pathological narcissism

The Hissy Fit Generation and the Loss of Free Speech IV: The Narcissism Factor (2)

“…the oversensitivity of individuals today, including political correctness and microaggressions, all stem from this idea that people operating under the notion of the pristine self view you as evil because you are showing them something other than love.”

— Howard Schwartz, professor emeritus of Oakland University,


Continuing from the previous post which looked at how narcissism defines our present culture, and how it may feature in the younger generations of today. We now turn to the main sources manifesting normalised cultural and/or personality narcissism and its perpetuation.

Here are six key areas:

Parenting

We have to differentiate between cultural narcissism and the kind of abuse that comes from neglectful parents or what is called the narcissistic family. In the latter, this is a form of emotional abuse or covert narcissism sourced from one or other of the parents’ needs and desires taking precedent over the child’s. From an emotionally deficient family life the child’s sense of self is warped leading to intense shame since the expectation of a nurturing environment is absent. Psychologist Joseph Burgo describes this trauma and arrested emotional development as a result of “disappointed expectations”. When the genetic inheritance that offers a “blueprint of normality” is disrupted in the child, he knows at a deep level, that his  fundamental development has gone awry and he feels insecure and unsafe. Burgo explains: “instead of instilling a sense of beauty, an abusive or traumatic environment leaves the infant with a sense of internal defect and ugliness.” [1]

This sense of disgust and shame at the self has huge implications for the processing of feelings and social functioning. However, such covert narcissism is likely not the primary cause of the cultural narcissism we are now witnessing. There is very little empirical data to support it, whereas more modern studies show clear evidence that inflated feedback is the primary cause. In other words, the conditioning of overpraising and over-protection, where the child or infant is told over and over again that s/he is special and unique.

Telling a child that s/he is super smart and intrinsically special has been taught for several generations. Far from providing a healthy self-confidence this focus has encouraged a prince and princess syndrome; a generation of entitled, spoiled children with little defence against the objective realities of this world. Such well-intentioned coddling often results in a role reversal where the child becomes precociously “adult” and the parent reverts to child-like infantilism due to the dominance of the child’s personality – a wholly abnormal state of affairs. Far from feeling a deep-seated shame, the child genuinely believes that s/he is special and superior since it comes from a learned behaviour of entitlement – wired into the brain.

Although authoritarian parenting is most certainly not the answer, the pendulum has now swung toward the opposite extreme where indulgence misinterprets nurturing. Discipline and structure is an essential part of a child’s navigation and learning, but such an “old-fashioned” view is now shunned in favour of letting the child do and have exactly what s/he wants; where the child is constantly love-bombed with no boundaries or limits. And when the child or young adult eventually faces the real world he comes face to face with the fact that his love-cocoon, this pristine self has programmed an essential weakness in the face of life’s vicissitudes. Far from creating self-reliance and resilience this parenting creates the exact opposite, namely, a generation of “snowflakes” where all aspects of living are seen as a form of bullying and act of offence.  The capitulation of university campuses when confronted by these collective hissy fits only makes matters much worse.

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The Hissy Fit Generation and the Loss of Free Speech IV: The Narcissism Factor (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

Chuck Palahniuk


We live in a culture that promotes degrees of narcissism as though it were perfectly normal. Indeed, the core of American exceptionalism and NATO warmongering is large-scale abusive narcissism, so it is little wonder Americans are being confronted with a choice to become part of that pathology or to resist it. It is that resistance by our younger generations that may define our future.

So, are millennials inherently narcissistic? Absolutely not. In fact, the common belief that millennials and Generation Z are narcissistic by default is often sourced from older generations like the Baby Boomers [1] many of whom happily gloss over the fact that it is they who are largely responsible for the psychological conditions now surfacing in the young. Many findings are reflective of a mixed bag of societal conditioning that points to generational confusion and a loss of meaning more than any one overarching psychological condition.

Postmodernism and its viral-nihilism has a lot to do with the suffering of millennials. Similarly, clusters of narcissism may emerge in certain groups like the SWJ’s for example and other forms of radicalism, but this is quite different to labelling a whole generation as inherently narcissistic. Such a ready conclusion might even exacerbate the problem. It is more probable that they have common narcissistic traits as symptoms of Official Culture which feed into a host of other mental conditions. So, it seems the extent of this “narcissism” within the millennial generation and Generation Z is still under question, though evidence is growing that this condition is pervasive to some degree or another.

One study carried out by Joshua Grubbs, a clinical psychologist at Case Western Reserve University, millennials and BB’s and older were asked to rank generations on their narcissism.  Millennials came in at 65.3 on a 100-point narcissism scale, rating themselves as 61.4.  Grubbs’ study found that despite admitting that they had narcissistic traits they didn’t like the label of narcissist and felt it to be a “putdown.” They also, (unsurprisingly perhaps) rejected accusations of arrogance, selfishness and vanity. Yet, if we are told something often enough we may come to believe it whether this is overstated or understated. This may have an effect as they grow older.  Or as Grubbs stated: “Over time, the ‘narcissistic’ label could impact how millennials feel, their mental health (and) their attitudes about themselves and general generation.” [2]

Interestingly, it was classic narcissists that didn’t mind the diagnostic label and according to Grubb: “..there are very few of them.” He believes that it is more a case of individualism than overt narcissism, though speaking generally his study led him to conclude that: “on the whole, people of my generation probably are more narcissistic than in past generations.”

