out there years to recover from.

Now compare that to the psychopath's triangulation. Not only do they cheat on you - they happily wave it in your face. They brag about it, trying to prove how happy they are with your replacement. They carry none of the usual shame & guilt that comes with cheating. They are thrilled to be posting pictures and telling their friends how happy they are.

I cannot even begin to explain how emotionally damaging this is after once being the target of their idealization. The triangulation alone will take so much time to heal from.

You have encountered pure evil
Everything you once understood about people did not apply to this person. During the relationship, you tried to be compassionate, easy-going, and forgiving. You never could have known that the person you loved was actively using these things against you. It just doesn't make any sense. No typical person is ready to expect that, and so we spend our time projecting a normal human conscience onto them, trying to explain away their inexplicable behavior.

But once we discover psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism, that's when everything starts to change. We begin to feel disgusted - horrified that we let this darkness into our lives. Everything clicks and falls into place. All of the "accidental" or "insensitive" behavior finally makes sense.

You try to explain this to friends and family members - no one really seems to get it. This is why validation matters. When you come together with others who have experienced the same thing as you, you discover you were not crazy. You were not alone in this inhuman experience.

It takes a great deal of time to come to terms with this personality disorder. You end up having to let go of your past understanding of human nature, and building it back up from scratch. You realize that people are not always inherently good. You begin to feel paranoid, hyper-vigialant, and anxious. The healing process is about learning to balance this new state of awareness with your once trusting spirit.

Your spirit is deeply wounded
After the eventual abandonment, most survivors end up feeling a kind of emptiness that cannot even be described as depression. It's like your spirit has completely gone away. You feel numb to everything and everyone around you. The things that once made you happy now make you feel absolutely nothing at all. You worry that your encounter with this monster has destroyed your ability to empathize, feel and care.

I believe this is what takes the longest time to recover from. It feels hopeless at first, but your spirit is always with you. Damaged, for sure, but never gone. As you begin to discover self-respect & boundaries, it slowly starts to find its voice again. It feels safe opening up, peeking out randomly to say hello. You will find yourself grateful to be crying again, happy that your emotions seem to be returning. This is great, and it will start to become more and more consistent.

Ultimately, you will leave this experience with an unexpected wisdom about the people around you. Your spirit will return stronger than ever before, refusing to be treated that way again. You may encounter toxic people throughout your life, but you won't let them stay for very long. You don't have time for mind games & manipulation. You seek out kind, honest, and compassionate individuals. You know you deserve nothing less.

This new found strength is the greatest gift of the psychopathic experience. And it is worth every second of the recovery process, because it will serve you for the rest of your life.

If you're worried that your recovery process is taking too long, please stop worrying. You've been through hell and back - there is no quick fix for that. And what's more, when all is said and done, these few years will be some of the most important years of your life.

from this fantastic site

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Psychopathic VS Narcissistic Personality



by Nancy McWilliams, page 166

"Finally, there is a very close connection between psychopathic and narcissistic conditions. Both character types reflect a subjectively empty internal world and a dependence on external events to provide self-esteem. Some theorists (Kernberg, 1975; Meloy, 1988) put psychopathy and narcissism on one dimension, characterized overall as narcissistic; the psychopath is considered as on the pathological end of the narcissistic continuum. I would argue that antisocial and narcissistic people are different enough to warrant a continuum for each. Most sociopathic people do not idealize repetitively, and most narcissistic ones do not depend on omnipotent control. But many people have aspects of both character types, and self-inflation can characterize either one.

"Because treatment considerations are quite different for the two groups (e.g., sympathetic mirroring comforts most narcissistic people but antagonizes antisocial ones) despite the things they have in common and the number of people who have aspects of each orientation, it seems to me more useful to differentiate carefully between them."

The initial murder of the serial murderer may reflect a "new identity." The pathological object-relations of narcissism and the malignant narcissism are important diagnostic indicators in the personality functioning of serial killers and the occurrence of these phenomena is a significant factor in the formation of the personalities of serial killers, their inner motivations, and their pattern of commission.

