When Fear Rules !

Controlling-Manipulative People

A Homeless Child in Flatbush

by on Oct.13, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Second Book: A Homeless Child In Flatbush

My Second Book


I will soon be publishing my second book, “Homeless in Flatbush” . It has taken me time to write, edit and I will most likely re-edit again as I re-live the experience that I was privileged to be a part of in my career as a Psychologist. This and other true stories of people going through emotionally charged  times in their lives dealing with real life conflicts  and struggles , some facing controlling and manipulative people, or facing their fears and self-defeating thoughts, has been both intensely rewarding, but also at times, emotionally draining for me.


RJ, the heroine of this story, was only ten years old when she contacted me through my Blog. I believed it was a scam or sting operation when I was first contacted by her. At the same time I thought, if this is real and true, do I really want to deal with this child, or can I even find people to help her ? However, after a few contacts, I was hooked !


The first thing she told me was that she was homeless, in an area known as Flatbush, near Brooklyn, New York. Not with a family, but alone. How could that even be possible ? But she had taken at least a year to plot and plan her escape. Escape ? Yes, she had been living with her mother and two year old sister in a small one bedroom apartment over one of the many bar/delis that dotted the landscape in Flatbush. Her mother had told her very matter of factly, that RJ would have to start contributing to paying bills by working at the only business her mother knew, “servicing men”, after her tenth birthday. RJ knew exactly what she meant as she had for years seen the parade of men coming to their apartment and going into mother’s office, the only bedroom. Since they had no TV, she would listen to worn out religious cassette tapes on a battery driven player that was held together with duct tape to drown out the sounds emanating from mother’s bedroom. Renee wanted nothing to do with this way of life, so she knew she had to leave.


It was inconceivable to me that a ten year old would have the personal strength, the courage, the tenacity and the survival skills, to make it on the streets by herself. She proved me wrong ! So she and I built a Support System of special people who could help her to break free of this life on the streets. 


I worked with her from the age of ten to fourteen, as I guided her through the many challenges she faced. She held me to my promise that somehow we would get her into a school, find her a family that would love her, and help her become a strong person who could help other children, because that is what God would want her to do.

There were many high points, but many disappointments. However, in my mind, she was a success against all odds.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus

The Benhaven Group

WhenFearRules.com

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Abuse Increase during Covid Lockdowns

by on Oct.01, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Stopping Abuse


Stay at Home Orders due to Covid-19 or any health crisis are inconvenient to say the  least but critical for anyone who has underlying health conditions. However, I received a note from my friend, Verna Griffin – Tabor, CEO of Center for Community Services which offers programs and assistance for women experiencing abuse, which highlighted the unique issue of those experiencing abuse in the home during these times.


“ Stay-at-home orders are terrifying for those who live with an abusive person {emotional or physical} , as isolation is a key tactic of any abuser. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in both the severity and the prevalence of intimate partner violence and sexual assault nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Statistics indicate that you or someone you love has experienced this type of harm.” VGT


One in four women and one in ten men experience sexual violence, physical violence  and / or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.


Be aware and supportive of any friend or family member who you are suspicious of being abused. Make contact more often so they may feel more comfortable in exposing the signs of abuse they may be experiencing. You need to be part of her or his  Support Team, encouraging them to seek counseling and not try to go it alone. Yes, the tactics of Abusers is to isolate their victims as well as to shame, blame and guilt them.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Retired 

WhenFearRules.com

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I Married a Narcissist, and I am Trapped !

by on Sep.18, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People

Dear Coach,

I am stuck ! I think my husband is a Narcissist and I feel I am trapped and cannot escape. We have two kids, 3 and 5 and his 9 year old lives with us because his ex is an alcoholic. I cannot believe my life.

I always had plans to work and I do have a degree in Library Sciences, but never worked. I have been so frustrated and anxious that I have put on so much weight, and my self-esteem is non-existent. I have no friends as I have home schooled the children due to Covid and could not afford Day-Care.

But he puts me down all the time, yells, screams and calls me names because I have let myself go with my weight. Since he works from home in sales, he uses one of the bedrooms as his office and is on the phone from 9 to 6. He says he won’t and cannot help with the kids, as that is my job. I have walked in on him and have caught him talking to somebody called Maria, and when I ask him, he says it is none of my business.

