How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation

  • 22 Replies
  • 3810 Views
*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
My business partner (and also one of my soulmates) has been in an abusive marriage for 20 years and admits he is a prisoner but then maintains he enjoys it and tells me he is happy when he is often moody and negative after being in her presence. When she leaves town, he is happier, less heavy, more positive and accordingly things start to look up.  While she is nearly completely dependent on him (as she is incapable of doing anything by herself), she holds financial control and uses the children to manipulate him.  There are many complexities to the relationship which probably the details don't matter.

What is disturbing to me is I actually have a brother and another male friend and all of them are in a relationship with abusive controlling women and dissociation is prevalent. I have had rational conversations with all of them, and they have "seen the light" but it only lasts for a short period of time. Soon the excuses come out and they are sticking up for them and all rational thought is gone and replaced with the brainwashing by the abusive partner and made to feel guilty or insensitive to the abuser's needs.  My brother's girlfriend has alienated me due to her insecurities. I am the enemy to most of these women because I promote free thinking and breaking the control. And if I come on too strong after the brianwashing - then I am seen as the bad guy and crazy one who is selfish (despite I am advocating for them). I do not feel that allowing them to lie to themselves about the situation is being a good friend.  So I get into fights with them to make my points and illustrate the abuse and control and hope that eventually my words sink in. But I feel like I am fighting a battle that I can't win.

I know in therapy dealing with abuse, is a slow process. And you can only push people to realize something and then back off quickly because if they aren't ready to deal with it, they will get violent themselves or act out in a bad way. I myself have been working through my abuse issues since I was 18 - so I understand it is a process and you can only go at their pace. And at times it looks like there is progress made and then it looks like they reverted.

Has anyone had a successful intervention? You can't drag someone into therapy. Logic and reason are not working. When I do have good conversations with them and it feels like progress was had, days later it is like we never had that conversation. I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines watching people I love suffer.  There must be some technique for breaking the spell or chipping away at the damage that has been done.

All I can find is a list of what Stockholm Syndrome is like but no one is saying how we can help these people.

*

cmh1984

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 09:32:14 AM »
Hello, it has to happen inside of them first. Sometimes it never happens. Sometimes it takes a serious event.  But from my experience convincing is useless, even if they become receptive, there's often a rubberband effect that happens. They tend to bounce back especially if they dont just go NC which in some cases may not be an easy or clear option.

Probably best results would be professional help.

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 03:20:57 PM »
That will never happen. I have a better chance at negotiating world peace.    :no:

Hello, it has to happen inside of them first. Sometimes it never happens. Sometimes it takes a serious event.  But from my experience convincing is useless, even if they become receptive, there's often a rubberband effect that happens. They tend to bounce back especially if they dont just go NC which in some cases may not be an easy or clear option.

Probably best results would be professional help.

*

almostthere

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 280
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 05:11:41 PM »
Duchess,
With much respect, interfering in the relationships of others brings nothing but trouble.  You can be there as a sounding board (or not, if it gets to be too much to handle) but I might consider refraining from "having rational conversations" with them so that they can "see the light".  If they are unhappy, the person that they should be having a conversation with is their partner or a therapist. 

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2016, 05:13:28 PM »
@almostthere

With much respect, what experience do you have with Stockholm syndrome?  It is massive abuse and yet they are convinced that they can't live without this person and defend their abuser. It is deeply sick and unhealthy behavior in which they have convinced themselves they are happy. There is no discussion with "the partner" that will ever bring about anything.  The abuser is a control freak and is not capable of rational thought (think psychopath).  And the abused are constantly convincing themselves this is true deep love and nothing is wrong and they are happy, they will not seek out therapy. They will occasionally admit things aren't perfect, and these are the conversations I have with them - not started by me - by them.

Do you understand the bond that occurs in abusive relationships? The more abusive, the stronger the bond even. Do you understand they lies they tell themselves to make the behavior of the abuser "okay?" Do you understand there is dissociation and brain washing involved?  And I don't even particularly start the rational conversation, they will start it but then the dissociation kicks in.  They are struggling on the inside but can't admit it.

