I just had another one of those WOW moments...
Considering that I never did make through it Jr. High School,
(yeah thanks mom)I'm often amazed at how far I've come in understanding the make up (for lack of a better word) of the human mind..
The more I live.. the more I observe.. and the more I learn.. I'm often left with my jaw hanging at how I've made it this far in life without the knowledge I've accumulated in the last 5 or so years..
People are very predictable all you have to do is really study them to know what to expect..
Sounds simple enough? Well it really is .. that simple.
First I had to pull apart and get into the mind of an abuser .. that was the hard part.. they come in many different sizes shapes and colors... from high end abusers.. who are usually intelligent called - cerebral Narcissists--such as those politicians that should have EVIL stamped upon their forehead..and the low end of the spectrum..the somatic Narcissist those are the ones that use their looks and or body instead of their mind .. usually your exotic dancers -- nimphomaniacs and so on.. most of whom I personally believe are (candy coated rat poison- see earlier post for that whole story) but anyway -- there are many kinds of abusers and they all abuse in slightly different ways..
Now before I go any further.. let me say that although I often use the word Narcissist to mean Malignant Narcissist .. don't be confused.. Narcissism is healthy! I've actually acquired some in the last few years.. but I could never become a Malignant Narcissist! It's important to know the difference in types of Narcissism [FN1] and in common and poisonous misconceptions about Narcissism [FN2]
Once you have identified an abuser you need to know they come in varying degrees of abuse at different times.. and sometimes you "look in" on an abusive family and "see" this picture perfect happy home- Don't be fooled! (I speak from experience)
What "looks perfect" is sometimes just the opposite- and that was a hard pill to swallow..
However that concept.. "the perfect family".. the dominating over-protective- intrusive- sometimes wealthy -well groomed parent.. who is a covert abuser.. is more often than not never identified .. especially by their family/children
What happens to the child that grew up in that home?
Check out the book Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited [FN3] for everything you need to know on this topic ...
So.. why the heck am I posting this today?
Is this just another of my rants about abusers?
Because I've come to terms with the fact that as much as I learn there is always that much more I still have to learn.. and the more I learn the clearer the picture becomes... so today I want to share with you "Defence mechanisms"
As most of you know I'm in a personal struggle with what I believe to be a psychopath estranged husband.. perhaps on a good day he can be described as a severe malignant Narcissist
(Shrug) - who knows- even better who cares- what they label him as- he's a danger and that's all I needed to know!
But as time went on I figured out that until I understood and got deep into his psych I would never be able to heal.. yes I had to learn how they think- what makes them tick.. how they prey and on who they prey and why..
That led me to - my role in that whole connection.. sorta like "what's my role in this" and why does it keep happening? The constant re-victimizing...
I've had to deeply analyze myself.. if I were to ever free myself of the abusive cycle.
I had to understand why there was a cycle to begin with..
And... another question I needed to answer was how is this cycle played out with others in my life - or isn't it?
Makes sense.. no?
Well.. I've figured out that I play a role in EVERY relationship I'm in -- relationship = friends/lover/ you name it.. but that's OLD NEWS.. I figured that one out a while ago...
Ever hear of that ole saying show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are?
NOW I get it! I don't believe there has ever been a truer statement....
Ok so I said all that to say .. before this whole understanding of "my role" thing.. I managed to collect a group of people in my life that were lets say--still somewhat damaged from their past..
Some function on amazingly high levels.. others.. well I tossed those others lol so we can leave them out of this for now..
Back to the high functioning slightly damaged.. aka bullied.. abused... by either a spouse the system or their parents aka family.. some thought they were in perfect families.. others knew they were abused as children but have struggled and found their way out.. these are the people in my close circle...
I've noticed something very interesting the last few months.. One of those near and dear to my heart is passive aggressive [person A].. nothing messes with your head more than a passive aggressive abuser! See [FN4] for passive aggressive behaviour - covert abuse- link
We spoke about this .. How (1) They were abusing me with the passive aggressive B.S. and (2) They were acting as a venue.. allowing abuse into MY LIFE via other overt abusers .. and that wasn't working for me ... again we spoke about this ... and they agreed they had some things/issues residue from their past that perhaps they could talk out with a therapist .. and so off they went.. to therapy .. in search of grasping the who.. what.. when.. and why of their dysfunction...
The passive aggressive shit began to subside ...
I made it perfectly clear that the abuse by proxy I was still receiving because of their dysfunction wasn't working for me -- and if it didn't stop immediately I would have to end that relationship for my own emotional health...
I reminded this person that they were an adult and if they chose to take the abuse that was fine with me .. FOR THEM to take it.. but it wouldn't work for ME!
I was NOT going to take it.
They began therapy claiming they wanted to change things in their life.. because they saw a major problem within themselves.. and they were able to see clearly how dysfunctional every one around them was.. (Don't kid yourself -- this awareness took MUCH longer than I'd like to admit--however in the interim I was able to protect ME from 99.9 % of the residual abuse this person brought along with them....
Hey we all bring baggage .. it's about how much baggage can the other person accept..
It appeared that things were going along well .. they identified the biggest problem in their life (their covert abusive mother) and addressed it head on!
