Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, July 24, 2017

Unresolved Trauma

REASONS FOR and SYMPTOMS OF
UNRESOLVED TRAUMA
The following are symptoms that may result from a more commonplace, unresolved trauma, especially if there were earlier, overwhelming life experiences:

Physical
• Eating disturbances (more or less than usual)
• Sleep disturbances (more or less than usual)
• Sexual dysfunction (unable or unwilling to engage in sexual relations)
• Low energy
• Chronic, unexplained pain

Emotional
• Depression, spontaneous crying, despair and hopelessness
• Anxiety
• Panic attacks
• Fearfulness
• Compulsive and obsessive behaviors
• Feeling out of control
• Irritability, angry and resentment
• Emotional numbness
• Withdrawal from normal routine and relationships

Cognitive
• Memory lapses, especially about the trauma
• Difficulty making decisions
• Decreased ability to concentrate
• Feeling distracted
• ADHD-like symptoms (compulsiveness, needing to talk about it over and over, lack of attention span, rushing around, etc)

The following additional symptoms of emotional trauma are commonly associated with a severe precipitating event, such as a natural disaster, exposure to war, rape, assault, violent crime, major car or airplane crashes, or child abuse. Extreme symptoms can also occur as a delayed reaction to the traumatic event.

Re-experiencing the Trauma
• intrusive thoughts
• flashbacks or nightmares
• sudden floods of emotions or images related to the traumatic event

Emotional Numbing and Avoidance
• amnesia
• avoidance of situations that resemble the initial event
• detachment
• depression
• guilt feelings
• grief reactions
• an altered sense of time 
Increased Arousal
• Persistant feelings of sexual arousal (even at inappropriate times)

• hyper-vigilance, jumpiness, an extreme sense of being "on guard"
• overreactions, including sudden unprovoked anger
• underreactions, "deer in headlights" reaction to being yelled at or invalidated
• general anxiety
• insomnia
• obsessions with death

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:
• substance abuse
• compulsive behavior patterns
• self-destructive and impulsive behavior
• uncontrollable reactive thoughts
• inability to make healthy professional or lifestyle choices
• dissociative symptoms ("splitting off" parts of the self)
• feelings of ineffectiveness, shame, despair, hopelessness
• feeling permanently damaged
• a loss of previously sustained beliefs

Common effects of emotional trauma on interpersonal relationships:
• inability to maintain close relationships or choose appropriate friends and mates
• sexual problems
• hostility
• arguments with family members, employers or co-workers
• social withdrawal
• feeling constantly threatened

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.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Online Resources for Emotional or Psychological Trauma

www.sidran.org
This noncommercial site offers a thorough description of the causes and symptoms of trauma.

www.trauma-pages.com/pg2.htm
This popular non-commercial site by David Baldwin does a thorough job of defining and describing PTSD.

www.tlcinstitute.org/trauma.html
Is an educational institution that focuses on violent traumatic events and fears in children's lives. Especially helpful is the distinction made between trauma and grief.

www.traumainstitute.org/trauma.php
is a noncommercial site that focuses on the societal as well as personal impact of trauma

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sexual Sadism & Sociopathy/ Psychopathy

Sad Pictures, Images and Photos

ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER
According to the DSM-IV, the essential feature of the disorder is to be found in patterns of irresponsible and antisocial behaviors beginning in childhood or early adolescence and continuing into adulthood. Lying, stealing,truancy, vandalism, initiating fights, running away from home, and physical cruelty are typical childhood signs. In adulthood the antisocial pattern continues and may include failure to honor financial obligations, maintain consistent employment, or plan ahead.

These individuals fail to conform to social norms and repeatedly engage in antisocial behaviors that are grounds for arrest, such as destroying property, harassing others, and stealing. Often these antisocial acts are committed with no seeming necessity. People with antisocial personality disorder tend toward irritability and aggressivity, and often become involved in physical fights and assaults, including spouse and child beating. Reckless behavior without regard for personal safety is common, as indicated by driving while intoxicated or getting numerous speeding tickets.

Frequently these individuals are promiscuous, often failing to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than one year. Some marry but do not remain faithful. They do not appear to learn from past experiences in that they tend to resume the same kinds of antisocial behaviors they were punishment for. Finally, they seem to lack feelings of remorse about the effects of their behavior on others. On the contrary, they may feel justified in having violated the rights of others.

