Posted By: Vanilla Abuse - 06/13/15 07:26 AM
Welcome to the new thread about abuse.

This thread has been created so that the effects of abuse on an R and the interaction with DB can be fully discussed. The origin of the thread is because several posters have been subject to abuse within their R.

It can take time, effort and patience to recognise abuse within an R. In particular the abuse suffered which is systematic and damaging to an R arises from personality issues within an abuser.

This DB forum is not an abuse forum and there are many other sites which will help with establishing abuse and helping with the complex interactions that occur. IRL considerable additional resources may be needed to counter abuse.

I speak here for myself and nothing said by me is intended to be endorsed by the board. I am not a vet or a moderator just a DB poster who has been subject to considerable abuse in her R. Nor am I qualified as a counsellor, merely qualified by experience.

If by reading the threads then you recognise an abuse pattern in your R then that is worthy of further considerable thought and discussion. If abuse is recognised and can be acknowledged then it can be addressed. If you sense that you are the abuser then stop and obtain help. Abuse will not assist your R to recover.

Compulsion, addiction (substance as well as behavioural) add a further complex dimension to R recovery and will also need addressing. Any activity if taken to excess will interfere with an R. Depression and other factors may also require treatment. There can be abuse factors in R relationships with compulsives and addicts.

Using the label of abuse in an R can also interrupt the recovery of that R. We may also discuss in the thread the types and levels of abuse. Primarily there is concern that abuse in some cases is fatal to an R.

Finally if in any doubt about safety in an R because of abuse or otherwise, first and foremost move to a position of safety.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 07:47 AM
What is abuse?

As I understand abuse, It's often easier to discuss that which abuse is not- it isn't about anger or aggression.

Abuse is about control.

Abusers abuse because it rewards and maintains control. It garners resources to the abuser to allow them to continue their behaviour and to bolster their flagging self confidence and ego.

I have observed three main ways abuse works, firstly there is the abuser who abuses as a lifelong pattern of abuse, this is sometimes referred to as systematic abuse. it is the way they interact with the world and with their main relationships. They may also have personality disorders, a colloquial expression is mental and physical "terrorists". Others abuse because they have hit a crisis in their lives midlife or other, this is situational abuse. They are in an A and wish it to continue. Finally there is reactive abuse, the target reacts back to an abuser by creating abuse patterns, in my own case I called this part of me "screaming banshee".

Certain abuse patterns particularly systemic ones have a lifelong component and may require intensive treatment. In my case as the target of such abuse IC, twelve steps, DB and attendance on an abuse manangement and recovery course.

I also know that intoxication (alcohol and substance) can intensify abuse and abuses may use this an excuse for the abuse. I could not help it the *substance* made me. There is a choice to manage the substance, and abuse is targeted at close R members and not generally. If Most Rs can be managed without abuse then substance use is no excuse for abusive behaviour.

Awareness is the key.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:01 AM
The original thread which started this one is in Zeldas series

originating thread

The following posters advised they were comfortable with their sitches to be included here:

Vanillas threads

Types of abuse suffered by V: verbal, emotional, financial, sexual and intimidation (not physical)

Zeldas thread

Scherman's thread

Other posters who have acknowledged abuse in their threads are Greengrass and RosaLinda.

Cadet and Job thank you for your support in opening this thread. I trust you will correct if I am off point.

Thank you


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:27 AM
Selection of original postings

Originally Posted By: Sherman333
Its a tough subject. But I'm thinking that giving search terms would make the most amount of sense... So when someone recognizes a DBer with facing abuse they could be steered to the thread and that could point them to other resources to help them understand/deal with what they're facing.

I know my situation happened gradually over time and that it is repetitive with the STBXW. She's done it all her life and will continue to do it. I don't think I'd have recognized the abuse when it started... it was subtle. Blatant by the time things were over though.

Originally Posted By: Calibri
I just wanted to say Zelda, that I hear you and what you're trying to say.

Abuse is one of those things, that it doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. Abuse covers a broad spectrum. And that [censored] because there isn't a one size fits all approach.

AT the beginning of my sitch, I wouldn't have classified my H's anger towards me as abuse. I just thought it was years of pent up [censored] finally coming out. It didn't hit me until I was talking in a (rare) joint counseling session with him that what he was doing to me was verbally abusive and that it had to stop. Being called out like that shook H to the core -- and it caused him to exam a lot of things. It eventually lead to him getting help and as a result, receiving a mental illness diagnosis.

And I'm left with the question - was the verbal abuse a symptom of the illness triggering, or was it always there? I don't know. I don't know if I will ever know. *shrugs*

In my case, the abuse, in some cosmic effed up way -- helped. Not me. But rather my Husband. And I would like to believe that he's going to be better later down the road for the discovery of it.

I think perhaps developing a link to recognizing signs of abuse (mental, physical, verbal, controlling, etc) can be extremely helpful -- especially if the new people take the time to read the links.

Just my .02.


I think this is a great topic to think tank and explore, as a group.

Originally Posted By: Zelda09
Feel free to hijack, I did not start this thread to discuss my situation personally.

I think there are some reliable sources on the web, which detail warning signs and signs of verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional. It may be helpful to put it all in black-and-white, like a cheat sheet. It is always so clear in hindsight, and excusable in the moment.

Especially if it can be attributed to anything else! Like teasing, like MLC, the list goes on. When you love someone, you wanted to be fixable, you wanted to be anything else.

At the end of the day, it does not matter if it is personality disorders, mental illness, any number of things, that once someone recognizes the signs are there, it will still require a lot of work with a professional, and a strong support system.

Originally Posted By: Cadet
Originally Posted By: Zelda09
Cadet, with all due respect…

There are forums here on infidelity, depression, MLC. Abusive marriages does not deserve its place here?

This would have been helpful to me. Someghing, anywhere on this board to say sometimes DR is not enough and you're in over your head. What I have been stubborn? Perhaps. There is also a good possibility that I might have considered that abuse was a factor in my relationship. That DB does not Cure all. I may have been able to talk to a different kind of veteran who understood, and I may have sought help and called the thing by the right name earlier.

First of all I would submit that many people on the MLC forum are in abusive marriages.

I am not trying to give you a hard time and I do believe that MWD has a section in the books about not remaining in an abusive marriage.

If a DB Coach was helping you then I believe that they would try to get your focus on to YOU.
Certainly my main objective is to try to help people focus on themselves as that is really what DB is all about.
Controlling the only person that we have any power over.

We are a peer to peer group and none of us are paid professionals, but volunteers that are paying forward the gifts that have been given to us.

In my humble opinion.


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:35 AM
Originally Posted By: CaliGuy
I was thinking the same thing as fas as MLC and abusive marriages.

As far as the DBing/abusive relationship angle. I do think its set up very good to handle it, I do recal there is a part in the book where MWD actually says not to go back into that type of enviornment. Biblacly speaking even the church states one should remove and protect themselves and pray the S changes.

If you detach, GAL, 180 for you, are you not healing? Is that not the ultimate goal to heal and become self dependent rather than to feel obligated like a moth to the flame of an abusive relationship?

Alot of the MLCrs are in this type of situation and if you read enough ... there is a point where the power becomes theirs and they choose to either stand for the M and wait for the WAS to change, or they drop the rope and move on.

Not taking away from what you have gone through but I personally feel the process here, if followed, can easily save a person in any type of relationship by giving them the tools and they become independent regardless of the spouse and their actions.

Originally Posted By: job
Once the new thread has been created, will it remain here in Newcomer's or will it become a separate forum, whereby it can be viewed and posters can click on that particular forum? I think it warrants it's own forum, i.e., like Newcomers, MLC, etc....but that's my opinion.

Here are some of the abuse topics that may and should be discussed:

1. Verbal Abuse
2. Emotional Abuse (social isolation and gaslighting would fall under this category)
3. Physical Abuse
4. Psychological Abuse
5. Sexual Abuse
6. Financial Abuse
7. Digital Abuse
8. Stalking (yes, it's a form abuse, especially when a relationship ends the one party can't accept that it's over and becomes obsessed w/the other party).

When the new thread and/or forum is set up, I will be more than happy to post the information that I have on all of the above topics. I would suggest that each topic have its own thread so that people will have an easy reference to each topic.

Originally Posted By: Zelda09 in response to Scherman

When I came here, I was also searching other websites for information about axis II, abuse...I knew for a long time my STBX was crossing lines but I guess I did not want to think of him as an 'abuser.' I wanted to think I could do something about it DR, or he didn't know any better and that's why he treated me the way he did.

Even when Mozza and Vanilla used that term, I rejected it. Still remember finding out he'd contacted a girlfriend directly and told her to stay away from me (shudder). That's what it took to be able to say this is an abusive person.

I think a forum/thread here addressing some of this can resonate like you said, at least be a starting point. Even Vanilla said she couldn't find anyone talking about it.

And that alone has a way of making someone feel alone.

No longer alone Z!


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:37 AM
Zelda from her own thread:

I am happy to put some work into this.

To echo what V said, ppl do terrible hurtful things to each other. I certainly must have reached the end of my rope and said and done things that would qualify as emotional abuse (screaming banshee anyone?)

Sometimed we are hurt bc these actions are out of a partners selfishness, and sometimes we hurt others out of our selfishness, frustration or flashes of anger. It's human and we feel bad.

Abuse it is not that and there is a 'tool' at work - one that replaces healthy tools - where an abuser systematically degrades, gaslights, isolates and intimidates their partner. That is the behavior I think we need to include a differentiate from depression and MLC, infidelity. It is a very targeted hurt where someone comes into your space, past healthy boundaries.

As I look back at the last seven months, I do wish that there had been something on this forum that said:

"Being faced with losing your love, dreams and partner is incredibly painful. Whether the marriage was healthy or it wasn't. You can be the first to make it healthy, and yourself healthy through DR, but now is a good time to take stock of not only your role and behaviors, but your partners' as well, and the general dynamic of your M.

If you have been dealing with abusive behavior, it is tempting to minimize it along feelings of longing and empathy for your partner, who may have you convinced he/she is a victim.
(Insert list of red flags, abusive definition, behaviors.)

Know that you did not cause any of this, and therefore you cannot control it, reverse it, or fix it. It is possible to change these behaviors if an abuser is genuinely interested in making those changes. Persuading them and educating them may help in the short term, along with drawing boundaries for yourself, but these are rarely lasting changes unless the abuser is personally motivated.

Abuse escalates. These situations never start with a punch on the first date, or even first year together.

If you see these red flags or patterns, you may be tempted to think that your partner is not really an abuser because of all of their other wonderful qualities. However, this does not change the fact that you have recognized some very unhealthy ways your partner controls and hurts you. Personal motivation to change on behalf of the abuser and professional counseling is the only thing that can reverse this behavior. Changes you make through DR may draw your abuser back to you and may temporarily change patterns. But sooner or later, an abusive personality will use the tools they know best. Some people can grow, but the important thing is your safety until trust can be re established.

Divorce Busting and Divorce Remedy is for you at this point. We can all grow and become our best, and learn to be deeply considerate of our partners!

If any of these red flags looked familiar, please do not minimize your experience, make excuses for it, or blame yourself, or imagine how things will be different if you are to change your behavior. Seek the help of a professional and begin examining your boundaries and why you have endured a relationship with this dynamic."

Would I have read this and gone on any different journey? Idk. I remember when I found this site I read it religiously, all the articles. I hoped so fiercely, this man was my soul mate. I loved him and would have done anything to get him back. I remember being willing to compassionately forgive my STBX for flipping me off, telling me to F off, telling me I was this, that, screaming at me, incapable of understanding him...all these things that I first kicked him out of the house for...I thought yes, "he is teething."

I think if we can differentiate abuse from teething, that could be helpful. I had five years of emails, articles I'd sent him about his sbusive ways. Begging him to stop treating me that way, recognize it. Telling him I wouldn't stand for it. So it got more subtle, or longer periods in between. But when I came here, I was so ready to save my M the last thing I wanted to say was, hey I dodged a bullet, good riddance!

I said, he is teething, omg, I can see why he did all that! I can change the dance! None of us want to believe we are being abused and asking for it to come back. Denial is a huge factor. Until someone has been through it, I imsgine it sounds crazy.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:43 AM
By RosaLinda

If this is truly a peer to peer support group, I think there needs to be a place for people to address abuse as abuse. With people that have been there, or have professional training in it. DR still applies.

Originally Posted By: Cadet
I suggest that V and Zelda might want to create a thread on this subject.

It's been my experience that abuse is hard for the abusee to recognize. My ex treated me just like yours did you Zelda, for 38 years ("flipping me off, telling me to F off, telling me I was this, that, screaming at me, incapable of understanding him"). It was not until he REALLY whacked out and went into a mid life crisis and I came to this forum for help, that other posters compassionately helped me to recognize this was abuse. I sort of figured it was all my fault and tried to be be better, but did not know it was abuse because he never struck me and I thought I deserved it. DBing helped me learn to set boundaries, and now I am happily divorced and whole.

A thread on how to recognize abuse and how to deal with it is an awesome idea. Cadet already invited you to start one smile

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 02:53 PM
Vanilla, and all - thank you for your work and input here.

I would like to borrow from the web a very good description on how systematically abusive relationships start.

I do not have experience with MLC, and several here have said that abuse can become situational in those sitches. I think for those of us who had the life-long abuse/control issue that Vanilla describes, you will recognize this -

"Early beginnings

An idyllic opening is part of almost every abusive relationship.
•There are many ways in which the glowing beginning of a relationship with an abusive man can serve to entrap the woman.
•Like any love-struck person, she tells her friends and family what a terrific man he is. After talking so highly of him, she feels embarrassed to reveal his mistreatment when it begins-so she keeps it to herself for a long time.
•She assumes his behavior comes from something that has gone wrong inside of him-what else is she to conclude, given how wonderful he was at first? So she pours herself into figuring out what happened.
•She has a hard time letting go of her own dream; she thought she had found a wonderful man.
•She can’t help wondering if she did something wrong or has some great personal deficit that knocked ended the idyllic beginning. So she tries to find the key problem inside of herself.

Many ask the question: Does an abusive man deliberately plan to become abusive when beginning a relationship?

The differences between a woman falling in love and an abusive man falling in love are as follows:

She is looking for an equal partner to love and be loved by.

He is dreaming of having a woman that meets all of his needs, is beautiful at all times of day and night, has no needs of her own and is in awe of his brilliance and charm. He desires a woman who will cater to him and never complain about anything he does or darken his day with frustrations or unhappiness about her own life. Although abuse of a woman is not the goal, control certainly is. He then finds himself using abuse to gain the control he feels he has the right to.

An abuser is a human being, not an evil monster, but he has a profoundly complex and destructive problem that should not be underestimated.

An abuser’s behavior is primarily conscious-he acts deliberately rather than by accident or by losing control of himself but the underlying thinking that drives his behavior is largely not conscious.

An abuser learns manipulative and controlling behavior from several sources, including key male role models, peers, and pervasive cultural messages. By the time he reaches adulthood, he has a integrated manipulative behavior to such a deep level that he acts largely on automatic. He knows what he is doing but not necessarily why."
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 03:36 PM
Overarching mechanism

Emotional abuse is a continual behaviour pattern which undermines the healthy mental and physical state of another in order to control, it can involve other manipulations and strategies.

It leaves the targets isolated and often unable to identify exactly the cause of the sadness and confusion.

In order to maintain control a cycle develops, cold disinterest followed by promises of love and change. Intermittent reward. Consider examine the concepts of Stockholm Syndrome on Cadets resource thread.

Here are some techniques of abuse:
Withholding, countering, discounting/demeaning/devaluing, dismissing, joking/ blocking, diverting, accusing/blaming, judging/criticing, trivialising, name calling, forgetting, revising/rewriting, ordering, manipulating/lying, denying/negating, anger/aggression, echoing, humiliating, condescending/mockiing

So how do you know if you are being abused?

You are afraid and off balance
You enforce your boundaries and that is ignored
You feel like nothing you do is right
Feel guilty
Walk on egg shells
Avoid public appearances
are subject to shifting sands of expectation
Always cave in
Subject to threats or intimidation
are ignored
Embarrassed or social isolated as a result of your partners actions
Occasionally 'love bombed' or 'groomed' then ignored
Belittled or trashed
The first year or so was loving
The abuse gradually intensified with different behaviours

Try googling the power and control wheel by Kim Eyer
A users believe they have the right to control and get their own way by:
~telling you what to do and expecting obedience
~using force or threats including leaving, suicide and 'sorting you out'
~no discussions, or challenges expected or accepted
~doing whatever they feel like, whenever they want
~blaming the target and taking little or no responsibility

These are broadly the types of actions which are elements in abuse

Cutting you off from family and friends, moving to a new location, deliberately preventing interaction with others, interfering with car use

Not working or preventing target from working, using or hiding funds for their own use including compulsion and addiction, not paying essential bills, what is mine is mine but what is yours is ours, depriving of basics

driving recklessly, destroying, giving away, selling or devaluing property of target, using looks/gestures, throwing objects/ punching walls/tearing items, having or using knives and guns, over using alcohol/substances/porn, threatening to remove or hurt children or pets, abusing children or pets to control another

Treating another like a servant, making all the decisions, defining roles, acting like the owner of the castle

demanding sex or a particular type of sex, rape or non consensual sex, using language or porn to degrade/diminish, denying reproductive freedom (choosing sterilisation say), putting another's sexual health at risk, denying sex or withholding, insulting another's sexuality, avoiding sex by pretending illness, tiredness, overwork or TV

Biting/scratches, slapping/punching, kicking/stomping, throwing/breaking objects, pushing, confining or preventing leaving (blocking doorways), denying or interfering with sleep, warmth, medical attention food or health disturbance, shoving down steps, tripping, assault with weapons, insisting another change appearance/have surgery etc, risking another's health

So what behaviours are not abusive?
Dressing as they please, wearing makeup, appearance
Choosing their own food, friends, location, jobs, hobbies, cars etc
Fitness status, fit or unfit
Choosing to put on or loose weight
Visiting friends and relatives
Choosing to leave an R or to S
Keeping their opinions to themselves
Not working on the R
Changing who they are
Holding different views
Going dark or leaving
Expressing a different view
Not wanting or wanting a holiday
Needing time alone
Having reasonable personal resources to use
Not wanting sex or leaving the marital bed
Dealing/not dealing with health issues in their own way
To have their own feelings, views or actions
Deciding to please themselves
Educate or undertake new pastimes
To participate in an activity or not
Freedom of religion, membership of support groups, take/not take IC or MC or FC
To change their mind
To request an apology
To enter into another R after ceasing the previous R
Access to children, pets and home (unless abusive)
To request sex, R or discussion
To be free of interference
To define themselves and enforce boundaries
Disagreeing even without discussion

Some be inappropriate and may be an infringement of another's boundaries.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 03:56 PM

So when does abuse become violence?

There is a pattern called the cycle of violence and stages can vary from minutes to months

These cycles intensify over time:
Establishing or building phase
The incident or action or assault or verbal interaction
Reconciliation or honeymoon phase sometimes referred to as calm phase

Each time the incident gets into a higher abuse level
The most dangerous periods for violence are boundary enforcement and leaving the R

Violence can also include the destruction of property, spitting or passing on an STD, having you arrested, disappearing with children or pets, rape, taking explicit photos, make up sex, forcing drink or drugs

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 04:02 PM
Warning Signs and Red Flags

I did not write this. It is a mashup from reputable pages on the web dedicated to helping people recognize abuse. Ignore gender pronouns. There is a lot of cross-over between verbal, emotional, financial and physical/sexual.

What I would like to offer from my personal experiences growing up under an abusive alcoholic narcissist and a more covertly abusive sweet sensitive type H: Abusers use many of the same tools, but each is unique in public presentation and the set of tools they use. There is no single portrait of an abuser. Often the portrait of the abuser we have in our heads keeps us from recognizing the one we may be dating or married to. Shy, humble men can be completely different creatures to their wives, mothers and sisters. They can use their public persona in the heat of battle - "I'm the nicest guy anyone knows, clearly you bring this out in me." In general, if your partner can quickly calm down or become congenial when he/she needs to - they were never 'out of control' to begin with - they were exerting it.

At times, I think, most of us are guilty of treating a partner in verbally/emotionally abusive ways. The following list can also be a good inventory for everyone here to DR, to look at the toxic, hurtful ways we have treated our spouse and to start making those changes personally. Sometimes we say and do these things out of frustration, sometimes selfishness, a bad day...the difference with abuse is that it is rarely met with an apology, there are patterns, or there is a significant amount of it that seems irrational and unprovoked.

The key question, I believe, is this - Is this person succeeding in making you feel less than yourself, certainly less than themselves, and are you increasingly nervous or afraid to voice yourself in any way out of fear of a negative reaction or 'punishment' of some sort? The feeling of being unbalanced or walking on eggshells in your gut can be one of the best indicators.

Here is another test - does the hurtful/abusive behavior your spouse treats you with and calmly defends himself for (if confronted) - would he/she use the same twisting logic and righteous attitudes in a room full of his or her peers? If the answer is no, they are not simply ignorant of their actions. This is an abuser who knowingly behaves a different way behind closed doors and is forcing a very strange universe unto you.


•Being called names by your spouse. Any negative form of name calling is unacceptable. If you feel that it is a put down, then it most likely is. There are names that are obvious and, without question abusive. Then there are the covert, veiled attempts to put a spouse down that are harder to identify. Verbal abusers love to use constructive criticism to beat a spouse down. If your spouse is constantly criticizing you, “for your own good,” be careful. This is the most insidious form of verbal abuse.
• Using words to shame. Critical, sarcastic, mocking words meant to put you down either alone or in front of other people.
• Yelling, swearing and screaming. I call this the “walking on eggs shells” syndrome because you are living with someone who goes verbally ballistic for very little cause.
• Using threats to intimidate. No threat should be taken likely, even if your spouse tells you they are only joking, especially if it causes you to change behaviors or to feel on guard in the relationship.
• Blaming the victim. Your spouse blows his/her top and then blames you for their actions and behavior. If you were only perfect they wouldn’t lose control!
• Your feelings are dismissed. Your spouse refuses to discuss issues that upset you. They avoid discussion of any topic where they might have to take responsibility for their actions or words.
• You often wonder why you feel so bad. You bury your feelings, walk on egg shells and work so hard at keeping the peace that every day becomes an emotional chore. You feel depressed and have even wondered if you are crazy.
• Manipulating your actions. The persistent and intense use of threatening words to get you to do something or act in a way you find uncomfortable.


•;Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
•;Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
•Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
•Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
•Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
•Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
•Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
•Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
•Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?
•Do they have trouble apologizing?
•Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
•Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
•Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
•Do they not notice or care how you feel?
•Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
•Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
•Emotionally degrading you in private, but acting charming in public
•Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
•Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
•Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
•Threatening to leave
•Withholding approval, appreciation or affection as punishment
•Turning everyone against you. This is a sneaky trick that emotionally abusive partners use to gain advantage and leave you feeling helpless. Your partner may constantly crib about how difficult or dumb you are to everyone, including your friends, your family and even your kids. Your partner may even give biased examples just to convince everyone else and turn them against you so no one would take your side against theirs.
•Isolation and dependence. Initially, your partner may tell you they don’t like your friends or a particular family member. Soon, they may tell you to avoid that particular person. And before you realize it, your partner may carefully isolate you from everyone who was once close to you. And one fine day, you’d see that the only person you can go to for help or depend on is your partner.
•Monitors what you're doing all the time
•Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
•Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
•Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
•Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
•Mind games - This can mean scare tactics, emotional blackmail, unpredictable mood swings, random acts of cruelty, humiliation, ignoring your emotions, flirting with strangers, being condescending or demeaning of your feelings, lying or even theft.
•"Crazy Making" - an example - to steal a partner’s money then accuse them of paranoia if they ask where it is gone.
• Painting a picture of you as the abuser, convincing you that assertive and normal actions, or your personality, is somehow damaging them. You back down and lose your voice to avoid hurting them.


•Smashing things - this is intimidation, bullying.
•Breaking or striking objects - This behavior is used as punishment (breaking sentimental possessions) or to terrorize the victim into submission.
•Sometimes, your partner may resort to physical abuse like a slap, a painful pinch or even a threatening gesture just to scare you into submission when you oppose them for anything.
•Any force during an argument - This may involve an abuser holding down his the victim, physically restraining the victim from leaving, or pushing or shoving. Holding someone back in order to make demands, such as "You will listen to me!" is also a show of force.
• Playing/intimidating with knives, firearms or taking them out to intimidate, either subtly or overtly
•Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)
•Uses (or threatens to use) a weapon against you


•Using economic power to control you
•Controls how you spend your money, tracks every penny
•Increasing financial dependence on you without basis or agreement
•Forced family or career choices onto partner for control, limiting work hours or trying to create dependence
•No personal bank account, or actual joint control over account or money
•Maxing out your credit cards without your permission.
•Refusing to give you money, food, rent, medicine or clothing.
•Using funds from your children’s tuition or a joint savings account without your knowledge.
•Spending money on themselves but not allowing you to do the same


•Show up at your home or place of work unannounced or uninvited.
•Send you unwanted text messages, letters, emails and voicemails.
•Leave unwanted items, gifts or flowers.
•Constantly call you and hang up.
•Use social networking sites and technology to track you.
•Spread rumors about you via the internet or word of mouth.
•Make unwanted phone calls to you.
•Call your employer or professor.
•Wait at places you hang out.
•Use other people as resources to investigate your life. For example, looking at your facebook page through someone else’s page or befriending your friends in order to get more information about you.
•Damage your home, car or other property.


•Your partner emotionally manipulates you into sexual activities you don’t like. They may even emotionally arm twist you by saying things like “Other girls/guys do it! Why can’t you?”
•"Playful" use of force in sex - This behavior includes restraining partners against their will during sex, acting out fantasies in which the partner is helpless, initiating sex when the partner is asleep, or demanding sex when the partner is ill or tired. The abuser may show little concern for his partner's wishes and will use sulking and anger to manipulate compliance.
•Forces you to have sex against your will
•Controls your birth control or insists that you get pregnant
Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 04:24 PM
Feeling Hurt vs. Abuse

V, I liked the list of non-abusive behaviors you had.

I think these are also important distinctions, for example, someone needing time to themselves is not the same as someone withholding affection to punish. The intent is the root of it.

The actions that one takes within their own personal physical, emotional, spiritual, mental space may leave us feeling disappointed or hurt.

I imagine these spaces as 'bubbles' we draw around ourselves in those spheres. We can allow others in if we trust and we know they are safe to be within those happy spaces. People who aggressively and negatively push into those spheres are not safe people.

The key differentiation is when asking is someone hurting you, or are you simply feeling hurt, are their actions within their space? Or are their actions aggressively in yours?
Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 04:27 PM
Taking Responsibility

This, Dr. Phil wisdom, in line with the boundary cheat sheet.

•Take responsibility. You have played a role in setting up the relationship this way, and you must play a role in changing it. Telling your partner that the treatment is unacceptable is not enough. Your actions speak louder than words, so you need to make two bold moves: Change your own routine or behavior, and tell your partner you will no longer take the abuse.

•"There are no victims, only volunteers." Don't go along to get along. Peace at any price is no peace at all.

•Relationships are always up for renegotiation. You need to sit down with your partner, look him/her in the eyes, and tell him/her that you are taking a stand. You will not stay in the relationship if the abuse continues. From there, begin to negotiate. Figure out how both of you can take strides to make the marriage work.

•Watch yourself to make sure you don't fall back into the victim role.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 06:15 PM
How serious is the abuse?

I created this monitoring tool on Verbal Abuse based on the Categories in The Verbally Abusive Relationship Module of the Freedom Programme

I posted this on thread 12 page 4 after seeking many sources of help to modify my own behaviour to improve the R, as the lower levels of abuse were countered H escalated at this stage level 4 was a daily event. i had been effective in dealing with levels 1 to 3 . H had started some level 6 behaviour that of attack and intimidation.

At the point of the scoring had not been to the police but I had recorded the rants etc. the stronger the boundaries I set and the firmer I enforced those the higher the level of abuse. The abuse was also public H expected everyone to agree with him.

Eventually I had VSO and contact with an abuse recognition program called the Freedom Program. This is UK initiative and is available on line. it is available for the abuser and the target. The purple remarks were on thread 9 and the red on thread 12.

I have restructure again for this thread putting the items in level order and correcting minor spelling, grammar and layout issues.


These were Vs original thoughts but actually did not really know if I was correct at the time I wrote it.

These have been inserted from two or three sources and after discussion with VSO. I need practice sessions but I will keep adding as I find responses work or not!.

Identify the abuses in your R and prevents you from being your authentic self.

(V added the scoring: I like scores)

On a scale of 1 to 10

Blaming Level 1 abuse : refusal of responsibility
This is the most frequent abuse tactic, intended to control, put down or make another responsible.
How much do you accept blame in your R?
H=3, V=2

V no longer allows H to blame her, if she is in the wrong she apologises and corrects or atones (12 step 8). No longer works for H. Example H blames C for having no friends or money.

Response that is best : "Stop accusing and blaming me immediately." "stop it!" "I do not want to hear that again." "You are talking to someone you should respect." " Do not say that in that way."

No justification, these are stories made up by H about my motives. Explaining or justifying continues the abuse cycle. If the criticism is valid that can be acknowledged later. This is like throwing a rock through a window, stopping the thrower from doing more damage.

Opposing Level 1 abuse: lack of responsibility
Treats as adversary and argues against anything, perceptions, opinions, thoughts and feelings. Says "no" outright without discussion closing down constructive conversation.
How much opposing is in your R?
H=6, V=2

H gets very few requests from V, but not really one of H characteristics. H LL is Acts of Service. Example H rants "I am a racist"

V now has a tendency to say no to H almost without thinking and this needs review

Counters feelings or perceptions, deliberately misconstrues, refutes that you have said something. Best response is "stop", "let me repeat my statement".

Do not explain the view or this too will be countered, no arging, "I do not see it that way" "I have a right to my own views". "Hold it, can you repeat that or write it down". "Stop countering me". "As you say". Then leave.

Blocking and diverting Level 1 abuse: denial
Abort conversations, make accusations and effectively say "shut up"
How often is discussion closed down in your R?
H=4, V=1

V talks too much sometimes but has had to learn the difference between blocking, closing and evading. parking is V choice of response. H choice expression "do not go there" but V defers and parks and often the need to boundary enforce is needed. Does not happen very often these days. Much better on this. Example H saying he was working when he was at golf. Denies his apple juice rant.

