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Posts Tagged ‘Lundy Bancroft

Lundy Bancroft / Quote

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Lundy Bancroft quote with dog

Written by Janice Levinson

September 16, 2014 at 4:43 am

Unstoppable Mothers / Quote

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UNSTOPPABLEmoms

The Parenting of Men Who Batter / Lundy Bancroft / Court Review

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lundy

Lundy Bancroft Court Review – Summer 2002

http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/courtrv/cr39-2/CR39-2Bancroft.pdf

It’s Saturday morning in the Franklin home.* Breakfast is rushed
because Marty, who is 12 years old, and his sister Rhonda, 9,
have early soccer games. Their mother, Donna, is scurrying
around while her husband, Troy, eats and reads the morning paper.
Marty grumbles to his mother, “Ma, hurry up! I told you last week,
the coach picks the starting players 20 minutes before game time.”
His mother snaps back, “If you had washed your uniform last
night like I asked you to, we wouldn’t be in such a hurry.” Rhonda
pipes in, “I did mine.”
Marty shoots his sister a dirty look and says, “Oh, I guess I just
can’t compete with goody two-shoes here. Hey, maybe my soccer
suit is dirty, but at least I don’t get the Bitch of the Year Award.”
Donna reacts sternly, saying, “Don’t talk that way to your sis-
ter, young man!” Troy now glances up from his paper, annoyed.
“How the hell do you expect Marty to react? If he’s not absolutely
perfect, both of you are all over him.”
“Never mind, Dad,” Marty breaks in flippantly, “I’m used to it.
If one of them isn’t bitching at me, it’s the other.”
Donna’s blood begins to boil as Troy returns to reading. “Your
son just called me a bitch. You’re his father—you have nothing to
say about it?” Troy half rises out of his seat. “Yeah, I do have
something to say. If you would conduct yourself like an adult,
instead of getting all hysterical, things wouldn’t get like this with
the children. Don’t be so damn sensitive. Marty didn’t call you a
bitch, he said you bitch at him, which is true. You do.”
Marty laughs. Rhonda does too, then immediately feels
ashamed toward her mother and turns red in the face. Their
mother yells loudly at Troy, “It’s not me! You’re the problem here,
you’re just encouraging his bad attitude!”
Troy pounces out of his seat yelling back, “That’s enough out of
you, you goddamned bitch!” Troy then hurls his newspaper to the
floor and shoves Donna hard toward the kitchen door so that she
stumbles and falls. “Get the hell out of here, right now,” he screams,
“or you’ll be sorry!” Donna bursts into tears and runs up to the
bedroom. Marty and Rhonda are left trembling, although Marty
forces a smile and mumbles to Rhonda, “What the hell does Mom
expect?”
The published research on children’s exposure to domestic
violence focuses largely on two aspects of their experience: the
trauma of witnessing physical assaults against their mother,
and the tension produced by living with a high level of conflict
between their parents.
As important as these factors are, they
reflect only one aspect of many complex problems that typi-
cally pervade the children’s daily lives. The bulk of these diffi-
culties have their roots in the fact that the children are living
with a batterer present in their home. The parenting charac-
teristics commonly observed in batterers have implications for
the children’s emotional and physical well-being, their rela-
tionships with their mothers and siblings, and the develop-
ment of their belief systems. All of these issues need to be
examined in making determinations regarding custody and
visitation in cases involving histories of domestic violence.
THE BATTERER PROFILE: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILDREN
Batterers have been established to have a profile that distin-
guishes them from non-battering men. Each of these identified
characteristics can have an impact on children’s experience and
development. Some of the critical areas that court personnel
should be aware of include:
Control
Coerciveness is widely recognized as a central quality of battering men 2 It is commonly true that one of the
spheres of the battered woman’s life that is subject to heavy
control by the batterer is her parenting. In some cases, this
control begins even before the children are born, through such
behaviors as the batterer refusing to use birth control, requir-
ing or forbidding the woman to terminate a pregnancy, or caus-
ing her pregnancy through a sexual assault.3
Once children are born, the batterer may overrule the mother’s parenting decisions, and he may enforce his will by verbally abusing the
mother or physically assaulting her when he is angry about the
children’s behavior or when she does not cede to his parenting
directives,4 as the opening scenario illustrates. Researchers
have found that battered women are far more likely than other
women to feel that they must alter their parenting styles when
their partners are present.5 Thus, children are being raised in
a context where their mother cannot safely use her best judge-
ment about how to care for them

