“Shocked.” That’s how many who viewed the testimony of Ariel Castro, the notorious kidnapper and rapist who kept 3 young women as sex slaves for several years before their serendipitous rescue a few months ago, described their reaction to the statement Castro made at his hearing last week. How could someone who did all of the horrendous things this man did boldly claim: “I am not a monster” and cast himself as anything but the kind of abusive character his victims have made him out to be? Does he really believe what he’s saying? Is he delusional or in a state of some kind of denial? Is he just “sick” in the manner he asserts, driven to near madness by a “porn addiction” so severe that it compelled him to do things a decent person such as himself would simply not otherwise do? Or could he possibly be a heartless predator and indeed a “monster,” just as his victims claim – a man who even now is more concerned about managing the impressions of others (especially those who will decide his legal fate) than he is concerned about the evil deeds he committed and the damage he inflicted on his victims? Being outraged not only by Castro’s remarks but also by some of the comments by experts on the psychological dynamics purported to be at work in this case, and having so much experience dealing with individuals like Castro, I simply had to interrupt the planned progression of articles related to the topics we’ve been discussing on the blog of late and not only weigh in on the Castro case but also point out some of the extremely important lessons that can be learned from Castro’s behavior in court last week.
When I first started assessing and treating serious sexual offenders, I accepted what I’d been taught about the psychological dynamics associated with their “illness.” But it wasn’t too long before I became very uncomfortable with the dominant theoretical perspectives. That’s because so very few of the offenders really seemed to fit the various accepted models. Extremely few had behavioral profiles consistent with that of a true “addiction.” And very few fit the classic pattern of being generally well-adjusted folks who unfortunately possessed a deviant arousal pattern and a compulsion that drove them to do unspeakable things while unconsciously putting up a wall of “denial” to protect themselves against the overwhelming guilt they felt for doing those things. And it was not until research began clearly showing that certain offenders score very highly on the most reliable indicator of psychopathy that I finally allowed myself to trust my gut instincts that there are really heartless predators out there who see others only as objects of potential gratification and are capable of the most deliberate yet vile acts while wearing a “mask” of social civility. Eventually I found that if I dropped all preconceptions about the nature of these offenders, and simply listened and observed carefully and objectively to the things they say and do, simpler and more rational explanations would emerge about what they’re really like. And that’s why I wanted to focus some attention on Castro and his outrageous statements at his hearing. Because when you take an unbiased look at his proclamations and behavior, it’s much easier to see what kind of person he really is.
Castro says that he’s been “sick” for a long time and was in denial about it for years. Now, however, supposedly he’s overcome his denial and fully accepts and admits his illness. And he wants folks to know that apart from his sickness, he’s a pretty decent guy. He admits he took his victims, but claims his sickness drove him to it. And he vehemently denies his victims’ characterizations of him as an abuser and torturer. But it’s precisely the “characterization” he wants to sell others about himself as well as the behavior he exhibited in the present time (free from his “denial” of the past) that gives his true character away when you look at things objectively. For in those chilling, horrifying moments in the courtroom, before the judge, his victims, many others present, and the television cameras, he displayed absolutely no compunction about trashing the character of his victims in order to more positively portray himself. Without flinching or showing any signs of conscience twinging, he claimed his victims falsely portrayed his behavior toward them as “abusive” or “tormenting” in any way and that his victims should not be seen as victims at all but rather women who had already frivolously engaged in sexual acts long before he captured them and that “most of the sex that went on in the house, and probably all of it, was consensual.” And while some of the various blog commentators and many “experts” still see these outrageous assertions as evidence of a deranged and deluded mind in a very deep state of denial, it’s much more likely that they are merely the actions of a highly character-deficient individual, grossly lacking in conscience, and actively engaging in the tactics of impression management. After all, which of these self-descriptions sounds better to you: “I’m really an ordinary guy who developed an addiction to pornography that got so bad it compelled me to seek out young women who fortunately were were already sexually adventurous enough to want to have consensual sex with me” or “I have a sexual interest in teen girls (as opposed to a ‘porn addiction’) which I know is a deviant and socially disdained interest, and not only have I never sought help for it but also I’m the kind of person who has absolutely no compunctions about satisfying it by targeting, luring, and abducting and terrorizing innocent, unsuspecting young girls and making them my sexual slaves for years.” I have no doubt that Ariel Castro knows self-description number 2 to be the unvarnished truth. But self-description number 1 clearly sounds better. Number 1 casts him as a basically decent sort and a victim. Number 2 paints him as he is, “a monster” and calculating predator with the characteristics I describe so poignantly in In Sheep’s Clothing and provide several examples of in Character Disturbance (the latter chapters in Character Disturbance have some chilling vignettes of sexual predators). But here’s the most important thing to note and which readily gives the truth away: Castro could have falsely and positively cast himself as a “sick” victim without heartlessly trashing the character of his victims, but he didn’t. There he was in front of God and the rest of world watching, needlessly abusing his victims all over again without the slightest signs of upset or remorse. That’s what testifies so clearly to his true character. It’s the senseless and remorseless use and abuse of others that defines psychopathic predators. And Castro couldn’t possibly claim that a “porn addiction” made him do what he did in that courtroom! What bothers me is that so many pundits and experts have overlooked this.
