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What Lawyers Do

I was talking recently with a library specialist who helps self-represented litigants. She has frequent contact with pro se litigants because the public library at which she works houses a law book collection that normally would be found in a courthouse or law school library. I had asked her about the questions that pro se litigants ask most frequently, with the goal of creating educational materials that are focused on those matters. She surprised me when she said, “People want to know what lawyers do.”

It was so fundamental that it hadn’t occurred to me. Of course people would want to know what lawyers actually do as they are trying to fulfill that same role and be their own lawyer. Before I chose law as my career, I had sometimes wondered the same thing because to me there was a mystique about it, probably stemming in part from the long black robes that everyone wears from law school graduation ceremonies on up to the Supreme Court, part from the Latin terms and phrases legal professionals would throw around with ease and authority, and part from the fact that I had never even met a lawyer until I was in my late 20s.

The answer to the question is straightforward: Lawyers advocate for their clients.

The primary and paramount role for any lawyer is advocate. The Spanish word for lawyer is “abogado,” which translates literally to “advocate.” The word “advocate” is both noun and verb: it is what lawyers are and what they do.

Lawyer as advocate is part and parcel of our adversarial system of justice. The idea behind the adversarial system is that the truth (“verdict” or “verum” is Latin for “truth”) emerges or is determined when each side in a contested dispute puts on its best case before a neutral decision-maker. You present your case to the court, your adversary presents his case to the court, and then the jury or judge determines the truth and decides who wins. Zealous advocacy on your behalf by a skilled practitioner is integral to that system.

In fact, every single term we have to refer to a party who appears in a lawsuit without a lawyer presupposes the existence of an advocate. The terms “pro se” and “pro per” translate to “for oneself” or “on one’s own behalf.” The term “self-represented” also is used frequently. The norm and the expectation are that parties are represented by lawyers, and that expectation is baked into the vernacular. There simply are no equivalent terms outside of the legal arena. In what other circumstance does speaking for yourself require a special label?

On the other hand, our Constitution guarantees access to the courts, without reference to whether you are represented by a lawyer. The First Amendment prohibits legislatures from enacting laws that would infringe upon the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So, perhaps we need a better term to describe people who speak for themselves and present their own best cases in court.

Back to the topic of lawyers as advocates. How do they do that? In a nutshell, they:

1.     Identify and define the dispute first by learning the facts and the applicable law, and then by pleading to the court.
2.     Gather relevant evidence.
3.     Present to the court the evidence and arguments that prove your side of the dispute and disprove your adversary’s side.

In addition to putting together your best case, lawyers also take your problems onto their shoulders. They ease your mind when you know you’re not in it alone. This is true whether the lawyer is representing you or coaching you as you represent yourself.

How you can help your lawyer be the best advocate for you, or how you can achieve those things for yourself, will be the subject of future columns. So stay tuned because we will be tackling topics including evidence, rules of procedure, legal research and writing, and discovery.

© 2016 by LawYou America, LLC

If you have an immediate need for coaching, one-on-one and small group training are available. For more information or to submit your request, visit our website at https://lawyouamerica.com/law-u/courting-empowerment-training/.

If you would like to submit a question to be addressed in a future column, please email us at ask@lawyouamerica.com.

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Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy 4th of July! With all that flag waving and potato salad,
I couldn’t help but think about ‘Independence Day’ — the day that women
cut the cords of dependency and exit dangerous and pathological relationships.

Your emotional and physical ‘Independence Day’ is the beginning of recovery.  It’s the day that you ‘come to’ and say:

* How did I get here?
* Is this REALLY my life?
* Where did the real me go?
* Look how much this has cost me to be with him
* Look what it’s done to my friends/family/children
* You know what? I’m not CRAZY!
* I don’t believe his lies any more
* I’m sick of feeling this way
* I am tired of hearing about how everything is my fault
* I am sickened by my own staying

Your ‘Independence Day’ is the day you pick up and read some insight-oriented material that makes you snap out of the trance you have been in within
the relationship. It’s the day you read a book, listen to an audio, call a counselor, or pack your bags. It’s the day you pray ‘God help me get out,’ change the locks on your door, or leave his bags at the curb. It’s the day you book a retreat, go back to church/temple, confess your sick relationship to others.