Entitlement
: Batterers generally have much higher rates than
other men of believing that they are entitled to use violence
toward female partners when they deem it to be necessary,6 and
to take an overall stance in the relationship of claiming supe-
rior status and expecting catering and deference.7Troy exhibits
his entitlement and sense of superiority by, for example, con-
tributing nothing to the work of a very busy morning and
actively encouraging his son’s negative attitudes toward
females.
Clinical observation indicates that the higher a batterer’s
level of entitlement, the more likely he is to chronically behave
in selfish and self-centered ways. He may, for example, become
irate or violent when he feels that his partner is paying more
attention to the children than to him, which can make it diffi-
cult for the mother to properly meet the children’s physical and
emotional needs. Similarly, he may treat the mother like a ser-
vant in front of the children, so that they learn to disrespect her
and treat her in a similar fashion. In addition, many batterers
cause role reversal in their relationships with their children,
where the children are made to feel responsible to take care of
the battering parent and meet his needs. This can create a bur-
den of parentification for the children, in addition to making
them more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Manipulation
: A batterer commonly is manipulative of fam-
ily members, using such tactics as dishonesty, false promises,
and the sowing of divisions to increase his power and escape
accountability.8 Batterers tend, for example, to cultivate a pub-
lic image of generosity and kindness. When children observe
the batterer’s popularity in the community, they can become
more likely to blame their mother or themselves for the abuse
in the home, because other people do not seem to believe that
their father has a problem. Manipulation may also involve
lying to the children, or drawing them in as agents of the
abuse, as exhibited by Troy when he get his children to laugh
at inappropriate jokes about their mother. Children who are
traumatized by exposure to violent acts are at greater risk of
being psychologically harmed by such manipulation than chil-
dren who are less emotion-
ally vulnerable.
Possessiveness
: Men who batter commonly perceive their partners as owned objects,9 and this outlook extends to their children in many cases. Many clients of mine have,for example, defended their physical or sexual abuse of the children by insisting that it is their paternal prerogative to treat their children as they see fit. Batterers’ possessiveness toward both partners and
children can have important post-separation implications. For
example, batterers have been found to seek custody at higher
rates than non-battering fathers do,10 and to be at their great-
est risk of committing homicide of women or children during
and after the break-up of a relationship. 11 Parents who per-
ceive children as possessions have been observed to have high
rates of child abuse in general,12 and the link between such
attitudes and incest perpetration is widely noted. 13
This is a brief and partial review of the batterer profile. Each
of the characteristics commonly found in batterers, including
denial and minimization about their abusive and violent
actions, battering in multiple relationships, and high level of
resistance to change, can have an important impact on chil-
dren who are exposed to them. 14
RISK OF CHILD ABUSE
The various published studies of physical abuse of children
by batterers indicate that roughly half of batterers repeatedly
assault children in the home, a rate about 700% that of non-
battering men.15
An equally substantial body of research finds
batterers four or more times more likely than other men to sex-
ually abuse their children or stepchildren. Exposure to domes-
Summer 2002 – Court Review 45
A batterer commonly is manipulative of family members,using such tactics as dishonesty, false promises, and the sowing of divisions
to increase his power . . . .16.
Domestic violence is one of the top risk factors for incest victim-
ization.16 The literature on incest perpetrators describes a profile that is compatible with battering, including a high level of control, entitle-
ment, and manipulativeness,and a tendency to view children as owned objects.17 No evidence currently exists to suggest that the risk of child abuse by a batterer declines post-separation, and such risk may increase
. Batterers tend to be enraged and retaliatory for an extended period after a relationship ends, contributing to volatility in their behavior,and they sometimes increase their targeting of the children as
a way to frighten or upset the mother because the separation
causes a loss of access to avenues to abuse the mother
directly.
18
The risk to children may also be augmented by the
fact that the battered mother is no longer able to monitor the
batterer’s treatment of the children during his times of contact
with them. Clinicians sometimes observe that courts are reluc-
tant to believe reports from battered women regarding mis-
treatment of their children during court-ordered visitation,
which can sometimes leave children vulnerable to ongoing
abuse by the batterer.
THE BATTERER’S PARENTING STYLE
Apart from the risk of overt child abuse, batterers often tend
toward authoritarian, neglectful, and verbally abusive
approaches to child-rearing.19
The effects on the children of these parenting weaknesses may be intensified by their prior traumatic experience of witnessing violence. For example, children whose battering fathers yell or bark orders at them appear to be more shaken by these experiences than children
who have not been exposed to violence, as they are aware of
his capacity for physical assault whether or not he has ever
assaulted them directly. My colleagues and I also often observe
that a batterer’s authoritarian or intimidating behaviors in the
children’s presence, or toward them directly, can cause trau-
matic memories to be reawakened in them, with resultant
increase in their symptoms and interference in their social and
intellectual development. Batterers have also been observed to
be manipulative of children, and to exhibit neglectful parent-
ing, including inadequate supervision of safety.20
Additional crucial problems in the parenting of men who batter include
the use of the children as weapons against the mother and the
undermining of the mother’s authority, which are discussed
further below, with important post-separation implications.

