Archives for April 2015

Recovering Without Validation

Many of you have indeed had the experience of facing getting over the aftermath of a Pathological Love Relationship with very little legal justice. It doesn’t mean that you don’t pursue your own rights. You should always stand up for what you believe in. It’s just that if the universe tilts in his favor yet again, or the courts continue to not support you, you still have to heal—for your own recovery and your own future, you MUST still heal.

It is the same as today’s message—Recovering Without Validation. Sometimes NO ONE believes he was a pathological monster and did the things you said he did. He continues on in his job looking normal and is even successful while you wind up looking hysterical, unstable, and out of your mind. Mr. Pathological schmoozes with your friends, family, or bosses, convincing all those around us he never did what you said he did, doesn’t have the traits you accuse him of, and is just trying to be a good guy to a freaked-out woman.

Mr. Pathological turns friends against you. Your attorney starts to believe HIS version of the story. Cops withhold restraining orders because “he seems like such a nice guy,” and even your children may take his side.

This is the ‘conning’ side of his personality. Most pathologicals are octagons—they have eight sides!—his charming side, intellectual side, friendly side, professional side, rageful side, addiction side, mentally ill side and lying/conning side.  But most people don’t see his negative sides of rage, addiction, mental illness, lying and conning. His positive sides that face outwardly to the general public are charming, intellectual, friendly, and professional. It is no wonder women have to go through the recovery process with very little validation.

Find your validation from others who have also experienced a pathological love relationship. There is a lot of research, countless books, numerous forums, and more and more organizations designed to respond to pathological love relationships. You will find that you are not alone and there are others who have gone through the same experience. Just be sure to exercise due diligence for your safety and security when using on-line resources!

**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

 

PTSD as Trauma Disorder—Not Psychiatric Illness

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

In order to do that, you must legitimately have PTSD, be diagnosed and have an Accommodations Report prepared by a professional that is presented to your state’s ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator’s Office. From there, special accommodations are granted. The range and what the accommodations are, are listed in the column, “Helping Women Find Effective Strategies for Court.

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

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

One of our previous presidential candidates has PTSD. Firefighters and law enforcement that bravely saved many on 9/11 have PTSD. Missionaries helping the poor in other countries have PTSD. Social workers working in dangerous situations have PTSD.

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

If you have it, say it. Nothing starts healing until we acknowledge it. It is what it is.  Some worry that they will be labeled with mental illness if the court acknowledges their PTSD. Well, let’s think about that… do you think a pathological is going to go into court and NOT say you are crazy? You don’t think he will argue every point of your illness, behavior, or symptoms (whether they are true or not) in order to win? You don’t think he’s GOING to use some kind of emotional disorder argument? OF COURSE HE IS—that’s what pathologicals DO!! So, in order to prevent being labeled something far worse than PTSD, if you have PTSD, let IT be the label instead of something else that can greatly impair your ability to get rehabilitative alimony, custody of your children, etc.

Having a PTSD diagnosis before court can greatly help HOW FAR the pathological can go in trying to make you look mentally ill. PTSD is NOT a mental illness. Having a PTSD diagnosis may help prevent them from labeling you mentally ill with other more debilitating types of mental illness.

So don’t shun the PTSD diagnosis if you have it. It may prevent you from being labeled something far worse.

 

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

 © www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com

When Your Symptoms Look Like Something Else

Women tell me their therapists have diagnosed them with a variety of diagnoses, which has made them not only confused, but often ANGRY! They have been diagnosed, for instance, with disorders like bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, paranoia, and other not-so-fun labels.

Most therapists are undertrained in recognizing and treating the aftermath symptoms in victims of Pathological Love Relationships. The reason you are being diagnosed with various disorders is because your symptoms are similar to those various disorders—they are mimicking true mental-health symptoms.

For instance, when your moods are swinging all over the place and you are depressed and anxious, you look bipolar. When you are cranky, highly reactive and want vengeance you look borderline. When you are scared about what he will do next, fear you’re being  followed, or afraid he is spying on you so he can accuse you of something, you look paranoid. When you think things are happening that you can’t prove to other people, you look delusional.

The issue is, these are ALL normal reactions to coercion and Stockholm Syndrome, similar to those found in prisoners of war—in other words, aftermath of a Pathological

Love Relationship. In THAT context, your symptoms make perfect sense! You were coerced, your mind was played with, you felt stuck and held in a pathological relationship against your own spiritual will. You feared that your emotional and physical existence were in jeopardy. And the pathological DOES do things he never gets caught for but that you can’t prove.

In Pathological Love Relationships, women emerge with signs of PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome, and coercion. Unfortunately, not all therapists understand the overlap between PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome and coercion—which is why you are often misdiagnosed. A lot of this is discussed in my book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, in which I talk about the pathological worldview and how women acquire the pathological’s view of the world and how that entraps them in the relationship.

The symptoms of coercion are:

  • Isolation: The individual is deprived of social support, effectively rendering her unable to resist. This makes the individual become dependent upon her interrogator/captor. The victim then develops an intense concern with self.
  • Monopolization of Perception: The captor fixes his attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection in the victim; eliminates outside competing stimuli with the captor, so the victim can only focus on him, and frustrates all actions not consistent with her compliance to him.

(In the mid-relationship dynamics in the book, all of this is discussed. Your Super Traits are very high in what we call relationship investment and cooperation which means you are highly cooperative because you get so much enjoyment out of your relationships that you will ‘bend over backwards’ to make things work. The book discusses when the mid-relationships ‘shift’ and what happens to the women’s perspective.)

