Holidays and Pathological Stress

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

* For domestic violence to occur or reoccur

* For dysfunctional families to be even MORE dysfunctional

* For pathology to be overt and blatant

* For pathology to target your joy and ruin your holidays

* For former pathological relationships to magically reappear and try to hook you back in

* 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 thru 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. They think their lives ‘should be’ the picture postcards and old movies we watch this time of year. Depression creeps in, anxiety increases, and to cope they eat/drink/spend/date in ways they normally would not.

Those with the super trait of ‘sentimentality’ focus on years past when you had that ‘one’ perfect Christmas with the pathological. The last drunken, absent, or abusive 14 Christmases are forgotten, forgiven or overlooked. But what IS focused on is that one year when it was nice and your pit-bull stronghold on the hope it will be this way again.

But you and I both know that pathology is permanent. The last 14 years are a much better and more realistic presentation of what pathology does during the holidays than the one fluke of a year he held it together. Pathology is and of itself stressful to experience under any circumstances. Add to it the expectations for a pathological to be different (ie, act appropriately) this time of year, and the pathologicals and everyone else’s stress is then through the roof. Sometimes even our hope can be pathological when it is focused on something that can not and does not change.

The glittering of your fantasy that resembles your Christmas tree lights places not only you in the path of Christmas misery, but all those you plan to spend Christmas with. Your family, kids, pets, etc. It is much kinder to unplug your glittering fantasy and tell yourself the truth what the likely outcome of attempting to find a serene and joyful moment with a pathological than it is to drag others through your melting fantasy.

Peace, gratitude, and all the spiritual reflections that are suppose to happen during this time of the year cannot be found in pathology. They were not created there but they do end there. If your goal for the holidays is to find some peace, joy, hope, and love then don’t spend it where and with whom it cannot be found. On December 26 and January 2 you will be a lot happier for not having attempted for the millionth time, to find happiness where it does not reside.


~ Stop idealizing–you are who you are, it is what it is, pathology is pathology. If your family isn’t perfect, they certainly WON’T be during the season. Accept yourself and others for who they are. This includes accepting that pathology cannot and will not be different during the Holidays simply because you want the Christmas fantasy. Emotional suffering is created in the moment when we don’t accept what ‘is.’ (Eckart Tolle)

~ 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. Don’t get held hostage to exhausting holiday schedules.

~ 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, buy toys for kids.

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

~ Pick ONE growth oriented issue you’d like to focus on for 2012 for your own growth on January 1. It produces hope to know you have a plan to move forward and out of your current emotional condition. Contact us and let us help you work on that for the new year. Invest in your opportunity to grow past the aftermath of this pathological love relationship.

~ Plant joy–in your self, in your life and in others. What you invest in your own recovery is also reaped in the lives of those closest to you.

Happy Holidays from the The Institute

About Face: Changing the Direction from Which You Seek Happiness

This time of year has its own ‘internal reflecting’ which guides us to dig in, evaluate, and give thanks.  We ponder ideas, gather insights that might have eluded us during the busyness of the past 11 months, and slow down to look inward and receive the Light we may not receive at other times during the year.  I hope this week’s newsletter is a little piece of Light that you are open to receive.

Last Christmas, I got a book written by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Thomas Keating.  It’s called ‘The Human Condition:  Contemplation and Transformation.’  Profoundly, he reminds us that we spend much of our lives looking for happiness through avenues that can never produce it. We create our misery by “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the song goes.  Nothing can be truer when it comes to pathology.  Pathology is wired to produce misery, not happiness.  Everyone has the same response to pathology–they are harmed, miserable, and eventually try to flee.  It’s a true indicator of seeking happiness from a source unable to deliver it.

Your idea of happiness was probably initially developed around the relationship, or the fantasy that was painted for you about him, the relationship, or your future.  Instead of understanding that happiness had been sought from someone, whom by the nature of their disorder could never deliver happiness, you were held captive in the compulsion of repeating the same scenario with him.  You tried to find happiness in the very person who is hard-wired to NOT produce happiness!

