psychotherapy

Choose Constructive Emotions (and don’t forget your greatest asset) (6)

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope is strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But, suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice? Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”

—  C.S. Lewis


Reading time: 8-10 mins

The Positive thinking, LOA and YCYOR triangle is the lynchpin of the new age or Human Potential Movement, often fused with left-liberal beliefs. What happens when these ways of viewing the world are placed in an overtly spiritual context?

A constant theme that runs through many of these essay series is the idea that one’s spiritual quest is fraught with potential dangers. It’s designed that way and is not for the faint-hearted. I am one of those who has learned the hard way that self-awareness and seeking truth requires an exacting sacrifice of personal, selfish desires.

If you decide to follow a genuine spiritual path without attending to fundamental emotional issues, you will find yourself on a very hard road indeed as the signal to grow receives a response. Such a response (depending on the degree of personality deformation present) sets in motion a process whereby the person is given the tools and circumstances by which soul influence can begin to grow. That cannot be anything other than painful since, like a drug addict, you are shedding outmoded and negative behaviours which you have taken on as normal. Cold turkey isn’t just for those coming off substance abuse, it can be as harrowing to divest yourself of childhood and cultural conditioning.

The cultural inculcation to support a psychopathic worldview is disguised as benevolence or empowerment. In the final analysis however, we always have a choice to change and to seek out what is really going on behind The Wizard Of Oz’s theatrical curtain on reality. Dealing with our emotions is the first step.

If we insist in wallowing in the influences of Official Culture, whilst immersing ourselves in the theory of spiritual transformation – it won’t work, at least not in the way we might think. Information becomes knowledge by applying and testing out what we have discovered. That means we cannot be in two realities at once which means a decision will need to be made, whether we like it or not. If you are perpetually on the fence then you at a standstill or worse, one centre of gravity within your personality will be inflated whilst another will atrophy.

Much of the illness of our western culture derives from the denial of what is, and the rejection of inner knowing in favour of security, self-satisfaction and a fragile peace. It’s ultimately a denial of the Universe/God which seeks consciousness, seeded in complex sentient life i.e. humans – to become self-aware, warts and all. Once we have made a contract with Life due to our self-evident existence, part of that decision is to willingly choose to access your greatest potential by serving others, thereby serving yourself. When we do so with conviction a new dimension of possibility opens up for us – literally. Walk long enough along that road without application of those discoveries then reality will become more and more insistent that you “walk the talk” away from theory and toward actualisation of faith and purpose.

(more…)

Heal Your Past (3)

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.”

— Robert Gary Lee


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Before any kind of deeper transformation can take place we have to address the past and any “blockages” to growth which may be holding us back. Those of us who have trauma or childhood adversity does not mean we haven’t been successful in life or made our mark in the world. We all cope in a multitude of different ways. But our personal lives are often entirely separate to our business interests. We might be a corporate leviathan, where success hides our shadow selves and the hidden trauma that rises to the surface in relationships and family life. Or conversely, family and relationships take precedent and fulfilment in our careers eludes us.

Whatever the variables, the only measure of value derives from how well we have been able to transmute our hidden shadows; that which has been adapted to the demands of daily life and often purposely buried or “forgotten.” Anyone who sincerely wishes to grow their conscience cannot leave the past unknown. It has a direct relationship to how well we cope with the uncertainty and unpredictability that hails from the future. By releasing our past demons we are slowly able to fully inhabit the present. This eventually allows us to face the future which unfolds from that new presence.

Healing means the incremental release of new energy that was previously used to service a false self. Such a persona exists through a normalised habit of shoring up the perceived breaches in our many defence mechanisms. That’s the nature of a self built from survival. It’s not the real self thus has no authentic foundations. And as anyone who has done any refurbishment on a house without having the right knowledge, you can go through money like water down a drain, until you are forced to take out a huge loan from people and situations who have that requisite money (energy). It’s much like being held hostage by a debt we could never repay without conscious attention to the roots of that pain. As each year goes by the interest on that debt increases until we will be forced to address it anyway. You become bankrupt and homeless.

