Archives for June 2011

Stress & Adrenal Fatigue

The last two weeks we have been discussing PTSD and it’s use in Legal Advocacy in court regarding
divorce, separation, rehabilitative alimony and child custody. You can read the last two weeks of
newsletters to see how using a PTSD Accommodations Report in Court can help you. And you can
also read up on the differences between PTSD and mental illness if you are concerned with getting
labeled ‘mentally ill’ (PTSD is a stress reaction not a mental illness.)

In many other newsletters I have written extensively about PTSD and recovery. Much of learning to
heal from or live with PTSD has to do with learning to ‘Live a Gentle Life’ that is less stressful. You
can read about PTSD and the Gentle Life coming up soon in the newsletter.

However, PTSD as a stress disorder is an indicator of extreme stress. If you have it, that means you
have suffered an emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and/or psychological trauma that was severe
enough or long enough in duration to significantly impact you.

Having a Stress Disorder means two things:
1. You were significantly stressed or traumatized
2. The stress and/or trauma has effected your functioning level.

PTSD can be short term and resolved with treatment within a few months or it can be chronic and life
long, often reactivated by MORE stress or MORE trauma. In my case, I have chronic PTSD that is
reactivated when I am worn down, too stressed, not living a gentle life, or other life events that are
difficult (my mothers death) and reactivate it.

With PTSD, whether it’s short or long term, you are likely to have a reduced level of productivity.
Your concentration can be impaired, sleep is disrupted, you are hyper vigiliant and have an exaggerated
startle reflex, you have anxiety and a mixture of depression, intrusive thoughts,
emotional numbing, flashbacks and panic.

None of this lends itself to being able to work well, consistently, or productively. Even if you are
unemployed, the quality of your daily life is disrupted and your life productivity in your day to day
living is reduced. This is why people often need treatment for PTSD. That could be short or long
term treatment, individual weekly counseling, group counseling, inpatient treatment, or any combination
of those.

PTSD as a stress disorder has it’s long term outcomes in medical conditions as do many other stress
disorders. Unresolved stress and trauma (whether it’s PTSD or every day stress) can, and most often does,
end up in medical disorders. Part of seeking rehabilitative alimony in court with a PTSD diagnosis is because
of the loss of productivity AND because of the long term effects on your health. 25 years after the murder
of my father I am continuing to see the medical outcome of chronic PTSD in my health.

Often in court, women do not know to have their attorneys argue for rehab alimony or medical coverage for
treatment FOR THE FUTURE. So many don’t realize how their health could be impacted now and years
from now.  Stress and PTSD have many long term medical possibilities, including:

* Auto Immune Disorders: Fibromyalga, Chronic Fatigue, Epsteen Bar, Lupus, M.S.
* Various forms of arthritis
* Gastric problems
* Migranes and TMJ
* Female problems
* Ongoing anxiety and depression
* Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue
* Sleep disorders
* Diabetes
* And most commonly, a combination of these

Settling your divorce or court case with the pathological and NOT considering the future medical outcome
of the stress he produced in your BODY is unwise. Because we do know that many of these stress
disorders and/or PTSD will continue on long after he is gone and in the end, effect a person’s health in
some way. That’s because at the heart of the medical conditions that develop is adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue is the culprit must likely associated with medical disorders that go on to develop. Treating
and managing adrenal fatigue could actually prevent many of the disorders that will later develop because of
untreated and unmanaged adrenal fatigue.

Here is a link about it: www.adrenalfatigue.org and the book we took the adrenal fatigue questionnaire from.

Chronic stress wears out the adrenal glands that support other healthy functioning in your body. When
stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and unresolved problems wear out the gland, your body is in a down ward
spiral and cannot heal from stress or PTSD.  To find out if you have adrenal fatigue, we are attaching
a link to the quiz. If you do have adrenal fatigue, this is a stepping stone to other medical conditions if
not treated immediately. More importantly, your body has started down that path. If you are in a court case,
please advise your attorney of the disorder as it may be able to be argued regarding stress disorders
and your need for continued medical coverage and care.

LINK TO ADRENAL QUIZ: http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-quiz.html

If we can help you resolve your trauma so your body can heal, please let us know.

