Archives for September 2011

E-Course, Class 2

Addictive Relationships

Let’s face it, if we were really good at choosing healthy relationships, we wouldn’t be here reading information about dangerous men. We would be happily somewhere with a healthy guy! So let’s at least begin with the universal assumption that we haven’t done our best job at selecting potential relationships with men who actually HAVE potential!

There are a lot of ways to define relationships that don’t work well. Often they are called ‘dysfunctional’ or ‘abusive’ or ‘bankrupt.’ But what I’d like to focus on are those relationships, that despite all that horrible things that are going on in it, the women is encased in a web she can not climb out of because her relationship is pathological. She is with someone who has a Pathological Cluster B  disorder which means it brings that pathology into the relationship.

For some of the relationships with a pathologically disordered partner, it will also be ‘addictive.’  I would like to say that for The Institute, we do not believe all pathological relationships ARE addictive. But we do believe some of them are. This e-course is for those relationships who do have an addictive component to them.
Some people do not even realize that relationships/love/sex can qualify as an addiction or an out of control behavior.  12 Step groups exist for these types of addictions.

Addictive relationships are characterized by attachments to someone who, for the most part, is not available emotionally. In addictive relationships there is a single overwhelming involvement with another person that cuts her off from other parts of her live. The result of trying to be in an addictive relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable is:

 

  •   Confusion
  •   Fear
  •   Franticness
  •   Obsession
  •   Loneliness
  •   Despair
  •   Anger
  •   Feeling Stuck


Addictive relationships have similar qualities to other patterns of addiction which ‘rob’ people of the quality of their lives. It impacts the ability to:

 

  •   To have healthy communication
  •   To have authentic enjoyment of one another
  •   To be your healthiest self
  •   To love him outside of dependency
  •   To be able to leave the relationship if it becomes unhealthy or destructive to you


Addictive relationships are described by women as “a feeling that I just can not leave him no matter how bad he has been or how awful I feel.” There is a battle going on inside of her and despite a normally rationale approach to life, she still can not unhinge herself from this pattern of destruction that she knows is bad for her. She often feels helpless to make the choice to leave. She is ‘hooked in’ in ways she does not even understand. (Also read our information on The Intensity of Attachment as it pertains to Pathological Love Relationships in our book Women Who Love Psychopaths.)

As is true in other addictions, one loses the ability to constructively manage their own lives. Like drug or alcohol addiction, addictive relationships show the same signs of:

 

  •   Magical Thinking
  •   Helpless to stop the addiction/relationship
  •   Feeling bad about one’s inability to stop
  •   Passivity
  •   Low initiative to stop the behavior/relationship  


The inability to manage one’s life is often connected to belief systems that you hold about your self, your future and relationships. Often these beliefs are what they call “stinking thinking” – that is, at the core of these are erroneous beliefs often developed from childhood on.

Unmet childhood needs warp into adult ‘neediness’ which places a person at higher risk for developing dependent and addictive relationships as an adult.

If your childhood was effected by your parent’s relationship or someone they dated, please be aware that the same thing can happen to YOUR children. A good reason to work on yourself and stop dating dangerous men is for your children and to stop the damaging effects to them. Addictive relationships are always the destructive exploitation of one’s self and the other person which masquerades as ‘love.’

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO SOMEONE?

The following check list is a guide to help you identify any tendency towards relationship addiction or unhealthy relationships in general. If you answer ‘Yes’ to most of the following statements, you probably have a problem with relationship addictions.

QUIZ    
1.  To be happy, you need a relationship. When you are not in a relationship, you feel depressed, and the cure for healing that depression usually involves meeting a new person.
2.   You often feel magnetically drawn to another person. You act on this feeling even when you suspect the person may not be good for you.
3.    You often try to change another person to meet your ideal.
4.   Even when a relationship isn’t good for you, you find it difficult to break it off.
5.   When you consider breaking a relationship, you worry about what will happen to the other person without you.
6.   After a break-up, you immediately start looking for a new relationship in order to avoid being alone.
7.   You are often involved with someone unavailable who lives far away, is married, is involved with someone else, or is emotionally distant.
8.    A kind, available person probably seems boring to you and even if he/she likes you, you will probably reject him/her.
9.   Even though you may demonstrate independence in other areas, you are fearful of independence within a love relationship.
10   You find it hard to say no to the person with whom you are involved.
11.  You do not really believe you deserve a good relationship.
12.  Your self-doubt causes you to be jealous and possessive in an effort to maintain control.
13.  Sexually, you are more concerned with pleasing your partner than pleasing yourself.
14.  You feel as if you are unable to stop seeing a certain person even though you know that continuing the relationship is destructive to you.
15.  Memories of a relationship continue to control your thoughts for months or even years after it has ended.