This is a real diffculty: if these generations do have a predominance of narcissism, then a constant reiteration of this label may further entrench the condition. This has been proven to be so in a variety societal milieus in my own experience from prison inmates to ethnic communities.  If you are told you are an offender often enough then you may come to believe it, especially when the inducement to remain under such a category is more compelling than constructive change, which often lacks social support. Falling back into victimhood isn’t useful either, but since that too is encouraged in our social systems we have a complex vicious circle which is sadly not broken by adopting multidisciplinary solutions.

It is also true that an entitlement complex in the millennial generation is on the rise. A University of Hampshire study found that “youngsters scored 25 percent higher than people aged 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over that age bracket.” [3] [4] Which may explain why millennials suffer increasing anxiety and stress when they don’t get their own way. It is also evident from Grubbs’ research that millennials “experience more anger, frustration and sadness over the  [narcissism] label than other generations”. The fact that it bothers them shows that the majority of millennials are not suffering from classical Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) but incorporating the traits of narcissism as opposed to full blown pathology. And Official Culture thrives on promoting narcissistic habits and values. Again, postmodernist philosophy and left-liberal politics is instilling false expectations and the stress and anxiety that comes with it; not least from a depressed market for work and job satisfaction. Match this with a socially encouraged infantilism it can only lead to the rise of a lost generation, rather than an inherently narcissistic one, though obviously these lines are very blurred.

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The Rule of Law? III: Forensics and Impression Management

“Our educated guess is that many practitioners in the field of law and psychology have faced a situation … where they have experienced difficulties in identifying the “true nature” of the psychopathic interviewee, until the situation has proceeded to the point where they’ve been fooled or some ways misled.”

– Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm, Psychopathy and Law, a Practioner’s Guide


The British justice system is still at odds with reality where fathers’ rights in custody battles are considered an irrelevance. The opinions of children in this matter are ignored as is basic psychology that a child grows and develops best when he or she has both parents present in their lives and access to respective family relatives. Although surprising to some, family law courts in the United Kingdom and in a significant number of cases in the United States, heavily favour the rights of the mother.

Many pressure groups on behalf of fathers’ rights as well as social justice organisations campaigned for a change in the law that would view the rights of both parents as a prerequisite for a just and equitable resolution in custody cases, while also addressing the “shocking delays” in custody battles in general. In the United Kingdom, several years ago the government family justice report chaired by David Norgrove made a review of these claims. Certain aspects of the family courts were marginally improved, cutting down the time where decisions must be taken to no more than six months rather than years, though this has been a sporadic rather than a consistent success.  Moreover, the issue of equal parenting rights – with special focus on fathers’ rights – was deemed unworkable. A spokesman for the Norgrove report said: “While is it usually in the child’s interest to have contact with both parents, seeking to enshrine that right in law would lead to greater conflict and confusion.” David Norgrove stated that: “Fundamentally, this is not about the rights of parents, it’s about the welfare of children and we should be focused entirely on that.” [1]

i-love-you-lets-fight© Infrakshun

Many campaigners believe that the issue of children being granted accessibility of both parents was crucial factor in addressing the welfare of the child and were at a loss to see how such a conclusion could have been reached. With one in three children in the UK without a father it does tend to stretch credibility that these decisions would help to alleviate such a sad statistic. The Centre for Social Justice a UK charity and campaigning organisation on issues of poverty, crime and family law stated in their 2009 family law review, Every Family Matters that “…legislation should acknowledge that children are most likely to benefit from the substantial involvement of both parents in their lives.” [2]

Ken Sanderson, of the campaign group Families Need Fathers, said: “The core failing of the current family justice system is that the rights of children to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are not adequately supported or enforced. By choosing not to address this issue, any other proposals… will be merely superficial adjustments to a fundamentally broken system.” [3] And these superficial adjustments are a common theme through the legal and justice systems in both the UK and the United States. Tinkering around the edges allows just enough leeway to placate media and pressure groups for a short time whilst altering very little.

Fathers 4 Justice Campaign Director Nadine O’Connor was even more scathing of the report and revealed the corrupt background of the legal system as a whole. In a detailed response to Norgrove she outlined some of the reasons for what campaigners believed were unreasonable and unjust conclusions arrived at by report members and suggested an agenda on behalf of those taking part. A long list of grievances were listed including the belief that the:

  • The report’s primary function was to look at procedure, not principle;
  • The review panel was not impartial – it excluded parents and users of the system;
  • The rejection of a 10,000 parent testimony
  • The highlighting of the support given by the report of “secret courts”
  • The rejection of “transparency and public accountability;”
  • The rejection of a parents right in law to see their children;”
  • Claims of gender bias despite 93 percent of residencies being awarded to mothers;
  • The rejection of the principle of equality and shared parenting, stating it was ‘not in the bests interests of the child.’ [4]

