Archives for March 2015

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. How convenient for pathologicals that each system is only focused on its identified behavior, which helps pathologicals 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 only their system and one small aspect of each pathological’s destructive nature.

When teaching about Public Pathology, I always provide education 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, therapists (who seem to have forgotten), the criminal justice system, law enforcement, judges, custody evaluators, prosecutors/lawyers, and mediators. I teach it to clergy, addiction professionals, and social workers, victim advocates, and DV programs.  I teach it to every frontline ‘system’ that is likely to encounter various forms of behaviors that fall under the category of Cluster B, but are referred to within each system’s own labeling vernacular.

All these systems deal with the same disorder, with different faces, different statuses in life, different careers and titles, with money or without, different crimes and different charges against them, different social services requests, different spiritual confessions, different story lines, different excuses, different projections of their behavior onto societal causations. But in the end, it’s 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, courtrooms, therapy offices, and pews. That whether they are a defamer, cyberstalker, repeat domestic violence offender, financial con artist, or 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, cyberstalkers, defamers and bullies are 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 are Cluster B.
  • Custody evaluators affirm that those most likely to tamper with evidence, perpetrate parental alienation, and require supervised visitation, are Cluster Bs.
  • Programs that deal with stalking can easily see that stalking is primarily a Cluster B occurrence.
  • Repeat criminals clogging up jail, probation, parole, and prison programs are often diagnosed within jail as having 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 those with the chronic mental illness of schizophrenia or developmental disabilities).
  • Those prematurely discharged from military service are often Cluster B.
  • The overuse and misuse of most major societal services and systems are related to Cluster B.
  • Some of the most brilliantly contrived insider trading crimes of the century have been planned and executed by Cluster Bs.
  • Are there many murderers who aren’t 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.

The Cluster B’s behaviors are generated out of a complex interweaving of emotional, developmental, neurological, 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 Bs? Sixty million people in the U.S. 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. It drives people to drink, to run away, to take their children and run and, sadly, leads to uncountable numbers of suicides every year.

They single-handedly cause financial disruptions to the working class, who are demoted, or go on disability because of the ‘scrambled 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 analysts 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 Bs rarely even know.

It employs social workers and halfway houses trying to get Cluster Bs “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 people on daytime TV and reality shows? Cluster Bs. Who do the media often want to talk about in the celebrity world? The Cluster Bs. What kinds of crimes do the media flock to? The crimes often perpetrated by Cluster Bs.

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 Bs 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 exists. 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, and Lawyers! Who Does 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.)

 © www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

Who Does That? Part 1

Part of our goal at The Institute is not only to help survivors heal from the aftermath of a PLR (Pathological Love Relationship), but also to help prevent future relationships with pathologicals. In prevention, The Institute helps survivors to spot overt, glaring pathology. The overt pathology is easy to identify:

 

  • Few would argue that mothers who drown their children, like Susan Smith or Andrea Yates, aren’t terribly disordered.
  • Those who shoot people they don’t know, or commit a drive-by shooting clearly have pathological motives.
  • Those who sexually abuse children and then hide the sexual offenders, like the Catholic Church has done, are the face of evil.
  • Horrendous hate crimes that torture hundreds, thousands, or millions of people— like war crimes or the Holocaust—illustrate that severe pathology is behind the motivation of that type of hate.
  • The deranged that break into homes to beat the elderly for money, like Phillip Garrett who terrorized those in assisted living facilities, have a notable bent of sheer brutality.
  • Terrorists who commit the taking of hostages and inflict psychological torture, like the infamous Stockholm Bank Robbery (which resulted in the term Stockholm Syndrome), are identifiable as probable psychopaths.
  • The rapist who preys on the vulnerable, or the rapist who rapes a woman in front of her own husband, is overtly vile.
  • The violent anti-socials that are frequent gang members or thugs, like James Manley, who murdered my father.
  • Serial killers, like Ted Bundy, who raped and killed at least 36 women, leave no doubt that he was the worst of the worst psychopaths.
  • The ordering of killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child, like schizophrenic psychopath Charlie Manson did, makes our blood run cold.
  • Cult leaders who usher hundreds to death, like Jim Jones, remind us of the power and persuasion of pathology.
  • Chronic re-offending domestic violence abusers, like O.J. Simpson and Mike Tyson, convince us that all DV is not treatable, and some abuser brutality increases with each crime, and are obviously disordered.
  • The babbling grandiosity of narcissism, as seen in Charlie Sheen, reminds us that even the rich and famous carry and display their pack of pathology for all to see.
  • White-collar scam artists, like Bernie Madoff, who rob millions of dollars from thousands of people, remind us that not all pathology is physically violent—some do it with panache and a tie on.

These forms of pathology are recognizable by most of society. Many would agree that these people are horribly disordered and probably dangerous for life.

