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Common Tactics of Predators And Manipulators

           The person being manipulated will often feel off balance, powerless, confused or out of control. If the manipulator’s tactics work, then this behavior is reinforced. It is only by not complying when someone uses controlling or manipulative tactics that you stop engaging in reinforcing this destructive dynamic. At first the controlling person is likely to up the ante and exert more control, eventually, they will have to change their controlling ways or find another target, because it’s not working anymore.  Knowledge is power.  Keep the following tactics in mind in order to spot coercive behavior and take back control.

Lying: Deception and rationalization. They minimize, exaggerate, or deny to make themselves look good, make you look bad, or avoid consequences.

Intimidation: They criticize and dismiss your feelings. Use threats, anger, and withdrawal to gain your compliance.

Evasion: They create word salads with circular arguments and monologues in order to avoid responsibility, confuse and silence you.

Guilt: They will use your vulnerabilities against you to make you doubt yourself and defer to their perception in order to control all communication, finances, and work or home life.  They try to make you comply with their demands by making you feel you are being mean or somehow hurting them if you don’t go along.

Blame: When they behave badly they project their faults onto you. They never take responsibility and don’t apologize. They often make themselves out to be the victim while they are controlling or coercing you.

Idealize and devalue: In the beginning, they often idealize and “love bomb” you. Once they have you, they begin to devalue you in order to make you feel inferior and gain control.

Triangulation: They enlist third parties to create a case against you or start a larger smear campaign against you.

Gas Light: They alter facts and deny reality in an effort to make you doubt your sanity and keep you off balance.

Isolation: They criticize family, friends, and supporters. They may ruin holidays and social gatherings. Your isolation increases their control.

Silence and Shame: If they are able to coerce you into doing something you did not want to do, they can ensure your silence as their shameful behavior becomes your shame.

Harvey Weinstein: See Exactly How He Bullied and Coerced Women

Talented screenwriter, Gina Gold, brilliantly exposes the exact type of control tactics Weinstein employed while attempting to coerce Ms. Gutierrez to his room.                     (reprinted with permisson of author)           
 
A SCREENWRITER’S ANALYSIS OF THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN TAPE:
 

            Screenwriters study character. We craft scenes based on “objectives.” In other words, we ask, “What does a character want in any given situation?” A character is dramatized by showing the tactics he or she uses to get something they WANT VERY BADLY, and how they CHANGE TACTICS when someone or something stands in their way. In this sad “scene” it’s fairly clear what Harvey Weinstein wants. Ms. Gutierrez’s refusal to give in to his demands is his obstacle.

            HW TACTICS ARE IN CAPS. Notice how he keeps trying new strategies then going back to old ones. His two overall strategies are to 1) Keep the victim off balance, and 2) Manipulate her by playing on her guilt, ambition, and desire to be a good person. (Remember, he has power, size, and 40 years’ life experience to his advantage)

***
Weinstein: I’m telling you right now, get in here.
–MAKE A DEMAND TO GET HER CLOSER

Gutierrez: What do we have to do here?

Weinstein: Nothing. I’m going to take a shower…
–MINIMIZE AN UNREASONABLE DEMAND
— MAKE THE VICTIM FEEL SMALL FOR RECOGNIZING THE REALITY OF A DANGEROUS SITUATION

… you sit there and have a drink.
–GIVE AN ORDER

Gutierrez: I don’t drink.

Weinstein: Then have a glass of water.
–OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE TO KEEP HER THERE

Gutierrez: Can I stay on the bar?

Weinstein: No. You must come here now.
–DEMAND AGAIN

Gutierrez: No …

Weinstein: Please?
–NEW TACTIC – TRY BEING SWEET

Gutierrez: No, I don’t want to.

Weinstein: I’m not doing anything with you, I promise. 
–MINIMIZE AGAIN
–GASLIGHT 
–LIE

Now you’re embarrassing me.
–BECOME THE VICTIM 
–PLAY ON THE REAL VICTIM’S DESIRE TO BE A NICE PERSON
— BLAME HER. 
–CHARACTERIZE HER AS UPTIGHT FOR POINTING OUT THE TRUTH

Gutierrez: I know, I don’t want to. I’m sorry, I cannot.

