Category: abuse

A couple of notes: Spanking and No, the new girlfriend did NOT change my abusive ex

A couple of quick notes on things that I have seen today while, as usual, sucked into the Web when I’m supposed to be doing other things:

First:

Elizabeth T. Gershoff writes an opinion piece, The era of spanking is finally over, based on the announcement yesterday by the American Academy of Pediatrics that

recommends that adults caring for children use “healthy forms of discipline” — such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits and setting expectations — and not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating or shaming.

…”In the 20 years since that policy was first published, there’s been a great deal of additional research, and we’re now much stronger in saying that parents should never hit their child and never use verbal insults that would humiliate or shame the child,” said Dr. Robert Sege, first author of the policy statement and a pediatrician at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

…The statement goes on to describe how several studies have found associations between spanking and aggressive child behavior, depressive symptoms in adolescence and less gray matter in children’s brains, among other outcomes.

Gershoff hopes that the new statement will finally cause massive change in how parents discipline children, and notes changes that have already been made over the years.

She writes,

There are practical reasons to stop spanking. The main one is that it does not work. Some parents may say, “But it does for my child.” A child may cry and stop what she is doing in the moment, but numerous studies involving hundreds of thousands of children show that spanking does not make children better behaved in the long run, and in fact makes their behavior worse.
It is hard for parents to see this in their day-to-day interactions, but the research is clear: We consistently find that the more a child is spanked, the more aggressive he or she will be in the future.
Spanking also teaches children that it is acceptable to use physical force to get what you want. It is thus no surprise that the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to be aggressive or to engage in delinquent behaviors like stealing.
…The majority of us who were spanked by our parents think we “turned out OK.” Perhaps we did. But maybe we were lucky that our parents did other things, like talking with us about what behaviors they wanted to see us do in the future, that helped us develop self-control and make good behavior choices.

Of course, I see so many people say “I was spanked and I turned out okay” that I doubt the change will happen so fast.

It’s especially ludicrous to hear, on one hand, “They don’t let you spank these days and the kids are out of control,” but on the other hand read studies that say MOST parents still spank their kids.  Okay, so it’s more likely the kids who are out of control actually ARE spanked.   I’ve seen this for myself, a family where the kids were spanked and shamed and slapped over the back of their heads, but the kids still were out of control.

And well, I don’t actually see kids being any worse now than they were when I was a child.  Because yes, I still remember how we were.  I think people of my generation and older often have rose-colored glasses of how we acted.  But we were not angels, despite spanking at home and paddles in our principals’ desk drawers.

Just remember, back when harsh discipline was considered normal, what we had in the world: torture, Nazis, employers ordering troops to fire on their own striking Greek employees, burning or hanging people for being witches or heretics, racism, lynching, sexism, slavery, wars, military brutality (such as whipping for infractions), rape, murder, stealing, lying, piracy, etc. etc. etc.

Obviously, spanking children did not stop them from doing horrible things as adults.  These things did not suddenly appear in a world where spanking was banished.  And you can bet that the people performing these acts were spanked or otherwise hit as children.

Filmed in German and released as Das Weisse Band, Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte, or The White Ribbon: A German Children’s Story, the film deals with a group of children who will become adults around the time of the rise of the Third Reich. This ‘children’s story’ seeks to discover what it was in German children’s background which may have caused them to support and assist the Nazi party when the time came – much the same questions, and conclusions, once offered by the late child psychologist Alice Miller, who drew a controversial connection between harsh child rearing methods and a tendency toward violence and the acceptance of tyranny. –Monica Reid, Twin Fascist Fables: The White Ribbon and The Childhood of a Leader

And also remember, today’s narcissists were probably spanked as children.  I know several of them who certainly were.  Sure didn’t drive the narcissism out of ’em.

Second:

And speaking of narcissists, more news on abusive ex Phil:

To recap, in the summer, I discovered that his own sister temporarily filed a restraining order against him.  I’ve also learned that she and his mother were involved in a lawsuit with him last year, with him as the plaintiff, though the details are not online.

From his Facebook profile, I learned that he was engaged.  His profile has been quiet ever since, and he did not respond to a question from me (simply “how are you”), though  I know he saw it.  But from hers I’ve learned all sorts of things:

She is around the same age as his controlling mother–whom, by the way, she writes that he finally broke free of about a year or two ago.  (Makes me wonder if she was a kind of replacement for his mother.)

