Misunderstood and Misused Psychology Terms – Part 4

I’ve been posting on psychology terms and concepts that are familiar to many but are nevertheless often either misunderstood or misused, even by mental health professionals (See also: Misunderstood and Misused Psychology Terms – Part 1Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and Contrition, Misunderstood Psychology Terms – Pt 2: Personality & Character, and Misused Terms Pt 3: Defensive, Dissociation, Dependence, Denial). In today’s article, I’d like to expand a bit on the discussion about the “four D’s” (defensive, dissociation, dependence, and denial) mentioned in last week’s post as well as introduce some other important terms and concepts the series will address. Getting it straight with respect to important concepts can make all the difference the world when someone is trying to analyze a problem situation and deal with it effectively.

Last week I mentioned how disadvantaging it can be to view a person as being “defensive,” when they’re really on the attack. It’s equally disadvantaging to assume that most people aggress only when they feel threatened or provoked in some way (a notion long promoted by traditional psychology paradigms).  And while most folks recognize that aggression can be born of anger as well as fear, many find it hard to imagine why someone would either become angry or be inclined to aggress if they weren’t actually afraid of something or didn’t feel victimized in some way.  But assuming that aggressors always come from an insecure or fearful place has been the undoing of many in abusive relationships.

I once consulted to an organization in which there was a mid-level manager who quickly took charge of any situation she was faced with and generally did well for her company.  But she also struck fear into the hearts of those who dared question or oppose her. Many a co-worker experienced premature “burnout” working with or for her. One of her supervisors remarked to me that he knew she must be “a frightened, insecure child underneath,” and he therefore coached others that the “psychological secret” to getting along with her was to be both non-threatening and reassuring.  But this woman was every bit the ruthless albeit covert power seeker I describe in In Sheep’s Clothing.  And she was driven neither by fear nor insecurity but rather an insatiable appetite (more accurately, lust) for power and control.  There are those among us who are by nature dominance-seeking to an unhealthy extreme. Such folks crave the power position, and not because they fear being victimized if they allow themselves to be vulnerable but because they innately abhor taking on a subordinate or submissive role.  They create problems in relationships (at work and within marriages) because they simply won’t allow themselves to back down, back off, or concede, even if doing so in the short run would help them emerge victorious in the long run.  They’re often prematurely and unnecessarily combative as opposed to defensive in their interpersonal relations.  And not only do they not aggress primarily out of fear but they also aggress when they’re not even angry at times. This is the phenomenon known as instrumental (alternately: predatory) aggression, which I describe in Character Disturbance in some detail.  Some aggressors wage war purely for the purpose of securing something, and often conduct the fight in such a stealthy manner that the victim doesn’t even know they’ve been in a battle until they’re already defeated (For more on this topic see: Understanding Predatory Aggressors).

Callous disregard for others and for important social norms, in its many destructive forms, is sometimes perceived erroneously as an example of dissociation. It can also be erroneously perceived as attention deficiency or even unconscious behavior.  Stanton Samenow was among the first to note that many disturbed characters pay attention to the things to which they want to pay attention and “selectively” filter out of their awareness those things that don’t particularly matter to them.  As I sometimes put it: “It’s not that they’re unaware, it’s that they just don’t particularly care.” How your behavior impacts others has to matter to you if you’re going to be particularly mindful of it.  And many disturbed characters among us simply don’t care enough about the things we want them to care about to pay much attention to them.  While they seem oblivious and even detached at times, most of the time they simply don’t care to be mindful.  And their lack of mindfulness is a conscious, deliberate choice, whereas dissociation is an unconscious mental defense against unbearable emotional pain.  They’re too dedicated to fulfilling their own selfish desires to care much about how others might be impacted.

There’s another phenomenon frequently confused with dissociation: compartmentalization.  Individuals with psychopathic traits come in two main varieties: those with a markedly deficient or totally absent capacity for human empathy, and those who have some empathy capacity but also have a special capacity to wall-off or “compartmentalize” any emotion when they’re in a predatory behavior mode (i.e., when they intend to victimize).  And mistaking compartmentalization for dissociation is one of the main reasons why some folks fail to recognize the warning signs of psychopathy (For more on psychopathy and compartmentalization see:  Psychopathy and Sociopathy, Malignant Narcissism: At the Core of Psychopathy, and Psychopathy 101).

Just as deliberate disregard is not dissociation, deliberate distortion is not the same as denial (Use the search feature to access the many articles I’ve posted on the topic of denial).  A person in a true state of denial is dealing with an emotional reality so painful that primitive unconscious mechanisms kick in to prevent their conscious mind from experiencing it.  Denial is not the same as stubbornly refusing to admit the obvious.  It’s also not the same as kidding yourself about the truth of things.  In short, denial is not conscious lying but rather unconscious protection agains unbearable pain.  Now a person can make a habit of deceiving and distorting.  But that doesn’t mean they’re in denial or can’t readily recognize the truth.  It just means they’re not of a mind to acknowledge what they know to be true unless someone holds their feet to the fire.

Next week I’ll be talking about the concepts of addiction (and discussing further the related concepts of dependency and co-dependency), trauma and post-traumatic stress, anxiety and anxiety disorders, and self-esteem.  And the week after next I’ll be discussing depression and bipolar illness.

As is fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Sunday’s Character Matters program will focus on the emerging science of happiness and I’ll discuss the mounting evidence for the power of gratitude to positively shape our character and promote a sense of well-being.  Comments, questions, and other contributions are, as always, most welcome (Phone in at (718) 717-8296).

Many thanks to those of you who, after reading my latest collaboration with Jill Dahl in the Huffington Post, and subsequently discovering my books as well as this blog and its many articles on how to better understand and deal with the disturbed characters in your life, took the time to write me personally and express appreciation.  The validation truly means a lot.

118 thoughts on “Misunderstood and Misused Psychology Terms – Part 4

  1. Dr. Simon,

    I look forward to your post on addiction (and dependency too, for that matter).
    I have been thinking about the seeming ‘obliviousness’ of those who hurt others. Particularly in relation to altered states of mind (in the case of addictions, including substance use or sex addiction – have you heard of the notion of a man having a one tracked mind when aroused? In Australia we say ‘he is thinking with his other head’), and the notion of “compartmentalisation”. I wonder if these altered states of mind increase the capacity to compartmentalise as they (altered states of mind) do interfere with how the mind ordinarily functions.
    Also, substance use can be disinhibiting, so I wonder if sexual arousal (release of dopamine?) or use of drugs/alcohol can also increase the possibility of compatmentalising for this reason as well.

