Be careful just trusting someone, because they are knowledgeable about abuse, and know all the “right” terms and phrases.
Remember – Abusers are knowledgeable about abuse too !
Be careful just trusting someone, because they are knowledgeable about abuse, and know all the “right” terms and phrases.
Remember – Abusers are knowledgeable about abuse too !
There is a type of predator that is so dark, that the results of any relationship with one of them is the destruction of basically everything they can possibly destroy in regards to you and your life.
These narcissistic predators will cause their victims to sink into such a pit of darkness that you will have have moments where you believe that death might be a welcome relief.
They drive their victims to having deep depression and often suicidal thoughts. You will find yourself questioning whether you were mentally unbalanced the whole time, rather than wanting to think that the abuser caused it on purpose.
This type of dark creature appears nearly normal in public, so that no one suspects anything is wrong with them. They might even be well thought of in the community as a humanitarian, a scholar, an artist, or a leader.
Little do their circle of associates know that there is a dangerous contempt and rage seething at their core. There is a resentment of authority and an extreme obsession with manipulation and control.
The rage usually only occurs once the curtains are drawn and the doors are locked. However, it is always lurking just below the surface of their well constructed mask.
The Dark Triad Predator lures their victims into their battle field by covering it with roses, Christian crosses, bibles, yoga mats, money, or whatever else will hold your attention just long enough to keep you from looking too deep into their eyes.
They don’t want you to see it yet.
No. Not so soon. These things must be carefully times.
Showing the rage too soon might cause fear or horror to creep into your mind prematurely.
That just wouldn’t do, now would it?
In order to disguise the creature that lurks beneath, this abuser avoids your glance.
Sometimes they will acknowledge your look while turning to the side or pointing to something alternate for you to look at.
It’s too early to let on.
They don’t want to reveal it yet.
Occasionally, in a bold moment, they may look right at you while in the midst of a vivacious monologue about themselves. But if you really looked…
But you didn’t, did you?
All evil things come to those who wait, particularly if the waiting is being done by a target of this predator.
They will carefully monitor their vocal tone so as not to allow a glimmer of that rage to seep through.
They don’t want you to hear it yet.
These predators will use slight of han, smoke and mirrors, and other tricks to get you to see the image they want you to see.
The image they want you to see is the good hearted person you have hoped for. It’s not time for you to look too deeply.
They don’t want you to see it yet.
Their conversations will engage, charm, and lead your mind towards imagining hopeful things for the future.
They are lying because they don’t want you to see the black pit that lies before you. Its just beyond the next step you’re getting ready to take.
The ground is getting ready to open. There is a gaping black hole just beyond where you’re standing, and the abuser won’t let on.
No, they want to lead you forward in the way that any great leader leads others. They promise rewards for believing in them and hint that it is best never to actually question them.
No. It’s better not to question them.
Not out loud.
Not in your mind.
Not at all. Not ever.
Little by little you learn to keep your opinions, your ideas, your suggestions and your gut feelings about things they say to yourself. You are being groomed.
You are being trained. You are being brainwashed. You are being indoctrinated into their world.
This is life with a dark triad personality. The three elements are narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian personality.
Their world only really consists of them. Everyone else is a pawn in their great game of chess.
But they don’t want you to know it yet.
No. They don’t want you to see the blackness in their evil eyes. They don’t want you to hear the fury that is lying just beneath their well crafted exterior.
But most of all, they don’t want you to see what you are standing on. The fire that burns beneath the ground is building and the heat is increasing.
At a certain point, you will have reached the point of no return. Yes, maybe you could have made a polite, yet firm exit earlier on, but it’s too late for you now.
Even attempting to step a toe off that unholy ground would singe your toes and spread up your foot. No. There is no painless way out.
There is no way out from their clutches without severe losses. One of those losses could be your children. It could be your sanity. Or it could be your life.
Yes. Your life as you once knew it to be is no more. You can never go back. Not ever.
Moving forward from this point on will be pain, loss, grief, and extreme loss. So many losses.
But what do you know? The floor has been covered with those roses for some time now. Petals of softness under your feet.
Yes. Perhaps a thorn or two may have drawn a few drops of blood from time to time.
How many times you ask yourself? That’s funny. You can’t really remember. It’s like your memory has been affected.
