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Don’t blame victims, but do hold them accountable

This week events in my life have and people I encountered got me thinking about the blaming of victims. Coincidentally, I discovered this quote from Attorney Wendy Murphy. She wrote this in a comment answering others who commented on her blog:

It doesn’t matter if Sandra Boss was a ‘gold-digger’ anymore than it matters that the mother of Michael Jackson’s latest victim ‘consented’ to her child being allowed to sleep at Jackson’s home. It’s equally wrong to rape a child – even if the victim makes it easier on the criminal to commit the crime because she’s ill, or dumb, or uneducated, etc. There’s no such thing as a criminal being ‘partly guilty’. There’s only guilty – or not guilty.

Victims can make bad decisions that we might think of as increasing their risk of being victimized – but the CRIMINAL law sees these things as vulnerabilities – not liabilities – because we don’t want criminals taking advantage of certain ‘types’ of people (even selfish ones). Civil tort cases are treated differently – where responsibility can be distributed among the parties. A crime victim is not a ‘party’ to the criminal case. So, the fact that a person might not protect him or herself well is never an excuse for ANOTHER PERSON’S crime – or a reason to give a harm-doer a discount. If it were – the law would effectively be indulging the idea that certain ‘types’ of people deserve to be victimized (or – put another way – certain ‘types’ deserve better protection from violence). Victims and perpetrators do not stand on equal moral footing.

Perpetrators are charged with crime while victims are presumed by the charge to have suffered harm. Because victims have not even been accused of criminal harm, they are not parties to the criminal case, and are not being judged on issues of guilt and responsibility. This reflects the principle that whether you’re a nun or a homeless prostitute – you are seen as equal in the eyes of the criminal law when you are injured by crime. For all these reasons, it is irrelevant whether Sandra Boss was marrying the name rather than the man – etc – and it is irrelevant whether Stephen Fagan’s wife had ‘issues’. No person ‘deserves’ to be victimized by violence – and unless we fiercely refuse to weigh the moral behavior of the victim in determining the guilt of the accused, we cannot possibly respect this core principle.

I agree with what Attny. Murphy says here. But I want to add that it is important for those who have had encounters with psychopaths to take stock of the experience and to question “Why me?” Asking then answering that question promotes healing, allows for personal growth and gives a person the opportunity to forgive him/herself for any mistakes that contributed to the psychopathic life disaster. Taking responsibility is empowering because it acknowledges the real control we have over the choices we make.

Today one of my friends wrote this to me, ”I fully accept that MY CHOICES which I made were the choices that hurt me, hurt others, etc. Actually, some of those choices I knew at the time were probably not “ideal” or “right” but I did them anyway, and of course they blew up in my face.”

I’ll say publicly to this friend, “I understand and believe you can make better choices/decisions in the future.” Because I believe it for you, I can also believe it for myself.

The degree to which we are able to extend our understanding to another’s mistakes determines how we accept our own. We don’t need to deny or excuse our own or another victim’s mistakes. We should instead hold each other accountable to do the real soul searching and to make better choices in the future.


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63 Comments on "Don’t blame victims, but do hold them accountable"

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Liane,
WELL WRITTEN. I blame myself for putting myself in a position to be hurt, but I also believe that when I knew to do better, I did. I couldn’t see til I could see, or hear til I could hear. Denial is a very powerful coping mechanism.
Just today, I had to make the 80 mile trip to the city where the S, myself and our children lived. As I drove past the old life symbols I knew (homes we lived in, schools the children went to, churches we attended, friends homes we visited, etc.), I wondered how he could have pretended to be such a normal family man. Then, I quickly realized how much effort I exerted trying to “normalize” our situation.
As I look back, I see so many red flags – everything was always about him. I grew up being taught that a man was the head of the home and the woman was the heart. I stayed home and played house and mommy, and was content in that role. I just knew that if I could keep my man happy, we would have a wholesome, God-loving family. The only problem is that no matter what I did, it didn’t operate properly. I taught him how to abuse me by not respecting myself or having boundaries. I kept taking him back after numerous affairs. I made excuses for him when he didn’t work. I joined him on every “geographical” move we made, moving 30 times in 20 years, and dragging our chidren out of school all over the country. The S was restless, and constantly on the run. The idea of us not being together was unfathomable to me. We were in a religious cult together, so I was brainwashed twice. Although I have had to make amends to our children, and anyone else who was affected by all of this, as I look back, I am appalled by my OWN behavior for tolerating this and being a participant. I will live with this for the rest of my life. What I have had to do is realize that I was sick, not bad. My behavior was horribly dysfunctional and brought untold trauma to my children and myself, as well as my family of origin. While in the cult, and the S relationship, I was encouraged to cut off ties with my family of origin including siblings, parents, friends, etc. Brainwashing is an unbelievable tool to rape souls and exude power, intimidation and control.
Yes, I can, and do make better decisions and choices today. I now hold myself and others accountable for making better choices today, and while I am not perfect, I am making progress.

Dear Liane,

Wonderful and very timely article!

Housie, I totally agree with you..in looking back at my own POOR CHOICES, even when I saw the RED FLAGS, and chose to cover them up with my “rose-colored glasses” of MALIGNANT HOPE, DENIAL and DELUSION, I allowed the Ps to continue to abuse me and others as well. When I made the choices that were the “lesser of two evils” (knowing they were not good choices) I told myself there were NO OTHER choices, but in my heart I knew there were, I just didn’t want to face the pain of MAKING THOSE HARD CHOICES…denial was easier.

To this day, my egg donor makes the “easy” (easier for her) choice of “not believing” my P-son tried to have me killed, blaming the Trojan Horse psychopath he sent and my X-DIL rather than my P-son, even though she saw, in HIS OWN HAND WRITING, the evidence to convict him of conspiracy with the TH-P and my X-DIL to kill me…it is “easier” for her to give up all contact with her other grandsons and with me than it is to admit that HER CHOICES almost cost me my life, and my son C’s life…she refuses to acknowledge her responsibility or to be accountable for her choices and actions.

I know from personal experience how painful it is to assume responsibility for my own choices, my own actions, that helped to ensure that my abuse and the abuse of others continued….I paid the price for those choices by the continuing consequences and pain caused by those choices.

It did not mean in ANY way that I was to “blame” for what the psychopaths did to me, but it would have ENDED SOONER if I had set boundaries, if I had said “this isn’t working for me” or “I will not tolerate any more of that behavior,” if I had made different choices.

I have finally found the strength and resolve to end the pain caused by my previous choices, and to forgive myself for making those choices which led to such chaos in my life for so long. Like your friend, some of the choices I made, I knew at the time were not “the best” choice by any means, but I made it anyway, suffered the consequences of that choice–but I did learn.

Accepting the responsibility and being accountable for those choices (whether they were made because I was tricked, in denial, or just plain stupid) is what finally freed me to FORGIVE MYSELF and to quit holding “grudges” against even the people who deliberately hurt me, knowing they were hurting me, intending to hurt me. I read today a really good quote from a Christian parole officer, from Snakes in Suits, it was :

Criminial: “I found Jesus”
Parole officer: “Congratulations, you’re going to heaven, but for now, you are GOING TO JAIL”

I do hope the people who have hurt me in their lives do find “redemption” and “remorse” and turn their lives around, but in the mean time, THE EARTHLY CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR BEHAVIOR are still VALID.

I feel very guilty. Probably, most of the time if not all of the time. I have chosen to ignore the red flags, I have chosen to believe what I heard and not what I saw. And – now I have my kids to worry about. The worst of it all, is that I had to meet eye to eye with the P and I made a mistake of looking. It was horrible for me, because I was right back to pain and longing. so, I blame myself once more…
A lot to discuss with my counselor, but most importantly, – how do you go on when you know that you had been an accomplice to victimization of others because of simple desire to be loved, valued & cared about.

PINOW,
You go on because you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. You were “trauma-bonded”.Pain and longing were the two words I used the most. I deeply believe that the addiction to him was so deep, that I could not extricate myself from him as badly as I wanted to. I begged God to remove the addiction – all the while wondering how I could survive without him. For years I begged God, and would literally curl up in a fetal position and feel feelings so deep that the pain was beyond words. I now realize I can no more feel guilty for being powerless over this than I could over any other thing in my life – and I have been powerless over food and people, and things that have brought me pain. Through all of this, I found ONE who had all power, and He has done for me what I could not do for myself. I just had to surrender. This is ONLY my story. Perhaps it has worked differently for others. What happened for me is that God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself in His own time and way. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t have to do the work of changing and letting go and doing the footwork of ending the relationship and making amends; some living amends by living my life differently by making healthier choices. I had to go NO CONTACT just as a druggie would have to be willing to give up the drugs. The S is no longer welcome in my thoughts or life, and only in my thoughts as I journal and process, or talk to my therapist. I had to realize that I was looking for love in the wrong places with the wrong person. There is hope here, and healing and a new beginning, Pinow. Move into the solution, and the problem can become a part of your past that brought you to where you are today!!

PINOW,
OH!!! The person I had to love was ME. Now my relationships come out of a place in me that operates out of love and not desperation. I can SHARE myself with someone rather than want someone in my life to fill a place that only myself and God can fill.

OMG, Housie, this is so right. It seemed so easy in my mind; I even told him: you take care of me and I take care of the world. I thought he was empowering me, all the while wondering why I felt so drained. I have tried asking God, I am bound with a child and my own stupidity and the worst realization that came only few days ago: If he’d be back, I am not sure I’d be able to resist. So, I am connected on every level of every cell and I cannot break free and this madness is terrifying. (Like, he stole my mind). You all have been an incredible support. I think this blog is what stands between me and total madness.
To top things off, I just had a date from hell. And – do you not compare your dates with the P’s first dates? I do – to make sure I am not a sucker again, and also – to acknowledge that I’ve never felt happier yet… Thank you for your response. I appreciate your wisdom and giving me hope

Housie wrote; “You go on because you did the best you could with what you knew at the time.”

It was these words from my first counselor when I got “out” that took away any doubt os any viable guilt I felt. I had been powerless, no matter what I did or didn’t do.

Furthermore, I realized that the words, divorce, call the police, boundaries, and several others just weren’t in my vocaabulary. At one time, as I was first thinking about these wise words that rang true with my instincts, I considered that I had been in denial and truly had been a victim. Truly, I did realize that I was a true victim when I learned of the evil smear campaign, but realized endurance with grace (with God’s continued help) was the only choice I had.

However, I know fully that I was not a victim of my controlled “stockholm marriage” because as I prayed daily (as Housie and surely many others) I did make the choice to stay true to my moral value system. All of my choices were centered in those.

The ONLY choices I could have made were 1) never to accept a second date with him and 2) never to have walked down that aisle. I do take responsibility for those two choices. Yet, even then, it is only HINDSIGHT that made me aware of those two possible choices I could have made.

Bottom line: I was conned, trapped, and used but I didn’t know it! How can one make choices with information that is unknown? Therefore, the only guilt I have suffered is what “giving” my children such a disordered father caused them. But, again, do I even desreve to feel guilty of that? Of course, I would never have had children with the “man” if I had known what I know noe. One can’t turn back the clock. Time marches on, not backwards.

This is MY story and may or may not be true of others concerning the topic of this thread. My heart is full of empathy for all those who struggle with “victimhood” and its resulting guilt.

PS I am not feeling well — so I hope I have expressed myself in a clear manner. I am not perfect — except in the eyse of my Lord and Savior.. He loves me so I can love myself.

ARRGGHHHH! Why was I raped when I was 12 by a total stranger? Because I was dumb enough to feel safe babysitting in a police officer’s home? Why did I have the tv on which preventing me from hearing someone was entering the house? Why did I believe the police officer/home owner when he said I should tell no one, even though I had a clear description of the guy? (Turned out to be his nephew).

I’m totally in agreement with the attorney. And I don’t think the question should be “Why me?” But “how do I best protect myself against bad guys in the future?” The BAD GUY was the problem, NOT YOU.

And let’s not forget that if you DO ask “why me” , for many of us the answer is we were in a vulnerable time in our life in the first place.

Just like an athlete needs to know that she has a weak knee, and what she can do to protect that while she is competing, or what sports to avoid….without deciding she is a TERRIBLE athlete because OMG “I have a weak knee!”….. so do we need to see our vulnerabilities clearly and honestly, and learn to protect them. Or we can work to strengthen the knee, work to strengthen ourselves. But I submit that we get to that work faster without beating ourselves up first and we need to be very careful of how we think about this whole issue, even in our own heads.

A group of former runners might all find that they found the same weak spots…their heels, their knees, their hips. Not many runners quit because of weak wrists. We were the sport of psychopaths,who operate in many predictable ways, so it is not surprising that we victims find we have many of the same vulnerabilities….trusting too soon for example. Or trauma repetition which is a NATURAL, predictable response to trauma. But I see us beating up on ourselves. I beat up on myself. Boy oh boy, was I ever going to hold myself accountable!!! And doing so was part of why I stayed in the mess and even after getting out, self-blaming delayed me getting to the spot of confidence needed to learn to protect myself and clearly see my weak spots….and wonderful strengths!!!

For it is true, every weakness has a matching strength, and every strength has a matching weakness. And everyone has “weaknesses”. Our vulnerable spots made us natural prey for a psychopath. Too bad for us, because it is one of the most painful experiences in life, especially in developed countries where we aren’t worried about starvation, clean water, etc. as one out of five people in the world are facing.

But were it not for the bad guys, the vulnerabilities that the p preyed upon are not bad traits, for the most part, or are certainly very HUMAN traits. I’d like to get to know each of you. I think we are a GREAT bunch of people!!!! There is so much we have to feel PROUD of. The shame, the blame, belongs to the P. Not to us.

I don’t think accountable is the right word. I would say don’t blame victims, but do EMPOWER them!

We all, I think, work with different levels of knowledge, and different abilities.

“The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax”—in Snakes in Suits, Hare quotes something similar when he says, about our choices and the consequences, (paraphrased) “the potter controls making a pot out of the clay, but the consistency of the clay also influences the outcome.”

Each of us has different circumstances, different strengths and different weaknesses. Our abusers also had different levels of abuse, different levels of deceit and violence. No two situations are completely alike—however, that said, we are all HERE NOW, ON THE ROAD TO HEALING—and accepting ourselves for what we are, our failures (for whatever reason) to stop the abuse sooner or to stop the abuse of others, but continuing to feel shame (which Robert Hare says is a common theme in victims) or guilt for not doing it sooner, for not doing it better etc. is not helpful in the long term.

ACCEPTANCE of WHAT IS, rather than continually grieving over what “should have been” or “what might have been” or “what WAS” is something that we have to eventually, I think, accomplish in order to move on to healing.

Beating ourselves over the head forever and continual self flagilation is counterproductive to growth and “moving on” to more productive things. We would never tell our 25 year old child that they were “still bad” because they didn’t tell the truth to us when they were ten about who stole the cookies! Or who broke mrs. Jones’ window with the baseball when they were 14. They did something that was WRONG, they repented of that, and that is in the PAST….So why should be treat OURSELVES worse than we would treat our child?

Okay, we did something, made a choice, for WHATEVER REASON—on purpose or unknowingly, but it is PAST—the consequences may still be with us, or with us forever, but the ACTION is past, we can’t change the past, we can only change the future.

Some “typical” examples might be:

Yes, I married him. That was a choice and I accept it.

Yes, I let him come back after I caught him cheating. That was my choice AT THE TIME. I accept it.

I hoped my son would get out of prison and stay off drugs, so mortgaged my house and hired him a lawyer. That was the choice I made at the time, and I lost my house, I accept that I made that choice.

These “made up” examples of things we could have done, may have done, are just CHOICES we could have made. Whether we were right or wrong, knew or didn’t know, the CONSEQUENCES are because of the CHOICE, not whether that choice appeared right or wrong at the TIME it was made.

If you let me sign on your bank account because you love and trust me and I steal all your money—the CHOICE was yours. Even though you had no way to know I was a crook, and your really thought I loved you, the CHOICE and the CONSEQUENCES are still yours. ACCEPTING that we made those choices is part of the healing process, rather than going over and over and over to prove to ourselves that we “couldn’t have known” doesn’t matter—the bank account is STILL EMPTY, the house is still gone, the credit ruined, the children born, the STD still there, or whatever the consequences of our choices were.

There is a standing joke here about my “cyber cast iron skillet” to “boink” people over the head when they “get out of line”—and it is just that, a JOKE—but the real bashing and boinking that we do oto ourselves for the choices we made has to STOP at some point. We have to, we must, put the guilt and shame “out to pasture” with the old horse that’s done it’s do, and forgive ourselves, accept the past and the consequences that we must live with and over come.

Some of you may remember Aloha, who doesn’t post here much now, because she is working on her masters degree to become a therapist, but she had thousands of dollars of debt after her break up with her “bad man”—the CONSEQUENCES of her poor choice, her poor decisions, and slowly, one buck at a time, she paid that debt off, and we held a cyber celebration with her when she wrote the check for the last payment!!!!

The consequences of some of my choices, my decisions, impacted very negatively on other people, and like Housie said, the only way you can make amends is to live a better life today and tomorrow. I can’t change the past, I can’t undo those decisions and those choices, but I can forgive myself, and that was the hardest part of the healing journey because I have always had more compassion for others than I have for myself. I figure if God can forgive me, I can forgive myself. (((hugs)))) and God bless each of you!

Twice in my life I was driven to the brink of insanity. Both times it was the same P. Caught me at a vulnerable time both times.

Guess what? For the other almost 60 years of my life, I’ve done great! I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, though of course I made some bloopers along the way and even had moments I cringe to remember. Made mistakes. But for the most part, I’ve been a good person.

Along came a P…and I was suddenly in the gutter. I realize now that past traumas contributed to that. One psychiatrist, the only psychiatrist I’ve seen in my life, told me that I had had enough trauma to put me on meds for life, and that instead, I’ve coped very well….but to try to stay away from trauma now!!!

No P, no problem. Some bruises, but nothing put me in a fetal position except that P!!!

Don’t blame victims! EMPOWER them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t feel accountable. HE IS ACCOUNTABLE.

But he could never, ever hurt me again. I’m EMPOWERED!

Okay, I better get to work. I have a long weekend ahead of me.

But let me just say despite the OBVIOUS mistakes I made, more obvious than those most of you INNOCENTLY made, I am not ACCOUNTABLE for the two year tailspin he put me in the second time. HE IS. It was emotional rape. If I had made THE EXACT SAME MISTAKES WITH A NORMAL PERSON, there would have been some hurt, maybe for a week or two, even a month. Maybe TWO months. BUT NOT TWO YEARS. He was the one that changed it into emotional rape. He was the one lying. He was the one that betrayed. My mistakes did not deserve the psychological punishment that I went through….not being able to keep solid food down, etc. etc. Having to go to a liquid diet. He ripped out my soul. I’m not accountable for that NO MATTER WHAT I DID.

It took my therapist forever to get that through my head, so I’m rather adamant about it now. You may have noticed. 🙂

Oxy….but it is not the wax who is to blame for being melted, if the sun disguised itself as a air conditioner.

‘I don’t feel accountable. HE IS ACCOUNTABLE.

But he could never, ever hurt me again. I’m EMPOWERED!”

AMEN to those words, Justabouthealed! I agree full heartedly.

LOL That was funny, Justabouthealed, that was so funny. TY

Spot on Oxy! Im the same, having to forgive myself for not setting boundaries, but as you said, when you know better, you do better.and also, when my ex NS husband used to slag me off in front of my teenage girls,and then they started to copy his verbal abuse of me, I had no place left to run and hide. HE wouldnt leave, so I had to ,with virtually the clothes I stood up in, no money, but I survived .My ex was a wonderful husband while sober, and would never have bad mouthed me to my girls, but drunk, it wasa “Jeykyll and Hyde situation.The girls were taught to disrespect me, and after I was bashed by him and hospitalised, I stayed with a kind male friend,{no sex}, but he looked after me for 3 weeks.
I foolishly went back to thet house of hell,and my ex said,”Welljust have to knock Mum back into line, wont we, girls? I was so tired, weak, sore, hurting, beaten down, but even then, I knew I had to get out or either he or deb would kill me for sure.{She was drinking, and on drugs then.}
Took me almost another 2 years to make my escape.And I had to plan it in secret, as they were in league with their Dad.
It took me years to get my self respect back, and then when Deb married and had her 3 kids, I had to swallow down the rage frustration, anger etc, just to get to see my precious Grandkids. I dont have to do this anymore, as debs ex will bring the kids over to see us, but its taking me awhile to “unpack” all the grief, frustration, rage, fear,and comfusion that living with 3 NSs did to me.I know Ill get there, with the love and support of you guys, Ill just have to be forgiving of myself and take it slowly. I DID WHAT I COULD to stay alive!!
I see that now! geminigirlxx Ps Im learning so much from your blogs, and Im reading them all the time!!

Oxy/All

Oxy – Borrowed your skillet this morning, as slipped back into the ‘I wish I’d got out at the 4 month mark when the verbal abuse started’ ‘why did I ignore the red flags’ etc etc – on and on it went till I felt almost back where I was last year – HATING MYSELF. Then I came on LF and read all your posts – there’s always someone who has commented in a way that helps me to drag myself back up and face the world again.

Geminigirl and others: your stories touch me so deeply. I feel thankful for that god I don’t believe in that I never reproduced with the monster but he came between me and my beautiful son nevertheless. In reading your stories, I finally plucked up the courage to talk to my son this week about it and, as I had expected, deep down, he was so kind and sweet. He said to me :-

“Mum – I thought he was a tosser from the first. He couldn’t really come between us. You made a mistake with him. Everyone makes mistakes at sometime. You’re still you”.

My lovely boy helped me more than he knew. I have been so afraid that my choices had damaged our relationship. I should have had more faith. Maybe there is a god! I realise I have much to be proud of and much to appreciate.

Thank you all.

Escapee – that is WONDERFUL:)xxxxx You son sounds fantastic, and that he is, is surely a testament to your fabulousness as a mother and person.x

Blueskies

Thanks for your kind words.

I am struggling trying to believe in my ‘fabulousness’ at the moment but in experiencing other people’s understanding and forgiveness might just help me to forgive myself.

I hope you’re doing better.

All love.

E

Love the sun/ac analogy, justabouthealed!

Escapee- you ARE fabulous, Dahling. And your son sounds like a real gem. 🙂

Funny thing calling it “choices.” I never felt like I had any. It’s certainly not like, “Gosh, do I want to choose Salt or Pepper?” I mostly never had a quiet moment to THINK about making a choice- push push push push push- I was always being pushed from one place to another. It never occurred to me to “set boundaries” because I didn’t have time realize I didn’t have any. I wasn’t allowed any as a kid- I was always wrong no matter what I did or said. I was picked on by my extended family, kids at school- on the rare occasions I expressed, “hey, the doesn’t seem right,” I was trounced upon until I admitted how wrong and useless I was.

Ironically, being isolated by the S from some of my family was a real blessing- I actually enjoyed a few holidays because I didn’t have to be around my childhood tormenters. If he’d been human, that would have been a pretty good deal…lol. Fire, meet Frying Pan. Frying pan, Fire.

I don’t recall ever thinking, “Gosh I’m wrong and useless.” I just WAS. I was driving through life with an upside down map- that I was forced to believe was right-side up. I was totally unaware there was any other way to BE until I was 36 and my map disintegrated. I’ve had to find my way without my old map. I didn’t use to have choices- I couldn’t be “trusted” to have any.

Sometimes I feel like I’m driving blind and other times I REALLY enjoy the freedom. I’m trying to find forgiveness and peace for myself for where I have been- not more red flags and missteps to beat myself up over. I have boundaries NOW and if I let someone trample all over them, I shall hold myself very accountable.

Wow Glinda. You have described how things have been with my life (so far) perfectly.

on the rare occasions I expressed, “hey, that doesn’t seem right,” I was trounced upon until I admitted how wrong and useless I was.

I think I have the map the right way up now, I am working on my boundaries, still in a pretty bonkers phase, still trying to stop the swinging pendulum and find my middle ground…still have a lot to work through… its scary as hell, but it also feels good to emancipate myself… and lately I DO think that I would have been in the fog forever if it hadnt been for the creep waking me up… however much of a rude awakening it was…

Now I am the driver of my own car. My mistakes will be mine, and I can only be a ‘victim’ of myself…

As I think this thread illustrates, the comment “I understand and believe you can make better choices/decisions in the future” is something that comes from a particular perspective. That is the perspective of someone who has done a great deal of work to understand what happened in these relationships — going through the whole process of facing the fact that he or she was victimized by a predator and then moving on to discover if he or she participated in some way.

These words are not particularly helpful to someone who is in early-stage healing, and is taking responsibility for what happened for the wrong reasons. Still thinking that we should have been able to recognize and protect ourselves. Still confused about why he or she accepted the abuse for so long. Still thinking that we are too stupid to live. Still going through all the warped thinking related to the concept that we’re supposed to be perfect, and that any bad results in our lives are our own fault.

In no part of this healing process is self-blame helpful. At some stage, after we get clear about the fact that we were dealing with a predator and we are fully entitled to get angry and blame that person for their bad impact on our lives, and we construct better personal boundaries to protect ourselves, then it’s time to look at our own involvement. It’s actually part of the business of improving our defenses and our awareness of potential danger out there.

If we’re improving our life skills, it’s equivalent to admitting that they need improvement. But that is NOT equivalent to saying that it was our fault. Or that we were failures because we didn’t have the right life skills at the time to protect ourselves.

Sometimes we have to be aware of the state of the person we’re talking to. People who are digging themselves out of the confusion and pain of early stage trauma recovery don’t need to hear that they made the wrong choices. It’s not helpful and it equates to blaming the victim.

Later, when we’ve already gone to work on getting stronger and smarter in the wake of this disaster, we can begin to imagine that there might be some truth in these words. But we really don’t get it until we’ve fully grasped that we are entitled to take care of ourselves and begun to make the changes in our behaviors and beliefs to reflect that sense of entitlement.

Until then, I agree with justabouthealed, that the most compassionate and helpful thing is to help the victim discover this internal empowerment, rather than discussing flawed choices as though they were moral mistakes. We who are farther down the road understand that the “moral” nature of these mistakes was that we internalized other people’s abuse of us. We accepted mistreatment, because we had forgotten that we had a right and responsibility to reject it.

In a very abstract way, that might have been a choice. But the emotional truth was that it wasn’t. It was a reaction to a situation that felt like we accept abuse or fall off the edge of the world.

What we can do later is take back our choice. To say that it was abuse, that it was not acceptable, that we only endured it because we were coerced, and we are taking back our power. We are admitting that we were once victimized by things out of our control, but we are refusing to accept that it means anything about us, except that we endured and survived.

And from that perspective of compassion for ourselves, we can reconsider other events in our lives, when we may have reproduced that seminal trauma in ways that reflected our unresolved pain. We can see and understand choices we made that were not really life-affirming for us. Or that may have created damage for us and other people.

But we see it from a position of understanding, not blame. We are aware of why we did what we did, rather than focusing solely on bad results and telling ourselves that we were inadequate or bad. We knew that we did the best we could, given the circumstances and what we knew then.

It’s not what we would do today, because we used the opportunity to learn something about ourselves and the world. And we are different because of it. And from this perspective we can talk about bad choices, because now we know better.

In some ways I think we are like people who make a decision to get in our cars and drive to the store…and on the way, we are hit by a drunk driver who totals our car, and gravely injures us.

We are NOT to blame because the drunk driver hit our car, or responsible because he was drunk.

We DID, however, make the CHOICE to get in the car and go to the store at THAT TIME which ended up putting us in the path of the drunk driver.

Maybe part of our injury was caused because we did not have our seat belt fastened. Or taking this analogy further, maybe our child was in the car and was injured too or killed.

I can only IMAGINE how I would feel if I had gotten into the car, put my kid in the car and then got hit by a drunk driver and my child injured or killed.

Sure, my injury, my kid’s injury were not mty FAULT, I was not to BLAME, but MY CHOICE to go to the store RESULTED in the fateful meeting with the drunk.

What can my response to this CHOICE be? I can BLAME myself, I can FEEL GUILTY, I can beat myself over the head for making the choice and decision to go to the store and take my child along, or I can ACCEPT (obviously not immediately accept) that my choice had consequences that i did not foresee and that I did not intend, but my body is still injured and my child is still injured or dead.

I think too many times we focus (as a society) on BLAME and FAULT rather than being accountable and responsible for our decisions and choices.

To me, ACCEPTING the consequences of my choices are REAL, and would have been different consequences if I had made different choices is part and parcel of the healing.

My 6th grade science teacher, Mrs. Austin, made a comment to me that has stuck with me the rest of my life. It was that “everything we do, every choice we make, effects our lives, even if only the TIMING of things.”

If you have another cup of coffee one morning and leave the house 2 minutes later and are involved in a car wreck, that cup of coffee, that 2 minute delay, resulted in you being at the PRECISE spot the accident happened and if you had left even a minute prior to when you did, THAT PARTICULAR ACCIDENT WOULD NOT have happened—however, there is no way for you to know that a worse one might not have happened.

We make choices and decisions every day, once they are made, they are IN THE PAST….we cannot change them, and/or the consequences of those choices.

Accepting those choices, and realizing the reasons we made those choices, forgiving ourselves, in my opinion leads to healing.

There is NO BLAME associated with JAH’s decision at age 12 decision to not call the cops—who in their right mind would BLAME her for what she did under the circumstances? NO ONE! The “BLAME” goes to the man who protected his nephew at the expense of a child. The BLAME goes to the nephew who raped a 12 year old. The CONSEQUENCE, however, goes to HER because of the choice she made to baby sit, the choice she made to give in to the man’s plea for her not to call the cops….but no one would in any way say that she should or could have predicted that her innocent choice to baby sit would result in her rape.

My point is that we make choices daily that we have NO WAY of knowing what will be the end result….but we must ACCEPT that those choices are PAST, the CONSEQUENCEs (if any) are REAL, and that we should NOT BEAT OURSELVES UP for these choices, but if there is a lesson to be learned in these choices, (and there may not be a lesson in all choices) to not make the same choices again.