  2. Hello Dr. Simon. Thank you for yet another great post. Something I have had a difficult time with is that of so many people that time – after – time fall for the smooth talking character disturbed individual. In this case a family member will always give this wolf in sheep’s clothing the benefit of the doubt. So few people of certain types of belief system will excuse manipulation and threats with the statement of “his intentions were good,” seeing only what he has allowed them to see, rather than this being a strategic move with end goal of power and control, usually through money. I have had this experience with an ex, where emails are presented where in the first short sentence I am accused making him the victim, and places me on the defensive. Problem is the judge buys his accusations. How to manage and strategize this, involving custody, leaves me wondering what to do. Between these two things, it is difficult to have a drama free life for more than a few months, with major life upheaval occurring every 12-18 months. So two questions I hope to you will address. The first is how to deal with someone like this in family court, and the second is how to help others see that there is evil in the world and it comes cloaked in this form – that not everyone has good intentions even if they say they do. Thank you, And I hope to see your work teach more people and gain widespread acceptance and recognition.

  3. Dr Simon thank you for putting all the differences of these D’s into such a succinct article. It really pulls them all together to get a clearer understanding.
    I can certainly understand this one… “Some aggressors wage war purely for the purpose of securing something, and often conduct the fight in such a stealthy manner that the victim doesn’t even know they’ve been in a battle until they’re already defeated” So often I wouldn’t know what was coming my way until he’d attacked no anger or indication before just WHAM! Insidious is the only way to describe it!
    I look forward to next weeks post and was wondering if the addiction part would have something to do with the idea of trauma bonding? Is that in a way the same thing? Or is trauma bonding in a sense another sort of denial as a survival strategy? Some CD’s seem to sustain lengthy periods of supposed “goodness” which is all part of the abuse but to the unsuspecting victim this just leaves them even more confused.

    Also glad to see the science of happiness on Character Matters, it’s a nice positive spin… also I am studying sociology at present and have to write an essay on that very subject, so will be tuning in! I have had trouble connecting of late but hope I can this time. 😉

    1. Tori,

      I am thankful that you mentioned the term “Trauma Bonding”. I have always wanted to know more about the DV Cycle and this term has helped. I did know of The Stockholm Syndrome, but had not really thought much about it.
      Sociology. Happiness. Interesting. I learned once that Bhutan (I think) uses ‘Gross National Happiness’ as a measure of it’s country’s success, rather than GDP (Gross National Product). I really like this idea. I read an article years ago about how the whole community was consulted about removing a tree and the aim was to have everyone agree on the decision. True democracy. Wanna go on a trek there? 🙂

      1. RS sounds like a wonderful idea to measure your country’s success by the happiness of the people. Gosh if that was the aim of every world leader what a difference it would make! The idealist in me just wants to pack up and go! ha ha! 🙂

    2. Tori, RS,,,,,,,,,,from my experience, looking back now, I see trauma bonding happened in this way……….THEY create the traumatic event/ experience which basically weakens the victim and then they (Spathtardx) are the one to give you a hand back up. After having, what i call “occupying the territory”, in other words…..isolating you, they become the only source of comfort. The abuser and the rescuer. Love Fraud just had another article about all of this.

  4. Dr Simon, I’ve read about inner critic/persecutor, known as anti-libidinal ego and called anti-self by Dr Robert Firestone. Would you write an article about this sometime as well?

    Many people have considerable vulnerabilities. That’s why I think it’s important to also learn to overcome that inner destructive critic. Add to that the fact that abuse, overt or covert, can get very extreme and I think you folks can see how an inner critic makes things even worse.

    1. J that is a great idea for an article and one that could be really beneficial to survivors of these CD individuals. The inner critic is the worse part to get over and as you say can make things so much worse. It takes so much self awareness to really deal with and silence that inner critic.

      1. Tori, this is also a by product OF the disordered person’s scapegoating, manipulation, lack of accountability and emotional/ mental twisting of the victim. I don’t know HOW exactly they do it but not only do they scapegoat you to other people (to protect their image and maintain their mask) but they also manage to leave the victim questioning themselves, even when the truth is finally staring you right in the face! It’s just horrible. I have had person after person, friends and professionals, confirm, reaffirm, you name it…….that Spathtard is a psychopathic manipulator POS. I’ve read more articles, heard more kindred stories that sound like I wrote them myself, nodding my head in wide eyed agreement, and I STILL find myself wondering and “what if’ing” and “but I…….” and “maybe if I would have”…..It’s why they call it “getting slimed”, you just can’t get it off you!!

        1. Puddle and Tori,
          I have heard that the ‘victim’ may cling to the notion of being responsible for what happened because ‘IF they are to blame then THEY can FIX IT’. Gives her a sense of power or reprieve from helplessness?

          1. I don’t think I can agree with that notion exactly RS. I don’t know that I disagree with it entirely. I can only tell you that the state I was in was so far beyond any concern for a sense of power. I just think that me, as a victim, was grasping for some kind of explanation, something that made sense. NOTHING about Spathtard made sense so I guess it was easier to point to me! At least my “”issues”” made sense! Crazy……..

          2. RS, what I’m talking about goes beyond any desire to “FIX IT”. It’s trying to makes sense out of something that doesn’t make sense and they don’t make sense.

          3. RS, I think there is a certain amount of truth in that notion to a point. I know for years after seeking help for myself, thinking there was something wrong with me and that if I just fixed me maybe things would be better. Only at that time I wasn’t aware of the game being played on me. My eyes were only opened up once I spoke about the relationship itself. They have you so convinced you’re the one with the problem that you never think to say what’s going on in the relationship. Also on some level you are so conditioned not to speak about the violence etc because you want to protect them! Again it’s getting the right counsellor or psychologist who really understands the dynamics. The moment I opened up (still thinking I had to fix myself and in that hope bubble) was when the whole shebang started to fall into place. The light bulb started flickering when I was told exactly what was going on. I’m not sure that it is power seeking although now that I am free I seek help to empower myself so it won’t happen again.
            And when in the relationship there were times I’d think Okay things are going well and maybe it was changing only to find out it was half time period…next half the goal posts had been shifted!

          4. Puddle,
            Your comments remind me of the Leopard-spots guy (below) who would often ‘throw a spanner in the works”… I used to think to myself that his thinking was: “If all else fails, confuse her!”

          5. Tori,
            “… now that I am free I seek help to empower myself so it won’t happen again.”
            I like this. The focus is on you. I would like an article by Dr. Simon on tips toward changes required by “victim”-types to avoid them being targeted again. But more importantly, to be free of the issues that get them hooked.

          6. R S, it’s not the victims issues!! That’s not what gets them hooked. I don’t care who says it is, there is a fine line here and to say it’s the victims issues is ignoring the dynamics at work when you are targeted. This is why even the professionals who get taken in themselves are able to get taken in. There is way too much to say about this RS, and plenty that already has been said but to blame the victim by pointing to their issues is SO much missing the point of the covert aspect and manipulation going on in one of these encounters.

          7. Puddle,
            I see what ypu are saying. I was commenting on ONE aspect of the whole interplay – the empowerment of the “victim”. I do not blame the “victim” at all. I do not see any point in blame.