O’Connor also drew the intention of the media and public to the fact that the report acknowledged that “no records have been kept on the outcomes for children,” and logically asked the question: “How can the Family Justice Review panel know what is in the ‘best interests of a child’ without empirical evidence?” [5]  Further attention was given to failure of the report to address: “… the number of warring parents going to court and the impact government cuts to legal aid will have in the increase in the number of unrepresented parents going to court; condemnation of the court system itself “…which is run by an ‘unelected, unaccountable and unsackable judiciary operating in complete secrecy;’ the inappropriate nature of courts originally intended for criminals rather than dealing with family cases. [6] The review also concluded that it was still necessary for “…grandparents… to go to court to demand access to their grandchildren when it is denied” which many believe dismisses the value of family and community. Which also means a division opens up between the rich and poor once again, and where only the wealthy can find justice to pursue their familial rights. [7]

The above report represents a classic example of the kinds of stone-walling within government and the judicial system which campaigners face year in and year out, not least the thousands of parents and their children who get caught in this iniquitous system.

According to Saga an insurance and investment company for senior citizens: “…the [court] process is extremely difficult and many grandparents simply can’t face a court fight that they feel may be unfairly stacked against them. They had hoped that the law would recognise the importance of their rights properly.” [8] Saga Director-General Dr Ros Altmann opines: “The relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent can be an extremely special one, and can provide consistency for a child when the family unit breaks down. “This Review rightly points out that decisions should be made in the best interests of the child, however to give one adult ‘rights’ to access that can be withdrawn by the courts, whilst all others have to fight for any right to maintain a relationship with their child or grandchild is surely wrong.” [9]

In the United States, the story is the same though with a greater State by State and case by case variation. This is illustrated with the following examples. Firstly, according to Anne P. Mitchell, fathers’ rights attorney and Founder of Dads’ Rights:

Men absolutely, and often, get the short end of the stick financially in divorce. There is a big myth out there that men make out like bandits in divorce, and women get left in poverty. This is completely untrue. Ironically, it is this myth that causes women to resist fathers having more parenting time, as the less time the child is with Dad, the more money Mom gets. So fathers get the shaft twice: their time with their children is limited, and they get to pay for being pushed out of their children’s lives.” [10]

Judge Michele Lowrance, child of divorce, divorced mother and author agrees that unfair treatment of men is borne out by the statistics:

For example, 85 percent of non-custodial or non-primary residential parents are men who typically see their children only two out of 14 days. In addition, 40 percent of America’s children will spend at least part of their childhood without their fathers living together with them. This translates to over 21 million children. There is definitely cultural paranoia about each side having an advantage. Women think men have the advantage because, for example, it is hard to support the average family on a small percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. If Dad earns $2,500 net and there is one child, in many jurisdictions Mom would only get $500 for support. Understandably that feels unfair to her, as clearly she might need more to support a child. [11]

While on the other hand, Scott Hampton director of Ending Violence:

When I was presenting a workshop at a national judges’ conference I asked those judges whether there was bias in family courts during divorce. Their answer: Yes, but usually it’s against women, not men. Their reasoning makes perfect sense. Society expects mothers, not fathers, to be the natural nurturers. So, if Mom falls just a bit short of the ideal parent, we unconsciously penalize her. In contrast, if Dad changes a couple of poopy diapers, we unconsciously give him extra credit. So if that’s true, then why do mothers more often have custody? The judges explained that it’s not the court’s bias against fathers. It’s men’s bias against fatherhood and dads who run away from their responsibility. Those are the ones who are skewing the numbers. It’s the men who fight paternity or who are abusive who are making responsible fathers and husbands look bad. The fact of the matter is, when men actually want and ask for custody, they are much more successful than some would have us believe. [12]

Father’s running away from their responsibilities, uncaring of their children, mothers taking advantage of a biased system and financially milking their ex-husbands remorselessly; false accusations of child abuse alongside authentic cases that somehow pass through judicial loopholes and the many corrupt judges open to those with the right money.

The system is broken and quite obviously ponerised.

There are many other similar cases where the male-dominated courts and judicial system do not necessarily override the apparent bias against fathers. Nevertheless, while negative attributions are fielded on both sides of the fence the statistics paint a very bleak picture for the father in the majority of cases. Despite psychopathic predominance in the male (at least so far, data is still being collected) the female pathological narcissist and psychopath also exist. As awareness of the bias against diagnosing women with psychopathy becomes more widely known, statistic are likely to reveal even more of a prevalence that is not necessarily seated in criminal activity but within domestic and public institutional settings.

Disturbing statistics that seldom get any airplay in the media denote an inversion of the female attributes that collectively express a highly significant reaction to the mass pathology inflicted on Western societies. As to how custody battles are reflected in statistical analyses these figures are from the late 80s’ and early 90s’:

  • 79.6 % of custodial mothers receive a support award
  • 29.9 % of custodial fathers receive a support award
  • 46.9 % of non-custodial mothers totally default on support
  • 26.9 % of non-custodial fathers totally default on support
  • 20.0 % of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
  • 61.0  % of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level
  • 66.2 % of single custodial mothers work less than full-time
  • 10.2  %  of single custodial fathers work less than full-time  [13]

By 2007, five of every six custodial parents are mothers, yet the number of custodial mothers in poverty is 27.7 percent in contrast to the percentage of custodial fathers in poverty at 11.1 percent [14]  With one in four divorced Americans yet to receive child support or alimony and of those who are supposed to receive spousal support, 49 percent are not receiving any of it, fighting to get it, or have completely given up, what does this say about the system of allocating benefits to each parent and the ability of fathers to find work over mothers? What of the prevalence of mental illness and undiagnosed pathology hidden from view? [15]

In custody and criminal trials prosecutors will have no compunction in using gender myths as a strategy to win their cases or “… packaging the myth for persuasive purposes” depending on which position they are advocating. [16]

5960558-lg© infrakshun

Impression Management

It might be an idea to revisit the Female Psychopath in a court setting.