  • Induced Debility and Exhaustion: People subjected to this type of abuse become worn out by tension, fear and continual rushing about in an effort to meet their abuser’s standards. They must often avoid displays of fear, sorrow or rage, since these may result in ridicule or punishment. Rigid demands and requirements make the exhaustion and ability to resist even worse.
  • Occasional Indulgences: Serve to provide motivation to her for compliance.
  • Devaluing the Individual: Creates in her a fear of freedom and dependence upon him, creates feelings of helplessness, develops lack of faith in her individual capabilities.

The symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome are:

  • Perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival, and the belief that the captor would carry out the threat.
  • Perceived small kindnesses from the captor to the captive.
  • Perceived inability to escape.
  • Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor.

When you look at it as a mixture of PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome and coercion, your symptoms make perfect sense… at least to me! While that doesn’t mean you can’t also have bipolar or other disorders—it’s too early to know. Very often many of the symptoms of other disorders fall by the wayside when effective and appropriate treatment is begun. Many of the women do, however, meet the criteria for PTSD. PTSD is most associated with war vets (and yes, you too lived through a war!) and trauma victims (yes, you were traumatized!). To that end, you probably do have a disorder, but it is related to PTSD or other acute stress disorders.

Be hopeful that the symptoms you live with may not always be as problematic as they are in your life today. There is hope and healing available!

 

(**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

External Locus of Belief

Is it True, is it REALLY True?

In psychology, we refer to the belief about where control over events in our lives resides as internal and external locus of control. This means we see our behaviors either generated by personal efforts or by destiny. We believe that we make things happen, or we believe others do it for us whether we like it or not.

But also related to internal and external locus of control is its effect on impulse motivation. This means that a person who has internal locus of control can self regulate their impulses and desires themselves. They find their motivation for behavior, choices, and reactions inside of themselves by themselves. (By the way, pathologicals normally have poor internal locus of control except for brief periods of time when they are conning someone.)

Other people who have external locus of control (like the pathologicals) are not self regulated in their behavior, choices, and reactions inside of themselves. Instead, they look outside themselves for motivation and consequently since they don’t regulate themselves well, outside themselves for limits on their behaviors. People with poor internal locus of control often need the external world to regulate themselves for them—unfortunately this is often the legal system, jail, or some kind of negative consequence.

But today, I am talking about internal and external locus of belief systems. Where is your belief system (especially about the pathological) located? Inside you or externally in others? Do you come to understand, see, and accept his pathology within yourself? Do you read materials, go to counseling and then come to believe and hold that belief in you that he is pathological, can’t change, and is destructive to your own future? Are you able to pull up inside of yourself the facts of his dangerous or misleading behavior in your relationship? Are you able to point to the ways in which he has been destructive to others? Are you able to latch on to his diagnosis and use it as a life raft for yourself to drift away from him?

OR, are your beliefs externally hinged? “If you say so Sandy–if you say he’s pathological, then I guess he is.” “If he scored high on the P-scan (developed by Dr. Robert Hare) then I suppose that is correct….” Statements like these are related to people who have external locus of belief. They don’t really believe it themselves, they are hinging their belief system to someone else’s belief systems–usually mine or another expert in pathology. Somewhere along the line they haven’t really ‘come to believe’ that the pathology is his. It’s still some distant reality ‘labeled’ by a therapist but she doesn’t own it inside herself.

This makes accepting it, reallllyyyyyy accepting it, hard for her because she then needs to be reminded every 30 seconds that he is, in fact, permanently pathological. Once she is out of ear shot of a therapist or some other external validating system (books, dvds, cds, etc.) will she still accept his pathology?

‘Coming to believe’ pathology is a hard thing. It’s a shock to learn that someone you thought was the most wonderful person in the world is secretly very, very (did I say very?) sick. NOT only do you have to believe that the person is very, very (did I say very?) sick, but that sickness has no cure. Not only are they sick and have no cure, but staying around them is detrimental to your own (and your children’s) mental health. Not only that they are sick and there is no cure, staying around them is detrimental to your own mental health because they have all the capacities of breaking both your knee caps–either financially or even physically given no conscience. This is a big wad to swallow all at once with no chaser of hope.

Most people need a time of ‘coming to believe’ — it’s like building faith in anything else–we study and come to believe.

Pathology is the same way–you need some education, some time to digest this big wad of bad news, and some time to work a plan of ‘accepting the things I cannot change.’ Almost everyone who faces the fact of pathology in someone else has this same ‘coming to terms’ process. We expect it.

But, there is also the problem of when you don’t ever come to truly accept it and then hinge your belief system about his pathology on some external person, organization, or book. The Institute cannot be your belief system. (He’s pathological because Sandy says so.) If, after a few months, that belief system doesn’t become internal for you (I know this to be self evident, that he is pathological and for all of these reasons….) then you’re in trouble of relapse.

Just like in external locus of control explained above, external locus of belief stands in the same jeopardy–that someone else can’t be responsible for what you do with what you know (or what you don’t come to accept). That your pathology destiny is not in The Institute’s hands–it’s in yours. That whether you ignore the info and go back is entirely up to you—not a support group, not a book, not a program or a retreat–just your destiny in your hands.

If your locus of belief is still external and it doesn’t shift and become internal–just know this is a risk factor for you.

Holding the belief system steady is the challenge of overcoming cognitive dissonance. When it doesn’t get over come eventually, either you learn to do what the 12 Steppers call ‘Fake It Til You Make It’ (do it til you believe it) or face the rising statistics that you’re likely to believe the internal chatter and make a bee line back.

 

(**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