PTSD As Trauma Disorder Not Psychiatric Illness

Last week we began talking about ‘how’ women can level the playing field in court with a pathological. This could be related to a divorce, seperation, restraining order, or child custody. If you have PTSD, the courts are mandated to offer you special accommodations while in court to protect you and to help your level of functioning due to the PTSD.

As we mentioned, in order to do that you must legitimately have PTSD, be diagnosed and have an Accommodations Report prepared by a professional that is presented to The ADA (American Disability Act). From there, special accommodations are granted. The range and what the accommodations are were listed in last weeks newsletter.

Some people hestitate in getting diagnosed with PTSD because they are afraid of it’s implication to them, their functioning level, or related to a mental illness diagnosis.

First of all, PTSD is a trauma disorder. If you are diagnosed with it, it already implies you have been traumatized. You are going to court regarding your traumatized relationship so it fits and it supports your argument in court as well as the symptoms that have arisen because of this relationship. If he was trauma producing, we need to say so. If we want the court to understand pathology, we need to teach them through our own experiences and relationships if we want the court to change.

Secondly, PTSD does not necessarily have the type of stigma you fear. Our vets that come home from war often, and more often than not, have PTSD. Fighting for our country is honorable–they were doing a good thing and yet were damaged from their experience. The same is true for you.

One of our previous presidential candidates has PTSD. Firefighters and law enforcement who bravely saved many in 911 have PTSD. Missionarys helping the poor in other countries have PTSD. Social Workers working in dangerous situations have PTSD.

I have PTSD. I have lived for 25 years with it. I openly discuss having the disorder–through no fault of my own. I got PTSD from seeing my father’s murder scene. I have worked with others that have PTSD now for 20 years. And because I am a survivor, I live with the effects of chronic PTSD daily. I know how it has changed me, my life, my abilities, my health, and my endurance. I have seen in hundreds of others, how it has effected their lives–sometimes long term.

If you have it, say it. Nothing starts healing until we acknowledge it. It is what it is. Some worry that they will be labeled with mental illness if the court acknowledges their PTSD.

Well, let’s think about that…do you think a pathological is going to go into court and NOT say you are crazy? You don’t think he will argue every point of your illness, behavior, or symptoms (whether they are true or not) in order to win? You don’t think he’s GOING to use some kind of emotional disorder argument? OF COURSE HE IS–that’s what pathologicals DO!! So, in order to prevent being labeled something far worse than PTSD, if you have PTSD, let IT be the label instead of something else that can greatly impair your ability to get rehabilitative alimony, custody of your children, etc.

Having a PTSD diagnosis before court can greatly help HOW FAR the pathological can go in trying to make you look mentally ill. PTSD is NOT mental illness. Having a PTSD diagnosis may help prevent them from labeling you mentally ill with other more debilitating types of mental illness.  So don’t shun the PTSD diagnosis if you have it. It may prevent you from being labeled something far worse.

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know. The Institute is the largest provider of recovery based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.Information about pathological love relationships is in our award winning book Women Who Love Psychopaths and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions. See the website for more info.)

Helping Women Find Effective Strategies For Court

Leaving a pathological is never easy—they aren’t wired to allow for easy separation and disengagement.  What they value most is drama, trauma, and the perpetuation of misery at any cost.  High on their entertainment list is any legal activity—especially divorces, separations, and custody battles. Pathologicals get bored easily and have a high need for entertainment. They are high excitement seekers and have low impulse control.  This all equals great legal combativeness coupled with great enjoyment of the process.

Pathologicals are highly litigious, meaning they LOVE to sue and go to court.  They are entertained by the drama of the court scene and love anything associated with being the victim in a legal process.  Therefore, they are different than normal people in that they will keep this process going as long as necessary.  They will even spend more money than they will ever recover JUST to be in court, JUST to be heard, and JUST so you won’t win.

There is no rationale when it comes to why they find court so enthralling.  It’s almost like “Legal Malingering.”  Malingering is a psychological disorder that means a person remains symptomatic because they get something out of it that we refer to as a “secondary gain.”  So it is true with the pathological in court—67 times to court for one case is not unheard of.

But the bottom line for you is that court is often traumatizing.  Facing him can bring on flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and anxiety.  The faces he makes, his posturing and his stares often leave women highly ineffective on the witness stand.  Or she is unable to think in the courtroom in order to give her attorney correct input.