It’s so common for heartless impression-managers to bundle together many of the tactics I outline in In Sheep’s Clothing, including minimization of their evil acts, casting themselves as victims, and engaging in various forms of victim-blaming and character assassination. Sometimes they just get carried away with their efforts to manipulate and just don’t know when to stop or when their excessive use of tactics will reveal too much of their character and diminish the success of their impression-management efforts. I have another article on the topic of impression management and how it’s used by heartless predators that you can find posted on another popular international blog (see: Psychopathy and The Art of Impression Management).
40 thoughts on ““I Am Not a Monster”: Impression Management Ariel Castro Style”
Thank you for these posts to continue educating people on the style and techniques of abusers.
This article reminds me of when I finally left my abuser. He actually left a message on my answering machine that said, “I just don’t know what goes through your head, but you think I’m some kind of monster.” It’s strange how most abusers react in the same way…minimizing, rewriting, and outright denial. Then they can dive right into self-victimization.
Sorry that I nitpick. By self-victimization, I presume you mean feigning victimhood. Of course, sometimes they can indeed be so steadfast in only seeing themselves as victims that they are themselves convinced.
It must be horrific for Castro’s victims to be character assassinated by him after their release. Does their abuse never end? I hope these ladies will be psychologically counseled TO NOT EVER have expectations that Mr. Castro will display feelings of remorse. Being a character deficient narcissist, he is not capable of such emotions, nor will he ever be.
thanks Dr Simon.I support you.
Traditional therapy and CBT therapy says we should not engage in too much “mind-reading”. But it seems with the COVERT aggressive types, if we do not engage in sizing up their *intent* (by observing their behavior, for example, or their voice tone when they express contrition) then we are fools.
It’s such a tough call, because CBT did me a lot of good as I got away from the CAs in my life.
Clair, How does CBT therapy differentiate between gut instincts that are trying to save your a** and “mind reading”? Are you “mind reading” when you interpret actions that keep repeating themselves on past results? VERY confusing to me!
Confusing to me too. Maybe Dr. Simon can chime in, who knows.
I’ll have something to say on this in the next couple of days. If I forget, please remind me.
I just watched part of the video of this “man’s” speech about not being a monster. I just can not believe my eyes. It’s just so surreal to me to know what he has done, for how long he has done it………..to know that the whole nation knows what he has done and for how long he has done it……….and to hear him saying what he is saying.
Unreal……..it’s just unreal. I just feel anger when i listen to his psychopathic rambling!
Dr. Simon, this is something I’m struggling to understand and also struggling to find the right words to even ask………. In the realm of compassion, forgiveness, etc…..even from a religious/ spiritual perspective, are we supposed to forgive someone like this man? Are we supposed to have compassion for a person who has willingly and knowingly…..intentionally deceived, used, abused and left our minds, hearts and lives in twisted wreckage, yet goes on about their own drunken business with ZERO culpability or concern for the damage their selfish and sick actions have caused??
My Spathx feels justified in his actions I’m sure, probably a “that’s what you get” attitude ……because I did something that in his mind and reality is warrant for the disgustingly twisted punishment he has bestowed upon me. It might be some infraction that is legitimate……something I actually did that was “wrong”. Or maybe it was punishment for his interpretation of something I did or said. I have no clue what the reality of this is and it’s maddening.
Anyhow, enough about me. What about this guy because it’s so “in your face” wrong? He is clearly not holding himself accountable but making excuses. He IS a monster in my opinion and not even remotely living by anything that even resembles acceptable human guidelines. How does one forgive these types? How does one have compassion for a psychopath who is choosing to live as a psychopath?