Weinstein: No, come in here.
–DEMAND AGAIN

Gutierrez: No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.

Weinstein: I know —
–BECOME AN ALLY
–ACT LIKE A GOOD, UNDERSTANDING GUY

Gutierrez: I need to know a person to be touched.

Weinstein: I won’t do a thing.
–LIE TO MAKE HER FEEL SAFE AND DRAW HER IN

Gutierrez: I don’t want to be touched.

Weinstein: I won’t do a thing, please.
–OFFER FALSE SAFETY
— DOUBLE DOWN ON THE NICE GUY ACT BY SAYING “PLEASE”

I swear I won’t. 
–MAKE HER THINK YOU’RE A GOOD GUY BY TAKING AN OATH. 
–BE A VICTIM — HER REFUSAL TO TRUST YOU IS TANTAMOUNT TO CALLING YOU A LIAR

Just sit with me. 
–BARGAIN. OFFER A COMPROMISE.

Don’t embarrass me in the hotel. I’m here all the time. 
–FALSELY GIVE HER THE POWER TO RUIN YOUR REPUTATION
–MAKE HER THE OPPRESSOR/BECOME THE VICTIM 
–BLAME HER FOR POINTING UP YOUR BAD BEHAVIOR

Sit with me, I promise —
— BARGAIN AGAIN

Gutierrez: I know, but I don’t want to.

Weinstein: Please sit there. Please. One minute, I ask you.
–BARGAIN AGAIN
— GIVE A SHORT, CONCRETE TIMEFRAME. 
–BE POLITE (ACT LIKE A NICE GUY SO SHE FEELS BAD)

Gutierrez: No, I can’t.

Weinstein: Go to the bathroom.
–MAKE A DEMAND

Gutierrez: Please, I don’t want to do something I don’t want to.

Weinstein: Go to the bathroom —
–MAKE A DEMAND

Hey, come here. Listen to me —
–CHANGE TACTICS
–MAKE HER YOUR ALLY

Gutierrez: I want to go downstairs.

Weinstein: I won’t do anything and you’ll never see me again after this. OK? 
–BARGAIN
–TELL HER NO ONE WILL EVER FIND OUT.

That’s it. If you don’t – if you embarrass me in this hotel where I’m staying —
–CUT OFF KINDNESS
–THREATEN TO WITHDRAW CAREER OPPORTUNITY
–GIVE HER FALSE POWER OVER YOU/MAKE HER THE OPPRESSOR/BECOME THE VICTIM

Gutierrez: I’m not embarrassing you —

Weinstein: Just walk —
–CUT OFF HER CHANCE TO ADVANCE CAREER

Gutierrez: It’s just that I don’t feel comfortable.

Weinstein: Honey, don’t have a fight with me in the hallway.
–INFANTALIZE HER BY CALLING HER “HONEY” 
–DEPICT HER AS IRRATIONAL, OVERLY EMOTIONAL/ MAKING A SCENE

Gutierrez: It’s not nothing, it’s —

Weinstein: Please. I’m not gonna do anything. 
–MAKE ANOTHER FALSE PROMISE OF SAFETY

I swear on my children.
— SAY ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING SHE MIGHT BELIEVE, YOU’RE GETTING DESPERATE
–SELL YOURSELF AS A HARMLESS DAD

Please come in. 
–ASK POLITELY

On everything.
–TRIPLE DOWN ON ON THE FALSE OATH

I’m a famous guy.
–THROW AROUND YOUR IMPORTANCE
–POINT UP POWER DISPARITY

Gutierrez: I’m, I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.