QUIZ 2    
1.    Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
2.    You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counteract the harmful aspects of the relationship.
3.    When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear which make you cling to it even more.
4.    When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort, that is only relieved by reestablishing contact.

SO—Are you? What was the tally of your two quizzes?
Finding the true answer, while it may be concerning, is at least a step towards taking more control of your pattern of selection to stop the cycle with dangerous men. The first step is awareness. Here are some TIPS for overcoming your relationship addiction:

Robin Norwood, in her excellent book “Women Who Love Too Much” outlines a ten step plan for overcoming relationship addiction. While this book is directed toward women, its principles are equally valid for men. Stated here (reordered and sometimes paraphrased), Norwood suggests the following:
1.    Make your “recovery” the first priority in your life.
2.    Become “selfish,” i.e., focus on getting your own needs met more effectively.
3.    Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings.
4.    Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself, i.e., fill in gaps that have made you feel undeserving or bad about yourself.
5.    Learn to stop managing and controlling others; by being more focused on your own needs, you will no longer need to seek security by trying to make others change.
6.    Develop your “spiritual” side, i.e., find out what brings you peace and serenity and commit some time, at least half an hour daily, to that endeavor.
7.    Learn not to get “hooked” into the games of relationships; avoid dangerous roles you tend to fall into, e.g., “rescuer” (helper), “persecutor” (blamer), “victim” (helpless one).
8.    Find a support group of friends who understand.
9.    Share with others what you have experienced and learned.
10.    Consider getting professional help.

Some women get stuck in trying to get out. Others get stuck in trying to choose differently the next time and not end up with a dangerous man AGAIN. Here are some signs you might need professional assistance for a short time to help you get ‘unstuck’:

1.    When you are very unhappy in a relationship but are unsure of whether you should accept it as it is, make further efforts to improve it, or get out of it.
2.    When you have concluded that you should end a relationship, have tried to make yourself end it, but remain stuck.
3.    When you suspect that you are staying in a relationship for the wrong reasons, such as feelings of guilt or fear of being alone, and you have been unable to overcome the paralyzing effects of such feelings.
4.    When you recognize that you have a pattern of staying in bad relationships and that you have not been able to change that pattern by yourself.
Know that as your relationship addiction increases it becomes more difficult to cope with anyone or anything else. This becomes all encompassing. There is the rush of the addictive relationship that is absent from healthy relationships. Often women misread that sign to think it means there is a strong connection—it just might not be a healthy connection! Addiction is where two people use each other to fill their own loneliness. They are distractions from the inner pain of what someone is feeling.

The only way through pain is going through the middle of it. The only way to find healthier relationships is to work on yourself so that YOU are healthy and you are choosing relationships out of the healthiest part of yourself.

(Thanks to the Counseling Center at the University of Illinois and the NAMB for information on Addictive Relationships.)

In closing,

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information. If after reading this installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.  

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.


**Workbooks are on back order. In the meantime, you can order them at Amazon.com or HunterHouse.com
**CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Or gather information about The Intensity of Attachment in our book Women Who Love Psychopaths.

 

** CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 3 of our E-course coming to you next week!  

 

 

E-Course, Class 1

“Stop Dragging My Heart Around”
(Song by Tom Petty)

E-Course 1, Class 1

Women spend years and thousands of dollars trying to heal from dangerous and pathological men. If they are lucky, they only encounter one in their life times. If they aren’t, there are many more…

That’s because women haven’t really verbalized what they think constitutes a dangerous man or what pathology actually ‘is’. When I interviewed women most of them thought that the ONLY thing that made men dangerous, or not dangerous, was the issue of violence. If there was no violence, well then…he was probably ‘fixable’ in the long run.

For 20 years I have been the not-so-silent witness to women’s choices. As a therapist, I watched women whose childhood included abuse grew up into adults who were abused. I watched adult women choose over and over again one version or another of a dangerous and pathological man. Often only the face changed but since there are 8 types of dangerous men, often women would move all over the continuum dating men from all categories.