The female psychopath’s own formula of “impression management” is especially effective yet we have no way of knowing how many take advantage of the criminal justice system except through reading between the lines of statistics. Is it simply self-presentation or cunning manipulation of the jury and all participants, from detectives to judges? Impression management is a crucial tool of the psychopath yet relatively unexplored in forensic psychology. If the overriding need to control and win is a primary driver of psychopathic behaviour this suggests a huge psychological loop-hole that takes advantage of the idealised image of feminine passivity which is then ruthlessly exploited.

Criminal trial attorney Frank S. Perri and clinical psychologist Terrance G. Lichtenwald see law enforcement and the criminal justice system facing a serious challenge in their ability to correctly perceive, diagnose and bring to justice female psychopaths. For instance: “Diane Downs, the woman who killed her two children by shooting them, came to her jury trial pregnant, projecting the image that a mother could not commit such an act. [Serial killers] Golay and Utterschmidt projected a disposition of two elderly, grandmotherly-like women, and Karla Homolka projected the image that she was under the control over her husband when she helped kill three young women.”  [1]

Other examples of possible misdiagnosis and leniency include one Marie Noe, who in 1999: “… admitted to killing her eight children [and] received probation. It had been suggested that her 72-year-old appearance, mannerisms and her gender affected the decision and because society is reluctant to believe that women kill serially, law and prosecutions lacked the motivation to investigate and vigorously prosecute these women.” Another female serialist received only 10 years in prison after admitting to killing her five children, but the jury felt sorry for her because she had lost all the children in her life.”  [2]

The courts, forensics and law enforcement are areas more likely to encounter male and female psychopaths than any other profession. The absence of courses in psychopathy awareness is still not forthcoming where it is needed most and where: “…the study of violent offenders is lumped together under the same umbrella that somehow criminals are from the same mold.” The authors therefore pose the following questions:

Does this individual understand that parents who kill may not be mentally ill but possess psychopathy traits that, in fact, make them more prone to planning their child’s death? Does this person have training on how to spot psychopathic traits or are does he harbor the view that a mother is incapable of intentionally killing her child because of her gender? If the parent did plan the murder, could this professional participate in the evaluation of such a case without resorting to myths to resolve the “shock” he or she experiences? […]

It can be particularly unnerving for professionals to realize that a female is capable of brutal violence, especially homicide, and project normalcy to those she encounters. Unfortunately, many in the law enforcement and behavioral field resort to the myth in order to resolve an uncomfortable inconsistency between what they observe and what they want to believe. […]

Professionals’ beliefs about female aggression influence their approach to inquiry, interviews, investigation, and their reactions to female disclosures about their criminal acts have an enormous impact on who is labeled a victim or an offender… [3]

Given the custodial, socio-economic statistics and those for female psychopathic traits that point to high incidence of biological mothers as perpetrators of some forms of child abuse and child deaths, a massive overhaul of gender stereotyping and target training for police and the law courts, social services and child care is long overdue. The authors recommend several changes that must take place if professionals – investigators or examiners – are to meet the challenge of psychopathy:

  • Self awareness of one’s own gender bias
  • Management of cognitive dissonance in the face of incongruous evidence: “female as care taker and female as abuser, female as peace maker and female as perpetrator.”
  • During evaluation, confidence borne from a strong data set ready to test for different gender myths regardless of the individual being evaluated.
  • Awareness that the examinee “has much to gain and little to lose by manipulating.
  • The evaluation of the deception but also the quality of the deception i.e. “How did the examinee respond when the deception was exposed?”
  • Awareness that the examinee may be wearing a “mask of sanity” thus he must be ready to examine his emotions for countertransference “…such as the feeling of disappointment that the individual is not what she first seemed.”
  • A willingness to excuse oneself from the case if these criteria cannot be met.  [4]

Finally, the authors conclude that: “Violence, especially murder, is a human issue and not a gender-specific phenomenon.” a conclusion that must extend across all societal domains when evaluating anti-social personality disorders such as psychopathy and narcissism whether in relationships, business, organisations or social movements.

The above examples are admittedly from criminal psychopaths. Garden variety psychopaths happily go about their business deep inside society assisting in the sometimes subtle and slow ponerogenesis of normal human behaviour.  Therefore, since we already have a problem that is highly advanced in Western societies in particular, then it does not necessarily mean employing specific models to be absorbed into already ponerised arms of the Establishment. It may be a bit late for current Western societies to incorporate large-scale change without systematic radical upheavals. What it does mean is offering the opportunity for all of us to be super-aware of the depth and nature of psychopathy so that we may give inoculate ourselves and our love ones from its destructive effects. Only then will we begin to loosen the grip of  the global predators in our midst.

