Tag Archives: Neglect

Bang Bang

Arapahoe County High School

Arapahoe County High School

Karl Halverson Pierson. That’s the name of the 18-year old senior who opened fire yesterday in a high school in Centennial Colorado in Arapahoe County. Pierson reportedly was targeting his ex-debate team coach. However, he shot another student and then himself.

My intent is not to give anybody notoriety nor is my intent to add my voice to those who have so much to say about yet another shooting in locations that are supposed to serve the purpose of helping to build and develop our children into the adults they are to become.

My comments are most likely not going to be met with a lot of cheering and approval from my readers, so let me apologize in advance to any of my readers who may feel offended by anything I say. My intent is not to offend, just to observe and state what I believe based on what I observe.

I am going to try extra hard to pose questions to ponder rather than to make statements just to make sure it is not incorrectly interpreted that I am faulting anybody or making any accusations directed toward anybody.

Ironically, today is exactly one year that the horrific shooting in Newton Connecticut, killing 20 young children and six adults occurred in the Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Sandy Hook Elementary School

Sandy Hook Elementary School

20-year old Adam Lanza shot his way through the elementary school after killing his mother earlier that morning. Just recently, the findings on Lanza verified that he was somewhat obsessed with the 1999 Colubine school massacre in Littleton, Colorado in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed a teacher and 12 students before shooting themselves.

We all know what they had and did in common when they died; but what about how they lived? That is the question that keeps going around in my head. What did these troubled boys have in common? What might we as adults look for, that can tell us how to possibly see the warning signs or potential warning signs and maybe prevent the next shooting from happening?

Age is clearly something the shooters had in common, ranging from the ages of 18 through 20. It makes one wonder if there isn’t a particular point and time in a young man’s life when he may be more prone to act out in violence like this? I know as a foster mom who ends up getting teenage boys, I am very aware that these ages seem to be the ones that keep reappearing.

Obsession with video games or other behaviors of violence is another common thread. We had a young man here in our home earlier this year. He was 15 years old and he was absolutely fascinated and obsessed with the details of the Boston Marathon shooting when it occurred. I couldn’t get on the phone and contact his caseworker fast enough, especially when he expressed intense anger over relatively small disturbances.

Anger issues are another warning sign. Many people get angry, but this type of anger is more of a ‘misplaced’ type of anger – where you can clearly see (even if the young man is not able to) that the degree of anger far outweighs the cause. Again, what I am suggesting here is that there be a very obvious imbalance between the amount of anger and the event that causes it.

In all the cases of the shootings listed above, there were previous outbursts of anger displayed – some disruptive behaviors and or some indication that the young man was living a troubled existence of some type even though they may not have looked like it to outsiders.

Yes, all cases report that the boys were ‘bullied’ or didn’t fit in however, that is so generic in today’s schools it is more than likely not a reliable common thread. However, if we look closer at the way the child processes the feelings brought on by being an outsider or by being bullied, we may be onto something.

Breakdown of the Family

Breakdown of the Family

In quite a few instances, families were split up by divorce or in cases where mom’s (almost always due to finances) had worked outside the home and the young man found other places to occupy himself; many times alone and isolated.

I remember talk about the break down of family and family values in the news years ago. Some people made jokes about it when politicians addressed it as a societal issue. However, here we are, watching children who don’t turn to their parents, parents who have too much else going on in their lives (sometimes, being purely overwhelmed with the need to survive and pay next month’s rent,) to connect with their children in a way where they can get to know what they are really thinking.

And the result? Well, who knows how many other names and victims will be added to this list next year?

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

How to spot disorder: Is your ego being inflated?


How To Spot Disorder: Is Your Ego Being Inflated? Run.

16AUG201310 Comments

by theabilitytolove in Uncategorized Tags: ,

     I pontificate a lot about a ‘genuine’ recovery. I’ve gone into what that means. So I’m going into this a little more because I experienced an attempt by a disordered one trying to infiltrate with their little tentacles out, ready to claw into my soul. NOPE. Not going there.

