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Curing narcissism
December 25, 2005
11:06 am
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bigzig
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Young & Restless:

The information is for me. I've been resarching NPD and was getting very frustrated that I could find no guidelines or suggestions for a cure.
Thank you. It seems that the way to overcome this affliction is to slow down and enjoy what is around you rather than racing through life. I am wondering, is it possible to have degrees of NPD or is it all or nothing. Sort of like you can't be half pregnant. I honestly feel as though I'm not that far around the bend. The sad/frustrating part of this is that my wife is taking the approach of not engaging the narcisist as to not further feed the person. Unfortunately, I believe the isolation as a child is what helped establish the NPD. Any attempt at communication is viewed as a narcisisstic "trick" to get attention. Its not very comfortable between a rock and a hard place.
bigzip

December 25, 2005
11:57 am
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garfield9547
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Bigzig

I am sorry if I got carried away. This was your thread and it was on curing Narcissim. I believe we all have N traits and as we go on in life and see what is right and what is wrong we have a choice to change.
Me and my husband have been in therapy for almost 2 years now. He has traits and so do I.

We have managed to change ourselves allot. We are not hte same persons anymore.

A fullblown N would never seek help or admit that he or she has a problem.

Then you get the children of the N's like me and my husband.

Surely we have traits, but we are not N's

There is a very good article that I will paste for you from http://www.operationdoubles.com

Regards
Garfield

December 25, 2005
11:59 am
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garfield9547
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The Children of Narcissists
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Many say that narcissists' children are likely to marry narcissists. While I see where this idea comes from and have seen it happen myself, I have not observed any "co-dependence." That's a fancy word for being a glutton for punishment.

The truth is more complicated than that. Also, let us not forget that we are talking about normal people. Yes, they typically are meek, too patient, and have low self-esteem. But that does not make them sick in the head. They are also typically strong. Unlike the personality-disordered, they are not machines. They each respond to the influence of parental narcissism in his or her own way.

In fact, I bet research would find that the normal children of narcissists are more likely to never marry. This might depend on whether the narcissistic parent was father, mother, or both and on whether the child is a man or a woman.

I can hear those gears in your head grinding. Does this mean that they are likely to be homosexual? Considering all the Freudian permutations that could be at work, that doesn't seem far out to me. But I don't know of any homosexual children of narcissists. I know of one frigid narcissistic daughter of a narcissist, and I will bet the farm on another. But, I have seen nothing in the normal children of narcissists that hinted at anything but typical heterosexuality. Unless you subscribe to the bigoted myths that all married people are heterosexual, that all single people are frigid or homosexual, and that homosexuality is some mental disease.

There are, however, some other things it is pretty safe to say about the normal children of narcissists.

One is that they are likely to tolerate narcissists. When you grow up with things, you have no way of knowing that they are abnormal. You think that some people "are just like that." You're trained to tolerate it, because to do anything but is a sin. You're even brainwashed into thinking it's your fault. You have no way of knowing that everybody's home is not like yours, that you are growing up in a home headed by somebody who belongs in psyche ward.

If you are a Baby-Boomer, you didn't even get a clue from TV. You grew up watching Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. Father's role reinforced your narcissistic father's superiority and infallibility by virtue of his age, size, and sex. But since TV fathers came from a different planet than yours, the threshold for suspension of your disbelief was much higher than for other people. Too high. So these shows, which challenged everybody's ability to suspend disbelief, weren't even remotely realistic to you. Never once did they make you wonder why, unlike the TV father, your father took no interest in you, never put his arm around you, never played with you, never had anything to do with you at all. That's because you never viewed TV as a portrayal of real family life. Therefore, even TV gave you no clue that other families were different, that your daddy sucked and that you had every right to what you craved. TV today is a little better at portraying normal family life, but not much.

Yet tolerance of narcissists is not knuckling under to them. Let's clear up the sloppy thinking that equates the two.

Nobody knows better than the normal children of narcissists that, to survive as a person, you must never let anyone own you. They protect their right to private ownership of themselves, because they know the consequences of letting others make their personal and private choices for them. Such as what to think, how to feel, what to say. They know that letting anybody treat your head as his property, to furnish as he pleases, is moral prostitution that destroys your integrity. They also know that, like any partier who takes over somebody else's house, he is probably going to trash it.

And so, though narcissists ballistically violate every right to privacy they see, thinking their own privacy extends to the outer limits of deep space, the normal children of narcissists are keenly aware of the borders of personal privacy and have fortified them. For example, one narcissist I know of ordered an employee to take the rest of the day off. This was a dirty trick that had successfully gotten other employees to falsely incriminate themselves by obeying the order. But when he tried to thus make up the mind of a narcissist's daughter, he hit a brick wall. She replied, "You can send me home if you want, and if you do I'll go. But you can't order me to take the day off. And I choose not to take the rest of the day off."

Note the willing obedience up to a sharply drawn line she would not let him cross. How do the children of narcissists get so clear about their boundaries and so solid in defense of them?

By surviving a childhood like the story of The Three Little Piggies and the Big Bad Wolf. Each little piggy's house is his person, the private property of his body and mind. Our deepest instincts compel us to not let the Big Bad Wolf just barge in as if he owns the place. Why? Because doing that to another's body is sexual rape, and doing that to another's mind is moral rape, and even little children feel violated by either act. But, unlike the other little piggies, the narcissist's child has learned that when you say no, the Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs and tries to blow your little house down. So, this little piggy built his of brick.