SEXUAL SADISM
Meloy (1992) defines Sexual Sadism as "the conscious experience of pleasurable sexual arousal through the infliction of physical or emotional pain on the actual object."(p.76)

DSM-IV describes Sexual Sadism as follows: Over a period of at least six months: recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving acts ( real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person. These behaviors are sadistic fantasies or acts that involve activities that indicate the dominance of the person over his victim. (not always physical!)

FROM:
http://www.practicalhomicide.com/articles/psexsad.htm

(PLEASE NOTE: not ALL Sexual Sadists are Serial Killers!! Some direct their sadism into mental & emotional torture and psychological rape. - And are rarely seen as the sadists they truly are)

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Toxic Hope




 
 

Three Reasons Your Relationship
Will Never Get Better


L.A. couples therapist featured in Time Magazine uses unique approach to marriage therapy including the acceptance that things won't change.

There are three reasons that your relationship cannot improve, even though you keep thinking it will. These are primary problems that are so influential that they are an obstacle that must be cleared before real progress in the relationship is possible.

#1 Someone is frequently dishonest and that person is unwilling to identify that behavior as an individual problem that he or she wants to work on. An ongoing affair whether it is known or secret.

#2 Psychological or medical disorders that are not treated. (Or personality disorders that are untreatable)

These include: depression, manic depression, or menopause disorders, post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive or post-traumatic stress disorder.  (Include narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy or borderline personality in the personality disorders category)

Post traumatic Stress is often a result of abusive, neglectful or violent experiences in childhood. These can experiences can profoundly affect how someone later experiences issues of trust and conflict in current relationships. If symptoms from any of these illnesses are present and the person is unwilling to get treatment for it then there is a much reduced prospect for significant change in the relationship. First things first.

#3 One partner uses physical violence, verbal abuse, psychological manipulation or emotional intimidation and is unwilling to say that this is their individual problem that s/he wants to work on it separately from the relationship.

Saying, "I'm sorry. It won't happen again." is a good thing to hear from your partner. More importantly though is whether the intimidation ceases. The frequency, intensity or duration should be getting better. If it doesn't then you may have 'Toxic Hope.'

Toxic hope is waiting for someone to change when there is no realistic reason to believe that it will happen. Battered women, or men, who keep hoping something will change, perhaps even when their partner has never even admitted that they have a control problem; are in toxic hope. Even though there is a fair effort made; the frequency and magnitude of the continuing offenses are severe enough that the other partner does not feel safe enough to continue within the relationship.

We emphasize 'progress, not perfection' so the issue isn't that slips or mistakes are made. The important thing is does the person eventually recognize his or her responsibility in the conflict and can the person show some concern for how that affects you. Or, if one person is unable to reasonably follow the guidelines and is not willing to seek further help.

What do I mean when I say "an individual problem that he or she is willing to work on separate from the relationship?" Or what is meant by getting 'further help'? A person can work on the issues they struggle with alone by reading books on the subject of violence or lying but few people are able to do this without the help of others.

Using the help of others could mean going to a professional therapist who specializes in the area that needs work or it can mean going to a self -help group for that particular problem. If physical violence is the problem then my recommendation is to attend a professionally led anger management or domestic violence group. Having worked for ten years in these groups I can say that the men are pleasantly surprised that they can learn useful methods that benefit their relationships. For most of the men it is the first time that they are exposed to the principle that being vulnerable will not result in being hurt.

* One partner refuses to ever consider forgiving the other for some past wrong committed by the other, even when that partner has humbly asked for forgiveness.

* Alcohol or drug dependence or abuse (prescribed medicines too!) Other addictions such as food, sex, spending, gambling or work are huge impediments to progress in a relationship which are sometimes overlooked or simply denied.

* Leaving a psychologically violent or abusive relationship. If you feel scared that you will be hurt, pursued or injured if you leave then trust your feelings and seek help from a women's shelter or hotline before taking action. Talk with them and consider the advice or recommendations that is given to you. The most dangerous time, physically, for the abused wife (or husband) is at the time of separating. There were armchair quarterbacks saying Nicole Brown Simpson should have left O.J. and divorced him. She was leaving him! It was then that she was killed.

