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 www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.


**Workbooks are on back order. In the meantime, you can order them at Amazon.com or HunterHouse.com
**CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

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



** CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

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.’

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO SOMEONE?

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.

QUIZ    
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 www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.


**Workbooks are on back order. In the meantime, you can order them at Amazon.com or HunterHouse.com
**CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

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

 

** CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

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 www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.

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

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?

Who Does That? Part 1

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

* Few would argue that mothers who drown their children like Susan Smith or Andrea Yates aren’t terribly disordered.

* Those that shoot people they don’t know or commit a drive by shooting like the Beltway Snipers Muhammad and Malvo in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas clearly have pathological motives.

* Those that sexually abuse children and hide the sexual offender like the Catholic Church are the face of evil.

* Horrendous hate crimes that torture hundreds, thousands, or millions of people like war crimes or the Holocaust are pretty easy to figure that severe pathology is behind the motivation of hate like that.

* Or the deranged that break into homes to beat the elderly for money like Phillip Garrett who terrorized those in assisted living facilities have a notable bent of sheer brutality.

* Terrorists who commit the taking of hostages and psychological torture like the infamous Stockholm Bank Robbery (resulting in the term Stockholm Syndrome) are identifiable as probable psychopaths.

* The rapist who preys on the vulnerable or the type of rapist who rapes a wife in front of her own husband is overtly vile.

* Or the violent anti-socials that are frequent gang members or thugs like James Manley who murdered my father.

* Serial killers like Ted Bundy who raped and killed at least 36 women leave no doubt that he was the worst of the worst psychopaths.

* Or the ordering of killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child like schizophrenic/psychopathic Charlie Manson makes our blood run cold.

* Cult leaders who lead hundreds to death like Jim Jones remind us of the power and persuasion of pathology.

* Chronic re-offending domestic violence abusers like O.J. and Mike Tyson convince us that all DV is not treatable and some abuser brutality increases with each crime and are obviously disordered.

* The babbling grandiosity of narcissism as seen in Charlie Sheen reminds us that even the rich and famous carry and display their pack of pathology for all to see.

* Or the robbing of millions of dollars from thousands of people like Bernie Madoff reminds us that not all pathology is physically violent, some do it with panache and a tie on.

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

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

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others.  Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others. While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others.

Sadistic, absolutely. But often sadistic behind closed doors, or sheltered reputations, behind factitious names, or online identities.

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

  • Law enforcement calls them the bad guys (if they are even caught)
  • Mental health systems call them patients
  • Domestic violence organizations call them abusers
  • Batterer intervention programs call them perpetrators
  • Criminal defense attorneys call them clients
  • Sexual Assault centers call them rapists or sexual offenders
  • Financial structures call them swindlers
  • The online world calls them trolls
  • Victims call them predators
  • Children and adolescents call them cyber bullies
  • The swindled call them con artists
  • The judicial system calls them criminals (or not, if they are never identified)
  • The church calls them evil or unredeemed
  • The website owner calls them hackers
  • The defamed call them cyber stalkers
  • Parents call them pedophiles
  • Jails calls them inmates
  • Prison calls them high security risks
  • FBI calls them targets and terrorists

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

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

Your Medical Conditions–Is the Root Your Relationships?

Many women don’t know that ongoing stress (whether it is recognized or not) leads to very predictable medical conditions. Our mental state is our physical state so women with the worst health issues are often women with the worst emotional stressors.

Women who were raised in addicted, mentally ill, abusive, or pathological families often have the most severe and lingering of medical symptoms and diseases. One reason is that they have an accumulative effect of stress-related disorders because of the length of time they have been ‘stressed.’ Since many women who were in disordered families go on to pick disordered men, their stress simply rolls over into the next relationship. Or if she is able to avoid the disordered intimate relationship, her previous exposure to the disordered family or resulting stress may go untreated. In those cases, the stress is still stored in the body.

We now know that stress has to go somewhere. It goes into your body as deep as the cellular level as well into your muscles and tissues. This type of stress storage can result in diseases that effect the muscles and tissues like MS, Lupus, Fibromyialga.

Stress attacks the immune system and renders it ineffective. This can result in diseases like Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Bar, and other auto-immune disorders like Lupus and Fibro that end up moving from the immune system to the muscles and tissues. (Ever say ‘He’s wearing me out?’ He literally is!)