She identifies as an empath.  (I don’t know if that’s a real thing or pseudoscience, but narc blogs commonly say that empaths attract narcissists.)  She believes in Christ, but also in various New Age things like astral projection.

(I’ve noted that Phil tends to have girlfriends who believe in New Age: One ex channeled a spirit in the middle of a makeout session.  I believed in Charismatic sign gifts and other psychic phenomena in those days.  Persephone is a Wiccan who’s written spell books, though in those days she told everyone she was Methodist.  Phil showed no sign of believing in such things himself, so I believe he looks for this in girlfriends as a sign of gullibility so they can be manipulated.  He manipulated my psychic beliefs severely, weaving a web of deception that lasted for many months.)

The engagement ended over the summer when she learned that he was diagnosed with Bipolar II and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (though Disorder is more likely, because he’s neither deformed nor retarded).

It was a mutual decision, because he hadn’t been taking his medication so his brain was heavily damaged; and under the influence of the disorder, he had turned manipulative and probably worse.  He has been in and out of a mental hospital on suicide watch for months.

She didn’t want to leave him, but neither did she want to be abused.  She was still supposed to stay in his life and support him–but then he cut her off.

She has been in a terrible state since then, very familiar as I was once there myself.  She has blamed it all on the diagnoses; sounds like there are several, though she only named two.  She has said that the real him wouldn’t hurt a fly, and that the disorder causes the bad behavior.

But there’s been a change recently.  She speaks of being blind, duped, used, of learning truths she didn’t know before he got sick.  (She’s also been posting memes and videos about narcissists.)  She talks as if she was more in love than he was, despite all the flowery words he told her once upon a time.  Flowery words which, by the way, he said to me some 24 years ago.  I can even tell you when, and what we were doing, because it’s in my memoir.  And her, she has a Facebook post which he wrote saying all those things.

I’m sad and hurt for her.  I’m angry at him.  I see it all happening all over again.  I remember my friends telling me what it was like seeing my relationship happen all over again with the girl he ended up legally marrying (1996-2007).

For a time, I thought he would change.  I thought this woman could do it.

I wondered if everything he did could be pinned on the FAS, if the real him was truly not responsible for the abuse, if he was truly Dr. Jekyll while Mr. Hyde was an illness beyond his control–but that could be eradicated by doctors.

I thought that because of the diagnoses and care of the doctors, which none of Phil’s exes ever had (he was diagnosed in 2010), Phil would finally turn away from his abusive behaviors.

But no.  Take this as a lesson to you: They simply don’t change.  They aren’t “different” with the next girlfriend.  She won’t “save” him.

And it isn’t your fault.  The abuse is not your fault.

It’s all his.

This is a lesson I, too, have been learning, trying to take it into my head and abolish all the lingering doubts, put there back when Phil insisted I was to blame for it all.

This knowledge is helping me to heal.  Hopefully it will help her as well.  She’s a sweet person who deserves much better than this.

Also see:

Abusive ex Phil has a new bride

Is this why my ex Phil was so abusive?

So Phil, my abusive ex-husband, is back in the hospital

Abusive Ex: Blame it on him, not mental illness

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

So Phil, my abusive ex-husband, is back in the hospital….

I wrote recently, here and here, about revelations about my ex Phil.  To sum up, Phil–my spiritual husband in college, who turned out to be very emotionally and sexually abusive, with a pattern of broken, abusive relationships, story here–was engaged for a third time.  (After me, he was legally married to another woman for ten years.  It has been about 11 years since their divorce.)  I found out about her one day when looking at his Facebook profile, trying to find out why his own sister filed a restraining order against him.  I will call the latest fiancée, Doris.

I checked out Doris’ profile a couple of months later–and learned that Phil was diagnosed as bipolar in 2010.  He hadn’t been taking his meds for some time, so brain cells were being destroyed–and the effect on his behavior was too much for her.  They mutually broke up.

I forgot–because Doris didn’t seem to know for sure at the time, and at that time, mostly posted about Bipolar II–that he also has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).  Instead of Bipolar II, she has been posting lately about FAS.