Not all of this seeking happiness in the wrong place is the result of his pathology. Some of it is the result of our own unknowing about where happiness is found. It is not found in someone else.  Instead, happiness is found inside of our self, rooted in our own spirituality through God.  It isn’t about them. It is about us.

Keating says, “What we experience is our desperate search for happiness where it cannot possibly be found.”  The key to our happiness is not lost outside of our self. It was lost inside our self when we began looking for it in someone else.  We need to look for it were it can actually BE found.

The chief characteristic of the human condition is that everyone is looking for this key, and nobody knows where to find it.  The human condition is thus poignant in the extreme.  If you want help as you look for the key in the wrong place, you can get plenty of help because everybody is looking for it in the wrong place too!  They are looking for it where there is more pleasure, security, power, and acceptance by others.  We have a sense of solidarity in the search, yet without any possibility of finding what we are looking for.

The religions of the world have discovered the insight that (non-pathological) human beings are designed for unlimited happiness, the enjoyment of truth, and love without end.  This spiritual hunger is part of our nature as beings with a spiritual dimension.  Here we are, with an unbounded desire for happiness and not the slightest idea of where to look for it.

While we may certainly recognize that looking for happiness in alcohol or drugs is looking in the wrong place, do we recognize that looking for happiness even in relationships can be the wrong place?  Certainly looking for love in pathology would never produce the key you were seeking, because it cannot be found where you were seeking it.  But sometimes people even look for happiness in what appears to be the RIGHT places—marriage, children, higher education, careers, and service to others, only again to find that they are still seeking happiness in the wrong direction.

In religious language, the word ‘repent’ means to ‘turn away from.’  And I like that concept even from a psychological growth standpoint.  As you find your own path of recovery from the aftermath of the pathological love relationship, your recovery calls you to ‘turn away from’ the very thing that has produced so much pain for you—the relationship, the choices, the person.  In essence, in order for you to find happiness in yourself, God and in you own (often single) life, you much ‘change the direction from which you are seeking happiness.’  This is especially true of this season in which everything in you wants to ‘turn back’ to him, to the routine, the perceived comfort—just to get through the tough times of the holidays.  Changing the direction from which you seek happiness is embracing the truth that happiness cannot be found in pathology.  God did not create you for pathology.  He created you for Himself—for peace, love, and joy.  It’s not there and will never be there in pathology, even if it IS the holidays.

Over the years, I have become pretty good at picking up on those who will ‘get it’ and move on and never repeat the pathological love relationship dynamic again, and those who WILL, unfortunately, not change direction from which they are seeking happiness.  They might change the FACE from whom they seek happiness, but they are still facing the same direction seeking it.

The Institute has been involved in helping hundreds and hundreds of people ‘change the direction from which they are seeking happiness’, and how to find recovery, healing, growth, and better choices for themselves.  To that end, we are always consciously trying to expand the way to meet the needs of our growing population of wounded readers and bring a wider comprehensive approach to your own health, wellbeing, and healing from the aftermath of pathological love relationships.  We hope that we have touched your recovery in a positive way in 2011.  We hope that we have helped you ‘change direction’ on your path.  If we haven’t, we’re still here and 2012 is a great year for you to recover!

As we wind down the holidays, the New Year always births in me a new hope. Although there is much turmoil in the world right now, be reminded again, that we can always change the direction from which we have been seeking happiness and focus on a brighter future for our self and with our self.  We look forward to being a bright part of your future in 2012. Thank you for entrusting your care and recovery to us this past year.  We do not take that privilege lightly.

(**Information on pathology and your recovery is in the award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, also taught during retreats, in 1:1s and in phone sessions.  See the website for more information.)

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:

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!


~ 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:

Pathological Systems: A Look at Penn State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s count here….