          8. RS, Ok……no offense meant….I got a little triggered there and was in too much of a rush to respond in a tempered way. 🙂 I apologize if what I said was harsh.

          9. RS,,,, you essentially are saying that it’s the victims issues that get them hooked, no?
            “tips toward changes required by “victim”-types to avoid them being targeted again. But more importantly, to be free of the issues that get them hooked.”
            My opinion is that EVERYone has issues that can be exploited by one of these criminals. It can be anything, an obvious issue that makes someone needy or just the opposite,,,a strength that the psychopath envies and loathes and is determined to undermine because they don’t have it themselves. Their motivations can be more twisted than anyone who is not like them can even begin to comprehend. And I know that just the things i know about Spathtard are in and of themselves hard to comprehend. Being with one of these types is like walking into another dimension and I have no doubt that mission number one for them is to do something to get you off balance as quickly as possible. It’s a sneak attack and they are the only one who knows they are attacking. When you look at this like any other crime where the victim is unaware they are in danger BEFORE the incident occurs, you can see it a bit differently. I find it interesting that no one, in any way, “blames” an abused child or dog or elderly person’s issues for why they were abused. Can’t it be just as simple as this………they attacked you, manipulated you, used, abused and trashed you. THEY did it. No one can be on their game in all ways at all times. Sometimes even the most together person is not together. Sometimes we find ourselves in exceedingly vulnerable emotional places in life. Sickness, poverty, loss of loved ones……all PERFECT opportunities for one of these losers to get their foot in the emotionally vulnerable door and then it is game on for them and they are the only ones playing. I don’t doubt that my mother’s death, shortly before I met Spathtard, had something to do with getting tangled up with him, I took it pretty hard. I honestly look back at the whole mess now and remember it as if I was drugged or an entirely different person…..like a dream, aka a nightmare. There is a reason for that and it has nothing to do with my issues and everything to do with the fact that I was being manipulated, mislead, lied to, played, etc….by HIM.
            ” I used to think to myself that his thinking was: “If all else fails, confuse her!””
            This is exactly the tactic they use, one of them anyhow. It’s all part of their game of chicken. It’s all just so sick!

          10. Puddle,
            I just know from my own experience and that of many others that there ARE things that we could address that make us vulnerable to these types. I was hoping Dr. Simon might point out such things so that potential targets can make changes and be happier.

          11. Puddle,
            I appreciate the points you made. Let me remind you, I do not BLAME the “victim”. I do however believe in not abdicating your power. We have the responsibility, I believe, to face up to any part we play in the situation. ANY part.

          12. RS, I’m afraid we will just have to be in different camps on this one but not entirely. Fine lines are very hard to define in this format. 🙂

          1. I agree J,,,,,,,being in hope mode over someone you think you love and who loves you is a horrible place to be stuck.

    2. Some people call that inner voice the inner bully. It would be very helpful to get pointers on how to deal. I recognize it now, but sometimes it still gets so strong that it drives me into a panic. Yikes. Nasty stuff.

      1. It takes a lot of vigilance Vera that’s what I’ve found recently…I hear it start inside my head and then I say out loud…Change your thinking!! It seems to help, though I do hope no one ever hears me and think me crazy!! ;P I’m still learning though! 🙂

    3. Often, the principal factor in neurosis is an overactive conscience, and sometimes, such a conscience is dominated by a strong inner critic. In an upcoming series on the neurotic vulnerabilities character disturbed and disordered people exploit, I’ll expand upon this. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. http://www.drgeorgesimon.com/can-character-disorders-hit-bottom-do-they-ever-change/

        What about other personalities, even if it’s not exactly the inner critic at work? In this article you say that a severely disturbed character, if bottoming out, can decide to end their life, because they don’t want to take it anymore. Was it Jodi Arias, who said she was going to end her life on her own terms?

        Also what about other personality types when it comes to possible inner critic? Avoidant? Dependent? Passive-aggressive(negativistic)? Obsessive-compulsive? Histrionic? Paranoid? Schizotypal?

    1. Dr. Smon,
      “They didn’t have to “see” first what made them dysfunctional. Rather, they only needed to work hard at the process of change, and in the process they came to see quite clearly what had been holding them back in the past.” (http://counsellingresource.com/features/2014/12/01/four-steps-to-character-health/)
      This is an interesting idea. Further,
      “…making an honest appraisal …” (http://counsellingresource.com/features/2014/06/02/covert-self-monitoring-and-reinforcement/) and
      “…you have to become intimately acquainted with the kind of person you genuinely want to be.” (http://counsellingresource.com/features/2014/06/02/covert-self-monitoring-and-reinforcement/)
      I wonder what the MOTIVATION for undertaking such a behavioural change and ‘self honesty’ could be? For the character disturbed person, surely there is little motivation to do any of this.

      1. RS…..I agree. I doubt very seriously that any of the type I was involved with will ever change. What indeed could possibly motivate them?? I do think they can become better at their ability to pull off the con. I think with every encounter they gain just a few more tools in their arsenal.

        1. Spot on Puddle! I think that’s why those perpetrator programs don’t succeed, I think all they succeed in doing is giving them more information on how to get away with it next time!

          1. Tori and Puddle,

            Thank you both for your replies.
            While I obviously do stuggle to know what WOULD motivate change, I would like to think there IS a solution(s). I have left one man saying “A leopard does not change his spots” and another saying “You can lead a horse to water…”, but I think at those points I had a pretty defeated attitude. I really would like to think these people CAN be motivated.

          2. Think what you want RS! 🙂 what do you think might motivate a man who is living in his mothers basement at the age of 50ish, divorced 4 times, in bankruptcy, an alcoholic pervert, domestic abuser, parasitic liar? People instinctively find him repulsive and creepy and weird. A life history of being a f’up.
            The list goes on… Not one thing in his messed up train wreck of a life has motivated him so far, to do anything other than run back home to Mommy and sponge off of her. He clearly does not possess the self respect necessary to do anything other than continue on the same track he has been on his entire life no matter how many times life has shown him that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. Mommy will make all better. This description of Spathtard also demonstrates the power of their ability to coerce and manipulate because I honestly was able to think and FEEL that I loved this “man”.
            Not upset with you RS, just saying that, again, if they change AT ALL, it is only in a way that will further their ability to do what they do again.

          3. Puddle,
            No idea what motivates that person. If it is giving you the s_its, then it would appear he is succeeding?
            Perhaps his mother enables him? Lucky you saw his character, left and found the site to help others see it too.

          4. RS, I didn’t understand you here:
            ” If it is giving you the s_its, then it would appear he is succeeding?”
            I just don’t want to interpret so I’m asking for clarification. 🙂

          5. Puddle,
            No offense intended.
            It just seems that you are irate at him still and I think that would probably get him off.

          6. Not really irate RS, disgusted. No, I took no offense, I just didn’t understand and didn’t want to misinterpret.

          7. Obviously he is someone no one wants to have in their life knowing what he’s all about(unless they’re sociopaths themselves?). Yes, abusers, exploiters, manipulators and predators need to be seen for who they are. He is a great example how a person can go wrong.

