Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How Abusers Stage Their Returns



How Abusers Stage Their Returns
While the smooth talk that it takes to get an abused spouse to take them back varies from person to person, there are five major "strategies" that seem to cover most of the wide range of tactics used by abusive partners:

The Honeymoon Syndrome
Also known as "Hearts and Flowers", this can include any bribe that will get you to return - and the sooner the better. Common bribes include promises to get therapy, promises not to be violent again (even after a long history), and even calculated doses of praise for you; saying things like "I know I don't deserve you, but if you'll take me back..."

Super Parent Syndrome
This is a very common ploy, especially if your partner has neglected the children in the past. An abuser might promise to start being a good parent, or might remind you how good they already are with the children. Many victims stay in abusive relationships because they believe that it's better for the children, but children are more aware than we give them credit for - and they know that abuse is occurring. In healthy parenting, children get to see both parents working together toward positive interactions for the whole family. When you stay with an abuser for the sake of the children, you are really slowly destroying one half of their parenting system - yourself - thus robbing your children of the true and healthy "you" that SHOULD be in their futures and replacing it with the you that continues to be abused over time.

Additionally, children depend on you to be able to do your job where they are concerned. This means they expect you to nourish them, protect them, and properly socialize them. Part of protecting them not only means DIRECTLY protecting them, but also protecting their protector - YOU. Finally, a parent will always be a parent - even in the event of seperation or divorce. A truely loving parent will continue to be a truely loving parent regardless of the shape and structure of the family. So before you cling to the promises of super parent abusers, consider carefully what is really in the long term best interests of your children.

Revival Syndrome
"I have been going to church every Sunday since you left. I have accepted religion into my life." That's great, but so what? The real question is: has the violence stopped? Don't believe that just because someone spent an hour with their butt in a pew on a Sunday morning that violence and other abuse can't still be right around the corner. If you look at the massive amounts of literature directed at faith groups teaching them how to identify and respond to abusive relationships in their congregations, you'd quickly realize exactly how many "god-fearing" persons abuse, rape, beat and murder their partners. Even pastors! (Oprah recently did a great show on domestic violence featuring a pastor who murdered his wife of 22 years because they argued over money and his unwillingness to get treatment for depression.)

Sobriety Syndrome
Whether it's drugs, sex or alcohol, abusers have a higher incidence of substance use than the general population. Most substance-using abusers know that they have a substance abuse problem, or, they are aware that YOU believe they have a problem, even if they are in denial themselves. In the panic of facing losing their relationships, many will suddenly "see the light" and swear to you that they'll never touch it again. You'll want to hear it. You'll want to believe it. You'll want to support this effort. And you should! BUT...don't just hear the words and breathe a sigh of relief. Actions speak louder than words and substance abuse and addiction is one of the hardest things to overcome by oneself. Withdraw from chronic alcohol use, heroin, cigarettes, and even caffiene can cause vomiting, nausia, paranoia and other unpleasant symptoms. Porn or sex withdrawal can cause depression and angry outbursts.

When an abusive partner opens the door to getting sober, stick your foot in that door and help them to get MORE help - encourage them to talk to their doctor, to join a support group, to get substance abuse therapy, etc. Counseling, support and therapy for substance abuse problems will address underlying problems and issues and help abusers to substitute healthier behaviors for their destructive coping mechanisms. Unless and until you see a substance using abuser actively participating in sobriety with OUTSIDE HELP, don't fall for just the promise!

Counseling Syndrome
This is both a tactic to get you to stay and a tactic to maintain control and intimidation. On this web site and others, you'll hear over and over again that abusers don't just stop their behavior without assistance to overcome issues and replace destructive behavior with healthy ones. Therapy is no exception. Friends, family, pastors and even abusers might suggest couples counseling to you.

Although they may have the best of intentions, couples counseling is NOT the solution to combat the behaviors of an abuser! Many abusers actually like the idea of couples counseling because it means that THEY don't have to take responsibility for their actions- instead, they get to drag you in as part of the problem. With your abuser sitting next to you in a counseling session, you are not emotionally free to say what you think without fear of repercussion, without the abuser twisting your words, and without them trying to coach you along as what to say or not to say. Safe, effective and appropriate counseling for batterers and abusers must be done WITHOUT the victim present. Batterers must take responsibility for their actions, must understand and admit that THEY have a problem and be dedicated to the self-examination process to make positive long term changes possible. Couples counseling to combat domestic violence SOUNDS like a great idea, but it's false advertising and can prolong and expand the emotional abuses that already exist.

Buy Outs
The problem with all of these things is that in no case, no way, no how, does ANYTHING excuse or "make up" for the fact that a partner batters you! If you donate a million dollars to charity, it doesn't give you the right to go out and shoot someone. Similarly, don't fall into the trap of letting a partner BUY their way out of violence in the relationship. Unless and until a battering partner owns up to their responsibility and gets some outside help to change their behavior, your relationship, your children, and your family are neither healthy nor SAFE.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Inside the Mind of an Abuser


What you Need to Know
by Mary M. Alward

Abusers use warped logic to brainwash their victims. They use methods very similar to those of prison guards, who know that to control prisoners they have to have full co-operation. Subversive manipulation of the mind and destruction of the victim are perfect tools to enable abusers to succeed.

The Logic of Brainwashing
Abusers use warped logic to brainwash their victims. Subversive manipulation of the mind and destruction of the victim are the perfect tools to enable abusers to succeed.

The Process of Brainwashing
The abuser uses several methods of coercion to brainwash his victim. They are as follows:

Isolation
Abusers deprive their victims of social interaction with family members and friends. This is necessary to gain control over the victim.

Resistance
The abuser manipulates his victim to become mentally and physically dependent upon him, which reduces the ability of the victim to resist his abuse.

Threats
Abusers use threats to cultivate anxiety, despair and the ability to resist. Most often they threaten children, family members or friends with harm if the victim doesn’t comply with his demands.

