Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Child abuse, Child Maltreatment, Child Protection, Parental Alienation PA

Myths and facts about child abuse and neglect

Myth: It’s only abuse if it’s violent.Fact: Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse. Child neglect, sexual and emotional abuse can inflict just as much damage, and since they’re not always as obvious, others are less likely to intervene.
Myth: Only bad people abuse their children.Fact: Not all abusive parents or guardians intentionally harm their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse problems.
Myth: Abuse doesn’t happen in “good” families.Fact: Abuse and neglect doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. These behaviors cross all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors.
Myth: Most child abusers are strangers.Fact: While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family.
Myth: Abused children always grow up to be abusers.Fact: It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children. On the other hand, many adult survivors of child abuse have a strong motivation to protect their children against what they went through and become excellent parents.

Effects of child abuse and neglect

All types of abuse and neglect leave lasting scars. Some of these scars might be physical, but emotional scarring has long lasting effects throughout life, damaging a child’s sense of self, their future relationships, and ability to function at home, work and school. Effects include:

Lack of trust and relationship difficulties. If you can’t trust your parents, who can you trust? Without this base, it is very difficult to learn to trust people or know who is trustworthy. This can lead to difficulty maintaining relationships in adulthood. It can also lead to unhealthy relationships because the adult doesn’t know what a good relationship is.

Core feelings of being “worthless.” If you’ve been told over and over again as a child that you are stupid or no good, it is very difficult to overcome these core feelings. As they grow up, abused kids may neglect their education or settle for low-paying jobs because they don’t believe they are worth more. Sexual abuse survivors, with the stigma and shame surrounding the abuse, often struggle with a feeling of being damaged.

Trouble regulating emotions. Abused children cannot express emotions safely. As a result, the emotions get stuffed down, coming out in unexpected ways. Adult survivors of child abuse can struggle with unexplained anxiety, depression, or anger. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to numb out the painful feelings.

Recognizing the different types of child abuse

Abusive behavior comes in many forms, but the common denominator is the emotional effect on the child. Whether the abuse is a slap, a harsh comment, stony silence, or not knowing if there will be dinner on the table, the end result is a child that feels unsafe, uncared for, and alone.

Emotional abuse. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, words can hurt and emotional abuse can severely damage a child’s mental health or social development. Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Constant belittling, shaming, and humiliating
  • Calling names and making negative comparisons to others
  • Telling a child they’re “no good,” “worthless,” “bad,” or “a mistake”
  • Frequent yelling, threatening, or bullying
  • Ignoring or rejecting a child as punishment, giving them the silent treatment
  • Limiting physical contact with a child—no hugs, kisses, or other signs of affection
  • Exposing a child to violence against others, whether it is against the other parent, a sibling, or even a pet

Child neglect—a very common type of child abuse—is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, which include adequate food, clothing, hygiene, or supervision. Child neglect is not always easy to spot. Sometimes, a parent might become physically or mentally unable to care for a child, such as in cases of serious illness or injury, or untreated depression or anxiety. Other times, alcohol or drug abuse may seriously impair judgment and the ability to keep a child safe.

Physical abuse involves physical harm or injury to the child. It may be the result of a deliberate attempt to hurt the child or excessive physical punishment. Many physically abusive parents insist that their actions are simply forms of discipline—ways to make children learn to behave. But there is a big difference between using physical punishment to discipline and physical abuse.

With physical abuse, the following elements are present:

  • Unpredictability. The child never knows what is going to set the parent off. There are no clear boundaries or rules. The child is constantly walking on eggshells, never sure what behavior will trigger a physical assault.
  • Lashing out in anger. Abusive parents act out of anger and the desire to assert control, not the motivation to lovingly teach the child. The angrier the parent, the more intense the abuse.
  • Using fear to control behavior. Abusive parents may believe that their children need to fear them in order to behave, so they use physical abuse to “keep their child in line.” However, what children are really learning is how to avoid being hit, not how to behave or grow as individuals.

Sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is an especially complicated form of abuse because of its layers of guilt and shame. It’s important to recognize that sexual abuse doesn’t always involve body contact. Exposing a child to sexual situations or material is sexually abusive, whether or not touching is involved.

