Unleash the Flying Monkeys!


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So what on earth is a flying monkey?

image of flying monkey

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/


The term ‘flying monkeys’ is derived from that all-time movie classic, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, in which the wicked witch of the west sends out her nasty little troupe of flying monkeys to inflict torment on Dorothy and her trusty trio.

In popular psychology it is used to describe the people an abuser enlists to back her up, join in with blaming the victim, name-calling, put-downs, the silent treatment and other crazy-making behaviour. Once groomed and recruited, flying monkeys invariably perceive the narcissistic abuser as the innocent party and are outraged at what they believe the real victim has done. They have it ass backwards.

Why it works so well

Narcissists carefully construct a false public image while projecting their real self, with all its ugly traits, onto their chosen target. Because an abuser never attacks in public, people find it extremely difficult to believe she’s anything but the lovely, caring person she pretends to be when she has an audience. Frankly, it’s disturbing to witness how fast she can switch from raging virago to Mrs Happy-Go-Lucky in less than a heartbeat. If you’re unlucky enough to be in a relationship with someone like this, you’ve already seen how fast she can go from sweet to psycho in private. Trust me when I say she is equally able to switch back the other way should a witness come close to walking in on one of her rages.

The narcissist chooses her flying monkeys carefully. She’ll only enlist those she knows will take her side and carry out her bidding, whether she has expressly told them what she wants them to do or whether the process is achieved in more subtle ways. Sadly, the most vulnerable potential monkeys are the abusers own children or other family members and, of course, her best friends. It’s likely they’ll even mimic her behaviour as a matter of course, since she has already portrayed you (consistently) to the be the crazy one, the one at fault, the one who deserves to wear all the guilt and shame. Because they’ve rarely, if ever, been privy to her craziness, they simply accept her version of the truth and go after you with all the self-righteous indignance they can muster, adding a lot of heated fuel to her attack  on you.

As the more responsible parent (or sibling, or child), you have most likely consciously avoided embroiling your children (or siblings or other family members) in your spousal troubles, trying to protect them from the ugly reality that you face on a daily basis. You have been set up like a row of bowling pins. If the first bowler doesn’t knock you out, subsequent bowlers – the flying monkeys – will. The group attack was carefully planned by your abuser.

It’s imperative to trust your own reality – to know who you are, how you operate, and what your values are. An onslaught from your abuser and her hoard of flying monkeys is akin to all-out psychological warfare, and will leave you with all the post-traumatic stress that accompanies battle.




Retraumatization – what happens when you’re triggered.

The greatest gift you are ever going to give someone – the permission to feel safe in their own skin. To feel worthy. To feel like they are enough.

Hannah Brencher

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com/Chrisroll

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com/Chrisroll

Of the hundreds of people with whom I’ve interacted via this blog and on facebook, not one who has been on the receiving end of relentless emotional abuse feels ‘safe’ – not in their own skin, not in the company of others nor in contact with their outer or inner worlds.

I have been there. Sometimes I still am. One word, one look, one innuendo can jettison me back through time so fast that I become that child, that spouse; you know, the one who will never be good enough, all over again. In less than a heartbeat I am metaphorically tossed onto the cold hard tiles I was once brutally thrown on in a physical sense. The emotional pain though, runs deeper, right to the arteries, until I feel I’ll surely bleed to death without the slightest scratch to evidence my injury. I find myself fighting the urge to curl into the tiniest, tiniest ball – like some deformed foetus – and crawl into the farthest corner of the darkest cupboard – until the end of time. It is an agony to just ‘be’.

When I am ‘triggered’ like this, I am fighting the urge to ‘not be’ … that is, to not exist. I want desperately to flee to the arms of the Great I Am. There is no solace on this earth. But I stay. I breathe through it. I think of my children and my grandchildren … and I resist the compulsion to run into the night and take the path to the cliff edge a short walk from here. Once there, I know I would fall … because I would want to fall.