Healing Developmental Trauma

One of the most effective methods of restoring a healthy mind-body connection away from trauma and childhood adversity is the NeuroAffective Relational Model ™ (NARM) a new form of somatically-sourced, multidisciplinary psychotherapy that synthesizes the latest peer-reviewed research and practice in the fields of mind and body healing.  While placing importance on the clear understanding of past events it’s focus is on how best we can attune to the present moment and facilitate our capacity to connect to that which naturally heals. This brings us back from feedback loop of disregulation to a process of conscious self-regulation. The latter means listening to our mind and body so that we can have healthy stress instead of stress that harms us. (Again, healthy stress isn’t the issue, it’s our reaction to it. And when we are overloaded with stress that crystallizes into trauma revisited over years, then this is obviously something far different. Habitual reaction to pain can completely deform the mind/body connection leading to chronic disregulation.

(more…)

1. Heal Your Past (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

“I’ve always thought that we are what we remember, and the less we
remember, the less we are.”

— Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author

—————-

“The paradox of trauma is that it has both the power to destroy and the
power to transform and resurrect.”

— author and creator of somatic experiencing, Peter A. Levine


Reading time: 25 mins

The above photo illustrates well the relationship to healing and the mind-body complex. We often place useless band-aids over the wall we have erected within ourselves and the promise of a more fulfilling life. Trauma, hurt and an array of psychic wounds are bricked up and plastered over so that we might pretend all is well and struggle on regardless. After all, it can be frightening to address deep-seated issues we know are holding us back. It can be even more disruptive to acknowledge we need help or that we need to go beyond just surviving. (Assuming that is, that such a wall hasn’t blocked out any awareness that there is a problem).

The triumph of the spirit over adversity resonates to everyone because we admire and relate to the person who has faced seemingly insurmountable odds and returned from the Dark Night Of the Soul to offer healing redemption for all. They become beacons of guidance that lights the way on our own path so that we may learn from and thereby transcend the trials and tribulations which emerge in our own lives. When someone is not only victorious but shows how we can be the same, they become an example.

One of the very first things we must do to obtain a more fulfilling and meaningful life is to heal the past. It is our accmululation of knowledge which allows us to “anticipate, protect and know ourselves.” [1] The will to survive and those survival mechanisms – our in-built means of protection against the threat of death – can then be placed in proper context so that they do not overwhelm us; where our views of the world are not violated through a lack of knowledge and adaptation. We can reduce the propensity for trauma in this trauma-inducing world. Without understanding this we cannot move ahead. Without seeing challenges as opportunities to grow and develop a creative complexity that enriches life. We must simplify our lives so that greater complexity can eventually arrive when we have the character to handle it. The “bliss” of chosen ignorance numbs the pain but stagnates potential.

The nature of trauma is a complex one. It is not just children who suffered from abuse or grew up in dysfunctional families that take on post-traumatic stress and the continuance of dissociation in adult life. There are many incidences in the lives of young children which induce trauma purely due to the fact that they are here, existing in this beautiful and horror-laden material world. Parents are often entirely clueless that their children have even suffered trauma that has overwhelmed any capacity to cope and laid down potential problems for the future. What’s more, infants and children do not have the mental or emotional maturity to mak sense of or communicate what has happened to them. At a certain age, they must stew in the juices of trauma and survive as best they can.

Take these imaginary examples:

Jenny is four-years-old. She has had an operation the evening before to remove her tonsils and has woken up in a strange room all alone. She vaguely remembers something about an operation and her parents reassuring faces that it would all be okay. But it’s dark and an odd blue glow envelops the room. Alien noises come from the large window to her right and a low hum to her left. It smells like the bathroom, and when she’d cut her knee her mother would put a plaster on it. She is scared and her throat is very, VERY painful. Such pain is entirely new to her and she feels a rising panic. Why is she alone? Where are Mummy and Daddy? Her heart rate rises. She hears voices outside and sees a yellow-orange glow spilling through the bottom of the door. She doesn’t recognise the people. Why is he alone in a strange room? Why isn’t the light on? Shadows leap and twist and turn in the corners. Her heart beats faster still. She tries to move but she can’t. The blankets and sheets are so tight and he feels so weak. Tears begin to stream from the corner of her eyes and he starts to sweat. Maybe he was naughty too many times and didn’t pay attention to what Mummy said. Maybe they decided to leave her here? She would be a good girl in future…She would be good…If only they would come back…She tries to cry out but only soft gurgle escapes.

