What is New?

WHAT IS NEWEST ON THIS BLOG?

February 1: New groundbreaking children's book by Australian author Ava Keyes called "Scapegoat". Story here
January 21: Added a new video by Med Circle interviewing Dr. Ramani Durvasula on the How to Tell If You Have Abusive Parents post
December 22: Newest post: Black Sheep at Christmas? Making Christmas Better... , or go here for the whole list of topics having to do with the holidays
December 14: Gaslighting: How a Parent Can Drive a Kid Crazy: Therapist Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, takes on the subject of children who are being gaslighted by parents and why she thinks it is the most egregious form of child abuse. Story here
PETITION: the first petition I have seen of its kind: Protection for Victims of Narcissistic Sociopath Abuse (such as the laws the UK has, and is being proposed for the USA): story here and here or sign the actual petition here
Note: After seeing my images on social media unattributed, I find it necessary to post some rules about sharing my images
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why Laws Need to Change for Child Abuse Survivors: Machiavellian Gaslighting, Dangerous Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde Splitting and Attacks by Narcissistic and Sociopath Parents



If this post doesn't convince you that child abuse laws must be changed to make parents more legally accountable for their actions, who inflict psychological and emotional abuse and damage on their children, I don't know what will.

I am also personally fed up with so many psychologists on the web grooming patients to take all of the responsibility for what happened to them. So many advertisements! "Heal From a Narcissistic Relationship in 7 Steps!", "Stop Thinking About the Narcissist and Work on Your Life Goals" (even when so many narcissists are dangerous?!?), "Stop Placating Narcissists and Start Responding in Smart Ways!" (again: why does a victim have to outsmart a narcissist? - why is it on the victim's shoulders and not on the shoulders of law enforcement?), "Scapegoat of a Narcissist: Ten Strategies for Healing!" (really? Scapegoats, most of whom have been traumatized to such extremes that most psychologists can't even imagine, are totally accountable for self-healing, while the perpetrators get away without being accountable beyond restraining orders, including the costs of therapy to heal?).

How will you be able to heal your client's PTSD when so many perpetrators are still out there wanting to do even more damage to your clients?

This all reminds me of the failed school bullying programs from years ago where the child victims were expected to get therapy, learn to heal, learn how to avoid their bully in the hallway, learn how to placate the bully and keep calm, learn to not take the bullying to heart, when the bullies were recruiting ever more bullies, and on and on ...

And the attitude about the bullies, themselves, was a resounding silence from school authorities, school psychologists and school guidance counselors. Nothing was researched about how school bullies were behaving around their victims, about how they were responding to their victims being in treatment because of them, what their attitudes were concerning perpetrating more bullying, what enticed them to bully (other than the typical lame excuses most bullies make to hurt their victims), attitudes of other students about the bullying, and so on.

In the end, effective school bullying policies meant making the bullies accountable ... Now why couldn't Ph.D.s figure this out for so many years?

How would a grown-up like going to the public library or to a continuing education course only to get beat up by a bully without the ability to have the police intervene and the ability to take the perpetrator to court? Wouldn't you feel totally helpless and scared about going to the library and to keep plowing through the continuing education course you signed up for in such a situation where the perpetrators were never accountable for any of their actions, and you had no idea if they'd be lurking in the hallway somewhere?

And we expected children NOT to have any of the protections that we demanded for ourselves?!?

Yes, thank God for harassment laws, assault laws, coercion laws, and battery laws for adults!

But what about children?

In the meantime, all of the school bullying got worse and worse, didn't it, with all of these interventions to get victims help, the lecturing, the guidance counselors and school psychologists wringing their hands trying to find an effective approach to the problem, the therapy, and putting the responsibility for healing squarely on the victims' shoulders.

And what about children who are mercilessly bullied by their OWN PARENTS??? Many of these children are so much more bullied than they could ever be in a school (since most of the time child abuse is life-long). And since schools have so many crowded hallways and staircases and eyes that homes don't, how are children supposed to fight back?

Isn't the case against parental emotional abuse of children (where the threats by perpetrators are so dangerous and Machiavellian) basically the same thing we faced when we decided that children of school bullying could not heal by keeping the status quo system? 

Narcissistic parental abuse is much more prevalent now than it ever was, with all of the same healing strategies and lectures we gave to bullied kids in school. And in the meantime narcissistic and sociopathic parenting continues to grow and get worse, and more and more children are being effected by it, and there are more victims than ever, especially those going "no contact" with their parents (adult child - parent estrangements are now 38 percent of all American families with adult children, very close to the divorce rate).

Will the nation's children and their estranged parents be able to defend their country effectively if they are invaded by another country? Will they care to, or will they be so wounded by each other that they don't have any more fight in them to take on a foreign enemy? Will they even have the will to defend lives, or families, or their divided nation?

Will so much of the gross domestic product and government money be going towards the "PTSD problem" of child abuse, spousal abuse and sibling abuse?

I see so many horrible stories of narcissistic and sociopathic parental abuse from adult children on the internet, that's just a good ol' continuation of the child abuse they endured for a couple of decades as underage children. It's getting worse, and worse, and worse. And the best society can do is to say, "Heal From a Narcissistic Abusive Relationship in 7 Steps"? Is that 7 steps, or 7 easy steps?

Even "Go No Contact! You'll Feel So Much Better!" is getting old, precisely because it often requires trying to make oneself joyous and strong in the midst of estrangement and the depression about the estrangement pulling at your emotions for years, even though the outcome is about keeping safe from a toxic family. It is true that a lot of child abuse victims feel much, much better out of their families, particularly those who can heal from C-PTSD. For those who can't heal, and there are many, many of them, C-PTSD seems not only to be a life sentence for them, but many talk about suicide, and even go so far as to push for assisted suicide.

Either way, estrangement is always in the background (including knowing that these parents are fully capable of more attacks, even egregious and life-threatening attacks) ... in reality there is often a "psychological pull" into cognitive dissonance no matter how criminal some families are. Have a look at Saddam Hussein's family: he promised his son-in-laws that they would be safe if they returned, but they were executed. Even if a survivor is never lulled into a parent's proclamation that their environment is a "safe environment", intellectually survivors know it isn't true, and most of them find that "promises" in abusive families are almost always fake promises with the betrayals of those promises rescinded through gaslighting, where even harsher enactments of abuse will happen as the result of running away and "telling."

Many domestic violence therapists steer away from talking about cognitive dissonance and their client's "emotional needs and wishes" for peace, harmony and love with their families. Granted, there is a good reason: it is a therapist's agenda to keep their clients safe, to dispel wishes and fantasies about love and comfort with abusive parents. The point of a lot of child abuse therapy is to emphasize that patients should be working towards wanting lack of familial support because their family is so bullying and toxic and has never really loved or considered you beyond doing what you are told to do by them, told what your thoughts and experiences are by them, keeping quiet about the abuse for them, undergoing punishments if you don't do what you are told by them, and leak toxic family secrets that they want you to keep secret for their reputations and their comfort - in other words, the general message many child abuse victims receive is that peace, love and harmony with their families is totally hopeless.

A lot of abusive families act like mafia families without the overt killing, but they kill their members in other ways: through severe punishments, through severe forms of ostracism, through self esteem crushing verbal abuses, through the constant pressure to accept abuse as deserved, even dangerous escalating abuse to keep you in the role that you have been assigned by them. A scapegoat role can definitely kill you if you stay (I will have a post up eventually as to why).

Do we love having to search for a "family of choice", trying to forget the wound? Do we love trying to "live in the now" even when we know our perpetrators would love to hurt us more and are always trying to find new ways to do it? Do we love seeing a child get whacked hard by some parent in a grocery store for no reason other than that the child tried to reach a cooler from the cart 6 and a half feet away with tiny hands. Do we love our responses when our wounded-child-within starts reappearing during these grocery store episodes: wanting to call CPS, feeling hopeless about the justice system, crying at the sight of it, the whole kit-and-kaboodle of what we have been through all flooding back despite all of our efforts to self soothe, to forget, to live in the simple Buddha dream-world of "no suffering" that the "no contact" seems to provide on the surface of things (if only our perpetrators weren't still spending an inordinate amounts of time with sadistic schemes and plans), to heal from narcissistic abuse in 7 easy steps?

Why are therapists and psychologists flooding the internet with so many healing strategies, all of which sound so redundant if you are into this sort of thing, and not hitting the internet with something new and bold, and that makes sense like: "Let's get some laws changed!", "Why perpetrators should be part of solving the puzzle of child abuse in the USA". Or like: "Ways All Therapists and Clients Can Band Together to Get Child Emotional Abuse Laws Changed in 7 Easy Steps!"

Therapists will not have anything to lose by it, and will still have clients, because healing from abuse will always be a demand, but their clients won't have to deal with "My scary mother is still out there wanting to do something to me! I can't seem to focus on healing with this going on! Why don't you get that?"

Also, a client who only half-hears healing strategies because their hypervigilence is through the roof, won't be so commonplace that therapists have to repeat themselves.

I will share with you some real stories where it will be very plain why laws need changing in this sphere.

But first, for survivors reading this, I discuss gaslighting (a psychological abuse) as it pertains to extreme psychological splitting, which is how a lot of Machiavellian emotional abuse gets started, and then I tell the stories of a number of survivors: a mother who kills eight of her child's pets plus some of her own as a means of punishment and control, a mother who tries to convince a child who is being sexually abused and trafficked that her toys are going missing because she has Multiple Personality Disorder (now termed Dissociative Identity Disorder), a child who throws up with regularity throughout childhood and told that nothing is wrong with her other than a weak stomach, how two girls spent their childhood being sexually abused by an older brother and taught to look at it as a divine experience brought to them by God, how an elderly mother tries to convince her daughter that she will inherit a lot of money if she "comes home" to sweet Mama to care-take and the consequences of that, and then a couple of short stories on parents who imprison and abandoned their children and where laws would help.

At the end, I share some videos. I highly recommend the video by psychologist, Dr. Todd Grande, on Vindictive Narcissism, which is what many child abuse victims have to endure, life long.

