Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Trauma: Emotional & Psychological

Causes, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment
Trauma. The word brings to mind the effects of such major events as war, rape, kidnapping, abuse, torture, or other similar assault. The emotional aftermath of such events, recognized by the medical and psychological communities, and increasingly by the general public, is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now there is a new field of investigation that is less familiar, even to professionals: emotional or psychological trauma.

What is emotional or psychological trauma?

The ability to recognize emotional trauma has changed radically over the course of history. Until rather recently psychological trauma was noted only in men after catastrophic wars. The women's movement in the sixties broadened the definition of emotional trauma to include physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually abused women and children. Now because of the discoveries made in the nineties known as the decade of the brain, psychological trauma has further broadened its definition.

Recent research has revealed that emotional trauma can result from such common occurrences as the breakup of a significant relationship, a relationship with a pathological person or having a pathological parent, a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience, the discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition, or other similar situations. Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional toll on those involved, even if the event did not cause physical damage.

Regardless of its source, an emotional trauma contains three common elements:

It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the individual's experience of the event. And it is not predictable how a given person will react to a particular event. For someone who is used to being in control of emotions and events, it may be surprising – even embarrassing – to discover that something like a breakup or car accident can be so debilitating.

What causes emotional or psychological trauma?
Our brains are structured into three main parts, long observed in autopsies:
Because of the development of brain scan technology, scientists can now observe the brain in action, without waiting for an autopsy.
These scans reveal that trauma actually changes the structure and function of the brain, at the point where the frontal cortex, the emotional brain and the survival brain converge.

A significant finding is that brain scans of people with relationship or developmental problems, learning problems, and social problems related to emotional intelligence reveal similar structural and functional irregularities to those resulting from PTSD.

What is the difference between stress and emotional or psychological trauma?
One way to tell the difference between stress and emotional trauma is by looking at the outcome – how much residual effect an upsetting event is having on our lives, relationships, and overall functioning.

Traumatic distress can be distinguished from routine stress by assessing the following:

If we can communicate our distress to people who care about us and can respond adequately, and if we return to a state of equilibrium following a stressful event, we are in the realm of stress. If we become frozen in a state of active emotional intensity, we are experiencing an emotional trauma – even though sometimes we may not be consciously aware of the level of distress we are experiencing.

Why can an event cause an emotionally traumatic response in one person and not in another?
There is no clear answer to this question, but it is likely that one or more of these factors are involved:

Anyone can become traumatized. Even professionals who work with trauma, or other people close to a traumatized person, can develop symptoms of "vicarious" or "secondary" traumatization.

Developing symptoms is never a sign of weakness.

Symptoms should be taken seriously and steps should be taken to heal, just as one would take action to heal from a physical ailment. And just as with a physical condition, the amount of time or assistance needed to recover from emotional trauma will vary from one person to another.

What are the symptoms of emotional trauma?
There are common effects or conditions that may occur following a traumatic event. Sometimes these responses can be delayed, for months or even years after the event. Often, people do not even initially associate their symptoms with the precipitating trauma. The following are symptoms that may result from a more commonplace, unresolved trauma, especially if there were earlier, overwhelming life experiences:


Extreme symptoms can also occur as a delayed reaction (months or years later) to the traumatic event:
Increased Arousal

What are the possible effects of emotional trauma?

Even when unrecognized, emotional trauma can create lasting difficulties in an individual's life. One way to determine whether an emotional or psychological trauma has occurred, perhaps even early in life before language or conscious awareness were in place, is to look at the kinds of recurring problems one might be experiencing. These can serve as clues to an earlier situation that caused a dysregulation in the structure or function of the brain.

Common personal and behavioral effects of emotional trauma:

Common effects of emotional trauma on interpersonal relationships:

What if symptoms don't go away, or appear at a later time?
Over time, even without professional treatment, symptoms of an emotional trauma generally subside, and normal daily functioning gradually returns. However, even after time has passed, sometimes the symptoms don't go away. Or they may appear to be gone, but surface again in another stressful situation. When a person's daily life functioning or life choices continue to be affected, a post-traumatic stress disorder may be the problem, requiring professional assistance.

How is emotional trauma treated?
Traditional approaches to treating emotional trauma include:
There are also several recent developments in the treatment to emotional trauma. Depending on the nature of the trauma and the age or state of development at which it occurred, these somatic (body) psychotherapies might even be more effective than traditional therapies. Some of the new therapies include:

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Good Mothers & Their Allies vs. the Family Court and the Abuser

Caring Mother Pictures, Images and Photos

This introduction is adapted from a section that Bancroft wrote for Disorder in the Courts: Mothers and Their Allies Take on the Family Court System, an e-book available from California NOW.

by Lundy Bancroft

There is no love deeper, more complete, and more vulnerable than the love that caring parents feel for their children. There is a bond so strong that it can be hard to tell exactly where the parent ends and the child begins, and the line is even harder to draw when our children are very young. Mothers have an additional bond from having carried their children inside of their bodies and having given birth to them, and more than half of mothers have experienced a deepened attachment through breast-feeding their babies. And mothers are, in the great majority of cases, their children’s primary caretakers, especially during their early years. All connections between caring, non-abusive parents and their children are so important as to be almost sacred, but there is usually a particular quality to the mother-child bond. That life-giving and sustaining connection deserves the full support and admiration of communities and nations.

And just as there is a special beauty and importance to relationships between mothers and their children, there is a special and extraordinary cruelty in the abusive man who attempts to break or weaken the mother-child bond, whether by turning children against their mother, by harming the children physically, sexually or psychologically, or by attempting to take custody of the children away from her.

Children need protection from their abusive parents. In the realm of custody litigation which involves abuse, the abusive parent tends to be the father while the protective parent is usually the mother, because most perpetrators of domestic violence and of child sexual abuse are male. We don’t know that much about what happens to protective fathers, since their cases are much less common, but we know that protective mothers frequently encounter a system that is insensitive, ignorant about the dynamics of abuse, and biased against women. In this context, mothers sometimes find themselves being forbidden by the court from protecting their children from a violent, cruel, or sexually abusive father. And this outcome is a tragic one, for children and for their mothers.

On behalf of the hundreds of people across the continent who are currently working for family court justice, I want to communicate to you our caring and solidarity with the challenging road you have ahead of you, as you fight to keep your children safe in body and soul. I want to let you know how critically important we believe that project to be, and how much your children need you to stand up for their rights and their well-being. You deserve admiration, not criticism, for the courageous risks you are taking on their behalf, and for your determination that all of you should have the opportunity to live in freedom and kindness.

Our society is currently giving mothers a powerful and crazy-making mixed message. First, it says to mothers, “If your children’s father is violent or abusive to you or to your children, you should leave him in order to keep your children from being exposed to his behavior.” But then, if the mother does leave, the society many times appears to do an abrupt about-face, and say, “Now that you are spilt up from your abusive partner, you must expose your children to him. Only now you must send them alone with him, without you even being around anymore to keep an eye on whether they are okay.”

What do we want? Do we want mothers to protect their children from abusers, or don’t we?