 


Notes

[1] Nation of broken families: One in three children lives with a single-parent or with step mum or dad’ The Daily Mail, By Steve Doughty, 25 June 2010.
[2] ‘Norgrove Report fails children by not giving fathers access rights, says Centre for Social Justice’ Press Release, November 3, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) http://www.centreforsocialjustice.co.uk
[3] ‘Dads should NOT be given right to equal access to children, says review’ The Daily Mirror, November 3, 2011.
[4] Fathers 4 Justice http://www.fathers4justice.co.uk
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Channel 4 News, F4J Respond to Norgrove Report, November 2011 | ‘Family justice review criticises ‘shocking delays’’ BBC News, November 3, 2011.
[8] ‘Norgrove review fails to grasp the nettle for grandparents’ By Dr Ros Altmann , Saga http://www.saga.co.uk  4 November 2011.
[9] Ibid.
[10] ‘Do Divorced Dads Get a Raw Deal?’ By Tom Matlack, Mens’ Health, March 12th, 2011.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] 1988 Census ‘Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series P-60, No. 173 p. 6-7. and U.S. General Accounting Office Report’ GAO/HRD-92-39FS January, 1992.
[14] U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005, released August 2007 | Ibid.
[15] http://www.Divorce360.com, Child Support Poll Results, conducted by GFK Roper Public Affairs and Media, 2007 | Ibid.
[16]] op. cit. Perri & Lichtenwald (p.63)
[17] Ibid. (p.64)
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20  Ibid.

The Rule of Law? I

By M.K. Styllinski

“We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.”

Andrew Łobaczewski, “Political Ponerology


In the family courts of the US and Europe, fathers and mothers are routinely set against each other with children crushed in the ensuing fight. As always, there appear to be valid cases on both sides of the male-female divide, though judging from the carnage left after the numerous battle, you would never know it.

There legions of cases where families have been torn apart due to corruption, ineptitude and ignorance of psycho-social dynamics. For example, we have mothers who have discovered that their spouse has been molesting their child and have taken the appropriate action through the courts to grant them sole legal and physical custody, yet the child somehow happens to end up with the abuser. Similarly, we have individuals within the feminist movement and its breeding ground for covert narcissism and parental alienation syndrome victimising fathers and turning them against their children. The courts have turned justice into a tragi-farce with the alleged abusers  – male or female –  either getting unsupervised visitation rights and more frequently, full custody. In some countries fathers are also being denied access to their children based on out-of-date and unfair bureaucratic laws regardless of whether they have committed a crime. In effect, the laws are biased towards the mother in some courts and biased towards the father in others, according to the specifics of national law, cultural influences and widespread corruption. Indeed, family courts seem to be presenting the worst kinds of injustices in cases which are both complex and multifaceted.

In the US, by far the most reliable source of litigation is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, in Denver. A recent study surveyed 9000 custody disputes in 12 family courts across the country. Only two percent involved child-sex-abuse charges. Although this is certainly small it is known that the psychological footprint is very large indeed from those that do. Domestic physical abuse is highly likely to involve a percentage of sexual sadism which is often mistaken for a purely violent and aggressive display of anger. While physical abuse is still being reported in a greater number of cases, the sexual abuse taboo naturally restricts the number of cases that see the light of day. Even before they get to the courts they must be taken seriously by doctors or paediatricians, notwithstanding the likelihood of such charges sticking. Increasingly, many health professionals fear child abuse cases due to the complex nature of the claims and the potential labyrinth of litigation.

In the UK, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Sir David Hall, told the Royal Society of Medicine that “recent high-profile cases in which doctors had been censured had undermined confidence in the regulatory authorities.” He believed that signs of abuse might go unreported until the indications were ‘all too obvious.’ Careers are apparently coming first. [1] Allegations of sexual abuse, paedophilia and child violence are more commonly made by mothers and can be voiced without challenge or a burden of proof. During the interim, access is denied and courts appear to accept accusations regardless of the possibility that this could be the product of hate and acrimony from an embattled relationship. If the father is innocent and when the claim is finally dropped, there is no penalty for making such a vindictive claim. By then the damage is done, which may partially account for the rise in father suicides relating to unfair agency payments and the ensuing custody battles. Unsurprisingly, a divorced father is ten times more likely to commit suicide than a divorced mother and three times more likely to commit suicide than a married father. [2] As one divorce consultant mentions: “It’s a little known fact that in the United States men initiate only a small number of the divorces involving children. Most of the men I deal with never saw their divorces coming, and they are often treated very unfairly by the family courts.” [3]

vintage-man-woman-couple-conflict-black-and-white-photography

Back in the UK, each year, some 85,000 families with children younger than 16 undergo divorce. The standard aftermath includes disputes over how much the “non-resident parent” should see his children, which is generally the father. Though the cases are compelling, a range of societal factors could be involved, as the broader statistical picture suggests. America is not Britain (not quite yet anyway). In 1998, a Children First Government paper, indicated that 40 percent of separated mothers admit to thwarting contact, leaving fathers losing all contact with their children within two years of separation or divorce.[4] In 2015, nothing much has changed. According to one English solicitor I spoke to: “Some 80,000 parents issue proceedings a year, many of them fathers seeking reasonable contact with their children. A common outcome is permanent severance.”  With family Court welfare services providing under-trained personnel to evaluate and report on the welfare of children “Normal family men are routinely assessed as unfit to have significant contact with their children; normal children are routinely sentenced to years of ‘relationship-building programme[s]’ to condition them to withstand visits from ordinary Dads.” [5]