Indulgences
Occasionally the abuser will comply with the wishes of the victim in order to provide motivation to comply with his every demand.

Omnipotence
The abuser suggests to the victim that it is futile to resist his demands.

Trivial Demands
Abusers strictly enforce trivial demands in order to create a habit of compliance in his victim.

Degradation
Abusers degrade their victims in order to damage their self esteem and make them think they are unable to face life on their own. Self esteem can be damaged beyond repair and the victim is often reduced to animal level concerns.


About the Abuser


The methods that abusers, both male and female, use to manipulate their victims are a natural part of their personalities. Abusers all share behaviors and thinking patterns. This labels them as dysfunctional, insecure and unable to have a relationship unless they are in complete control.

Abusers keep their victims in the dark about events that are taking place. They are most always in control of the finances, talk about the victim behind their back in order to cause them to become isolated and make plans that include the victim without consulting them. The abuser’s goal is to monopolize the victim’s time and physical environment and suppress their behavior. An abusive partner tells you what social events you can attend and who you can go with. He may insist you quit work and remain at home where he can keep an eye on you, or he may tell you that you can no longer participate in hobbies. Abusers often insist you move to a location away from family members, friends and other contacts that will give you support.

Abusers do their best to instill feelings of fear, powerlessness and dependency in their victim. Both verbal and emotional abuse heightens these feelings and they grow more pronounced as time passes.

The abuser’s system of logic is closed. She doesn’t allow her partner to voice opinions or criticize her in any way. She lets you know, without a doubt, that her word is law
Abuser’s Tactics
There’s a wide range of tactics that the abuser uses to debilitate the victim. If you recognize any of these tactics, a red flag has been raised.

Domination
Abusers are extremely dominating to the point that they want to control everything that the victim does. If they don’t get their way, they act like spoiled children. On top of that, they use threats to get what they want. If you allow your abuser to dominate you, you will lose your self respect.

Verbal Assault
The abuser tends to verbally assault their victim by calling names, degrading, screaming, threatening, criticizing, berating and humiliating. They will center their victim out in front of family and friends by taking small personality flaws and embellishing them to the extreme. They make snide remarks and use sarcasm to erode the victim’s sense of self-worth and self confidence. Making the victim look bad in front of others is an attempt to isolate the victim and keep them at their mercy. Then, the abuse worsens.

Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a slang term from the 1950’s but is the perfect word to describe one tactic of the abuser. The dictionary definition of gaslighting is to drive someone crazy. This is used to keep the abuser’s victim under control. The abuser will swear that events never occurred and that certain things were never said. The victim knows better, but over time will begin to question their sanity. Be alert to gaslighting tactics that can beat you down and make you think you are going insane.

Blackmail
The abuser uses emotional blackmail to get what they want by pushing your buttons. He plays on his victim’s sense of compassion, fears, sense of guilt and values in order to get his own way. He may refuse to talk to his victim or threaten to end the relationship or withdraw financial support if the victim is dependent on him for basic living necessities. Emotional blackmail is the act of working on the victim’s emotions so the abuser can get what he wants.

Constant Chaos
An abuser will keep the household and his victim’s emotions in total chaos by starting arguments and constantly being in conflict with other family members.

Abusive Expectations
This happens when the abuser makes unreasonable demands on their victim. They may expect their partner to reject everything in their life to tend to the abuser’s needs. Included can be frequent sex, forcing the victim to perform sexual acts that are against their will, demanding all of the victim’s attention or demanding that the victim spend all free time with the abuser. No matter how hard the victim tries to please the abuser, she will always demand more. The victim, whether male or female, will be constantly criticized and berated because they are unable to fulfill the abuser’s demands.

Unpredictable Responses
This includes emotional outbursts and extreme mood swings on the part of the abuser. If you partner likes something you do today and hates it tomorrow, or reacts to the extreme at an identical behavior by the victim, this is an unpredictable response. This behavior damages the victim’s self esteem, self confidence and mental well-being because they are constantly on edge, wondering how their partner is going to respond to their every move.
Living with a person who has unpredictable response is difficult, stressful, nerve wracking and it causes a great deal of anxiety that can lead to health problems. The victim lives with fear and security and has no sense of balance in their life. Abusers who drink excessively are alcoholics or drug abusers often have unpredictable responses to trivial events.

Inside the Abuser’s Mind

Abusers have a tendency to feel they are unique individuals (narcissistic) and shouldn’t have to live under the same rules as everyone else. However, the opposite is true. Abusers share many of the same thinking patterns and behaviors and use the same tactics to keep their victims under their control.

Blaming
Abusers tend to shift responsibility for their actions to their victims and become angry because the person caused them to behave inappropriately. The abuser might say, “If you hadn’t talked back to me, I wouldn't have had to hit you.” Don’t fall for it. The abuser did the hitting and no matter what you did, you are not to blame. He is blaming you for his shortcomings and do not believe that you are the one to blame for even one second.

Making Excuses
Abusers seldom take responsibility for their actions, but try to justify their behavior by making excuses. They may blame the abuse on a difficult childhood or a hard day at the office. Their mind-set tells them that they are never to blame for any negative behavior.

Fantasies of Success
Abusers believe that they would be famous and rich if the victim and other people weren’t holding them back. Because he believes his failure in life is due to others, he feels he is justified in retaliating in any way he can, including physical and emotional abuse. He belittles, berates and puts others down, including the victim, to make himself feel more powerful.

Manipulation
Abusers combine manipulative tactics, such as upsetting people to watch their reaction, lying and provoking arguments and fights among family members and his peers. He charms his victims and other people who he wishes to manipulate by professing that he cares and is interested in their well-being, when all he is doing is opening the door for a deeper level of abuse.

Redefining
The abuser will often redefine situations to blame others for his troubles. Abusers will seldom admit that they are wrong, or for that matter, less than perfect. It’s always someone else’s fault when they act inappropriately.