If you are physically abused by your partner call 1 800 978-3600 to talk to a domestic violence counselor to learn about resources in your area. You are not alone!

If violence is occuring in your home then break the isolation. And for the person whose anger is out of control, please seek the competent help of anger management specialists. Why wait for a neighbor's phone call to initiate your criminal record? Do something courageous and positive NOW! Seek the help of professionals who can help you. Stop saying "I'm sorry." and take some real steps toward repeating what probably happened in the family you grew up in.

Checklist Before You Leave:
If you have done these things then you can leave knowing that you did everything you could before deciding for sure to leave. These do not apply if there is violence, addiction, continuing adultery or unrepentent lying in the relationship. Things to think about when you consider ending a relationship:

- When your partner apologizes does s/he mention both what s/he did and how s/he's hurt you?

- If any form of physical control, intimidation or violence occurs, does it get justified (ie. "I wouldn't have done it if you didn't....")?

- If apologies are made is there reference made to the person's intention about changing future behavior, or is there further justification for the disrespectful behavior?

- Are you growing in this relationship?

- Does this person have all the signs of having a personality disorder (they can not be fixed or cured)?

- Is the other person growing in this relationship? Is there improvement? It's a process. Is there an expressed willingness to grow? Or are you wishing & assuming your partner wants to change his/her behavior and attitudes. Remember we're looking for 'Progress and not Perfection'.


Marc Sadoff, MSW, BCD
PACIFIC SKILLS TRAINING CO.

Marc Sadoff, MSW, BCD

310 444-1951

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Anti-Social Emotional Vampire

ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH ONE?
Anti-Social Vampires are called that not because they don't like parties, but because they are heedless of normal social rules. 

They love parties, and any other source of excitement and fun. They hate boredom worse than a stake through the heart.

DAREDEVILS are attracted to thrills like lemmings to cliffs. Sex, drugs, online relationships, spending, driving fast, and so on.
LOOK FOR: Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Covert or overt.
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Fun, excitement, and adorable adolescent rebelliousness.
DRAIN YOU BY: Overdoing everything exciting, and underdoing everything else.
THE ONES YOU SEE EVERY DAY: Cowboys, cowgirls, day traders, party animals, rebels without a cause, and that one lover you just can't seem to forget.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Keep your brain engaged even when theirs are turned off. Especially then.


USED-CAR SALESMEN their drug of choice is putting one over on you.
LOOK FOR: People who swear they're telling the truth. Think about it, who but a liar would expect to be doubted?
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Instant rapport, smiling sincerity, and the sweet prospect of something for nothing.
DRAIN YOU BY: Lying, cheating, stealing, and perhaps getting you to engage in a bit of subterfuge yourself.
THE ONES YOU SEE EVERY DAY: Anybody who asks you if you've thought about your financial or romantic future.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Always read the fine print, and remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it is.


BULLIES are addicted to the raw thrill of seeing you cry or squirm.
LOOK FOR: Anger, threats, and yelling.
DRAW YOU IN WITH: The illusion that they are powerful.
DRAIN YOU BY: Making you afraid.
THE ONES YOU SEE EVERY DAY: The guy in the pickup who flips you off, and the petty tyrant who runs the finance department, the ex friend or lover who says "if you tell on me I will....".
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Remember that the real battle with bullies is not in the dust of the playground, but in your own mind.


By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Victim Blaming, Codependency, and the Analogy


 


Here's how I view this idea that the pain I feel in my relationship is "my fault", and stemming from "old wounds" or due to my "codependency".

Let's say when I was three I fell down some stairs and broke my leg. And let's say that I fell down those stairs because someone bigger than me, someone who was supposed to care for and protect me, pushed me.

Let's also say that as a three year old I couldn't get myself to a hospital and no one brought me so my leg never healed right leaving me with a bum leg that I could eventually walk on, but not quite right. In fact, my whole skeletal structure became compromised because I had to favor one leg over the other causing all sorts of other things to get thrown out of alignment. Back problems, neck problems, muscle problems, etc. But I learned to live with it, and I was functional as best I could be.

Years later I meet a man who loves my quirky crookedness and we fall in love. He is kind. He is attentive. He makes me feel good. But then things start going a little awry. Then one day, with not a whole lot of warning, man walks up to me with a baseball bat and nails me on the bum leg, breaking it again.

So I've got a broken leg, a re-broken leg, and I go to the hospital.