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

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

Curly never reported suspicions of abuse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pathology In Systems

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


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

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

Perpetration of Pathology By Non-Recognition

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

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

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

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

The responses were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Not What You Say I Am

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

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.” ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Life isn’t all about appearances. Life is about movement, awareness, insight, change, compassion. Life is about interactions with others. As we move through the world we move through it together. Whether we accept it or not we impact each other. Conversely, we are impacted by others. Our impact on others is often a concern…it is a part of our conscious awareness. We wonder (and sometimes obsess) about how others regard us. Alfred Adler describes this trait of how people regard us in terms of “social interest,” our ability or potential for living “cooperatively and contributing to the good of others.” We learn to adopt this trait early on the playground. As children we were taught to be aware of others feelings and to be nice to others. We learned that words do hurt (in spite of the childhood lesson regarding sticks and stones!) We learned lessons like “make a good first impression” and “do unto others…” All of these childhood (and adult) lessons teach us that what others think is important. Now, this isn’t all bad. Considering we are social creatures and knowing that we impact each other, it is pretty important to be concerned with how other people regard us. Possessing this trait means that we have compassion and empathy…it means that we want to play well with others. But this trait, like all the others in excess, can be dangerous. It can be especially dangerous for someone who finds their way to a playground with a psychopath.

Herein lies the risk: Psychopaths lack concern for others…real, empathetic concern. They can fake it well, but deep down they move through the world not concerned about their impact, but concerned about having control and power. So, being concerned about how other people regard them is twisted. It isn’t so much about positive regard as it is negative regard…they want people to believe they are in control, powerful, smart, and likeable, etc. They want to cover up who they really are…manipulative, dangerous, callous, superficial, glib, and controlling. (Writing those words reminds me why they HAVE to develop a mask…it would be hard to spend two minutes with someone if we saw those traits). So, they move through the world, mask firmly in place…covering who they are with what they want you to believe.

For the woman in a relationship with a psychopath it’s the trait of how people regard you that keeps you stuck. You are concerned with the feelings of others, you are concerned about your impact on other people (and a psychopath will remind you all day about your impact on him!) As long as you believe you are having a negative impact…you will stay until your impact becomes positive. Sad part is…it never does. He knows you need to be seen as kind, compassionate, loyal and honest and he also knows that you don’t give up. So as long as he can make you believe your impact is negative…then give you a glimmer of hope that he can change…he’s got you. You stay because you must be seen by him and others as having a positive impact…a high concern for how others regard you. This concept works well in all other areas of your life, but with a psychopath it’s the thing that puts you at risk and the thing that keeps you there.

Herein lies the benefit: When you realize that he cannot change…you’re out. When you fully and completely come to believe that he is only motivated by power and control, you know that it is no longer about what he thinks or how he sees you…in fact, this flips. You begin to realize that he sees you as a sucker. He has used everything good about you to fill up his empty cup. He has taken what is good and right and manipulated it (and you) for his own agenda. You also realize that he is not only hurting you but he is having a negative impact on others…most likely people you care about. Knowing this becomes your strength…it becomes the fuel to the fire that burns the relationship to ruin…you will not play with others who have no regard. Think about it…would you allow an employee, client, friend, your child to manipulate your good nature this way…not a chance. You’re out. No more playing with a psychopath; time to take your toys and go home.

So, when all is said and done you have way too much concern for how other people regard you, and in the context of a pathological relationship that is really, really dangerous. So, how do you put a lid on that trait? First, be concerned about this trait only when it comes to your pathological. Chances are this trait has served you well in other areas of your life…so don’t be overwhelmed with having to “change” everything about you. This trait is appealing to psychopaths, so just put a lid on it in the context of your relationship. Next, be aware of your thoughts and actions when he persecutes you…when he calls you stupid or crazy, calls you irresponsible and uncaring, attacks your skills as a mother or tells you that you are being “mean.” When he does this he is seeking to control you through this trait. HE IS CONTROLLING YOU THROUGH YOUR TRAIT. Allow this thought to come into your awareness and then challenge it. Who is doing this??? A psychopath. Allow the truth to come into your awareness and you will be compelled to accept it. Additionally, with that knowledge you can counter any thought with a true thought. You might begin to remind yourself that what he says about you is part of his mask…part of the fantasy that he is creating to keep you in the relationship…fantasy is not reality. You know who you are…and you are not who he says you are!