I think back sometimes to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. I followed her story in the news for months, and then her trial and her incarcertation. I KNOW WHY she made the choice to put the gun in her hand and to participate in the bank robbery, she had a horrible case of STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. I do NOT blame her for what she CHOSE to do. I imagine I would have done the same thing in her shoes….but because of her CHOICE she got the consequence of prison. (No, I do not think she should have gone to prison, I do not think it was right or fair or that she was to blame!) But, her CHOICE lead to the consequence. Just like Patty, I have made many choices that led to my own consequences—thank God none of them were incarceration—and my consequences were just as REAL, just as painful to me, and sometimes to others. I can’t go back and UN-make those choices, but continuing to feel guilty and blaming myself for them for the rest of my life is not beneficial to me or anyone else.

Just like Patty Hearst might have felt the ONLY viable choice she had to preserve her life was to pick up the gun and participate in the bank robbery, I have felt “trapped” into choices I made that I knew at the time were not “right” or even in my own best interest. Just as Patty served her time in prison as a consequence of her choice (freely made or not) to appear to participate in the robbery, I have “served my time” in guilt—but now I am FREE. I accept it happened. I accept I can’t change it. I am accountable for those choices, but I am not “to blame.”

Forgiving MYSELF and putting aside the guilt for me was the turning point in healing.

Great post Oxy, from my perspective. Just a clarification, the cop/home owner was worse than that. He didn’t plea with me…that would have put me in a position of choice. He just made it perfectly clear that it would be wrong to tell anyone. Who was I to question a cop at age 12?

Did anyone blame Elizabeth Smart? Tell her she had to be accountable for her “cooperation”?!! Remember, she denied who she was to a cop at first. I think I am remembering that.

Learning how to protect yourself from future betrayal bonds, future emotional rapes is gut wrenching work. I hope no one here makes it any harder by thinking they were to blame.

as one of the books says, you know now that you have the ABILITY TO RESPOND. That is what RESPONSIBILITY is about. Before, you didn’t have the tools and knowledge to respond to protect yourself. No responsiblity there!

I think the biggest key both to healing and to protecting yourself is to know yourself, love yourself. Fall in love with yourself. It won’t make you a narc. We just need to take all that love we showered on the Bad Guy, all that forgiveness, all those second chances, all that understanding, all that belief in the inner goodness and give it to someone who deserves it….US!!!

PS I was agreeing with you OXY about Patty Hearst. There but for the grace of ….

And I was not bringing up Elizabeth Smart to defend myself at 12, but to agree with you, there is another example of a public betrayal bond.

As the betrayal bond book says, it can happen to the strongest of us. Any age. Any intellect. Any gender.

I also want to underscore that if the world were filled with men like my husband, your past traumas, all that you work so hard to overcome now WOULD NOT MATTER. He has known of my vulnerabilities for 38 years and never ONCE took advantage of them. He knew all along what he could do or say to have me reduced to a fetal puddle on the floor. If he saw me heading that way, he backed off. He’d rather lose the fight than hurt me through my vulnerabilities.

No bad guy= minor problems from past traumas, even if still buried.

Bad guy= Nuclear devastation from past traumas. But never forget the bad guy is the one who pushed the button, not you.

Brilliant, profound and right on the money, Kathleen.

Just one excellent statement…”And from this perspective we can talk about bad choices, because now we know better”…

I believe when you are much further down the road of healing, no longer burdened by intense or even minimal emotional strain, you are most certainly able to make conscious decisions/choices to protect and perserve yourself. And to ruminate over the former “bad choices” seeking clarity, comprehension without the stigma of self blaming.

And these choices will come from a place of equanimity, serenity. I say to myself…”uh, no, that just won’t work for me. gotta go!”…and I leave. No harm done to me because I split before a person could predate upon me. I’ve intuitively felt this could have been the situation a few times while mingling with the peeps, with males.

I maintained my newly appreciated stellar acceptance, love and confidence of myself and simply walked away without a backward glance. This will eventually be possible for all of you. Don’t doubt it.

If a once terminally shy, scared little rabbit like me can be empowered, strong and determined to protect herself at all times, yet being calm and peaceful and happy while doing this, so can you.

Lovely Kathleen—I will never be able to say it/write it as eloquent and literate as you, but thank goodness I don’t need to!

🙂

Yep, JAH, there are examples in the media every day….the whore that gets raped and beaten has no empathy or sympathy from the police or the public….yet, if she had not made the choices to be walking the streets at 2 a.m. looking for tricks, she would not have been in the place that the event happened. Is it her FAULT? Is she to BLAME? NO! But she is accountable for the CHOICES she made. WHY did she make those choices? Maybe because her husband was pimping her out and she felt she had no other choice than to do what she was doing.

Accepting the results of our choices (whatever the reasons we made those choices) I think is the pivotal part of our healing, I sure know it was for me at least. Many times I felt I had no other viable choice than the one I made. In two cases, a death was the END RESULT of my choices.

After my P-sperm donor beat and raped me, one of his employees helped me escape from my P-sperm donor, as a result of my sperm donor finding out about this, that man “disappeared” on a trip to Africa, and my P-sperm donor told me later by telephone that he had killed him. I believe the man was murdered. My choice to ask this caring man for help I think eventually led to his death. I could not have foreseen that.

After my P-son was arrested the first time for a felony in Texas, and got out of prison, I spent $500 to get a lawyer in Florida to keep him from being extradited to Florida for parole violation from his previous crimes in Florida. Five months later, still living in Texas because he had not gone back to prison in Florida, he killed a girl. My “helping” him, eventually resulted in a girl’s death when he murdered her. If he had been in prison in Florida (because I had not hired the attorney) he would not have been in a position to even meet this girl, much less kill her.

Was I to ‘blame” in either case? No, I was not to blame because I had NO way of knowing what the results would have been from my choices—however, the consequences to others is still REAL. For many years I felt such tremendous grief for what I felt I had caused. Now, I have forgiven myself for those choices, and accepted that the conseuences are very REAL. I have also learned that any interaction with a psychopath or their enablers has the potential to be fatal.

Oh, one more thing I would like to mention to ya’ll…

You might be amused or you might not. I was. VERY amused and gleeful.

I took that Meyers-Brigs personality test for the first time 5 years ago, and considering I’m somewhat of a skeptic with those types of tests, I took it 3 times in a row, back to back.

The results were the same: IFSJ…introverted, feeling, sensing and judging. huh.

I took the test again a week ago, 3 times in a row and the results were EFSP…extroverted, feeling, sensing and perceiving.

Ain’t that quirky? It says I am an enthusiastic lover of life, which includes all the diverse, wonderful forms of life on our gorgeous planet. How bout that?! I’m a biophile! I knew this!

See? Even a gal like me can learn to change her conscience, to adapt and evolve her innate nature into something better, much more benefical for herself and others.

Heh, guess I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert…haha. Who knew?

But I sincerely believe we all, the norms of the world, need serious downtime with ourselves, revelling in our peaceful solitude, replenishing our batteries after mucho daily social interaction, and collecting ourselves for the next day. Right?

**huggs for Oxypooh and JAH**

HI!!

Hugs back to you and everyone! Okay, like Kathleen, I may be facing an all-nighter to get some crucial projects done. So bye for a bit, back after I come up for air. And I AM working on exploiting myself like this for work. There is no way I would work an employee like this! Turning over a new leaf by Sept. 1st.

Dear janie,

I agree with you about the MMPI Myers Briggs thingie..I have never taken it back to back, but I have taken it several times and always score differently, so quite frankly, I think the test is blotto for any kind of validity in the results. (Though I do know professional folks who “swear by it.”) I think it is more like your TEMPERATURE at a specific moment in time.

BTW, have you heard from Beverly lately? If you have please send her my best regards! I think about her so much and miss her wisdom here on the blog.