Independence Day symbolizes freedom…not only in this country but in ourselves. The freedom to heal. The freedom to choose differently. The freedom to gain insight from someone other than a pathological individual we have been involved with. The freedom to end what is unhealthy.

Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness are aspects of a healthy life that
can’t occur within pathological and dangerous relationships. There is no life in that! It has all been sucked out of you by the pathological personality that is needy, defiant, deviant, or insatiable.

There is no Liberty–he runs the show, your thoughts, your needs, your dreams. There is no Pursuit of Happiness–only his. All pathologicals have an agenda that include their own perverted entitlement. Your happiness is only an accident if it happens while he is pursuing his own.

People fight to keep us free. Shouldn’t you fight to keep yourself free? Independence isn’t the opposite of dependency. It’s the absence of self negation where you respect your own uniqueness, self, and life path and that you live first for these values.

Independence isn’t selfishness. It isn’t some prescription for alone-ness. It’s the foundation of boundaries, self care, emotional and relational health.
Independence allows and builds inter-dependence–the structure that allows us to mutually care for one another without pathological suffocation. Independence is most assuredly, your recovery.

If we can help you out of your dangerous relationship, please avail yourself to our book, ebooks, other products, phone sessions, and retreat programs. Your success out is our success.

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Am I Who He Says I Am?

One of the chief complaints of having been with a pathological is the ‘acquiring’ of his view of you. In previous newsletters I discussed the ‘pathological world view which is the ‘lens’ thru which he sees himself, others, and the world. This view of the world is processed through his own pathological disorder which is why his view of the world is not like normal people’s view. His is negative, self focused, grandiose, paranoid, critical, and self promoting. He sees others as always wrong, out to get him, stupid or inept. He sees himself as right, the victim, or the only one that knows anything at all.

He sees you as the ‘revictimizer’ of him, wonderful and yet horrible, needed and yet hated, smart yet dependent on him, in need of his brilliance, faulty without him, as pathological as he is …and the list goes on.

A lot of the work we do with women is for them to understand that what she is feeling is often the result of HIS pathological world view thrust upon her and used to define her.

Pathology is the inability to change and sustain change, grow in any meaningful way, or develop insight about how one’s behavior effects other. If he can’t change he projects his inability on you and makes it YOUR fault or YOUR inability to change that is the problem in the relationship. He acts as if he should not be asked to change or he has changed when he hasn’t. He makes you ‘think’ that you asked for something huge and wrong for him to change OR that what needs changing is only you and nothing in him.

If he can’t grow in any meaningful way, he projects his non-growth onto the relationship and suggests it’s the relationship stagnation you are really experiencing. If you could only GROW to accept him in all his pathology, then the relationship would thrive.

If he can’t develop insight about how his behavior affects others, he projects his undeveloped insight on you and says these are your traits. And you simply

don’t understand ‘what you are doing to him.’ All his anger is yours, all his deviancy is yours, you are just as sick as he is which is why you are a great match, all his lying is yours, all his manipulations are yours. That’s because in pathology they are MASTER PROJECTORS. It is in fact, one of the ‘symptoms’ of pathology. They take all their pathological attributes and say they are YOURS.

Over a period of time of this intense projection, several things happen:

* She begins to believe that these negative and disturbing attributes really are HER personality

* She normalizes these behaviors of his (and what he says are hers) so they are less disturbing to her

* Her self esteem drops and she no longer looks for ways to disbelieve him about these attributes

* And if her self esteem drops low enough, she no longer seeks to leave

Women who seek coaching through our phone support or retreat programs come in ‘programmed’ to believe HIS pathology is actually hers. Some of our treatment is much like the treatment cult survivors or hostages would receive when they have been ‘brainwashed’ to believe they were bad so they were taken hostage.

Coercion techniques, the Stockholm Syndrome and other psychological hostage-taking maneuvers are common with women who have been in severely pathological relationships.

Would you take someone who was held as a prisoner of war and just send them home and tell them they will be fine? Would you tell them they don’t need specialized help in order to reform their thinking to their former patterns of thought? Would you tell them to just go back to work or find someone else or go get on Match.com and all will be well?

In many cases, I have seen women come to our retreat program in the same ‘shape’ as people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome–they are emotionally, physically, financially, and sexually exhausted. They have tapes playing in their heads that he is normal and she is sick. She has been told for so long by a brilliant pathological that she is mentally ill and should seek treatment. She has been told that everything that is black is really white and that everything that is bad is really good.