Note that this is true strength, backbone, integrity, moral purity. It is not the phony strength people of swollen self-esteem think they have. To the contrary, you find it in the modest. Note also that this is responsibility for oneself claimed, not avoided. In other words, the normal children of narcissists are often more grown up than many other people are.

Another thing it is safe to say about the children of narcissists is that, from birth, they have had their self-esteem relentlessly assailed. Abused feelings are tender, sensitive feelings. As easily injured as burned skin. That is just a fact of life, not a moral fault.

So, the children of narcissists are quite sensitive to criticism. It causes them real pain, because it inflames old wounds. To avoid this pain, they are conscientious and try hard to be liked. Since they aim to please, so long as you respect their boundaries, you can easily get them to do anything they do not think is wrong or foolish. Yet they have been trained to feel that something's wrong with them if some intolerant person just can't stand them being the way they are, looking the way they look, feeling the way they feel, or thinking what they think. All this manifests itself as low self-esteem and marks them as sensitive.

Vicious attacks on sensitive feelings and low self-esteem draw far more blood than they would otherwise. So, the normal children of narcissists might as well go around wearing a target with the word VULNERABLE emblazoned on it. On seeing it, every bully in town thinks, "There is somebody I can really hurt" = "somebody I can be really powerful on."

Thus, narcissistic abuse in the home dooms them to life as a target for every bully they encounter. This is one reason why the children of narcissists do marry narcissists — not because they seek narcissistic mates, but because narcissists spot and target them as vulnerable prey. The wolf puts on sheep's clothing and sweeps her off her feet, idealizing her and showering her with affection. Till the honeymoon is over. Then Dr. Jekyll's mask comes off. She was no more likely to fall for this con artist than anybody else. Probably less likely, in fact. But narcissists target the kind of people the normal children of narcissists are.

Often a narcissistic parent targets one child, the most sensitive/vulnerable, to take the brunt of his vaunting abuse. Watching this puts the others through worse hell than his abuse of themselves does. It makes them hate bullying with such passion that they become protective. Hence, they often become altruists. They are unlikely to join everybody else in kissing up to a bully by sicking on whomever he is terrorizing them by making an example of. If the targeted child in their home takes it out on the rest of the world by becoming a narcissist himself, his brothers and sisters feel so sorry for him that they make excuses for him and take his abuse far too long.

Another thing it is safe to say about the children of narcissists is that they have a different view of marriage than other people. For example, the narcissistic son of a narcissistic mother may show no interest in marriage till she is about to die. Then he seeks a replacement for her. The narcissistic daughter of a narcissist may choose to remain single because she "wants no one to own her."

Of course, other factors that vary over time influence marital choices. For instance, half a century ago, being an "old maid" was almost unbearably shameful and made one a social outcast, excluded from social events and the community of friendships that married couples can take part in. It also meant that one would never make a decent living, achieve social stature, or own a home. Though equal rights and the high divorce rate has made society less hostile to the unmarried over time, to this day many employers don't want bachelors.

The normal children of narcissists are nonetheless more careful about marrying than other people are. They have seen nothing in marriage that anyone would want. They dream about "true love," and like most of us, find nothing that fits its description in the movies. They do very much want to avoid the suspicious and critical view society takes of the unmarried, and they want very much to fit in. They also want children. But, the daughters of a narcissistic father, for example, have seen nothing mirrored in their father's eyes for a man to love. So, they doubt professions of love and fear that a lover just wants a wife. They live in fear of a life like their mother's. This ambivalence and caution, through sheer lack of luck, sometimes lead to never finding somebody they trust enough to marry.

Sad? Yes, but not nearly as sad as women who need a man, who view themselves as worth only what they are worth to some man, and who surrender their self-respect to get one. The absence of cupidity is not a vice.

Yet another thing it is safe to say about the normal children of narcissists is that they have probably picked up bad habits in interacting with others. Outwardly, some of these bad habits appear narcissistic. Yet it is easy to tell the difference between a narcissist and a normal person. How? By simply asking him to stop it. The normal child of a narcissist will stop it. (A normal person who is not the child of a narcissist may not be so good about stopping it.) But a narcissist will do it all the more.

This section shows why you should not jump to conclusions about people. There are many more normal children of narcissists than narcissists. So, run that little test of asking him to stop it before you make any judgments.

These behaviors persist through young adulthood. They gradually disappear after the child leaves home, as he gets used to normal people and how things work in the real world.

For example, the child of a narcissist may impolitely enter a room talking to interrupt the extant conversation. He hasn't been taught that this is bad manners. To the contrary, his (dominant) narcissistic parent did that twenty times a day. Also, he has found it so hard to get attention that he feels he must hijack it.

The difference between him and a narcissist, however, is easily demonstrated. If you ask him to stop it, he takes the message deeply to heart. In fact, you will find yourself trying to make him feel less bad about it. His behavior will change. A narcissist's never does. To contrary, if you ask a narcissist to stop doing something, he does it all the more.

Again for example, the only humor he was exposed in his unhappy home was the unfunniness of sarcasm. Life with a narcissist left even his normal parent with nothing to laugh about, except — you guessed it — sarcasm. But again, if you ask him to stop it, he takes the message deeply to heart. Again you find yourself trying to make him feel less bad about it. Again his behavior changes. Whereas a narcissist's never does.

When the child of a narcissist leaves home, it takes a while for his own, natural sense of humor to germinate and grow in a new environment that is not hostile to it. The good news is that, by the time they reach their thirties, the normal children of narcissists often display a sense of humor more witty and charming than that of most other people. Perhaps because they themselves appreciate it so much.

