Archives for October 2011


Technology is about to change the way victims of domestic violence/ stalking will be able to document through video the prior abuse and future potential threats against their lives. The new technology called an ‘Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit’ will force abusers to think twice about making their partner vanish without a trace. In her absence, the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit will give information that could aid in his arrest and a solid case for prosecutors.

With this technology, in cases that result in murder, the victim’s words through the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit can be admitted into testimony at the trial as a “Last Will and Testament” rather than how it has previously been labeled as “hearsay” carrying little weight in court. The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit will document the victim’s description of the offender’s identity, behavior, and possible motivation for her harm or disappearance.

Information such as:
•    Who he is
•    The threats made against her life/life of others
•    Motives behind her death/disappearance
•    And weapons he might have used

These are all powerful investigative information left in a video taped document that is delivered directly to law enforcement and selected ‘safe persons.

This technology will be a voice for those who are normally silenced during post decree issues. In the past, victim’s voices were silenced because the offender has the 6th Amendment right to face his accuser. If the victim was missing or dead, testimony given on her behalf by others who knew of the violence in their relationship, threats made against her, or possible motives for her murder, are dismissed as ‘hearsay.’

Now, with the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, the victim will have documented her abuse through video and other legal procedures that will allow this affidavit to be used in court as her words, in case of disappearance or murder.

This technology has the ability to revolutionize intimate partner violence on two fronts:

1.    Prevention. As this technology becomes implemented in law enforcement across this country, abusers will know that their victim will have the ability to use this documentation for his prosecution in the future. Her future abuse, disappearance or murder is highly defeated by his fear of prosecution.
2.    Prosecution. Victim’s that are critically harmed (in a coma, etc.), missing or murdered still have the ability to aid the prosecution of the offender through the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit. Information on his previous violence, weapons, plans, and motives are now available for the state’s prosecution.

Incredible Benefits of The E.A.A.

Created as both a process (you can follow instructions from the book Times Up!  and make your own E.A.A.) and as a product (a downloadable App created by Wetstone Technology that will create the E.A.A. for you),  it will significantly reduce the number of homicides and missing persons per year by providing cutting edge technology and vital knowledge that will give potential victims valuable and non?reputable evidence that will aid in:

•    Investigations
•    Overruling “hearsay” laws
•    Provide a powerful deterrent against repeat violence by the offender
•    And lead to eventual conviction

It will significantly reduce the costs incurred by:

•    Law enforcement
•    The justice system
•    Medical health care services
•    Mental health services
•    Domestic violence shelter court advocacy services
•    and Insurance claims

all which cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

We are proud to be announcing this revolutionary step in victim’s rights.

To learn more about this revolutionizing technology, read here:

Recovery With Out Justice

At the heart of the victims rights movement I was involved in during the 1980’s after my father’s murder, was the concept of judicial justice that would lead to psychological justice.  It’s a great concept and in a perfect world it would work in all situations.  If the pathological person wronged you (physically hurt, conned out of money, had screwed up custody situations, infidelity, spiritual abuse, etc.), he would be held accountable in the courts for his behavior, and more importantly, would be forced into victim restitution in which he would have to repay or do something as a sign of his guilt and your pain.

Of course, restitution in and of itself really doesn’t heal anything.  It’s just the victim or person who was harmed feels like the scales of justice, that were so grossly leaning in his direction, got balanced into their direction.  For a moment in court, and however long it takes him to pay or do the restitution, he is officially ‘guilty’ and everyone knows he was charged as such.  He is ‘paying his price to his victim’ for his actions.  For a moment in court, a judge believes you!  He believes the monster really did what you say he did.  That in and of itself is often the psychological justice that victims really look for and it helps them to heal.

In murder trials that I often attended, obviously the family cannot be compensated in any true way that relieves their pain and suffering.  Their loved one was murdered.  No amount of restitution touches a human life.  The best the family can hope for is physical payment, prison, the death sentence, or some other act that the court assigns for the monster to the victim’s family.