I am trapped!

N.C.

*********

Dear Trapped,

You are not going to resolve this overnight, and we know you will never change him, SO, you have to work on yourself first, which is under your control.

If he truly is a narcissist, or even a sociopath, you cannot do this alone. You need to :

1] Create a Support Team of people you can talk to, confide in and who can offer you support. That might include a supportive family member, a close friend or two, a Therapist {I can help you with that Pro-Bono}, and eventually an attorney.

2] You need to know what steps you have to take to add to your studies to make yourself more eligible for a job in Library Sciences. Educate yourself as to what options exist with your Library Science degree.

3] Work on your self-esteem which sounds like it needs a big boost, maybe first by working on the weight issue you mentioned. You will be surprised at the physical and emotional energy you will feel with the loss of weight, which will also give you a sense of control in your life. Again, checking in with the members of your Support Team to muster up some feedback and much needed confidence,

4] Save notes and gather recordings of some of your husbands mean comments and rants. You can use this info to show a pattern.

5] Try not to react to his nasty comments, realizing he loves control, and it will drive him to make more mistakes if he sees he is losing some control over you.

6] This will take time, but when you have a plan and you are building self esteem and pride and have support, you will be building for a better future while your younger children get a little older and you have more options for their care, i.e., they will be in school.

7] I just finished working with a mother of two, who knew when her kids were the age of your younger ones, that she had made a huge mistake marrying a narcissist. But she took her time to build a career in writing for women’s magazines, and became self-supportive. She took advantage of the time she had and realized she had skills that she never thought about, and became self-supportive with a little help from some very supportive family and friends.

And I have worked with a previously homeless child turned adult who used her experiences to run programs and write books and articles and eventually obtained a position as a Legal Assistant and then an Attorney . She turned her dangerous and draining life day to day, into a career.

I would be happy to be a Support Person for you during your metamorphosis from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus

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Narcissists and Sociopaths are Real and More of a Threat than ever before !

by on Aug.20, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People

The number of Narcissistic and Sociopathic Personalities has grown at an alarming rate in our society, and across the globe, in my opinion.

These controlling and manipulative personalities have always existed, but over the forty-two years I was in private practice as a Psychologist dealing with the victims of Narcissists and Sociopaths, I have seen an alarming increase in their numbers and I would imagine that this is in part due to 1] the change in parenting which has become more permissive and may have led to more kids with entitlement issues and a lack of self-discipline, 2] a lack of a spiritual and religious exposure which may have decreased a sense of a conscience and purpose to life, the issue of right versus wrong, good versus evil, a moral compass; 3] and a change in our educational system, which in more and more cases does not instill a sense of pride in Country and it’s history. We see some influential people condemning our Country for the mistakes it has made, instead of recognizing how much we have collectively learned through those mistakes. There is a Cancel Culture and Progressive Educational environment that seems to want to use blame, shame and guilt to re-shape how we think, feel and act.

It appears as if power and control over the citizens has become the goal for many a politician, and lying and gaslighting has become more the norm. Control and Manipulation are the tools of many a Narcissist, Sociopath and Psychopath. If we avoid this reality and take for granted the freedoms our Constitution provides, we may wake up one day and see they are gone. We have to realize that we must fight for them instead of take them for granted. We must be willing to challenge those who want power over us and realize their games, and call them out, respectfully, but with certainty. The world is changing, but we have to wake up and see the control and manipulation by many in Government , Mainstreet Media and Big tech who seem to have the idea that they know better than us what is good for us. Of course, in many cases they profit financially from their endeavors to blame, shame and guilt.

“White privilege” seems to be the mantra in some segments of our society, belying the reality that there is a more of an acceptance of different races, religions and sexual preferences than ever before. It takes time to accept change, but reality and time has a way of creating the atmosphere for positive change. Remember, we fought a war to end slavery, etc.

