Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, October 16, 2017
The Differences Between A Sociopath And A Narcissist
When we try to analyze the people we cross paths with in society, it is possible to misinterpret our analysis for lack of a better understanding. For those who have crossed paths with a sociopath and a narcissist (on separate occasions), it may seem like there is little to no difference between the two when in fact one can be mistaken for the other. Both are considered to be social terrorists, however, there are distinguishing characteristics that would imply neither of them are one in the same. Therefore, I would like to explain briefly the differences in character between these two personality disorders…
A Narcissist will
- often let you know up front what they’re about.
- They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake).
- They generally do not tell these stories for any other gain than to hear praises.
- They have an unquenchable desire to be admired, worshiped, and adulated with no real gain from those that respond to them in this way other than to feed their own ego.
- They need to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering.
A Sociopath will
- NEVER let you know up front what they are about, because they wear a mask to hide their true identity.
- They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake, but mostly fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake, but mostly fake).
- They generally tell these stories to appear as a “good person” to gain trust and as a cover-up for their ulterior motives.
- They have the same unquenchable desires as the Narcissist as a result of the power and control they gain over their victims.
- They do not care to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering unless doing so promises to earn them more unsuspecting victims.
Here’s a few more brief distinguishing characteristics:
- A Narcissist can occasionally have a conscience. A Sociopath has no conscience whatsoever, nor do they have any remorse for hurting others intentionally.
- A Narcissist can occasionally be constructive. A Sociopath is always destructive.
- A Narcissist’s world can be built by their own hands. A Sociopath prefers their world to be built by someone else’s hands.
- A Narcissist is self-deceptive. A Sociopath is socially deceptive.
- A Narcissist needs admirers. A Sociopath needs victims.
- A Narcissist lacks empathy in the form of belittling, name-calling, and defaming another’s character. A Sociopath lacks empathy in a criminal or physically violent way.
- A Narcissist exploits themselves in a grandiose manner. A Sociopath pretends to be someone who they are not to hide their hidden agendas.
Both think they are superior to anyone and everyone, both think they deserve special treatment, both process the world differently, and both play to “win”. However, it is possible for both personality traits to be combined into one, which is called a “Narcissistic Sociopath,” and is more dangerous than the two of them separately.
From what I know: All Sociopaths are also Narcissists. Not all Narcissists are/or become Sociopaths.
One can be a Narcissistic Sociopath but NEVER a Sociopathic Narcissist. The spectrum only moves one way. - Barbara
Sunday, October 15, 2017
the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil'
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES - original article click here
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Couples' Counseling & Marriage Counseling Does NOT Work in Abusive Relationships!
In fact, in many cases, couples' counseling has increased the violence/abuse in the home.
Couples' counseling does not work because:
Couples' counseling places the responsibility for change on both partners. Domestic violence is the sole responsibility of the abuser.
Couples' counseling works best when both people are truthful. Individuals who are abusive to their partners minimize, deny and blame, and therefore are not truthful in counseling.
Couples resolve problems in counseling by talking about problems. His abuse is not a couple problem, it is his problem. He needs to work on it in a specialized program for abusers.
A victim who is being abused in a relationship is in a dangerous position in couple's counseling. If she tells the counselor about the abuse, she is likely to suffer more abuse when she gets home. If she does not tell, nothing can be accomplished.
If you think you will benefit from joint counseling, go AFTER he successfully completes a batterer's intervention program and is no longer violent for one full year.
Would marriage counseling be better? He won't go for help unless I go with him.
No. Domestic violence advocates strongly advise battered women not to participate in couples counseling, family counseling, and mediation programs. It may not be safe to talk about your feelings in front of someone who could hurt you later and blame his behavior on what you say.
Many battered women say that these kinds of counseling do not stop the violence and often increase their danger. Also, going to counseling together suggests that you share responsibility for his violence.
You are never responsible for his violence. Even if your partner is not willing to change, support and assistance in figuring out what you want to do are available at your local domestic violence program. They can help you plan for your safety.
Couples counseling is NEVER an appropriate way to deal with domestic violence. Therapists who offer couples counseling when domestic violence has occurred or is occurring do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence, and are practicing unethical and unsafe services. Men who abuse need to be in group intervention programs with other abusers.
Be wary of anyone who advises couples or marriage counseling. This isn't appropriate for abusive relationships. Most communities have agencies that provide individual counseling and support groups to women in abusive relationships.
Perpetrator Intervention Programs For Abusers
Abusers can enter voluntarily or be court ordered to Perpetrator Intervention Programs. It is important to note that there are no guarantees that he will change his violent behavior. He is the only one that can make the decision -- and commitment -- to change.
An intervention program should include these factors:
Victim's safety is the priority.
Meets minimum standards for weekly sessions (16 weeks).
Holds him accountable.
Curriculum addresses the root of his problem.
Makes no demand on the victim to participate.
Is open to input from the victim.
What programs teach:
Education about domestic violence.
Changing attitudes and beliefs about using violence in a relationship.
