Tag Archives: Stockholm Syndrome

Back To School With Stockton’s Very Own “Science Guy”, 45 Year Stockton Science Teacher, Mr. Gary Underwood, by Lisa Nadig

No part of the following article may be reproduced or copied without the express permission of the author, Lisa Nadig. Ms. Nadig is a graduate of Stockton High School and DePaul University. The above photo is from the Stockton Public Schools Radiothon, Fall 2021. Pictured is Superintendent James Bunting (Center) holding the microphone, without his mask. All photos have been previously published on the world wide web, the school’s social media sites, throughout the news media, and republished according to fair use laws.

Back To School With Stockton’s Very Own “Science Guy”, 45 year Stockton Science Teacher, Mr. Gary Underwood, by Lisa Nadig

September 23, 2021, Stockton School Board Meeting, Stockton, IL: It’s time we all took a refresher course, a review of lessons learned in Science Class. Here to help us is 45 year Stockton High School Science Teacher, Mr. Gary Underwood.

Mr. Underwood very graciously accepted my invitation to address the Stockton School Board meeting. He began by clearing up the definition of the word Science: “Science is the search for truth. But now, this isn’t Science, it’s Political Science. ” Mr. Underwood then gave a brief review on Viruses. He asked us: “Have any of you ever seen a virus?” When nobody responded that they had, he said: “You need an electron microscope to see a virus.” Before Mr. Underwood concluded his refresher course on Science and Viruses, he looked around the gymnasium and said: “There isn’t a single mask in this entire place that could stop a virus.

School Board President NEIL CAHILL (Rear Row, 2nd from Right) voted to keep our kids in masks all day but clearly enjoys Mask Optional at his convenience. Mr. Cahill has been observed harassing the people at Board Meetings over how they’re wearing their masks. Middle School Boy’s Basketball, Winter 2022, Stockton HS Gym, Stockton, IL. Photo from Stockton Schools social media sites, and media at large.

I would like to thank Mr. Underwood for our sorely needed science refresher course. It seems to me that “Science” is a word that’s become a political weapon, that it means whatever drives a certain financial or political agenda.

Stockton School Board Members, NICOLE HAAS (Rear Center) & TONIA BLAIR (Front Center) who Voted To Keep Our Babies In Masks All Day, but enjoy Mask Optional for themselves. Ms. Haas & Ms. Blair were filmed harassing and mocking members of the public, as they peacefully exercised their legal rights to speak at an Open School Board Meeting. Corner Tap, Main Street, Stockton, IL

I’m also grateful to hear that Mr. Underwood is not afraid of viruses to the point he would sit home in fear and isolation, or endorse reliance on a thin piece of cloth to feel “Safe”. Nor is Mr. Underwood hypocritical or willing to misuse his position of power and influence to force children to do something he himself is not really willing to do.

Stockton School Board Member TONIA BLAIR (left) goes Mask Optional but Voted To Keep Our Kids In Masks All Day. Ms. Blair was filmed angrily berating and mocking the public as they peacefully exercised their legal rights to speak at an Open School Board Meeting. Corner Tap, Main Street, Stockton, IL

But our school board is regularly observed parading around our community without their masks on – defying the governor’s mandate to wear masks in these public places. They freely waltz into school events, stores, restaurants and bars all over town on a daily basis, without the masks they gladly force our babies to wear all day, AND in open defiance of the governor’s mandate for masks in all public places.

But let’s go back to that word “Safe”. Wow! Now that’s another word misused to create fear. How many times do you hear “Stay safe!” If I hear someone tell me “Stay safe” when I go to a public place, I know they too are living the lie, and pretending that living in fear – while traumatizing our children – is somehow a really grand, and noble thing.

Stockton School Board Member, Laura Dittmar-Wilkinson, who voted to keep the Mask Mandate – masking our kids all day long, decides to attend a school event as “Mask Optional” in the Stockton High School Gymnasium, Stockton, IL. Edited to add: Ms. Dittmar Wilkinson has since stated that at this particular event she only removed her mask for a photo (which is against the Mandate). However, she has been frequently observed not wearing her mask at all, throughout the community.