This is no time to be lazy and keep to yourself, because you will wake up one day to a very different world here in your own back yard. However, the danger is that fear holds us back from expressing our opinions. Don’t let fear rule your life. Avoidance of the issue gives it strength

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus

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Degrees of Controlling and Manipulative People !

by on May.07, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Stopping Abuse

I want to make clear, I believe there are degrees to which a person may attempt to control or manipulate another person’s life and well-being. Many may actually have the thought that, yes, I can see that a certain person that touches my life is controlling and/or manipulating, but “ I can handle it and it does not give that person any power over my thoughts and actions.” I would respond, “Are you sure or are you just avoiding the issue.”

But before I go there, let me define some terms.

Controlling Persons:

I know some clients and friends who have the personality trait of being very adept at taking control as in being able to create and build a successful business or venture. Everything they touch seems to turn to gold. Many of these individuals, although able to exert control in business were able at the same time be very sensitive and caring with persons in their personal life. 

Yet I have met others who were ALL business, and so into control that they were totally ineffective at recognizing or dealing with feelings in relationships, and did not have a clue as to what it meant to be intimate, in a loving way. I can say from my professional experience that it is a real challenge to teach intimacy to this type of personality. If they are in a relationship, it may serve other purposes for either party, but it is far from a loving intimate relationship.

Then, there were those whose intent was to restrain, dominate and control others both in their business and personal lives. They were obsessed with being in control and did not realize or care about other peoples’ needs or boundaries, seeing those feelings and needs as weaknesses that made them potential victims.

Manipulating Persons:

Manipulation tends to have a negative connotation, for sure. A manipulative person may tend to dominate and skillfully influence or use others, and most often in an unfair manner. They are able to adapt or change to suite their advantage or purpose, but they are not going to relinquish their needs or wants in any significant manner.

Degree of Control or Manipulation:

Not unlike first, second and third degree murder charges, there are degrees to which a person may be controlling or manipulative. 

I would see cases where I would consider an offender’s goal  as first degree control or manipulation,  in that there is Premeditation ( to meditate, consider, or plan beforehand ) and Intent [or purpose} in order to control and manipulate another. 

Second degree control and manipulation may not be premeditated, but is intentional at the time. 

Third degree is not premeditated or intentional, but may still cause harm to the potential victim’s self-esteem and well- being. This offender may realize, after the fact, and if it is brought to their attention, that their behavior was inappropriate and hurtful.

Now to bring a more psychological or medical picture into your mind, let me briefly talk about Personality Disorders I have known,  unfortunately !

Now there are a few personality disorders who may frequently cross the line when it comes to control and manipulation.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder may present as a personality characterized by extreme self-centeredness and self-absorption, fantasies involving unrealistic goals, an excessive need for attention and admiration, and disturbed interpersonal relationships, with a noticeable lack of empathy. Narcissists, in my opinion, usually display second or third degree control and manipulation and limited  consciences.

Sociopathic Personality Disorder  may have all the characteristics of a Narcissist, but there is a greater chance for control and manipulation of the first degree. They are anti-social schemers and need to win against all odds, but they can be charmers. Their behaviors often reach the level of criminal. The sociopath lacks a sense of moral responsibility and has a very limited degree of conscience, if at all. They do not form loving relationships, but ones that serve their more basic needs. However, they can drown themselves in their lust for power, and make mistakes that are costly. 

The Psychopathic Personality Disorder  may have many of  the characteristics of the Sociopath, but there is no moral compass or conscience, and no remorse. However they are so cunning, such plotters, planners and schemers, that they are seldom caught as they make few mistakes.

Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths do exist all around us, not just in the movies. Now that is something I hope you can accept and learn to protect yourself  from, and which I pray, Meagan’s story will teach you how to do.

Now, let’s talk about trauma. As a Psychologist, I have seen many clients struggling with what they expressed as an overwhelming amount of stress, anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior as a result of conflicts or traumas that were draining the energy out of their lives.

Trauma may be defined as a  deeply distressing or disturbing experience or an emotional shock following a stressful event or injury. We all might expect a person experiencing physical, in-your-face traumas to have symptoms. Coming home to a house burnt to the ground, finding out one of your children has been kidnapped, being robbed at gunpoint, experiencing a home invasion or a tragic auto accident, would all be traumas to most of us, and symptoms would be expected as the person’s sense of safety, security and feelings of control of their lives would have been threatened.