Oxy,

No, I haven’t heard from her. We were emailing each other for awhile and I guess we both just grew weary of chatting by email and not being able to actually meet each other. At least, that’s how I felt. I still think about and care for her very much.

She’s a beautiful woman with that trademark UK peaches and cream skin those ladies are renowned for. I DO sincerely wish her the best that life has to offer. She truly deserves it as we all do.

Maybe she’ll pop back in here some day like others on here who have posted for awhile, shared their awesomeness with us then went on with their lives. I wish them the best also.

Temperature…haha. So true! I think that’s the case with any of those types of tests/quizzes IF you’re an emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually complex person.

I wonder if any Ns/Ps/Ss ever take those personality tests? And if they do, how in the world will they even give them accurate, somewhat reliable, truthful results if these freakos LIE like cheap rugs every second of their existences?

Hah, they probably have taken these tests before and in their deluded, warped minds they dismiss that which could be construed as constructive criticism and expounded on that which could be construed as positive affirmations.

Hypothetical, highly fictional example of N/P/S thought process…”Ok, it says that I’m generous, kind and supportive to others. Yeah, I am. I will give the last dollar my gf/bf gave me to a homeless person.

Not that I give a rat’s booty about that pathetic, less than superior homeless person but I must retain my illusory image of a good guy/gal or my gf/bf won’t give me that hard earned money I want! All the time! Boo-hoo, nobody cares about me and my instatiable needs.”

BooHoo Jane Smithers – I care about your insatiable personality. And yes Oxy Pooh, I miss Beverly as well. but I think when cyber angels disapear they have turned a page and no longer need our support or the memorys this subject conjures up..but they are out there living life, with the knowledge they found here and hopefully Beverly is building sand castles on the beach with some wonderful special person.

When i was young and people used to say to me all the time, “I wish I knew what I know now.. when I was young.. and do it all over again”, well, I would think to myself, “I am so glad that I am not like them! I already know everything I need to know and I have my whole life ahead of me.”
I used to think that, ” I know everything I need to know already”. I thought this because i was brought up by two psychopaths and I did it really very tough.
Now i am 54 and I realize i have only JUST found out what i need to know, (through love fraud), that is, to be the person i want to be and to change my life once and for all.
When the barristers used to say in court, “this girl has “learned helplessness”, I was seething with anger! “How dare they say i am helpless!” I thought…of course this is not what they meant at all.
I am up to the part where my path in life is at its worst, the darkness before the dawn.
But i have been through this type of thing before and i know a sunny day awaits me down the track. I have been through much worse than this with Ps before. But now when they react so viciously (with their lies and setups), I know that means i am winning. And to keep on keeping on, no matter what.
In the meantime, my whole life makes sense to me now, I can see what happened, what will happen and why. I used to have to wait for years to see Gods plan (always in retrospect). Now i know that every step of the way has led to this unraveling. It was all for a very important reason. And I know what i have to do.
All because I finally stumbled onto LF. xoxoxo

Dear Tilly,

Yes, isn’t it interesting how “smart” we thought we were THEN and then as we get older, we realize that now we not only don’t know all the answers, we don’t even know all the QUESTIONS!!!! LOL ROTFLMAO But the differences between now and then is that in the past, because we already “knew” everything we weren’t open to NEW information or ways to look at things, now we are open to new questions, new answers and new ways of looking at things and thinking about things.

I was “enrolled” in the “University of Life’s Hard Knocks” by my upbringing and my relaltives, and tended to flunk some of the classes and have to repeat them. Unlike most Universities, Hard Knocks, doesn’t kick you out if you fail a class, they make you repeat it until you “get it”—–and Tilly, I think you and I both stayed on for “post doctoral studies” in PSYCHOPATHY, but I am sure glad that we found our LOVEFRAUD STUDY GROUP so we can get out of this freaking “degree program” and get on with our lives!!!

Funny, too, as I grew up my egg donor’s father was my mentor and taught me that I could “do anything I set my head to do” that I could “climb any mountain I was determined to climb” and to “accomplish anything I wanted to.” While that reassurance and self-esteem building might in some situations be a great thing to teach a kid, unfortunately it a situation where you are tackling IMPOSSIBLE TASKS, you don’t have sense enough to give up, you just keep on trying and trying when there is no way to accomplish it.

Some things ARE impossible, and learning to GIVE UP and WHEN TO GIVE UP is also a gift that we need to teach our children, and if we were not taught this lesson we are doomed in to wasting our energies on the impossible tasks of “getting along” with the psychopaths in our lives.

I can look back and laugh NOW at mty younger self…there wasn’t a spooky horse in the world I wouldn’t get on and try to ride—and usually I did it successfully, but there were times I failed and suffered the consequences of a solid thud on the ground or a swift kick to the back side, or even a broken leg.

These consequences, however, didn’t deter me from climbing back on that horse or the next wild one. I remember at age 40 lyin gup with a broken leg from a dangerous horse I had been thrown from, and I was talking on the phone to my husband who was out of town. I was telling him how I was going to break that SOB from bucking suddenly (this particular horse only did it once in a while and only with women) and my husband, ever the patient man, listened to my diatribe and then said, “Oxy, that is YOUR horse and you can do whatever you think you want to do with him, but if you don’t decide to get rid of him, I am going to KILL HIM.”

I knew my husband didn’t speak lightly on this, but it dawned on me at that time that HE WAS RIGHT…why on earth was I risking my life and limb for an animal perfectly capable of landing me in a wheel chair if I failed, or a casket?

I started looking more at the RISK VS BENEFIT RATIO. What did I get if I “won”? What where the possible losses? That was the start of the “Bigger AND Meaner Rule” here on the farm. Any animal that is bigger AND meaner (intending to try to hurt someone) GOES BYE BYE. The risk of keeping an animal around that will even once in a while actually TRY to hurt you is just not GOOD SENSE.

Now, that “rule” has been applied to people as well. People who try to hurt me in any way (small children excepted) go bye bye out of my life. Whatever it takes to get these peopl eout of my life and keep them out of my life is what I do.

I was reading a reserarch study on the victims of psychopaths and their recollections of the various things that the Ps in their lives did. 100% of the sample of victims who were studied said that their psychopaths were LIARS. Now I realize that not all liars are psychopaths….but, I also realize that if you eliminate ALL liars from your close associates, you can be sure that you ALSO get anyone who is a potential P out of your life.

Yea, Tilly, I think we are all “too soon old and too late smart” but I think all of us are WISING UP PRETTY FAST here at LF.

OXDROVER,
It couldn’t be better said. I now believe that if the P’s lips were moving there was a lie coming out of them. One of his favorite deceptions was to be evasive – another form of lying. There was always this “mysticism” surrounding him. It must be difficult to lead such a double life and need to keep your ducks in a row. As I look back, it seemed there was an emptiness in the presentation of his emotions – that he wasn’t feeling, and was hollow inside. I remember him giving me a new ring for one of our anniversaries while he was having yet another affair. The day before, one of our friends had taken a picture of us cuddled up together, and if you saw how emotionally involved he presented to be with me in the picture, and then found out how purportedly invested he was in this other woman, who, by the way, was 8 years older than he, you would have thought there was no way that could have been. He used to bring me home gifts she had given him, and he told me they were from him to me. At the time, I remember thinking that those things he gave me weren’t even his taste. DUH!!! He got her involved in the cult we were in, and she even joined the choir I sang in, asnd I hadn’t a clue of the affair. I just thought she was a new member. He had her do our taxes, he brought her home because her blood sugar dumped and she needed protein, he sang a Roger Whiticker song with her and had me come in and listen as he practiced with her. I was still totally clueless. This went on for 2 years on the heels of another affair with a high school cheerleader. As I look back, I wonder how I could have begun to think that all of this was ok. The only explanation is that I was brainwashed. It just HAS to be. I look upon all of this as another person today. It pisses me off, and makes me feel crazy. However, today I DO qualify for the PSYCHOPATH 101 class with flying colors. I love your analogy, OxDrover, of weeding ’em all out by weeding out the liars. You can’t miss any of them that way. Today I don’t apologize for my hypervigilance regarding abuse. It is my teacher. If you hadn’t have been through all of this, God couldn’t have used you to assist so many others – kinda like the paraplegic who visits hospital wards to encourage other victims who have been paralyzed. I so much appreciate your dedication and hands on assistance to so many of us. I still don’t get the frying pan thing, but I appreciate your humor. It’s nice to laugh again. God Bless Your Day.