But if the Stockton School Board really believed their own lies – that the mask is keeping everyone safe – including them – they’d never take it off in public, would they. And if they really believed in the governor’s mandate to wear masks in all public places, they wouldn’t openly defy it out in front of us every day.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s as true today as it was when our country faced the Great Depression, and World War II.

But the thing I fear isn’t a virus that the vast majority of people fully recover from. And the Stockton School Board has proven they don’t really fear it either, by their own actions out in the community every day – they just PRETEND to be afraid.

No, what I fear most are School Board members who would dare presume to know more about Science than our Science Teacher.

I fear School Board members who are willing to throw our children’s education away just for the Covid Relief payoff – throwing the baby out with the bathwater – because they’ve lost approximately 10-15 children to homeschooling already – at approximately $16K per child! So, on the low end of 10 children at $16k per child, for 12 years, is $1.92 Million, nearly twice the $1.12 Million in Covid Relief funding received for this school year.

Our school enrollment has already been rapidly dwindling for years, to the point that not too long ago, there was a push to consolidate with the Warren schools. High School enrollment is already down approximately 50% over the last few decades. Can we really afford to continue to lose students? This is certainly very poor long-term planning.

I fear School Board members who are so threatened by anyone who disagrees that they attempt to deprive them of their First Amendment rights through intimidation, and smear campaigns. Who illegally attempt to silence dissent by harassing, bullying and openly mocking the public for peacefully exercising their right to speak at Open Meetings – in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

I fear School Board members who force kids to do what they themselves won’t do, just so they can look “politically correct”, while they do “virtue signaling performance art” for each other, but at the same time, demonstrating publicly that these were really just sham performances.

I fear school board members who’ve forgotten their duty to serve the public with respect, grace, dignity and diligence. I fear school board members who seem blissfully unaware of the momentous task ahead of them in repairing the public’s trust and goodwill.

I fear Big Pharma CEO’s beholden to shareholders profits, driving medical treatment decisions for patients instead of Doctors. I fear the exploitation of our precious children, by turning them into mere commodities for a political and financial agenda. I fear the physical and emotional abuse of our children – forced to wear an absolutely disgustingly filthy cloth on their faces all day. I fear turning our precious children into sacrificial cash cows.

I fear notoriously corrupt Illinois politics – ranked among the worst in the country – compromising our children’s education and futures. I fear the political posturing, Big Pharma corruption, propaganda campaigns & corruption at the federal, state and local levels, cherry-picking evidence, lying, bullying, tyrannical overreach, law breaking, violations of our Constitutional rights, vicious, baseless smear campaigns, and witch hunts by those with ulterior financial and political motives.

THIS is what we ALL should fear.

Healing After Narcissistic Abuse & “Unpacking” Your Core, Online Seminar w/ Dr. Ramani Durvasula, 8/14/21

Saturday, August 14, 2021, 1-4 PM CDT

When we think about narcissistic abuse, recovery is impacted by numerous processes – it’s not just about the frustrations, hurts, traumas, and emotional abuse that occurs within these relationships, but a much deeper iceberg – legacy issues, self-blame, shame, trauma bonds, and lots of dissonance. ….This workshop will provide an overview of and deep dive into these “core issues,” link these to the vulnerabilities to narcissism and high conflict personality styles, as well as how they impact healing, recovering, and getting stuck in these relationships. This workshop will also take on a sort of 5-part life map that guides you through the areas of life that are affected by narcissistic abuse, how to address these areas of your life, and consider them whether you are still in the relationship, are no longer in the relationships, or aren’t sure what to do. … I do hope you can join this workshop – there will be a brief overview of the patterns observed in narcissistic abuse survivors, dynamics inherent in these relationships, a review of family roles and risk factors for narcissistic relationships and then an introduction to the CORE model and the 5-part life map as a way of understanding some of the root issues to help you navigate, survive, recover, and hopefully avoid these relationships in the future.”