The sad result of this double-bind is that many mothers who take entirely appropriate steps to protect their children from exposure to abuse are being insulted by court personnel, harshly and unethically criticized and ridiculed in custody evaluations and psychological assessments, and required to send their children into unsupervised contact or even custody with their abusive fathers. And sometimes these rulings are coming in the face of overwhelming evidence that the children have both witnessed abuse and suffered it directly, evidence that would convince any reasonable and unbiased person that the children were in urgent need of protection. Family courts across the US and Canada appear to be guilty day in and day out of reckless endangerment of children.

Fortunately, there are also many women who do succeed in keeping their children safe post-separation. Some manage to persuade judges to grant the mother appropriate right to keep her children safe. Others lost in the early stages but do better later, as the abuser finally starts to show his true colors over time. Some women find that they succeed best by staying out of court, and using other methods to protect their children, such as waiting for the abuser to lose interest and drop out, or moving some distance away so that he will tire. Some women find that what works best is to focus on involving their children in supportive services, connecting them to healthy relatives, and teaching them to think critically and independently, so that they become strong children who see through the abuse and manipulation.

There is no formula that works for everyone. What strategies will work best for you depends on what your local court system is like, how much support you are receiving from friends and relatives, how much internal strength your children have, and how much (or how little) damage the abuser has already succeeded in doing to your relationships with your children. And each abuser is different. Some, for example, can be placated if they feel like they have won, and will gradually drift off, while others will never be satisfied with anything less than completely alienating children from their mother. Lawyers can advise you on court strategy, therapists can share their insight into children’s injuries and healing processes, but ultimately you have to rely most on your own judgment, because you are the only expert on the full complexities of you specific situation.

As you make your way ahead, I hope you will put a high priority on taking good care of yourself. Seek out kind, supportive people who are good listeners. Nurture your friendships and family relationships. Try to step through the stress long enough each day to spend some time showering your children with love if they are with you, and make sure to play with them, not just look after their needs. Notice what you have already done well, as a parent and as an advocate for your children. Give yourself credit for your own strength, and celebrate the fact that your mind is getting free of the abuse, even if your children are not free yet. Cry out your sorrows when you need to, sob into a pillow behind a closed door so you won’t upset your children, but do sob, because your heart needs the cleansing relief of those tears. And then build on your strengths and accomplishments to keep fighting.

I wish the “justice system” dispensed justice, but where it comes to child custody litigation involving abusive fathers, outcomes are mixed at best. With adequate knowledge and planning, and especially if you are among the fortunate mothers who are able to obtain competent legal representation from a lawyer who understands what abusers are like as parents, you may be able to keep your children on the path to healing. If your case goes poorly, there are still ways that you can help your children feel your love and support surrounding them, and give them the strength to survive their father’s destructiveness. But regardless of the outcome you experience personally, you might want to keep the following points in mind:

Depending on where your own case stands currently, you may have trouble imagining any involvements right now beyond your day-to-day survival, and your efforts to keep your children functioning. But involvement in social change efforts is not necessarily separate from personal healing. Many women have found that when they become active in the protective parents movement, raising their voices loudly for the custody rights of mothers who have been battered or whose children have been sexually abused, their own healing leaps forward.

Breaking down personal isolation sometimes goes hand in hand with breaking down political isolation. So I offer suggestions here not only for ways to carry on your own fight, but also for avenues to join forces with other women (and male allies) who are working for social justice, so that protective mothers and their children can stop being torn apart.

I want to express my personal gratitude to you for your efforts to protect your children from abuse, and to raise them into caring, kind, humane values. The whole world benefits when you fight for your children’s rights, and for their freedom.

Protective mothers are some of our society’s most invisible and most important heroes, even while they are treated so often, in a bitter irony, as villains.


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Monday, February 19, 2018

Unresolved Trauma = Attracts Dating Predators

Address old wounds before jumping into the dating pool
Imagine that your car breaks down in a remote spot known to be close to a Federal prison. Your cell phone isn't picking up a signal, so you are thrust on the mercy of a passing driver. In this scenario, would it be wiser to solicit help from another driver yourself or to sit in the car and wait for someone to notice your state of need and offer to help?  

It would generally be wiser to take an active role in picking the target of your request for help. If you decide to actively request help, you could try to screen for certain factors that might indicate that a particular person would be relatively safe to hail—for example, a man or woman who appears to be riding with his or her young children.  

Even if you picked at random, without looking for indicators of potentially safe helpers, you would be statistically less likely to pick a sociopath relative to the likelihood that a sociopath might pick you when he or she witnesses your obvious state of vulnerability.  

As threat expert Gavin De Becker explains, “the possibility that you'll inadvertently select a predatory criminal for whom you are the right victim type is very remote."* In other words, if you were to wait passively in your car for someone to help you, you would most likely attract one of two types of people—either good Samaritans or opportunistic sociopaths drawn to your state of need.  

For individuals with unresolved traumas, the mate-selection process often carries a double risk. That is, unhealed wounds of past trauma in your life lead to a higher likelihood that unsafe people will pick you, and if you actively pick a partner, it is much more likely that you will end up with an unsafe person.  

In other words, if you have experienced a trauma, it is often true that you will unintentionally emit certain signals and behaviors that chum the water for the psychopathic sharks in the dating pool. Part of the “chum” in this analogy would be body language.

Research shows that there are differences in the body language of those identified by anti-social prisoners to be target victims and those who are not judged to be easy prey.** Anti-social, dominating, power-abusing individuals have a strong radar for those who are impulsive, those who do not respect themselves, those who are desperate to find love at any cost – basically anyone who will play opposite them in a submissive role for any number of reasons. 

I’ve intentionally selected sharks for my analogy here because the behavioral patterns of sharks can show up in interactions between those in the dating pool. That is, before a shark attacks, it first circles and then bumps into its potential prey, feeling out its possible victim before going in for the kill.  

In the same way, sharks in the dating pool will bump up against those they are getting to know, putting out feelers in the form of little tests to gauge the potential for dominating someone. There are many, many forms that these tests can take. Here are three examples… 

A shark gains information about the potential to take advantage of someone by observing how that person responds to these kinds of tests. So, if you’ve ever met a captivating person who suddenly dropped out of your life with no explanation, one possibility is that a shark in the dating pool may have taken a pass because you did not show yourself to be easy prey. 

Even if your goal is to have a healthy love relationship, if you have experienced certain types of past traumas, you may have a difficult time recognizing sharks when they present themselves as suitors because somehow they "feel like home." If we are sometimes drawn like moths to a flame to potentially abusive partners, could there be any logical reason for this pattern?  

Some have argued that we select certain partners in order to re-stage trauma scenarios that mirror what we have experienced in the past, presumably with the hope of getting a different outcome. For example, the son of a verbally abusive mother will often end up with a verbally abusive wife. So, maybe this is an attempt to re-pave over an old trauma in order to emotionally correct a deep psychic wound? Whether or not this is the underlying psychological drive, the end result of picking someone you hope to change almost never leads to greater wholeness and emotional well-being. 

Ultimately, in relationships, as in politics, if you ignore your history, you will tend to repeat it, so if you have not addressed and achieved healing from your trauma experience(s), doing so in a safe relationship with a treating professional is recommended as a first priority. 

*De Becker, G. (1997). The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence. New York, NY: Dell Publishing (a division of Random House, Inc.), p. 65. 

**Grayson, B. and Stein, M.I. (1981) Attracting Assault: Victims' Nonverbal Cues. Journal of Communication 31 (1): 68-75.