The end result was always the same:

  •   Misery
  •   Pain
  •   Took a long time to heal, if ever
  •   Often went on to do it all over again

Before we go any further, answer these questions:

1. __ I believe a dangerous man will eventually be violent.

2. __I believe that if I was hurt by one I would be able to spot him the next time and avoid him.

3. __I believe that dangerous men are notably gregarious, aggressive, narcissistic and abusive.

4. __I don’t believe that anything in my past has predisposed me to dating dangerous men.

If you answered ‘YES’ to the above, you are indeed at-risk of dating ‘a’ dangerous man or ‘more’ dangerous men, which ever the case may be for you.

(Although number 3 can often be ‘yes’ it is not only ‘yes’ and we will cover that in more detail later.)

The lack of a solid definition of what constitutes ‘dangerous’ for women is probably at the heart of what keeps us in these dangerous relationships. So let’s nail down what ‘is’ dangerous.

The word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’

Synonyms for the word include

  •   Hazard
  •   Jeopardy
  •   Peril
  •   Risk
  •   Menace
  •   Threat
  •   Emergency

Notice the word doesn’t merely mean ‘when someone is violent towards you’ nor do the synonyms indicate this is strictly limited to violent behavior. Yet, women let lots of men and their behavior off the hook simply because ‘well, he never hit me so I didn’t feel like I could say he was abusive.’

Year after year my practice filled up with women who would never ‘label’ or ‘define’ the men in their lives. When asked if he was dangerous, they would hem-haw around looking for loopholes to say he wasn’t dangerous, but not really knowing what ‘dangerous was’ or behaved like. Women are most at-risk for picking, marrying, or staying with dangerous men when they don’t have a concrete idea of what dangerous and pathological would be like. The words listed above give good clues to what dangerous would be like “injury, pain, loss, hazard, jeopardy, risk…”

So let’s define that for you: “A dangerous man is any who harms a woman,

  •   Emotionally
  •   Physically
  •   Sexually
  •   Financially
  •   Spiritually

This definition immediately broadened the field experience of dangerousness. It added emotionally, financially and spiritually—three areas that women often let men off the hook from being labeled as ‘dangerous’ to a woman’s well-being.

But we already determined that the word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’ Simply being ‘exposed’ to the possibility of being injured, experiencing pain or going thru loss IS dangerous to a woman’s mental health. Women often discount that just the exposure to the possibility really constitutes ‘danger.’ Later on in some of the E-courses (if you continue on with them) we will talk about why women discount that and just what the exposure really leads to.

But let me suffice it to say that any exposure to dangerousness has an effect of a woman’s:

  •   Self Esteem
  •   Ability to disconnect and move on
  •   Future relationships
  •   Trust
  •   Fear
  •   Intimacy issues
  •   Depression & anxiety

…just to name a few.

Women who came into counseling were often women who had only ONE exposure to a dangerous man and yet the after-effect warranted psychological help in order to heal. Other women had multiple exposures to dangerous and pathological men, choosing one after the other not spotting the signs. They spent years in therapy.

Dangerous men are not just the psychopaths you see on the nightly news, although it could be him. But a dangerous man is just as likely to be the ‘nice man at church,’ ‘the smooth boss at work,’ or ‘the girlfriend’s athletic trophy-winning brother.’ He is just as likely to be a social worker, cop, doctor, or mechanic. The fact is, he could be ANYBODY.

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information.

If after reading this first installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is a companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.

**Workbooks are on back order. In the meantime, you can order them at Amazon.com or HunterHouse.com

Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 2 of our E-course coming to you next week!

Starve The Vampire

Pathological persons are energy and emotional vampires. They live off of your emotional content. Part of their personality deficit is the lack of a stable and consistent inner core of a self concept so they need constant attention, distraction, and identity management from which they draw their identity.

Lots of their identity is acquired from their relationships since internally there is so little core self to draw from. This is part of the reason they are so exhausting. In order to get their emotional ‘blood supply’ from you, they ‘hook you’ into conversations, arguments, or any other kind of response they can get from you. They live vicariously thru your own emotional expressions of love, frustration, confusion, etc. It doesn’t always matter ‘what’ emotion is fed to the vampire (although narcissists like adoration) but just that there is SOME content is enough for them–even your tears, or your screams, or your insults. It doesn’t matter…they just ‘need’ something, anything from you in the way of content. If they don’t get the blood supply/emotional content from you, they will seek it elsewhere. (Remember Dracula? He just moved from town to town taking it where he could get it?)