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healing-after-narcissistic-relationships-unpacking-your-core-tickets-163951666849?fbclid=IwAR1ENajL0srjflv0cZ8Lq4OJISzav54dVsK89L8KmHD3gc5uW8WKtnl8_Yk

From One Mom’s Battle: Domestic Violence By Proxy

“A Message from OMB’s President (Rebecca Davis Merritt) and Vice President (Jennifer) about Domestic Violence by Proxy: You have probably seen OMB’s informational poster about why we advocate not using the term or “theory” of Parental Alienation. We post it once a month encouraging our readers to understand that the controlling behaviors of Cluster B parents in trying to place a wedge between the children and healthy parent is Domestic Violence by Proxy. The emotional abuse of a Cluster B is domestic Violence (DV). When a Cluster B personality disordered individual enters the family court system they wage war upon the healthy parent.

They may have been absent parents never attending school, medical or dental appointments but suddenly they attend everything, preening as the doting father or mother and may push for custody. Custody is seen as a prize. The goal is to hurt the healthy primary parent and save money via child support calculations.

As part of that push they groom children to see their healthy parent as untrustworthy and self-centered (projection), with divorce or separation their fault while portraying the Cluster B parent as wounded and needing the children to shower him or her with love and affection. Children often respond to this gaslighting by siding with the abusive parent. The Cluster B parent often blames the healthy parent for his or her own actions, claiming parental alienation (PA). If the children distrust Cluster B parent based upon a history of abusive behaviors, this estrangement is labeled as PA. The healthy parent, unfortunately, is at serious risk of losing custody  in family court.

Men who physically batter their former partner are much more likely to gain custody than the healthy parent.  Courts have been taught that women claiming DV in family court are usually lying and using this false claim to secure custody. Even when DV claims are accepted, courts falsely believe DV only affects direct victim and that abusers can be good parents to their children. Once Cluster Bs have the children away from the healthy parent, they use manipulation and other forms of abuse to convince the children that their other parent never loved them and are untrustworthy. Alina Patterson (2003) first defined Domestic Violence by Proxy or DV Proxy. DV Proxy is a pattern of behavior where a parent with a history of using domestic violence, or intimidation uses the child (as a substitute) when s/he does not have access to the former partner. Continuing the cycle of domestic violence, the cycle of Domestic Violence by Proxy starts when the victim leaves the abuser and the abuser learns the easiest way to continue to harm and control the former partner is through controlling access to the children.

Once the abuser has control of the children they are able to continue stalking, harassing and abusing the former partner even when the abuser has no direct access. DV can manifest in ways such as threats to the children if they display a close relationship with the former partner, destroying the children’s favorite possessions given by the former partner and emotional abuse. Children are often coached to make false allegations about the parent.DV by proxy is very deliberate and planned. The abusers know what they are doing and chose their controlling, coercive, and illegal behaviors. The behaviors are usually surrounded by threats and fears and often include “battery, destruction of property, locking children in rooms to prevent them from calling parents, falsifying documents, along with other similar overt behaviors.”

As the leadership council suggests, “Calling this behavior “parental alienation” is not strong enough to convey the criminal pattern of terroristic behaviors employed by batterers.” Unlike Gardner’s discredited PAS theory, the behaviors associated with DV by proxy are visible. Gardner stated the behaviors by the “alienating parent” were unconscious or unseen. This is one of the scarier components in Gardner’s theory because you cannot defend yourself against unseen things. Many healthy parents have found themselves trying to defend themselves against these unseen behaviors.