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Sunday, February 18, 2018


Victim says fighting back is vital
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

Calgary, Alberta (CANADA) -- It took her almost three years, but Jane was able to get justice against her stalker.

After months of endless phone calls, letters and being followed, Jane -- not her real name -- breathed a sigh of relief in 2002 when her stalker was sentenced to jail.

"I was so grateful -- I was so relieved when it was over," said Jane. "I had almost given up."

A restraining order didn't work -- her stalker kept coming. But he was eventually arrested, tried and convicted, and Jane has had more than two trouble-free years.

There have been no phone calls, no notes, not a peep.

But Jane is still careful.

Her phone number is unlisted, she has a new job, and she hopes to move to another part of town, just to be safe.

She wanted neither her name nor her stalker's name printed.

But she wants to see other women in similar situations follow her example of never giving up, and going to great lengths to protect themselves.

"They're dangerous even if they don't touch you, because you don't know what they're capable of doing," she said.

Information risk specialist Sharon Polsky says the key to staying safe from a stalker is protecting your personal information.

"Someone who is a stalker, they are determined and they usually have a target in mind," says Polsky, owner of Project Scopes Solution Group.

A target can prevent a stalker from learning more about her -- victims are overwhelmingly female -- by being protective about what information they give out in their day-to-day lives.

"Don't give real information on websites and don't give out your home number on websites, unless you're dealing with the government and you're required to," she said

Polsky also advises women to make sure their addresses aren't listed in the phone book, or to have a completely unlisted number.

"Also, get a shredder so your utility bill doesn't accidentally end up blowing down the alley in the breeze," she said.

It's also advised if a victim moves to escape a stalker, that she set up an alternate mailing address, such as a post office box.

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime says the post office box should be a victim's primary address for licences, car registration, credit cards, bills, schools, voter records, and all medical records

And, as a general rule, people should not give out their Social Insurance Number to anyone other than banks and employers, because a SIN can be used to track someone.

In addition to protecting information given out on-line, Polsky said people need to protect their home and work computers by changing passwords and making sure they've been turned off before stepping away from them.

This would prevent stalkers, particularly intimate partner stalkers who might have access, from hijacking e-mail programs.

But Polsky said a persistent stalker will use any means to get information. "It's not the technology, it's the people," she said.

"Stalkers operate on base instincts -- it's very easy to get information from people just by asking."

Tracy Bahm, director of the Stalking Resource Centre at the National Centre for Victims of Crime, in Washington, D.C., said it's frightening what someone can find out with something as simple as an online background check.

"You're info gets passed around and put in more and more databases, so you need to protect it," she said.

Victims also need to keep a record of everything, Bahm said, no matter how minute the contact.

"It's multiple acts that make up stalking," she said. "A lot of it is keeping a log keeping record of how many phone calls or e-mails came in on a given day."

But even if victims are even able to protect themselves or gather enough evidence to take to the police, stalking still leaves a mark.

"It's that invasion into every part of your life that I think is really hard for victims -- unless that person dies, it never goes away," Bahm said.

"There's that fear element -- they just won't stop and I think that's pretty scary."

Bahm said people are aware technology is being misused but as it gets better, it becomes harder and harder to detect

That means victims and police have some distance to make up in the race to thwart the shadowy techno-stalker, with all eyes on his victim.

- - -


If you or someone you know is being tormented , you can:

* Contact the police

* Keep a written record of the date and time of every contact with the stalker and keep the record in a safe place

* Tell friends, family or co-workers what's happening

* Get a peace bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada. They can have conditions of no contact, or order a person to stay a certain distance away from you

* Keep as much information as possible private , and change your mailing address to a post office box

* Keep the outside of your house well-lit, install an alarm, change the locks and keep doors and windows locked, even when you are home

* Change your phone number, using *67 to block your number or *57 to trace harassing calls

* A cellphone is recommended in case of emergency

* Keep emergency numbers next to the phone

* Seek out the help of victim services in your community

* Make trusted people in your workplace aware of the situation and tell others not to reveal your whereabouts to outsiders

* Have unnecessary information about you removed from your company's website

* Be well aware of your surroundings when you are out

* If you are being followed, drive directly to a police, gas or fire station, remain inside the vehicle and honk the horn until someone comes to your aid

* If a friend is being stalked, express concern about it to the victim and encourage them to turn to the police for help

* It is not advised to confront a stalker on a friend's behalf -- this can place you at risk of harassment and could place increased risk on the victim -- contact the police instead

-- source: Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime

- - -


Some things a stalker may do:

* Follow his victim everywhere

* Make repeated, unwanted phone calls

* Damage the home, car or other property

* Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards or e-mail

* Monitor phone calls or computer use

* Make threats or commit other actions

While not all stalkers are the same, most of them share some common traits:

* Obsessive personality

* Above-average intelligence

* Extreme emotional needs

* Few personal relationships

* May be delusional

* Non-conformity to social norms

* Low self-esteem

* Substance abuse

While a stalker can pose a threat to his target, there are a number of warning signs the risk regarding the stalker is increasing:

* Escalation to more personal forms of conduct

* Closer geographical proximity of the stalking

* Prior criminal history

* Communicated threats are a strong indicator, especially direct, private, written threats very specific and severe in nature

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Saturday, February 17, 2018


Victims tell tales of terror
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

Calgary, Alberta (CANADA) -- Modern technology is bringing even more terror to stalking victims.

Lisa, a stalking victim who didn't want her real name used, said she started getting suspicious when her ex-boyfriend would show up wherever she went.

It didn't matter where: picking up clients or visiting the library, he would turn up.

He would phone her and ask where she picked up her two kids, and then fly into a rage when her answer didn't reflect the information he had.

And he was always right.

"He would appear in places he wouldn't otherwise know I was there," said Lisa.

Unbeknownst to her, Lisa's ex-boyfriend had attached a global positioning system device to her car.

"He is so smart with technology, he could put anything together," she said.

The pair's romance began three years ago.

Lisa said her ex seemed normal, smart and charming.

"He was a very nice guy, very nice -- all of the good things you look for," she said.

But their two-year relationship started to turn sour after he developed a drug addiction.

"It started affecting his brain and he would go days without sleeping," she said.

Repeated pleas to get him to stop went nowhere so Lisa was forced to issue an ultimatum.

"I warned him 'if I see you in that condition one more time, it's over,' " she said.

"He told me that he would quit and then he told me that he had already quit, but I had seen him in that state before, so I knew what to look for."

Knowing he was lying, Lisa tried to put an end to the relationship, causing him to fly into a rage.

"He broke things in his apartment, put holes in his walls," she said, adding he tried to contact her to arrange a meeting.

Lisa said he told her he would try to be calm.

"But as soon as he would hear the words break up, he would go crazy," she said.

After that meeting last February, the constant phone calls and e-mails began -- Lisa said he was begging just to hear her voice.

She said he would call in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and ask her to talk about trivial things.

And then the threats started.

"He said 'it's me or no one else -- and if it's not me, then I'll kill you,' " she said.

Despite the threats, Lisa didn't go directly to the police and her ex wouldn't relent. He would hound her constantly, from the first conversation about breaking up, to when he was arrested six months later. His phone calls became even more incessant, Lisa said, using cell phones to tie up the lines where she worked and having her cellular service cut off.