The judicial system acts as the conscience of this country.  Victims seek solace in the courtroom and chambers hoping that justice will alleviate the pain, horror, and stigmatization of being a victim of the monster.  But we know that in many cases, and I dare say, in most cases, that is not what happens.  Restraining orders are not granted, arrests are not performed for stalking or violence, children are given over to the pathological who is overtly violent, sick, drug addicted, or otherwise an inept parent.  When the pathological doesn’t pay child support, nothing is done and the child is still sent to him. The thousands of dollars he conned out of you or stole from you is not returned.  When alimony isn’t paid, he gets away with it.  Repeated visits to the courts do nothing to convince them, or to open their eyes to the true nature of his behaviors. Anything that is court ordered he defies and laughs at.  You stand, mouth gapping and wondering, “Where is the justice?  HOW does he get away with this?”

I have repeatedly said that the universe is strangely tilted to the benefit of the pathological.  If ANYONE will get away with a con or a criminal act, it will be the pathological.  The universal scales of justice are tilted in their favor and ironically, somehow influence the judicial scales of justice.  In the 20 years of doing this work, I have seen them literally get away with murder, rape, embezzlement, breaking and entering, stalking, domestic violence, child abuse, and more.  This ranks as the Eighth Wonder of the World—how pathological people can con their way out of the most vicious deeds and often never pay in any way for their behavior.

In these cases, women’s hopes for justice are dashed and it negatively impacts their psychological healing.  The scales of justice will never be balanced—she is not vindicated in the way that helps her to heal.  Even if he is found guilty of something, he is rarely ever held to the standard of the law it’s connected to.  If he is supposed to pay a fine, he doesn’t.  If he is supposed to go to jail or prison, it’s postponed or overturned.  If custody is denied, he receives it by another judge. If he embezzled, it’s forgiven in exchange for an admission of guilt.

Victim’s rights and its connection to judicial and psychological justice will not get played out often in pathological relationships.  The psychological justice that the victim is counting on in order to validate her—her moment in which the conscience of this country believes her– doesn’t happen.  Since we understand that psychological justice is what is most likely to help victim’s heal, now what?

Sternly, I tell victims of pathological relationships that they sometimes must recover without justice.  We are not discussing ‘what is fair’, because the pathological has already skirted the issue of ‘fairness.’  He doesn’t live with the concept of fairness and the law doesn’t use it as a concept with him.  If you desire to recover, heal and move forward with your life, it will require that you might just have to recover without judicial justice, without victim restitution, and without the conscience of this country validating your story.

You have to recover without a second of judicial support.  Women who hinge recovery on judicial justice, waiting for her day in court or ‘when he gets what’s coming to him’, will never recover.  The universe is tilted in his favor and your own recovery must be a daring adventure in the face of a lack of victim’s rights.  Sometimes the only personal justice is recovering and living a great life.  What he had done to you doesn’t define you, hold you down, or stop you from succeeding in your own spiritual outlook.

In the end, the only thing you really have control over is how you choose to see your situation.  If you see it as a victim and are unable to move past that view, you won’t recover.  If you see it as horrible things that happened to you but don’t define or restrain you, you will move forward—with or without justice.

The unfair situation is what you have lived through and the ‘aftermath’ of the effects of the pathological relationship.  In the face of this grossly dehumanizing experience is the indomitable ability to recover that can guide you not only to survive, but also to thrive in the face of great pain.  I have every confidence you can heal, even without justice.  Let us know if we can help you do that.

(**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.)

Remembering Our Roots

Joyce’s Brown’s Influence on The Pathological Love Relationship Recovery Process

This weekend marked the 4th death anniversary of an extraordinary visionary. Many of The Institute’s highly acclaimed purposes, products, and processes came from what Joyce lived through, talked about, and role modeled for others.