Indeed. What is forgiveness truly about, anyways? I don’t think it’s at all about making moral standards meaningless. If everyone was a predator like that, we’d have no society to begin with.
J, In the bible it says, “forgive them fore they know not what they do”. Well, these monsters know exactly what they are doing or they would not go to such great lengths to conceal it. They don’t want to get caught, not because they fear punishment, but because they won’t be able to continue to abuse, rape, kill. do they seek help for their problems ON THEIR OWN when they see that they are living way out side normal moral standards? No. They continue to do what their “impulses” and drives “”tell”” them to do and do not stop till they get caught or they tire of the game.
Just to address What GOD the Son said “Forgive them they know not what they do”… the people there knew what they were doing, they tried Jesus Christ at night with out a full body to do the trial.. in the whole process, these Judean leaders broke numbers of laws, really Jesus Christ was tried unjustly and for no real reason other than because these leaders were and people didn’t get what they wanted, they ex[ected the LORD to come as He is coming at the second advent… the leaders back then were prideful etc.
I believe though… when the LORD said forgive them for they know not what they do… is because they knew not the bigger picture, that He indeed is the LORD… and what they have just done, will lead them right to hell fire. These leaders were being used by the devils, that same spirit that was working in them is still working now, the Roman Church is an example… where the pope calls himself God on earth, that he is Jesus Christ in the flesh. Which is anti-Christ.
Peace and Honor
We found another culprit for the common misconception.
Indeed, they do know, all the way through. There’s no veil of unknowing before their eyes. They view the world through a perverted lens. That’s what it is.
Just returning from a heavy duty travel schedule, so please forgive the delay in responding. I’ll have more to say later, but briefly: Forgiveness is for the emotional benefit of the injured party. It’s how one eventually part company with the traumatic imprint left by the victimizer. But as I allude to in two of the other articles (repentance and contrition), one’s mindset regarding the unrepentant aggressor is another matter entirely. We’re always right to be wary and to set and enforce strict limits and boundaries as well as take firm self-protection action to prevent possible victimization. No one is obliged to forgive someone who’s neither sorry nor resolved to reform and make amends.
Again, sorry for the brief reply. I’ll expand later.
“In the realm of compassion, forgiveness, etc…..even from a religious/ spiritual perspective, are we supposed to forgive someone like this man? Are we supposed to have compassion for a person who has willingly and knowingly…” (etc.)
In my understanding for what it’s worth, ‘compassion’ does not mean accepting their world view!
Here is my bottom line test for ‘compassion’ in an extreme case – and (part 2) that it is not in conflict with ‘justice’.
If you saw Castro or whoever tied down and horribly tortured before your eyes while he screamed and you had the power to decide his fate, would you say ‘Stop!’
If the answer is ‘yes’, that is compassion.
(part 2)If shown evidence of guilt and asked if you would prosecute in a fair and non-corrupt legal system, would you say ‘Prosecute!’ ? – that is justice.
If you said ‘Stop the torture!’ are you obliged to say – ‘And therefore do not prosecute him!’ — No, of course not.
Compassion has nothing whatever to do with an objective assessment of guilt – or intent – or culpability – or the person’s moral worth. It is the simple but noble recognition of the horror of suffering as it afflicts any sentient being and the wish that this might not be so. beyond that, taken from a judgment to a commitment to a certain mmoral/thical position, it can mean the commmitment not to use/inflict violence or pain or suffering as a means to an end. Not even for people whose acts cause us understandable fury or horror.
In my view, not only are the compassion and justice compatible, they go hand in hand in a moral (or legal) system: hold responsible, do not torture/resort to violence.
What these extreme cases throw up I think is that so much of us ‘locate’ compassion – or forgiveness – in the world of feelings. But I find this ultimately very unhelpful. (That’s why I emailed Dr Simon asking if he would write something on forgiveness – I was very curious to hear his views1)
It’s an easy mistake because both compassion and forgiveness can either spring from, or be accompanied by, a certain feeling or emotion. A warm, indeed heart-warming sensation. But I think that’s a bit misleading. I’m tending to the view that at least part of it is really more like an act of judgment. If it springs from a feeling that’s a kind of shortcut to the judgment. If a feeling accompanies the decision to stand on this value, then that’s nature’s little reward (or God’s, if you prefer).