This is thwarting in the worst way. Keep repeating the request (fogging)
An answer which is "no" or "I do not know " is neither blocking nor diverting.
Instead say " you are creating a diversion" and "if you do not know then I reserve the right to find out".

Discounting Trivialising and Belittling Level 1 abuse: denial
Minimising or trivialising feelings, thoughts or experience. Suggests feelings are not valid.
How often are thoughts, feelings or experience discounted in your R?
H=3, V=1

Simply does not work and therefore not used by either H or V. Example V is incompetent at work, useless, she doesn't know better and has no idea.

Devalues the self. "I certainly do not feel supported when I hear this" "I have heard all I need to hear".

Lying, forgetting and denying Level 1 abuse denial of responsibility
Concious lying is manipulation. Addicts and compulsives may deny agreements or promises, a conversation took place, even prior abuse. They may ever declare love and caring. Crazy making, referred to as 'gas lighting' . Particularly evident in gambling and hidden stages of addiction. Can even mean lying by omission.
Are you aware of lying and denying in your R?
H=10, V=1

As far as V is concerned H is a master at this, V tends not to believe anything that H says without independent verification.Example: H has even lied at GA openly, not disclosing the length of time he has been gambling. Nothing V can do on this but try to separate the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps identifying areas where H may not lie and giving more trust. In 12 steps we learn that love is possible without trust.

Do not believe the denial. Do not say how this hurts frightens or disturbs you. Never try to explain or understand why the lie etc has occurred. No anger, use of authority will help, no try to explain. V did not make H anything, "mad" "hurt" "abandoned" or any other thing. Best response "this is crazy making", "stop it", "I do not believe you. Do not let this happen again"

Judging and criticising Level 1 abuse: lack of responsibility
Evaluating, giving unwanted advice, and telling others what they 'should do'?
How much criticism and judgement do you accept to keep your R?
H=4, V=7 (of self)

V is very sensitive to H criticisms although she does not react. She is also likely to impute the wrong motives every time to H. That is judgement but she does not criticise much to H directly. H judges everyone and everything, nothing is good enough for H. H expects perfection. V finds this rather amusing. Example V is fat unattractive and repulsive.

Needs work by V, V needs to find more that H is doing right. V also sits in judgement and criticises herself too much. She is kinder to others even H than she is to V.

These have been real blows to V self esteem. Constant and endless Defining another is real boundary infringement.

Suggested responses "do you hear yourself" "stop judging me" "cut that out, enough already" "that is not acceptable" "nonsense" " keep your views to yourself" "that is my business" " that is not your concern, it is mine" then disengage, further discussion promotes further abuse.

Play, jokes, sarcasm and teasing Level 1 abuse: denial
Wit, ironic, overt praise and always painful to the recipient. Concealed Judgement.
How much smiling judgement do you endure in your R?
H=8, V=2

H when called on his words or behaviour often says "it is a joke, where is your sense of humour?". Very hard to counter, Example "you father should smother your mother" V needs more techniques to counter this. Considering more IC in March.

This is a I am better than you or at your expense and is very immature. Do not try to explain what is unfunny or inappropriate or ask why the 'joke' was said . Do not laugh or wonder about the maturity.

Best response: " I wonder now you have said that, put me down, interrupted me, do you feel more important? I want you to think about it" then disengage. " This conversation is over" or "I will get back to you on that".

Name calling Level 2 abuse: control
Insulting and bullying.
How much do you use this tactic and accept it in your R?
H=3, V=1

V walks away now, screaming banshee used to return insult for insult. No more, enormous progress on this one. Example V doesn't even know how to shop she buys the wrong bacon. Stupid idiotic V.

Best response: "Stop that, do not call me names, ever." "I do not want to hear you call me names again ever." "This is inappropriate."

Ordering level 3 abuse: threats
Instead of requests instructing, treating another like a 'slave'
How much ordering or instruction is in your R?
H=1, V= 0

This just does not work with V although H would try it. Example we are leaving now, at a dinner party.

Best answer "who are you ordering about?", "please ask nicely" or "I make my own decisions". If uses we as in "we are going" then response is "that is not what I had in mind".

Covert aggressive manipulation Level 4 abuse: unexpected
Different from passive aggression. A power play using charm, implied reward, compliments, suggested punishment or withholding, helplessness, guilt, shame,self-depreciation, empty apology or playing victim. A manipulator may appear non aggressive and act aggrieved. Response is guilt, defensive confusion and capitulation.
How active is this component in your R?
H=10 V=2

This is the new H playbook, dropped the other tactic and this is the new and latest leading. V is often not observant enough to notice and she wants to believe H. Example apology I know that I have issues and buys gift.
Counter measures need investigating.

Silent treatment, be matter of fact "I am very bored with this and am going to leave."
Sit with headphones More work needed on this, I still do not fully understand the best way to deal with it.

Undermining and interrupting Level 4 abuse: accusing then criticising
Undermining with statements such as "you do not know what you are talking about" speaking on another's behalf without permission
How much are undermining and interrupting evident in your R?
H=8, V=9 ( of self)

Oh yes a big one this, V wants to do more work on this as she is vulnerable in the work environment. V can be interrupting others at work too. Example, you are taking the piss as you have no idea and don't pay me properly.
V has identified a big issue to work on. However this is not as evident in her personal relationship now, but is a work issue.

This is cruel and covert. "I do not like your attitude" "that was low" " stop, cut that out" "this is the opposite of fun" .

Withholding Level 5 abuse: passive aggressive control contempt
Designed to encourage compliance and destablise. It is very irrational, no fight, no argument, and no obvious anger. A refusal to respond, no contact whilst active in a R. Whilst carrying on conversations with friends, discover plans only through friends. This is shunning and distain could be evidence of an A. Exceedingly toxic. Not talking about NC or dark here.
How much withholding and withdrawal in your R?
H=. V=

Question not answered by V at the time but an Example is H going off and meeting with single women in their homes and they are only friends! It's none of my business ever what he does with his money even when he does not contribute to joint expenses.

Raging abusive anger/aggression Intimidation Level 6 abuse: attack
Designed to intimidate and control.
How much anger is in your R?
H=4 V=2

V gets annoyed but parks it. H has calmed down a lot since this first event has happened. H used to use this to get his own way by merely standing pointing and invading body space. If it happens again it's a deal breaker for V.

According to VSO, the most dangerous of all. Get away immediately and if necessary with evasion. Just leave. Example I know people who can sort you out, and no one will ever know what has become of you.

If slight control " Stop, please talk to me calmly." " Do not raise your voice to me."
Pay no attention to the words, look at the tone and posture.
If threatened : "Stop threatening me." "I do not want to hear this." " Leave me alone." " I am leaving now"

Approximate time line.

Level 1 abuse: until October 2014 10 months

Enforcing boundaries 1 month

Level 2 abuse November 2014

Enforcing boundaries 2 weeks

Level 3 abuse Dec 2014 then Jan 2015

Enforcing boundaries one month

Level 4 abuse Feb-April 2015 a little level 6

Level 5 abuse last week of April ending May 2 with explosion of level 6 abuse


Effects of DB, IC and setting boundaries

Initially scores were high in level 1, low in 2 plus

As level 1 ceased to create desired effect, H stopped using these tactics and moved up to level 2, as level 2 ceased to level 3, at the point of the above scoring we had level 4 behaviours and I hadn't learned how to handle those, so there is bewilderment expressed in the red comments on level 4.

I suspect it might be possible to develop this for other categories of abuse too. I only monitored verbal abuse.

IC observed that throughout this I refer to myself as V. Creating distance. H didn't like calling me by my name it was always "darlin". Depersonalising.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 06:44 PM
Z love the warning flags post.

Think we might need a "before your next R" type post too.

I am thinking about Fin abuse and addiction. This is harder than it looks!

Thank you Bob, it's a collaboration with Z.

Can I ask fellow DBers if there are important would like on the thread?


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 06:49 PM
Originally Posted By: Zelda09
Feeling Hurt vs. Abuse

V, I liked the list of non-abusive behaviors you had.

I think these are also important distinctions, for example, someone needing time to themselves is not the same as someone withholding affection to punish. The intent is the root of it.

The actions that one takes within their own personal physical, emotional, spiritual, mental space may leave us feeling disappointed or hurt.

I imagine these spaces as 'bubbles' we draw around ourselves in those spheres. We can allow others in if we trust and we know they are safe to be within those happy spaces. People who aggressively and negatively push into those spheres are not safe people.

The key differentiation is when asking is someone hurting you, or are you simply feeling hurt, are their actions within their space? Or are their actions aggressively in yours?

I absolutely agree. Feel free to add more examples, I just did a blue sky on it, so I may have missed something important.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 06:55 PM
Ad hoc old post from very early in my journey, when I was getting to grips with level 1 abuse. I hadn't understood at that point this was all about control.

When H goes into verbal diarrhoea mode. I spent my time analysing it.

Spew- incoherent rubbish designed to put you on edge.
response: STFU and walk away

Abusive spew: incoherent rubbish designed to put you on edge and insult
response: STFU and walk away, next day correct boundary infringement

Rant- all of your "faults" that annoy them designed to control
response- STFU and then validate " I can see why you might think that"

Abusive rant- designed to control and insult
response- STFU and walk away, next day correct boundary infringement

Sulk- make you feel small for wrong doing
response- STFU and ignore, act as if did not happen

Rail- designed to press your buttons keeps on about one issue, can even involve following you to the loo
response- STFU and leave to go GAL

Disappear- designed to make you worry and apprehensive
response- STFU detach and act as if all ok

Tantrum- no purpose whatsoever but feels good
response- STFU and look surprised

Blame- design to shift responsibility
response- validate and deflect if not responsible, if are responsible diffuse by accepting responsible then apologise then walk away

In all sitches detach and if necessary act confused. confused

Posted By: Bob723 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 07:28 PM
You're welcome, V. I second the idea about a "Before your next R" post, too.

Posted By: Bob723 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 07:44 PM
V & Z,

That sounds cool....V & Z.

Would you like a article I found online (won't say where, of course) that I feel really explains the difference between Love and Smothering?

I could send it to one of your threads, first, to see if you think it's appropriate.

Please let me know. I love to help!

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 07:48 PM

Feel free to post, this is your thread too. For my part I am trying to add resources and tools. To make it more practical.

What you propose sounds great to me, we are not allowed links to external stuff.

Posted By: Bob723 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 07:53 PM
Thanks V for trusting my judgement. I copied it a long time ago into a Word document. There are no links in it--but thanks BIG time for the reminder.

I'll find it and post it in a few minutes.
Posted By: Bob723 Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:00 PM
Smothering vs. Love

There’s no such thing as loving someone too much. There is such a thing, though, as too much smothering. And smothering can definitely scare someone away.

So what does it mean to really love someone, and when does love turn into smothering?

Smothering, ultimately, isn’t about love, but about selfishness. When you love someone, you want what’s best for the person, even if that means the relationship looks different from what you had in mind. In contrast, when you smother, you prioritize your own needs for closeness or connection, as opposed to what the other person wants or needs. This is one reason people can get scared away and run from a relationship.

So let’s look at some differences between smothering and love.

Smothering takes. It’s selfish. When you smother, you’re really not considering the other person’s feelings and desires. You may feel like you’re showing love, but if you’re being motivated by your own insecurity about the relationship or your own fears about losing this person, then you’re probably more in the smothering camp.

Love gives. It’s generous. It prioritizes the other person’s freedom and autonomy. When you love, you’re willing to do whatever is best for the person you care for, even if that means you don’t get exactly what you want, exactly when you want it.

Smothering demands. When you smother, you constantly ask about the future, insisting on specific answers and results. You also demand attention or reassurance from the other person, requiring repeated statements of proof of their commitment level or feelings for you.

Love patiently waits. When you love, you enjoy the present, allowing the other person and the relationship to progress at a comfortable pace. You wait for both of you to become ready for a certain level of intimacy, instead of asking for premature answers or commitments that can put pressure on the other person and scare him or her away.

Smothering disregards what another wants. When you offer continual statements of how much you care about the other person, you may feel as if you’re actually offering love and simply trying to demonstrate how strong your feelings are. But when the other person doesn’t want to hear repeated avowals of your love, you can end up coming across as needy and desperate, merely because you’re disregarding how your partner feels and what he or she wants.

Love considers and respects the other’s desires. True feelings of love don’t force themselves on another person in ways or at times that the person isn’t ready to receive them. Again, sometimes the best way to show your love is to respect the other’s wishes and allow the relationship to grow and develop more gradually. It may seem strange, but there really are times when it’s not the best idea to say “I love you” over and over again.

Smothering oppresses. It pesters and desperately grasps. It calls too often or sends too many text messages. It results from fear and can end up making the relationship feel like a prison to the other person. It’s like building a border of rocks around a campfire to contain it and to keep it from going where it would naturally go.

Love offers space, respect, and trust. Love invites the other’s truest self. It frees the other to be and act and love how the person chooses. Whereas smothering encircles and contains the fire with rocks, love kicks the rocks away, allowing the fire to burn strong and free.

Smothering tells another what to think or do. When you smother another person, you tell them who they should and shouldn’t spend time with. You check up on where they’re going. You expect them to behave in ways you want them to behave, sometimes even through manipulation.

Love respects and encourages autonomy. Loving someone means allowing others to be fully themselves. Of course it’s true that in a relationship, two people rub off on each other and help each other grow and evolve, but this process needs to be built on respect and appreciation for each person’s individuality.

Smothering is insecure. Ultimately, this is the root of smothering. It can be produced by jealousy, fear, and anxiety, and it’s one of the surest ways of driving someone away.
Love is secure. Love is emotionally strong enough to respect another person’s space and to trust that what’s meant to happen will happen.

Relationships need space and air to breathe if they’re going to survive and thrive. Smothering can therefore kill a relationship by depriving it of oxygen. So remember, there’s no such thing as loving too much. The real question you need to ask yourself is, Are my actions genuinely loving? There can sometimes be a fine line between loving and smothering, but if you want a healthy and long-lasting relationship, it’s an important one not to cross.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/13/15 08:51 PM
Things which ate ineffective with abuse

1. Telling the abuser your feelings
The abuser doesn't understand not because they dont want to but because they can't relate to your feelings. They make no sense. If after a couple of tries there is no apology that is a sign that this a systematic abuser. Just negate what they are saying "very funny" or "irrational". In normal circumstances this works, "when you say xxx, I feel hurt" gets a heartfelt apology and a "I will make sure that doesn't happen again". Not with a systematic abuser.

2. Explaining your thoughts/position
Don't protest or explain logically what is incorrect about what the abuser is saying. They will just argue back and say "there you are I told you so" . The abuser sees a counter attack not a discussion. The abusive statement isn't rational, such as "you are always selfish" , giving examples of when your not selfish wont help. Just say" if you say so" . A loving partner wants to know.

3. Improving your perceived bad points
Making improvements to please is a waste of time, the abuser won't want to see them as it won't suit their purpose. It's the abusers problem. If you want to improve do it for yourself.

4. Ignoring it
Abuse still hurts and requires some type of response. Even if it's "well really".

5. Abusing back (screaming banshee)
This escalates the abuse, makes you feel awful and guilty. To the abuser it justifies the abuse.

6. Believing it
It's nonsense stuff, no headroom. It's the abuser baggage. So say "what a load of nonsense." trouble is we buy the rubbish as its said so often. You are a compulsive liar and lie all the time! What rot. Not my view. Everyone agrees with me that you are! "oh really, let's go and ask X then"

Please feel free to add to the list. It's a straw dog. Do I know what works? Partially in small ways.

Loving the post Bob

Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 09:17 AM
I watched so many abuse videos that when they made me dissolve into hysterical crying about how my life was no list could tell me otherwise it was undoubtedly abuse.

Sleeping on a gun for 3 months. Have guns just laying within had s reach of my xh2. Him hitting the child as a control move. Those things all add up to be totally controlling and abusvie.

It doesn't matter that you lived it, it's about weather you sign up for another round. If your prepared to accept changing you can hanging the game to live a different Life in the future.

There's a lot of information and resources in this thread and I hope sincerely hope those of you who doubt your judgement you use some of these to grow your self into something far stronger and far better.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 10:07 AM
I examined my own abuse diary and found these abuses specifically that fit the abuse pattern:

Walking away, sitting, watching TV ignoring you as if you are non existent on some occasions almost at random

Being really nice to others, especially those not connected to you, seeming to see your family friends and coworkers as part of you but then on other occasions being a charming host.

Not completing tasks as agreed because they didnt want to or changing what they do or denying. So saying "I will get milk today," not getting the milk then saying "I didn't say I would get the milk": at other times doing things because they like doing them or sees them as their domain

Getting very upset if you express any feelings, are unwell, or upset by something in your life eg a friend died, it's the anniversary of a death, they tell you to "get over it" or "I don't do Illness" at other times iare supportive. Went to another event was a crisis on the basis that "there was nothing he could do" and when Injured days "serves you right, you need to be more careful" but yet escorts you when Needing serious treatment.

Claims You do or say things you haven't, even if the conversation is recorded. But has an accurate memory for other conversations, such as do you remember when we......, you said......"

Sometimes wont answer any direct questions even about simple things, such as do you want a roast dinner tonight? Other times will answer with a whole book.

Demands things, no please or thank you, often insists you should now the answer but keeps changing their mind. Such as "I only drink A P P L E juice get that into your thick head", then going out buying orange juice. Or Putting something in the wrong place as you should have known where they wanted it put. It's as if you am part of their thinking, they have said it to themselves and you ought to know. Other times just gets on and does it. won't go shopping and criticises the food bought and on other occasions gives lists.

some opinions are valid and others not, tries to speak for both of you, "we" are going now, "we" prefer x. As if you don't exist at all sometimes and we are one person. At other times your opinion is the most important one when it's not. It's almost as if there are things you know that they would not be expected to know. His and her areas and they speaks for both of "us" on their area.

You can't have any other opinion than theirs on some things even the coffee "we" drink and "we" eat any other steak than filet. But You can have expertise in nail polish or nail guns if that's not their area.

Has has little interest in you and does little validation. "well you take it", "you deserve it" , "I don't care anyway" , "I am fine as I a, thank you" "it's mine I will do asi please" "its my money and I will spend it as I want". In effect rationalising and explaining away actions, justifying.

rarely apologises to you but will apologise to others. If you request an apology " I don't care" or "you should apologise to me". Even if there is clearly something to apologise for.

Often belives that you should know what they thinks without clarification as if you read inside their head. If you bought the wrong bacon or they wants a specific brand of beans. Believes they only need to mention something once years ago and it's a rule until its changed without notice.

Routinely tells you that you are wrong, a liar, or have done something deliberately to annoy or harm them.

This is much worse when drinking which can be almost every night so that it is best to be absent if they drink. rationalises drinking " I dont like bottled beer" or "I am lonely I need company". Claims they don't drink much, "you know I only have a couple of drinks when I go out".

So why if I have recorded this stuff would It be explained away?

The abuse IC says this is absolutely classic seeing the "other" as an extension of self ie as "non other". Having few boundaries between self and "other". They are therefore treating the "other" as they would treat themselves. the more the "other" states a separate identity the more dissolved the self. They can do as they like for self and act as if this is the case for self. Little regard for self means little regard for other.

Another IC told me that the abuser is trying to find what is missing within themselves by having a partner with traits that match those that are missing in them. So if they are a liars they are looking for an honest partner, if they are controlling then they look for a free spirit. When they accuse or label then they do so of themselves and actually they are paying you a great compliment. If they say you are ugly actually you are beautiful. If they say you are selfish then you are generous etc. this is your gift to the world.

Yet another philosophy is to imagine that the abuser is remaking an R with a parent or guardian which a damaged R. Another theory says that male abuses have been put down by a strong parent, particularly a father and that is how they relate to the world, having a loving mother will be another factor if the father thinks the mother is weak for being loving.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 10:10 AM
Originally Posted By: Ggrass
I watched so many abuse videos that when they made me dissolve into hysterical crying about how my life was no list could tell me otherwise it was undoubtedly abuse.

Sleeping on a gun for 3 months. Have guns just laying within had s reach of my xh2. Him hitting the child as a control move. Those things all add up to be totally controlling and abusvie.

It doesn't matter that you lived it, it's about weather you sign up for another round. If your prepared to accept changing you can hanging the game to live a different Life in the future.

There's a lot of information and resources in this threaUd and I hope sincerely hope those of you who doubt your judgement you use some of these to grow your self into something far stronger and far better.

Gg, what made you wake up to the fact you knew you were being abused?

What was the recognition oil, the videos or reading?

Did hitting your child influence your decision?

After H2 had gone would you have taken him back?

Do you think you would identify an abuser again?

Posted By: Maybell Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 04:32 PM
Thank you for putting up this thread, Zelda and Vanilla. Your journal was interesting to me, Vanilla, I could relate a lot to the ignoring, etc. The first few years of our marriage we did stuff together but at some point everything we did involved an electronic screen. When I complained about that he got defensive and angry and said that he didn't like .... well, basically anything that DIDN'T involve a screen.

His dad is pretty verbally abusive to his mother, though most of the family says "That's just his way..." STBX told me to shut up one time when we had to make a 15 minute detour to get his wallet (this is in the first three years of our marriage), and though I laid into him on that occasion and he never was that overt again, he did find sneakier ways to express his contempt for me.

I've been really examining the history of my marriage and there are definitely some flags in there. But I don't know if I'll ever know if there is fire where I'm seeing smoke or if my eyes are clouded by how things turned out.

Thanks for putting this up here, it is definitely needed.
Posted By: SunnyB Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 05:37 PM
I've been reading this thread with interest and some amount of discomfort because I can relate a little too well to some of it. I feel like many of us can probably relate to some aspects of what's been written and I wonder at what point the cumulative effect gets classified as abuse. I was not absused. Vanilla and Zelda and others were. But it seems there's a grey area in between. Any thoughts on that?
Posted By: Sotto Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 07:36 PM
Thanks for setting up this thread, which I'm sure will be helpful to fellow DBers. I thought it might be good to have some suggested reading material on the thread. These are selected from a larger reading list over on the MLC part of the forum:

When Men Batter Women: New Insites into Ending Abusive Relationships - John M. Gottman

I Hate You–Don't Leave Me: Understanding Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kriesman, Hal Straus

Stop Walking On Eggshells by Paul T. Mason

Why Is It Always About You, Saving Yourself From the Narcissistic In Your Life by Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW

Nasty People: How To Stop Being Hurt By Them Without Becoming One of Them by Jay, Psy.D Carter

Controlling People, How To Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans

Stop Being Manipulated by George H. Green, Ph.D., Carolyn Cotter, MBA

In Sheep's Clothing, Understanding And Dealing With Manipulative People by George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.

How To Hug a Porcupine: Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities - Dr. John Lund

Posted By: Bob723 Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 08:15 PM
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Loving the post Bob

Hi V!

Thank you so much! My little contribution to the thread.

I hope others find it helpful.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 09:03 PM

I've heard it said that emotional abuse is a big fat grey line. We all cross. In my flags post, I recognized somr of my own behaviors in the past. Some are just unhealthy ways to deal with conflict/anger.

I am sure we can all think of an argument when we gave or received.
Not all people who do some of these things are abusers; rather they can behave in abusive ways occasionally when feeling threatened.

I used to put my STBX in the latter category until I realized this was systematic and not ignorance.

To answer your question, the difference I believe is in these points:

-behavior would be different if onlookers.

-no remorse - when non abusers cross that big fat grey line we feel awful, usually as soon as anger subsides.

-no rational prompt to outburst, inconsistent, sense they are looking for fight

-justifies, rationalizes, and may offer apology eventually if no room to maneuver anymore

-lack of personal responsibility for feelings, behavior, failings, etc. is root of most abusers. People who are comfortable with being fallible and wrong do not use toxic methods to protect themselves, systematically weaken another's sense of self

-V's point about little care for your feelings or empathy should be well taken. My H used to study psychology and could mechanically say he 'understood how xyz could make you feel that way" if I would ask him if he could understand. I had to pull some semblance of empathy out of him. After a great deal of back pedaling, twisting, word salad. An abuser will not lead with an apology or remorse or make up in any way unless they think they are about to lose something they want.

-with that said, beware of over the top apologies and gifts...a cycle of abuse and then being bought off. A safe person isnt ifyen creating situations that demand this level of 'remorse.' What is real remorse? I would say it is quiet, dignified and above all addresses the hurt done to another. It is thoughtful, not showy or full of drama.

- sense of escalation, or when one boundary is enforced a new method of control and unbalancing will manifest

- an increasing sense that no one would believe who you actually live with from what they 'know' about person

-flexible rationality especially in crazy-making psych abuse. Partner demonstrates great logic in public, situations going their way. Logic is inverted as needed for control. But you have come to see them as very wise, reasonable, loving, kind .,,so the first time this alternate reality is used, you have doubt. This isn't the same thing as someone who is upset and stuck in their point of view, either. This is a very patronizing 'don't you understand why, how...'

Toots has a great reading list too.
Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 09:23 PM

Thinking about what you are saying with feeling contempt. Smoke or fire?

Was "shut up" the worst verbal?

I think of Gan's threads about non-violent communication, needs not being met, Rosenberg stuff. Unmet needs and resentment can cause a lot of contempt.

I know how awful contempt can feel and I can relate. It is an anger and lack of respect.

Feeling hated is not a healthy environment no matter what.

But the question may be, was your STBX expressions of contempt simply how he felt that you unfortunately perceived when it slipped out? Or did he insult/demean you with it in order to attempt to silence you or punish you?

I think you might also ask, when you feel contempt is there not an idea that you should protect someone from feeling the force of it? (I think of colleagues I simply lost respect for, who aggravated me. It did not feel appropriate that they should know of my disdain and so I tried to treat with respect and distance.)

Pouring contempt onto someone though, that is them coming into those spaces of well being that should be respected. Aggressive displays of contempt tell a person how little regarded they are. And that is their design, to make one feel small and deserving of disdain. It goes back to a point about remorse - non-abusers feel badly when they hurt others and know full well when they do.
Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 10:28 PM
To my list of flags, I would also offer some examples from my personal experiences.

Overt (father)

Some of the nastiest, most violent things you can imagine. At 13, I had a shotgun fired at me. But I remember seeing my mother in tears as a little kid, a scene that repeated itself too often, having been kicked, punched...her screaming like a mad woman ..and when I'd walk into the room he would sit calmly and explain to me how unbalanced she was. How he had to unfortunately treat her that way. How her PMS made her crazy. Made him crazy. It was all very creepy how he could go from ferocious to Freud instantly. Would even sound sympathetic to her after extreme harm minutes earlier. And sometimes he didn't bother with that act if he didn't feel like it. And he was big on big gifts when the next day the house was undeniably in ruins. Once in a while would actually get disgusted enough with himself to promise change. He was well respected around town and a great provider, inventor, successful business owner. Out of his mInd drunk each night, successful charismatic by day. first time she left him he promised counseling. When she came back he threatened her within an inch of her life if she ever embarrassed him again. What about counseling? And the response, "you aren't so stupid to think I meant it?" The sad thing was they worked together very well by day, quite a lot of evidence of mutual respect and admirationof each other's efforts in building the business.

Covert (H)

He had a unique brand. The first year there was a overt physical incident and I broke it off immediately. "Z, I am glad you have these boundaries." And we got back together and then it was random insults about how I was a slut. Later, he attributed to how insecure he was, "yes, Z, inappropriate I am sorry. You are just such a powerful and free person I'm intimidated" later, outright nasty verbal abuse. But here the pattern changes. No apologies cuz I am in deep love. After boundary enforcement convo, yes I understand, I can respect. We must have had to revisit that ten times and the insults ceased being foul and became simple name calling. I had to explain that throwing things and punching things around me were acts of intimidation. No, it did not matter that it was a basket of laundry and was too light to actually hurt me, H. It is the action demonstrating you are dangerous! Oh, the twisting. "Z, it is important how we got here, can you not see that?" Finally...finally, he might acquiesce in the face of enough evidence that his behavior was abusive and no, nothing I did caused it. Ok. After enough trust had been built, we were engaged. It seemed Id succeeded, his damaging behaviors disappeared, boundaries are respected! No.

In calm discussions..."z, obviously you are unhappy. We should not be together anymore." And of course I'd protest. "You are just a miserable person." This, with reasonable and assertive requests. Did I dare be disappointed and try express to him why? "Z, can you not see the anger seeping out of you? You need counseling." Or I would try to explain hurt feelings. "Z, you are lying to yourself. What is your real agenda here?" If he picked up on annoyance- "aRE you in a bad mood! How do you ferl right now Z, do you even know?" (said growling) if I did not say fine (or even if I did) he would repeat that louder and louder until screaming at me. I found myself afraid to answer with a certain tone of voice he'd get. In trying to talk about fights - "z, how many people do we know? Wouldn't you say they'd all consider you pretty forceful, domineering? I am considered gentle. Are you really sure this happened the way you said?" Then there were the times he would tell me how I didn't understand myself or anyone else either. I almost got to the point I believed him. His particular brand of abuse was in telling me all about who I was - selfish, cold, uncaring for him, a poor listener, how much damage I was doing to him simply by being myself. He was patronizing. He finally found a way to control me and get me to back off of my assertiveness for my needs and wants. He would tell me to F off, all bc he was hurt by something I said, and ask five minutes later where I was. I left and drew the boundary I would not be talked to this way, he knew that. "As if you even cared about me, Z!" There was lots of silent treatment during the last two years. Where he would be pointedly nice to me in public and treat me as though I was invisible once home. Once in a while still the physical intimidation. Threats of suicide in middle of fights. During Robin Williams thing this started...he kept trying to make the point in normal conversation that his wife was surely responsible. I was having none of it. Stance changed to, "Z, I don't think you're prepared to be much of a caregiver. H, how do you need a caretaker anymore? Later, "I need someone who can be there for me." I worked three jobs supporting us, and meanwhile he pretended to be unable to drive, hid EAs. I tried to reach out to him emotionally to meet his needs, become s better listener. Then I was just insulted for being who I was, and it was hopeless for me to even try. So I tried harder to please, to be softer, more agreeable and...

There were more creepy sociopathic things. His absolute apathy one minute in front of me and then running to my family with alligator tears the next. Isolation attempts through telling a good friend of mine to stay away from his wife.