So, you are suggesting that I should give up and stop having relationships with my brother, my business partner and my friend?  The relationship they have with the controlling women is affecting my relationship with them.

Yesterday, I had a completely rational nice conversation with one of them. We did hit a little bump when started telling me how I should approach something at work which I completely disagreed with and he had ulterior motives for wanting me to approach it his way.  I did not bring up the ulterior motive, knowing it would cause friction (and it was coming from the controlling woman who was behind it).  I just stated that it didn't make sense and I would do it my way, and reminded him that he didn't like it when I told him what to do.  Then we discussed other projects we had been working on and he told me that I could no longer be a part of them. First he lied and said that he never said that I could. Then he just said not to question his judgement (this again was the woman controlling him that was blocking me from projects I have been working with him on for years). Again I refrained from bringing up the real cause and said that I would go find projects elsewhere (despite numerous years of work).  He then got mad at me and told me that he shouldn't be involved with me at all and that I was telling him what to do and what to think (none of which was said, and I challenged him to scroll through our conversation - it was a chat - and to find where I had done any of that).  He is doing me wrong, knows it and yet has to do what his controlling woman says. This creates huge discord in himself and becomes completely irrational, makes up stories in his head to justify his actions.  He is trying to control me, to please his controller and is feeling guilty about it all at the same time. 

Duchess,
With much respect, interfering in the relationships of others brings nothing but trouble.  You can be there as a sounding board (or not, if it gets to be too much to handle) but I might consider refraining from "having rational conversations" with them so that they can "see the light".  If they are unhappy, the person that they should be having a conversation with is their partner or a therapist.

*

mdana

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2106
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 06:06:26 PM »
DuchessGS

Boy, do I know these feelings and issues!  I have 3 GF's in the same position, and my daughter (as it relates to her dad).  He is her abuser and the 'trauma' bond is so strong, that ... there seems to be nothing I can do to change things.  When I am with any of them, I support only the 'reality' and sometimes it seems helpful, other times ....it seems to push them more in the opposite direction!

I have had countless conversations with my GF's (and daughter) where I validate their concerns, feelings, issues (when they come to me for 'advise' or to vent). They feel supported and validated because I "get it", having worked so hard on my own trauma/abuse recovery and understanding. AND...sadly, they all go back into the fog. Some days, I just cry my eyes out and wonder if maintaining these relationships from a place of (witnessing and supporting reality) does any of us any good.  It is especially difficult with my daughter. She eventually wants to come live with me, but knowing how the toxic relationship between her and her dad (and his family) affects her, I don't feel I have the ability (nor desire) to live through that on a daily basis in my own home.

I try not to get 'emotionally' invested in their lives or recovery, but this may just be impossible. It's so difficult to watch someone suffer and feel 'neutral about it.  I try to look at it form the point of view that we all have our own soul path here on earth, and that everyone's process belongs to them, so my interjections may not be necessarily required or helpful.  Yet, I also feel a responsibility to both living and pointing out the truth (which is living authentically in some ways). So, witnessing the harm of another being and walking away saying absolutely nothing, feels like another form of Fog (or acceptance of the harm). It's like, watching someone kick their dog in public and walk away as if nothing happened (because it's none of my business).  At what point do you get involved if you are witnessing either abuse, or the toxic affects of abuse?  In my view, at the very least, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the truth and point out the harm (in the case of children and vulnerable populations, we have a higher responsibility to protect).

Clearly, I have thought about this quite a bit!!!

I have also come to realization that for anyone to truly leave an abusive relationship (and stay away), what is required is an array of deep internal self- restructuring and rebuilding that cannot be done while continued contact with the abuser exists (of course, I am talking about fairly severe abuse).  When these women (including my daughter) are away long enough from the abuser, they seem to make good strides. BUT, with even just the slightest of contact, dissociation and the trauma bond over-rides whatever was built. So, while I agree that often it takes some life shattering event for change to occur, I also believe it's impossible to predict any outcome for anyone (After 3 serious suicide attempts, my daughter and her dad remain just as bonded as ever).