To get a better handle on what psychological splitting is, go HERE for my post on it, or go HERE to get a very short explanation of what it is on Wikipedia. Basically it is Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde behavior, "I love you and then I hate you" behaviors, black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking, a parent who plays favorites with their children and who insists that one child is all good and deserves favoritism, to be looked up to, to be idealized and another that is all bad and deserves to be ridiculed, hated, isolated from friends and family, and deserves to be in pain.

To get a better handle on what gaslighting is, go HERE to my post on it, or go HERE to get a very short explanation of what it is on Wikipedia. Gaslighting is about trying to get someone to question their reality, memory and sanity. Note: almost all abused children are groomed to look at themselves as insane - and actually I would be tempted to say that all child abuse victims are, because I haven't met one child abuse victim who hasn't been labeled that way and I have met thousands.

Pre-1985, for parents who wanted their child to be regarded as insane, it largely worked for them, and their agendas (the psychology establishment supported all parents except for the most horrific ones). Psychologists let parents who were abandoning, cruel, abusive, sociopathic and cold hearted "off the hook", and if anything, idealized these behaviors as good discipline unless they were very obviously egregious: cigarette burns on the skin, obvious severe bruising from head to toe, deep whip lash marks on the back or legs, a lot of broken bones that never healed right, children obsessively afraid of their parents, children who weren't given proper nutrition or lived chained up in a basement, parental abandonments that seemed wildly selfish or self serving.

Then along came psychologist Alice Miller's publications: the majority of children in mental hospitals and mental institutions were child abuse victims. Before she turned the psychology establishment upside-down, the majority of child abuse victims were labeled as schizophrenics and neurotics (not PTSD sufferers as they are today). In fact in today's world, in order for a psychiatrist to make a diagnosis of schizophrenia, many other disorders have to be ruled out first, including PTSD and children are not typically diagnosed with schizophrenia any more because it is seen as a mental illness that only adults get. So, that's a great improvement. There are many more questions directed at the child and parents don't necessarily get to answer the questions for the child any more. Another improvement. Psychologists now put a lot of emphasis on asking a child questions about how they are treated, rather than just focusing on how they are feeling is a major step in the right direction too.

In the old days, schizophrenia and neuroses "labels" actually increased these children's risks for much more abuse after treatment because the abuse was never looked at, solved or confronted; it was ignored (abuse tends to escalate with "no end in sight" if it is ignored). The other reason it increased is because parents could now use the schizophrenia or neuroses labels as justifications for abuse, particularly for the more severe forms of gaslighting, such as: "I didn't hurt you! You're crazy for thinking that! You're a schizophrenic! Being schizophrenic means you hear voices that aren't there!  How dare you! Just for that, you'll pay!"

Why was there ever a tradition in families where children were expected to "pay" for complaining about abuse?

The answer lies in the authoritarian family. In authoritarian families, where abuse tends to be most rampant, children are expected to put their parent's feelings and sensitive natures first. "Children should be seen and not heard" is the classic authoritarian family quote.

In healthy families where all members matter, children's feelings often come first before the adult's because their emotional natures are still developing, and they need guidance to mature into healthy adults who can express emotions in a constructive and realistic way. To bring up emotionally healthy children, there will be emotional literacy, empathy, respect, learning, listening and discussions about emotional subjects, how to understand different perspectives, discussions about emotional regulation and self esteem, spending time trying to understand and soothe children who are distraught.

In authoritarian families, all of this is squelched, and children's feelings are particularly squelched and are seen as an inconvenience and irritation for the all-important adults (again, because they believe children are "not to be heard", only the adults voices and perspectives matter in the authoritarian family). Harsh judgments and insults are often doled out if children display feelings. Adult arrogance and haughty proclamations are standard.

If it is extreme, children will be emotionally stunted in their emotional growth (and if you study narcissism, many of the Narcissistic Personality Disordered are emotionally stunted at age six because so often they were from authoritarian families where their feelings were invalidated, where the rush to judgment was practiced regularly, where the parents felt they were justified and the ultimate authority in telling children what they were thinking, feeling and experiencing, where you were expected to "shut up" if you had feelings).

The best way to teach children is by example. If children are punished for having feelings and talking about emotional pain, but are expected to be super sensitive to your own feelings, that's a double standard and the authoritarian family model cannot and will not go well, or be respected by many of its members.

If you tell a child not to be critical and judgmental of you, but then use insults to describe him or her, even small children know what hypocrisy is (you actually lose their respect, in that instance, not gain it). So hypocrisy is very much the "visible front" that everyone can see, the "Emperor Without the Clothes" in the authoritarian family.

It is a tenuous family system and built for revolution in the same way that autocratic governments are.

In the authoritarian family, the attitude is that everything has to come first for the parents (very self serving): they should come first in what they want, need, and what their opinions are, they should be considered first, they should be appreciated first, they should be heard first, they should take precedence above all others first, the best of everything should go to them first, when things go wrong in the family and there are misunderstandings, the children should apologize to the parents first, the parents should eat the good food and the children can have what is left over. It's such a crappy set of rules that children with any strength of character at all will start to refuse to adhere in the kind of way that will satisfy these parents (that is because so many parents who are trying to push the authoritarian "dream family" onto their kids are downright control freaks, trying to micromanage every part of their children's lives, and scapegoat the kids who aren't going along with every aspect of the "authoritarian dream" the parents so desperately want for themselves).

The reason why a narcissist may want an authoritarian family, apart from just wanting to call all of the shots and dominate everyone in sight, is that so many of them grew up with authoritarian families themselves. They had to compete with siblings for love; they had to accept and approve of abuse without question; they had to keep their feelings to themselves; they had to place "being approved of by parents" first and foremost in their lives above any of their own dreams; they had to show complete loyalty, reverence and subservience to their parents and put their parents first no matter how badly their parents behaved; they weren't allowed to complain about abuse or lack of love; and most of all, they survived it all, and so now their children should survive it all too, and in all of the same ways.

So many narcissists from authoritarian families want what their parents had, and feel they deserve it too, without question, and will do just about anything to their children to get it.

The authoritarian parental attitudes mostly mean this: "Children have to be polite to me, but I don't have to be polite to my children", "I get to reject and abuse my children, and sometimes treat them like they don't exist, but how dare they think to do this to me since I am so important and come first!", "What I want comes first and my children should come last in every aspect of my life, but how dare they have dreams of their own and pursue them!", "My child is crazy, and I hope he believes me, but how dare he go to a therapist and get talked into me being the crazy, disordered one!"

The high majority of parents who are heavily invested in keeping the authoritarian family model intact will create an environment for their children that is heavily based on getting children to feel ongoing fear, obligation and guilt. There will also be a lot of "testing" to see if children are still feeling the amounts of fear, obligation, and guilt that the parent, or parents, require.

Since the parents are trying to create and provoke these kinds of negative emotions in their children, it will create a negative experience and atmosphere in the home.

Where gaslighting and psychological splitting comes in, is in these ways:

Gaslighting is needed to convince the children that fear, obligation and guilt is good for them, that it creates altruism in them. It doesn't because it didn't create it in the parent when they were brought up in this way. If anything, the only time empathy is enacted is when the parent is getting what they want, so it is a reward system only, where empathy is not a genuine emotion or part of their character - it is a love bombing maneuver that creates Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde behavior in them and therefore trauma for their children.
     In other words, when things are going the parent's way, when they are producing enough fear, obligation and guilt in their children for them, then they might act empathetic temporarily, with the emphasis on act and temporary.
     Gaslighting is also needed to keep children from thinking or behaving too independently or autonomously. A child who has his or her own thoughts and ways of doing things will be smeared. Usually the way they are smeared is: they are too crazy, or too stupid, and therefore need to be controlled by the parent.

Splitting is needed to create fear, obligation and guilt too. A parent needs to appear to be exceptionally loving and rewarding to make the children work for them, and severely punishing to make children who are not giving the parent exactly what they want the incentive to work harder for the parent, all in order to get the reward of the nice Dr. Jekyll side (and not the cruel Mr. Hyde side who has been hurting them). It is an all or nothing, black and white system, and most all or nothing, black and white family systems are toxic.
     The problem with all of these love you, hate you signals based on a reward system is that it creates trauma in children. The other thing it creates is deception. It is also a system particularly prone to consistent parental mistakes in terms of judging situations correctly. What matters to parents in this system is that they believe everything should go their way at all times, and if it means an incorrect judgement, they are willing to make them because they will just create a scapegoat among all of their children for these mistakes, or for "leading them into the mistake". Anything that might cause scrutiny is hushed, every effort is made to hide evidence, for every evidence there are word salad excuses and feigned innocence ...
     Children are never treated harshly enough for the severe punishments that usually go with this style of parenting - injustice, crime, creating a fall guy, creating made up stories, creating excuses for abuse, creating a situation where parents are ashamed enough to hide abuse and deny abuse or make believe the children are abusive instead (hard to do in most cases), and it often goes against biology once the children have grown.
     Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde splitting, in some instances, may keep children in line, but not forever if you are privy to survivor stories. It leads to false hope in children, a hope that can never be fully realized, and will certainly never be realized if the child abuse victim is the life long scapegoat, which most family scapegoats are. There is usually a point of no return, and it is based on trauma and on-going emotional wounds in the child (that were originally created by the psychological splitting of the parent).

If any of you have seen the film, Mommie Dearest (the link is to my own review), which is still, after all of these years, the quintessential child abuse movie, one that just about every child abuse victim can relate to, and one that I believe everyone should see to understand how child abuse is hidden and implemented, the "fear, obligation, guilt" model and all of the very common erroneous punishments, complete with Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde implementation, the ungrateful phrase being bandied about as ritual when the mother is having her constant temper tantrums, and leaving half of the children out of the Last Will and Testament are part and parcel of just about every authoritarian family who practices abuse.

The only thing that some abuse victims may not relate to is that some parental temper tantrums are overt, as in this movie, and some are covert (the covert ways are passive aggressive: ways to hurt the child being planned out over a period of time and implemented in such a way as to bring the child the most wounding and trauma).