Here are two possible scenarios.

What should happen:

At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got a pretty hefty fracture and we're going to have to set the leg and then put a cast on. After 8 weeks in the cast I'm going to want you to do some physical therapy. What I'm concerned with is that you also appear to have an old fracture that didn't heal right, and we're going to have to fix that too. The good news is that the new fracture is on the same line, so by fixing the new fracture, and with intense therapy, you'll be almost as good as new, in fact better than you have been for years. I'm sorry this happened to you. We'll give you something for the pain for a few days, and after that the pain will be bearable enough for you to handle on your own, but you'll be coming in for regular check-ups so we can be sure you're healing properly this time. Also, I think you might benefit from a self-defense class so that once you're healed you'll have a much better chance of keeping yourself safe from harm. Good luck and we'll see you in two weeks."

Yay!

What happens in the codependent/co-addict model:

At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got an old fracture and that's what caused this new one, so really it's your fault that your leg is broken. As for the pain you're feeling, that's also your fault. Clearly you are focusing on the pain too much and if you could just detach from it you'd realize there's really nothing to fuss about. You're bringing up your old pain and that's simply not the correct way to go about this. You say you were hit with a baseball bat? Obviously you put yourself in a situation to get your leg broken again because you're addicted to getting your leg broken. Look at how many times this has happened to you? Given your history, it's likely your leg is always going to be getting broken, but if you learn to realize that the pain your feeling is just wrong thinking, and as long as you go to a support group for the rest of your life, you'll be able to learn how to not worry or feel pain when your leg is broken. We good here?"

SOURCE 

'Codependency' with an Abuser is a myth! 
You are actually experiencing Trauma Bonding and NONE OF IT is your fault! 

"Abused persons are not co-dependent," writes Lundy Bancroft, "It is the abusers, not victims, who create abusive relationships."

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What is Projection, Exactly?


Written by Kathi Stringer
Projection is to blame another person for one’s own actions.
Primitive and Infantile Defense



Projection – Action 
You made me do it! Ever hear those words from an angry and frustrated child? In essence, the child is projecting the responsibility of his/her actions onto someone else. This child is anxious to rid themselves of the garbage. Projection is to ‘blame’ another. And, the words, ‘you made me do it,’ slip out ever so easily.

My little 5-year-old girl was listening to her grandparents in a tiff. Grandma said, “You made me [do this]!” Grandpa said, “No, you made me [make you do this]!” Finally, K, an intuitive child, shouted in response, “Stop projecting!” She caught them both by surprise. A small child had recognized projection in action.

Example #1: (Action) 
Jim is holding an expensive camera. Jane is fumbling with the keys to the door. In the meantime, Jim drops and breaks the camera. Jim screams at Jane, “See what you made me do! I broke it because you didn’t open the door!” Jim blamed Jane for dropping the camera. Jim could have prevented the camera from dropping if he had employed foresight and safety measures..i.e putting the camera band around his neck.

Projection – Emotional
You make me [feel] so mad! This is a bit more complicated because a degree of transference is involved. Easy speak – Transference = transferring memories from the past, placed onto a different person.

The derivatives of transference in this case transmutes into projection. Meaning, if an individual gets angry beyond the objective meaning of the statement, (reads more into it than intended) then a level of projection is at work. In other words, a person that reminds another individual of their hated father (transference at work – transference is ALWAYS a distortion), and OVERREACTS to a statement from that person based on that memory (triggered), then, that excessive anger would be projection.

Example #2: (Emotion) 
Jane said, “Jim, just make a choice. We don’t have all day.” Jim screams back, “Why don’t you just shut your big mouth?” and stormed off. On examination, Jim grew up with an over critical, and impatient mother. When Jane made her remark, Jim regressed into the child that hated his mother. Jim did not see Jane standing there at the moment. He saw his hated mother, in the transference. Now that Jim has a bigger body and is more confident to protect himself, he reacted in defense of the critical mother. It happened in a snap of the fingers. In this case, Jim was projecting out of his transference. Jim had distorted Jane into his hated mother. Remember, transference is always a distortion.