The reason that a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist is able to get into your life and down your pants so fast to seal the deal is ego inflation. Who doesn’t like to be told that they’re wonderful, right?
imageI think we make ‘nice’ of the reasons our disordered ones were allowed into our lives and I see this when page admins ‘lure’ survivors, when describing what happened: “He exploited all of your GOOD qualities! Bastard! He saw all the GOOD in you and that’s why you were targeted! Yes, he took all of those GOOD things about you, your POOR THING and exploited them for his OWN benefit!” I’m exaggerating this of course, but it’s irritating when I see it. It’s also questionable because it doesn’t feel honest to me.

Recovery is the greatest opportunity you will ever have in getting to know yourself, warts and all.

Well, what they say is only half true. He took your ‘good’ qualities and elevated it to rock star status. Healthy people do not need this kind of ego stroking and healthy people do not need to ego stroke in this way either.

imageAny abuser, whether it’s a disordered one or not, knows that you’re probably not going to date him if he’s throwing you up against walls and down stairs, or twisting your arm, or devaluing you and calling you names, right?

That’s only logical, but with a disordered one, they study you, they do it through Google searches, your face book page, and they will even create fake profiles and message your friends, claiming to be an old friend of the past and that they want to surprise you but need a little more info, and of course, friends willingly do this without exercising any caution on your behalf with privacy. They are really good at getting information on you, your friends and out of you, with all of that ego boosting, you fill in all the blanks.

So he takes all of this and gets out his ego inflating machine and turns on the air attached to your ego…pump, pump. pump. . . and soon enough, there is enough air in that ego that you’re literally swooning. This is how the disordered creates the mirroring that you’re experiencing, that intense high. It is unrealistic and it is dangerous because NO ONE is that special.

But this is also something that you need to be mindful of in recovery. It’s been really interesting talking to women who are emotionally healthy in ego. What I’ve found consistently with all of them, is that not only do they have a healthy self esteem (ego) but they are also highly aware of their darker sides, their vulnerabilities, so when they’ve experienced targeting in their dating lives, they are able to see the disordered one readily because the over the top flattery and ego inflation looks completely ridiculous to them. They recognize it for what it is,extreme manipulation through ego boosting. It is incredibly distorted and that’s because IT IS.

imageSurvivors can become very defensive about this and it’s frustrating to me when working with them too. I give clear examples of what it means to look at yourself completely, with a great deal of humility and transparency in recovery. It is UNPLEASANT, but ironically, looking at the behaviors, attitudes, poor self esteem, low/no boundaries, mistakes, choices, SETS YOU FREE TO EMBRACE YOUR HUMANITY, and this will be the very thing that will protect you against  targeting from anyone in the future. It keeps your feet on the ground and centered securely in reality, because the psychopath’s love bombing is anything but that, it is fantasy.

The individual love bombing me, was of course, appealing to my ‘great writing’! It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work I do. Sometimes I feel down because it doesn’t feel appreciated so much, but that’s an area of LOW self esteem and not valuing myself.

We all have a human desire to be appreciated for our gifts and who we are. This IS natural and it’s perfectly okay too. I let my friends know often, that they are special to me, and that their friendships or  personal gifts mean a lot to me. A compliment or appreciation given when taken in context and combining the WHOLE person, someone you know well, can really make someone’s day brighter, especially if they’re having a rough time. This is the good stuff.

But when someone is ego inflating me, putting me into ‘rock star’ status with my writing, and continuing on with what a great person I am,  I know I’m being fed bullshit. There are times when I’m asked questions, where the questions in and of themselves are an attempt to inflate my ego with my knowledge about the disorders. At other times, I’m offered other ‘gifts’ that are clearly an attempt to exploit.

I know that my writing is ‘okay’, but I’m no Ernest Hemingway, or Claudia Moscovici! I’m realistic about it, with a level of humility when it comes to my work, where I strive for balance and this helps me to recognize ‘rock star’ status immediately and to ignore it.

At the same time, there are survivors who write to me and tell me that the blog has literally saved their lives with the information they’ve read here. I don’t see that as ‘love bombing’. When someone is grateful to you for your giving to others,it is not the same as the disordered one holding the ego inflater pump. As with everything else when discussing pathological people, it is in the EXTREME. There is a balance. Again, compliments are really nice, but flattery is a major red flag.