Achieving equality in relationships.
In the program, an abuser should become aware of his pattern of violence and learn techniques for maintaining nonviolent behavior, such as "time outs" "buddy" phone cals, support groups, relaxation techniques, and exercise.
How do you know if he is really changing?
Positive signs include:
He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others
He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong
He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you
You don't feel afraid when you are with him.
He does not coerce or force you to have sex.
You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated.
He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration.
He respects your opinion even if he doesn't agree with it.
He respects your right to say "no."
Am I safe while he is in the program?
For your own safety and your children's safety, watch for these signs that indicate problems while he is in the program:
Tries to find you if you've left.
Tries to get you to come back to him.
Tries to take away the children.
If you feel you are in danger, contact the National Domestic Violence crisis line.
Six Big Lies
If you hear your partner making these statements while he is in a treatment program for abusers, you should understand that he is lying to himself, and to you.
"I'm not the only one who needs counseling."
"I'm not as bad as a lot of other guys in there."
"As soon as I'm done with this program, I'll be cured."
"We need to stay together to work this out."
"If I weren't under so much stress, I wouldn't have such a short fuse."
"Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding."
Questions Women Often Have About Batterers and Batterer Programs
He says that I do things to make him angry. Am I to blame for his violence?
No. Abusive men often blame other people or situations for their violence. Many say their partners provoke them. The truth is that no one can cause another person to be violent. His violence is never justified. How he behaves is his choice and his responsibility. In fact, you can probably think of times where other people made him angry and he chose not to respond to them with violence or abuse.
What is a batterer program?
Not all batterer programs are the same, but some of them include education about domestic violence, and what communities are doing to hold abusers accountable. Depending on the program, the education can include informing your partner that he alone is responsible for what he does, that abuse destroys families and that he can change if he chooses to.
How would my partner get into a batterer program?
Most batterers participate because the court ordered them to do so. Many men say that they would not have gone or stayed in the program if they had not been court ordered. Some men attend without a court order, and others go as a way to convince their partners not to leave or to take them back. Unless a batterer is truly committed to being accountable for his behavior and to stop being controlling, he is unlikely to change his behavior, with or without a batterer program.
Will he stop abusing me if he attends a batterer program?
Any man can stop being violent and abusive if he really wants to stop. Some batterer programs provide good information to participants. However, going to a batterers program does not guarantee that he will stop battering and does not guarantee that you will be safe. In fact, many men who are attending or have attended a batterer program continue to be violent and/or controlling.
To best protect yourself and your children, it is recommended that you keep in contact with your local battered women's services/program, especially while he is attending the batterer program. To find out what options and support services are available to you in your community and to learn more about batterer programs, you can contact your local domestic violence program or shelter.
My partner says he'll get help for his drinking. If he stops drinking, will he stop being violent?
Don't count on it. Alcohol and other drug abuse do not cause domestic abuse, even though batterers often use substance abuse as an excuse for their violence.
Batterers who drink or use drugs have two separate problems that need to be handled independently. Even if your partner stops using alcohol or other drugs, he is likely to continue to be abusive.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Avoiding The Emotional Blackmailer
by Suzanne Watts
The Emotional Blackmailer is easy to recognize, but women seldom do until they are well and truly sucked into his web. It is best to avoid getting close to him because it is quite difficult to get away from him. Stalkers start out as emotional blackmailers. Just the word "blackmailer" should give you a clue of what depth of self-centered behaviour is lying in wait to be sprung on you the minute you are hooked. Here are the roots and the signs, the way he progresses to hook his victim, and how to get away from him.
What Creates an Emotional Blackmailer?
Sometimes a combination of neglect, overprotectiveness, coldness, spoiling and lack of nurturing in infancy and childhood. This can be ascertained by comments he makes about his parents - both of them. He will hate them and resent them, while still taking his laundry home to mommy even when she lives in the next STATE. His mom is blamed for him not knowing how to do anything - she never even taught him to make his bed or hang up his wet towel, and she didn't feed him; his dad is blamed for him choosing a profession that he is ill-suited for - any profession that wasn't his dad's. He will say they are both critical of him, and never gave him any support for anything he wanted to do to better himself. This may be the sad truth, but he uses it as an excuse to get everyone he meets for the rest of his life to serve his needs. He does not have empathy - in this way he is like the sociopath to whom people are objects.
The "Modus Operandi" of the Emotional Blackmailer
He is too good to be true - He is soft-spoken and polite, he smells good, he looks good, he is kind and loves women, he is respectful, he doesn't come on too strong FOR THE FIRST FEW MEETINGS ONLY. He's always on the lookout for a patsy, but he's in no hurry as there's always another one around the corner so he'll take his time in coming on to you. In fact you'll wonder why he's not attracted to you; you might think he is gay, and be all the more attracted to him because he just wants to chat and be friends.
He'll be there more and more frequently - gazing at you with puppy dog eyes; wanting to know everything about you, asking your advice, making it look like you are getting to know each other and forming a bond.