Some women are followed by the pathological after court.  He may stalk her in his car or call her cell phone, belittling her about the court proceedings.  Taunting her before the court date can bring a woman’s functioning level to an all time low.  She may miss work and as a result loses pay.  She may have to pay and repay court fees as he switches dates around just to make a show of power.

Women who already have PTSD, other chronic stress conditions, or autoimmune disorders like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Lupus can end up bed-bound from the stress of the court drama and him.  Since pathologicals love your debilitation, they are likely to stretch out the process by asking for more depositions, postponing court dates, adding more needed appearances, or even refusing a settled offer that is everything they asked for—anything to create more stress and havoc for you.  Women will often do ANYTHING to avoid this kind of exposure to further abuse.

Since the pathological is rarely acknowledged for what he is, the court is not likely to identify his manipulative behaviors and so his requests are granted.  You are tormented with more and more unproductive court appearances as he acts like the perpetual victim.

Women can ‘get’ PTSD-like symptoms just from how she is treated in court or depositions.  The ‘criminal court’ is known for it’s favoring of criminals so anyone who is not criminal often finds the process abusive and traumatizing.  Women often give away their rights, property, and money just to avoid him and court all together.  She and her children are then exposed to poverty, marginal employment and a reduced quality of life ALL because she wants to avoid being traumatized by him and an unbalanced court system.

I have said for many years that the universe is strangely tilted to the benefit of the pathological.  They get away with more dirty deeds, especially in court, than any normal person would ever get away with.  For this reason, women come to know that their chances in court with a pathological who is so dramatic, convincing, and unnerved by the process is NIL.

Women have had very ineffective means for balancing the scales of Her-vs-The Psychopath in family court.  That’s because few women know about one VERY effective strategy that helps her regain her court composure—using a PTSD diagnosis to receive special accommodations during court proceedings.

As we have constantly mentioned, many of the women who come through our program have PTSD that was acquired during the pathological relationship OR was made worse by the relationship.  PTSD is a trauma disorder–meaning your were ‘traumatized’ in some way which is how you acquired it.

PTSD symptoms can last for short or long periods of time and are almost always increased by stress—such as stress by being in court or stress by his behavior while in court.  These types of reoccurring symptoms can negatively impact your effectiveness in court and can require ‘special accommodations’ so you are able to function during court.  Some of these special accommodations have included:

•    Having the woman speak over a speaker phone in another room so she doesn’t have to face him

•    Not having him in the courtroom

•    Having him detained so she can leave early from the courtroom

•    Call in to the courtroom from home so not to have to attend the hearing in person

•    If she has to attend—to have a disability advocate present with her

•    Having him not be allowed to speak directly to her when walking past him from the courtroom

All of these special accommodations can greatly ease the stress normally associated with court, but not granted unless a special ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accommodation is granted.

Accommodations can also be made for:

•    Emotional triggering caused by discussing the situation

•    Memory recall problems

•    Concentration problems

•    Flexibility with deadlines because of amnesic symptoms or reoccurring trauma when having to testify in front of him

•    Emergency hearing to enforce court orders

•    Rehabilitative alimony for treatment of PTSD for you or your children

PTSD is the disorder most associated with pathological love relationships.  A diagnosis of this can help women acquire accommodations that are associated with the ADA accommodations offered.  You simply have to have a diagnosis that requires special accommodations in order for you to function.  (Next week, we will discuss the difference between mental illnesses versus emotional, trauma-based disorders such as PTSD.  In case you are concerned you will be labeled mentally ill with a PTSD diagnosis—don’t worry, you won’t be!)

The Institute offers assistance in this regard—the ability to write your PTSD Accommodations Request Report for the court.  THIS IS A HUGE breakthrough for women because once you have received ADA Accommodations, the judges and attorneys MUST adhere to protocols developed for ADA which are federally-based and help accommodate your needs in order to function in court.  Protocols not followed are prosecutable, making the courts highly attentive to meeting federal protocols.  This could also apply to your children if they have PTSD, and could hopefully impact how they are to be treated in court and how their needs must be met.

Before we get a FLOOD of letters about this, here is what you need to know:

*   You must legitimately have PTSD. If you have already been diagnosed with
PTSD, you have already jumped one hurdle.