Dear Housie,

The frying pan thing started with Henry as kind of a joke, he was ALWAYS pounding on himself an dputting himself down. I just got tired of hearing him beat up on himself so I did one of those old things of “If you kids don’t stop fighting, I am going to spank you both” kind of things and told him I was going to “boink” him on the head with my cast iron skillet if he didn’t stop beating up on himself.

So every time he jwould beat up on himself I would “boink” him (get his attention) and it sort of became a joke with us, then other people started ‘boinking” others by “borrowing Oxy’s skillet” when they got to beating up on themselves, or even “boinking” themselves when they broke NC or some other “dumb” thing. Heck, I have “boinked” myself online! LOL

It just kind of became a thing we used to let people know that what they were doing to themselves (being hard on themselves) was not a good thing to do—hey! Stop it! Then we got off on a silly streak and decided we would have a LF convention here at my place and we would do a stage show, and wear hip wader boots, yellow and black tu-tus and do a chorus line with me swinging the skillet, etc. etc. just talking trash and laughing. LOL

Sometimes we do take ourselves “too seriously” and need to lighten up on ourselves….being too hard on ourselves is a “stage” we go through I think…we have trouble forgiving ourselves (and there are several articles and threads about that) and I know it was very difficult for me to forgive myself and the choices I made which caused some bad results not only for myself but for others. some of those things I knew at the time I shouldn’t have done, and others I didn’t see any other choice.

It is difficult to “forgive” yourself for me, because I ahve been taught to feel guilty GUILTY for myself, but to let others SKATE and pretend that they are not the monsters they are. NO MORE. I will hold myself accountable, but I will also hold THEM accountable—and the consequence of being caught in ANY LIE to me is BANISHMENT from my circle of trust. Banishment FOREVER. Maybe the person telling the lie isn’t a psychopath, but I do know if I banish ALL LIARS, that I will also banish ALL psychopaths. That may be a bit of an over reaction, but I have never ever given a liar a “second chance” that DID NOT BITE ME IN THE BUTT. So I am sticking by my rule.

OXDROVER,
Thanks for sharing that bit of humor. I kinda thought it was something along those lines.
Some of the choices I made were because they FELT SO Da** GOOD. I was immature and so much wanting to be loved and accepted, and to belong somewhere. There was something about leaving my family (as dysfunctional as it was), and venturing out on my own at 19 to face the world alone. Then came the trip to “Hawaii as a nanny, and meeting the man that was too good to be true (RED FLAG). The rest is history – 42 years of history!!! If I weren’t so weary from all of this, I would write a book.

Hey, all of you lovely people. Do any of you experience the frustration I feel when I read a group of posts at the same time and then go to post about the encouraging, praise-worthy comments that struck me so poignantly and don’t know where to start?!!! Sometimes I can’t even remember who said what to give proper acknowledgement!!

There were so many on this thread of the last few days, I truly feel frustrated for sure.

I think it was Jane Smith who brought up the MMPI. Yes, I found your story amusing, too. It also brought back an interesting memory that I interpret differently today.

I think it was about 20 years ago when I learned of the MMPI and bought the book with the tests and explanations. It was one of my MANY attempts to find out what was “wrong” with me and why I couldn’t get my spouse to quit abusing me. I’ve always believed that the only person I can change is myself. Knowledge is power and this was one of those times.

My spouse was surprisingly eager to take the tests — and so were all of our adult children and their new spouses! My spouse’s score was INTP and mine was ENFJ. The major things I remember were 1) how thrilled my spouse seemed to be that his score had such a low percentage of others in it. (Struck a red flag but it didn’t compute) and that my personality score was the ONLY one who could “tolerate” (my current word for it) living with an INTP! Somehow the latter made it more tolerable for me to keep enduring the abuse.

I do wonder if I took the test again if it would come out differently. But, I do know (have learned) that personalities of NORMAL people can change with positive effort.

My assessment of my now known NPS spouse’s result if he took it again would NOT change. Don’t they say that sociopaths don’t/can’t change? I KNOW he would never take it again, though. He is too much in “love” with his INTP as it was!! LOL!

Henry,

I may not always respond to your posts but I read all of them. How can I not? They are overflowing with sweetness, compassion, wisdom and love. You are a sterling example of what it truly means to be a man. Amen!!

And…”but I think when cyber angels disapear they have turned a page and no longer need our support or the memorys this subject conjures up”

I do believe you are correct. I was visiting Anna’s blog “Narcissists Suck” for about a year. She finally said that she was done with the subject matter and she wanted to move on to other topics of interest. I miss her but I completely understand the direction she is going.

She offered plenty of logical, rational, fervent, no nonsense stellar advise, education and wisdom and I will never forget how much she has helped me.

JaneSmith – I think we can become saturated with the whole spath thing. But if it were not for this place and the doors it opened for me to see the truth and make the changes I would still be making bad choices and in the dark. Not only did I learn about personality disorders but realized I must deal with my issue’s. I think when alot of us first google sociopath or narcissist or physcopath we are in a pretty bad place at that moment. Not to many regular folks understand us or need to understand us. But Icontinue to learn and heal here. There are a few peeps here that have seen my progress. I am not jumping with joy or doing the moonwalk but so many things about me and my life experience’s have come together here. And Beverly was literally one of those cyber angels that was holding my hand back then. I remember she and I thot our X was the same dude!!!I remember some of her storys that made me bust out in tears and/or laughter. She told one about putting a letter she had written to her X spath in the mail slot in his door then latter changed her mind and got a long stick and retrieved it through the pet door feeling like a stalker and was afraid of getting caught…lol kinda like when I put my X,s cell phone in the microwave for 4 seconds and offered him my sympathy when he said something was wrong with his cell phone – hmm too bad…any who I am still here amd not ready to leave – this whole blogging concept is fun~~!!!

I am not ready to leave… scared I’ll just go back to my old patterns!!! Question out of context: I am having a great deal of trouble with the fact that I hated myself and thought I was ugly for the past 50 years, I am crying buckets of tears at the wasted time, I like myself now, but am grieving over what could have been… if I had been a confident woman I would not have hooked up with one loser after another, perhaps had more than one child, living in a nice home surrounded by kids, grandchildren, family, friends. Instead I’m sitting here every day and night by myself.

Another big problem that is causing me A LOT of pain and crying is… missing my daughter (who lives on the east coast, and I consider myself blessed that she is there and happy) but I keep going over in my mind all the times I yelled at her, or made her cry, or spanked her, or ignored her because I was obsessed with some loser. No wonder she moved so far away. We do have a good relationship considering we are 3000 miles apart, she says she loves me and misses me, but I am miserable.

Is that why I’m miserable? Or because I am alone? The whole thing is becoming overwhelming. I’ve called every gf I can think of, trying to reach out and find some company, and nothing. My sister is a bitch these days, and I don’t enjoy being around her much right now, hopefully that will pass.