I don't have any advice... Only that for me, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain close contact and relationships with individuals and environments where clear abuse is occurring, and remain invisible, neutral or quiet about it.  So ---I have been restricting my actual contact and focus more on healthier friendships, relationships ... (I am still ever present for my daughter...and have no idea how to reconcile that).

XOXOXOX
M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

*

coyote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 5705
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 12:47:10 PM »
I guess my question is why would anyone really want to get in the middle of another person's relationship? I guess I would rather focus on working on myself, being sure my house is in order. Even if someone asks for help or advice I try to take my time in responding. I only know what works for me and that may or may not work for anyone else.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2016, 02:18:46 PM »
M,

You said it much better than me... that is exactly how I feel.  I feel like their only hope at times because I know they trust me to a certain extent and they will not go out and get help professionally and I am the only one validating the truth. And because I have dealt with my own abusive past, I know the pitfalls and I managed to change my own line of screwed up, unhealthy thinking.  I keep hoping the abusers will get bored of them and move on (of course a new abuser may replace them but hopefully we could get some therapy in before they showed up).  My main focus is my own happiness but it is hard to be 100% happy when people you love are hurting.

Well, if I come up with an idea or a solution, I will let you know. I would like to see if hypnosis worked (there are some that seem to get instant results) yet I have to figure out how to get them to actually do the course or take a session. Check out Marissa Peer's Master Class on Mind Valley. She did mass hypnosis with a group, I actually cried during hypnosis as I was walking through my childhood figuring out why I didn't think I was worthy.

And yes, I find the negativity and unhealthy behavior and complaining is diverting my attention to areas where I don't want to be. I try to keep it in small doses.

Sending hugs back at you.


DuchessGS

Boy, do I know these feelings and issues!  I have 3 GF's in the same position, and my daughter (as it relates to her dad).  He is her abuser and the 'trauma' bond is so strong, that ... there seems to be nothing I can do to change things.  When I am with any of them, I support only the 'reality' and sometimes it seems helpful, other times ....it seems to push them more in the opposite direction!

I have had countless conversations with my GF's (and daughter) where I validate their concerns, feelings, issues (when they come to me for 'advise' or to vent). They feel supported and validated because I "get it", having worked so hard on my own trauma/abuse recovery and understanding. AND...sadly, they all go back into the fog. Some days, I just cry my eyes out and wonder if maintaining these relationships from a place of (witnessing and supporting reality) does any of us any good.  It is especially difficult with my daughter. She eventually wants to come live with me, but knowing how the toxic relationship between her and her dad (and his family) affects her, I don't feel I have the ability (nor desire) to live through that on a daily basis in my own home.

I try not to get 'emotionally' invested in their lives or recovery, but this may just be impossible. It's so difficult to watch someone suffer and feel 'neutral about it.  I try to look at it form the point of view that we all have our own soul path here on earth, and that everyone's process belongs to them, so my interjections may not be necessarily required or helpful.  Yet, I also feel a responsibility to both living and pointing out the truth (which is living authentically in some ways). So, witnessing the harm of another being and walking away saying absolutely nothing, feels like another form of Fog (or acceptance of the harm). It's like, watching someone kick their dog in public and walk away as if nothing happened (because it's none of my business).  At what point do you get involved if you are witnessing either abuse, or the toxic affects of abuse?  In my view, at the very least, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the truth and point out the harm (in the case of children and vulnerable populations, we have a higher responsibility to protect).

Clearly, I have thought about this quite a bit!!!

I have also come to realization that for anyone to truly leave an abusive relationship (and stay away), what is required is an array of deep internal self- restructuring and rebuilding that cannot be done while continued contact with the abuser exists (of course, I am talking about fairly severe abuse).  When these women (including my daughter) are away long enough from the abuser, they seem to make good strides. BUT, with even just the slightest of contact, dissociation and the trauma bond over-rides whatever was built. So, while I agree that often it takes some life shattering event for change to occur, I also believe it's impossible to predict any outcome for anyone (After 3 serious suicide attempts, my daughter and her dad remain just as bonded as ever).