Again for example, the child of a narcissist may not accept praise or compliments gracefully. He is unused to them! Like anything extraordinary in our world, this extraordinary event throws him off balance. He has never learned to simply say, "Thank you."

Like a narcissist, he may protest that he doesn't deserve it. But his reason for doing so is the opposite of a narcissist's. It's not because he feels it would humiliate him to say "Thank you." It's because this praise or compliment conflicts with a long history of judgments against him as being inadequate. He may suspect flattery. This goes with what I said above about the daughters of male narcissists doubting professions of love.

Here again, the difference between him and a narcissist is easily demonstrated. If the other party takes the bull by the horns in the direct approach and responds with, "Why don't you just say 'Thank you?'" or "I am not flattering you. I really mean it" the child of a narcissist ponders his behavior and changes it. A narcissist never does.

The normal parent can do much to ease her child's adaptation to the real world by watching for such behaviors and teaching him to cope with these situations in interactions with normal people. It is as easy as saying, "When somebody compliments you, just say 'Thank you.'"

Take from this article what is for you. It really helped me allot.

Garfield

December 25, 2005
11:07 pm
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Matteo
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Garfield,

I am sorry but this article really tickes me off. I responded to it once already and also in a different thread, which I will bump up for you.

Who the heck is talking about being "sick in the head" here? What sick in the head means anyway? A migrene??

Who has the right to talk about "normal" or what ? deviant? Who is the author, anyway??

December 26, 2005
1:17 am
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Matteo
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Garfield,

Otherwise the article is quite OK.

To respond to your question.

What is with this "marrying your mother" thing, by the way?
No I never married my mother, and I never said I did. I met a Narcissist and fell in love with him, not married him.

I met him at the point in my life when I knew very well what I want in a relationship and how a healthy relationship should look like. If I met him earlier, when I had my IN characteristics, I would not be able to do anything but complain about my fate, I would not be able, most probably, ever leave him, and I would become a "professional victim", just like your mother. That was a response to your "get over it and get out" tone of your message in my first thread.

My second thread talks about my mother and my beloved man, who are both Narcissists. Those are their characteristics which I observed in both of them. This is my answer to the question, or statement who/why/if people should be labeled Narcissist Those two people in my life are examples of Narcissists who are both fully functioning and, being who they are, having many similar characteristics.

Meeting my Narcissist didn’t help me heal, because it was done before, basically life did it for me. I didn’t call it healing, because I didn’t have any clue that I was supposed to heal. I just learnt my lessons and grew from them.

Although, he did something what I always longed for: he accepted me in one instant for who I was on emotional, intellectual and psychological level; he did something what my mother never did and something what I was always dreaming about(you can call it a dream about perfect love, shared by many N and IN alike). So in a way he healed the rest of what was there to heal in me. His standpoint absolutely convinced me that I should be proud and happy of who I am, that despite that old complex of not being accepted (by my mother) for who I am, I have full right to be here as much as everybody else does. And, despite that I had self-esteem in quite good shape at the time when we met, his attitude towards me meant tremendously great deal to me. He did chase last Demon away.

And then he disappeared. And appeared again. And is gone again. I couldn’t understand , knowing that he is not a good partner for me anymore, because he is hurting me and not fulfilling my needs, and knowing what do I want from a relationship, I couldn’t comprehend why I wasn't able to get him out of my system, and started searching for answers. First I read about charmers – abusers and Borderline – and I recognized him to some degree, then I read about Narcissists and recognized him and my mother, then I read about Inverted Narcissism and recognized myself from when I was a child and pre-teenager. From that I understood why he feels so special to me.

I know that if he was free, I would be with him. I would learn as much as possible about him, and I would stay with him, unless the pain would be too much for me to bear, which I don’t think it would happen at this point in our lives. He is brilliant, very sensitive, has a great sense of humour, and I feel closer to him then to anyone else in my entire life. We communicate beyond words. He is capricious, unpredictable, and has a cloud over his vision: he cannot see who he really is, and what he represents in regards with social class and status, economic position, looks, happiness – or lack of it, etc., etc. His protections are his lies to himself, about himself, his feelings, the world and people around in relation to him. He has beautiful dreams and no ability to make them come true. He is a control freak. He does as he pleases; he never apologizes, and seems to frequently have short term memory loss. He is terribly sensitive to any criticism in regards with him. Just a few characteristics.

He is to me like my all accepting and unconditionally loving, charming father; never satisfied, demanding and seductive mother; sweet but very obnoxious child; attentive friend and dreamy lover - all in one. There you go: I would have a whole family in one person! That’s hilarious. Why would I ask for more?

December 26, 2005
2:07 am
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Maatteo

Last night I did a bit of reading on the inverted N. I really understand much better now. I just could not wrap my mind aaround what you were trying to say.
Marrying your mother - by that I meen and believe that we marry somebody that is emotionally the same as our mothers.

I have seen this with me and lots of my family members. We all married or got involved with persons that resemblance my mother to some extend.

'get over it and get out' was just part of an article that I cut and paste. I think it was on woundology. Professional victim like my mother as you said.

Reading further I understand what you say about your n husband and that he excepts you in a way your mother never did. Strange you say this because my father is the N in our family and he was the one to encourage me and except me for who I am. If I have to choose I choose my N father without missing a beat, than my profesional victim mother.
I cannot get close emotionally to my father bc it hurts tooo much. I excuse allot about him bc I love him. But I would also never be able to be married to a person like him. I will crack up.
He has changed over the years from bad to good. He has grown and the opposite for my mother. From good to bad. I think there was nothing left of her emotionally.
She still had the choice to stay or leave.
I know what you meen by so many personalities in one person.