Assuming
An abuser’s thought patterns lead them to believe that they know what others, including their victim, is feeling and thinking. They use this warped logic to blame these people for their behavior. For instance, an abuser might say, “I knew you’d be angry about that, so I went for a few drinks after work to enjoy myself. Why should I come home to listen to you nag?”

Dependence
Believe it or not, abusers are emotionally dependent on their victim. This causes an inner rage that encourages the abuser to lash out. Because he is so dependent, he takes control of his victim’s life. This is the way they deny their weaknesses and make themselves feel powerful.

Symptoms of Emotional Dependency
Symptoms of emotional dependency include, but are not limited to, excessive jealousy, jealous rages and possessive actions that are usually sexual in nature. Abusers spend an excessive amount of time monitoring the action and movements of their victims. Often, abusers have no support network and lack those supportive roles that others depend upon. Another sign of emotional dependency is the extreme affect the abuser suffers if his victim leaves. He will go to any lengths to get the victim to return.

Rigid Gender Attitudes
Abusers in a domestic atmosphere tend to have extremely rigid attitudes about the role that their spouse should play in a marriage or common law situation. Wives may expect their husbands to fulfill all of the family’s chores, such as repairs and hold up his role as a father. Husbands may expect their wives to hold down a full time job, keep the house spotless, the laundry caught up, meals made on time and also tend to the kids’ every need. All of these examples are things that should be shared in a normal relationship.

Lying
Most abusers are liars. They lie to manipulate their victim by controlling information. They also lie to keep their victim, and others, off balance psychologically. This enables the abuser to gain control of every situation.

Withdrawal
Abusers have a tendency to put up emotional walls and never give out personal information freely. He keeps his real feelings to himself and is not interested in what others think of him. Abusers like secrets and are righteous and close-minded. An abuser always feels she is right in every situation.

Drama
Abusers, either male or female, can’t seem to develop close, satisfying relationships, or even bad relationships that last. They replace closeness with drama in order to make their life more exciting. They love watching others argue and fight and often do things to keep those around them in a state of constant chaos and upheaval.

Minimizing Actions
Abusers always minimize their actions and refuse to accept their mistakes. An abuser might tell his spouse who has a black eye, “I didn’t hit you hard enough to give you a black eye.”

Ownership and Possession
Abusers are extremely possessive and believe that they should get everything they want. They also feel they can do whatever they wish with their possession and abusers see their partner or spouse as something they own. They feel they are justified in hurting their victim by taking their possessions, attacking them mentally and physically and controlling all aspects of their life.

Anger Management
Most abusers have had a violent and abusive childhood in a dysfunctional family setting. These children are very likely to grow up into spousal abusers. They are taught from the time they are babies that violence is a way to settle disputes and get their own way. It’s a way to settle differences of opinion and they see abuse as normal. As adults, they won’t be able to find alternate ways of showing or channeling their anger. People who do not have a method of outlet for anger on a daily basis allow it to build to a point where it explodes. When this happens, the people closest to them become their sounding board emotionally, mentally and physically.

Rules
Abusers feel they are superior to others and don’t have to follow the rules of society. This is also the attitude of hundreds of criminals in prisons world wide. Inmates often believe that while other inmates are guilty of their crimes that they aren’t. Abusers feel it is always their partners who need counseling and that they can take care of their life without help or support from others.

Fragmentation
The abuser, whether male or female, does their best to keep their abusive behavior separate from the rest of their life. For example: abusers will beat their spouse and kids on a regular basis, but seldom physically attack anyone outside of their home. They also separate their lives psychologically. They may attend church on Sunday morning and play the role of a loving spouse and parent and then go home and beat their spouse and kids on Sunday afternoon. Abusers see this as acceptable and normal behavior and feel it is justified. Yet if they hear a report that someone else has abused their loved ones, they are the first to condemn them.

Verbal Communication
Abusers are seldom capable of a relationship that includes real intimacy. It is believed that they feel vulnerable when they are open and truthful with others. Abusers feel that it is up to their partners to turn feelings of anger and frustration into gratification and to fulfill their every need. Partners of abusers are essentially expected to be mind readers and know in advance the needs of the abusive spouse. When this doesn’t happen, the abuser feels insecure, unloved and rejected and rejection is grounds for emotional, mental and physical abuse.

Glorification
Abusers, both men and women, think of themselves as independent, self-sufficient, superior and strong. If someone criticizes them or says something that causes them to feel insulted, the feeling will cause them to react violently toward their victim. This is the only outlet that they know to use to quell feelings of inadequacy.

Being Vague
Abusers think and speak vaguely to avoid their responsibilities. When asked why they are late or where they’ve been, answers will be vague. If their partners pursue the reason, the abuser becomes defensive and strikes out in order to remain in control of the situation.

Abusers: Things You Need to Know

Red Flag Signals

Many people of both genders interpret early warning signs of abuse as attentive, caring and romantic. Here is a list of early warning signs of future domestic abuse.


Warning!

If you see any of these warning signs in your partner, be ever vigilant. For your own safety, it’s best to end the relationship immediately. It’s better to be alone than to be in a relationship where you are constantly abused in any way. Get help now!

SOURCE OF THIS VITAL INFORMATION - HERE

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

When Your Perfect Partner Goes Perfectly Wrong


pics on Sodahead


"Loving or Leaving the Narcissist in Your Life"

by Mary Jo Fay

Chapter 20
Walking on Eggshells
If I printed all the stories people have sent me, this book would be so big you couldn't carry it. Yet, one of the most interesting things about gathering real-life accounts was the commonality in language and feelings among respondents. I found it absolutely fascinating that these people, who came from all over the country and with completely different circumstances, could use exactly the same phrases and describe exactly the same feelings:
I was always walking on eggshells around him
It felt like I was on a never-ending roller coaster ride and I just couldn't figure out how to get off.
I felt like we lived inside a tornado.
The silent treatment was constant and deafening
I never knew what I did wrong.
I always felt so stupid.
Everything was always my fault.
I carried such guilt every day of my life.