  • Sexually abused children are often tormented by shame and guilt. They may feel that they are responsible for the abuse or somehow brought it upon themselves. This can lead to self-loathing and sexual and relationship problems as they grow older.
  • The shame of sexual abuse makes it very difficult for children to come forward. They may worry that others won’t believe them, will be angry with them, or that it will split their family apart. Because of these difficulties, false accusations of sexual abuse are not common, so if a child confides in you, take them seriously.

Warning signs of child abuse and neglect

Warning signs of emotional abuse:

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
  • Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant, demanding, passive, aggressive)
  • Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver
  • Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums)

Warning signs of physical abuse:

  • Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts
  • Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen
  • Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
  • Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days

Warning signs of child neglect:

  • Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather
  • Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor)
  • Untreated illnesses and physical injuries
  • Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations
  • Is frequently late or missing from school

Warning signs of sexual abuse in children:

  • Trouble walking or sitting
  • Displays knowledge of sexual acts inappropriate for their age, or even seductive behavior
  • Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason
  • Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities
  • An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14
  • Runs away from home

Risk factors for child abuse and neglect

While abuse and neglect occurs in all types of families, children are at a much greater risk in certain situations.

Domestic violence. Even if the abused parent does their best to protect their children, domestic violence is still extremely damaging. Getting out is the best way to help your children.

Alcohol and drug abuse. Parents who are drunk or high may be unable to care for their children, make good parenting decisions, or control often-dangerous impulses. Substance abuse can also lead to physical abuse.

Untreated mental illness. Parents who are suffering from depression, an anxiety disorderbipolar disorder, or another mental illness may have trouble taking care of themselves, much less their children. A mentally ill or traumatized parent may be distant and withdrawn from their children, or quick to anger without understanding why. Treatment for the caregiver means better care for the children.

Lack of parenting skills. Some caregivers never learned the skills necessary for good parenting. Teen parents, for example, might have unrealistic expectations about how much care babies and small children need. Or parents who were themselves victims of child abuse may only know how to raise their children the way they were raised. Parenting classes, therapy, and caregiver support groups are great resources for learning better parenting skills.

Stress and lack of support. Parenting can be a very time-intensive, stressful job, especially if you’re raising children without support from family and friends, or you’re dealing with relationship problems or financial difficulties. Caring for a child with a disability, special needs, or difficult behaviors is also a challenge. It’s important to get the support you need, so you are emotionally and physically able to support your child.

Recognizing abusive behavior in yourself

Raising children is one of life’s greatest challenges and can trigger anger and frustration in the most even-tempered parent or guardian. If you grew up in a household where screaming and shouting or violence was the norm, you may not know any other way to raise your kids.

Recognizing that you have a problem is the biggest step to getting help. The following are warning signs that you may be crossing the line into abuse:

You can’t stop your anger. What starts as a swat on the backside may turn into multiple hits getting harder and harder. You may shake your child more and more and finally throw them down. You find yourself screaming louder and louder and can’t stop yourself.

You feel emotionally disconnected from your child. You may feel so overwhelmed that you don’t want anything to do with your child. You just want to be left alone and for your child to be quiet.

Meeting the daily needs of your child seems impossible. While everyone struggles with balancing dressing, feeding, and getting kids to school or other activities, if you continually can’t manage to do it, it’s a sign that something might be wrong.

Other people have expressed concern. It may be easy to bristle at other people expressing concern. However, consider carefully what they have to say. Are the words coming from someone you normally respect and trust?

Breaking the cycle of abuse

If you have a history of child abuse, having your own children can trigger strong memories and feelings that you may have repressed. You may be shocked and overwhelmed by your anger, and feel like you can’t control it. But you can learn new ways to manage your emotions and break your old patterns.

Remember, you are the most important person in your child’s world – and you don’t have to go it alone. Help and support are available:

Learn what is age appropriate and what is not. Having realistic expectations of what children can handle at certain ages will help you avoid frustration and anger at normal child behavior. For example, newborns are not going to sleep through the night without a peep, and toddlers are not going to be able to sit quietly for extended periods of time.

Develop new parenting skills. Start by learning appropriate discipline techniques and how to set clear boundaries for your children. Parenting classes, books, and seminars offer this information. You can also turn to other parents for tips and advice.