For years I hated my dad for everything he was not and could not see any good. My mother killed any good he did on a daily basis. He has allot of good in him.
His totally spaced out. His like a lost child in a 63 year old body. His jokes is stupid, but we laugh as to not hurt him.
When my husband met him years ago he said this.
I think mr Bean discovered your dad, copied him and became famous.
I am getting carried away.
It feels good getting al of this out
The love hate relationship....
Garfield

December 26, 2005
2:59 pm
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prettyinpink
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This thread is so helpful, so informative! Grateful to all of you and all you have shared so far.

I am just recently separated (7wks) from my NH, and there's been NC. A 12yr relationship/8yr marriage (only 3yrs living together)for some background. My NH's mother was a N (died a year ago), & my NH lived with her for 42 of his 45 years. My mother for sure has N traits, and I'm not sure about my father.

What I do know is that I was raised to always 'please' my father mainly, and it was my mother who taught all three daughters to do so. In pleasing our father, I'm sure there was reward in it for my mother. All three of us girls have been divorced once....and now, I am leaving 2 H's behind. I do believe that I married my 'mother'in many ways. I think when I met my NH, and loved his charming, seductive, witty 'public self', it was a 'comfortable, familiar place'.

At first he 'truly adhored me', until after we married. He knew he HAD me then, but then there was the 'responsibility aspect', and he doesn't like taking responsibility....I opposed him on something, and the 'adoration' disappeared.....the DEVALUATION began. From that day forward he saw me as 'the enemy', and kept trying to put me back where he had me for the years before we married. It was 'HIS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY'. People at work experience this with him as well, so it isn't only me. Unfortunately for me, though, I was his 'dumping ground', 'his doormat', his 'punching bag'(not literally). He became verbally, emotionally abusive from the moment I first opposed him...and believe me, it was small. It was his misinterpretation of something I said, he took it the wrong way, as I then began to see he did on so many occasions. Distored thinking, distorted perception. Scary, really! A pattern began.

I began to feel so confused, 'what did I do?' I would ask myself. 'How can I fix this', 'I must try harder, cause that's not what I meant', and proving to him that I'm not stupid as he says. When I look back, I realize how mean & cruel he was to me. The silent treatment, walking away from me when I needed to communicate with him, .... if he didn't like how I started my sentence, or what the topic was, off he went upstairs back to his office. I would have to hear him talking with others (work people) on the phone, laughing & joking away. It HURT, it really HURT. But if I went on the phone to talk with a gf, and he heard me laughing & sounding happy, he would later make fun of me, or he would come downstairs & LEAVE the house annoyed at me & not tell me where he was going or when he'd be back.

YET, if I tried to make plans with him, the answer was always, 'I don't know what's happening, we'll have to see'. BUT, he'd make a committment with his son to drived him places, eat out, or work people to go for breakfast, or lunch.....me, he left always 'hanging'. A CONTROL FREAK, yes....manipulative....yes. He lied to me, found things wrong to get angry with me about. Once my sons weren't around anymore, he had to find something else to pick on me about.

When I first started with the therapist I am with now, she said he was a BP, and he may be, but my feeling was, with all the reading I've done, that he is more of a N, than BP. He could be a combo. Anger is something he is comfortable with....feeling miserable too. Out in public, tho', he comes across as the nicest, calmest, most easy-going guy. He'll listen to someone and they will believe he's really interested in them and is so empathetic/compassionate. He told me once that he has a GIFT, that he can tell anyone anything and they will believe that 'he really believes what he's saying', that he can convince anyone that that is how he feels or sees things. I told him, it was a curse, cause once someone finds out that he's just making it up, they won't trust him anymore. He didn't like that! He is GOOD, very, very GOOD at what he does....a smooth operator.

I do understand why those of us who can't leave a N, don't. There is a certain element of excitement with them that is hard to resist. Heh, I have been there for 12 years. I'm sure him not calling me is his 'sadistic method of punishing me' for standing up to him and saying 'no more abuse'. I'm sure he's surprised that I haven't yet called, and is counting the days until I do. Keep counting, I'm determined to look after myself now, 'I'm nobody's doormat'.

Thanks for all this info on Narcissism, it's very helpful to hear all the opinions on this subject. I am hear to learn, and be supportive. Pink

December 26, 2005
3:07 pm
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Prettyinpink

Thanks for sharing your story.
You are on your way - You go girl..

Garfield

December 26, 2005
3:18 pm
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Pink....your post almost frightened me. I began to wonder if we are with the same man. EVERY detail you described is what i experience with my BF. Everyone else in the world was a higher priority than me. he would never commit to anything with me, and then would become soooo angry if I questioned that.

I never said anything right, never did anything right, made the wrong facial expressions, used the wrong tone of voice, and never appreciated anything he did for me. I was never satisfied, always wanting more and more and more. Of course I believed all of this, he was saying so, it MUST be true.

he adored me in the beginning. Told me i was the only woman he had ever loved. That our love was what you read about in books or saw in movies, but never thought you would find. The sex was incredible, something I had never expereinced before. He wanted to know every detail of every aspect of my life. In the beginning he told me all his secrets as well.

but then..something changed. Slowly I think. He didnt adore me so much anymore, didnt tell me things anymore. Intentionally kept secrets from me, and made sure I KNEW he had secrets. began cheating on me, then accused me of being crazy for thinking he would do that. His sexual demands became more "out there" and if I didnt comply, then I didnt trust him. He started ridiculing me, putting me down, offering no emotional support at all. if i questioned the change he said i was too needy. Everything was fine, just ask HIM.