And, when victims first learn about narcissism and realize that they are not alone and they are not crazy to think or feel the way they do, they are all equally overwhelmed with relief. It's like they've awakened from a coma after years of sleep with continuous nightmares. Then they start to examine their situations more closely for all the tell-tale tracks that narcissists leave in theor wake. They start to see the red flags they ignored for so long. And only then do they begin to have hope and see the possibility of a future with sunshine and blue sky.

SusanK
The warning signs of his narcissistic behavior appeared early on. He controlled every situation, without regard to my needs or feelings. In one instance, we were visiting his family in Europe and my period started a week early. He had some visits with friends scheduled that day and I told him that I needed to go to a drugstore. He insisted that we go to his friends house immediately in order to stay on schedule. Needless to say, it was the most uncomfortable visit I have ever had! Just one more of those nagging red flags I chose to ignore. In hindsight, I wonder where my head was not to see the ridiculousness of it all.
Georgia
The fact is that life with one of these people is like living in a storm always struggling to find the eye of the tornado for a moment of peace. On the other hand, I believe that when we rely on seeking validation from others instead of ourselves, that's how we fall into their tempest to begin with. True validation is not something you can seek outside yourself. It is the fruit of an inner journey and discovery. To know oneself from the inside-out, rather than from the outside-in. Like love, we think it is outside ourselves so we try to grab it, hold it, and then control it ... then poof! It's gone, like an illusion or dream. Sometimes it takes falling apart to wake up and see what is real. That's when the inner work begins and passion becomes a product of grace, rather then greed or need.

Sara
His verbal abuse was constant and mostly subtle. From an outsider's perspective, it might be seen as a form of friendly teasing. But the tone and frequency would indicate it was nothing but destructive. He maintained a sense of superiority by letting me know that I could not do anything as well as he could. He reminded me constantly that I was not as organized, knowledgeable, driven, ambitious, smart, or capable. He repeatedly told me that he had to do everything for me, because I was incapable of doing it right in his eyes. Why did I believe him for so long?
Jackie
My birthday was always neglected. The first year it fell just before our wedding and was forgotten in the rush. The next year my husband was traveling and didn't have time to send a card or get me anything. When I pressed him on it, he brought out a present two weeks later. I was pleasantly surprised, until I saw that it was a windscreen for his car. The third year we actually had dinner together and he gave me a small gift. Then last year, he decided to throw me a birthday party. I was so pleased at first, but it turned out that the party was not actually for me. He invited his two groups of friends and a few of mine. Out of the 30 people who attended the party, I knew about 6. It was everything that he wanted; the music, the people, the alcohol. I put on a smiling face and thanked him for his effort. Then I went upstairs to take a phone call and was gone for about 25 minutes and no one even noticed my absence. He enjoyed himself and took pictures of his friends (I'm in two shots out of all of them). It was very clear that he threw himself a party and invited me along. This was one of the most insulting things I had experienced. And yet I stayed.
Kris
He has now filed for divorce and has been pressing me to keep it out of court to minimize expenses. I decided that I am not going to go alone in this process without the support of legal counsel. He is threatening me that if I do not comply with his wishes, We'll go bankrupt. It's obviously a ploy to make me feel insecure and question my own decision. Since I have been away from him, I feel much more confident and have begun to realize that almost everything he demands of me has an underlying motive for his self-interest. I feel that I am beginning the healing process through the physical and mental separation. I can now look objectively and see his manipulative ploys for what they are. I no longer get caught up in his emotionally charged tangents that used to make me feel confused and 'less-than.' This is the best thing that could have happened, given the circumstance. I now feel stronger and smarter and hope to develop a healthy relationship with a 'normal' man sometime in the future.

Lori
The marriage was definitely emotionally abusive. The remarks were always very subtle. He questioned every decision I made, from what type of mayonnaise I purchased to why I went to graduate school and incurred a student debt. He told me that I was using the wrong knife to cut vegetables. 'Don't you know that?' he would chastise me. Or, 'I always have to do everything (correctly) for you' implying I was incapable of doing anything right. He told me that my parents did not educate me properly 'Didn't they teach you how to open the bed every morning to let the moisture out?' He reminded me, 'What would you do without me? Aren't you glad that you're with someone with a head on his shoulders?' Nothing I did could ever measure up to him. It took me the longest time, but at last I learned to trust my gut and not what he said any longer.

Katie
It's very subtle, the manipulation. You can't even see it happening. It creeps into your life. It's amazing and fascinating. It's not obvious abuse. You don't even have any scars to prove it. There was just something in him that was very sadistic and evil under his gorgeous exterior shell.
Jessica
My kids used to say I changed whenever I was around Tom. They knew the minute I would let him back into my life. 'Where did you go? What happened to you? Is anybody home?' they would ask. And they weren't talking about my physical presence. They said I went to 'Thomasville' whenever I was seeing him again. It wasn't a location it was an emotional and behavioral place I lived in that was outside of the 'usual me.' Like that old movie, The Stepford Wives. They said I was like a robot. Not even human. I kept thinking if I just tried harder we could work it out, so despite my kids begging me I would pick up the phone and make up with him again and again. This last time was different though. I noticed some old and uncomfortable triggers that I knew I would not be strong enough to challenge. I immediately closed the door. However, the experience has helped me see how far I've come and how far I still have to go on the journey. I can't honestly say that I am completely over him, but I am getting there.
Keeping your head above the water when the waves are rough is exhausting, sometimes unbearable. If we don't drown, we become stronger swimmers and the joy and gratitude, when all is calm, magnifies everything.

If I don't believe this, I will drown.

Maybe that is having faith.