The Master Projection he uses causes similar symptoms as people who have been held captive, thrust into cults, or held prisoner in other people’s belief systems. These are intensely programmed beliefs that are not ‘removed’ simply because you break up. Lingering effects means that specialized treatment is required.

But the first step is recognizing these symptoms in your self– that HIS pathological attributes have been assigned to you by him and quite possibly none of them are true.Learning to sustain that belief is where help is often needed. Just for today, allow the possibility that none of what he said is really about you. See if all those attributes aren’t really his…….

The Attraction Cocktail

THIS WEEKS ARTICLE IS BY: Jennifer Young, MS

“People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise” – Molière

You might be asking yourself “Why me?”  Why did you get to be the one to end up in this crazy relationship?  What did you do wrong to land THIS guy?  The answer begins with what could be called the “Attraction Cocktail”.  There is this powerful potion that has brought the two of you together.  This potion consists of the first three SuperTraits identified in Sandra’s research: Excitement Seeking-Extraversion-Dominance.   These are a few of the rare traits that you both posses in high amounts.  In your cup and in his cup these traits are spilling over.  Remember you both posses these at the high end of the trait cut off at 85-95%. Most average people would not test that high in these traits.  So, what we have are two high excitement seekers who are both extraverts, looking for a win…sounds like a recipe for inevitable harm to me.

But not immediate harm.  First and almost within minutes there is fire and passion, understanding and power, lust and energy.  There is electricity…maybe in a way that you have never felt before.  While some people might see in him as “fake” and “overkill” you see him as passionate and understanding.  In the very early stages of a relationship these traits lead you from one “fun” experience to another…for him its about building your trust and testing your boundaries.

Let’s look at each trait on its own because each ingredient offers its own unique characteristics that contribute to the potion.  I am guessing that some of you may be saying, “I’m not an Excitement-Seeker.  I do not like to jump out of planes!”  But being an excitement seeker is a little more (or less) than that.  It can mean that you like to take risks…personal risks, financial risks, professional risks.  It can be that thing that creates in you the desire to go out on a limb…maybe go to the nightclub on your own or sign up on a dating sight or go on a blind date.  These are not the things that someone who desires boredom would do.  It is the excitement you seek in your hobbies..maybe cycling, hiking or traveling.  It is the excitement that you get from going to a great job every day-a career that drives you to go for it!  You’re the person who says “Yes!” to new experiences and “Sure!” to risky (yet really cool and innovative) opportunities.  It’s that little something inside of you…think about it…that thing that says “I’ll give it a try, why not?”

So, let’s mix the cocktail.  Here you are…with all this desire to “seek excitement” and here he comes…looking for some excitement too!  Pow!  It’s on!  He loves to go…get out there…take risks with no regard for others.  His risks are more about feeding his energy…this energy is part of his pathology.  You know that feeling you get when you meet someone who just overwhelms you…they chat you up…with frenetic energy that just doesn’t stop-that’s the energy of a psychopathy that must be fed with exciting things.  He’s game for anything…in fact you may have noticed that if you mention a hobby it probably is his hobby too! (Later, you find out that he never really like to do that-it was just part of his hook).  He probably loves to travel, if you do; he loves to bike, if you do; he loves to go out with friends, if you do; he loves art, if you do; he loves to go camping, if you do; he loves to go boating, if you do.  Whatever he can do that you do-he’ll do it. Isn’t that exciting?   And herein lies the risk: When two excitement-seekers meet it is a chance to join.   For you it is a chance to build trust; for him a chance to take trust.  For you it is a chance to create a bond; for him a chance to build an attachment.  For you a chance to feel a connection-someone finally understands you; for him a chance to make you think that he is just like you and that he understands.  Your need for excitement means that you take risky chances…sometimes those risks do not pay off.  You (and everyone else in the world) is also more likely to go along with others when you are in a heightened state of excitement.  And herein lies the benefit: Because you are an excitement seeker you will be able to see quickly that he is not “all that and a bag of chips”.  Because inevitably, once the relationship progresses it will become clear that his excitement-seeking fades and the façade he built to trap you will fall to pieces.  He bores easily and not because you are boring but because he cannot sustain the emotional energy that it takes to remain in the relationship.  He bores because he cannot do the emotional work to remain committed and he does not have the depth to go where you can go.  You can turn your wonderful, exciting experiences into real emotional energy-building bonds and forging strength and character for yourself.  He has used the opportunity to manipulate you into being under his control.  When he is done with that task…he must find someone else to fuel his need for excitement.