Stress negatively affects blood pressure–high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart disease, and other long term diseases. (Ever say, ‘He’s killing me?’)

Stress floods the body with cortisol that produces too much adrenaline in the body causing irritability, sleep disruptions, and fight/flight symptoms. Cortisol effects metabolism which produces weight loss or weight gain especially in the stomach area and blood sugar instability which can lead to hypo glycemia or diabetes. (Ever say “I just feel like I want to jump out of my skin”?)

Stress negatively affects hormones causing chronic menstruation problems, endometriosis, early menopause, PMS, and other female related disorders.

Stress causes inflammation in the body which we now know is the beginning of most disease processes. This can lead to arthritis and other inflammation-based diseases.

Stress causes tension which can be held almost anywhere in the body. This affects the skeletal system resulting in back or neck pain requiring chiropractic adjustments. Sometimes it’s stored in the face that produces TMJ or migranes.(Ever say, ‘He’s such a pain!’?)

Stress causes the release of gastric juices which inflame the throat,stomach and colon resulting in digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (Ever say he was a pain in your butt?)

Stress negatively affects certain vitamins in your body which get depleted during ongoing stress which can result in fatigue, hair loss, allergies, and skin problems. (Ever say ‘he really gets under my skin?’)

Stress screams to be managed which is why so many women end up with addictions trying to ‘manage’ the chronic stress condition–addictions with anxiety medication, pain meds, street drugs, alcohol, food, sex, religion, and overachieving. (Ever say ‘He is going to drive me to drink?’)

Over the past 20 years of treating women, I’ve seen everyone of these disease processes at work in women. PATHOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIPS ARE A LEADING NEGATIVE CAUSE IN WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES ON EVERY LEVEL! If we want to improve women’s health in this country, we need to address these pathological relationships that are killing her!

Stress hides because we are adaptive in some ways and become ‘use to’  the level of stress we are currently under OR have ALWAYS been under since childhood. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t highly damaging our bodies with it. Some women only become aware of their stress if it jumps markedly. By then, you are in the severe category of stress disorders which by that point, you probably have several of the conditions listed above.

By far, the condition of the 21st century for most people is stress. Women with histories of abuse or current pathological relationships have even higher stress levels than people without these contributing factors.  Stress demands to be treated and then managed…either do it now or it will demand it in medical issues.

Many women say they don’t even know where to begin in managing the stress that is contributing to their medical conditions because they have had it so long. On our shopping cart is an mp3 download for Relaxation Techniques for Stress Disorders–that’s a good start. Consider physical exercise, yoga, pilates, some way of metabolizing all those stress hormones. Learn deep breathing, relaxation techniques, or quiet meditation. Find a counselor or a group in order to verbally express the underlying issues of your stress. (We offer phone sessions, tele-support group, retreats and 1:1s with Sandra). Manage addictions of sex, relationship-hopping, drugs even prescriptions, and alcohol.

When assessing your overall health, do consider the underlying possible reasons for your health issues–your emotional stressors and HIM!

(**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)

Stress & Adrenal Fatigue

The last two weeks we have been discussing PTSD and it’s use in Legal Advocacy in court regarding
divorce, separation, rehabilitative alimony and child custody. You can read the last two weeks of
newsletters to see how using a PTSD Accommodations Report in Court can help you. And you can
also read up on the differences between PTSD and mental illness if you are concerned with getting
labeled ‘mentally ill’ (PTSD is a stress reaction not a mental illness.)

In many other newsletters I have written extensively about PTSD and recovery. Much of learning to
heal from or live with PTSD has to do with learning to ‘Live a Gentle Life’ that is less stressful. You
can read about PTSD and the Gentle Life coming up soon in the newsletter.

However, PTSD as a stress disorder is an indicator of extreme stress. If you have it, that means you
have suffered an emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and/or psychological trauma that was severe
enough or long enough in duration to significantly impact you.

Having a Stress Disorder means two things:
1. You were significantly stressed or traumatized
2. The stress and/or trauma has effected your functioning level.

PTSD can be short term and resolved with treatment within a few months or it can be chronic and life
long, often reactivated by MORE stress or MORE trauma. In my case, I have chronic PTSD that is
reactivated when I am worn down, too stressed, not living a gentle life, or other life events that are
difficult (my mothers death) and reactivate it.