Caution:
 While pointing out that action projection can be funny at times, (Remark: You made me drop the hula-hoop when you spoke! – Response: ha ha projection!), it is dangerous to point out the err of a person’s behavior during an emotional projection, UNLESS YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL. Since the person is caught up in the transference, empowered by the transference, and enraged by the transference, it would be wise to let the transference diminish before discussing the event. To address the distortion in the heat of the moment, can be perceived as minimizing the original trauma. This will lead to an unconscious perception of the invalidated child/victim (How dare you!? It did happen!). Wait until the person cools down and gets a grip back on reality and the transference is held in abeyance.
 
For Professionals:
The superlative therapeutic window to target projection, from the transference, would be in the height of the moment. However, a strong therapeutic alliance and rapport MUST BE established first. Trust is paramount. At this time, the client’s internal closed core objects are ‘hot’ and can be redefined through a new experience. See more on ‘projective identification.

Projection Keyword Alerts

· ACTION – You made me do it!

· EMOTIONAL – You make me feel this way!

Question:
Is transference and projection the same?

Answer:
No. Some claim they are the same because psych can become convoluted (duh) to the point meanings are no longer clear to the novice. However, on exact examination, projection is ‘caused’ by the transference. Transference is ‘activated in the person, and projection is the release of that transference out of the person. One treater said, “I hope you know, all this anger you are projecting on to me is not my anger, it is YOUR anger.” The client coolly said, “Can you think of anything better to do with it? (Gabbard)

Homework
Observe the number of times you can spot projection. Then, in cases of emotional projection, try to objectively determine the extent of the justified response vs. the transference reaction. Is if off just a little? Is it half-and-half? Is it way out there? This exercise can be a powerful indicator for self-awareness, an indicator to seek treatment for self or other.

References:
Psych 101, Unlocking the Secret of Terms – K. Stringer

An Object Relations Approach toProjective Identification and the Borderline – K. Stringer

Star Trek and Projective Identification – K. Stringer

Effective Inpatient Treatment And the Amelioration of the Therapeutic Alliance For Resistive Individuals with BPD – K. Stringer

Transference – K. Stringer

Defense Mechanisms – K. Stringer

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How They Exploit Others

(note from site owner: this wonderful description deception & exploitation can also apply to narcissists, sociopaths and other types of abusers)


Modes of Sociopathic Deception and Manipulation

by Jennifer Copley


Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, comprise 20-25% of the prison population, but 50% of those who have committed serious crimes. However, the majority of psychopaths are not violent — most are users, scam artists and shady businesspeople. There is some evidence that psychopaths may be overrepresented in the fields of business, politics and entertainment.

Targeting the Vulnerable
Psychopaths are good at spotting exploitable vulnerabilities in others. Many psychopathic scam artists seek lonely individuals and promise them a lifetime of love and partnership. Others target the grief-stricken or those who have suffered a recent setback or breakup and are therefore less apt to look closely at what appears to be a compassionate helping hand.

Alternatively, psychopaths may exploit someone’s need to be needed, finding a motherly or fatherly soul that they can milk for sympathy and cash. They are also inclined to marry people with low self-esteem and convince them that they are somehow to blame for any abuse they suffer in the marriage.


The Sympathy Ploy
Psychopaths usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the psychopath to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.

While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, psychopaths often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the psychopath’s motives.

Psychopaths say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.

They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, as well as ...abusing them ...


The Dynamic Persona

The psychopath can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Psychopaths often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.

Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.


Because many psychopaths have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.

The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the psychopath said could have seemed so plausible at the time.


The Flatterer
In The Miser, Moliere noted that “People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise.” A common tool of the psychopath is excessive flattery. Most people enjoy receiving compliments, and those who suffer from either low self-esteem ...can be particularly vulnerable to this sort of approach.

Beware of those who tell you everything you want to hear all the time. A compliment or two is nice, but someone who continually peppers the conversation with flattery should be suspect.


Excuses and Empty Promises
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.

Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.


Psychopaths abandon their partners, spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings.

When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.

However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.


SOURCE

(personal thanks to Jennifer Copley!)

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Top 10 Wreckers of Relationships


Top 10 Relationship Wreckers
 
1. Neglecting Your Partner (ignoring, workaholism, addictions):
A primary function of a relationship is to provide companionship and to meet each other’s needs. When other activities, interests or preoccupations interfere with our availability, we can wind up short-changing our partner. This can be thought of as absenteeism or being MIA. Taking an inventory and making adjustments in how we spend our time is the first step in correcting this problem. Treat your partner as the important person they are by spending enough quality time together to satisfy each of your requirements in this area and to maintain your connection.