After twenty minutes Jenny is beside herself soaked in sweat and salty tears and the pain-killers administered by the nurse on duty have worn off. It is only when the nurse arrives to check on Jenny at the allocated time that she calls the parents in. Amidst the jolly, cheerful atmosphere of relief and the complete ignorance of this little girl’s hour and a half of emotional and physical trauma goes unrecognised. Her mother mentions that her daughter’s face and hair is damp, her eyes red and that she looks very hot. The nurse takes her temperature and finds it a little above normal. “No worries. It’s all good. I’ll top up her pain relief and she can go home before lunch.” The nurse adjusts the drip and strokes Jenny’s forehead. Her parents sit on either side of the bed holding her hands. The father stares at his daughter. “She seems very quiet. Are you sure she’s okay? Jenny? You all right sweetie? On her way out the nurse responds: “She’s bound to be a bit groggy and spaced out. She’ll be fine.” Jenny stares ahead, pale, glassy-eyed, unresponsive … and traumatised. Where once distant voices seemed reassuring they would now signify loneliness, pain and abandonment.

***

Six-year-old Jonah and his parents are visiting Auntie Janet and Uncle Bob on their dairy farm in the country. Since they live in the city this is a trip Jonah has been looking forward to. He loves the countryside and his Aunt and Uncle. He has been mucking around with his cousin Jimmy who is 12 years old – much older than him. Jonah had never felt very comfortable around Jimmy and he was always so rude to his parents. He didn’t understand why Jimmy was always so mean. Jimmy has been told by his parents to show Jonah around the farm, very much against his will. Reluctantly he takes his cousin along who follows behind struggling to keep up.

They look at the tractors and all the farm equipment and he shows Jonah the cows in the milking stands and a warehouse full of corn feed. Then Jimmy has an idea. “Want to see the hay-loft?”

“Sure!” Jonah replies, trying to appear enthusiastic and unafraid.

Jimmy takes him to an old barn and stands in front of a long ladder attached to the facing wall stretching up about 15 ft up into loft full of sweet-smelling hay. From Jonah’s perspective, the ladder might as well reach to mars.

“Get up there”. Jimmy suddenly barks.

Hmmm?

“Get up that ladder!”

“I — I can’t climb up there.”

Jimmy draws closer. “Chicken. You’re just a weak little chicken. Get up that ladder NOW! If you don’t I swear to God…” He shoves his fist in front of the little boy’s face. Jonah’s eyes widen. He is shocked at the anger from his cousin seemingly from nowhere. Why is he being like this? He hesitantly places his hands on the ladder and slowly begins to climb, his fear rising at each step. Jimmy is behind him. “Faster!” he bellows. By the time Jonah reaches half way his mouth is dry and he is shaking with fear. He has never felt this fear before, his whole body shivering like he is very, very cold. But he doesn’t want to show Jimmy he is so afraid. He can’t show his fear. When they reach the top. Jonah unbuttons his blue duffle coat and sits on a hay bale. Jimmy sits on another opposite and fixes him with a malevolent gaze. Jonah looks at the floor and tries to recover.  Jimmy produces a knife from his pocket and turns it over in his hands.

“I could kill you up here and no one would ever know.”

Jonah feels cold and stares at his cousin incredulously. Jimmy suddenly throws the knife just to one side of his leg and it sticks in the hay-bale with a “thunk”. Jonah feels the world shrinking, he can hear the blood rushing in his ears and his heart beating as if it would break through his rib-cage. Then he begins to feel nothing. He is numb, switched off and nothing matters anymore. He can hear Jimmy yabbering obscenities but he, Jonah has gone somewhere else. Soon, Jimmy forces him down the ladder again, and this time, though Jonah is afraid and he begins to sweat, something has broken inside and he doesn’t really care if he lives or dies. Jonah manages to tell his parents what happened. But it doesn’t come out right, sounding like a mischevious game. When he tells them about the knife however, their smiles disappear. They call for Jimmy but he is nowhere to be found. By the time they have reached home they have forgotten the incident. Jonah realises that his parents don’t consider it important enough to follow up, so Jonah convinces himself it didn’t mean anything. He would never mention it again. He goes to bed early that night feeling very tired and lays in a fetal position under the covers. The little boy doesn’t know that he is traumatised the effects of which will remain in his unconscious and locked into his body for decades.