Weinstein: Please come in. 
–BE POLITE
–BEG

And one minute. And if you wanna leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.
–BARGAIN AGAIN
–ADD A TICKING CLOCK

Gutierrez: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

Weinstein: Oh, please. I’m sorry. 
–MINIMIZE ABUSE
–OFFER HALF-HEARTED APOLOGY THAT TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY

Just come on in. 
–COERCE BY TELLING HER TO LET IT GO

I’m used to that.
–SAY YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN NORMAL RULES OF BEHAVIOR BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN POWERFUL FOR SO LONG
–PLAY UP POWER DISPARITY

Gutierrez: You’re used to that?

Weinstein: Yes, come in.
–ASK AGAIN

Gutierrez: No, but I’m not used to that.

Weinstein: I won’t do it again. 
-LIE

Come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?
–BARGAIN

Gutierrez: No, I don’t want to.

Weinstein: If you do this now you will [unintelligible]. 
–BARGAIN

Now go. Bye. Never call me again. OK? 
–WITHDRAW AFFECTION AND CAREER OPPORTUNITY
–THREATEN FUTURE

I’m sorry, nice to have — 
–APOLOGIZE TO SHOW YOU’RE A NICE GUY TO GIVE HER ROOM TO CHANGE HER MIND AS YOU…
–THREATEN TO CUT OFF OPPORTUNITY

I promise you I won’t do anything.
–MAKE A FALSE PROMISE

Gutierrez: I know, but yesterday was too much for me.

Weinstein: The guy is coming. I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.
–GO BACK TO THE TICKING CLOCK 
–THREATEN TO RUIN HER CAREER
—BELITTLE HER FOR GIVING UP A LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITY OVER FIVE MINUTES OF DISCOMFORT

Gutierrez: I know — but, it’s kind of, like, it’s too much for me. I can’t.

Weinstein: Please, you’re making a big scene here. Please.
–BECOME THE VICTIM
–BLAME THE ACTUAL VICTIM
–MINIMIZE HER FEELINGS SO SHE DOUBTS REALITY AND GIVES IN

Gutierrez: No, but I wanna leave.

 

Weinstein: OK, bye. Thank you.
–WITHDRAW ALL AFFECTION 
–WITHDRAW CAREER OPPORTUNITY. 
–BE POLITE TO SHOW YOU’RE A NICE GUY AND SHE’S A BAD PERSON IN CASE SHE SAYS ANYTHING.

 

(*Please share this post with as many friends as possible. Manipulators can only win if you comply with their controlling behavior. Arm yourself with the knowledge and tools that you need to protect yourself and set limits when you are confronted with one of these tactics.)

How To Deal With Difficult People

         Difficult people can be anything from a person going through a hard time, who is simply more reactive than usual, to someone with a personality disorder who will make your life miserable on an ongoing basis. So, how can you tell the difference? Well, it depends on the length of time you have known them, their usual behavior patterns and most importantly, how they respond when you attempt to address an issue with them.

         When you attempt to discuss a problem with someone who is generally reasonable but is behaving poorly under stress, at some point they will usually be able to take responsibility for their part and have a productive conversation. They will demonstrate a willingness to understand your side of things and work to negotiate each other’s needs. On the other hand, someone with a high conflict personality will not allow anyone to question them and will usually attack and blame in order to deflect responsibility. They are not interested in what you need or want. They are focused on themselves at the expense of others. These types of personalities do not usually learn from adverse interpersonal experiences because they always believe it is the other person who is the problem. They often behave abusively and then unbelievably… act as if they are the victim. They are often the person who will initiate a lawsuit and have others pending. They feel entitled to special treatment without having earned it and lack empathy. They will not think twice about taking someone else down in order to get what they want.

         At this point, you may be thinking of your significant other, your friend, coworker, boss or other person in a position of authority. In any case, it’s important that you have an emotional coping strategy in place so you feel confident you can deal with the most unreasonable of adversaries. Here are some tips for how to respond when you are confronted with an angry or “difficult person.”