However, many of my clients had no idea why they were experiencing their anxiety symptoms. They had not experienced any of the in-your-face traumas, but had the symptoms nonetheless, which made it all the more anxiety producing and frightening for them, but fascinating to me. Most were experiencing full-blown panic attacks, obsessive worry or just a constant anxiety and a reasonable amount of depression.

Can you imagine having these symptoms and not consciously having any idea where they are coming from, why they are happening, not being able to pinpoint the reason ? These clients would often express not feeling in control, but again, could not explain it. I would consult with their primary care physician or one of our staff psychiatrists, but if that turned up no medical reasons for the symptoms, we would turn to uncovering emotional issues or conflicts in their lives. Often I would find that the clients had numbed themselves to the real people or issues that might be causing their symptoms because they did not want to deal with the true antagonist[s] in their lives. In reality, their lives had become impacted by some emotional trauma, but since there were no physical traumas with physical evidence, they did not allow themselves to explore them further.

I might suggest here that they were avoiding the source of their symptoms due to fear of rejection, failure, abandonment or somehow being blamed, shamed or guilted, or not believed.

I would express to them as I do here to you, that there are often times that significant emotional conflicts are playing out in one’s life but you subconsciously might not want to face them and then have to deal with the source , the need to take some action, or make some uncomfortable changes. So, we would work together to uncover the covert issues you might be avoiding that could be creating emotional stress and develop a step by step plan for the you to take control of that issue in your life. That means you would have to choose whether you wanted to deal with the source, continue to avoid or just rely on medications. If you choose to deal with the conflict, I would then be a part of your Support Team where there is no shame, blame or guilt to be had, only frank and honest discussion of all feelings and options. I would ask if there is anyone else in your life that you have talked to about the issue or conflict and whom you trusted just to know how strong your support team is, because a support system is important when we are about to make potential changes.

I would want to help you find what emotional needs { approval, respect, acceptance, sense of control, sense of belonging , etc.} or fears { failure, rejection, not being in control, etc.} you have that, while mostly shared by many others, may make you a target or potential victim of controlling and manipulative people. 

I did not enjoy seeing my clients in pain, but I was able to establish a professional and yet personal relationship with them that truly enhanced our therapy together. A therapist must be trusted by the client, and I needed to trust that my clients were being honest and open with me. That mutual respect allowed for some truly fulfilling, gratifying and successful therapeutic relationships. The end game was to discover the sources of whatever emotional turmoil they were experiencing as we uncovered the conscious, subconscious or unconscious issues causing their emotional pain, and then develop a game plan to take control and to build and support a healthier, more rewarding and less conflicted life.

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Destroyed by His Words !

by on Feb.09, 2021, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Stopping Abuse

Destroyed by His Words !

{I have published my first book, Loved to Death, Meagan’s Story which you can read here in my Blog. This article is where it all started in 2015, so I decided to reprint this article to entice you to search further into your lives for Controlling and Manipulative people who may be in your life, to any degree, to any magnitude.}

He is a Narcissistic Sociopath, and although he is very real, I will give him a fictitious name, Lucius. Upon my exposing him for what he was, he actually bragged and boasted about the “tools” he possessed that allowed him to control and manipulate people, both in business and in his personal life.

Lucius recognized as a teenager, that the things he said and the way he treated people caused them to be “like putty in my hands, allowing me to mold them into thinking and doing what I wanted”. As he became an adult, his awareness of his power over people grew by leaps and bounds. No one was safe from his manipulation, even his own daughter.

Being an attorney who specialized in medical malpractice suites in which he was ruthless and gained a mind-numbing reputation, Lucius would explain how he got a dopamine rush, a surge of adrenaline, realizing the power he had over people. He used that power not just in building a rather successful practice, but systematically taking control of his wife, their sexual interactions and her life by making her a victim of abuse that weakened a once strong woman with a career of her own, turning her into an emotionally weak, dependent blob.