And during this period the strange appearances started, terrifying her even more.

"I realized that he was totally sick and it was damaging not just for me, but for him, because he had lost his mind," said Lisa, who eventually found the GPS device he was using and called police, but she said an arrest wasn't made.

Frightened about his actions, she went with her two kids to stay at her sister's, because she was worried he would break in to her house.

Compounded with the further threats against Lisa and her home, the authorities were called into the case. Not long after, he was arrested and charged with stalking.

Lisa hopes she won't have to deal with him again, but the ordeal has damaged her.

"There's a sense of self-protection on me now -- I don't even want to get into a relationship," said the American woman.

"What I feel right now is not good, because what I lost is a belief in love."

But most off all, she still can't shake the feeling of having her movements watched.

The thought a victim could be tracked anywhere they go in such a fashion terrifies an Alberta stalking victim, who was terrorized for nine months after her romantic entanglement with her eventual stalker came to an end.

Jane, who also didn't want her real name used for fear of stirring up past demons, said because of the nature of the crime, anything is possible with a persistent stalker.

"That's terrifying -- I couldn't imagine that," Jane said of the possibility of being tracked with GPS.

"I'd be freaking out and if someone did that to me and I found out, the first thing I would try to do is get a new car."

Jane's stalker would skulk around her house and send her letters threatening to send lurid photos to her relatives.

He would try to be sweet, Jane said, but his mood would turn on a dime when she rebuffed his attempts to regain her affection.

"He would latch on to my car when I tried to drive away and he would show up at my door constantly causing trouble," she said.

Jane said he sent her letters to the front desk of her office, leave nasty notes in her mailbox, ring the doorbell and run away.

Jane said he supplemented his letters with constant phone calls, both to her home and her workplace, totalling nearly 50 every day.

"It was extremely frightening because you never knew what he was capable of," she said.

Eventually, Jane was able to get a restraining order against her stalker, followed by his arrest, charges and a jail sentence.

"I'm just trying to live my life, to get it out of my mind," she said.

"But if I see somebody that even remotely looks like him, my heart just stops."

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Friday, February 16, 2018


Tools of the trade
High-tech gadgets give stalkers more power
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

It's a technology with the noblest of uses -- tracking kidnapped children or finding avalanche victims.

But like they've done with computers, stalkers have found a new use for global positioning systems (GPS).

Four recent cases in the U.S. have shown the dark side of the technology, all of them involving men attaching a GPS-enabled device to their exes' vehicles to aid them in their stalking behaviour.

Such gadgets use a constellation of satellites to pinpoint location and, using cellular networks, can send their co-ordinates to wireless handsets or computers.

Misuse of the devices allows a stalker precise information about the location of their target, making it easier to terrorize. Authorities involved in the cases have said the technology has created the brand of 21st century stalking.

Because of that, Pamela Cross of the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children and the Ontario Women's Justice Network in Toronto, said victims' groups, which deal with thousands of people every year, need to be more up to speed about what technology is being used by abusers.

"I would say so -- technology is almost the greatest gift to a persistent stalker," she said.

"The thing you have to remember is you're talking about people who aren't overly concerned that what they're doing is illegal."

She said stalkers are the type of people who will use any means necessary to achieve their goals.

Persistent stalkers, she said, are usually intelligent, manipulative people who seem to find a way to get information from the people who have it.

With the case of technology, the intelligent, persistent stalker manipulates it to his own advantage.

"I think the GPS stories are disheartening -- it's so insidious because even things like MapQuest and other similar services can give you directions right to a person's house," Cross said.

"The other thing that exists that I find quite bizarre are these 'I Spy' software programs that advertise ways to track someone down electronically."

Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Val Campbell, also the co-ordinator of the family violence initiative for Alberta Justice, said technological means are just another way for an abuser to exert control over a victim.

"The GPS thing is pretty frightening," Campbell said, adding it's likely just a matter of time before a Canadian stalker starts using tracking technology.

"For sure, if it isn't happening already."

But Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C., said in all likelihood, there's an obsessed ex somewhere in Canada, watching in real-time his computer monitor.

"I believe strongly that Canadians are incredibly tech-savvy ... it's possibly not being reported," Southworth said.

"When you look at societies that have high technology use, there are going to be situations where technology is used in violent incidents."

Southworth, who started training law enforcement more than four years ago, has co-ordinated her efforts in Washington with Tracy Bahm of the Stalking Resource Centre.

"She and I are seeing lots and lots of technology showing up in stalking and domestic violence cases," Southworth said.

In addition to the GPS cases, tech-savvy stalkers are turning to devices such as spyware to monitor their targets' computer use, and putting hidden video cameras to a wide variety of prying-eye uses, including keeping tabs on who an ex might be inviting into the bedroom.

Australian and British law enforcement agencies are sounding the alarm over camera-equipped cell phones as a new form of stalking, something which would fall under Canada's proposed anti-voyeur law, should it be passed.

"Secret webcams in dorm rooms, upskirt photos and posting photos to the Internet to hurt someone, that's all going to be illegal," said Crown prosecutor Steve Bilodeau, who specializes in cybercrime.

Though the technology is new, GPS devices have been commercially available for about five years and Southworth said every advancement in technology has brought about new misuses by stalkers.

"When caller identification was first introduced, abusers would monitor the caller ID box," she said.

"As technology advances, it's going to be almost impossible for victims to flee and get to safety."

But she said there are always signs.

"Trust your instincts -- if your ex knows too much about your activities or things you only told a few people, you might be under surveillance," she said.

An even stronger sign is if the stalker follows his target to places the victim has never been before.

That was the tip-off for Connie Adams, a Wisconsin woman who in 2002 was stalked by her ex-boyfriend with a real-time GPS tracker.

He showed up while she was at a particular bar for the first time.

"He told me no matter where I went or what I did, he would know where I was," Adams testified at her ex's hearing.

Police say Paul Seidler put a global positioning tracking device between the radiator and grill of Adams' car.

He was handed nine months in jail in 2003 for stalking.

Southworth also said an ex with a history of controlling behaviour and who is fairly comfortable with technology could resort to technology to track and torment.

But sometimes stalkers will identify how they're keeping tabs on their victims.

"Follow the patterns," she said.

"If it's every time you call or e-mail someone your stalker is calling you asking specifics about the conversation you just had, or where you've been, then that's a pretty strong signal.

"That's one of the ways they tip their hand: They taunt their victims with information they're not supposed to know."

For victims who think someone might be using a GPS unit to follow them, or using a camera to secretly videotape them, as long as the device is transmitting a radio frequency, it can can be detected.

The devices that scan for signals can be expensive, but for some, the peace of mind would far outweigh the cost.

People worried about the cost can look at various places on their vehicles, including under the bumper or under the front and rear dashboards.

Southworth's group advises if anything is found, it should be kept, photographed, but not removed from where it is.

That's a task best left to the police, who should be contacted immediately.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018


High-tech intruders

Access to your life a mouse click away
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

CALGARY -- With the advent of high-technology, stalking has become a greater threat than ever before. In our five-part series, the Sun Media's Dave Breakenridge looks at the scourge of stalking in the 21st Century.

It used to be stalkers would have to make personal efforts to get their targets' attention, leaving notes or keeping watch outside their homes.