When you begin to break up (read my How to Break Up With a Dangerous Man E-book) he will fear the loss of emotional supply. He won’t fear losing you so much as he will fear not getting his identity and his sense of self from you and/or the relationship. He fears the loss of self or ‘who am I without her?’ This is a very fragmented ego state –one which only exists thru relationships with others.

So when you try to break up, he will continue to contact you which is why they are hard to break up with (read my break up book). They are predictable in their approaches to get you to respond to them (you are feeding the vampire his emotional blood supply every time you talk to him). These are some of his approaches and if you can get a bag of popcorn and just watch it like it was a LifeTime for Women movie and detach from it, you will see a whole movie pan out like this:

* One contact he’s angry, blaming, shaming

When you don’t respond to that verbally or emotionally (think like you are lobotomized with no facial expression…that’s what I want women to do with these men)

When you don’t respond….

* Then one contact will be sweet, loving, buy you things or sending you things

When you don’t respond…

* He will promise to do what you’ve asked for years..go to counseling, church, take meds, be nice, go to anger management
When you don’t respond…

* He will get angry again–say you aren’t working on the relationship which is why it’s gonna fail
When you don’t respond…

* He will accuse you of having sex with someone else and he’s gonna go do the same thing
When you don’t respond…

* He will quit calling for a while to make it look like he’s moved on (They are boomerangs, they ALWAYS come back a few times.)
When you dont’ respond…

* He will indicate he found someone else or had sex with someone else
When you don’t respond…

(Are you enjoying the popcorn and movie about now??)

* He becomes ‘sick’ — he doesn’t know what this mysterious illness is, or he has prostate cancer, MS, some other lethal disease
When you don’t respond…

* He will just go back to drinking/drugging/dealing/driving too fast/etc.
When you don’t respond…

* He will kill himself, leave the area, never see you again
When you don’t respond…

* He will take the kids, drag you thru court, threaten to physically harm you
When you don’t respond…

* He will tell you he’s dating someone you hate or his previous girlfriend/wife
When you don’t respond…

* He will tell you he will kill your pet he has custody of if you don’t talk to him
When you don’t respond…

* It will come full circle and will begin again, at the top of this list.

When I do phone sessions it’s all the same stories. I know that women think that their experiences are unique. But pathology is all the same–these people aren’t very creative and don’t deviate much from the strict internal structure that is associated with pathology. They ONLY react in certain ways so for me, it’s pretty easy to predict. Once you are able to understand this, you can predict his sad/silly/stupid reactions to a break up.

Since they live off of your emotion and NEED it, the sooner you starve him out by having no contact (unless you have to because of your kids) but you adhere to no words exchanged and no emotional content on your face, the vampire will flee to the next available source to be fed.

When women don’t disconnect once they understand the feeding and maintenance of pathologicals, they are doing it because SHE wants to remain. The ball is then in your court to figure out where you are still hung up so you can disconnect. This is not a judgment about women not being able to leave. It is a POINTER to a place where the dis-engagment has hit a snag. Simply notice where the snag IS so that something can be done.

Everything Is One

 

Joan-Marie Lartiin, PhD, RN

Have you heard this one?  What did the Buddhist master say to the hot dog vendor?  “Make me one with everything.”

 

That sums up the topic of this column.  The connections between and among the nervous, immune, and endocrine (i.e. thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries) systems have been explored by Western medicine for over 40 years.  Chinese medicine has made these connections for centuries, if not millennia.

 

We now know that the body’s biochemical messengers are both produced and received by cells in the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems.  This means that these systems talk with one another all the time and are very intricately interwoven.

 

In practical terms, what this means is that when there is an imbalance in one system there is almost certainly going to be an imbalance in the others.  In this sense, it is almost too simplistic to think about any of them as separate systems, rather the whole (nervous, immune, and endocrine) together is more logically thought of as a super-system.

 

The implications, and the clinical applications of these discoveries are enormous.  A relatively new field says this fast 5 times psychoneuroimmunology has arisen to delve into these interdependent functions.  (This term was coined a few decades ago and many in the field now wish they had found a way to include the endocrine system.) http://www.immunecliniclondon.com/5/PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY.html.

 

The validation that the mind-body connection is powerful is extensive.  There is now abundant, factual support for the impact of acute and sustained stress on health.  In other words, it is not all in your head, and hopefully the days of take a pill and call me in the morning, are receding into the past.