Even when you try to think about stepping off of that predator’spredator’ s grounds, you don’t really see the edge of things. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe your perception has become a bit confused.
The edges have become blurred, haven’t they? The concept you once had of yourself has also become blurred. Blurred against what you wonder? Blending between yourself and who exactly?
You wonder who this dark stranger is. The one that spits vile words at you for reasons you cannot understand. Perhaps you are not as intelligent as they are to understand why they rage? Maybe.
Or maybe the person you thought you were being lead by is not the person you thought they were. Maybe, they are not a normal person at all.
You try to remember the things that once drove you. What sparked your passion ? Why has your brain been fully focused on the wants and desires of this one individual?
What happened to the person you used to be? It’s like you have been eviscerated. But how? You can’t remember now. Besides there’s no time for that.
The creature needs to be fed and looked after. After all, you wouldn’t want to upset him would you?
You know what could happen if he feels you are not doing you very best to serve and obey him, don’t you?
Maybe you need a reminder, he roars at you. After all I’ve done for you and given up for you?
“I’m so sorry,” you mutter, with your head down. Your eyes look down at your toes, without dating to raise themselves up.
You don’t dare look into those eyes. You know the ones. They used to be a soothing brown, or perhaps a lovely blue.
But not lately. No. Not for quite some time.
Those eyes are black holes. That dark stare frightens you. No. Better to keep your head down, or at least look away.
You can pretend you’re like a little girl who’s been naughty. Maybe that will garner some human instinct in the creature.
But deep down, you know it won’t bring any humanity out in him. No. Nothing can brought out if it were never there in the first place.
There is only cruelty. There is only punishment. There is only shame. There is only them.
They wanted it that way all along. For you to be blurred with them. But why do they loath you so? Why aren’t they happy you have sacrificed yourself for Then?
You were supposed to do it. They were entitled to your submission. It’s not a gift of love. They don’t have to appreciate you.
You belong to them. They believe that you must obey them. They don’t see it as a choice. After all, they are so powerful. Once they will something to come about, it must come about.
You are merely a shadow of themselves. They have attributed their most loathsome qualities into you. Now they can spew all their contempt and hatred your way.
And when the sun shines again, it will not shine for you. And it will not shine for the creature.
As the sunlight dances off the beauty of the day, it dances for the person that does not exist. It shines for the illusory image that the creature covers itself with during the day.
As for you. You’ll have to hold the hand of that person that does not exist. And pray the creature lurking beneath does not come out to feed tonight.
Keep your head down. Avert your eyes. Speak carefully. Walk gently.
And whatever you do…. don’t look into their eyes.
You won’t like what you’ll see.
…..image from Pinterest
PTSD is a term most people have heard, but often they do not really know what it means.
If you tell someone you have PTSD, it may be hard for them to know what you mean by that, unless they have it themselves or maybe they have a close friend or family member with it.
People with PTSD have trouble with relationships, but not for the reasons people think.
Once you have been traumatized, and then re-traumatized by triggering situations, you feel generally unsafe and there is a natural tendency to want to retreat…back up your steps and run for cover.
People with PTSD can be re-traumatized by people who do not understand, and by people who are more concerned with their own agenda than really understanding.
When someone with PTSD has certain triggers, and explains those triggers to someone, it is important that they are validated and respected. If someone wants to care about a loved one with PTSD, they need to really listen to that person, when they talk about what triggers them.
*A person that intentionally uses your triggers against you is dangerous to your mental well being.
But then there are people who just don’t want to listen to or respect your boundaries. Your perceptions are not of an significance to them.
Some triggers cannot be avoided, such as loud noises that may occur independently from either person. However, talking someone into going to a loud dance club, or guilting them into going to fireworks, when it has been made clear that loud noises are triggers, is abusive.
People who have PTSD from the military, and people who have PTSD from domestic abuse have different causes for their symptoms, but some things are the same.
The fight-or-flight mode is activated by the amygdala. If the brain perceives a threat, even if that threat is not real, the amygdala will send chemicals into the body like adrenaline and cortisol.
The feeling in the body of a “perceived threat” and a real threat is exactly the same. The same physiological responses occur, including blood pressure elevation, and feeling of extreme fear and the feeling that you have to act right away.
