Victim! System is Against You? Tips and Advice

Uploaded 4/6/2011, approx. 4 minute read

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

The system is stacked against the victim. The victim is repathologized and often re-abused by law enforcement officers, judges, guardians and litters, evaluators, and above all, therapists.

In the process of mediation, marital therapy, or evaluation, counselors frequently propose various techniques to ameliorate the abuse or bring it under control.

But these suggestions are actually dictates. They are orders, not recommendations.

Who retires the party, that dares object, or turn these suggestions down?

Thus, an abuse victim who declines to have any further contact with her, better with her offender, is bound to be chastised by her therapist for obstinately refusing to constructively communicate with her violent spouse.

So, what should a victim do in such a system?

Well, better to play ball and adopt the slick 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 a victim is by being insincere and by staging a well-calibrated performance replete with the correct vocabulary.

Therapists have Pavlovian reactions to certain phrases and theories and to certain presenting signs and symptoms.

In other words, behaviors during the first few sessions.

Learn these words, learn these behaviors, and use them to your advantage.

Regrettably, mental health professionals and practitioners, marital and couple therapists, counselors, are conditioned. They are conditioned by years of indoctrination and dogmatic education, and they are conditioned to respond favorably to specific verbal cues and behaviors.

The paradigm is that abuse is rarely one-sided. In other words, that it is invariably triggered either by the victim or by the mental health problems of the abuser.

Another common lie is that all mental health problems can be successfully treated one way, talk therapy, or another, medication.

And this whole complex of misinformation shifts the responsibility from the offender to his prey.

The abused victim must have done something to bring about her own mistreatment, or maybe she was simply emotionally unavailable to help the abuser with his problems.

Healing is guaranteed if only the victim were willing to participate in a treatment plan and communicate with the abuser.

So goes the orthodoxy. If the victim refuses to do so, if she refuses to have any further contact with the men who beat her, battered her, offended her, abused her verbally, psychologically, or mentally, in other words, if she refuses to risk further abuse and acts in self-defense, she is harshly judged by the therapist.

The victim is labeled uncooperative, resistant, and even, in some cases, an abuser.

The key is therefore in feigned acquiescence and collaboration with the therapy scheme, acceptance of his or her temptation of the events, and the use of key phrases such as, I wish to communicate work with the abuser, the word trauma or relationship, healing process, inner child, the good of the children, the importance of othering, significant other, use as much psychobabble as you can, learn the jargon, use it intelligently and sparingly, and you are bound to win the therapist's sympathy.

Above all, do not be assertive or aggressive, and do not overtly criticize the therapist or disagree with him or her.

I make the therapist sound like another potential narcissistic abuser, because in many cases he or she becomes one as they inadvertently collude with the abuser, invalidate the abuse, experiences, and pathologize the victim.

So here are some phrases to use. For the children's sake, I want to maintain constructive communication with my husband or wife.

The children need the ongoing presence of the other parent.

I wish to communicate work with the abuser on our issues. I wish to understand our relationship, help both sides achieve closure, and get on with their lives by life.

Use the phrase healing process.

And here are some things to do.

You should attend every session religiously and diligently. Never be late. Try not to cancel or reschedule meetings. Pay attention to your attire and makeup. Project a solid, conservative image. Do not make a disheveled and disjointed appearance. Never argue with a counselor or the evaluator. Never criticize him openly. If you have to disagree with him or her, do so elliptically and dispassionately.

Be to participate in a long-term treatment plan. Communicate with your abuser politely and reasonably. Do not let yourself get provoked. Do not throw temper tantrums. Do not threaten anyone, not even indirectly. Restrain your natural hostility. Talk calmly and articulately. Count to ten. Take a break. Have a smoke, if you must.

Repeatly emphasize that the welfare and well-being of your children is uppermost in your mind, over and above any other selfish desire or consideration.

Do these things and you may safely course through a treatment plan and through your interaction with the system.

Remember, it is stacked against you. Don't be a victim twice.

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

System Re-victimizes, Pathologizes Victim, Sides with Offender, Abuser

The system, including academic institutions, law enforcement agencies, and the courts, often fails to take victims of abuse seriously and instead pathologizes and diminishes them. This is due to a lack of education and awareness about abuse and domestic violence. Abusers are often possessive, jealous, dependent, and narcissistic, while victims may blame themselves or have a history of abuse. Mental health professionals may also be biased towards the abuser and pathologize the victim, making it difficult for victims to receive proper help. Victims may need to stage a well-calibrated performance to convince therapists that they are victims and not be re-victimized by the system.

Bad Therapy for Abuse Victims and Survivors

Therapy for victims and survivors of abuse is not always smooth, with therapists often experiencing counter-transference and struggling to identify with the victim. Male therapists may try to prove themselves as good men, while female therapists may blame the victim for their abuse. Many therapists expect the victim to be aggressive and assertive, leading to premature termination of therapy if they fail to do so. However, good therapy can empower the victim and restore their sense of control over their life. It is crucial to find a therapist that is compatible with the specific victim or survivor of abuse.

Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

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.

Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.

Abuse By Proxy

Abusers often use third parties to control, coerce, threaten, stalk, tempt, seduce, harass, communicate, or manipulate their targets. They use the same mechanisms and devices to control these unaware instruments as they plan to control their ultimate prey. The abuser perverts the system, and therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges end up upholding the abuser's version and helping him further abuse his victims. The victim's children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

Narcissistic Abuser Cons System

Abusers are often able to deceive mental health and social welfare workers, even when the diagnosis is unequivocal. There are four types of mental health and law enforcement professionals and practitioners who can be co-opted by abusers: adulators, ignorant professionals, self-deceivers, and those who are actively deceived. Mental health professionals are often egocentric and emotionally invested in their opinions, and they may pathologize the behavior of victims who disagree with them. Victims of abuse may need to stage a well-calibrated performance to convince therapists that they are the victim.

Test Yourself: Mortification, Hoovering, and Attraction Scales

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses two tools he has developed based on his database of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. The first tool, the Heartbreak and Recovery Scale, helps gauge mortification and predicts how long it will take a narcissist to recover from a traumatic breakup or infidelity. The second tool, the S1-S2 score, measures promiscuity and self-efficacy, and helps identify traits that make a potential partner irresistible to a narcissist. These tools are not peer-reviewed or vetted but are based on Vaknin's extensive research and analysis of his database.

Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.

Stalked: Get Help

Victims of abuse should seek help from family, friends, and colleagues. However, the legal system may not be effective in dealing with stalking and domestic violence. Victims should document the abuse and report it to the police and building security. They should also hire a security expert if the threat is credible or imminent and rely on professional advice from attorneys, accountants, private detectives, and therapists. Joining support groups and organizations for victims of abuse and stalking can also be validating and empowering.

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