•    If you need to be diagnosed, you must be evaluated by a licensed professional—
such as a mental health professional or a psychiatrist.  If you would like to be evaluated by one of our staff, you can contact us.  (**All of our providers are in private practice which means they charge for their services.  We are NOT non-profit.)

*     Once you are diagnosed, one of our professionals can draft your PTSD
Accommodations Report.  This is a time consuming and lengthy report of
Approximately 10-15 pages.  It is a highly specialized report.   It is unlikely that
your doctor or health professional will construct something of this nature as it addresses specific areas  to meet the criteria for ADA.  (**The professionals, of course, charge for this report.  However, we believe that what the report renders to you is highly worth the investment.)

•    This is NOT the same thing as being declared ‘disabled’, and has nothing to do
with physical or mental disability or acquiring disability payments.

•    PTSD, if diagnosed, does become part of one’s medical and/or psychological
record.

We believe that these Accommodations Reports are the beginning of leveling the playing field when it comes to being in court with pathologicals.  We also believe that children who are diagnosed with PTSD and who have acquired it from the pathological, may have a far more arguable case about custody when courts try to mandate visitation with the very one who caused PTSD.

Email us if you would like an evaluation and if applicable, the PTSD Accommodations Report (and/or Child PTSD Report) on our website.

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recovery-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.  Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions.  See the website for more information.)

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

Last week we looked at The Successful Pathological and how he flies in under the radar while women are looking at his success and missing the red flags about his character or behavior. Women can get side tracked by his degree, a noble career like a doctor or blinded by his business bling.The Italian-made shoes aren’t the only thing that can be a loafer! (LOL!!)

Another form of pathology produces what we call ‘parasitic’ behavior which means, like a tick, they live off of others. In one of the pathological disorders,
sometimes they are underachievers and because they need gobs of financial assistance. But not always! Sometimes they AREN’t underemployed at all. In fact, in some of the pathological disorders they are successful AND parasitic.

Wealthy AND parasitic have all the radar busting combination’s to come gliding in under her relationship radar. Wealthy pathological’s may be as parasitic as the poor ones but are usually less identified. It’s not that the wealthy ones ‘need’ the housing assistance by living with you–it’s that they are ‘able’ to get you to let them. It’s a power game and when you say yes, he wins. It’s a ridiculous game that most women don’t even pay attention to in the beginning until it begins to happen over and over again. Most women don’t care about power struggles. But not him because it’s his source of entertainment.

Parasites can latch on for the ride, the entertainment, or to drain you dry. The ‘financially challenged’ ones either try to hide it that they are broke and underemployed until they are already living off of you OR they get in by playing the pity trump card. He just needs a ‘little time to get on his feet.’ Many of them appear to have “the worst luck” when it comes to getting or keeping a good job or manages (according to him) to find horrible bosses. In any case, it’s never his fault, and a new potential turn of events is ‘just around the corner’ if you will just wait it out with him.

The interesting thing about the parasitic life is that it is has more to do with conning than it does any legitimate need. The proof is that even the wealthy ones play the same game.

For the overt parasite, a red flag for women should be guys that always are living with someone else including family. Of course they have a ‘good’ reason usually associated with what appears to be ‘helping others’ (elderly parents, helping pay the rent of his single-mom sister, etc.).

Highly suspicious would be that you never see where they live or how they live. Why? That great condo with the roof deck is really a room in someone’s mobile home. Or there’s a wife and three kids at this house, which are his. Or his house is really a meth lab. Or pick a reason…. The bottom line is there is a reason why you don’t see it and it normally has to do with living different (or off others) that he hasn’t quite disclosed to you.

The big flag the size of the one on the White House would be they want to move in or marry quickly. Is it because they are so into you? Nope. Its because
he wants to betroath your check book before you can verify his income, his job status, his debt load or anything else. In a blink of an eye you are drinking
rum drinks with umbrellas in the Bahamas (oh, and did I mention, on your credit card?)

A flashing billboard would be when they ask you to invest in his potential (and your love bundle!) by going into business with him or helping him finance your ‘rest of your life together’ business. Here’s a clue: If he’s over 28 years old and not living any part of his potential…there’s a reason and it’s usually pathology or addiction or both. If you are over 30, don’t fall in love with anyone’s potential. Either they got the goods or they don’t. And if they don’t, there’s a reason bigger than that sad empathy-producing story they have.

