Emotional Recovery

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Deal On Your DM’s

They are a series of subconscious mental processes - the individual is unaware that he is employing them, but may become aware of such motives through self-analysis or by having them pointed out to him. Mechanisms include:

Repression: Exclusion from awareness of memories, emotions that would cause distress/anxiety if allowed to enter consciousness. Ladies and gentlemen, isn't this why we go back each time our attackers bring themselves to their knees and apologize, stating it will never happen again? We go back without thought of what's been transpiring for the last...how many years?

Denial: The patient behaves as though unaware of something that he might reasonably be expected to know. We were there - it happened to us - but we place ourselves in such a precarious spot that reality is a lie....we know it....but, we're comfortable for the moment...they're not beating on us, so it's okay.

Regression: The unconscious adoption of patterns of behavior, appropriate to an earlier stage of development. They become, not our husbands, or wives, or significant others any more, but our abusive fathers, mothers, siblings, or friends from early childhood.

Projection: The unconscious attribution to another person of one's own thoughts, or feelings. After my wife would stop the beating and the yelling, I learned to ask her, (and I did ask her): "So...no that you've told me about you, what about me?" It really upset her, but it was my only defense at that time.

Reaction: The unconscious adoptions of behavior formation opposite to that which reflect the persons true feelings and intentions. The anger and control issues come from an esteem so deeply injured, that the emotion shown, anger, is a whole lot easier to portray than the scared little boy, or girl they really are.

Displace: Involves the transferring of emotion from a meant situation or object with which it is properly associated to another that gives less distress. Trust me, they're not going to approach their employer like they treat us. They've got to release somwhere, and unfortunately it's on us.

Rationalization: sublimation unconscious diversion of unacceptable outlets into acceptable outlets. This is one of the DM's, which will keep us in denial and eventually destroy us It was a heavy-hitter at one time, but now it has become weak and inappropriate...WATCH OUT!

Think of a situation in your life where all participants were behaving badly. What was the outcome? For me, I could feel the barometric pressure in the room crash. Tunnel vision ensued and the void spread to everyone.

Do you know any individuals who seem very defensive? Does their defensiveness affect your relationships with them? Oh...My...God! I had to be nuts to ask this one!

Here are some difficult concepts:

Physical defensiveness: Fight or Flight. Common now, think about it. The basic instinct of our primal ancestors carries on in us today. When we are so frightened we freeze up, our pupils dilate, our blood pressure rises, our pulse increases, and we feel the short hairs all over our bodies standing up.

Freud: A useful model for understanding defensive behavior.

Three levels of consciousness;
a) conscious: all sensations we are aware of at a given moment i.e. right now!

b) Preconscious: just below the surface but can be called up at any moment. This one is cool! You're walking down the street, say, in...oh...Los Angeles. You catch a glimpse of fragrance
coming from, you know not where and you could swear you're smelling the subway in New York.

c) Unconscious human behavior is the result of drives and instincts that we are not aware of therefore can only be expressed indirectly (dreams, fantasies etc.)

Three parts of Self:
a. Id is the biological components of personality e.g. basic sexual and aggressive tendencies. It is totally unrestrained and operates on the pleasure principal. It is impulsive, irrational and narcissistic. Very simply this one is: "I want what I want and I want it now!"


b. Superego is the moral and ethical part of the psyche. This is the local neighborhood cop patrolling the streets to keep you safe. There are two parts. The moral conscience, developed through discipline and punishment by our caregivers, causes guilt feelings and allows us to distinguish right from wrong. The ego ideal comes from caregiver’s approval and allows us to
establish goals and aspirations. It functions on the perfection principle.

c. Ego wishes to satisfy the id within the confines of the superego. It balances all parts of the personality. It operates on the reality principle.

Anxiety:

Realistic: emotional response to a perceived threat or danger

Neurotic: fear that the ego will not be able to control the instincts of the id. A good example would be the news of a tragedy and someone literally breaks out in laughter.

Moral: fear of violating the perfectionist ideal of the superego.

Can you match the defense mechanism with the situations below?

1. _____Mark doesn't deal with his three pack/day cigarette habit, claiming that "I'll probably die from an accident before cancer gets me."