From Abstract: Child serial murder-psychodynamics: closely watched shadows.

J Am Acad Psychoanal 2001 Summer;29(2):331-8 (Turco, R.)

The key to understanding possession, says Meloy, is narcissism. "We know from the research that psychopaths have a core, aggressive narcissism that is fundamental to their personality. If you remove that narcissism, you don't have a psychopath."
Forensic psychologist J. Reid Meloy, author of a standard text on deviant criminal behavior, "The Psychopathic Mind."

Know what you are dealing with. This sounds easy but in fact can be very difficult. All the reading in the world cannot immunize you from the devastating effects of psychopaths. Everyone, including the experts, can be taken in, conned, and left bewildered by them. A good psychopath can play a concerto on anyone's heart strings.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Detaching from The Loser


Guidelines for Detachment

by Joseph M Carver, Ph.D., Psychologist

Separating from "The Loser" often involves three stages: The Detachment, Ending the Relationship, and the Follow-up Protection.


The Detachment

During this part of separating from "The Loser", you recognize what you must do and create an Exit Plan. Many individuals fail in attempts to detach from "The Loser" because they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources. In many cases, "The Loser" has isolated their partner from others, has control of finances, or has control of major exit needs such as an automobile. During the detachment phase you should...


Ending the Relationship

Remembering that "The Loser" doesn't accept responsibility, responds with anger to criticism, and is prone to panic detachment reactions - ending the relationship continues the same theme as the detachment.

- Explain that you are emotionally numb, confused, and burned out. You can't feel anything for anybody and you want to end the relationship almost for his or her benefit. Remind them that they've probably noticed something is wrong and that you need time to sort out your feelings and fix whatever is wrong with you. As disgusting as it may seem, you may have to use a theme of "I'm not right for anyone at this point in my life." If "The Loser" can blame the end on you, as they would if they ended the relationship anyway, they will depart faster.

- If "The Loser" panics, you'll receive a shower of phone calls, letters, notes on your car, etc. React to each in the same manner - a boring thanks. If you overreact or give in, you've lost control again.

- Focus on your need for time away from the situation. Don't agree to the many negotiations that will be offered - dating less frequently, dating only once a week, taking a break for only a week, going to counseling together, etc. As long as "The Loser" has contact with you they feel there is a chance to manipulate you.

- "The Loser" will focus on making you feel guilty. In each phone contact you'll hear how much you are loved, how much was done for you, and how much they have sacrificed for you. At the same time, you'll hear about what a bum you are for leading them on, not giving them an opportunity to fix things, and embarrassing them by ending the relationship.

- Don't try to make them understand how you feel - it won't happen. "The Loser" only is concerned with how they feel - your feelings are irrelevant. You will be wasting your time trying to make them understand and they will see the discussions as an opportunity to make you feel more guilty and manipulate you.

- Don't fall for sudden changes in behavior or promises of marriage, trips, gifts, etc. By this time you have already seen how "The Loser" is normally and naturally. While anyone can change for a short period of time, they always return to their normal behavior once the crisis is over.

- Seek professional counseling for yourself or the support of others during this time. You will need encouragement and guidance. Keep in mind, if "The Loser" finds out you are seeking help they will criticize the counseling, the therapist, or the effort.

- Don't use terms like "someday", "maybe", or "in the future". When "The Loser" hears such possibilities, they think you are weakening and will increase their pressure.

- Imagine a dead slot machine. If we are in Las Vegas at a slot machine and pull the handle ten times and nothing happens - we move on to another machine. However, if on the tenth time the slot machine pays us even a little, we keep pulling the handle - thinking the jackpot is on the way. If we are very stern and stable about the decision to end the relationship over many days, then suddenly offer a possibility or hope for reconciliation - we've given a little pay and the pressure will continue. Never change your position - always say the same thing. "The Loser" will stop playing a machine that doesn't pay off and quickly move to another.