But now, stalkers are getting their threats right into where their victims live -- volleys of love or hate, or both -- landing squarely and repeatedly in e-mail inboxes, websites, blogs about the victims & their families or instant message windows.

Two-thirds of Canadian homes have a computer, and nearly that many have at least one person using the Internet from work, home or school, making the computer an easy-to-access tool of terror.

These cases where a computer is used to torment are becoming more common, said Det. Brad Martin of the Calgary Police Service technological crimes unit.

"It now happens on a pretty regular basis where the Internet is used to harass, embarrass or make life difficult for people," he said.

"The most common stuff we see is e-mail, instant messages to cell phones, websites hosted with private pictures or personal information and registration at seedy websites in that person's name."

As Canada becomes more plugged in, and computers are used more frequently for everything from keeping in touch to balancing the family books, increased computer use by all kinds of crooks is a natural evolution.

In the case of stalking, Martin said, that includes software originally designed as a safety tool for parents.

Things like spyware marketed for parents to monitor a child's computer use, can be used by a stalker to access information which could further the harassment.

"When they're used, the way they're designed to be used they have an important role in the use of computers," Martin said.

"But the dark side is always there and people are going to use good stuff for bad things."

Despite the perceived anonymity of the computer, Martin said cyberstalkers can be caught.

"The technology is there that whoever you are, your communication can be traced back to the sending computer," Martin said, adding the onus in most cyber-cases rests with the victim.

Technology has become so interwoven with criminality, Martin said his unit could have double its four current members and still have an overflowing case load -- adding half of his cases involve child pornography.

Because they are the target of the communication, victims need to keep as much of it as they can to help build a strong case.

"When you're getting harassed with e-mails, don't reply, and save the e-mails -- if you reply you increase the problem and it sort of encourages the activity to continue," Martin said, adding if the behaviour continues, the police should be contacted. Saving the suspect e-mails is important because it gives the police evidence to work with, Martin said.

He also said Internet service providers are, for the most part, co-operative with law enforcement, some more than others.

While e-mail may be the most common electronic tool for stalkers, Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau -- who specializes in cybercrime -- said there are myriad electronic means for a stalker to harass and torment his victim.

"Cyberstalking can take on whole other aspects ... it can be things like hijacking someone's e-mail password or going into a sex forum pretending to be that person," he said.

Calgary police Det. Gordon Robertson said he's worked a number of cases where a computer was used as part of a pattern of controlling and intimidating behaviour.

One case sticks out in his mind as being particularly frightening for the victim.

Roughly a year after his marriage dissolved, a man went to his ex-wife's house while she was asleep and told his son he'd come over to get something he left at the house.

While there, he installed an insidious trojan program -- used to take remote control of the computer -- on his ex's PC.

The woman then started getting e-mails from her former hubby asking about the new guy she's been seeing -- with quotes lifted right from messages she'd sent friends.

"He'd been monitoring her e-mails and computer activity," Robertson said.

Whether it be data storage, communication, hacking, identity theft, or using the Internet to exploit children, Martin said the misuse of technology is just a natural, but unfortunate, evolution.

"The way that criminality is going is crooks are switched onto technology now
and they are using these communication devices more," Martin said.

"They know what's going on and they're not encumbered by the cost of things because they take the profit from their crimes and they invest it in that cost."

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cyberstalking in the 21st Century - Part One

In recognition of the horrible death of Tyler Clementi - a Rutgers University student who was driven to commit suicide in 2010 when he was secretly taped having sex by his roommate and this tape was subsequently broadcast online.

Every Step You Take
With the advent of high-technology, stalking has become a greater threat than ever before. In this five-part series, Sun Media's Dave Breakenridge looks at the scourge of stalking in the 21st Century.
They used to sit outside their targets' homes -- hiding in cars or bushes -- waiting to follow them.

They used to leave hastily-scrawled notes on their windshields before slashing their tires.

But now stalkers have moved into the 21st century, using modern technology to leave their terrorized victims living in fear.

Satellite technology, such as GPS, makes it possible to follow people in real-time from a remote location.

Threatening e-mails have supplemented the notes, while online background checks allow people access to information victims would otherwise want kept private, such as addresses and places of business.

Police forces across the country deal with thousands of criminal harassment cases every year, and suspects in these incidents are frequently turning to technology as a way of stalking their victims.

Det. Gordon Robertson of the Calgary Police Service, one of Canada's foremost stalking experts, said new technologies provide further tools for a stalker to exert his -- the overwhelming majority of stalkers are men -- controlling behaviour on the victim.

"The technological age has put a whole different spin on even regular stalking -- technology has added a dark twist," Robertson said.

He said the perceived anonymity of e-mail and Internet chat rooms lead to more bold behaviour -- offenders will say and do things on-line they wouldn't in real life. (This is called the "ONLINE DISINHIBITION EFFECT")

The technology is also there for a stalker to monitor a person's computer use, down to a single keystroke, or to get access to their e-mails and personal information.

"For people with the know-how, the computer offers that readily-accessible medium," he said. "You're seeing the computers involved in a lot of these cases."

Because computers and e-mails are increasingly used, Robertson said police are more often turning to search warrants to seize a suspect's hard drive.

Techno-stalking cases add to the workload of technological crimes units, which are already fighting a seemingly endless battle against another technological scourge: online kiddie porn.

"How do you police cyberspace?" Robertson said. "A lot of things are going on in that medium because there is virtually no one watching it."

Technology and stalking have become so linked, groups in the U.S. are designing programs that specifically target the problem.

Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C., said the increase in technology-related domestic violence cases in the U.S. led to the creation of Safety Net: the National Safe and Strategic Technology Project.

"We found there was a fair amount of technological misuse woven in with stalking and domestic abuse," she said, adding the majority of high-tech stalking cases fall within a domestic violence context, as is the case with the low-tech approach.

"We find stalking in general is not very well understood and when you add technology to it, it's even more of a challenge."

But she said old-fashioned measures to track and terrorize a stalking victim have not yet fallen out of style.

"They're still showing up at the house, they're still slashing the tires, but in addition they've added these other tools," she said.

"Because all of these technologies are widely available in the U.S. and Canada ... the more awareness we get out, the more cases we expect to see."

Part of Southworth's job, as is Robertson's, is educating law enforcement about the crime.

Southworth trains police to ask questions which could lead to evidence a stalker or abuser is using technology to facilitate a campaign of terror.

"Police need to start asking questions like 'Does your ex ever e-mail you? Does he seem to know things he shouldn't know about your daily activities,' " she said. (Most police have no clue how to deal with this)

On a positive note, she said, as more technology is being misused for the purposes of stalking and abuse, more groups are focusing on the misuse of that technology. "It's a step in the right direction," she said.

The goal now, Southworth said, is to educate women how to use technology to their advantage, to search out shelters, to log e-mails and to protect their privacy so they're no longer victims.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Abuser As Slanderer

Narcissistic Abuser as Slanderer

by Kathy Krajco

On their way through life, narcissists leave a trail of trashed good names in their wake. This is a serious problem in the workplace, for narcissists often destroy the careers of their betters. Narcissistic managers and administrators often are serial bullies, who destroy the career and credibility of anyone who doesn't participate in a lynching and therefore is a threat to blow the whistle.