What about the ingredient of Extraversion?  You might see in yourself a person who openly engages in conversation, someone who is curious about others and often is impulsive in social situations.  You might be the person who leads in a group or offers to help out more often than others.  You are willing to tell your story, share your thoughts, and contribute.  Your extraversion wrapped up with excitement-seeking makes for a pretty great package…life of the party even.  So, mixing it up in the room is another extravert…he has no problem going up to complete strangers (how exciting) and introducing himself and then telling you his life story (or whatever story he thinks you want to hear).  He is “owning” the room with so much confidence and bravado it’s almost sexy.  He displays expertise in to the point he is grandiose…a lot grandiose.  His extraversion is the mask…the mask that makes you think it’s safe.  It’s the mask that convinces you he is what you want him to be.  And they are really good at this part-creating that mask of normality.

Extraversion is a great trait to have but herein lies the risk: your extraversion lets him know that you might play his game.  Your extraversion means you will do the exciting things he likes to do.  It also means that you are curious and probably would not turn down an offer for fun or the offer to try something new…and he might be just that, in the beginning.  You are someone who likes to get out and meet people and the guy who is “owning” the room is just the guy for you.  But there is one thing about extraversion that makes you different from him-your ability to truly bond with others.  And herein lies the benefit: you must become truly bonded with someone to maintain a relationship.  Extraversion may bring you two together but you need mutual understanding, respect and unconditional love…this is not what he provides in the long run.  It will become clear at some point that his extraversion was a rue to hook you…because his mask will fall and you will see that he is really a lonely, empty person who transforms to meet the needs of those around him.  You will begin to use your extraversion as a way to break free of him.  When the dynamics of the relationship become clear you will seek out help…you will find people around you who can support you.  Your curiosity will lead you to answers and help.  You will not fear talking to others…even if they don’t really understand.  You will keep trying until you find what you need.

 

The final main component of the “Attraction Cocktail” is dominance.  Now, this is another one that at first thought you might say, “What, who me?  I am surely not dominant!”  But with a closer look you will see that your dominance looks like leadership…it looks like a woman in charge.  It’s not the kind of dominance that over powers…it is the kind that takes charge.  Your dominance does put you in control without being controlling.  It tells others that you know what you want and will do what you need to do to get it….even if it means you want a relationship with a certain exciting man.  So, there he is…the guy with the magnetic personality who appears as if he “owns” the room…you decide to go for it.  He says, “Bring it on!”  His dominance means that you are a challenge…two “powerful” people means there is energy.  This energy is ultimately moving in different directions but nonetheless energy.  His dominance means he wants to have power over you.  His power is the kind that is controlling but when you first get together it may look like “a man who knows what he wants”…and knows how to get it.  He will use his dominance to appear as if he is your equal…he will move in your circles and appear to be everything you need…and he will do it with swagger.  But soon his dominance and need to control will become “power over”.  And herein lies the risk: Your dominance is not the same as his and when that difference becomes undeniably different you may already be hooked…You may spend the middle to late part of the relationship fighting for your own power and realize that you are completely powerless to his control of you.  You may have seen his dominance as “sameness” and felt comforted (thinking that you are always in control and it is finally nice to have someone match you) but that feeling soon fades.  By the time it does, you can’t break free.  And herein lies the benefit: your dominance will be the power that in the end does free you.  You will learn how he controls you, you will learn his patterns and with that information you will gain control and dominance…the kind of control and dominance that will set you free.