My stomach turned and I felt nauseated as I knew that there had been many a victim who fell prey to this man’s initial charm and gradual degrading of their self-esteem as he manipulated his potential victim’s thoughts and behaviors by using tools such as blame, shame and guilt. Oh he was good at it, and he knew it. The smirk on his face said it all.

Lucius knew that I was aware of what he had done to destroy his own daughter’s will to live, and what he was now attempting to do was use his skills of manipulation and control to shut me down. He calmly said,
” You do not know who you are dealing with ! I can and will destroy you ! No one will believe anything you say anyway ! ” He was using fear tactics, which he was quite accomplished at due to his lack of conscience.

Then he said something I will never forget. “Everyone has made mistakes. Every man and woman on the face the earth who has a conscience has something they regret, or have done or avoided something for which feel shame or guilt. I know how to find out about a person’s past, and I will find a way to take advantage of whatever weakness or fear that a person has and I will use that knowledge to take control ! ”

Yes, he was a narcissistic sociopath, but what is critical to understand is that the only real control he would have over his victim would be if he or she gave into their fear.

Someday soon I will share the rest of this true story.

Something I learned from all of this over time, and now forty years of practice, is that there are far many more borderline or full-blown sociopathic personalities among us breathing the same air we do, every day of our lives. Their narcissistic and self-absorbing care for themselves and superficial show of care and concern for others is of course a tell-tale sign. But their ability to lie to our faces, and effectively try to find and take full advantage of the weakness in anyone who would challenge them, has at times made them all powerful. One of the primary strengths, and at the same time weaknesses in some of us that make us potential victims to manipulation is that some we have a conscience, are capable of feeling guilt, and have less of an ability to recognize evil in other people.

When many of us come up against people like Lucius, we just want to walk away , avoid them.
What can you do to defend yourself from such people ?

First, be aware that many such people exist. Watch for the signs, as they can lie to your face without flinching. If you can feel something uncomfortable, don’t ignore what you feel.

Don’t be mesmerized by what other people say about this person, think for yourself ! There have been many times in history where the minds of intelligent people have been paralyzed by the charisma of a charming, well-spoken person. All the while, below the surface may smolder the agenda of a selfish, control-seeking personality. There are many instances in history, where a person with a charismatic nature, who speaks well and seems to have their act together, takes over the minds of others who may know better but avoid being the one to speak up. Although I admired much about John F. Kennedy, the “Bay of Pigs” issue comes to mind where it is reported that many in his Cabinet had serious issues and conflicts with his decisions, but never expressed their warnings.

Realize that many controlling and manipulative people will say what you want to hear, but do what they want to do. So listen to their language. Do they follow the rules of respectfully dealing with others, or do they have some uncanny way of creating diversions and chaos, and then do their deeds amongst all the chaos and before the smoke clears ? When questioned, do they really answer the concerns others express or turn to comments that are an attempt to make you feel that if you do not agree with them, you are somehow a racist, a bigot, or an uncaring person ?

Life can be hard at times, but good hard work and effort to better yourself builds pride and character. If someone offers you something for nothing, it is a pretty good sign you will end up with nothing,

If you are an adapting or approval seeking personality, you are easy prey for the narcissistic, manipulative personality types. They can smell the want for approval and acceptance in other people.

Once a person gets sucked into the space of the narcissistic sociopath, a dependency is formed on that person’s approval. Then, after becoming a victim, you may not be willing to admit to yourself that you were suckered, so you say nothing, and that avoidance causes you to feel even less in control of your life, which makes you even more vulnerable.

This phenomenon occurs in business as well as personal relationships. How many people do you know that are stuck in unhealthy marriages, where one of the partners shames. blames and guilts the other to silence their legitimate complaints ? Why do so many remain in those unhealthy, esteem destroying relationships for so long ?

Express yourself and your feelings about persons that your gut tells you are manipulative, controlling and lying, but don’t spew hatred. Speak respectfully and repeatedly, saying as an example “ I appreciate your thoughts and opinions, but I do not agree with you !” Then don’t get dragged into defending yourself as the other narcissistic or sociopathic personality type will surely try to convince you that you are wrong. Just repeat yourself !!! In this way you are respectfully expressing an opinion without feeling the guilt of being hateful or mean, thereby not triggering so much shame within yourself. I have had many a client who was a victim of emotional or sexual abuse, whose abuser would try to turn the shame and guilt machine on them big time by saying, “ See, you are feeling so much anger towards me right know, which makes you feel dark and ugly inside, so you are no better than me !”