With PTSD, whether it’s short or long term, you are likely to have a reduced level of productivity.
Your concentration can be impaired, sleep is disrupted, you are hyper vigiliant and have an exaggerated
startle reflex, you have anxiety and a mixture of depression, intrusive thoughts,
emotional numbing, flashbacks and panic.

None of this lends itself to being able to work well, consistently, or productively. Even if you are
unemployed, the quality of your daily life is disrupted and your life productivity in your day to day
living is reduced. This is why people often need treatment for PTSD. That could be short or long
term treatment, individual weekly counseling, group counseling, inpatient treatment, or any combination
of those.

PTSD as a stress disorder has it’s long term outcomes in medical conditions as do many other stress
disorders. Unresolved stress and trauma (whether it’s PTSD or every day stress) can, and most often does,
end up in medical disorders. Part of seeking rehabilitative alimony in court with a PTSD diagnosis is because
of the loss of productivity AND because of the long term effects on your health. 25 years after the murder
of my father I am continuing to see the medical outcome of chronic PTSD in my health.

Often in court, women do not know to have their attorneys argue for rehab alimony or medical coverage for
treatment FOR THE FUTURE. So many don’t realize how their health could be impacted now and years
from now.  Stress and PTSD have many long term medical possibilities, including:

* Auto Immune Disorders: Fibromyalga, Chronic Fatigue, Epsteen Bar, Lupus, M.S.
* Various forms of arthritis
* Gastric problems
* Migranes and TMJ
* Female problems
* Ongoing anxiety and depression
* Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue
* Sleep disorders
* Diabetes
* And most commonly, a combination of these

Settling your divorce or court case with the pathological and NOT considering the future medical outcome
of the stress he produced in your BODY is unwise. Because we do know that many of these stress
disorders and/or PTSD will continue on long after he is gone and in the end, effect a person’s health in
some way. That’s because at the heart of the medical conditions that develop is adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue is the culprit must likely associated with medical disorders that go on to develop. Treating
and managing adrenal fatigue could actually prevent many of the disorders that will later develop because of
untreated and unmanaged adrenal fatigue.

Here is a link about it: www.adrenalfatigue.org and the book we took the adrenal fatigue questionnaire from.

Chronic stress wears out the adrenal glands that support other healthy functioning in your body. When
stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and unresolved problems wear out the gland, your body is in a down ward
spiral and cannot heal from stress or PTSD.  To find out if you have adrenal fatigue, we are attaching
a link to the quiz. If you do have adrenal fatigue, this is a stepping stone to other medical conditions if
not treated immediately. More importantly, your body has started down that path. If you are in a court case,
please advise your attorney of the disorder as it may be able to be argued regarding stress disorders
and your need for continued medical coverage and care.

LINK TO ADRENAL QUIZ: http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-quiz.html

If we can help you resolve your trauma so your body can heal, please let us know.

PTSD As Trauma Disorder Not Psychiatric Illness

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

As we mentioned, in order to do that you must legitimately have PTSD, be diagnosed and have an Accommodations Report prepared by a professional that is presented to The ADA (American Disability Act). From there, special accommodations are granted. The range and what the accommodations are were listed in last weeks newsletter.

Some people hestitate in getting diagnosed with PTSD because they are afraid of it’s implication to them, their functioning level, or related to a mental illness diagnosis.

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

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

One of our previous presidential candidates has PTSD. Firefighters and law enforcement who bravely saved many in 911 have PTSD. Missionarys helping the poor in other countries have PTSD. Social Workers working in dangerous situations have PTSD.

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

If you have it, say it. Nothing starts healing until we acknowledge it. It is what it is. Some worry that they will be labeled with mental illness if the court acknowledges their PTSD.

Well, let’s think about that…do you think a pathological is going to go into court and NOT say you are crazy? You don’t think he will argue every point of your illness, behavior, or symptoms (whether they are true or not) in order to win? You don’t think he’s GOING to use some kind of emotional disorder argument? OF COURSE HE IS–that’s what pathologicals DO!! So, in order to prevent being labeled something far worse than PTSD, if you have PTSD, let IT be the label instead of something else that can greatly impair your ability to get rehabilitative alimony, custody of your children, etc.

Having a PTSD diagnosis before court can greatly help HOW FAR the pathological can go in trying to make you look mentally ill. PTSD is NOT mental illness. Having a PTSD diagnosis may help prevent them from labeling you mentally ill with other more debilitating types of mental illness.  So don’t shun the PTSD diagnosis if you have it. It may prevent you from being labeled something far worse.