What you allow will escalate and continue. Once I owned that I was going to look at improving myself to improve our M...tried to pressure me into sex in same breath he was telling me he wanted to date others and be separated. Then, in between the sweet spots of piecing...lots of emotional blackmail, veiled threats, increased condescension, patronizing, psycho babble about the work I had in front of me, flat out told me he didn't care about my feelings, and if I brought them up it was back to "how would you feel if I had committed suicide? How much therapy are you going to need, Z, before you understand how bad you are for me?" Or he'd lock himself in the car and act timid and afraid if I said I wanted to discuss something. If I was crying, he was screaming at me for being angry at him. The last episode was denial and back pedaling and I refused to shut up and go away as he wanted....and so he threw heavy bowls at me, destroyed a 'life proofed' phone, screaming "you don't care about me" with fists an inch off my ears, "I'll break every gd dish in this house if I want to" and slammed front door into me as I walked out. Texted my mom out of 'concern' wondering where I was and then told her how I pushed his buttons, made him crazy. She had none of it. I got dilent treatment for three days, he ran up my debit card and had zero remorse when I confronted. Was just done with our M, hundreds of thousands of dollars of a settlement check in hand that week. And now will not sign the papers he drew up, or get the rest of his things. I have been in NC for a month and it is healing.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 10:53 PM
Thank you Z for your honest posts. I know how hard this is as the abuse can be raw and traumatic. I struggle to express it.

I understand to some DBers that these posts are hard to read that reality may be difficult to assimilate.

There is light in the darkness, once awareness is creating lumination then recovery and additional resources can be found. it's like having a car whose engine is not starting, a diagnosis will start the work of repair.

There are DBers struggling with abuse issues, asking themselves am I being abused or am I the abuser?

From today, this very moment, healing can begin. Knowledge is the very beginning of wisdom. Once we know then we cannot unknow.

If there are struggles and pain, childhood trauma, or current trauma know this, you are no longer alone. Just as Z says alone is isolated, there is power in community.


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/14/15 11:42 PM
Originally Posted By: Maybell
Thank you for putting up this thread, Zelda and Vanilla. Your journal was interesting to me, Vanilla, I could relate a lot to the ignoring, etc. The first few years of our marriage we did stuff together but at some point everything we did involved an electronic screen. When I complained about that he got defensive and angry and said that he didn't like .... well, basically anything that DIDN'T involve a screen.

His dad is pretty verbally abusive to his mother, though most of the family says "That's just his way..." STBX told me to shut up one time when we had to make a 15 minute detour to get his wallet (this is in the first three years of our marriage), and though I laid into him on that occasion and he never was that overt again, he did find sneakier ways to express his contempt for me.

I've been really examining the history of my marriage and there are definitely some flags in there. But I don't know if I'll ever know if there is fire where I'm seeing smoke or if my eyes are clouded by how things turned out.

Thanks for putting this up here, it is definitely needed.

Thanks Maybell.

With regard to is it abuse or not. Wanting a hobby even if it's an electronic screen isn't abusive, but spending 24 hrs a day or week ignoring your family, forcing them to watch with you or enjoy what you enjoy may very well be. Just my view.

Ignoring was something H did to control, intermittent rewards. I would cook a meal and he would sneer and disappear to the pub. Occasionally a breadcrumb of deigning to eat with me. random.

Contempt is an emotion, a primary limbic one and uncontrollable as emotions go. I agree with Z, one thing to feel an emotion but quite another to convert that into directive behaviour designed to hurt.

A family history of abuse can also be a red flag.

If I told you that my H told me STFU three or four times a day in one way or another, would that add perspective? A good day at one stage was a 2 rant a day score.

Sounds like situational abuse rather than reactive or systemic, but you would know as you lived with it. One abuse is one too many though.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/15/15 12:47 AM
Thanks, V.

I wanted this thread, some message on this forum because of the hindsight and clarity 12 weeks away has brought. I wanted to save my M at any cost. Even on my piecing threads I was dishonest and wrote in rose colored glasses, playing my own role in minimizing - not even writing about the things he was doing and saying that hurt, made no sense. They were not the important parts of saving my M! And so what, he was only 'teething'

A marriage ending is traumatic for all of us. Wanting to stand for it and apply DR in the hopes of saving it is why we are here.

In an abusive marriage I believe there is a risk at this juncture to minimize your own experience.

Part of what keeps someone in a cycle of abuse is believing - some will say codependency - that we have anything to do with a partners behavior, any way to influence it for the good or bad. That if we had only framed our words better, done such and such differently, he or she would not 'react' to us the way they do.

DR says this is where change in a marriage can start, by changing our behavior first! And I believe this.

This thread is to help recognize toxic and abusive behaviors. To address within self, to see where boundaries are crossed, and to say that if you are living with an abuser and your M is becoming dangerous - even MWD does not advocate standing in such a situation.

If there is any hope, it is when an abuser wants to change. There is nothing you can do that will stop the abuse if boundaries are ignored. Not even DR.
Posted By: Maybell Re: Abuse - 06/15/15 02:16 AM
V, I think what I'm trying to process is where my boundaries are now and where they were before, so I can recognize where I should be in the future. I don't think I was in a systematically abusive relationship, but that STBX has a general lack of consideration for others and a need to feel superior, and that he indulged that need at my expense frequently because I was at hand. If I'm honest, that part of him was there all along and i glossed over it.

The example set by his parents was also not good and was getting worse right up to when he dumped me.

But this is a great thread. Where IS that line? One abuse is too many but I know my behavior was not always great, especially at the end when the panic and fury set in. My boundaries are different now.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/15/15 02:54 AM

I can only tell you that I didn't take action (have an intervention) until level 6. I wanted to save my M and loved H (still do) that boundaries kept getting breached until it got to very dangerous levels of abuse. But I was clearly aware there was abuse at level 3.

In Z case it was a level 6 breach which caused the first intervention (with her flat mate), from what she says she struggled with awareness at level 6.

That is very serious indeed and a wake up call.

I really started seriously enforcing boundaries at level 4, at that stage I was fully aware and having IC help with boundaries but took no direct action until H behaved at level 6. Although I did record H at earlier levels, ranting etc.

The only way to break from this systematic abuse is complete no contact with the abuser or they try to control and start a new cycle. This is also going to sound very odd, but there is a "trance" style Stockholm syndrome exhibited. I sense that if I let H into my life with even a chink of R, it would be off and running. When I tell H I no longer want to see or hear from him again and make it happen, I mean it. I will not be abused.

In many ways it's an issue when you are more concerned about losing your M than rebuilding it as a result of the abuse. Abuse is after all about control and the control is with the abuser.

Where do I think the line should be? Level 2 abuse.

Where did I draw the line? at level 4.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/15/15 04:09 AM
Originally Posted By: Virginia
A message from Michele Weiner-Davis

Hi Divorce Busters,

It has come to my attention that some people on this message board are strongly suggesting advice that runs counter to my Divorce Busting philosophy and practice- the notion of exposing a spouse's affair to family members. While this plan may be helpful to one couple, it would completely backfire in other marriages. I have worked with many couples where the betrayed spouse revealed all the information to friends and family with extremely detrimental outcomes. First, when the unfaithful spouse discovered this had happened, he or she decided to file for divorce and it became a final decision. Secondly, there are those situations where the couple began to heal from the infidelity and get their marriage back on track, but the family members undermined the couples' efforts and even "disowned" the betrayed spouse. This made life-long commitments after infidelity a very challenging outcome because few people like giving up their family and friends. So, while I do believe that betrayed spouses need support from loved ones when dealing with such a distressing situation, it is ESSENTIAL that the information about the affair be shared CAREFULLY and with full recognition about the possible risks. I always recommend that, if information is shared, the person with whom it is shared is marriage-friendly, even in the face of infidelity. Nonetheless, it's still important to recognize potential risks.

I am wondering if we substituted "abuse" for "affair" and "infidelity" whether this would apply?

In my own case intervention didn't work and the abuse was overt (visible) so i felt that it didn't matter.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/15/15 08:29 AM
Good question, V.

I think there is a lot of load in admitting to even closest friends and family that there has been systematic abuse. Like you, when I realized it was over, I did. And started learning many things others had seen with my STBX. No desire to hurt his character, or mine, but I found honesty has been crucial for real support IRL.

Your levels are a great tool. Maybe to develop further so we have a common reference. I feel like 4,5 and above is a good point to say this is abuse/abuser. Everything under can be situational and occasional to a lot of good marriages under stress, or grey lines, and is easy to say these are generally toxic behaviors. Almost like gateway abuses? Places where boundaries can often be set and respected. I am shaky on this point, but it would seem over the top to me to call someone abusive for a rare spew. Behaved abusively...yes.

What comes to mind is that affairs break vows, trust, but are selfish matters done in the space of someone's own choices. The STD issue is huge and this poses risk for spouse. But abuse comes into our space.

An Abuser uses two tools to keep their behavior going:

- a level of protection 'victim' offers in secrecy, whether rooted in pride, fear, dignity, whatever reason to not tell others. Abuser trusts this. ( I think this is why mine finally chose a psychological style. I had no hesitation in calling out early level 4+ verbal and physical for what it was thanks to childhood. And telling him my nearest and dearest were aware and we discussed. More difficult with a wannabe psychologist making me doubt everything about who I was and what the games and gas lighting were. The overt abuses still occasionally surfaced.)

- image management. Most abusers will make such efforts to present as 'good guy' or 'victim' and start planting seeds of doubt about how awful you are to others, socially.

I don't believe it is helpful to remain silent because these tools become further affirmed.

But if my STBX ever did seriously want to change and was one if the rare ones who did more than lip service - it would be impossible for me to have support of friends and family in that marriage at this point. When I weighed my risks, this is what I have chosen because it represents a healthier reality for me. Safe, well-being with support. No longer alone and enabling these two tools above, because I have hope that this is a changeable dynamic.
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 06/18/15 03:44 AM
I had a quick read thru and need to have a considered read thru and formulate some replies.

I think there are levels and when threats and hitting comes in then it's at max. Covert threats are the hardest to pick, they can be brushed off by your abuser as you being overly Sensative.
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 06/18/15 09:32 AM
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Originally Posted By: Ggrass
I watched so many abuse videos that when they made me dissolve into hysterical crying about how my life was no list could tell me otherwise it was undoubtedly abuse.

Sleeping on a gun for 3 months. Having guns just laying within hands reach of my xh2. Him hitting the child as a control move. Those things all add up to be totally controlling and abusvie.

It doesn't matter that you lived it, it's about weather you sign up for another round. If your prepared to accept changing you can hanging the game to live a different Life in the future.

There's a lot of information and resources in this threaUd and I hope sincerely hope those of you who doubt your judgement you use some of these to grow your self into something far stronger and far better.

Gg, what made you wake up to the fact you knew you were being abused?

so it was a mate who hammered me, telling me that covert abuse is abuse. loaded guns in the house, the threat of hitting the child, the guns that were often left under the mattres, the threat of being as good as his word and leaving me over seas. So many things that were no win the having no life. Really those video of other women talking about their abuse when I had denied it so strongly that it could have been me. having to confront other things that meant it really wasn't about my best interest ever that marriage

What was the recognition oil, the videos or reading?
the video of the woman who's hubby hit her contansantly then used guns to threaten, mine thought he didn't use that threat as they weren't ever aimed at me or my head. Reading here night after night helped and so did the sharing of stories to know I couldn't fix it nor did I cause it, but was undoubtly held accountable when xh2 was totally unaccountable for any of his actions

Did hitting your child influence your decision?

yes and no it was the start of the real downward spiral it was where he started throwing a huge tratrum of how the child controlled the m. how s17 had manipulated me and my view of xh2 he even wrote an email telling me why hitting the child wasn't abuse and he would not expect anyone to stay in that sort of abusvie situtsion

After H2 had gone would you have taken him back?

in the early part I decided I would consider it a r sitch up to the one year but as the year rolled on my grief deepened and I grieve it and decided to let it go, hence I want settlement. Now I don't think I could remotely go back, unless xh2 had done a heap of personal work in him, which he hasn't done, rencenty he has lied about stuff that really doesn't matter one way or the other.

Do you think you would identify an abuser again?

Hell I hope so, but who knows! I thought I would never put up with abuse but I never really knew about covert hidden abuse to the same degree.


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 12:21 AM
Recovery from abuse

Abuse is a personal issue, and elements of it are extraordinary detailed and pointed. In many cases we as targets may believe abuse is justified or that actually we are the source of it. PTSD depression and anxiety can be amoung the target's responses. There can also be a transition to physical abuse.

There is no replacement for professional assistance for healing, either for an abuser nor the target. Unresolved childhood issues can be involved for both and there can be great potential in healing those traumas. Deflection by the target involve having negative thoughts as a reaction and behavioural therapy can help counter those negative thoughts using techniques such as reframing.

Abusers may stop communicating entirely (level 5) so that ceasing an R may not be an enormous step. On a physical level, sex and physical intimacy and warmth can be withheld as punishment or reserved as a reward, and the abuser may use resumption of such connection as a means of restarting the cycle.
Recognising Trickery

After recognising abuse the first question the target asks is "how did I get to this?"

The answer is that the targets of a systematic abuser were tricked, seduced or groomed. The abuser targets by whisking the target off their feet or overwhelms them with affection. They act as if they were a perfect match, have the same goals and really want a great R. The targets are flattered, love bombed, complimented. They enjoy their company and are becoming addicted. They lose their sense of separateness and independence. They are being gradually conditioned with requests, "I love you without make up, don't wear it" or "you look great in plaid shirts, wear these for me". Then adaption "I am glad you don't mind me, drinking, smoking, going to golf etc" . Object and the abuser pretends to be under attack.

The honeymoon phase is over. The target blames themselves and starts to compromise boundaries. The goals aspirations and common interests all gone and of course the target blames themselves.

The moment of truth (spell busting)

Recognise the cycle and the target can no longer not know or deny the abuse.

The target can never 'fix' the abuser or the R. Abusers need very specialist help, in any case they often know they are abusing and they see nothing wrong with it. That isn't the targets concern, once healing starts then the target can only be responsible for and focus on themselves.

Post Spell Busting

If the abuser ceases the R then that is very lucky indeed. Despite the pain the conditioning will stop and the grooming ceases. The psychological bond needs breaking. This is hard and confusing, sad and lonely making. Ironically removing the addiction makes the target feel worse, like a withdrawal mechanism.

The abuser may well have planned the drama of the break up for a long time to punish or lay the guilt for leaving on the target. Criticising , saying the target wasnt obedient, loving, were selfish or not good enough. They are the victim because the target is so awful. They may have sign posted the leaving, created drama or pretend its for their own good.

Conditioned the target feels lost and empty, life ripped apart. Expect that, it's natural and absolutely necessary part of the process.

If the target ends the R then there may be nastiness as the abuser has lost control.

The end of the R isn't always the end of the abuse. Control may be gone but the abuser may dig and crow. Turn up, fb, steal joint friends, manipulate family or children. Except now the target knows that abuse is intended. But awareness won't always stop abuse.

Avoiding all contact with the Abuser.

Complete NC and darkness. Use Ls, intermediaries, blocks, change direction. The abuser won't feel pain or remorse and the target can not expect it. Nothing the target does or says will make any difference.

The target may need to cut the abuser out of their life completely or find the sweet cycle restarting.
Have a plan

Be prepared, plan escape like a campaign.

Go stay elsewhere, get an injunction, have a "safe" person. Take IC. list the abuse or any diaries or listen to recordings. Have a good L. Hold steady to resolve, have cards close to chest. Especially in Fins, now is not the time to brag or disclose.

Plan for the worst and be glad if it's better than that. The abuser will have a vice like grip. Ever seen a film where the scary bog monster tries to drag the hero under? That is the model for escape from the abuser/bog monster.

In the case of physical abuse stay out of reach and have police help on speed dial.

Have video or recordings stored safely.

Change phone numbers for private calls, block the abuser.

Believe nothing unless evidenced independently.
What to expect in recovery

sadness and the blues. The grooming, feel good cycle is addictive. As the target you were "in love" even when being abused. That is conditioning. You may have been loyal, believed the horrid things the abuser said, you were a fly in a web.

Anger is justified and natural. Awareness will trigger anger, infidelity may trigger anger. Lies are suddely more obvious and what was once hidden is now revealed with great clarity, the abuser may not even hide their contempt or distain for you. Suddenly you as the target are a threat, the abuser has lost control and as the target you have a clearer view of the abuse. Lashing out at the abuser is counter productive.

The abuser already knows the target can ruin their reputation, sabotage any future R, and the abuser may fear they will get their just deserts. The power is now with the target and the abuser will try all tricks to protect themselves. Ideally You as the target can stay above that with dignity and distance that will lesson the backlash a little. revenge may be a dish best served cold, but let the universe deal with the abuser. It will happen, the abuser is incomplete.

Healing of you as target isn't about justice, revenge or exposure: it is about acceptance and detaching. Escape is vital, stay out of the cross hairs of a panicky or cold hearted abuser. Appear disinterested, let them go easily to a new target.

Denial may mean downplaying the abuse or recrafting it. The target may even sympathise with the abuser or even blame themselves. Denial is a way of coping and an attempt at restricting damage. It can be useful for a short while. Doubt arises, questioning of feelings and the risk of returning to the abuse.

Anxiety returns and concern over new Rs, not just romantic ones.

Thoughts may intrude or cycle. They may habituate and trigger. Continued negative thoughts create physiological damaging and impede clarity.
Recovery Tools

All recovering targets need a great support structure.

Friends especially safe validating friends. Those who will accept the abuse, listen to feelings and pick up PMA. Advice to recovering targets is to create a "story" that's part of history, a short cut. Friends of the target may be frustrated that the targets recovery is slow. Expect slow and then halve the speed.

Survivor groups, twelve steps etc are a safe place to express. Cheaper than therapy and builds a support structure of like minded friends. It gives resources. Online can be great too, love that DB board.

IC, abuse counsellor, short courses are all great for working the maze. There is good amateur advice but professional resources are needed to confirm. Expect issues, expect to learn, expect to change, expect chaotic thinking. Doubt, confusion and denial will take time to clear.

Self awareness means reading, thinking, reflecting, writing and acting as if. Walk into the pain, expect it. You will hurt if you reflect on the R, maybe retraumatise yourself. This will influence decision making and action.

Meditate and use mindfulness to stay in the now. Create gratitude and joy, limit down time, stay busy, go GAL.
Do this- the target is fighting themselves

~Stay to a regular schedule, don't make sweeping changes unless absolutely necessary.

~Eat healthily. Extreme self care, nutrition, know the bloods, nutritional status, take extra advice on this.

~Stay hydrated

~Consider anti depressants, at least discuss them

~Exercise at least 30 mins a day

~Light, sit in daylight as much as possible

~Sleep and rest

~Saunas, massages and physical therapy

~Clean tidy clothes, hair cut, grooming and cologne.

~If it hasn't been said enough cut the abuser out of your life as much as possible, cut casual contact and of course stay non sexual

~Be alcohol free

~Stay free of another R for at least one year

~Defer very important decisions until emotions are reset

~Remove that tattoo, belongings, special records, photos, redecorate etc

Heading for acceptance

It is part of you the target's history. Let go of resentment and the desire to inflict pain through revenge. You will never be the same again. The abuser may be cycling with another target, the new target can't be warned. 

As part of healing the targets life once centred around the abuser is now self focused and that may be unfamiliar. As the target choosing the life affirming decision of staying away from the abuser. Stay out of the Abusers Rs.

Accept that change has occurred and leave the past in the past.

This post has been written from various notes including the reprise of Recovery from Abuse by Madeline Morgan

Posted By: mustardseed Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 10:29 AM
Wow V. I keep thinking about how many missteps I have made and reading through this I see why I need to stop trying to appeal to his decency. I recognize H in what you say, and it is scary to think that because I have had bad relationships before, but this one seemed so right. How could it be that he is this person described here? He has a larger circle than I do. And I know that his biggest fear is his reputation which has been threatened due to the blurred lines of our home life and his work life. Not to mention blurred lines of my pre-H days and his family.

I am afraid right now. Not sure what he is planning to do with the information I have given him by trying to appeal to his decency. Am I really in an abusive marriage? The gloves came off for him when I started seeking answers from those in his circle. It is interesting how he made it a point to tell me that I don't have any real friends here, except one. The rest are all through him, and their loyalties are with him. It was an odd thing for him to say, but I see now it is his way of trying to protect his reputation and creating paranoia in me.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 11:02 AM

I think that you have situational abuse. H controlling and cycling because of his work. He stepped this up recently as he sensed your becoming a woman only a fool would leave.

You got "balls" and acted independently of him. loss of control, "Peter Peter Pumkin eater, had a wife and couldn't keep her, then he put her in a pumpkin shell, just to keep her very well". You left the pukin shell, you set yourself free.

H is still trying to control your reality. You do have real friends, much better than acquaintances, plus you have 12 steps, self knowledge and integrity. Your reality is different from H description of it. The friends who back you are at this time the ones invested in you.

H is frightened his world will collapse, that isn't in your interest if you need Fin support from him! Eventually the truth will be out and H reputation will be smashed but he will keep his job. This won't be because of you, it's because liars lie and can't be consistent. It's easier to tell the truth, we remember the truth.

When you doubt yourself remember this point of realisation and clarity.

He is frightened of your power especially if he sees as I do enormous growth and potential in Msd. An Msd planting her seed in fertile soil.

Just because H says so, isn't making it so.


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 11:18 AM
Sorry guys fat finger syndrome:

Wanted to clarify in case of misunderstanding

WH created the requirement of Msd being in a pumpkin shell, (being chased) when he was the one cheating! Keeps Msd for himself in a chastity place. Msd chooses to leave WH and eventually she will be free to have a new R.

Msd is not in any way wayward so H control is to keep his cake for later in case he needs it. He needs his cake safe with icing intact and for none else to know about his cake eating habits. They will see his greed about cake and that reflects on him.

Posted By: Sherman333 Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 12:03 PM
Originally Posted By: mustardseed
Wow V. I keep thinking about how many missteps I have made and reading through this I see why I need to stop trying to appeal to his decency. I recognize H in what you say, and it is scary to think that because I have had bad relationships before, but this one seemed so right. How could it be that he is this person described here? He has a larger circle than I do. And I know that his biggest fear is his reputation which has been threatened due to the blurred lines of our home life and his work life. Not to mention blurred lines of my pre-H days and his family.

I am afraid right now. Not sure what he is planning to do with the information I have given him by trying to appeal to his decency. Am I really in an abusive marriage? The gloves came off for him when I started seeking answers from those in his circle. It is interesting how he made it a point to tell me that I don't have any real friends here, except one. The rest are all through him, and their loyalties are with him. It was an odd thing for him to say, but I see now it is his way of trying to protect his reputation and creating paranoia in me.

but this one seemed so right.

Don't beat yourself up. Most likely, you were manipulated.

There are "typical" stages for a narcissistic relationship. To a certain extent, this can be extrapolated to relationships with other Cluster B personality types. I'm unfortunately very familiar with this one. It easy to doubt your perceptions when this happens. People with these disorders cannot empathize. They'll only use it against you later. Especially in the 2nd stage.

  • Love Bombing - This is the beginning stage where they lure you into the relationship. They can be very charming. They will go out of their way to make you feel valued, appreciated, appeal to your desires, etc.
  • Idealization/Devaluation - This is where they vacillate between how wonderful you are and then how horrible a person you are. Often they'll use public shaming and humiliation as a form of control. Then they'll take all back when they're idolizing you again.
  • The Discard Phase or the Abandonment Stage - They abandoned you and the relationship so quick it's amazing. You'll need to be on guard as the narcissist will come back repeatedly to start the phases over again. Best to go no-contact if you can. Or minimize it as much as possible.

Search terms:
Love Bombing
Cluster B Personality Disorders
narcissistic relationship stages

Cluster B personality disorders have 5 fundamental fears.
  • The fear of abandonment.
  • The fear of loss of control.
  • The fear of feeling or appearing inferior or inadequate.
  • The fear of loss of resources.
  • The fear of exposure.

I believe all of these are searchable and a search would do a better job of explaining them. Touching any of these would trigger a strong response from someone with any of the cluster B disorders.

In the example above, "And I know that his biggest fear is his reputation which has been threatened ", you're triggering the fear of exposure.

As for dealing with your paranoia and understanding your marriage, that's something I'd suggest an IC for. You can also search for things like "Signs That You're in a Relationship with a Narcissist".

You're best friend is documentation (recordings (know your laws 1st), emails to the lawyer describing events with any additional proof, Facebook Posts (akin to dumpster diving, but...), etc.). Best advice is to go no contact if possible. If they're kids involved, try to minimize contact as much as as you can and keep the conversations focused on the kids - NO EMOTION as that feeds them.

My suggestion is search/read/understand. There's a lot of help out there once you know where to look. wink
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 02:06 PM
Twelve Steps of abuse for targets

Prior to acceptance there is realisation, and we move into crisis. The memories and suppressed feelings create turmoil. We pull back and thus do not listen to our intuition, we may be anxious shocked traumatised depressed or hurt. Devastated by the control. We are however at crisis and the abusers spell is broken, we are no longer charmed and the abusers control slips. Knowledge is our gift, once we know then we can never unknow. The end of the charm is over. The abuse may not stop just because we know and can see it. But the abuser will no longer hide his intentions towards controlling the target. There may be may cycles before the spell is broken, or we may be abandoned and distressed because the abuser has moved on. In some cases one abuser is replaced by another. A parent by a spouse, a boyfriend by a husband. It is only when we say "I will not be abused or controlled, I want this to stop", now what do I do, that we reach acceptance that we have lost control over ourselves.

We are honest and we feel, we are moving to the point where we have accepted that change is needed and it can't be done alone. This is the crisis point of realisation, the point at which the twelve steps begins.

1. Acceptance
We admitted we were powerless over the abuse and our lives were unmanageable. This first step is to admit to a problem, those unwilling to admit to an issue may not seek help and return to the abuse. Accepting the problems exist but this creates awareness. Admission firms up the issue. We have broken our silence, we have spoken in confusion and often in dis pair. We may still doubt the reality but we have accepted the existence. We remember this as part of a continuum we do not know why we were vulnerable. We are free to remember and this starts the grief. This is the start of congruence. But it the process of integrating abuse in our life story. We make a decision to heal, an active commitment to healing regardless of the pain and risk. Staying in the current position is more hurtful than moving on. We are ready to heal and we have accepted the need that it's not something we can do alone.

2. Hope
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us the sanity. Saying we need help that we can't do this alone. We connect with our higher power, our simpler selves, our innocence. Think that we have a small child within us, what is needed to feel whole? This child is our inner wisdom and has complete access to the higher power. This is our vulnerability we can connect with it, feel compassion for ourselves, anger at the abuser and empathy with others. We acknowledge that abuse is the abusers choice. We know we have no shame about the abuse. We didn't cause it, we can't control it and we can't cure it; we have responsibility only for ourselves.

3. Faith
Made a decision to accept help and have faith in the process and the perceptions you have. Then the intuitions we feel have validity, if we have sensed there was something wrong then we can count on the higher power within us which is telling us something about our sitch and ourselves. We learn about boundaries and what is acceptable to us. We accept that we have the need for nurture.

4. Honesty
Look at our own faults, examine where we are missing and that it is our own defects which hold us to the abuse all the while knowing we didn't cause it, we can't control it and we can't cure it. The abusers do what they do for their own reasons, their faults. How this is managed and our response is ours. This is the step of grief and struggle, grieving is honouring pain, examining what happens is part of it. We can cry it out, express the pain.

5. Courage
Admitted to another ourselves and our higher power the exact nature of our role. Admitting we have issues and the truth of our sitch then we can detach and let go, we are ready to receive support.

6. Willingness
We become ready and willing to make the changes, we accept it is our responsibility to change. We may be angry and this is powerful and motivating. We can in the name of our abuser, pay it forward. This doesn't last forever let it fuel you to peace in step 6.

7. Humility
Humbly asked for change using prayer, healing, meditation, hope and faith. In peace challenging the abuser, confronting them by letter, in counselling whilst acknowledging our role can be part of this step. We can write and then let go of the letter. Nothing says I am ready to heal like silence, I have been abused yet I accept that I need to change and move on.

8. Sincerity
Made a list of all persons harmed in accepting abuse. We are not the abuser why should we find ourselves harming others? aren't we the ones who are affected.? The answer is of course but the abuse may have left us depressed, lost, ineffectual and bewildered. It may have made us angry, we are responsible for our reactions and their effects. Our family, friends, coworkers, bosses, children and others have been affected. We may need to apolgise to ourselves.

9. Action
Make amends to others, except when to do so may injure them or make things worse. Not all others are prepared to accept apology or amends and that is their right. We give and accept forgiveness, we allow ourselves the comfort of knowing we are human and flawed. We may come to forgive the abuser but it behaves us not to forget. Forgiveness of the abuser is voluntary and a choice, it's ok to decide not to forgive it's our right. Resentment won't help though and a desire to seek revenge won't fit with the twelve steps. let go of the resentment.

10. Vigilance
When we continue to watch and admit to being wrong we accept that relapses are normal, flashbacks affect us. Admitting that we struggle is not weakness but strength. This is resolution and moving on. This means we have made deep and lasting changes in life, there is awareness, compassion and power.

11. Spirituality
Seek improvement through the thought prayer meditation and study for quiet time and the power to do that which we need to do. We improve our lives and those around us. We are moving forwards, there is no chance of a relapse and we recognise that others are struggling. There is a clarity of thought, we are building on knowledge. A sense there is a greater power is a huge asset and uniquely personal.

Knowing that which we know we can carry the message to others, seeking help to develop ourselves. This is fellowship, community and positivity.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/20/15 09:21 PM
V, you are a blessing.

I notice after H had a violent episode with me and we broke up, I would restart the cycle by reaching out to him - especially when his well adjusted 'wise' self went about town being perfectly well and at peace over our end. It made me doubt everything about me and though you would think you can't unknow what you know, somehow I found a way. Every time. To minimize and take the blame it some well spoken psychobabble.

Not this time.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse! Compulsion addiction - 06/21/15 05:43 PM
Conscience, 12 step and what we do when we wrong another

The process when we wrong another is:
1. We commit or say a wrong- accidentally or deliberately
2. We feel guilty for a deliberate wrong and acknowledge an accidental wrong
3. We take responsibility and accept that a wrong needs correcting
4. We apologise or atone

Where correcting the wrong would cause more damage we stay silent and make amends to the universe in other ways.

For example we accidentally drop a vase, we apologise and offer to replace. We steal our granddaughters chocolate egg, we own up and replace it. 