So, think hard about this as the abuse may be more subtle, but it is still abuse when a person uses words to manipulate you. Don’t allow fear to rule your life, you deserve better than that.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus
The Benhaven Group, LLC
www.RuledByFear
www.WhenFearRules.com

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Adapting Personality Types More Prone to Anxiety

by on Jan.22, 2021, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Agoraphobia, Controlling-Manipulative People

Adapting personality types are most often the clients that come to me because they are experiencing panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive issues.   I am not saying that other personality types do not or cannot experience these anxiety symptoms, but I DO BELIEVE  that the adapting personalities are much more prone.  Why?

Adapting personality types are best described by examples of  how they manifest themselves. They are most often the Caregivers, Conformers, Peacekeepers and the Perfectionists.

These four personality types have  a very strong need for approval, whether they see it in themselves, or not.

The Caregivers want approval, and seek that approval by being needed by other people. They are very quick to jump to the aide of others, very much enjoying the role of being needed and respected for what they do. Problem is, that when in this mode, they often repress their own needs, seldom asking for the help of others for fear of being seen as needy, which then can become a threat to their need for being seen as having it altogether and being so dependable. They tend to repress their own needs. Others take it for granted that they are rather self-sufficient. The end result is that the Caregivers can begin to feel frustrated and resentful that no one can read their minds and be there for them. This can cause such inner frustration and conflict for them, that anxiety, panic or OCD symptoms often result.

The Conformers seek approval by  always trying to do what they feel is expected of them, the SHOULDS. In an effort to please and secure respect and approval, they find themselves seldom able to say NO, and set boundaries, often over-extending themselves and feeling conflicted. Eventually, the frustration that their needs are not truly being met, yet dependent on approval, the conflict leads to anxiety, panic or OCD.

The Peacekeepers want to AVOID conflict at all cost. To do this, they find themselves going along with what others want. They can carry this avoidance on for so long, but eventually, it leads to a blow-up which then creates conflict, the worst thing they fear, so they withdraw even more.

The Perfectionist tries so hard to do all they can to gain a secure foothold in life, the more you do and harder you work, the more guaranteed they are of feeling of secure  and safe, and gaining a  sense of approval in a world they often see as an uphill struggle where no one does it quite like them. It is only a matter of time before they over-whelm themselves, taking on more and more, and feeling less satisfaction. When they eventually hit the wall or burnout, panic and OCD are common results.

We must recognize that Adapting Personalities are the salt of the earth, good people but at the same time, they must learn to set boundaries and limits as to how far they stretch to gain approval from others, especially the controlling and manipulative personalities. The adapting types are so obsessed with approval, that they can easily become targets for people of lesser conscience who crave control and power.

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Afraid to Expose the Abuser

by on Dec.12, 2020, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Stopping Abuse

A young woman working at her first real good  paying job, but is being sexually harassed by her boss as are a number of other woman who work there. No one else has ever dared expose this supervisor even though the abuse  is done openly, with witnesses. “ I can’t afford to lose my job and not be able to make my house payment”.

A woman married 27 years is afraid to tell her husband how much it hurts when he puts her down, demeans her when she offers any suggestions. She fears his flare-ups of anger and is having panic attacks.

A young lady, just legally an adult, takes her life because it is the only way to escape the pain of her father’s sexual abuse. The thought of exposing him meant she would lose any chance of her father ever returning and being the man that once loved her and protected her,

Another young person is a victim of cyber bullying, and takes an overdose to deal with his pain.

Unless you are a victim of some form of abuse, you may not be able to fully grasp the effect that it has on one’s life. FEAR is paralyzing !

I can see the effect that the abuse has had on my clients. It is obvious  that being a victim of abuse can CHANGE a person, often creates issues in future relationships, demeans and effects self-esteem, and leads to anxiety symptoms including panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive issues.