Family court professionals often fail to understand the presence and implications of both domestic violence and Cluster B psychopathology. Thus family court usually encourages unfettered access of the children to abusers. Family court judges and lawyers often work to punish healthy parents reporting bona fide abuse. Yet, they often seem to believe the victim stories told by abusers. Court officials often seem slow to recognize how family court itself can be abusive, particularly protracted, repeated, unnecessary court hearings used by the abuser to drain the financial and emotional resources of the healthy parent. Children may be placed with the abuser while the healthy parent is discredited through accusations of mental illness or PA. Other professionals involved including GALs, evaluators, therapists, etc. often take on responsibilities that are beyond their skill level. Antisocial and or Narcissistic personality disordered parents with good impression management skills are adept at “conning people, or gaining sympathy, and can win the trust and support of a family court professional while turning that same person against their ex-partner.”

The main goal of the abuser is s/he will end up with complete control over the children and will use this power over his former partner, “who tried to escape the power and control of the once abusive marriage.” They do not care if the children are harmed as long as their former partner is hurt and they feel they have won. It is imperative that the healthy parent and attorney understands how to use DV by proxy to counter and claims of parental alienation.

The following links may also be helpful: http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/Hoult-PASarticlechildrenslawjournal.pdfhttps://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.htmlhttp://www.dvleap.org/Programs/CustodyAbuseProject/PASCaseOverview.as 

###One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.Tina Swithin: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat.  Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.”https://www.onemomsbattle.com/blog/domestic-violence-by-proxy

Abusive Power And Control

The following is an excerpt of an excellent resource on Abusive Power And Control behaviors from Wikipeda. Please see the link at the bottom of this excerpt for the complete article. It does a great job of showing many of the power and control tactics used by abusive, controlling, and manipulative people in one short article. It is also helpful in that it lists what most would consider as “positive behaviors”, i.e. doing “nice things” for someone. Most articles on abuse, power and control, and coercive control focus on the overtly negative behaviors, but leave out these positive behaviors that are also used to coerce and control others.

However, it does omit Suicidality. Many abusive, controlling and manipulative people also use threats of suicide as a means of coercive control, emotional abuse and blackmail. These suicidal threats can be overt, or more subtle references to suicide, with a manipulative, controlling intent.

Abusive power and control (also controlling behavior and coercive control) is commonly used by an abusive person to gain and maintain power and control over another person in order to subject that victim to psychologicalphysicalsexual, or financial abuse. The motivations of the abuser are varied and can include devaluationenvy, personal gain, personal gratificationpsychological projection, or just for the sake of the enjoyment of exercising power and control.[1]

Controlling abusers use tactics to exert power and control over their victims. The tactics themselves are psychologically and sometimes physically abusive. Control may be exerted through economic abuse, limiting the victim, as they may not have the means to resist or leave the abuse.[2] The goal of the abuser is to control, intimidate, and influence the victim to feel they do not have an equal voice in the relationship.[3]

Manipulators and abusers often control their victims with a range of tactics, including, but not limited to, positive reinforcement (such as praisesuperficial charmflatteryingratiationlove bombingsmilinggifts, attention), negative reinforcement (taking away aversive tasks or items), intermittent or partial reinforcement, psychological punishment (such as naggingsilent treatmentswearingthreatsintimidationemotional blackmailguilt trips, inattention) and traumatic tactics (such as verbal abuse or explosive anger).[4]

The vulnerabilities of the victim are exploited with those who are particularly vulnerable being most often selected as targets.[4][5][6] Traumatic bonding (also popularly known as Stockholm syndrome) can occur between the abuser and victim as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change and a climate of fear.[7] An attempt may be made to normaliselegitimiserationalisedeny, or minimise the abusive behaviour, or blame the victim for it.[8][9][10]

Isolationgaslightingmind gameslyingdisinformationpropagandadestabilisationbrainwashing, and divide and rule are other strategies that are often used. The victim may be plied with alcohol or drugs or deprived of sleep to help disorientate them.[11][12] Based on statistical evidence, certain personality disorders correlate with abusive tendencies of individuals with those specific personality disorders when also compiled with abusive childhoods themselves. [13]