The process of the abuser, addict or compulsive (collectively Abusers)

With abusers and those who are dysfunctional they donot have the guilt phase so this is:

1. They do or say something wrong
2. There is no guilt, so they justify their action
3. Thus there is no responsibility so they blame others, the wrong doesn't need righting
4. There is no atonement or proper apology
5. There is then a repeat of the wrong
6. The abuser loses even more respect for the target

The response is:
at step 2 enforce the boundary and then have a two day rule to see if there is atonement or proper apology

at step 5 is for the target to say " I am not being wronged anymore" and enforce the stated boundary then silence for 5 days etc

The one without guilt or responsibility will say, the vase was on a slippery table, your 2 year old pulled the cloth or other such responses. The chocolate egg melted, was eaten by mice or accidentally fell, all the time licking their lips.

How to respond

If there is physical abuse, financial abuse (theft), damage of property, it's time to enforce boundaries and take action. Record abuse and protect yourself, allow natural consequences to evolve.

This sort of behaviour is uncivil at best and criminal at worst. Of course countering and self survival will anger the abuser, they have been thwarted. Treating the abuser as well as you can without harming yourself, take time, do not disclose your hand. Make it hard for the abuser to continue, an abuser has no respect for the target, return the favour.

One cannot love or talk an abuser into respecting you as a target. Your best defence is self respect and this may mean therapy, enforcing boundaries and healing childhood hurts. Being open about the abuse and being clear, writing this as life story is essential to the recovery of the target.

Lose the label of a victim, target, or doormat and heal.

Get the abuser or invalidator from your life as a target, you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. Whatever you do the abuser is a miserable, unhappy and selfish person who no matter what you do will stay that way. They need help to recover and without it will cycle and keep doing harm to those around them. It really doesn't matter why or how the abuser arrived at this point, without help they can't recover and the target cannot give them this help. Of course situational abusers and reaction Abusers have normally suspended the guilt cycle because of addiction and they can recover. Systemic Abusers rarely recover, even with substantial help.

The most logical reasons why

There are a number of traits of Abusers:
1. Ego (this replaces true self esteem)
2. Arrogance and conceit (lack of confidence replaced by bravado)
3. Entitlement (replaces skills and accomplishment)
4. No conscience or a temporary suspension (guilt as an emotion is suppressed)
5. Irresponsibility (the ability to blame others)

The demeanour and attitude of the targets response
Always be truthful, do not deny affairs, abuse or invalidation. Make it uncomfortable for the abuser as the abuse will not stop. When you enforce your boundaries and react in response then the abuser will escalate the abuse (this is referred to as extinction burst) as an attempt to assert. Ironically the boundary enforcement is a challenge to the abuser and they will wrong more. Enforce further and make the consequences further. Go silent and as long as boundaries are healthy then this is absolutely the correct response. The abuser abuses because it works.

Be free of being a target, ask yourself why am I a target. Be free to determine your own future. Detach and do not take the emotional load. The abuser is not reasonable, separate their opinion from your self esteem. Get mastery over yourself, silence is often the best tactic, keep everything intellectual and dismiss the opinion. Know that the abuser is projecting their faults onto the target. Like sending a poison arrow to you.

When the target is wronged for something they didn't say or do then it says more about them than you. Their negative characteristics are transferred to you and it may go further in that you have the opposite traits, if they say you are selfish, it's themselves they refer to and in fact you are generous and kind. Be generous and kind, be silent and keep the incendiary responses to zero. In fact validate but hold the boundary as in "I understand why you feel that way but I do not agree". No good deed goes unpunished with these Abusers.

Detach and use effective silence.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/21/15 08:03 PM
Originally Posted By: Zelda09
V, you are a blessing.

I notice after H had a violent episode with me and we broke up, I would restart the cycle by reaching out to him - especially when his well adjusted 'wise' self went about town being perfectly well and at peace over our end. It made me doubt everything about me and though you would think you can't unknow what you know, somehow I found a way. Every time. To minimize and take the blame it some well spoken psychobabble.

Not this time.

The spell is broken, from this place you will always be the spellbreaker. The crisis point is past and you are no longer charmed, you see the lovebomb charm for that which it is.
A dream, you are awake, alive, out of your trace.

A wonderful place to be and to heal.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/22/15 08:33 PM
I hesitate to write on this thread or back on mine...but word got to me that STBX has said of his behavior and what happened between us...'the accident (3 yrs ago), it will be a while before I am right again.'

And my little heart wants to bleed and hope, and I have had to tell myself twenty times today that the accident occurred three years after plenty of other abuses. It didn't cause anything, and yet I am hoping. I keep trying to see hope that he 'recognizes' he isn't right (yet, will not contact me to apologize or finish our divorce), hope! that he seems to have some introspection after all! (or this isn't a wonderfully pretty thing to say when he realizes I've not been keeping secrets like I used to). Maybe this means he can see he has things he needs to address! And I can have my 'soulmate' back again!

Welcome to crazy land.

I am having an absolute meltdown with all these feelings and knowing how dangerous for my sanity it would be to reach out to his poor victimized soul again, what another time or two on the rollercoaster would be. I post here, because this is part of the cycle as much as abuser, but as 'target.' The hope is intoxicating.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/22/15 09:54 PM
V Personal red flags from her R with H.

Red Flags

1.Moved very fast – declares undying love very early. H moved in with me within 5 months. Take my time.

2.Claimed to believe in love at first sight, and uses phrases like ‘it’s you and me against the world’ and " i am very glad i found you". Disbelieve early protestations of love and look for grounded love.

3. Used his charm to impress and ingratiate himself with my family and friends. They all said what a fantastic boyfriend. Family and friends can get it wrong.

4. Is homophobic and racist – reacts with anger or disgust. I am not and I have friends of all hue and beliefs. Views like this don't meet my values.

5. Did not respect my privacy or need for personal space – he routinely ready my emails, knows my password, reads my text messages. Next time privacy if breached is not a casual thing.

6. Tracks my movements, works with me. Even now turns up at odd times, deleted information on iPads and iPhones. Big problem if he knows where I am but not visa versa.

7. Has strange, irrational behaviour and beliefs. Numerous 'rules' for what he would eat or drink that kept changing. This is just play wacky.

8. Is disinterested in animals gave away his pets, always criticising people, those he worked with, golf colleagues, his family and my family. Next time tolerance and kindness.

9. Did not pass ‘the waitress and barmaid test’! Was rude and insisted we leave if the pub didn't have his favourite beer. Next time look for someone who treats every one with respect.

10. My abuser used to make a point of giving to charity at black tie events. Privately and sometimes publicly he still showed no compassion for my welfare and feelings. Public and personal persona should match.

11. Exaggerates his personal achievements or talents. Claimed qualifications he didn't have. Can check the background properly.

12. Has ‘hair trigger’ changes of mood – the classic Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde. You’ll not know what set him off, and be left dazed and confused by how quickly the rage disappears and replaced by softness and tenderness. I never knew which H was present in my life the 'nice' or 'nasty' H. Moodiness is really bad news.

13. Has unrealistic ambitions or expectations, is a gambler also compulsive and so will never build. Expending my resources.

14. Displays excessive reactions to real or perceived threats, criticises little things and over reacts. Look for drama.

15. Chooses a risk-taking lifestyle – gambling, smoking, fast driving and excessive drinking. Look for stability.

16. Habitually lies – about small stuff as well as big stuff and then accuses me of being a compulsive liar. Question when gut says something is wrong.

17. Withholds sex. Says I am fat and repulsive and too sexual aggressive and it's ugly. Look for ordinary sexual needs.

18. acknowledges my needs, desires or hopes only when necessary. His come first, and anyway – aren’t my needs the same as his? Says I am not a "we" person because there is only "him". Look for compromise.

19. If he did something nice, like running you a bath – he’s doing me a favour. 
Usually no Christmas card, and doesn't remembers my birthday, because he simply doesn’t give a damn. Respects things which are important to me including my belongings.

20. Laughs at things others find disturbing and has inappropriate responses to suffering in others. Solution to abuse on the Paris subway? He understands it. Look for balance.

21. My money is his but his is his own. Gave up work and has spent his cash, he can't afford to pay his bills. Look for independence and self respect.

22. Never says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to me. 

Posted By: Wonka Re: Abuse - 06/22/15 10:10 PM

You know what? A few years ago, I wrote a list of characteristics, traits, hobbies, and values that I wanted in a life partner. Then I set the list on fire to release it to the Universe. Well, the Universe delivered and it worked.

Focus on what you WANT.

My list consisted of two columns with short words such as "compassionate", "sensitive", "understanding" and so on. Some included some descriptions like "enjoys NFL", "enjoys traveling", and "enjoys international cuisine" etc. I included specific physical features...coloring, height, etc.

To boost the image, I included a picture of Elizabeth Shue. rrrawwwrr

You get the picture.

Man, it does work.
Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 06/22/15 11:10 PM
On the subject of Change (Abuser)

Keep in mind, even if they truly wish to change, this is dangerous if they haven't developed the TOOLS to be able to follow through during their next raging moment.

Steps to Change

1. Admit fully to his/her history of emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual and physical abusiveness. Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened.

2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally. (S)He needs to identify the justifications (s)he used, including the ways (s)he blamed you, and talk in detail about why his/her behaviors were unacceptable, without defending them.

3. Acknowledge that his/her behavior was a choice, not a loss of control.

4. Recognize the effects his/her abuse has had on you and on your family, and show empathy for those. (S)He needs to talk IN DETAIL about the impact that the abuse has had, including fear, loss of trust, anger, etc. And (s)he needs to do this without feeling sorry for him/herself or talking about how hard the experience has been for her/him.

5. Identify in detail his/her pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes. (S)He needs to speak in detail about the day-to-day tactics of abuse (S)he has used, identify the underlying beliefs and values that drove those behaviors, such as considering him/herself entitled to constant attention.

6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones (s)he is stopping.

7. Reevaluate his/her distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view. (S)He has to recognize that (s)he has focused on and exaggerated his/her grievances against you. (S)He needs to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.

8. Make amends for the damage (s)he has done. (S)He has to have a sense that (s)he has a debt to you. (S)He can start payment by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his/her own needs on the back burner for a couple of years, fixing what (s)he has damaged, and cleaning up the emotional and literal messes (s)he has caused.

9. Accept the consequences of his/her actions. (S)He should stop blaming you for problems that are the result of his/her abuse.

10. Commit to not repeating his/her abusive behaviors. (S)He should not place any conditions on improvement – such as saying (s)he won’t call you names as long as you don’t raise your voice.

11. Accept the need to give up his/her privileges and do so. Stop double standards, stop flirting with others, stop taking off with friends while you take care of the children. (S)He also is not the only one allowed to express anger.

12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process. (S)He cannot claim that his/her work is done by saying, “I’ve changed, but you haven’t.” or complain that (s)he is sick of hearing about the abuse.

13. Be willing to be accountable for his/her actions, both past and future. (S)He must accept feedback and criticism and be answerable for what he does and how it affects you and the children.

(S)He Has Not Changed If . ..

(S)He blames partner or others for her/his behavior.

(S)He uses guilt to manipulate the partner into dropping charges or keeping silent.

(S)He does not faithfully attend her/his treatment program.

(S)He pressures the partner to let her/him move back in before partner is ready.

(S)He will not admit (s)he was abusive.

(S)He convinces others that it is the partner who is either abusive or crazy.

(S)He demands to know where partner is and whom (s)he is with.

(S)He uses partner’s behavior as an excuse to treat the partner badly.

(S)He continues to use sarcasm or verbal abuse, talk over his/her partner, and shows disrespect or superiority.

(S)He does not respond well to complaints or criticism of her/his behavior when (s)he slips back into abusive behavior.

(S)He continues to undermine partner’s authority as a parent, and partner’s credibility as a person.

Her/His mindset about women/men has not changed, even though (s)he avoids being abusive.

(S)He criticizes partner for not realizing how much he has changed.

“Completion of a batterer’s intervention program class by a man does not mean his victim is safe or that he has stopped being abusive. While men may learn tools for acting nonviolently, research indicates that many men continue to be abusive, even if they change their tactics.” —Embracing Justice: A Resource Guide for Rabbis on Domestic Violence

If you go back too soon, the abuse will be worse and leaving again will be harder.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/23/15 12:31 AM
Love the post Z

Great addition to the thread. I had started doing this myself but got a bit stuck.

Wonka, yes, I know.

When I am strong enough I will do that, I have Liam in my sights! Know he may not work for most........

At the moment the negatives are working like garlic on H vampire nature.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/23/15 12:43 AM
Invalidation cheat sheet 

How to invalidate your other half and destroy any chance of an R in one post.
The antithesis of Wonka's validation cheat sheet

“When we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. When one’s feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even when they are perfectly mentally healthy.” RD Laing

What is invalidation?

Invalidation is so insidious that we may not even know it’s happening. We know that something doesn’t feel right, but we can’t put our finger on it and it destroys connection.

People invalidate others for a variety of reasons, sometimes purposefully and sometimes not. An abuser will use invalidation as a tool of manipulation and a weapon. Others may be short on empathy. Some may feel uncomfortable with your pain, or feel powerless to do anything to help you.

The bottom line is this: When you’re invalidated, you are not having your emotional needs met.

Non-verbal invalidation includes things like leaving the room, giving the silent treatment, and rolling the eyes (this indicates contempt, and it’s actually predictive of a bad outcome in any relationship).

Setting the scene by validating first to create connection
Our feelings help us identify our unmet emotional needs. If you don’t feel understood, it means you have an unmet need to feel understood. If you feel neglected or ignored, it means you don’t feel you’re getting enough attention. If you feel taken for granted, it means you aren’t feeling appreciated.

These are some of our fundamental emotional needs:

To be acknowledged.
To be accepted.
To be listened to.
To be understood.
To be loved.
To be appreciated.
To be respected.
To be safe.
To be valued.
To be worthy.
To be trusted.
To feel capable and competent.
To feel clear (instead of confused).
To be supported.

At first abusers validate us, they demonstrated that they cared and that our feelings mattered to them. It seemed to show that we mattered to them. By “mirroring” our feelings, they showed us they were in tune with us. That made us feel connected to them. That’s how they got us to bond with them.

Next invalidate
When we experience invalidation, we defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack.

“Repeated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, “I feel invalidated,” “I feel mocked,” or “I feel judged.” ~ Steve Hein, MSW: Invalidation

Say this to destroy your R

Really want to destroy your R? Try these phrases.............

The following are all invalidating statements that either minimise feelings, deny perceptions, order others to feel differently, tell you how to feel, or lay a guilt trip for thinking or feeling anything:

I thought we already talked about that.
I can’t believe you’re going to bring that up again.
I refuse to have this discussion.
You should be ashamed of yourself for feeling that way.
You need to realize how lucky you are.
It could be worse.
You shouldn’t feel that way.
Think about those who have it worse.
Just don’t worry about it.
Get over it.
Stop taking everything so personally.
Get a life. (thanks I will)
Lighten up.Cheer up. It was only a joke Don’t look so serious.
You’ve got it all wrong.
Of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous. This is nonsense.
That’s not the way things are. That’s not how things are.
I honestly don’t judge you as much as you think.
You are the only one who feels that way. Everyone agrees with me
It doesn’t bother anyone else, why should it bother you?
You must be kidding.
It can’t be that bad. Your life can’t be that bad.
You’re just tired or unwell
It’s nothing to get upset over. It’s not worth getting that upset over.
You should feel thankful that ________.
You should be glad that ________.
Just drop it. Suck it up
You should just forget about it.
I’m sure she didn’t mean that. Maybe he was just having a bad day.
You shouldn’t let it bother you. I’m sure she means well.
Don’t make that face!
You don’t really mean that.
Do you think the world was created to serve you?
Don’t you ever think of anyone but yourself?
You are......selfish/mean/the most xxxx in the world
What about my feelings? Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings for even a moment?
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
You can choose to be happy. You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons. Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
This is really getting old. This is getting to be pathetic.
I am sick and tired of hearing it.
You should be over that by now. It’s not such a big deal.
That’s what you’re so excited about? Is that all?
You think too much. Don’t let it get to you.
That’s nothing to be afraid of. Stop feeling so sorry for yourself.
You’ve been upset about this for too long; it’s time to move on. Just don’t think about it.
You need to get past that. You need to get on with your life.
You’re _______ (jealous, insecure, crazy, unstable, a worry wart, overly dramatic, a complainer, or too sensitive)
You’re making a big deal out of nothing.
You’re imagining things, it's in your head

I am sure there are plenty more

This post from various extracts and my abuse diary. For the way to build your R see Wonkas Validation cheat sheet.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/23/15 10:35 PM
Breaking the Betrayal Bond

Betrayal Bond, Trauma Bond and Stockholm Syndrome all describe the same thing: a deep, inexplicable bond with someone who has abused. The word “hurt” is an understatement. This is caused when a target of abuse feels a strong bond to their abuser, develop compassion and loyalty to their abusers, whether that abuse be physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, or a combination thereof. They tend to see the lack of abuse or periods between abuse as kindness, as proof of their abuser’s humanity.

A trauma bond is where an intense, traumatic experience or betrayal of trust takes place, forming an equally intense relationship/bond with the abuser.

Trying to understand why there was betrayal is futile. Trying to figure out "why do I feel so sick constantly?" "Why am I having these panic attacks?" "Why can’t I stop thinking about the abuser?" "Why didn’t the abuser still want to be friends?"

Ultimately, "why" doesn’t matter. The target must practice acceptance and just let go of the reason “why.” Perhaps as targets we feel that if we could just know our abusers’ motives or thoughts or reasons, we might be able to understand the betrayal, after all we are nurturing, compassionate people. But we wouldn’t understand, because there is no excuse or valid explanation for abuse, for deception, for betrayal. Ever.

"The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you’ve been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil." (Atwood)

In fact, it’s traumatic. The betrayal of a friendship or a lover (or worse, both) is highly traumatic, and your body (and mind) will likely respond as if you have been traumatised. Because you have been traumatised. The level of the abuse related to the impact of the abuse varies, as we all have different capacities for dealing with stress, anxiety, and pain.

As to what betrayal does to a relationship, and ultimately, a person, it’s a constant war between illusion and reality, between believing in love and explaining away lies. There are those people who excel at causing this type of betrayal and bond, especially (but not limited to) those who have disorders which are characterised by a lack of empathy hidden behind a charmer's mask.
The path to betrayal (so called 'dosing'):

Validation The victimiser validated the promise in some way so that you believed things are actually the way they were presented. [Regains confidence]

First betrayal The real intention becomes clear in early abuse or exploitation. What really happened.

New seduction The victimiser adds an explanation to the story so that the abuse is understandable. [New promise or explanation]

More betrayal The abuse and exploitation continue in a number of forms. [Now the target starts to examine their own sanity, value, and costs for having stayed.

Reframing The abuser interpreted costs as minimal and reframed them as necessary for the good of the relationship.

Crisis/Spellbreak Ultimately, reality asserts itself and the target realises no more abuse

Yet the bond remains even after the relationship is severed and contact has ceased.

The path was one of betrayal and exploitation and a harsh form of abandonment, which is connected to the core of addictions and shame. It is worse than neglect, being purposeful and cruel. And if severe enough, it is traumatic, creating a mind numbing, highly addictive attachment to the abuser, leading to self-distrust and self-abandonment.

The target experiences symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Even before the relationship is over, the body knows first. Post trauma there can be daily panic attacks and this is common to those abused.

How it feels to be abused post crisis
Targets who have had no history of an anxiety disorder or panic attacks have:

ADs just to make it through the day.
Constant nausea.
Inability to eat.
Weight loss.
An internal emptiness creating hunger which can't be satisfied
Liquid tummy
Infections of all kinds
Cold sores
Depression and anxiety
Dry mouth
Inability to relax
Tearfulness and dry sobbing
Chest pains
Achy joints
Hair loss
Indulgence and craving
Exhaustion and poor sleep

The body knows that it has encountered a poison, and it’s trying to purge. It’s thrown into a survival fight or flight mode, and it remains there day after day. It’s exhausting. And that is not the worst.
Continued attachment to the abuser

The worst is a mind-numbing, highly addictive attachment to the abuser, trying to convert the abuser into non-abusers. The target may blame themselves as a defects and failure as efforts are futile. The target strives to do better as life slips away in the swirl of the intensity. This attachment causes the target to distrust their judgement, distorted realities and even greater risk. To protect against further hurt. The result? A guarantee of more pain. This attachment to the abuser is called betrayal bonds.

And of pain, or the remnants of the pain, the fading scars that never seem to go away…

But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks and scars the psyche, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.

The target keeps asking unending circular questions,

"Why would I want to be friends?" and "Why would I go back into a situation of abuse?"

But those questions, as logical as they are, don’t have answers because the betrayal bond is not broken. Some part of the target is still empathising with the abuser, rationalising his/her behaviour, wondering if it’s something that the target had done wrong. The wound can not be healed without dealing with the betrayal bond, ultimately it will put you back. You cannot walk away from it. Time will not heal it. Burying yourself in compulsive and addictive behaviours will bring no relief, just more pain. No drink, drugs or behavioural distractions. Walk into the pain and stay away from the abuser. Slowly heal.

Suffer the withdrawal.

Post created from several Internet sources plus Vs diary.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/23/15 11:44 PM
Recovery involves no contact the aim is to make the abuser lose interest as fast as possible

No Contact (the avoidance of all communication) should be used whenever possible with Abusers. There are some situations however, when No Contact is not feasible, as in shared child custody with an abuser. The abuser might become convinced that they can MAKE you respond and in that way satiates their need to continue to abuse. They will attempt all kinds of tricks they should be met with greyness.

Many targets have tried to end a relationship with an abuser several times, only to take them back, each time. The abusers turned on the pity ploy and the charm, and because the target didn’t understand that this is what an abuser does it succeeds. As targets we fell for the Abusers promises to change. The abuser knows all of our emotional hooks. For the abusers it’s easy and fun to lure us back by appealing to our emotions and by temporarily offering hope and intense love. Some abusers will even use trance states and anchoring triggers. But some Abusers can’t change. In fact, when a target leaves an abuser, the abuser becomes determined to punish even more severely the target for thinking they could be autonomous. If targets meet with Abusers then there may be trance induction, love bombing, trauma bonding and anchor triggering. Avoid eye contact and voice calls.

Even if the target does not take them back, the most dangerous time for a target is when they first break up with an abuser who feels rage at being discarded.
Helping the abuser lose interest in the target

1. the breeze block technique.

It differs from no contact in that you don’t overtly try to avoid contact with an abuser. Instead, you allow contact which is consistently unsatisfying thus re-training the abuser to expect boredom rather than drama. Eventually, they just slither away to greener pastures. Breeze Block is a way of training the abuser to view the target as an unsatisfying pursuit — the target bores the abuser and abusers can’t stand boredom.

Making an abuser go away of his own volition is one application of Breeze Block. One might say that Breeze Block is a way of breaking up by using the old, “It’s not you, it’s me.” excuse, except that the target acts it out instead of saying it and the abuser comes to the conclusion that there is no reward.

Another reason to use Breeze Block is to avoid becoming a target in the first place. By using Breeze Block the target fades into the background. It’s possible an abuser won’t even remember having met a target. If a target has already inadvertently attracted the attention of an abuser and the abuser has already begun to focus in then the target can still use Breeze Block. Tell them you are boring. Describe a boring life. Talk about the most mundane household chores or job accomplished that day — in detail.

Parents sharing joint custody with an abusive ex-spouse can use Breeze Block when the ex-spouse tries to trigger their emotions. Show no emotion to the offending behaviours or words or the abuser will try different tactics to see which get a reaction.

2. Selective Breeze Block
The target chooses to respond to the abusers tactic which matters least. This will focus the Abusers attention on that minor issue as a decoy pushing all important emotions into the background except the ones the target wants the abuser to see. The more times the abuser has a reward for dramatic behaviour, the more addicted they become to abusing. Conversely, when the reward stops coming, the abuser becomes oppressive boredom and will counter it by creating more drama. If a target stays the course and show no emotions, the abuser will eventually decide to move on.

3. Reversal of attracting DB techniques
Do the opposite of appearing to becoming a man or woman only a fool would leave (appearance only of course you apply DB for self)

4. Appear to have few resources

The target must hide anything that will induce envy in others (Abusers will seek possession):

-If the target happens to be good looking then they need to change that during this time. Use makeup to add bags under eyes, wear crumpled clothes, flat shoes. Pad your waist with extra t-shirts.
-Any money or assets the abuser covets should disappear “in a bad investment decision” (consult with a L on this).
-The shiny expensive sports car has to go, get a banger or white van
-If the target has a good reputation, anticipate that it has already begun to slide by the abuser slandering them; therefore, no compromising or erratic behaviour.
-Light on the booze, wild parties, be with safe people.
-sane great GAL
-personal privacy at all costs
-close Facebook, Twitter, limit postings, get rid of links etc
-create a new email address and use that if possible on a new device
-don't announce a new R, new house, clothes, expensive holiday etc
-no comments about the ex, "that's nice that they bought a new x" and "delighted to hear it" etc
-new bank account, close old ones, put cash into private accounts, if needed leave an uncontroversial bank account
-CCTV if abuser visits, change locks, alarm codes
-move if that's easy
-swap assets, buy second hand, trade down, put away expensive items
-documents to a bank safe
-change routes, shop in new places, change routine
-get a new fin adviser and consult
-spend cash, pay off bills and defer income
-keep all matters close to the chest
-do not question friends about the abuser, change the subject
-keep and use an abuse diary, keep recordings and videos safe
-record document and order
-check for key loggers, recording devices
-get a temporary phone for calls to L etc
-change all logins and web sites passwords
-have a room mate or close friend staying on risk occasions
-avoid expensive restaurants etc
-let the abuser have their circle, just say pleasant things about the weather if asked
-plain as and dull as
-move Abusers assets from targets home environment, hand all assets over, carefully, if not collected, put into storage pay for minimum period then send details and storage key, annotate and list items handed over. Every scrap of paper etc.
-D as fast as possible allow L to act as go between, feign disinterest in proceedings, do not disclose or prewarn
-no acts of service, just functional stuff, polite no extras, no presents, just the fairness
-no revenge tactics, no interfering in new R, no warning new gf/bf, no running them down to others, no warnings to APs spouse
-use email from an old email address, no texts unless urgent child related, no contact with their family or support structure, no messing with their rice bowl
-just ok in response or my L will contact you, unsure of the position, I am unavailable that day
-absolute dark, no initiation of contact unless urgent

The reason the abuser wants to take things from the target is the power trip associated with being the one who took them. This can include children, friends and cash.

By preemptively removing things from view and not reacting with emotion at the losses, the abuser is 'trained' with the idea that the target has developed into the most boring person on earth, someone the abuser would never want to be with. Nor any competitor to the abuser would be interested.

5. Become a breeze block to the abuser

Be a breeze block, no smiles, no frowns, disinterest, indifference
Why Breeze Block?

Its plain, grey hidden behind the brick wall, cheap and dull. You would not want to look at it and you would not want to know its there. It's strong and invulnerable and supports the house. In due course it is the foundation of a new palace.

Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 06/27/15 03:56 AM
One of your red flags about quickly moving r nilla.....

I just wanted to touch on as a cluster of red flags it's bad as a lone flag it may not be so bad.

I know a bunch of close female associates who have met their long term husband and moved in same day. About 6 in fact, work bestie as you know has been married 25 years this year.

My xh2 was fast but there were lots of other warnings and they mostly were about no taking responsibility in small ways like breaking things at my house and reverse when I did it was a huge difference.

Xh2 was innocent, gg was deliberately plotting against xh2 to destroy his possession.
Xh2 went to great lengths to frame and slander others. The manilutpaion type lies, they are just the hardest to pin down.

No one flag is bad alone, but in clusters I think one would be wise to run like hell.
Xh2 had large clusters in abundance, but given his status and money friends and family were impressed as in nillas case. No one knew how he was in private.
Posted By: Sherman333 Re: Abuse - 06/27/15 06:09 PM
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Breaking the Betrayal Bond

The target experiences symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Even before the relationship is over, the body knows first. Post trauma there can be daily panic attacks and this is common to those abused.

That explains a lot of what I've been experiencing... a lot of this unexplained gut-level fear of a reaction when there's no logical explanation for it.

Hasn't stopped me from doing what I had to do, but it's in the times after an interaction.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/27/15 10:13 PM
Originally Posted By: Sherman333
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Breaking the Betrayal Bond

The target experiences symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Even before the relationship is over, the body knows first. Post trauma there can be daily panic attacks and this is common to those abused.

That explains a lot of what I've been experiencing... a lot of this unexplained gut-level fear of a reaction when there's no logical explanation for it.

Hasn't stopped me from doing what I had to do, but it's in the times after an interaction.

Yes, there is no stopping the reaction. It unsettles me but I get on with it.

Posted By: asitis Re: Abuse - 06/27/15 11:32 PM
Hi Vanilla,

Great thread. I wanted to add another element I didn't see in your invalidating post: gaslighting.

For those that don't know, the term comes from a late 1930s play that was made into several movies (the best known was the '44 film starring Ingrid Bergman). In it the husband slowly over time psychologically manipulates his wife into believing she is going insane in order to control her. He does this by denying what she experiences or does things and then accuses her of doing them.

So, one of the ways to invalidate is to deny the memory of the woman (it is almost always a done by men to women, but it doesn't have to be). Over time, this destroys the woman's confidence in her own ability to trust herself and her sense of reality. The perpetrators are usually classified as sociopaths (they use lies without remorse to get what they want).

Things will start very small. Little denials that really don't seem like a big deal worth really making a huge fuss over. They often rely on the gender socialization of both men and women to defer to male confident assertion and female hesitance to assert herself. By the time they build into really manipulating behaviors to maintain control the victim has really come to doubt herself and her senses. It is pernicious because the woman comes to blame herself and think it is something wrong with her, and therefore has trouble detecting the problematic consequences of the manipulation (she focuses on the perceived error on her part rather than what it allows the man to get away with).

Now, all that said, there are legitimate reasons for couples who are having R problems to argue about what exactly happened. One of the main reasons is that memory is selective, and if there is building R anxiety the hippocampus (part of the brain that plays a huge role in memory) actually shrinks and other parts of the brain that further disrupt the function of the hippocampus start kicking in faster and stronger. A sign that this is the problem is to discuss this with your partner and the important R rule: it is better be loving than right. During any argument, you can call for a time out and remind your partner of this problem. They should move to restore the emotional breech, and over time the couple should get better at doing this.

