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Interacting with Your Abuser

Uploaded 5/19/2011, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

Having chosen your team of consultants and experts, and having, of course, hired their services, relegate any inevitable contact with your abusive ex when and where possible to professionals, so your lawyer, your accountant. Work with these qualified third parties to extricate yourself and your loved ones from the quagmire of an abusive relationship.

Be sure to maintain as much contact with your abuser as the courts, counselors, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate.

Do not contravene the decisions of the system.

Work from the inside to change judgements, evaluations, and rulings, but never rebel against such institutions. Never ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and your interests.

But with the exception of the minimum mandated by the courts, decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist. Remember that many interactions are initiated by your abusive ex in order to trap or intimidate you.

Keep referring him to your lawyer regarding legal issues, to your accountant or financial advisor concerning money matters. And to therapists, psychologists, and counselors with regards to everything else, yourself, your common children.

Abuses react badly to such treatment. Yours will try to manipulate you into unintended contact.

Do not respond to his pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening email and snail mail messages. Keep records of such correspondence and make it immediately available to the courts, to law enforcement agencies, court-mandated evaluators, guardians at Lytton, therapists, marital counselors, child psychologists, and to your good friends.

Keep him away by obtaining restraining orders and injunctions aplenty.

Abuses crave secrecy. Expose their needs. Deter abuse by being open about your predicament. Share with like-minded others online and offline. It will ease your burden and keep him at bay, at least for a while.

Your abusive ex-partner will try to dazzle you with attention. Return all gifts that he sends you, unopened and unacknowledged. Keep your communications with him to the bare cold minimum. Do not be impolite. Do not be abusive. Do not be abrasive.

It is precisely how he wants you to behave. It may be used against you in a court of law.

Keep your cool but be firm, especially about your boundaries. Do not let him re-enter your life surreptitiously. Stealth and ambient abuse are powerful tools.

Refuse him entry to your premises. Do not even respond to the intercom. Do not talk to him on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear your voice while making clear to him in a single, pithy, polite, but unambiguous sentence that you are determined not to talk to him, that it is over and for good.

Do not succumb to your weakness. It is tough living alone. You are bound to miss him horribly at times, selectively recalling only the good moments and the affection in your doomed relationship.

Do not dip into the poisonous offerings of your abuser. Do not relapse. Be strong.

Fill your life with new hobbies, new interests, new friends, new loves and lovers, and a new purpose.

Do not visit your abuser on special occasions. Do not call upon him in emergencies. Do not let him convince you to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, a successful business transaction, a personal achievement or a triumph. Do not let him turn your own memories against you. Do not visit him in the hospital, in jail, a rehab center. Do not join him in a memorial service. He does not exist for you any longer. Do not ask him for anything, even if you are in dire straits and dire need.

When you are forced to meet him, do not discuss your personal affairs or his personal affairs.

Your abuser's friendship is fake, his life with you, a confabulation, a sham, his intentions dishonest and dishonorable.

He is the enemy. Remember that.

Abuse by proxy continues long after the relationship is officially over.

Do not respond to questions, requests or pleas forwarded to you via third parties.

Disconnect from third parties whom you know are spying on you at his behest and on his behalf.

Do not discuss with him your children. Do not gossip about him.

The majority of abusers finally, after a protracted period admittedly, get the message.

Others, more vindictive and obsessed, continue to hold their quarry for years to come.

These are the stalkers.

There are several videos on this channel which deal with stalkers. Be sure to watch them.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Addicted to Trauma Bonding? WATCH TO THE END! (with Stephanie Carinia, Trauma Expert)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses trauma bonding with Stephanie Carina, a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma and personality. Trauma bonding involves an extreme, one-sided attachment where the abused is attached to the abuser, but not vice versa. It is fostered by unpredictable, intermittent reinforcement and involves a power asymmetry. The abused often confuses intensity with truth and attention with love, leading to a fear of loneliness and self-deception. Trauma bonding is a collaborative form of self-mutilation and self-harm, serving to numb emotions, make the victim feel alive through pain, and punish themselves. Vaknin emphasizes that the abuser uses the victim to fulfill their own needs, and the victim is often addicted to the drama and intensity of the relationship. He suggests that society should teach people to cope with being alone, as many will not have relationships, and that therapy for trauma bonding must be carefully managed to avoid creating new dependencies.