***

Sarah is four-years-old and its her first time on the school mini-bus. She started kindergarten this morning and is on her way home. She has a backpack and an extra sandwich provided by her mother whom she knows that she will be there to pick her up. He mother told her it would be a very short trip and that she would have picked her up if she’d had a car but there was no other way around it. Sarah didn’t like to be away from her mother and would rather be playing with her toys in her comfy, cosy bedroom. Tears were just below the surface. She is surrounded by a lot of big, noisy school children and she is afraid. Everything is so loud! She looks out of the window and thinks about Alfie her dog and his big pink tongue. She wished he was here with her – he would make it all right. It isn’t long before the bus judders to a halt and everyone piles out in a mass of shouting, bustling bodies. Sarah remains in her seat not sure if she should follow. Her heart begins to thump and she wanders down to the driver and pulls on his sleeve.

Hey, sweet-pea, this your stop?

Sarah stares at him wide-eyed. She nods…”Mom’s coming to pick me up.”

Well, okay then, you better get out here. You don’t want to be going into town.”

She nods again, brushes the hair from her eyes and adjusts her Power Rangers backpack. Turning to the doors she gingerly clambers down the steps and onto the warm pavement. The mini-bus pulls away. The other children have departed and there is not a soul to be seen. Sarah find herself alone.

Her heart begins to thump faster and her breathes become shorter. Sarah wanders over to the bus shelter and waits. She sits on the long plastic seat her legs straight out in front of her. Her mother will be here soon and the the thought calms her down. She bobs her shiny shoes up and down as if in happy confirmation. Sarah absently looks at the occasional passer-by hoping that the person is her mom. Each time, it is a stranger and each time she is disappointed she becomes more agitated. After half an hour Sarah’s chin begins to wobble and she calls for her Mom. She breathes rapidly looking around wildly in the vain hope if spotting her mother. Everything looks so strange. She doesn’t recognise anything or anyone. She frowns and screws up her face and begins to cry punctuated by cries for Mom. After one hour Sarah is calling her mother’s name only occasionally and plaintively between wracking sobs. But still no one comes. The street is empty.

She goes and sits on the side of the pavement as the sun begins to go down in the hope that someone – anyone will take her to her home. She sees a man walk hurriedly past on the other side of the street and is trapped between desperate wish for him to help her and her equally desperate fear of a stranger. She looks at all the homes and doesn’t even consider knocking on someone’s door. Everything is alien and therefore threatening. After an hour and a half, Sarah has cried herself dry. She is fiddling with her backpack and tracing her finger around the stitching repeating the process again and again. She barely looks up when her mom arrives and gathers her up weeping with relief. Sarah has been collected at last but this little girl has transported her mind somewhere else. There are no tears and not much recognition. She is in a state of detachment and drowsy acceptance of her fate. She is traumatised. The next morning Sarah will appear much better but the trauma of that event will have etched its itself into her mind and body with repercussions for the future.

These examples illustrate how precarious and vulnerable children are to the everyday trials of life growing up. It is impossible to avoid negative events as they are simply a part of what makes us human. But what we can do is build our knowledge base so that these inevitable challenges do not define us in later life, where traumatic experiences lie undetected and unresolved, keeping us unnecessarily locked in within the confines of the traumatic memory that claimed us through no fault of our own.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)

Fully remembering our personal history can be a painful process – almost unbearable for some. But it must be done to bring us back to ourselves. As that wise old bird Hippocrates noted: “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Depending on the level of repression/suppression of emotions, time may heal. But trauma and adversity may just “freeze” the system in complex ways. As co-director of the The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE) Vincent Felitti MD notes: “Contrary to conventional belief, time does not heal all wounds, since humans convert traumatic emotional experiences in childhood into organic disease later in life.” [2]

Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s book Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal is an excellent place to start in discovering how to evaluate ACE and to implement the solutions provided. The studies and their questionnaire scaling shows, with surprising accuracy, that the number of Adverse Childhood Experiences an individual had, predicted the amount of medical care that person would require as an adult:

  • Individuals who had faced 4 or more categories of ACEs were twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer as individuals who hadn’t experienced childhood adversity.
  • For each ACE Score a woman had, her risk of being hospitalized with an autoimmune disease rose by 20 percent.
  • Someone with an ACE Score of 4 was 460 percent more likely to suffer from depression than someone with an ACE Score of 0.
  • An ACE Score greater than or equal to 6 shortened an individual’s lifespan by almost 20 years. [3]

So, why such dramatic results?

(more…)

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?

predatorclouds2

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.