Ive tried to pull away so many times, and he always sucks me back in. And I always apologize, because its always my fault. No matter what he did, I was convinced i caused it. If he even thought another man was interested in me he would go insane accusing me, grilling me on everything. but I was not allowed to ask ANYTHING about his life anymore.

As for the no calling you mentioned, and knowing hes "punishing" you. My God....Im right there. I know he thinks hes punishing me right now for having the nerve to drive by his house and see his ex wifes van there, which means she spent the night with him. He knows hes busted, but its still my fault in his mind, Im sure of it.

You should get to know garfield. She has some amazing information on narcsssists, and has been a saving grace for me the last week or so.

maybe you and i can be a source of strength for one another. We seem to be in the same boat right now searching for a lifeline.

Snow

December 26, 2005
8:45 pm
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prettyinpink
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Snow....this is amazing. I gather from what you said about driving by 'his house' that you aren't living together. Are you together now, or on the fringe? just wondering. He's still seeing his exW? Not nice.

I have been reading what 'garfield' is sharing about Narcissists, and it's very insightful. What I DO find frustrating is that there are few friends/relatives who truly understand N or personality disorders, and see this as simply an abusive relationship/marriage. But it's more than that, and I guess I can't expect those who have no understanding about PD to be able to comprehend what it is like for people like us.

I can relate to the 'secrecy' very much. My NH would sometimes open up and share things with me, but then just close up. He often shared with me things that upset me, like negative things about people at his work that I knew and was fond of. My NH has a double standard. What finally pushed me over the edge was that he wouldn't pay rent in the house we were in anymore (I paid the bills....said there were ghosts/vibes (mostly about my sons). Not nice! I think it was his own 'bad behavior' that he wanted to erase and couldn't. And, he wanted to move to a two bedroom apt., my NH, his son (18) and I. Well,that would leave no room for my two adult sons (21 & 23)when they came home (one travels & one is in university & comes home twice a week). My sons came to the point where they could not take my H's negativity, and seeing how he talked to me sometimes. Out of 12 years, we only lived together for 3 of them....he lived with his N mother the rest. Yup! My NH doesn't take 'responsibility', but then I think that is one quality of a N, or BP at least.

I do believe that I lived a 'fantasy' for years. I needed to believe, since I loved my NH that we were a 'couple', and sort of a 'family'....but we really weren't, cause we lived apart more than we lived together. I didn't want to see that he was mean/cruel to me more than he wasn't (after we married), that he didn't ACT like someone who loved and cared about me. He ACTED like someone who didn't care, and he often told me, 'I really don't care how you feel'....which often followed him saying that if I wasn't interested in what he had to say (even if it was criticism of me or my sons) then he obviously didn't care about HIM. So, I was supposed to listen to his criticisms, insults, putdowns....just sit there and take it, without a flinch. I couldn't of course most of the time, and WOULD interrupt him, and he hated that.

I don't know what is going to happen, but at the moment he's acting like I've dropped off the face of the earth....from one extreme to the other. He WANTED me to move with them, and even said he'd go to therapy IF I moved with him. I told him I was glad he would consider 'finally' going to therapy, but that I was going to find my own little place of peace, so I couldn't be battered & bruised on an everyday basis, ....then we could each go to therapy, and even couple counselling, and see where we go from there. But, to live together every day, NO. We did this the last two years, and that didn't work. So, I'm in my little one bedrm and he's moved to a place we found together with his son.

It's weird, cause since we married 8yrs ago, we didn't live together for five of them, but I guess this time it's MY idea, and he needs to be 'in control', so this doesn't fly with him. Well, I told my NH I wasn't ending things, and that if he decided to go to therapy, great! I would do the same (I AM in therapy). I still feel that I love him (sounds insane, cause I'm not sure WHO I love, the real H or a false H, or if I'm just emotionally attached, but I am not holding my breath for him to call me. It DOES for sure make me sad, tho', that he hasn't called.

I understand the 'being sucked back in', I really do. My NH was good at giving me 'crumbs' and it would make me so happy (a dinner out, a movie, a weekend away, or just a suggestion of a weekend away), but they were CRUMBS. In between he treated me like garbage.

Absolutely, Snow, it would be great if we could be a source of strength for each other. Great suggestion.

I am here for you!! Pink

December 26, 2005
10:53 pm
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Hi Big,

I'm so happy that you came back to talk with us. This thread has turned out to be a first class education on the subject NPD thanks to your initiave and courage.

The thanks belongs to you friend!

I completly understand what you mean here. For the most part, I alternate living in the past and the future. The ability to: Slow down, enjoy my surroundings, stop racing through life...Would you believe me if I told you that was on my Christmas list (I'm telling you, with all the honesty in my soul, I'm not making this up!)?

On the degrees of NPD, that sounds entirely reasonable to a novice like me. That synchs up with a question that I have for the room...

GUYS:
What would most clearly distinguish NPD from NPD tendencies; would it be the ability to empathize (or lack there of if one is truly NPD)? Seek? WD? Garfield? Guys?

I'm sorry to hear about the trouble at home. A rock and a hard place seems like a good analogy. Not engage the "N", not further feed the person? What? That's what you do to tapeworm, not a human being.

I know how hard it is to open up about something difficult, then have someone use it against you or question your most well-meaning intentions...I'm sorry. You have my thoughts and best wishes friend.

I know this is tough, but try to hold off on the N labels of yourself. Per my litterature true N is exceptionally rare and still very misunderstood. Is therapy an option for alone or together with your wife? If you are facing N Perhaps a professional could explain what you're dealing with to her in a way that encourages support instead of withholding. Perhaps you could also have her to read one of your books on the subject...it could really make a difference between her seeing her preconceptions about NPD vs the way things really are.