THE BATTERER AS ROLE MODEL
Boys who are exposed to domestic violence show dramati-
cally elevated rates of battering their own partners as adoles-
cents or adults.21 Research suggests that this connection is a
product largely of the values and attitudes that boys learn
from witnessing battering behavior. 22 Daughters of battered
women show increased difficulty in escaping partner abuse in
their adult relationships.

23 Both boys and girls have been
observed to accept various aspects of the batterer’s belief sys-
tem,24 including the view that victims of violence are to
blame, that women exaggerate hysterically when they report
abuse, that males are superior to females, and that the use of
violence against women by men is justifiable.
25
Donna and
Troy’s son, Marty, exhibits, for example, his absorption of his
father’s negative and degrading attitudes toward females,
which he acts out toward his sister, Rhonda, and toward his
mother.
The destructive influence that batterers can have on chil-
dren’s belief systems, and therefore on their future behavior,
has not received adequate attention in most professional pub-
lications, and appears to be largely overlooked in crafting cus-
tody and visitation determinations. Children who are trauma-
tized may be particularly easy to influence because of their ele-
vated needs for belonging, security, and self-esteem. Therefore,
decisions to place children in unsupervised contact with a bat-
terer should be made with great care.
UNDERMINING OF THE MOTHER’S AUTHORITY
Battering is inherently destructive to maternal authority. As
we saw with Troy in the opening scenario, the batterer’s behav-
ior provides a model for children of contemptuous and aggres-
sive behavior toward their mother. The predictable result, con-
firmed by many studies, is that children of battered women
have increased rates of violence and disobedience toward their
46
Court Review – Summer 2002 No evidence currently exists to
suggest that the risk of child abuse by a batterer
declines post-separation . . . .26.
in many cases by the batterer’s deliberate weakening of the mother’s ability to set limits, which may be accompanied by violence toward her
regarding issues about the children.27
We saw Troy, for example, give explicit approval to his son’s disrespectful language toward Donna. Troy is able in this way to enhance his own power in the family and ensure that his wife will appear to be
an ineffective or volatile parent. Troy then goes on to assault
Donna to retaliate against her for her efforts to stand up for
herself and for her daughter.
IMPACT ON FAMILY DYNAMICS
Many other behaviors that are commonly observed in bat-
terers can distort family functioning. Some common examples
include:
Interfering with a mother’s parenting
. Partners of my battering
clients make frequent reports of being prevented from picking
up a crying infant or from assisting a frightened or injured
child, of being barred from providing other basic physical or
emotional care, and even of being forbidden to take children to
medical appointments. Interference of this kind can cause the
children to perceive their mother as uncaring or unreliable,
feelings the batterer may reinforce by verbally conditioning the
children through statements such as, “Your mother doesn’t
love you” or “Mommy only cares about herself.” The trauma
caused to the mother by domestic violence can also sometimes
make it more difficult to be fully present and attentive for her
children,
28 which the batterer may then use to his advantage in a custody or visitation dispute.
Sowing divisions within the family
. In our opening scenario,
Troy uses favoritism to build a special relationship with one of
his children (Marty), demonstrating a dynamic that occurs fre-
quently in the parenting of men who batter. As other
researchers have noted, the favored child is particularly likely
to be a boy, and the batterer may bond with him partly through
encouraging a sense of superiority to females.29
Batterers may also sow divisions by deliberately creating or feeding familial tensions. These behaviors are a likely factor in the high rate of intersibling conflict, including violence, observed in families exposed to battering behavior. 30
Descriptions of division-sow-