So if this cocktail isn’t strong enough to convince you of the power of his pathology, your risk to it and the benefit it offers you…I want to add one splash of competiveness.  It is one of the final traits that you both have in common and that you both have in high amounts…so it makes sense that it adds to the power of the initial attraction.  Let’s get real…you probably like a good fight.  Not one with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about or with someone who is not equally matched to your intelligence but a fight that helps you gain an edge…a smarter outlook…a challenge to build your depth of knowledge.  You would not back down if someone came at you with inaccurate information…you have a need to make things right, to get the facts and share facts.    Additionally, you will not tolerate being accused of untruths or called inappropriate names.  If you think you are not competitive…ask yourself how you would react if someone called you a name or lied about you…I bet you would not back down to that.  Well, guess what-he does not like to back down either.  He likes a challenge so he is looking for someone who will tangle with him.  This type of emotional tangle is just what he loves.  He loves to engage in emotional wrangling-it feeds his need for power.  When he can control you emotionally he knows that you are invested in the relationship.  And herein lies the risk: this relationship is going to feel like a challenge to both of you in the beginning.  To you a less passive man probably seems boring.  Furthermore, you are not afraid to battle it out and you surely do not want him to “get one over” on you.  So this is a great reason to stay and fight.  You also might find it a challenge to stay in the relationship and “bust” him doing something…staying until you find the evidence or staying until you find out he’s NOT doing what you think he is.  Your competiveness means that you are willing and able to battle it out in court.  You will go head to head with him…and that is just what he wants.  And herein lies the benefit-once you know who he isyou will fight like hell to get out.  You will realize that you have won because he no longer has the power that comes from your lack of awareness.  More importantly, being competitive helped you build a great life.  You fought for things that were important to you-an education, a great career.  It helped you to challenge others and yourself to always be the best and find the best in others.  It helped you make good decisions and take a pro-active approach to almost everything. The best thing about being competitive is that you are often successful. The reason you are successful is because part of competition is knowing when you have been beat-knowing when to cut your losses and move on to a challenge you can win.  It is not about being so headstrong that you stay and fight just to be able to say “I win”.  Your competitiveness, combined with all the other traits you possess lead to more than a need to win…they lead to success.

Because he is sicker than you are smart you will never “win” with him.  So all of your book smarts and street smarts and relationship smarts will not out smart his ability to psychologically damage you.  Prolonged exposure leads to inevitable harm.  Once you know this the battle is over.

By the end of the relationship you may not even feel competitive anymore…he has taken it from you.  The energy, fire and gusto that you once had may seem gone.  But spend some time away…talk with your girlfriends or family about it…your fire will return.  Your brain will tell you to put down the sword and walk away from the emotional vampire; walk away from the battle that you cannot win.

 

Ultimately and in the end this is where the similarity stops and the pathology begins.  Someone who is pathological does not want someone like themselves…ultimately they know that they lack certain things that other people have and they are on a never ending search to get those things…and because they will never get those things or be those things they will use your emotions to control you…so they can fill their empty cup.

So when you ask yourself “Why me?” the answer is clear-because you have what he wants.  And when you ask yourself “Why did I stay?” the answer is because you posses traits that meet his needs and he used them to control you.  And when you ask yourself “How do I begin to heal?” the answer is by using all of your traits as powerful healing tools, tools that have helped you create a big, full life in every other area of your life.

When it comes to the traits contained in the Attraction Cocktail you may be asking “How do I make sure I never get caught up by another psychopath again?”  My suggestion is to use these traits and take the Joyce Brown approach to life.  Once you begin to accept that you are an extraverted, excitement-seeking, dominant, competitive woman…once you own that and claim (or re-claim) the benefits…you will find new ways to feed that part of you.  Remember, these are NOT deficits, they are overflowing traits you posses so you must use them.  You must do it carefully and cautiously, but your must use them.  You can do a couple of things:

  • Find a hobby-learn to do something you’ve always wanted to learn.
  • Take up a political cause or join a social action group.
  • Work with a non-profit agency on an issue close to your heart.
  • Start a club or group focused on a topic, issue, or hobby you enjoy.
  • Learn to ride a motorcycle or take up waterskiing (go big or go home, right?)

Think outside of the box…these are just a few suggestions that will feed your need to be extraverted, do exciting things, be a leader and engage with others.  Most importantly you are using your traits in a way that YOU can control.  If you are carefully and thoughtfully aware of who you are and what you need…no one can come along and take that away from you.

Peace to you,

Jennifer Young, MS

Healthy Love – What in the World is That?

Hope you’re having a good Valentines Day! And since Valentine’s Day is upon us, I thought it would be a great discussion about what happens in Pathological Love Relationships— that attraction is on over-drive while love (from a pathological) is lingo-bling.

