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PTSD, defeat and the victim identity

When I was a med student, I studied animal models for human stress and depression. The best animal model of what a psychopath does to others is that of the rodent resident-intruder paradigm. In this model, males are introduced into the home territory of other males, they experience social defeat and are removed before they are injured. Repeated exposure to this situation produces a defeated animal who is chronically submissive and gives up without a fight whenever he encounters other males. Below is the posture of a defeated mouse.

defeated mouse

Defeated mouse. (Photo copyright Stefan Reber. Used by permission.)

The physiology of this defeated rodent resembles human depression very closely. The defeat state can be reversed with antidepressants. Defeat is associated with elevated stress hormones, immune dysfunction and learned helplessness.

I think it is important to know that the potential to develop the defeat mentality exists within us. In humans this mentality takes on a more sophisticated form. When defeated many people become enveloped by what I call “the victim identity.”

Identity or self concept means how you think about yourself and how you think others perceive you. Identity and self concept always includes some component of how dominant or socially potent we consider ourselves to be. Social status is another related part of the self concept.

An encounter with a sociopath/psychopath often leaves a person defeated in every sphere of life. The status, reputation, career, finances that took a lifetime to build vanish. The victim is left in limbo, not knowing how to put the pieces together.

It is in this limbo that the victim identity develops. A person who used to be financially well off and productive having lost everything now adjusts to that loss by defining him/herself as “victim”. This victim identity is further supported by the constant pain and anxiety the person feels. Why do I hurt? Why have I lost? Why am I defeated? I experience all these things because I am a victim.

The minute I say, “I am a victim.” That word victim becomes part of my self definition. There is a certain comfort in the victim identity. It helps a person explain and cope with their external reality and internal symptoms.

The danger in the victim identity is that it will come to be the totality of a person’s self-definition. Once this happens, the victim stops living, and is like the defeated mouse, assuming the posture at every challenge.

I challenge you today to consider the place your identity as a victim has in terms of your total self-definition. Is the trauma the first thing you think of when you think of yourself? Are you being fair to yourself when you identify with your victim status? Perhaps you have a good deal more living to do than your victim identity will allow?

It is important to be whole. That means the part of you who is/was a victim gets integrated with the other parts. “Victim” has to become just a piece of the puzzle that is you.

I confess that I am aware of my victim identity most in the company I choose to keep. I feel most comfortable relating to other people who understand psychopaths and what they do. If that also describes you realize that is a sign of victim identity. It is important to acknowledge these tendencies and balance them by having friends who are not victims or family members of psychopaths/sociopaths.

It is especially important to spend time with functional families/couples who love and care for each other.

Try never to take pride in your status as a victim or use it as an excuse for dysfunction. If you experience symptoms of PTSD, that is a challenge to overcome not a curse you are condemned to live with.

Ask yourself today if you really want to be like that poor defeated mouse.

For another opinion and further discussion of the victim identity see The Line between Victims and Abusers (although I do not agree with all Dr. Stosny says here).


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164 Comments on "PTSD, defeat and the victim identity"

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Liane,

This is fascinating. I think it helps explain the experiences of many Lovefraud readers, especially those who experience domestic violence.

I’d like to add PTSD can be reduced/treated by talk therapy, prayer and learning about the abuser and their implements of abuse. I use/used bibliotherapy- I read about psychopaths and in turn have studied what in me makes me prey. I blogged on that here:
http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-life.html

I think so, too, Donna. Great article and link Liane. I know for me I went through a period of really feel beaten down and fearful of everybody and everything and questionning everyone’s actions and motives–even decent people who obviously had no unlterior motives. I’m much better about that now, but still have a “problem” with trusting men and my own judgement when it comes to the idea of dating, but I can also see progress in my attitudes towards that. Sandra Brown had advised me not to date for two years, to give myself that time as recovery time and I feel that was some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. Since I’m not dating, not only am I not unloading my own baggage on some poor guy who may be a great guy, but the time has enabled me to find out all sorts of things about myself, and to develop alot of hobbies and interests and basically learn to be alone and not feel like I “need” someone else to make me happy or entertainment and I enjoy that.

Another thing I feel very fortunate in is that I made a great choice in the neighborhood I moved into. I’ve previously lived in nice neighbohoods, but never one as down home and “Mom, apple pie, and hospitable” as this one. It is a very family oriented neighborhood where Dad’s and Mom’s walk or bike in the evenings with their kids and Dad’s are out in the yards playing basketball or pitch with their children–things like that. And everyone knows everyone else and people stop by and sit on the porch to chat, and everybody pitches in to help someone if there is a problem. And almost everybody has a couple of cats or a dog. After a few years being surrounded by constant chaos, people who boozed and drugged it up and had such nasty attitudes etc., being exposed to people who are so direct opposite is like a breath of fresh air.

I especially liked when you said: “Try never to take pride in your status as a victim or use it as an excuse for dysfunction.” Of course everyone goes through a really raw period and has their own struggles towards healing. Although I understand trying to recover what you lost and also taking action to protect yourself, I do find it disturbing when people use their victim status to justify harming someone else.

Also that pic of that poor little rat reminds me of how my own little dog looked and acted by the time we got away from my ex. Animals really are very feeling and I think she was also traumatically bonded to him because she never knew what to expect–one minute yells and screams at her, the next he would be offering her treats. She became extremely paranoid, hiding from him when he’d call her, then when the treats would come out she’d get all happy and bouncy and go to him, then the nastiness would come out and she’d start to shake and hide again. I really hate my choices put her through that. Now I do pay close attention to how a person treats an animal. If I see unkindness there, I don’t want them in my life.