Suicidal Thoughts
Many victims and survivors frequently talk of entertaining suicidal thoughts. The never-ending mental exhaustion, depression, anxiety, sadness, chronic confusion, and fatigue leave them feeling that there is no other way to stop the noise. The fear they have of leaving their narcissist often outweighs the fear they have of staying. And so, they wonder if suicide is their only chance at peace.
Mary Beth
The last week he was living in the house I realized suicide was the only alternative to divorce. Thank God he left.

Jillian
For God's sake don't tell him you're thinking of killing yourself. You'll receive absolutely no empathy or compassion but plenty of criticism. I had suicidal thoughts all the time. Sometimes I fantasized that it would stop the pain. You start to think it's the only option. But here's the thing you finally realize that if you kill yourself, your tormentor will still go on living and it just pisses you off when you think about it that way. I think that's what kept me alive through the worst of it. I refused to let him win.

Thank God I never went through with it.

My life is finally peaceful now. It was worth the wait.

Kathy
I used to wish I would die of natural causes. I was on antidepressants for years, but they never seemed to help. I even think I had some pretty risky behaviors from time to time. I flirted
with death but never took pills or cut myself. I resorted to prayer and support groups to keep me alive until I figured a way to get out. My own experience with suicide I was one of those who had to hit rock bottom before I could pull myself out of the darkness. My self-esteem torn to shreds. My personal belief in my value, non-existent. The depression so severe I slept half of every day away and yet remained exhausted. I felt as though I was walking in a never-ending fog that wouldn't quit. Squinting to see daylight. Blinking my eyes in an attempt to clear them, but with no luck. And constantly hoping for some direction, some reprieve, some end to the emotional turmoil that ate me alive.

I actually wrote a suicide letter. Fortunately, the mere act of writing it scared me back into reality. The truth is I never really wanted to die. I just wanted the pain to stop and couldn't figure out how. Yet, that terrible moment is probably what changed my life. It scared me so much that I knew I had to do something dramatically different or else I would just end up right back in that black abyss at a later date. Whether I took my own life or ran my car absent mindedly into traffic or just curled up in a corner and died of complete depression, it didn't matter. I knew it was only a matter of time if I didn't do something drastic. I made a conscious decision to live and to change. I was especially lucky. I had some money stashed away and an empty nest that gave me the freedom to get 'outside my boxx' and I moved to Cozumel, Mexico to live and work for six months. I escaped without car, phone, mail, or friend and I went so far away from my normal treadmill that change was bound to happen. It just couldn't help it. My time in Mexico was the best gift I ever gave myself. It gave me space to breathe and heal and be mindless. It gave me the time to rebuild my self-esteem and become whole again. It gave me an environment and an opportunity to test my boundaries with new people. I know in my heart that had I not reached the point of seriously considering taking my own life, that I would still be a zombie walking in a fog. I guess the old adage is correct that God only gives you as much as you can handle. It has become my mantra.

I have a new respect for people who talk about suicide now. I know their pain. I find myself bristling when I hear those who don't understand, tell me that 'suicide is the most selfish act anyone can ever do.' What that tells me is that the voice behind that phrase has never been in such a dark place that the only way out appeared to be through death. They know not of what they speak. However, what I also learned through this journey is that no matter how bad things may seem,

THERE IS ALWAYS AN ALTERNATIVE.

The greatest quote I discovered later is this:

SUICIDE IS A LONG-TERM ANSWER TO A SHORT-TERM PROBLEM
- Iris Bolton, The Phases of Grief

I only recently discovered the author of this quote and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for speaking these thoughts so perfectly. When looked at from that perspective, it is a lifeline for anyone on the edge of despair. If ever you have suicidal thoughts, grab this quote and repeat it to yourself over and over and over until you believe it in your soul.

SUICIDE IS A PERMANENT ANSWER TO A SHORT-TERM PROBLEM

Let it be your mantra too. Let it remind you that no matter what you¡¦re dealing with in your life, there are answers. You may just need to find someone who knows how to help you find the switch to turn the light back on and bring you out of the darkness.

We are out there.

Find yourself someone you can count on for times like these and hold them in a special place in your heart. There are many of us who can help. Just reach out to us we'll be glad to take your hand.

One more thing about suicide - narcissists rarely commit suicide. It is not in their makeup. I mean think about it for a minute would God commit suicide? You see the ridiculousness of it? This is not to say that they are incapable, but is a gentle reminder that it is most commonly the victim who has suicidal feelings. So, if your narcissist threatens suicide if you leave, do not let that hold you. More than likely it is just another piece of his ammunition in his ongoing battle to keep you in your place.

Angelica
I feel like I have a future and hope again. I thought I was stuck on a horrific roller coaster and couldn't get off. I thought I had no control over my life and no hope for love, relationship, and family. Now I know that I control my life. I have a second chance. I am pursuing my dreams now and moving on to healthy relationships.

Life really is wonderful!

************************************
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Steven Wright

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Forgiveness


by Kathy Krajco

I think that often, when a victim says he or she "forgives" someone, they are just pretending that they aren't powerless to make the offender stop it or to get back what he stole.

Talk about "playing Pretend."

The reason I say this is because it's fashionable to forgive all sorts of unforgiveable things, and you hear people doing it every day.

You even hear people claiming to have forgiven a criminal while at the same time testifying against him in a hearing for imposing the death penalty.

How much farce can we take!

The word forgiveness has been totally bastardized by preachers and holier-than-thous. The nearest I can figure, they have all but corrupted it into meaning some kind warm, fuzzy feeling you claim to have toward someone you may nonetheless want to be executed for what he did.

Forgiveness. I know it's three syllables, but is it really that tough a word?

I'm in line with theologians on this (because they tend to think instead of just preach whatever sells). They will be the first to tell you that you cannot forgive an offense in progress, for example. It's bogus.

Can you forgive someone while they're trying to kill you? While they're raping you? While they're breaking into your home? Theologians will be the first to tell that this brand of "forgiveness" ain't real forgiveness and amounts to ALLOWING the offense. It's just bending over for it.