But what about real love, healthy love? People write all the time and say ‘When are you going to write How to Spot a Healthy Partner because with as many bad relationships that I’ve been in, I can hardly tell the difference between what should be obviously toxic and what should be obviously healthy.’

The opposite of healthy love is what we often call ‘toxic’ love. Sometimes understanding what toxic ‘looks like’ helps us to see what real ‘love’ should look like too.

Here is a short list of the characteristics of Love vs. Toxic Love (compiled with the help of the work of Melody Beattie & Terence Gorski).

1. Love – Development of self first priority. Toxic love – Obsession with relationship.

2. Love – Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow. Toxic love – Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love (may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness).

3. Love – Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships. Toxic love – Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.

4. Love – Encouragement of each other’s expanding; secure in own worth. Toxic love – Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.

5. Love – Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner to behave according to fundamental nature.) Toxic love – Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects “supply.”

6. Love – Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together. Toxic love – Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.

7. Love – Embracing of each other’s individuality. Toxic love – Trying to change other to own image.

8. Love – Relationship deals with all aspects of reality. Toxic love – Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.

9. Love – Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other’s mood. Toxic love – Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.

10. Love – Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.) Toxic love – Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings).

11. Love – Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship. Toxic love – Pressure around sex due to insecurity, fear & need for immediate gratification.

12. Love – Ability to enjoy being alone. Toxic love – Unable to endure separation; clinging.

13. Love – Cycle of comfort and contentment. Toxic love – Cycle of pain and despair.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then you are probably in a Pathological Love Relationship because the end result of these relationships is ‘Inevitable Harm.’ Let’s be clear that there is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship – it is natural and healthy. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment – it is a lesson. And these lessons are mostly about pathology, its permanence, and the lives it affects without discrimination.

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

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.) http://www.immunecliniclondon.com/5/PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY.html.  The validation that the mind-body connection is powerful is extensive. There is now abundant, factual support for the impact of acute and sustained stress on health.  In other words, it is not all in your head, and hopefully the days of take a pill and call me in the morning, are receding into the past.

The purpose of these columns is to empower traumatized women by providing relevant information about advances in health care.  If your health care provider is unaware of other options, as an educated consumer you can find substantive solutions for your health problems and enjoy strong, robust health.  So if you are aware that problems such as arthritis, asthma, irritable bowel, chronic headaches, hypertension, frequent infections, allergies, weight gain, irregular or heavy periods, thyroid issues, fatigue, etc., have a mind/body component, you will look for providers who share this perspective.  This not only validates your experience of emotional trauma—no small matter—it opens up options for health care at a more deep level than previously possible.

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

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

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

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

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

Health Care – Beyond the Quick Fix

Health care professionals and researchers report that traumatized women have more than their share of a variety of chronic diseases and health problems.  Sadly, it is all too common that many of these health issues are either not addressed and/or focused on symptom relief. I think that there are at least two reasons for this.

For starters, there is a woefully limited perception and understanding in this country about the extent and impact of people with personality disorders. In the UK and Canada, there seems to be more awareness, perhaps due to the work of Robert Hare, who is based in British Columbia and has done a great deal of training in Canada and the UK. Therefore, most primary health care providers in the US do not have a clue about a) the existence and prevalence of successful psychopaths and therefore b) the impact of these relationships on a woman’s health. Understandably, these providers attribute stress and or genetics as causes for the women’s physical symptoms.

The second problem, IMO, is that the current paradigm of health care is symptom focused. Diagnostic tests, medications and other treatments are primarily “targeted” at symptom relief. All you have to do is watch TV for a few minutes and there it is: Advertisements for medications-prescriptions and over the counter drugs for colds and the flu, hypertension, allergies, headaches, insomnia, fatigue and low energy, acne, constipation, muscle aches and pains, it is endless.

Yes, we all want a quick fix. But all too often the fix itself is either ineffective and or laden with serious side effects. The alternative health industry sometimes falls into this category, and many of these options are heaven-sent. We now know about the use of Arnica for bruises, Valerian for sleep, and echinacea and high does of Vitamin D for building up the immune system. These alternatives are frequently more effective and less toxic than artificial chemicals, but the focus can remain on treating the symptom, not the underlying causes.

Why is there such an emphasis on symptom reduction? Perhaps because, coming from inside the current medical paradigm, there are very few answers to questions like “Why is my blood pressure so high?” or “Why do I have such bad heart disease?” While there are obviously genetic components, most genetic predispositions require the presence of certain environmental factors before a disease process is triggered.

Readers of this column know the real answer to these questions-because the woman with the symptoms is or has been in a relationship with a disordered person. And that her neurotransmitters, immune and endocrine systems are probably way out of balance. We know that when one or more of these systems is out of balance-(due to stress, diet, environmental factors such as metal allergies, and or genetics) that there is a very high likelihood that one, the other or both are also out of balance. These imbalances are now being considered the primary causes of everything from insomnia to autoimmune disease. Look for further discussion of this topic in my next column.

Most practitioners think inside, and there are exceptions-the current educational, diagnostic and treatment systems which are locked into the old paradigm. It is very, very difficult to find a way out or around that from the inside out. One cannot see what one does not see.

Additionally, to make matters worse, often one treatment leads to another so that the side effects of a surgery, radiation treatment, or a pharmacological intervention snowball. The cycle perpetuates itself. Rarely do you hear the question-what is driving this arthritis? The hypertension?

I think that we are experiencing the beginning of the end of the power of traditional medicine to improve our health. For women who are healing from disordered relationships the need for answers and solutions to health care problems, some of which are very serious-

  • self-doubt about the reasons for health problems
  • feelings of unworthiness rated to seeking care, and/or
  • child-like dependency on health care providers

no longer serve your best interests.

What then? Knowledge is power. Read. Ask questions. The incredible rise in the last decade of alternative healthcare-integrative medicine, holistic care, demonstrates both the waning utility of the old paradigm and willingness to take responsibility for one’s own health care. I can think of no greater empowerment for women formally in disordered relationships than their taking charge of their emotional and physical health.

Body Armor In PTSD

Anyone who has sustained contact with a disordered person over time can relate to the concept of body armor-that involuntary tightening of the muscles that is part of the healthy flight/fight response to threat.

This response is especially prominent in those who have lived with a disordered person-dealing with mood swings, intensity, blaming, drama, invalidation, constant bids for attention, emotional and sometimes physical abuse.

Over time, the normal person who is the prime target of the disordered one’s malfeasance can not help but develop chronic tension in his or her muscles. Unless one exercises a great deal, this tension can create ongoing difficulties. Sadly, these difficulties can remain long after the “relationship” is over or contact is diminished or broken off.

What kind of problems result? I like to use the term body armor because it validates the person’s need to protect self on an ongoing basis. The level of tension that can accumulate from living with a disordered person creates aches, pains, muscles and tendons that are easily sprained or torn , and back problems of many kinds.

Frequently there are subsequent problems, such as headaches, PMS,  and muscle weakness. Some medical practitioners believe that fibromyalgia and other chronic muscle diseases are related to living with intense emotional stress. and research by the in the scientific mind-body field is needed to understand if this is so.

In my practice, I have seen and heard stories from women who have lived or are living with disordered men. They describe problems such as constant back issues, sore necks, ongoing injuries to arms and legs related to muscles asked to do work while they re already stretched in the flight/fight mode.

If you see yourself reflected in any of these descriptions, fortunately, there are many options. Unfortunately, women especially, who have lived with a disordered partner, are often reluctant to allocate tie and money on self-care-it seems indulgent. Or, their finances my have suffered as a result of the association with the disordered one.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about whether or not it is in your best interest to address body armor physical issues:

1.     Body armor problems are treatable, and relief is highly likely. Most modalities mentioned below have excellent track records.

2.     Treatment of these problems now will most likely mean the avoidance of more serious or chronic problems in the future.

3.     Your physical, emotional health will benefit, as will your ability to be productive at work and home.

4.     You may regain the energy and, stamina and overall health to exercise regularly.

5.     It feels REALLY good to have a therapeutic massage, acupuncture, etc. even if there are intermittent periods of discomfort.

6.     “Treating” yourself to any kind of bodywork under the circumstances is good for your soul-it is a way of saying to yourself, “well, I have suffered but now I am taking really good care of myself.”

