My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
How to get your abuser to see reason in the first place? How to obtain for him the healthy needs without involving law enforcement agencies, the authorities or the courts?
Any attempt to broach the subject of the abuser's mental health problems frequently ends in fights or worse. It is positively dangerous to mention the abuser's shortcomings or imperfections to his face.
Abuse is a multifaceted phenomenon. It is a poisonous cocktail of controlled, frequently, of conforming to social and cultural norms and of latent sadism.
The abuser seeks to subjugate his victims, but also to look good or to save face in front of family and peers.
Many abusers also simply enjoy inflicting pain on helpless victims. They are sadistic.
Hence the complexity of trying to prevent or to control the abuser's behavior. His family, friends, peers, coworkers, neighbors, usually levels of social control and behavior modification, condone his misbehavior.
The abuser seeks to conform to norms and standards prevalent in his milieu, even if only implicitly.
The abuser regards himself as actually normal, definitely not the lard of therapeutic intervention.
Thus the complaints of the victim are likely to be met with hostility and suspicion by the offender's parents, by his siblings.
Instead of reining in the abusive conduct, they are likely to pathologize the victim. They are likely to say she is an odd case or to label her she is a whore or a bitch.
Nor is the victim of abuse likely to fare better in the hands of the police, law enforcement agencies, courts, counselors, therapists, guardians of Britain.
These institutions are inclined to assume that the abused victim has some kind of hidden agenda. She wants to abscond with his husband's property or to deny him custody or visitation rights. She is the guilty party.
Abuse remains, therefore, the private preserve of the predator and his prey. It is up to them to write their own rules and to implement them in their relationship.
No outside intervention is forthcoming. And if it is forthcoming, it is ineffective.
Indeed, the delineation of boundaries and reaching an agreement on coexistence are the first important steps towards minimizing abuse in your relationships.
Every agreement you make with your abuser must include a provision of urging him to seek professional help for his mental health problems.
Well, what should such a contract look like?
Personal boundaries are not negotiable. Neither can they be determined from the outside.
Your abusive bully should have no say in setting boundaries or in upholding them. Only you decide when they have been breached what constitutes a transgression, what is excusable and what cannot be pardoned.
The abuser is constantly on the lookout for a weakening of your resolve. He is repeatedly testing your mental and resilience. He pounces on any and every vulnerability, uncertainty, hesitation or susceptibility.
Don't give him these chances. Be decisive and know yourself. What do you really feel? What are your wishes and desires in the short and long term? What price are you willing to pay and what sacrifices are you ready to make in order to be you? What behaviors will you accept and where does your red line run? Where do you draw the line in the sand?
You must learn to verbalize your emotions, needs, preferences and choices without aggression but with assertiveness and clear determination.
Some abusers, narcissists for instance, are detached from reality. They avoid reality actively and they live in fantasies of everlasting and unconditional and perfect life. They refuse to accept the inevitable consequences of their own misdeeds and actions.
It is up to you to correct these cognitive and emotional deficits.
You may encounter opposition, even violence in extreme cases, but in the long run facing reality pays. Play it fair. Make a list, if need be, in writing of do's and don'ts. Create a tariff of sanctions and rewards. Let him know what actions or his or inaction on his part will trigger a dissolution of the relationship.
Be unambiguous and unequivocal about it and mean what you say.
Again, showing up for counseling must be a cardinal condition.
Yet even these simple, non-threatening initial steps are likely to provoke your abusive partner.
Abusers are narcissistic and they are possessed of alloplastic defenses. In other words, they feel superior entitled above any law and agreement and innocent victims of circumstances and people beyond their control.
Others, usually the real victims, are to blame for the abuser's abusive conduct.
A typical sentence is, see what you made me do, look what you have done to me.
How can one negotiate with such a person without in carrying his wrath? What is the meaning of contracts signed with bullies? How can one motivate the abuser to keep his end of the bargain, for instance, to actually seek therapy and attend the sessions? And how efficacious is psychotherapy or counseling to start with?
We will tackle all these questions in future videos. Stay tuned.