The patterns of bias vary from country to country with a trail of injustice due to poor judges, out-dated court procedures and corrupt agencies. Many fathers rightly cry foul and highlight the shared parenting concept that is constantly under attack by the blight of many in the feminist movement who consider fathers secondary to the mothering principle and inherently untrustworthy. At the same time, the shared parenting concept as well as parental alienation is of little value if one of those parents – male or female – is a closet molester or covert narcissist. The systems are not only ill-equipped to deal with the subtleties and nuances of lengthy custody battles and child abuse cases but bureaucratic delays mean that judges are often forced to speed up the process rather than let the case proceed in a measured way. In the words of one Colorado attorney: “If we ever sat down to design the worst possible system that protects the smallest number of children, it would look a lot like the family courts look today.” [6] However, there is much more to this than just a back-log of paper work. Fathers, mothers and children’s misery is being used as a means to make a lot of money. Breaking up families was never more lucractive.

In Kristen Lombardi’s award-winning article “Custodians of Abuse” she researched the background behind family court custody battles, interviewing almost 25 experts in custody litigation. Lombardi offered some enlightening reasons as to why these courts are failing children and parents, contributing to a further layer of what amounts to long-term, state-sponsored emotional abuse. [7] She found that family courts: “… do not rely on criminal investigators to examine child-abuse claims, but family advocates called guardians Ad Litem (GALs), whose charge is to investigate allegations of abuse, abandonment, and neglect and to represent the best interests of the children in disputed custody cases. More often than not, they are licensed psychologists or social workers. Sometimes, they are attorneys.” [8]

Ad items they have their own individual areas of expertise which do not however, qualify them to act as evaluators of the highly sensitive problem of child abuse. With the spread of Kinseyian sexology and psychoanalysis as the platform for most evaluations, the interviews, assessments and judgments are routinely carried out without the necessary qualifications. What is more, cultural bias is frequently operating where the gender of the alleged victim – parent and/or child – is crucial to the final judgement.

public domain-girl-railroadtracks-walking-1Family courts are now a law unto themselves. Judges can operate as mini-dictators where their opinions, beliefs, and gender bias (towards male or female) take precedent over the evidence. This has shown to be true in case after case, including “judges…hold [ing] hearings in which important rulings are made with only one party present (called ex parte hearings); such hearings violate basic constitutional rights of due process.” [9]  The courts do not have juries nor a mandated legal representation, so that the law for the rich imposes another law for the poor, reinforced by the inner circle of Establishment opinion that is intentionally set up to serve itself.

The American Judges Association confirmed findings from its 1996 report:  “Domestic Violence and the Courtroom,” which showed that “wife batterers and child molesters convince family-court officials that their ex-wives are ‘unfit’ or ‘undeserving’ of sole custody in roughly 70 percent of contested custody battles.” [10] What is seldom mentioned is the fact that when there was a fight over the children, “…fathers won primary or joint custody more than 70 percent of the time — whether or not there was a history of spousal or child abuse…” [11]

However, the data is sparse indeed on the presence of pathological narcissism and Munchausen By Proxy which is very much the province of the female. We can see how variable the data really is from country to country – even state to state. Statistics change for domestic violence as opposed to straight divorce cases.

Another study by respected social scientist Murray A. Straus, appears to show that “Family conflict studies, without exception, show about equal rates of assault by men and women.” (Keep in mind that there is considerable discrepancy as to what constitutes “violence.”) Straus mentions that though women score highly on physical violence: “Crime studies, without exception, show much higher rates of assault by men, often 90 percent by men.”[12] This may account for the quote that “every 15 seconds a woman is battered by their [intimate] partner in the United States.”[13] The latter conclusion needs to be kept in mind that the crime of assault against women is overwhelmingly the province of the male.

Conversely, the extent of husband battery is thought to be hugely underestimated. Men do not usually report their violent wives to police; similarly, children do not report their violent mothers to police. Meantime, women are far more likely to report men to relevant authorities. Straus believes that: “…neither side can give up their position because it would be tantamount to giving up deeply held moral commitments and professional roles. I conclude that society needs both perspectives. Neither side should give up their perspective. Rather they should recognize the circumstances to which each applies.”[14]

Easy to say but how to apply?

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The Predator’s System

A “medicalisation” of the law can also be personified in the form of “interactional assessment” which uses intense observation by experts who are trained to look for signs of abuse. While working well in a classroom for a variety of different criteria, it is still an entirely unproven method of evaluation. Despite this, it is still widely used in the courts.