The more covert parasite, if he’s a wealthy pathological story line might be he is ‘giving you an opportunity to invest in his business’ to make some of that return capital that you see him living off of. He’s successful–he must be doing something right? Do you remember Bernie Madoff?

Pete the Parasite also sometimes needs money for their ailing mother, to send out of the country to relatives, or to cover the costs of his children that the psycho-wife is not doing with his paid child support. (Uh, huh….)

If these tactics and lines didn’t work, they wouldn’t use them and I wouldn’t know them. Parasites need hosts.The body of where a parasite lands (like a tick on a dog) is called ‘the host.’ Here’s a time where being a BAD HOST is a good thing!

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know. The Institute is the largest provider of recovery based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.  Information about pathological love relationships is in our award winning book Women Who Love Psychopaths and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions. See the website for more info.)

Body Armor In PTSD

Anyone who has sustained contact with a disordered person over time can relate to the concept of body armor-that involuntary tightening of the muscles that is part of the healthy flight/fight response to threat.

This response is especially prominent in those who have lived with a disordered person-dealing with mood swings, intensity, blaming, drama, invalidation, constant bids for attention, emotional and sometimes physical abuse.

Over time, the normal person who is the prime target of the disordered one’s malfeasance can not help but develop chronic tension in his or her muscles. Unless one exercises a great deal, this tension can create ongoing difficulties. Sadly, these difficulties can remain long after the “relationship” is over or contact is diminished or broken off.

What kind of problems result? I like to use the term body armor because it validates the person’s need to protect self on an ongoing basis. The level of tension that can accumulate from living with a disordered person creates aches, pains, muscles and tendons that are easily sprained or torn , and back problems of many kinds.

Frequently there are subsequent problems, such as headaches, PMS,  and muscle weakness. Some medical practitioners believe that fibromyalgia and other chronic muscle diseases are related to living with intense emotional stress. and research by the in the scientific mind-body field is needed to understand if this is so.

In my practice, I have seen and heard stories from women who have lived or are living with disordered men. They describe problems such as constant back issues, sore necks, ongoing injuries to arms and legs related to muscles asked to do work while they re already stretched in the flight/fight mode.

If you see yourself reflected in any of these descriptions, fortunately, there are many options. Unfortunately, women especially, who have lived with a disordered partner, are often reluctant to allocate tie and money on self-care-it seems indulgent. Or, their finances my have suffered as a result of the association with the disordered one.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about whether or not it is in your best interest to address body armor physical issues:

1.     Body armor problems are treatable, and relief is highly likely. Most modalities mentioned below have excellent track records.

2.     Treatment of these problems now will most likely mean the avoidance of more serious or chronic problems in the future.

3.     Your physical, emotional health will benefit, as will your ability to be productive at work and home.

4.     You may regain the energy and, stamina and overall health to exercise regularly.

5.     It feels REALLY good to have a therapeutic massage, acupuncture, etc. even if there are intermittent periods of discomfort.

6.     “Treating” yourself to any kind of bodywork under the circumstances is good for your soul-it is a way of saying to yourself, “well, I have suffered but now I am taking really good care of myself.”

7.     The muscle pain and discomfort may be reduced and or go away!

There are too many kinds of bodywork to mention here. Different practitioners are available in different communities. If you can not afford the services of a trained professional, there are still options. One is to find a school of massage or acupuncture where well-supervised students can provide low cost or even free services.

Another option is to work out a buddy system with a trusted friend, with whom you can trade massages. Almost anyone can afford a hot bath; adding oils such as Arnica Montana, a common homeopathic remedy, often used with oral tablets of the same name. Epsom salts baths are also a tried and true option.

There are a variety of options with regard to moist heat on affected areas- microwaved barley products such as Bed Buddy, or even hot, wet towels applied to affected areas. There are a numerous products that provide temporary localized heat that soothe and heal.

In addition to homeopathic resources, the emerging science of the down-regulation of inflammatory processes has given us pancreatic enzymes that reduce inflammation naturally:

http://www.bioticsresearch.com/node/1628

Some of my personal favorites include: Trigger Point Therapy, Cranio-sacral Therapy, and Acupuncture, moist heat, and Arnica used as described above.