ing behaviors in incest perpetrators 31
are remarkably similar to clinical observations of these behaviors in men who batter.32
Use of the children as weapons.
Many batterers use children
as a vehicle to harm or control the mother,
33
through such tac-
tics as destroying the children’s belongings to punish the mother, requiring the children to monitor and report on their mother’s activ-
ities,
or threatening to kidnap or take custody of the chil-
dren if the mother attempts to end the relationship. These behaviors draw the children into the abuser’s behavior pat-
tern. Post-separation, many batterers use unsupervised visitation as an opportunity to abuse the mother through the children by alienating them
from the mother, encouraging them to behave in destructive or
defiant ways when they return home, or returning them dirty,
unfed, or sleep-deprived from visitation
.34
These important dynamics rarely appear to be taken into account in crafting custody and visitation plans.
Retaliation for the mother’s efforts to protect the children.
A mother may find that she is assaulted or intimidated if she
attempts to prevent the batterer from mistreating the children,
or may find that he harms the children more seriously to pun-
ish her for standing up for them, and therefore may be forced
over time to stop intervening on her children’s behalf. 35
In our opening scenario, Troy’s assault on Donna was a direct result of
her efforts to protect her daughter from psychological harm,
and may have the effect of intimidating her the next time she
would like to protect her children from him. This dynamic can
lead children to believe that their mother doesn’t care about
the ways in which the batterer is hurting them, because she
sometimes maintains a frightened silence in the face of his
behavior. This perception in children can be exacerbated in
cases where a court requires a battered woman to send her chil-
dren to visitation with their father despite their objections. It
therefore becomes critically important for children who have
been exposed to domestic violence not to be required to see or
speak with the perpetrator when they are voicing or demon-
strating a preference not to do so.
POST-SEPARATION IMPLICATIONS
Custody and visitation determinations in the context of
domestic violence need to be informed by an awareness of the
Summer 2002 – Court Review 47
These behaviors are a likely factor in the high rate of intersibling
conflict observed in families exposed to battering
behavior.36. The great majority of children who live with a batterer directly see or hear one or more acts of violence. See
J. Kolbo, et al.,
There have also been a substantial number who have witnessed
sexual assaults against their mother:

PROBLEMS IN
CHILDREN
(1994). I have observed that evaluators who assess the strength of children’s bonds with their battering fathers rarely address the role of traumatic bonding.40. A detailed guide to performing proper custody and visitation evaluations in the context of domestic violence allegations is available.41. It should be noted that batterer programs that are run on a
“power-and-control” model have been found to be more effective
than was previously believed, especially if any attendant drug and
alcohol issues are also properly addressed.
destructive attitudes and values that can contribute to behav-
ioral and developmental problems. Abused mothers face many
obstacles in attempting to protect their children from a bat-
terer, and can benefit when their protective efforts receive
strong support from courts and child protective services.
Family and juvenile court personnel, as well as those working in child protection agencies, can strengthen the quality of their
interventions on behalf of children by deepening their under-
standing of the common patterns that may appear in the par-
enting of men who batter, including ways in which a batterer
may damage mother-child and sibling relationships and make
it difficult for a mother to parent her children. Courts can
increase their effectiveness in domestic violence cases involv-
ing children by focusing on maternal and child safety, and by
seeking ways to reduce the batterer’s influence as a role model particularly for his sons.