An abusive authoritarian family model will fall apart for about half of its members eventually, creating a split family. A lot of it gets exposed to outsiders too because "when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose" in telling, as Bob Dylan sang. Authoritarian families can be extremely ostracizing and punishing towards members who fight back against the hypocrisies, the oppressive emotional climate (of being forced to "keep quiet", where abuse can be so standard and normalized that the abused are expected to apologize to the abusers! - remember, authority is very hard to keep in place without lots of other abusers in it). So, the double standards, the horrible charades of being upstanding ("Being upstanding does not mean being evil and abusive and not practicing what you preach!" the family rebels will shout), creating an all or nothing situation in terms of your childrens' loyalty and subservience is tenuous, and in American society, very hard to implement unless you are like the Turpins: homeschool your kids so that they aren't influenced by outsiders, keep them chained up so that they can't get outside to be influenced by outsiders, shame them over inconsequentials to test if they are still going to want your approval over every aspect of life, keep them so hungry and "wanting" so that they will look to you for the necessities of life in all situations, show other siblings severe punishments to keep the other siblings in line - even when it doesn't always work (it didn't for the Turpin parents - they ended up in prison).

Many psychologists describe families headed by narcissists in authoritarian families as "cults". Indeed, they are.

The children who have no respect for the model tend to be its scapegoats and "the frozen-from-trauma" children (most often the frozen children are the lost children - in family systems theory). They are the family members who get hurt a lot from the system and feel that their only option is to leave.

The parents, who have been anesthetized by entitlement to get all that they want from their children and have intractable feelings of superiority, will feel absolutely no empathy for their hurt ostracized children. If anything, they go about their daily lives with the attitude that these children are being justly punished for not following the model and roles they had been assigned. They never want to put themselves into their children's shoes because the fantasies of the perfect authoritarian family where children are so trauma bonded, so emotionally stunted at six years old, that they will still act like six year olds wanting approval, and do exactly as they are told by the Mommy and Daddy, and even to the point of risking their lives for the parent, and put the parent always first, forever.

In fact, most narcissists and sociopaths die alone. This would be a telling sign that they want this fantasy until their dying days and never give up on it.

Domestic violence therapists are aware that American authoritarian families often breed severe abuse, suicides, murders, estrangements, divorce, incest, crime, mental health issues, sibling abuse, retaliatory parenting, cover-ups, and that the lack of empathy for children in this system will usually be profound. If the whole family gets therapy, these counselors do try to talk the parents out of this fantasy model. Often the approach is to explain why the model is not working for the parents and that it is bad for the parents. The parents do have a lot to lose, especially when they start losing their children, and then grandchildren, and in-laws, and sometimes brothers and sisters, with the abuses being exposed, but they are so self serving, so invested in themselves and their fantasies of grandiosity, and uncaring and unfeeling, that they cannot hear anything other than therapeutic advice that concerns them and their welfare.

Since it is very rare for an authoritarian-style parent to go to therapy or even admit to the fact that they are abusing children, laws must be changed as the children will be hostage to it for at least 18 years, if not more. Since child abuse is climbing dramatically, since narcissism is climbing dramatically, and since parents with estranged children is higher than it ever has been in recorded history in the developed world, the situation requires bold action. We can't afford a population heavily made up of bullies and their PTSD sufferers, which is what we will have if nothing is done.

It even costs money for states and countries, if one wants to get into the economics of enabling abuse, and one of the stories covers it.

The stories follow:

THE PET KILLING MOTHER

In childhood, a girl's pets all died before the pets reached three years of age. Seven of them died, seemingly from respiratory failure. A couple of the mother's pets also died in a similar manner, and also before they reached three years of age.

When she asked her mother why the pets always died so young, and why other kids on the block had similar pets that lived to 7 and 14 and 17, the mother said that some pets are healthy and that some aren't, that it is part of life that all things must die, and that she should be spending her time thinking about "cat heaven" and "dog heaven" rather than worrying about how her pets died.

Every explanation was diverted to "Think about something else. They are gone and you can't bring them back." 

Her mother also tried to keep her from grieving by shouting at her to "get a life." In fact, emotional expression was not allowed.

For a long time she didn't have pets, or want pets, because losing seven had been sad and traumatic for her. The pets were also used as blackmail and threats, to keep the daughter from going to sleep-overs, hanging out with a friend, going to visit her father when he was alive, etc. 

But then one day when she was 17, she came upon a stray sick dog and asked her mother if she could bring it into the house, and promised to take care of the pet and all its needs (she had a job) and take the dog with her if she ever moved out.

The mother agreed and the dog was nursed and brought back to health.

Then the daughter met a young man, and they decided to get married. The mother didn't like the young man because he lived in another city and it would mean that the daughter had to move out (the mother was a single mother with only one child). 

For months, the mother reacted: there were lectures, scare tactics, threats, arm twistings, puddles of tears on her mother's behalf, phone calls and texts to the young man which included threats, crying spells, telling him that her daughter was insane and that he shouldn't marry her or he would regret it for the rest of his life, that her daughter should be in a mental institution but that she loved her too much to have her live a life without a mother looking after her  - all the stops were pulled to make sure her daughter didn't get married and continued to live with the mother.

Notice how the mother gives herself permission to be emotional, but the daughter isn't allowed to.

So the wedding plans were on, and the daughter tried to comfort the mother in spite of the fact that the mother was trying to create this crazy-making scene to get the groom to back off. 

The wedding was being held in the city he lived in, and they had made plans to meet with the wedding planner. 

However, right before they were to leave, they stopped at the mother's house, and the dog was on the livingroom floor gasping for breath. The daughter held the dog in her arms with tears running down her face, and then the dog expired and died.

She told her mother that she wanted an autopsy done on the dog to see why it died, that she would pay for it when she got back home, and to leave the dog in the garage. 

They asked the mother her opinion as to why it died, and the mother replied that maybe a neighbor poisoned it because they didn't like the barking. 

They moved the dog to the garage and then got ready to go on the trip. The mother asked the daughter if it was a good idea to meet with the wedding planner when she was so upset and still crying, when the trauma of losing her dog was so fresh in her mind, when she might not get there safely because she was so emotional.

The daughter went anyway, because to her, the dog's death was the sign that she had to get away from her mother.

The dog's death brought back a flood of memories. She started to see a pattern, that every single one of her pets had died when her mother was trying to control her and threaten her. It sent chills up her spine.

She also remembered other things her mother had destroyed during the period she did not have pets: the only photographs she had of her late father, letters to her from her late father, gifts that were given to her by her late father.

Anyway, when the couple returned a couple of hours later they headed right for the garage and the dog was gone.

"I didn't want you to be burdened with this, so I took care of it," the mother said, meeting them outside in the dark. "I didn't want to see you hurt and crying over that dog any more."

When her daughter told her that she had no business moving the dog, the mother shouted back that her daughter was ungrateful.

The day of her wedding, her mother did not show up. The daughter found out later that most of her extended family was told to boycott the wedding too.

After the wedding, she moved into a house with her husband and they got a new dog (which incidentally lived to old age). But to back-track, upon getting this new pet, an aunt called her and accused this daughter of killing her own pets, that she shouldn't have a new dog when so many of her pets died mysterious deaths because of her care.

That raised her suspicions more and she began having the symptoms of PTSD, hypervigilence in particular. Her mother was constantly calling, wanting to come to their house to celebrate the new dog, to take it out for a walk, and maybe she could take the dog once in awhile to unburden her daughter.

A lot of abused daughters will give their parent one more chance, then another chance, and so on, because the bond is hard to break, even when so many of their pets die, even when they grow up emotionally squelched, even when the wedding is boycotted by their own flesh and blood, even when the aunt that her parent had been talking to accuses the daughter of killing her own pets, and even when the new husband has been told his new wife should be in an insane asylum.

And then there is the greater society that has the attitude that mothers are to be revered, that they are exceptionally sweet and kind and should be worshiped, that you should always believe that a mother has your your best interests at heart, etc ...

So, with all of the brainwashing and gaslighting, it is sometimes hard to make a stand against abuse.

In this case, the daughter's PTSD symptoms worsened, and the last thing the daughter wanted was to have her mother anywhere near any of her pets again. Then, she felt that she could perhaps control the situation by inviting her mother to her own house where she could keep her mother away from her pets, and never leave the dog alone with her mother. This didn't work. As soon as the daughter went to the bathroom, and after telling the mother to make sure the dog stayed where it was, the mother let the dog outside where there was a busy road. That was one incident, and there were more.

Eventually the daughter no longer allowed her mother to come to the house she shared with her new husband and the new dog.

Then the daughter got pregnant, and her husband was really frightened for their child. "If your mother is capable of doing this to so many of your pets, won't she harm our baby? Won't she try to frame you for the murder? Won't she find every opportunity to screw with your mind?"

To save her baby and her pets, the daughter felt she had to go "no contact" and to sell the house, and disappear. She still has nightmares about her mother. She has trouble concentrating because she still feels her mother "is out to get her", and that the mother will just use increasingly "sneaky ways" to do it.

This story has so many instances of gaslighting. The splitting, the desire to be destructive, and to kill,  is noticeable too when the mother doesn't get her way. Killing the daughter's pets is a sociopathic activity (Antisocial Personality Disorder, or perhaps, Malignant Narcissism - both disorders display sadism).

This is a dangerous situation in so many ways and there should be some legal action available to someone in her shoes, since the mother can be destructive in this manner to anyone and any animal, and it doesn't necessarily have to be her daughter (it could be a college student who moves in and pays rent, for instance, or anyone close to this mother). It's pretty likely that the mother also killed her own pets, so it is through pets that she does her serial killing. Most literature on sociopaths state that the killing of pets can lead to the killing of people.

Is there a chance that all of these pets had an accidental death? Very, very slim chance, especially when the mother displays so many narcissistic traits and when the pets just happen to die during times when the mother feels she is losing control of the daughter.

A MOTHER WHOSE CHILD IS BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED
TRIES TO CONVINCE THE CHILD THAT HER TOYS ARE GOING MISSING
BECAUSE SHE HAS DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER

Note: Dissociative Identity Disorder used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder. Since the abuse took place during the time it was called Multiple Personality Disorder, I am using that term for this story, instead of the former term.

Ten year old Sally (not her real name), tells her mother a number of times that she is being sexually molested and trafficked in their neighborhood. She is very upset and wants her mother to do something about it. It is not just run-of-the-mill sexual abuse, but has many elements of sadism and of brutality. Sometimes she is raped by many men.