If you live with an abusive narcissist, you cannot forgive him or her. Why? Because they deny what they do to you, let alone that it is wrong. They show no remorse. The don't promise to stop. In fact they make a virtue of doing it and show that they fully intend to keep right on. That is an offense in progress. You cannot forgive it.

All you can do is lie by pretending to forgive it. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact. This is a little mental game you play with yourself to feel you have some control over the situation.

Again, for example, if someone has stolen from you and squandered the money, you may be able to forgive without restitution. But if he has the money in the bank, you cannot forgive him until he gives it back. Because that ain't forgiveness: it's extortion. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact.

It's the same if he stole something even more valuable, like your good name. It must be restored before you can legitimately forgive.

The truth is often painful. But not as painful as fleeing into denial of it. For, it is true: having the courage to know the truth is key, because the truth will set you free.


SOURCE


MUST YOU FORGIVE?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Common Reactions to Trauma


Edna B. Foa, Elizabeth A. Hembree, David Riggs, Sheila Rauch, and Martin Franklin
Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania


A traumatic experience produces emotional shock and may cause many emotional problems. This handout describes some of the common reactions people have after a trauma. Because everyone responds differently to traumatic events, you may have some of these reactions more than others, and some you may not have at all.

Remember, many changes after a trauma are normal. In fact, most people who directly experience a major trauma have severe problems in the immediate aftermath. Many people then feel much better within three months after the event, but others recover more slowly, and some do not recover enough without help. Becoming more aware of the changes you've undergone since your trauma is the first step toward recovery.

Some of the most common problems after a trauma are described below.

Fear and anxiety. Anxiety is a common and natural response to a dangerous situation. For many it lasts long after the trauma ended. This happens when views of the world and a sense of safety have changed. You may become anxious when you remember the trauma. But sometimes anxiety may come from out of the blue. Triggers or cues that can cause anxiety may include places, times of day, certain smells or noises, or any situation that reminds you of the trauma. As you begin to pay more attention to the times you feel afraid you can discover the triggers for your anxiety. In this way, you may learn that some of the out-of-the-blue anxiety is really triggered by things that remind you of your trauma.

Re-experiencing of the trauma. People who have been traumatized often re-experience the traumatic event. For example, you may have unwanted thoughts of the trauma, and find yourself unable to get rid of them. Some people have flashbacks, or very vivid images, as if the trauma is occurring again. Nightmares are also common. These symptoms occur because a traumatic experience is so shocking and so different from everyday experiences that you can't fit it into what you know about the world. So in order to understand what happened, your mind keeps bringing the memory back, as if to better digest it and fit it in.

Increased arousal is also a common response to trauma. This includes feeling jumpy, jittery, shaky, being easily startled, and having trouble concentrating or sleeping. Continuous arousal can lead to impatience and irritability, especially if you're not getting enough sleep. The arousal reactions are due to the fight or flight response in your body. The fight or flight response is the way we protect ourselves against danger, and it occurs also in animals. When we protect ourselves from danger by fighting or running away, we need a lot more energy than usual, so our bodies pump out extra adrenaline to help us get the extra energy we need to survive.

People who have been traumatized often see the world as filled with danger, so their bodies are on constant alert, always ready to respond immediately to any attack. The problem is that increased arousal is useful in truly dangerous situations, such as if we find ourselves facing a tiger. But alertness becomes very uncomfortable when it continues for a long time even in safe situations. Another reaction to danger is to freeze, like the deer in the headlights, and this reaction can also occur during a trauma.

Avoidance is a common way of managing trauma-related pain. The most common is avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma, such as the place where it happened. Often situations that are less directly related to the trauma are also avoided, such as going out in the evening if the trauma occurred at night. Another way to reduce discomfort is trying to push away painful thoughts and feelings. This can lead to feelings of numbness, where you find it difficult to have both fearful and pleasant or loving feelings. Sometimes the painful thoughts or feelings may be so intense that your mind just blocks them out altogether, and you may not remember parts of the trauma.

Many people who have been traumatized feel angry and irritable. If you are not used to feeling angry this may seem scary as well. It may be especially confusing to feel angry at those who are closest to you. Sometimes people feel angry because of feeling irritable so often. Anger can also arise from a feeling that the world is not fair.

Trauma often leads to feelings of guilt and shame. Many people blame themselves for things they did or didn't do to survive. For example, some assault survivors believe that they should have fought off an assailant, and blame themselves for the attack. Others feel that if they had not fought back they wouldn't have gotten hurt. You may feel ashamed because during the trauma you acted in ways that you would not otherwise have done. Sometimes, other people may blame you for the trauma.

Feeling guilty about the trauma means that you are taking responsibility for what occurred. While this may make you feel somewhat more in control, it can also lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.

Grief and depression are also common reactions to trauma. This can include feeling down, sad, hopeless or despairing. You may cry more often. You may lose interest in people and activities you used to enjoy. You may also feel that plans you had for the future don't seem to matter anymore, or that life isn't worth living. These feelings can lead to thoughts of wishing you were dead, or doing something to hurt or kill yourself. Because the trauma has changed so much of how you see the world and yourself, it makes sense to feel sad and to grieve for what you lost because of the trauma.

Self-image and views of the world often become more negative after a trauma. You may tell yourself, "If I hadn't been so weak or stupid this wouldn't have happened to me." Many people see themselves as more negative overall after the trauma ("I am a bad person and deserved this.").

It is also very common to see others more negatively, and to feel that you can't trust anyone. If you used to think about the world as a safe place, the trauma may suddenly make you think that the world is very dangerous. If you had previous bad experiences, the trauma convinces you that the world is dangerous and others aren't to be trusted. These negative thoughts often make people feel they have been changed completely by the trauma. Relationships with others can become tense and it is difficult to become intimate with people as your trust decreases.