The sociopath would either try to keep manipulating or give up on this path and switch to another tactic in all likelihood. So, I'd look for an escalation (pushes this further to get you back under control and continue gaslighting) or a really sudden cessation of such behavior. The reason for the later is that they know exactly what they are doing. It is strategic. They are good at being strategic, and in switching tactics to match the situation. In the couples where there is a genuine problem with conflicting memories, especially due to R stress, aren't conscious of the behavior and will not be able to just turn the behavior off. So sometimes the strategic skill of the sociopathic abuser helps unmask them, as most of us are much too bumbling and stuck in our ways to be able to control ourselves quickly.

Not foolproof, but hopefully that is helpful.
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 06/28/15 06:13 AM
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Originally Posted By: Sherman333
Originally Posted By: Vanilla
Breaking the Betrayal Bond

The target experiences symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks. Even before the relationship is over, the body knows first. Post trauma there can be daily panic attacks and this is common to those abused.

That explains a lot of what I've been experiencing... a lot of this unexplained gut-level fear of a reaction when there's no logical explanation for it.

Hasn't stopped me from doing what I had to do, but it's in the times after an interaction.

Yes, there is no stopping the reaction. It unsettles me but I get on with it.


I'm going to tell a story as I don't really know what else to to to show you folks how intense these things can get.

So Christmas Day this year, I got up I wasn't feeling any love for the day. All of a sudden I was down and foreboding dread and really bad anxiety kept me wanting to not go to the family lunch.

By the time I was supposed to leave I was having the shakes external and internal.
I burst into tears I kept pacing back and forth.... I wanted to go back to bed I wanted to cancel the day pretend it wasn't going to happen.

I gave myself a huge ass kick up the ass, told mysel I was being really silly it's was just my mind playing a huge trick on me. I got ready heels make up pretty flowery dress wraped presents and went.

I was meeting s17 at a point on the road, while driving to the point I got worse. I could hardly drive, I had not been this out of control since I went to hospital for ad's. I couldn't understand I felt weak and hopeless. I wondered when the hell this would end and why now.

I'm parked and my anxiety is peaking, next thing xh2 car drives by!!!
I have no idea who is driving didn't get a good look and my mind really couldn't tell who it was, it didn't want to know.

As soon as it drove out of sight, anxiety is gone. As if it never happened, like a bad dream.

But for those who have been following you will remember that I posted about it when it happened. Now you will see life has moved on fast, and the anxiety of things being the same haunts me. It holds me back, it colours some of my thoughts an decisions.

I find the betrayal has really caused me to be far more careful than I need to be. I feel responsible and guilty for just being an outgoing person. Which is gradually easing.

It's gets better and often faster than you realised untill you read back.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/28/15 08:14 PM

This is typical of PTSD. It's drama enforced, so if xH2 had stopped shouted abuse or snarled the PTSD would reinforce.

As you 'mastered' it then PTSD weakens and there is less trigger. Gg you did well and I am pleased for you although the legacy remains.

If you can hold your ground then with cognitive behaviour it will weaken.

As I am glad you find the thread useful. It is intended as an honesty taster, Z had the idea that abuse is an added dimension to DB, and a few of the posters here openly admit to being abused or the target of it. Sometimes the abuse is raw, but the abused will often 'return' to their abusers 6 or 7 times before they acknowledge the abuse. It is the 'crisis' or spell breaker point which is crucial to helping both parties in the abuse.

Sometimes posters find it difficult to accept their roles as abusers or abused and it helps to know there are others with this issue and who still want to stand. The thread is intended to be a pointer for additional resources and a comfort.

I have observed that gas lighting is typical for those who have behavioural addictions including gambling, games, porn, spending, sex and eating disorders. It's is a sneaky theif style underhand tactic primarily in addicts designed to disguise addiction. Those with personality disorders use it to manipulate. It is extremely unpleasant as you say.

Astros,, thank you for drawing that out, it's a magnification of the 100% rule believe nothing of what they say and only 50% of that which they do. I am a great believe in recording interactions for later review, this could also be by way of journal. In my own case it stopped me doubting the reality.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/29/15 05:44 AM
This is from Bobs thread Pigpen explaining his views of triggers

Hi V,

To me a trigger is anything that elicits an emotional reaction that I can't control in the immediate moment. In the case of my M, it's a song, a favorite TV show, a thought of a place where we had a date or an experience that is poignant to us, the smell of a perfume that is similar to my W's, or seeing the car that she drove. More obvious triggers are photos people asking me about her. When that reaction is "triggered" it starts a cascade of feelings that I have to take specific measures to counteract. Deep breaths, a walk, or some other way to break my state.

So far, I've fallen completely apart when I've watched a couple on TV where there is compassion between the two, or even worse, if the H has an issue and the W stands by his side. I bawled through American Sniper. BAWLED. Seeing the support that he got from his W was a trigger for me in a different way. It triggered me into acknowledging that there was something I wanted to get and couldn't get from my M.

In the case of addiction, I'd say triggers are any stimuli that makes me want to smoke or drink or fall into any other addictive behavior. It can be the simplest of things. I used to love to stay home and get high on rainy days. So the rain is a trigger for me, when it rains, I want to smoke more so than on sunny days. I used to love to drink beer all day and watch football, so seeing commercials for football season makes my mouth water. Triggers in this sense are reminders of the life I lived and the benefit that I got from it at the time, the pleasure and the lack of pain.

Also, being upset is a trigger or any emotion that I don't want to deal with. This time not for the action (the actual smoking) but the result, the soothing effect of it. The numbing. I've noticed that when I go a week without having any communication with my W and I start to feel the distance, that's when I need to find a way to soothe myself. That distance, or more accurately the sense of loss in me that it elicits, is a trigger.

It's often not what people think - like watching someone else smoke or drink. Those to me aren't the real triggers as they come with the knowledge of how obvious they are and therefor I'm braced for them. I was around people drinking and smoking everyday in Central America and never considered it. I knew it was going to happen and was ready for it. But the rain, the rain comes without warning and sneaks up on me, it's the subtle ones that I don't think of.

My real take on triggers is a bit more esoteric and involves an energy field. Addiction, relationship, and other human experiences involve a feeling field or energy field. When we reenter that field by hearing a song, seeing a photo, smelling a fragrance, we are pulled back into the totality of it. Hearing the U2 song for Bob brought him back into the same field where he had years of experiences with his W. It wasn't just the music but the feeling. I bet he could he hear, taste, smell, and touch aspects of his M just from the first three words of the song. To me that's an energy field and not just a memory bank. In this case the trigger is like an open door of the energy field.

American Sniper opened me up to a separate field. Not one that made me want to smoke or drink but the field of what I so desperately wanted out of my M as well as what I want now - loving support. There is a longing field IMO. Seeing someone get what I want on that level is a trigger, or doorway into an emotional lack of control for me, I literally can't stop myself from crying. I fall headfirst into that field and have to wait until it spits me out.

When we are strong, and full, the door doesn't seem appealing to us. Same as when we know we're going to see it. Go to a party where you know your going to see your W and you can brace for the door. Run into her in the supermarket turning a corner and you walk right into the door and fall into the energy all the way over your head.

Hopefully that all makes sense.


I believe this is what happens when the Trauma of Abuse is triggered. PP is discussing his addiction and his R with his WAW. A very important post and is one reason I believe absolute NC is required by a target.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 06/30/15 10:47 PM
I came across this on Going Mental (thank you for the reference Sherman) it was a little too male orientated for me but I hope it will tigger new discussions on the thread. I did remove some bad language and neutralised a little. Those who would like to view the original can visit the website. Intended to support the more male amount us, guys you know we gals support you, OK?

Mental: Strippers, Prostitutes, Sugar-babies, Porn Actors, Other Gold Diggers and Why You Shouldn’t datethem

Stripper gold digger, it should be obvious that entrusting your heart (and wallet) to a woman (or man) who gets paid to have sex and paid to fake love, affection, sexual attraction or orgasms is both unwise and a highly risky gamble, that is if you want a monogamous, stable relationship based on love and not a series of transactions.

Given the number of men who become involved with sex workers, strippers (“exotic dancers”), prostitutes, “sugar-babies,” porn actors, former child actors, “swingers” and straight up gold diggers expecting a Pretty Woman outcome, it’s apparently not as obvious as it could be. In the last few months, I’ve worked with a number of men — young men and older men who are old enough to know better — who have had their hearts broken and lives trashed by women like this, so it’s a good time to tackle the topic on this week’s Going Mental.

We will discuss:

1. There is no such thing as a psychologically healthy sex worker. There just isn’t. Many of these relationships begin as rescue missions. “Oh, she’s had such a rough life. I’m going to love her and treat her well and we’ll live happily after.” No, no you won’t. Ask the other nice men and women who came before you.

You will more than likely have your heart run through a paper shredder. Trading sex and faking love and attraction for money is about as predatory and transactional as it gets. You are not a special unicorn. You are not that one that they “really love” so it’s best you face facts. If you’re paying, they're playing.

2. The allure of the bisexual sex worker — and many of them are bisexual — is perhaps thrilling (i.e., a novel sexual/relationship experience) and ego bolstering (i.e., what a sex God/goddess you must be if you can get them to go straight), it will most likely end up breaking your heart. Bisexual strippers, call workers, "actors", etc., are buy-sexual. In other words, if you’re “buying,” they’ll be yours for a time until the money, security, vicarious status by association or whatever they’re using you for dries up and/or you become tired of paying for “love” and attention.

Their motto seems to be, “Any orifice (or wallet) in a storm.” If you’re willing to pay their bills and offer them some measure of security, attention, etc., they’ll perform for a time, but don’t bet against the house or someone’s true nature. They are sexual mercenaries. Of course, there are bisexual individuals to whom this doesn’t apply, but they’re probably not sex workers and/or members of some other profession in which a person play acts for money.

3. One mere mortal man or woman can not possibly provide the amount of attention, validation, money, security, etc., that this type of damaged individual requires. Let’s face it, if taking off your clothes and having sex for money seems like a viable career option, odds are the individual has either sustained some pretty serious abuse in childhood and/or has a scarcity mindset and is looking for a shortcut to money. Lying for money, feigning interest and love for money shows a lack of integrity and ethics. Needing the attention of crowds of people to feel good about oneself probably means this individual isn’t going to be content with the love and attention of just one person.

It calls to mind the lyrics from “Roxie” (Chicago):

And the audience loves me. And I love them. And they love me for loving them, And I love them for loving me. And we love each other. That’s because none of us got enough love in our childhoods.
And that’s showbiz…

There may very well be sex workers who truly have hearts of gold who are capable of loving, monogamous, non-abusive relationships, but they are most likely the exception, not the rule. If stable, kind, emotionally mature and honest is what you’re seeking, look elsewhere because it’s probably not on a pole.

4. Eventually, you will have to pay to keep their clothes on. For those of you who have been involved with a stripper, hooker, phone sex operator, porn actress, etc., you know what I’m talking about. First, she will give up her “career” for you. Then, inevitably, when you just don’t have any more money to give (or you realise you’re being duped and used), or they have become so unstable and abusive that you ask them to move out, they will threaten to begin stripping or hooking again or contacting a former lover. And then you do it. You pay a stripper to keep their clothes on or a hooker to not hook.

5. You may end up ruining your future chances at having a loving relationship with a stable and emotionally healthy person. There’s an old saying, “Crazy in the head, crazy in bed.” Professional sex workers may be over-the-top in bed — exaggerated moaning and groaning (fake orgasm alert), willingness to do sexual acts or invite third (or fourth or fifth) parties that most “non-professionals” wouldn’t do. This may have the effect of diminishing your ability to enjoy sex with partners that are healthier and require trust and real intimacy before they release their inhibitions.

Genuine love and intimacy take time to build and grow. It doesn’t happen overnight or in 36 hours. A healthy person who respects themselves, who has boundaries and is looking for an honest to goodness relationship is unlikely to jump right into bed and let out that inner freak. That takes time. Going back to a healthy person will be like expecting a cup of coffee to have the same rush as a gram of cocaine.

Additionally, self-respecting individuals are probably not going to be interested in dating someone who has sex with strippers, hookers and the like.This is not necessarily due to religious beliefs or some sense of Puritanical morality. One, it will cause them to question your well-being, self-esteem and your ability to have a healthy relationship. Two, there are health risks, e.g., STDs, and other safety risks, e.g., a psycho ex who is stalking you and any new love interest you may have.
Posted By: Sherman333 Re: Abuse - 07/01/15 12:14 AM
I came across this on Going Mental (thank you for the reference Sherman) it was a little too male orientated for me but I hope it will tigger new discussions on the thread. I did remove some bad language and neutralised a little. Those who would like to view the original can visit the website. Intended to support the more male amount us, guys you know we gals support you, OK?

Even though it was male oriented, very enlightening huh? smile


Mental: Strippers, Prostitutes, Sugar-babies, Porn Actors, Other Gold Diggers and Why You Shouldn’t datethem

My STBXW is a former stripper.

All of the behavior listed she's demonstrated. Only she used sex as a means to control.
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 07/04/15 11:10 AM
My story tho nilla shows a connection and I wasn't sure why, that dread I knew of something happening.

In regards to nilla and her reverse attraction it was also a thought of mine In regards to hair make up and dress sense.
Dress and make up deliberately me and not something xh2 would approve of.
Heels and hair colour also things and colours xh2 would disapprove of and openly had denigrate those who had those sort of colours.

I loved it xh2 would hate it, that was a huge tick from me.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/05/15 05:42 PM
Stockholm Syndrome and Cognitive Dissonance

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation — making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbours during a violent physical spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the target knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don’t bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don’t personally apologise for the situation — as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It’s also the reason they continue to see “the good side” of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as “cognitive dissonance”.

Cognitive Dissonance explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation — few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance — the fact that our cognitions don’t match, agree, or make sense when combined. “Cognitive Dissonance” can be reduced by adding new cognitions — adding new thoughts and attitudes.

For example:

Heavy smokers know smoking causes lung cancer and multiple health risks. To continue smoking, the smoker changes his cognitions (thoughts/feelings) such as
“I’m smoking less than ten years ago”,
"I’m smoking low-tar cigarettes”,
"Those statistics are made up by the cancer industry conspiracy”, or
"Something’s got to get you anyway!” These new cognitions/attitudes allow them to keep smoking and actually begin blaming restaurants for being unfair.

A 40,000 Sport Utility Vehicle that gets 8 miles a gallon and is justified (rationalised) the expense and related issues with:
“It’s great on trips” (you take one trip per year),
"I can use it to haul stuff” (one coffee table in 12 months), and
"You can carry a lot of people in it” (95% of your trips are driver-only).

A spouse/boyfriend becomes abusive and assaultive and the target believes that can’t leave due to the finances, children, or other factors. Through cognitive dissonance, they say “He only hits me open-handed” and “She had a lot of stress at work.”

Leon Festinger first coined the term “Cognitive Dissonance”. He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment — they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with “I’ll get them next time”. If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding — even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club.

Investment in an unhealthy R

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

1. Emotional Investment
We’ve invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.

2. Social Investment
We’ve got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.

3. Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.

4. Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many targets remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.

5. Lifestyle Investment
Many Abusers use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Targets in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.

6. Emotional and Sexual Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some targets have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumours or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it’s not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship — it’s often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the target in defence of their unhealthy relationship is “You just don’t understand!”

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a target who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The target feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the targets have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the target feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the target develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become targets of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The target does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. The target is trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The target is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn’t work and can’t be fixed, the healing starts.

This post is a combination of several pieces of research on trauma.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/06/15 10:58 PM
Conditional Emotional Responses (CER) and Abuse

Warning tec stuff. An attempt by V to understand what is happening physiologically, extracted from studies in physiology. V has a degree in physiology but it's 40 years old!

CERs are learned emotional reactions like anxiety or happiness that occur as a response to cues. They can be positive and pleasurable or negative and painful. Either can be destructive or constructive for example a glass of champagne can be celebratory and fun but can lead to excess and ill health. In the process of acquiring a CER our bodies make a neural connection. For example, we play music and learn a dance step result happiness. After one or two pairings, the sound of the music will send a wave of pleasure through amygdala circuits and the ideal interval is 2-10 seconds, very quickly.

Emotional responses are typically regulated by the autonomic nervous system and consist of two subdivisions, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. They have largely opposite functions. The sympathetic nervous system is activated in the so-called "fight or flight" reaction, which produces a raised heartbeat, sweating, and other symptoms of arousal.

Many psychologists believe CERs involving the sympathetic nervous system are responsible for panic attacks, stage fright, test anxiety, and similar unpleasant emotions. These responses tend to be unconsciously learned and therefore difficult to control, so they drive people to seek help. British psychologist Hans Eysenck once asserted, "...all neuroses are essentially conditioned emotional responses" (Cunningham, 1984).

All it takes to create a CER is an experience that causes strong emotion. In the case of CERs that send people to therapy, the strong emotion is a negative emotion such as pain, fear, or anxiety. A rant by a loved one, for example, will normally be preceded by certain stimuli such as cooking a meal thereafter the dread would be a CER.

CERs can involved any stimulus, including smell. The emotions involved can be pleasant, or highly complex. After breaking up a close relationship, many people respond to the smell of perfume or cologne that their ex-lover wore; it creates a wave of nostalgia, regret, or perhaps relief in some cases.
Stress, Abuse and PTSD

Stress is the response of an organism to novel or threatening situations that are unpleasant in character. The hormones involved are adrenaline or epinephrine which when released into the bloodstream and nervous system provokes a general activation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, the fight or flight reaction. With adrenaline the heart beats faster, a person may perspire more, fatigue and tiredness vanishes, muscular activity becomes easier, and reactions become quicker. Over the short term, this is an adaptive response that may help an organism survive. However, if the reaction continues too long, it can take a toll on the organism.

Both stress and stimulant drugs produce heavy releases of corticosterone, the stress hormones which increase heart rate and other signs of activity in the sympathetic nervous system. They cause animals to engage in repetitive, stereotyped activity. Eventually this high level of activation leads to "burn-out" and paranoid psychosis: delusions of persecution, agitation, and hallucinations. In the case of abuse this is PTSD.

Abuse and CERs
We so often act without even thinking because we have been conditioned to respond by the abuse. Habituation, sensitisation, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning are all learning processes that associate a specific behaviour with a particular stimulus and cause us to act before we can think. These responses account for a substantial portion of our behaviour. They are often learned quickly, sometimes unknowingly, and can only be changed by carefully and systematically extinguishing them. Abuse reactions are easy to acquire and hard to loose. Abusers use this knowledge to condition targets to abuse and to sensitise them.

Habituation is learning not to respond to the repeated presentation of a stimulus. As an example, people generally get used to rants or criticism. Familiarity breeds indifference. Habituation may play a role in developing tolerance to abuse.

Sensitisation is an increase in responsiveness to a stimulus. In other words to satisfy abusers, targets increase their giving or receptiveness. To become conditioned, target must discern the contingency between the stimulus and the response. This usually requires a consistent presentation of the stimulus rapidly paired with the response. However, in some important examples, learning still takes place even when the response is significantly delayed.

Skinner's Box - Operant conditioning The general concept of modifying voluntary behaviour through the use of consequences is known as operant conditioning, and is sometimes also called instrumental conditioning or instrumental learning. What this means is that Abusers reward or punish the behaviour in the target that they want to see.

Learned Helplessness Prolonged exposure to uncontrollable events can cause people to become inappropriately passive while they believe they can no longer control the outcome of similar future events. This is called learned helplessness. The theory describes what happens when a person comes to believe they have no control over their situation and that whatever they do is futile. As a result, the person will stay passive in the face of an unpleasant, harmful, or damaging situation, even when they actually do have the ability to improve the circumstances.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/07/15 12:15 AM
Conditioned Human Behaviour and some things to overcome it

Classical and operant conditioning contribute is often described as involuntary. When you feel like you “can't help yourself” you may be largely correct, because the behaviour will persist until the association is systematically extinguished.

Emotional Responses
Several emotional responses are primarily conditioned responses. If you open the mail and find a letter in an envelope addressed from an old friend, you may spontaneously feel the warmth and affection you have learned to associate with that close friend. This response could not be innate and would not be felt unless you had grown fond of the person and learned to associate these warm feelings with a letter reminding you of them.
Similarly abuse triggers bad feelings so how do we stop the response? Only by going NC, completely black, by dumping triggers and ceasing trigger behaviour.

Phobias created by abuse
It is likely that classical conditioning plays an important role in learning the various irrational fears know as phobias. A person suffering from a phobia can be systematically desensitised to the object or situation causing their fears. Eventually their fears can be extinguished. The technique is to expose them in carefully controlled conditions to a less fear inducing, but related form of stimulus, while they practice relaxing in the presence of that stimulus. For example, a person with a fear of heights would begin at a small elevation, achieve relaxation at that level, then progress to higher elevation. At each step, the person achieves relaxation and gains confidence before progressing to the next level. This won't work with abuse as abuse isn't irrational, the target has every reason to be apprehensive of an abuser.

However in the longer term protecting oneself from new Rs may be phobic. So it's the consequences of being abused that may need treatment not the removal from the abuse.

Advertising and False advertising by the Abuser
Most people have a spontaneous and positive response to seeing the image of a beautiful woman. Advertisers then pair the name, image, or sounds of their product or brand with images of beautiful women. It is not long before the viewers are conditioned to associate a positive response with the product alone. In abuse after spell breaking or crisis we recognise advertising for what it is. The abuser isn't as advertised, it's a long con.

Aversive Conditioning to the Abuser
There has been some success in conditioning alcoholics to associate nausea with alcohol consumption, with the goal of helping them avoid alcohol consumption for some period of time. With abuse keeping tapes, destroyed items, nasty texts or emails, keep abuse diaries, journaling and IC will create negativity which is aversion. Write a list of the abuse or recording and this will be aversive conditioning.

Describe the abuser in negative terms, imagine them as the destructive force they are to break the spell. leave, put distance and insist on proper recovery of the abuser before re-establishing contact.

Using Motor Skills, Distraction and adrenalin to counter abuse
Riding a bicycle, learning to skate or ski, touch typing, balancing, juggling, golfing, throwing, hitting, or catching a ball, driving a car, dancing, or playing a musical instrument are all examples of learned motor skills. These behaviours are learned most easily and quickly when timely and specific feedback, such activities create new pathways skills and interactions. They are also distractions creating distance from the abuse.

Intense exercise burns adrenalin and cuts the pain. Starting working out intensively especially with weights will help greatly.

Do something different physically
In the United States drivers quickly learn to keep their automobiles in the right-hand traffic lanes. When learning to drive, staying to the right is reinforced by the approval, expectations, and perhaps praise apparent from the driving instructor, passengers, and sometimes other drivers. Also, leaving the right-hand lanes and traveling in the left-hand lanes is discouraged (i.e. punished) by corrections or reprimand from the instructor, and often fearful exclamations from passengers and other drivers. Driving on the right is safe and rewarded, driving on the left is dangerous and punished. The message is clear and drivers quickly learn to stay to the right without conscious thought. This behaviour is something that is practiced, and reinforced, almost daily.

In the United Kingdom drivers learn to stay to the left rather than to the right. The two customs are simple, arbitrary, and equivalent. Compared to the complexities of learning to drive, this convention seems simple. However, it is very difficult for a driver with years of experience driving on one side of the road to drive on the other side when visiting a foreign country. The driver must focus strict attention; reminding himself constantly to stay on the unfamiliar of the road.

In order to break abuse patterns do familiar things in unfamiliar ways. If the abuser liked fried eggs prepare boiled. If the abuser drove fast in a truck drive slowly in a bubble car. If the abuser liked you in black wear pink. Go drive in the UK or in Europe or the U.S. If that is different. Break the physical pattern.

Playing the Slots/intermittent rewards understand the role in abuse
Slot machines, the infamous “one-armed bandits” of the gambling casino, are well engineered instruments of operant conditioning. The human operator inserts coins and pulls the handle. After some random number of attempts, the gambler is rewarded by a jackpot of coins, ringing bells, and distinctive sounds. The gambler is quickly trained to feed coins into the machine and pull the handle in pursuit of further rewards. Withdrawing from all betting is essential. Withdraw from the abuser completely and totally, if absolutely necessary use an intermediary.


Extinction of abuse reactions

Whereas conditioning is about creating a desired behaviour, it is often desirable to eradicate other behaviours. This is called 'extinction'.

Natural extinction
Behaviour that have been created may become extinct if they are not fully maintained. Stop responding to the abuser, cease behaviours the abuser preferred. Wear makeup if they didn't like it (stop going barefaced), put on your kick ass red high heels (stop wearing fluffy slippers). Move home, throw away joint items, buy new bed sheets.

Gradual decay of the abuse over time
At any time, a response has at best a probabilistic correlation with stimuli. A loud noise that has been associated with pain will very likely cause a person anguish, but is not 100% certain in all cases. If the stimulus is not applied and the response thus not generated over a long period of time, then probability of conditioned behaviour happening will decay in a given pattern. For example the person who has not heard the rant for some time would not experience as much discomfort as they would soon after conditioning. There is a danger of forgetting the hurt and starting the sweet cycle of abuse again.

An important factor here is that conditioning must be maintained, with sufficiently frequent rehearsals and re-stimulus-and-response, for the pattern to continue over time. This implies that the underlying persona is not changed at a fundamental level, and that conversion, for example, is not a one-shot activity and requires constant attention.

Predictability of stimulus of abuse and love bombing (intermittent reward)
If the condition has been created with regular and predictable reward or punishment, then the absence of the reward or punishment will quickly lead to extinction. If, however, the reward or punishment has been applied irregularly, then a second condition has been created where, upon receiving the stimulus, the person forecasts and imagines the reward or punishment being applied.

This situation takes longer for the pattern to become extinct, as the person is now maintaining it themselves, without external stimuli. Eventually, by accident or trial the person will find that the reward or punishment does not happen and thus the behavior gradually becomes extinct.

This is one reason why gambling is so addictive. The uncertainty as to whether the person will win or lose gives opportunity for prediction (and hope) of winning.

Extinction through accustoming
Another way of making a behaviour extinct is to help the person become accustomed to the stimulus and hence not find it frightening or stimulating in any way. Not recommended with abuse unless the target is capable of indifference and 'whatever'. In that case the R may well be over as the target has regained self esteem.

When a person receives a stimulus and experiences the conditioned response a number of times, then the intensity of the emotion they feel may well become dulled with familiarity. This is used in therapy for example by starting with a weak triggering, and increasing the stimulus at the speed at which the person becomes desensitised.

This is also apparent in the use of abuse. A person who is stimulated by abuse will find that it soon has less effect than it previously had. This leads them to seek to capture the experience with further stronger abuse, and sometimes yet more intense abuse (and even illegal) tendencies.

Inoculation is a simple method, analogous to medical inoculation, where you present a weakened form of the experience such that the person finds it easy (and even laughably so) to resist a simulated 'attack'. When faced with the real situation, then they remember how easily they defended against the weak attack and so are better able to handle the real thing. Practiced responses against the abuser to hold them at bay.

Extinction through extreme experience
A strange thing that happens sometimes is that a behaviour may become extinct not through ignoring the triggers that cause it, but actually exacerbating it to the extreme. In other words abuse always triggers a crisis in extremis in the target. The abuser loses control and has to move on.

Reversing breakdown
Pavlov found, with his discovery of the three stages of breakdown, a fourth stage, where dogs faced with near-death experiences 'forgot' all of their previous conditioning (and it took Pavlov several months to reinstate them). This is the spell break point or crisis.

Abusers may keep testing to see how far they can go. All the way to level 6 abuse.

This is used in therapy, where it is called flooding. A stimulus is constantly applied and more extreme responses encouraged until there is a sudden reversal and the stimulus no longer has any effect. Not good in the case of abuse.

Aversion therapy
Aversion therapy uses the methods of conditioning to break a conditioned experience. Thus a behaviour that is not desirable is punished when it appears. In therapy, techniques such as electric shocks have been used, and are understandably controversial (if you have seen Stanley Kubrick's 'Clockwork Orange' then you will appreciate the potential effects). It is not clear the extent to which aversion therapy works at all, only by revisiting abuse diaries and other tools can the target be reminded of the abuse. Only truly necessary to avoid the sweet cycle.


If you want to eradicate a behaviour or response to abuse, you can either ignore it and hope it goes away, or you can deliberately use desensitisation or flooding methods - be extremely careful with flooding (it is not recommended except by psychological professionals), as done wrong it can simply worsen the situation. Don't bother with non targeted aversion methods - they are not reliable.

This has been extracted from several text books on CER, consider this as general information and the relevance to abuse is very interpretative.

Posted By: Zelda09 Re: Abuse - 07/07/15 02:18 PM
V, I have found a lot of success through journaling and re-reading his last texts to me every time I start to feel sorry for him.

Letting reality bite!

Thanks for your post.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/10/15 08:18 PM
My spouse says I am an abuser, how do I know?

Abuse is a very easy accusation to make, so before you answer this question about your own behaviour identify if there is any truth in the accusation. In the next post we can discuss what to do with an unfair accusation or even If there is some validity. How do we respond to the accusation. If unsure then record your interactions. Clearly physical abuse is obvious to us there are bruises and cuts.

In my own sitch I identified behaviour that was called 'screaming banshee' which is verbally abusive and most unpleasant. This type of abuse is referred to as reactive abuse, in other words it was my abusive response to my WH and his originating verbal abuse. Not nice and unworthy of me. I have had to both apologise and atone for this. This is the most likely abuse type so consider this, are you reacting to your S behaviour? If so it is reactive and this is the easiest to resolve by substituting different reactions.

Most of us as humans find methods of abusing sometimes as a reaction to our situations, that isn't good either and needs to be addressed but largely this is not central to our personalities and we care not to do this, we feel guilty and ashamed and are willing to put this right. This is situational abuse.

The final abuse type is born from defective personality and these abusers abuse deliberately as a way of life, often they have major personality disorders. This is called systematic abuse and is the type my WH used on me. Others such as Scherman and Greengrass have been strong enough to admit their WS are of this type too.

Many targets don't recognise themselves as targets because they have not been hit, but pain and bruises fade and psychological abuse does not without resolve without great help. Most systematic abusers don't recognise they abuse, because they don't want to undergo the long and painful process of examining their behaviour, taking responsibility for their actions and functioning as an equal partner. They usually blame the target. The most likely scenario for the LBS on this board is that they are not systematic abusers, if there is abuse it is likely that it is situational or reactive. Many WAS or PWAS who are not wayward are often tied to their WS and may like to consider if they themselves are targets.