Her mother does not respond to the sexual abuse in a way that will stop it from happening, but uses her knowledge of sexual abuse to research how it can effect a child psychologically. The mother does not call the police, or counseling services, or the hospital, or social services. Nothing is done at all to protect her daughter. In fact, she is isolated to her room and spanked if she cries about her experiences.

In the guise of helping her, the mother insists that her daughter not respond emotionally to the situation, but tell her rationally what is going on. She asks her daughter if she is experiencing anything unusual in her mind: voices, a pretend personality, memory loss, and so on.

Sally replies that there is no memory loss, but that she occasionally hears voices (because she likes to play, and it is like thinking something up for her dolls). She says she also pretends to have an older sister who takes care of her the times she is beaten and sexually abused by the strangers who show up in her neighborhood looking for her.

The mother tries to convince Sally that Sally has Multiple Personality Disorder, and what the symptoms are, and how it is connected to her being sexually abused. 

A number of things start happening: her toys start going missing and her clothes start going missing. In fact everything in her room starts to either go missing or ends up in places she did not put them.

Her mother, in the meantime, tells her that not knowing where her things are is part of living with Multiple Personality Disorder in that one of her "personalities" is putting things somewhere without telling the "other personalities" where they are.

The thing is, nothing was happening like this before, so she is sure that her mother is doing it to her, which gets her crying more, and since crying is not allowed, Sally has to endure more isolation.

Sally feels trapped and starts thinking about suicide (at age ten!) and tries to devise a number of plans to carry it out. The mother, however, gets wind of the plans and tells her that if she carries through with it, she will reside in Hell forever and be raped all of the time without recourse. "You think your life is so bad now?! Then think about being raped in Hell for all of eternity!"

Somehow she gets brainwashed into things going missing because of her own actions.

Eventually almost all of her toys went missing. She barely passed fifth grade because she experienced extreme anxiety in school. She was also tortured by her mother in other ways.

When she turned eleven, she stayed in her room by herself after school most days.

The family moved.

When she turned eighteen, the statute of limitations had run out for her to take the perpetrators to court. She also noticed that the phenomenon of "things going missing" had stopped, and when she went to a therapist on her own, she was not diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder.

This is just one incident. There are many sexual abuse crimes perpetrated against children across the country, as well as kidnappings of children for the purpose of sexual slavery.

While some laws on sexual abuse are changing, the extreme gaslighting by this mother made things so much worse for Sally. In fact, the mother experienced incest as a child growing up, and normalized it. The gaslighting by her mother may have been about wanting her daughter to suffer in the same way the mother had, perhaps to be trauma bonded through "similar pain." The gaslighting agenda took precedence over protecting her daughter.

This is just wrong, and it shows how victims of sexual abuse can fall through the cracks, even with  new laws passed. It would be hard for a ten year old to bring charges against many grown men, especially without the support of her mother. And it would probably be hard for a daughter to bring charges against her own mother, especially a mother who wants to hurt her daughter to this extent.

 A CHILD THROWS UP ONCE A WEEK
AND IS TOLD BY HER MOTHER THAT THE ONLY THING WRONG
WITH HER IS A WEAK STOMACH

Nora (not her real name) throws up a lot. Her other siblings do not, so this phenomenon cannot be attributed to poor cooking skills, an un-clean kitchen, cross contamination, the handling of garbage, and other issues.

The mother is unconcerned, even when the daughter complains and says she wants to see the doctor.

In fact, when she mentions the doctor, the incidences of throwing up stop for awhile.

The mother tells Nora that the fact that she stops throwing up for weeks and months at a time is a sign that there is nothing wrong with Nora's stomach, and that she just has a "weak stomach."

Nora is also the scapegoat of her family. She endures a lot of the same abuse that many scapegoats endure:

The other children insult her and kick her, and the mother doesn't intervene to stop it. "Maybe you did something to deserve it if they are all beating you up! Did you ever think about that?"

When Nora cries and is upset about the scapegoating, the mother slaps Nora hard across the face. "Stop your crying or you're going to get it! I'm capable of slapping you much, much harder, so this is your warning!"

In the beginning, Nora tries to fight back, asking her mother to consider that it isn't right to be insulted when she, herself, is not insulting towards her siblings.

The mother won't hear any of it, and tells her daughter that she has heard enough, and to "go away!" She also tells Nora that Nora is "pushing my patience."

Eventually the mother starts to insult the daughter right along with her other children, as if the mother is a peer and friend to these children (typical of narcissists), and, in fact, her mother acts like a child in these situations instead of an intelligent rational adult (that is because most narcissist's emotional maturity was arrested at about age six, so they are incapable of "grown up" reactions when their children are traumatized).

If Nora has any reaction about the escalating abuse then the reaction becomes a "punishable offense": spankings, hitting, more insults, rejection, shaming, using Nora's tears and anger for even more "punishments".

Abuse is not supposed to be reacted to or talked about in abusive homes, and I will get to why (and it's not about denial).

Nora then tries to deal with the situation by "keeping quiet" and keeping to herself in her room.

When she gets beat up by her siblings, she feels she has no recourse, and lets it happen to her. When she is insulted, she learns not to respond. When her siblings throw things at her, she stands frozen for a minute while the siblings laugh at her. When she is stolen from by her siblings, or when her siblings destroy her toys, she learns not to care about or to be invested in her things.

In the beginning, when she was quite young, Nora fought back, using some of the same defenses and tactics as her siblings, but as she got older and realized that it couldn't work, she gave up. Her dreams started to shift into wanting to have a life outside of her siblings and her mother, and exclusive of her siblings and mother.

This resulted in Nora's play becoming "imaginary", without the accouterment of toys (the toys that were constantly coming up missing or destroyed), where she imagined the dolls she used to own sitting with her, having tea with her in her room.

This concerned her mother, because Nora was talking to "mid-air", as if responding to a voice only Nora could hear. Her mother was convinced Nora was schizophrenic (which is how many abused children were labeled by psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists before the mid-1980s and Alice Miller's influence on the psychiatric establishment's labeling and treatment of traumatized children).

The only respite from the daily abuses was her father. When the father was home, he noticed that Nora was withdrawn and acting so "highly anxious" that he wanted to help her.

Eventually she gained enough courage to tell her father what was going on.

He approached his wife about the abuses (Nora's mother), but the mother acted shocked and told the father that none of it was happening, that it was all in Nora's "wild imagination" - something that child abusers do with predictability.

She denied flatly that any abuse was going on with anyone in the household, and that, in fact, Nora was the big problem, in fact a huge problem, so much so that no one wanted to be around her.

The reason for this is that narcissists and sociopaths will cover up all abuses every time - they are going to act like addicts in this regard, the ones who try to cover up their drugs at all times, except with other addicts (and only some of the time). Most narcissist's and sociopath's drug of choice is abusing others, and they will always hide their abuses except with others who like to abuse (the team approach)

This should always be be taken into consideration when making new laws. These types of abusers will divert their abuses onto something or someone else, blame shift everything away from themselves, think up other explanations and excuses, re-word it so that it sounds socially acceptable (do their famous word salad over any and all allegations of abuse). They are heavily, heavily invested in hiding abuse, any abuse, all abuse.

They are not going to be all that different than child sex traffickers in covering up what they do to others - they will stick together, threaten their victims, isolate them, and use the victims for their own agendas. Instead of sex trafficking, it is family scapegoating and mob bullying instead.

The father, who worked really long hours, even into evenings, and wasn't around enough to monitor the situation closely, did not know what to believe or think when it came to Nora. He was given drastically different stories by Nora and her mother, and the siblings, which never added up to anything resembling a similarity of perspectives.

One time when the father was home and Nora was playing by herself in her room, the mother asked her husband to peak into Nora's room quietly, without being detected, while she was playing. The father noticed that Nora was "talking to herself" and went along with his wife about Nora needing psychiatric treatment.

So, the daughter went to a psychiatrist in the days where psychiatrists labeled just about all children who came through their doors as either neurotics or schizophrenics. Nora was not particularly open with the psychiatrist, because she felt he was an agent of her mother's (and the mother was paying the bills). At any rate, medication was prescribed.

So it was accepted that Nora was "the problem" by virtue of the fact that she had been diagnosed as a  schizophrenic. The scapegoating got much, much worse, and the stomach upsets increased, and the mother had every excuse as to why she should never listen to her daughter about anything (she justified ignoring her daughter over the "wild imaginings" of a schizophrenic).

The mother used the pills, which were prescribed as twice daily, one in the morning and one in the evening. Instead, the mother often used the pills as "punishment". So over-medicating began to be a ritual practice, and a problem.

Nora's stomach upsets increased dramatically without intervention or being taken seriously, her grades took a nose-dive, and she thought about suicide every day.

One time Nora and her other siblings were sick to their stomach all at the same period (they were sharing a bedroom at the time because construction was going on in the house). The mother comforted her siblings, and seemed to be deeply concerned, trying many remedies to get them better, but did not once show concern for Nora. In fact, when Nora complained that she was sick too, and needed the same kind of help, her mother responded "You? You're sick all of the time!"

It was at this point when Nora decided that something was not quite right about her mother. She was exposed to other mothers who did not treat their children in this way.

When she was an adult, she started to ruminate about the over-medicating and throwing up. She wondered if her mother was trying to poison her, and possibly the only reason her mother was so concerned for the other siblings is that the mother only wanted to poison Nora, and not the others.   

The father was the only saving grace, and it was the father who ultimately saved her from all of the neglect, the suicidal thoughts, the escalating abuse, and an early grave.

What happened was that he found his wife cheating and filed for divorce. He also caught her stealing his family heirlooms, stealing money, and over-medicating Nora. Nora went to live with him after the divorce. She no longer was throwing up all of the time, and the psychiatric visits were terminated. Father and daughter became very close, with father and daughter sharing "war stories" about how they were treated by Nora's mother.

Nora lived to tell the tale, but in households where there are two parents who are abusive (abusers will often band together), then Nora might not have survived.