I don't have any advice... Only that for me, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain close contact and relationships with individuals and environments where clear abuse is occurring, and remain invisible, neutral or quiet about it.  So ---I have been restricting my actual contact and focus more on healthier friendships, relationships ... (I am still ever present for my daughter...and have no idea how to reconcile that).

XOXOXOX
M

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 02:37:08 PM »
I guess you are not understanding that their relationships with these women is affecting my relationships with them. And it didn't used to be this bad but has developed into something worse.  They are not people I feel I can turn my back on.  I am not trying to get into the middle of their relationship and they are isolated and I am one of the few they trust.

I have been working on myself and abuse since I was 18... I don't have a choice really.  Being  a life path 22, is like cramming a MBA into a month course (or several life times of lessons into one lifetime).  I don't get breaks where my life is boring and dull, there is always something happening to me that is creating growth.  At this point in my life, my goal is to be happy. As I have grown and become stronger, the outside world doesn't affect me as much, but in lieu of that, my ability to feel the world and inhabitant's pain has increased. We are all connected. One man is my baby brother (who I grew up protecting), the other is my soul mate (and I literally can feel his pain without him ever telling me), another is  a man who saved my life.  Which one of these men should I give up on?

I guess my question is why would anyone really want to get in the middle of another person's relationship? I guess I would rather focus on working on myself, being sure my house is in order. Even if someone asks for help or advice I try to take my time in responding. I only know what works for me and that may or may not work for anyone else.

*

mdana

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2106
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 03:18:34 PM »
DuchessGS...

One more thing...while I support my GF's and daughter as much as I can (when they call me and ask for help/support) ...I have also come to a place where I understand that I am not skilled or qualified enough on many levels, so I refer them to professional help (more often than not).  My story and experience has worked for me, but not for everyone.  I believe that while trauma/abuse has many common threads, the individuals involved are all wired so differently and everyone's circumstance and capacity is equally unique.

So, of the things left to do, we can witness (meaning being present for them), support (reflect back, share our story when we are asked to) and live by example (treating ourselves and others with love, respect, and kindness).  Beyond that, we have to decide how much exposure we are able (or want) to handle (actually watching the cycle of abuse over and over in those we love)...because at some point, it's a matter of choice.  (I don't really know where the "point" is...even that is unique for everyone).

I can always tell when any of my GF's are back with their abusive partners because they STOP calling me.  When the phone starts ringing, I know they broke up.  They break up every other week (for a day or two) and call me for advise/help, sharing with me such awful stories! I provide what I know, refer them to a therapist. Then, when they go back....say things like "oh, but he has changed now...he is so great...he really loves me...treats me so well...things are perfect now".  SO...I feel like a complete idiot at that point.  Lately, I have been choosing not to answer the call, but...I have no regrets about having shared my own experience with them.  Any small seed or spark can blossom.

The situation is more complicated with my daughter (for obvious reasons). AND, for you ...because you are in close contact with the victim, your business partner (assuming you see that person daily).  SO...the issue is not only right in front of you, but I imagine it affects the work environment too.

It's painful to watch anyone go back to abuse over and over.  As it relates to my GF's, I have decided to step out and 'choose' not to witness it any more. They really need professional help (as I have and still obtain).  My daughter is currently getting help (thankfully)...AND, I am learning to identify the people and situations where I can provide some value (given my own work and experience) and those I either cannot help or do not want to help.

Not sure that all makes sense!
XOXOXO
M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

*

coyote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 5705
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 04:00:22 PM »
Duchess,
Thank you for sharing your story. It is easier to understand how you want to help those so close to you. My own experience was that my younger brother was/is an alcoholic. I tried to help him through rehab, let him live with me when he got kicked out of rehab. He stole from me and I went NC with him 25 years ago. I told him when he could prove to me he'd been sober for a year to call me. I have not heard from him since.

My daughter decided to marry and have a baby with a druggie bipolar. He ended up hanging himself off their back balcony. I tried forever to talk to my daughter but she was adamant I knew nothing. So I went LC. I helped her with papers later when she went to college and now she is a drug counselor. My point is the only help she wanted was to help write term papers. I had to leave her be and only be there when she asked for help. 