Sexual relationships may also suffer after a traumatic experience. Many people find it difficult to feel sexual or have sexual relationships. This is especially true for those who have been sexually (physically or emotionally) assaulted, since in addition to the lack of trust, sex & sexual feelings themselves are a reminder of the trauma.

Some people increase their use of alcohol or other substances after a trauma. There is nothing wrong with responsible drinking, but if your use of alcohol or drugs changed as a result of your traumatic experience, it can slow down your recovery and cause problems of its own. (See a doctor or psychiatrist familiar with PTSD if you have problems sleeping, eating, working and so on.)

Many of the reactions to trauma are connected to one another. For example, a flashback may make you feel out of control, and will therefore produce fear and arousal. Many people think that their common reactions to the trauma mean that they are "going crazy" or "losing it." These thoughts can make them even more fearful. Again, as you become aware of the changes you have gone through since the trauma, and as you process these experiences during treatment, the symptoms should become less distressing.

The information on this Web site is presented for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for informed medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a mental health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health care provider.

All information contained on these pages is in the public domain unless explicit notice is given to the contrary, and may be copied and distributed without restriction.


For more information call the PTSD Information Line at (802) 296-6300 or send email to ncptsd@ncptsd.org.

From the website of the National Centre for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Being at the receiving end of abuse (being lied to, being used, being degraded, coerced, minimized, blamed, bullied, humiliated, emotionally raped, verbally and emotionally abused, etc) IS trauma.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Devaluation and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)


The Slippery Slope (B.P.D.)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has at its root distorted cognitive interpretations. There is a propensity toward negative perception. This negative perception is aroused and or triggered by any number of things that take borderlines emotionally back to the unmet needs and the pain that sits there until faced, felt and healed.

One very central way to change this cycle of being triggered and then sliding (often subsconsiously) into cognitive distortions which that can lead to acting out and over-all child-like behaviour, demanding, push/pull, self-harm, feelings of rejection or abandonment to name just a few is to learn how to recognize and stop borderline devalution.

Devaluation is the lessening of someone or something. It often results from triggered-distorted thinking. It often takes the shape of negative, judgmental, critical and angry conclusions drawn in relation to someone in the here and now that has come to represent someone in one's past. It is yet another facet or extension of borderline-narcissism.

When one begins this cycle of devaluation there is great reason for concern. It is a slippery slope from the mental exercise of devaluation to behavioural reality of aggression or passive-agression. When one is devaluing another person who that person is gets blurred. It then gets easier to value one's own narcissistic and selfish expression which will over-ride the reality of the other person's entity.


In the act of devaluing borderline's often misinterpret reality as if events that have occurred are a conspiracy against them or are happening just to them and being done by others on purpose. This is a prime example of narcissism in action.

An example of devaluation:

You are with a friend who has helped you out a lot and who you believe cares about you. You like this person most of the time. Though there are those times when you think that they think (projection) that you are "less than". Your friend decides to change his/her mind about something that they had promised to do with you. Rather than just accept that at face value and accept his/her reason you suspect that it has more to do with you. You suspect and come to believe that they are doing something to you on purpose to hurt you. Chances are that the change in plans your friend has made has nothing at all to do with you. Here is the critical area in which you need to stop the cycle of devaluation before it starts.

If you get into devaluation it will begin with the thought that your friend is not being honest with you. It will proceed to your believing they really don't like you anyway. Then the next thought would be that they don't care about you so why should you care about them. Anger sets in as you feel hurt but don't deal with that. Next thing you know, this friend that you wanted to go to a movie with now seems like some stranger you've never known. The reason has nothing to do with him/her. The reason that your friend now seems like a stranger is because you have projected so much of yourself on to him/her that you are not seeing them anymore. So, in essence then, this devaluation of another person, is really an extension of your own self-hatred and how undeserving you feel. And all it takes to activate this trigger in the average borderline is a slight change of plan or routine that leaves anything in the borderline's experience feeling unpredictable or out of control.

It is when you devalue, and react to others as an extension of yourself (narcissistically), that the slippery slope sees you sliding down the triggered-reality toward what is tantamount to illusion and distorted thoughts. Any action that you act on that results from that illusion or those distorted thoughts has a great chance of being very damaging in any relationship. It will be experienced as controlling, manipulating and or punishing by the person on the other end of your devaluation of them. If you are unaware of the effect that you are having on others and if you are unable to take personal responsibility for the unfolding of this devaluing dynamic the chances are good then that you will feel rejected, and or abandoned, not understand why and then escalate your negative and controlling behaviour/defence mechanisms which will then only further alienate others from you.

Devaluation of others is a slippery-slope because it quickly leads to patterned responses from your past crowding into your relationships in the present. When you come to understand what devaluing others costs you, you may then decide that it is a cycle worth stopping. When you start your slide down that slippery slope it can be difficult to stop yourself before you have done a lot of damage to yourself and others and before you end up at the bottom of that cycle yet again.

No deserves to be devalued. When one is able to devalue another it dehumanizes them and leads to an inability to respect. This is often the precursor to violence.

There are thought-patterns which occur in patterned ways in each and every devaluing episode. The key thing is to learn what they are and how to recognize them. The way to stop them is to work through them and understand what they are attached to from your past. The best way to not fall into the pattern of devaluation is to remind yourself that everything is NOT about you. If you find yourself about to devalue someone just tell yourself to STOP. Just saying STOP can help you re-focus your thoughts elsewhere.

SOURCE

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Brainwashing Agitates Victims Into Submission



(Abusers use similar methods with their targets & victims!! Read on:)
Was Elizabeth Smart -- the Utah teenager snatched from her bedroom, then remarkably rescued -- brainwashed into staying with her captors?

Her father, Ed Smart, said Thursday he knows "that she's been through brainwashing," though he has not asked his daughter for details about her nine-month ordeal.