Advocates of this method believe: “validation of the abuse does not depend on the verbal disclosure of the child, confession of the perpetrator, or the conviction of the other parent that abuse has occurred. It depends on gathering and sifting through information from multiple sources.” [15] This represents a massive oversimplification and assumption regarding assessments of this kind. There is no evidence either way that behaviour cues can be used to determine whether abuse happened. Subtle signs of anxiety can be attributed to a host of different reasons, not least being present at the interview itself and most certainly being present in a courtroom.

The existence of such psychiatric and legalistic onslaughts has caused countless children to become easy targets for further manipulations leading to another layer of emotional trauma. Why would the child molester – male or female – worry about going to court when s/he has so much confusion circulating? In his domain, he is the master actor and manipulator, leading a double life and relying on the trauma-induced child he abused to complete the proceedings. After all, if he can be in the same courtroom as the victim – all the better. He can intimidate the child further and induce yet more trauma, causing the testimony to be less than believable. This is the psychological legacy of the last 50 years – which children are simply fabricating, that they should indeed be “seen but not heard.”

One specific book singing the praises of interactional assessment illustrates techniques including anatomical dolls and drawings to use as useful tools with no data or evidence to suggest that these techniques are even helpful. There are several drawings which the authors interpret as “signs,” of abuse such as missing ears, the absence of feet, and phallic shapes. References are sparse. Case histories can be interpreted a multitude of ways serving as a perfect example of how easily evaluations, with no proven record of efficacy, can lead to catastrophe despite the best of intentions. Meanwhile, the abuser – along with his lawyer – is laughing all the way to the bank. With naive theories and Faustian bargains made by lawyers who routinely pimp their principles for whoever pays the most, the attorney client privilege takes up the slack and banishes any other compelling evidence that may be offered.

At the same time, psychotherapy as a once useful tool in the hands of responsible professionals is under attack from the US government. A colleague of psychiatrist Corey Hammond and co-author of Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law, Professor Alan Scheflin of Santa Clara University Law School is an expert on clinical and experimental research on hypnosis, memory and trauma treatment and their applications to the law system. In a recent interview he talked about the changing climate of psychotherapy and trauma assessment, where therapists are clearly being used in ways that undermine children’s’ best interests.  Third party liability suits brought against therapists and the invasion of privacy and the autonomy of the therapist-patient relationship are some of the changes imposed by business and government.

Scheflin explains:

A scheme in which physicians exercise principal control over decisions about the use of facilities, choice of treatment and determining what information should be disseminated to patients, has given way to a system in which competition and cost containment have become dividing forces, driving forces. Insurers and other large business entities exert great impact over treatment choices and hospitalization as well as selection of providers. […]

Unfortunately other professions and the uninformed have now stepped in to determine the standard of care. The standard of care being a legal standard is informed by good medical practice, but by being a legal standard, it can be manipulated by lawyers and propagandists and other people, and that is what has happened.

Therefore it is necessary for the mental health profession to wrest back control of the standard of care from the avaricious lawyers that are in the process of changing it. [16]

Psychotherapy is either co-opted or the therapists themselves are seduced by payments and propaganda. The law was never about who is innocent or guilty but the profits that can be extracted from the bloody battles that follow. On many occasions the “discourse of disbelief” and from psychologists with poorly applied evaluation techniques or False Memory Syndrome advocates of psychiatry are enough to allow children to go home with their abuser. The following case study illustrates this point.

Picture a wealthy businessman, accused by his wife of committing sexual abuse against his four year old daughter. These become the grounds for a lengthy custody battle. Psychological evaluations of the man’s relationship towards his daughter show: “…a very happy, spontaneous and positive relationship.” A history of sexual abuse is known by the psychologist but dismissed as irrelevant in court due to the man’s obvious disposition; his charm, amiability and more importantly – his status.

predatorbuys

Power buys influence – truth is secondary | © infrakshun

While the court case is proceeding, the polygrapher with an excellent record enters the picture and is requested by the attorney defending the man, convinced as he is that his client is innocent. This highly professional and experienced polygrapher describes the details of the accuser’s confessions during the test:

She grabs his penis while he washes her in the shower and he has explained to her what a man does with it. When questioned further about how often this happens, he said about three or four times a week. When asked to give a high figure regarding the number of times that Julie has touched his penis he said about twenty times… […] He also acknowledges erections and masturbations in the showers while Julie is in the shower with him….Her father stated that he sleeps nude and stated that Julie likes to cuddle. He stated he likes to run her foot up and down his penis until he gets an erection and sometimes ‘things happen.’ […] He stated that she ‘loves’ to orgasm. ‘I’ll get her a vibrator. She’ll hold the handle against her peepee and giggle until she climaxes.’ [17]

Remember, this is a four year old girl.

The report by the polygrapher continues to relay the man’s inability to contain his excitement to the extent that he finally admits to severe child abuse. In fact, he can’t stop relating his exploits, confirming the pattern of the psychopath’s need for self-aggrandizement through communicating his “successes.” He knows his money and influence will protect him and that his self-assurance regarding the mechanisms of the law will allow him to get away with such audacious confessions such as the following: “She has licked and sucked his penis no more than five times, has given him two full ‘blow jobs.’ He has ‘69ed’ her. He has licked her vagina and has performed oral sex on her not more than ten times.” [18]

The polygrapher faxes the report to the attorney acting for the father but to no avail. The attorney-client privilege is enacted and the report suppressed.  The “audacity” is actually an utter self-confidence in the duplicity of the system. The custody battle ends in the man’s favour and an admitted child molester is recommended for full custody.

