Archives for November 2011

Test Quiz

This is a test quiz.

 

Psychopaths are rare - my odds of meeting one are very low.



Most psychopaths are violent serial killers.



Psychopaths are disruptive and antisocial. They are losers in business and social situations.



I could easily recognize a psychopath by the look in his eyes.  All the serial killers you see on t.v. look disturbed.





Triggers and Knee Jerk Reactions During the Holidays

The holidays are stressful under the best of situations. Add to it a dangerous and pathological relationships and you can have a prescription for **guaranteed** unhappiness.

The pathological relationship never lies dormant during the holidays. It’s an opportunity to re-contact you–of course “just to wish you a Merry Christmas.” If you haven’t already, do read The Institute’s materials regarding our ‘Starve the Vampire’ teaching on no contact! He has a million hooks he will use to get you back in…Here’s one- Christmas!

A text message of Happy Holidays is not good cheer. It’s a hook.  A Christmas card is not a mass card to everyone–it is a targeted approach for you. A gift left on your door step isn’t a thoughtful gift–it’s a manipulation because being the good mannered girl you are, you’ll call and thank him and then he’ll have you on the phone….and it all goes downhill from there.

Then there’s the mistletoe, and the date for New Years Eve, and the gift he left for your child or your parents….The holidays are one BIG OP-POR-TU-NITY for Mr. Opportunistic.

The No Contact rule still applies and he’ll be testing your boundaries to see if it applies during the holidays. If it DOESN’T apply and you responded to him or sent him a text/card/call, you have just taught him where your loop hole is. You also said something very LOUD to him. You just screamed in his ear “I’m Lonely! Come snuggle with me.” And you know what he’s thinking, “You don’t have to ask TWICE!”

Ladies, Christmas is ONE day of the year that is laced with a lot of triggering memories. Maybe from childhood where you believe “miracles happen on Christmas” or “everyone should be together then” or the sights, smells, and memories of past Christmases with him are rehashing in your mind. Don’t stay stuck in that ‘air brushed Christmas memory’ — how about you pull out your memory list from the other 363 days of the year and how he behaved then? Not one night with the twinkle of Christmas tree lights and a ribbon on a gift. That doesn’t make a pathological man stable!

Get out of the fantasy. Christmas has a way of hypnotizing women into the fantasy of his positive behavior and his lack of pathology. Nothing changed because we hit Christmas season. It’s just a BIGGER opportunity for him to hook you.

If you’re still with the pathological person, they can be very sabotaging at this time of year wanting to strip every little piece of joy you could get from the season away. They get drunk, pick fights, say mean things to your family, yell at the kids, and don’t participate. Don’t react. Have a great Christmas while he wallows around in that puddle of pathology.

You know one of the things we found out in our research? You ladies tested unbelievably high in ‘sentimentality’. What are the holidays all about? SENTIMENT! If your sentiment is on caffeine, what do you think it will do? Be restrained or have a knee jerk reaction because all that sentiment is coursing through your veins?

One slip up now could cost you a year of trying to get rid of him again. Call a support person and tell them you VOW to them not to have contact this season. Then make plans to fill up your time so it’s not even a possibility.

I have ‘lectured’ our readers about loneliness because this 4 inch stack on research sitting on my desk that you ladies filled out, tells me that you lapse and lapse and lapse again when you feel lonely.  Holidays induce loneliness, so plan ahead and safe guard. “I was lonely is not an excuse for starting something that will once again destroy your life!”

Instead, do something wonderful with your kids. Get outside, take a walk, go to a movie with friends, do some scrapbooking, get some of our books to read, go to a nursing home and visit someone! Sit in a chapel alone and count blessings, walk your dog more, go to the gym! Do anything except have a knee jerk reaction to your excessive sentimentality gene!!

I am so passionate about this subject and concerned for your well being this holiday that I have made an mp3 message for you. To listen to my 15 min broadcast about protecting yourself this holiday season from relapse and hook ups, click here:

http://www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com/audio/Christmas2010Message.mp3

How Not to Go Back/Hook Up During the Holidays

Here’s a secret: “Even if you go back, you’re still alone. You’ve been alone the entire time because by nature of their disorder, they can’t be there for you. So you’re alone–now, in the holidays, or with them. With them, you have more drama, damage and danger. Your choice….”

People relapse and go back into relationships more from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year. Why? So many great holidays to fake it in! Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, V-Day….then PHOOEY!

You’re out. Why not be out now and stay out and save face. You’re not fooling anyone…not yourself, them, or your family and friends.