 

  1. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard. No progress can take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next.
  2. Stay calm. When a situation is emotionally charged, it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. Our minds go into fight or flight mode because we are perceiving an “attack.”
  3. Monitor your breathing. Try to take some slow, deep breaths. If you breathe out longer than you breathe in…you can’t panic and are less likely to overreact.
  4. If you are feeling angry or reactive then hit the “pause” button. You rarely have to handle a situation in the heat of the moment. Tell them that you need to set a time to sit down and discuss things later, so you can give them your full attention.
  5. Don’t judgeYou don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of vulnerability, insecurity or fear.
  6. Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. No matter how a person is treating you, showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
  7. Look for the hidden need. What is this person really trying to gain? Or more importantly, what is this person trying to avoid?
  8. You need to to know your own threshold for what you can take from difficult people. If you feel that you are unable to stay calm and you are being negatively affected by the stress of dealing with them, then it may be time to reevaluate your strategy or leave.

 

      If you have tried to resolve things by staying calm and have demonstrated to them that you are interested in understanding their needs but things just don’t get better, it may be time to leave. After all, some people are manipulative and lacking in empathy and are out to get you, your money or your job. Staying calm and keeping your position of strength in these situations is essential but when you feel it is an abusive or exploitive situation it’s best to cut your losses and get away. It’s not worth the emotional and physical toll it can take to deal with an ongoing toxic situation.

 

Caring For Family Members With Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 5 million people in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. By 2050 more than 16 million Americans will have this disease. Alzheimers disrupts memory, thinking, personality and everyday functioning. It impairs and eventually kills brain cells. This impairment can lead to symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty with time, language problems and inability to recognise loved ones.

According to Alzheimers.gov, About 15 million people care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in the United States. Knowing what to expect and preparing for the challenges, can help caregivers and their loved ones, who are living with the disease, live better and stay in their homes longer.

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic continuous loss of neurons that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. This is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most cases, the first symptom usually occurs in mid-60s.

The most common symptom of this disease is difficulty in remembering recent events, that is short term memory loss. As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation, mood swings, loss of motivation, inability to self-care, and behavioural issues.

Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all its functions. The image below shows a brain without the disease, a brain with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, and how they compare.

 

Family caregivers provide a whopping 80% of the care at home. More than 40% of family caregivers report that the emotional stress of their role is high or very high. (Alzheimers’s Disease International) As the population ages, more and more families will be faced with how to care for their aging and ailing parents. These caregivers are at risk for higher rates of depression, illness and financial difficulty. Research shows that caregivers experience lower stress and better health when they learn skills through caregiver training and participate in a support group. Participation in these groups can actually allow caregivers to care for their loved ones at home longer.

Emotional and practical support, counselling, resource information and educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease all help a caregiver provide the best possible care for a loved one. It is also very important for caretakers to try to add as much fun to the daily routine as possible. Play music, board games and get out in nature as often as you can.

Caregivers must focus on their own needs, take time for their own health and get support and respite from caregiving regularly to be able to sustain their well-being during this caregiving journey. This is the easiest thing for someone to say and yet it is probably the hardest thing to do. This is because it often hard to see beyond the care tasks that await caregivers each morning.

Something very important to consider are the most common feelings that both family and caregivers experience, such as, guilt and feelings of loss and anger. What are the reasons for this? Allow me explain.

Grief and Loss. When a person we love develops dementia, we already start to experience the loss of our loved one while they are still physically present. The changes in personality and their inability to function changes the dynamic and the connection we had as they just don’t seem like the person we used to know. For many, this is the beginning of a long term grieving process. It is difficult to have the roles reversed when you must adjust to being a caregiver of the parent who in the past you have always turned to for comfort and care.

Guilt. This feeling comes up when we think of the type of treatment given to the person in the past or when we feel embarrassed by some behaviour the person exhibits. Sometimes this feeling comes as a result of not wanting to bear the burden of caretaking.

It is common to feel guilty about past promises such as “I’ll always be with you or take care of you,” when these promises are not always possible or practical to keep.

