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The Invisible Domestic Violence no one Talks about./ Elephant

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http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/02/the-invisible-domestic-violence-no-one-talks-about/

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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

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“Dealing with Control Freaks” by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D, R-CSW

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http://watsoncommonthreads.blogspot.com/2013/07/dealing-with-control-freaks-by-thomas-j.html

“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.

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Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

March 7, 2015 at 6:47 am

Deep Insights into Narcissistic Parents: Going Behind Their Controlling Behavior and Mapping out Its Long Term Consequences

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This article was originally posted on Positive Parenting-Ally.com ( link below)
http://www.positive-parenting-ally.com/narcissistic-parents.html

A Description of the Archetypical Narcissistic Parent
– Recognize This?

What are narcissistic parents?

Well, I think most of us have actually already encountered one or two parents that could probably be labelled narcissistic to a more or less degree.

Here’s the archetypical description of these kinds of toxic parents:

Imagine yourself being present at one of your kids’ sports activities. For instance at the dance studios or soccer field sidelines.

You now take your time to look around at the other parents.

Now, the narcissist parents may ones that at first seem positively and enthusiastically engaged in their kids’ performances.

Ok, being involved in your kids is good. So what’s the problem?

Well, at closer look, it may feel as these parents’ aim is less to support their children and more about wanting to make sure that their children’s skills and abilities are duly noticed and properly approved of.

In other words, it seems as if their engagement is more about ensuring externally recognized performance than being joyfully involved with their kids!

To enhance the approval of their child, these parents will typically be calling attention to their child (and thereby themselves) by overemphasizing and praising their achievements.

Another thing that is characteristic is this: Narcissistic parents tend to be very organized and seeming to have their children’s future all mapped out.

They fill their children’s calendar with various activities focussed on improving their skills in various areas and immerse themselves into their children’s lives whenever possible e.g. by running every event or sitting on every council.

Why do narcissists seem to put so much focus on their children?

Well, it all comes down to needs!

Read on!

A Narcissistic Parent Puts His or Her Own Needs for Recognition Before the Basic Needs of His or Her Child
At first glace, living the life of a narcissistic parent seems like a true self sacrifice.

Everything is about the child and it looks as if the parent gives up a lot of adult pleasures to be involved in their children’s life and activities.

However, as it happens the child is not an end, the child is a means for something else. Attention, among other things.

The self sacrifice is not actually a sacrifice! The self sacrifice is a self written, fictional story that aims at justifying the egoic need that lies behind the ‘self-less’ actions.

You see, the child becomes a means for the parent to live out his or her own unfulfilled needs. Often these unfulfilled needs go all the way back to their own childhood.

Also without being consciously aware of it, they place a huge responsibility upon their children’s shoulders.

The child’s job is to live out the lifelong dream that they themselves never got around to or had the opportunity to.

Even though narcissistic parents (or toxic parents as they are also called) often love their children and perhaps think that by pacing their children they are paving the way for the children’s future success, their primary motive is satisfaction of their own needs of external recognition. Not the needs of their children!

Narcissistic Parents Mold Children to Fit Their Own Ideal Image
Hands molding a cup of clay. How a narcissist would mold their kids.

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A newborn is completely dependent on his parents to meet his most basic physical needs.

However, the narcissistic parent will attempt to perpetuate this dependence to the point where the child is not permitted to develop his or her own identity but is rather forced to become ‘one with’ the narcissist until there is no perceived difference (on the part of the narcissistic parent) between the parent and the child.

In this way the child is considered to be part of the narcissist parent.

From the parent’s unconscious point of view, the child becomes an instrumental extension of himself or herself.

The child becomes the parent’s source of “narcissistic supply” and the means of satisfying the parent’s high need for attention.

These children are molded and shaped to realize their parent’s dreams, goals, and fantasies. It is ‘life by proxy’.

A List of Archetypical Narcissistic Traits
The character traits of these kinds of toxic parents may be seen in a hundred different ways and to list all these traits would take several pages and an endless amount of your time.

However, there are a few major factors that generally describe the typical narcissistic parent.

1) Narcissist Parents Take Ownership of Their Children’s Successes
As mentioned, the narcissistic parent feels deprived of recognition and lets this unfulfilled need guide their actions.

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In other words, the goal is personal attention and external recognition.

If the child doesn’t live up to these unspoken needs, the parents may react with quite a large emotional scale ranging from contempt, rage, pouting, silence to emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse, at the extreme end.

Basically, there is an unwritten, one-way agreement from parents to child, and when the parents feel that children are reneging on this agreement, they will feel they have been unjustly treated and betrayed.

In their mind they have ‘sacrificed’ everything for their children’s successes, remember!

However, when the children are successful, the parents tend to take credit for their children’s successes.

For example, if a child is congratulated for an award or recognition, the narcissistic parent might respond with something like, “He gets his academic ability from me. When I was his age I always had the highest grade in the class.”

Or, “I spend hours at the hockey arena, get up early every morning to take him to practice, and work extra hours to make sure he always has the best equipment.”

It sounds good, but what they are really saying is, “I have sacrificed my entire life for my child. They wouldn’t be where they are if it wasn’t for me, therefore, I am the one that really deserves the accolades.”

In some cases, this can even go so far that the parents become envious or jealous of the children’s recognitions and accomplishments.

Needless to say, this may cause a lot of confusion since these children are simply pursuing the goals outlined by their parents, yet they receive conflicting emotions when they realize success.

2) Narcissist Parents Struggle with Empathy and Emotional Connection
The personal needs of these parents are so overwhelming and dominant, that there is little space for the needs of others.

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This means that they have tremendous difficulty with tuning in to their children’s thoughts and feelings. Their own feelings and unmet needs simply overshadow everything.