He will put himself in the best possible light - including lying through his teeth about his ambitions, activities, hopes and dreams.
His seduction techniques are often subtle and well-practiced - It will seem he did nothing to seduce you until you look back and analyze it. He sat and stood close to you, he brushed against you, but it didn't seem to be on purpose.
He suddenly "Turns on the Charm" and turns up the heat - Once you're hypnotized by his sweetness and modesty and respectfulness, he will pounce on you one night and turn into a Mr. Hyde. It "just happened." This is the critical moment to run away, don't let him touch you. He'll leave you breathless wondering what exactly happened. He'll turn on all the charm full force and you'll be wanting him from then on, yet wanting some breathing room. You won't get any. Ever. It won't bother you at first - you'll think he's attentive and ardent.
He starts using the wine/ dine/ lines technique - Once you're "seeing" each other, he'll be a real swain, wining and dining you, going for romantic walks, discussing how amazing this new relationship is, how different you are from any woman he ever met; he'll insist on elegant dinners and pay for them, and he'll talk about your remarkable beauty and how "alike" you are. He will talk about your "resonance" and describe all the awful women he knew before who didn't want a good man - who wanted someone to abuse them. All of this is meaningless talk. He uses the same lines on every woman.
He becomes clingy and controlling - He will start seeing you nearly every day and each time insist on knowing exactly when the next date will be. It won't matter if you spent 8 hours with him on Sunday, unless you agree to another date Monday or Tuesday it will all be for nothing; he will be unhappy and hound you for a commitment because he is insatiable for attention and security - he needs to know when he will get his next fix.
He will whine and even shed tears - if you say you have other things to do, other people to see, or want to be alone after seeing him 8 days in a row. He enjoys being abused, so if you scream at him it only makes him feel more secure. He got used to fighting all around him as a child and he equates fighting with love.
He'll start demanding that you "prove your love" - In time you will be expected to pay for your own lunch and dinner when you go out, and sometimes for his too. The only way to avoid it is to order nothing and just watch him eat. That is the only way to avoid being asked to "help out" because he is short this week. At this point you will be asking yourself, "What am I doing this for?" You have become nothing but his prop. You will be asked to buy him books, dishes, household goods and help him with his bills to "prove your love" because he's shown how much he loves you; he will expect you to cancel family engagements to spend time with you, see him even if you're ill. He has become your jailer. The key is: he demands CONSTANT proof of your love.
He will "seem" to accept your decision to break up - As the months roll along and you are tired of his constant presence, begging, whining, using up all your spare money and having unreasonable control of your life, you will decide to break up with him. He will then agree to back off, give you some space, and try to do better. These are all lies.
He'll tell you he has "changed" - No matter how many times you break up with him, he will call you to tell you that he needs you, that he has changed, and he will say it all in a calm voice as if he respects your decision to come back or not. His game is to stay away just long enough that you forget his annoying traits and miss the good parts. But if you agree to even one meeting it will be back to daily visits and demands for constant pampering again.
Getting Rid of the Bastard
The only way to get rid of the emotional blackmailer is when he has found another willing victim to be his patsy. He will already be courting her while seeing you and you will know this when he starts being late for every date (he is juggling two or more women per day). Once he has the new person in his thrall and has nothing to lose by losing you, he will drop you like a hot potato - over the phone.
Beware of his "surprise" return - This is not the end of it if the new woman disappoints him in any way - if she has less money than he expected, if she demands good behaviour, if she doesn't give him enough attention. Then he will be at your door again - in a few months or even years later!
He preys on sympathy, and lives to control - He will then say he is leaving her, but his purpose is to have both women in his control - perhaps one for money and one to scream at him, and both for companionship. He gets a high from controlling people, because as a child he had no control over anything and frequently felt abandoned. This is why the more women who feel sorry for him, give him food, listen to him, go out with him, the better he feels and behaves. However, he is telling each of them the same thing: they are the best, the most beautiful, the most like him, he wants to spend the rest of his life with ONLY THEM.
The character of the Emotional Blackmailer
Everything he says or does is for gain. He does nothing for the sheer joy of it, or because he likes people or wants to build a relationship: he is looking ahead to what he can get out of the person: sex, housekeeping, cooking, emotional support, someone pretty to be seen with, money, someone to listen to him spin his tales of woe, what have you. Loyalty or faithfulness are not in his nature.
He will become vicious and even violent if he is crossed, contradicted or denied what he wants. His rage is something to behold. It looks exactly like the tantrum of a five year old. That is still his emotional age, although he has the smooth moves of a Casanova down pat.
How to extricate yourself from the Emotional Blackmailer
Cutting off Contact
One way out is to cut off all contact. Even one phone call or meeting will put you back in his control if you get back into the same pattern of doing what he wants when he wants it. He is a master manipulator who will prey on your sympathy for him as a human being.
Any time spent reasoning with him is wasted - he doesn't hear a word you say. All arguments are circular.
Talking about wanting to see other friends only enrages him; makes him want you more. You should seem to be dateless, uninteresting, and undesired by other men, as well as uninterested in any man, period.