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

Helping Women Find Effective Strategies For Court

Leaving a pathological is never easy—they aren’t wired to allow for easy separation and disengagement.  What they value most is drama, trauma, and the perpetuation of misery at any cost.  High on their entertainment list is any legal activity—especially divorces, separations, and custody battles. Pathologicals get bored easily and have a high need for entertainment. They are high excitement seekers and have low impulse control.  This all equals great legal combativeness coupled with great enjoyment of the process.

Pathologicals are highly litigious, meaning they LOVE to sue and go to court.  They are entertained by the drama of the court scene and love anything associated with being the victim in a legal process.  Therefore, they are different than normal people in that they will keep this process going as long as necessary.  They will even spend more money than they will ever recover JUST to be in court, JUST to be heard, and JUST so you won’t win.

There is no rationale when it comes to why they find court so enthralling.  It’s almost like “Legal Malingering.”  Malingering is a psychological disorder that means a person remains symptomatic because they get something out of it that we refer to as a “secondary gain.”  So it is true with the pathological in court—67 times to court for one case is not unheard of.

But the bottom line for you is that court is often traumatizing.  Facing him can bring on flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and anxiety.  The faces he makes, his posturing and his stares often leave women highly ineffective on the witness stand.  Or she is unable to think in the courtroom in order to give her attorney correct input.

Some women are followed by the pathological after court.  He may stalk her in his car or call her cell phone, belittling her about the court proceedings.  Taunting her before the court date can bring a woman’s functioning level to an all time low.  She may miss work and as a result loses pay.  She may have to pay and repay court fees as he switches dates around just to make a show of power.

Women who already have PTSD, other chronic stress conditions, or autoimmune disorders like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Lupus can end up bed-bound from the stress of the court drama and him.  Since pathologicals love your debilitation, they are likely to stretch out the process by asking for more depositions, postponing court dates, adding more needed appearances, or even refusing a settled offer that is everything they asked for—anything to create more stress and havoc for you.  Women will often do ANYTHING to avoid this kind of exposure to further abuse.

Since the pathological is rarely acknowledged for what he is, the court is not likely to identify his manipulative behaviors and so his requests are granted.  You are tormented with more and more unproductive court appearances as he acts like the perpetual victim.

Women can ‘get’ PTSD-like symptoms just from how she is treated in court or depositions.  The ‘criminal court’ is known for it’s favoring of criminals so anyone who is not criminal often finds the process abusive and traumatizing.  Women often give away their rights, property, and money just to avoid him and court all together.  She and her children are then exposed to poverty, marginal employment and a reduced quality of life ALL because she wants to avoid being traumatized by him and an unbalanced court system.

I have said for many years that the universe is strangely tilted to the benefit of the pathological.  They get away with more dirty deeds, especially in court, than any normal person would ever get away with.  For this reason, women come to know that their chances in court with a pathological who is so dramatic, convincing, and unnerved by the process is NIL.

Women have had very ineffective means for balancing the scales of Her-vs-The Psychopath in family court.  That’s because few women know about one VERY effective strategy that helps her regain her court composure—using a PTSD diagnosis to receive special accommodations during court proceedings.

As we have constantly mentioned, many of the women who come through our program have PTSD that was acquired during the pathological relationship OR was made worse by the relationship.  PTSD is a trauma disorder–meaning your were ‘traumatized’ in some way which is how you acquired it.

PTSD symptoms can last for short or long periods of time and are almost always increased by stress—such as stress by being in court or stress by his behavior while in court.  These types of reoccurring symptoms can negatively impact your effectiveness in court and can require ‘special accommodations’ so you are able to function during court.  Some of these special accommodations have included:

•    Having the woman speak over a speaker phone in another room so she doesn’t have to face him

•    Not having him in the courtroom

•    Having him detained so she can leave early from the courtroom

•    Call in to the courtroom from home so not to have to attend the hearing in person

•    If she has to attend—to have a disability advocate present with her

•    Having him not be allowed to speak directly to her when walking past him from the courtroom

All of these special accommodations can greatly ease the stress normally associated with court, but not granted unless a special ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accommodation is granted.