The seriousness of coercive control in modern Western societies has been increasingly realised with changes to the law in several countries so it is a definable criminal offence. In conjunction with this there have been increased attempts by the legal establishment to understand the characteristics and effects of coercive control in legal terminology. For example, on January 1, 2019, Ireland enacted the Domestic Violence Act 2018, which allowed for the practice of coercive control to be identifiable based upon its effects on the victim. And on this basis defining it as: ‘any evidence of deterioration in the physical, psychological, or emotional welfare of the applicant or a dependent person which is caused directly by fear of the behaviour of the respondent’.[14] On a similar basis of attempting to understand and stop the widespread practice of coercive control, in 2019, the UK government made teaching about what coercive control was a mandatory part of the education syllabus on relationships.[15] While coercive control is often considered in the context of an existing intimate relationship, when it is used to elicit a sexual encounter it is legally considered as being a constituent part of sexual abuse or rape. When it is used to begin and maintain a longer term intimate relationship it is considered to be a constituent element of sexual slavery.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abusive_power_and_control

Are You In A Trauma Bonded Relationship?

Trauma Bonding Relationships

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Jo Yurcaba・October 12, 2020

“A trauma bonding relationship is reflective of an attachment created by repeated physical or emotional trauma with intermittent positive reinforcement, according to licensed psychologist Liz Powell, PsyD. Put simply, in a relationship with trauma bonding, there’s “a lot of really terrible stuff happening and then occasionally really great stuff happening,” they say.

Trauma bonding isn’t limited to happening in just romantic relationships, either. It can also happen in dynamics that include fraternity hazing, military training, kidnapping, child abuse, political torture, cults, prisoners of war, or concentration camps, Dr. Powell says…..” https://www.wellandgood.com/trauma-bonding-relationship/

Family Bully Aids Corruption To Hide “Secrets”

“In biblical lore, Aaron selected a goat on behalf of the entire tribe, cast upon it the sins of all members, and then banished it alone to the wild. The members of the tribe were then at great ease, having been freed from their cast-off sins—whatever those sins may have been.” The Blameless Burden: Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families

A manipulative family bully with so-called secrets to try to hide aided the family court corruption, to provide a much needed distraction for open secrets that were blowing up in her face.  Forcing her family to shun me accomplished her goal:  create a diversion.  Glomming onto my documented abuser’s smear campaign became the perfect distraction.

Slandering, and shunning someone is designed to tarnish their name, and cause emotional pain – to silence them.  And if they heap enough group hatred onto the scapegoat, maybe – just maybe – they can numb their own shame and regret.

But never being allowed to confront your accusers is how the game is rigged.  Could you imagine if they allowed the scapegoat back into their midst, to inform everyone of the facts conveniently missing from their stories?  After they refused my invitation to join me in mediation,  as well as numerous other attempts to communicate over the years, I finally faced the stark reality that they NEED a scapegoat.

Beginning when the first child was just a baby, we were forced to hear our parent’s despair about him coming to their care with bruises.  It was torture to watch, as the family bully’s children were neglected and abused, a never-ending nightmare.  I took care of the family bully’s children for years, while she lived her secret life, and her spouse was too beside himself from her actions, to care for them himself.  Everyone in the family had to take care of these children due to her intense preoccupation with her secret activities.  Finally, in desperation, the eldest begged me to teach him how to cook so they wouldn’t keep going hungry in their home.

But my parents lived in fear of her threats to “take the children out of state” if they challenged her, walking on eggshells for years, talking about calling DCFS,  then trying to get the other set of parents to call for them, fearing her threats.  Everybody was looking for a “fall guy” to take her wrath.

When this was dropped at my door, I did what they discussed for years.  I called DCFS.  And so, I became the bully’s target, with my parents too afraid to admit that calling DCFS was their idea in the first place.  Also omitted from the family narrative, is the school social worker’s statement I was justified in calling DCFS, and the teacher’s aide who said they stood and cheered.