2. _____After some especially frustrating and unfair criticism from her professor, Jan starts an argument with her roommate during lunch.

3. _____Dave has no memory of his seventh grade class play which was marred by his
forgetting his lines and leaving the stage in tears.

4. _____Jack explains his bad grade on the final by noting that he had a long phone call from his parents the night before the exam.

5. _____Sue, who was quite the "party animal" only a few months earlier, writes the university president arguing for the mandatory expulsion of alcohol-using students.

6. _____Carol uses her anger over a disagreement with a friend to set a school record in the 100 meters.

7. _____Bill, who ordinarily keeps his anger under wraps, sees every other drver's breach of automotive etiquette as a personal criticism.

8. _____After an especially traumatic day, in which she failed three different exams, Lisa curls up in a blanket and rocks herself to sleep


Defense Mechanisms


Here are the answers;

#1. Mark is using denial because he refuses to acknowledge the long-term consequences of his heavy smoking.

#2. Jan shows evidence of displacement in that she expressed her anger to a safer target than her professor.

#3. Dave has apparently repressed his memory of the play, probably because it was so humiliating to him.

#4. Jack's apparently rational explanation doesn't really explain why he failed the exam, so this is an example of rationalization.

#5. Sue's new interest in preventing others from doing what she used to do illustrates reaction formation.

#6. Carol has directed her anger into her running, which describes sublimation.

#7. Bill's interest in the bad driving behavior of others illustrates projection.

#8. Lisa's rocking and curling up with a blanket illustrates regression.

Think about these particulates of the human psyche folks. When we observe situations in an objective way, we begin to understand our abusers. This is the last thing they would allow if they knew it was happening. But, they don't know. We may gain some of the power we've given up so freely back without them even realizing it.

My thought for the day for all of us is to: WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! The pen and paper are our friends. Get those thoughts on to paper and read them back to yourself. This will enable you to be objective with your situation and allow yourself to step back and take a good look at yourself.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Abusers are expert at throwing up camouflage...

"I don’t want it (The Marriage) to end but am afraid this (The abuse) might happen again."

I’m going to attempt to do the very best I can to give you some information. Some of this you probably all ready know, but are in such a flux mentally and emotionally, you have placed yourself on auto pilot. Let’s reference an analogy first: “Hope Against Hope”. This could be like…I have enough gas left in my car to possibly squeak out two miles and the nearest service station is four miles away. It’s never going to happen!

Now, let’s listen to a quote from an email: “Granted he has hit me before, never this seriously.” Apparently, you’ve been in this, “typical to the domestic violence victim” scenario for a while. You were probably so enchanted by his charm you never were able to see the forest through the trees. Abusers are expert at throwing up camouflage.

From your information, what I see you experiencing is the escalation of abuse, which occurs readily within the context of the cycle of violence. It was stated that: “(You are) afraid this might happen again.” My question is: “Hasn’t it always?” There’s something about the “honeymoon” period, which creates in all of us who have been there, a false sense of feeling that it may not happen again. The abuser, man, or woman, is a master of manipulating the victim’s psyche. We yearn to believe that they are going to change. Alas, they don’t, and we are destined to remaining the stomping boards of their rage. There was a person who wrote me not too long ago, that when he was not battering her, she was happy. Did you hear that?! That is the wonderful world of DENIAL. Ignorance is such a blissful place in which to live.

We, the victims of domestic violence, are groomed by our abusers to believe we are not good enough, strong enough, and intelligent enough, to be worthy enough to be with anyone but them. Well, we are! If what ever I have discussed with you in this note rings true, then you should evaluate your condition and seek assistance from self-help groups in your area as soon as possible. Listen to others who have survived similar situations and learn quickly.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Will They Change And The Abuse Stop?

"I don’t want it (The Marriage) to end but am afraid this (The abuse) might happen again."

I’m going to attempt to do the very best I can to give you some information. Some of this you probably all ready know, but are in such a flux mentally and emotionally, you have placed yourself on auto pilot. Let’s reference an analogy first: “Hope Against Hope”. This could be like…I have enough gas left in my car to possibly squeak out two miles and the nearest service station is four miles away. It’s never going to happen!