I think you are getting a consistent message here. As much as we want to, we can only help people who want the help.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 08:54:31 PM »
I am sorry for your pain.  People are indeed selfish - and you should be selfish too (where you insist on being happy and only doing what makes you happy).  No one else is going to treat you any better than you treat yourself.  And you deserve happiness, just don't expect happiness to come from other people (it comes from the inside and loving yourself). Anyway, Chin up.

My story is indeed different and a different kind of screwed up, although my brother tends to ignore me unless he is single - so we have that in common.  But with the people I am talking about, it is Rational vs. Irrational sides of their behavior.  They are all fine and dissociation kicks in. It isn't like I go budding my head into their business, they come to me and talk and it looks like they see the light and somewhere in the middle of our talk they freak out and go psycho. It is, its own special flavor of crazy.  It isn't actually that I am not an expert on abusive relationships, I knew more than my last shrink and have experienced enough, experimented enough and read enough books. The problem is I can't be a shrink to those who are my friends and bc of my friend status they just blow off my advice (bc they are not ready for real therapy - it isn't that my advice is bad or wrong - it is their lack of commitment to fixing themselves).  I got my partner to admit he was abused as a child, this was a huge step, he has admitted to having an unhealthy relationship with his wife (another huge step). Admitting there is a problem is the first step. He loves his jailor he says. Like who says that and doesn't realize how screwed up that is? He does want my help, he just can't stay in that frame of mind long enough to actually fix anything.  It is like he has two personalities.



Duchess,
Thank you for sharing your story. It is easier to understand how you want to help those so close to you. My own experience was that my younger brother was/is an alcoholic. I tried to help him through rehab, let him live with me when he got kicked out of rehab. He stole from me and I went NC with him 25 years ago. I told him when he could prove to me he'd been sober for a year to call me. I have not heard from him since.

My daughter decided to marry and have a baby with a druggie bipolar. He ended up hanging himself off their back balcony. I tried forever to talk to my daughter but she was adamant I knew nothing. So I went LC. I helped her with papers later when she went to college and now she is a drug counselor. My point is the only help she wanted was to help write term papers. I had to leave her be and only be there when she asked for help. 

I think you are getting a consistent message here. As much as we want to, we can only help people who want the help.

*

mdana

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2106
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 09:50:40 PM »
Dutchess...

You bring up many good points, and the one that resonates most with me is: The problem is I can't be a shrink to those who are my friends and bc of my friend status they just blow off my advice

My therapist and I have talked allot about this, and the underlying issue is sometimes related to the actual relationship --- 'friendship' 'parental' 'sibling' (not always, but often). I have tried in every way I know how to help my daughter (for instance) break the trauma bond, and I am simply unable.  There simply isn't enough "space" between us for it to work well. (relational space).  AND, don't feel badly about it Duchess....MANY therapists are also unable to help another for that same reason. 

One has to develop a therapeutic relationship to be truly effective, and that requires establishing boundaries where the skilled practitioner is (somehow) able to remain impartial and 'detached' (emotionally), as well as know when/how to 'push' the person to take the next step. That is of course an over-simplification....there are more dynamics at play that I am not completely skilled to either know or understand. 

What I have learned though, is that sometimes...we  "are not enough".  AND, that's not necessarily a bad thing (difficult and painful...yes, but not necessarily bad).  When I came to that realization as it related to my daughter, it was heartbreaking...and liberating at the same time. 