After you have cut off contact, he will stalk you for a while if he doesn't have a replacement lined up yet, but this will cease because it isn't fulfilling enough for him. He NEEDS feedback, anger, someone to scream at him. Any kind of attention pleases him - he is a true masochist who would enjoy being slapped.
You must ignore him completely and utterly.
Turning the Tables
Another way to ditch the Emotional Blackmailer is to turn the tables on him. A man who is so good at manipulating is also easily manipulated to do whatever you want IF you do it the right way. It can be fun to turn the tables on him if you want revenge for all the time he wasted and the misery he gave you. You can be rid of him within a few weeks without avoiding him by doing the following:
Exhibit jealousy and make it clear that you won't share him with anyone else, and you expect to spend the rest of your life with him and have exclusive rights over him. This will make him feel suffocated for a change and he will be eagerly stepping out on you while claiming he wants only you.
Lose interest in doing anything you used to do for him or with him; stop taking him seriously; don't listen to his rants about his job; ridicule his ideas, act bored and make it clear you see him only as a useful decoration. Tell him to grow up, tell him you are well aware of his manipulative games but you like him anyway and demand he be faithful to you. This will scare him and make him step up his efforts with the other women, and he will soon be out of your life. When he comes crawling back, you tell him you require faithfulness and he's ruined it for you: he will have no answer for that and he will have lost.
A Final Note:
Healthy, non-manipulative men:
- Don't beg
- Don't preen in front of the mirror and ask you if they are good looking enough for you
- Don't use the lines "if you really loved me", or "prove you love me by doing this for me"...
- Don't put down their former girlfriends or wives
- Don't threaten suicide if you refuse to see them
- Don't get angry or sulk if you have other plans and can't see them - they find other things to do
- Understand when you aren't feeling well
- Respect your right to have other friends
- Pay their own way in life
Thursday, October 12, 2017
"I'll Change, I Promise": 6 Signs of Real Repentance
Many changes come naturally as we mature. Sometimes, though, negative habits form deep ruts, and it seems we can't change, no matter how much we want to. Friends urge us to alter course and warn us of dangers ahead if we don't. We read about God's path of wisdom, and His Spirit awakens our spirit to a new vision of a better life. With tears of determination, we tell ourselves, our loved ones, and our Lord that things will be different. "I'll change, I promise," we say. And we really mean it. We feel a deep sense of sorrow for our sin, even disgust. However, as time passes, the pull of the rut overpowers our most sincere promises, and we fall back into old patterns.
Part of the problem may be our mistake in thinking that sorrow and confession are enough to produce change. Another part is the misunderstanding of the process of change-a process the Bible calls repentance.
Repentance is the process of turning from our sinful way of life and turning to godliness. It is characterized by a change of thinking and a change of behavior.
The path of repentance often leads through dark periods of self-examination and painful surrendering of selfishness and pride. Repentance includes letting go of cherished sinful pleasures and being accountable to others who help us lift our wheels out of the rut as we plow a new course in life. It marks a renewed relationship with God on a revived belief that His way is truly best and His righteousness is life's greatest treasure.
How do you know if you're on the path of repentance? What does the penitent life look like? How can you tell if someone you love is really changing? People who are serious about change tend to display similar behaviors that let you know they are on the right track. Here are a few signs you'll find in a truly repentant person:
1. Repentant people are willing to confess ALL their sins, not just the sins that got them in trouble. A house isn't clean until you open every closet and sweep every corner.After healing comes living. Repentant people accept responsibility for past failures but do not drown themselves in guilt. They focus their attention on present responsibilities, which include accomplishing the daily tasks God has given them.
People who truly desire to be clean are completely honest about their lives. They don't ignore, evade or duck questions. No more secrets.
2. Repentant people face the pain that their sin caused others. They invite the victims of their sin (anyone hurt by their actions) to express the intensity of emotions that they feel-anger, hurt, sorrow, and disappointment.
Repentant people do not give excuses or shift blame. They made the choice to hurt others, and they must take full responsibility for their behavior.
3. Repentant people ask forgiveness from those they hurt. They realize that they can never completely "pay off" the debt they owe their victims. Repentant people don't pressure others to say, "I forgive you."
Forgiveness is a journey, and the other person needs time to deal with the hurt before they can forgive. All that penitent people can do is admit their indebtedness and humbly request the undeserved gift of forgiveness.
4. Repentant people remain accountable to a small group of mature people. They gather a group of friends around themselves who hold them accountable to a plan for clean living. They invite the group to question them about their behaviors. And they follow the group's recommendations regarding how to avoid temptation.
5. Repentant people accept their limitations. They realize that the consequences of their sin (including the distrust) will last a long time, perhaps the rest of their lives. They understand that they may never enjoy the same freedom that other people enjoy.
Sex offenders or child molesters, for example, should never be alone with children.
Alcoholics must abstain from drinking.
Adulterers and sex addicts must put strict limitations on their time with members of the opposite sex and account to their partners.