Anger. This is a natural result of all the loss frustration and adjustments that are asked of you. Sometimes we are angry at having to deal with the burden of taking care of the person alone, while other family members don’t step up to help. We also get angry at the person with dementia for their often frustrating and difficult behaviours or at inadequate professional support services.

Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes called a family disease. This is because it is not a type of disease that can be handled by one person. It requires efforts from every member of the family and friends. It is very important to ask for help. Sit down with the members of your family and ask what they are willing to do to help. Give them ideas and suggestions. Don’t just assume that they know what you need.

It is also important to keep the family members informed. Remember, if you keep the lines of communication with your family and friends open, they will be able to understand more easily what you and your family member are going through. The better they understand, the more willing they’ll be to pitch in and help.

Helpful Video:

 

Why Hope For 2017?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Kathleen Mojas

 For many people, 2016 was filled with struggles and challenges. If you are one of those who had a tough ride last year, then maybe you’re already wondering how you can overcome the effect of 2016. One surprising answer is by cultivating hope and optimism.      

Hope is thinking that somehow things are going to get better. It is less an emotion and more a state of mind that can overcome feelings of despair. Hope can provide you with light in times of darkness. Expecting that things will get better is not only healing, it’s contagious. If you have hope, then you can also infect the same level of hope in others.

2017 has just started, and the best resolution you could promise yourself would be a change in perspective that could help you cultivate an optimistic and hopeful attitude, that if perpetuated, could last throughout the year and the years to come.

So here are some of the reasons why hope is extremely important for you, at the beginning of the year 2017:

 

Hope Has Positive Effect on Health

Hope and optimism have been studied by examining the way people make sense of their problems. People who explain negative events as being specific to that one situation, temporary versus permanent and not personal to themselves, tend to be not only more optimistic but more resilient, less stressed and healthier. Studies have verified that having a positive state of mind positively affect your health, boosts your immune functioning and even helps those with cancer and heart disease have higher rates of survivial. If you train your mind to be hopeful and optimistic then it actually has a positive impact on your overall health and healing abilities.

New studies also suggest that hope is capable of helping to reduce pain because it signals the release of endorphins produced by the pituitary gland then sends these to the nervous system, thereby blocking pain messages.

 

Hope Relieves stress

Having hope can help reduce your stress. If you’re hopeful, then you’ll most likely handle disappointments and failures through a more positive lens, looking on the bright side for lessons learned or unexpected blessings in the midst of misfortunes. Even if you have an unpleasant present, your hopeful attitude will help you envision a more positive future, allowing you to buffer stress and reduce the negative impact of disappointments and other negative events.

Having a hopeful and positive explanatory style lets you develop an optimistic attitude, making it possible for you to recognize that you’re capable and adaptable. You are more likely to feel reassured that you can handle even the toughest of life’s challenges.

Hope in 2017

The bottom line is whether you are upset about the current political climate, have lost your job, had a bad break up or have been diagnosed with an illness, if you explain your troubles in the following three ways you will be more likely to prevail. 1) Your pain or loss is only temporary, things will get better. Good things often come out of bad situations. 2) This situation is specific to this problem, instead of a global pattern of doom, it’s just a situational setback. 3) It’s not personal. Bad things happen to good people all the time. If you habitually view your troubles with this kind of explanatory style you will boost your resilience, your immune system and your quality of life. Being hopeful is the key towards a happier and more productive 2017.

We cannot change our past but we can make a choice every day regarding the way we view the past and the attitude we will embrace going forward into the future.

 

References:

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro04/web1/mbond.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201303/5-ways-hope-impacts-health-happiness

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201106/the-power-hope-and-recognizing-when-its-hopeless

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/11/health/hope-healing-enayati/

Abrahamson, L.; Y. Seligman; M. Teasdale (1978). “Learned Helplessness in Humans: Critique and Reformulation”. Abnormal Psychology. 87 (1): 49–74. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.87.1.49. PMID 649856.