Follow-up Protection

"The Loser" never sees their responsibility or involvement in the difficulties in the relationship. From a psychological standpoint, "The Loser" has lived and behaved in this manner most of their life, clearly all of their adult life. As they really don't see themselves at fault or as an individual with a problem, "The Loser" tends to think that the girlfriend or boyfriend is simply going through a phase - their partner (victim) might be temporarily mixed up or confused, they might be listening to the wrong people, or they might be angry about something and will get over it soon. 

"The Loser" rarely detaches completely and will often try to continue contact with the partner even after the relationship is terminated. 

During the Follow-up Protection period, some guidelines are:

- Never change your original position. It's over permanently! Don't talk about possible changes in your position in the future. You might think that will calm "The Loser" but it only tells them that the possibilities still exist and only a little more pressure is needed to return to the relationship.

- Don't agree to meetings or reunions to discuss old times. For "The Loser", discussing old times is actually a way to upset you, put you off guard, and use the guilt to hook you again.

- Don't offer details about your new life or relationships. Assure him that both his life and your life are now private and that you hope they are happy.

- If you start feeling guilty during a phone call, get off the phone fast. More people return to bad marriages and relationships due to guilt than anything else. If you listen to those phone calls, as though taping them, you'll find "The Loser" spends most of the call trying to make you feel guilty.

- In any contact with the ex "Loser", provide only a status report, much like you'd provide to your Aunt Gladys. For example: "I'm still working hard and not getting any better at tennis. That's about it."

- When "The Loser" tells you how difficult the breakup has been, share with him some general thoughts about breaking-up and how finding the right person is difficult. While "The Loser" wants to focus on your relationship, talk in terms of Ann Landers - "Well, breaking up is hard on anyone. Dating is tough in these times. I'm sure we'll eventually find someone that's right for both of us." Remember - nothing personal!

- Keep all contact short and sweet - the shorter the better. As far as "The Loser" is concerned, you're always on your way somewhere, there's something in the microwave, or your mother is walking up the steps to your home. Wish "The Loser" well but always with the same tone of voice that you might offer to someone you have just talked to at the grocery store. For phone conversations, electronic companies make a handy gadget that produces about twenty sounds - a doorbell, an oven or microwave alarm, a knock on the door, etc. That little device is handy to use on the phone - the microwave dinner just came out or someone is at the door. Do whatever you have to do to keep the conversation short - and not personal.


Summary

In all of our relationships throughout life, we will meet a variety of individuals with many different personalities. Some are a joy to have in our life and some provide us with life-long love and security. Others we meet pose some risk to us and our future due to their personality and attitudes. Both in medicine and mental health - the key to health is the early identification and treatment of problems - before they reach the point that they are beyond treatment. In years of psychotherapy and counseling practice, treating the victims of "The Loser", patterns of attitude and behavior emerge in "The Loser" that can now be listed and identified in the hopes of providing early identification and warning. When those signs and indicators surface and the pattern is identified, we must move quickly to get away from the situation. Continuing a relationship with "The Loser" will result in a relationship that involves intimidation, fear, angry outbursts, paranoid control, and a total loss of your self-esteem and self-confidence.

If you have been involved in a long-term relationship with "The Loser", after you successfully escape you may notice that you have sustained some psychological damage that will require professional repair. In many cases, the stress has been so severe that you may have a stress-produced depression. You may have severe damage to your self-confidence/self-esteem or to your feelings about the opposite sex or relationships. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and counselors are available in your community to assist and guide you as you recover from your damaging relationship with "The Loser".

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Verbal Abuse

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Adult Children of Narcissists - Their Struggle for Self



Trapped in the Mirror
by Dr. Elan Golomb
(book available at Amazon.com)

excerpts:

"People who are relatively free of narcissistic traits (most of us have some) do not attempt to place themselves above others. They are unconcerned with such comparisons. They stay in touch with their feelings and try to do their personal best. Their standards are internal and realistic since they have a good idea of who they are and what they can accomplish (such objectivity is not insignificant). They are not free of idealistic wishes and dreams.