How could such a travesty take place?

The man was a wealthy businessman who used the exact same skills of manipulation and ruthlessness which allowed him to gain a substantial footing in the commercial world. A personification of our economic and corporate model. This afforded him the best attorney in town, supplanting the mother’s meagre attempts to find a similar worthy opponent to defend her child’s interests. Coupled with biased psychological evaluations and the ignorance of the nature of the psychopath, the child never had a chance. The spellbinding techniques of the man were so effective that the whole courtroom was captured in his thrall. This man could never have abused the child! The attorney reminded the judge and jury that there was a man of standing and impeccable character before them, and psychiatrists provided the pseudo-psychology for him to get away with it.

Now reverse the scenario with a feminine vampire/narcissist using the cultural advantage and female pity-me ploy which also works wonders with a jury. Both occur and the courts facilitate these manipulations. The possibilities for pathological narcissists, child rapists and paedophiles from each gender to pull the wool over the eyes of those with conscience has never been easier in a legal system that is loaded towards the desires of the psychopath.

The late psychiatrist Ralph Underwager was likely the leading US scholar on child sexual abuse in the 1980s and 1990’s. He wrote extensively about the over protection issue and anti-sexuality climate in the States. The essence of Underwager’s argument was however undermined by his actions. He represented an expensive resource for often high-level predators seeking to buy their way out of abuse, though courts have rejected his testimony on more than one occasion. This has been on the basis of the doctor’s unsubstantiated and clinically unproven sources and methods (such as learned memory) that serve to underline his belief that “90 percent of accusations against child molesters are wrong.”

While Underwager’s writings do have much validity in addressing the anti-sexuality present in Christian America, his defence of paedophiles undoubtedly acted against children. As discussed, there are plenty of psychiatrists and psychologists present who continue to blur the lines. Jim Peters, a senior attorney for the National Centre for the Prosecution of Child Abuse who investigated Underwager in the late 1980s believes that such psychiatrists present themselves as scientific observers, when more often than they are advocates for abuse inside and outside the courtroom. [19]

In 2005, an appellate level court in New York was the first to recognize the debate within the mental health community over whether “it is ethically proper” to give opinions on the best interests of the child when there is no empirical base to support them.” So said Matrimonial attorney and Albany Law School professor, Timothy Tippins. The article continued:

 “Psychologists and psychiatrists are unable to scientifically measure and predict the effects of different factors on the future well-being of a child. There is no way to ethically study, for example, the effect it would have on a child to place him in a home with schizophrenic parents. Therefore, after a mental health expert offers opinions regarding the effects of, for instance, depression or spousal abuse, the judge should be the one to opine as to the child’s best interest.” [20]

Psychopaths can attune to everyone’s ideal hero. The pervasive adulation which is afforded to the charismatic spellbinder in our societies allows the predator to slip between our shadows unnoticed. Children disappear in plain sight in exactly this way. There, behind closed doors they are abused and scarred for life with the blessing of family courts.

 


Notes

[1] ‘Doctors ‘fear child abuse cases’ BBC News, 5 January 2006.
[2] National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – males actually commit suicide four times as often as females do, and have higher suicide rates in every age group, yet the statistics suggest that losing a job and divorce are the most frequent cause.
[3] Quoted from ‘Distraught Father’s Courthouse Suicide Highlights America’s Male Suicide Epidemic.’ By Glenn Sacks, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 January, 2002.
[4] Children First Dept. Of Social Security, UK Government, 1998.
[5] Public Eye.Website of Political Research Associates, June 1989.
[6] ‘Deadbeat parents, system fail children’ Lansing State Journal, Michigan, April 13, 2003.
[7] ‘Custodians of Abuse’ by Kristen Lombardi’s The Boston Phoenix, Jan.9-16, 2003. This is required reading for anyone wishing to gain an insight into the nature of abuse, in this case from women’s perspective in the courts.
[8]  Ibid.
[9]  Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] ‘The Controversy Over Domestic Violence by Women: A Methodological Theoretical and Sociology of Science Analysis’ by Murray A. Straus. Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, 1998.
[13] United Nations State of the World Report, 2000.
[14] op. cit. Straus.
[15] Children Speak for Themselves: Using the Kempe Interactional Assessment to Evaluate Allegations of Parent-Child Sexual Abuse by Clare Haynes-Seman and David Baumgarten Published by Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1994 (pp. 33-34) ISBN: 0876307454.
[16] From the Presentation entitled: Risk Management in Dissociative Disorder and Trauma Therapy by Professor Alan Scheflin given at the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) and International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) conferences at a joint session in Montreal on November 9, 1997.
[17] op. cit. Salter (p. 18-19)
[18] Ibid.
[19] ‘Witness for Mr. Bubbles’ Transcribed from “Australia 60 Minutes,” Channel Nine Network (Aired on August 5, 1990 in Australia) produced by Anthony McClellan; Reported by Mike Munro.
[20] ‘Custody Ruling Addresses Reliance on Expert Opinions’ By Mark Fass, New York Law Journal, 2005.