I had no idea his mother had been an alcoholic.  I knew she smoked a lot when his brother was born, so they all joked that it affected his brain, because he talked like it was missing a few cells.  I also knew that the brother drank too much as well for a time, leading to an accident, leading to him losing his license for a while, so Phil kept having to drive him around.  But I didn’t know about the mother’s alcoholism.  There was nothing physically unusual about Phil; in fact, instead of short, he’s 6’5.  Yet his mother drank enough that it has affected Phil his entire life.

Now, originally, Doris pinned his bad behavior on the Bipolar, calling him Bipolar Phil.  But lately she’s pinning it on FAS.  From what I’ve learned about Bipolar since, that seems more likely, because Bipolar is not supposed to be a cause of abuse.  FAS, on the other hand, is linked to all sorts of terrible behaviors which cause trouble throughout the person’s life.

For example, I’m learning that Phil has not been able to hold down a job for long.  Years ago, when he posted about the divorce from Wife #2 on one of those websites that link up classmates, he blamed it on his wife.  He said she refused to “support” him by moving to the city of M– when he got a teaching certificate and a contract there.

Being a math teacher was supposed to bring him stability–yet he hasn’t had a job for a while, and was about to go into a new line of work when his brain went haywire.  What happened to teaching?  A check online reveals that he still has a certificate, so why can’t he do that?  In any case, FAS is linked to job instability.

FAS is linked to trouble staying in relationships.  Phil’s exes seem to be able to find long-term relationships, while he himself is not.  I found a new guy shortly after our divorce, and have been married for 21 years.  Wife #2 found a new guy shortly after the divorce, and has been with him for 10 years now.  Phil found Doris a few years ago, but they’re no longer together.  Admittedly, I don’t know about Phil’s dating life since he divorced Wife #2, but obviously nobody lasted long enough for him to marry her.

FAS is also linked to suicide.

A few days ago, Doris posted that Phil’s mother was bothering both her and him about some petty matter (I won’t go into detail).  It reminds me of Phil’s girlfriend after me, Persephone, calling his mother “Dragon Lady.”

Then a couple of days ago, Doris posted that Phil is back in the hospital, “on watch.”

I googled “on watch,” and “suicide watch” came up.  😮

And this all reminds me of how upset and sad I was when Phil broke up with me, all those years ago.  I thought he was the One.  He was handsome, and we had been passionately attracted to each other.  In the beginning, he seemed nice, sweet, caring.  He was goofy.  Talented.  Smart.  A geek (a good thing).

Doris wrote, How can she easily move on from someone who said such sweet things about her?  He said the same things to me, so I can relate.

During the months after the breakup, he did a few things which suggest that he would’ve tried to get me back, if Hubby-to-be were not already there.  After divorcing Wife #2, he told me that he and his mother both thought I was the one girl he should’ve held on to.  But by then, I had been married for 10 years.

Well, just think: If we had stayed together, this all would have been MY life: turbulent, Dragon Lady mother-in-law, unable to keep a job or even a profession, living in an apartment instead of our own house, and mental health issues which could lead to me being a widow at age 45 because of suicide.

Heck, even Doris couldn’t handle it.  And she is still where I was about 24 years ago.

It makes me appreciate my husband more, despite the ups-and-downs we’ve been through.

At first, Phil blaming his behavior on Bipolar seemed to me a way to manipulate Doris into thinking she should stay with him.  But the FAS makes it more likely that his behavior does indeed stem from a sickness.

Of course, there is the usual question: How far should you blame behavior on a disease, and how much should that person take responsibility for?  Maybe it wasn’t him being Evil, but him with a sickness.  And maybe he knows it wasn’t my fault when–or even if–he remembers what he did to me.  It does make it easier for me to forgive him.

And worry about him.  After she posted that–and a bunch of Vaguebooking posts about angels and death and what looked like a memorial to Phil–I freaked out a bit.  It sounded like somebody she loved had died.  Had he already–??!!

But a couple of days later, I see no death notices in the M– paper, nothing on his family’s FB profiles.  On Doris’ FB I see a lot about positive thinking, and moving on, and her experiences trying to date again, and sadness about the end of the relationship with Phil–but nothing about him doing anything to himself.  So maybe he’s still physically okay.  Mentally–another story.  Doris posted that he’s “fighting for his life.”