This family bully’s spouse landed on my doorstep, a total mess – utterly destroyed, and reported chilling accounts of violence that caused me nightmares for weeks.  He related how she bashed his front teeth in and he needed them replaced, along with other accounts of ongoing violence whenever he dared challenge her “secret” life.  Finally, everything made sense:  his black eyes over the years, while he lowered his gaze in shame with flimsy excuses about  “running into the barn door“, the bruises I saw on the younger girls, my parent’s reports of bruises on the children, and eye-witness accounts of physical abuse in front of their homes.

But when it came down to doing anything to protect them, both of my sets of parents talked about it endlessly, but finally putting their heads in the sand, thinking it would be better to have the children abused nearby, than face her wrath, and possibly even have the children taken out of state.

What do narcissists do to truth tellers? Dr. Ramani

“Bullies within the family, especially female bullies, are masters (mistresses?) of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (eg guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation.

ScapegoatA favourite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that:  a) the bully gains a great deal of gratification (a perverse form of satisfaction) from encouraging and provoking argument, quarreling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and b) the ensuing conflict ensures that people’s attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict.”

“The family bully encourages and manipulates family members etc to lie, act dishonestly, withhold information, spread misinformation, and to punish the target.”  A Favorite Tactic Of The Bullies In Our Family-Set People Against Each Other

 “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” From: Other People’s Money, Louis D. Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice

Natalie Koga Confronted With Eye-Witness To Her Corruption

The entire family watches on in dismay as the scapegoat informs the family that they will no longer be abused by them, and wants nothing more to do with them… Life becomes difficult for the narcissistic family when the trash can leaves. However, it becomes harder to blame the scapegoat when the endless drama between the family members continues – even when the scapegoat is nowhere to be found.  The Scapegoat Walks Away’

Survivor’s Bill of Rights

After many years of walking on eggshells while living under the restrictions, isolation, chaos, distractions, intrusions, negativity, distortions, untruths, half-truths, and manipulations of controlling or oppressive situations, we can become conditioned to remain in survival mode, and to think mainly of the wants and needs of others, even to feel guilty or uncomfortable if we think of our own.  We become disconnected from who we really are: our own instincts, perceptions, ideas, needs, goals, aspirations, and interests.

While we are in this process, it helps to be reminded of our basic rights.  It may feel unnatural or “off” for awhile to put ourselves first. But, over time, connecting with our true selves becomes more comfortable, and natural.  Practice makes perfect.   Recovery is possible.  Starting off with small steps every day,  bigger steps become easier.  More avenues and resources appear before us.  A new life, free from the control of others is waiting, and it’s worth it! This article I found on Survivor’s Bill of Rights can be very helpful.

Survivor’s Bill of Rights

havoca bill of rightsAs a Matter of Personal AUTHORITY, You Have the Right ..

* to manage your life according to your own values and judgment.
* to direct your recovery, answerable to no one for your goals, effort, or progress.
* to gather information to make intelligent decisions about your recovery.
* to seek help from a variety of sources, unhindered by demands for exclusivity.

FULL ARTICLE:  Survivor’s Bill of Rights

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Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness is a common challenge for survivors of trauma, controlling or toxic relationships, abuse, and exploitation.  The survivor has learned through repeated experience, that in order to stay “safe”, they must not challenge the status quo.  That they have no power over their situation anyway and must flip into freeze mode.  They go numb to what is happening around them.  Pretty soon this numbness is the go-to mode.  There is no more of the natural fight or flight response.  It has become eliminated.  Only freeze remains.

People who feel powerless to change their adverse circumstances quite naturally become depressed.  But Depression only worsens the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.  Depression colors our world grey, narrows our focus to the point we can no longer see any shades of light or possibility.  Depression and Learned Helplessness feed off of one another, and the cycle is perpetuated.

Hurtful, toxic relationships, controlling people, abusive, demeaning and traumatic situations do not empower us to be the best versions of ourselves, to think and act powerfully and authentically for ourselves.  They do the opposite.  They ensnare us into becoming dis-empowered, ineffective, cowering, hesitant, over-thinking, emotionally frozen and helpless servants of the agendas of others.