So, if you suspect there is an element of abuse what do you do?
Firstly drop the excuses, no matter what the behaviour of the other; abuse is unacceptable. we have to forgive ourselves for this and take steps to stop completely. Say "I am an abuser and I am going to stop and manage that." It isn't easy as in my case screaming banshee was protecting me ineffectiveness and therefore I had to learn different strategies. Many felt V was justified and supported her and sympathised and empathised. This comes naturally to kind and loving people, but all abuse needs challenging and stopping, nothing justifies it. I hope and trust that I will never be that deeply abusive again no matter what the provocation. When you are knee deep in crocodiles it's hard to remember the aim is to drain the pool.

Actually you think you are the target
Having read this you may learn or suspect that not only are you a target but actually the abuse used by you is reactive. You are not the abuser but the target. Then be safe rather than sorry and look to the truth for your own sake. You may need help from an IC. This thread is here to help you decide that. You may be additionally vulnerable if you are pregnant or the home maker

Unhealthy relationships are not necessarily abusive, appropriate use of anger is not abusive. Rs are tested.

The target isn't necessarily a mouse hiding in a corner, they can be like me a strong confident career person, powerful, financially solvent, outgoing, hard working, or like everyone else! Most abuse occurs in private against family members, targets are often tied to their abusers and therefore are very unlikely to go wayward. They spend their time pleasing the systematic abuser and their lives are ruled by them, this is least likely for wayward.

So was my marriage abusive
Not every SOB is an abuser (Weiss 2002). There are bad Rs, that lack trust intimacy or common goals. That isn't abuse. There are Rs where the two parties haven't said a kind or civil word in years and that is not abuse either. There are many reasons other than abuse for Rs to drop to pieces.

From my own experience an abusive R is one in which one partner uses any combination of physical, financial, sexual and psychological (verbal and mental) abuse to gain control. So how was that for me, I wasn't hit but I was intimidated, I wasn't forced to a sexual act but I was told I was unattractive and unworthy of sex with my WH whilst he chased very downmarket POWs, my verbal abuse is well documented on my thread. It did not stop even after S, my H downloaded an app called personal assassin etc. Targets feel ashamed, heartbroken, and have self doubt, it is a human rights issue. Leaving an abusive R ends with a single act but there is a process to get there.

Every couple argues at some point and this can escalate to slamming doors, storming out in a huff, and in that R there are many other moods.

But in essence an abusive R feels like this, is today the day my WH will drink orange juice or is today the day he prefers apple juice. If I have no choice he will throw a tantrum. So I breakdown at the supermarket over AP P L E juice. Abuse is a campaign.

My spouse says I am abusive? Am I?
So if you have got this far then the likelihood is you are saying but my spouse says I am an abuser. Yes but saying this doesn't make it so, you can call a table by the name chocolate but it doesn't make a table into an Easter egg.

There may be abusive behaviour but that won't make you a systematic abuser. Stop the abusive behaviour now forever.

1. admit abuse to yourself
2. Agree it was inappropriate behaviour
3. Acknowledge it has an effect
4. Identify what you do
5. Become respectful, stop
6. Create a correct view of your spouse
7. Make amends
8. Accept the consequences that resulted
9. Commit not to repeat
10. Give up privileges
11. Accept its lifelong management that is required
12. Be accountable, your R may be irrepressibly damaged

An earlier post by Zelda gives much more detail

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/10/15 10:11 PM
My spouse says I am an abuser and that isn't correct

There are several replies to this.

Firstly your spouse is the true abuser and you are the target. In which case this thread is a starter, you may not have known this before. You may want to try IC, boundary setting and these responses aren't effective.

Secondly your spouse is confusing conflict and anger with abuse. There might be elements of abuse glimpses but it is part of your R. Inappropriate and needs to change.

Thirdly your spouse feels abused even though there is little abuse, perhaps because of their history and you have denied thiem their feelings leaving them empty and unsupported. It isn't helping. Although the spouses feelings are irrational.


As a result of these accusations we feel angry and unloved. We may want revenge reacting with overkill, exploding with rage and blasting our spouse. We may also make digs or backstabbing (Indirect anger). We could even spill over at the wrong people for all of the ills in our lives (misdirection). It might make us unwell, headaches, heart disease, ulcers, depression.

It may spill into low grade hostility and aggression.

So what do we do if we have been deliberately lied to?

The Recognition Phase
1. We say we are angry, upset and bewildered, we are honest about it
2. We give ourselves time. We stop striking back and compose ourselves
3. We give ourselves distance, use the third person stance as the fly on the wall
4. We can journal, post or simply draw a response plan

The expression Phase
1. We address our hurts to those who hurt us
2. Tell the other we are afraid of stating our anger
3. Say how you feel
4. Say why you feel it

The other doesn't acknowledge it
1. Exercise, really hard, burn it off
2. Don't let go of your grudge unless you want to, but let go of the need for revenge
3. Write a letter perhaps burn it

Your spouse isn't rational but truly believes there is abuse, even if misguided they are sincere in their feelings, You are not a target of theirs

Double check is there any foundation? If so this route isn't the right one. So you or your spouse are a compulsive, neglectful or depressed? Try a rounder approach than this.

Reasoning with irrationality won't work, putting the record straight won't help, the other does not want to hear us defend ourselves. So it all circulates and winds itself into conflict. We defend ourselves and even though we believe we are right, the other is irrational but not manipulative!

To reason with irrationality does more harm than good. If you defend yourself it will make things worse so don't do it.

So why are spouses irrational?
~ its threatening or harmful to them (not you)
~ they are in crisis (ill health, job loss, .....) and can't see the wood for the trees
~ disagree philosophically
~ you are in the wrong place at the wrong time
~ it's bad news and they are emotional
~ feel bad about themselves, their behaviour or have guilt or shame
~ just because it's contrary
~ they have unmet needs or are afraid
~ they feel powerless
~ they want to control you
~ take drugs or substances
~ are having an affair

You may not know why but a genuine misunderstanding needs resolving and the irrational seems rational to your spouse. They like all individuals believe they are correct and behaving rationally.

It makes sense to them. Be kind patient and effective, you have the advantage of rationality of being an observer. They are irrational, hurting and angry. Don't react or take it personally, it's irrational. Irrational is nonsense.

You may never need to know why this is as it is just that it is. Actually the reason probably doesn't matter. What matters is that you know it's not you. Detach, you didn't cause it, can't control it and can't cure it. But you can communicate to it.

Your spouse should never treat you badly nor abuse you, no matter how irrational.

So what to do, how to deal with irrationality as it happens?

1. Take time out and breathe. Cool it, detach, withdraw mentally for a while. Let the others anger burn out whilst you stay calm. Let them burn out any rant. Respond with let me see if I understand but I need a moment. Can you slow down I am seeking to hear. I hear you say.........

2. Feel empathy but not pity or sympathy. This is irrational and you don't agree but can acknowledge. Nod or lean forward and listen. (First level response)

3. Move to second position in your mind (be in the others shoes).be compassionate and kind, above all be kind. See if you can identify the cause.(Second level response)

4. Reflect back feelings (you may have already reflected back their words in 1 above) use a calm even tone. So make this about them not you at this stage. (Third level response)

I think you are upset that I did xyz
You are saying I treated you badly

You resent the fact I played golf all weekend
I hear you that you don't like me playing golf

5. Validate feelings (Fourth level response) having already recognise them and reflected them back.

See Wonkas validation cheat sheet for examples on how to do this. For examples of what not to say see the invalidation post in this thread.

6. Express compassion about the pain

You feel hurt because you feel mistreated or abused.

Donot accept you abused them. "You seem to believe I agree I abused you, I feel upset that you feel as you do and I want you to acknowledge that I m upset. In addition I want to tell you that I respect you have the feelings even if I do not accept I Abused you"

7. Ask for future discussion and then state how you feel

"I feel upset you believe I deliberately caused your hurt, and I do not hold myself accountable. Although I do believe you feel the way I do. I find this very difficult. I would like us to talk about that next, tomorrow, next week....."

I am having great difficulty with my confusion and resentment that you think I am trying to control/abuse you when I know that is not my intention.

8. Agree to disagree.

"We are obviously of different opinions, can we agree to disagree that I acknowledge you feel abused whilst I do not accept I abused you."

9. Say you will respond if mistreated.

"Expect me to refute your accusation every time I hear it, I accept you believe I am trying to control/abuse you and I will listen to what you have to say but I know I had no such intention."

This is taken from NMMNG and too nice for your own good, together with no more conflict.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/12/15 08:47 AM
From Mustardseed's thread

warning on how abusers bait and switch

V--YOU WERE SO RIGHT! I wish I listened more clearly to your warnings. I had no idea what I was dealing with.

Since my last post things I think I finally hit that rock bottom. I have had a terrifying past few days, but I feel right now that I have finally stopped the free-fall. I have crashed, and I am broken, but not destroyed. I haven't been able to post because I didn't have my computer charger with me, and because I am so shaken by the recent events that I needed some time to digest.

I'm ready to start picking up the pieces of my shattered self-esteem, and mental health that I feel was destroyed by living with--what I am now convinced is a socio-path for all of these years.

The call he made to the cops wasn't just for intimidation apparently. It was also for documentation for what he was about to do next. I've been wanting to leave the house and have been told I can't. And now it got to the point that I was forced by some law that is intended to protect real victims in life-threatening situations all to gain leverage in the divorce process. And it worked. Even though the judge was digusted by H and our lawyers for manipulating OOP laws to create a psuedo separation agreement.

The most disgusting part of this is that the laws that make getting OOP so easy, are intended to help people in really desperate situations. The law is intended to help real victims in DIRE SITUATIONS, however this man I used to believe was good and decent used it to VICTIMIZE. And to gain leverage in a divorce. To isolate me from my kids. And that is disgusting to me. It diminishes the severity of the real issue that brought these laws into play. I know women misuse these orders against men quite often and no one pays any attention because the groups that protect this law claim that it is better to err on the side of caution to protect victims of abuse, not recognizing that the flip side of this is that it can also be used to abuse. Because it is usually men that are on that side of it no one takes it seriously. Maybe this will be a cause I will take on once the dust settles.

So I have a new warning for people going through this. If you feel intimidated by your spouse you are going to get advice to stand up for yourself and reclaim your life, don't let him intimidate you. If you are dealing with a sociopath this will back fire. You can't win when you are dealing with someone so twisted and calculated. I should have heeded V's advice earlier--but I still believed I was married to someone with a conscience. The worst thing about this kind of abuse is that there are no physical bruises. You don't realize what is happening. A conversation that seems harmless, even hopeful gets twisted and redirected down a path that catches you off guard, and by the time you realize what has happened it is too late.

The good thing about all of this is:
1) I am now out of the house. No longer living in that torturous situation.
2) The agreement we have is ok for now and is temporary. I am happy with the terms for the most part, I just hate the fact that all of the restrictions are on me, since it is not really a separation agreement but an OOP. H agreed to the same terms but his cost for violating them is not as high as mine.
3) I can finally start to see what the future might look like. And I think it will be ok.

1) GET THE KIDS IN THERAPY ASAP--Now I am not there to serve as a buffer between him and the kids, and if my suspicions are correct, they need to get in with someone who will recognize the signs and help them navigate living with this man, something I failed to do.
2) GET A Job--I will be moving into my own place soon. I have some money to tie me over, and now I know exactly how much I will need to get myself self supporting.
3) Get this marriage and divorce over with as fast as I can so I can finally move on. I want zero contact with this man.

This is a scary time and the worst experience I have ever gone through, but I am relieved to finally be OUT. I feel like I am starting to see things with a little clarity. I think things will get better, but I am afraid of having to spend the rest of my life dealing with this man because of our children.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/14/15 05:13 PM
Emotional Flooding in Reactive Abuse- What is it?

I found this on the info us website and thought it could be useful here.

Emotional flooding is the term given to the feelings of one partner who are so overwhelmed by their partner’s perceived negativity and their own reaction to it that they become swamped by dreadful and intense feelings. re

Any person who is engaged in and experiencing emotional flooding cannot hear without distortion or respond with clarity in a dispassionate way.They find it hard to organise their thinking and they instead fall back on primitive reactions. They just want things to stop, or want to run or, sometimes, to strike back. They react and do not relate. Emotional Flooding is a self-perpetuating hijacking of our brain preventing us to see common sense. Some people have high thresholds for emotional flooding, easily enduring anger and contempt, while others may be triggered the moment their partner makes a mild criticism.

What happens to the body during Emotional Flooding?

The technical description of emotional flooding is in terms of heart rate rise from calm levels. At rest, womens heart rates are about 82 beats per minute and mens about 72 (the specific heart rate varies mainly according to a person’s body size). Emotional Flooding begins at about 10 beats per minute above a person’s resting rate; if the heart rate reaches 100 beats per minute (as it easily can do during moments of rage or tears), then the body is pumping adrenaline and other hormones that keep the distress high for some time. The moment of emotional flooding is apparent from the heart rate as it can jump 10, 20, or even as many as 30 beats per minute almost instantaneously.

Muscles tense and it can seem hard to breathe. There is a swell of toxic feelings, an unpleasant wash of fear and anger that seems inescapable. At this point—full hijacking—a person’s emotions are so intense, their perspective so narrow, and their thinking so confused that there is no hope of being rational, taking the other’s viewpoint or settling things in a reasonable way.The fight or flight choice is all that one can see.Emotional flooding is an apt description

High alert state

The problem begins when one spouse feels emotionally flooded almost continually feeling overwhelmed by their emotions, always on guard for an emotional assault or injustice, becoming hyper-vigilant for any real or imaginary sign of attack, insult, or grievance, and overreacts to small things. If a husband is in such a state even his wife saying innocently something like “Darling, we’ve got to talk,” can elicit the reactive thought, “She’s picking a fight again,” and so trigger emotional flooding. It becomes harder and harder to recover from the physiological arousal, which in turn makes it easier for innocuous exchanges to be seen in a sinister light, triggering emotional flooding all over again.

The emotionally flooded person thinks the worst virtually all the time, reading everything in a negative light. Small issues become major battles. Feelings are hurt continually. Over time, the partner who is being flooded starts to see any and all problems in the marriage as severe and impossible to fix or reconcile.They cannot see that the emotional flooding itself sabotages any attempt to work things out. It seems useless to talk things over, and the partners try to soothe their troubled feelings alone by leading parallel lives, and living in isolation from each other, and feel alone within an R.

In this downward spiral the tragic consequences of deficits in emotional competences are self-evident with a reverberating cycle of criticism and contempt, defensiveness and the ability to stonewall, distressing thoughts and emotional flooding they see nothing positive about the other and ultimately about themselves. The cycle itself reflects a disintegration of emotional self-awareness and self-control, of empathy and the abilities to soothe each other and oneself.

Physiologically Men and Womens bodies react with Emotional Flooding differently

That conclusion, reached in a study by Robert Levenson at the University of California at Berkeley, is based on the testimony of 151 couples, all in long-lasting marriages. Levenson found that husbands uniformly found it unpleasant, even aversive to become upset during a marital disagreement, while their wives did not mind it any where near as much. Men are prone to physiological emotional flooding at a lower intensity of negativity and secrete more adrenaline than do women into their bloodstream when emotional flooding occurs.In men that adrenaline flow is triggered by lower levels of negativity perceived as coming from their partner whereas the effect is slower in women. It seems that women cope with negativity better than men. Furthermore it takes men longer to recover physiologically from emotional flooding. (I read the study and it doesn't discuss habituation, so this may only apply in more traditional cultures)

This suggests the possibility Clint Eastwood type of male imperturbability (stonewalling) may represent a defence against feeling emotionally overwhelmed and their heart rates drop by about ten beats per minute, bringing a subjective sense of relief. But—and here’s a paradox—once the men started to stone wall, it was the women whose heart rate shot up to levels signalling high distress. This limbic tango, with each sex seeking comfort in opposing gambits leads to a very different stance toward emotional confrontations: men want to avoid them as fervently as their wives feel compelled to seek them. As one spouse observes withdrawal by the other from engagement, the volume and intensity Increases starting. Both are then open to emotional flooding.

Defensiveness or stonewalls is responded to with frustration and anger and so adds contempt, the stonewaller falls into the innocent-victim or righteous-indignation thoughts that more and more easily trigger emotional flooding. Leading to a cycle of stonewalling and increased response.

So how to avoid emotional flooding?

The teaching of emotional intelligence is so important. For the stonewalled the advice is not to sidestep conflict, but to realise that The expression of a grievance may be doing it as an act of love, trying to keep the relationship healthy and on course (although there may well be other motives by an abuser). When grievances simmer, they build and build in intensity until there’s an explosion. When they are aired and worked out, it takes the pressure off. Stonewallers need to realise that anger or discontent is not synonymous with a personal attack in a healthy R. Emotional flooding is something to be avoided and defused so that partners can communicate and not just lash out at each other.

In abusive patterns abusers may deliberately trigger emotional flooding to gain control or achieve an effective one up.

Amended and cut down as a very long post.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/14/15 05:34 PM
[b]Definitions used in abuse sitches/b]

From the out of the Fog website plus extras.

Alienation - The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual's relationships with others.

"Always" and "Never" Statements - "Always" and "Never" Statements are declarations containing the words "always" or "never". They are commonly used but rarely true.

Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.

Baiting - A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.

Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Bullying - Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

Chaos Manufacture - Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.

Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.

Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.

"Control-Me" Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.

Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.

Dissociation- A psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.

Domestic Theft - Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.

Emotional Blackmail - A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors.

Engulfment - An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.

Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.

Favoritism - Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.

Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.

Flooding- creating hormonal overwhelm in ones self or another for the purposes of cresting control or a reaction

Frivolous Litigation - The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization.

Gaslighting - The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.

Harassment - Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another.

High and Low-Functioning - A High-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is able to conceal their dysfunctional behavior in certain public settings and maintain a positive public or professional profile while exposing their negative traits to family members behind closed doors. A Low-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is unable to conceal their dysfunctional behavior from public view or maintain a positive public or professional profile.

Hoovers & Hoovering - A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.

Hysteria - An inappropriate over-reaction to bad news or disappointments, which diverts attention away from the real problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.

Identity Disturbance - A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view

Impulsiveness - The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.

Infantilization - Treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age.

Invalidation - The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

Lack of Object Constancy - An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.

Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.

Magical Thinking - Looking for supernatural connections between external events and one’s own thoughts, words and actions.

Moments of Clarity - Spontaneous periods when a person with a Personality Disorder becomes more objective and tries to make amends.

Mood Swings - Unpredictable, rapid, dramatic emotional cycles which cannot be readily explained by changes in external circumstances.

Neglect - A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.

Normalizing - Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.

No-Win Scenarios - When you are manipulated into choosing between two bad options

Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.

Parentification - A form of role reversal, in which a child is inappropriately given the role of meeting the emotional or physical needs of the parent or of the family’s other children.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior - Expressing negative feelings in an unassertive, passive way.

Pathological Lying - Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Projection - The act of attributing one's own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.

Proxy Recruitment - A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing “doing the dirty work”

Push-Pull - A chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without appropriate cause or reason.

Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression - Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.

Sabotage - The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.

Scapegoating - Singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.

Selective Competence - Demonstrating different levels of intelligence, memory, resourcefulness, strength or competence depending on the situation or environment.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Harm - Any form of deliberate, premeditated injury, such as cutting, poisoning or overdosing, inflicted on oneself.

Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.

Self-Victimization - Casting oneself in the role of a victim.

Shaming - The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.

Situational Ethics - A philosophy which promotes the idea that, when dealing with a crisis, the end justifies the means and that a rigid interpretation of rules and laws can be set aside if a greater good or lesser evil is served by doing so.

Splitting - The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely "good" or completely "bad".

Thought Policing - Any process of trying to question, control, or unduly influence another person's thoughts or feelings.

Threats - Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.

Triangulation - Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.

Triggering -Small, insignificant or minor actions, statements or events that produce a dramatic or inappropriate response.

Tunnel Vision - The habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/14/15 06:07 PM
More definitions

Abusive Cycle - This is the name for the ongoing rotation between destructive and constructive behavior which is typical of many dysfunctional relationships and families.

Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.

Belittling, Condescending and Patronizing - This kind of speech is a passive-aggressive approach to giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness.

Black and white thinking- inability to distinguish a continuum of responses always seeing the other as all good or all bad

Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the

Chronic Broken Promises - Repeatedly making and then breaking commitments and promises is a common trait among people who suffer from personality disorders.

Confirmation Bias - The tendency to pay more attention to things which reinforce your beliefs than to things which contradict them.

Cruelty to Animals - Acts of Cruelty to Animals have been statistically discovered to occur more often in people who suffer from personality disorders than in the general population.

Emotional Abuse - Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).

Escape To Fantasy - Taking an imaginary excursion to a happier, more hopeful place.

False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.

Feelings of Emptiness - An acute, chronic sense that daily life has little worth or significance, leading to an impulsive appetite for strong physical sensations and dramatic relationship experiences

Grooming - Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behaviour.

Hoarding - Accumulating items to an extent that it becomes detrimental to quality of lifestyle, comfort, security or hygiene.

Holiday Triggers - Mood Swings in Personality-Disordered individuals are often triggered or amplified by emotional events such as family holidays, significant anniversaries and events which trigger emotional memories.

Hyper Vigilance - Maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others

Imposed Isolation - When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family.

Lack of Conscience - Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.

Low Self-Esteem - A common name for a negatively-distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality.

Manipulation - The practice of steering an individual into a desired behavior for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.

Masking - Covering up one's own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.

Mirroring - Imitating or copying another person's characteristics, behaviors or traits.

Munchausen's and Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome - A disorder in which an individual repeatedly fakes or exaggerates medical symptoms in order to manipulate the attentions of medical professionals or caregivers.

Name-Calling - Use of profane, derogatory or dehumanizing terminology to describe another individual or group.

Narcissism - A set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy or consideration for others.

"Not My Fault" Syndrome - The practice of avoiding personal responsibility for one's own words and actions.

Objectification - The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior - An inflexible adherence to arbitrary rules and systems, or an illogical adherence to cleanliness and orderly structure.

Parental Alienation Syndrome - When a separated parent convinces their child that the other parent is bad, evil or worthless.

Perfectionism - The maladaptive practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unattainable or unsustainable standard of organization, order, or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in other areas of living.

Physical Abuse - Any form of voluntary behavior by one individual which inflicts pain, disease or discomfort on another, or deprives them of necessary health, nutrition and comfort.

Riding the Emotional Elevator - Taking a fast track to different levels of emotional maturity.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome

Self-Aggrandizement - A pattern of pompous behavior, boasting, narcissism or competitiveness designed to create an appearance of superiority.

Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

Sexual Objectification - Viewing another individual in terms of their sexual usefulness or attractiveness rather than pursuing or engaging in a quality interpersonal relationship with them..

Silent Treatment - A passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.

Sleep Deprivation - The practice of routinely interrupting, impeding or restricting another person's sleep cycle.

Stalking - Any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.

Stunted Emotional Growth - A difficulty, reluctance or inability to learn from mistakes, work on self-improvement or develop more effective coping strategies.

Targeted Humor, Mocking and Sarcasm - Any sustained pattern of joking, sarcasm or mockery which is designed to reduce another individual’s reputation in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.

Testing - Repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to a relationship

Verbal Abuse - Any kind of repeated pattern of inappropriate, derogatory or threatening speech directed at one individual by another.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/16/15 07:55 PM
Grooming and seduction

Grooming is the predatory act of manoeuvring another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behaviour or an affair. At its best it is called seduction.

Grooming is a insidious predatory tactic, used by Narcissists, Antisocial predators, con-artists and sexual aggressors, who target and manipulate.

Adult grooming applies to any situation where an adult is primed to allow exploitation, seduction or abuse. A predator will identify and engage a target and work to gain trust, break down defences, and manipulate until they get whatever it is they are after. Overt attention, verbal seduction (flattery / ego stroking), recruitment, physical isolation, charm, gift-giving, normalising, gas lighting, secrecy, and threats are all hallmarks of grooming, and even negative tease tactics.

Abusers, seducers or predators who groom their targets often claim to have a special connection with the abused or seduced. The so called connection might be emotional, intellectual, sexual, spiritual, or all of the above. This is often backed up by the predator echoing back part of the target's own background or story, altered to fit the groomer’s back-story, in order to confirm the connection. In order to abuse, seduce or exploit another person without fear of discovery, a sexual predator or con artist will frequently condition their intended target to keep secrets for them, such is the nature of an illicit affair, especially in the workplace. When building this bond of trust, an abuser may share seemingly personal or private information, and then swear To secrecy. The target is made to believe that they are being trusted with something of value, before being asked to share something of value with his/her abuser or seducer. Abusers and seducers use shared secrets to bind their targets to them. By degrees, the target is gradually lured in to revealing private information, giving up money, property or sexual favours, or permitting or engaging in inappropriate, unsafe, or illegal behaviours. •

The target is often drawn in to being a "co-conspirator” (also known as forced teaming). Eventually, the bond of secrecy is nearly always reinforced with threats, shaming and guilt to keep the target silent about his or her shared crimes or misdeeds. Anyone can be a target, the lonely and the emotionally compromised together with those whose defences are down. Anyone with soft boundaries.

There is no prototypical victim, anyone can be vulnerable to grooming. Predators and seducers are practiced, and extremely good at what they do. Those who aren't tend to get caught. Those who get caught, tend to learn from their mistakes, and refine their techniques. You don’t have to be especially gullible to fall for grooming, but learning the signs successfully identifies a potential abuser or seducer, and avoid exploitation:

-Predators or seducers can normally work in the shadows, and have something to hide.
-Predators or seducers claim to feel a "special connection" with their targets, even if they've only just met.
-Predators or seducers recruit co-conspirators (forced teaming) to fight their battles and do their bidding.
-Predators or seducers draw their victims in by sharing private information then swearing them to secrecy.
-Predators or seducers practice divide and conquer techniques in order to manipulate other.

An individual who lures lonely or vulnerable people into a romantic relationship in order to position themselves for monetary gain or resources especially in the work place. Anyone who manufactures a (false) bond of trust in order to extract promises or favours from another.

How the target feels

Grooming can feel exhilarating – at first. The predator or seducer employs attentiveness, sensitivity, (false) empathy and plenty of positive reinforcement to seduce. For their part, targets can be so enthralled with, or overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving; they will often overlook or ignore red flags that might alert them that the person who is showering them with that attention is somehow “off”.

Little by little, the abuser or seducer breaks through natural defences, gaining trust, and manipulates or coerces the target into willingly having sex, handing over money or assets, engaging in inappropriate, illegal or morally ambiguous actives, or acting as a proxy, fighting the abuser’s battles, and carrying out their will. The target often feels confusion, shame, guilt, remorse and disgust at his or her own participation but somehow excited and bonded. Equally powerful, is the panic that comes with the threat of being exposed for engaging these activities, they may hide the activity or brazenly flounce it. There may also an overwhelming fear of losing the emotional bond that has been established with an abuser ors ducker. The target eventually becomes trapped, depressed or despondent because the R is vacuous.

What NOT to Do:

-Don't trust too soon, or share too much with someone you’ve only just met.
-Don't fall for false flattery, or verbal seduction.
-Don’t compromise your boundaries.
-Don't allow yourself to be isolated from others against your own better judgment.
-Don't blame yourself for how the other person is behaving.
-Don't stay in the room if the situation becomes physically, verbally or emotionally unhealthy.
-Don't go it alone or keep what you are experiencing a secret.

What TO Do:

Use caution around someone you may have only just met, who pays you too many compliments, gives you too much attention, demands too much of your time, shares too much information, or tries to swear you to secrecy. Question motives. Learn to pay attention to your gut, and trust those feelings to guide you. Remind yourself you are not to blame for what a predator is attempting to do to you. Learn to say no, and mean it. If your loved one is a target then realise Stockholm syndrome may apply, they may be enthralled and in denial. This abuser or seducer will perfect techniques and move on to richer pastures.

Adapted from an out of the fog website post.


Posted By: Hope414 Re: Abuse - 07/17/15 07:47 AM
Originally Posted By: Vanilla

Here are some techniques of abuse:
Withholding, countering, discounting/demeaning/devaluing, dismissing, joking/ blocking, diverting, accusing/blaming, judging/criticing, trivialising, name calling, forgetting, revising/rewriting, ordering, manipulating/lying, denying/negating, anger/aggression, echoing, humiliating, condescending/mockiing

So how do you know if you are being abused?

You are afraid and off balance
You enforce your boundaries and that is ignored
You feel like nothing you do is right
Feel guilty
Walk on egg shells
Avoid public appearances
are subject to shifting sands of expectation
Always cave in
Subject to threats or intimidation
are ignored
Embarrassed or social isolated as a result of your partners actions
Occasionally 'love bombed' or 'groomed' then ignored
Belittled or trashed
The first year or so was loving
The abuse gradually intensified with different behaviors

I think this is a really great thread but can I add a codicil to this?

Marriages hit turbulence. When this occurs people usually react poorly.

So, I would really like to repeat a caution which Vanilla brought up a couple of pages ago which I think was the most valuable when discussing emotional and/or verbal abuse.

Emotional and/or verbal abuse is an attempt to change your spouses behavior or the dynamics of your marriage. Emotional and/or verbal abuse has an intent attached.

Couples fight. And when they are in the worst part of their fighting...sometimes they yell and say very mean things to each other. Sometimes when they fight they will threaten or use intimidation to win an argument. They will cross boundaries. And when they are fighting they try to make their partner feel off balance and unloved. But this is not abuse.

This is fighting.

Can it cross the line to abuse?


But, I think it hurts a marriage when one spouse believes they are the victim of abuse when, in reality, they are just fighting.

I think the internet has made it too easy to validate a belief and vilify behaviors we find unpleasant.

Everyone who has been caught in a bald-face lie has felt off balance; afraid; felt guilty; walked on eggshells; avoided public appearance; subjected to shifting sands of expectations; probably caved in; and were (or should have been) embarrassed.

Being caught doing something bad and being victimized usually produces the same physiological reaction.

Abuse is terrible and no one should be the victim of abuse. But we need to recognize there are a lot of psychological factors at work when dealing with an abusive personality.
Posted By: Cadet Re: Abuse - 07/17/15 11:21 AM
Originally Posted By: Hope414
I think it hurts a marriage when one spouse believes they are the victim of abuse when, in reality, they are just fighting.

