Archive for the ‘Control’ Category
“The mother has to comply with a court order and send her child to be alone with an abusive, violent man.
This is torture for her, and for the child, when they find themselves in a frightening situation, taken from their protector and forced into contact with a man, whom they may have witnessed seeing him beat their mother or who has been abusive to them.
This is abuse by Family Court.”
“Domestic Abuse by Proxy, Family Court Abuse: Failing to Protect Children and Mothers” is a powerful and informative video released on Youtube by Family Court Abuse (UK).
This video describes how abusive ex partners will use the family court system, and manipulate the legal process, to gain control, and inflict further harm of their victims. Abusers also seek custody to cause the most damage to a former partner; by attacking her love, and maternal bond, with her child. An abuser attacks by taking a child away from their mother, and destroying their relationship. Children are also used as pawns by an abuser in other ways designed to terrorize, hurt and harass their victim.
The legal system is a minefield for an abused woman.The process of how the family court system can perpetrate and enable domestic violence to continue is also described in this video. Family court judges and professionals often lack training in domestic violence, and do not recognize the abuse. Or, the judge and professionals have been so indoctrinated in parental alienation theories, and other prejudices, that they mistake signs of abuse for parental alienation syndrome and discredit legitimate concerns. Or see the mother’s attempts to get help as a sign that something is “wrong” with her. Domestic abuse advocates and experts are rarely consulted by the court system, and a judge has the discretion to disallow or ignore evidence presented by a mother (evidence of abuse, and expert testimony is commonly discredited by judges after a mother has been falsely labelled). Obtaining legal representation is also difficult, most women go to court without an attorney because they can not afford one. An abuser with an attorney has a powerful advantage over her, and gains an ally in the legal system.
The lives of children are also endangered when Courts work to give an identified abuse custody and/or unsupervised visits. The video mentions that the Courts order “more contact than would be usual, to enable the child and father to ‘quickly establish a relationship’“. This means there is less scrutiny, and less care given to how these decisions are being made, and the effect on the child involved.
This video will be familiar to those who have experienced family court, and offers validation to what you have endured. It is also a powerful teaching tool to educate, and raise awareness, of how the family court process fails to protect victims of domestic violence and their children.
Note: The end of the video offers suggestions on how to raise awareness of family court injustices by using social media as a platform. PMA International does not offer legal advice or professional services. Reposting this video does not constitute advice or suggestion of any kind. Please use discretion, and take reasonable care, when making decisions. If you need help or legal assistance, please contact a qualified professional and/or organization.
“The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.” Dr Childress
I am working as hard and as fast as I can to bring this nightmare of “parental alienation” to an end – for all children and for all families. My next blog post will be significant in moving our fight for your children forward. In the meantime, I was asked by a targeted parent if I could write a letter to the children explaining things to them. So I did.
For a variety of reasons, I can’t actually write a specific letter to your specific child in your specific family. But I can write a general letter to a general child in a general family. And this is what I did.
I wanted to speak directly to the child (an adolescent between the ages of 13-17), so I had to make four versions of the letter, one for a daughter who is rejecting her mom (A Letter to Mary) and one for a son who is rejecting his mom (A Letter to Jason), one for a daughter who is rejecting her dad (A Letter to Jessica), and one for a son who is rejecting his dad (A Letter to John). They’re all the same, but it simplifies the use of pronouns. I think of this as my “Letter to Mary” series, since this is the one I started with.
Until we can protect your children we cannot ask them to reveal their authenticity. They have to survive in the psychologically dangerous upside-down world of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, where night is day, and black is white, where truth and reality shift with the needs of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
Fundamentally, though, the problem for the child is a misidentified and unprocessed grief response (the famed attachment theorist, John Bowlby, referred to it as “disordered mourning”). The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.”