Holidays are extremely stressful times. It’s a time when it is more likely:

  • For domestic violence to occur
  • For dysfunctional families to be even MORE dysfunctional
  • People drink more
  • People binge eat because of the stress
  • Some feel pressured to ‘be in a relationship’ during the holidays and accept dates or stay with dangerous persons to ‘just get through the holidays’
  • To overspend
  • To not get enough rest
  • It’s an idealistic time when people have more depression and anxiety than any other time of the year. Depression creeps in, anxiety increases, to cope they eat/drink/spend/date in ways they normally would not.


People put extraordinary pressure on themselves thinking their lives ‘should be’ the picture postcards and old movies we watch this time of year. You can’t make a ‘picture postcard memory with a psychopath or a narcissist!’

Here’s a mantra to say out loud for you “I’m pretending that staying/going back with a psychopath/narcissist will make my holidays better.”  Pretty ridiculous thought, isn’t it? Something happens when you say the REAL thing out loud. It takes all the romanticization and fantasy out of the thought and smacks a little reality in your face.

“I want to be with a psychopath/narcissist for the holiday.”  Say that three times to yourself out loud….

NO!! That’s not what you want. That’s what you GOT. You want to be with a nice man/woman/person for the holidays.

As you VERY well know, they’re not it.

“I want to share my special holidays with my special psychopath.”  ???  Nope. That’s not it either. But that’s what’s going to happen unless you buck up and start telling yourself the truth. It’s OK to be by yourself for the holidays. It sure beats pathology as a gift.

Here’s a real gift for you–some tips!

TIPS FOR A HAPPIER/HEALTHIER HOLIDAY

~ Stop idealizing–you are who you are, it is what it is. If your family isn’t perfect, they certainly WON’T be during the season. In fact, everyone acts WORSE during the holidays. It is the peak of dysfunction. Accept yourself and others for who they are.

~ Don’t feel pressured to eat more/spend more/drink more than you want to. Remind yourself you have choices and that the word ‘No’ is a complete sentence.

~ Take quiet time during the season or you’ll get run over by the sheer speed of the holidays. Pencil it in like you would any other appointment. Buy your own present now–some bubble bath and spend quality time with some bubbles by yourself. Light a candle; find 5 things to be grateful for. Repeat often.

~ Take same-sex friends to parties and don’t feel OBLIGATED to go with someone you don’t want to go with. People end up in the worse binds of going to parties with others and get stuck in relationships they don’t want to be in because of it. Find a few other friends who are willing to be ‘party partners’ during the holidays.

~ Give to others in need. The best way to get out of your own problems is to give to others whose problems exceed yours. Give to a charity, feed the homeless, and buy toys for kids.

~ Find time for spiritual reflection. It’s the only way to really feel the season and reconnect. Go to a service, pray, meditate, reflect.

~ Pick ONE growth oriented issue you’d like to focus on for 2011 and begin cultivating it in your mind–look for resources you can use to kick start your own growth on January 1.

~ Plant joy–in yourself, in your life and in others.

I am so passionate about this subject and concerned for your well being this holiday that I have made an mp3 message for you. To listen to my 15 min broadcast about protecting yourself this holiday season from relapse and hook ups, click here:

http://www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com/audio/Christmas2010Message.mp3

Pathological Systems: A Look at Penn State

The nation is aghast at the Penn State rape and cover up of the repeated assaults of young boys over a 15 year period. This case reminds us that even the most loved of places, those with the best of reputations, can have pathology coursing in its veins and leadership.

Jerry Sandusky a former coach is charged with sexual abuse of eight boys (and more victims stepping forward are expected). Tallying it all up currently includes
40 counts; 21 of them are felonies spanning 15 years of abuse having gained access to them through The Second Mile, a youth foundation he started ‘to help kids’. (Am sure the sexually abused children are saying ‘Gee thanks for that help.’)

Each of the 21 felonies carries 7-20 years and $15-25k fine with 19 misdemeanors carrying 2-5 years and $5-10k fine. Needless to say, the court rightfully so, finds the abuse allegations to be extensive. We can only guess how many rapes that accounts for over a 15 year span…and how many victims.

Mike McQueary, assistant foot ball coach witnessed at least one of the rapes in 2002 during which he watched, did not stop it, and did not immediately report it to law enforcement including campus police.

He did however pass the buck for reporting the rape by telling head coach Joe Paterno who also did not report to police, including campus police. A 23 page grand jury report said Paterno was told in 2002 about the sexual assault against an approximately aged 10 year old boy in the shower at the university.

McQueary also passed the buck to Tim Curley, the athletic director and Gary Schultz the Senior Vice President (whose duties included the oversight of the university police) about the assault, none of whom also made the mandated child protective reports and reports to law enforcement.