This woundedness is something I will probably never completely recover from. Such things are embedded too deep in the psyche and surrounded by a dense network of pain, and nightmarish fears that have been reinforced over and over again.

A  Jungian psychologist would refer to this phenomenon, I believe, as a complex. The existence of complexes is almost universally agreed upon in the field of depth psychology. The underlying assumption is that the most important influences on your personality are deep in the unconscious (Dewey, 2007). Because they are buried so deep they are often unavailable to our consciousness, making mediation of the intense emotions evoked by activation of a complex extraordinarily difficult. Many psychologists hold that, indeed, complexes are impossible to cure and can, at best, be managed.

Unlike the other aspects of consciousness, complexes are peculiarly autonomous. They either force themselves on our awareness, breaking through the inhibitory processes of consciousness, or will hide from us, refusing to be brought to awareness at will. They can be both obsessive and possessive. When they break through, believe me, they are in charge of you. That makes them both scary and destructive.

So there I was … recently. Triggered. Wanting to die. Wanting to disappear. And having no idea how to handle the situation.

This story has a happy ending, however … and I believe such happy endings are rare. There is one ingredient … one unique and rare ingredient … that brings about healing. I have found it. I have been gifted with it. My next post will elaborate. Love and light to all who read this.





Do Emotional Abusers Know What They’re Doing?


Vampire girl

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The short answer is, it depends. A true narcissistic personality is utterly conscious of the ways in which they are manipulating and hurting you. And they simply don’t care. More than that, it gives them pleasure, a sense of superiority and control. It is a big part of their psychopathology. Other abusers, who don’t score highly enough on narcissistic traits to be labelled with full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder, may simply be repeating patterns they learned in childhood and in subsequent relationships. I say ‘simply’, but the process via which it happens is far from simple, nor is it simple to unravel and to heal.

Mostly though, people don’t fit neatly into two separate categories – pathological abuser and ‘ordinary’ abuser, for instance. Personality traits aren’t ‘either/or’, but exist on a bipolar continuum, meaning they range from mild to severe, depending on the person, and also on the circumstances or environment in which that person acts. So…looking again at whether or not abusers do what they do purposefully…I can’t make that assessment for you, but may be able to help you fathom the answer as it relates to your personal situation.

On blogs and discussion groups you’ll find professionals and lay-people alike debating this question and coming out in favour of one side or the other. So how do you tell the difference?

  1. Look for the lies

If your partner consistently lies, chances are they are fully aware of what they’re doing. There is one school of thought that suggests narcissistic personalities are so adept at deceiving themselves, they actually believe their own lies. I have rarely witnessed this to be the case. There’s a reliable way of finding out, however.

If you catch them in a lie, bring it to their attention in a non-accusatory way. Simply state the truth and that you are aware you’ve been lied to. Then wait for the reaction.

The abuser who is aware she is lying will immediately go for the jugular – yours! It will be swift and brutal. (If you don’t keep your wits about you, you’ll be the one who ends up apologizing.) The response you get will likely have absolutely nothing to do with the point you’ve just made but will be something pulled out of thin air to deflect from their own guilt. They will, instead, hark back to the past and throw some perceived, and entirely irrelevant misdemeanor of yours in your face. And because you care about how they feel, you will likely take the bait. It’s a trip to hell.

2. Their body language and facial expression will reveal the truth.

Image from Springbrook - showing an ancient beech tree with twisted roots.

The cold, soulless eyes tell you all you need to know

There’s a phenomenon I have come across countless times during my discussions with targets of emotional abuse. There is something soulless about the eyes and expression of an abuser who clearly has sadistic tendencies. Their eyes will go black. Their facial expressions will be incredibly cold. There is something ‘frozen’ and reptilian about the face that looks back at you. You’ll feel chilled to the bone and very frightened, even if he/she has never laid a hand on you. Trust this instinct.