From Kernberg (1975): “The [narcissist’s] need to control the idealized objects, to use them in attempts to manipulate and exploit the environment and to “destroy potential enemies,” is linked with inordinate pride in the “possession” of these perfect objects totally dedicated to the patient.” (p. 33)
From Kernberg (1975) “They [narcissists] are especially deficient in genuine feelings of sadness and mournful longing; their incapacity for experiencing depressive reactions is a basic feature of their personalities. When abandoned or disappointed by other people they may show what on the surface looks like depression, but which on further examination emerges as anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes, rather than real sadness for the loss of a person whom they appreciated.” (p. 229)
In normal-range divorces, parents help their children understand and process the children’s sadness and grief surrounding the divorce. This is what parents are supposed to do. But the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent has no empathy for the child, and instead manipulates the child’s authentic sadness into anger, into blaming and resentment toward the other parent in order to exploit the child’s anger as a weapon against the other parent.
About the only thing I might be able to do for the child caught in the loyalty conflict imposed by a narcissistic/(borderline) parent is to do for the child what a normal-range parent should do, help the child understand his or her authentic hurt, and sadness, and grief beneath the anger and blaming. So that’s what I tried to do in these letters to the children. It may not be successful and it may not help. But it’s the most I can do until we are able to protect the children from the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
The four versions of the letter are up on my website, down at the very bottom. Direct links are:
A Letter to Mary (mother/daughter):
A Letter to Jason (mother/son):
A Letter to Jessica (father/daughter):
A Letter to John (father/son):
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. New York: Aronson.
There were times when I wished he would hit me.
You know, a nice punch to my face. That way, I could have walked to my neighbors and said, “Look! Look what he did! Please help me!” But with me, as with many other women, it wasn’t that simple. It seldom ever is.
Domestic violence has existed as long as humans have walked the Earth. The majority of abusers are men. Most, if not all, were abused as children in some way, shape or form, and were lacking in affection, self-esteem and good role models. The causes and methods of abuse are many and varied just like the people involved.
Abuse of any type is often a byproduct of years of low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, being abused oneself and a million other things all tied together in a vicious knot. It’s a complex and sometimes difficult situation to read.
So too are the circumstances for the victim. No one stays with someone who abuses them physically or verbally because they like to be abused. Most have come to this point because of childhood trauma, a longterm relationship with someone who is an expert at controlling and manipulating their victim, and numerous other issues with self-worth.
The reasons for abuse are almost always the same: abusers need to have power over someone else to help them feel better about their own deficiencies, low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
Women who are in abusive relationships will often defend their abusers and stay in the relationship long past the time they should have left. It is often the female who blames herself and keeps trying to make things work. Sometimes it’s the subtle mind games of the controlling, manipulative partner that cause a woman to doubt herself and her feelings.
This is often difficult for those who have never been in an abusive relationship to understand, but there are many reasons for this. Some are easily understood, some not so much.
Sometimes it is low self-esteem that holds them in place. My therapist kept asking me one question at the end of every session: “Why did you stay?” I kept answering, “I didn’t want to hurt him.” Then one day, it hit me like a brick. Because of past traumas reinforced by my relationship, I didn’t feel like I deserved any better.
Sometimes it is simply fear that holds them in place. It could be fear of retaliation from the partner should they seek help, or, especially in cases involving verbal abuse and controlling behavior, they feel no one will believe them.
Many times women have taken a stand and decided to leave only to have the abuser decide to end it for all concerned. There have been many cases of this resulting in the death of the woman, and sometimes the children, family and friends, before the abuser turns the weapon on himself—finally putting an end to the vicious cycle.
Many think that that non-physical abuse is not as harmful or dangerous. This can be a huge mistake. Unlike the women who have been physically abused, there are no outward signs of mistreatment. All the wounds and scars are deep within the psyche—branded in the soul of the abused.
Verbal abuse, and the controlling, manipulative behavior that goes along with it, are the silent killers. Instead of taking a physical life, these abusers will kill a woman’s spirit slowly and painfully. Those who are adept at manipulation do this without anyone imagining the truth of the situation. Outwardly they may appear as the “perfect couple.” Inwardly the woman is in tremendous emotional pain and turmoil. She may not trust her own judgment any longer and may think that this is just how things are meant to be.
The signs and symptoms are many and varied, but they all share the same core issues. There are some subtle warning signs to look for. They include, but are not limited to the following:
A woman who is overly critical of herself and always defending her partner.
Someone who never socializes without her spouse or partner being present.
An overbearing partner, or one who treats their partner like a child.
Partner is constantly correcting or showing possessiveness with their actions.