Paterno’s defense to what he did not report was that McQueary was ‘distraught but didn’t tell me specific actions that occurred.’ There is no evidence that Paterno followed up to find what specific actions had occurred, or turned over the alleged ‘distraught’ concerns to child protective services or campus law enforcement.

All citizens are considered to be mandated reporters in child abuse cases and certainly university staffs are trained in reporting protocols for both the university and the state since they work with students. However, none of those protocols were followed and none of the mandatory reporting laws seemed to be applicable to them. You do not have to prove child abuse—you simply have to have a suspicion of abuse and then you are mandated to report. Child protection services and law enforcement will take it from there.

A naked adult with a naked child is not a suspicion. That is a crime and a fact that is mandated, not only legally but ethically and morally.

Mike McQueary did not follow up checking with police or campus police to make sure Paterno, Curley or Schultz actually filed a report. While it is appropriate that he told others, it is not enough. The law is not ‘tell your boss and walk away’. It’s that you report. Whatever you do after that for ‘on the job’ notification to your superiors is separate and distinct from reporting. University staff is always trained in abuse protocols. It’s not that they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.

While being labeled as a ‘whistle blower’ about the university might be uncomfortable and a motivation for not reporting directly to law enforcement, it is not nearly as uncomfortable as being raped and scarred for life. It’s not nearly as uncomfortable as a child who knows you saw what happened to them in a shower and did not help them…in the moment or later.

Ramifications? Being labeled as a whistle blower, or being fired for covering it up—I mean ‘really?’ are we comparing those consequences with those of eight little boys whose lives were ruined from adults looking the other way. A job is equal to a rape in terms of ramifications? It was hid to save their jobs?

Let’s count here….

1.  Sandusky never confessed to what he had done to save himself from jail and keep a job.  Considering he’s a pedophile, not many were expecting him to have insight about how his behaviors were destroying someone else.

McQueary, a flicker of conscience…not in the middle of the rape, not even that evening as he went to bed…but the next day and a couple more notifications to others but not pushing the envelope enough to ask his superiors if they did something about his suspicions. Not wanting to incur the wrath of employers? Not wanting to seem outside of the good ol boy’s club that anything goes….job protection.

Curly never reported suspicions of abuse.

Schultz as a Senior Vice President and who oversaw campus police never reported suspicions of abuse.

Who does that? Who places employment before anal penetration? Who places their foot ball ego in front of oral rape? Who shows up year after year for work walking passed the showers where innocence was lost? Who oversees campus police and doesn’t make a report of suspicions? What kind of pathology does that?

But instead, this moment of looking at not only individual pathology but corporate pathology is being lost. Instead of looking at the kinds of symptoms pathology perpetrates in the individual and in systems, we are instead hyper-empathically focused on micro issues: The ‘conflicted’ pedophile, the social psychology of why others look on and do nothing, the severe motivation of job loss at high levels, how well loved a coach is as evidence of guilt or innocence.

We miss seeing that when pathologicals are at the head guiding the system, they are making deep psychological imprints of their own pathological world views projected like a cult-reality on the screen of other’s psyches. That’s it not just an individual that can be sick, its entire systems that are guided by pathological and psychopathic belief systems. (Anyone ever read Snakes in Suits by the world’s leading expert in white collar psychopathic behavior, Dr. Robert Hare?)

It took a system, not just an individual, to cover up 15 years of rape. It took the camaraderie of people who collectively had reduced empathy and conscience to hide the fact that little boys were penetrated, and kids were trafficked to psychopathic benefactors. Now there are allegations that the rape and assault of little boys were used as perks to pedophile benefactors.  It’s called human trafficking.

This did not happen in a vacuum as most trafficking, extended abuse, and cover up normally doesn’t. It takes individual and corporate pathology to create an environment of longevity and invisibility to perpetrate 15 years of rape. It takes pathology on many levels from being the pedophile to being a silent accessory to the crime to allow over a decade of soul destroying abuse in a psychopathic fraternity of football narcissism.

Systemic pathology has been seen through the years in the church, in the military, in the white house, in the FBI—in any large system. How did thousands come to believe that the holocaust was the right thing to do? It happened when one pathological in a system created a systemic belief system and brought into that system at high management levels other persons whose own pathology shared the basic core belief systems and those beliefs found their home and their spark with the pathological leader.