3. Your tears and genuine emotional pain will not move them.

This hardly needs explanation. If you find yourself genuinely in pain and trying to reason with your abuser, tears in your eyes, your heart breaking … and it fails to move them … they are very aware of what they’re doing. In the words of my own abuser, ‘I knew what I was saying and doing was wrong, and it wasn’t true … but I just wanted to stick it to you.’ He felt that was a perfectly reasonable explanation. I’ll go out on a limb here and disagree with numerous ‘experts’, many of whom have never experienced this first hand, and say it’s utterly inappropriate to excuse these people on the grounds that the poor things don’t have the capacity for empathy. Oh dear, isn’t it sad? They don’t have the capacity for intimacy. They’ll never really experience real love. While that may be true, abusers in this category don’t value things like intimacy – so they aren’t suffering at all. You are. And they don’t give a hoot.


The Bottom Line

Does it really matter if they’re aware of their effect on you, or not? You can’t change them. In fact, from the point of view of ‘tough love’, leaving them to it may give them the only chance they have of facing their demons and becoming better people. It’s not your job. Not your circus. Not your monkeys. The harder you try, the more you will fail. Narcissists already think you are in their lives for one reason only, and that is to make them the centre of your universe. The harder you try, the more you are feeding them what they want – the popular terminology for what you are to them is ‘narcissistic supply’. You are being sucked dry by an emotional vampire and therapists and researchers agree that the chances of positive change are very, very small.

Do you want to waste years of your life hoping for the unattainable?

Don’t you dare! (criticize your abuser)


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“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Voltaire

Image of man covering his ears

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As soon as I came across the above quote by Voltaire, notable French enlightenment writer and philosopher, I knew it would form the basis of my next post. With his own experiences of imprisonment for his outspoken stance against the Church, he ought to know a little about who rules whom, and the consequences of overstepping the mark.

As do you and I, fellow abuse survivors. Remember what happened the last time you leveled a rational and well-deserved criticism at your tormentor?

I’ll bet the whole of Hades came crashing in upon your head, raining verbal pitchforks at your heart and your sanity. No matter how constructively or how mildly you phrased your complaint; no matter how reasonable your request for change; no matter how you sugared the pill to prepare him, your punishment was assured; served swiftly and with devastating cruelty. Am I right?

Abusers perceive as an attack, virtually everything you say that doesn’t line up with their world view, or their view of themselves. As we have already discussed in previous posts, an abuser’s view of him or herself is way off beam. Abusers can’t face what they see in the metaphorical mirror, and they certainly can’t tolerate you pointing out the truth, even when it should be clear that your aim is conflict resolution and family harmony. I made the ‘mistake’ of taking my marriage vows too seriously. Included in our ceremony were a number of special vows in which we promised to support each other in becoming everything the Creator meant us to be. To me, it seemed obvious that to uphold that vow, we needed to confront each other, albeit gently, about actions and words that were not moving us in a positive direction.

But it’s the ‘truth’ that unhinges them and sends them into defensive mode. You get to sit back and listen to them trot out all the Freudian defense mechanisms in an attempt to make you into the bad guy, and reassert themselves as the righteous and perfect one. Or, in the words of my particular abuser, ‘the well-calibrated one.’ (While I, of course, was the ‘nutjob.’)

In fact, you don’t even need to criticize. All you need to do is hold a differing opinion or express an emotion they don’t understand or agree with. Such is their disordered thinking and sense of entitlement.

This process is explained in detail in Patricia Evans series of books:
‘The Verbally Abusive Man’, ‘The Verbally Abusive Relationship’, and ‘Controlling People’.

(Please bear with me while I work on fixing the links to these books. In the meantime they can be found at the bottom of this page … An Abuser Hides His True Self.

I devoured her writing, turning page after page, while uncovering an increasingly vivid picture of my abuser. I can’t recommend her work enough.

An abuser doesn’t see you for the unique individual you are. You are simply an extension of him or herself, and are therefore expected to conform to the needs and expectations of that fragile, unrealistic self. If you don’t, you are instantly perceived as a threat … a very real threat to the meticulously constructed false self your abuser so desperately clings to. Every time you open your mouth and express your individuality, your abuser loses his cool. In his eyes, he is protecting himself from an attack … an attack that is not actually happening.

