When I was recently in California, I met with a sheriff’s deputy as a first step in working with the Special Sex Crimes Unit since I am tracking*** some abusive, sociopathic abusers who have been involved with abuse of clients I have worked with. I am working with law enforcement in a number of states as I am trying to learn, and share from what I have experienced with victims of abuse, especially Domestic Violence whether it be physical, emotional or sexual in nature.
One of the questions this deputy asked me was , “Why are so many of these young ladies so gullible and vulnerable to this kind of abuse, and why don’t they come forward. We cannot do anything until they come to us and are prepared to press charges.”
My first thought was that this deputy was not receiving enough training in the psychology of abuse, although I would appreciate him being around when I come face to face with one of the abusers I am tracking. But the next thought was that many out there do not realize that we are especially vulnerable to being manipulated and controlled, and therefore abused by certain individuals who are often Narcissistic Sociopathic types. Yes, they are often family members or loved ones that we have put trust in. These are people with minimal consciences, who spend a lifetime protecting themselves from their own deeper insecurities and emotional conflicts, fighting off their own sense of vulnerability by taking on the persona of the ultimately In-Control person. They may seem like Prince Charming as they lull their potential victims into their lair, but they gradually take more and more control or their potential victims.
So who are those of us who are more vulnerable to abusive, controlling and manipulative people of all degrees, not just the sociopathic types ?
We are often more adapting and approval seeking personalities.
We are more often the caregivers, peace-keepers, perfectionists and conformers.
We are often the ones who wish to please beyond what is healthy for ourselves.
We are often the ones who cannot say “No”.
We can be prone to self-doubt and we second-guess ourselves.
When we do make bad choices, as most everyone does in life, we take it more as a sign of failure and fear rejection or embarrassment rather than an experience to learn by.
We care about others, and sometimes stretch TOO far to nurture others as we want to be NEEDED.
Some of us dream of being rescued more than realize the steps we can take to rescue ourselves.
Some of us believe that if you love someone enough, you can change or alter the rough edges you see in a potential partner. Not a good idea ! People rarely change such basic natures and patterns of behavior. Doesn’t it feel great to rescue someone else ?
We have a difficult time setting “boundaries” with others due to our excessive need to please. So, we over-commit, take on things we really do not want to do, and not putting enough energy into our own self-esteeming behaviors and efforts.
Our self-esteem is more dependent on what others want from us or how others respond to us rather than deriving our self esteem from what WE accomplish.
We are often caught off-guard by others and become embarrassed by their comments.
Now, some of these points are actually endearing characteristics of some very good people. Being a sensitive, caring and nurturing person is a good thing, right ? Yes, but there is a very delicate balance between healthy and vulnerable.
I would stress that if you see yourself in any of the above descriptors that you seek counseling to work on a plan to realize greater SELF esteem. Otherwise, there is a danger that you are or could be a victim of abuse whether at a subtle or more obvious degree. We will be discussing issues such as this in our on-line Support Group on Sunday evenings at 9 PM, ET at www.OneStepataTime.com . Come join us !!!
***When I mention tracking of abusive persons, I want to assure you that I am not carrying out some vigilante justice. I have formed a group of professionals and am still adding members to that group. These persons act as consultants to me as I research and study the backgrounds of some of the more abusive people I have come in contact with through my clients.
Each member of The Watch, which is what we have named this professional group of consultants, is given all details of any case I am working on so that they can not only advise me from their experiential background, but also add a measure of protection for me in my efforts to study the Narcissistic Sociopathic Abusers amongst us. When these Abusers make a mistake, and they always do, and one of their victims IS willing to press charges, the information we have gathered is provided to the appropriate Law Enforcement entity.
The Watch consists of members of Law Enforcement , Attorneys, Psychiatrists, Therapists, prominent Political figures who can press for anti-abuse legislation, a Nationally known personality who is a strong advocate against Domestic Violence, and private citizens who have demonstrated an awareness and interest in fighting for the rights of individuals where we can find people being easily led and controlled in our society. The names of The Watch members are not divulged, but let me say they have proven an invaluable source of guidance.