2. Depriving Your Partner (not being attentive, expressive, affectionate, supportive, caring, loving, withholding compliments - affection - intimacy):
Being there physically is not enough. We cannot expect our relationship to thrive if we withdraw emotionally for extended periods of time. In order to be fully present, we must be aware of our partner and be willing to show how we feel both verbally and non-verbally. Expressing love though affection and caring behaviors are crucial to keeping a relationship strong and vibrant. Small regular doses of intimacy will usually suffice, and the most important times of day to communicate positively are upon waking, upon reuniting after a long day, and before going to sleep.

3. Dishonesty & Betrayal (infidelity, lying):
Most people are aware that the foundation of any relationship is T-R-U-S-T. In no relationship is trust more important than in a relationship between mates, except for a parent and dependent child relationship. Cheating and lying breaks down the basis for a relationship, and often results in its demise. A problem of this nature is serious, and resolving it must be a top priority if the relationship is to survive. Couples counseling is highly recommended in order to facilitate the changes that are needed.

4. Attacking Your Partner (blaming, abuse – physical, emotional, sexual):
Aggressive communication is simply unacceptable, especially if the abuse is getting physical. Physical or sexual abuse are deal-breakers in a marriage, and should prompt a permanent separation. The abusive partner needs to get professional help to learn skills in anger management, in order to gain and consistently demonstrate better control over his or her emotions and behavior. Even if the help is sought and progress is made, the risk of recurrence remains high, so in most cases, the abused partner should not return to the relationship. Returning serves to reinforce the abusive behavior, leading to increased severity and frequency of subsequent abuse. Instead, the abused partner should also seek help, and work through issues that have potential to lead one into another abusive relationship. Verbally blaming, accusing, and insulting your partner are less extreme forms of destructiveness, but are not OK either, and assertiveness training can provide the essential skills for healthy communication.

5. Scapegoating (taking your anger or frustration out on you partner):
We all know that it’s not right to kick the dog after a hard day at work, so why do it to your partner? Being held responsible for things that are out of our control is the most stressful of conditions, and that is what we do to our partner when we scapegoat them. Rather than hurt the ones you love, do what it takes to meet the real problem head-on, as effectively as you can. If you are unsure of how to address a problem, the strong and mature thing to do is to ask for help and support from trusted sources (i.e., a friend, relative, or therapist).

6. Negativism (nitpicking, nagging, criticizing):
In order to have a good relationship, the positives must outweigh the negatives by a large percentage. If negativity is creeping into your relationship, it is like water seeping into walls, eventually weakening the structure. People usually feel good around others who are upbeat and positive, as well as those who help them to feel good about themselves. Bringing a negative spirit into your relationship crowds out the positive. However, pushing aside or neglecting to address real problems is not the answer either, and can be just as harmful to relationship health as dwelling on the negative. So pick your battles wisely, strive to communicate effectively, and practice cooperative negotiation.

7. Gossiping (telling family or friends about your problems but not addressing them with your partner):
That’s right, if you are talking about the problems in your relationship with friends or relatives but not working on improving the situation, that amounts to gossip. Gossip is not a productive way to handle problems, and can result in additional problems. For instance, your partner may feel betrayed that you revealed sensitive material to others that cause him or her to be embarrassed or uncomfortable around them. Also, if you promote a negative side of your partner or your relationship, others may get a distorted view, and changes in their attitudes and behavior may follow. Others may remember your conflicts long after you and your partner have gotten past them. Instead, work on improving your communication skills. Turn toward your partner, not away. If you need help, seek out the assistance of an objective third party such as a therapist who works with couples. When it comes to your needs, stop complaining and start asking!

8. Controlling Your Partner (“my way” or else, perfectionism, trying to change your partner, possessiveness):
Wanting things to be a certain way and having preferences are completely natural and even healthy. However, when this tendency becomes extreme and starts to encroach on the rights, needs and desires of others, it can cause major havoc. Freedom of will and self-determination are basic needs, and when these are being threatened, negative reactions may include anger, resentment, and/or rebellion. If the need to control is a problem in your relationship, identify the motivations behind it and work towards dealing with those issues rather than acting them out with your partner.