Keep posting friend.

You have my thoughts and best wishes.

December 27, 2005
9:22 am
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a question I am 'putting out there' for everyone.

I have good days and bad days...it has only been 7wks. There's been NC, except for a couple of emails back and forth about my NH receiving some of my mail & vice versa (he started the communication). We dropped the mail in each other's mailboxes, but never saw one another. Oh, and in HIS email, he never used my name or his, but I did. I'm not going to play those games.

My question is,I feel that I still love him, and do miss him. It HAS been 12 years of history. It's really hard to be dropped off the face of the earth, but a friend has told me that because he's a N, he can't miss me, cause he wasn't able to really love me....he knew all the words & how to ACT, very good at ACTING. I would be lying if I said I didn't wish he would call & say, 'ok, i'll go to therapy, i know i do have issues, & I don't want to lose you'. But then, clarify this if you can, I am really only 'narcissistic supply' to him, aren't I? And that's not what I want to be...I want a healthy give & take relationship...& my NH can't have an equal relationship, he's N. Ouch, this hurts! I having a weak moment. Pink

December 27, 2005
1:08 pm
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Snow and Pretty

Something for you - From Sam's site

Be Realistic
Their personality traits are so deeply ingrained the cycles of abuse, bad judgment and inability to cope in a close relationship will continue throughout their lives. We mourn the loss of memories of small laughs and shared experiences. Our slow-healing emotional scars cause us to doubt and question the truth of this ugly reality. We are merely disposable objects to them, and that is incomprehensible to us.

Ground Rules
The abuser will certainly react to our use of boundaries. Violence is possible. Setting ground rules as we transform from being their target to taking control of our lives is important. Being tactful, fair and unyielding in our decisions and expectations will go a long way to boosting our self esteem and ending the abuse. Refuse to be a victim.

Take the Pain
The process of 'leaving and grieving' is emotionally devastating and lengthy. Get therapy to help. Join a support group to reinforce the fact that you are not alone in this. You are not a victim in this situation, you were targeted. Don't expect other people to understand what you have been coping with. Without having their own experiences with disordered partners, they cannot fully understand and they won't be able to offer the emotional support you need at this time. You will be disappointed if you expect their emotional support. Our emotions will be on a rollercoaster. We have many times when we doubt ouselves, and question the reality. We can expect good and bad days, obsessive thinking, thoughts of revenge and justice. When we're angry, we punch a pillow. Keep a journal, it's wonderful therapy. Surround ourselves with normal people. We need to be firm with ourselves too. We need to ditch that 'if only' or need-for-closure thinking that keeps us hooked wanting to see what's happening in their lives. We need to accept the necessity to detach and be strong to resist the urge to reconnect with them. Time is our best friend. If we do reconnect with this abuser, let's treat it as a learning opportunity. Be easy on yourself. Enjoy the small treats life has to offer. You deserve it. Continued contact with any abuser is dysfunctional behaviour and professional therapy is needed.

Self-impose a “No Contact” rule.
One of our strongest tools to recover is the power that comes from our self discipline and silence. Time and distance have a wonderful way of bringing clarity to the situation. It’s the fastest way to heal. These abusers will leave us in the most emotionally crushing way. They choose the timing and they inflict great emotional devastation, and they enjoy doing it. They take what is near and dear to us and crush it as they casually walk away. In time we realize the relationship was doomed to failure, but we don't realize that until later. We will undergo a paradigm shift in changing our ways of thinking about our situations and a painful change of our expectations.

The Nature of the Beast
An abuser is not going to make the end of a relationship easy. If you're one of the lucky ones, he'll cut you off cold and you'll never hear from him again. In all probability he'll enjoy watching you squirm as long as he can. He’ll flaunt his new 'soulmate' under your nose. He’ll have her convinced you’re a demon who has gone over the edge, but you know she’s being deceived. He’ll say nasty things about you to anyone he can find. He’ll fight you tooth and nail for every nickel. He’ll try and turn the kids and everybody else against you. He’ll stalk and harass and could become violent. You’ll be having a hard time just coping with the loss of the relationship, let alone the other darts he’ll throw.

Self Analysis
Now we’re faced with another beast. Ourselves. When the relationship ends, our self esteem is crushed, we feel humiliated, and we’re setting our feet on a path we never expected. Out of the chaos is the realization that we may have traits that make us vulnerable to these predators. We may be psychologically dependent on the need to have someone, even an abuser in our lives. We find we’re nurturers who have given ‘til it hurts. Often we find we’re naïve, vulnerable and easily deceived or drawn to these types. We may have addictive behaviours or too high a tolerance for bad behaviour. We may learn we were raised in homes we once thought as normal to find we’re preconditioned to accepting bizarre behaviour, or we look the other way because we grew up looking the other way. We may find we have our own personality disorders, or mental health issues. As we learn about mental illnesses we will learn a lot about ourselves too. We are now the rare individuals with first-hand knowledge of these flesh and blood human impersonators. Well, there’s no such thing as bad knowledge. Down the road, we emerge from this experience a lot smarter and more self aware.