I have known that feeling. I had that feeling revisit me a few years ago when a sexually abusive father of the young lady I mentioned above threatened me with, ”You don’t know whom you are dealing with. I can destroy you !”

The point of this is not only how fear prevents us from exposing abuse and abusers, but how our not exposing the manipulative and controlling actions of others , especially when taken to abusive levels, empowers the abuser and weakens us in our own eyes.

I am sure you have heard it all before ! By avoiding the exposure of abusers, we give them more control over us. And yes, I understand the fear. But please understand how that avoidance effects you, prevents you in some cases from taking steps in your life that you always thought you would take someday, only to see that you opted for what was comfortable.

Abusers I have had contact with are insecure people with their own dark secrets who spend a lifetime hiding those insecurities with their ugly behavior. As an example, after being personally threatened in the example above, I did some long and involved investigative work, and detailed documentation, and I found that the father who molested his daughter to the point of her death had been exposed to homosexual activities as a child under the watchful eye of his own very abusive father. Do you think that might have caused some deep insecurities and a need to prove his manliness, leading to his needing to over-power and abuse woman ?

Avoiding the reporting of abuse of any kind is a life changer even as much as the abuse itself.

If their is or has been any sexual, physical or emotional abuse in your life, talk to your therapist.

Remember, abusers always try to divide and conquer. They want their victims to feel alone, and try to convince them that no one would listen to them anyway. Don’t hide the abuse any longer ! Build your support system between your therapist, organizations like NCADV { National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The Nicole Brown Foundation,
Rape Crisis Hotline, an attorney, and EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunities Commission}, etc.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus

The Benhaven Group, LLC aka Benhaven Publishing

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“Why am I feeling so sensitive to the comments of others lately ?” JT

by on Nov.05, 2020, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Self Esteem

Dear J,

As I mentioned to you when we talked after I received your question, there are potentially many issues going on in your life.

First, your boss, who you said was being more critical of you lately, may be in the midst of anxiety and conflicts himself because the Covid Virus has effected his business. In that case you might mention that he seems a little on edge recently and if there is anything he has a problem with regarding you or your work, you would be happy to discuss the issues as you want to be successful and add to the bottom line of his business.

Then on the other hand, if he shows signs or a pattern of being critical of not only you, but most employees, and if there appears to be a pattern of control and manipulation on his part, you may want to seek another position.

However, in our discussion today, upon my probing your personal frustrations and conflicts, you seemed to be very critical and upset with yourself for the significant and persistent weight problem that has become an increasing frustration. I am betting that the weight has you feeling very out of control and fills your head with self-critical thoughts and potentially leads to lower self-esteem, whereby you are expecting others to be critical of you and to be judging you.

You and I decided to set goals and touch base in two weeks, because I believe if you see yourself taking control of the weight in reasonable steps, your self esteem will rise, your self talk will turn more positive, and your sensitivity to whatever comments you hear from others will be lessened. I will offer you SUPPORT, which we all need, as you increase your self esteem based on tangible evidence [the loss of a few pounds} you can use to fight off those negative thoughts.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus
The Benhaven Group

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Out of the Ashes

by on Oct.16, 2020, under Controlling-Manipulative People, Self Esteem

This is not about politics as much as it is about human nature, and the psychological forces at play in the development, or unravelling of a society.

It appears that many of us have become apathetic, lazy minded and avoidant, forgetting what it takes to be truly self-sufficient, independent, proud of our achievements and successful as an individual… and as a society.

Oh, there are still some who have the old work ethic, and realize you do not get anything for nothing, that believe the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. But there is an ever-growing wave of people becoming willingly or unknowingly dependent on others, especially on our government to think and do for them. That wave will grow to a tsunami, as that government, past and present, left or right, seems to be no longer there to serve the people, but instead to control the people so that government becomes bigger and stronger and ultimately too powerful to challenge. Fear takes over and so the citizens deny what is obvious, so as not to have to deal with the inevitable….they AVOID !

Power corrupts, it is only a matter of time. So, many in government see the opportunity to not only preserve their positions, but to grow in personal and accumulated power. Again, this is a part of human nature for some with less conscience and moral fiber to delude themselves, or justify that they are doing the right thing. They know better than we do as to what is good for us.