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hidden acts, yet equally as damaging, is where most of us fall short—including professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems. It’s also where survivors of PLRs are likely to trip up yet again, since the types of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary, causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant, and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to inevitable harm when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy, pathologicals find pleasure in harming others. While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they nonetheless live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others.

Sadistic? Absolutely! But often it’s sadistic behind closed doors, or as sheltered reputations behind fictitious names, or online identities.

Why aren’t these pathological disorders better identified? That is the million-dollar question, since the main judicial, social, and mental systems of our society deal with this particular cluster of pathological disorders day in and day out. Why are they actively dealing with Cluster Bs?  Because these disorders represent the majority of white- and blue-collar crimes that cataclysmically smash into our lives, even if they are never identified as crimes. The reason society has not cohesively named this cluster of disorders as the center of their focus is because each system has its own view of the behaviors associated with the pathological’s disorders:

  • Law enforcement calls them the bad guys (if they are even caught).
  • Mental health systems call them patients.
  • Domestic violence organizations call them abusers.
  • Batterer intervention programs call them perpetrators.
  • Criminal defense attorneys call them clients.
  • Sexual assault centers call them rapists or sexual offenders.
  • Financial institutions call them swindlers.
  • The online world calls them trolls.
  • Victims call them predators.
  • Children and adolescents call them cyberbullies.
  • The swindled call them con artists.
  • The judicial system calls them criminals (or not, if they are never identified).
  • Churches call them evil or unredeemed.
  • Website owners call them hackers.
  • The defamed call them cyberstalkers.
  • Parents call them pedophiles.
  • Jails call them inmates.
  • Prisons call them high-security risks.
  • The FBI calls them targets and terrorists.

As each system deals with its own view of a specific act the person has done, we miss the wider category that these people fall under. We miss the bigger implication of what goes with that category. We miss the fact that those with these pathological disorders have largely low, or no, positive treatment outcomes. Each system dealing with a behavior only sees the person through their own behavioral specialty. Yet we are all talking about the same disorders in action.

When we ask “Who does that?” we immediately become brothers and sisters in the same battle against pathology. We begin to see the who within the act, the disorder that perpetrates these same acts, behaviors, or crimes. It’s the same subset of disorders that have different focuses, but the same outcome: inevitable harm.

(**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.)

 © www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

Neurofeedback Training and PTSD – Part 2

By Joan-Marie Lartin, PhD, RN

Last week we looked at neurofeedback training as a method to calm the brain and reduce a wide-ranging variety of symptoms associated with PTSD. A person with PTSD has the unfortunate challenge of living with constant hormonal and neurotransmitter disruption. Why is this the case, even when the trauma is in the past? We know from Sandra’s work and that of others in the field of personality disorders, that the trauma does not necessarily stop once the relationship is over.

There are many legitimate sources of ongoing re-traumatization for the person formally involved with a disordered individual. For example, legal matters, shared custody of children, the process of rebuilding a life, all contain unique triggers.

But how can we understand the extent to which the person’s body continues to be in overdrive, even when these triggers are reduced? One answer lies in an understanding of what happens physically to a person under constant stress and/or trauma.

The cell membranes in various parts of the nervous system become literally worn out over time and unresponsive, which means the normal shut-off process in those experiencing constant stress is not working. Thus, we have a biochemical and nervous system on overload, spinning down into further and further dis-regulation in the absence of effective interventions.

This is one reason why we see neurotransmitter and cortisol imbalances, and imbalances in brain functioning in PTSD. The brainwaves of persons with PTSD are often characterized by a great deal of activity in the zones related to anxiety, intense emotions, overthinking (obsessing) and hypervigilance. There is usually reduced activity, and therefore reduced functioning, in areas associated with memory, focus, analytic capability, and the ability to relax. The regions associated with sleep are usually disrupted, as is the ability to ‘be in the body.’ The implications for ongoing emotional, physical and interpersonal problems are clear.

Neurofeedback training, which takes about 30-40 minutes per session, can help the nervous system to get back into balance. Most clients find some relief after 2-3 sessions, and may do as many as 30 or 40 sessions over the course of a year. Many find that about 20 sessions makes a big difference in their ability to get on with their lives. The cost varies from region to region, as does the availability of insurance coverage.

This site will help you find a practitioner, using your geographic location: http://directory.eeginfo.com.

(**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.)

 © www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

Neurofeedback Training and PTSD – Part 1

joanmarielartin

By Joan-Marie Lartin, PhD, RN

 

This week we take a look at the biochemical impact of PTSD and sustained stress. Neurotransmitters and cortisol are two interrelated responses to the threat of—or actual—physical and emotional harm. When a person lives under constant stress (of a pathological love relationship, for instance), his or her biochemistry almost always becomes unbalanced, leading to a host of emotional and physical symptoms. This stress response often takes on a life of its own and in doing so creates further problems such as cortisol and/or serotonin depletion. Neurologically, the same kind of thing happens in the nervous system and the brain’s frequencies get stuck in the ‘red alert mode.’