Dear Dr Leedom, thank you so much for this very interesting article! When I was a little kid I really felt being “put” around by magic hands and set into unbearable situations and then whoosh put into another situation before something REALLY BAD would happen, like the mouse in the example. It was always for “my best” or “to help for the best” for mum, my brother, my sister, the family etc., and it all confused me tremendously. I did not know that there is an animal model to mimic my upbringing 😉

But NOW I am having choices, I can leave ANY cage I do not like!

I reconnected just this year with my first friend ever. We met when we both were 5 years old, and got separated very abruptly when my parents decided to put me into another school in the mountains at age 6 to “help” mother recover from a difficult birth when she had my brother, as mountain air is good for recovery, as I was told, to bring a little sacrifice for the good of the family, my brother and my mother; and by the way the parents had great fun doing lots of winter sports while my sister and I were struggling with a completely different school system, another language and new kids and the like. My friend back then found another “Best friend”, and I was left out alone and miserable when my parents after a couple of months decided to return to our hometown.

Now my friend is just marvelous, we are both very glad we could find the way back to each other’s heart, and she is wonderful with her kindness, understanding. She is living herself in a marriage that lasts now for 30 years that everybody thought to be a failure from day one (especially my hypocrit mother). She got married when she was 18 years old, got her two children within a year, and she married a shift worker who has been living his teen age years under the bridges, with an alcoholic father. They managed their lives and everything just fine, they are very interesting, loving, caring people, their children are a great joy, and I am very lucky having such wonderful friends, both very validating and putting a very healthy perspective in my life in the aftermath of the X.

I can also relate to the “victim’s entitlement”, and also the link you gave (why on earth the perpetrators in my life could have brillant arguments being ALWAYS the VICTIMS themselves and having THE perfect victim’s vocabulary; for one most of them are lawyers…).

Thank you so much, LF is really a safe haven with lots of great people gathered, to think and read and vent, and it is a really wonderful mirror to see oneself and it helps to get all the tools to help oneself to find the door out of the cage, to recharge the batteries again and to be able to step out of this door and enjoy life again. Namaste and towanda!

My shrink used to call this “catastrophising” He would say, “You must stop catastrophising!”. This was when I was involuntarily placed in a psychiatric unit for paranoia when the P solicitor stole everything through with my inheritance and my home and had me charged! He is still doing it today to others.
I didn’t say anything to the shrink because it was true… I WAS made POWERLESS! AND YES I WAS A VICTIM!!! I had to pretend everything the shrinks said was right to be able to get out of the place! It doesn’t take long to work that out..ask ANY patient in there!! I felt like a mac truck had hit me and I was still on the side of the road nearly dead and they were all saying, “pretend nothing happened and you are just fine and then we will let you leave the side of the road “. So I did, and I got out..like all the rest.
IT TAKES AS LONG AS IT TAKES!! i.e. to get over repeated trauma at the hands of psychopaths. Do NOT add guilt and shame that you are being “a victim” to the list.
It took me until 54 yrs old to meet Oxy and Rosa and Rune and Witsend and all my fellow survivors to get past the RAGE and loss I had inside me. We human “victims” are NOT left without ENORMOUS anger and defence. WE ARE NOT LIKE A PSYCHOPATHIC RAT!!!!! Our recovery it is still unfolding and all in Gods time..not mine and not anyone elseses.

P.S> And we “victims” do not eat each other like rats do.

Tilly: If I invite you for dinner, you can be sure that YOU are not the main course. No, you won’t be “on the menu”!

Dr. Leedom: Paradoxically, I’m encouraged by your article. Thank you for letting me know that when I feel like that beaten-down mouse in the picture, it’s not just my lack of character that some days makes it hard for me to “suck it up and get back in the game.”

You said, “An encounter with a sociopath/psychopath often leaves a person defeated in every sphere of life. The status, reputation, career, finances that took a lifetime to build vanish. The victim is left in limbo, not knowing how to put the pieces together.”

I have not only been through all that, but the whole arena I worked in for 10 years has vanished as the economy has changed. I feel like every time I try to re-establish some small toe-hold, I get smacked down again.

Of course, us survivor types think we should beat ourselves up some more for not having the strength, or courage, or whatever, to triumph.

Maybe I should lay off on the “beating myself up,” and try for a few small success experiences to get that slump out of my shoulders and start developing some grounded optimism.

Has anyone researched with those defeated mice to see what gets them encouraged again? Somehow I’m not thinking it’s “talk therapy.”

Rune,

You said

“Of course, us survivor types think we should beat ourselves up some more for not having the strength, or courage, or whatever, to triumph”.

I am still learning about this part of the healing process. When Justabouthealed commented that we shouldnt place blame or guilt upon ourselves…but just continue on with our lives, dont devote time to picking apart what happened, etc.

In certain relationships I have been able to do that. But this relationship with my extox — I was not able to. I just want to express that I think its learning and growth when we challenge ourselves (not beating ourselves up) or when we can say, hey I was weak or I lacked self-respect , or self-trust…think JAH refers to it as self-protection….whatever we call it I never once went inward with reflection with a sense of guilt or blame…it was with a sense of learning and growing…and that it was okay to take the focus off of him and POSITIVELY help myself triumph through finding more of my core strength and courage to not ever allow myself to be that beaten-down mouse again…

I wonder if there were any mice who stopped and changed direction when placed in the home territory of more dominant male mice. The article says the mice were “removed” before they were injured…but I wonder how many , if given the choice to not to be forced into the rodent-resident intruder paradigm study….who might have never chose to place themself in that situation over and over and over again…until beaten down to depression….etc… Because there are some humans who do not ever end up as the victim-type or in situations like ours… they made different choices as soon as they were aware of the red flags…

Those mice in the study didnt have a choice….the difference is we do!

I imagine if the mice voluntarily chose to be in that situation -part of what would encourage them in the aftermath – would have to be the process of acknowledging without guilt or blame or beating themselves up….the choices they repeatedly made…so as to learn and grow and inspire change ahead and different choices going forward for themselves…But matter of fact…I didnt have the tools or awareness to REMOVE MYSELF…STOP. CHANGE DIRECTION….that choice was always there for us (not the mice in the study – they had to partake in the study) but we didnt know what we know now…does that mean we are beating ourselves up or learning and growing by admission and understanding of ourselves and all we can now be….

I could care less who he is and why he does what he does NOW…but for me, until the focus became about what can I learn from my experience, my choices, my lack of knowledge of choice and protection…until I reflected ON MYSELF AND MAKING FUTURE CHOICES FOR THE BETTER IN A POSITIVE AND HONEST WAY….I couldnt get off of that toxic wheel….

I had to learn new additional strengths and courage within…more self-respect, self-protection and the abiiity to be honest and real about any relationship Im in…and I had to learn that I could stop and change direction..anytime I want to chose to for my health and safety.

I really agree with the points made in the article. I hadn’t thought about my choice of friends from that perspective, and it is thought provoking. And I do struggle with PTSD though I’ve made huge progress. HUGE.

If you knew me in “real life” you would know I would have to enter a protest against these types of studies on mice, however. The fact that they ARE so similar makes doing the studies something that I think will really be looked down upon later in history…if WE survive as a species. There are plenty of real life animal trauma victims to study, just go to any elephant or parrot or chimpanzee sanctuary for instance. Dr. Gay Bradshaw is doing fascinating work on helping animals in these sanctuaries heal from the trauma for instance, of seeing their entire family murdered in front of them. She has a double phd and uses human trauma recovery techniques with these animals, and also chickens and others. She has also documented instances of the betrayal bond at The Elephant Sanctuary in TN….fascinating stuff. I don’t want to hijack this tread into the merits of animal testing…there are other forums for that. Just a passing note. Please.

I think I mentioned in another thread recently how validating it was to be at a conference surrounded with heroic people who share my values….like moving into a great neighborhood for a few days. The p/s hijack our values, get us doubting everything. I’ve never cared about material wealth but the P suddenly had me coveting that, feeling like a failure, etc. So wonderful to immerse myself in a bunch of Jane Goodall, Mother Theresa types that reflect my values that wealth doesn’t matter, that what matters is what you give. I know that trait is part of what got me in a mess with a P. I know now to be careful about who I give to and to look for the reciprocity in the relationship. Even when I give to an animal, it comes back to me in full measure….but not by the false yardstick a P uses.

Spent my birthday, not an exotic cruise, but helping to nurse 14 foals traumatically removed from their mothers. Another long story. But the point is, I couldn’t have had a more perfect day. Loving those foals, I was filled with a warmth and love I could not have gotten by spending money on myself or even listening to a P tell me how wonderful I am, while I’m walking on eggshells.

Rune…you are right, not talk therapy. One of the most effective means of healing for animals is letting them see recovered animals modeling healthy relationships.

As Dr. Leedom says “It is especially important to spend time with functional families/couples who love and care for each other.” So the traumatized animal can be given a safe place from which to watch the others. Sometimes that is from a human’s arms, sometimes it is from a tiny cage that they won’t leave, though the door is open. And of course, it really helps when one of the healthy animals comes over and starts gently interacting with the traumatized one. Sometimes just sitting by them quietly and never leaving except to get food, which they quietly offer to share. Some integrate quickly, some take weeks to leave their safe spot.

This is one challenge that I saw early in my experience with my ex s/p. Insomuch that I refused to allow myself to stay in the position of the victim. Because I at a younger age was before sexual abuse physical abuse and had exposure to those that wanted nothing less then to control me and really in a way “own” me I started to break free (too run or personally fight them verbally) of these people very early in my own personal way to autonomy. Even at a very young age I become a fighter (survivor) and refused to lose (victim) to them and this is how I understood it and/or wanted to understand it at a very young age.

So after my ex tried something like this on me for 17 years I wanted to fight but this time I wanted to fight to keep our family together and not just run away from the problems and not try to fight immaturely by/with verbally fighting her. What did I try?

Compassion and empathy
Communication
Role model
Forgiveness
Therapy
Skills learned from my abusive environment and my own therapy.

Sorry but none of these worked on my ex s/p.

Why?

Because my ex s/p never really wanted solutions to any problems. This emotional fight was lost even before the first psychological shoot was fired in a way. This of course is something I have just recently acknowledged.

Anyway, again I found myself in this “victim mode” but knew I had to get on to becoming the survivor. How to do this? Well, in my past understanding the problem(s) happens only when I really understood the problem(s). So I started asking questions and did research on what I was experiencing. Knowledge in partnership with understanding become the tools to reach beyond victimization then step into enlightenment and then come into idealization that I will become the survivor. In short I saw myself of a survivor before I became a survivor. Makes sense? To me in a way it didn’t as well. But I knew if I believe I could survive this then I would survive. It’s like the saying “I think I am therefore I am”. (God, how I always loved the power of words)

“The defeat state can be reversed with antidepressants. Defeat is associated with elevated stress hormones, immune dysfunction and learned helplessness.”

Went back to therapy on my own. I was put on antidepressants and they did help. Because of my stress levels I try to control them and help bring them back to a normal level. That helped as well. I refuse to accept “learned helplessness” as an acceptable state of being. In short this mouse become the lion again.

Thanks Liane Leedom again your writing helps me put things into prospective and confirms my own inner beliefs and that I feel I am one the right path to complete healing and understanding…

Dr. Stosney sounds like he doesn’t like it when victims

1. Get a clue
2. Solve their own problems
3. and make it without him holding their hand.

I’ve got no sympathy for the good doctor. If I hadn’t gotten a clue, there’s no telling how much damage my family and I would have suffered.

This is true for countless victims. We can’t sit around waiting for the good doctor. We need to take our lives back.

Sure, we know abusers need to become more compassionate in order to stop being abusive. We know they rarely if ever do that. We know abusers don’t enjoy the same quality of life the rest of us do. We know it’s pointless to taunt them with their permanent disconnect from the best of the human experience. Unlike Dr. Stosney, we also know that wallowing in pity for an abuser only opens us up to further harm.

The emotional barrenness of a cluster B is a crying shame, but of all the bad stuff in the world, it’s the one thing I’m least able to fix. Wringing my hands over the emotional wasteland of the S, the N or the P is not healthy for me.

The good doctor is not needed to validate my experience, hold my hand or tell me to go no contact with an abuser. With a dose of common sense, I can do that just fine. I refuse to shed tears for an abuser, who would respond to my tears as a shark would to ribbon of blood in the water.

I cordially hope that silly know-it-all has one of those nasty parasites latch on to him. Let’s see how helpful he finds his bleeding heart when he’s trying to cut ties with someone who effortlessly manipulates his emotions.

Grrr! What a thoroughly bombastic twit!

EC: I think Dr. Stosney may have valid points IF you’re NOT DEALING WITH A SOCIOPATH! So that’s reasonable advice if you’re talking about the majority of the population, and off-base, IMHO, for those of us who really tangled with the highly disordered.

“A compassionate victim, knowing that the abuser cannot change without becoming more compassionate, will leave. (Is he kidding me?). What is a “compassionate victim?

An abuser who becomes more compassionate cannot continue to abuse.” (Guess he is talking about your everyday abuser and not about an incessant abuser. Whose who are unable or unwilling to take accountability for their abusive nature.

I take it this person knows nothing or very little about personality disorders and/or a sociopathic person?

I have to agree with both Elizabeth Conley and Dr. Leedom about this author and that I don’t agree with some of what he has to say…

Yes, James, you see what I saw.

I gotta tell ya all……
I was introduced to a supposed ‘gentleman’ today….at first glance, seemed like a decent guy. We exchanged a few emails, seemed ‘normal’, yadayadayada…….
I learned long ago, to not give out ANY info about myself and just ask about THEM! Oh, how that works well…..people are so exhuberant to answer questions about themselves when they do not know you……NOT ME!!!!
When I got his full name……I pulled an erin B and did a simple, internet background check…… crossed referenced what info he gave me…..it’s real easy!
OH YEAH……..RED FLAGRED FLAG!!!
3 divorces with restraining orders placed on him during all.
1 child, who from birth he was not allowed to see and restraining orders in place for 9 years……EXTENDED FOR 9 YEARS…..
He tried to gain custody, each time denied and stiffer orders placed on him.
(Oh yeah…..he told me in the first email what a great active father he was and his 9 year old daughter was the light of his life!)
In 2008 a RAPE charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.
He bragged about it on one blog. No one could PROVE anything he was so good. YIKES!!!
He is an active member of MANBLA (man boy love association) …….CAN YOU SAY PEDOPHILE??????
He is an active member of the gay cyclists of america group…..
(Once again….I have NOTHING against gay folks…..But, I have a ‘thing’ about MY man being gay!!!)
He bragged about being a pro cyclist, and a coach at the local University. ( Kinda scary who your kids are being ‘coached’ by?) BTW…who does the hiring here?
I also found numerous blogs about his aversion and pure hatred of female judges in our area.
Stating his dismay about being ordered to pay $100 child support and his refusal to do so.
And some other weird rants that were random, but wicked!
NOW…..the ‘old’ Erin would be sitting there trying to find a reason to believe he was ‘framed’, falsly accused, disgruntled ex….oh, he really is a decent guy, look he’s so good looking, maybe I should just have dinner with him and ‘see for myself’…….blah, blah ,blah….. (OH YES>>>>>AND WAIT TO BE RAPED BY A PEDOPHILE-GAY GUY THAT RIDES A BIKE????)
BUT……NOT THE NEW EB!!!! Man, I would rather be alone!
I read all the LF stories about hooking up with another S……AND I DON”T WANT TO BE THERE AGAIN!!!!!
I would rather be wrong and run for the hills, than take my ‘chances’ and be wrong!!!
NO THANK YOU!!!
SO…..I popped him an email saying I was leaving for Venezuela for an extended business trip in the am and I would ‘be in touch’……SEE YA!
I also let this ‘mutual’ acquantance in on his ‘secrets’…..SHOCK all around!!!!
You just can’t tell a S by the cover folks…..read the book first!
Let this be a lesson to us all…..internet background checks…..essential information to have!!!!
I just caught another mouse in MY trap!!! At this one didn’t have time, or get close enough to poop on my life before I did him in!!
Growth huh? Thanks to the LF gang….I proceed with caution!!
Have a GREAT weekend!

EB: Jeez, I mean, JEEZ. Way to go! Was this a background check that you paid for? (it was well worth it if you did!). What an A**hole S/P. Very good lesson. I was always so afraid to be alone I would ignore red flags, but I’m realizing it’s not so bad to be alone, you’re right, “I don’t want to be there again!!!!!” NO TO POOP!

How did you find the blogs? I am so technically challenged.

Shabbychic:
Isearch.com
Enter name and city/state.
This is a good start. You get age, property owners address (if they own property), spouse or ex spouse name.
Then take this info to google.com…..
You never know what you find on google.
Court doc’s. Blogs, newspaper articles, career info etc….the sky’s the limit girl!!!
Intellius.com is another site that gives decent free info.
Whitepages.com
Take what you gather to Myspace.com and this provides an immense amount of info.
Then facebook.com

All free…..No I have NEVER paid for any info.

You need very little info to cross reference a person……
Name or Phone number, or job (career path), extracurricular activitiy, town.

If you have this info or even some of the above, on google you know you have the correct person…..if you know they work for IBM and are in the tech field and an article about a Dr. so and so appears…..most likely you have the wrong guy.

WIth all the info I have found on the internet during my divorce and recon work……I WOULD NEVER HAVE A MYSPACELINKEDIN>OR EVEN SIGN AN ONLINE BEREAVEMENT BOOK……

My kids were mortified when I ‘stalker mommed’ their friends and told them things about who they hung out with…..they all cancelled their accounts!

I have found out info about swingers in my area my S played with, gay hang outs my ex frequented, where my GF’s husband meets his hookers and when, the s’s drug suppliers girlfriends home address, and other financial and personal info put out there for all to see!
Trust me…..I have found out more than I EVER wanted to know about what goes on around us!!!!!!
But I am soooooo glad I did.

GOTTA KEEP THOSE TRAPS SET AND READY!!!!! But we also must be ready, willing and prepared to throw the mice out with the trap when caught!!!
🙂

EB: Thank you so much for the info! I did not know about some of these websites, I’ll check it out!!!

“EB: Thank you so much for the info! I did not know about some of these websites, I’ll check it out!!!”

shabbychic2

Erin is right about the search and how to use the internet. Some people just don’t understand this simply rule. 1) What you put on the web stays on the web.

But when we talk about s/p or and then understand the lack of impulse control many of them make the mistake and will do and say things on blogs and sites that other can go back and read themselves. Because s/p don’t think before they leap they will put themselves into positions and sites that can later haunt them. They will hate and smear other people just as easily on the internet then they will whenever they do a smear campaign with a ex or a person they want to trash. We call them “trolls” “socks” and other names to id them. These are people filled with hate and use the internet and other peoples like emotional toilets.

I have one myself on a site called dating psychos. I been dealing with this one for 3 years now. They are persistent and just like a p/s don’t give up. Really it’s all about supply and one should never take anything said to you personally. Anyway read if you want but please be advised of the harsh language.

http://www.datingpsychos.com/view_psycho.html?psycho_id=680

Hi All,

Liane: I looked at that picture, of the defeated little mouse, and before I even read the article I could feel what it was going to tell me. Oh, I have been that little mouse so many times in the last few years. And I appreciate especially how you relate that you are aware of your victim identity when hanging with others who know/have experience of psychopathy. Mostly because I have that experience too, and it has sometimes frustrated or worried me. But the way you put it in your article, along with the suggestion to hang with folks who have not been victimized or are otherwise involved, makes it feel less worrisome. Thank-you.

EB: Wow, congratulations on coming up with the truth on this ‘gentleman’. Great hearing how much you have learned. How you aren’t doing what you would have done in the past! Very inspiring. It is just amazing how they will post the EXACT opposite of what they are. Loving father!?

Someone else (I am not sure who) wrote about s/p’s giving themselves away on the internet, not having the ability to self-edit and control their impulse to ‘rant’. I have also seen something quite the contrary. There are those folks who HAVE managed to stay under the radar, who, when you google them look like superstars (perhaps this is more of a narcisstic quality?). I don’t bring this up to say that online searches are futile. But just to point out that we have to use all of our intelligences with these folks: our intellect (online searches, books, this fab blog, etc…), our body/instincts (stomach ache, a ‘sense’ that something isn’t right, mania and low energy, feeling off-center), and our emotional intelligence (feeling confused, sad, depressed, worried, doubtful).

None-the-less…EB I love reading this success.

Thank you for this.

Dear slimone,
you said “There are those folks who HAVE managed to stay under the radar, who, when you google them look like superstars (perhaps this is more of a narcisstic quality?). I don’t bring this up to say that online searches are futile. But just to point out that we have to use all of our intelligences with these folks”.

So true! My X and also the X of my sister were “too good to be true” on the internet as I did a background check. TOO perfect, and TOO much of good, SO fabulous and wonderful, PLENTY of information, as if Mother Theresa meets George Clooney combined with Albert Einstein. The homepage was SO full of HIS good acts to humanity, SO elaborate, SO clever, with nice pictures of a big “puppie” with a sad twist in his eyes. (Though all about his children, no mention of the women he has the children with, which made me think in a relieved way as I remember now: he has no issues anymore with the wives; SO WRONG; or SO TRUE, he could not care less!). Now in retrospect I get nausea thinking about it, but back then I was very impressed and swepped away!

libelle

“So true! My X and also the X of my sister were “too good to be true” on the internet as I did a background check. TOO perfect, and TOO much of good, SO fabulous and wonderful, PLENTY of information, as if Mother Theresa meets George Clooney combined with Albert Einstein.”

I can relate to this because I know those that are too perfect to good. Whenever anyone wants to be “too” nice and “too” helpful my radar goes beep beep unlike if I come into a contact with someone I know to be a s/p then it goes BEEP BEEP.. But my point is being “too” much there still should be a thought in the back of our minds “why is he/she being “so” nice? Remember manipulators need to get their foot in the door and they can’t get there but being upfront and honest. They get there by being deceitful and then will show us a very impressive and good front. They go to external showcasing to do so with all the bing bing they can find and use. Drew Peterson would be in my book the perfect example of this.

James

Did You expose your x on that Psycodate-ing site?
I don’t think exposing a psyco ,If you know they are violent is a good healthy idea! Perhaps because women are less likly to commit violence? Remember Wornos! Peace

James :
“Mother Theresa meets George Clooney combined with Albert Einstein.” ha ha… I’m still laughing at this image!
Mother Theresa admitted in her diaries that she only felt a “connection” to God for two weeks and 15 hours of her entire life. On two separate occasions. Whilst she worked tirelessly to help others regardless of this, she was still very distressed about it.
George Clooney is obviously a player and a narcissist. Just look at his best friend Brad and partner Ange. It is so obvious what will eventually happen there…those poor kids (or poor “future Ps”). And you can smell Jennifer Anniston a mile away off.. i.e. the stink of a psychopath.
As for Einstein, he was such a genius I wonder how his relationships went?

i.e. Mother Theresa felt a connection to God for two weeks in a row, once. And then for fifteen hours, once.

I wonder what techniques are most effective for PTSD. I read elsewhere that PTSD is like a post-hypnotic suggestion from the trance state that kind of hits you when a major trauma hits. I’m not sure if that is right or not.

Is hypnosis useful then in recovery? What about the eye-movement therapy? And what about cognitive therapy?

For a specific phobia I had had since a child, cognitive therapy worked really well for me, without a therapists help, just by reading about it in a book and applying the principles. (I used to pass at even the sight of someone in physical pain. I was constantly keeling over! Once I fainted from just walking through the doors of a hospital. Now I can watch operations, help in emergencies, etc.)

I think Oxy has said the eye movements helped her and someone else posted some techniques to use to try it on yourself, but now I can’t find them!

Also, diluting the memory by making it funny has helped me.

But just wonder what is best for PSTD from a BAD MAN.

justabouthealed….it was S O S….I copied it in March (8th)2009

+++++++++++++++++++++++

____S O S says:
OxDrover: I pretty much took what I’d learned from sessions with that therapist and modified it to my own purposes.

EMDR as done with that particular therapist
1. The traumatic issue or memory: Put a picture in your mind which represents the worst part of the incident.

2. Negative cognition: What words go best with that picture which expresses your negative belief about yourself now?

3. Positive cognition: When you bring up that picture/incident, what would you like to believe about yourself now?

4. When you bring up that picture/incident, how true do you feel the positive cognition is?
1 = feels completely false, 7 = feels completely true

5. When you bring up that picture/incident, how disturbed do you feel?
0 = no disturbance, 10 = highest disturbance possible

6. Do the eye movement while thinking about the picture/incident. (He’d wave his hand back and forth quickly, but not so quickly that I couldn’t follow with my eyes). For about 20 seconds or so.

7. Go back to step 4 and repeat the process until the numbers (in steps 4 & 5) go down to more acceptable levels, if not the lowest level.

Note: One thing he let me do which was helpful for me, and this was something I came up with on my own, was to verbalize any thoughts I had while my eyes were going back and forth. My goal was to come up with ideas about how I’d handle that situation if I had to experience it again, today. It was my own little modification, and the insights I came up with were as good for me as the actual eye movement was, I think.

EMDR as I do it with my computer
I placed a couple of bullseye pictures I found from Google images on a blank Word document. They’re spaced at opposite ends of the page (12 inches apart on my screen, about two feet from my face. I suppose any picture would do. It gives my eyes something to look at when my eyes go back and forth. Underneath I type very brief descriptions of the following (so I stay on track).

1. The traumatic issue or memory: Put a picture in your mind which represents the worst part of the incident.

2. Negative cognition: What words go best with that picture which expresses your negative belief about yourself now?

3. Positive cognition: When you bring up that picture/incident, what would you like to believe about yourself now?

I’ll do it for twenty or so seconds, three or more ’sessions’, and between each ’session’, type up any thoughts (if any) I had. I ignore the steps 4&5. I don’t need to convince myself it works.

Thank you so much. I’m copying it to my computer so I won’t lose it. Thank you!

Adam

“I don’t think exposing a psyco ,If you know they are violent is a good healthy idea!”

And you are right. It’s very dangerous so one must be very careful!

But not exposing a s/p is also dangerous to others that will come into contact with them. If anyone is thinking about exposing their ex s/p make sure you understand all the risks.

But for me not exposing a person of this nature is a sin. Plus I waited until I understand the full nature of these people before doing so. This of course doesn’t take away all the risks but it does give that person knowledge and wisdom in how to process. Again Adam not exposing them is a sin to me and would put my immoral soul at risk if I did nothing to help and warn others of the potential danger whenever one comes into contact with the person. Too many children have been hurt by this person, so to do nothing to me is inherently wrong therefore a sin.

Also exposure of these type of people will do two things simultaneously. 1) Warn others of the danger and 2) Cut off some possible supply they might receive by others who don’t understand their abusive nature.

Adam,

“Remember Wornos!”

“Are serial killers beyond redemption? Two new films consider the case of Aileen Wuornos, a woman executed by Florida in 2002 for killing seven men with a .22-caliber pistol. Although the films differ in their portrayal of Wuornos, both attempt to see beyond the media’s sensationalism and make an emotional argument against the death penalty.”

I guess you are referring to Aileen Wuornos? Sorry but your spelling is a little off. But yes I do remember this person. Again one must understand and be in ready to learn about the nature of this disorder.

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/133/two_tales_of_one_monster/

Hi James and Tilly and ShabbyChic:)

I hope things are good and peaceful for you today.xx

Panic attacks: Yikes! I have never had them before this year, I had 3 in total over April – beginning of May, and thankfully they’ve subsided now, but what a scary experience!

The first was in public, I was at a gig and went to the bathroom, came back and couldn’t see my friend because it was dark (one of my first ventures ‘out into the real world’ since the D&D and the big black hole I then fell into, I guess I suddenly felt alone and vulnerable) and the next thing I knew I felt like I was having a heart/ asthma attack and my mind was capsizing! Awful.:(

The next was when I was with a male friend and he asked me about a book I had read, my mind went blank and I couldn’t remember the details , heart started racing, head swimming and I nearly fainted! I guess the trigger was that the s/p I knew was always asking questions about things I did or read or thought, how I felt about god, religion (and magic – lol! Yes he was soooo special he was merlin and yoda and gandhi and Jesus all rolled into one – not!) etc, but it always felt treacherous, not like actual interest, and I now see it was often a way of undermining me or trying to trip me up or demonstrate his superiority of mind over me (PUH!). So big panic at feeling like I was in that situation again! Of course I wasn’t, my friend is not trying to laugh at me because I cant quote Shakespeare verbatim and am therefore an idiot – that is the creep’s game and he is not here anymore… awful feelings.

And the last was just in my kitchen for no reason I can fathom whatsoever!

PA’s are really terrible things, I hope it never happens again I can honestly say the first one I had was one of the most frightening experiences of my life:(
xxxxx

I find that making sure that I am with people I trust doing gentle things on MY terms, (that isnt as bolshi as it sounds… its not about calling the shots but choosing to do what feels comfortable for me, not rocket science I know, but its a revelation for me:) practising meditating on calm and peace and self love as I go about my business and gently pushing myself to become bolder(veeeery gently:), moving back in small steps to ME… or a better me…
xxxx

Okay – that was weird. I apologise LF’ers, I managed to post this, lose it and post again on two different threads:S Doh! xx forgive me:)

This girl who goes to my art class with me and who has befriended me is starting to show signs.. red flags. I thought she was the one girl in the class i could trust. She gave a card and an expensive present to our narcissist teacher today. I could tell she had waited for everyone to go before she gave it to her and she was disappointed i didn’t go as well. We always have a joke together about the teachers narcissism and her Mount Everest ego.
I am so mad at myself, I don’t know if i am just being paranoid or not. I just realised that my friend is very highly competitive and only does things to help if she is noticed. She becomes a friend if it helps her, if not she backs off.
I am so confused.

Blueskies: “Trauma from interacting with a psychopath is not just psychological, it’s NEUROLOGICAL!” That statement is from notes I took on a conversation with a psychologist who does neurofeedback.

She encouraged me to rest, be gentle with myself, understand that this takes time.

I don’t know that this explains your panic attacks, but I understand from some of my study that anxiety shows up as a higher frequency in the brain, and when we’ve lived with a psychopath, we have been spending a lot of time in a state of high alert. That’s like running a car at 60 mph in first gear!

I understand that sense of going blank when faced with a mental challenge while feeling pressure. I think you’re on the right track with giving yourself permission to do gentle things on your terms.

Tilly: So you spotted this quickly! Your antenna is working — good for you!

Two things that got me over my panic attacks. One was giving myself a math problem to do at the moment I felt one starting. Like counting in a pattern like this 100-1-99-2-98-3, so you are counting up and down at the same time. And sometimes I think my eyes moved from side to side as I did it, which may have helped to. But it is IMPOSSIBLE to be cognitive and emotive (to that extent) at the same time. So the idea is to stop the emotions by going into a cognitive mode.

the other thing that helped was starting to really connect with where I am and asking myself, “What here is frightening me….is it the red chair, is the flower in the vase, it is the person standing here, is it the floor I’m standing on….what is scary here.” Again, it gets your brain in a cognitive mode.