"Narcissists are wholly different. They unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self-image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self-deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism and to their own roiling sea of doubts.

"This figure of paradox needs to be regarded as perfect by all. To achieve this, he or she constructs an elaborate persona (a social mask which is presented to the world). The persona needs an appreciative audience to applaud it. If enough people do so, the narcissist is relieved that no one can see through his disguise. The persona is a defensive schema to hide behind, like the false-front stores on a Western movie set. When you peer behind the propped-up wall, you find . . . nothing. Similarly, behind the grandiose parading, the narcissist feels empty and devoid of value.

"Because his life is organized to deny negative feelings about himself and to maintain an illusion of superiority, the narcissist's family is forcibly conscripted into supporting roles. They have no other option if they wish to get along with him. His mate must be admiring and submissive to keep the marriage going and his children will automatically mold themselves into any image that is projected upon them.

"Here the tragedy begins. A narcissist cannot see his children as they are but only as his unconscious needs dictate. He does not question why his children are incredibly wonderful (better than anyone else's) or intolerably horrible (the worst in all respects) or why his view of them ricochets from one extreme to another with no middle ground. It is what they are.

"When he is idealizing them, he sees their talents as mythic, an inflation that indicates they are being used as an extension of his grandiose self. When he hates them and finds their characteristics unacceptable, he is projecting hated parts of himself onto them. Whether idealizing or denigrating, he is entirely unaware that what he sees is a projection and that his views are laying a horrible burden on his child."
_________________________________

"The offspring of narcissists grow up fulfilling their assigned roles. They may sense that they are in a state of falsehood, but do not know what to do about feelings of nonauthenticity. They try all the harder to become what they are supposed to be, as if their feelings of uneasiness come from an improper realization of their role. If their parents see them as miserably deficient, from the shape of their bodies to the power of their minds, that is what they become. If they were portrayed to themselves as great muckamucks, especially if they have innate ability to fulfill a powerful role, they become the movers and shakers of society.

"At heart, children of narcissists, raised up or cast down by the ever-evaluating parent, feel themselves to be less than nothing because they must 'be' something to earn their parents' love. Conditional love offers no support for the inner self. It creates people who have no personal sense of substance or worth. Nourished on conditional love, children of narcissists become conditional. They find themselves unreal."
_____________________________

"As a child, the narcissist-to-be found his essential self rejected by his narcissistic parent. The wounds of the parent are a template for the wounding of the child. Each narcissistic parent in each generation repeats the crime that was perpetrated against him. The crime is non-acceptance. The narcissist is more demanding and deforming of the child he identifies with more strongly, although all his children are pulled into his web of subjectivity. How can he accept offspring who are the product of his own unconsciously despised self?

"The narcissist-to-be turns away from a world he perceives as devoid of nurturance and love (since a mother’s care gives the child its first version of the world). He withdraws into grandiose fantasies to shield himself from profound feelings of unworthiness caused by the fact that his mother does not really love him. Grandiosity permits him to believe that he is complete and perfect unto himself, thus shielding him from his secret sense that he is a ravening beast, ready to murder others in order to eat and survive. The food of this beast is admiration.

"The narcissistic mother, caretaker of the child’s earliest years, is grandiose, chronically cold but overprotective. She invades her child’s autonomy and manipulates him to conform to her wishes. She rejects all about him that she finds objectionable, putting him in the anxiety-ridden position of losing her affection if he expresses dissatisfaction. She responds to his baby rages and fussing with anxiety, anger, or withdrawal. He becomes unable to cope with the ugly feelings that threaten to erupt and destroy the bond between him and his mother, the bond he depends on for survival.

"His mother’s grandiosity models a way out of his dilemma. She places him on a common throne, sharing the rarefied air of her greatness. By appropriating and embellishing the aura of specialness in which she has enveloped him he can create a grandiose fantasy about himself to escape to. This fantasy eventually crystallizes into a psychic structure we call the grandiose self. A new narcissist is born.