The nervous system, composed of bundles of brain cells, is an amazing communications system more complex than just about any system known. Brain cells communicate with lightning speed using neurotransmitters and electrical signals. Particular groupings of signals or frequencies are more active under certain conditions such as sleep, relaxation, or being on red alert.

Neurofeedback training, based on the early success of fingertip-based biofeedback, uses a number of aspects about the brain’s ability to self-correct, or retrain, under specific circumstances: The person/client doing the training has sensors placed on the head and ears to pick up information from the scalp-brainwaves. A computer program is designed to both read and interpret these signals and to determine to what degree things are out of balance.

Meanwhile, the computer’s music file is opened and a recorded piece of music or a CD is played. The music is stopped by the computer program when it detects a pattern that is essentially out of balance. This interruption is perceived by the brain as a signal to interrupt what it was doing—in the case of PTSD, being on red alert.

When the brain is given this information many times for many weeks, it gradually stops the pattern of overreacting to things that are not particularly threatening. For example, many partners of disordered persons have an overly sensitive startle reflex. A relatively harmless situation can trigger an extreme reaction, especially if the person is used to walking on eggshells with a disordered partner.

Neurofeedback training—a proven noninvasive method—helps the client regain the ability to relax, which can:

  • reduce hypertension
  • reduce dependency on chemical self-soothing patterns (medications, drugs)
  • reduce dependency on behavioral self-soothing patterns (overeating, overspending)
  • promote healthy sleep patterns
  • promote constructive problem-solving as the brain is less controlled by anxiety and fear

There are many, many benefits to neurofeedback training. Next week’s column will provide a more thorough description of the process and the results.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links to sites that will provide further information:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ-wX7kLBr4

 

www.aboutneurofeedback.com/conditions/ptsd/

For more information about Joan-Marie, visit www.joanmarielartin.com/

(**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.)

 

© www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

 

Let Go or Be Dragged

“Let Go or Be Dragged”—I don’t know who wrote that slogan, but I loved it so much I bought it on a magnet. My first thought was, “Oh, I LOVE that saying for the women!”  But in a flash, I realized it’s a slogan for everyone. A friend of mine in recovery said she loved it for her AA recovery slogan.  Another person told me she loved it as a spiritual theme—to hold with an open hand or face the consequences. But, I do love it for all of you. Here’s why…

Pathological attachments are ‘gorilla glue.’ The pathological partners have a vibe—a come-hither, bonding vortex that sucks you in and holds you there in a hypnotic-like trance. It’s a powerful, seductive, subconscious attachment that mirrors the worst addictive feeling you could ever have. It vibrates throughout your body with a message and sensation that you will literally die if you are disconnected from the source. Letting go never feels like an option. It feels like sure death — death by disconnection, death by umbilical severing, death by life-force loss.

Its trance-like hold of your mind, body, and spirit leaves you stupefied with an inability to enact your own will or your ability to choose sanely the option of getting away from this catatonia. The same trance-like hold that held you in rapture, reverie, and ecstasy, now holds you in a cataleptic coma. Alive, with your eyes open, but your mind dead and unable to move. You look mildly functional to the world but the world doesn’t see the transfixion that is keeping you paralyzed beneath your eyes.

You hold on because you are glued. You hold on because there was rapture, reverie, and ecstasy. You hold on because to NOT hold on is to release your grip on the emotional life support system you think he has been. You hold on because you believe if you hold on long enough, the dazed and glazed existence you have been living will revert to rapture.  The nightmare will then become the dream. The stupor will become the high of the intensity. You hold on because you believe you can’t let go.

WAIT! HOLD UP! Let us ask, “Where are you? How did your clothes get torn? Where is the life you used to have? Where are the relationships with others that you once held dear? Why are your knees skinned? Why do you have those dark circles under your eyes? Why are you on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication? Where is the career you built? Why are your nails digging into your hands? Why is your stomach in your throat? Why are you now somewhere you never wanted to go? How did you get here? Why are you bleeding from your soul?” It’s because your belief about letting go has kept you being dragged.

Drag: verb. Related to: haul, lug, move, pull, schlep, tug, yank, crawl, creep, shuffle.  Your soul is bleeding—it’s your courtesy warning system from your spirit that is telling you to let go.

Even being dragged can be a gift. It can be the first scraped knee that crosses you over to recovery. You’ve held on for lots of reasons including your own version of ‘pathological hope’ that he will change and it will be different. History has taught you otherwise. It’s time to accept the wisdom that ‘no change’ brings to us. Your skinned knee is a metaphor for the beginning of your recovery because the word dragged means “to haul something to a new place.”

                                           Let go or be dragged.