9. Putting Yourself First (self-centeredness, selfishness, entitlement):
It’s not “all about me,” folks. Letting one’s self interests take priority in an unbalanced way can be toxic to a partnership. The other person usually winds up feeling deprived, resentful, and unimportant. Furthermore, the more self-involved you are, the more you take your relationship for granted, the less you appreciate your partner, and the more alone you actually are. So if your relationship is slanted in this way, you also lose out, because you experience less of the joy that a true connection brings. You and you partner both get more from the relationship through reciprocity in giving and receiving.

10. Putting Yourself Last (self-neglect, passivity, self sacrifice):
Martyrs are seldom happy. More often, they are angry, bitter, resentful, depressed and burned out. This is not to say that you should not consider others and be thoughtful in meeting their needs. But having a healthy relationship involves factoring your own needs and desires into the equation. You teach people how to treat you, and if you act like a doormat, you can’t completely blame someone if they wipe their feet on you. Learn how to stand up for yourself, practice assertive communication, ask and allow others to meet your needs, and take care of yourself as much as you take care of your loved ones.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Strange Pathological Behavior


The following behaviors are probably more common amongst pathologicals (narcissists & psychopaths/sociopaths) than non-pathologicals

NOT ALL will apply to any individual pathological. Only a couple are needed!


1. Has no conscience.

2. Manipulates people by "pulling strings" or "pushing the right buttons" .

3. Is perceived to be "sticky", "slimy" or "slippery". Even "charming."

4. Is a "control freak".

5. Is a "serial bully". Has one main bully target at a time. Once he loses control of that bully target, he feels compelled to find another bully target very quickly to sink his claws into.

6. Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, thinking that the world revolves around him. Also that when thwarted - it's a conspiracy against him.

7. Is a "fantasist". (Lives in fantasy world but blends in to the real world)

8. Glares at people with piercing but dead eyes. (Can be mistaken for attraction)

9. Would unexpectedly say very hurtful things. Confuses sarcasm with humor.

10. Consistently apportions blame to others when things go wrong, regardless of how logically an explanation was given - "whipping boy" - "fall guy".

11. Twists and distorts facts to his advantage.

12. Jekyll and Hyde personality. (Incidentally, Robert Louis Stevenson's fictional character was inspired by a real life psychopath that he had met but obviously the fictional character was an exaggerated version.)

13. Applies his distorted sense of reality (psychosis) to others, accusing them of faults and weaknesses that are actually his own. This is known as "projection".

14. Inability to accept responsibility or blame for his actions. He is always "in denial".

15. Can get vicious if cornered. (Narcissistic Rage)

16. Spin a "web of deceit".

17. Has a "hidden agenda".

18. Has a "selective memory" - remembers your mistakes but forgets his own.

19. Seldom plans for the long and medium terms, believing himself to be immune to the consequences of his own actions.

20. Takes the credit for other people's work. Can also claim other's lives & credits as their OWN!

21. Demands absolute loyalty. Only likes you if you do exactly what he wants, therefore attempting to reinforce manipulation.

22. Tries to make you feel guilty ("the guilt trip") if you protest about doing what he wants you to do. For example, saying to you "You are causing me so many problems because of your selfishness."

23. Often exhibits an unusually high level of charm. Commonly uses flattery (love bombing) to win people over so they can be manipulated.

24. May have an impenetrable veneer of charm, or "superficial politeness", that makes it very difficult to ask pertinent or searching questions that would reveal his true self. For example, he may constantly crack jokes or dwell on pleasantries with no substance. A psychopathic veneer of charm may manifest itself in organizations by using glossy brochures and marketing that portrays things in an idealistic way that has little bearing on reality - "charm offensive".

25. Happy to dish out criticism or abuse - not happy to receive criticism or abuse - "do as I say, not as I do".

26. Makes an audible noise when walking around, such as humming, whistling, singing, making duck-noises or clicking fingers.

27. Uses frequent hand movements when talking.

28. Gives you a sense of being "talked at" rather than being "talked to" when engages you in conversation.

29. Inability to understand irony.

30. He can't be trusted. Breaks promises and breaches matters intended to be in confidence.

31. Stabs you in the back. Lies about you to others and vice versa.

32. Fakes sincerity with great conviction. For example he may be profusely apologetic, if he is caught red-handed doing some misdemeanor, but then do the same misdemeanor the next week if he thinks he can get away with it. He is incapable of a sincere apology.