Next Time?
We will no longer be naive and trusting. We'll take our knowledge of these abusers and learn a few red flags and where their favourite hunting grounds are. We'll pay more attenton to our gut instincts and put any relationships on hold while we watch for more signs, determine the reality of the situation, and we'll protect ourselves more. Being aware of our vulnerabilities will make us a whole lot smarter next time we run into one of them. Yes, we will. Beyond a doubt, we’ll see more of them in the future. The hell you’ve survived will pay off now. You’ll be able to spot one of these fast-talking, smooth-walking con artists and we'll be armed to the teeth with an ability to avoid them and protect ourselves. But, can we always spot them? Of course not. We’re already vulnerable and they can fake and charm their way into anyone’s heart. When we begin to detect the cracks in their behaviour, we'll know to move quickly to escape. The precious gift we give ourselves will be our own self sufficiency. Taking charge of our lives will bring the reward of Peace of Mind

December 27, 2005
1:26 pm
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I believe in these words. Especially the next time around. I believe that my ex BF is a N. It took until out of the relationship that he was this. It explains him so well to me now. I am now in the beginning stages of a new relationship, still at friendship. I am much more careful, slow and not easily trusting. I still think about my ex but when I do it is not of loving thoughts. I wish I did have loving thoughts of him but I am still angry with him and I am glad to still feel this way until I am healed more and then I could wish him well but I cannot.

December 27, 2005
1:27 pm
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Garfield....another excellent post. I have to agree, the ending is going to be worse than i thought. Hes already making it tough for me. I just have to keep coming back here and reading the threads and reminding myself of what i want the outcome to be.

I love him, but I dont want to live like this anymore. I cant. There has to be a better life than this. I just know it.

December 27, 2005
1:31 pm
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There is a better life Snow.

I will be going away for some time. Holiday...

I will be posting a thread that at this time of my life made so much sense to me.

Why did I stay?

Garfield

December 27, 2005
1:33 pm
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Hi Snowlover, just keep saying to yourself that right now it is the worst of it all. When you get this man out of your life, with the no contact and you finally allow yourself time to heal, then you will not be hurting so much all the time. Just keep hanging in there as you have been doing. Everything is a process and reason for this. Just let everything happen and do what is best for YOU.

December 27, 2005
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taj64,

How are you doing? I am glad to hear that you are trying to move forward! You've helped me so much back then in August. Thank you, and all the best to you!

Matteo

December 27, 2005
6:28 pm
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garfield,

Your words really help, thank you. The PAIN is hard,yes. Today was a tough day for me. What I find the hardest, is when I have to go out there to do anything other than work. Even tho' my NH often turned me down to go somewhere with me (even a walk), I believed there was always the possibility that he would eventually go. Now, he's 'disappeared' and it's not even a possibility. I know LOGICALLY it doesn't make any sense that I feel the way I do.

When I look back at the first few years, when the attraction was so unbelievable, the sex was so amazing, when he did nothing but compliment me & make me feel like a queen(for almost 4 years).I think I've been in shock for years trying to accept that that wasn't the real person....it was someone wearing a mask, that 'lured me'. But, I trusted him, I believed he really meant what he said, and now realizing that he didn't is 'crushing'. I can actually still feel his physical presence around me (am I nuts?). Even tho' in the end, sex & affection decreased more and more, .... for him, he was angry alot of the time....for me, it was the name calling, the insults, the putdowns that made it less and less possible to get close to him. I was missing the affection, tho', and I still miss it from him. Knowing that he's going to give it to someone else, hurts. I guess, tho', I have to remind myself that he'll do to her what he did to me in the end, and I should feel sad for her, cause she doesn't know what's coming.

I thank you for your post and will check out the thread you talked about, 'Why did I stay'? Pink

December 27, 2005
7:01 pm
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Hi Matteo, I was wondering about you too. How are you? Im doing ok. I survived my mess. It did leave a mark on me. It changed me a lot. I view him much differently now, as well as myself. I am much more careful, less trusting, more afraid but this is good in some ways. I need the time to recover from the ordeal. It has been about 4 months now since the breakup. I still think about him a lot but it is different now. I am lucky to get out of that situation. yet, I still love that guy and it is slowly fading. I am hoping that I will recover completely. It still hurts all that happened. For the first time in my life, Im at a point where I do not want a relationship at all yet I am dating someone. It is still in friendship stage. I am afraid to move forward because I know I am not over the ex bf and I know I am not fully recovered. Im glad never to see the ex again. It would be too hard. How about you?

December 31, 2005
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The new year is about to arrive, and even tho' my H is a N, it's been two months since we separated, and not a phone call. I feel myself weakening, and being tempted to contact him 'somehow', but maybe this is what he's waiting for, for me to weaken, cause he most likely knows he's torturing me. By not calling, he knows I feel rejected, cause he knows (from my experience with my first H) that 'silence' tortures me. Or maybe he just doesn't care anymore, and has moved on to other pastures, forgetting about me completely. This hurts.

What IS going on with me? Can't I get it into my head that if he's a N, that he's not normal, and that he doesn't think like other people? and if so, why can't I? Why do I feel that I miss him so much? Pink

December 31, 2005
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Hi Pink,

Up in the wee hours and saw your last post. Two months isn't all that long to be separated, so try not to be so hard on yourself. Plus, we've got all this holiday foo-fa-rah going on as well, always with the hope of spending them with someone we love. I'm well over three months out from my "N" experience and final break and have gotten to the "learn all I can about narcissism" and even almost the "apathy" stage. Of course, I wasn't married to my N either, so that makes a big difference between us. Someone here posted, not too long ago, I believe (probably garfield--she's great!) about the recovery period from a break-up with an N being very, very different than a normal relationship. I think it is in one of Snow's recent threads.