            Puddle, you said you sometimes to that ‘that place’ and it hurts, BUT is there any way to get that resolved without needing to know all the whys? Let’s face it, you now know he’s an exploiter. That’s all anyone needs to know. There are countless individual ways in which someone can become an exploiter. You can’t know all the individual influences how someone can be such an exploiter.

          8. J, You HAVE to get to that place but it is not something that happens with a snap of the finger. Sometimes it takes years and sometimes some never get there for various reasons. Unless you have been through one of these experiences you will never know what it does to your mind. You CAN’T know, that is one of the hardest things about this is that it is virtually impossible to explain what has happened and how it has affected you to someone who has not experienced it themselves. I’m in a better place now than I was six months ago and was in a better place then than I was a year before that J.
            ” Let’s face it, you now know he’s an exploiter. That’s all anyone needs to know.” That is not all he is J. Someone can exploit another person and not do it in an intentionally cruel way hoping to inflict the worst possible damage in the process. Again, no offense and I know you mean well, your word and thoughts reflect the fact that you have not been through an experience like this. I mean that in the most not attacking and respectful way possible.
            Regarding vulnerabilities, not all vulnerabilities can be remedied and life circumstances change and can create vulnerabilities that were never there before. It’s just far more complex than saying that if you address your vulnerabilities and issues you will be immune to being targeted and taken advantage of.

          9. J, I’m not understanding this sentence…………
            “Puddle, you said you sometimes to that ‘that place’ and it hurts, BUT is there any way to get that resolved without needing to know all the whys? ”

            I think there is a word or two missing and I’m not sure what exactly you are referring to that I said and in what context?

          10. J, also, By talking about this and expressing what my feelings and thoughts and experiences have been, and some still are, it is partially a benefit to those who have recently seen the light about someone they are/ were involved with. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to me when I initially came across other peoples stories and read what they had been through. It was so validating in light of the fact that i had been invalidated and told I was wrong each and every time I had some kind of realization or suspicion, not just by Spathtard but by therapists and other people who didn’t KNOW what these types really are all about. So I hope that something I say here or elsewhere is able to help someone in the way that other people who went before me were able to help me. AND, I’m still seeing things in other people’s words about their experiences that bring clarity to what I experienced. This is like building a brick wall J, you don’t just click you fingers and there is a brick wall before you….it takes time and goes one brick (or puzzle piece?) at a time. Sometimes in the midst of that, part of the wall falls over and you have to start over in that area……it’s VERY hard to explain J! But the nature of the experience makes it very compelling TO try to understand.

          11. J, one other thing I would like to mention………..trauma and the way it can affect a person is a very strange thing. I’ve mentioned my friend who was so traumatized in Viet Nam that many MANY years later he had absolutely no recollection of being shot. He died never being able to remember being shot in Viet Nam! Even though there were records if his injury, even though he had spoken with someone who was actually on the same boat he was and witnessed this and the other horrors his mind had buried, he still had no recollection of these events. I don’t even think this can be called denial? It is trauma so severe that his brain did something with it so he would never have to see it again. Can you imagine? Well to varying degrees, this is what has happened to me and others. We have experienced a mental, emotional and psychological injury so severe and disruptive it has caused trauma on many levels. The recovery from this injury doesn’t just go in any kind of way that makes sense…..it has it;s own path and own timeline and can not be forced. Many things complicate that recovery process and for me it has had secondary and fairly severe physical aspect to it. Now on top of what happened with Spathtard I have just been targeted by this contractor and there were several smaller issues with other people in between. SO you see, these other events trigger the same wound I suffered from Spathtard. To me right now, I feel like someone took me, threw me up in the air and I landed in someone else’s life. I can’t over emphasize how entirely disorienting this is and how hard it is to get my feet on the ground in a way that feels solid enough to move forward. I feel like I’m trying to balance on the edge of a razor blade in a wind storm.
            I hope this gives you a little more insight as to why it’s so difficult to simply write it all off and move forward just accepting that he is an exploitive manipulator. I’d say one of the hardest questions, the one that lingers the longest and begs to be answered, is WHY??

          12. RS, I’m assuming that this link is directed at me and that you are indirectly saying that I am “playing the victim role”? Is that accurate?

          13. RS, “Puddle,
            No offense intended.
            It just seems that you are irate at him still and I think that would probably get him off.
            I’m sure there are many things that would get him off. He is a twisted POS. So what? Why would I temper my genuine disgust towards him and his enabling cohorts because it gets him/ them off? He means nothing and is nothing to me so what ever gets him off is no longer any concern of mine.

          14. RS,

            Many victims do want to move on. They DON’T WANT TO HAVE TRAUMATIC EFFECTS. That’s quite different from playing the victim.

            Or what is it you wanted to get across?

          15. J, I agree. There is a big difference between PLAYING the victim role to garner attention and pity (something socio/psychopaths excel at) and actually being a victim because you WERE victimized. As I said earlier, recovery from one of these encounters has a timeline of it’s own and can’t be forced or magically accomplished. It has many many unseen layers which all have to be digested bite by bite. I do believe it is possible -for me- because I know myself and see how I have progressed from where I was months ago. I also see how incredibly difficult it is and can understand how it may be more difficult for some people than others depending on a multitude of reasons.
            To say that someone WONT or doesn’t want to get over something because they are benefiting from being a victim in some way is really just showing a lack of understanding in regards to the nature of one of these encounters.

          16. “”Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first.” Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth.”
            This analogy is pointless, by the way, because an arrow is a physical problem that and be addressed physically by removing the arrow. An encounter with a psychopath leaves a residue which can not be magically removed and it’s left on many different layer of you, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, psychological.
            Not seeing the point here.

          17. Puddle,
            I was reading the comments you and J were writing and thought of a parable I had heard Eckhart Tolle say (poisoned arrow). I was not sure what the two of you were getting at but I thought the search for answers WHY these men do as they do (no sexism intended) could be futile. It is apparent in the response to D earlier, Puddle, by that obnoxious idiot, that some people just do not give a crap and will say/do anything to ‘win’. I was thinking, “why bother trying to understand the incomprehensible? Life is short!”

          18. RS, thank you for the explanation. Neurotic me took it personally INSTANTLY! 🙂
            But also didn’t know if I should…….to say the least I’m a little edgy at the moment.
            Anyhow………Tolle has much to say about a lot. To me it doesn’t matter because this experience is what it is and my experience is what it is. I feel like it it a process, part of which is asking why or wanting to know why. I think that my mind is naturally curious but when it comes to the nature of my experience with Spathtard (and as much as I’ve written about it I think I’ve barely been able to scratch the surface of trying to put it into words) it is something so bizarre and utterly disruptive that I will always want to know the totality of the “why”. Typing that just brought me to tears, knowing how I felt about him and how pure my intentions were despite some of my errors in judgement in the midst of it……..What an a-hole……he knew knew knew how much I loved him,,,,,,wrong or right, under false pretenses or not…..I loved him.