I’m not sure I’m making this clear so I’ll try an analogy. How about – the difference between ‘nutritious’ and ‘delicious’. We can still commit to eating the healthy food, but isn’t it nice when someone comes up with a ‘delicious’ broccoli recipe! The refusal to endorse violence can be accompanied by a rush of feelings of pity for the evil person now being victimised; or it can be DESPITE anger, loathing, disgust for the person and a gut feeling that he deserves some kind of punishment.
Comopassion isn’t earned. In my developing understanding, forgiveness isn’t ‘earned’ either. Both spring freely from our own choice for goodness according to our own moral values, are freely given, and we can choose to give them undeserved and unmerited.
‘RECONCILIATION’ AND ‘TRUST’ **ARE** EARNED!!!! (see Dr. Simon’s articles on contrition, repentance, forgiveness over the last few weeks, which with I 1000% agree!)
I think I’m beginning to ‘get’ this stuff.
So… I can forgive my husband, primarily to set myself loose from his continued destructive influence on me. But I don’t have to therefore ‘prove’ I’ve forgiven him (that seems to be what he wants) by trusting him and ceasing to protect myself from his manipulative ways.
And it’s OK for me to still need time – and probably some counselling – to come to terms with the hurt, anger etc I feel about the whole sorry episode (30 years actually – rather a long episode!).
If my husband is impatient about my healing process and need for time to deal with the damage done, I’m beginning to realise I don’t need to take that on board. It’s not me being obstructive to the rebuilding of our relationship as he implies. He’s so impatient to put it all behind us, not wallow in the past and get on with rebuilding. I’m cast as the one who is dragging their feet and not willing to let go of the past and move on together. He’s willing and ready to do this, I’m not, so I’m the problem!
I’m beginning to realise that my husband’s way of viewing our relationship is flawed. I’ve always trusted his judgement before, but I don’t so often now. I need to question and think for myself much more.
I’ve just applied for a voluntary job at the local charity shop. It’s an initial bid for independance and to get out of the house! I’m nervous but excited. My husband is encouraging me just now but I think it may be a different story once he realises I’m not around so much. Luckily he’s a very ‘New Age’ type man and can and will cope with household stuff – one of his charming ways! He just likes me to ‘be there’ with him always (he works from home) and I want some space.
Thanks to everyone for your comments and to Dr Simon for your wisdom and to everyone for your support. I felt like I was going mad on my own. Now I feel more stable, I can think more clearly. This is good!
Rose, one of the easiest ways to get a disordered person to show their true self is to put up some solid (but fair) boundaries in your own self interest. This is not to be selfish and they have to be things you are willing to stand by and enforce without backing down. If someone truly loves you they will respect your boundaries. A socio/ psychopath, narcissist will show his true colors when they don’t get what THEY want. You can do this in a gentle way, no need to be nasty or mean, just decide what you need to do for you and say so.
I’ve started doing this. It certainly has shown my husband’s true colours! He was constantly angry for 9 months when I started this. Thankfully he’s calmed down now, but he’s in what I call ‘reproach mode’ and saying things like “I don’t know how long I should be expected to put up with this”. Now I know from Dr Simon’s book this is simply one of the tactics of manipulators – playing the victim.
I find it hard to know what are reasonable boundaries as he generally says they are unreasonable and I’ve no previous experience to guide me whether it is true or not.
I will have to learn as I go and become confident gradually. Understanding the manipulators’ tactics is very helpful indeed. I can spot them a bit more easily now – though often only afterwards! But that’s a start and it means I will begin to be able to deal with them appropriately.
Rose, I don’t know if this applies to your situation or not but I just stumbled on this article and thought I would post it………..for anyone really.
Rose, I sympathise and it’s great to see the power of your reflections on this. Your husband’s tactics amply bear out what Dr Simon says in the ‘contrition’ and ‘repentance’ article.
It does seem like such a common tactic. The perpetrator is the one who wants to ‘move on’ (should we be surprised?!) , the victim is the one who is ‘wallowing in the past’, ‘can’t let go’ etc.
Better put: the perpetrator makes full and flagrant use of the cliches of pop psychology and psychobabble to
(1) deceive you and pull the wool over your eyes
(2) put YOU in the wrong and put the wrongdoer on the moral high ground. (Because in our psychobabble society, wallowing in the past, not letting go, not moving on etc. are the new Seven Deadly Sins)
WOW! what an astonishing thing to pull off. The evildoer has pitched his tent on the moral high ground!