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


Deciding Not Stay Where You Are

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

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

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

* Finances

* Children

* Health

* Lack of employment or education

* Religious beliefs

* Family’s attitude

* Fear of harm

* Or your own damage from PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, there are safety and housing barriers.

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

Yes, there are emotional barriers—you have PTSD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recovery With Out Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Our Roots

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

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

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

She went through the normal stages of pathology recovery asking,

“What just happened?”

“Did I do that?’

“What’s wrong with him?”

“Why am I so obsessed with this?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 years later she had answered her own question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To hear a sample clip from the audio, click HERE

OR to purchase for $5, click HERE

Get a great life and stop the cycle of pathology!

E-Course, Class 4

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take the quiz below based on your knowledge of him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•    I keep hoping ‘someday’ things will get better

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

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

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

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

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

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

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information. If after reading this installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at

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

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




E-Course, Class 3

Adult Children of Abusive Parents—When Parents Are Pathological

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Were you a parent-ified child?

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

Do you remember hearing a parent say:

* Don’t you want me to feel good?

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

* You ought to care about me

* I feel like a good parent when someone praises you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Closing,

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information. If after reading this installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at

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

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


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



E-Course, Class 2

Addictive Relationships

Let’s face it, if we were really good at choosing healthy relationships, we wouldn’t be here reading information about dangerous men. We would be happily somewhere with a healthy guy! So let’s at least begin with the universal assumption that we haven’t done our best job at selecting potential relationships with men who actually HAVE potential!

There are a lot of ways to define relationships that don’t work well. Often they are called ‘dysfunctional’ or ‘abusive’ or ‘bankrupt.’ But what I’d like to focus on are those relationships, that despite all that horrible things that are going on in it, the women is encased in a web she can not climb out of because her relationship is pathological. She is with someone who has a Pathological Cluster B  disorder which means it brings that pathology into the relationship.

For some of the relationships with a pathologically disordered partner, it will also be ‘addictive.’  I would like to say that for The Institute, we do not believe all pathological relationships ARE addictive. But we do believe some of them are. This e-course is for those relationships who do have an addictive component to them.
Some people do not even realize that relationships/love/sex can qualify as an addiction or an out of control behavior.  12 Step groups exist for these types of addictions.

Addictive relationships are characterized by attachments to someone who, for the most part, is not available emotionally. In addictive relationships there is a single overwhelming involvement with another person that cuts her off from other parts of her live. The result of trying to be in an addictive relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable is:


  •   Confusion
  •   Fear
  •   Franticness
  •   Obsession
  •   Loneliness
  •   Despair
  •   Anger
  •   Feeling Stuck

Addictive relationships have similar qualities to other patterns of addiction which ‘rob’ people of the quality of their lives. It impacts the ability to:


  •   To have healthy communication
  •   To have authentic enjoyment of one another
  •   To be your healthiest self
  •   To love him outside of dependency
  •   To be able to leave the relationship if it becomes unhealthy or destructive to you

Addictive relationships are described by women as “a feeling that I just can not leave him no matter how bad he has been or how awful I feel.” There is a battle going on inside of her and despite a normally rationale approach to life, she still can not unhinge herself from this pattern of destruction that she knows is bad for her. She often feels helpless to make the choice to leave. She is ‘hooked in’ in ways she does not even understand. (Also read our information on The Intensity of Attachment as it pertains to Pathological Love Relationships in our book Women Who Love Psychopaths.)