Most of us, when confronted by our loved ones with complaints about our behaviour, look within ourselves, consider the feelings of the complainant, and seek to address the issues. Naturally, the complaints will sting, but beyond an initial discomfort, we are still capable of acting and reacting in ‘adult mode’. On the other hand, an abuser is ever a child; prone to tantrums, lies, denials, projection and blame … in fact, anything that works to keep them at the top of the power struggle. Their sole purpose is to win. Too bad if you are crushed or your children suffer from the collateral damage. They don’t care.

So think carefully. Are you afraid to speak your mind? Have you read all the articles advising you to use ‘I messages’ and to time your criticisms wisely, yet when you do, you still find yourself on the receiving end of an abusive tirade? Do you spend hours rehearsing in your mind, the best way to approach even the slightest grievance? Do you find yourself feeling physically sick and full of anxiety at the very thought of bringing up an issue?

If you can answer yes to any of the above, my heart goes out to you. It will take nothing short of a miracle to effect change. I wish it were otherwise.

In truth, you are in an emotional straight-jacket. The person who is responsible for putting you there is the person you cannot, under any circumstances, criticize.

The Differences Between A Sociopath And A Narcissist

For a long time I’ve considered my abuser to be a narcissist but not a sociopath. This insightful article has me asking myself whether he could, in fact, be a sociopath with high level narcissistic traits, largely because he is completely dishonest about who he really is. His motivation is definitely narcissistic supply but not necessarily the adulation a true narcissist seeks. As this blog post points out…all sociopaths are narcissists but not all narcissists are sociopaths. It’s a subtle but important (and fascinating) distinction.

Learus Ohnine - "Walls Were Made To Be Broken"

When we try to analyze the people we cross paths with in society, it is possible to misinterpret our analysis for lack of a better understanding. For those who have crossed paths with a sociopath and a narcissist on separate occasions, it may seem like there is little to no difference between the two when in fact one can be mistaken for the other. Both are considered to be social terrorists, however, there are distinguishing characteristics that would imply neither of them are one in the same. Therefore, I would like to explain briefly the differences in character between these two personality disorders…

Narcissist will let you know up front what they are about. They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake). They generally do not tell these stories for any other…

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A Reply to Lauren Southern’s “Why I’m Not a Feminist”


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This post by Jenna Christian addresses what many women perceive as an anti-feminist backlash that seems to have broken out in full force just as men’s violence against women was finally taken seriously. While I acknowledge that women can and do perpetrate domestic violence and will always be an advocate for those who are silenced by their abusers, regardless of gender, I also disagree with the underlying assumption of the One in Three Men campaign – ie that males and females are equally responsible for domestic violence against an intimate partner. Jenna Christian’s post is both articulate and backed by research and statistics.

Everyday Geopolitics Houston

Dear Lauren,

In the last couple days, I have seen your video “Why I’m Not a Feminist” pop up a few times. In the video, you describe why you are not a feminist. At the heart of your message is the assertion, “I am not a feminist because I believe both genders should be treated equally.” Setting aside for a moment the problems with your assumption that gender can be reduced to a binary of male/female (here’s a decent introduction to that if you want), I want to talk about the misinformation you offer in your video: misinformation about feminist activism and scholarship, and misinformation about domestic violence and rape. I don’t often find engaging in these types debates online to be the most fruitful use of my energies, since people that produce anti-feminist content generally are not very open to meaningful engagement with feminist thought, however I’ve been stewing over your…

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An abuser hides his true ‘self’.


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Disclaimer: I have used the masculine gender to describe an abuser in the title of this post for ease of writing. Throughout this post I have referred to both sexes by using the plural personal pronouns, ‘they’ ‘them’ or ‘their’ in recognition of the reality that women are also capable of abusing their loved ones.