Lundy Bancroft/ Quote

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-9

Written by Janice Levinson

August 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

WHO IS THE CONTROLLING ONE? / Lundy Bancroft

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This wonderful article was originally posted by our PMA International co-founder Lundy Bancroft on his Healing and Hope site ( link below)

http://lundybancroft.blogspot.com/

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.00.45 PM

Has your partner ever said to you, “You’re the controlling one! You are always trying to control me! You’re a controlling bitch!”
These accusations can create confusion for the woman. So let’s clarify a few points.

It is not control when you:

Demand that someone treat you properly, insisting that your rights be respected (including demanding that you be spoken to with respect)
Challenge someone about the work they are creating for you (such as by leaving messes around the house)
Press someone to meet responsibilities that they aren’t meeting (and if you have to keep asking them over and over again, that doesn’t make you controlling, it makes them irresponsible)
Challenge someone about behaviors of theirs that have large implications for the couple (and for the family if you have children), such as abusing alcohol, gambling, ignoring the children, or being mean to the children
Call the police because someone is hurting you or threatening to hurt you

fist

It is control when you:

Ridicule someone, make them feel stupid, or call them demeaning names, especially when you are doing so in order to force them do something or to silence them
Physically or sexually intimidate someone
Get revenge on someone for not doing what you told them to do or for standing up for their own opinions
Impose double standards (make different rules for yourself than for the other person)
Pressure or manipulate someone into sexual contact that they don’t want

I’m willing to bet that when he calls you controlling, he is referring to things you do from the first list, and that when you call him controlling, you’re referring to things he does from the second list. He’s the one getting it all backwards.

Another useful, though tricky, concept: It’s control when you are trying to take someone’s rights away, and it’s self-defense when you are trying to keep someone else from taking your rights away. (The reason this gets tricky is because the controlling man will often say that you are trying to take his rights away, because he thinks he has the right to abuse you.)

And a last concept: The abusive man will call you “controlling” for resisting his control. Noticing when this is happening will be a huge help to you.

CAN THE FAMILY COURT GET UP TO SPEED ON THE PAST FORTY YEARS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE RESEARCH?/ Lundy Bancroft

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Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.00.45 PM

Originally posted by our own Lundy Bancroft on his Healing and Hope blog (link below)

http://lundybancroft.blogspot.com/2012/02/can-family-court-get-up-to-speed-on.html

Family courts across the continent are continuing to operate largely disconnected from the last four decades of research and clinical writing on incest perpetration, including the stories of survivors. The unfortunate result in many cases that I have researched is that court and court-appointed personnel are basing their decisions on myths and misconceptions that went out long ago, sometimes leading to disastrous results for children and their non-offending parents. Here are some of the key points that family courts are often missing (I use “he” for the suspected perpetrator and “she” for the alleged victim, since this is statistically the most common scenario):

* A child’s relationship with a parent that is sexually abusing her will often have some positive (or at least positive appearing) aspects.

Courts in some cases stop looking carefully at evidence of sexual abuse by a father if they get reports that the child is sometimes happy to see him, is physically affectionate with him, or expresses interest in seeing him. The reality is that incest perpetrators typically develop a bond (though not a healthy one) with their victims through doing favors, giving positive attention, expressing love (and even describing the sexual abuse as proof of that love), and buying gifts. This is extremely confusing for the child and tends to leave her with powerful ambivalent feelings and adds to the difficulty she faces in making the hard decision of whether to disclose his behavior, and then whether to testify against him.

Furthermore, incest perpetrators do profound psychological damage to their victims without being horrible to them all the time. In fact, survivors say that the positive-appearing aspects of their relationships with their fathers made the emotional wounds in many ways deeper and harder to heal from.

I have been involved in a number of cases where court personnel acknowledged that the sexual abuse had occurred or had probably occurred, but then have gone on to state that the child’s relationship with the father has some positive aspects, and therefore is very important to preserve in an extensive form. This conclusion does not follow from the research evidence regarding harm and is specifically contradicted by survivors’ stories; contact between an incest perpetrator and a victim should occur only with highly-trained and vigilant supervision, and should stop any time the victim wishes it to or starts to show significant emotional deterioration following visits.