XOXOXOX

M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

*

kiwihelen

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2016, 12:30:48 AM »
Duchess, my SO and I were discussing this  in relation to his daughters and their relationship with their mother. She is deeply abusive on an emotional and psychological level but is too smart to give evidence that would let my SO get full custody.
We are both earning our stripes in affirming the girl's feelings AND in reflection back to them of what they say to us. "So when your mother says you are foolish starting antidepressants on your doctor's recommendations, how do you feel?" summarises a big chunk of yesterday's conversation. All through that I never once a) advised Eldest age 19 to not share information with her mother or b) said "your mother needs a whole lot more than an antidepressant" when Eldest reflected on her mother's unhappiness.
With Youngest, age 16, we know she knows her choices about the situation she finds herself in so more often than not when she complains we say "we understand how hard this is for you, you also know that you can tell the court you want to live here. If you want that we will arrange for you to speak to a lawyer", but we never say anything directly critical of their mother unless it is unavoidable (and when that happens we know our relationship with the girls suffers because even thinking something disloyal will waken their trauma). An example was Youngest was forced to pay for a computer repair for a computer she uses for school by her mother from her birthday money savings. We had to tell Youngest this was not acceptable and that we would have paid it had we been told by mother.
We have to accept the girls are not ready to come OOTF in regards to their mother, and pushing will push them back to her.
So we work on the contrast: respect, boundaries, routines, as appropriate for their age. And 6 years on we have won Eldest back from total alienation, but we have not succeed so far with her much more introverted and anxious younger sister. Hence we are back in court.

*

Spring Butterfly

  • Spring Butterfly
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 17177
  • You can be free and heal ❤️‍🩹
    • One Key to Better Boundaries
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2016, 09:26:12 AM »
Its painful to watch others spin. My DH watched me spin in an enmeshed and controlling relationship with my updm and enf for over 30 years. Painful. I'd cry and complain and have panic attacks but didn't see the control or the abuse. Yea, talk about crazy. When I'd go to him and complain DH took the opportunity to try to 'open my eyes' and get me to see and yes at some point in the conversation I'd get defensive and close back up. He'd try to be empathetic but after 30 years he was tired.

Finally for his own self preservation he detached from it emotionally. He just couldn't bear the pain of 'helping' me which really amounted to him being the buffer, my cushion. He had to just let it go emotionally. He was there for me, to listen, he never shut me out but he no longer offered suggestions, no help, no pseudo physiology. His only response was 'I'm not sure what to say' or 'I don't know what to tell you' because very truly he had run out of ideas, he really just didn't know what to say. 

It took a matter of months at that point for the whole last thing to implode. Left on my own to figure it out the scales started to fall from my eyes. The abuse intensified, rates daily and I still willingly spent my days with updm as she abused me worse and worse. I cried and DH responded 'I don't think know what to say'. One day after an attempted heart to heart where updm responded with a passive aggressive rage I asked DH if he thought my mother was passive aggressive.  :aaauuugh: <- was petty much his reaction but all he said was 'yes' I asked 'was she always this way' he said yes. That afternoon I landed here and several other sites about PD.

In reality, sadly, all his helping did was enable me to stay enmeshed and controlled because I had him as my buffer and safety net. Had he disconnected sooner, had he stopped being codependent helper to me, I may have seen sooner. He said that himself to me. He knows now that someone will only see when they are ready to see. He learned our 3C mantra on his own through the school of hard knocks - we didn't create it, we can't control it and we can't cure it. We cannot make others do anything including see their own abuse.

It's frustrating and sad but letting go emotionally doesn't mean forsaking the person. It means respecting their humanity enough to make their own choices and yes to live in their own consequences. To listen in an emotionally detached way as mdana mentions but most of us don't have the training and schooling for that but we can choose to emotionally detach. There's some things in the toolbox to help.
∑ Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
∑ Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
∑ It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

*

cmh1984

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 10:29:04 AM »
It's frustrating and sad but letting go emotionally doesn't mean forsaking the person. It means respecting their humanity enough to make their own choices and yes to live in their own consequences. To listen in an emotionally detached way as mdana mentions but most of us don't have the training and schooling for that but we can choose to emotionally detach. There's some things in the toolbox to help.

Spring Butterfly, this is really beautifully said, the whole post really, thank you.  In my situation, there is another woman, my nanny, his gf, and I cannot convince her.  I know that.  She has moments of clarity when she can see that he is what he is, but rubberbands back and forth almost monthly.