In this story, the gaslighting, the splitting of children into golden and scapegoat, the insistence on keeping abuse quiet to the point of over-medicating and possible poisonings, should alert any authority in law that this could lead to a very tragic loss in life, whether by poisoning and over-medicating, or by suicide.

It should also show that there is no "accidental death" when it comes to this kind of household, even when "the poisons" degrade her health later on, or if she had committed suicide.

TWO GIRLS SPEND THEIR CHILDHOOD BEING SEXUALLY
 ABUSED BY AN OLDER BROTHER AND TAUGHT TO LOOK 
AT IT AS A DIVINE EXPERIENCE BROUGHT TO THEM BY GOD

Many, many abuse survivors describe their toxic families as religious cults and the family I am writing about here would seem to fall in that category. 

One thing that keeps many abusive families together, and keeps defection, estrangement and runaways from happening, is often religious indoctrination. 

Sometimes this means the father is the all-powerful figure, the all-knowing figure, and the mother is the supporter (because women are often expected to come second in many religious cult-like families). In addition, the children are taught this hierarchy as well, and are put third after the mother.

One thing that all abusive families have in common is that every member is put into a hierarchy as to "most important" to "least important." The least important, of course, would be the family scapegoat.

Most families don't seem to mind if a family scapegoat leaves the family unit, but after awhile, there is no other member to take the blame in such an easy way. In order to hide all of the misdeeds they do, they have to groom someone in the family to accept degradation, abuse and insults, and thereby be "at fault" for the misdeeds of its members. The most likely person to be a scapegoat is the empath of the family because empaths self-reflect. When the scapegoat leaves or dies, they then have to convince another child (or adult child) to be the new scapegoat. It usually doesn't work out so well because:
1. the new scapegoat hasn't been groomed throughout their childhood to take the blame. They will be much more resistant and more likely to have more arrogance than the old scapegoat, even if just a little ("I got off because I'm better than the scapegoat" kind of an attitude) ... they weren't groomed at birth to be a scapegoat like the old scapegoat was. They were groomed at birth to be "too good for scapegoating", to be better than a scapegoat. So they won't take to being the new scapegoat without a strong reaction.
2. the new scapegoat is likely to be the lost child or the mascot, both of whom have been diverting abuse, the lost child by being distracted by everything and anything else other than the family and the family's emotional atmosphere, or the mascot by diverting all of the crazy-making in the family by making it a comedy. Either one of them were already "diversionary" in their approach to abuse and scapegoating, and will further divert any scapegoat role by minimizing membership, either through gray-rocking, going "no contact" without a single explanation, or going "very limited contact." If the golden child is the only one left to give the scapegoat role to - watch out!

This is how the family with abuse in it falls apart. It can only exist as a (fake) flawless, perfectly acceptable, honorable family (even though there is abuse or incest or criminality in it) because they announce one of their own to be at fault for all of those things, and they brainwash effectively - which is why projection,  perspecticide and trying to hide evidence are the modus operandi in abusive families.

In order to let incest be a part of someone's childhood, there has to be a massive effort to hide on-going evidence and criminality, and use threats and scapegoating to allow it to continue. All of the children have to be heavily brainwashed in terms of "parents know best" and that the children do not have a say at any time as to how they are treated or how they feel. They have to be heavily projected onto ("You know you deserved this; if you didn't resist you wouldn't be in trouble now"). And last but not least, they have to be so heavily brainwashed into perspecticide (i.e. by being labeled, and having their feelings and thoughts told to them without resistance or correction from the children).

I will call this family the Spagnoli family - not their real name.

The Spagnoli family started out punishing their son (Ricky - not his real name either) when he committed incest with his two youngest sisters. Physical punishment (whippings and beatings) did not work. Long days of being isolated from the family did not work. Trying to teach him that the devil lay in his soul did not work. Insults and rejection did not work. Having him spend a lot of time in the church did not work.

So what did they do? They accepted that their son was not going to change, that he was brought to them by God for some reason that only the Lord knew, but which they had to figure out through loving acceptance and grace. They felt that by Ricky being incestuous towards his sisters would spare him from looking for sex with other children outside of the family, thereby being able to keep the family intact, never having to contemplate losing their son to prison, being able to keep all of their children via a "family secret", only privy to the family members involved.

In other words, they allowed criminal goings-on to be part of their daily life and their household.

The only problem was that one of their daughters began to suffer, and suffer greatly. She was often sad, withdrawn, scared and suicidal.

In so many ways, once criminality is normalized, it tends to dominate the atmosphere throughout the family. One can't have a pleasant family dinner when the perpetrator is sitting across the table from you, and you are frightened out of your wits by him. It begins to tarnish, shame, traumatize, escalate and "define" the family whether they want it to or not. It is like having a monster living in a closet, but letting him loose at night to prowl and attack.

While the parents did comfort her, it was often with words like "You know that he was put on earth by God, and made to be our son, and your brother. You know how he is. So you need to learn how to respond to him that will make it less painful for you. You need to embrace God in those moments to help to guide you through troubling times."

Even the potential suicide of their daughter was about how it was ordained by God, and God's will.

But it wasn't all just a "hands-off" approach. It was also about pressuring victims to keep a secret, to tolerate the abuse, to tolerate a man's domination over women, that a brother is more dominant and higher in the hierarchy than a girl.

The sexual abuse got worse too and more sadistic and deviant. Ricky met other men like himself, who liked having sex with children, and he began to traffick his own sisters. Ricky eventually ended up in prison anyway, regardless of how much he was coddled, accepted, given male privilege. Now his parents say that they are ashamed of him - shamed of him? Where is the self-shame for letting it all happen?

One of the girls became so heavily scapegoated that she could no longer tolerate her family, and went "no contact", and began to talk to outsiders. By adulthood it was too late to press charges, and she claims to have felt so frozen, frightened and incapable of much of anything beyond homeless shelters to have gone through legal proceedings regardless (PTSD does produce learned helplessness in a lot of victims, as well as frozen responses). The lack of familial attachment, the black-listing and being raped throughout her childhood has made her an advocate for assisted suicides. She feels she has no recourse when it comes to her situation. She has claimed to have done everything humanly possible to help her PTSD symptoms including all of the latest trauma therapies, pharmaceuticals, trances and meditations, getting an MSW, working with survivors, receiving every manner of therapies, and gave it all a twelve year try, but the PTSD symptoms got worse and worse to the point where the pain and fear is so chronic and excruciating she no longer has any desire to live.

She is now perusing an assisted suicide in Europe.

Does this really have to go on in this society? And we wonder why we have a "Me Too" movement ... Normalizing sexual abuse and incest in a family is how it all starts, and then it spreads out into society from there. It should also prove that "just" treating female victims for their symptoms doesn't work either.

If this doesn't prove that being dominated, abused and forced into incest has no place in a family, and that we need laws to keep it from happening, I don't know what will. It is like the parents "wasted" two of their children, one that the state has to spend a lot of resources on to incarcerate, and the other to help. Wouldn't it have been easier for the state to nip it in the bud at the get-go so that neither one of these situations would have gotten to this point?

AN ELDERLY MOTHER TELLS HER DAUGHTER THAT SHE WON'T HAVE TO STRUGGLE
FINANCIALLY AGAIN AND THAT IN RETURN FOR AN INHERITANCE
ALL THAT THE DAUGHTER HAS TO DO IS CARETAKE 

I will call the daughter Molly and the mother Gertrude (not their real names).

Molly was falling on difficult financial times. So Gertrude, the elderly mother, told her to "come home" and help with grocery shopping, sitting with her in the doctor's office, etc.

So Molly goes home and everything is fine for years until she gets a rare form of Stage Four cancer.

The cancer treatments are out of state, and so she puts her mother into a facility until she returns.

Gertrude objects wildly and tells Molly to bring her back home. Even with the staff gathering around Gertrude, trying to make her feel comfortable and secure, and Molly telling her mother she will be fine and that she will be back as soon as possible, Gertrude won't hear of it. She threatens to leave Molly out of the Will (which is extremely common for abusive parents - it is actually rare for abusive parents to not threaten it). She tells Molly that she won't get any more money and cannot use the car, that she is obligated to take Gertrude home and to keep taking care of her.

The nonsensical thing about this situation is that Gertrude can't have Molly to take care of her if Molly follows Gertrude's orders: the hallmarks of vindictive narcissism are blind spots and lack of reasoning for an agenda that will destroy both of them.

So Molly, who has very little money of her own, has to devise a way to enter cancer treatment without a vehicle and without resources. She thought about giving up and dying, but she is religious and believed that "God would show the way."

So she lived in a homeless shelter and was driven to get cancer treatments by a hospital volunteer.

She went back to Gertrude afterwards, and they both "went home", but Gertrude could not forgive her daughter and seethed at her constantly and said that Molly was taking advantage of her.

Then a few months passed and Gertrude died herself, of cancer (a little karma there).

When the Will was being read, Gertrude had never included Molly in her Will, not at any time, so the promise was false. The main recipient of the estate was Gertrude's wealthy brother, a lawyer. Molly didn't feel she could fight against it because he was a lawyer. When he died, the money went to his children, and Molly lives in a homeless shelter getting odd jobs.

So, here again, we have a situation where the state has to pick up the pieces for Molly's care, the cancer care, the PTSD therapy, the housing, and sometimes the food, especially when Molly is too disabled to work.

Trying to inflict pain and injustice is very much what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is about (and particularly Vindictive Narcissism), and especially through Last Wills and Testaments. Some laws would help concerning Wills by vindictive parents who are out to hurt their children (both life-long and after they have died).

I have heard so many stories like this, with different variations, that it leads me to believe it is way too common.

 WHEN PARENTS TRY TO SABOTAGE AND IMPRISON THEIR CHILDREN

There are so many stories from survivors of abuse about this phenomenon.

One of them is from my good friend, Lenora Thompson, who writes about her experiences in a narcissistic family on Huffington Post and an on-going blog on Psych Central.  She is estranged from her parents. I suggest reading her posts through the links I have put up. 

But there are many, many more stories where parents try to infantilize their children (i.e. not let them grow up), and punish them if they do act adult and make decisions about their own conduct, career, choice of a mate, choice about where they want to live, choice about how they want to handle a situation. The reason they are punished is because they want some autonomy and the parent does not want to give it to them. 