As is true in other addictions, one loses the ability to constructively manage their own lives. Like drug or alcohol addiction, addictive relationships show the same signs of:


  •   Magical Thinking
  •   Helpless to stop the addiction/relationship
  •   Feeling bad about one’s inability to stop
  •   Passivity
  •   Low initiative to stop the behavior/relationship  

The inability to manage one’s life is often connected to belief systems that you hold about your self, your future and relationships. Often these beliefs are what they call “stinking thinking” – that is, at the core of these are erroneous beliefs often developed from childhood on.

Unmet childhood needs warp into adult ‘neediness’ which places a person at higher risk for developing dependent and addictive relationships as an adult.

If your childhood was effected by your parent’s relationship or someone they dated, please be aware that the same thing can happen to YOUR children. A good reason to work on yourself and stop dating dangerous men is for your children and to stop the damaging effects to them. Addictive relationships are always the destructive exploitation of one’s self and the other person which masquerades as ‘love.’


The following check list is a guide to help you identify any tendency towards relationship addiction or unhealthy relationships in general. If you answer ‘Yes’ to most of the following statements, you probably have a problem with relationship addictions.

1.  To be happy, you need a relationship. When you are not in a relationship, you feel depressed, and the cure for healing that depression usually involves meeting a new person.
2.   You often feel magnetically drawn to another person. You act on this feeling even when you suspect the person may not be good for you.
3.    You often try to change another person to meet your ideal.
4.   Even when a relationship isn’t good for you, you find it difficult to break it off.
5.   When you consider breaking a relationship, you worry about what will happen to the other person without you.
6.   After a break-up, you immediately start looking for a new relationship in order to avoid being alone.
7.   You are often involved with someone unavailable who lives far away, is married, is involved with someone else, or is emotionally distant.
8.    A kind, available person probably seems boring to you and even if he/she likes you, you will probably reject him/her.
9.   Even though you may demonstrate independence in other areas, you are fearful of independence within a love relationship.
10   You find it hard to say no to the person with whom you are involved.
11.  You do not really believe you deserve a good relationship.
12.  Your self-doubt causes you to be jealous and possessive in an effort to maintain control.
13.  Sexually, you are more concerned with pleasing your partner than pleasing yourself.
14.  You feel as if you are unable to stop seeing a certain person even though you know that continuing the relationship is destructive to you.
15.  Memories of a relationship continue to control your thoughts for months or even years after it has ended.

QUIZ 2    
1.    Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
2.    You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counteract the harmful aspects of the relationship.
3.    When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear which make you cling to it even more.
4.    When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort, that is only relieved by reestablishing contact.

SO—Are you? What was the tally of your two quizzes?
Finding the true answer, while it may be concerning, is at least a step towards taking more control of your pattern of selection to stop the cycle with dangerous men. The first step is awareness. Here are some TIPS for overcoming your relationship addiction:

Robin Norwood, in her excellent book “Women Who Love Too Much” outlines a ten step plan for overcoming relationship addiction. While this book is directed toward women, its principles are equally valid for men. Stated here (reordered and sometimes paraphrased), Norwood suggests the following:
1.    Make your “recovery” the first priority in your life.
2.    Become “selfish,” i.e., focus on getting your own needs met more effectively.
3.    Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings.
4.    Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself, i.e., fill in gaps that have made you feel undeserving or bad about yourself.
5.    Learn to stop managing and controlling others; by being more focused on your own needs, you will no longer need to seek security by trying to make others change.
6.    Develop your “spiritual” side, i.e., find out what brings you peace and serenity and commit some time, at least half an hour daily, to that endeavor.
7.    Learn not to get “hooked” into the games of relationships; avoid dangerous roles you tend to fall into, e.g., “rescuer” (helper), “persecutor” (blamer), “victim” (helpless one).
8.    Find a support group of friends who understand.
9.    Share with others what you have experienced and learned.
10.    Consider getting professional help.

Some women get stuck in trying to get out. Others get stuck in trying to choose differently the next time and not end up with a dangerous man AGAIN. Here are some signs you might need professional assistance for a short time to help you get ‘unstuck’:

1.    When you are very unhappy in a relationship but are unsure of whether you should accept it as it is, make further efforts to improve it, or get out of it.
2.    When you have concluded that you should end a relationship, have tried to make yourself end it, but remain stuck.
3.    When you suspect that you are staying in a relationship for the wrong reasons, such as feelings of guilt or fear of being alone, and you have been unable to overcome the paralyzing effects of such feelings.
4.    When you recognize that you have a pattern of staying in bad relationships and that you have not been able to change that pattern by yourself.
Know that as your relationship addiction increases it becomes more difficult to cope with anyone or anything else. This becomes all encompassing. There is the rush of the addictive relationship that is absent from healthy relationships. Often women misread that sign to think it means there is a strong connection—it just might not be a healthy connection! Addiction is where two people use each other to fill their own loneliness. They are distractions from the inner pain of what someone is feeling.

The only way through pain is going through the middle of it. The only way to find healthier relationships is to work on yourself so that YOU are healthy and you are choosing relationships out of the healthiest part of yourself.

(Thanks to the Counseling Center at the University of Illinois and the NAMB for information on Addictive Relationships.)

In closing,

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information. If after reading this installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.  

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at

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

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



Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 3 of our E-course coming to you next week!  



E-Course, Class 1

“Stop Dragging My Heart Around”
(Song by Tom Petty)

E-Course 1, Class 1

Women spend years and thousands of dollars trying to heal from dangerous and pathological men. If they are lucky, they only encounter one in their life times. If they aren’t, there are many more…

That’s because women haven’t really verbalized what they think constitutes a dangerous man or what pathology actually ‘is’. When I interviewed women most of them thought that the ONLY thing that made men dangerous, or not dangerous, was the issue of violence. If there was no violence, well then…he was probably ‘fixable’ in the long run.

For 20 years I have been the not-so-silent witness to women’s choices. As a therapist, I watched women whose childhood included abuse grew up into adults who were abused. I watched adult women choose over and over again one version or another of a dangerous and pathological man. Often only the face changed but since there are 8 types of dangerous men, often women would move all over the continuum dating men from all categories.

The end result was always the same:

  •   Misery
  •   Pain
  •   Took a long time to heal, if ever
  •   Often went on to do it all over again

Before we go any further, answer these questions:

1. __ I believe a dangerous man will eventually be violent.

2. __I believe that if I was hurt by one I would be able to spot him the next time and avoid him.

3. __I believe that dangerous men are notably gregarious, aggressive, narcissistic and abusive.

4. __I don’t believe that anything in my past has predisposed me to dating dangerous men.

If you answered ‘YES’ to the above, you are indeed at-risk of dating ‘a’ dangerous man or ‘more’ dangerous men, which ever the case may be for you.

(Although number 3 can often be ‘yes’ it is not only ‘yes’ and we will cover that in more detail later.)

The lack of a solid definition of what constitutes ‘dangerous’ for women is probably at the heart of what keeps us in these dangerous relationships. So let’s nail down what ‘is’ dangerous.

The word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’

Synonyms for the word include

  •   Hazard
  •   Jeopardy
  •   Peril
  •   Risk
  •   Menace
  •   Threat
  •   Emergency

Notice the word doesn’t merely mean ‘when someone is violent towards you’ nor do the synonyms indicate this is strictly limited to violent behavior. Yet, women let lots of men and their behavior off the hook simply because ‘well, he never hit me so I didn’t feel like I could say he was abusive.’

Year after year my practice filled up with women who would never ‘label’ or ‘define’ the men in their lives. When asked if he was dangerous, they would hem-haw around looking for loopholes to say he wasn’t dangerous, but not really knowing what ‘dangerous was’ or behaved like. Women are most at-risk for picking, marrying, or staying with dangerous men when they don’t have a concrete idea of what dangerous and pathological would be like. The words listed above give good clues to what dangerous would be like “injury, pain, loss, hazard, jeopardy, risk…”

So let’s define that for you: “A dangerous man is any who harms a woman,

  •   Emotionally
  •   Physically
  •   Sexually
  •   Financially
  •   Spiritually

This definition immediately broadened the field experience of dangerousness. It added emotionally, financially and spiritually—three areas that women often let men off the hook from being labeled as ‘dangerous’ to a woman’s well-being.

But we already determined that the word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’ Simply being ‘exposed’ to the possibility of being injured, experiencing pain or going thru loss IS dangerous to a woman’s mental health. Women often discount that just the exposure to the possibility really constitutes ‘danger.’ Later on in some of the E-courses (if you continue on with them) we will talk about why women discount that and just what the exposure really leads to.

But let me suffice it to say that any exposure to dangerousness has an effect of a woman’s:

  •   Self Esteem
  •   Ability to disconnect and move on
  •   Future relationships
  •   Trust
  •   Fear
  •   Intimacy issues
  •   Depression & anxiety

…just to name a few.

Women who came into counseling were often women who had only ONE exposure to a dangerous man and yet the after-effect warranted psychological help in order to heal. Other women had multiple exposures to dangerous and pathological men, choosing one after the other not spotting the signs. They spent years in therapy.

Dangerous men are not just the psychopaths you see on the nightly news, although it could be him. But a dangerous man is just as likely to be the ‘nice man at church,’ ‘the smooth boss at work,’ or ‘the girlfriend’s athletic trophy-winning brother.’ He is just as likely to be a social worker, cop, doctor, or mechanic. The fact is, he could be ANYBODY.

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information.

If after reading this first installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is a companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at

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

Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 2 of our E-course coming to you next week!

Starve The Vampire

Pathological persons are energy and emotional vampires. They live off of your emotional content. Part of their personality deficit is the lack of a stable and consistent inner core of a self concept so they need constant attention, distraction, and identity management from which they draw their identity.

Lots of their identity is acquired from their relationships since internally there is so little core self to draw from. This is part of the reason they are so exhausting. In order to get their emotional ‘blood supply’ from you, they ‘hook you’ into conversations, arguments, or any other kind of response they can get from you. They live vicariously thru your own emotional expressions of love, frustration, confusion, etc. It doesn’t always matter ‘what’ emotion is fed to the vampire (although narcissists like adoration) but just that there is SOME content is enough for them–even your tears, or your screams, or your insults. It doesn’t matter…they just ‘need’ something, anything from you in the way of content. If they don’t get the blood supply/emotional content from you, they will seek it elsewhere. (Remember Dracula? He just moved from town to town taking it where he could get it?)

When you begin to break up (read my How to Break Up With a Dangerous Man E-book) he will fear the loss of emotional supply. He won’t fear losing you so much as he will fear not getting his identity and his sense of self from you and/or the relationship. He fears the loss of self or ‘who am I without her?’ This is a very fragmented ego state –one which only exists thru relationships with others.

So when you try to break up, he will continue to contact you which is why they are hard to break up with (read my break up book). They are predictable in their approaches to get you to respond to them (you are feeding the vampire his emotional blood supply every time you talk to him). These are some of his approaches and if you can get a bag of popcorn and just watch it like it was a LifeTime for Women movie and detach from it, you will see a whole movie pan out like this:

* One contact he’s angry, blaming, shaming

When you don’t respond to that verbally or emotionally (think like you are lobotomized with no facial expression…that’s what I want women to do with these men)

When you don’t respond….