One of the most common questions I hear is, ‘How can someone hide an abusive personality?

An abuser's mask

-1360 Schreiberfigur anagoria” by AnagoriaOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.personality?’ In other words, how do we not see it coming? If these people are truly as ugly and cruel as we describe, why wasn’t that obvious from the beginning?

The truth is, abusers are highly skilled at hiding their pathological personalities. If they weren’t, they’d never secure employment, gain friends or even negotiate the grocery store without risking a punch up. Normal people would never put up with an abuser’s ‘real self’.

Psychologists use the terms ‘real self’ and ‘ideal self’ when discussing the development of personality. The real self is easy to understand – it is comprised of our actual, manifest personality traits as well as all the aspects that make up our character. The ideal self is that to which we aspire. It’s our inner concept of who we really want to be; what we want to become as we mature. If the real self is too far removed from the ideal self, we experience discomfort within our psyches. We become disappointed in who we are, and how we behave towards others and the environment. If the gap between the real self and the ideal self is too wide, it can result in significant psychopathology.

Most of us are aware when we’re not being honest with ourselves, and subsequently take action to address the imbalance. For those with high levels of narcissistic traits however, the ego is too fragile to accept the disappointing image in the mirror, so they turn away from it in order to create a false self to present to the world. In turning away from their inner reality, they deny its’ existence. In brief, they detest what they see; don’t have the courage to face and overcome it; and so construct a false self that is not only different from their real self, but also extreme in its virtue, cleverness, and sense of importance. They overcompensate for self-hate by constructing this superior facade. The mask they wear is painted with virtues like understanding, compassion, intelligence, responsibility, reliability, humour, kindness and worldly achievements. They often (though not always) walk among us as the pillars of society and our most socially responsible high achievers. Frequently, they are known as generous, benevolent souls outside their intimate circle.

When we meet them, they come highly recommended. Their bosses, coworkers and friends sing their praises. What we don’t know is that they are mentally scanning the room for their latest target, desperate for a source of narcissistic supply. After all, they can’t feel good about themselves until they can make someone else look and feel bad. That someone needs to be empathetic, compassionate, responsible and reliable – all the traits the abuser lacks. Abusers resent their victims, who are everything the abuser wants to be. That resentment quickly escalates to intense hatred.

Man flirting with woman

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the beginning, however, to hook the perfect target abusers need to be extremely careful not to let their masks slip. With an uncanny ‘nose’ for sniffing out potential sources of narcissistic supply, they can smell vulnerability the way a bloodhound tracks a scent. Through years of practice, they’ve become experts at discovering what makes you tick, what your hopes and dreams are, what you love and what you hate – the essence of who you are. They then have all the ammunition they need to hunt you down.

Where would you most like to travel to?’ ‘Really, the Netherlands? I can’t believe it – the Netherlands is next on my bucket list!

In this respect, abusers are chameleons. If you’re the unwitting victim, all you know is that suddenly you have met the one person in the world who understands you completely, who shares your hopes and dreams, and is aligned with your values. You can’t know that this person who is pursuing you so ardently is simply pretending to mirror your innermost thoughts, support your passions, love the same things you do and envision exactly the same ‘perfect’ future together. We don’t know we’ve been studied for a specific purpose and that our beloved is an expert at what he does. Dr Jekyll doesn’t have to think about becoming Mr Hyde. It happens as naturally as breathing.

During the wooing phase you’ll be ‘love-bombed’. That is, you’ll be pursued so passionately that before you know it, you’re addicted to this ‘love’. This phase is achieved by using the basic psychological principles of conditioning. You are relentlessly ‘rewarded’ at a rate that is not ‘normal’ in a normal population; and this creates an addictive emotional response within you. I will explain this process further in a subsequent post. For now, suffice to say that, once you’re successfully ‘addicted’ to abusers, then…and only then…will they drop their guard and reveal their real selves.

And you are in deep, deep water.