Anyhow, all I'm saying is I think what you are feeling is very normal, and I'm so, so sorry for all of us who are experiencing this right now. Do try to hang in there with the no contact though. It would so counterproductive to the progress you've made thus far. Do you have some friends with whom you can spend the New Year? I was very, very blessed that my best friend from childhood came to spend the weekend with me. This new year will have all sorts of challenges for us all, but I also believe it will carry many blessings as well. Hang in there, and big hugs.

December 31, 2005
12:40 pm
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whidbey,

Two months isn't really a long time is it? I think it just FEELS like a long time, because we were living together, sleeping together every night. For five years before this, when my NH lived with his mother(& yes we were married),I had become used to seeing him on the weekends. He really couldn't care less what I was doing the rest of the time. Sometimes an entire week would go by and I wouldn't even hear from him....then, of course, I would pick up the phone and we'd make arrangements. When I think about it, there were so many red lights!! Living with his mother for 42 years was one!even if it IS common in the Portuguese culture with men...he WAS married to me! My MIL was a N too!!

I guess the part that still stuns me is that we HAVE lived apart more than not, but I guess now it's ME making the decision (he is a control freak), and he knows that he'd have to go to therapy for us to be together, and that would be admitting he's not perfect. He's in denial still and not ready to do this. He's most likely embarrassed and humiliated too that I didn't move with him, and his family & work people all know this.

It really hurts that he put me in the position where we left the house we were renting, and has made me choose between him (& his son) and my sons. Not fair. He had an opportunity to have it ALL....the whole family thing, and with his control stuff & jealousy, just tore all of us apart (including his son's half-brother). I guess he never really wanted the 'family thing'....or just 'the 3 of us'.

I have made plans for tonight & tomorrow, to drive to see a friend, just outside the city. That should get me thru to the new year easier. We're childhood friends too, going back to 8yrs old, and she's just a wonderful friend. My sons are coming back from their father's too, so will be here while I'm gone, and look after our kitties. Then, they will be here when I get back tomorrow.

I will keep with the NC, as tough as it is...yes, you are right Wbidbey, it would be counterproductive, and undo all I've accomplished with the NC until now, if I were to contact my NH for ANY reason. Thanks for giving me strength.

To all those who are also having a hard time right now, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and may we all look forward to easier, brighter times!! PINK

December 31, 2005
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Hi Whidley and PrettyInPink:

Here's to CELEBRATING a future w/out the N- completey N free. P-I-P, my N contacted me 3 months after the last split- by e-mail- to see if I would consider "coming over"- translate- would I have sex w/ him? All the turmoil I went thru and thats what his contact ended up being. Well, you'll be happy to know my answer (the next day) was NO.

Three months gave me the time to find out who he really was (like Whidley said, finding out all I could about N's, plus his other long list of disorders) and there was no way I could do that again. The pain was still there but the resolve to not return was there too.

You can do it and will be better off in the long run. I appreciate all of Garfield's posts- have learned so much from them.

Happy New Year to you both. SD

December 31, 2005
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Thanks SD

I have never been married to a N. but as my father was one
I had to discover everything about N's so that my life could make sense to me.

This was the only way for me.

HAPPY New year to all of you

Love Garfield

The “Small Kindness” Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope – a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abusers benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not “all bad” and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn’t happen, that “small kindness” is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a “soft side”. During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past – how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a “victim”. Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with “I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he’s troubled. He had a rough childhood!” Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed, however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now - video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food – now known as the “Twinkie Defense”. While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing – showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While “sad stories” are always included in their apologies – after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind; once you become hardened to the “sad stories”, they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always “walking on eggshells” – fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser’s perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser’s potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser’s perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family – fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as “causing trouble” and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to “interfere” or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact situation that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations – the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn’t work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault – they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim’s safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it’s easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can’t escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships – locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

· Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. Controllers who sense their partner may be leaving will often purchase a new automobile, later claiming they can’t pay alimony or child support due to their large car payments.

· The legal ending of a relationship, especially a martial relationship, often creates significant problems. A Controller who has an income that is “under the table” or maintained through legally questionable situations runs the risk of those sources of income being investigated or made public by the divorce/separation. The Controller then becomes more agitated about the possible public exposure of their business arrangements than the loss of the relationship.

· The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim’s personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. In severe cases, the Controller may threaten an action that will undercut the victim’s support such as “I’ll see that you lose your job” or “I’ll have your automobile burned”.

· Controllers often keep the victim locked into the relationship with severe guilt – threatening suicide if the victim leaves. The victim hears “I’ll kill myself in front of the children”, “I’ll set myself on fire in the front yard”, or “Our children won’t have a father/mother if you leave me!”

· In relationships with an abuser or controller, the victim has also experienced a loss of self-esteem, self-confidence, and psychological energy. The victim may feel “burned out” and too depressed to leave. Additionally, abusers and controllers often create a type of dependency by controlling the finances, placing automobiles/homes in their name, and eliminating any assets or resources the victim may use to leave. In clinical practice I’ve heard “I’d leave but I can’t even get money out of the savings account! I don’t know the PIN number.”

· In teens and young adults, victims may be attracted to a controlling individual when they feel inexperienced, insecure, and overwhelmed by a change in their life situation. When parents are going through a divorce, a teen may attach to a controlling individual, feeling the controller may stabilize their life. Freshmen in college may be attracted to controlling individuals who promise to help them survive living away from home on a college campus.

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with “trouble”. Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, “trouble” is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create “trouble” in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding “trouble”! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid “trouble”. In this situation, children who are noisy become “trouble”. Loved ones and friends are sources of “trouble” for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

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 the work hours. Called by neighbors during a 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 victim 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 apologize 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

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