Someone who had their jaw fractured by an abusive boyfriend, who suddenly stormed towards them in a fit of anger, may be triggered by someone coming quickly into their personal space, especially if that person is angry.
Once you have asked someone not to do certain things which trigger you, it is a terrible feeling when they still continue to do them. It feels very violating, and only serves to break the trust bond.
Relationships need to be based in trust. Intimate relationships, as well as friendships and family relationships have to feel safe. If one person does not feel safe, then there is a lack of understanding and a lack of trust.
Without both parties feeling safe, the relationship will break down. People with PTSD can find it difficult to trust again, after others have invalidated them about their symptoms.
Sometimes someone will disbelieve you, minimize your trauma, or accuse you of trying to manipulate them with your explanations about your trauma and your triggers. This is very painful and re-traumatizing.
People who have PTSD or C-PTSD from abuse were invalidated as part of the abuse process. Their emotions were minimized, disregarded and made fun of.
To have someone close to you minimize your PTSD, or disbelieve you is re-traumatizing. It gives the victim into an emotional flashbacks or actual sensory flashbacks.
You can only tolerate being traumatized and re-traumatized so many times.
Soldiers that come back from war only to be disrespected by civilians, or invalidated and ignored by the Veterans Administration, are being re-traumatized.
It is a way of invalidating a person’s reality. This has negative effects on the person’s mental and emotional state.
People with PTSD can be perfectly good and caring partners and friends. They just need validation, respect and understanding.
But after repeated re-traumatization, a person feels isolated and too vulnerable to take a chance on trusting another person again. This leads to self isolation, depression, and often suicidal thoughts.
Evolutionary psychology tells us that our subconscious brain feels threatened by the potential that we would be completely isolated, shunned or thrown out of the social circle.
A Little Evolutionary Psychology
In the past, humans lived in social survival groups called tribes. Being accepted and included by the tribe was critical for survival. Being shunned would have meant death !
Our primal brain (called the reptilian brain) perceives rejection by the tribe to be potentially life threatening. When we are feeling a similar kind of threat, it triggers the fight or flight response in our limbic system of the brain. The amygdala becomes active and send all kinds of alerts and chemicals into the body.
Technically, we could survive living alone and isolated these days, but we were not meant to live in isolation… especially isolation due to “mobbing” or “scapegoating” by the tribe.
This is one of the reasons that scapegoated family members, suffer such severe mental and emotional trauma.
People with PTSD need to feel that they will still be accepted by the Tribe (family, community…whatever applies to the situation…).
They need to know that their personal reality will be validated, even though it may be very different from that of other people. The experiences someone with PTSD has endured may seem strange to people that have not ever had that kind of trauma in their reality.
Isolation can cause death by suicide or “failure to thrive.”
Self isolation will almost always cause severe depression. But being re-traumatized is just as bad, and the brain will try to lead people away from that pain.
Our primal brains are designed to take us away from danger, or perceived danger….and towards pleasure. But the “away from danger” is the priority.
Re-exeriencing the feelings of danger, fight or flight chemicals and physiological responses, is not something that anyone could tolerate on a regular basis.
We were not built to feel in danger all the time. Being in a state of hyper-arousal all the time depleats the immune system and causes mental disorders.
People with PTSD need understanding and validation.
They need their loved ones to be sensitive to their triggers, and to pay attention to what the person asks and needs.
Otherwise. the relationships cannot continue in a way that is safe for the PTSD sufferer. The person with PTSD will shut down and crawl inside of themselves. No healthy relationship can be sustained without safety for both people.
Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs theory in 1943. He stated that people have needs that must be met before other ones. The basic needs for shelter and safety must be met for all people.
There is no room for fun, learning, socializing or self-actualizing without the basic needs being met first.
The person fails to thrive. All the things other people do are just not the priority. The safety is the priority and dominates the person’s thoughts and emotions.
There are men and women who experience violence against them in their own home. There are episodes of violence and there is a constant threat of violence.
The brain is not designed to be in this state for a prolonged periods of time and damage can occur to the way the brain assesses the possibility and level of potential threats for years to come.
There are domestic abuse situations which involve financial abuse. People are controlled financially and cannot take care of their own needs. This kind of abuse can keep the victim feeling trapped into the relationship, because they have no means to support themselves on their own.
I lived in an abuse situation years ago in which I had to go without heat for most of a very cold winter.