I think this part of recovery in acknowledging that the psychopath was allowed into our lives is hard, not because we felt good about ourselves or that our good qualities were exploited, but because we didn’t feel good about ourselves, we didn’t have healthy boundaries and we weren’t aware of our darker sides or vulnerabilities. I know this stuff is incredibly difficult to come to terms with because it already feels like such an injustice with all the pain we are feeling and with what the psychopath appeared to have ‘gotten away with’. It’s hard to admit that in reality, we were duped.

I’m not responsible for any of my psychopaths abuse. But I am responsible now for working on myself genuinely and deeply, so that this never, ever happens to me again and I know how to respond when I’m targeted.

The most dangerous phase of any relationship with a psychopath is the love bombing stage. It is the stage filled with the most deceit, the most ego inflation. This stage is critical to any disordered one approaching you, and the idea is to completely destroy you. Your future destruction by a disordered one is not going to happen without your willing participation. And THAT is not going to happen unless the psychopath can successfully exploit your low self esteem, boundaries and vulnerabilities and the tendency to FANTASY through ego inflation.

Change in recovery, includes rebuilding from a foundation of authenticity about ourselves. Positive and negative behaviors. Building self esteem, boundaries and most especially self awareness of yourself and your humanity, is what a genuine recovery entails. There is nothing more devastating to create a rock bottom than a strategically destructive psychopath.

The psychopath shows us all the wounds we need to heal.

Ego inflation, in my opinion, is the number one way to spot disorder. If you see this, don’t doubt. RUN.

Onward and upward.

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Neglecting yourself

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neglecting yourself

All around us there are competent, smiling people with good hearts and good jobs. Stand-up men and women who do their best to provide for their family, friends, children, and co-workers. People who laugh easily at others’ jokes, generously offer advice and compassion, and put others’ needs before their own.

But if we look a little more closely, we might see a flicker of self-doubt in the eyes of these fine folks. If we listen with a little extra care, we may sense a subtle lack of self-worth lurking beneath their surface. If we watch a little more attentively, we may see some effort behind their smiles and a waver in their confidence.

These can be some of the people who are living their lives under the influence of powerful yet “invisible” emotional neglect during childhood (CEN).

One definition of childhood emotional neglect is this: A parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs. When a child grows up in a household where emotions are not validated, accepted, or responded to enough, he learns how to put his own emotions aside.

A child who grows up this way becomes an adult who doesn’t value, trust, or even know his own feelings. This child may grow into a fully functional, outwardly strong adult. But he will feel a deep sense inside of himself that something is missing; That something isn’t right.

behind the mirror

can you see me?

He will feel that a most deeply personal, biological part of himself (his emotions) is invalid, or unacceptable, or missing. He will question his decisions. He will be confused by his own behavior and the behavior of others. He will struggle to feel connected to the people he loves the most, to fit in, to belong.

Yet, this emotionally neglected child, in adulthood, will be perplexed as to what is wrong with her, or why. Childhood emotional neglect is so subtle and hard to pinpoint that she may have no awareness that anything was missing in her childhood.

So she will struggle in silence, put on a happy mask, and hide from herself and others that deep, painful feeling that something is just not right.

Emotionally neglected children grow up with a blind spot about emotions, their own as well as those of others. Through no fault of their own, when they become parents themselves, they’re not aware enough of the emotions of their own children, and they unwittingly raise their children to have the same blind spot. And so on and so on, through generation after generation.

So the world is full of people who always come through for others, who put their own needs aside. They paste those beaming smiles on their faces, put one foot in front of the other and soldier on, giving no hint of how they really feel.

My goal is to make people aware of this subtle but powerful force from their past. I want to make the term emotional neglect a household term. I want to help parents know how important it is to respond enough to their children’s emotional needs, and how to do so. I want to stop this insidious force from sapping people’s happiness and connection to others throughout their lives, and to stop the transfer of emotional neglect from one generation to another.

If you identify with the face of CEN, it is vital that you take it seriously. It is by dealing with our own legacy of childhood emotional neglect that we can not only heal ourselves, but also ensure that we do not pass it down to our own children.