That's the reality of their situation, and they willingly accept their boundaries.
6. Repentant people are faithful to the daily tasks God has given them.
One final thought. Repentance is not a solo effort. God doesn't expect us to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. For many people, the first cry of repentance is, "I can't change by myself; I need You, God." Thankfully, those are the sweetest words to God's ear.
KUDOS TO OUR FRIENDS FOR THIS GEM
This site does not ascribe to any one religious affiliation - this is posted for general information and support only.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
How Abusers Stage Their Returns
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.
"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.)
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!
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.
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.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Captive Hearts, Captive Minds
Monday, October 09, 2017
Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. Constant invalidation may be one of the most significant reasons a person with high innate emotional intelligence suffers from unmet emotional needs later in life.(1) A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. To adapt to this unhealthy and dysfunctional environment, the working relationship between his thoughts and feelings becomes twisted. His emotional responses, emotional management, and emotional development will likely be seriously, and perhaps permanently, impaired. The emotional processes which worked for him as a child may begin to work against him as an adult. In fact, one definition of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (2)
Psychiatrist R.D. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. (Reference)
Recent research by Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. of Duke University supports the idea that invalidation leads to mental health problems. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)
Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren't like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.
None of this feels good, and all of it damages us. The more different from the mass norm a person is, for example, more intelligent or more sensitive, the more he is likely to be invalidated. When we are invalidated by having our feelings repudiated, we are attacked at the deepest level possible, since our feelings are the innermost expression of our individual identities.
Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.
Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Each persons's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile. A good guideline is:
First accept the feelings, then address the behavior.
One the great leaders in education, Haim Ginott, said this:
Primum non nocere- First do no harm. Do not deny your teenager's perception. Do not argue with his experience. Do not disown his feelings.
We regularly invalidate others because we ourselves were, and are often invalidated, so it has become habitual. Below are a few of the many ways we are invalidated:
We are told we shouldn't feel the way we feel
We are dictated not to feel the way we feel
We are told we are too sensitive, too "dramatic"
We are ignored
We are judged
We are led to believe there is something wrong with us for feeling how we feel
You Can't Heal an Emotional Wound with Logic
People with high IQ and low EQ tend to use logic to address emotional issues. They may say, "You are not being rational. There is no reason for you to feel the way you do. Let's look at the facts." Businesses, for example, and "professionals" are traditionally out of balance towards logic at the expense of emotions. This tends to alienate people and diminish their potential.
Actually, all emotions do have a basis in reality, and feelings are facts, fleeting though they may be. But trying to dress an emotional wound, with logic tends to either confuse, sadden or infuriate a person. Or it may eventually isolate them from their feelings, with a resulting loss of major part of their natural intelligence.
You can't solve an emotional problem, or heal an emotional wound, with logic alone.
There are many forms of invalidation. Most of them are so insidious that we don't even know what is happening. We know that something doesn't feel good, but we sometimes can't put our finger on it. We have been conditioned to think that invalidation is "normal." Indeed, it is extremely common, but it is certainly not healthy.
I have heard parents and teachers call children:
dramatic, crybabies, whiners, whingers, too sensitive, worry warts, drama queens
I have also heard them say things like: "He cries at the drop of a hat." One teacher said "When she starts to cry, I just ignore her and eventually she stops." Another said, "When one kid's crying is disrupting the lesson, I tell them to go cry in the hall till they can pull themselves back together again."
Defensiveness and Invalidation
All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack. Repteated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person.
One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."
How the other person responds to your emotional honesty will depend upon, and be indicative of:
(a) how much they respect you
(b) how much they care about you and your feelings
(c) how insecure and defensive they are
(d) how much they are trying to change or control you
All of this is information which will help you make decisions which are in your best interest.
Self-Injury and Invalidation
Invalidation has been suggested as one of the primary reasons people cut, burn and injure themselves.
For example this quote is from D. Martinson
One factor common to most people who self-injure, whether they were abused or not, is invalidation. They were taught at an early age that their interpretations of and feelings about the things around them were bad and wrong. They learned that certain feelings weren't allowed. In abusive homes, they may have been severely punished for expressing certain thoughts and feelings.Martinson also writes:
Self-injury is probably the result of many different factors. Among them: Lack of role models and invalidation - most people who self-injure were chronically invalidated in some way as children (many self-injurers report abuse, but almost all report chronic invalidation.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Examples of invalidating expressions. -- Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.
"Ordering" You to Feel Differently
Get over it.
Get a life
Don't be sad.
Don't get angry
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Don't be so dramatic.
Don't be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop taking everything so personally
Ordering you to "look" differently
Don't look so sad.
Don't look so smug.
Don't look so down.
Don't look like that.
Don't make that face.
Don't look so serious.
Don't look so proud of yourself.
Don't look so pleased with yourself.
Denying Your Perception, Defending
But of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
I honestly don't judge you as much as you think.
Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I .....
At least you....
Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn't bother anyone else, why should it bother you?
Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can't be serious.
It can't be that bad.