Now, let’s listen to a quote from an email: “Granted he has hit me before, never this seriously.” Apparently, you’ve been in this, “typical to the domestic violence victim” scenario for a while. You were probably so enchanted by his charm, you never were able to see the forest through the trees. Abusers are expert at throwing up camouflage.

From your information, what I see you experiencing is the escalation of abuse, which occurs readily within the context of the cycle of violence. It was stated that: “(You) are afraid this might happen again.” My question is: “Hasn’t it always?” There’s something about the “honeymoon” period, which creates in all of us who have been there, a false sense of feeling that it may not happen again. The abuser, man, or woman, is a master of manipulating the victim’s psyche. We yearn to believe that they are going to change. Alas, they don’t, and we are destined to remaining the stomping boards of their rage. There was a person who wrote me not too long ago, that when he was not battering her, she was happy. Did you hear that?! That is the wonderful world of DENIAL. Ignorance is such a blissful place in which to live.

We, the victims of domestic violence, are groomed by our abusers to believe we are not good enough, strong enough, and intelligent enough, to be worthy enough to be with anyone but them. Well, we are! If what ever I have discussed with you in this note rings true, then you should evaluate your condition and seek assistance from groups in your area as soon as possible. Listen to others who have survived similar situations and learn quickly.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Physical, Verbal Aggression Linked to Gene?

I'm going to attempt to make comments on a few statements. I am also going to answer some questions for myself while creating some rhetorical banter, which will allow me to vent a bit on some unfinished business. So...Here we go!

"Aggression is one of the most studied aspects of human personality, and researchers say about 30%-60% of personality traits appear to have some genetic basis." This is a quote off an article that was suggested to me by one of my visitors. I first hestitate to believe any article, which sites a study without naming which study it was and who produced the hypothesis. But for the sake of argument, let's proceed remembering that I am not a PhD. So bear with me please, won't you?

"One gene that turns out to be associated with anger, aggressiveness, and impulsivity is the TPH gene, which helps regulate levels of serotonin." There are findings that at least serotonin uptake inhibitor, fluoxetin, lithium carbonate, beta adrenergic blockers and a typical neuroleptic, clozapine can be effective in violence. So...If the TPH gene sitting on its little ol' allele decides it wants to change its serotonin level, he, or she who is the owner of the grey matter, may find it increasingly difficult to control their emotions, or even realize they're out of sync.

"Irritable, verbally abusive 'neurotic hostility' and more violent, physical forms of 'aggressive hostility." These are two types of aggression pointed out in the article. So, austensibly, If I can control the TPH gene and regulate the amount of neurotransmission of the serotonin, I could "unagress" someone. There is a minor glitch to one part of this. That is, that none of these variations was associated with verbal aggressive traits. That would not have helped me very much in my circumstance. My wife was verbally demeaning and emotionally 'tweeked'. The foundation of her cycle of violence was the verbal attacks. So, I suppose the TPH thing would have been a wash.

It all goes back to the old addage: "Nature, or Nurture?"
If a person is diagnosed with Disociative Personality Disorder and Sociopathic to boot, will the serotonin reuptake level make any difference? I can't answer that. I know that she was and I an my kids suffered through years of abuse and incredible anxiety. Her childhood was abusive and horribly out of wack. Her mom was an abuser and her dad was never a father. He was a gambler and booky. Mom helped run the books. The kids were beaten and pushed aside. None of the five made it through to adulthood with any common sense. The two that still live are addicts and remain on the street in their 50's. Two of their children are dead from gang violence and one is doing a long stretch in prison.

So, Nature, or Nurture. What's your conclusion? We might be getting closer through biopsychosocial investigation, but I feel that we're still a long way from preventing one person from abusing another.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Angerrrrrrr...

FROM A POST QUOTING AN ON-LINE DICTIONARY:
5 entries found for anger.
an·ger ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nggr)
n.
A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.
v. an·gered, an·ger·ing, an·gers
v. tr.
To make angry; enrage or provoke.
v. intr.
To become angry: She angers too quickly.


If there is any one thing I've taken from my first marriage and placed in my back pocket, it is the remarkable fact that I am not responsible for another persons anger. In fact, I'm not responsible for another person's...ANYTHING!

The dictionary interpretation of the emotion is objectively correct. Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure, or hostility. However, that which she was feeling was not the result of anything I did, thought, or said.