And the obvious: unexplained or suspicious bruises, burns and broken bones.
As a society, we must learn to see and recognize these signs and reach out to help in whatever way we can. It may be nothing more than just assuring them that you’re there if they need to talk and really listening if they do so. And if at all possible, let them know they have a place to stay should they need to leave in a hurry. Keep the Domestic Violence Hotline number handy in case they want to call. Sometimes this is all you can do.
We can all learn to listen better, to see more clearly when someone in our life needs help. Sometimes all these women need in order to seek help is non-judgment, kindness, and presence. Chances are they will open up if they feel safe with you.
There comes a time in all types of these relationships when the victim can’t bear it anymore. She must walk away and seek help. Simply having a friend to go to at such a time can be a lifesaver in every sense of the word.
Leaving a long-term abusive relationship is not as easy as most would think. Women tend to blame themselves and keep hoping that things will improve. If someone comes to you for help, please don’t judge. Accept the fact that things are not always as they seem, and reach out a helping hand.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. (Filmed at TEDxRainier.)
“Dealing with Control Freaks” by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D, R-CSW
This was originally posted by Madelaine J. Watson, ( link above)
Dr. Thomas J. Schumacher is a pshychotherapist who specializes in individual, couple, and marital counseling. He maintains practices in New York City and Long Island..
Most all of you have had to contend with control freaks. These are those people who insist on having their way in all interactions with you. They wish to set the agenda and decide what it is you will do and when you will do it. You know who they are – they have a driving need to run the show and call the shots. Lurking within the fabric of the conversation is the clear threat that if you do not accede to their needs and demands, they will be unhappy.
Certainly, it’s natural to want to be in control of your life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well, when you literally can’t rest until you get your way … you have a personality disorder. While it’s not a diagnostic category found in the DSM IV (the therapist’s bible for diagnostic purposes) an exaggerated emphasis on control is part of a cluster of behaviors that can be labeled as compulsive generally characterized by perfectionism, orderliness, workaholic tendencies, an inability to make commitments or to trust others and a fear of having their flaws exposed. Deep down, these people are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. Control freaks take the need and urge to control to new heights, causing others stress so they can maintain a sense of order. These people are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity, and anger. They’re very critical of themselves their lover and their friends, but underneath that perfect outfit and great body is a mountain of unhappiness. Let’s look at what makes control freaks tick, what makes you want to explode, and some ways to deal with them.
The Psychological Dynamics That Fuel a Control Freak
The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety – though control freaks seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they can’t stand imperfection. Needless to say, they are difficult to live with, work with and/or socialize with.
Bottom Line: In the process of being controlling, their actions say, “You’re incompetent” and “I can’t trust you.” (this is why you hate them). Remember, the essential need of a control freak is to defend against anxiety. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are attempting to cope with fairly substantial levels of their own anxiety. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.
Unfortunately for you, the control freak has a lot at stake in prevailing. While trying to hold a conversation and engage them in some way, their emotional stakes involve their own identity and sense of well-being. Being in control gives them the temporary illusion and sense of calmness. When they feel they are prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of them. The control freak is very frightened. Part of their strategy is to induce that fear in you with the subtle or not so subtle threat of loss. Since the emotional stakes are so high for them, they need to assert themselves with you to not feel so helpless. To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed. When a control freak cannot control, they go through a series of rapid phases. First they become angry and agitated, then they become panicky and apprehensive, then they become agitated and threatening, and then they lapse into depression and despair.Repetition Compulsion
Control freaks are also caught in the grip of a repetition compulsion. They repeat the same pattern again and again in their attempt to master their anxiety and cope with the trauma they feel. Characteristically, the repetition compulsion takes on a life of its own. Rather than feel calmer and therefore have a diminished need to be controlling, their behavior locks them into the same pattern in an insatiable way. Successes at controlling do not register on their internal scoreboard. They have to fight off the same threat again and again with increasing rigidity and intransigence.
Two Types of Control Freaks
Type 1 Control Freaks: The Type 1 control freak is strictly attempting to cope with their anxiety in a self absorbed way. They just want to feel better and are not even very aware of you. You will notice and hear their agitation and tentativeness. They usually do not make much eye contact when they are talking to you.