Accommodations can also be made for:

•    Emotional triggering caused by discussing the situation

•    Memory recall problems

•    Concentration problems

•    Flexibility with deadlines because of amnesic symptoms or reoccurring trauma when having to testify in front of him

•    Emergency hearing to enforce court orders

•    Rehabilitative alimony for treatment of PTSD for you or your children

PTSD is the disorder most associated with pathological love relationships.  A diagnosis of this can help women acquire accommodations that are associated with the ADA accommodations offered.  You simply have to have a diagnosis that requires special accommodations in order for you to function.  (Next week, we will discuss the difference between mental illnesses versus emotional, trauma-based disorders such as PTSD.  In case you are concerned you will be labeled mentally ill with a PTSD diagnosis—don’t worry, you won’t be!)

The Institute offers assistance in this regard—the ability to write your PTSD Accommodations Request Report for the court.  THIS IS A HUGE breakthrough for women because once you have received ADA Accommodations, the judges and attorneys MUST adhere to protocols developed for ADA which are federally-based and help accommodate your needs in order to function in court.  Protocols not followed are prosecutable, making the courts highly attentive to meeting federal protocols.  This could also apply to your children if they have PTSD, and could hopefully impact how they are to be treated in court and how their needs must be met.

Before we get a FLOOD of letters about this, here is what you need to know:

*   You must legitimately have PTSD. If you have already been diagnosed with
PTSD, you have already jumped one hurdle.

•    If you need to be diagnosed, you must be evaluated by a licensed professional—
such as a mental health professional or a psychiatrist.  If you would like to be evaluated by one of our staff, you can contact us.  (**All of our providers are in private practice which means they charge for their services.  We are NOT non-profit.)

*     Once you are diagnosed, one of our professionals can draft your PTSD
Accommodations Report.  This is a time consuming and lengthy report of
Approximately 10-15 pages.  It is a highly specialized report.   It is unlikely that
your doctor or health professional will construct something of this nature as it addresses specific areas  to meet the criteria for ADA.  (**The professionals, of course, charge for this report.  However, we believe that what the report renders to you is highly worth the investment.)

•    This is NOT the same thing as being declared ‘disabled’, and has nothing to do
with physical or mental disability or acquiring disability payments.

•    PTSD, if diagnosed, does become part of one’s medical and/or psychological
record.

We believe that these Accommodations Reports are the beginning of leveling the playing field when it comes to being in court with pathologicals.  We also believe that children who are diagnosed with PTSD and who have acquired it from the pathological, may have a far more arguable case about custody when courts try to mandate visitation with the very one who caused PTSD.

Email us if you would like an evaluation and if applicable, the PTSD Accommodations Report (and/or Child PTSD Report) on our website.

(**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.)

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

Last week we looked at The Successful Pathological and how he flies in under the radar while women are looking at his success and missing the red flags about his character or behavior. Women can get side tracked by his degree, a noble career like a doctor or blinded by his business bling.The Italian-made shoes aren’t the only thing that can be a loafer! (LOL!!)

Another form of pathology produces what we call ‘parasitic’ behavior which means, like a tick, they live off of others. In one of the pathological disorders,
sometimes they are underachievers and because they need gobs of financial assistance. But not always! Sometimes they AREN’t underemployed at all. In fact, in some of the pathological disorders they are successful AND parasitic.

Wealthy AND parasitic have all the radar busting combination’s to come gliding in under her relationship radar. Wealthy pathological’s may be as parasitic as the poor ones but are usually less identified. It’s not that the wealthy ones ‘need’ the housing assistance by living with you–it’s that they are ‘able’ to get you to let them. It’s a power game and when you say yes, he wins. It’s a ridiculous game that most women don’t even pay attention to in the beginning until it begins to happen over and over again. Most women don’t care about power struggles. But not him because it’s his source of entertainment.

Parasites can latch on for the ride, the entertainment, or to drain you dry. The ‘financially challenged’ ones either try to hide it that they are broke and underemployed until they are already living off of you OR they get in by playing the pity trump card. He just needs a ‘little time to get on his feet.’ Many of them appear to have “the worst luck” when it comes to getting or keeping a good job or manages (according to him) to find horrible bosses. In any case, it’s never his fault, and a new potential turn of events is ‘just around the corner’ if you will just wait it out with him.

The interesting thing about the parasitic life is that it is has more to do with conning than it does any legitimate need. The proof is that even the wealthy ones play the same game.