One last trick. This helped me a great deal. Rate your fear. Ahead of time, think to yourself what a panic attack feels like at “1” at at 2, etc. on up to 10. Then when you feel one starting, ask yourself, Okay, is this a 10 yet? No, it is more like a 3, oops, now it is 6, okay, now it is back to 3, now more like a 1……Same deal, gets your brain out of the emotive faze and into thinking.

Believe me, I had severe panic attacks. I would see a picture of someone hurt in an accident and faint. One foot up, then the other and go flat on my back, hitting my head and body hard. I was afraid of seeing physical suffering. I could even just walk in a hospital and pass out, without seeing anything. Once a woman in church fainted during the final prayer, and I remember thinking I wonder what that felt like, and next thing I knew they were reviving me. I had gone one foot up, then the other, fell straight back and bounced my jaw on a row of chairs. So I was pretty bad.

I read about the techniques in a book and applied them without the help of a therapist. I was so proud that when my dad had to have a painful procedure, and the doctor asked if one member of the family could go with him, to keep him calm, everyone pointed to me. I’m now not bothered A BIT by that stuff anymore.

So now I just have to apply the same techniques to the “falling into a deep black space” feeling I can get if I think of the P too much. Determined to get rid of that last little residue.

But still wondering if hypnosis could help…

And thanks again Jim, I’m using that technique and will keep working with it.

I hate maths..maybe i could draw a picture!
Rune: Am I paranoid or is she one..its not quickly spotted i have been in her class all year! help!

Tilly: Remember how good they are at faking it? It appears that your classmate is doing some serious schmoozing, buttering up the teacher. I’d be wary. They can appear very authentic, and then switch around.

Some people say that 1 in 25 people is sociopathic. Some people think the numbers are higher.

Even if it has taken you all year in class to figure this out, I think you deserve “extra credit”! Good job!

The teacher went off with her to the back room for 20 minutes. When she came out the “class mate” walked in the opposite direction to me. The teacher came over and sat opposite me and looked at me straight in the eye and said “I hate liars”. Then looked away from me but didn’t move.
The class mate new that I was the narcissit’s favourite because I played her. ( Told her she was a genius all term). Bit I didn’t know the class mate was a P! I hate myself!

Then again, I’ve got another year with the P class mate so at least i found out now.
Although the narcissist teacher doesnt give our marks out until next week. She can’t fail me as I have excelled.. Just mark me low. But I pray I don’t have her for another subject. And I am furious at myself for falling for yet another P! DAMN!!

Wow, Tilly. It’s a lesson in getting distance from a P as fast as you recognize one. When I saw the first part of your story, I had a bad feeling about how it might end.

Deep breath. Keep moving forward.

Dear Tilly,

I had a P instructor in school, and I smoozed her for one semester, but CHANGED SCHOOLS because I knew I could’t get by with it for another 3 years….eventually they act like they did with that woman who was in college and the prof attacked her after buttering her for a while. I think her name was Betty—CRS, not sure of name!

They will “love bomb” you for a while if you go along with them and smooze then but eventually, they ATTAACK. It isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN they bite.

The way yours said “I hate liars” seems to me you couldn’t tell if it was the other student she was talking about or YOU. so no matter what with these people, you ALWAYS get bitten to one extent or another. Just be WARY! (((hugs))))

I know the attack was to me and I was expecting it, but i thought it would be next week!!
AFTER OUR MARKS!!
But when she attacked me I kept making eye contact with her, because then I would know if she could back it up. But she didn’t. There were other people present.
I believe the classmate told her some lies about me and then the art teacher came out and attacked me. I believe they are both cluster Bs.
So today I decided I will send my last bit of work by email to the narcissist teacher. I don’t have to have contact with her for about 7 weeks . And then I will see if I can change subjects. In the meantime , I will cancel the course I was going to do with the two faced “classmate”. No contact. Case solved. THANKYOU OXY!!! YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS FOR YOUR COURT THING! xoxoxoxox

One thing about these panic attacks for me was that it’s a physical reaction to a emotional state of being. What I mean it’s something I can put my hands on in a way. In the beginning so many times we will doubt ourselves like;

Am I the crazy one here?
Were they really that controlling?
How can (statements) all what they said be lies?
I can’t believe they never really loved us?
Am I remembering it as it “really” happened?
Is she really as bad as I making it out to be?
Am I doing the right thing?
Who is the one that really needs help here, me or her?

Self doubt is normal and we all do it. But it only adds to our confusion.

But whenever we are experiencing a “panic attack” isn’t that telling us something is wrong emotionally but just taking on a more physical form?

My major panic attack (per the physician) was for me a “wake up call”. After experiencing it I realized I couldn’t do it on my own and rethought my decision about not taking antidepressants. It also helped me not just go to a psychologist but run to one! After my testing and interview with a licenses psychologist she did put me on antidepressants and they did help with my emotional and mental state of mind. I was put on only a “introduction” dosage and stay at that level for one year. After that I quit them but as I stated before never experienced another attack after that one, THANK YOU LORD!

Rune,

““Trauma from interacting with a psychopath is not just psychological, it’s NEUROLOGICAL!” That statement is from notes I took on a conversation with a psychologist who does neurofeedback.”

Can you give me more information on this? A link maybe?

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