The narcissist is a slanderer partly to get attention. But he is a slanderer mainly because he must be one to create his phony image. He makes himself look good by making others look bad.

Yet narcissists are not the only people who create a false image of themselves. If you want to call it close, virtually everybody does, even that paragon of honesty, Prince Hamlet. In a world that surrounds us with the prying eyes of fault-finders, we would be traitors to ourselves if we were not at least modest about the things we should be ashamed of. Especially insofar as they are none of anybody else's business. In fact, it's a virtue to keep what's private private. It is the moral equivalent of wearing clothes.

Yet narcissists are different: they are hypocrites = for looks only. They think a thing ain't wrong if they get away with it. In other words, they confuse appearances with reality. Consequently, they have no conscience — just an unconscience. That is, they repress their conscience. Hence, what they do in the dark is shockingly different than what they do in the light of day. These are the people who put make-up on their image a little too thick in spots.

....they confuse appearances with reality

....they project instead of repent.

Since it's all about their image, as Hamlet's mother said, they view sin as some kind of taint instead of as moral illness, or spiritual dis-ease. This is what gives them the notion that it can be "washed away" or smeared off. No wonder that, to get rid of it, they project instead of repent.

Projection is the Oldest Trick in the Book.
Magicians call it "misdirection." The Serpent pulled it on Eve when he accused God of being the liar. ("God told you THAT?") Stupid Eve should have looked at the other end of that pointed finger for the liar. As St. Paul does when he says that if somebody condemns others of being [fill in the blank], you can bet your bippy that he is one himself. Sometimes in a different way, but always at least the moral equivalent of one.* Paul was in line with the ancient Hebrew scriptures. Their name for the spirit in which people do this is satan, which means the "finger-pointer," the "name-slayer" (slanderer), the "prosecutor/persecutor," or the "accuser." In some places (e.g., the Book of Job) they also call him "the policer of the world." Which makes me wonder why religious leaders think that condemning these and those for this and that all the time is a good deed. This trick still works great today: I know of one narcissist who was a pedophile and for many years kept people from noticing the glaring warning signs in his own behavior by spreading rumors about one single teacher after another at his school. (He, of course, was married.)

* An example of what I mean by moral equivalence: Mr. Self-Righteous union-busts to keep the workers in his shoe factory so poor they go barefoot — and shows moral indignation in loudly condemning his neighbor for "muzzling an ox trampling the grain."

The rules about projection are in the Book of Leviticus, prescribed in the ritual for the Day of Atonement. Christianity has inherited them. The scapegoat must be the cleanest, most perfect potential victim available, the one with the most potential to do well in the world. (Sloppy thinking has twisted the meaning a full 180 degrees: these ugly demonstrations of the human race in action, symbolically performed by abominable cruelty to an animal, were intended to shame us. Not to prescribe this travesty of justice as the way to purify ourselves and win salvation from justice.)
The worst thing about projection is that mud sticks best to a clean spot.

I'm sure that people who do this think they're clever, but it's childsplay. Send a muddy child into an unsupervised school yard and wait to see what happens. He will rub himself off on every cleaner, smaller child he can find, till they are all crying and he looks good by comparison.

Looks good by comparison. Those are the all-important words. The hypocrite makes himself look good by comparison with others. He does that the easy way — by making others look bad. This is the root of envy. Which is not a rare motive for what people say about others. It's a common motive.

In a moment of self awareness, the hypocrite says, "Well, I may not be perfect, but I'm not as bad as others are." Then he instantly looks for somebody to make himself look better than = somebody to rub himself off on. And he's certainly smart enough to pick somebody pretty good to look better than!

So, narcissists are by no means alone in doing this. It's just that they invest so much energy in doing it. They are fixated on their image to the point that it is uppermost in their mind 100% of the time. In contrast, normal people project only when on the defensive. And then they're likely to shake themselves off on whoever happens to be near at the moment. So, their aim is poor, and sometimes they project a flaw off onto somebody who actually has it. But a narcissist's aim is impeccable.
For example, whom does he call a liar? The most honest person around.
Who does he say is dangerous? The savior of the group.
Every single time. His talent for farce is so great that you could mistake him for astute.

Also, normal people have normal, human and loving relationships. So they don't smear themselves off on just anybody. They wouldn't dream of harming those near and dear. And they stick to slander (which has at least some degree of truth in it), rarely engaging in calumny (lies). When they do calumniate somebody, he or she is an enemy. Even then they don't go hog-wild and calumniate somebody so badly and so widely as to destroy them and ruin their lives. Not so with the narcissist. He is a child with no sense of measure or moderation. He loves only himself. He has no normal human relationships. He relates to people as objects. So he will smear himself off on his own children as thoughtlessly as we smear ourselves off on a towel. In fact, he is most likely to smear off on somebody he owes gratitude, because needing help damages his image. So he repays help as though it were an insult. He must devalue it by devaluing the giver of it, as if such a contemptible person is incapable of really helping somebody as grand as he.

he is most likely to smear off on somebody he owes gratitude, because needing help damages his image. So he repays help as though it were an insult.

Since he is a little child, the only reign on a narcissist's behavior is what he feels he can get away with. So, the more he gets away with, the more repressed guilt he has to purge himself of. The bad thing about repressed guilt is that it is an unconscious puppet master. Scripture calls it "the demon lurking at the door." The door being the way out, the escape, through repentance.

This could be why narcissists get worse with age. The load of repressed guilt they keep trying to purge themselves of (in a way that only dirties them more) gets so heavy that the wild accusations they make get viciouser and viciouser. It's as though they get drunk on blood.

They become living, breathing Projection Machines. Projection becomes such a knee-jerk reflex that a narcissist accuses his victim of doing to him the very thing (or essentially the same thing) as he is in the very act of doing to the victim. This creates bizarre scenes that make you wonder whether the narcissist is hallucinating or tripping out on psychedelic drugs. You feel like Alice in Wonderland. You have to pinch yourself and wonder whether "it's me or him that is crazy."

If you've ever thought that, congratulations. It means you're not. The narcissist never thinks that: he just accuses whoever he abuses of being the crazy one. (I said "crazy," not "insane." There's a difference.)

The narcissist never thinks [he's crazy]: he just accuses whoever he abuses of being the crazy one.

Another big difference between narcissists and normal people when they're projecting on you is that narcissists expect you to share their delusion. Yes! You cannot help but perceive this as gaslighting. Narcissists try to make you be what they say you are because, like a psychopath, they view you as an object, not as a human person with perceptions and a mind of your own.* They view you as an extension of themselves (like a tool) to control. It is the moral equivalent of the control a rapist thinks he has over the body of another, whom he views as but an object, an extension of himself, an executioner of HIS will. Psychologists call this bizarre behavior projective identification, a defense mechanism. The narcissist wants you to identify with the image he projects on you. You are a mirror to reflect his fantasy, so he pressures you to behave as though it is real.

* A narcissist's need to conform you to his or her specifications can go to bizarre extremes. For example, I know of one female narcissist who, during an assault on her sister, habitually forced her up against a wall and then spent a long time moving and twisting her sister's arms about to position them grotesquely — thus forcing her sister into different "shapes."

Behave is the key word. Narcissists do not connect with reality: appearances are all that matter in their world. So, you can lay out your grievances to a narcissist in a letter to let him know what you think, but if tomorrow you encounter him and act as though none of it happened, he is perfectly satisfied.