 

The purpose of these columns is to empower traumatized women by providing relevant information about advances in health care.  If your health care provider is unaware of other options, as an educated consumer you can find substantive solutions for your health problems and enjoy strong, robust health.

 

So if you are aware that problems such as arthritis, asthma, irritable bowel, chronic headaches, hypertension, frequent infections, allergies, weight gain, irregular or heavy periods, thyroid issues, fatigue, etc., have a mind/body component, you will look for providers who share this perspective.

This not only validates your experience of emotional trauma—no small matter—it opens up options for health care at a more deep level than previously possible.

 

Here is a clinical example from my practice that I think illustrates these ideas effectively.  A woman coming out of 22 years of marriage to a psychopathic individual suffered from:

 

  • Severe menstrual bleeding and severe secondary anemia
  • Low thyroid (weight gain, brain fuzz, cold intolerance, hair loss)
  • Adrenal fatigue (no energy, extreme startle reflex)
  • Frequent bouts of sinusitis and sinus infections

 

Five traditionally oriented physicians strongly suggested a hysterectomy, and prescription drugs for the thyroid and sinus conditions.  None of them diagnosed the adrenal failure.  A naturopathic physician tested her for adrenal fatigue, provided recommendations for natural remedies and supplements, and subsequently evaluated her immune functioning.  Her neurotransmitters were also found to be seriously out of balance (a serotonin level of 57 vs. 140).  She started a course of targeted amino acid therapy.  Subsequently, she was also diagnosed with:

 

  • Intestinal problems related to a yeast overgrowth, and therefore
  • Numerous food sensitivities, which presumably fueled sinus problems and signs of early arthritis, both indications of an over-active immune system.

 

Today, as she says, she is still the proud possessor of a uterus, avoids certain foods, is energetic and upbeat, and well on her way to a new life.  Her thyroid and adrenal functioning are completely normal and she has lost her middle-aged spread.  She accomplished all this without recourse to surgery or prescription medications.  Psychotherapy and neurofeedback training played a big part of her overall healing as well.

Needless to say, there were many postponed vacations and sacrifices made to pay for aspects of her health care that were not covered by insurance.  She is clear that the sacrifices she made for her health have been worth it.

 

I look forward to the day when her story, as inspiring and hopeful as it is, is the norm and not the exception.

Who Does That? Part 2

(Last week we began discussing the ‘who’ of certain behaviors and crimes often perpetrated by Cluster Bs and how the various systems who come in contact with Cluster Bs have differing names, thus views, of their destructive patterns. You can read last weeks newsletter on our magazine site under Sandra Says).

How convenient for pathologicals that each system is only focused on it’s identified behavior which helps the pathological continue to fly under the radar. Instead of seeing the big picture of pathological disorders in action, the systems are focused on the sub-directory of behaviors associated with their system and one small aspect of the pathologicals destructive nature.

When teaching on Public Pathology I always teach about the pathological disorders of Cluster B (Borderlines, Narcissists, Anti-socials, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths). No matter who hires me to speak, they all get the training on Cluster B. I teach this to nurses, the military, to therapists (who seem to have forgotten), to the criminal justice system, to law enforcement, to judges, custody evaluators, prosecutors/lawyers, and mediators. I teach it to clergy, addiction professionals, and social workers. To victim advocates, and DV programs. I teach it to every front line ‘system’ that is likely to be encountering various forms of behaviors that fall under the category of Cluster B but are referred to within the systems own labeling vernacular.

All these systems have been dealing with the same disorder, with different faces, different statuses in life, different careers and titles, with money or no money, different crimes and different charges against them, different social service requests, different spiritual confessions, different storylines, different excuses, different projections of their behavior onto societal causations. But in the end, the same disorder over and over again.

When I teach about Cluster B, I see the moment of ‘aha’ that comes across their faces when they recognize their own clients within this cluster of disorders. Learning the emotional, physical, psychological, behavioral, financial, sexual, and spiritual behaviors of these disorders quickly helps them to affirm ‘who’ does that. Looking across the room and seeing law enforcement, judges, therapists, and mediators all nodding in agreement rushes them into the center of reality that we are all dealing with the same disorder in our offices, court rooms, therapy offices and pews. That whether they are a defamer, cyber stalker, repeat domestic violence offender, a financial con artist, or a killer, we are still talking about the Cluster B of disorders.