Your life can't be that bad.
You are just ... (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It's nothing to get upset over.
It's not worth getting that upset over.
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way.
Let's look at the facts.
Let's stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it....
I don't always do that.
It's not that bad. (that far, that heavy, that hot, that serious, etc.)
Judging & Labeling You
You are a cry baby.
You have a problem.
You are too sensitive.
You are over-reacting. You are too thin-skinned.
You are way too emotional.
You are an insensitive jerk. .
You need to get your head examined!
You are impossible to talk to.
You are impossible.
You are hopeless.
Turning Things Around
You are making a big deal out of nothing.
You are blowing this way out of proportion.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.
Trying to get you to question yourself
What is your problem?
What's wrong with you?
What's the matter with you?
Why can't you just get over it?
Why do you always have to ....?
Is that all you can do, complain?
Why are you making such a big deal over it?
What's wrong with you, can't you take a joke?
How can you let a little thing like that bother you?
Don't you think you are being a little dramatic?
Do you really think that crying about it is going to help anything?
Telling You How You "Should" Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that...
You should be happy that ....
You should be glad that ...
You should just drop it.
You shouldn't worry so much.
You shouldn't let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn't wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn't say that about your father.
Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn't mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.
Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn't true.
You don't mean that. You know you love your baby brother.
You don't really mean that. You are just ... (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)
Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?
Laying Guilt Trips
Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?
Philosophizing Or Clichés
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can't say anything to her.
She is so......
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.
Even when we are happy, unhappy people want to ruin it for us by saying diminishing things like: What are you so happy about? That's it? That's all you are so excited about?
There was an expression I heard when I was growing up. It was "Who put a quarter in you?" A quarter is a 25 cent coin in the USA. It was a coin which was once enough to start music in a juke box. So the implication was the person was acting abnormally happy, excited, lively etc.
When your awareness rises, you'll begin to notice such comments on a regular basis. Together, they take their toll on us. We wonder if there is something wrong with us for feeling how we do. It seems fair to say that with enough invalidation, one person can figuratively, if not literally, drive another person crazy. This is especially possible, I believe, in the case where one person has long-term power over another. Examples of such relationships are parent/child, teacher/ child, "spiritual" leader/follower, boss/employee, spouse A/spouse B. Such a sad scenario appears to be even more likely when the person being invalidated is highly sensitive, intelligent and has previously suffered self-esteem damage.
The more sensitive the person, the more serious the damage of invalidation. Invalidation undermines self-confidence because it causes self-doubt. This in turn further diminishes self-esteem. Invalidation is serious violation of one's "true self." I believe it is one of the worst crimes one person can commit against another without ever lifting a finger against them. And yet it is neither illegal, "immoral" by most who consider themselves moralists, nor even widely recognized as a problem.
The high EQ person will never invalidate another person's feelings, especially not the feelings of a sensitive child.
Validation and Invalidation
Excerpts from an article by Cathy Palmer-Scruggs (Full article)
Recently, I had a few situations to come up that called for some comfort from my friends. I really needed them. A few came through for me in just 'being there'...and others took it as their cue to 'give advice'...and believe me, it only made the situation worse. I did not ask anyone for advice.
I don't make the habit of asking my friends for advice....believe me. I am a 'thinking' person and only need some time and to get things off of my chest. I do not ask my friends to solve my problems. I do not tell my friends about a situation in order for them to come up with ways in which to tell me how to 'get through it' or 'how to think about it' or how to look at it.
No one likes to hear things like "don't let it get to you"...or "don't let her / him get to you"....or "you need to just 'get over' this"....etc. If solutions were that easy, don't you think we'd all do them? And I've also noticed that the very people who tell me this will also eventually deal with frustrating things, and they don't follow their own advice. See, it's different when something happens to THEM.....but not when it's me.
It's easier said than done....how does one not let things get to them? If they are upset, obviously, it's bothering them. They can't just 'dismiss' their feelings on a whim. How do you feel when someone says that to you?
Then there's the other side of the coin...the friends who do not know what to say and do, so, they avoid their friend altogether...the friend in pain. Well, you don't need to say or do anything...just 'be there' for them. They do not expect special words and solutions....they only want to know you care.
They know that not all of their friends are poetic, graceful with words...know 'just what to say'....this isn't a contest of who can make them feel the best. They just want to know you care...that you will merely listen, if they need to talk. And believe me, even if you don't think so at the moment, if you have a hard time facing your friend, you can get a little blank note card and just put the words 'you are in my thoughts' and that is enough...it does show you care. Send it to them. No one ever expects anything 'fancy' or 'just the right thing to say'....please believe that.
Basically, for me, I just need to talk...or type....just 'get it out'...then I can look at it, process it, deal with it, begin the healing, and move on. The very best words a friend can ever say to me is "I'm here for you if you just need to talk". My close friends know that I am not coming to them for answers.....I just need to talk it out ....hear myself say it....