Both are classic character-disordered traits as Dr. Simon describes. They deceive by gaslighting you; and they have to be one-up on you, in this case on the ‘moral’ battlefield. (Remember; ‘they are always fighting’.)
Another con trick here is that YOU are now manoeuvred into the one who has to change and is undergoing some process. YOU have to forgive, change, let go, learn to trust. (And you’re not allowed any time to do it either.)
I thought he was the one who had to change?
Apparently not because his ‘change’ has been accomplished in the twinkling of an eye … (by saying so) … as he would have you believe.
Or his change has happened NOT AT ALL (juding by the use of the SAME OLD TACTICS.)
one thing I’ve noticed is that we are all able to see each other’s situations dispassionately and offer sensible advice. And thanks to those who have replied to my posts, it helps me think.
but when it comes to our own situation, it seems we often get in a muddle and nothing looks as straight forward as the advice would suggest!
I don’t know about anyone else but applying all the sensible stuff seems suddenly like I’ve stepped into a marsh and don’t know when I’m going to be on solid ground and when I’m suddenly going to sink as the ground beneath me gives way!
I think that is what dealing with a manipulative person feels like to me most of the time. slippery, uncertain, no rules, no guarantee of outcome – which of the several ‘personas’ will I be confronted with this time?!
Rose, the one person you can count on is you. You HAVE to know what is OK for you and that there is nothing wrong with advocating for your values. That is part of what boundaries are formed from. Knowing what your values are, some being deal breakers, some being down the list on importance but what do YOU value and believe? Do you believe it’s ok to treat people the way you are being treated? Would you treat someone the way you are being treated? If you wouldn’t treat someone the way you are being treated, why would you let someone else treat you that way? Would you be friends with someone who treated you the way he treats you? Would you treat a friend the way he treats you?
All food for thought and things I didn’t put enough thought into in the mess I’ve come out of recently. I wish I would have asked myself those questions in the very beginning. Long story…..
And Rose, you said he says: ““I don’t know how long I should be expected to put up with this”.”
This is just another agression against you. Right here, you have an opportunity to draw a boundary. Say, “if you want to improve our relationship faster, then speak to me without blaming. I will not accept the reproach.” Then go do something else. They key is not taking the bait! 🙂 And if he does (speak of his concerns without blame) then welcome it. Let him know you appreciate it. Reinforce what you want.
thanks vera. reproach is a difficult one to call. he generally denies this and looks hurt when I say it. But as you see from some of my other posts, I’m beginning to spot things better and see what’s happening and how to handle it.
good points Puddle! how come I apply different standards to my husband than I would to others – and especially myself?!
I need to go back to basics of what I reckon are loving ways of behaving and work from there. I’d got so distorted and muddled by my husband’s slipperyness that I forgot those very basic things.
I totally understand Rose, it’s the nature of the beast and that’s the motivation behind their behaviors,,,,,,,,,,,to undermine YOU! It’s impossible to counteract their tactics if you are unaware what they are doing. Even when you know, it’s still hard………for me anyhow, he was very good at finding my weak links and exploiting them and i was unable to think, act and speak effectively IN THE MOMENT.
Rose, I know EXACTLY what you mean.
In my private dialogs with myself, I’ve taken to calling it ‘The Fog of War’. And in fact that has now become one of my own private warning signals. When I start to feel this way *in myself*, disturbed, confused almost, feeling like I’m being marched through a marsh in heavy fog blindfolded with snipers and landmines everywhere, though I can’t see them …… I know there is a strong, high probability that I am dealing with someone who is manipulative, whatever I thought of them previously. No, it’s ‘not me’. It’s them inducing it in me.
I think one reason for it is – quite simply – it is one of their tactics. i think one reason it works on us is that it’s almost like cognitive dissonance. Our brains are suddenly overwhelmed but with too much information – information that is difficult to process for several reasons. One: it is emotionally distressing and that makes it hard to think straight let alone to exercise cool-headed analysis.
Two: we probably, often unconsciously, perceive that really we are under attack so the amygdala in our brain is screaming ‘THREAT! THREAT! RUN AWAY, HIDE, OR FIGHT!’ while the part of us trying to be adult and civilized is struggling to carry on a coherent conversation and play nice and be fair and non-judgmental.
Three: the information coming in is contradictory so our brain struggles even more to make sense of the experience (cognitive dissonance)
Four: sincere people are deeply programmed to listen and respond to the content of what’s being said – but often what is being said is (deliberately?) going round in circles, taking you down blind alleys, full of falsehoods or self-contradictions so your quibbling brain gets caught up in nitpicking disagreements over detail…
yet meanwhile in order to survive the encounter we need to pay attention not to what’s being said (the pointless words) but to WHAT’S BEING DONE, i.e. the tactics being used.
Consequently there is a dangerous distraction, a split focus, which disables the wise, self-protecting response which is hard enough to generate at the best of times.
I’m now deeply convinced that at least some people are doing this deliberately.
As someone trained in hypnotherapy, I’m almost amused to see a sinister resemblance to some of the techniques used to induce a trance – so-calld ‘confusional’ language or verbal patterns. In one case for benign, healing uses … but the same tactic of disabling the critical, quarreling faculties off our minds.
It’s so much easier to ‘be insightful’ for someone else because our own ’emotional brains’ aren’t being activated, we’re not being attacked, so nothing interferes with our analytical and critical faculties doing a good job.
Proof of your point though, Rose, is that I can sit here calmly typing ‘point one…point two’ — but when the Fog of War hits *me* I feel like a flummoxed, babbling fool. I’ve had it with four different people this week. (Is that a record?! I think it is for me.)
wow! Been There Often, that’s so like I was journalling the other day.
“What I feel when I’ve been ‘had'” was the title:
1. like I’ve been sucked into a black hole
2. like I’m drowning in a marsh
3. Like there’s a whirlwind in my head
4. like a chaotic emptyness has grabbed hold of me and is playing with me
Unfortunately, just knowing it doesn’t stop it happening. It still happens. I Still need to spot it and deal with it. But it’s a start; to have identified some symptoms.
Your comments will help me remember –
i’m not the only one,
it’s not me going mad,
it’s a nasty tactic from a CD person that I need to spot and deal with effectively.
BeenThere Often……..here’s an example for you. My LooserX a while back made this big deal out of the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard…….made me do the confused dog head tilt thing! LOL So he say’s……that he misses me so much and it makes him so sad to think that when we are apart he has no one to go sea glass hunting with…….It’s not that I like to go sea glass hunting, but I went with you because YOU like it and I wanted to be with you!
So I asked him……….Well if you don’t even like sea glass hunting why would you be sad that you don’t have anyone to go with?
For some reason he made this big thing about sea glass hunting……I just don’t understand…..never will understand a lot of it because it was all BS. what a pathetic joke of a man-boy.
Jesus Christ is the example
Been There Often……………..WOW!!!!!!!!! You put all of that SO well! Nice job! I think you hit the nail on the head and drove it through the board! Thank you!!
Thanks Puddle – it’s wonderful being able to read each other and share these things, and different though our situations must be it’s remarkable how ‘alike’ the tactics — and therefore the insights.
I love the ‘sea glass’ example. Unbelievable so much it’s funny (if you’re not the victim). But well done you, to spot the manoeuver and the false logic on the spot.
BTO…..I spotted it in the moment and replied to him accordingly but at the time, i didn’t have the frame of reference I do now. So, while it registered as something that didn’t make sense to me, I didn’t “get” that it was a manipulation tactic, pure and simple BS.
I have a very hard time thinking and responding on my feet……Very easily overwhelmed and confused and destabilized mentally and emotionally. Easily distracted in SO many ways but it made it very easy for him to do what he did to me. Between that and my ignorance about these types of people and how dangerous they really are………..even if they don’t hurt you physically……I didn’t stand a chance.
I’m beginning to get things straighter in my mind after reading all these blogs and books. Thank you Dr Simon and all comment writers! I’ve also see some You Tube videos by Dr Simon and Dr Cloud (co-author of ‘Boundaries’ book)
Today I was able to say to my husband, “It’s YOUR responsibility to rebuild trust between us, not mine. I will trust you when your behaviour CONSISTENTLY shows that you are trustworthy. When your behaviour matches your words, I will feel safe and start to trust you. If your behaviour violates that trust, I will stop trusting you again. It’s YOUR responsibility to repair the damage you’ve done and change your behaviour before you can expect me to do anything to rebuild our relationship.”
I really meant it, I believed it to be true and I wasn’t angry or defensive or apologetic. I KNEW it was the truth and I am now waiting on HIM. I am prepared to repeat the statement word for word if necessary.
What’s more, he actually listened and didn’t do any of his usual reactions. He may be thinking at last. Maybe! Or maybe he’s just trying to fathom a way to counter my new approach?!
In the meantime I will continue to protect myself and await concrete evidence of change before I open myself up to him and become vulnerable to him again.
I also now say (inside me) “I will not accept that invitation to feel guilty/blame myself” – or whatever. That is a helpful tool ‘in the moment’, whether or not I actually say anything out loud to challenge my husband.
I also felt able to affirm my husband when he expressed empathy today. I think when I feel more in control of my self and what is happening to me, I’m more able to encourage because I’m not so resentful or frightened.
This site and Dr Simon’s teachings have helped me believe myself and my gut instincts by explaining what’s going on – the difference between neurosis and character disturbance – how the behaviours can seem the same but it’s the motivations behind the behaviours that need to be understood – they ARE different, we’re NOT all the same! I’m spotting these different behaviours more and more – even on TV shows – and also how pervasive the traditional psychology is – everyone buys into it – even TV series writers!
So glad, Rose. That’s what this is all about!
Woohoo! You go grrl! That’s awesome. You just made my day…
Yea ROSE!!!!!!! You are on track! I applaud you!
When I heard Castro say he was not a monster I immediately thought but what would those girls say about that comment and how that must violate their sensibilities (and their family’s) of him making himself out to be the victim. To me it was never Castro’s place to define what he is like as a person but only those who have lived with him – that is the true test of any person. In my eyes that comment was Castro’s manipulative mind at play and how he has always justified his actions and intentions to himself. He tried to appeal to the public’s sense of decency to cover his crimes with the use of impression management(while he denied the girls appeal for decency and freedom when they lived with him to go back to their family’s). In this way he tried to make innocent people feel guilty for viewing him in anything but a decent way. I always think of Ted Bundy, the serial killer and his interview with detectives just before he died. They wanted to understand how a serial killer thought and tried to get insights into him that could help them in the future. He opened up over time to them and said, that no-one wants to think of them self as a bad person in spite of what they have done to others(my paraphrase). That is to himself, Ted Bundy, had very likeable qualities and characteristics. This is what I was thinking when Castro said that he was not a monster. He was thinking about other attributes about himself. What we innocent and trusting people don’t understand is that disturbed personality’s can separate their thoughts and actions about how they perceive them self away from the devastating emotional impact that their actions have on others. In this way, their distorted thinking allows them to justify anything, anything at all to them self about how they can treat others. They can hurt you as much as they like in their mind with complete disregard for your feelings and completely justify their power over you in every instance. I have found your website to be so incredibly and for it to help me so much when I understood your premise (in a Freudian way). At that time, I finally stopped making excuses for my ex husband and accepted that he knew exactly what he was doing all along. I was in a very painful and traumatic marriage with a covert-aggressive character disordered personality type for 14 years. I have been in counselling for such a long time with PTSD and was so confused about him until your articles helped me face the truth about what he was really like. It hurt so much to know he knew what he was doing as his innocent persona always baffled me and I was so willing to trust him and his excuses.I could never get why a seeming likeable person would feign complete innocence about their behavior when they weren’t innocent, that lying by omission was an ongoing tactic, and that all the other forms of manipulation that you pointed out were for a purpose. Only then did I realise that I was dealing with a covert manipulative personality type. Man, did the light go on and every painful confusing thing make horrible sense. Thank you so much Dr George. I don’t make excuses for him anymore and his behaviour with the children because of you. Whereas, I would have tried to make excuses all the time for him before to the children. I like the fact that he has to be completely responsible for what he has done and thought- as we all have to do. That gives me so much peace as I feel that this is the absolute truth. I now point out his tactics as he is doing it family members and this helps a lot even though he will still try to intimidate me and wants to hurt me as because he has been caught out….this is still the hard part but I try to hold my ground and that is scary knowing that he will hurt me.
I only understood Castro because I have read so many of your articles and yes he is a monster because of what he did to those girls and their family’s.
Nadine, That was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your observations and experience and yes, it is incredibly painful when the bubble bursts and reality shows it’s ugly face. It’s been almost unbearable to me at times and mine was a short involvement compared to yours. I was and am heart broken.