Hope414 has made a great point!
I think either this thread or another one should talk about VICTIM mentality and how we get off of the VICTIM's triangle.
I personally see this a lot on the boards and we do not want to get STUCK in this mode.
Posted By: LanceSijan Re: Abuse - 07/17/15 11:27 AM
Originally Posted By: Cadet
I think either this thread or another one should talk about VICTIM mentality and how we get off of the VICTIM's triangle.
I personally see this a lot on the boards and we do not want to get STUCK in this mode.

A great resource for this is a lady named lynne forrest, she tells people how to get off the triangle.
I think my friend Cadet would want you to know that.
Try googling her name.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/17/15 08:58 PM
Cadet, Hope and Lance

There is a big difference between being a 'target' and being a '.victim'.

I have been very careful (at least I have made a big effort) to refer to target in this thread.

The reason for that is that most targets never become victims, systematic abuse denies the target the 'victim' mentality. If you examine my thread, Zeldas or even TLees you will see it takes a great deal before a target excepts abuse. They struggle to reject that designation, it is much better to look at being targeted. I don't see myself as a victim, and have never cried that out, in fact I see too much denial for that. Even after crisis there is denial, heavens in some sitches there is Physical abuse.

Victim mentality is about denying responsibility, targets usually accept all responsibility for everything. They are polar opposites.

Baffled, bemused, hurt and eventually accepting yes, but 'woe is me' - no.

This thread is about being targeted not about being a faux victim.

Only 1-5% of sitches will be systematic and abusive. The question for each poster is that your sitch? If it is can you truly recognise it. If you are abusive in any way change it, don't just say my spouse is a faux victim. Can I refer you to the irrationality post on this thread please?

It is almost an irony that for those to whom it applies are likely to deny, to be Stockholm and dissonant, unlikely to be wayward, perhaps reactive or situational. Take a long time to say I am the target. Whereas those who cry 'victim' may well be just simply in a difficult M. It's an easy label to give for effect, but at its essence there is a difference between a target and a victim.

Posted By: RAI Re: Abuse - 07/17/15 09:38 PM

your post about grooming was terrifyingly resonant with me. It was almost hard to read.

I appreciate your insight so much.

Posted By: Hope414 Re: Abuse - 07/18/15 01:25 AM
Hi Vanilla,

I respect the intent of this thread and I admire you for starting it. This thread provides a valuable avenue of expression for many people.

My concern is some people may misdiagnose their spouse as “Abusive” and act accordingly.

For example, some people may stop contact or refuse to engage in conflict resolution because they believe their spouse is abusive. If their spouse is not abusive this behavior would exacerbate an already terrible situation and may have a detrimental impact on resolving problems in their marriage.

Again, no one should be in an abusive relationship. But there is a difference between someone engaging in abusive behavior and an Abuser.

Many of us, under the right circumstances, could act in an abusive manner. An Abuser suffers from a psychological disorder.

For example, a child throws a tantrum by screaming and physically hit people when frustrated or angry. This is abusive behavior. But not every child engaging in this behavior is an Abuser. Most of the time a child’s behavior can be changed when they are taught the appropriate method of communication.

If anyone believes they are in an abusive relationship, I strongly urge they seek marriage counseling with someone specifically trained in this area. If joint counseling is not possible then I strongly urge individual counseling.

You are doing a wonderful job with this thread and your insight into abuse has been extremely educational. Again, thank you for starting it.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/18/15 07:31 AM
Hope thank you, your concern is a valid one. Abuse of any kind needs to stop, full stop. It's inappropriate whatever the circumstances. An abuser can take ownership and heal and atone for their own sake. Whether the target excepts that is entirely their choice. The target may also react back as in my own case and that too should stop and be atoned for.

Abusive behaviour is for me always inappropriate and in my own sitch by me, destructive as it allowed WH to justify his own actions. So ineffective too.

However abusers like my WH are systematic and deliberate, such abuse generally arises from a personality disorder. And not from temporarily disrupted behaviour. It's ingrained in the person and hard but not completely impossible to change. I may never know if WH was borderline (a old category where a person lies between category B and category C on the DSM. I will put a post together on this.

I actually don't believe in diagnosis I am of the new thinking on this that there are two elements to personality, 1. a strong behavioural element which is mutable and changes throughout life according to situation and 2. personality traits developed as a result of a combination of genetics and early environment, (later environment having a lesser role).

I am not sure I believe in labels of types either and unless there is a proper clinical diagnosis. Whenever I see a label either of the self or another, I can always ask was that a diagnosis? And generally it isn't, it's a self diagnosis or amateur diagnosis. Besides things change and sitches change, labels shouldn't be per enact but can be useful. Some types of personality disorder have a strong genetic component, my own Paradoxical ADD ( hyper focus or mild savant syndrome) is autistic and also genetic. Others are carefully nurtured personality traits. Both can be managed. Incidentally that was diagnosed in childhood because of dyspraxia (clumsiness) and dreamlike distraction (live in the real world not Vs world). It's a case of using the positives and some of this has great potential for good if managed.

There is enormous power and great goodness in being a managed abuser.

Behaviour is different, if someone believes they are abused even if they aren't that although irrational is a valid experience for them and to deny that is invalidating their view of the world. Of course there are those who deliberately outright lie ' I have been abused' for gain in a D or as a justification and I often suspect the reverse twist of abuse. Be careful who you point at as four fingers point back.

Targets of systematic abuse often can't accept it, they won't be the ones crying wolf, until a spell breaker incident. Mustardseeds spell breaker is above, we were also privilidge do to see Zeldas on the board and my own. Sometimes it's a series of steps before we break free. Systematic abusers quite often don't stop and when they do they move on to another target. Originally I saw the thread as helping targets of systematic abusers but it's more than that to me now it's about stopping abuse of all types and often that means bravery by both abusers and targets. I really believe we can only do that if we are open and honest about our sitches. In my own case I accept I was a reactive abuser and a target of systematic abuse. I can only manage myself and stop my behaviour whilst removing myself as a target. Nothing I can do will change WH, he has to want to do that for himself and have the tools to do it.

We can't love the abuse from an abuser although we can provide the environment in which loving change is possible if the abuser wants to change as I did. It will be a lifelong mission. It is far too easy to condemn and much harder to support.

I think it works (as I learned in Gamanon) according to the 12 steps with acceptance being the first step. In order for that to happen then there has to be awareness. Before awareness comes knowledge, before knowledge comes information. Then as in all behavioural change there has to be a toolkit for change. I can think about a resource kit for the thread. I think one of the issues is there is too much available and some of it needs filtering. Accepting that you are either an abuser or a target is very hard sometimes and many sites are damaging because they are 'bashing'. Whilst I believe you can't love the abuse away, there has to be toughness, I do believe that healing is possible and great personal growth from it. That will only come with connection and self responsibility for both target’s and abusers.

Using abuse as a label for other inappropriate behaviour isn't useful although if it starts us thinking about change I am not sure that matters. If we say my spouse/loved one/work colleague is accusing me of abuse, is it valid? Not really. Then why are they doing that? Do they truly believe that?
If the answer is yes then why do they? Should I tackle it? If so how?
If the answer is no then am I actually a target? Etc

Accusations, whether false or not are a stepping stone to awareness and acceptance, even if the label isn't valid.

Thank you for posting.

Posted By: Ggrass Re: Abuse - 07/18/15 08:49 AM
Lots of you are very fimilar with my stich, there was plenty of abuse. He hit the child for no reason, he took no responsibility for any of his actions and blamed me for anything that was done to me and s17. Took almost 6mo of ic to come to terms and admit it was always moving down the abuse road.

The other kicked was knowing that he told me he was accused of the same behaivour with his wife. Do I think he's abusive and indulges in repeat behaviour?

Yes I do, I saw him assault his own son in the name of disapline and I saw the huge tempers and nasty nasty jibes that he continued with the gaslight and stealing money.

So once the ic started to try to iron out the abuse I defended him, accepted Balme but have not seen myself as a victim more of being stupid and allowing my self to be taken advantage of.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/18/15 11:15 AM
Originally Posted By: RAI

your post about grooming was terrifyingly resonant with me. It was almost hard to read.

I appreciate your insight so much.


Thank you RAI, the posts here are based on a combination of other posts, regretfully some posts are reworking of others insights and not my own. I don't want to take credit for others work. It is probably helpful for readers to know that. Plus Zelda has had a great deal of input here too.

That particular post was from a number of sites and questions raised about how predators worked.

I think we also have to realise WS are also culpable they can say no to seducers. There is a point at which they should say no and they don't. We may need to let them come to their senses.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/19/15 09:06 AM
Am I unjustly labelling my partner as a systematic abuser?

This is a valid question and before we self diagnose or amateur diagnose another , it is one which should be answered seriously. As each of us is in an R or M which is failing, it is valid to ask why and is it because there is abuse. We need to be careful as abuse as diagnosis is one way of avoiding personal responsibility . There is also the question, as in my own case of reverse abuse, that is we are part of the problem. My own stance is simple and straightforward, irrespective of another's actions abuse should stop and we tackle our own issues.

We cannot escape the fact that we are not responsible for another's behaviour but we can provide an environment for change, we can provide healing and growth, acceptance and repair. Love is part of that equation in providing that environment for ourselves and others. It is up to each of us to change. That change can be an enormous gift.


However there are some key questions to ask before we label our partner

The Start of your R
Was the start of your R idyllic? Have you been together a long time, and had normal ups and downs until now? If the former is a pattern then that can be an indicator, if the latter then systematic abuse is unlikely. If you can say my H was a wonderful man until he lost his job or my W was a wonderful loving mother then this looks situational, even if there is abuse it's likely to be behavioural. It has to change of course and there is the capacity for change.

However if the start of your R was wonderful and went downhill then that could be a sign the glowing start to an R that can't be maintained. When mistreatment starts in a minor way then it is assumed. The behaviour arises assumes from something that has gone wrong inside of the other-what else can be concluded, given how wonderful it was to begin with? Do you let go of the dream or did you do something wrong. Most true targets question themselves at this point, so if you suspect abuse then it's likely you have strong boundaries and these are crossed by the other. The irony is that those who can say "this is abusive behaviour, stop" are those most likely to have strong boundaries and are unlikely to be targets. systematic abusers don't develop into that within the R, they come into it already set. In this way they are usually in Rs with those who are unaware or have weak boundaries, most systematic abusers are looking for low hanging fruit.

Does a systematic abuser deliberately plan to become abusive when beginning a relationship?

The target is looking for an equal partner to love and be loved by.

The systematic abuser is dreaming of having someone that meets all needs, is beautiful or handsome at all times of day and night, has no needs of their own and are in awe of their brilliance and charm. Desiring one who will cater to them and never complain about anything they do or cause frustrations or unhappiness. Abuse is not the goal, control certainly is. Abusers then find himself abuse to gain the control they feels they have the right to. So abuse is about control. As far as the abuser is concerned all partners are wanting and it's a case of finding the perfect one, which of course doesn't exist. put on weight, be ill, lose a job, suddenly not so perfect and the target is the next to be discarded after attempts at being remoulded.

So when you say your spouse is abusive are they trying to control you and can you be controlled?

Systematic abuse is different there has to be an abuser and a target with a strong control element. An early theory was that targets liked control, the majority of targets are unaware they are being systematically abused, there are a few (a very small minority) who relinquish control and from childhood trauma prefer to allow others to run their lives. They go from abuser to abuser and never call on it.

Systematic abusers are human beings with profoundly complex and destructive problems that should not be underestimated. They usually need clinical help to recognise their behaviour. A systematic abuser’s behavior is primarily conscious-they act deliberately rather than by accident or by losing control but the underlying thinking that drives behavior is largely not conscious. It is by creating realisation and conscious awareness that behaviour can be tackled by an abuser, but that moment of clarity has to be sustained and turned from a glimpse to a glowing sunlight exposure. That is very tough for abusers and at that stage they need support to accept, change, atone and eventually forgiveness for them and of themselves. This is enormous, I observe some LBS having these moments of awakening and becoming a spouse only a fool would leave. I am quite clear from my gam anon associations that many mental terrorists are amazing enlightened spouses and parents when in recovery, and let's be clear not every addict is abusive of others.

Accusing a spouse of abuse or being a systematic abuser without looking inwards to the self and saying my boundaries are weak or I react back isn't helpful and it lets us off the hook. Those issues can be resolved, boundaries strengthened and our reactions changed. Even if we move a new R those tendencies will be restrictive, how better to be empowered than change and DB is an amazing toolkit for change.


A systematic abuser learns manipulative and controlling behavior from several sources, including key role models (mimicry), peers (inclusivity), and pervasive cultural messages (media absorption and suspension of disbelief). By the time they reaches adulthood, they have an integrated manipulative behavior to such a deep level that they acts largely on automatic. They know what they are doing but not necessarily why. In other words a systematic abuser enters the R with these behaviours they don't have them to begin with. A happy early childhood is a good sign.
How can you know if abuse is systematic or if it's just an argument or deterioration in what could be a healthy R?

A list of abusive behaviours will assist and that is only part of the answer. Systematic Abuse was there from early in the R (in the idyllic or sweet phase although it want observed because the sweet phase is of itself fakery). They speak disrespectfully about former partners and a certain amount of anger and resentment toward an ex-partner is normal, but beware of bitterness or emphasis on it. Be cautious of someone who characterises themselves as a "victim" of abuse. Be alert if they say that previous Rs falsely accused them of being abusive. Be cautious of someone who says that you are the first partner to treat them well, or that earlier partners have not understood.

When a partner is disrespectful early in an R beware. There are stages in an R, from the limerence to the settled and dissatisfaction and disrespect early is the soil in which abuse grows. If someone puts you down or sneers at your opinions, is rude to you in front of others, is cutting or sarcastic, they are communicating a lack of respect. They do favours that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable they are creating indebtedness. Look and consider the R stages, knowledge is key.

Possessiveness and jealous is one of the surest signs that abuse is down the road as this masquerades as love. Jealous feelings are not the same as behaviours. Someone with insecurities may naturally feel anxious about same sex associations especially ex-partners, and might want some reassurance. But if they indicates that they expect you to give up your freedom to accommodate jealousy, control is creeping up. Possessiveness shows that you are not loved as an independent human being but rather as a guarded treasure or belonging. After a while you will feel suffocated.

Systematic abusers are selfish they haven't learned to be self interested or self centred. An interest in ones own wellbeing is healthy and necessary and well balanced individuals know that being a strong partner is in their own best interests.

Watch out for someone that does most of the talking, listens I attentively and switches the topic of conversation back to themselves. The old adage is "let's talk about you, now what do you think of me?" Self-centredness is a personality characteristic that is highly resistant to change, as it has deep roots in profound entitlement or to severe emotional injuries (in non abusers) or both (in systematic abusers). Is a row about listening to rants, can you give as good as you take?

These characteristics are exhibited from day one and won't suddenly arise. Couple can learn anger is healthy and how to argue constructively. It's a skill, if you have argued successfully in other Rs why is this different?

An R where some of this is exhibited isn't necessarily systematically abusive. Nothing is ever a systematic abusers fault there is always something or someone for anything that goes wrong. As time goes by, the target of blame increasingly becomes you. They may make promises they can’t keep, coming up with a stream of excuses for disappointing you or behaving irresponsibly, and perhaps taking serious economic advantage of you in the process.

They gets too serious too quickly, planning your future together without taking enough time to get to know you and grow close, because it can mean they are trying to wrap you up tightly into a package that they can own when you M. A big change on or soon after the wedding day is another sign. Again behaviour from very early in the M and not sudden, relaxation into 'normal' mode.

A series of out of pattern recent rows isn't usually systematic abuse, this needs resolving with relationship help of one kind or another. Each party owns responsibility.

Abuse of drugs or alcohol or behavioural addictions

Although substances, porn, gambling etc do not cause partner abuse, they often go hand in hand. This is an indication of lack of impulse control. Addictions need treatment and in many case managing the addiction first brings with it management of abuse. Twelve steps brings awareness and insight with knock on effects. Attend a support group for those affected, consider codependency, grow boundaries (b@lls).

Intimidation and Physical abuse says be safe

If the arguments have intimidation in them, physical threats, even if they appears unintentional, is a sure sign that emotional abuse is on the way-or has already begun-and is a warning flag that physical violence may eventually follow. Be safe and make sure any dependants are safe.

These are examples:

-Getting too close to you when angry, putting a finger in your face, poking you, pushing you, blocking your way or restraining you, in my case standing over me when I was naked in bed, shouting at you when you are in the shower.
- tells you that they are “just trying to make you listen.”
-raises a fist, towers over you, shouts at you, or behaves in any way that makes you flinch or feel afraid. In another sitch blocked an exit, smashed crockery, threw a phone
-makes vaguely threatening comments, such as, “you don’t want to see me mad” or “you don’t know who you’re messing with.” In my case "my brother knows someone who can make you disappear and no one will know. Downloaded personal assassin onto joint iPad account
-drives recklessly or speeds up when he is angry. Cuts people up when angry, road rage.
-punches walls or kicks doors, slams doors damages furniture or mirrors
-throws things around, even if they don’t hit you.
-States they will harm you it they know someone who will
-puts you in the position of defending yourself so you appear intimidating to others
-also doing this to others who are dependent in their intimate circle

Treats you differently around other people. Adult abusers tend to put on a show of treating their partners like gold when everyone is watching, reserving most of their abuse for times when no one else will see.

So where is the line?

Is your R like in the film wars of the roses or the breakup? Then it's crazy and reactive and argumentative and systemic abuse isn't it. Consider the film Lady Caroline Lamb or Sleeping with the enemy which are both extreme forms of systematic abuse. Think Alfie is, Arthur isn't.

A great deal of systematic abuse is hidden but it isn't temporary.

Physical abuse is always an R exit indicator and above all be safe.

Popular programs portray systematic abusers so negatively and extreme that targets don't recognise the majority, the every day kind of systematic abuser. And who would want to see themselves as a big screen systematic abuser, it's going to put a restriction on thoughts of examining behaviour ' I am not like them'.

The line is where the target sets their boundaries, in an earlier post I tried to put a number on it by allocating levels 1-5 with level 6 as physical and intimidation. Ideally we tolerate nil abuse but realistically Rs are growing and developing with teething and adaption. It will usually be the target that says enough is enough.

In other words, we can't just simply say our spouse is a systematic abuser without examining ourselves. If it is the case then NC and healing is mandatory. If it isn't systematic abuse then there is self responsibility DB and standing.

In most sitches there can be profound change.

Seek independent advice and if possible record interactions, the next argument is the time to start.

This post was created from three or four internet sites dealing with battering.

I still stand for me and for love.


Edited for V - If this is not right please advise with another post which I can delete later.
Posted By: RAI Re: Abuse - 07/20/15 05:24 PM
V, I wrote you a brief apology in my previous thread. Please check it out.


Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 07/30/15 12:42 PM

This was drafted as a result of several questions on threads, why am I being isolated etc and my attempt to understand Mustardseeds Post above on organisational threats. The truth is when protecting ourselves, I resist the words defending or retaliating, forewarned is forearmed. Keep cards close to chest, good L and breeze block, every day breeze block, boring old "don't bother I am so uninterested and uninteresting" tactic. Then ride it out, the cheater or abusers shows their true colours anyway.

Triangulation-The use of a third party in abuse or cheating

A dynamic of communication and behaviours involving more than two people that are unhealthy and unwholesome. The trademarks of triangulation are covert operation, deceit and abuse together with complicity. This is a triangle of three types of parties.

In an in an A sitch this can be WS the OP and the cheated S. In other sitches it's the Abuser an Organisation or Person and the Target. In some both. Note this isn't about an A and the deceit involved although it is about behaviours around it.

The simple definition of triangulation is: one individual attacking, discrediting (smearing) or/ and abusing another person with the use of third-party people or institutions. This has much wider implications.

There are three traditional parts of the ‘triangle’. These are

1) The Abuser, cheater, WW or WH

2) The Rescuer, cheat partner (as long as they are aware they are in an A), scuzzy

3) The Target or cheated spouse

We can recognise how we may have contributed to fuelling the triangulation by identifying our role in it.

The Process

The triangulation process begins when the abuse starts or the affair starts, the target or cheated spouse reacts, and is then classified as ‘the enemy’.

The abuser or cheater behaves in an attacking manner in order to survive, to get rid of the perceived threat (which may not even be real) and to regain control, to get the upper hand and disable the target or cheated spouse.

Naturally people who model humanity as love, dedication and loyalty are devastated when they are ‘adored’ then ‘abhorred’ alternately ‘How can you treat me like this?’

The abuser or cheater feels powerless and the loss of control or their A with severe panic, pain and rage. The Target or Cheated Partner is accused of things that they don’t have the capacity to think about let alone execute. This reaction is because there is no awareness of the fact that the reaction of criticism or anger was triggered as a result of being abused or cheated on. The abuser or cheat is like a terrified child in an aggressive adult’s body doing anything to stop the imagined assaults they believe are inevitable, and that they are powerless to defend alone.

Hence the urgent and frenetic need to recruit allies and rally people or systems as reinforcements to completely discredit and cripple before there is a response.

Triangulation is a tactic That has generally been mastered at a very early age. Virtually every abuser and cheat does it, and it is one of the absolute trademarks of abuse.

The Abuser or Cheater role in Triangulation

This role comes naturally and the irony is the abuser or cheater believes completely that they are a victim (not a target, victim mentality). Regardless of however mentally high functioning they appear to be, they have the emotional intelligence of an angry, irrational young child or adolescent. There is such disintegration they behave very badly without responsibility or accountability. Any faults are projected onto the person targeted thus the abuser believes the target is the pathological person acting out atrocious attacks and tries to destroy the parts that are despised – the parts that have been projected on to the target.

This is the irony of abuse or infidelity – the abuser or cheater acts out (behaves) and abuses and then blames the target for these acts and seeks to punish and totally oblivious that the rage is self-hatred. The target just happen to be the container for the damaged parts.

The abuser or cheat is extremely capable of pathological lying, and often fully believes their own lies (setting this in the subconscious) or will have righteous justifications for telling the lies. They are also brilliant actors and have perfected the craft of acting out emotions in order to manipulate.

Using an Organisation or Person to 'Rescue' the Abuser or WS

The deception required to recruit an organisation (police, courts, child services etc) or another person comes easily to the Abuser or Cheater as the end justifies the means. Organisations often have no option other than to get involved with the lies, because it’s their job to investigate claims of child-abuse, criminal activity, fraud, tax-evasion, violence etc. Although there can be consequences occasionally to this tactic.

Triangulation may include an organisation at the top left of the triangle, or a fictitious character, or a fabricated statement using third-party ally statements (real or fabricated).

An example is “I spoke to X who agrees that you xxxxxxxx”

Or of course, this could be a family member or friend playing a rescuing role convinced that the abuser or cheat is the good person, they are also being used and a target of abuse. Others watch along bewildered without intervening and in due course may come forward disclosing to warn the targets or cheated spouses. This can be a spell breaker.

The same does not apply to the OP who is addicted and has issues of their own. Healthy people do not get involved, or seek the truth for themselves, so by the very definition individuals who involve themselves are unhealthy psychologically. People who are not hooked may believe the lies, offer sympathy and even suggest solutions or support but are unlikely to take on attacking the target or cheated spouse as their own personal crusade.

The abuser has no qualms about dragging others in, lying to them, getting them involved in chaos, or putting them at risk – even criminally, if they chose to engage at that level. Others are objects and may be discarded when their usefulness is complete, and then may be re-recruited by the narcissist when the next triangulation opportunity presents. The abuser may go as far as to incite others (sometimes called flying monkeys) to do the dirty work, exit the scene and let them take the fall.

The other may be trying to win approval due to struggling to generate their own self-worth and self-value buys the narcissist’s lies about ‘how special they are to the narcissist’.

They may have been lied to feign promises leading to some ‘hope’ for the future that this person believes is necessary from the narcissist – such as ‘love’, ‘approval’ ‘repayment’ of ‘making amends’ or ‘security’. They may know this is a problem but will still act anyway.

Business associates (suffering from lack of self-capability) who believes there is a ticket to security and wealth may delude themselves and combine forces against the target or abused spouse.

Friends who suffer from lack of self-worth and self-esteem, who get the payoff of emotional approval and favours, or who are hooked and manipulated with guilt, may also be easy recruitment targets. This is especially likely if this person acts out ‘righteousness’ as a result of projecting their own disowned inner wounding,

Affair Partners and New Partners and Cheated Spouses

Affair partners are different to new partners as they are part of the cheating dynamic and will likely be "me and you against the world" anyway, they will like as not act as one with the cheater, speak with one voice.

New partners are not involved in cheating they arrive after the primary R is over and are often easily triangulated against ex partners. The new partner wants to believe the fairy tale, and the façade the abuser presents as ‘the dream partner who is the answer to all previous loneliness / emotional pain / security. ‘ They are at the start of the sweet cycle and do not want to investigate the ex-partner(s) evidence, does not want to question ‘the dream’ and easily believe the intoxication of ‘perfect love’ in the love-bombing period.The new partner would rather ignore the truth and believe the lies.

Down the track, ex-partners, who were once at the bottom of the triangle being smeared and discredited to third parties, can be re-recruited to rescuer status when things turn sour with the new partner. This is called hoovering, when this is the A partner the cheated spouse often relishes this turn of events to inflict punishment and revenge on the OP.

The ex-partner or cheated spouse, if still hooked and not recovered from the previous cheating or abuse, is highly susceptible to be used for sex, attention, sympathy, becoming an object of revenge, energy, resources and anything else the abuser or cheater feels entitled to at. The ex-partner may also take a stand against the new partner or OP in a futile attempt to convince the abuser that they are worth loving and committing to again.

The abuser or cheater can be totally charming, appear remorseful and even adoring and ex-partner naturally wants to believe the lies. This person despite previous abuse doesn’t want to imagine the narcissist is very capable of demoting him or her again, and is likely to be playing out multiple games of smearing and demonising different sexual partners to each other (behind their backs) and creating them as the rescuer (in person) simultaneously.

The End Result

This, of course, sets the OP and the S, the Rescuer and the Target up against each other.

The different parties completely distrust each other and don’t believe each other’s versions. They also choose to believe the abuser or cheat is so repulsed that there is no way the cheater would go near the OP let alone heaven forbid have sex with them. Despite the numerous warning bells, red flags, inconsistencies and gnawing horrible feeling that something unsavoury is taking place. Once an OP is repelled from the triangle a vacancy is created and lo, another OP. If the cheated spouse withdraws their cake and will not resume another OP appears in addition to the first. There is nothing to be done but ride it out, the truth emerges in time. In the meanwhile there can be substantial damage. Protect, protect, protect!


The blind spots without ourselves cause us to miss the blind spots in others.

This post is cribbed from several sources and the last portion from an article by Mel Evans. It has been adapted for use with abuse as opposed to narcissism.
Posted By: WhyUs Re: Abuse - 07/30/15 01:07 PM

This is very interesting stuff. Thank you for posting it. I wish I could send this to everyone involved in the Triangle. Guessing that would be a bad idea.
Posted By: mustardseed Re: Abuse: triangulation - 07/30/15 08:13 PM
That was an extremely insightful post V. Something I will bookmark and refer to when and if I ever feel I am getting roped back in. Thanks for posting.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse: triangulation - 08/02/15 11:59 AM
Invalidation and Selfishness measuring it

Some people who are fun, good at things, and appear in public to be compassionate and generous often make desirable friends and life partners. They can be very enjoyable to hang out with, even if they seem a bit self-preoccupied, as if they are always taking mental selfies. Then can come the rub. Are they also good partners when it comes to talking through differences of opinion in work and/or home situations? Or is there something self centred about how they communicate in a relationship that's provocative?

Especially when you hit bumps on the road of your life, ever tried to be friends or a love partner with someone who only listens to him or herself? Who changes the topic, gets defensive or gets mad at you when you try to talk about difficulties you've been experiencing? The desire to sustain a friendship, never mind a love relationship, with these folks can quickly fade.

How about you? Are you someone others like and yet often also find demoralising to be with when serious issues come up? Do people tell you that you seem to take up all the space in the room because conversations with you so frequently take an "it' all about me" turn? When others express feelings and concerns, is your reaction "Well what about me?" Do you monologue or pontificate instead of sharing equal air time?

Healthy or malfunctioning?

To clarity about what healthy versus malfunctioning look like then there are certain keys. Normal interactions involve introjections, the ability to see the second position.

Someone who disparages what you say instead of finding what makes sense about it, or who ignores what you say altogether, is likely to be malfunctioning.

Not listening leads to showing minimal responsiveness to others' concerns. The bottom line is that healthy people in healthy relationships are able to sustain both responsively to their own concerns and responsively to others'. They are able to be self-centred in the best sense (taking care of themselves), and also altruistic (taking heed of others' desires).

Two way communication

The ability to hear both oneself and others is referred to as bilateral (2-sided) listening. Narcissistic and abusive listening is one-way, listening to myself only, listening to only my own views.

When differences arise, folks who do bilateral listening are pros at taking into consideration both their concerns and others. This bilateral listening ability enables them to routinely seek and create win-win solutions, which in turn sustains their relationships with on-going goodwill.

For instance, if you are tired, you would listen to that feeling and head for bed. At the same time if you have just received a call from a friend who has a problem and urgently wants to talk with you, you might suggest that the two of you talk for a few minutes now, and aim to talk more at length in the morning. That could be a win-win solution. By contrast, if there is a malfunction then the response may be an immediate”No. I’m too tired,” to the friend’s request. Or with a more gentle, "Yes I hear that you want to talk but I'm just too tired. In the latter case the friend's request are minimised, dismissed and the data about the friend's need discarded. This is invalidating the other, just a different way.

Similarly, if your friend is self centred, the fact that you are tired would slide by. Talking together now would be the only option. 'It's all about me' would prevail, with anger at refraining from complying.


Abusive folks can be generous and are actually are often very generous. They may, for instance, give away large sums of money to charity. Generous giving makes the giver feel good and also feels appropriate, like "the right" thing to do. They may well therefore pride themselves on their compassion and altruism.

At the same time, in a situation in which someone wants something, and that desire is in conflict with what someone else wants, that's when the selfish side takes over.

Often too, the tendency toward compassionate generosity gets directed toward strangers. The people closest receive far less compassion and far more dismissive listening. This is to impress others and make the self appear more than. It's grandiosity at its worst.
immediacy Quiz (just for interest)

This quiz is not any kind of clinical or therapeutic diagnosis tool. Just an insight tool.

Expanding on this core difficulty in listening, here are six signs for sizing up the problem. Score each dimension from 0 to 10. Zero is not at all. Ten is all the time.

First assess yourself then someone who is difficult to deal with.

The goal is to view the patterns clearly to make changes for the better.