Closure with Abusers

Closure is necessary for victims of abuse to heal their traumatic wounds. There are three forms of effective closure: conceptual, retributive, and dissociative. Conceptual closure involves a frank discussion of the abusive relationship, while retributive closure involves restorative justice and a restored balance. Dissociative closure occurs when victims repress their painful memories, leading to dissociative identity disorder. Victims pay a hefty price for avoiding and evading their predicament. Coping with various forms of closure will be discussed in a future video.


Closure is Bad for You

Closure, a popular concept in psychology, originally came from Gestalt therapy and referred to image processing. However, it has been inappropriately expanded to include trauma, relationships, and more. Many experts and psychologists now consider closure a myth and even counterproductive. Instead of seeking closure, one should focus on embracing and integrating pain and negative experiences as part of personal growth and development.


7 Signs of Abusive Relationship: Ask DAILY (Intimate Partner Abuse)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses abusive relationships and provides seven questions to ask oneself to determine if they are in an abusive relationship. The questions include whether one treats themselves with dignity, sets clear boundaries, tolerates abuse and aggression, is assertive, knows themselves, treats others the way they want to be treated, and if they are habitually disrespected. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of honest communication, self-preservation, and self-love in relationships.


30 Reasons to STAY in Abusive Relationship? NOT!

Professor Sam Vaknin explains why people stay in abusive relationships, including fear, laziness, nostalgia, emotional blackmail, aversion to failure, and a belief that they cannot find anyone better. However, he emphasizes that these reasons are not good enough to stay in an abusive relationship and that people should prioritize their own well-being and happiness. Apologies and promises are not enough to sustain a healthy relationship, and may even be a form of gaslighting if they are intended to skew your perception of reality. Ultimately, the only question to ask is, "Am I happy?" If the answer is no, walk away and don't look back.


Silencing Denying Your Pain Betrayal Trauma And Betrayal Blindness

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses betrayal trauma theory, which suggests that trauma is perpetrated by someone close to the victim and on whom they rely for support and survival. Betrayal trauma can lead to dissociation, attachment injury, vulnerability, fear, relationship expectations, shame, low self-esteem, communication issues, and barriers to forming new relationships. The section also explores the relationship between betrayal trauma and Stockholm syndrome, with the former being more common. Treatment for betrayal trauma is new, and relational cultural therapy may be the best approach. The section concludes with the idea that trust is essential in relationships.


Silent Treatment What Is It, How To Tackle It

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of silent treatment, distinguishing it from other social behaviors and highlighting its characteristics and consequences. He explains that silent treatment is a form of abuse, and provides strategies for coping with and addressing it, including setting boundaries, using "I" statements, practicing self-care, and seeking help. He also emphasizes the damaging effects of silent treatment on both the giver and the receiver, and the importance of not taking it personally.


Should Lovebombing Be Criminalized? Not Always! (TalkTV with Trisha Goddard)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the evolution of the definition of coercive control in cases of domestic abuse, particularly focusing on the concept of love bombing. He emphasizes the need for precise definitions to avoid criminalizing normal behaviors and highlights the role of intermittent reinforcement in manipulative control. Additionally, he addresses the applicability of coercive control in workplace situations and the importance of expanding the definition to encompass various relationships.


Narcissist's Victim: NO CONTACT Rules

Professor Sam Vaknin advises victims of narcissism and psychopathy to maintain as much contact with their abuser as the courts, counselors, evaluators, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate. However, with the exception of this minimum mandated by the courts, decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist or psychopath. Avoiding contact with the abuser is a form of setting boundaries, and setting boundaries is a form of healing. Be firm, be resolute, but be polite and civil.


CPTSD or Personality Disorder? (Compilation)

Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of late-onset trauma and its potential to cause enduring personality changes that could be classified as personality disorders. He explains that while early childhood trauma is often linked to the development of personality disorders, catastrophic events experienced in adulthood can also lead to significant and lasting changes in personality. Vaknin argues that the diagnosis of Enduring Personality Changes After Catastrophic Experience (EPCACE), which was included in the ICD-10 but removed in the ICD-11, should be restored as it captures the unique and severe impact of adult trauma on personality. He emphasizes that EPCACE is distinct from PTSD and CPTSD, as it involves stable changes in personality resulting from extreme events such as torture, life threats, or prolonged captivity. Vaknin also critiques the current diagnostic approach that lumps various trauma-related disorders into a single category, suggesting that this leads to a lack of specificity and fails to account for the diverse ways individuals react to trauma.

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