So, what do I do? I’m putting everyone on the spot!! LOL

shabby – If I had not been gay maybe life would of been better, if I had not done this or that.. If I knew then what I know now I would be a millionaire..cant go back and change a thing , but I am not analyzing all my bad choices and mistakes so much, cause when I do it eats up right now. We must live in the present and the future. Your daughter loves you, but our children grow up and leave home ( if we are lucky) and they have lives of their own..One of the reasons I got mixed up with the X spath is cause I missed my sons so much – being a dad and taking care of them etc etc. I know about lonliness and that is a tuff one. But my lonliness and need to take care of and help and fix people always got me hurt and burnt. You dont have to leave here, your life is going through change, and you will be OK…I am getting to the point where I am ok alone – i love my solitude and there are always things to do or places to go if i want. sorry u r feeling sad – but hey if I can keep my chin up so can you……

A New Lily and Henry~
Oh my goodness Lily, I am totally frustrated by all the “good” comments here, LOL. 🙂 While I think I keep them straight fo rthe most part, there are so many wonderful, insightful, thoughtprovoking things said here I am always having to pick and choose who and what to respond to!! I have limited time given I am home on summer vacation with my 3 children (9 and 4yo twins) so they keep me busy these days!. As much as I don’t want to wish their lovely childhood away I do look forward to a time with more “leisure” time for me. 🙂

Henry, I say a HUGE “DITTO” to JaneSmith’s comment to YOU:
“I may not always respond to your posts but I read all of them. How can I not? They are overflowing with sweetness, compassion, wisdom and love. You are a sterling example of what it truly means to be a man.”

Could not agree more with that sentiment. I love reading your words because they have such a sincere genuine tone that is heartwarming. thank you for sharing all of your sweetness, compassion, wisdom & love” with us!
HP

Hecates and Jane – you made my day 🙂

shabbychic,
I am sorry to hear that you are going through a period of feeling lonely and longing to be with friends.
This is always a difficult thing to go through. And sometimes instead of experiencing what we feel is a positive “growth” experince by being alone and learning more about ourselves and feeling “better” about ourselves…We can almost turn on ourselves and beat ourselves up. I have been there and some times slip back into that same thing.

Don’t beat yourself up! Be thankful that although you can’t see your daughter as ofen as you would like that she is doing well. THAT IS something to be grateful for and give yourself some credit for that. You did something to be proud of as a mom…..She is doing good and that is something to think about. Maybe you did much better job at being a mom than you are giving yourself credit for.

Sometimes (when we are alone) it helps to do something that you never had an interest in before. Develop an interest in something that you can do alone and enjoy. For me, when my husband died 12 years ago it was gardening. I had all of this anger (that he had died) and I knew absolutely nothing about gardening but went out in front of my house and just started digging up the lawn! The physical part (the digging) was good for my pent up anger but once I dug up the yard I needed to learn about planting…..I had never planted anything but an annual or vegtables, in my life. I started learning about perenials. I found gardening to be similar to therapy for some reason. It worked well for me. However, gardening isn’t the answer, it could be anything you might enjoy. The thing is I never knew I would enjoy gardening until I tried it. And I never even had a clue that gardening could be good for the soul as well.

I hate doing stuff “alone”. And yet I found stuff I could do alone and be ok. One thing I could never do alone is go out and eat….Whats the point? I like to think of going out to eat as…….Well good food, good company, good conversation. So going alone wasn’t for me. But I did find a few things I could enjoy. A good estate auction. (love old stuff) and a fun place to people watch as well.

There is likely some stuff you can enjoy by yourself to. You just have to find out what that might be. And once you are busy doing this “stuff” you will be finding your friends will be calling you and you won’t even realize that it has been awile since you talked to them.

henry… you are right, I am living in the past, I do that a lot when I am alone. I guess it’s all in my attitude, I’m not being positive… and I’m getting back what I’m putting out there. I’ll work on keeping my chin up too!! Thank you!

witsend… good advice! I like working in the yard too… I just concentrate on keeping it mowed and clean, not really planting much, there was one out-of-control overgrown gigantic plant I attacked after I broke up with the alleged N, that was great, took me almost a year to cut it all back, too bad I don’t have another one to prune since I broke up with the loser (alleged S, I’m not medically qualified to diagnosis either of them) it’s too hot to go out there and do anything right now, blah. I don’t like to go out to eat by myself either, I guess I’m being a big cry baby, please ignore me… LOL

SHABBYCHIC,
You are a great lady…emotionally honest and willing to be vulnerable to heal. To be honest, I STILL have trouble being alone. Sometimes it’s ok, and other times I dread it. If I feel the awful feelings of abandonment, I abhor being alone. Last night I was feeling especially alone, but I went to Mass (Catholic) anyway. On the way back down the aisle from communion, I ran into my aunt who invited me over for dinner. We visited on the patio after dinner and reminisced over old times (she’s 86). When I came home, I played a few games of Spider Solitaire and went to bed. I think the most difficult thing for me is that I was married for 25 years with children, and now that the family is all gone, I feel like I’ve lost my identity. I go through the motions, but I’m lonely alot, and expect I will be. I’m just the family type.
You are displaying a lot of courage. I do go out to eat by myself, and go to movies and bookstores and thrifting and out with friends occassionally, but there is an empty place that is there most of the time – it is even there when I do volunteer work, but I realize that this is so because the S in my life filled up the space that filled the addiction so I wouldn’t have to face reality.
Keep in touch with us who love you, and know that even though it will never be what we want it to be at all times, it will be what it is. It is called life.

Dear dear LF Friends (or as Janie would say, “Peeps”) your little “love fest” was wonderful and you know, it is great to know people who do understand you and “get it” about the Ps or Ss (whatever term you want to use) an dyea, I get tired of the subject sometimes and call a HALT to even thinking about them.

Other times, I want to read more and learn more about them and myself….

Sometimes I am bored, but mostly I think of something interesting to do (even if it is too darned hot to leave the house and go outside) This weekend a GF came and we spent both all day sat and sun cooking and making dishes with SQUASH (Know why you have to lock your car in Arkansas in July? If you don’t people will fill it FULL OF SQUASH!) I only have 3 plants and am harvesting 5 pounds per day!!! lAST NIGHT WE ATE ZUKINNI CAKE AND ICE CREAM! So my claim that you can put squash into anything except ice cream is no longer true! We laughed til tears ran down our faces.

People are “herd animals” just like my goats. If you take one goat and keep it by itself it will be VERY lonely and cry all of the time. When my first little kid was born this spring, she was born a single birth (not twins) and so she didn’t have anyone to play with (mama goats don’t play much) so she started playing with my little Jack Russell Terrier and she wantesd to play baby goat games of “let’s butt heads” and he didn’t know how, and he wanted to play let’s chew each other’s paws, and she didn’t know how to do that, but they finally came together to make up a dog/goat game they could both do and are now best friends.

So if we dont[‘ have friends afailable that know how to play the games we play, we might need to improvise and learn to play some new “games” with “new friends” that are a little bit different! go to a new place of worship, or go to a place you’ve never been before (an auction if you’ve never been) or a ball game, or a bazzar or a fair, or a women’s club, or a health club, or an adult center, or a museaum ior the library and volunteer, or a nursing home and volunteer, or a homeless shelter, or a political group, or an advocacy group, or a DV shelter, form a neighborhood watch, or look for a job as a dog walker or a houxe sitter or a baby sitter—be proactive in getting out to DO SOMETHING. You’d be amazed at hhow much you can gain by giving.

Go back and read Louise Gallager’s recent post on how she changed her life by giving to OTHERS. You guys are amazingly giving and caring.

BTW Chic, you are entitled to a pity-party once in a while but don’t do it too often or I will get the skillet out! LOL ((((hugs))))) and my prayers for all of you, always!

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