For an excellent and in-depth explanation of the complicated dynamics of abusive relationships, I highly recommend three books by Patrica Evans. I keep these books on my kindle and refer to them regularly. They have been extremely instrumental in my understanding and overcoming the effects of abuse. The book by Lundy Bancroft is often quoted as an extremely useful resource on numerous blogs on the topic of abuse. Click the images to take you to the Amazon store.

Vulnerability after verbal, emotional and psycholical abuse


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After my devastating experience with verbal, emotional and psychological abuse, I was absolutely convinced that no human being could ever touch my heart again. I was DONE. Over it. Had better things to do with what remained of my life. Intimacy was suddenly an alien phenomenon for me…me, who, at the age of 54, had always been so relationship-oriented. I found myself utterly repulsed by the mere thought of connecting in an intimate and sexual way with another human being. And yet…one day it happened.

If the video fails to load, please follow this link to my YouTube page:

Vulnerability After Abuse

Disclaimer:   This video is based on my phenomenological experience. That is, it is subjective, told from my unique world view and the authentic expression of my feelings. As any decent therapist will assert, feelings are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. Feelings just are. Negative emotions tell us something needs to be addressed and healed in our lives. They can be examined for rationality and adjusted if found to be unreasonable; and they can be used to change our outer circumstances, should those feelings prove to be trustworthy.

At times during this video, I speak of my very real distress and emotional pain, which also impacted on my neurological condition, as stress invariably does. I have drawn my own conclusions as to its cause. We are each our own experts when it comes to what we feel, how we react and what we need to do to improve our lives.

In brief, the intent of this video is not to point the finger of blame or seek revenge, but rather to enlighten those who are struggling with similar issues and offer a ray of hope. I am ever grateful to each and every human being who has shared part of my life’s journey. Each one, no matter how painful the experience, has been my teacher and I have faith and hope that their own journeys, though we have parted, may continue to expand their horizons. Each is a precious soul with the potential for greatness, and to this day, I believe each and every one of them to be good people at their core, doing their best to learn and grow as life leads.


The Legal System Enables Abusers – Part 2: Defamation Laws

I currently struggle, as do a number of my fellow bloggers who write about the topic of abuse, with the desire to ‘come out’, so to speak.

One of the most important criteria for successful blogging is the creation of a very personal identity for readers to connect with and relate to. That means having a face and a name clearly positioned on the page. This is not an ego trip and I’m not chasing ‘numbers’, but I’m absolutely passionate about spreading awareness and reaching out to those who are still suffering from the long-standing effects of verbal and emotional abuse, as well as those who have escaped their abusive situation and are still drowning in a sea of confusion. I’m unable, at this point, to even share my writing with my facebook friends, because they will …quite simply…know who I am, and therefore, recognize my abuser. God forbid that he should be exposed. And so…one of the most effective means of spreading the word – social networking – is unable to be accessed. I can be sued, pure and simple, for telling the truth.

And so, I find myself silenced yet again; and am experiencing all the fury and frustration I went through while being silenced by my abuser. I am rendered voiceless. Unable to be heard; prevented from being me; stopped from being real about my own reality; repressed and suppressed; blocked from making a difference in people’s lives. Why?

Because of the law.

The laws surrounding libel and slander are murky at best, and strike fear into the hearts of writers the world over. The advent of the internet has opened this Pandora’s box even  wider; so wide, in fact, that many of us are afraid to move the pen across the page, or our fingers across the keyboard, lest we offend those who have never experienced a moment’s qualm about offending us to the very core.

Where does it all end? In the too-hard basket, perhaps? That would definitely play into the hands of our abusers. So, what next?

I’m unsure…except that I’m determined to find a way around this particular obstacle…this thorn in my side…this potential arrow in the hands of my abuser. He will not ‘win’. Evil will not have its way.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” British politician, Sir Edmund Burke

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” British philosopher, John Stuart Mill.

This requires a courageous, collective effort. That is, TRUE JUSTICE requires a courageous, collective effort.