Joyce, like other leaders, did not set out to do anything extraordinary. She simply set out to heal after two back-to-back pathological relationships. First a 25 year relationship with a narcissist and then an upgrade to a sociopath for 10 years left Joyce in the typical emotional fetal position that is common of the aftermath of pathological relationships.

She went through the normal stages of pathology recovery asking,

“What just happened?”

“Did I do that?’

“What’s wrong with him?”

“Why am I so obsessed with this?”

“What’s wrong with me? Why am I attracted to men like that and what does it say about my life that I would end up in a relationship like that?”

Without the benefit of mental health therapy and with only the support of a few close friends (who were quickly becoming weary of the ongoing saga of ‘why’ her, why him, why he moved on quickly, and why he picked the new woman), Joyce managed to piece together not only a recovery, but some profound insights that changed the quality of her life forever.

By then, at age 60, it would have been easy to say she would not likely find love, or heal. It would have been even easier to get bitter, get revenge, get hyper focused on him and his latest antics, or get in a fetal position and stay there.

But remarkably, Joyce rose from the dirt she had been ground down into. Like the symbol of the Rising Phoenix she not only rose, she dug out every particle of dirt that could be transformed from crusted pain and milled it for life changing insight.

She didn’t keep these golden gems to herself—she talked to women about relationships wherever she was. Some of her approaches have trickled down to help other therapists work with women leaving pathological relationships.

Joyce believed women tended to drift sideways into pathological relationships looking for fun and excitement which actually pointed at what that woman needed in her life that would prevent her from taking just any old relationship.

“If you aren’t living a big enough life that is as big as your heart, or as big as your personality, or as big as your dreams, then any old psychopath will do.”

She poignantly asked herself “What is or is not going on in my own life that I would end up with a sociopath? Sure I didn’t know he was one, he said all the right things…but what could this possibly be pointing out to me about me, the condition of my own life, and what needs to happen so I don’t choose like this again?”

16 years later she had answered her own question:

In her 60’s she went to college for the first time, became a short term missionary, she started her life in the arts of painting, sculpting, and pottery, she moved to a one room beach house so she could ‘make up for lost time and play hard,’ drove a convertible Miata to feel the rush of adrenaline she no longer had because the sociopath was gone.  In her 70’s she took up belly dancing to prove to herself she was still attractive, went to Paris to see handsome men so she knew she could still flirt, and got a motorcycle so she always had something hot to ride (!)—hey, I’m just quoting Joyce here. She became a hospital Chaplin to comfort the sick and fed the poor every week to give some of that hyper empathy away least it go to another psychopath. She sailed a Catamaran to the Bahamas to challenge her fear because she could not swim.

“A relationship is the icing on the cake. It is NOT the cake. Don’t confuse the necessity of living life to be the icing. Living life IS the cake. Anything else, including relationships, is just the icing.”

The Institute’s own Jennifer Young who does phone coaching and our tele-support group had this to say about Joyce’s impact on her and the women she helps, “Joyce Brown carries a big impact on my work with women.  On her own she developed the innate ability to care for herself.  That care translated into real solutions for disengagement from a pathological relationship.  I believe the biggest, specific idea that has come from Joyce is the idea of ‘Not One More Minute”.  I have shared this concept with many women who instantly feel the ability to disengage….not one more minute means I will not allow you to take one more minute of my energy, my love, my care, my compassion.  It provides an end point…a point to say I’m done.  This change in thinking, that I stop it, is crucial.  It means that she has come to know and understand that he will not change, but I still can…and I will.  So thanks to Joyce Brown for showing us the way to the end!”

At her death at age 76, she laid in a hospice bed only hours from death. I told her I wanted to toast her life. She said “Crank this bed up!” She fluffed her hair and with a glass of Jack Daniels in her hand, she said “I have had a great life. I lived, I learned how to have a great life, and I was loved. Who could ask for more?”

Her life lived well is what has impacted thousands of women worldwide and is the main thing women come away with who attended our retreats. Sadly, in this day and age, living a great life seems to be an extraordinary accomplishment.  Her lecture on ‘Get a Great Life’ is what has spurred women on to not merely limp into recovery dragging their soul behind them. But to burst into recovery and fill their lives to the rim with all the things that her big personality needs in order to live fully. Lifeless living is what caused many women to seek the psychopath so full of energy that it seemed exciting and vibrant. Joyce said, “The problem is pointing to the solution.  I loved the energy of those men! But what was that energy and why couldn’t I have it another way?  Was a psychopath the only way for me to feel life?”

Joyce learned that vibrancy comes from a life that is full of the things that interest, motivate, support, and challenge HER. If she wasn’t living a big enough, interesting enough, motivational enough, supported enough, and challenged enough life….she would drift again into the arms of pathology to fill that space.

Feel how big YOU are and fill your own life with a great life!

From one of our readers, she wrote on Joyce’s Facebook Memorial:

“Thank you, dear lady, for your continued inspiration – a legacy you’ve left to many you never knew but who have come to love you for your feistiness, tenacity, grit and that wonderful sense of humor!”

To celebrate Joyce Brown during her death anniversary and the month of DV Awareness Month, we are giving you our MP3 down load called ‘Get a Great Life’ inspired from Joyce’s story for only $5! (Normally a $12 value).

To hear a sample clip from the audio, click HERE

OR to purchase for $5, click HERE

Get a great life and stop the cycle of pathology!

E-Course, Class 4

It’s all about Him! Are You Dating a Narcissist?


Many women are now familiar with the word ‘narcissism’ but not always totally aware of the specifics of the disorder. The word ‘narcissism’ is tossed around a lot as a catch all phrase for people who are conceited or aloof.

But narcissism is more than a case of conceit. It is a pathological and incurable disorder. Narcissism is a brutal way for women to learn about dangerous and destructive men. By the time a woman realizes a man is narcissistic, she has been pounded into the emotional dirt.

Many women find fascination with men who seem self assured but this is merely the mask of narcissism which hides an emotionally undeveloped little boy seeking the
attention NOW that he didn’t get as a child.

But all the attention he has sucked out of women never fills the broken vessel of his soul. All the attention never stays in him. It spills out only for him to seek MORE and MORE  from anyone that he can get it from referred to this as the ‘narcissistic supply’—the need for a constant stream of affirmations, attention, and admiration from a constant supply of givers.

Narcissists are rarely happy with only one stream of attention. They seek it from friends, strangers, co-workers, family, and anyone else they can tap into which is also why narcissists are rarely faithful—all this attention seeking leads to more focused admiration via sexual contact.

The major description of the relationship with a narcissist that women give is he is confusing and exhausting.’ Women come out of the relationship dragging the shell of their former selves. That’s all that’s left when he is done with her.

A narcissist’s path is always littered with the emotional skeletons of a multitude of women and children.

So ARE YOU with a narcissist? You might as well know now.

Take the quiz below based on your knowledge of him.

5= Always or almost always does this
4= Frequently does this
3= Does this sometimes
2= Seldom does this
1= Never or almost never does this

__ He constantly looks to you to meet his needs
__ He expects you to know what he expects, desires and needs without having to ask for it
__ He gets upset when you are perceived to be critical or blaming
__ He expects you to put his needs before your own
__ He seeks attention in indirect ways
__ He expects you to openly admire him
__ He acts childish, sulks or pouts
__ He accuses you of being insensitive or uncaring without cause
__ He finds fault with your friends
__ He becomes angry when challenged or confronted
__ He does not seem to recognize your feelings
__ He uses your disclosures to criticize, blame, or discount you
__ He is controlling
__ He lies, distorts, and misleads
__ He is competitive and uses any means to get what is wanted
__ He has a superior attitude
__ He is contemptuous of you and others
__ He is arrogant
__ He is envious of others
__ He demeans and devalues you
__ He is self-centered and self-absorbed
__ He has to be the center of attention
__ He is impulsive and reckless
__ He boasts and brags
__ He is insensitive to your needs
__ He makes fun of others mistakes or faults
__ He engages in seductive behavior
__ He is vengeful
__ He expects favors but does not return them