 

 

 

The Surprising Dangers of Social Isolation

 

       

            Recent breakthrough discoveries in neuroscience have concluded that the number one thing you can do to improve the quality of your life, health and happiness is to cultivate a sense of belongingness in your relationships and community. The findings are astounding. Loneliness and a perceived sense of isolation have a more profound effect on our mortality than diet, exercise, excessive drinking, smoking or genetics! The culprit seems to be cortisol, which produces the stress response triggered in our brains when we are socially isolated, causing inflammation and a whole host of other medical maladies.

            According to social neuroscientist John Cacioppo, the lonely brain is constantly on high alert. This makes it harder to sleep through the night because this hyper vigilance causes frequent awakenings that prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. Over time, this takes a toll on our overall health and wellbeing. After all, it is sound sleep that helps us detox and recover from stressful days. We evolved as a tribal species, so when we feel alone, we perceive we are separated from the “tribe”, which then causes our brain to trigger a feeling of being under threat. This threat response can even turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more one feels threatened and alone, the more one become focused on self-preservation and, in turn, suffers increasing feelings of suspicion toward others due to the fear of being judged or further rejected.

            As we get older, life changes and the loss of friends and loved ones makes Americans more prone to isolation. It then becomes even more important for us to cultivate a sense of community through more active involvement in clubs, churches, synagogues and ties with our neighbors and friends. Only two generations ago, this kind of effort was largely unnecessary. A sense of collective belongingness was built into our daily lives.  In fact, most Americans were born and lived their lives in not only the same town, but often in the same house alongside multiple generations. But today, there have never been so many people living on their own or raising children without a partner or extended family in close proximity to provide help and support. In the 1940’s, less than 15% of Americans lived on their own, but now it’s closer to 25% with 40% of Americans reporting feelings of isolation or loneliness.

            When we feel connected to others our brain tells our body to relax and thus turns off the fight or flight stress response that releases that inflammation causing cortisol. One Yale study, cited in Dean Ornish’s bestselling book,“Love and Survival,” found that people who generally felt well loved had fewer coronary artery blockages than those who did not. This is just one example of study after study which finds that feeling loved and connected to others is not only beneficial to our overall wellbeing, but also reduces the likelihood of premature death from all causes by a whopping 230%!

            Don’t let these statistics frighten you. It appears that the quality, not the quantity, of our connections make the most overall difference. If you develop at least one close friendship with a trusted, safe person, you will reap the benefits. Further, being altruistic and serving others through volunteer work or helping friends and neighbors, seems to give one even more back in the form of increased feelings of personal connection and well being. Actively look for opportunities to have fun and spend time with friends and family. If you live alone, consider getting a roommate or living close to family.

            Most importantly, Cacioppo’s research alerts us to the danger of ignoring our wired in, natural longing for human connection. It is wise to respond to any feelings of loneliness no differently than we would to feeling hungry or thirsty. We have a tendency to ignore this basic fact at our own peril. This research urges us all to take control over the things we can in life. So reach out and nurture new social contacts and your close relationships. As much as Americans have idealized independence and devalued dependency, it is undeniable that we are a social species and our brains are hardwired to connect and stay connected throughout our lifespans. Meeting our vital need for human contact and connection is literally life saving and life extending.

 

The Body Tells The Story

 Suffering from trauma can feel like having your life hijacked. I have so much compassion for individuals suffering from trauma and the debilitating effect it casts on every aspect of your life, which is why I’ve chosen to specialize in helping those with trauma get well.

     This is an exciting time in psychology.  There are so many effective techniques to really help people move from stuck to free quickly and effectively.  One very effective body centered treatment is Somatic Experiencing (SE).  It helps the traumatized person to clear the freeze response that occurred at the time of the trauma.  Whether it was a car accident or a violent assault sometimes chronic pain can set in as a result of not being unable to complete the fight or flee response at the time of the incident.

SE facilitates the completion of self-protective responses and the release of the traumatic event trapped in the body.

     You will begin to experience a growing sense of peace and safety and find feelings of hopelessness, anxiety or numbness transformed into empowerment, triumph, and mastery.