On FAS and whether it can co-exist with other disorders:

RESULTS:
Eighteen of the 25 subjects had received psychiatric treatment. The most common axis I disorders were alcohol or drug dependence (15 subjects), depression (11 subjects), and psychotic disorders (10 subjects). The most common axis II disorders were avoidant (six subjects), antisocial (four subjects), and dependent (three subjects) personality disorders.

CONCLUSIONS:
This study suggests that adults with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects suffer from substantial mental illness.
Mental illness in adults with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects.

 

Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause permanent structural, neurological and functional impairments to the developing fetal CNS. …Functional impairments can include attention and impulse control problems, hyperactivity, learning disorders, memory deficits, and disorders of communication and executive functioning.

Red Flags for Referral:

    • Adult was raised in foster care or adopted
    • History of chemical dependency/child protection
    • Adult has received many diagnoses such as ADHD, Autism, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, etc.
    • Adult is easily distracted, hyperactive, inattentive, impulsive
    • Adult consistently displays extreme behavior (aggression, emotional instability)
    • Adult has been involved with the criminal justice system
    • Adult gives inconsistent answers to questions, or can repeat a rule but fail to follow it
    • Adult makes the same mistakes repeatedly
    • Adult displays difficulties in holding a job

…Adults may also have many other disorders that come from living with FASD without support. Because FASD can look like many other mental health diagnoses, adults may go undiagnosed for the primary disorder: FASD.  Common misdiagnoses for individuals with an FASD include ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. —FASD: Identification and Diagnosis

 

According to researcher Ann Streissguth (1996), mental health problems are experienced by 94% of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  One of the hallmarks of FASD is poor impulse control.  In many cases an impairment exists that warrants a formal diagnosis of Impulse Control Disorder (ICD). …Most individuals with FASD have symptoms of one or more Impulse Control Disorders.

…Impulsive behavior seems to have an underlying pre-disposition which may or may not be related to existing mental health or medical conditions but research over the past decade has stressed the substantial co-morbidity of Impulse Control Disorders with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, personality disorders, and with other specific impulse control disorders.

…Some Major Mental Disorders are often associated with impulsivity while the individual is in a psychotic state. This is particularly true of Bipolar Disorder where the impulsive behaviour is most often associated with the manic phase.

Impulse Control Disorder are often present in a number of specific Personality Disorders, primarily borderline, anti-social, narcissistic, and histrionic. Impulsivity in the form of risk-tasking behaviours, sexual promiscuity, gestures and threats of self-harm and other attention-seeking behaviours. They are less prevalent in avoidant, dependant, obsessive compulsive personality and other disorder types. —Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Impulse Control Disorders

 

But then I found this post on a forum:

Sorry, but if this person was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, that is organic brain damage….

His behavior, no matter how bad, is due to this, not mental illness or borderline. If a person has fetal alcohol syndrome, they were PHYSICALLY damaged before they were even born and will need lifelong caretaking as they don’t understand right from wrong which is WAY different from borderlines, who do and can learn to change. A FAS person can NOT change.

Also, doctors who don’t “get it” often diagnose it as something other than the obvious. That is sort of the same as borderline (the only thing that is). I was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar, never borderline. Same happens with FAS and meds usually do no good. Regardless of whatever else he may be diagnosed with, his brain damage is his main problem. I have to wonder about any doctor who gave somebody with FAS a dx. of bpd.

Beating up this poor man is not the same as taking on a borderline. It’s like picking on somebody with Alzheimer’s for behaving badly. This is a disabled individual who is not going to respond to psychiatric treatment

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome does not go away nor can it improve. ….fetal alcohol syndrome is nothing even connected to borderline. You will lack the right connections in the brain to make good decisions with FAS.

…Fetal alcohol syndrome has Swiss Cheese thinking…you can remember something one day, forget it the next. You can’t concentrate due to brain damage. You are an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s due to the alcohol syndrome.

…[T]he biggest problem with this person isn’t borderline or any personality disorder or any mental illness…he victimized nobody on purpose. He is the victim.

I think it’s important the people understand there is a big difference between any personality disorder and the victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. —Posted here

Doris is calling it FAS, but the information I find suggests FAE, because of Phil’s lack of physical deformity or retardation.  In any case, it is possible that his behavior can legitimately be blamed on this.  In which case, as mentioned above, blaming him for it can be like blaming a person with Alzheimer’s.  Except that he seemed too rational to me, his actions too calculated, to be blameless….