When asking my audience of sexual offender therapists if any of the pedophiles AREN’T within Cluster B, no one disagrees. When asking Batterer Intervention programs if the chronic repeaters aren’t Cluster B, no one balks.  When asking Forensic Computer professionals if trolls, cyber stalkers, defamers or bullies aren’t Cluster B, they readily affirm it.  Sexual Assault counselors don’t argue that rapists are largely Cluster B.Judges don’t rush to defend that high conflict cases (those people who file case after case, as many as 60 times to court) aren’t Cluster B. Mediators don’t disagree that those most likely to fail mediation is a Cluster B. Custody Evaluators affirm that those most likely to tamper with evidence, perpetrate parental alienation and require supervised visitation are Cluster Bs. Stalking programs can easily see that stalking is primarily committed by Cluster Bs.

Repeat criminals clogging up jail, probation, parole, and prison programs are often diagnosed within jail as a Cluster B disorder. Terrorists, school shooters, and bombers are easily identified as Cluster B. Those who stay for years and years in counseling using up mental health resources without ever being able to sustain positive change are Cluster Bs (excluding here the chronic mental illness of schizophrenia or developmental disabilities).Those prematurely discharged from military service are often Cluster B.
The over use and misuse of most major societal services and systems are related to Cluster B.  Some of the most brilliantly contrived inside trading crimes of the century has been planned and executed by Cluster Bs. Are there many murderers that don’t have Cluster B?

WHO does that? If we take all the behaviors listed above (and often crimes from those behaviors), put them in an analyzer funnel and watch the behaviors clink and clunk down the spiral DSM Identifier, it would spit them out in an Axis II file with Cluster B printed on the front.

Cluster B’s behaviors are generated out of a complex interweaving of emotional, developmental, neuro, biochemical, and even genetic abnormalities. Obviously, this is not a ‘simple’ disorder or there would be less ‘inevitable harm’ associated with everyone and everything they touch and they would be cured or even managed consistently and well.

This complicated group of disorders single-handedly sets society on edge. It keeps us in court, in therapy, in prayer, in the lawyer’s office, in depression, in anxiety, on edge, on the offense, ready to off ourselves to simply be away from such menacing (yet often normal appearing) deviancy.

Who wreaks more emotional havoc than Cluster B’s? 60 million persons in the US alone are negatively impacted by someone else’s pathology. It drives people to therapy, to commit their own petty acts of revenge to avenge their own powerlessness, drives people to drink, to run away, to take their children and run, and sadly leads to uncountable amounts of suicides every year.

They single-handedly cause financial disruptions to the working class who are demoted or go on disability because of scrambed-eggs for brains they now have due to too much Cluster B exposure.

It drives the legal market by keeping attorneys in business through never-ending court cases, child custody, and restraining orders.

It employs judges and prison systems. And keeps forensic computer and forensic accountants frantically busy.

It funds domestic violence shelters, rape centers, and children’s therapy programs.

Pathology is big business. It is what our large service systems in almost every field are driven by…the need to protect, defend, prosecute, or treat the effects of Cluster Bs.

It employs threat assessment professionals to ward off stalkers and reputation defenders online programs to repair cyber attacks on people that Cluster B’s rarely even know.

It employs social workers and halfway houses trying to get Cluster B’s ‘the help they need to turn their lives around.’

It drives the media of TV, radio, and talk shows. Who DO we think are often the persons on daytime TV and reality shows? Cluster B’s. WHO do the media often want to talk about in the celebrity world? The Cluster B’s. What kinds of crimes does the media flock to? The crimes often perpetrated by Cluster B’s.

It drives the medical field due to stress related disorders and diseases normal people develop as a reaction to the abnormal pathology of Cluster B.

Surely pharmacology is partially driven by medications for depression and anxiety perpetrated by the no-conscience disorders of Cluster B.

It generates new products every year to track, expose and identify Cluster B’s who are hacking computers, sending viruses, or putting chips on phones and cars to invade others lives.

While clearly pathology generates jobs for many, it is still the single most destructive group of disorders that exist.  And until all the major systems: judicial, legal, and mental health get on the same page about ‘Who’ does that, we will be stuck in this maze of pathologicals flying under the radar, undiagnosed, unrealized and wreaking havoc in millions of people’s lives.

Wake up Law Enforcement, Positive Psychology Therapists, Judges, Custody Evaluators, Mediators, DV Batterer Intervention, Lawyers!  Who Does That?