Type 2 Control Freaks: The Type 2 control freak is also trying to manage their anxiety but they are very aware of you as opposed to the Type 1 control freak. The Type 2 needs to diminish you to feel better. Their mood rises as they push you down. They do not just want to prevail; they also need to believe that they have defeated you. They need you to feel helpless so they will not feel helpless. Their belief is that someone must feel helpless in any interchange and they desperately do not want it to be them. The Type 1 needs control. The Type 2 needs to control you.
Some Coping Strategies
1) Stay as calm as you can. Control freaks tend to generate a lot of tension in those around them. Try to maintain a comfortable distance so that you can remain centered while you speak with them. Try to focus on your breathing. As they get more agitated and demanding, just breath slowly and deeply. If you stay calm and focused, this often has the effect of relaxing them as well. If you get agitated you have joined the battle on their terms.
2) Speak very slowly. Again the normal tendency is to gear up and speak rapidly when dealing with a control freak. This will only draw you into the emotional turmoil and you will quickly be personalizing what is occurring.
3) Be very patient. Control freaks need to feel heard. In fact, they do not have that much to say. They have a lot to say if you engage them in a power struggle. If you just listen carefully and ask good questions that indicate that you have heard them, then they will quickly resolve whatever the issue is and calmly move on.
4) Pay attention to your induced reactions. What is this person trying to emotionally induce in you? Notice how you feel when speaking with them. It will give you important clues as to how to deal with them more effectively and appropriately.
5) Initially, let them control the agenda. But you control the pacing. If you stay calm and speak slowly, you will be in command of the pacing of the conversation.
6) Treat them with kindness. Within most control freaks is a good measure of paranoia. They are ready to get angry and defend against what they perceive is a controlling hostile world. If you treat them with respect and kindness, their paranoia cannot take root. You will jam them up.
7) Make demands on them– especially when dealing with the type 2 control freak. Ask them to send you something or do something for you. By asking something of them, you will be indicating that you are not intimidated or diminished by their behavior patterns.
8) Remember an old but poignant Maxim: “Those who demand the most often give the least.”
Keep in mind that control freaks are not trying to hurt you – they’re trying to protect themselves. Remind yourself that their behavior toward you isn’t personal; the compulsion was there before they met you, and it will be their forever unless they get help. Understand that they are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.
In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid being bulldozed by a controlling lover, boss or friend. When you are caught up in a truly destructive/controlling attachment, the best response may be to walk out. You have to understand that whatever you do will have a limited effect. These people are angry and afraid to let go of you.
Hence, it is your job to let go of them, protect yourself in the process… and grow.
This article was originally posted on Out Of The Fog ( link below)
Scapegoating – Singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.
Picking a Target
Everyone has some relationships that feel less comfortable, natural or rewarding than the others. Some people simply annoy us more, tire us more or challenge us more than others.
For example, many parents struggle to show equitable treatment to their children, who usually have different interests, abilities and behavior patterns, just as employers typically find a broad spectrum of abilities and attitudes within their staff. Teachers find they aren’t able to relate to every student in the same way. Some relationships just take more work than others. That’s life. It’s not possible or practical to treat everyone as if they were exactly the same, all the time.
Differential treatment becomes dysfunctional, however, when it translates into actions such as inequitable systems of reward and punishment or inequitable access or denial of access to opportunities, resources and liberties. It becomes a form of abuse when one child, employee or member of a group is singled out for special punishment, undeserved negative treatment or arbitrarily denied some benefit available to the others.
People with Personality Disorders are particularly susceptible to showing dysfunctional differential treatment because they sometimes allow their feelings to override facts. This means their feelings become so intense that what they feel about a person or situation can receive more of their attention or take a higher priority than what they know about that person or situation. This can then lead to distortions in how they interpret a given situation which are then used to rationalize or justify the way they feel and the way they behave as a result.
Scapegoating can occur in all aspects of life, however, it is most clearly demonstrated and can be most destructive when the person showing favoritism has some form of power or authority over others, such as in parent-child, teacher-student and boss-subordinate relationships.