See [FN5] for charistics of a Narcissist mother.
See [FN6] for more on abusive parents and the effect they have on Adult children that were forced to grow up with the abuse..
As I feel MOST PA/PAS situations are abusers and their alienated children that will become either Narcissist or Co- something or another -- ie possibly passive aggressive or abusive adults themselves.
Wow I was impressed.. the therapy was working..
Then I began to notice that although they were dealing with their dominating intrusive Narcissist mother.. the other Narcissists in their life seemed to act out all at once.. as if to say .. Ohhh hell no -- you don't dare get to heal from us emotional vampires...
See [FN7] for more on emotional vampires
NO NO NO -- We'll *&%$ with your head now .. just wait and see!
Person A fell for it hook line and sinker from two of the major Narcissists in their life.. they began to deny that those two in particular were abusive.. blah blah blah.. making EVERY excuse in the book as to why they weren't abusive .. or being disrespectful.. and again it began to be to much for ME to handle... so I backed off .. gotta save my mental health sorry!
Then as if it were to much for person A to handle .. person A was once again being feasted on by some of their favorite either life long Narcissistic friends or family Narcissists all at once!
I KNOW .. the family Narcissists were sent out to finish the mother's job.. due to the fact that she was abandoned by person A not to long ago...
That's how they (Narcissists) operate -- they send in the "golden child" to do their dirty work.. of course the scape goat child believes the golden child loves them and would NEVER abuse or disrespect them..
I've also noted in this particular family the adult children switch roles from golden child to scapegoat child.. once in a while ..but for the most part they have their set role in that family...
Then as if a gift from the devil himself.. BAMMMM !!!
Out of nowhere comes another one!!
Where did this one come from? How was person A so naieve as to let this emotional vampire get their teeth into them? It was clear they were smitten.. it was a done deal.. right back in the clutches of another Narcissist ..
Which led to the Narcissistic entitled abuse directed at ME!
OHHHH *&%$# HELLL NOOOOOOOOO!
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
I confront person A.. Hell no I refuse to deal with this !!!!
NO NO NO NO NO IT AINT HAPPENING NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Person A goes into total denial.. (flashback) wait .. I've seen this reaction before ..
No wait .. I seen this denial- the protecting the abuser- EVERY SINGLE TIME this subject came up between us before..
Doesn't person A relaize that by being in denial and protecting the abuser -that they are abusing me?
Of course they do - I told them so!
No wait .. didn't person A's therapist prove me right each and every time with every person that abused person A while person A defended the abuser to the end?
So then what?
Can person A be that dysfuntional that they can't see the pattern here?
Or is person A much worse than I ever thought they were?
Is it time for me to move on and say goodby to person A?
Will they ever get it?
Will this be a constant repeated problem?
I began to feel as if person A had a stockholm syndrome kind of thing going on with EACH ABUSER!
PROTECT PROTECT PROTECT!!!!
WTF? Protect them at your own expense? That makes NO sense to me!
I think I need to check this out and try to grasp just what it is exactly I am dealing with here..
So I sign online this morning .. and look up this behavior..
Is person A a Co-Narcissist? See [FN8] for more on that topic
Can this be something along the lines of Stockholm Syndrome See[FN9] for more on that topic
Or is this a Defence Mechansim See [FN10] for more on that topic..
The begining of the Defence Mechansim article is very interesting and a must read..
Which includes ..
Definitions of individual psyche structures..
Primary and secondary processes..
The reality principle..
Formation of the superego..
The ego's use of defence mechanisms..
Part two below- tho-- I found more informative
Level 1 Defence Mechanisms
The mechanisms on this level, when predominating, almost always are severely pathological. These three defences, in conjunction, permit one to effectively rearrange external reality and eliminate the need to cope with reality. The pathological users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane to others. These are the "psychotic" defences, common in overt psychosis. However, they are found in dreams and throughout childhood as healthy mechanisms.
Denail: Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn't exist; resolution of emotional conflict and reduction of anxiety by refusing to perceive or consciously acknowledge the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.
Distortion: A gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs.
Delusional Projection: Grossly frank delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory nature.
Level 2 Defence Mechanisms
These mechanisms are often present in adults and more commonly present inadolescence .. These mechanisms lessen distress and anxiety provoked by threatening people or by uncomfortable reality. People who excessively use such defences are seen as socially undesirable in that they are immature, difficult to deal with and seriously out of touch with reality. These are the so-called "immature" defences and overuse almost always lead to serious problems in a person's ability to cope effectively. These defences are often seen in severe depression and personality disorders. In adolescence, the occurrence of all of these defences is normal.
Fantasy: Tendency to retreat into fantasy in order to resolve inner and outer conflicts
Projection: Projection is a primitive form of paranoia. Projection also reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the undesirable impulses or desires without becoming consciously aware of them; attributing one's own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts and emotions to another; includes severe prejudice , severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external danger, and "injustice collecting". It is shifting one's unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses within oneself onto someone else, such that those same thoughts, feelings, beliefs and motivations as perceived as being possessed by the other.