Here's where Miriam Webster goes on her course of misdirected objectivity. "To make angry; enrage or provoke", is not my responsibility. She accomplished that on her own. I was molded for years to believe that everything she perpetrated on my children and me, was my fault. If we continue to believe that their actions are the result of our behaviors, then our entire existence is based on egg-shell-walking. I don't know about you, but living under those conditions creates a life full of anxiety and stress.

Here's the last part of the Webster's pitch: "To become angry: She angers too quickly": her angering too quickly is on her. Any excuse was a reason to emotionally, or physically damage another.

The bottom line is when we as Survivors, or as victims of current abuse, realize that our responsibility is about how we feel and react to those feelings, then we will begin to recover. Angerrrrr is a secondary emotion. Anger is a result of frustration, and/or fear. The questions are: "Am I able to intelligently communicate?", "What am I afraid of?", "How much more am I willing to ingest before I become so crippled that I'm not capable of clawing my way from the pit I've allowed myself to be placed in?"

Information is freeing! Education is enlightening! Ignorance is NOT bliss!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Coming Painfully Out Of Denial

"I used to be so happy. Actually, when he is not acting up, I am happy. I enjoy happy things and love to give joy to others, even to him, even when he has not apologized for the last attack." This is an incredibly powerful statement. What I need you to do is remember what it was that happened before January 9, 2005, which led you to the place where this man was able to drive a wedge in your very soul. The questions I would ask myself could be: "Was I really a happy person before him, or was my life before our meeting the allusion of happiness?" We, all of us who have survived the "attacks", know that the honeymoon period is something we are conditoned to look forward to. It always happened, so we understand that the attacks are merely incidents, not long-lasting events. We are conditioned to know that they will eventually end, so the calm after the storm is well received.

Conditioned responses is what this abusive cycle is all about. This is how we've been trained. We wreak of PTSD. Our responses are defence mechanisms that have kept us alive for so long. From your post, you've stated a remarkable point. You said that: "Now I am being recorded 24 hours a day." He has realized that you've had enough, so the screws are getting tighter. They will smother us until there is nothing left to suck the air out of.

Your resolve to leave has come at the right time. The respondant to your post is correct. Although it appears that you remain in denial about your "relationship": "Knowing that he does not love me is killing me."; your thinking is becoming more rational. It may still be "Stinkin' Thinkin'" but you're coming out of the pit and seeing some light. He is becoming scared that you are finding the courage to leave, and it seems, from your words...you are!

You can either feeze in your tracks from your fear of what will become of you, or motivate youself out of the ties that bind and survive the abuse. Your post exudes motivation!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

WE ARE NOT ALONE

A POST WRITTEN ANONYMOUSLY
"I am starting to believe that something is wrong with ME because I stay. I love him...can you believe that?"

Of course I can believe that! The reality of your feeling probably lies within the context of the person you met initially. He/She was charming, polite, generous, amicable, empa/sympathetic, affectionate...well...you all get the idea. That's the ploy...the con...the game folks!

You and I are so needy, so full of low self-image, we are capable of seeing only that which they portray to us. So we fell (In Love) and head-over-heels we went through the tulips, the gardens of Birds of Paradise; honey bees dancing from plant to plant, recreating Gods procreative wand of life. We were blind to the real them and they knew they had us. WE fed into their trolling trap of endearment and became hooked...hooked on a fantasy existance, not life's reality.

We wreaked of ignorance and misinformation on what, and how life should be. Some of us, as children were physically and emotionally ripped apart. Some of us were abandend and emotionally discharged, always needing something/someone, but never knowing ourselves enough to understand we were placing out spirits in jeapardy.

My abuser, wife, died 14 years ago and there are times I look back with endearing thoughts of the few "good" times we experienced. So, do I feel you're a bit nuts to feel what you say you feel? Not hardly! Those emotions mix because that's part of the abuse. They're good at what they do and how they do it. My grandchildren, those who are old enough to remember "Granny", remember her as loving and caring. I have a difficult time, at times, not telling them who she really was...but I never have. Their memories are theirs.

Don't beat yourself up for how you feel. Just remember that you are not the ignorant person you used to be. If you need to get help/get out, then get the information you need to make the proper decisions.