Think all of the players are not likely pathological? Want to split hairs about which Cluster B diagnosis they are likely to fall into and our inability to really diagnosis someone if they aren’t in front of us? I don’t. You can see from this case what happens when someone does not have enough empathy, enough insight into how their behavior affects others, enough guilt, enough conscience, or enough remorse. Whether the perps and accessories are cleanly in the ranges of secure diagnosis really doesn’t matter because even reduced amounts of these traits-of-humanity have caused pathological results in the lives of children. Here is an example when a Cluster B is really a Cluster F for everyone in their paths.

Pathology In Systems

The Psychopathic Checklist helps us view elements of pathology that can perhaps help us to expand the view to see pathology active not in just a person but in a system. I have check marked those that I think we can apply to the pathological belief system of the department/portions of departments that were involved. (Below is the Psychopathy Checklist- Revised created by Dr. Robert Hare).

 

  •   Glibness/superficial charm (at least applicable to the charm and support and near-riots of the followers of Paterno).
  •  Grandiose sense of self-worth (entitled to not follow the mandated reporting laws of child abuse)
  •  Pathological lying
  •  Cunning/manipulative (the years this has continued is a tribute to cunning ability to hide it and/or manipulate others into not telling)
  •  Lack of remorse or guilt
  •  Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric) (unable to determine)
  •  Callousness; lack of empathy
  •  Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (unable to determine)
  • Parasitic lifestyle (perhaps within a systems model type of approach)
  •  Poor behavioral control
  •  Lack of realistic long-term goals (lack of realistic long term outcomes of suppressing child abuse)
  • Impulsivity
  •  Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Criminal versatility (lots of versatility displayed)
  •  Acquired behavioral sociopathy/sociological conditioning (Item 21: a newly identified trait i.e. a person relying on sociological strategies and tricks to deceive) (developed within the context of a pathological system and leader).

Out of 21 items, 13 items if applied to the pathological system can be viewed checked off in the above list. That’s 65%.

Perpetration of Pathology By Non-Recognition

Hoping that the mental health system is going to jump in here and help with public pathology education? The perpetration of pathology invisibility is highly related to the lack of pathology education even within the mental health field. The inability to spot pathology in others, and certainly as we can see, the inability to spot it in systems, has kept the mental health field largely another system unable to identify it.

To the mental health field’s defense, Robert Hare (world’s psychopathy expert) calls these disorders the ‘disorders of social hiding.’ That is, they look normal in the context of their setting (especially when sprinkled in with more pathology that camouflages glaring overt ness in any single one person). The more successful, wealthy, or well-liked one is, the less likely they are to be noticed as pathological. Mix it with the hyper-empathy and positive psychology approach of some clinicians and you have all the Kum-By-Yah’ness behind which pathology never gets pointed out and none of the forensic attunement that might help others learn from these examples of pathology.

My case in point, having started a discussion on several professional therapist forums, these are the responses that clue us in to whether the mental health field will lead us in the much needed public pathology education awareness field….

My posting was “Calling everyone who understand pathology: Do not let the Penn State teaching moment be lost in translation in words that do not teach pathology in action. This is not merely ‘abuse’ — this is pathology in both those who did it and those who hide it. Who Does That? Help other see the Cluster B disorders in action. Use the real language!’

The responses were:

“I take exception to the use of Penn State being a teachable moment. It’s is my alma mater…1 football coach does not define the entire institution.”

“IMO the abuser is less guilty than those who covered up.”

“Perhaps we should discuss why people who knew did not act appropriately. What about these crimes (rapes) shut them down morally. Is something like this too overwhelming for the average person to deal with, thus they shut down?”
“As professionals we owe our clients to explore their case in all it’s uniqueness and individuality….Why does this client have the craving for this abnormal sexual fondness of children?… we remain a blank screen on which the client can write the story of his life. As a professional I can see myself having empathy even with a pedophile… as for myself I am extremely disgusted with the persecutor and his helpers. “

“The DSM can diagnose and predict and structure, but can not understand an individual’s core conflict. This work can only be done one session at a time with compassion and lots if patience with our support as a holding environment.”

“I agree that this is definitely a teachable moment for our students. If we talk about a possible diagnosis with the goal of building compassion, then I can get on board with that.”
In those statements is very little pathological identification (outside of pedophilia) especially in the accessories to the crime. While many of those accessories who turned a blind eye to the rapes are likely to be legally and criminally considered accessories to the crime, few of us are holding them to the same standard. We are interested in understanding them, not insulting an institution because someone attended there and seems to think this is a case about one coach and not all the other accessories—we are more interested in extending patience, support, compassion for the child rapist and accessories.