So, though the narcissist's projective identification seems like gaslighting and affects the victim like gaslighting, it is not gaslighting in the strictest sense of the word. For the narcissist only cares how you behave; he does not care what you think. He doesn't think at all about what you think. In fact, you can crash his brain by asking, "What do you think I think about you?" The question does not even compute.

Bottom Line: Anyone who outshines a narcissist diminishes the glow of his glory. So, that person had better be somebody with power that he fears or had better lay low and get away.


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Monday, February 12, 2018

How Narcisissts & Psychopaths Do It

Whether consciously or unconciously - this is their "playbook" on how they reel in their victims and keep them in.


by Robert Greene

Everything depends on the target of your seduction. Study your prey thoroughly, and choose only those who will prove susceptible to your charms. The right victims are those for whom you can fill a void, who see in you something exotic. They are often isolated or at least somewhat unhappy (perhaps because of recent adverse circumstances), or can easily be made so-for the completely contented person is almost impossible to seduce. The perfect victim has some natural quality that attracts you. The strong emotions this quality inspires will help make your seductive maneuvers seem more natural and dynamic. The perfect victim allows for the perfect chase.

If you are too direct early on, you risk stirring up a resistance that will never be lowered. At first there must be nothing of the seducer in your manner. The seduction should begin at an angle, indirectly, so that the target only gradually becomes aware of you. Haunt the periphery of your target's life-approach through a third party, or seem to cultivate a relatively neutral relationship, moving gradually from friend to lover. Arrange an occasional "chance" encounter, as if you and your target were destined to become acquainted-nothing is more seductive than a sense of destiny. Lull the target into feeling secure, then strike.

Once people are aware of your presence, and perhaps vaguely intrigued, you need to stir their interest before it settles on someone else. What is obvious and striking may attract their attention at first, but that attention is often short-lived; in the long run, ambiguity is much more potent. Most of us are much too obvious-instead, be hard to figure out. Send mixed signals: both tough and tender, both spiritual and earthy, both innocent and cunning. A mix of qualities suggests depth, which fascinates even as it confuses. An elusive, enigmatic aura will make people want to know more, drawing them into your circle. Create such a power by hinting at something contradictory within you.

Few are drawn to the person whom others avoid or neglect; people gather around those who have already attracted interest. We want what other people want. To draw your victims closer and make them hungry to possess you, you must create an aura of desirability-of being wanted and courted by many. It will become a point of vanity for them to be the preferred object of your attention, to win you away from a crowd of admirers. Manufacture the illusion of popularity by surrounding yourself with members of the opposite sex-friends, former lovers, present suitors. Create triangles that stimulate rivalry and raise your value. Build a reputation that precedes you: if many have succumbed to your charms, there must be a reason.

A perfectly satisfied person cannot be seduced. Tension and disharmony must be instilled in your targets' minds. Stir within them feelings of discontent, an unhappiness with their circumstances and with themselves: their life lacks adventure, they have strayed from the ideals of their youth, they have become boring. The feelings of inadequacy that you create will give you space to insinuate yourself, to make them see you as the answer to their problems. Pain and anxiety are the proper precursors to pleasure. Learn to manufacture the need that you can fill.

Making your targets feel dissatisfied and in need of your attention is essential, but if you are too obvious, they will see through you and grow defensive. There is no known defense, however, against insinuation-the art of planting ideas in people's minds by dropping elusive hints that take root days later, even appearing to them as their own idea. Insinuation is the supreme means of influencing people. Create a sublanguage-bold statements followed by retraction and apology, ambiguous comments, banal talk combined with alluring glances-that enters the target's unconscious to convey your real meaning. Make everything suggestive.

Most people are locked in their own worlds, making them stubborn and hard to persuade. The way to lure them out of their shell and set up your seduction is to enter their spirit. Play by their rules, enjoy what they enjoy, adapt yourself to their moods. In doing so you will stroke their deep-rooted narcissism and lower their defenses. Hypnotized by the mirror image you present, they will open up, becoming vulnerable to your subtle influence. Soon you can shift the dynamic: once you have entered their spirit you can make them enter yours, at a point when it is too late to turn back. Indulge your targets' every mood and whim, giving them nothing to react against or resist.

Lure the target deep into your seduction by creating the proper temptation: a glimpse of the pleasures to come. As the serpent tempted Eve with the promise of forbidden knowledge, you must awaken a desire in your targets that they cannot control. Find that weakness of theirs, that fantasy that has yet to be realized, and hint that you can lead them toward it. It could be wealth, it could be adventure, it could be forbidden and guilty pleasures; the key is to keep it vague. Dangle the prize before their eyes, postponing satisfaction, and let their minds do the rest. The future seems ripe with possibility. Stimulate a curiosity stronger than the doubts and anxieties that go with it, and they will follow you.

The moment people feel they know what to expect from you, your spell on them is broken. More: you have ceded them power. The only way to lead the seduced along and keep the upper hand is to create suspense, a calculated surprise. People love a mystery, and this is the key to luring them farther into your web. Behave in a way that leaves them wondering, What are you up to? Doing something they do not expect from you will give them a delightful sense of spontaneity-they will not be able to foresee what comes next. You are always one step ahead and in control. Give the victim a thrill with a sudden change of direction.

It is hard to make people listen; they are consumed with their own thoughts and desires, and have little time for yours. The trick to making them listen is to say what they want to hear, to fill their ears with whatever is pleasant to them. This is the essence of seductive language. Inflame people's emotions with loaded phrases, flatter them, comfort their insecurities, envelop them in fantasies, sweet words, and promises, and not only will they listen to you, they will lose their will to resist you. Keep your language vague, letting them read into it what they want. Use writing to stir up fantasies and to create an idealized portrait of yourself.

Lofty words and grand gestures can be suspicious: why are you trying so hard to please? The details of a seduction-the subtle gestures, the offhand things you do-are often more charming and revealing. You must learn to distract your victims with a myriad of pleasant little rituals-thoughtful gifts tailored just for them, clothes and adornments designed to please them, gestures that show the time and attention you are paying them. All of their senses are engaged in the details you orchestrate. Create spectacles to dazzle their eyes; mesmerized by what they see, they will not notice what you are really up to. Learn to suggest the proper feelings and moods through details.

Important things happen when your targets are alone: the slightest feeling of relief that you are not there, and it is all over. Familiarity and overexposure will cause this reaction. Remain elusive, then, so that when you are away, they will yearn to see you again, and will only associate you with pleasant thoughts. Occupy their minds by alternating an exciting presence with a cool distance, exuberant moments followed by calculated absences. Associate yourself with poetic images and objects, so that when they think of you, they begin to see you through an idealized halo. The more you figure in their minds, the more they will envelop you in seductive fantasies. Feed these fantasies by subtle inconsistencies and changes in your behavior.

Too much maneuvering on your part may raise suspicion. The best way to cover your tracks is to make the other person feel superior and stronger. If you seem to be weak, vulnerable, enthralled by the other person, and unable to control yourself, you will make your actions look more natural, less calculated. Physical weakness-tears, bashfulness, paleness-will help create the effect. To further win trust, exchange honesty for virtue: establish your "sincerity" by confessing some sin on your part-it doesn't have to be real. Sincerity is more important than goodness. Play the victim, then transform your target's sympathy into love.