My money was controlled and I was not “allowed” to purchase heating oil. I still fear the cold and fee post traumatic stress reaction when the winter season begins to make its way into my state.
It is terrifying to feel that you are in danger of freezing, going hungry, going without medical care and any other basic needs. When someone denies you basic human needs it is frightening and creates a horrible feeling of vulnerability.
Any situation which is a reminder of the original traumatic abusive situation can trigger a post traumatic stress attack. The person will collapse under the weight of the fear and not be able to function normally.
In addition to traumatic attacks (like severe panic attacks), the person can have a constant feeling of being unsafe. They feel that any minute something could happen to put them in a place of fear and danger.
Most people have never been in a dangerous situation of violence of of being in danger of starving or freezing to death. They have never been in a situation where someone threatened to cause them to lose their job unless they were compliant.
We have lived through an on-going situation of terror and physical and mental abuse. Being forced to go without basic needs is mentally abusive as well as physically abusive.
It is also emotionally abuse to be shunned and made to feel like an outcast in your own home. We need to be loved. You need to be accepted and supported by others. It is a survival instinct to be part of a family or tribe of some kind.
How could the person we trusted and loved, allow us to suffer like that? They made us feel that we were at fault or that we did not deserve to be taken care of? We did not deserve to be able to take care of ourselves.
We have lived through situations where there was a very real threat. In our minds, what is to keep it from happening again. Our good judgement?
My hope is for awareness that will generate some understanding. I also pray that all of the many people suffering PTSD from domestic abuse are able to one day find peace and a feeling of safety.
One of the reasons I hear from my clients that makes it hard for certain people to to leave an abusive relationship, is that they are not fully sure in their own minds if the partner is abusive them intentionally.
If someone is making you feel like you are crazy and interfering with your ability to live and thrive, then it is okay to leave them.
A commitment like a marriage or a partner agreement had two sides to it. You are not the only one who should be accountable for your behaviors. You are not responsible for keeping up your end of a verbal or written contract, when the other person acts as if they have no obligation to that contract.
Have they made a “bait and switch” arrangement with you. You can look up the term bait and switch on google and you will find how it is used in the context of business deals.
If you see an advertisement for a certain product at a price that you find fair, and then the sales person tries to get you to buy a different product (usually more expensive) , telling you that the original product is no longer available, then this might be a bait and switch.If they advertised the original product with no intention of giving you that product. and with the premeditated plan of talking you into the other one. then it is a bait and switch.
Well, it is really the same thing as the way this tactic is used in business. Your partner pretended that a certain kind of relationship was available to you. They manufactured a personality that you would like, and then lured you with that persona.
They had no intention of fulfilling any promises they made you. They had no intention of keeping up that personality during the relationship. They were aware that they had no desire to maintain a fair and balanced relationship.
Now, we come back to the question of the partner’s behavior being intentional and whether or not the particular person is aware of their behavior being unfair and abusive.
If this is an adult that is unaware when they are being abusive to you, then you do not want to be with them. If this adult is incapable of understanding how adult relationships work, then you will never have a fulfilling relationship with them.
So, whether or not they are aware that their behavior is abusive….if this person is abusive to you, then you do not need to feel obligated to stay in the relationship, or to be “a good person” by putting up with a miserable relationship.
It is a bait and switch if the person has intentionally mislead you. If they have not intentionally mislead you…then why did their behavior dramatically change after a few months of being in the relationship?
How could they be thoughtful and kind to you for a few months, and then suddenly change into a completely different person who is cruel and selfish?
If they were able to maintain a certain persona during the idealization phase. then truly they are probably fully aware that they manipulated you into falling for them by pretending to be someone they are not.
But if they acted like a selfless, caring person until they entrapped you, and then changed their behavior in a dramatic way after that…and they are not aware that they did that…then this is a disordered person that you cannot change, and you will not be able to have a loving relationship with.
The issue of whether or not the person knows how abusive they are simply cannot be a factor in whether or not you have to feel obligated to continue to tolerate their abuse. You are not “a bad person” if you leave the relationship.
In fact, if they suddenly change back into that thoughtful person again, just when you mention wanting to eave them, then that should be your clue as to whether or not they are able to control their behavior. This should be a clue to you, as to whether or not the person is intentionally being selfish and abusive.