I don’t see much interest in the world at large for exposing pathology for what it is so others can identify it in the future. If we don’t learn from what we have experienced, how do we bring that experience to light? I see little help in understanding pathology in corporate constructs or bilateral distribution of the crime of not reporting. Instead, the public outcry as witnessed on campus is a snapshot of the social investment to a perception—that there was one pedophile and that’s the end of the story.

From whom shall we look to understand personal and corporate pathology? Where shall our public pathology education come from?
www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

I’m Not What You Say I Am

I’m Not What You Say I Am-by Jennifer Young, M.S.


“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!

 

The PLR Support Group is closed for open enrollment at this time and it will re-open at the end of December for the next group starting in January, 2012.

 

Deciding Not Stay Where You Are

The first step towards getting somewhere is to DECIDE that you are not going to stay where you are.”  (Anny Jacoby)

I just love this quote.  It reminds me of what we have been talking about now for months—since I began the Living the Gentle Life series, which has been about the recovery from PTSD and Pathological Love Relationships.

I get emails that say, “I can’t leave him because_________.”  There are lots of reasons that people, both men and women, feel trapped in pathological love relationships. It could be

* Finances

* Children

* Health

* Lack of employment or education

* Religious beliefs

* Family’s attitude

* Fear of harm

* Or your own damage from PTSD

But the first step toward an internal shift, where something else might be a possibility, is beginning with knowing you are not going to stay where you are.

The external reasons of ‘why’ you are still there are just that—external.  The paradigm shift starts with the internal, the decision you make that you are not going to stay where you are, whether emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, or sexually. Just one shift can start all the other parts shifting as well.  Externally, things begin to happen when you simply make the decision that at some time in the near future, you are not going to stay where you are. That doesn’t just mean that you are going to move out, or get away. It means, you are going to move towards something, inside.

What happens outside of us in recovery starts with the shift internally, before it is ever manifested in our lives.  We won’t follow a path that isn’t first developed internally.  We’ll end up only seeing roadblocks of the external, which doesn’t help us.  The first thing that has to happen is the decision for internal movement.

Over the 20 years of working with pathology and hundreds and hundreds of its victims, I have heard every kind of story about pathological relationships—everything from the most deviant kind of mind control-to attempted murder-to actual murder.   I’ve heard of financial hostage taking, rape, assaults, stalking, women put into comas, people alienated from their children, people being medically harmed, reputations and career ruined, and people locked in their homes or psyches for decades.  I’ve heard it all.  The emails start with, “But, I can’t“–and then they give the reason for their inability to leave.

But don’t be discouraged–there is movement happening in you that you might not see! Why do I think that? Because you have read our magazine, our newsletters, or are emailing us; so obviously something inside is shifting!  This is the first step.  Somewhere, you are deciding you are not going to stay where you are!  Even mentally you are moving and changing.  Your “yes, but” might be a reason to you, but you are already deciding to not stay where you are. You are reaching out which undoubtedly will at least change where you are emotionally.

For some of the more common road blocks to change remember:

Yes, there are safety and housing barriers.

* Remember, every community has DV services, or DV housing most likely exists in your area.

Yes, there are emotional barriers—you have PTSD.

* Remember most communities have DV counseling services that are free; churches have support groups, and community mental health counseling for you or your children is free or very low in cost.

Yes, there are starting over barriers when you leave with only what’s in your suitcase.

* Remember, DV services and other non-profit organizations offer furniture, clothing and household item to those starting over.

Yes, there are legal barriers—you don’t have an attorney.

* Remember self-help, non- profit and women’s organizations.  DV agencies have information on legal aid and OTHER types of pro-bono services if you don’t qualify for legal aid.

Yes, there are other case-specific barriers—there are so many issues to manage at once.

* Remember women’s organizations, DV agencies and other non-profit organizations have case workers assigned to you so you don’t have to do it all yourself.

You only have to first decide, “That you are not going to stay where you are at” whether that is emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  That’s the first step to the rest of your life.  That doesn’t mean you leave tomorrow—that means you shift internally—that you open the emotional door of possibility that you will not always be where you are today.

Susan Murphy-Milano, our Expert Violence Strategist, works with women to help them design exit plans.  Please check out her information on our website.

October is DV Awareness Month, and I stop and give tribute and memory to those patients of mine who have died because they believed they couldn’t do anything about their situation, or they underestimated his pathology (or her pathology).  In honor of all those who have been harmed, alive or not, we remember you this month, and send ‘possibility’ to those living in a pathological situation that your life can and will be different.  I don’t say that flippantly—I too have experienced a lot of pain when I see patients further harmed, so I say it from my own experience.

The Institute has helped thousands of people make that paradigm shift internally so they could eventually make it externally.

(**If we could support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recover-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.)