I’m Not What You Say I Am

I’m Not What You Say I Am

 “We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.”  ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Life isn’t all about appearances.  Life is about movement, awareness, insight, change, compassion.  Life is about interactions with others.  As we move through the world we move through it together.  Whether we accept it or not we impact each other.  Conversely, we are impacted by others.  Our impact on others is often a concern…it is a part of our conscious awareness.  We wonder (and sometimes obsess) about how others regard us.  Alfred Adler describes this trait of how people regard us in terms of “social interest,” our ability or potential for living “cooperatively and contributing to the good of others.”  We learn to adopt this trait early on the playground.  As children we were taught to be aware of others feelings and to be nice to others.  We learned that words do hurt (in spite of the childhood lesson regarding sticks and stones!)  We learned lessons like “make a good first impression” and “do unto others…”  All of these childhood (and adult) lessons teach us that what others think is important.  Now, this isn’t all bad.  Considering we are social creatures and knowing that we impact each other, it is pretty important to be concerned with how other people regard us.  Possessing this trait means that we have compassion and empathy…it means that we want to play well with others.  But this trait, like all the others in excess, can be dangerous.  It can be especially dangerous for someone who finds their way to a playground with a psychopath.

Herein lies the risk:  Psychopaths lack concern for others…real, empathetic concern.  They can fake it well, but deep down they move through the world not concerned about their impact, but concerned about having control and power.  So, being concerned about how other people regard them is twisted.  It isn’t so much about positive regard as it is negative regard…they want people to believe they are in control, powerful, smart, and likeable, etc.  They want to cover up who they really are…manipulative, dangerous, callous, superficial, glib, and controlling.  (Writing those words reminds me why they HAVE to develop a mask…it would be hard to spend two minutes with someone if we saw those traits).  So, they move through the world, mask firmly in place…covering who they are with what they want you to believe.

For the woman in a relationship with a psychopath it’s the trait of how people regard you that keeps you stuck.  You are concerned with the feelings of others, you are concerned about your impact on other people (and a psychopath will remind you all day about your impact on him!)  As long as you believe you are having a negative impact…you will stay until your impact becomes positive. Sad part is…it never does.  He knows you need to be seen as kind, compassionate, loyal and honest and he also knows that you don’t give up.  So as long as he can make you believe your impact is negative…then give you a glimmer of hope that he can change…he’s got you.  You stay because you must be seen by him and others as having a positive impact…a high concern for how others regard you.  This concept works well in all other areas of your life, but with a psychopath it’s the thing that puts you at risk and the thing that keeps you there.

Herein lies the benefit: When you realize that he cannot change…you’re out.  When you fully and completely come to believe that he is only motivated by power and control, you know that it is no longer about what he thinks or how he sees you…in fact, this flips.  You begin to realize that he sees you as a sucker.  He has used everything good about you to fill up his empty cup.  He has taken what is good and right and manipulated it (and you) for his own agenda. You also realize that he is not only hurting you but he is having a negative impact on others…most likely people you care about.  Knowing this becomes your strength…it becomes the fuel to the fire that burns the relationship to ruin…you will not play with others who have no regard.  Think about it…would you allow an employee, client, friend, your child to manipulate your good nature this way…not a chance.  You’re out.  No more playing with a psychopath; time to take your toys and go home.

So, when all is said and done you have way too much concern for how other people regard you, and in the context of a pathological relationship that is really, really dangerous.  So, how do you put a lid on that trait?  First, be concerned about this trait only when it comes to your pathological.  Chances are this trait has served you well in other areas of your life…so don’t be overwhelmed with having to “change” everything about you.  This trait is appealing to psychopaths, so just put a lid on it in the context of your relationship.  Next, be aware of your thoughts and actions when he persecutes you…when he calls you stupid or crazy, calls you irresponsible and uncaring, attacks your skills as a mother or tells you that you are being “mean.” When he does this he is seeking to control you through this trait.  HE IS CONTROLLING YOU THROUGH YOUR TRAIT.  Allow this thought to come into your awareness and then challenge it. Who is doing this???  A psychopath.  Allow the truth to come into your awareness and you will be compelled to accept it.  Additionally, with that knowledge you can counter any thought with a true thought.  You might begin to remind yourself that what he says about you is part of his mask…part of the fantasy that he is creating to keep you in the relationship…fantasy is not reality.  You know who you are…and you are not who he says you are!