For the overt parasite, a red flag for women should be guys that always are living with someone else including family. Of course they have a ‘good’ reason usually associated with what appears to be ‘helping others’ (elderly parents, helping pay the rent of his single-mom sister, etc.).

Highly suspicious would be that you never see where they live or how they live. Why? That great condo with the roof deck is really a room in someone’s mobile home. Or there’s a wife and three kids at this house, which are his. Or his house is really a meth lab. Or pick a reason…. The bottom line is there is a reason why you don’t see it and it normally has to do with living different (or off others) that he hasn’t quite disclosed to you.

The big flag the size of the one on the White House would be they want to move in or marry quickly. Is it because they are so into you? Nope. Its because
he wants to betroath your check book before you can verify his income, his job status, his debt load or anything else. In a blink of an eye you are drinking
rum drinks with umbrellas in the Bahamas (oh, and did I mention, on your credit card?)

A flashing billboard would be when they ask you to invest in his potential (and your love bundle!) by going into business with him or helping him finance your ‘rest of your life together’ business. Here’s a clue: If he’s over 28 years old and not living any part of his potential…there’s a reason and it’s usually pathology or addiction or both. If you are over 30, don’t fall in love with anyone’s potential. Either they got the goods or they don’t. And if they don’t, there’s a reason bigger than that sad empathy-producing story they have.

The more covert parasite, if he’s a wealthy pathological story line might be he is ‘giving you an opportunity to invest in his business’ to make some of that return capital that you see him living off of. He’s successful–he must be doing something right? Do you remember Bernie Madoff?

Pete the Parasite also sometimes needs money for their ailing mother, to send out of the country to relatives, or to cover the costs of his children that the psycho-wife is not doing with his paid child support. (Uh, huh….)

If these tactics and lines didn’t work, they wouldn’t use them and I wouldn’t know them. Parasites need hosts.The body of where a parasite lands (like a tick on a dog) is called ‘the host.’ Here’s a time where being a BAD HOST is a good thing!

(**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 info.)

Talent-vs-Personality Disorders

Talent -vs- Personality Disorders

The world was rocked by the death of Michael Jackson. He is likely to be remembered, not only for his creativity as one of the world’s most talented people in music, but also for his bizarre behaviors, appearance and abuse allegations. It seems at odds that someone so talented might also have been fairly disordered in his personality.

Michael appears to meet the criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder. There have been many other articles written about the possibility of Michael exhibiting traits of this disorder (just Google sites on this topic).

The Institute’s mission is to provide public pathology education. Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a permanent personality disorder which is being highlighted this week to help educate the public.

Traits of the disorder include:

* Acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships
* Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with cultural norms
* Unusual perceptual experiences
* Odd thinking and speech
* Suspiciousness or paranoid ideas
* Inappropriate or constricted emotions
* Behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar
* Lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
* Excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity and tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgements about self

Through the years we watched as a mega-talented, child prodigy slowly turned into a reclusive and eccentric man-child. Exemplifying the oddities of the schizotypal personality, he continued to alter his appearance past the point of normal cosmetic surgery – often implying the stranger it got, the better. He used other behaviors as ways of accentuating his eccentricity and uniqueness. He was often seen wearing a germ mask, claimed that Bubbles his chimpanzee was his closest companion, and created his property into Neverland – based on Peter Pan’s “never wanting to grow up.” There, he remained highly reclusive drawing mostly children to Neverland. The stories about sleeping in an anti-aging chamber along with his growing odd appearance, dress and behavior, sadly attracted the moniker “Wacko Jacko” for Michael.

His two sexual child abuse cases, while dismissed, did expose some of his bizarre thinking. As he stated in an interview, “It’s the most loving thing to share your bed with a child.” The inability to see the inappropriateness of some of his comments, especially while under investigation, established much of his thinking as disordered. In the public’s eye, his comments demonstrated that he was out of touch with reality to our cultural norms and laws.

Celebrities often give their children bizarre names. And certainly non-celebrities name their children after themselves or give them a family name. However, Michael’s children’s names reflect a glaring narcissism. His first child was given the name Prince Michael I, his second child, a daughter, named Paris Michael, and his third child, Prince Michael II.