Some stories are much worse than Lenora's (like the Turpin parents who got away with starving their children, putting their children in chains, by homeschooling and keeping their children from being influenced by outsiders). It was so egregious that the parents paid for their actions.

A lot of them are nearly similar what Lenora went through, and also nearly similar to what the Turpin children went through - and the parents never paid for their actions. 

A lot of it comes down to extremes: you agree to be enmeshed with your parent and controlled by your parent, or you are abandoned (psychological splitting). Neither is a healthy choice for the child. If you don't trust your parent or your parent's intentions toward you, or you are put in a life threatening situation, you pick abandonment. If you don't mind being controlled, being talked down to, being lectured at, being punished as though you are a six year old, having to tell your parent every little detail of your life, putting your parent first above all other relationships, giving them flattery when they are unethical or criminal, and don't mind if they betray you over promises (which narcissists do in spades), and punish you severely at times, then you choose enmeshment. Or the parent makes the choice for you: you are deemed not to be "good enough supply" for total enmeshment and control so they abandon you and scapegoat you, or you are deemed to be the best supply for total manipulation and control so they anoint you as the favorite golden child. 

There is no love, or care, or concern, or empathy in this model. It is crippling an overwhelming number of children and their development.

It would seem to me that emotional abuse laws such as the ones they have in the UK would keep this kind of thing from happening and make perpetrators more accountable for isolating, abandoning and scapegoating underage children. Abandonment in the home basically means "indefinite time outs", isolation to your room, no contact with others, being treated like an unwanted freak, taunted and threatened, and only being let out "to keep up appearances". I have known very few cases where children got any justice. If the only thing that gets children justice is willfully starving a child, or shooting the golden child with a gun as in the Ariel Kornegay case, or willfully chaining a child to a bed full of excrement, then we are a very sad nation. 

The thing is, the Turpins very likely started out with "indefinite time outs" but since abuse escalates, and since there were so many children, it grew to chaining and taking away food privileges so that the children were starving and in dire straits by the time authorities found them.

And by the way, authorities found them in the act of the parents trying to unchain the last of the chained children, so abusive parents do try to "put a face on it" and pretend they aren't abusive.

 WHEN A PARENTAL SILENT TREATMENT TURNS INTO STALKING
AND OTHER FORMS OF ATTACK

One of the things that happens to a lot of abuse survivors is that the narcissistic parent goes silent on them (the silent treatment). If the survivor is privy to any kind of domestic violence counseling, they will learn that the silent treatment is primarily practiced by narcissists on their family members and friends. Most survivors go on to learn the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and find that all of them apply to the parent who is using the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is the narcissist's desperate maneuver to control, to dominate and to shame others into submission to them. So their biggest expectation of you is that you will feel guilt over them having to use the silent treatment on you (note: most silent treatments are instigated over erroneous blaming incidences).

Even the general population has caught on that the silent treatment is a bullying tactic, mostly because it is being taught that way in schools these days, so in most work situations, if you ask people what the first word they think of when they think of the silent treatment, overwhelmingly they describe it as childish. So unless you are heavy on the narcissism scale or highly uneducated, you don't use it.

A lot of survivors look at the silent treatment as a wonderful blessing in disguise after they have grieved the loss of their parent, because it means the adult child doesn't have to figure out how to withdraw or go "gray rock" on a narcissist to get away from abuse (which they will be heavily advised to do if they are in any kind of counseling where the counselor is aware of abuse tactics). The withdrawing has already happened by the parent initiating it, and if anything, it seems a lot like the same kind of neglect and emotional abandonment that most child abuse survivors experience anyway - it's good to get away from the cycle of abuse, of which the silent treatment is just one part of it.

Most survivors will thrive if they go through counseling, group therapy or CoDA, and a grieving process. They will never be the same (which I explain shortly why), but many will do better than they have in the past. The ones who flounder tend to have either severe symptoms of PTSD or DID or some other mental illness, and those with a chronic disability.

But one of the things that can make healing from PTSD very difficult is more trauma.

Some survivors live in a state where they are in great fear of their walking-on-eggshells parent even if the only thing they are enduring is the silent treatment. Some narcissists are so retaliatory, vengeful, arrogant, jealous, and  entitled, and if the silent treatment isn't working for them, they try other maneuvers. In order not to incite their wrath, many survivors feel they have to "be quiet in such a way that it brings them no attention" and many survivors cannot, and do not want to be as quiet as narcissists are comfortable with.

There is also the other school of thought to "Break the silence of abuse" to keep it from happening to you again. In other words, narcissists want to abuse you in private, and they want to keep it very, very hidden, and even deny it, so by exposing it, and creating embarrassment for the narcissist, it means that you aren't so easy to abuse any more, and they will leave you alone. The power that you have over them is the truth of what they have done. If you want a quick way to cease abuse, expose it, although don't just expose it to anyone (more on that in another post) and be smart about keeping good copies of what you are exposing. However, there can be danger in this approach, depending on the level of Machiavellianism.

But, it can be especially empowering to someone who has been living under the shadow of the narcissist to finally speak the truth, show the truth, and live authentically.

But a lot of narcissists try to bring down their offspring and wreak destruction in other ways, particularly since the silent treatment has a planned obsolescence and isn't all that effective in terms of giving up your autonomy to them ... especially since the silent treatment means you will be living autonomously.

In my own personal life, I can personally attest to being anesthetized to the silent treatment to a point where I don't care whether it is given to me or not. A lot of survivors feel the same way. In some ways, that is not a good sign. When we are no longer sensitive to how others treat us socially, especially in that way, or what they think of us, something has probably snapped in our psyche, and since the silent treatment is so prevalent among parents today, something has snapped in society as well.

Anesthesia or numbing of feelings to the point where you don't know what you feel, is a PTSD reaction. Too much silent treatment in childhood over erroneous things creates it. However, where being anesthetized is useful is that many narcissists will try to make you feel obligated to answer all of their questions. A good answer to that would be: "Silence seems to be a tradition in (our family, or work place, or our marriage) and since it is, and you have used it, I have taken the silent approach." Or "I don't want to respond. You cannot give yourself the rights to silence without giving me those same rights in return."

Of course, they will try to gaslight you and try to make you believe they weren't giving you the silent treatment at all, that you misunderstood them, but there are so many reasons why you should not talk about any personal topics with narcissists anyway (I have outlined a lot of the reasons in other posts).

If anything destroys a survivor of family scapegoating the most, it is in not being able to feel our feelings the way we used to, the healthy way. Emotions can reach a point of epic invalidation, which is what many narcs say they want from us in the first place (they complain that their victims are too sensitive), but it happens sometimes anyway in the process of abuse tactics like the silent treatment. It is like the orphans in war torn countries who stop crying because they know that no one will help them or love them.

Some of us don't know how to feel any more. And in some ways the inaccessibility to feelings is similar to what narcissists go through with an exception ... The difference is that, for most survivors, empathy and hypervigilence are constant, but so many other feelings go away.  Love takes on a different meaning in terms of trust, but it is still felt. Narcissists are the opposite: empathy, fear, ability to love, ability to self-reflect, ability to be enlightened through relationships went away a long time ago, but anger, jealousy, hatred, and blame stay.

If a parental silent treatment or discard isn't enough for survivors to deal with, and to heal from, and to move on from, a lot of abusive parents break the silent treatment, sometimes for revenge, so then the survivor has to go through more trauma.

If anything scares survivors more than the silent treatment, it is being re-contacted by the parents who initiated it.

By the time the parent tries to reconnect, the child abuse survivor knows that the reappearance isn't a good sign, or comes with good intentions. The parent has willfully put their child through trauma, and abandonment, and shown no empathy about it. They also show that they cannot be trusted in most cases, sacrificing relationships with their children for power and control, and many of these parents have been running smear campaigns against the child they abandoned, and trying to hide evidence that they are abusive (many try to "steal the evidence" or "hide the evidence"). Adult children who have survived it all (and it does take a tremendous effort to survive it) do not want any of it back again.

Often the first thing an abusive parent will try to do upon re-connection is to blame and shame their child. After a long silent treatment, it is impossible to listen to, to take seriously, to have any desire to understand, to feel anything about (because of the anesthetizing that has taken place) - most adult children in these situations tell their parent to go away, or they excuse themselves from the conversation.

I think if psychologists did a study on how a silent treatment by a parent effected their adult child, I would bet that feelings of guilt inside the adult child start to subside by week two, and then by six months are very faint, and by year one or two, they have no feelings of guilt whatsoever, and especially if the adult child is in therapy.

When I say "guilt", it is not for anything the child did wrong, but many children, including adult children, will feel guilty for upsetting the narcissist, even though they didn't mean to.

Therefor, I would bet the silent treatment is not just a killer of relationships, it is a killer of certain feelings too.

So, since narcissists are very entitled people, they can't hear or respect "go away". Many are also incredibly vengeful, so "go away" means, to them, a reason to retaliate even more, and in a way that will destroy more of their adult child. Let's face it: the big excuse for a lot of reappearances is that they can't stand it that their child is happy, or successful (most of these parents show up when their adult child is experiencing one or the other, after all - they want their revenge fantasies to "stick").

I hear and read all kinds of stories of parents who go to great lengths to attack after a long silent treatment.

One of the first areas where many abusive vindictive parents attack is their adult child's profession or reputation in the work place. For instance, parcels of mail arrive at the place of employment, and there's usually something in the package that they know will "spook" the adult child. Then more insidious infiltration starts. Some abusive parents make scenes at their child's work place, or even take the boss out for lunch to talk about how their adult child is crazy and that it must be hard to deal with a subordinate with so many mental and emotional problems.

This is because lots of abusive parents begin the gaslighting of their scapegoat child in childhood, trying to get a diagnosis from anyone who will give their child something other than PTSD, and often they are successful if they bring them to enough psychologists. This was especially true pre-1980s, that if the parent "reported" aberrant childhood behavior that was in line with autism, aspherger's, schizophrenia or bipolar, their child could be diagnosed with the disorder the parent wanted. I have covered this before.