* It is common for a victim to recant disclosures of sexual abuse some time later, and even more so in cases where she has continued to have unsupervised contact with the suspected perpetrator.

Incest perpetrators are known to control and intimidate the victim in various ways following a disclosure; commonly reported tactics include threatening to harm the child or actually doing so, telling the child that he will go to jail if she doesn’t recant, threatening to harm the mother, telling the child that she will never get to see him (the father) again if she doesn’t recant, promising her purchases, vacations, or other rewards in return for recanting, and promising her that the abuse will stop in return for recanting. Obviously the more extensive access the suspected perpetrator has to the child through visitation, phone calls, texting, and email, or if the child is continuing to live with him, the greater the risk of a forced recantation.

* The suspected perpetrator will make angry, outraged, and hurt-sounding denials in close to 100% of cases. A correctly-accused perpetrator will be very difficult to distinguish by his public behavior, including his behavior at court, from one who is false accused. The perpetrator is often a respected and successful member of the community.

Courts have to rely on the evidence, not on how the suspect presents himself or what his public reputation is like.

* Incest perpetration is almost always surrounded by a other behaviors by the man that violate the child’s boundaries in subtler, less overtly illegal, ways. These behaviors usually begin well before the outright sexual abuse begins, and then continue along side it.

Courts sometimes make the mistake of discounting evidence of boundary violations toward a child “because they don’t rise to the level of sexual abuse.” Such boundary violations need to be taken seriously always, but in a case where there are other indications of sexual abuse — such as a child’s disclosure, for example — such lower level boundary violations should be treated as evidence pointing to the likelihood that the outright sexual abuse being disclosed did in fact take place.

* It is virtually unheard of for children younger than teenagers to make up reports of sexual abuse, and even in teenagers it is very rare.

Mistaken reports of sexual abuse do not come from children making them up. They come from one of the following sources: 1) A statement by the child that was misinterpreted by adults; 2) The child having been manipulated or intimidated into making the false allegation. Proper unbiased investigation makes it possible to find out if one of these two is functioning in a case.

* Most sexual abuse allegations that are brought to the attention of family courts are brought in good faith, not as a “tactic.”

Every large-sample study that has been done has found that true reports of sexual abuse are substantially more common than mistaken ones even when they occur in the context of child custody litigation. Further, the research has found that even most mistaken allegations are brought in good faith, meaning that the parent heard a disclosure or witnessed behaviors that would have worried most responsible parents. And finally, the research shows that sexual abuse allegations that are deliberately false are made equally by fathers and mothers; there is no basis for the belief that women are especially likely to make a false sexual abuse report during litigation.

* Domestic violence perpetrators (specifically, men who batter women), have been found in study after study to commit a far higher rate of incest than non-battering men do.

You can read a review of many studies on the subject in Chapter 4 of my book The Batterer as Parent. When there is persuasive evidence of a history of domestic violence, courts should make sure to investigate sexual abuse disclosures, and reports of lower level (not illegal) boundary violations, by that father with even more care and diligence.

* When a child discloses sexual abuse to a parent (by anyone), the parent needs to believe the child and take every possible step to protect her.

It may seem odd that I have to say this, but it is regrettably common for mothers in family courts to be criticized for believing the child, particularly if other systems such as child protection or the family court have declared that they cannot find enough evidence to restrict the father’s visitation. If a mother persists in believing her child, and tries to explain the different ways in which systems failed to make a properly thorough and unbiased investigation, she may have various negative labels attached to her by court personnel or may be threatened with having the child removed from her even if any other responsible parent in her position would also remain concerned, given the facts of the case.

Everything I wrote above remains true if the child making the disclosure is a boy, by the way.
It is my fervent hope that family courts across the continent will take rapid steps to get themselves in alignment with the research and with the published accounts of survivors. A tremendous number of lives are in the balance.

5 reasons why we fall for con artists/ Lovefraud

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mardi-gras-masks

This article was originally posted on Lovefraud

5 reasons why we fall for con artists

Donna Anderson

We discover that our romantic partner is a complete and utter fake.