To compensate for the difficulties in their lives, people spend a lot of their time daydreaming, imagining a future full of adventure, success, and romance. If you can create the illusion that through you they can live out their dreams, you will have them at your mercy. It is important to start slowly, gaining their trust, and gradually constructing the fantasy that matches their desires. Aim at secret wishes that have been thwarted or repressed, stirring up uncontrollable emotions, clouding their powers of reason. The perfect illusion is one that does not depart too much from reality, but has a touch of the unreal to it, like a waking dream. Lead the seduced to a point of confusion in which they can no longer tell the difference between illusion and reality.

An isolated person is weak. By slowly isolating your victims, you make them more vulnerable to your influence. Their isolation may be psychological: by filling their field of vision through the pleasurable attention you pay them, you crowd out everything else in their mind. They see and think only of you. The isolation may also be physical: you take them away from their normal milieu, friends, family, home. Give them the sense of being marginalized, in limbo-they are leaving one world behind and entering another. Once isolated like this, they have no outside support, and in their confusion they are easily lead astray. Lure the seduced into your lair, where nothing is familiar.

Most people want to be seduced. If they resist your efforts, it is probably because you have not gone far enough to allay their doubts-about your motives, the depth of your feelings, and so on. One well-timed action that shows how far you are willing to go to win them over will dispel their doubts. Do not worry about looking foolish or making a mistake-any kind of deed that is self-sacrificing and for your targets' sake will so overwhelm their emotions, they won't notice anything else. Never appear discouraged by people's resistance, or complain. Instead, meet the challenge by doing something extreme or chivalrous. Conversely, spur others to prove themselves by making yourself hard to reach, unattainable, worth fighting over.

People who have experienced a certain kind of pleasure in the past will try to repeat or relive it. The deepest-rooted and most pleasurable memories are usually those from earliest childhood, and are often unconsciously associated with a parental figure. Bring your targets back to that point by placing yourself in the oedipal triangle and positioning them as the needy child. Unaware of the cause of their emotional response, they will fall in love with you. Alternatively, you too can regress, letting them play the role of the protecting, nursing parent. In either case you are offering the ultimate fantasy: the chance to have an intimate relationship with mommy or daddy, son or daughter.

There are always social limits on what one can do. Some of these, the most elemental taboos, go back centuries; others are more superficial, simply defining polite and acceptable behavior. Making your targets feel that you are leading them past either kind of limit is immensely seductive. People yearn to explore their dark side. Not everything in romantic love is supposed to be tender and soft; hint that you have a cruel, even sadistic streak. You do not respect age differences, marriage vows, family ties. Once the desire to transgress draws your targets to you, it will be hard for them to stop. Take them farther than they imagined-the shared feeling of guilt and complicity will create a powerful bond.

Everyone has doubts and insecurities-about their body, their self-worth, their sexuality. If your seduction appeals exclusively to the physical, you will stir up these doubts and make your targets self-conscious. Instead, lure them out of their insecurities by making them focus on something sublime and spiritual: a religious experience, a lofty work of art, the occult. Play up your divine qualities; affect an air of discontent with worldly things; speak of the stars, destiny, the hidden threads that unite you and the object of the seduction. Lost in a spiritual mist, the target will feel light and uninhibited. Deepen the effect of your seduction by making its sexual culmination seem like the spiritual union of two souls.

The greatest mistake in seduction is being too nice. At first, perhaps, your kindness is charming, but it soon grows monotonous; you are trying too hard to please, and seem insecure. Instead of overwhelming your targets with niceness, try inflicting some pain. Lure them in with focused attention, then change direction, appearing suddenly uninterested. Make them guilty and insecure. Even instigate a breakup, subjecting them to an emptiness and pain that will give you room to maneuver-now a rapprochement, an apology, a return to your earlier kindness, will turn them weak at the knees. The lower the lows you create, the greater the highs. To heighten the erotic charge, create the excitement of fear.

If your targets become too used to you as the aggressor, they will give less of their own energy, and the tension will slacken. You need to wake them up, turn the tables. Once they are under your spell, take a step back and they will start to come after you. Begin with a touch of aloofness, an unexpected nonappearance, a hint that you are growing bored. Stir the pot by seeming interested in someone else. Make none of this explicit; let them only sense it and their imagination will do the rest, creating the doubt you desire. Soon they will want to possess you physically, and restraint will go out the window. The goal is to have them fall into your arms of their own will. Create the illusion that the seducer is being seduced.

Targets with active minds are dangerous: if they see through your manipulations, they may suddenly develop doubts. Put their minds gently to rest, and waken their dormant senses, by combining a non-defensive attitude with a charged sexual presence. While your cool, nonchalant air is calming their minds and lowering their inhibitions, your glances, voice, and bearing-oozing sex and desire-are getting under their skin, agitating their senses and raising their temperature. Never force the physical; instead infect your targets with heat, lure them into lust. Lead them into the moment-an intensified present in which morality, judgment, and concern for the future all melt away and the body succumbs to pleasure.

A moment has arrived: your victim clearly desires you, but is not ready to admit it openly, let alone act on it. This is the time to throw aside chivalry, kindness, and coquetry and to overwhelm with a bold move. Don't give the victim time to consider the consequences; and create conflict, stir up tension, so that the bold move comes as a great release. Showing hesitation or awkwardness means you are thinking of yourself, as opposed to being overwhelmed by the victim's charms. Never hold back or meet the target halfway, under the belief that you are being correct and considerate; you must be seductive now, not political. One person must go on the offensive, and it is you.

Danger follows in the aftermath of a successful seduction. After emotions have reached a pitch, they often swing in the opposite direction-toward lassitude, distrust, disappointment. Beware of the long, drawn-out goodbye; insecure, the victim will cling and claw, and both sides will suffer. If you are to part, make the sacrifice swift and sudden. If necessary, deliberately break the spell you have created. If you are to stay in a relationship, beware a flagging of energy, a creeping familiarity that will spoil the fantasy. If the game is to go on, a second seduction is required. Never let the other person take you for granted-use absence, create pain and conflict, to keep the seduced on tenterhooks.

In seduction, your victims must slowly come to feel an inner change. Under your influence, they lower their defenses, feeling free to act differently, to be a different person. Certain places, environments, and experiences will greatly aid you in your quest to change and transform the seduced. Spaces with a theatrical, heightened quality-opulence, glittering surfaces, a playful spirit-create a buoyant, childlike feeling that make it hard for the victim to think straight. The creation of an altered sense of time has a similar effect-memorable, dizzying moments that stand out, a mood of festival and play. You must make your victims feel that being with you gives them a different experience from being in the real world.

The less you seem to be selling something-including yourself-the better. By being too obvious in your pitch, you will raise suspicion; you will also bore your audience, an unforgivable sin. Instead, make your approach soft, seductive and insidious. Soft: be indirect. Create news and events for the media to pick up, spreading your name in a way that seems spontaneous, not hard or calculated. Seductive: keep it entertaining.

Your name and image are bathed in positive associations; you are selling pleasure and promise. Insidious: aim at the unconscious, using images that linger in the mind, placing your message in the visuals. Frame what you are selling as part of a new trend, and it will become one. It is almost impossible to resist the soft seduction.


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