*

mdana

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2106
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2016, 05:13:07 PM »
Its painful to watch others spin. My DH watched me spin in an enmeshed and controlling relationship with my updm and enf for over 30 years. Painful. I'd cry and complain and have panic attacks but didn't see the control or the abuse. Yea, talk about crazy. When I'd go to him and complain DH took the opportunity to try to 'open my eyes' and get me to see and yes at some point in the conversation I'd get defensive and close back up. He'd try to be empathetic but after 30 years he was tired.

Finally for his own self preservation he detached from it emotionally. He just couldn't bear the pain of 'helping' me which really amounted to him being the buffer, my cushion. He had to just let it go emotionally. He was there for me, to listen, he never shut me out but he no longer offered suggestions, no help, no pseudo physiology. His only response was 'I'm not sure what to say' or 'I don't know what to tell you' because very truly he had run out of ideas, he really just didn't know what to say. 

It took a matter of months at that point for the whole last thing to implode. Left on my own to figure it out the scales started to fall from my eyes. The abuse intensified, rates daily and I still willingly spent my days with updm as she abused me worse and worse. I cried and DH responded 'I don't think know what to say'. One day after an attempted heart to heart where updm responded with a passive aggressive rage I asked DH if he thought my mother was passive aggressive.  :aaauuugh: <- was petty much his reaction but all he said was 'yes' I asked 'was she always this way' he said yes. That afternoon I landed here and several other sites about PD.

In reality, sadly, all his helping did was enable me to stay enmeshed and controlled because I had him as my buffer and safety net. Had he disconnected sooner, had he stopped being codependent helper to me, I may have seen sooner. He said that himself to me. He knows now that someone will only see when they are ready to see. He learned our 3C mantra on his own through the school of hard knocks - we didn't create it, we can't control it and we can't cure it. We cannot make others do anything including see their own abuse.

It's frustrating and sad but letting go emotionally doesn't mean forsaking the person. It means respecting their humanity enough to make their own choices and yes to live in their own consequences. To listen in an emotionally detached way as mdana mentions but most of us don't have the training and schooling for that but we can choose to emotionally detach. There's some things in the toolbox to help.

Spring....this is a deeply beautiful, sad and amazing story!  Thank you for sharing.

This is a great subject/topic and it seems like we all really want to be helpful, as much as possible.  I also believe this topic has many sub-topics and underlying issues in play, so it's easy to get confused.

It seems like we may be confusing some terms IMO.  Co-dependence/enabling is not the same as ...witnessing, sharing experience, reflecting reality, and being present for someone that suffers from abuse IMO. The two sets of terms have several differences, but most importantly on the level of "intention", the way I understand it. Here's how I have understood it:

When we enable and are co-dependent, we are not 'intending' to change the existing harmful reality (because we do not understand the full reality and how we play a role and/or personal motives are in the way).  When we are grounded in that confusion, we are in fact, unable to 'witness' someone's pain (or fully understand it), so much so ..that we do not ask for change (in ourselves or others), and unknowingly support the harmful actions/thinking of those we love (becoming a part of it). Co-dependence/enabling facilitates and fuels unhealthy patterns and behaviors by shrinking them...not challenging them...or accepting them (unconsciously).  We are unable to tolerate another's (and our own) pain, suffering, and discomfort.

The other terms we are using (witnessing, sharing experience, reflecting reality, and being present, even provide advise-when we are asked), intend ...to support the reality of abuse/trauma, and invoke a change (moving away from abuse). This implies the existence of clarity of purpose (and sustaining those boundaries) throughout the process, which is clearly, challenging. I believe, that 'showing up' for someone in those capacities is a choice. If we choose to show up in those ways, we have to face our own realities (and limitations) in that role. We must be able to tolerate our own discomfort and pain that inevitably comes from witnessing suffering AND know that our contribution is 1 of many other factors in a person's life that lead to change.  We need to know that our contribution has it's limitations and STILL be willing to show up because we do not intend to 'rescue' or 'save', let alone solve anyone else problems.  It takes a village.

This concept (of helping another in recovery) is used in AA/NA and it is talked about on clear terms when they say 'we are sponsors, not therapists'. "We are here to support, share with you what has worked for us..."