* Then one contact will be sweet, loving, buy you things or sending you things

When you don’t respond…

* He will promise to do what you’ve asked for years..go to counseling, church, take meds, be nice, go to anger management
When you don’t respond…

* He will get angry again–say you aren’t working on the relationship which is why it’s gonna fail
When you don’t respond…

* He will accuse you of having sex with someone else and he’s gonna go do the same thing
When you don’t respond…

* He will quit calling for a while to make it look like he’s moved on (They are boomerangs, they ALWAYS come back a few times.)
When you dont’ respond…

* He will indicate he found someone else or had sex with someone else
When you don’t respond…

(Are you enjoying the popcorn and movie about now??)

* He becomes ‘sick’ — he doesn’t know what this mysterious illness is, or he has prostate cancer, MS, some other lethal disease
When you don’t respond…

* He will just go back to drinking/drugging/dealing/driving too fast/etc.
When you don’t respond…

* He will kill himself, leave the area, never see you again
When you don’t respond…

* He will take the kids, drag you thru court, threaten to physically harm you
When you don’t respond…

* He will tell you he’s dating someone you hate or his previous girlfriend/wife
When you don’t respond…

* He will tell you he will kill your pet he has custody of if you don’t talk to him
When you don’t respond…

* It will come full circle and will begin again, at the top of this list.

When I do phone sessions it’s all the same stories. I know that women think that their experiences are unique. But pathology is all the same–these people aren’t very creative and don’t deviate much from the strict internal structure that is associated with pathology. They ONLY react in certain ways so for me, it’s pretty easy to predict. Once you are able to understand this, you can predict his sad/silly/stupid reactions to a break up.

Since they live off of your emotion and NEED it, the sooner you starve him out by having no contact (unless you have to because of your kids) but you adhere to no words exchanged and no emotional content on your face, the vampire will flee to the next available source to be fed.

When women don’t disconnect once they understand the feeding and maintenance of pathologicals, they are doing it because SHE wants to remain. The ball is then in your court to figure out where you are still hung up so you can disconnect. This is not a judgment about women not being able to leave. It is a POINTER to a place where the dis-engagment has hit a snag. Simply notice where the snag IS so that something can be done.

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. You can read last weeks newsletter on our magazine site under Sandra Says).

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

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

All these systems have been dealing with the same disorder, with different faces, different statuses in life, different careers and titles, with money or no money, different crimes and different charges against them, different social service requests, different spiritual confessions, different storylines, different excuses, different projections of their behavior onto societal causations. But in the end, 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, court rooms, therapy offices and pews. That whether they are a defamer, cyber stalker, repeat domestic violence offender, a financial con artist, or a 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, cyber stalkers, defamers or bullies aren’t 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 is a Cluster B. Custody Evaluators affirm that those most likely to tamper with evidence, perpetrate parental alienation and require supervised visitation are Cluster Bs. Stalking programs can easily see that stalking is primarily committed by Cluster Bs.

Repeat criminals clogging up jail, probation, parole, and prison programs are often diagnosed within jail as 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 the chronic mental illness of schizophrenia or developmental disabilities).Those prematurely discharged from military service are often Cluster B.
The over use and misuse of most major societal services and systems are related to Cluster B.  Some of the most brilliantly contrived inside trading crimes of the century has been planned and executed by Cluster Bs. Are there many murderers that don’t have 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.

Cluster B’s behaviors are generated out of a complex interweaving of emotional, developmental, neuro, 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 B’s? 60 million persons in the US 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, drives people to drink, to run away, to take their children and run, and sadly leads to uncountable amounts of suicides every year.

They single-handedly cause financial disruptions to the working class who are demoted or go on disability because of scrambed-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 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 B’s rarely even know.

It employs social workers and halfway houses trying to get Cluster B’s ‘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 persons on daytime TV and reality shows? Cluster B’s. WHO do the media often want to talk about in the celebrity world? The Cluster B’s. What kinds of crimes does the media flock to? The crimes often perpetrated by Cluster B’s.

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 B’s 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 exist.  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, Lawyers!  Who Does That?