I’m considering including a strong disclaimer on my blog…and possibly for every post. That is, something that reads along the lines of: ‘All entries in this blog are the subjective view of the writer; my phenomenological experience; my personal opinion; my unique interpretation of events and people.’ Accompanied by my legal name and my photograph. I then propose sharing it publicly.

Your thoughts, fellow bloggers and followers?

The Legal System Enables Abusers and punishes Abuse Victims

Image of hammer and gavel

Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/cooldesign

You’d think the world would ‘get’ the message about victim bashing by now, wouldn’t you? But let me assure you…it does not. If you believe you’ll be able to stand tall in a court of law, tell the truth and be both vindicated and compensated because you have suffered what amounts to psychological torture, I must persuade you to think again.

Our justice system is not set up to pursue justice or truth. It is set up to reward those with the most resources, those who have no scruples, those who already believe they’re entitled to everything they want; those who assume their own superiority. In other words, the justice system is tailor-made for stroking the egos of abusers, falling for their lies, and handing their on a platter, the outcome they fully believes is their due.

Even worse is the fact that the legal system is also set up to punish those who

Image of a woman as a target.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

have the least resources; those who speak the truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God; those who assume every human being has equal value and the right to fair play. These, the victims, are putty in the hands of ruthless legal eagles, just as they were putty in the hands of their tormentors.

Believe me, I have walked the walk. There is  nothing pretty on that particular catwalk. Prepare to leave your dignity at the courtroom door, to suffer more humiliation as you hear lies and accusations leveled at you with such overwhelming confidence you can’t think straight – just as you couldn’t think straight during all those crazy-making conversations with your accuser; manipulated into believing you are both ‘bad’ and ‘mad’ by relentless gaslighting. (For an explanation of gaslighting, see my post on crazy-making behaviour here.)

The legal profession has a very high percentage of psychopathology among its ranks, far higher than in the normal population. They like nothing better than to band together with fellow ego-maniacs with the aim of screwing the little people. In court-cases in which abusers are involved, the victim is always ‘the little people’. Insignificant. Just listen to your abuser expound about all those years he worked towards putting his ‘wealth’ together and how you, his victim, are a money-grubbing gold digger who is mentally unhinged.

Abusers won’t bat an eye at the idea of lying under oath or signing their names to an affidavit that tears you, once-beloved, to utter shreds. You will be astounded at the number of lies that can be fitted on one page and at the manipulative spin put on every ‘story’ told. After all, it’s a divorce or property settlement case. Abusers can say whatever they want. No one is prosecuted for perjury under the family law act. It’s a free-for-all and your ex-partner will take full advantage of it; there are no external restraints on behaviour and abusers see no need to restrain themselves.

The only thing abusers can’t bear is being exposed for who they really are. Remove that possibility and place them in a courtroom where they are prepared to say and do anything to get what they want (to decimate you publicly and ensure you get nothing), fueled by their financial advantage and the status they’ve fabricated for the benefit of wooing the legal team, and you stand no chance.

I heard accusations from the registrar that had me reeling and it was only in retrospect that I was able to comprehend what had happened. My nemesis had spun such a convincing story of sacrificial martyrdom with a ‘hard few years’ behind him, who’d tried to give me everything I ever wanted only to be repaid by my ‘insanity’, using every trick of emotional blackmail in his repertoire. He said he was still devastated by the death of his first wife. For four years I had heard him say nothing but derogatory and defamatory things about her. She was psycho, he told me – a nutjob; crazy; frankly mad; controlling; without empathy; manipulative and a drug addict. He would sneer and snarl with every word. When I saw his head in his hands, his shoulders slumped, convincing the registrar of his sincerity by using his first wife’s suicide to garner sympathy, I knew I was beaten. The best I could do was exit with dignity.

My lawyer assured me I had the moral victory and that my ex-husband would always resent me for it.

Cold comfort. Cold, cold comfort as I sit here with my future in tatters.

Image of a woman's hands in chains

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