Also see:

Abusive ex Phil has a new bride

Is this why my ex Phil was so abusive?

A couple of notes: Spanking and No, the new girlfriend did NOT change my abusive ex

Abusive Ex: Blame it on him, not mental illness

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Reblog: Subtle Signs of a Killer: Non-fatal strangulations point to future homicides

The following article, written by Brian Bennett, is very informative about strangulation and research done in recent years.  Some quotes:

An idea was promulgated for decades that there must be external signs of injury such as marks on the neck and/or petechial hemorrhage in the eyes when strangulation occurred. It was believed that without those injuries the assault could not be proven and likely did not occur. This idea is far from the truth.

 

It can take as little as five pounds of pressure for six to ten seconds to render a person unconscious. … Signs and symptoms known to be associated with strangulation now include a raspy or hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, vision changes, fluid in the lungs, vomiting and involuntary loss of bladder/bowel control.

 

If a person loses consciousness because the brain has been starved of oxygen then there is permanent brain damage.

 

In reality, the act of strangulation itself is a lethal act regardless of an offender’s intent. It tells us that the offender has a propensity to use lethal violence and I would argue also demonstrates a mindset that lethal violence is justifiable against anyone. If an offender is willing to harm their intimate partner, child, vulnerable adult or anyone using strangulation, then they can kill anyone….

A study of 300 “choking” cases by the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego and Institute on Strangulation Prevention showed that a woman who is strangled even once is 750 percent more likely to be strangled again and 800 percent more likely to be killed later.

 

Research is showing that many of the domestic mass shooters in the U.S. also had a history of domestic violence and strangulation prior to their mass killings.

This worries me because my ex-friend Richard strangled his own step-daughter, who was only 9, until she passed out.  He, by the way, was some 400 pounds at the time, according to court records.  She reported it herself, which must have taken amazing courage–and there must have been physical evidence.  Since so many incidents don’t have physical evidence, and this was the following day (IIRC), Richard must really have pressed hard.

The information in this article makes me worry that 1) he could do it again, 2) he could murder somebody, 3) she had permanent brain damage from this, and 4) his step-daughter could end up with some guy who chokes her again.

Especially since he used to do stuff for the Mafia and once told me his plans to kill an apartment manager.

Especially since, in an e-mail to me, Richard and/or Tracy jeered at me for “not having all the facts” in this case.  Um…Exactly what “facts” make it okay that you strangled your daughter?  Even if they become so-called pillars of the community, I know what kind of people they really are: the kind who would minimize strangling a child and threaten and make fun of and stalk the person who discovered the truth.

But back to the article.  Lots more good information is in the article here.  I encourage you to read it if you’re with an abusive spouse/parent/caregiver/etc.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Advice columnist says: No, you don’t have to join your spouse in abusing others

What to do if your wife is abusing someone you love?  I’ve written about this myself, years ago, in my story about being abused by a narcissistic couple:

Just as obeying our parents is good except if they command us to do evil, the same is true with sticking up for our spouses.  While it is good and right to stick up for our spouses and stand by them, if our spouse is doing or saying something abusive or evil to anyone, then it would be evil for us to stick up for them and stand by them.

This means you, too, Richard: It was evil for you to allow your wife’s evil treatment of me, and you became its participant. —Bullying an Introvert and Probable NVLDer, written 7 or 8 years ago

And I wasn’t the only one Richard helped Tracy to abuse.  He did the same to his own friend Todd, story here.  And yes, Todd also dropped the “friendship” after that, so eventually we were able to console each other on being put through the same crap from the same couple.

Recently, Carolyn Hax got a letter on the subject, in this case a man whose wife has been verbally abusing his family.  He feels torn, wondering if the marriage contract means he’s duty bound to pair up with his wife and help her abuse his own family.  Hax says heck no.  Some quotes:

You need to protect your family of origin from your wife. Preferably in the moment, not after the fact. Wow. If I could, I’d demand that you “step in and defend” your sister, with your wife in the room.

 

Is your wife as abusive to you as she is to your family?

This is yet more validation for my own feelings on the matter, how I was treated by that n-couple.  It is also helpful for anyone in this situation.

You can find the column here.  You can also find it on the Washington Post website, but I don’t have a link because the paywall prevents me from going there often.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: