My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Even a complete battery of tests administered by experienced professionals sometimes fails to identify abusers and their personality disorders.
Offenders are uncanny in their ability to deceive their evaluators. They often succeed in transforming therapies and diagnosticians into four types of collaborators.
Abusers co-opt mental health and social welfare workers, and they compromise them, even when the diagnosis is unequivocal. Abusers flatter professionals, emphasize common traits or a common background, form a joint front against the victim of abuse in a kind of situation.
Abusers are emotionally bright the professionals assigned to evaluate or oversee them. Abusers are master manipulators. They exploit their vulnerabilities, traumas, prejudices and fears of the practitioners to convert them into the offender's cause.
As we said, there are four types of mental health and law enforcement professionals and practitioners.
First one is the adulator. The adulators are fully aware of the nefarious and damaging aspects of the abuser's behavior, but they believe that these nefarious and damaging aspects are more than balanced by the positive traits of the abuser.
In a curious inversion of judgment, they cast the perpetrator as the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by the abused, or they attribute the offender's predicament to mere bigotry.
Such adulators mobilize to help the abuser, promote his agenda, to shield him from harm, to connect him with like-minded people, to do his chores for him, and in general, create the conditions and the environment for his ultimate success.
And we have the ignorant professionals.
As I said in another video, the guilt of the abused, it is telling that precious few psychology and psychopathology textbooks dedicate an entire chapter to abuse environments. Even the most egregious manifestations, such as child sexual abuse, merit is only a fleeting invention, usually as a sub-chapter in a larger section dedicated to paraphilias or personality disorders.
Abusive behavior did not make it into the diagnostic criteria of mental health disorders, nor are the psychodynamic, cultural and social roots of abusive behavior exploding depth anywhere.
As a result of this deficient education and lacking awareness, most law enforcement officers, judges, counselors, guardians and mediators are warringly ignorant about the phenomenon.
Only 4% of hospital emergency room admissions of women in the United States are attributed by stuff to domestic violence, but the true figure, according to the FBI, is closer to 50%, 10 times as much.
One in three murdered women was down in by her spouse, current or former.
The blissfully ignorant mental health professionals are simply unaware of the bad sides of the abuser, and they make sure that they remain oblivious to them.
They look the other way. They turn a blind eye. They pretend that the abuser's behavior is normative. They ignore or overlook his egregious conduct.
Even therapists sometimes deny a painful reality that contravenes their bias. Some of them maintain a generally rosy outlook premised on the alleged inborn benevolence of mankind.
They simply cannot tolerate dissonance and discord. They avoid conflict. They prefer to live in a fantastic world where everything is harmonious and smooth, and evil is banished.
Such mental health and law enforcement professionals react with discomfort or even rage to any information to the contrary, and they block it instantly.
Once they form an opinion that the accusations against the abuser are overblown, malicious and false, it becomes immutable. I have made up my mind, they seem to be broadcasting.
Now don't confuse me with the facts.
Then we have the self-deceivers. These are fully aware of the abuser's transgressions and malice, its indifference, exploitativeness, lack of empathy, and rampant grandiosity.
But they prefer to displace the causes or the effects of such misconduct. They attribute it to externalities.
They say he's going through a rough patch, or they judge it to be temporary. They even go as far as accusing the victim for the offenders lapses, or defending herself. They say she provoked him with her behavior.
In a feat of cognitive dissonance, such as a feat of cognitive dissonance, such as a feat of cognitive dissonance, they deny any connection between the acts of the abuser and their consequences.
They would say, for instance, his wife abandoned him because she was promiscuous, not because of anything he did to her.
They are swayed by the batter's undeniable charm, intelligence, or attractiveness.
But the abuser needs not invest resources in converting them to his cause. He doesn't deceive them. They are self-propelled.
And then we have those who are actively deceived. They deceived are deliberately taken from premeditated right by the abuser. He feeds them with false information. He manipulates their judgment. He prefers plausible scenarios to account for his indiscretions. He soils the opposition. He charms them. He appeals to their reason or to their emotions. And he promises them the moon.
Again, the abuser's controvertible powers of persuasion and his impressive personality play a part in this predatory ritual.
The deceived are especially hard to deprogram. They are often themselves encumbered with the abuser's traits. They find it impossible to admit a mistake or to atone.
Again, from the other video, the guilt of the abused. Therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers and judges are human. Some of them are social reactionaries. Others are abusers themselves. And a few are condone abuse on social or cultural background.
Many things work against the victim facing the justice system and the psychological profession.
Start with denial.
Abuse is such a horrid phenomenon that society and its delegates often choose to ignore it or to convert it into a more benign manifestation.
In this situation or the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Blame the prey, not the predator. A man's home is still his castle and the authorities are loathe to intrude.
Most abusers are men and most victims are women. Even the most advanced communities in the world are largely patriarchal and men controlled by men.
Misorganistic gender stereotypes, superstitions and prejudices are still very strong. Therapists are not immune to these ubiquitous and age-old influences and biases. They are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian acting skills.
The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. The therapist rarely has a chance to witness an abusive exchange for his hand and if close quarters.
In contrast, the abuser are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Their harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive and sometimes hysterical. Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, suave abuser and his horrid casualties, it is easy to reach a conclusion that the real victim is the abuser or that both parties abuse each other equally.
The praise acts of self-defense, assertiveness or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, liability or a mental health problem.
The intensity to pathologize extends to the wrongdoer as well.
Alas, few therapists are equipped to do proper clinical work, including diagnosis.
Abusers are thought by practitioners of psychology to be emotionally disturbed. The twisted outcomes of a history of familial violence and childhood traumas are typically diagnosis suffering from one sort of another or personality sort of an inordinately low self-esteem or co-dependence coupled with an old devouring fear of abandonment.
Consummate abusers use the right vocabulary and feign the appropriate emotions and affect and thus sway the evaluator's judgment in accordance with what he had been taught and to his prejudices.
But while the victim's pathology works against her, especially in custody battles, the culprit's illness works for him as a mitigating circumstance, especially in criminal proceedings.
In his seminal essay on the offending the batterer in visitation and custody disputes, Lundy Bancroft sums up the asymmetry in favor of the offender.
He says, He explains how other people have turned the victim against him and how she is denying him access to the children as a form of revenge.
He commonly accuses her of having mental health problems and may state that her family and her friends agree with him, that she is hysterical and that she is promiscuous.
The abuser tends to be comfortable lying, having years of practice, and so can sound believable when making absolutely baseless statements.
The abuser benefits when professionals believe that they can just tell who is lying and who is telling the truth and so fail to adequately investigate.
Because of the effects of trauma, the victim of battering will often seem hostile, disjointed, and agitated, while the abuser appears friendly, articulate, and calm.
Evaluators are thus tempted to conclude that the victim is the source of the problems in their relationship.
There is little the victim can do to educate the therapist or to prove to him who is the guilty party.
Mental health professionals are as egocentric as the next person. They are emotionally invested in opinions they form or in their interpretation of the abusive relationship.
They perceive every disagreement with them as a challenge to their authority and they are likely to pathologize such behavior, labeling it resistance or even worse.
In the process of mediation, marital therapy or evaluation, counselors frequently propose various techniques to ameliorate the abuse or bring it under control.
Wobbitize the party that dares object or turn these recommendations down.
Thus, an abused victim who declines to have any further contact with her batterer is bound to be chastened by her therapist for obstinately refusing to constructively communicate with her violent spouse.
Better to play ball and adopt the sleek mannerisms of your abuser.
Sadly, sometimes the only way to convince your therapist that it is not all in your head and that you are the victim is by being insincere and by staging a well calibrated performance replete with the correct vocabulary.
Therapies have Pavlovian reactions to certain phrases and theories and to certain presenting signs and symptoms, to certain behaviors during the first sessions.
Learn these and use them to your advantage. It is your only chance with the system.