Granted there are laws about harassment, and restraining orders, but depending on where you live, cops only take these laws seriously in variable degrees depending on their own attitudes. Police are especially not likely to take laws seriously in areas where religions and teaching forgiveness are a big part of the culture, or where the authoritarian family is revered.

If a stepparent is attacking an adult child, police are a lot more likely to take allegations seriously, but unless a stepparent is involved in the attacks, it can sometimes be exceptionally hard to get protection.

Also, it is not illegal for a parent to take an adult child's boss out to lunch and bad-mouth their child to the extent where their boss will start to think about whether you are problematic for the business. A lot of adult children get fired from their parent meddling in their professions, their relationships are destroyed by the parent, their children are triangulated, they are often stolen from, and stalked, their places of residence are sometimes under attack from break-ins or the parent gains access through grandchildren, their pets go missing, they are disinherited, you name it. I have heard it all, and some abusive parents practice all of it and more.

Abusive parents are often willing to put everything on the line and to destroy everything in their child's life to resume the power and control they used to have, and which they feel they still deserve, which is why "no contact" is not the panacea to everything having to do with abusers.

For psychologists reading this, imagine someone who is out for revenge coming to your workplace, talking down about you and trying to get your clients to go elsewhere. And then imagine that it works. And that the cops really don't want to get involved. And judges aren't sympathetic. And people are telling you to just make up with the person doing this to you.

And on top of it all, that wouldn't be the end of it: your children would be targeted, your spouse, your friends, and so on. Now I hope you understand why something else has to change other than "going no contact" and not responding to attacks.

If you are a lawmaker, consider that a parent causing their child to lose a job means having to pay unemployment, perhaps therapy under Medicaid, prescription drugs under Medicaid for PTSD, perhaps providing shelter too in some circumstances where the parent really went off the rails, and if the unemployed adult child with PTSD is left out of the parent's Will, then providing government subsidized elderly care and housing for a long period of time.

I hope I have illustrated how life long child abuse is a drain on society, not just on a lone sole victim. There is no Veteran's Administration for Child Abuse Victims with PTSD. Society picks up the fall-out from it.

Finally a video by a psychologist (Dr. Todd Grande) about why narcissism is so dangerous.
While the video focuses on "work situations" with narcissists
and why companies and workers pay a huge price,
he asks that the general public get involved in changing laws,
the first I have seen touch at all on this (and I do a lot of research on this topic):


This next video is also from the same doctor. He talks about the signs
of vindictive narcissism, something I have focused on in this post. 
He states that vindictive narcissists go through life with revenge fantasies:
the 10 signs of vindictive narcissism (my own notes):

1. dominance - vindictive narcissists want to be in charge and cannot stand it if they aren't
2. loves to have power - they love to hurt others (but should not have power, and tend to pick on people who they think are less powerful than they are)
3. not very good at manipulation - they are not good at gaslighting and most people can figure them out; they enact feelings of revenge
4. perceives they have been insulted or that their power is challenged - they perceive rejection; they cannot accept positive criticism no matter how gently it is said; this means they have trouble developing and learning and are stuck in their ways. "They are trapped in a prison of narcissism, but their goal is not to escape, but to imprison other people as well."
5. "Their plans to get revenge are sloppy, childlike and simplistic, much like the school yard bully, motivated by resentment, and jealousy, the perceived insult or injury is intolerable to them." They experience narcissistic rage to make another person suffer. "They are willing to destroy themselves to destroy others."
6. Development of revenge schemes happen during their replaying over a perceived insult to their character.
7. A tremendous amount of time is put into revenge plots. Satisfaction for the narcissist comes when they can enact their revenge, but the satisfaction is short-lived. In the end, their pain and distress outweigh the benefits. Still they don't learn anything; they keep repeating their behavior.
8. They display emotional dysregulation and high neuroses - they often move onto other victims, but if they feel the revenge wasn't "good enough", they can chase the same person over and over again. They feel that the revenge has to play out in the way they planned. This doesn't bode well for victims who are always the target. But, it can also push a victim to take action such as getting a restraining order.
9. They believe they are the victim (of the perceived insult) - they believe that revenge is warranted and necessary.
10. Two vindictive narcissists eventually meet: The attempts at revenge made by the vindictive narcissist can be considered insulting by another vindictive narcissist - escalating into physical altercations (especially true if the other vindictive narcissist is a spouse or a child - it is especially common for a vindictive narcissist to have a child who is also a vindictive narcissist).  

This next video is also from the same doctor talking about typical "normal" signs of being
exposed to narcissists at work, in a partnership or in an organization.
I list them after the video for a quick re-cap. So, imagine being a child of a narcissist
or in a family of narcissists and sociopaths.  
Chronic physical symptoms from PTSD can manifest too 
(those aren't listed in this particular video, but there are other sources for that information):
what symptoms you will notice if you are exposed to a narcissist for several months up to two years (my own notes):

1. general feelings of being unwanted, hated and despised
2. exaggerated startle response - even in normal activities
3. being fearful, nervous, worried about making decisions
4. nervousness and anxiety about making a mistake
5. anxious about them leaving, followed by feeling much better when they do leave, and even more anxiety when they are returning
6. self-talk: "You deserve the narcissist": that you are stuck with the narcissist as a punishment
7. you don't want to tell the narcissist your good news and avoid communicating your successes
8. envy over relationships that are loving and caring
9. contemplating their manipulative behavior: replaying arguments, but not following through
on calling a narcissist out to avoid their rage (resignation)
....... 
He also talks about how narcissism developed in the narcissist in early childhood 
(his advice is primarily directed at people who are self-blaming 
and think that they may have caused the narcissist to be vindictive)

If you are survivor of abuse, I highly recommend this video titled
"Gaslighting Narcissist/Things Narcissists Say/Crazy Making Communication"
from Life Coach, Lisa Romano

And this video from psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula entitled
"Why you should NEVER ask a narcissist 'why'?"
hint: it is because you'll get a gaslighting, word salad diversionary answer
(you have to find the truth in other ways) ...
more on this video will be forthcoming in another one of my posts:





sign a petition:

the first petition I have seen of its kind: Protection for Victims of Narcissistic Sociopath Abuse (proposed are the same laws about abuse that the UK has for the USA): story here and here or sign the actual petition here

further reading:

Why is Child Abuse on the Rise? Examining the recent rise in child maltreatment, abuse and deaths - by Kimberly Key for Psychology Today

Domestic Violence: Hurting the Economy as Well as the Victims - Healthline article

Child Abuse And The Law - by William Suter for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

What is Child Abuse Under Iowa Law? - Iowa Department of Human Services
other states and countries (or look yours up on Google):
France (also a new law HERE and HERE)

What Is Considered Child Abuse? When does parental discipline cross the line and become a reportable incident? (my note: discusses that each state has different laws) - by Elise M. Howard M.A. for Psychology Today

When Parents Still Abuse Their Adult Children - by Lynne Beisner

How Lack of Love in Childhood Robs Us of Love in Adulthood - by Darius Cikanavicius for Psych Central

excerpt:
Machiavellianism will tend to have many of the following tendencies:
* only focused on their own ambition and interests
* prioritise money and power over relationships
* come across as charming and confident
* exploit and manipulate others to get ahead
* lie and deceive when required
* use flattery often
* lacking in principles and values
* can come across as aloof or hard to really get to know
* cynical of goodness and morality
* capable of causing others harm to achieve their means
* low levels of empathy
* often avoid commitment and emotional attachments
* can be very patient due to calculating nature
* rarely reveal their true intentions
* prone to casual sex encounters
* can be good at reading social situations and others
* lack of warmth in social interactions
* not always aware of the consequences of their actions
* might struggle to identify their own emotions



How Extreme Narcissism Wreaks Havoc On Your Life And What To Do About It - by Cathy Caprino, marriage counselor and family therapist



Survivors Sue Child Sex Abusers in Droves Under New NY Law - by Carrie N. Baker for Ms Magazine (laws have come this far finally, and it may have been started by an Emma Willard student who hung up billboards, so it is not too late to push for other kinds of laws for survivors of abuse and neglect)

Some reasons why child abusers need to be more accountable:

Long-Term Narcissistic Abuse Can Cause Brain Damage - by Kim Saeed for Psych Central

Long-Term Narcissistic Abuse Can Cause Brain Damage - from Narcissists News website

Neuroscience: The shocking impact narcissistic abuse has on the brain - by Lachlan Brown for Hack Spirit

Brain Scans Reveal How Badly Emotional Abuse Damages Kids - from the administrators of Healthy Food House who have written their article from research sources done by the Daily Mail (UK), Metro (UK), and New York Post (US)

What It’s Like to Be a Complex Trauma Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse - by Shahida Arabi

8 Common, Long-Lasting Effects of Narcissistic Parenting ... What happens when you live in the shadow of a narcissistic parent? - by Craig Malkin Ph.D. for Psychology Today

What Are the Short- and Long-Term Effects of Emotional Abuse? - a Healthline article


Healing from Complex-PTSD in the Aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse - by Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW

7 comments:

  1. Great article, I am glad they are trying to pas some laws and doing petitions to defend abuse victims. Sadly in society, they have made family sacrosanct. Let's be frank, the authoritarian model of family is by far the dominant one. Of course toxicity levels differ but how many families now support freedom in how their children develop. Too many therapists are failing when it comes to child abuse. I suffer from the results of therapists who admitted I was severely abused, but was pressured to "reconcile", "forgive" and at a certain point "comply", why did I have to wait until 2011, to discover the word narcissism, and why didn't any therapist warn me about sociopathy as I talked about things that happened to me?

    https://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-counselors-and-me.html

    I dare say, outside of ACON communities online I am not sure things are getting any better in the therapy and counseling world. The abuse victim seems to always be deemed the problem. While there are a few therapists who understand, yourself included, I think the numbers of enlightened therapists about narcissistic abuse and CPTSD, remains extremely low. Compliance is pushed even on those with severe mental health problems. This compliance even concerns our emotions.