The American view of mind control is more sensational than clinical. The public tends to remember how attorney F. Lee Bailey defended heiress Patty Hearst in the 1970s, claiming she was brainwashed into joining her kidnappers in their crime spree.

But where, exactly, did he get the idea?

"Brainwashing" is one of the few Chinese phrases to have made its way directly into English in translation, thanks to the Korean War. Chinese Taoist temples often displayed the two characters "Xi Xin," pronounced "shee shin," meaning "Wash Heart." It was an adjuration to all those entering to purge their hearts of base thoughts [i.e. Chinese Thought Reform] and desires, and rise to a higher spiritual plane.

The Chinese communists adopted this phrase during political "struggle sessions," in which an erring comrade would be urged by the group to straighten out, fly right, get back in tune with the common goal. The very word for "comrade" in Chinese is tongzhi, meaning "share goal."

Only one slight change was made: Instead of washing the heart, one was urged to wash the brain, "Xi Nao," purify one's thoughts.

During the Korean War, captured American soldiers were subjected to prolonged interrogations and harangues by their captors, who often worked in relays and used the "good-cop, bad-cop" approach, alternating a brutal interrogator with a gentle one. It was all part of "Xi Nao," washing the brain. The Chinese and Koreans were making valiant attempts to convert the captives to the communist way of thought. Soldiers sometimes caved in, sometimes did not. For some reason, sociologists later noted, the Turks proved the toughest to persuade, while Americans were a mixed lot. Some were converted, some actually defected and at least one was living in China as late as the 1980s.

British journalist Edward Hunter translated the term brainwashing in his 1953 book, Brain-Washing in Red China, which described communist techniques for controlling the minds of nonbelievers.

The word gained wide currency, given a powerful assist by the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, which revolved around the plot device of brainwashing. In the film, with the flip of a queen of diamonds card, a pre-programmed and seemingly normal person could be turned into an assassin. The device was revived in a later film, Telefon, starring Charles Bronson.

In 1968, when Michigan Gov. George Romney claimed that the Johnson administration had "brainwashed" him about Vietnam, Sen. Eugene McCarthy quipped that, in Romney's case, "a light rinse would have done." Romney, who was creating excitement in the Republican presidential nomination contest, quickly faded, clearing the way for Richard Nixon.

But it was the 1970s kidnapping of Hearst, 19-year-old heiress to the publishing fortune, that brought brainwashing into the courtroom. Hearst was held in a closet and tortured for several months by the Symbionese Liberation Army, which she then joined and aided in several armed robberies -- changing her name to Tania. Her attorney, Bailey, said she had been brainwashed. The defense didn't succeed. Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison.
(Later during the trial of Cameron Hooker (the "Girl in a Box" trial) in California, brainwashing was proved to be a legitimate defense and Hooker was sentenced to life in prison for what he had done to his victim.)

The brainwashing defense has recently been tried again to explain the behavior of men arrested for their association with terrorists and terrorism. A friend of John "American Tailbone" Walker's told People magazine that Al-Qaeda had brainwashed Walker. Slate magazine reported that Abd-Samad Moussaoui, the brother of Zacarias "20th Hijacker" Moussaoui, believes that, in Britain, his brother "became prey to an extremist brainwashing cult."

The real soldiers who survived the Korean War and returned to the United States carried with them the stigma and guilt of having been captured and having survived the war and their interrogations. "Survivor's guilt" is a common trait among prisoners of war.

So brainwashing became a pejorative, and the phrase "you've been brainwashed," a term of reproach, as if the prisoner had become addlebrained, or a simpleton, during his captivity.

Sometimes the brainwashing sessions backfired ludicrously. There is the story of one British soldier who, during an interrogation session, was asked how much land his family owned. The Englishman replied that he had only a window box in a flat back in London where he grew geraniums.

The translator didn't understand what a window box was and asked the dimensions of the plot of ground. When the soldier showed him, with his hands, the interrogator brightened immediately.

"Ah, then you should be on our side! Obviously you are a small land owner and have been exploited terribly!" he said.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Be Very Specific in Custody Agreements


A child custody agreement is an extremely important document that will largely influence your life as a co-parent. Child custody agreements essentially lay out how you, your co-parent, and your child will be living your daily lives. For this reason, you and your co-parent must ensure that the rules of raising your child are clearly defined in the document. Including provisions in your custody agreement is a good way to thoroughly cover every aspect of your responsibilities as co-parents.

Before adding provisions to your custody agreement

Child custody agreements must be given a lot of time and thought. They must be thorough and include everything that you will need to know as a co-parent for your child. Before adding provisions to your custody agreement there are a few major issues that must be accounted for. A basic child custody agreement should include:
Most states require by law that co-parents include these issues in their custody agreement. Be sure to consult with you attorney or a family law professional in your state to determine what needs to be included in your own custody agreement.

Including your own provisions in your custody agreement

Now that the basic issues of your custody agreement have been defined, you and your co-parent will be able to add your own provisions if you feel that its necessary. These provisions will be useful in saving you and your co-parent a lot of stress and unneeded conflict in the future. The easiest way to come up with these provisions is to reflect on what issues you and your co-parent have currently regarding your co-parenting relationship. You may also come up with provisions by trying to predict and problems that may arise in the future and creating preventative provisions.

The most common types of provisions are used to provide more detail to the issues included in your basic child custody agreement. For instance, if you and your co-parent agree that details need to be added to your legal or physical custody agreements you may do so. Other provisions may also be added regarding separate issues such as how you will allow your child to interact with new partners or how you and you co-parent choose to contact one another. Any stipulation can be created as long as you and your co-parent come to an agreement on it. If you and your co-parent wish to make a provision but you cannot come to an agreement on the situation, you may request that a judge make a determination.

Remember that a judge must approve all provisions. A judge may also request you to state your argument as to why a provision is needed. Be sure to have a valid reason for creating each provision otherwise it is likely that it will not be approved.

SOURCE

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