1. Unilateral listening.

What the person wants and what they have to say are all that matters when talking together with another. When making decisions about what is wanted, the others concerns, feelings..these are mere whispers, inconveniences and irrelevancies. So when issues are discussed only the speakers opinions are right. That of others is wrong or else of minimal importance. If the other expects to have input, they are undermining the speaker.

Disrupted listening often dismisses, negates, ignores, minimises, denigrates or otherwise renders irrelevant other people’s concerns and comments.

One sign of abusive non-listening is the tone of contempt instead of interest.

Another sign is a frequent responses that begin with "But....", which is a backspace-delete key that negates whatever came before, in this case, what someone else has said.

Yet another: because 'I'm right and you're wrong,' I tend to listen for what I don't like in what you say so that I can respond by telling you how what you have said is wrong.

Self: Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Other: Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2. It’s all about me.

The speaker know more, knows better, they think they are more interesting, When talking with others, it’s mostly about the speaker. In conversations, they take up most of the air time. Almost all of the casual chatter is about what they have done, what they are thinking about.

If the other begins to talk about themselves, the original speaker links back to something in life so that the focus of the discussion again turns back to them. Maybe that's why people say Such speakers suck up all the air in a room.

When they want something then the speakers need to have it. Never mind how others feel about it; "it’s all about me". Such people are big and important and others are merely also here, mostly to do things, like a third arm. "Enough about me lets talk about you, what do you think about me?"

Self: Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Other: Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. The rules don’t apply.

Such people can have affairs, cut into a line where others are waiting, cheat on taxes, and ignore rules that get in the way of my doing what they want. Rules are for other people to follow.

They suffer from what "Tall Man Syndrome". They experience themselves as above others, so the rules don't apply to them.

Self Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Other Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4. Your concerns are really criticisms and no thank you

If forced to listen and take your concerns seriously then they will get angry. Criticism hurts. They can criticise others, and often do, but if criticised then others are hurting my feelings so They will hurt you back. And if the other says you are at all unhappy, that's a way of indirectly criticising. Since "it's all about me" the others feelings must be about what the speaking has been doing.

There is paradoxically a manifestation of both an inflated idea of their own importance and quickness to feel deflated by negative feedback.

In addition, because they think everything is about them, they hear others’ attempts to talk about personal feelings as veiled criticisms of themselves.

The clinical term for taking others' concerns as personal criticism is personalising. E.g., If she says "I'm feeling lonely," they will hear the self-statement as an accusation, "You don't spend enough time with me."

Self Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Other Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

5. When things go wrong between us, it’s always your fault.

They can’t be expected to apologise or to admit blame. They are above others and above reproach. "You shouldn’t have… ." and "Don’t threaten me with expecting me to say how I’ve contributed to a problem or I’ll get mad at you."

Unwillingness to take responsibility for mistakes goes hand-in-hand with quickness to blame. This trait may come from confusing the part with the whole. "If I've done one thing that's not right, then I must be all bad." That's also all-or-nothing thinking.

Whatever the source of the sensitivity to criticism and difficulty admitting mistakes, the upshot is a tendency to blame others when anything has gone wrong. Blaming and fault-finding in others feel safer to narcissists than looking to discover, learn and grow from their own part in difficulties.

Whilst they are quick to blame, they may be slow to appreciate. Appreciation and gratitude require listening.

Self Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Other Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

6. If they are angry, then it's the others fault.

"You made me angry". "You didn’t listen to me". "You criticised me". "You’re trying to control me". "Your view is wrong". "you need to apologise, not me." Immediately following that is "I’m not responsible for my anger. If I’m angry it's because I'm frustrated by what you are doing. My anger is your fault. I'm only angry because you ... "

Some people show major charm and social agility. At the same time, these seemingly super-confident folks also can be quick to anger. When they do become inflamed, they then immediately blame their anger on others.

What will trigger anger?

Critical comments will do it, special, also can be remarkably thin-skinned. Any feedback that punctures their belief in total specialness can feel quite threatening. The immediate response will be to issue blame.

Telling anyone what to do, or sounding even somewhat like you are telling them what to do, also is likely to provoke irritation. Pretty much everyone prefers autonomy (unless the two people have an agreed-upon boss-worker or similar relationship). Abusers however tend to be hyper-sensitive about feeling controlled. Any request is a risk for sounding like a demand and therefore triggering irritation.

Asking someone who is abusive to do something your way rather than theirs is particularly likely to sound to them like you are telling them what to do. Their anger in response, of course, is your fault.

Self Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Other Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TOTAL SCORE: ___ (Self) ______ (Other)

The interpretations below are based on the authors (who is not V!) clinical hunches, not scientific testing. They're meant just to give you a general indication of what your quiz suggests.

Scores that total 5-10 probably indicate normal human fallibilities with room for improvement. No one is perfect. If you think you are perfect, and scored therefore below 5, you might check again. Be sure the self score does not indicate a narcissism of excessive belief that you are perfect, another potential sign of narcissism

Too much self interest in your habits would be indicated by a total score of 10 to 30. Pay attention and you may fairly easily be able to lower that score considerably.

A total score of 30 or higher spells significant habits that probably do not serve you well. Time to make some serious habit changes!

40 to 60 or higher would indicate to me severe problems. With this understanding of why your relationships become distressed, hopefully you will commit yourself to some serious personal growth.

Again, note that these score interpretations are based on hunches, not an experimentally validated scoring system. They are meant as a personal heads-up, not a clinical diagnosis.

Uncomfortable with your score if it's too high or low. The bottom line is that much of this is basically habit-pattern, and habits can be changed. Awareness of these tendencies is a strong first step that can empower you to notice and fix slippages.

Scoring another

If someone you interact with regularly shows these patterns, it's not up to you to change them. Better for you to focus on how you yourself can change the dance you do with that person.

For instance, you can choose that you will no longer let yourself be intimidated or controlled by fear of anger. Just gracefully leave the situation for a cool down period (“I need to get a drink of water.”), and then return for a calmer second-go at the conversation.

When you have something important to communicate with a high scorer what can help? Be sure to follow the rule of talking about yourself, not about the other person. See my post on 6 sentence starters for sensitive discussions for illustrations of how to follow this rule to more effectively be past the deafness wall.

Having trouble getting your views heard? You can choose to speak up a second or third time about your concerns to increase the odds that your concerns or viewpoint will eventually get heard.

You can ask, after sharing a concern, “So what made sense to you in what I said?”

You can digest aloud what makes sense in what your partner said, and then make a second attempt to say your viewpoint. Once your partner feels heard, the odds go up that he or she will mirror your good hearing habits.

And becoming a master at win-win problem-solving can put you in a leadership role for situations in which you need to make a decision together so that your eventual plan of action heeds both of your concerns. This earlier post on win-win decision-making may help so that your partner feels that s/he has gotten what s/he wants even though your concerns also have been responded to in your plan of action.

Almost everyone tends to behave less narcissistically when they are happy. Most of us tend to become increasingly narcissistic as anxieties prime the pump of anger.

Anger promotes the sense that “What I want is holy, and what you want is irrelevant.” That's why it's so vital that in important conversations you stay calm. Talking about sensitive issues in calm good-humoured ways without arguing (link is external)has the highest odds of leading to mutual understandings instead of the narcissism trap.

The bottom line? For a happier life and more gratifying relationships, (link is external) especially if your scores indicated some narcissistic tendencies, tame these trends with better skills. Narcissism is not like height or eye colour. It's a behaviour problem. Upgrading your listening and shared-decision-making skills can make a huge difference!


I have been looking for some more more structured way of identifying the level of essential interactions and there isn't much out there. This test doesn't identify the type of abuse or interaction, it attempts to describe the volume. Having identified type then the test can be an easy way of finding the volume of it irrespective of type. This is from an article by Dr Hellier on Psych central. It has been edited by V but derives from that one source. Dr Hellier is a clinical research psychologist as far as I am aware and not a consultant. In other words in no competition to the counsellors here, she deals with psychiatric disorders particular psychopathy not marital problems.

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse: triangulation - 08/05/15 04:29 PM
Victim or Target?

I was lied to and I made decisions that put me in harms way. I was subject to a bait and switch and given promises by a loved one who was well aware that he had no intention of ever delivering on those promises nor being capable of delivering them. I was targeted not victimised. What is the difference between a victim or poor me and a target?

1. Targets feel flat and affect is bewildered

A Victim isn’t emotionally vibrant and attached to the events which they are sharing that were abusive. They appear as if they’ve just gotten back from a calming vacation. Very smooth. Cool. Detached.

Whereas a Target will appear locked in, bewildered, lost and troubled. They’ll cry, appear jumpy, nervous and afraid. They’ll space out then come back to the conversation with shocking emotion. They have an urgency with their speech and inflection and it will be full with emotions that are all over the place. There are instances of targets who are completely detached and disengaged; hopelessly depressed with a flat affect from the abuse. There will still be evidence of being lost in that “spaced out” appearance not like the cold, cool demeanour of a liar. They may have PTSD.

Targets experience the grieving process. Shock. Denial. Anger. moving all the way through acceptance. Whereas a Victim will appear to get over the emotions of the experience rather quickly. They don’t appear to dwell, (ruminate / obsess) over the “abusive” experiences.

2. Behaviour and actions differ in a poor me victim

Though the words they’re using say, “I’m afraid. Stalker. Scared for my life.” Their behaviour says something else. They’ve studied the target long enough and know the dark deeds they’ve committed to be able to twist history to use a convincing choice of dialogue, placing themselves in the position of the “Poor me.” They’re able to take conversations you’ve had previously and articulately add / detract from them just enough to appear as if you were behaving as a crazy person.

A Perfect example: Cutting and pasting parts of an email conversation (when you forward conversations, you can change the language) and present edited versions as “Evidence”. That’s not really “evidence” of course, it’s called falsifying evidence and can believe they’re above the law and backed by flying monkeys.

A target will be unsure: Foggy. Forgetful. Inarticulate. Shows confusion. Their words and thoughts are muddled. Chaotic. Disjointed. You can even see them stop and question the absurdity and validity of their story. Having diaries, recording will bring this to focus but even so reality is questioned.

It may appear that targets are trying to think of an answer, but we’re realizing based on the “surreal” details and the fact that the person were telling has changed their demeanor (eye rolls, doubtful looks) to them our story sounds artificial or we’re being accused of being “hysterical”, we feel defeated – we want to defend our honesty. Suddenly our credibility waivers – even though we’re the ones telling the honest to God’s truth; it’s very isolating.

Where does a loving person go with this kind of conversation? Most targets question themselves. We became accustomed to explaining the inexplicable by assuming responsibility. We try harder. We try to understand and change.

3. The next R of a "poor me" follows the same pattern

Victims don’t change a damn thing about their behaviour. They don’t seek help. They don’t look over their shoulders. (Unless they’re paranoid about karma catching up with them) They don’t have trouble sleeping at night or difficulty breathing at times. They aren’t afraid of you in the ways they’ve claimed to be afraid. They aren’t as afraid of you as you are of them. They don’t hang out in support groups. They don’t share their stories with other survivors. They don’t endure the traumatic symptoms of PTSD.

Targets can’t survive by any other way than with support. Seeking validation, seeking therapy, Higher power, or other review of our inner state. We’re shocked, scared and hurt, we feel broken by the abuse. We reach out, give back and share our stories with others. We try to warn the next target. We have the ability and show true empathy for other targets because we know what the abuse from a narcissist feels like. We feel others confusion. We don’t take the experience lightly, nor the feelings of those who’ve suffered this lightly.

Targets become very involved in our own therapy. We are motivated by hurt, anger, fear and determination to never be made a victim again, and thus pour ourselves into learning about our own behaviour, vulnerabilities and areas in need of improvement. A victim believes everyone else needs to change. This is like OJ saying he’s going to devote the rest of his life to finding the “Real killers” of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. He spent his time searching golf courses.

Targets are at home tending to their self-care and reading every tidbit of information regarding recovery they can get their hands on. Victims are out meeting new dating partners, out selling themselves on websites for dating, flirting, laughing and gayly enjoying a life not fettered by consequences. They post pictures of where they’re located or broadcast to social media that they’re at such and such location.

Targets don't announce our change in that way as there is the true danger of someone who uses that information to track us down. We show fear and make changes to our previous lifestyles, one that’s more self orientated and we are possible hyper vigilant.

4 Targets question themselves

Targets are full of self-doubt. If a person was very self-assured, they would instantly recognise abuse and walk away. They’d be confident that they could handle the situation and feel very comfortable labelling their former partner as “abusive”. They start to grow boundaries and question their own actions.

Targets are slow to use the word abuse – we’re not even looking outside ourselves for answers. We’re busy looking within; carrying tons of borrowed shame and guilt. We don’t throw the term around because of the far-reaching consequences and implications of the words, “Abused” and “Targets”.

5. There is denial by targets and they may return

Several posters here struggle with recognising abuse.
Self questioning by the target
1. Was it me?

2. Everything that went wrong seemed to be my fault. I apologised and chased over and over.

3. The abuser was a fabulous wonderful person, I was told so many times. I caused his issues

4. It wasn't about what I did but about who I was.

5. I made excuses for my other to myself, others and him.

This post is from several internet sources

Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse: Narcissism disorders - 08/05/15 05:06 PM
Narcissism and Abuse including disordered behaviour

It is estimated that around 1% of population suffers from Narcassistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which is disordered behaviour. Many more have sub clinical narcissism (estimated at 10% but I am uncertain) Many people who have NPD do not seek treatment and therefore are never diagnosed. Studies show that men are more likely to be narcissistic. Roughly 75% of the individuals diagnosed with NPD are men. Although almost everyone has some self-centred or narcissistic traits, most people do not meet the criteria for having a personality disorder. There is, however, a growing portion of the population that is displaying a greater number of toxic, narcissistic traits, which are having an adverse effect on their lives and the lives of people close to them, even if they do not meet the clinical diagnosis of NPD. Forming attachments to individuals who exhibit these negative traits often causes similar distress as a diagnosable narcissistic relationship with a disordered individual.

A new study from Ohio State University has found that one simple question can identify narcissists as accurately as the 40-item test that has been widely used to diagnose NPD. The question is simple, rating yourself on a scale of 1-7: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist. (Note: The word ‘narcissist’ means egotistical, self-focused and vain.)” The questions are available or various versions by googling. Vs score was originally 6 and is now 10. So it can be lowered and raised by awareness and behaviour. However, while this study suggests that many narcissists will freely admit to their narcissistic tendencies, it is important to note that most narcissists resist the diagnosis of NPD. Narcissists, generally, do not like to be told that they are narcissists and disordered. In fact, they often have a strong negative and volatile reaction.

Below are some common traits that a narcissistic relationship partner is likely to have: (Note the degree to which these traits manifest themselves will vary largely depending on the individual.)
-Sense of entitlement or superiority
-Lack of empathy
-Manipulative or controlling behaviour
-Strong need for admiration
-Focus on getting one’s own needs met, often ignoring the needs of others
-Higher levels of aggression
-Difficulty taking feedback about their behaviour

How do people become narcissistic? Is it a symptom of something else?

Narcissistic people often have narcissistic parents, who offered them a build up but no real substance. Their parents wanted them to be great, so they could be the parent of a great person, the best artist, smartest student, etc. Often narcissistic people were also neglected, as their parents were so focused on themselves that they could not attune to their child or meet their child’s emotional needs. The child was only useful to these parents when they were serving a purpose for them. Often, the parents of a person with NPD alternated between emotional hunger toward the child and disinterest.

Narcissists have inflated self-esteem (both self-soothing and self-aggrandising “voices”) a component of what my father, Dr. Robert Firestone, refers to as the “anti-self.” They are very fragile, because the flip side of their self-aggrandised feeling is very low self-esteem, the other component of the anti-self (made up of extremely self-hating and self-demeaning “critical inner voices”). So, for these people, even slight criticism can be a narcissistic injury, leading to an angry outburst and desperate attempts to regain their fragile, inflated self-esteem. Often, a condescending remark will help them to reestablish their superior image. Condescending is a common dynamic in narcissistic relationships. This behaviour can be traced back to the need desperate need narcissists feel to be above others.
Grandiose Narcissism and Vulnerable Narcissism- two categories of narcissism

Grandiose narcissists display high levels of grandiosity, aggression and dominance. They tend to be more confident and less sensitive. They are often elitists and have no problem telling everyone how great they are. Usually grandiose narcissists were treated as if they were superior in their early childhood and they move through life expecting this type of treatment to continue. In relationships, grandiose narcissists are more likely to openly engage in infidelity or leave their partners abruptly if they feel that they are not getting the special treatment that they think they are entitled to.

Vulnerable narcissists on the other hand, are much more emotionally sensitive. They have what Dr. Campbell describes as a “fragile grandiosity,” in which their narcissism serves as a façade protecting deeper feelings of inadequacy and incompetence. Vulnerable narcissists swing back and forth between feeling superior and inferior. They often feel victimised or anxious when they are not treated as if they are special. This type of narcissism usually develops in early childhood as a coping mechanism to deal with abuse or neglect. In relationships, vulnerable narcissists often worry about how their partners perceive them. They can be very possessive, jealous and paranoid about their partners having flirtations or affairs.

How does having a narcissistic partner negatively impact a relationship?

This section is not discussing Narcissism disorder.

Narcissistic relationships tend to be very challenging. Narcissistic partners usually have difficulty really loving someone else, because they don’t truly love themselves. They are so focused on themselves that they cannot really “see” their partner as a separate person. They tend to only see the partner in terms of how they fill their needs (or fail to fill their needs). Their mates and children are only valued in terms of their ability to meet these needs. Narcissistic partners often lack the ability to have empathy with their partners’ feelings. This lack of empathy leads to a lot of hard feelings.

Yet many people are drawn to narcissistic relationships. Narcissistic partners can be very captivating, especially at the beginning. They tend to have a “big” personality. They are the life of the party. They can make you feel that you too must be great for them to choose you. However, in time, they can be too controlling in relationships. They may feel jealous or easily hurt. When narcissistic injuries occur, they often lash out and can be cutting. Their reactions are dramatic and attention-seeking. According to narcissistic personality expert, Dr. W. Keith Campbell, “The effects of narcissism are most substantial in relation to interpersonal functioning. In general, trait narcissism is associated with behaving in such a way that one is perceived as more likeable in initial encounters with strangers— but this likability diminishes with time and increased exposure to the narcissistic individual.” This is why many people, who have been in a long-term narcissistic relationships, describe a very passionate and exciting honeymoon period in the beginning and then a sharp decline as the likability decreases and the self-centred behaviours increase. Narcissists are prone to falling madly in love with someone instantly and are very quick to commit. However, this initial love and commitment is not easily sustained.

When you are in a narcissistic relationship, you may feel very lonely. You might feel like you are just an accessory and your needs and wants are unimportant. Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves.

What are some things a person can do to deal with a narcissistic partner?

If you find yourself in a narcissistic relationship, you can first recognise what you have chosen and reflect on the unconscious motives that might have led you to choose such a partner. Did you have a self-centred parent? Are you more comfortable with your partner being in control, so you can then take be more passive? Do you get a sense of worth from being attached to someone who is in the spotlight? Does the negative image of yourself they foster with their criticisms and superior attitudes resonate with your own critical thoughts about yourself? Many people who fall in love with narcissists have issues around co-dependency. They will put up with a certain amount of abuse because they don’t feel confident enough in themselves to set boundaries or be on their own.

Understanding your role in the narcissistic relationship is important.

You can then start to challenge yourself to change your half of the dynamic. This will, in turn, challenge your partner to change their style of relating. You can recognise the fragility of your partner’s self-esteem and have compassion for the fact that his or her inflated sense of self, superiority and grandiosity is a cover up for the flip side of self-hate and feelings of inadequacy. You can also develop your own self-confidence and self-worth by learning to practice self-compassion. In all encounters, act equal, and treat your partner as an equal.

How can people face and overcome their own narcissism?

A narcissist can challenge and overcome their narcissism by recognising and separating from both the self-soothing, self-aggrandising and self-attacking attitudes of their critical inner voice. The attitudes they internalised very early on in their lives. They need to recognise and challenge these attitudes toward themselves and toward others. One method for doing this is through Voice Therapy.

Narcissists further need to differentiate from negative traits of their parents or early caretakers that they are still acting out in their current lives. These traits might include superior attitudes or condescending behaviours. They also need to give up the adaptations they made to the ways their own parents neglected them or were emotionally hungry toward them. These adaptations may have once been their survival mechanisms, but they now manage to push others away and sabotage personal lives and goals. Narcissists also need to break patterns of being self-centred or withholding. They must fight the tendency to always compare themselves to others and the need to be the “best” or “perfect” all the time.

Another way to cure narcissism is to foster self-compassion rather than self-esteem. Psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff has done extensive research on self-esteem versus self-compassion. The difference between self-esteem and self-compassion is that self-esteem centres on evaluating yourself in relation to others and an emphasises a need to be special. While self-compassion focuses on “treating oneself with kindness, recognising one’s shared humanity, and being mindful when considering negative aspects of oneself.” Dr. Neff’s studies have found that self-esteem leads to higher levels of narcissism, but self-compassion does not.

Self-compassion actually combats narcissism because it includes the idea of a shared humanity with all other human beings, which leads to more compassion for others. Self-compassion also fosters real self-awareness, a trait many narcissists lack, as it promotes that we be mindful of our faults, which is the first step to changing negative traits in yourself.

For there to be any hope of recovering a good relationship from a narcissistic relationship, the narcissist must overcome their self-centred and negative traits. They need to challenge their self-feeding habits and pseudo-independent stance. They need to focus on developing their capacity for empathy and respect of others. Lastly, they need to develop transcendent goals, to care about and invest in others’ well-being. Being generous and giving to others are examples of behaviours that would be corrective, building real self-compassion and practicing focusing outside of oneself.
Abusers with Narcism, abusers with anti-social personality disorder (sociopath/psychopath) and abusers

First of all, do realise that not all abusers are the same. Those with Antisocial Personality Disorder would once have been called a sociopaths or psychopaths. Some of the diagnostic criteria may have changed since those times, but for the most part, the behaviours of this group of people have remained quite consistent. Someone can have traits of more than one personality disorder such persons used to be referred to as borderline being both NPD and APSD. Schizoid personalities tend not to form Rs as they suffer from Paranoa, introversion and OCD and tend to be reclusive and loners.

It might help to distinguish the two personality disorders by thinking about abnormal behaviour as occurring along a continuum. Thus, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder might exhibit some of the same types of behaviours as someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, they won’t be as extreme. Thus, both types are into power and control. They also will use abuse to gain one or both of these. However, the narcissist who’s successful in business or profession is not inclined to resort to violence in the way that those with Antisocial Personality Disorder is. Those with NPD have a higher level of impulse control, and will use more subtle tactic playing top dog, while making others serve as subjects. But then, those suffering from pathological levels of narcissism see themselves as far superior anyway—and as entitled human beings.

Those with Antisocial Personality Disorder use violence when angry or thwarted. Thus, inclined not just to beat up partners and children, but will get into fights or engage in physical violence with most anyone—because there is poor impulse control and the fight response seems to be easily triggered. Thus, those with Antisocial Personality Disorder may beat up a policeman even though they know the consequences—and don't want to suffer them, either; they are out-of-control believing that the ends always justify the means.

Neither an NPD nor those one with Antisocial Personality Disorder really are capable of showing empathy for others. It is easy for them to use the tactics they do, to get whatever it is they want, exactly because they don’t identify with others’ feelings—that the means they are using to reach their desired might be very painful and hurtful to others—if not deadly. However, depending on the degree of pathological narcissism they might be able to realise, at least to some degree, how their behaviour has impacted others. They may also may try and make behavioural changes because they want to maintain his family, for example. Nonetheless, while their partner may want to believe this suddenly cooperative response is about love, in reality, love might have nothing to do with it. The narcissist might be more concerned with preserving an image or continuing to gain some benefit perceived as important—that essentially demands having a seemingly happy family. They might actually consider the wife and the family a necessity, on the one hand, while actually perceiving them as a nuisance.

Those with either of these two personality disorders will tend to treat others as objects, there for his personal benefit and use. However, again, the individual with Antisocial Personality Disorder is most inclined to resort to the most extreme measures to accomplish this. Still, there are cold-hearted narcissists who can engage in despicable behaviour. And, as they seek to maintain control and be in charge, or as they strive to be better than their partner and seek to prove this, such narcissists can make the lives of the women in their lives quite miserable--but without yielding to physical violence as those with Antisocial Personality Disorder will do.

These narcissists are cool and calculating. They operate in a world constructed of fear versus one of love. They seek to achieve desired results by making others feel compelled to go along with them—because these others don’t want to suffer the anticipated painful consequences of doing otherwise. The thing is, the partner might well have conceded to the narcissist’s wishes anyway—without having to endure the abusive behaviours. But how could a narcissist appreciate that someone might be motivated purely from love when indeed, they don’t know what love is? They don’t feel it—they only know how to act it out, in order to seduce and get their way.


[Don’t expect the Partner with either Narcissistic or Antisocial Personality Disorder to Change

Usually those with high levels of Narcissistic or Antisocial Personality Disorder is apt to change. Unlike the neurotic, they do not really suffer emotional pain because of who they are. Thus, they are not motivated to change. Rather, they are often quite proud of the pain they cause. They wear this as if it was a worthy accomplishment—a badge of courage. Narcissists or Antisocial Personality Disorder partners can be charming. However, the narcissist can often offer more than that; they can often provide the good life because of his aggressiveness and willingness to win at all costs. Those with Antisocial Personality Disorder, on the other hand, is apt to be bad news in every respect. Their impulsivity is apt to result in problems with relationships. In turn, this affects their ability to hold a job. They is also more apt to become engaged in crime and to get into trouble with the law. Major substance abuse issues are often a problem as well.


We can see that those with Narcism are not always abusers and those with antisocial personality disorder are always abusers.

Not all narcissists have a disorder, they may have mild version of the personality traits to a certain extent the scale 0-40:

0-5 low self esteem doormat (needs help)
6-12 low normal (codependent)
12-16 normal
16-24 high function narc (score can be lowered with treatment)
24-30 low function (withdraw)
30+ disordered (get out)

There are abusers (reactive and situational) who do not have personality issues and there are those who abuse systematically who may have serious personality disorders. There are those who are so cold they abuse in a controlled way.

Abuse is about power and control in the relationship and follows a seductive sweet cycle. Narcissists eecially those with a disorder may not resort to behaviours that those with Antisocial Personality Disorder regularly do, the narcissist would probably use more tactics but they are afraid of being caught. Remember, though, the narcissist is more concerned about consequences. Those with Antisocial Personality Disorder are inclined to just go ahead and act.

The thing that you must remember is that neither is inclined to act in a way that is in the targets best interest. It is all about them—and it will continue to be that way. Furthermore, no matter how perfect and accommodating a partner you are, you will undoubtedly continue to suffer emotional abuse and verbal abuse—if not worse.

Tell me, is this how you really want to live your life? Do you want to be with someone who is so disordered and wants to control you?

This is the question you need to be asking yourself. After all, those who have either Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder are apt to always remain the same—with this mental disorder that feeds verbal abuse and emotional abuse that destroy you a little more each day. And so frankly, if you want the insanity to stop, you must make that move. Furthermore, the sooner you do it, the better.

This is extracted from Dr England's book on personality disorders and is also on her website. V did not write this.

Posted By: cat04 Re: Abuse: Narcissism disorders - 08/05/15 05:29 PM

I had really hoped this thread would die a natural death, however you keep ressurrecting it.

I agree very whole heartedly with Hope and I am afraid that this thread will make more people think they are in abusive situations than really are.

Being here is confusing enough without throwing this into the mix. Those that truly are in abusive situations will figure it out when they are ready to face it.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. That doesnt make my X a bad person, nor myself. It made us damaged. And it was up to each of us to recognize and stop the behavior. I will share though that a trained professional recognized it and suggested it to me about 15 years before I was ready to see it. Instaed of helping, I decided she was nuts and i never went back to her. A shame because things could have been very different.

I hope all of this stuff has helped you process your situation and your role in it, but I hope the time is near that you are ready to put this aside and begin to focus on your future instead of your past.

Good luck.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse: Narcissism disorders - 08/05/15 06:25 PM

I don't agree, information is valuable. I make no judgement as to the use others make of it. That is their choice nor do I mind read. For my part I intend to keep the thread.

I do understand your concerns and to a certain extent they are valid.

There is nothing I hope in these posts I trust that labels others a 'bad person'. And those who are both abused and abusive then it is important to know and recognise.

Personally I feel it is important to object to amateur diagnosis but abuse is not necessarily a pathology but a behaviour which can be assisted. I am sad it took you 15 years to understand the dynamic of your R.

Of course your view is welcome contrary views always are, they challenge us. Hence the post on victims vs targets above which has taken me almost a month to put together after Cadet made his last challenge.

I think posters here are smart enough to settle to understand and work their way through any confusion. Abuse is less confusing than most dynamics. Much more straightforward and if it raises a question to me that's good.

I have a different view so we will have to agree to disagree.

Posted By: cat04 Re: Abuse: Narcissism disorders - 08/05/15 06:48 PM
Yes, we always seem to have to agree to disagree.

In my own research of abuse, some of which you have regurgitated here, I have found that at one time or another, based on the red flags of abuse, we have all either been abused, abuser, or both.

Personally, I believe that, with the exception of physical abuse, abuse is a very subjective thing and what one person may view as abusive, another may view as normal.

Please dont ever feel sorry for anything I may have experienced in my life, and believe me when I say there is much more than you can imagine. Everything I have experienced has become a tool to make me stronger and into the person I am today. Which is only a good thing.
Posted By: Pyrite Re: Abuse - 08/07/15 07:33 AM

this will take me a year digest. I certainly can't claim to have been abused at the same magnitude that you have experienced, however I recognise so many of those abusive behaviours from your lists. Maybe they were not fully abusive, merely signs of an unhealthy R.

W's biggest control over me was definitely "grooming". Gradually over the last 3 years I became unresponsive to that tactic. And I am starting to believe she has moved onto a R where she can exert that control anew. At BD I didn't see it this way. I thought the periods of "grooming" was the healthy R, in-between was the problem and these groomings just became less frequent, and then finally stopped.

In hindsight the suggested pattern of "abuse" is obvious to me everywhere in our 12 years together, and it was to my family as well - but I never "listened" to them.
Posted By: Vanilla Re: Abuse - 10/09/15 06:48 AM
new thread

To discuss the effects of childhood abuse and fins

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