Another example of Michael’s bizarre behavior was the dangling of an infant Prince Michael II over a hotel balcony. Today, this child is referred to as, “Blanket.” While celebrities try to shield their children from the negative effects of the media and possible kidnapping, Michael’s was most extreme. Given his schizotypal approach to life, his children, who were rarely seen in public, wore elaborate masks or had towels hanging from their heads. While other huge celebrities have faced the same threat (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elvis, John F. Kennedy), none responded by dressing their children in bizarre ways with masks and towels, or prohibited any known information about them.

Michael stands as probably THEE most talented person to change the racial divide in music — changing MTV and pressing excellence in music far beyond what anyone had done. But talent does not mean that it is not co-mingled and intertwined around a rather severe disorder. That is not abnormal in pathology. People’s pathology is often dismissed when it is compared to their achievements. As The Institute has discussed before, various disorders with pathology SEEK careers in which they receive a lot of status, attention, money, or exposure. Many forms of pathology are laced with excitement seeking, risk taking, and high achieving traits that help the pathological over the bar and up the career ladder. We shouldn’t assume the pathological person to be working only at the grocery store or the car wash. While there are blue-collar patholgicals, many (and those most undetected) are successful — some attaining extreme success. Certain disorders migrate to various fields such as medicine, the legal and criminal justice system, banking, psychology, theology, and even the entertainment field.

While it is tempting to take our eyes off of who the pathological is underneath the talent, it is just as important for us to remember that talent and disorder aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s as if the Creator gives greatly on one side, and takes greatly from the other side. There are talented excesses and devastating deficits. Michael’s talent exemplifies what it means to be a prodigy. His personal life and deteriorating behavior also shines a light on how pathology is not a respecter of persons — any talented person can be harboring the life-altering effects of pathology.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw him moon walk, or the goose bumps I had when he sang “Thriller.” I’ll also never forget the first time I saw his face so altered from surgery and thinking that this was the result of a bigger problem. I won’t forget the mortification I felt when he was fighting sexual abuse allegations. In any case, we will all remember something “BIGGER” than life about Michael.

(**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).

Your Profession and Your Lovers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professionals in the Helping Industries and Their Personal Pathological Relationships

Are you a doctor, nurse, therapist, social worker, female clergy, medical personnel, paramedic, teacher, psychiatrist, certified nursing assistant, day care worker, guidance counselor, speech therapist, missionary, physical therapist, psychology grad student, art therapist, writer, artist, musician, or work with at-risk kids? Welcome aboard to the group of people MOST LIKELY to end up in a pathological relationship.

Can your career be a risk factor for finding/staying with a narcissist or psychopath? Unfortunately, YES!

Look at that list again…all the ‘hearts of gold’ kind of people–the salt of the earth women–the ‘Mother Teresa’s’ of the world–AT RISK for attracting and staying with dangerous, dark, and pathological men. Seems unfair doesn’t it? Normally, narcissists and  psychopaths don’t migrate to their own kind. In rare occasions they do and you end up with a sensationalized case of a new Bonnie and Clyde. But in most cases, they migrate to you!

During a recent media interview I said, “I think understanding this represents one of the largest breakthroughs in our understanding of dangerous intimate relationship dynamics. For so long we understood him but we didn’t really understand her. She was wrongly labeled codependent but codependency treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled a relationship or even sex addict and addiction treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled as mutually pathological and yet she was never diagnosed with her own personality disorder. Nothing fit and nothing explained her until we found the missing key…her ‘off-the-Richter-scale traits’ that put it all in perspective. Once we can understand her, we can help her.”

What we do understand is that by nature of your own tender and helpful personality traits, you migrated to a career in which you could use your abundant traits of empathy, helpfulness, compassion, resourcefulness, cooperation, and tolerance. Where best do these great humanitarian traits get used? In helping professions like social work, ministry, nursing, other medical professions, psychology, teaching, child workers… all people with big hearts trying to give out of their own abundance. By virtue that you even ENDED up in one of these professions means you are probably more at-risk for these types of relationships than others.

In almost ALL circumstances, the women from these relationships are either IN these types of professions or are trying to get in to them…(they are in school or trying to move out of their job into a more giving field). Many of the women who are in these types of professions ended up with the narcissist or psychopath during the course of their actual jobs. Nurses hooked up with patients, doctors married someone they met in the field, psychologists dated mentally ill men, missionaries dated someone from one of the street missions where she worked. Every once in a while we got stories from very left-brained women like CPA’s, but even then, she’s not a typical left-brainer. She’s still has many humanitarian traits.