And sometimes, my good friends will 're-state' what I've already said, or re-phrase it....letting me know they 'got it'....they understood me....they heard me. And sometimes they even tell me a similar situation that may have happened in their own lives...and from there, I can glean out some good things that I can take with me. Not everything works for all people. What may have worked for you may NOT work for your friend.
I realize that when our friends are hurting and in pain, our instincts urge us to want to help. None of us want to see our friends hurt. But, especially in my own situation recently, I expected no solutions....no answers...no 'fixes'....no advice....and certainly no philosophical sayings. All I needed was 'validation'....let me feel what I feel. And when my wonderful friends do that, they are deeper into my heart....I feel closer to them and respect them because they respected me and my feelings.
If a person loses a loved one to death, it might not be a good time to say things like "you need to get past that"...or "just don't think of it"....or "you need to get on with your life"....And I've actually had people say this to me.
I don't care how much time passes or what a person tells themselves....you never 'get over' something like this...you merely learn to live with it...live around it....cope with it. No amount of grieving, then or now, will take away the pain or fill the void. Time will allow us to continue our lives while we accept the loss.
Accepting the loss does not mean we are not allowed to grieve from time to time...or cry, when inspired to do so. No one has the right to tell you to put it so far back behind you, that you no longer feel the loss. It will always be there.
Being able to live with this loss does not mean that you are not allowed to visit those very painful memories. Just because you can still cry about anything does not mean you have not gone on with your life....and that somehow, once you are past the initial hurt and tears, that to re-visit those feelings will be wrong and damaging. And anyone who tells you anything different ...well, they are not being realistic.
Why is it that when a person feels momentarily sad, their friends think it's their cue to stop them from feeling and grieving? Who in the world told them that was healthy? When did they become an expert at how long a person should grieve, and feel, and cry and remember? And just because I do cry from time to time over something, that does not mean that for the rest of my life, each and every day, I will sit and cry, just like this, forever....and that I have ruined my life....forever. Allow me to be sad, just as you would welcome and allow me to be happy....I need it.
My telling someone of an event or something that I am going through, does not mean it's their cue to try to 'solve my problem'...I didn't ask for advice or ask how to grieve.
I have the RIGHT to grieve and cry and 'feel' any emotions I ever have in any event in MY life. No one has the right to rob me of my right to express myself or to grieve....to do what "I" need to do in order to continue on with my life. (note)
If your friend is hurting....if they are angry at someone, if they have to make a decision that they feel is in the best interest of them, LET THEM DO IT....let them feel it....validate what they are going through. Just because YOU can't feel it in the same way or maybe not 'see it' in the same way, does not mean that YOU get to take it away from your friend....who "IS" feeling that way. You need to respect what your FRIEND feels. This does not mean your friend is wrong...'feelings' are not wrong. The feelings are based on your friend's life experiences...not yours.
What if you are the kind of person who is in denial of things around you...trying to look at things through 'rose colored glasses'...and your friend doesn't ....you cannot expect your friend to put on your 'special glasses' and pretend that their pain doesn't exist, or that nothing is wrong, just because it would be easier for YOU to deal with. Maybe that works for you...but I doubt it...it will come out eventually, in one way or another. I try to avoid that by dealing with it now, not later.
And it will still hurt later, but not with the same intensity. That does not mean I didn't do something right...it just means that it was a painful event in my life that I will forever feel....as long as I am alive, just not with the same intensity. You do grow with, and from, your experiences.
If you can't deal with your friend's pain and frustration, then maybe it's best that you say nothing at all....it's certainly better to say nothing than to make your friend feel worse. They probably aren't asking you for a solution anyway. Why hurt them worse?
I'm sure that if your friend needs or asks advice, it would be a different story. I'm just talking about those people who like to immediately step in and tell a hurting person to suppress their feelings.
They see and feel what they see and feel...and unless they have been diagnosed with a mental illness that causes hallucinations and 'voices'....don't be so quick to 'dismiss' them. They may be more grounded in reality than you are....and YOU are the one who may need the advice when it's all said and done. Your friend is trying to deal with reality, what is real...
Please do NOT see it as your cue to 'fix' them or tell them that they "should feel this way" or that they "should not feel that way". They feel as they do because of their own life's experiences....not based on your life's experiences. It does not have to make sense to YOU or even be real to YOU...it does not have to be felt by YOU, in order to validate what your FRIEND is feeling.
Being 'strong' for your friend does not mean you have to solve their problems or give them answers.
Just be there to 'listen'....they may not even need to talk to you about it, but feel close enough to you to share it...and if you give them the hurtful advice that I mentioned on this page, you are going to alienate them from you.
You may help them, upon hearing them explain their situation, to even agree that 'you can understand how and why they would feel that way', even if YOUR OWN thoughts are different...try to understand the way THEY are seeing it.
To your friend, all of what they are feeling is very real and very painful....it's affecting their life.
As a great friend, all you need to do is just lend a listening ear....'be there' for them....don't try to make them look at it differently. If that needs to be done, they will do it on their own, you can't rush it. They have to see their OWN way through.