7.     The muscle pain and discomfort may be reduced and or go away!

There are too many kinds of bodywork to mention here. Different practitioners are available in different communities. If you can not afford the services of a trained professional, there are still options. One is to find a school of massage or acupuncture where well-supervised students can provide low cost or even free services.

Another option is to work out a buddy system with a trusted friend, with whom you can trade massages. Almost anyone can afford a hot bath; adding oils such as Arnica Montana, a common homeopathic remedy, often used with oral tablets of the same name. Epsom salts baths are also a tried and true option.

There are a variety of options with regard to moist heat on affected areas- microwaved barley products such as Bed Buddy, or even hot, wet towels applied to affected areas. There are a numerous products that provide temporary localized heat that soothe and heal.

In addition to homeopathic resources, the emerging science of the down-regulation of inflammatory processes has given us pancreatic enzymes that reduce inflammation naturally:

http://www.bioticsresearch.com/node/1628

Some of my personal favorites include: Trigger Point Therapy, Cranio-sacral Therapy, and Acupuncture, moist heat, and Arnica used as described above.

Your Profession and Your Lovers

Last week I started this conversation: could your profession indicate ‘who’ you would pick as a partner? Our research in ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths’ showed that many of you worked in professional care giving jobs (or wanted to be). Most of the people who ended up in relationships with narcissists, socios, or psychos were women in these types of careers.

This has HUGE implications for intervention…don’t you think? If by nature we know that women with SKY HIGH temperament traits of too much empathy, too much tolerance, too much cooperation end up in jobs in which empathy/tolerance/cooperation is the #1 skill set, then we also know THESE are the women most likely to go on to empathize, tolerate and cooperate with severe pathology. I doubt any colleges are going to put in their Academic Handbooks “**Caution, This Profession May Be Hazardous to Your Relationship Health**” ! But it’s the beginning of how to think about ‘WHO’ needs this education BEFORE they end up in pathological love relationships.

Once we know ‘who’ this is, the next question is how best to reach these identified groups of women. Who BEST to reach out to their own field than the nurses, teachers, therapists, social workers, etc. who ARE the women who have been touched by these destructive relationships? Why? In our research, almost all the women indicated career and financial harm by the pathological. NO ONE gets out unscathed! This is a career risk for women. Many women are demoted or lose their jobs because of their inability to concentrate or because he sabotages her work situation. Others have lost their entire life savings, putting them in financial ruin. Some have lost their professional licenses—an incredible amount of college work down the tubes. This is why teaching YOUR industry about what these men can do to their productivity, their futures, and their careers is so important.

My hope is that someone from every field we have identified as a potential source will become an educational voice in their industry.

Are you an Alumnus? There’s your market…educate your own. Protect YOUR FIELD by peer education–by writing or speaking about these issues because you are NOT the only one in your field that this has happened to OR will happen to. Your field is an identified ‘at risk field’ that needs what you know.

To illustrate my point, here are some of the many emails I received from women this week:

“I’m not a psychologist or in a helping profession – BUT – I had always wanted to be a psychologist. I did *very* well in psychology courses in school and had plans to continue with that type of career. Psychology always fascinated me.”

“You hit the nail on the head. You left attorneys off the list, but many of us became attorneys because we wanted to ‘help.’ “

“Retired teacher running a private practice for a family doctor. The Pathological and Narcissistic doctor was  my partner, friend, lover and live-in for way too long.”

“I had been a certified nurse’s assistant when I was 17-20. Since then I am a medical assistant in a hospital and am going to school for nursing.”

” A Doctor. I’ve just dumped a pathological narcissist after a 4 month relationship.

“I have worked as a case manager for adults with developmental disabilities for the past 7 years and as a direct care staff during the prior 8 years.  This article seems to hit right at home with me.”

“I am a massage therapist! I am the classic “helper.”

“I have been a Registered Psychiatric Nurse for ten years and in 2006 got swept off my feet by what I eventually learned was a full blown sociopath.”

OK, so here we have it–a pretty well defined area of personality traits that migrate to certain career types so that these personality traits find ‘a home’ in servicing and helping others. They also find a home in the arms of pathological men.

So brainstorm with us! Email us and let us know how to reach the industry you are in. What is the best way to teach your profession about their proclivity to end up in dangerous relationships? What is the best way to teach them about their excessive personality traits that places them at risk? Email us at saferelationships@yahoo.com. THANKS!