33. Lacks tact.

34. Is not a team player - he acts autocratically.

35. Is two-faced.

36. Hates people who are more talented than he is as it shows up his own inadequacies which he may in turn "project" faults onto that person. (i.e. they are ugly; fat; stupid; liars; etc)

37. Flies into a rage over a small problem - "nit picking".

38. Lacks any kind of personal depth.

39. Has a beaming, charismatic and even messianic smile.

40. Gets others to do his dirty work - "attack dogs" or "hatchet men"

41. Changes the rules frequently but denies the inconsistency.

42. May plunge into detail about something without appreciating that you don't know the context.

43. May express anger because you don't know something that he assumes you know but there is no reason why you should know it and no-one has told you.

44. Interprets criticism of himself (even constructive criticism) as a personal insult or personal attack.

45. Expresses anger at emotional outbursts from others.

46. May use the word "I" or "me" or "my" frequently in conversation and with emphasis.

47. May use expressions such as "I'm just looking after number one" or "I was just following orders" as an excuse to justify abuse.

48. Rarely gets depressed.

49. Is more concerned about the welfare of an inanimate object than a human being. For example, if he witnesses a person colliding with an inanimate object and hurting themselves, he may be more concerned about possible damage to the inanimate object.

50. Likes to find out about or observe other pathologicals. For example, likes to watch Hollywood action films with psychopathic characters or read books about pathological historical characters such as Napoleon.

51. Never remembers his own emotional outbursts or denies having them.

52. Sees things in black or white - something is either all "good" or all "evil".

53. Lectures you endlessly until you agree. For example, think of the tendency of dictators to give speeches that go on for hours - this is "extreme lecturing".

54. Unusual or abnormal sense of direction.

55. Has little interest in making any effort to make you feel comfortable, unless he is manipulating you.

56. They can express remorse when they lose control of someone they are abusing. This is just a form of self-pity as they now have to go to the trouble of finding, "luring" and "grooming" a new target.

57. Makes forced loud laughter - belly laugh

58. Excessive use of makeup. Preening. Excessive touching of hair. Proud of appearance - beard, hair, etc.

59. Often attributes others to saying things about them, for example, "My mother says that I have the most lovely hair." or refers to himself in the third person.

60. Inability to say thank you. Inability to return a compliment. Inability to reciprocate or acknowledge an act of kindness.

61. May make or be seen to make token acts of kindness, for example donations to charity. However these acts are not sincere and are intended just to reinforce their pretense of being a good person or as some form of manipulation.

62. Has an abnormal "startle response" - doesn't jump or startle when we would. This is documented by professionals, but not well known among the public. Rarely do they blush or feel embarrassed.

63. Abnormal sense of smell. Psychopaths may not smell things we can or not as well as we can (olfactory sense). This seems to be verified by research of psychosis variations.

64. Normal people may sense or feel the presence of "evil". It permeates from them. We react with nausea, fear, and we deny & excuse it and often say "Oh, he doesn't mean that". It is often intangible and something we can't really define.

65. Loves giving explicit details of gory operations or violent incidents that he has heard about, for example in films or on TV.

66. Thinks that normal rules of society don't apply to him - he is somehow exempt. He is not concerned with right or wrong for his own actions - only with whether he can get away with doing something without being caught. However he may insist that others adhere to strict rules of his making.

67. Dislikes plants, gardens, etc.

68. May show an odd or abnormally high fascination with fire, weapons, drugs, sex or alcohol.

69. Throws out items normally kept. Has no items or discards any with only 'sentimental connections'.

70. May have a commanding physical presence.

71. Drives recklessly

72. Homophobic / Racist (angry/protests about gays and other races).

73. Obsession with neatness and even personal cleanliness.

74. May be cruel to animals (for example, stamps on worms)

75. Thinks that it is necessary for someone else to fail for him to succeed. He will often make sure that someone fails by using deceit. A psycho manager may engineer failure in an employee by overloading with work or setting impossible deadlines.

76. Fascination with body function of bowel movements. Likes jokes about them.

77. Has a thing about cleanliness. They have to be cleaner than clean.

SOURCE

(the male gender has been used but females can also be pathological)

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Friday, July 14, 2017

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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