In order to heal, and become self-actualized individuals – to become our best, most effective selves, we must be able to live free of controlling, toxic, and negative situations.  Like a plant in an overcrowded garden starved of sunshine and nutrients growing spindly, crooked and malnourished, so the survivor becomes stunted by learned helplessness.  Only when the plant is freed from overcrowding can it bask in the sun and be completely nourished, and grow to full potential.  Only when people can live in peace and freedom, can they begin to have their needs met, and begin to grow, learn, and peel back the layers of helpless, ineffectual thought and behavior patterns that were learned over time.

Though it is a process, we can learn new ways of thinking.  We can learn new approaches to living, decision-making, identifying and working towards our own goals, and self-development.  When we make our own needs and self-care a priority, we can gradually un-learn helplessness.  Our brains have great plasticity, and our own confidence, courage, effectiveness and empowerment can be re-learned.

Some articles on Learned Helplessness:

Medical News Today: Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness and C-PTSD

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Coming out of the FOG: Why do we stay in relationships that hurt? Taking back our personal power when we feel stuck.

FOG =Fear, Obligation & Guilt.  FOG is hard to see through, hard to walk through, and easy to get lost in.  But you don’t have to.

It can be hard to understand how to break free from the FOG created by harmful relationships or unhealthy relationship dynamics.  It can be equally hard to understand why we at times feel so stuck.  There can be times when we know it’s not healthy,  we can see the harmful behaviors, know we are being lied to or manipulated, but feel powerless to chart a healthier course for ourselves.  Not all scars are visible.  Sometimes the most painful wounds can be well hidden, even from ourselves.  But we can overcome them.  We can take back our power when we learn how.  When we learn what is holding us back, we can overcome it all.  Our relationships don’t have to hurt.

But to do so, first we need to understand Coercive Control,  Gaslighting, Traumatic Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome.  Fancy terms that all boil down to the invisible psychological bonds that keep us enslaved in relationships that we know are hurting us.  Traumatic Bonding is very powerful; it is intermittent positive reinforcement that we cling to, in the hopes that the bad will never happen again.  Once we understand these concepts, then we understand how manipulative people exert their subtle and unseen control over us, and even others around us.

Coercive Control Collective  “Coercive and controlling abuse impacts a survivor’s sense of safety, identity, autonomy and their attachments to others. Without understanding this dynamic and its full impact, victims who have survived this particular type of trauma continue to be isolated by the complexity of their experience and their needs for recovery are misunderstood and unmet.”

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting   “Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. ”

The Place of Stockholm Syndrome in Narcissistic Victim Syndrome “Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological term used to describe the paradoxical phenomenon of the relationship that develops between a captor and its hostage. In such a relationship, to the amazement of onlookers, the hostage expresses empathy and positive feelings towards their abusive captor, and often they will display a desire to defend them.”

5 Signs You’re In A Dangerous Trauma Bond With A Toxic Person   “A trauma bond is a bond that forms due to intense, emotional experiences, usually with a toxic person. Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, it holds us emotionally captive to a manipulator who keeps us “hostage” – whether that be through physical or emotional abuse.  According to Dr. Patrick Carnes, these types of destructive attachments are known as “betrayal bonds” and can take place in any context where a relationship can be forged. They can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, within the family, and the workplace.”

10 Steps to Recovering From a Traumatic Bond  “Trauma bonds occur in very toxic relationships, and tend to be strengthened by inconsistent positive reinforcement—or at least the hope of something better to come. Trauma bonds occur in extreme situations such as abusive relationships, hostage situations, and incestuous relationships, but also in any ongoing attached relationship in which there is a great deal of pain interspersed with times of calm (or maybe just less pain). I liken it to a heroin addiction—the relationship promises much, gives fleeting feelings of utopia, and then it sucks away your very soul.”

Boundaries and self-care are important, healthy and necessary. It’s not selfish to love and value yourself!

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