We are on that path, and it may be irreversible because too many do not see it, or don’t want to see it. Odds are, It is just a matter of time now. Civilizations go through these cycles, and it appears as though we are presently descending into that abyss. However, there is the possibility, if we look at our world’s history, that out of the ashes we will again see a more rational people emerge, realizing that the principles this country was created upon are necessary as part of a moral and ethical compass…and a reality that there is no perfect world or society. There will always be the WORKER BEES, DESERVERS, WOULD-BE WORKERS with SPECIAL NEEDS,the GREEDY ONES and the USERS.
The WORKER BEES are those who adhere to the ethical and moral view that you do not get anything for nothing, that each must do his or her share, must through sweat and tears make a living, provide for their families and prepare to eventually be DESERVERS. We might refer to the WORKERS as those with conscience or a moral compass.

The DESERVERS who have put in their time and sweat as Workers, have made a living for themselves and their families and now wish to retire in some form of peace and tranquility while still being fruitful by sharing their knowledge and wisdom with the next generation of WORKERS.

The WOULD-BE WORKERS who are seeking to be full-fledged WORKERS, but need direction, internships, emotional support and opportunity, and are not looking for hand-outs or a free ride.

The WORKERS with SPECIAL NEEDS who have become DESERVERS, who have the ethical and moral fiber to be WORKER BEES, but through no fault of their own, have suffered ” legitimate” physical or mental ailments that limit their ability to perform as WORKERS, thus needing special assistance.

The GREEDY ONES, who manipulate and control others for their own gain, rationalizing that all is fair in love, war and politics. Many a Sociopath and Politician may come to mind. A lack of true moral compass is a common characteristic. They can lie with a straight face, or even a smile as they deceive, all for their own agendas. The WORKERS don’t see what is happening at first, because they do not want to see the DARK SIDE of mankind.

The USERS, are those who can justify living off the WORKERS, capable but lacking confidence or the drive to become all they can be. They rely on scamming the system, and playing the game to reap rewards without putting out true effort. They are the one’s who feel ENTITLED. The USERS may willingly or unwittingly give up their option to be WORKERS, aquiescing to the short-lived promises made by the GREEDY ONES. Once the GREEDY ONES see the benefit of manipulating the USERS, an inevitable and a very unholy alliance is formed where USERS knowingly or unknowingly, become puppets or pawns.

The GREEDY ONES can amass great power, and can use that power, plus the tactics of SHAME, BLAME and GUILT to cause the WORKERS to acquiesce and surrender more of what they earn to provide support for the USERS. The end game is unlimited control for the GREEDY ONES, until the inevitable occurs. The WORKERS rebel, and the GREEDY ONES begin to self-destruct as 1] they can no longer provide for the ever-growing needs of the USERS who have become totally DEPENDENT and 2] they destroy one another as they compete with other GREEDY ONES for more power and control. The USERS then rebel, and class warfare ensues. Remember the GREAT SOCIETIES such as Rome. The society implodes !

In either case, as part of the instinct for survival, the WORKERS will eventually be reborn from the ashes, and with less tolerance, if any, for the USERS and the GREEDY ONES.

And the cycle begins anew ! Why ? Because on the road to becoming a more evolved and conscientious society, we slowly forget the nature of mankind. In time, there will again be WORKERS who are willing to give, USERS who are more than willing to take, and GREEDY ONES who cannot help but fall into the trap, the cycle of power and control and of feeling they are special and above and beyond all others. Human nature is predictable ! We can pray for enlightenment ! We might even learn from the past and recognize what is happening, but the window of opportunity is short-lived and the tendency to avoid thinking, feeling and dealing with the dark side of mankind is so strong. What do you think ?

Just my opinion, but if we as a society provided job opportunities and training, as well as took major steps to prevent fraud in our programs meant to assist people, we would not be promoting dependence, but instead, pride in one’s achievements.

Is it just me, or does it seem like if the money our goverments wasted would be put into infrastructure jobs and manufacturing, the materials needed to re-build America’s roads, sewers , water and electricity grids, we would have a lot more people feeling that pride, worth and value in themselves and our Country.

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus

The Benhaven Group

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