The proclamations of love, the stories of his or her past — nothing was true. All the money that our partner desperately needed — or promised would buy a life of luxury for the two of us — well, that evaporated into expensive and unnecessary toys, or a secret life with one or more other lovers (targets).

When it finally sinks in that we’ve been conned, the first question we ask of ourselves is, “How could I have been so stupid?”

Followed by, “Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Feeling like chumps, we come down really hard on ourselves. But we aren’t the only ones who are blind to the social predators living among us — our entire society is blind.

The fact that millions of sociopaths live among us is like a giant skeleton in the closet of the human race that nobody wants to talk about. This sets us up to be victimized.

Sociopathic con artists take advantage of this collective and individual blindness. With the skill that comes from practicing their craft from a very young age, they manipulate our empathy and emotions. They use us to accomplish their objectives du jour, whatever they may be.

So here’s why we end up in romantic relationships with sociopathic con artists:

Reason #1 – We don’t know sociopaths exist

Most people think sociopaths are all criminals and deranged serial killers — this isn’t necessarily true. Social predators live among us, and most of them never kill anyone. Still, these people have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

The numbers are staggering. Lovefraud uses the term “sociopath” to cover all social predators — people who would be clinically diagnosed as being antisocial, psychopathic, narcissistic or borderline. If you add up the official estimates of people with these conditions, perhaps 12% of the population — 37 million people in the US — have personality disorders that make them unsuitable to be romantic partners.

And we, as a society, don’t know it.

Reason #2 – We believe people are basically the same

In the United States, from the time we are small children, we are bombarded with messages about fairness, equal opportunity, giving people a chance and tolerance. In school, we learn that we’re all created equal. In church, we learn that we’re all God’s children.

As a result, we believe all people are basically the same, there is good in everyone, and everyone just wants to be loved. Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population for which this simply is not true.

Sociopaths view the world as predators and prey — they are the predators, and everyone else is prey. They are not motivated by love; they are motivated by power and control. These people pursue romantic relationships not for love, but for exploitation.

Reason #3 – Humans are lousy lie detectors

Research shows that people can identify a lie only 53% of the time — not much better than flipping a coin.

All those signs that are supposedly giveaways that someone is lying — like looking away, failing to make eye contact — well, they simply don’t apply when a sociopath is doing the lying.

Sociopaths are expert liars. They spend their whole lives lying. They feel entitled to lie. They lie for the fun of it. In fact, there’s a phenomenon called “duping delight” — sociopaths get a thrill out of staring right into their targets’ eyes and pulling the wool over them.

People who are not liars never see it coming.

Reason #4 – Sociopaths hijack the normal human bonding process

Trust is the glue that holds society together. Trust is so important to the human race that it is programmed into our biology.

A hormone called oxytocin is released in our brain and bloodstream whenever we feel intimacy — emotional or physical. Oxytocin then makes us feel calm, trusting and content, and alleviates fear and anxiety. Nature created this process to make people want to stay together to raise children.

When sociopaths target us for romantic relationships, they either spend a lot of time building what seems to be trust, or they rush us into emotional, physical or sexual intimacy. Either way, they get the oxytocin flowing in our brains, which makes us trust them. They keep piling on the intimacy, and we, to our detriment, keep trusting.

For more information, read Oxytocin, trust and why we fall for psychopaths, on Lovefraud.com.

Reason #5 – The betrayal bond makes it difficult to escape

Once the love bond is in place, the sociopath does things that create fear and anxiety in us — like cheating on us, or taking more and more money.

Contrary to what we might expect, instead of driving us away, this actually makes the bond we feel with the sociopath stronger. It becomes a betrayal bond — a powerful bond that we feel with someone who is destructive to us.

We want desperately to return to the heady experience of the beginning of our involvement, which was filled with what we believed was love and affection. We keep waiting for the sociopath to make the situation right.

But he or she never does. The exploitation continues.

Betrayal bonds are highly addictive and difficult to break. That’s why we stay in the relationship far longer than we should — until we can no longer escape the fact that we’ve been conned.

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