"For all his air of self-sufficiency, the narcissist is full of interpersonal needs. He is more needy than most people who feel they have something good inside of them. If he is to survive, he must find a way to get his needs met without acknowledging the independent existence of the person off whom he wants to feed. To admit that a person is necessary to him gets him in touch with feelings of deficiency, which plummet him into intolerable emptiness, jealousy, and rage. To avoid this experience, he inhabits a one-person world. Either he exists and other people are extinguished or vice versa. In his mind, he is center stage and other people are mere shadows beyond the proscenium. This solution creates a new conundrum: ‘How can I get fed without acknowledging the feeder?’ The solution is to dissect people and to turn them partially into objects, to make them inanimate. A person comes to represent a need-fulfilling function or an organ like a breast, vagina, or penis. There is no overall person to consider.

"Since he is not psychotic and totally out of touch with reality, he is occasionally forced to recognize the presence of a benefactor. The emotional incursion of such an idea is warded off by demeaning the gift or the person who has given it. If a gift is unworthy he doesn’t have to feel gratitude. Not to say that he does not at times proffer thanks. A narcissist can be quite charming when he wishes to impress, but his words are not deeply felt.

"He usually does not see the need to go to such lengths with his family. They belong to him and are supposed to cater to his needs. His children are particularly crushed by his lack of recognition for their attempts at pleasing him since he is the main figure in their world. Adding insult to injury, they can always count on his criticism when what is offered falls below his standards.

"Despite his bubble of grandiosity, the narcissist is remarkably thin-skinned, forever taking offense and feeling mistreated, especially when people appear to have eliminated the extras in their response to him. Less than special immediately implies that someone may be thinking the emperor is naked, precisely what he fears. He is enraged whenever the aching corns of his insecurities are stepped on.

"A narcissist tends to have transient social relationships since few wish to abide by her rules. She has quick enthusiasms, business associates but few friends. Her closest are other narcissists who keep a comfortable distance while exchanging gestures of mutual admiration. Neither makes emotional demands on the other.

"In a mate, if she does not choose a fellow narcissist, she will cohabit with a person who feels inadequate and who needs to hide in a relationship. This suits her well since she doesn't want to recognize the existence of another being. Often, her mate is the child of a narcissist, already indoctrinated to regard exploitation and disregard as love."
____________________________________

"The grandiose narcissist in her automat world may not feel the emptiness of her life, although her narcissistic traits cause suffering in all those with whom she has intimate contact. She only comes to recognize that something is wrong (not necessarily with herself) when the environment no longer supports her grand illusions and she fails to live up to expectations of greatness. At this time she may become depressed and seek psychotherapy to relieve the pain."
______________________________________

"The narcissist attacks separateness in everyone with whom he must have a relationship. Either they fit into his ego-supporting mold or they are extruded from his life. Narcissistic rage and aggression are based on fear. His entitlement to absolute control over others must go unchallenged.

"Although the overall picture of narcissism can be readily understood, small details of [narcissistic] behavior are inexplicable. There is no rational explanation for what a completely self-centered person will do. What they themselves say about it later bears no relation to the original motivation. They often surrender to overpowering impulses based on distorted, one-sided, and limited perceptions."
_______________________________________

"Often, an initial move for independence involves joining a group. Membership in a group represents opposition to the parent. A narcissistic parent wants to determine her child’s style and life objectives. Her child wants separation but, fearing to stand alone, joins an all-encompassing group as a halfway move to freedom. He thinks that membership expresses his individuality and cites group laws as buttressing independence from the parent. But such membership often limits his search for a self that needs separation to exist. In order not to be immersed in his parent’s narcissistic net he buries himself in a group that operates like a narcissistic family and requires identity with members’ goals and ethos. It is a style of life that reinforces personal nonbeing."


FACEBOOK GROUP FOR DAUGHTERS OF NARCISSISTIC MOTHERS

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