    One problem I faced is being told what to feel over and over, and that I must have certain emotional reactions. The "move on types" really took a toll on me in the early days of no contact, where the only thing that saved me mentally was to decide, I was going to feel what I wanted to feel no matter what and no one else was going to be the master of my soul but myself. The judgments grew old. I had to reach this point because they were chipping away at me so badly.
    I agree some seem turn "no contact" into a magic panacea with endless rules, as if we are supposed to walk and never be troubled again. I tired of the positivity culture, and "self improvement kings and queens" with their invasive nonsense telling me how I should react or feel. Most of us when we make that choice have faced decades of abuse, and trying to rebuild things from the ground up. Abuse for many with CPTSD continues with the drum beat of "not good enough" now coming from society instead of the family you walked away from. The only thing that freed me was making the decisions to feel whatever I was going to feel and own it, and not let someone else invade that boundary. I tired of the fix-its long long ago.

    Many wrongly think that once one has gone no contact everything is honky dory. Many of us aren't left alone. I did not write about the last attempted hoover but there was a major hoover done on me again with more attempted guilt inducement--somehow it has not gotten through their thick heads I just don't care anymore but 6 and half years in, I am not being left alone. They keep it sporadic enough to avoid me going to get a PPO, and other legal remedies but they swim like sharks in the background.

    So while no contact is the solution that saves many of us and gives us new lives and it did me, society never stops putting the demands for compliance on our back. I believe even the negation of my emotions and being told who and what to be and think and feel was part of this. Family as dominant, how dare you don't do what "they say"!

    I do hope education is improving in the counseling and therapy world. My counselors of years ago on and off from the 1990s to around 2010, really let me down. They did help with some abuse coping and other problems but I always got the feeling most were too afraid to call a spade a spade or a narcissist/sociopath what they were and that left me floundering for years.

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    1. 500,

      First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing in because what you say is what a lot of ACONs are facing. I think that is why there is a bigger "push" by ANCONs to wake society up first, and do something legally second. The reason I say "second" is because a lot of ACONs get so discouraged (understandably) that justice will ever prevail. And that is because, for a lot of them, justice didn't prevail in the family, so they are used to injustice.

      I know of some therapists who are working very hard at getting abuse laws passed, and other therapists who say the hurdle is too high, and that narcissism is too infiltrated into the legal system and political system in such a way that nothing will ever get passed.

      I say *phooey" to that last statement because laws do get passed even when it seems hopeless. Let's take the women's vote. When women wanted the vote, let us not forget that men were running the country. The men had all of the power and control to deny women the vote. Some of these men in positions of power also said that even if they gave women the right to vote, their husbands would never allow their wives to vote. It was squashed over and over again. But women eventually got the vote.

      It was a very patriarchal system where women were only higher in stature than a child (and the patriarchal member who decided the stature of each family member is going to be an authoritarian system). Getting laws changed so that women could vote is a lot more of a formidable law to pass than the present ones being proposed about child abuse. At least with child abuse we have some laws already on the books.

      On therapists: Therapists are getting wiser about issues around abuse, but my feeling on it is that only domestic violence counselors truly get it, especially those who work with offenders too, and know how they operate. They are extremely aware that offenders try to cover up, deny and lie about their abuses, act charming to try to get off the hook, and are Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde with those closest to them. So these therapists are a lot less likely to be fooled. At least I haven't seen any evidence that they are fooled.

      As for trauma counselors, they should only be concerned with your symptoms, and not giving you advice on how to treat your relationships or family members.

      Therapists who are trained to fix relationships should not be your choice when looking for a therapist. Some of those types of up-and-coming therapists are being trained now to send abuse victims to domestic violence counselors. The last thing you need is a "fix-the-relationship" counselor telling you to go back to people who hurt you, sabotage you or trash your self esteem. Studies show that abusers get even more abusive (and dangerous) when you go back because you have challenged their authority and all of the systems around authority, especially parents who feel that their stature as the "authority figure" is a God-given right. It especially isn't a God-given right if they are abusive.

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  2. I went looking for a reason as to why my son "grey rocked me" and disappeared from our lives. Not all parents know that they are hurting their kids, especially those that grew up in abusive homes themselves. We made sure we did not physically hurt our kids, but my husband emotionally hurt them without knowing it. And now you want to arrest parents and put them all in jail. Really? You have no idea of the suffering we have gone through, but we have no recourse because our son does not want us to know where he is. The kids have has as much responsibility for this as we do, especially since we want to work things out with him. How is disappearing working things out?
    I understand what you have written about PTSD, but if that is what he has gone through, we now want to help him. "No contact" seems absolutely destructive.
    I think the government needs to stay out of our lives and the mental health people help us instead.
    Egregious abuse is not good, but arresting parents goes too far.

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    1. I did not write about specifics on laws or even parents being arrested.

      My point in writing the article is that when laws are enacted to protect a certain part of the population, it tends to work at deterring people from using their worst inclinations. My own perspectives are that child abusers need deterring (it is long overdue). There are giant loopholes, and some cases like the Turpins make that very clear (homeschooling without anyone at all monitoring the situation, or even whether the children were being properly educated, starving their own children, imprisoning and chaining children who were already full adults, and so on). The point is to save children before parents have a chance to do this kind of damage in the first place.

      Therapists have a role to play, certainly, but it shouldn't be the only role since people who commit acts of child abuse rarely go to therapy unless it is court ordered. From all I have seen a very small portion go to therapy willingly, and many back out when the therapist is not agreeing with their perspectives.

      Society lets them off the hook, time and time again, or they neglect the issue.

      So we really can't count on therapy alone solving the issue of child abuse (case in point: most child abuse victims do end up in therapy at some point, all the while child abuse is rising, and in some states, rising dramatically).

      It would seem that some lawmakers agreed that sexual abuse of children, and the statute of limitations, at the very least, was enough to warrant change in terms of new laws. It's a great start. One of biggest complaints I hear from child abuse victims is that their parent either "let sexual abuse happen" or punished their child for reporting it.

      My feeling is that schools have to take a bigger role in educating children about what constitutes child abuse. Child abuse is a health issue, because it does effect their health. And even their ability to learn. Children who are being abused could report it to certain school authorities (appointed social workers) after being educated about it, and then have a choice as to whether they wanted to try mandatory family therapy, with close monitoring afterwards, or have a chance to be in a foster family. For those being homeschooled, the same would apply.

      In another article I will be writing about my findings in terms of what child abuse survivors said they wanted changed in terms of the law. Most wanted a lot more choices than being "stuck" in an abusive home, including the choice to be in a foster family. As one woman put it: "I would have jumped at the chance to be in a foster family. Almost anything would have been better than what I endured."

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  3. I agree with this perspective because children are hostage to the abuse and cannot exactly go out and get a therapist, if they even know what a therapist is. By the time they are adults and can get therapy, a whole lot of damage can be done.
    Adult children can be used to so much coercion, control and abuse from their parent that it can sometimes take ages for them to realize that symptoms they are going through are actually due to abuse.
    We need to watch out for homeschooling - that's the perfect child abuse playground.
    With so many child abuse victims and children going "no contact" with their parents, I actually don't believe that parents are looked at as saints any more, especially those with estranged children. Adult children are actually more in charge of societal perspectives than is realized. I have already seen: "You are estranged from your daughter? The one you gave birth to? The one you professed to love? What did you do to her?" - very different than a decade ago. Family estrangements are the new trend, just like divorce was decades ago.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I have seen parents getting reamed who have estranged children too. But it's always good to remember that it can go both ways: children are capable of abuse too. Less common, but still possible, so judging situations has to be done with the utmost care.
      My first exposure to this "flip" came first-hand in a hospital setting.
      There was a woman who was a patient in the room next door. Very loud. She was telling staff that she was estranged from her daughter and that she couldn't count on her daughter to take her home, that her daughter was a terrible person, and on and on, a little too much. So the staff told her that she had to go to a nursing home if no one was available to look after her post-surgery, and this patient absolutely refused to go.
      Anyway, the woman went ballistic and was reciting rights. "I have a right to" A , B, C and D - in a very loud angry voice. So someone was called in to tell her what her rights really were, and suggested strongly that she find another family member.
      The next day I walked in, all kinds of family members were in her room, all talking over each other. One of her sisters kept saying over and over, "You know you abused (your daughter)!" - parentheses was the daughter's name. And then I'd hear a bunch of arguing and shouting and everyone talking over each other again.
      Anyway, then the sister stepped out into the hallway with the nurse and told the nurse that she had taken care of her sister's daughter and nothing was wrong with the daughter. Her sister (the patient) had forsaken her daughter 12 years ago over nothing of any consequence. And she said that in a way, she and all of her siblings were in the same situation: that her sister had a propensity to give the silent treatment for years if she wasn't getting her way. And then the nurse, a Millennial I suspect, said she was estranged from her mother too over abuse and understood. She also said that she was finding that a lot of her patients were dealing with either family estrangement or children weren't around, that it was becoming a lot more common.
      Anyway, there was so much fighting going on in the room and one person after another was leaving, words like "I have had enough!"
      Then the nurse came back and said that someone would be into to talk to her about a nursing home again, but she said she refused to go, that it cost too much money, and kept arguing and demanding special treatment from the nurse.
      Then she settled into this pitiful mantra "I have rights!" over and over again, sometimes crying through the words and sometimes shouting as loudly as possible. Apparently she was pressing the nurse's button constantly and it sounded like she was throwing things too. When the exasperated nurse tried to deal with her, this patient was making all kinds of demands about treatment, wanting to argue, not letting the nurse talk. Finally she threatened the nurse that she would bring charges against her and the nurse snapped back, "Fat chance of that! I think your family and daughter will testify against you!" I was surprised to hear it because it sounded unprofessional, but the nurse was also beside herself trying to deal with this patient.
      Eventually the staff came in with meds and some kind of thing to restrain her. The patient screamed bloody murder and then everything went quiet.
      Abusive families argue (a lot), no one is close, people are dealing with emotional wounds so deep they don't want to be around each other, no one can agree as to who will take care of each other, the patient uses threats to get her way, the nurse doesn't have much compassion because her patient is abusive to family members (and maybe it triggers the nurse too). I thought to myself, "And this is where society is headed! How awful!"

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  4. I suspect we will hear a lot more of it. At some point these kinds of situations, and even worse than your hospital experience, will have to reach critical mass before laws change.

    ReplyDelete

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