Take care of yourself. If you are not getting enough rest and support or you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are much more likely to succumb to anger. Sleep deprivation, common in parents of young children, adds to moodiness and irritability—exactly what you are trying to avoid.

Get professional help. Breaking the cycle of abuse can be very difficult if the patterns are strongly entrenched. If you can’t seem to stop yourself no matter how hard you try, it’s time to get help, whether in the form of therapy, parenting classes, or other interventions. Your children will thank you for it.

Learn to control your emotions. If you were abused or neglected as a child, you may have an especially difficult time getting in touch with your range of emotions. You may have had to deny or repress them as a child, and now they spill out without your control. HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.

How to help an abused or neglected child

What should you do if you suspect that a child is being abused? Or if a child confides in you? It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and confused. Child abuse is a difficult subject that can be hard to accept and even harder to talk about—for both you and the child. When talking with an abused child, the best way to encourage them is to show calm reassurance and unconditional support. If you’re having trouble finding the words, let your actions speak for you.

Avoid denial and remain calm. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the child may be afraid to continue and will shut down. As hard as it may be, remain as calm and reassuring as you can.

Don’t interrogate. Let the child explain to you in their own words what happened, but don’t interrogate the child or ask leading questions. This may confuse and fluster the child and make it harder for them to continue their story.

Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong. It takes a lot for a child to come forward about abuse. Reassure them that you take what they said seriously, and that it is not their fault.

Safety comes first. If you feel that your safety or the safety of the child would be threatened if you tried to intervene, leave it to the professionals. You may be able to provide more support later.

Reporting child abuse or neglect

If you suspect that a child is undergoing abuse, it’s critical to report it—and to continue reporting each separate incidence if it continues to recur. Each report you make is a snapshot of what’s going on in the family. The more information you can provide, the better the chance of the child getting the help they deserve. Of course, it’s normal to have some reservations or worries about reporting child abuse.

I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. Child abuse and neglect is NOT merely a family matter, and the consequences of staying silent can be devastating for the child.

What if I break up someone’s home? A child abuse report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home—unless they’re clearly in danger. Parents may be first offered support, such as parenting classes or anger management counseling.

They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most places, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse.

What I have to say won’t make a difference. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you can’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed signs as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse that might have otherwise been overlooked.

Continue reading “Myths and facts about child abuse and neglect”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Narcissism, Narcopath, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), Parental Alienation PA

THE TWO SELVES

We often marvel at the discrepancy between the private and public lives of our idols: Celebrities, statesmen, stars, writers and other accomplished figures. It is as though they have two personalities, two selves: The “true” one which they reserve for their nearest and dearest and the “fake” or “false” or “concocted” one which they flaunt in public. 

In contrast, the narcissist has no private life, no true self and no domain reserved exclusively for his nearest and dearest. His life is a spectacle, with free access to all, constantly on display, garnering narcissistic supply from his audience. In the theatre that is the narcissist’s life, the actor is irrelevant. Only the show goes on. The False Self is everything the narcissist would like to be but, alas, cannot: Omnipotent, omniscient, invulnerable, impregnable, brilliant, perfect, in short: Godlike. Its most important role is to elicit narcissistic supply from others: Admiration, adulation, awe, obedience and in general: Unceasing attention. In Freud’s tripartite model, the False Self supplants the Ego and conforms to the narcissist’s unattainable, grandiose and fantastic Ego Ideal.

The narcissist constructs a narrative of his life that is partly confabulated and whose purpose is to buttress, demonstrate and prove the veracity of the fantastically grandiose and often impossible claims made by the False Self. This narrative allocates roles to significant others in the narcissist’s personal history. Inevitably, such a narrative is hard to credibly sustain for long: Reality intrudes and a yawning abyss opens between the narcissist’s self-imputed divinity and his drab, pedestrian existence and attributes. I call it the Grandiosity Gap. Additionally, meaningful figures around the narcissist often refuse to play the parts allotted to them, rebel and abandon the narcissist.