Hypocondrias: The transformation of negative feelings towards others into negative feelings toward self, pain, illness and anxiety
Passive Aggression: Aggression towards others expressed indirectly or passively
Acting out: Direct expression of an unconscious wish or impulse without conscious awareness of the emotion that drives that expressive behavior.
I dealization: Subconsciously choosing to perceive another individual as having more positive qualities than he or she may actually have.
Level 3 Defence Mechanisms
These mechanisms are considered neurotic, but fairly common in adults. Such defences have short-term advantages in coping, but can often cause long-term problems in relationships, work and in enjoying life when used as one's primary style of coping with the world.
Displacement: Defence mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a more acceptable or less threatening target; redirecting emotion to a safer outlet; separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening. For example, a mother may yell at her child because she is angry with her husband.
Dissociation: Temporary drastic modification of one's personal identity or character to avoid emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought.
Isolation: Separation of feelings from ideas and events, for example, describing a murder with graphic details with no emotional response.
A form of isolation; concentrating on the intellectual components of a situation so as to distance oneself from the associated anxiety-provoking emotions; separation of emotion from ideas; thinking about wishes in formal, affectively bland terms and not acting on them; avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects (e.g.rationalizations)
Reaction Formation: Converting unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be dangerous into their opposites; behavior that is completely the opposite of what one really wants or feels; taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. This defence can work effectively for coping in the short term, but will eventually break down.
Repression: Process of pulling thoughts into the unconscious and preventing painful or dangerous thoughts from entering consciousness; seemingly unexplainable naivety, memory lapse or lack of awareness of one's own situation and condition; the emotion is conscious, but the idea behind it is absent.
Level 4 Defence Mechanisms
These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered the most mature, even though many have their origins in the immature level. However, these have been adapted through the years so as to optimize success in life and relationships. The use of these defences enhances user pleasure and feelings of mastery. These defences help the users to integrate conflicting emotions and thoughts while still remaining effective. Persons who use these mechanisms are viewed as having virtues.
Altruism: Constructive service to others that brings pleasure and personal satisfaction
Anticipation: Realistic planning for future discomfort
Humor: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. Humor, which explores the absurdity inherent in any event, enables someone to call a spade a spade, while "wit" is a form of displacement (see above under Category 3). Wit refers to the serious or distressing in a humorous way, rather than disarming it; the thoughts remain distressing, but they are 'skirted round' by the witticism.
Identification: The unconscious modeling of one's self upon another person's character and behavior
Introjection: Identifying with some idea or object so deeply that it becomes a part of that person
Sublimation: Transformation of negative emotions or instincts into positive actions, behavior, or emotion
Suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality; able to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions and accept them
Other theories and classifications
The list of particular defence mechanisms is huge and there is no theoretical consensus on the number of defence mechanisms. It has been attempted to classify defence mechanisms according to some of their properties (i.e. underlying mechanisms, similarities or connections with personality). Different theorists have different categorizations and conceptualizations of defence mechanisms. Large reviews of theories of defence mechanisms are available from Paulhus, Fridhandler and Hayes (1997.and Cramer (1991).Also Journal of Personality
(1998)has a special issue on defence mechanisms.
Otto Kernberg (1967) has developed a theory of borderline personality organization (which one consequence may be borderline personality His theory is based on ego psychological object relations theory. Borderline personality organization develops when the child cannot integrate positive and negative mental objects together. Kernberg views the use of primitive defence mechanisms central to this personality organization. Primitive psychological defences are projection, denial, dissociation or splitting, and they are called borderline defence mechanisms. Also devaluation and projective identification are seen as borderline defences.
In George Eman Vaillant's (1977) categorization defences form a continuum regarding to their psychoanalytical developmental level. Levels are:
Level I - psychotic defences (i.e. psychotic denial, delusional projection)
Level II - immature defences (i.e. fantasy, projection, passive aggression, acting out)
Level III - neurotic defences (i.e. intellectualization, reaction formation, dissociation, displacement, repression)
Level IV - mature defences (i.e. humour, sublimation, suppression, altruism, anticipation)Robert Plutchik's (1979) theory views defenses as derivatives of basic emotions. Defence mechanisms in his theory are (in order of placement in circumplex model): reaction formation, denial, repression, regression, compensation, projection, displacement, intellectualization.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)published by American Psychiatric Association(1994) includes tentative diagnostic axis for defence mechanism.
This classification is largely based on Vaillant's hierarchical view of defences, but has some modifications. examples include: denial, fantasy, rationalization, regression, isolation, projection, displacement, etc.
Then the WOW moment -
I see so many of these qualities in so many people it's scarey!
[FN1]Types of Narcissism
[FN2]A common and poisonous misconception about Narcissists
[FN3] The Malignant Self Love online book- if you want a copy email me it wont let me post it
[FN4]Passive Aggressive Behavior as Covert Abuse
[FN5] Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers.
[FN6] ADULT CHILDREN OF NARCISSISTS/PSYCHOPATHS
[FN7] Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry (McGraw-Hill) doi:10
[FN8] Co- Narcissism
[FN9] Stockholm syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[FN10]Defence mechanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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