(Thanks to Nina Brown and ‘Is Your Partner a Narcissist? From Loving The Self Absorbed)

In our segment on abusive and pathological parenting we talked about how people who have been raised with pathological parents go on to select pathological men for
partners. Dating/marrying a narcissist falls into that category. Since narcissists do not change because narcissism is a permanent embedded personality disorder the question to you becomes “How much longer will you spend with someone who can’t ever be healthy?”

Have you told yourself any of the following?
•    I am in a relationship and feel he is more important than I am

•    I often feel like a failure in this relationship and blame myself for the condition of the relationship and how he treats me

•    I tell myself, “If I just try harder things will be fine.”

•    I wonder what happened to the charming person I was involved with and why he is so different now

•    I feel numb and exhausted by the constant demands of him and the strain in the relationship

•    I keep hoping ‘someday’ things will get better

•    I have an overwhelming sense of guilt much of the time

•    I always tell myself I am responsible for things going wrong (and he agrees)

•    I have given up time, ambition, interests, family/friends and life for him

(Thanks to Mary Jo Fay from ‘When Your Perfect Partner, Goes Perfectly Wrong, Loving or Leaving the Narcissist in Your Life)

These are examples of the ‘effects’ of being with a narcissist. Over time, these effects increase until your self-esteem is so low you no longer even attempt an exit. Life with a narcissist costs you everything. It already has, and it will in your future as well.

In order for you to heal both from abusive, addicted, and/or pathological parenting AND from your relationship with dangerous men, you must exit so you can work on yourself and your own recovery. No one heals or grows in a relationship with a narcissist. The longer you stay the harder it is to leave because you have stopped growing and hoping for emotional well-being for yourself.
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

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

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




E-Course, Class 3

Adult Children of Abusive Parents—When Parents Are Pathological

This is the third installment of The Institute’s E-courses we have been offering the past few weeks. ‘Why’ women have ended up in pathological love relationships is a widely debated topic. After 20+ years in the field, our view is that the reason(s) are often a mixture of several issues. We find most of the ‘simplistic’ ideas about ‘why’ are not based on the dynamics of the womens lives or relationships. This is a complex issue and we have been looking at ‘various’ reasons why. Any ‘one’ explanation is probably not the total explanation. I think for many women, their patterns of selection have to do with a number of complex inter-weavings, not to mention, the ‘mask’ of pathology itself and how it hides, lures, and cons.  Today, we are looking at the possible influence of pathological parenting. This may not apply to all who have ended up in pathological love relationships. But for those who have had pathological parents, this too ‘may’ have been a factor. Just like in the 12 Steps “take what works, and leave the rest.” If this is not applicable to your past, it’s probably not applicable to your pathological relationships. For those that it is applicable for, here is another consideration

Sometimes our dangerous male choices, bad boy selections, and addictive relationships are really just manifestations of the parenting we endured when young. If we were unfortunate enough to live in homes in which one or both of our parents were abusive, addicted, or pathological our choices could be reflecting what did or did not happen in our own emotional development because of our pathological parenting. Pathological parenting, often referred to as self-absorbed parenting, can have significant and deep-seated effects on children and these effects often persist into adulthood.Sometimes our choosing of dangerous men comes from replicating our own childhoods. Some women pick men that subconsciously ‘feel’ like early childhood dynamics. This is not a conscious decision but is driven by primitive and familial feelings and unmet needs. The dynamic is further re-enacted by women being victimized again in similar ways as she was in the home where a parent was abusive or pathological.Pathological parenting involves:

  •   Being non-responsive to anothers needs
  •   Being self-absorbed, self-focused, and self-referencing
  •    Being indifferent about other people
  •    Having a lack of empathy for others
  •    A lack of a core self (deep as Formica)
  •    Shallow and quickly fleeting emotions
  •    Doesn’t relate well to others
  •    Wants constant admiration and attention
  •    Feels special and unique
  •    Is grandiose and arrogant

The result is pathological parents typically display the following kinds of parenting types and behaviors:

  •    Blaming the child and others
  •    Criticizing the child and others
  •    Demeaning, devaluing, and demoralizing the child

Since the child has only known this kind of parenting, it is often difficult for the child to know there is something wrong with their parents. The child grows into adulthood still not knowing their parent is pathological.  The result is the child/adult now has learned how to ‘normalize abnormal’ behavior because healthy behavior was never role modeled.

Typical of abusive and pathological parents is when the parents make the child ‘take care of them emotionally.’ This is often referred to as ‘emotional incest’ or ‘parent-ifying the child.’ In a healthy home, the parent emotionally meets the needs of a child and supports the child through the developmental process of becoming a separate individual and teen and ‘individuating’ or ‘separating enough to be your own self.’ In addictive, abusive, and pathological families children are not supported through these developmental periods. Instead, the parent expects for the child to meet their needs.

Were you a parent-ified child?

  •     Were you made to feel responsible for your parent’s feelings, well-being and/or general welfare?
  •    Did your parent seem to be indifferent or ignore your feelings much of the time?
  •    Were you frequently blamed, criticized, devalued or demeaned?
  •    When your parent was upset or displeased, were you the target of his or her negative feelings?
  •    Did you feel that you were constantly trying to please your parent only to fall short?

Do you remember hearing a parent say:

* Don’t you want me to feel good?

* You make me feel like a failure when you do ____

* You ought to care about me

* I feel like a good parent when someone praises you

* If you cared about me you would do what I want you to do

Child who were parent-ified or were victims of emotional incest or raised by abusive/addictive/pathological parents often have one of two reactions to their parenting. One is ‘compliance’. Do you have the following symptoms:

  •    Spends a great deal of time taking care of others
  •    Are constantly alert about acting in a way to please other or are very conforming
  •    Feels responsible for the feelings, needs, and welfare of others
  •    Tends to be self-depreciating
  •    Rushes to maintain harmony and to soothe other’s feelings
  •    Doesn’t get their needs met

The second reaction to this type of parenting is ‘rebellion.’
Often the adult child is defiant, withdrawn and insensitive to the needs of others. They build a wall around themselves to avoid being manipulated by others. They avoid responsibility resembling the kind of responsibility they had as children.

Adult children of Abusive/Addictive/Pathological parents normally have lives that consist of:

  •     They are dissatisfied with them selves and the course of their lives
  •    They are trying to be in emotional sync with others but find they are not successful at it
  •    They are constantly looking a their own flaws, incompetence, and other faults they perceive in themselves
  •    They do not have meaningful relationships in their lives
  •    They do not allow people to become emotionally close to them—they keep people at arms-length
  •     They feel like they lack meaning and purpose in their lives
  •    They have continuing relationship problems with family, friends, and work
  •    They feel isolated and disconnected from others
  •    They are often overwhelmed by other people’s expectations of them

People who were raised in these types of families often go on to develop relationships with people who resemble the dynamics they grew up with. Unconsciously, women often pick men who demonstrate on some level the kinds of behaviors their abusive parent did.

Women who do not recognize that they have grown up to ‘normalize abnormal behavior’ perpetuate the pattern of choosing dangerous and pathological men over and over again. They are stuck in a terrible cycle of self sabotage. (Read more about this in ‘How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved or Women Who Love Psychopaths books.’)

(Thanks to the article Parental Destructive Narcissism by Nina W. Brown for information on pathological parenting.)

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

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

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


Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 4 of our E-course coming to you next week!



Everything is One

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 intricately interwoven.  In practical terms, what this means is that when imbalance is in one system there is almost certainly going to be 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.)  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, many postponed vacations and sacrifices were 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.