This has a lot of implications for possible prevention work. Knowing that women in these professions are more likely to have the high risk personality traits means education can begin within these professions. Women need to know that sometimes even their career selection is indicative of what their relationship selection might be as well. So while women may be ‘out’ of the pathological relationship, it doesn’t reduce their overall risk because temperament traits are innate. While you are out, is a great time to learn more about your abundant traits and how to safe guard yourself next time around. Let us know if we can help you become more alert and sensitized to the parts of you that need guarding.

Genetic and Neuro-Physiological Basis for Hyper-Empathy

I heard a universal SIGH go out around the world when women read the title to this article. Don’t you feel better knowing there really IS some science to the whole issue of too-darn-much-empathy?

When we began writing about ‘women who love psychopaths, anti socials, sociopaths and narcissists’ we already ‘assumed’ that maybe you did have too much empathy (as well as other elevated temperament traits). We just didn’t know how much or why. When we began the actual testing for the research on the book ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths‘ we learned just ‘how much’ empathy you had.

Do I need to tell you? WAY TOO MUCH!

But by now you have probably already suspected that your super-high empathy is what got you in trouble in this pathological relationship. But did you know there is hard science behind what we suspected about what is going on in your relationships with your super-trait of high empathy? It really IS all in your head (and your genes).

In fact, these genes influence the production of various brain chemicals which can influence just ‘how much’ empathy you have. These brain chemicals include those that influence orgasm and its effect on how bonded you feel while also influencing some aspects of mental health (No, no! That’s NOT a good mix!).

Other brain chemicals influence how much innate and learned fear you have. However, females don’t seem to assess threats well; the chemicals then increase her social interactions, while at the same time she is not assessing fear and threats well (This is not a good thing!!).

One of the final chemical effects, delays your reflexes (like getting out of the relationship) and also impacts your short and long term memory (how you easily store good memories that are very strong and how you store bad memories which are easily forgotten).   And since it is genetic, it can run in entire families that produce ‘gullible’ and ‘trusting’ individuals who seem to just keep getting hurt.

Of course, the reverse is also true. Genes can influence the absence of various brain chemicals which influence ‘how little’ empathy a person has. We already know in great detail how this affects those with personality disorders. Personality disordered people (especially Cluster B disorders) struggle with not enough (or not any!) empathy.

Over the past few years, we have posted articles on The Institute’s Magazine on various aspects of personality disorders and the brain.  These articles included the issue of brain imaging and what we are finding out about how the brain structure and also how its chemicals can affect personality, empathy, behavior and consequently, the behavior in relationships. As advances are made in the field of neurobiology we are learning more and more what The Institute has always believed which is there is a lot of biology behind the issues of a lack of personality development such as in personality disorders. Genetics and neurobiology are proving that the behavior associated with narcissism, borderline, anti-social personality disorders and psychopathy has as much to do with brain wiring and brain chemistry as it does with behavioral intent.

The Institute has long told survivors that personality disorders are not merely willful behavior, but brain deficits that control how much empathy, compassion, conscience, guilt, insight and change a person is capable of. Autism and personality disorders share a common thread as ’empathy spectrum disorders,’ now being studied extensively within the field of Neuroscience.  But in some opposite ways, the women also share a common thread of an empathy disorder—Hyper-Empathy. We are coming to understand that hyper empathy has much to do with her:

  • innate temperament (you come into the world wired with the personality you have)
  • genetic predispositions to high/low empathy
  • brain chemistry configurations that contribute to high/low empathy

The old assumptions that the women with high empathy were merely ‘doormats’ is not scientifically correct.

Neuroscience with all it’s awesome information has the dynamic power to blow us all out of the murky waters of assuming that our behavior is merely a reflection of our will. As Neuroscience graces our minds with new understanding of how our brains work, it brings with it incredible freedom to understand our own traits and the pathological traits of others.

For a mind blowing book on the genetic and neurobiology of not only personality disorders, but ‘evil’ as well, read Barbara Oakley’s book ‘Evil Genes.’ You’ll find a whole new approach to understanding the biology of the pathological!

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genes-Hitler-Mothers-Boyfriend/dp/1591026652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300742709&sr=1-1″ style=”text-decoration: underline;”>http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genes-Hitler-Mothers-Boyfriend/dp/1591026652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300742709&sr=1-1</a>