Think about it! When you find yourself in emotional turmoil how much are you able to not only feel other people but also satisfy their emotional needs? Not much!

According to statistics, narcissist parents were most likely raised by narcissists who were unable to give them the unconditional love they needed.

As a result, when these children have children of their own, they tend to perpetuate the cycle because they are constantly focused on their own unmet needs.

3) Narcissists Often Use Emotional Blackmail

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Narcissistic parents can be indulgent and very affectionate as long as children are obedient. However, they might also become angry when faced with disobedience.

The showing of love is conditioned on how good the children make the parents feel, and this inconsistency or unpredictability tends to create emotional insecurity and co-dependence.

The parent needs the child in order to feel good. And the other way around the child becomes responsible if the parent feels bad.

Children become confused by the vacillation between approval and punishment, and these mixed signals may cause feelings of betrayal because the same person who gives them love and stability is also the one who takes it away.

Very unbalanced narcissist parents will often be engaged in criticizing their children and then justifying these actions by saying that they are just trying to help because they ‘know what is best’.

They tend to make demeaning comments and might use favoritism or comparison between siblings or friends as a form of manipulation. They will constantly exalt one child and list all their good points with the implication that another child is unworthy or does not measure up.

As adults, children raised by such toxic parents may feel like they have to earn love. That love is dependent on something else, like their achievements.

Because of the unstable emotional climate in their childhood, as adults they fear abandonment if they do not perform according to expectations.

In order to ensure that they are needed, they often perceive their primary role to be ‘taking care’ of their spouse, partner, parent, friend, or employer.

4) Narcissistic Parents Must Always Be in Control

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Parents with narcissistic personalities exercise controlling behavior by telling their children how they should feel, how they should behave, and what decisions they should make.

The result may be that these children never really develop their own interests because they are always being told what their preferences should be. In this way the space for children’s autonomy is very little.

As children grow, the natural desire is to pursue the development of their personality, independence, and boundaries.

However, independence is a threat to a narcissist parent because the consequence is that they will not be needed anymore. Remember, children are the source of narcissistic supply or self-esteem.

In an attempt to maintain status quo, narcissistic parents might resort to various types of controlling behavior and control mechanisms in order to enforce compliance and prevent autonomy.

Control Mechanisms and Controlling Behavior
There are several control mechanisms that narcissist parents might employ to have their children meet their needs.

1) Guilt Driven Control:
This kind of control says, “I have given my life for you. I have sacrificed everything for you.”

It creates a sense of obligation in children and makes them feel as if they ‘owe’ their parents and must show their appreciation by making them happy or complying with their wishes.

2) Co-Dependent Control:
This kind of control says, “I need you. I cannot face life without you.”

Children are often prevented from having their own relationships or friendships because it threatens their status in the parents’ lives.

In this way, children come to feel responsible for their parents’ happiness and well-being and are easily manipulated through guilt.

3) Goal Driven Control:
This kind of control says, “We must work together to achieve a common goal.”

Unfortunately these goals are usually the dreams and passions of the parents and children are simply a way for parents to vicariously realize their unfulfilled needs.

Children feel like they will disappoint their parents or let them down if they do not live up to expectations, and believe that achieving the goal will earn them the love and acceptance they so strongly desire.

4) Explicit Control:
Often parents with narcissistic tendencies will use more subtle or less obvious means of control and manipulation, but some parents will very explicitly say, “Obey me or I will punish you.”

Children are expected to do what they are told and behave according to the rules or they will risk anger, silence, guilt, shame, or violence.

5) Love Withdrawal Control:
This kind of control says, “You are worthy of my love because you behave according to my expectations.”

Parents are loving as long as children allow complete control but will withdraw that love when children refuse to obey.

Children are hesitant to express their feelings for fear of love withdrawal so they bury or deny their needs, resulting in a lack of self-awareness or independence.

Basically, to earn love they find it necessary to become whoever their parents want them to be.

6) Emotional Incest Control:
Narcissistic parents will often use their children to fulfill needs that are not being met from other relationships in their lives.

In fact, children are often expected to deal with adult issues and are put in the middle of disputes that pit one parent against another.

This kind of control says, “You are my true love, my only passion, the most important person in my life, and together we can stand against the world.”

This forces the child to make difficult decisions. How can he take his father’s side when his mother needs him, or how can he defend his mother when his father is constantly feeding him negative or demeaning thoughts about her?

Two Possible Scenarios for Children with Unresolved Issues Because of Narcissist Parents

Sadly, children of narcissists rarely have their own emotional needs met, and if the issue goes unresolved, one of two scenarios typically results:

These children will become parents with narcissistic traits themselves, using their own children as a means of attempting to fulfill their unmet needs, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Or, they will become what is called an ‘inverted narcissist’ or a ‘covert narcissist’. In this case, they remain the codependent and will actually seek out relationships with narcissists, despite the abuse they may experience.

Fortunately some children of narcissistic parents do manage to break the narcissist circle or the dependency pattern and become the creators in their own lives.

There are many resources out there to help adults recover from narcissistic abuse, for instance the self help group Adults Recovering from Narcissistic Parents or blogs with personal stories

Unconditional vs. Conditional Love
The approach of unconditional parenting or the unconditional positive regard focuses on complete full acceptance of children irrelevant of their behavior, achievements or personality.

The goal of this is to support the child’s sense of self and pave the way for the child to realize his or her own full potential without him or her being afraid of failing or disappointing his or her parents in the process.

The goal of unconditional parenting is thus to install the belief that love doesn’t have to earned or worked for.

As a child, you are simply loved because you exist!

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Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

December 6, 2014 at 9:48 am

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