In the US workplace, various laws such as The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Pay Act, The Age Discrimination Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and The Civil Rights Act of 1991, prohibit discrimination based on ethnic origin, appearance, gender, religion and disability. Other countries have also passed similar legislation. However, these laws only protect against favoritism which can be objectively verified in a court of law and where an objective criterion for the discriminatory behavior (for example refusing to serve members of a particular ethnic group in a restaurant) can be demonstrated. Negative treatment based on a person’s subjective “gut-feel” judgment about someone’s personality, character or appearance is much harder to regulate or prove in court.
The term “scapegoat” has its origins in the traditional Jewish feast of Yom Kippur – in which the transgressions of the people were ceremonially transferred by the High Priest onto the head of a sacrificial goat – the “escape goat” – which was then banished into the wilderness, taking the sins of the people with it
Scapegoating is the opposite of favoritism as it involves punishments rather than rewards, although they are essentially similar kinds of dysfunction. They both involve judgments which are not based on objective ideas of fairness. Other names for scapegoating include reverse-favoritism, bullying, prejudice, discrimination, bias and partiality.
What Scapegoating in the Home Looks Like
A parent who systematically singles out one child for blame when things go wrong in the family.
A parent who punishes one child more severely than their siblings.
A parent who assigns undesirable responsibilities and chores etc. to just one child in the family.
A parent who routinely speaks more negatively to or about one child in the family.
A parent who refuses to intervene or take notice when other siblings bully, hurt or abuse one child in the family.
What Scapegoating in the Workplace Looks Like
A teacher who gives poorer grades to one particular student than their work merits.
A boss who routinely assigns less pleasant or desirable tasks to one employee while giving the more desirable jobs to others.
A boss who covers up or shields other employees from responsibility or accountability while allowing one to face the consequences.
A boss who denies access or time and attention to one employee while giving extensive access to others.
How it Feels
Children who grow up as the scapegoat in a family are likely to develop trust issues, resentment and low self-esteem. Children often blame themselves for such treatment and look for rationalizations for the way they are treated. They may begin to feel worthless, ugly, stupid or incompetent. They may struggle academically and avoid competitive situations or opportunities. Adult children who have been scapegoated may struggle with explosive anger, pessimism and resentment in relationships, employment, and friendships.
Some children who are victims of scapegoating may try to prove their worth by becoming over-achievers, often to the detriment of their own aspirations and interests in life.
Children who are victims of parental scapegoating often seek validation outside of the home can be vulnerable to predatory groups and individuals who seek to take advantage of them. Religious cults, criminal gangs, terrorist organizations, thieves and violent or sexual predators often lure their victims by initially offering validation to people who have low self-worth.
What NOT to Do
Don’t blame yourself or assume that you did anything to deserve the way a person with a Personality Disorder treats you.
Don’t accept scapegoating as normal or allow it just to “go with the flow”.
Don’t persecute someone else who is being scapegoated. That is participating in abuse.
Don’t ignore it when someone else is being scapegoated. That is condoning abuse.
Don’t try to justify your worth by becoming an over-achiever. Don’t work yourself harder to earn the love of a parent or family member. Real love is a free gift; it doesn’t require people to jump through hoops.
Don’t immediately trust everybody or every organization who offers you validation. Save your trust for people who will treat you well and don’t have a hidden agenda of their own.
Don’t waste your time and energy trying to change another person’s opinion of you. As painful as it is to admit, you have almost no power or control over another person’s thoughts, words and actions.
Don’t retaliate or try to hurt a person who scapegoats you. Try, as best you can, to disengage from them.
What TO Do
End the conversation and remove yourself from the room and the house if possible whenever anybody treats you badly.
Call the police if anybody physically hurts you, threatens or bullies you. If you are young, report it to a responsible caring adult.
Try to base your own opinion of yourself based on your merits – your own unique strengths and weaknesses – not on other people’s emotions.
Speak up for what is right when you see injustice. Say it once and then don’t say it again or argue about it. Agree to disagree if necessary. Just saying it once can sometimes help.
Get support. Find validating and healthy friendships and relationships where people will appreciate your worth and encourage you to be the best that you can be.
If you are in an employment situation, you might want to try to find an alternate position or another group or employer.
If you are the recipient of inequitable treatment, politely decline the favor and request inclusion of your peers.
For More Information & Support…
If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.
Support Forum – Read real stories. Ask questions.