If you take it as your cue to minimize their situation, 'make excuses' for their enemies, or the ones who are hurting them and causing them grief, what you are now doing is making them feel defensive .....they already feel bad enough, but now they have to further frustrate the situation by defending their feelings and emotions to you.
So, while they try, once again, to tell you why they are hurting, you have just sent them on a detour of the path they are on....now they have to get it all past YOU. And, not only are they upset at the original situation, now they feel alienated and unsupported by you....their friend...the person they just needed to talk to.
And the more you try to get them to see it a different way, the worse it will get. They have to see those things for themselves, "if" it's something they can ever do to begin with. Again, not on YOUR schedule. They, most likely, know more about the situation than you do, give them the benefit of the doubt.
No one expects you to have a clever saying....no one has the answers or the solutions. Each person has to work through their own pain....they can't hurry things along on YOUR schedule, just because you don't want this to be happening to them. The worst thing you can do is minimize what they are dealing with....that just makes them feel even more isolated. If I really want to get some advice from, I'll ask for it....and so will your other friends.
And this also goes for situations regarding pets. I have friends who have lost pets through a death, or the pet turned up missing, and they have told me of incredibly insensitive things that were said to them. They are grieving a companion...a friend...and a friendship that, through 'unspoken language', grew into a special friendship that they will surely miss. This was a creature, a 'friend', who loved them unconditionally. Who wouldn't miss something like that?
It' s a real pain, whether it's an animal or a human, it hurts. There are memories associated with the pet...a routine....pictures....little treasures that will forever remind them that the pet is gone. Please be respectful of that. Not everyone can rush out and get another pet...some people need time. And when the time is right, they may be able to open their hearts to another pet. Again, this is on THEIR schedule, not yours.
I have lived for 46 years, thus far...and I hardly think I've waited all these years and went through all the things that I've endured, just to have a friend tell me how to 'get through it'....Nothing anyone says will make it go away....nothing will make a friend in pain feel better....except for the words "I'll be right here for you if you need to talk".
Be a friend....
Note: I would say that it is a "need" to grieve. It doesn't make much sense to try to tell someone else that they have no "right" to tell you to get over it. This is invalidating their feelings almost the same as they are invalidating yours. Evidently they feel something which causes them to say "get over it" or whatever. Probably they feel uncomfortable with your pain. They might feel powerless to do anything to help you, so to have some sense of power over the situation they start trying to give you advice or order you around. S. Hein
1. At the time I first wrote this this was my own hypothesis. Later I was informed of the defintion of "borderline personality disorder" which is based on invalidation. If you are aware of any scientific research on invalidation and the connection between it and later emotional problems, please let me know. See also section self-injury and invalidation.
3. Reference to R.D. Laing is from chapter 1 of Claude Steiner's book Achieving Emotional Literacy
The Role of Emotion Inhibition in Psychological Distress
Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. , Duke University
Emotion avoidance and inhibition has been implicated as a common feature associated with borderline personality disorder. This presentation will discuss three studies that that have been recently conducted at the Duke Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program. The first study examined 127 participants to evaluate a developmental model in which chronic emotion inhibition mediates the relation between childhood emotional invalidation/abuse and adult psychological distress. Findings indicated that a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms. The second study examined a model in which inhibition of thoughts and emotion was predicted to mediate the relationship between the trait of negative affect intensity and acute psychological distress. Using structural equation modeling hypotheses were supported in both clinical and non-clinical samples, indicating its generalizability. The third study examined the effects of emotion suppression on classical conditioning. Participants were randomized to a suppression (n= 22; show or feel no emotion) or a non-suppression (n = 24; no instruction) condition. Data indicated that discriminative learning (assessed by galvanic skin response) occurred faster and was more robust for suppressors. Suppressors also exhibited less extinction. Results suggest that active attempts to suppress emotion may increase associations to an aversive event, implicating a mechanism by which certain disorders (e.g., PTSD, BPD) retain features associated with greater conditionability. Finally, directions regarding future research from our lab examining borderline personality disorder and a brief overview of a current study examining emotion suppression among suicidal patients will be discussed.
Lynch, T.R., Robins, C.J., Morse, J.Q., & Krause, E.D. (2001). A mediational model relating affect intensity, emotion inhibition, and psychological distress. Behavior Therapy, 32, 519-536.
Lynch, T.R., Krause, E.D., Morse, J.Q., Mendelson, T., Crozier, J., & LaBar, K.S. (2001). Role of emotion suppression in classical fear conditioning. In T.R. Lynch (Chair), Experiential avoidance and psychopathology: Recent research and methodological developments. Symposium conducted at the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy 35th Annual Convention, Philadelphia.
Krause, E.D., Mendelson, T., & Lynch, T.R. (in press). Childhood emotion invalidation and adult psychological distress: The mediating role of emotion inhibition. Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.
Krause, E. D., Robins, C.J., & Lynch, T.R. (2000). A mediational model relating sociotropy, ambivalence over emotional expression and eating disorder symptoms. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 328-335.
ORIGINAL: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE from Steve Hein