The narcissist copes with this painful and ineluctable realization of the divorce between his self-perception and this less than stellar state of affairs by first denying reality, delusionally ignoring and filtering out all inconvenient truths. Then, if this coping strategy fails, the narcissist invents a new narrative, which accommodates and incorporates the very intrusive data that served to undermine the previous, now discarded narrative. He even goes to the extent of denying that he ever had another narrative, except the current, modified one.

The narcissist’s (and the codependent’s) introjects and inner voices (assimilated representations of parents, role models and significant peers) are mostly negative and sadistic. Rather than provide succour, motivation and direction, they enhance his underlying ego-dystony (discontent with who he is) and the lability of his sense of self-worth. They induce in the child shame, blame, pain, guilt, rage and a panoply of other negative emotions.

As Lidija Rangelovska notes, the paradox is that the child’s ego-dystonic shame and guilt emanate from the very primitive defenses that later comprise and underlie his False Self. Having been told repeatedly how “bad”, “worthless”, “disappointing” and injurious he is, the child comes to believe in his self-imputed delusional ability to hurt and damage family members, for instance.

Such imaginary capacity is the logical extension of both the child’s grandiosity (omnipotence, “I have the power to hurt mommy”) and his magical thinking (“I think, I wish, I hate, I rage and thereby, with the unlimited power of my mind, I cause real calamities out there, in the real world”). So, it is the child’s natural primary narcissistic defenses that enable him to feel so miserable! These defenses allow him to construct a narrative which corresponds to and justifies the judgemental, hateful appraisals and taunts of his abusers. In his young mind, he accepts that he is bad because he is all-powerful and magical and because he leverages his godlike attributes to act with malice or, at the very least, to bring misfortune on significant others.

To skirt this inner overwhelming negativity, the child “appropriates” precisely these defenses and bundles them into a protective shield, thus sequestering his vulnerable, fragile self. Occupied by the ongoing project of his budding pathological narcissism, the child’s defenses are no longer available to construct and buttress the narratives offered by the abusive voices of his tormentors. Moreover, by owning his fantastic grandiosity and harnessing it, the child feels as empowered as his abusers and no longer a victim.

Introjects possess a crucial role in the formation of an exegetic (interpretative) framework which allows one to decipher the world, construct a model of reality, of one’s place in it and consequently of who one is (self-identity). Overwhelmingly negative introjects-or introjects which are manifestly fake, fallacious and manipulative-hamper the narcissist’s and codependent’s ability to construct a true and efficacious exegetic (interpretative) framework.

Gradually, the disharmony between one’s perception of the universe and of oneself and reality becomes unbearable and engenders pathological, maladaptive and dysfunctional attempts to either deny the hurtful discrepancy away (delusions and fantasies); grandiosely compensate for it by eliciting positive external voices to counter the negative, inner ones (narcissism via the False Self and its narcissistic supply); attack it (antisocial/psychopathy); withdraw from the world altogether (schizoid solution); or disappear by merging and fusing with another person (codependence.)

Once formed and functioning, the False Self stifles the growth of the True Self and paralyses it. Henceforth, the ossified True Self is virtually non-existent and plays no role (active or passive) in the conscious life of the narcissist. It is difficult to “resuscitate” it, even with psychotherapy. The False Self sometimes parades the child-like, vulnerable, needy and innocent True Self in order to capture, manipulate and attract empathic sources of narcissistic supply. When supply is low, the False Self is emaciated and dilapidated. It is unable to contain and repress the True Self which then emerges as a petulant, self-destructive, spoiled and codependent entity. But the True Self’s moments in the sun are very brief and usually, inconsequential.

This substitution is not only a question of despair and alienation, as Kirkegaard and Horney observed, respectively. Following on the footsteps of the Danish proto-existentialist philosopher, Horney said that because the Idealised (=False) Self sets impossible goals to the narcissist, the results are frustration and self hate which grow with every setback or failure. But the constant sadistic judgement, the self-berating, the suicidal ideation emanate from the narcissist’s idealised, sadistic, Superego regardless of the existence or functioning of a False Self.

The False Self is a kind of positive projection: The narcissist’s attributes to it all the positive and desired aspects of himself, thereby endowing it with a quasi-separate existence. The False Self fulfils the role of a divinity in the narcissist’s obsessive-compulsive private religion: The narcissist worships it and adheres to ceremonies and rituals via which he interacts with it. The True Self, on the other hand, is ignored at best and usually denigrated. This process is akin to projective splitting: When parents project onto the golden child positive traits and talents even as they attribute to the scapegoat child negative, undesirable qualities. In this sense, the narcissist a parent with two offspring: His two selves.

There is no conflict between the True Self and the False Self. First, the True Self is much too weak to do battle with the overbearing False. Second, the False Self is adaptive (though maladaptive). It helps the True Self to cope with the world. Without the False Self, the True Self would be subjected to so much hurt that it will disintegrate. This happens to narcissists who go through a life crisis: Their False Ego becomes dysfunctional and they experience a harrowing feeling of annulment.

The False Self has many functions. The two most important are: 

1. It serves as a decoy, it “attracts the fire”. It is a proxy for the True Self. It is tough as nails and can absorb any amount of pain, hurt and negative emotions. By inventing it, the child develops immunity to the indifference, manipulation, sadism, smothering, or exploitation-in short: To the abuse-inflicted on him by his parents (or by other Primary Objects in his life). It is a cloak, protecting him, rendering him invisible and omnipotent at the same time.

2. The False Self is misrepresented by the narcissist as his True Self. The narcissist is saying, in effect: “I am not who you think I am. I am someone else. I am this (False) Self. Therefore, I deserve a better, painless, more considerate treatment.” The False Self, thus, is a contraption intended to alter other people’s behaviour and attitude towards the narcissist.

These roles are crucial to survival and to the proper psychological functioning of the narcissist. The False Self is by far more important to the narcissist than his dilapidated, dysfunctional, True Self.

Narcissists provoke people.download2

Continue reading “THE TWO SELVES”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Social services

Covert Surveillance

See these examples at 3.15, which again have obvious parallels for social workers tasked with gathering evidence to support their assertions about disguised compliance or ongoing relationships etc for the purposes of care proceedings:

Example 1: A police officer undertakes a simple internet search on a name, address or telephone number to find out whether a subject of interest has an online presence. This is unlikely to need an authorisation. However, if having found an individual’s social media profile or identity, it is decided to monitor it or extract information from it for retention in a record because it is relevant to an investigation or operation, authorisation should then be considered.

Example 2: A customs officer makes an initial examination of an individual’s online profile to establish whether they are of relevance to an investigation. This is unlikely to need an authorisation. However, if during that visit it is intended to extract and record information to establish a profile including information such as identity, pattern of life, habits, intentions or associations, it may be advisable to have in place an authorisation even for that single visit. (As set out in the following paragraph, the purpose of the visit may be relevant as to whether an authorisation should be sought.)

Covert surveillance
2.1 Part II of the 2000 Act provides for the authorisation of covert surveillance by public authorities listed at Schedule 1 of the 2000 Act where that surveillance is likely to result in the obtaining of private information about a person.

2.2 Surveillance, for the purpose of the 2000 Act, includes monitoring, observing or
listening to persons, their movements, conversations or other activities and
communications. It may be conducted with or without the assistance of a surveillance
device and includes the recording of any information obtained
.
2.3 Surveillance is covert if, and only if, it is carried out in a manner calculated to ensure that any persons who are subject to the surveillance are unaware that it is or may be taking place
.
2.4 Specifically, covert surveillance may be authorised under the 2000 Act if it is either
directed or intrusive:
• Directed surveillance is covert surveillance that is not intrusive and is carried out
in relation to a specific investigation or operation in such a manner as is likely to
result in the obtaining of private information about any person (other than by way
of an immediate response to events or circumstances such that it is not
reasonably practicable to seek authorisation under the 2000 Act);
• Intrusive surveillance is covert surveillance that is carried out in relation to
anything taking place on residential premises or in any private vehicle (and that
involves the presence of an individual on the premises or in the vehicle or is
carried out by a means of a surveillance device)5
.
2.5 Chapter 3 of this code provides a fuller description of directed and intrusive
surveillance, along with definitions of terms, exceptions and examples. Surveillance
carried out as part of an equipment interference warrant issued under the 2016 Act
does not require a separate authorisation under the 2000 Act (see paragraphs 3.41
to 3.44 below). Continue reading “Covert Surveillance”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Police, Social services

“surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common

What The Times say is that the study they are referring to found ‘“surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common. Social workers used fake profiles to “friend” parents in cases where their posts were not publicly viewable. They watched parents’ relationships and behaviour, looking out for factors such as abusive partners or drug use.

Oddly, I’ve been able to find no trace of this study and it has been suggested that what is being referred to is some sort of leaked draft. No matter, the point is that it chimes with my own experience. Social workers do this stuff because it is a very effective way of seeing whether parents are walking the walk as well as talking the talk. You’d be surprised how often parents will insist that their lifestyle is all Little House on the Prairie, but their Facebook feed suggests it is rather more Kardashian (I don’t really know who the Kardashians are but I believe they have big bottoms and very exciting lifestyles). And of course parents/ex partners harvest and produce this stuff too when warring over children or divorce.

Many would say that if it’s on a public Facebook page it is fair game, and if it shows a child is at risk it should be admitted in evidence (and can you just stop complicating things please, Reed?). Those are reasonable perspectives. But just because something is a good idea or is a means to an end, doesn’t mean its lawful. And where it is the state gathering and using this material there is a pretty good chance that it isn’t lawful at all (parents need not panic this applies to situations where social workers are looking at and gathering data about private individuals).

So. The law. Do you have a caffeinated drink and a stress ball handy? Then I’ll begin. What follows is merely a sketch, not a comprehensive guide.

  • Social workers are employed by local authorities. As such, when they are carrying out their job they are acting as agents for a public authority. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 regulates surveillance of private individuals (you and me) by public authorities (NB same probably also applies to CAFCASS guardians and reporting officers).
  • The 2000 Act regulates this activity not by saying what is unlawful, but by providing a route to give authorisation for specific types of covert surveillance – it’s a piece of shield legislation. That is to say that if a public authority sticks to the requirements of the Act it is protected against claims under the Human Rights Act. If it doesn’t, it’s fair game and may find itself liable under various bits of law (tort, criminal, human rights, privacy etc etc). Unless of course some other law specifically authorises the activity.
  • Surveillance ‘includes monitoring, observing or listening to persons, their movements, conversations or other activities and communications.’
  • It’s ‘covert’ if it is carried out in ‘a manner calculated to ensure that any persons who are subject to the surveillance are unaware that it is or may be taking place’.
  • RIPA divides covert surveillance into ‘directed’ or ‘intrusive’ surveillance. In short intrusive is surveillance of people’s homes and cars. Directed surveillance is surveillance that doesn’t qualify as ‘intrusive’, but is conducted for the purposes of a specific investigation and likely to result in the obtaining of private information about any person.

Continue reading ““surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Malignant Narcissism, Parental Alienation PA

Malignant Manipulators: Ticking Time Bombs

Malignant narcissists not only believe they are always right, they vindictively go out on a limb to prove it.

The difference between someone within the normal range of the narcissistic personality disorder and someone at the extreme end of the spectrum is not always self-evident, as the disparity lies within. For example, take Max, a real estate developer. In his dog-eat-dog world, looking out for Number one was what life was all about. To him, most deals were win-or-lose propositions, people were either winners or losers and if you didn’t take advantage of others, others would take advantage of you. Pulling a fast one was standard business practice, as long as you didn’t get caught.

Despite this dark worldview, Max had a charming exterior and liked creating a buzz. He told people what they wanted to hear, and used exaggeration and embellishment to impress others. When that didn’t work, he’d try a mix of lies, half-truths and obfuscation. For Max, honouring agreements was relative, and a contract was nothing more than the beginning of a discussion. He saw himself as having a natural sense for how to play people against each other and of being keenly perceptive of his adversaries’ Achilles heels. He had to be Machiavellian in the business world; acting otherwise meant being weak. And Max hated weakness.

This modus operandi had paid off. With a string of successful deals behind him, Max had a glamourous lifestyle: money, cars, homes and admiration. All his ex-wives had been very attractive.

And while there were “haters”, those who said he was vindictive, untrustworthy or unscrupulously manipulative, Max felt that his critics were blatantly unfair and envious of his talent. Continue reading “Malignant Manipulators: Ticking Time Bombs”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA

Forgiveness is one thing; reconciliation another

Reconciliation with an offender is another matter. Restoring a broken relationship is dependent upon an offender’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing. When such an acknowledgment is made, if the relationship has been significantly violated, regaining trust and rebuilding relationship often take time.

An offender must demonstrate the sincerity of his confession by his attitudes and actions. If, after deeply betraying the relationship, he resents the need for time and demonstration, it may prove that his confession was not genuine. This kind of response will delay the process of restoration. 

Sometimes an offender will try to manipulate the person he deeply offended by claiming that her hesitancy to “go back to things as normal” indicates her lack of forgiveness. This offender should be informed that he is confusing forgiveness with reconciliation. His manipulation must not be allowed to work. If the healing of a broken relationship is superficial, it will likely lead to another betrayal.

The depth and nature of a betrayal along with the response of the offender all effect the process and timing of reconciliation. 

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, Emotional Blackmail, Parental Alienation PA

Emotional Blackmail

When in a dysfunctional cycle of emotional blackmail, the victim may be inclined to: apologize, plead, change plans to meet the others’ needs, cry, use logic, give in, or challenge. Typically, they will find it difficult to stand up for themselves, directly address the issue, set boundaries, and communicate with the blackmailer that the behavior is inappropriate. They do not consistently set clear boundaries indicating what is acceptable for them.

Forward and Frazier recognize four types of blackmailing, each with varying manipulation tactics.

  1. Punishers – Punishers operate with a need to get their way, regardless of the feelings or needs of the other person. Their motto is “my way or the highway.” Punishers will insist upon pushing for control and getting what they want with threats to inflict damage or harm.
  2. Self-punishers – Individuals can make threats of self-harm if the partner does not comply with what they want.
  3. Sufferers – this is the voice of a victim conveying guilt on the partner if they do not do what is demanded. If they don’t comply, there is a suggestion that their suffering will be the others’ fault. “After all that I’ve done for you, you are going to let me suffer…?”
  4. Tantalizers – This can be the most subtle and confusing form of manipulation. There is a promise of what will be better if they comply. It sparks hope yet is still connecting a threat to the demand.

https://positivepsychology.com/emotional-blackmail/

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, Emotional Blackmail, Parental Alienation PA

Ways to Handle Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a dysfunctional form of manipulation that people use to place demands and threaten victims to get what they want. The undertone of emotional blackmail is if you don’t do what I want when I want it, you will suffer.

The term was introduced by Susan Forward, Ph.D., in her book Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You (Forward & Frazier, 1998).

She describes how emotional blackmail tactics are used by abusers to threaten in order to get what they want. In placing demands and threats, they create feelings of fear, guilt, and anger to solicit compliance from their victims. In doing so, they divert blame and responsibility to the victim for their own negative actions. Typically, this dysfunctional type of manipulation occurs in close relationships.

Emotional blackmail is a concept recently developed and one receiving increased attention. The #MeToo movement is bringing education and awareness around the dynamics of emotional abuse and its powerful negative impact. In this article, we explore the meaning behind emotional blackmail, examples of this manipulation, the damage that occurs from this emotional abuse, and ways to handle it.

https://positivepsychology.com/emotional-blackmail/

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Child abuse, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, Parental Alienation PA

The Abused Brain | Dana Foundation

Societal Solutions for Societal Problems

Maltreatment takes many forms. Physical, sexual or emotional abuse, extreme neglect, and separation from parents are the more obvious forms. More insidious causes of toxic stress, including poverty, food insecurity, and systemic racism, can also affect psychological and physical health. Social-educational programs directed at early childhood or adolescence have shown mixed results in addressing poor health outcomes from these less overt but more widespread toxic-stress environments. A few stand out.

https://www.dana.org/article/the-abused-brain/

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Child abuse, Child Maltreatment, Parental Alienation PA

Childhood victimization: Desensitization effects in the later lifespan

The hypothesis tested in this study was that young adults who report having been abused by parents or guardians as children would report less concern when confronted with hypothetical situations similar to the type of abuse they had reportedly experienced during childhood. In our study of nonclinical adults those who reported childhood victimization experiences showed diminished concern toward the specific kind of abuse situation encountered earlier in their lifespan.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00706958