On a more technical note, I wanted to share something interesting. Having had conversations around this subject matter with my therapist and a local psychiatrist, there is a term (which I can't recall at the moment) that relates to how changing harmful patterns/behavior (and hearing the same messages over and over) occurs over time because the brain has difficulty solidifying (connecting) the information/messages. This is especially true as it relates to abuse/trauma itself, making learning from experience, accessing past memories, and understanding trauma/abuse more complicated for survivors because brain connections are stored and associated in complex fragmented patterns that often don't connect. However, over time, and with repetition (meaning, supporting the reality of trauma/abuse with consistent messaging) the brain can re-connect those pathways so, there is an accumulative impact (of hearing it over and over again) which sometimes looks like suddenly..."the light went on". Again, this is another oversimplification of what is a complex process, but thought it was worth sharing! Every little bit helps...IMO

Great discussion...many thanks for engaging!
M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

*

DuchessGS

  • Guest
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2016, 11:34:59 PM »
If nothing else Spring, you just gave me hope that one day my partner can see the light.  Thank you for that. I can listen objectively but I am just tired. How is anything good going to happen to me if i am sitting listening to negative miserable people all day, every day.  Plus, I am not getting paid for this.

My partner, as of today, after a discussion where he tried to manipulate me (he told me I was the one creating a problem and his wife had no issue with me).  I knew it was a lie but he stuck to his guns, so I took the opportunity to test this theory and I emailed her a thank-you note (she had visited me in the hospital but I had been asleep). He got back to me later and said I was a traitor and he hated us both. I said what is the problem, you said she had no problem with me.  I knew I was pushing the envelope but quite honestly I am tired of these BS games where he lies to himself (or to me).

Before I even read this, I decided I am unconditionally loving my partner from afar and our business for the moment is on hold.  The tricky part is I know he will come looking for me at some point, as he will want his support that he got from me.  She abused him, he would abuse me (and I would ignore it most the time but have been getting tired of it and it doesn't look like it will ever let up).  I have been promised change on his end for last year and it lasts for like a week max.  Putting the business on hold isn't particularly a good long term strategy but it will suffice for now - when/if funding comes through, I will be so busy I won't have time for their BS.  I am letting him go until she gets too much for him and he breaks free (or she leaves him).  I did used to say I was a supplement to their bad marriage as his work wife.

My brother has once again dropped off the planet. There is nothing I can do for him. 

The third friend, I told two days ago that I was done listening to him complain and be negative and give excuses about why he had to stay in the relationship. He had until 4 days to put a plan of action and start taking control of the situation but I was not going to listen daily to the same misery over and over again if he wasn't going to do a thing about it.  I have not forsaken him, although he probably feels that way but if he can't even be bothered to pick up the phone and check the cost and availability of a therapist, I can't be bothered to listen to his repetitive stories. I have sent him articles, I have sent him youtube videos, therapist numbers, and many solutions  and he just says he will listen later and that he is processing what I say but it takes a while (and now it has been months of me saying the same thing). 

I am done with people who can't help themselves and I feel good about it (I might feel more guilty if it weren't for Spring Butterfly).  SB, I am happy you broke free, good luck on your journey of life. 

Everything really is connected and it is difficult to isolate issues (but they do come in different combos).  I do think in the end, the answer is loving yourself and everything after that is pretty easy.  Thank you everyone for your assistance. I do feel better.




*

Spring Butterfly

  • Spring Butterfly
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 17177
  • You can be free and heal ❤️‍🩹
    • One Key to Better Boundaries
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2016, 09:39:46 AM »
Duchess, all the steps you've taken to disconnect are excellent for your own self care and this "How is anything good going to happen to me if i am sitting listening to negative miserable people all day, every day.  Plus, I am not getting paid for this." is spot on target. Wishing you a very healing journey and peace!
∑ Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
∑ Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
∑ It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

*

tommom

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1507
Re: How do I help? Emotional Abuse (Stockholm Syndrome) and Dissociation
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2016, 11:58:05 AM »
Thanks, Spring. Your story was really wonderful! Thank you. So glad you are here.
"It is not my job to fix other people; everyone is on their own journey."