          19. Puddle,
            I am sorry for your suffering. I think you see yourself as his “victim”… now before you lose it, hear me out.
            YOU existed before him. YOU existed while he was in your life. YOU exist after him. YOU are not defined by what happened with him. YOU are much bigger than those events. While you play the story over and over, reliving the pain, you forget who YOU are. Your attention is on the suffering and his victimisation of you and IF you can move your attention away from that, onto who YOU are – much bigger than what happened – you can shift away from buying into the limiting story of “being his victim”. THAT is how I se PTSD, btw.

          20. RS, I know you mean well, I can feel it in your words but let me assure you that there is way more to me, in my life than what you see here. This is a part of my life, a place I express the hurt and my experience in order to process it, understand it and hopefully help others to do the same. If you think that I have lost myself or that my life and all I care about and enjoy stopped when this happened, you are incorrect. He could never take me away from me and I think that was part of why he wanted to destroy me and bring me to my knees. Honestly, I think he resented my spirit because he is devoid of one. NO one could ever take that from me, let alone him. I am a victim RS, and there is no shame in being a victim, at least not to me, but that is not all I am……….far from it.
            PTSD is a VERY complicated thing RS. As I have said, a very good friend of mine had the worst case of PTSD, diagnosed by military doctors and other doctors as the worst case they had ever seen. They actually blamed his death on it. To the day he died he had no recollection of the event(s) that triggered it so he most certainly wasn’t playing something over and over and over in his mind to cause him to have PTSD. And, in actuality, repetitive thoughts or intrusive thoughts are a symptom of PTSD, not the cause of it as are nightmares, which I also have.
            I appreciate that you are trying to guide me to a better path RS but honestly I’m just fine on the path I’m on. 🙂 This is a web site for sharing our experiences, thoughts and feelings so please don’t misinterpret my doing so in the way you are.I hope that doesn’t come across as harsh but sense that I am being seen inaccurately.

          21. Being a victim does not automatically mean you are only that in other words……can’t a person be a victim without it meaning they have lost themselves?

          22. Puddle,
            I am sorry about your friend.
            Just to clarify, playing things over can happen consciously or unconsciously. Both are harmful.

          23. Puddle,
            While you think of yourself as a ‘victim’ you feel all that is entailed in that – helplessness, among other things. You can only have your attention on a limited amount of things at any one time.

          24. RS, Do you see someone who was brutally raped as a victim? Or my friend’s son who got his head bashed in with an iron pipe for NO reason by some punk kid and now has a traumatic brain injury which could affect him the rest of his life? Why the big hang up here? What is your contention with the term victim? Someone can be a victim of a crime and not be just that and they can also move past it eventually in due time. I’m not going to say that I wasn’t victimized by Spathtard any more than I would say I wasn’t mugged if i had been mugged RS. Why in the world would i? if i was mugged and robbed I wouldn’t say that someone approached me and I handed them my purse and asked them to hit me over the head, I would say I was mugged!

          25. RS, Of course I feel everything that goes along with being a victim, just like someone who is raped feels everything that goes along with that. Why would you expect not to. Does that mean you will feel that for the rest of your life? I doubt it. Does it mean you might feel some of it the rest of your life? Probably.

            To be honest RS, I’m not following your point about consciously or unconsciously. how is someone supposed to put a stop to something that is playing over and over in their unconscious mind or subconscious?

          26. Puddle,
            I do not like the term ‘victim’. I think it has been used in so many ways, it has lost it’s meaning. I see the word as meaning someone who had no power over the situation at all. A gand raped woman has been assaulted terribly. She has not created it. She can think of herself as their ‘victim’, or think of herself as someone apart from that.
            You say to Tori these men hand you a hook – a thing you really desire (unconsciously, maybe). I think you are right in saying they victimise, but she must take the bait to be victimised. She has participated. It is our duty to protect ourselves from being hoodwinked and should one slip through, we owe it to ourselves to walk away. We aso owe to ourselves to make it so that there is not something inside us that these ‘lock pickers’ can use in order to abuse us. I am talking about responsibility – with responsiblility comes power… power over ourselves to be in control of our lives and not be vulnerable to their BS.

          27. Puddle,
            “…how is someone supposed to put a stop to something that is playing over and over in their unconscious mind…?”
            Try grounding techniques, being present/mindfulness.

          28. …or exposure, so that what is unprocesssed is not “on the desk top” threatening to appear at any moment and scare the bejesus out of you.

          29. RS you know when you say people participate in their victimisation that is very much the way my ex would lay the blame for his behaviour on to me. I must say I resent that implication. I may have fallen for a remorseless POS…because he portrayed himself to be something he was not BUT I certainly didn’t sign up to have the air squeezed out of my lungs!! You can’t judge people for reasons on why they may stay or get themselves entwined in these situations. There’s many a professional who has been duped by these characters.
            I am certainly empowered now…NOW that I KNOW what to look for but I would never believed I was walking into the hell I did at the time.
            There’s a fine line to tread there when you say we owe to ourselves to walk way, be empowered…when in a relationship that is violent or potentially violent these kinds of men see that as a threat to their dominance…it is not so easy to JUST walk away! Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted what you have said but I’ve never been fond of that kind of judgement on VICTIMS/SURVIVORS!!

          30. RS, you forget some simple things.

            Victimizers are DECEPTIVE. They also TAKE NO RESPONSIILITY, hence victim blaming, shaming and other manipulative maneuvers.

            It IS important to seek out information so that we don’t get victimized. The necessity is because such vile people exist at all.

          31. Well said J and Tori……..when I hear someone say that the victim participated in their exploitation or abuse it tells me that the person saying this was never actually manipulated or deceived. Maybe they think this because they DID actually participate in their encounter and are now seeing how they were apart of it and had their own hidden agenda or something to gain. There really are people who are targeted and covertly manipulated and deceived,,,,,un knowingly played, etc. Just because you have a human need or desire for love, companionship, etc. and were tricked into believing the person who abused you was operating under the same desire doesn’t mean you participated in your exploitation or abuse. I’m with you 110% Tori and thank you J for recognizing the difference.

          32. RS, your comments are not really making sense to me at all. It’s like they don’t quite align with what I’m actually saying. One example…….This unconscious issue of playing things over and over……My friend, the Viet Nam friend………If he doesn’t even KNOW there is something playing over and over in his subconscious,,,,,,how would he know to be mindful of his subconscious. Sorry, not making sense to me. Actually this train of “discussion” doesn’t make sense to me, like you are pulling things out of the air to counter whatever is said as long as it has to to with the word victim…..if you don’t like the word that is fine, don’t use it. AND, if you are going to say that I said something,,,,,,then please be sure you are quoting something I actually said. I did not say they HAND you a seed, I said they plant a seed.
            I’m starting to get the feeling we have met before on a different site RS…………. maybe a blog. Your argument discussion style feels very familiar. Kind of like stepping in quicksand. I’m done.

          33. “… when I hear someone say that the victim participated in their exploitation or abuse…”
            Puddle (and others),
            What I SAID was “I think you are right in saying they victimise, but she must take the bait to be victimised. She has participated.”
            I did not say she was participating in her abuse. I was saying that the “hook” you referred to (and I should say I was not quoting you directly when you corrected me on the paraphrase)is something that would not be effective unless the woman takes the bait. SHE chooses a relationship with the guy. She does not choose abuse. Two different things.


          1. He isn’t from where i live and neither am I. I made every mistake possible and ignored and misinterpreted/ got talked out of SO many red flags. They are so good at getting you bonded up with them, of course they never bond with you……I was putty. Easily confused, fast and deep bonder,,,,,,love hungry,,,,romantic……
            I handed it to him I guess……I didn’t know how deep I was jumping. I knew but I didn’t KNOW. It doesn’t make any sense in SO many ways.

          2. its so interesting for me to read things from earlier on in my recovery process. Self notes, emails, poems, posts on web sites. What an interesting process of figuring things out this has been. Many steps, many layers. The other day I was reading an email I had written a friend, from pretty early on and I could so clearly see where I was in this whole process. It made me cry just re reading it.

          3. Puddle big ((HUG)) it would be hard to go back over it all but Wow how far have you come in your knowledge!! Onward and upward Puddle! You show great courage and best of luck with your next challenge! Keep going strong!! 🙂

          4. As do you Dear Tori! All of what you said, right back to you!
            {{{Huge huge SUPER hug}}} to you!! LOL! 🙂

    1. Hello all — re the poisoned arrow post — yes, if it were me, I’d want the arrow out, NOW. However, then I would want to know who shot me, and why.

      People have different styles of coping. Puddle, you have made great progress since I started following here, you are doing the equivalent of “journalling” and very probably have helped a great many people along the way.

      Saying that everyone should do things “the way I did” is to invalidate someone else’s experience because it wasn’t done the way you would have done it. It’s sort of like saying everyone should wear a size 2 shoe — not going to happen here. And another example — a former friend kept telling me I should go to a particular website and watch their videos of “talking heads” explaining about this or that. At the time I had an elderly computer in which the motherboard would support only 512k RAM, it would freeze up, I’d have to reboot multiple times. In addition, because I read very fast, prox. 6 – 8 times faster than a person can talk, I much prefer reading a transcript than waste my time listening to someone who may not be a polished speaker. “..um..ah…” etc.

      I might suggest something that I think would help someone, but because my brain is wired very differently than most people’s, I would not insist that “my way is the only way.” As I have told some problem customers, these are my business policies; if you don’t like them, you are free to take your business elsewhere. Or to put it another way, if you don’t like the TV show you’re watching, change the channel.

      So Puddle, hang in there, you are on the right track for You, Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Hi Elva, I’m not saying everyone should do anything the way I did it. Did I say that? I’m not sure where you are coming from Elva and again, I don’t want to misinterpret.

        1. Hi Puddle — what I was referring to was other people trying to tell you that you should do it their way. I should have been more specific. People recover in different ways, at different rates. You are coping as best you can, more power to you! Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Elva, that is sweet and very much appreciated. We are all recovering in our own way at our own pace,,,,,Thank you for your explanation. I don’t know about you or anyone else but this format leaves so much room for misunderstandings. Most often I’m in a rush to either read posts or leave them and then in some instances there are some language barriers and culture differences……it can be very frustrating to really feel heard or to feel like i understand sometimes. Face to face or voice to voice is just so much more complete.
            You know, I am always so “impressed” with how much wisdom, compassion and insight is here. It’s basically the only site of this type I trust.
            I apologize that I didn’t understand your meaning in the way it was intended.
            {{{Hug to you Elva}}}

      2. “Saying that everyone should do things “the way I did” is to invalidate someone else’s experience because it wasn’t done the way you would have done it.”
        When did I say this Elva? You are using quotations as if I actually said this and I didn’t. Can I ask where this is coming from? And thank you for recognizing the progress that I have made. I feel it and see it.

        1. Hi Puddle — I apologize for not stating exactly what I was thinking. I thank you for the hug and here’s one back to you ((hug!)). You said in one of your posts above that RS’s style seemed familiar, somewhat “disjointed” and that you are done (with her) — (I’m paraphrasing) — I had that feeling from her (?) first post and onward, glad to see you agree with me. Her posts seemed to flit here and there — gave me the “be very careful of what this one says” feeling. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Elva…….Bingo. I appreciate you speaking up in unison on this, It was difficult for me to say what I said. So, I ran into someone on a blog site a while back and really befriended her and I thought vise a versa………It was quite an experience. Suffice it to say there really ARE -hint—-> Wolves in Sheeps Clothing, even amongst the survivor/ victim sites and that was not my first encounter with that type of run in. Just SO bizarre. I ignored several signs that this person was other than the pretended to be but then the truth hit in an undeniable way, all the pieces fell into place and Good Bye……
            SO, the discussions involving RS are reminding me more and more of her “style”, like saying I said something, tweaking a little bit to sound different than I had meant it?? Reminds me of…………….oh,,,,,,I don’t know……SPATHTARD??? Eee Eee Eee Eee!! Eee Eee Eee Eee!! That is supposed to sound like the Twilight Zone by the way! LOL!

          2. Hey Elva…………I think of being manipulated and conned like this……Imaging being out to a pub for a beer or two and maybe a bite to eat. You get up to answer an urgent need to use the flush and while you are in the leu someone slips a little something in your adult beverage. You go from 0 to 60 in about a half hour and wake up in someone else’s bedroom naked and fully aware that something other than a back rub occurred. Did you have sex with this person? Yes. Did you choose to have sex with this person? technically yes, you DID have sex with this person knowing the full and exact situation? No……..they changed your ability to engage in a conscious choice by slipping something into your drink that would impair your ability to see the situation clearly and respond knowingly. It opened the door to your primitive self and side stepped your rational mind’s normal ability to make an educated decision to have sex with this person or not. Weakened your defenses, etc, etc, etc……….. I see that what these manipulators do is no different. they do not use drugs (some do) but they deceive and misrepresent who they really are there by making it impossible to really know, REALLY know who they are………….until it’s too late. They can’t keep the mask on forever and I think they resent needing one in the first place. Probably deep down inside they think we owe it to them to accept them just the way they are……….you know, like mommy does?? LOL!!
            I know I’m preaching to the choir Elva…..Just one of those moments of clarity things.

  5. Puddle,

    I meant if there is any way to really get rid of all the hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy, far from it. You’ve posted a poem or two here and that obviously is a very creative way to deal with things. It’s just when anyone says “hut will never leave” doesn’t that make hurt worse?

    This also ties to what RS just linked to. Like I said, playing the victim and wanting to get on from that are two different things.

    But it does remind me of this: paralysis of analysis. That’s it. Paralysis of analysis. You folks probably have heard it somewhere.

    1. Hi J — re “hurt” — no, the hurt never goes away entirely. Over time the wounds are covered over with scar tissue, but scars remain extra sensitive to abrasion. I still wonder, sometimes, what my life might have been like if my female biological parent had wanted and loved me. She sent me and my younger sister out to be shot and left for dead when I was only 4 years old. The emotional scars will be with me until I die. No, I’m not playing the victim here, just stating the facts. I’ve managed to make a reasonably good life for myself, and tried to help other people along the way.

      When you trust another person with your deepest love, and that person betrays you, there WILL be scars. The best I can do sometimes is just to listen to the other person, I can’t take away the soul-deep hurt. All I can give is sympathy, because I’ve been there too. I suggest websites which might help the other person in coming to accept the loss and move on, but for some it takes years. Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Elva, I’m sorry for your pain and I can see and understand why you would have sensitive scare from such a trauma, so young in life. Very sad.
        So a scar, a physical scar, DOES remain sensitive….it can be over sensitive and it can also be partially desensitized or numb…..kind of interesting. I never thought about that before.

    2. I’m asking folks here, who HAVE experienced things.

      Is there a way to so come in grips with such hurt that it dissipates, dissolves? So that it no longer feels that there’s a special place within oneself that’s painful to come?

    3. J, For some, the hurt will never leave. For some, it is SO bad they are driven to suicide and short cut the process because they couldn’t manage it. For some it will leave faster than for others. Did I say it will never leave? I said that getting over the experience is a process and that it is different for everyone so if someone takes longer than others do it does not necessarily mean they are hanging on to the victim roll for any reason, just that they are still in that process.
      But I will say this, the analysis part is part and parcel to the process for everyone because we are dealing with something so foreign. It’s part of the bite by bite digestion of the experience. I don’t think i would have been able to walk away from him emotionally if I didn’t analyze the craziness of the whole thing and get to a place where i was able to see what was really going on.

      1. Hi Puddle and Elva, I can understand exactly. I know the pain won’t go away entirely. It’s too deep. I can say as I have that wow I am in a good place and feel good about parts of it now but that underlying pain is always there and it always will to a point. Despite what progress I believe I’ve made something so minor can trigger a flashback. A stranger in the street last week had me in a sheer moment of panic, he looked and smiled at me and it was like my ex’s sneer. Stopped me in my tracks and had me shaking. Nightmares come and go. The thing is getting back to who you are takes time and for everyone it is different.
        Learning to trust in yourself and others after such an experience is so difficult…I’ve been dealing with this as a friend contacted me and wants to see me. They were a shared friend with my ex and immediately I go into “why…what’s going on? Is it something to do with x?” Nothing is simple any more, the fear of more trauma is always there. It’s not the victim mode it’s about surviving, learning about what went on and moving forward at a pace that ensures a good recovery. My counsellor says all the time… so what are you going to do with this experience? And I think there in lies the way to deal with it and each of us in our own way uses the experience to move on and maybe help people along the way by sharing our stories. If it makes one person feel less alone or crazy then it’s a great thing and a step forward. I don’t know that we can ever understand the reasoning of these Character Deficient people but we can at least put the experiences into some sort of perspective that helps us heal. Just my two bobs worth! 🙂

        1. Tori,
          “… maybe help people along the way by sharing our stories.” I understand that one treatment for PTSD is to find meaning in the event(s)that have been difficult. I think that is a great way to do this. I think it is great to hear someone share an experience and this can be a point of connection with others in similar sitations, but also an opportunity to help others because of what happened to you. I think it is important to also express your story alongside a story of recovery and hope, if you can.

          1. RS, I do believe you have a point there as that’s what I try to do. There is always hope and I believe there is a recovery of sorts…maybe not a complete recovery because you will never be the same after experiencing such trauma. But recovery takes patience and not everyone can merge through these things quickly or easily. Everyone is different in the way they approach their own healing. Survival will often dictate how you work through things too. I have a child to care for, so there was no time to think but just act. So work, study and being a mum gets me through. If anything my hope comes from seeing my son grow into a responsible young man who will treat others with respect. So I learn from sites such as these and whatever I can. The point is not to be too hard on yourself and expect too much. I’ve heard often that it takes an average of 3 years to really come to terms with the reality of living in an abusive relationship. Though I wouldn’t like to put any time frame on it!
            I think too that people speaking openly and honestly about it is a form of hope as that initiates discussion that inspires change.

        2. Oh Tori……I understand exactly what you mean.
          ” Despite what progress I believe I’ve made something so minor can trigger a flashback. A stranger in the street last week had me in a sheer moment of panic, he looked and smiled at me and it was like my ex’s sneer. Stopped me in my tracks and had me shaking. Nightmares come and go. The thing is getting back to who you are takes time and for everyone it is different.
          Learning to trust in yourself and others after such an experience is so difficult…I’ve been dealing with this as a friend contacted me and wants to see me. They were a shared friend with my ex and immediately I go into “why…what’s going on? Is it something to do with x?” ”
          I have been having this happen repeatedly during this whole contractor thing. This one guy who did the repairs after the bad contractor was gone…..lives right across the street (basically) from where Spathtard and his mommy live. I don’t know how many times he said something that sounded like it came right out of Spathtard’s mouth. The way he answered the phone………..EXACTLY like spathtard. several phrases……the only time I had ever heard them was from Spathtard. Just weird and I’m still uncertain about it all. then Bam…..I had a nightmare about him,,,,, I don’t know what to think, there have been so many of these little incidents……just typing that made me stop breathing…..deep breath. So this guy initially says he doesn’t know Spathtard, then when pressed says he was down there once to meet a contractor who was working on mommy’s house……………..really??? Go on…………………and???? I have no idea what the truth is out of ANYone’s mouth these days. He did a fantastic job doing what I hired him to do but I’m not sure what to think……some red flags to be sure.

        3. Tori………what they do is appeal to (target) your most vulnerable place and plant a seed. The seed takes root and works it’s way in deep. this is how they are able to start the process. Once they think you are on the hook, they jerk it a couple times and if you don’t spit it out, they know it’s game on. This also destabilizes you because it’s so contrary to what has been the norm. They have you.
          It’s just too hard to know because they tailor make themselves into what will get them what they want and can morph and tweak the act at a moments notice. The reason Im saying this is because I see why this is such a painful painful thing to get past. They “give” you something, something you may never have even admitted to yourself that you wanted but deep inside you wanted it more than you knew. They hand it to you on a silver platter and eventually hit you over the head with it. It’s not your issues that enabled them to do this, it’s their ability to read you like a book and find just the right way to gain access, like someone who knows how to pick locks.

          1. Planting the seed is an apt term Puddle. My ex loves to do this and likes to think he’s clever so he will intimidate and threaten through what seem to be benign messages. Of course I know what is meant but try convincing someone who doesn’t get it! Coincidences just don’t happen with these guys its manipulate all the way to keep you on edge.

          2. Tori,
            Recently had a small run in with leopard-spots guy. He was using all sorts of things to hook me. I could feel myself reacting to his behaviours, but I elected to NOT REACT, DISTRACT myself by talking with someone else, CHALLENGING his behaviour with ASSERTIVENESS and NOT doing what he was telling me to do, rather MAKING MY OWN CHOICES. Result? He backed the f-ck off.

        4. Hi Tori — the hurt / pain diminishes a little bit with the passage of time, but never goes away entirely. You spoke of seeing a stranger who somewhat resembled your ex, and how you felt. I can relate to that. About 15 years ago, my foster parents’ adopted daughter sent me a small flat package of odds and ends that she had found when cleaning stuff out after my foster mother died. I opened it all unknowingly to find it was mostly photographs from a bad time in my life. Sis had no idea because much of this stuff happened before she was born. But looking at those photos was like having a bomb go off in my face. It brought back really bad memories, and that night I had nightmares all night LONG. I was worthless the next day. And to this day (I’m 74 now) if I hear a woman’s low pitched voice with a New England accent, it triggers an immediate “fight or flight” response and I have to take several deep breaths and remind myself that the monster is dead. Fortunately New England accents are rare in the western U.S. Anyway, keep studying and learning — it’s all we can do, along with trying to encourage others we meet along life’s way. Peace and hope from Elva

    4. Yes, I’ve heard of paralysis of analysis but I would have to say this is the opposite J…..i can’t think of anything that rhymes though.

      1. J, I see the wisdom behind the “paralysis of analysis” concept in general….I really do. In the States there is a beer commercial that says “Why Ask Why………”. Kind of similar maybe! LOL! BUT, it’s kind of an “it is what it is” thing? And I see that. Normally I would say,,,,,,,,yes,,,,your right, I know I should just let it go and accept it at face value. This is different and to really be able to put into words exactly why it’s different……..on every level…….I’ve ALMOST come to accept would be impossible.
        🙂 Your welcome!

  6. Dr Simon, is it possible to get thoughts on how traditional psychological theories came to believe what they do? Is it possible to get a deeper look into WHY old theories think that everyone is defending against unpleasant realities instead of coping aggressively? Could it help topple those old beliefs by studying what things have influenced them?

    1. For example, where did Freud get his influences? Have there been other ages during which similar beliefs(that everyone has deep wounds and no one has temper tantrums) have run rampant? Have there been periods of time before when there weren’t such misconceptions, exploiters were seen for exploiters and immoral actions were not excused?

      1. J, there certainly are other cultures where it’s a “one strike your out” policy. In India for instance a pick pocketer get’s their “clean hand’s” ( the one used for eating and not the toilet) fingers cut off. They don’t care if this person wasn’t breast fed or their father humiliated them in front of a group of women or whatever! Marked for life as a thief! This is not an urban legend but I don’t know if it is common practice these days. Many other cultures have much harsher measures in place but I don’t know how far reaching these measures are and it seems like the cultures that are like this are also the same cultures that have tried to keep women in “in their place”.

    2. The basic answer to this, J, is that the phenomenon these early theorists were witnessing (i.e. pathological levels of neurosis) was very real and perplexing. And it isn’t that they were so misguided in understanding its character and origins. Rather, it’s that they overgeneralized their findings to formulate as sort of “theory of everything” with respect to how human beings operate. Overgeneralization has tended throughout history to be a major source of misunderstanding and arrest in our growth in knowledge.

      1. Comes to mind a text by Jung that I recently happened to read, in Structure and Dynamics of Psyche: Jung talks about dissociability of psyche. Surprisingly, some things never cross that consciouness threshold due to not being highly stimulating at all. Sounds like one basic piece for old theories.

        Just an interesting thought, this supposed dissociability of psyche.

        1. Hi J, I don’t think I’m following you but I’m not familiar with Jung’s writings, only his name basically. I think I’m getting stuck on the word “dissociability”, is that one of his terms?

      2. “Overgeneralization has tended throughout history to be a major source of misunderstanding and arrest in our growth in knowledge.”

        And it still is!

        1. “Overgeneralization has tended throughout history to be a major source of misunderstanding and arrest in our growth in knowledge.”
          And it still is!

  7. Dr. Simon,
    Just heard this weeks Character Matters talk. Thank you. I appreciated most of the comments you made. Particularly, I was interested in ’emotional dependence’ and I wonder if people who are dependent on a man feel so disatisfied in the relationship that they perceive they are stuck in, complain about it (“victimhood”) to relieve the tension/frustration, rather than undertaking the feared option of leaving him. I would have liked to have heard more on the other topics you mention early on, but I see you ran out of time.

  8. RS,

    When I was a kid I was raped while hitch-hiking, by a stranger. Was I a victim? Sure. But it was over in a matter of minutes. It was humiliating and ugly and sad. I told the spath about it. He swore he would try to ‘help’ me get over the trauma of this event and many others from many decades ago. I wasn’t asking for help but he nurtured and cared about me and made me feel pretty, important and less like the human trash that was still residual in my personality.

    He set this all up and God knows why. He eventually acted in such a vindictive, cruel manner, I still can’t quite believe it happened.

    I would rather be gang raped by strangers than endure the nightmare of feeling truly loved and adored for the first time in my life by a monster who would suddenly pull the rug out from beneath me, in an act of emotional sadism. After he became bored the only use he had for me was the enjoyment he felt when he blindsided me.

    So, playing these things over in our minds is sometimes necessary to process them. Not only are we victims; we are victims of the most extreme form of emotional abuse. The worst cases of emotional abuse are often almost indescribable. You have to ‘be there’. You have to be the person who is being mentally tortured, along the lines the abuser knows will most likely upend and possibly destroy you.

    As terrible as being beaten or raped are, if it happens early on that type of spath has broadcast their intent and there is a chance of escape. Stealth psychos are the worst.

    Everybody deals with the aftermath differently. They shouldn’t be judged.

    1. LisaO……everyone’s experience with one of these creatures is realitive and unique. It’s hard to really “get” how deep another persons wounded-ness can be. Spathtard went really deep to a place so old, it’s so amazing how he found that so quickly, like a magnet! You are so right…. Stealth kills, it’s one of the hardest things to process about all of this….. The memories of them when you thought you knew who they were only now you know they are not? Mind twisting and convoluted. Have you heard when people have to flush the toilet more than once?? Kind of like that.

    2. LisaO,
      I am sorry that you were raped as a child. I cannot imagine how that was. I would imagine the trauma would be ongoing after the event, to some extent at least. I hope you have found some help in the right places. Glad you are done with the ex.

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